I could never understand the criticism that people have constituted against monks, in this instance, Buddhist monks who have made a conscious and deliberate attempt to pursue the path of wisdom and compassion, for not engaging in more worldly concerns, or simply addressing the latter for the establishment of social well-being, which are externally exemplified by Christian missionaries and their mundane hierarchies.
Far be it my intention to diminish the latter’s contributions, but we should also not overlook the criminal activities committed in the name of said religion, as, to name a few, witch-hunts, murder, torture, corruption, abuse of innocent children, ad infinitum, enough to put a damper in the faith of human kindness, let alone in the God/gods they subscribe to.
In comparing the importance of lay people’s actions vis à vis the apparent inactivity and so-called parasitism of those who have chosen to retire from worldly pursuits, which in fact is the case of the above Buddhist renunciates, would indeed be a grave commission of injustice, to my mind.
To those who would rather take a stand for the former, I would pose this question: Would you prefer to support and sustain someone who deliberately creates ripples and sensations in lots of so-called normal activity even if they are petty crimes, murder and mayhem, mostly detrimental to the well-being of society as a whole which is the case of serial killers and criminals in general, or an individual who is deceptively inactive sitting uselessly, while remaining calm, peaceful and collected by himself without any perceptible activity worthy of appreciation by human eyes?
I would hope that it would be the indisputable and unconditioned support for the latter. But what does one know? The human heart has its dictates which the mind is not privy to, I guess.
Which begs one to question our prerogatives and priorities as we seem to maintain with lavish funding, prison institutions which were meant to reform its inmates, but which have, in its place, become havens for misfits and hardened criminals with no discernible prospect of transformation, rather than the neglected and unassuming individuals that have made it their life’s goal to uphold the virtues and teachings of an exceptional human being from 2,600 years ago.
And these renunciates are now consciously and precisely , in some jails and prisons around the globe, addressing these very issues which were the very purposes for the existence of these failed institutions, failed, at least, in their capacity to reform and transform human beings.
It is evidently preferable to have a calm and collected mind than a seemingly successful one driven to excess, greed and unwholesome qualities which seem to be admired by not a few, even more like a great majority, if one were to believe the rise of these institutions and the norms set by present human conventions.
If I heard it right, the Catholic Pope had the gall to announce during a youth gathering in Spain not to fall prey to the promise of freedom of thought and action as espoused by some new-age philosophies and to stick to guidance or more accurately, the blatant dictates of traditional authority, referring, of course, to himself through the umbrella of his deity. What a load of b…erh, rubbish! He would rather that the youth subscribe to the mindless exploitation promoted and preached by priests and ministers of such a man-conceived deity, without ever cultivating the very faculties that would allow them to act as mature individuals when they indeed grow up as citizens of this planet.
It just so happens that Buddhism is no new age philosophy. In fact, it is an elder of Christianity and is based mainly on secular ethics and matter-of-fact thinking, although I had the sneaking suspicion that he would have liked to lambast it in front of this impressionable gathering of youth, as a reflexive response to the growing interest that Buddhism has garnered in the West together with the corresponding decline in traditional adherence to authority accorded to his choice of religion. But nature would not have it his way as he was chastised by the very storm which his god must have purposely created to drum some sense into him. (“Sorry, my bad!”, as Alicia Silverstone would have said it in Clueless.)
In short, he mainly wanted to continue to keep them in the dark about the truth of their shenanigans, manipulations and machinations. Which is what was recently demonstrated when the Irish authorities, following the unconscionable abuse of orphaned children under the care of this Church, have called upon this institution to account. Instead, we were witness to the knee-jerk reaction of the bully feigning aggrieved when the victim fights back. Rather than answering the charges, the Vatican recalled its Vicar or whatever you may call him to protest the “persecution” of their assailed institution. The Irish people only wanted an answer to the things they did in response to this atrocious and painful exploitation of innocence entrusted to them by a people who still cared so much to believe.
I would still hope, for our own sakes at least, that they would transform and see their delusions for what they are. But with the way things stand, it would seem too much of a stretch to entertain such a glimmer of hope. And, this is one instance where I sincerely would want to be proved wrong.
I challenge the well-meaning men of goodwill, every human of whichever denomination, to rise up and awake from their slumber and stupor and lift the veil of ignorance that shrouds the radiant effulgence of their souls.
Live in the present moment. Perceive without seeing, achieve without doing, just like the monks who are consciously treading the path to enlightenment .