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Spiritual Untouchables - Shambavi Sarasvati

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: http://www.livingtantra.net/2007/07/spiritual-clannishness/ SPIRITUAL UNTOUCHABLES Shambhavi Sarasvati A certain highly accomplished Guru traveled to a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 23, 2007

      Shambhavi Sarasvati

      A certain highly accomplished Guru traveled to a new city where some
      students had formed a group. Now, it so happened that, in the absence
      of Guru, one fellow had assumed the "top dog" leadership position in
      this group. He was enjoying his self-appointed role as the director
      of everything and everyone. In fact, he fancied himself quite an
      advanced practitioner capable of giving teachings to students even
      though he had no permission from the Guru.

      This fellow was so attached to the ego enjoyment he derived from this
      role playing, he was like a heroin addict–compulsive and controlled
      by fantasy fixes. Far from being capable of leadership or conveying
      teachings to others, he was possessed by an automaton: a totally
      programmed, robot slave. The robot slave acted confident and
      knowlegable. Others were impressed and followed along. They didn't
      know that acting "confident" and "knowlegable" was just a part of the
      robot slave's programming.

      So there this fellow was, playing the role of preceptor, when the
      real Guru showed up. The robot slave really didn't like the idea of
      being shut down. So it went into overdrive. It threw a tantrum and
      physically threw the real teacher out of the teaching hall and onto
      the street.

      It was late at night. The Guru had no place to sleep, and it was
      wintertime. But he was resourceful and luckily did not freeze to
      death! The next day, the Guru called a meeting. To everyone's
      surprise, he extended a kind invitation to the student who had thrown
      him out the previous evening. During that meeting, the clear seeing
      and compassion of the teacher acted like a reverse poison–a remedy.
      The student was freed of being possessed by the robot slave.

      Without that compulsive programming, the real situation of the
      student could manifest. Far from being confident, he was terribly
      afraid that others might find out how unworthy he really felt. Far
      from wanting to to be the Guru, he longed with the grief of a little
      abandoned child for the Guru's love. But he felt so cut off from true
      love, he had tried to manipulate others into looking up to him, and
      even fearing him.

      The spiritual literature of India, Tibet, and many other places is
      filled with stories of accomplished teachers who encounter thieves,
      rapists, those possessed by greed, and even demons. With great
      insight and compassion, these teachers free other beings from
      fixation so that they too can continue on the path to Self-

      The greatest teachers neither seek nor reject students. All are
      welcome, without exception. However, this does not apply to every
      teacher. It only applies to those teachers who are Self-realized and
      can be of true benefit to the incredibly diverse beings they meet.
      Less accomplished teachers must be keenly aware of their own
      limitations, and/or follow the directions of their own teachers in
      the matter of who and what they are equipped to teach.

      This being said, it is never the fault of the student if a student is
      unteachable by a certain Guru. This situation is a reflection of the
      limitation of the Guru. So-called "bad" students should never be
      vilified by teachers or communities. We are all "bad" students until
      we are Self-realized. It is only a matter of degree. And this world,
      composed of nothing but intelligence and compassion, teaches everyone
      without exception. This is cosmic law. No one is unteachable. Only
      individuated teachers with their own limitations are not yet fit to
      encompass everyone who comes their way.

      Spiritual communities are famous for clannishness, infighting, and
      for harshly ex-communicating those who trouble other members of the
      group. In some instances, it is teachers who set the tone for this
      kind of activity. In other cases, the teacher is not around, and the
      fixations of the students are free to mask themselves with egoic
      misapplications of the teachings.

      Students, all students, come to spiritual communities and teachers
      with their fixations, compulsions, and attachments on full display.
      This is true without exception. The student who is obviously
      disruptive is no more in the wrong or right than a student who tries
      to win the favor of the teacher with acts of false devotion and
      obedience. Or one who uses "the teachings" as a weapon against other
      students. If people didn't have fixations, there would be no need for
      teachers. In fact, Tantrik teachers are well-known for purposely
      inflaming the fixations of their students so that these may be
      recognized and resolved. Going on a retreat with a Tantrik Guru and
      community is usually anything but restful for this reason.

      There are three golden rules for working with difficult situations
      within spiritual communities.

      1. Any reaction you have to another person or situation is your
      reaction. It is not the fault of the other person; it is your
      fixations at play. In order to confirm this, you need only think of
      the accomplished beings who do not have "issues" with any person; all
      people are held in the crucible of their intelligence and compassion.
      This is your beacon. Your fixations are your real situation; they are
      what you have to take responsibility for and work with. The member of
      your community who really, really irritates you is your Guru in that
      this person makes sure that all of your attachments are available to
      be recognized and worked with. In fact, this person is none other
      than an aspect of World Self communicating with you.

      2. Teachers and students must recognize their limitations. We all
      have limitations. Being blind to these, or trying to rise above them
      with applications of spiritual View that you have not yet embodied,
      will slow your unfoldment. All students and most teachers, cannot
      encompass every situation. Sometimes we have to leave another person,
      or ask them to leave, or take some other measure to protect our
      ability to continue our practice individually or as a group. The
      Buddha Yeshe Tsogyal once asked her Guru, Padmasambhava, what to do
      about disturbances to her practice arising in her environment. He
      answered that these disturbances should be brought into one's
      practice, "onto the path" as is said. But if this is not possible,
      his advice was: "Run for the hills! Protect your practice!" Notice
      that the emphasis is on what you should do to take responsibility for
      your sadhana, not on punishing, denigrating, criticizing, or
      ostracizing another person.

      3. The teacher is the teacher. In the matter of the conduct of
      spiritual communities and a student's individual choices with respect
      to sadhana, the teacher is the guide and the arbiter. Students should
      ask the teacher what to do in difficult situations. Some students, in
      a moment when the watchful eye of the teacher is not on them, like to
      play the role of gatekeeper or even Guru. They try to wield power
      over other students, and this is the source of a lot of the bad
      reputation of spiritual communities. An accomplished Guru will know
      how to work with this situation so that everyone can grow. Put
      everything in the Guru's hands. Don't take on the karma of
      prematurely guiding other people, whether by giving them practices to
      do, criticizing them, or showing them the door.

      Sometimes the most difficult student is transformed by interaction
      with the Guru into the most sincere disciple, an example to everyone.
      And students generally are in a fog of fixation and compulsion, but
      even so, they recognize the primordial light of insight and
      compassion shining from their teacher. We can still recognize and
      follow despite our situation of limitation. This is Guru Kripa, or
      Guru's grace.

      In Matriseva,
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