For the Buddhist community to thrive,
support good Buddhists
by emulating their good efforts,
and ‘support’ bad Buddhists
by encouraging better efforts.
A Buddhist friend asked me for comments on the following remark by her nominally Buddhist friend – ‘I lost some confidence in Buddhism after seeing how a Buddhist seems to be out for selfish benefits in the name of Buddhism.’ To share, here is my reply – ‘It is hard to comment as I cannot tell if that particular Buddhist mentioned was really as described. Perhaps there should be more investigation to know what is really going on? In any case, our views of Buddhism should not be affected by our (sometimes distorted) views of less well-practised Buddhists’ behaviour. It is best to look to the Buddhas as the best examples of who are truly good ‘Buddhists’, as models to emulate!
Of course, we should not use the Buddhas’ perfection as a benchmark to measure and expect of every Buddhist. We should use the Buddhas to inspire ourselves to be better Buddhists instead. In the mean time, remember… beginner Buddhists are mere beginner Buddhists (including most of us); not yet perfect ‘Buddhists’ – Buddhas. We are all works in progress, who need reminders for improvement from one another once in a while to pull up our spiritual socks. This is the essence of good spiritual friendship – not for destructive judgementalism but constructive criticism for the sake of betterment. If even Buddhists do not take good care of one another, well… those of other faiths might!
If we are to mistaken a not so good Buddhist to represent all of Buddhism, including the perfect Buddhas and their perfect teachings, it would be like mistaking a single fallen and semi-rotted apple to represent an entire orchard of worthy fruits. We would be missing a nutritious and spiritually fulfilling fruit buffet! Even if we happen to be unable to find a single good Buddhist teacher or practitioner friend, the value of the Buddhas’ teachings are still not discounted a single bit. Realising this is possible only when we have studied and practised deeply to realise the truly unshakeable worth of the Buddhas’ teachings. With these treasures, there is never cause to be disheartened!’
If, of good Buddhists, you see none,
you can still be one.
If you give up being a good Buddhist
as you see none,
of good Buddhists, there might be none!