Famous unintentionally ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

These days, Buddhist lamas and institutions are cultivating fame by blatantly branding themselves with logos and stickers and lapel pins. People have even hinted that in Kathmandu event coordinators hire people to wait in a crowd at the airport arrivals area to create a more impressive greeting when certain lamas are arriving.

In Bhutan and Nepal there is a trend of erecting big gates or archways festooned with banners to welcome lamas. Loyal disciples fastidiously calculate which lama has more gates and who has the largest convoy. It’s so pathetic because many of these displays are not even done elegantly. From a spiritual point of view, it’s odd to create a brand around a teacher. One justification is that publicity could be excused as a skillful means: making a louder noise provides more people with the opportunity to connect with and access the Dharma.

But fame shouldn’t have to be contrived. There are some teachers, like Milarepa, who became famous unintentionally because of who they were and how they taught. It’s almost certain that Milarepa didn’t invest time, energy, or resources in promoting himself.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book The Guru Drinks Bourbon?

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