I’ve just been writing some questions for an interview I’ll be doing with Kamalashila – a senior member of the Triratna Order who has recently published a significant update of his book on meditation.
It got me thinking about the difference between public and private for well-known people – and the inevitable tensions that result.
For pop stars this is weird enough. For gurus and spiritual teachers, it can get a whole lot weirder.
Power corrupts, they say, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. You have to be a pretty switched on dude or dudette to avoid believing the hype. People telling you you’re a Buddha, giving you massive donations, confiding in you about the most intimate aspects of their lives and asking you for advice. Then following it blindly.
Whenever you’re having a bad day your disciples think you’re using ‘skilful means’ to try to teach them something awesome. Whenever there is a difference of opinion between you, they assume that they must have it wrong.
What a head trip!
Keeping it real at the start
It’s not just people at the top that have to deal with this stuff.
When you start calling yourself a Buddhist, if you’re not careful people can start expecting you to act in certain ways. And maybe a part of you even likes that. You can start wandering around ‘mindfully’, smile sweetly, and maybe even become more attractive to the opposite sex by pretending to be ‘beyond all that’.
Buddhists aren’t Buddhas. They’re just ordinary folks trying to make their way in the world. Even Buddhas aren’t Buddhas. Well, not in the Keanu Reeves sense of the term, anyway.
So we need to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously. The spiritual life is far too serious a thing to be taken too seriously. Life is short. Don’t waste it trying to act cool. You’re far too cool for that 😉
Anyway, the long and short is, I’ll be asking Kamalashila about this. If you want to know the answer, follow this blog and get it delivered right to your inbox!