Living in the Cities,
Living in the Mountains
Ben: Guru Rinpoche, in various teachings such as the Jewel Spiked Testament for example, directs us to live in a place that will not promote desire and aversion, to be away from those who reject the dharma, to not live amongst savages, and to live in simplicity and even in isolation (these are not direct quotes). To me, the big western cities are exactly what he warns against. And I can understand why.
I personally feel a longing to follow this direction, and am trying to move my life towards it. If the sangha ever moves to a small mountain village somewhere, I think I would go.
Ben: >the big western cities are exactly what he warns against.
Kim: -On the other hand, that's exactly where dharma should be as visible as possible. Many seekers among large crowds.
>If the sangha ever moves to a small mountain village somewhere
-That's the plan but our sangha is not yet big enough yet to start a center. It is costly and requires lots of effort to run a place like that so it needs a bunch of residents to run it and many visitors too. Maybe 2-3 years down the line the situation is different, hopefully anyway.
>I also was hoping to hear people's thoughts on the fact that Guru Rinpoche specifically directs us to do this.
-Even though GR's advice is good I think that like most advices, it is not an absolute statement for all times and places, and therefore not a rule. This is a time when the world is on fire because people are so ignorant. It is not difficult to attain buddhahood through Pemako teachings, so don't worry about it too much. It comes quickly in few years to a decade. What then? Bodhicitta in action, reaching and connecting with people. You can't do that in a remote village.
>I am realizing more deeply that the only real way to help myself, others, or the "world" is to become realized. It doesn't help me or others engaging in samsaric activity since I am not a mahasiddha yet.
-Yes the only real way to help others is to become realised, at least a bit but having said that I taught many years before even getting awakened and it helped people a lot... so one's own practice is one thing, sharing the dharma another, both equally important actually.
>Also trying to take seriously the difficulty of the task of realizing buddha nature, and the short human life. Isn't any delay inherently selfish and egoic in nature?
-No, it is not difficult. Don't believe everything they say in the books. Methods differ and therefore so do the views about the attainment.