His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa's now-famous speech about the role of women in the Vajrayana -- as eloquent, guileless, almost impassioned, courageous, and deeply felt a statement of feminist principles as has ever been heard in a Tibetan Buddhist context.
This video also clarifies, once and for all, the confusion some people apparently have about a certain title, and the sort of person for whom such entitlement might be genuine.
In this context, it is important for all of us to understand that authentic teachers arise naturally, in a field of truth. They are neither born from intrigues nor instantly fabricated, and cannot deceive their way into a position. They are not produced by wishful thinking. They are not verified by popular acclaim.
This is a time of renegade cults and dubious prophets. Within the past few months alone, a co-dependent child molester enabled by one such cult has been sentenced to twenty years in prison. In another case, a young man died in the high desert -- a timely call away from help -- when traumatized by another such cult's "retreat."
We are beset by spiritual materialism of the worst order, and for those of us with some connection to Vajrayana, there is no quarter asked and no quarter given. Our path has been called dangerous; compared to obtaining a jewel from the head of a cobra, or walking a razor's edge. We are, it is said, like snakes in bamboo: we have only two ways to go, up or down.
We simply cannot afford to entrust ourselves, our children, or our grandchildren to questionable circumstances. What we must do, with special dedication of ceaseless effort, is stick to established guardians and safe outposts.
The day of pay-for-platitude is over.
His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa understands this better than most, it seems, and he has given us all a lesson in what is required.
When I think of such things, I am reminded of Jigme Lingpa, and I laugh. He could "channel" Longchenpa well enough -- as we might say in today's spiritual mish-mosh -- but he still spent decades alone with his tailbone on stone. Today, there are some lounging around, making claims to his lineage, who cannot even bring themselves to finish the ngondro he wrote.
They sit upon sofas and think them thrones.
"It used to be that dharma study tied your mindstream in knots instead of liberating it. You would hear some teachings and maybe get a little bit of a name and then instantly you would pop up thinking, "I am something special!" Then you would need a throne, a high chair, a high position, totally misunderstanding and turning your whole dharma upside down. What is the throne that you actually need? You need the throne of hearing, contemplating, and meditating on the dharma... ."
--Gyatrul Rinpoche, 15 May 2012Writing here, today, I hope you do not think I am somehow praising myself whilst belittling others. I hope you do not find these words antagonistic, or that I am finding fault with vajra brothers or sisters. Before I write these things I always very carefully search my heart, often for a very long time, to ask myself "Why" do I feel the need to write them. Many times I have written something, and then just let it collect digital dust, because I feel my motivation wasn't as I might have wished.
In the main, I write things such as these to myself. Every criticism you have ever seen me make is a criticism I have leveled at myself.
I am so very, very sorrowful at the tragedies befalling people who, one fine day, decided to involve themselves with Dharma. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I see these things and I have an irrational thought, "Hey! Why didn't they learn from my mistakes?" Then, of course, I realize that if I don't discuss my mistakes, nobody can possibly learn anything from them!
So, if you are a very high person with a great name and title, I feel these words will give no offense. Owing to the perfection of your view, and the ocean of your compassion, it will be only natural to disregard what is unnecessary to regard.
Just a few minutes into the above video, when a person with "not so good reputation" is being discussed, there is a moment... just a moment there... when one hears tittering, knowing laughter from the audience.
I freely admit I have known such laughter, as perhaps have you.