Kālāma Sutta – Part 16

Continuing from previously,

“Now Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of greed, devoid of ill will, undeluded, alert, & resolute — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with good will. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

How do you know if a Buddhist teacher is good?

In this post on Kālāma Sutta, we examine what are the criteria that define a person as a Buddhist. As mentioned previously, Buddhism is, strictly speaking, not a religion. Therefore, there is no such thing as a divine power or Buddha’s special recognition being bestowed upon man and woman.

What I am trying to say is that even if a monk or nun had gone through a certain ritual or ceremony to become a monastic, that ritual or ceremony has nothing to do with bestowing or imbuing them with special divine grace or power or recognition. Their status of being a respectable monk or nun is not a privilege that only “Buddha cab remove”

Therefore, there is no such baggage as tolerating errant monks or nuns, or Buddhists. One simply ceases to be a Buddhist when one does not live in accordance with the teachings of Buddha. The notion of Buddha’s man or woman is absent. The Buddhist clerics are not beyond reproach.

In the ancient days, when monks and nuns behaved wrongly, the lay Buddhists would simply refuse to make offerings to them. That will ensure that they cannot make a livelihood under the guise of a Buddhist appearance.

While we are respectful of our monastic brethren, it is also balanced with a watchful observance to determine if one is worthy of our respect. Thus, there is a healthy respect and check system.

Following this line of reasoning, what makes a monk or nun or layperson “holy” is their actions, speech, and mind. What qualifies a person as being Buddhist is not a certificate, not a costume, not a hairstyle, not a title, note a label; non of these forms. It is the inner qualities.

If we examine what Buddha taught and reflect mindfully, it will be apparent to us that these qualities are difficult to charade. It is difficult to put on a long-term false pretense.

According to the Kālāma Sutta, the following qualities make us (monastics and laity) worthy as Buddha’s disciples.

  1. Devoid of Greed
  2. Devoid of illwill
  3. Devoid of ignorance
  4. He/she nurtures, maintains and extend loving-kindness to all
  5. He/she nurtures, maintains and extend compassion to all
  6. He/she nurtures, maintains and extend appreciative joy to all
  7. He/she nurtures maintains and extends equanimity to all
  8. He/she is alert to negative influences and is mindful of Dharma
  9. He/she is resolute in his/her practice to gain enlightenment

From the above, we are equipped with a ruler to determine if a Buddhist teacher is deserving of respect. However, the intention of the above is not meant to turn us into judgemental people. It is more about education and wisdom. In that manner, we only associate with people who are true in their practice and good role-model.

There is no room for pretentious people who are only interested in turning their monastic vocation into a secular career of wealth, fame, relations, and power.

May all be well and happy.

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