Dharma Centers and Monastries ~ Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Rigzin Jigme Lingpa said,

“If you really aren’t weary of samsara, monasteries and centers become just like a big house. If you really want to have pure practice, then you’d better not go from a small house to a big house.”

Whenever there are monasteries or centers, there are also Lamas, directors, and systems. If they don’t set up classical systems, then they are not a benefit to the monastery. If they do, then they create a bureaucracy involved in very much work, secretly whispering behind closed doors and conspiring to oust those outside their clique who have pure Dharma intentions, offering extravagant banquets with inner black intentions, and in general being constantly overwhelmed by worldly business. In this sense, the only difference between a monastery and a government are the clothes and the name; otherwise, everything is the same. So don’t make spiritual gangster groups with the retinue and sponsors of high Lamas who by their conniving are more dangerous than Hitler or Mao Zedong. Murder kills the body of one lifetime; wrong intentions destroy innumerable lifetimes.
Nevertheless, I don’t mean to criticize monasteries or centers. If we can keep our inner practice and pure motivation within the center’s traditional environment, then they can be the basis of Sangha and an opportunity to benefit all sentient beings. Moreover, in such places we may encounter sublime individuals, and associating with them and assimilating their spiritual qualities can lead even ordinary persons toward enlightenment.

Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

from the book Gypsy Gossip and Other Advice

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