The true disciples of Dhamma
live with awareness and love,
and are continually inspired by
the manifestation of beauty
in their life.
Dhammapada verse : 301
Happy New Year!
Serving the master, serving Dhamma
At one time my teacher took me to his room and spoke to me, "Michael," he said, "I want to tell you that your formal training is now finished."
This certainly was a surprise to me, if only because I had never even considered that it could be possible.
"Now," he continued, "we move to another kind of training.
This training is called 'teaching without teaching."
Having spent my early days in spiritual practice as a student in Soto and Rinzai Zen, the idea of 'teaching without teaching' was very appealing to me, so I said, "Yes, Bhante, what does that mean?"
"Oh," he replied with a huge smile on his face, "it means that we just live together and you help me whenever I need you."
However it may sound, serving the true teacher is a great honour and a great privilege. To know the man (or woman) outside the formal environment of the monastery and Dhamma Hall is often a revelation as, in my case, I was able to witness the beauty of my teacher in ordinary and everyday situations.
To go shopping with him to the market and see him play with the venders as they haggled over the price of potatoes or rice and always ending with everyone laughing.
To sit on the floor in his room making copious notes as he recounted his experiences in Burma and India and his relationship with many world figures for his auto biography.
To prepare and serve his breakfast every morning, whilst he ignored all my efforts to make conversation.
To simply be in his presence.
He was and still is the greatest inspiration in my life whist he was alive, and his presence and influence stays with me always.
He showed me humility, compassion and love, not as external things to everyday life, but the on the contrary, the place where our life truly begins.
One time he told me, 'if my conduct is not pure, why should people support me?'
This has always been inspirational to me and I try in every moments to serve my own students and disciples with that same integrity and purity of being the he manifested.
On another occasion we were sitting together in the Burmese Vihar in Budh Gaya, India early one morning, him drinking chai and me picking the fluff from the blanket I had placed around his shoulders when I asked a question.
"Bhante," I began, "who was your teacher?"
He had told me many times of the different masters he had spent time with, but had never mentioned anyone in particular, so I was curious to know if there was one person he owed his training and consequent development to.
Without missing a beat, he gestured to a statue of the Buddha and said simply, "the Buddha."
He then continued, "the Buddha taught his disciples, and they taught their disciples, and they taught their disciples until my teachers taught me and I taught you. Now you teach your own disciples. This is the unbroken line of Dhamma. From the heart of the Buddha to the heart of you. Now it is your place to take this unbroken Dhamma into the world and share it so that all beings might benefit."
In every instance and in every moment I have endeavored to live with honesty and integrity, to share this pure Dhamma in the spirit of the Buddha and my beautiful teacher, so that all beings, no matter who and no matter where, might experience the beauty of love, compassion and wisdom.
May all beings be happy.
We are happy to announce now that almost all of Michaels books are available as
E books from kindle on amazon store or as downloads from our website.
The disciple said to the master, ‘I want you to free my mind.'
The Master lives quietly and alone, even in the midst of others. For him (or her) there is only Dhamma, manifesting in each moment and in all things. There is nothing to say, nothing to do, nothing to get and nothing to become. There is only the reality of oneness, the connectedness with life itself.
From Buttons in the Dana box
Next Pure Dhamma Newsletter, April 2013
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