I just read a report that talks about wrathful teachings. In that article, the students described how they were taught to accept abuse from their teacher as something constructive towards removal of their ego.
As we know, ego is a hinderance to enlightenment and therefore a removal of ego is part of enlightenment.
But I DISAGREE with the approach that was being described.
ABUSE is never a Buddhist way.
Here’s to share a story from Thailand about Ajahn Mun.(1870–1949) -reputed to be an Enlightened monk) This information was obtained from his biography made up of personal accounts by his disciples. Without needing to verify if this story is true, it does serve an important point of reference for setting a standard, as to what is truly wrathful, ego removing training. (My personal opinion and standard)
According to the Biography, Ajahn Mun had developed the power of clairvoyance to read people’s mind. He can therefore read you like an open book. Know your every pure and impure thoughts.
He used to be very direct in his approach. He would approach a fellow monk or disciples and say “You were thinking about this earlier during your meditation” and he would go into details on what the other fella was fantasising during his meditation. So if their thoughts were about women, he will then dispense teaching on how to deal with that impure thought. The student would be so embarrassed. They eyes wide with horror and embarrassment. Then bowing their head in shame. The advice dispensed by Ajahn Mun hardly register in their mind.
Not much people can withstand their deepest desires or faults being exposed in public. Many were too terrified to return for meditation training under him. Some left after one day. (I think that is real wrathful training.)
Then he started to soften his approach. He would gather everyone into the hall and he would one by one, point out discursive thoughts without naming the culprits. He will then dispense solutions on how to counteract those discursive thoughts. In that manner, it became better accepted. The students started finding that amusing and would confess to each other who Ajahn Mun was referring to after his lectures.
When I read this part of his life, I told myself that it will indeed be fortunate to train under such a Guru. However, deep inside me, I know it really takes courage to be standing in a hall full of your fellow classmates and have your deepest thoughts and desire put up for open lecture and discussion. Can you imagine that?
Sharing this story, I hope you can form your own conclusion on who qualifies to “operate” on your psychology.
- a teacher must knows me inside out as a person. (Which is why guru-disciple relation takes time to form) or
- that teacher is fully clairvoyant (but prove to me first, just like how Ajahn Mun did so in front of his disciples),
- he must already master his own imperfections and exhibit traits of being a good person according to the Buddhist standards and
- demonstrates that he really understand the Buddha’s teachings.
otherwise, don’t try to mess with me through manipulative means.
Note: 3 & 4 is important because psychic ability can also be obtained by support/possession from unseen beings such as spirits etc. We want to learn from qualified Buddhist teachers, not spirits with unwholesome intentions.
May all find good teachers to show them the method towards freedom and happiness.