Aiming for Cultural Change in Dharma
Kim: I didn't come here just to teach a handful of students, even though they made it to the end of their practice. I've always had the feeling that I've come to create a big enough cultural change in dharma that keeps growing for centuries ahead. If I can reach enough people to leave behind 100 teaching mahasiddhas, there is a realistic opportunity. It takes not only a large number of enlightened teachers to make a small cultural change, but also a group of professionals running an organization, and money to run the activities. Just yesterday I was thinking about how amazing it would be to offer our center's residential training, with monthly retreats, for free. It would bring student material (as well as other things) to us. It would be easy to teach.
Ben: What are your thoughts on the historical buddha and how all of buddhism sprung from a single individual? Is it about leaving behind an army of enlightened teachers or does there also need to be a readiness among the culture? If so, do you think today’s culture is ready?
Kim: Hi Ben. Oh, enough people have been ready for ages... but the teachings haven't been there... and now when they finally are, they are ineffective, wrong or unfitting. Readiness is there for sure. Look at how eagerly so many people around the world practice... There are many many people who put all their spare time into practice. If they did practices that they understood and were suitable for this time and culture, they'd advance through the bhumis and become buddhas.
When I speak of leaving a mark to the world's dharma culture, I mean just that. Not changing it all but leaving a mark that stays and grows over time. Hakuin from Japan is a pretty good example of this when he revitalized rinzai zen few hundred years ago. He left, if I recall correctly 90+ dharma heirs. I can think of few good zen roshis from his lineage that are alive today, my late hitsuzendo master as well as monastery roshi being examples, and many other excellent ones from previous generations. Culturally speaking, they had the real thing going on for couple of hundred years, until it withered because of Hakuin. Historically speaking tb in Tibet was as strong if not stronger, until it crumbled down within the last 70 years. They had a culture that supports practitioners, and they had money and people. Now, like Japanese buddhism, Tibetan buddhism is mostly without the pulse of realisation, though there are few bright sparkles here and there.
All I can do is to speak, explain my plans for the benefit of the world society and continue teaching those who want to be taught. I cannot say if Pemako will meet my plans and expectations but I hope that our sangha takes this as seriously as death, and helps me to accomplish everything that can be accomplished. To quote Khandro Namsel Dronma:
"To tell you honestly, in my mind I have a very strong belief that the essence of life is only to have the realization of bodhichitta and emptiness... If I cannot help people to generate these things, our meeting is just a waste of time."
Until this year comes to its end, I'll have reported a number of people in our sangha who have reached the end of their emptiness practice, i.e. attained buddhahood or the 11th bhumi. Both before and especially after all mind phenomena has been liberated to dharmakaya, conduct becomes one's practice. Conduct means actualising bodhicitta. Actualising bodhicitta means helping others over to the other shore (parasamgate). That means meeting, working, talking and meditating with people. To do that we need dedicated people and resources which we don't at the moment have. Method that is no longer a hypothesis we now have.