Home   Growing up a Lotus   Master Gudo   Papers   Teachings   Pali Canon   
Mahayana Sutras
    Humour   History   Gallery   Contact   Links

© Nanabozho (the Great Hare)
This page updated March 1st, 2003


Version française


Versione italiana



Birds' Droppings

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 Awakening.

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 further shore.

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 germinate.

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.


Home   Growing up a Lotus   Master Gudo   Papers   Teachings   Pali Canon   
Mahayana Sutras
    Humour   History   Gallery   Contact   Links