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Teachers who are imperfect versus those who spoil the triple gem

Corrupt teachers are a separate topic is the first thing I will say. The topic is whether the dharma is correct that the teacher is teaching. I put it in Buddhism for beginners because most of those looking for a sangha are at least somewhat a beginner myself included.

Ok here is the text from the DailyEnlightenment.com,,, subscribe http://thedailyenlightenment.com/

Protect the great name
of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
by becoming a great disciple
of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha

– Stonepeace | Get Books
How should we look at 'Buddhist' teachers who might confuse others with their warped brand of teachings? The tricky part is that even somewhat problematic 'Buddhist' teachers might give some right teachings, mixed with other misleading teachings though. Since they might have many followers, some of whom are following the right teachings, it is not straightforwardly alright to dismiss these teachers' worth or validity entirely. If we do so, their followers might become confused, disappointed and even give up practising the right teachings from these teachers, thus throwing out the precious with the defiled. However, it is alright to share on more complete and authentic alternative sources for learning to lessen further confusion. For beginners lacking in wisdom, it is safer to advise them to avoid learning from controversial or potentially problematic teachers in the first place.

We should focus on addressing individual problematic issues from these teachers instead of on their personalities. This is being objective; not being personal. If possible, raise these issues to these teachers directly (e.g. by speaking or writing sincerely to share your concerns). If there is no response from these teachers (or their administrators) after a fairly long time, it is likely that they are uninterested in replying. This lack of response, along with the issues raised can then be shared with their followers you are concerned about – for their personal reflection on why there was no reply, on what is really right or wrong. Note that this is not slander at all, as there should be no greed for personal gain, and no lying or malice involved; only using compassion and wisdom with good intentions to help others discern truth from fallacy, so as to protect their spiritual lives.

We have to carefully protect the public image of the pure Triple Gem (the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), by not needlessly openly 'slamming' those (ab)using the imagery of the Triple Gem, unless they are clearly wrong and doing much harm publicly. As above, we should try to first address issues through gentlemanly communication. However, if some are really 'destroying' the Triple Gem with unrepentant misrepresentation, we must do what we can to protect the Triple Gem. The severely misrepresented Triple Gem is already not the real Triple Gem. Thus, to raise awareness on clearly unrepentant problematic teachers who give wrong teachings wrongly attributed to the Buddha does not jeopardise the real Triple Gem – this upholds its integrity instead. However, there should also be representation of what is the real Triple Gem in contrast for public education.

Uphold the great name
of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
by becoming a great teacher
for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha


  • howhow Veteran
    edited November 2013
    This is such a can of worms.
    I have been involved on other web sites with many who have been trying to attend to these issues for years. Long established teachers from well accepted lineages who end up contravening some of the most basic Buddhist teachings and damaging many around them in the process.

    I studied for many years in one particular school and marveled at how long it can take for many disciples to see how disparate their actions had become from the Buddhist Dharma before realizing it. They still continue today to slowly peel away from that school with their faith/devotion in tatters.

    Masters/ Roshis/ Teachers/ Seniors/ on down who eventually have said "What the FFF"
    and walked away while just as many of their fellows continue to hunker down, head in the sand, in fear of doubting their own practice.

    People are just messy and that messy inertia often manifests as the Buddhist Dharma wrapped in spiritual clothing.
    In a world of fluidity and chaos, only waking up that there is no you that is separate from that reality is the teaching.
    Teachings offering solid ground and predictability only pander to the grasping s of identity and are just the sound of more snoozing teachers.

  • In a world of fluidity and chaos, only waking up that there is no you that is seperate from that reality is the teaching.
    This is disputed by the mahayana because all beings have a connection to dharmakaya. It's a different way of saying things. For example dzogchen calls it Rigpa versus Sems. We are not the skhandas.

    No I guess you are right the dharmakaya IS fused to fused to the teachings. Alarm bell set to neutral. :D

    I think the article is saying they shouldn't be characterized as ostriches with their heads in the sand. Rather it is like a mixture of good and bad. So say the tomato drink V8 is healthy over all but the salt in it is not good. There are no ostriches who are getting absolutely nothing except when the teacher strays from the triple gem (whatever that is!!! I don't think the article explained that)
  • Uphold the great name
    of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
    by becoming a great teacher
    for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
    However first become a great student, not of 'a great teacher' but of the triple gem.

    What is the triple gem?

    The example of an enlightened Being (gem 1 Buddha)
    gem 2 the teachings of the enlightened, the dharma
    gem 3, those setting an example through living a virtuous and holy sangha life.

    Treat your lama or Roshi like a god and sooner or later, like any arising it will not fail to pass away . . .

    Good teachers, seniors, many. Good students?
    Look to your self . . .
  • In any dharma teaching there is a teacher, a student (can be the same), a message/lesson, a time, and a place.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2013
    @lobster in the mahayana you are definitely going to be a teacher if you take the bodhisattva vows/path. So if you are against teachers you are against yourself. That is assuming you study the mahayana bodhisattva path.
  • So if you are against teachers you are against yourself
    Is that so?
    Perhaps even that which is 'not a teacher' can be learned from . . . who would be against that?
  • Well the bodhisattva path involves teaching and it is just semantics to say it was not teaching.

    It would be like baking cookies and serving them to guests who eat them and then say I am not the baker.
  • howhow Veteran

    I think...
    The triple gem is just different manifestations of getting the teacher and student out of enlightment's way.
    When that which is called the triple gem, doesn't do that, it's not spoiled, it's mis named, like a Buddhist teacher
  • Yes. Where is the line drawn between an incomplete or misleading teaching and genuinely disparaging the triple gem? The article seems to say that sometimes it is merely incomplete or misleading whereas sometimes it spoils (or misnamed as). I think that's a flaw of the article from the DailyEnlightenment.

    For me the triple gem is the Buddha who taught the dharma AND the dharmakaya and samboghakya. So if the teaching is so impure that it fails to crack the ego, which is what you would say @how wouldn't you? That being that dharma is destruction of the ego.

    The dharma I feel is the three seals: impermanence, non-self, and dukkha OF CONDITIONAL THINGS.

    The sangha I feel are those who are on the path and have become sincere enough to work hard and spread kindness of generosity, ethics, patience, forbearance, joyful effort, and wisdom of emptiness.

    Thus saying the Buddha never existed could be a violation of the Buddha and saying the dharma means something that is not true is also. Violating the sangha could be looking at only their flaws and then saying 'oops the dharma doesn't work (rather than seeing the good side and becoming inspired)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Am I missing something here?

    It seems as if teacher who doesn't teach "x" is bad, where perhaps they have a different perspective.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2013
    That is the case. Do you think all roads lead to Rome? The point of this article is to avoid to badmouth teachers who you disagree with unless it is flagrant. The reason not to badmouth is to not turn off students who are getting some benefit but not total (in your own eyes) But there can be a kaleidoscope of different views. It is in the eye of the beholder, but I don't think all roads lead to Rome.

    All minds lead to Rome but there are roads/teachings of varying helpfulness.
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