Since I recently moved to a bigger city with many Buddhist options, I decided to visit a Theravada community, based on the Thai Forest tradition. I’ve always enjoyed Ajahn Brahm’s dharma talks, so I thought I’d drop by and see what it was like.
And the very first sermon I was treated to was about respecting one’s elders, in particular one’s parents. This is rather a sore point for me as one of my parents had paranoid schizophrenia, and the other bailed on us when he couldn’t take it any more. I mean, how are you supposed to respect that?
And my other experiences with authority figures are mostly dubious. In my experience most ‘leaders’ act primarily out of self interest, often to the detriment of their followers.
That said, the presentation was light hearted and some good points were made (e.g. setting aside differences so everybody can get along and actually get stuff done instead of arguing all day.) But overall it still rather rubbed me the wrong way.
Does this sound like a place I should go back to? Is this, shall we say, an opportunity to set aside some aversions and learn something? Or should I avoid this like the plague?