Why Look For A Needle In A Haystack Without Needles?

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Be constructive
in terms of your virtues,
with pure Dharma
learning and practice.

— Shilashanti

A young Buddhist seems to habitually ‘rant’ on some relatively more prominent ‘Buddhists’ (and sometimes their associated organisations), when they have said, written or done something that is not so aligned with Buddhist principles. A sensible suggestion would be to raise these concerns to such persons (and organisations) clearly and politely for their consideration of improvement. Yes, offer constructive criticism. Complaining to anyone else irrelevant does nothing to better any issue at all. It only spills the ugliness of the perceived ‘mess’ further without clearing it up.

If valid concerns raised are misunderstood or even disregarded, not taken in good spirit, there can at least be ‘conclusion’, that such persons are indeed unworthy ‘Buddhists’, to be stayed clear of, to save time and ‘heartache’… until there are more skilful means to help them see the error of their ways. (If there is dread of backlash or being ‘blacklisted’, there can be anonymous feedback. However, points raised must be factual and fair, while welcoming reasonable clarifications and corrections.)

It is surely not wrong to be idealistic, to have some high expectations, but it is surely wrong to forget to be realistic too. While having idealistic visions of how issues should be handled, so as to work towards realising them, realise too, that reality is far from idealistic in this Dharma-Ending Age. Why look for even one needle in a haystack that has no needle at all? In a haystack, there should be expectations of finding different grades of hay, with none being a needle. Why look for perfect Bodhisattvas in the non-Pure Land here, in this Sahā World, among ordinary beings?

The greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment. The greater the self-sabotage, the greater the needless suffering. But what if there are grave ethical issues… raised yet ignored? Escalate gradually, step by step, to the next level which should address the concerns. Again, constructively; not destructively, factually; not slanderously. If the last step has to be the community, so be it, for the good of all — if the issues are truly serious. At no point should there be mindless rage. Only have pure motivation; without delusional greed, hatred, jealousy… or other defilements.

It is also spiritually healthier for newer Buddhists to focus directly on pure Dharma learning and practice, instead of being embroiled in personal and organisational ‘drama’ or ‘politics’. This will prevent being disillusioned by those who are supposed to embody and express the Dharma. Focusing on the perfect Dharma will make us better, while focusing on the imperfect who are not so aligned to the Dharma might make us bitter. Remember – those who are not so aligned to the Dharma are precisely so because they lack focus on the Dharma. Why become one of them then?

Be destructive
in terms of your vices,
with pure Dharma
learning and practice.

— Shilashanti

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