Some thought occured to me: there are
passerines (birds) which eat berries. And eating those berries, they
swallow the seeds thereof. When they shit, they also let go of the
seeds along with their droppings. Thanks to the nutrients contained in
these droppings, the seeds can eventually germinate, grow and prosper.
Now, let's imagine that, according to a
rather partial and biased understanding of the way things go, someone,
on believing that passerines are pretty but that droppings are
disgusting, should get to those droppings, fish the seeds out of them,
wash them carefully, then set them on a handsome silk cushion, and burn
incense in front of them, and that, every day.
Moreover, if any comment implying that those
seeds were not at their proper place should be met with self-righteous
indignation, one might probably feel a bit uneasy, if not about the
mental sanity of that person, then at least about his/her correct
understanding of Nature's laws.
Traditional Buddhism teaches that there are
six different states for sentient beings. At the lowest level, there
are the pretas, hungry ghosts, depicted as having a big mouth and a
bigger still belly, but a very tiny neck, with an oesophagus as narrow
as the width of a needle. Those ghosts are always hungry but can never
satiate their hunger since they can swallow only a little at a time.
They are a symbol of greed, and it's one of them which can be seen in
the animated cartoon "Chihiro's Journey"
The second level is that of demons. Those
suffer a thousand pains and think that they will alleviate them if they
can inflict as much to any who gets within their reach.
Third level is that of animals. They live
only according to their immediate biological instincts, and are
therefore impervious to any sort of consideration that were to be less
immediate than their most immediate needs.
The fourth level is that of human beings, the
only level that allows to acceed to an understanding of the Universe.
The fifth is that of Asuras or Titans, which
are intermediate between humans and gods, but who, engrossed by anger
and pride, are always trying to imitate and dethrone the gods whose
situation they envy. Naturally, they are always repelled by Jove in
their various attemps to conquer Olympus.And it is this exclusive
preoccupation that shall always keep them from entering the Path to
Finally there are the devas, the gods, which
live a life of luxury, lazing on a sunny afternoon (in the summertime,
in the summertime...), unable to be preocupied with anything more
serious than the last party or the next party. No wonder that the Path
to Awakening should also be barred for them.
Obviously this is mere mythology, but it well
describes some of the main psychological states that can be ours. And
it well says that being fully human is not only to escape to such
traps, but that it is also the condition for being allowed to go to the
The truth is that, just as I mentioned
earlier, if you set a founder master among gods, his/her works will be
in the same condition as the aforementioned seeds. They won't germinate
and the benefits thereof shall be lost. And indeed, I feel very
honestly that it is only with those who consider those masters as
having been human beings that the seeds of their teachings may
There are astounding quantities of people who
feel as orphans when their founder master disappears, and in such case,
the master ought in no way nor any circumstances be criticized. He/she
therefore becomes the absolute model, faults included, and his/her
orphans can no longer evolve, so obsessed as they are with the lack of
the very person that they should have learned to do without. And this
is probably the results of a projection. To accept that the master be
criticized would mean to accept that the disciple be criticized.
This is also probably how that some day
appear numerous temples, where the graven image in full glory of the
founder is set on a throne, with an organized clergy, and sometimes
even a Spanish Inquisition in order to search for and find (and
carbonize) the wretches of little or wrong faith. And do not be led to
think that this is exclusive to religions. It also happens in other
fields, among which Sciences. When this happens, the founder master has
passed once and for all to the ranks of the gods, and for a good while,
and he:she'll need countless eons in order to get a human rebirth from
where to eventually seek for Awakening. Let's wish them, therefore, to
be fast reborn as human beings, in order that what they did, no matter
in what terms, may be of profit for all sentient beings.
But the price for this is to acknowledge this
master's humanity, and therefore his/her faults (faults which, when
they lived, they often recommended that they were not imitated), faults
which, along with the qualities, often were the reason for the success
of what they did, and this often deserves that the heat may be taken
out of the inventory of their legacy. It's only at that cost that the
heritage of any founder master can be of profit to his/her disciples.