Awakening and the freedom from desire.
(the difference between Master, teacher and disciple)
>That I teach solely upon the direct instruction of my beloved teacher is a story quite well known, but there is no doubt that in those early years of sharing Vipassana and Dhamma understanding with others my journey to Awakening was not yet completed.
So, in those days as a travelling, though reluctant teacher, I was a 'real' smoker, consuming many cigarettes each day, even earning for one season in Budh Gaya, the somewhat dubious title as 'the smoking guru'.
Some years later whilst leading a retreat at a Tibetan monastery in southern France, I was having an after lunch cigarette when the resident Lama came and sat next to me. He had heard me speak in the Dhamma Hall and liked me very much and did not seem surprised to see me smoking, in fact, he simply looked at my cigarette, smiled, pointed to it and said' "Ah, so this is your nadi."
I did not know this word and so I asked what it meant.
He told me that at this point in my spiritual evolution it was my grounding device, my connection to the world and without it I would simply float up into the air (spiritually speaking) and disappear.
So, in our early years of Dhamma training it is understood and accepted that we can still smoke and take an occassional drink as we like, but my personal and direct experience is that at the moment of Awakening, all desire and the need to need to fulfill that desire naturally falls away. Like snow sliding from a leaf in springtime.
Cigarettes, alcohol, food, sex, power, position, politics, money etc, because they are all manifestations of desire, which is itself the manifestation of ego (self identity) no longer have a place in life and so quite naturally do not arise.
There is a spontaneous purity in Awakening and therefore no room or reason for any kind of repression simply because there is nothing left to repress. Now there is only the beautiful 'beingness' in each moment. This is of course correctly understood as 'letting go completely'.
So, although my life is far away from the modern commercial spiritual world, it does seem to me that there is no shortage at all of people calling themselves ' awakened spiritual teachers'.
Men and women, some honored highly by tradition and popularity, some having mistaken a simple transient experience as awakening, speaking about freedom and enlightenment and yet who still have not realised it for themselves.
And so the simple Dhamma teaching is, take responsibility for yourself and be-careful with whom you sit in front of.
When Dhamma becomes a business, integrity is the first thing to leave the Dhamma hall.
Dhamma training is not therapy or a caressing of ego, it is a wake up call. Loving, compassonate, caring, joyful, but always free from desire.
If you still feel that you have to take a cigarette, a stiff drink or an escape into the arms of a lover to fulfil a need, you are not free yet.
There is nothing wrong with any of these things, they just don't come from the awakened and liberated mind.
Liberation is the freedom from desire.
May all beings be happy.