Meditation for BeginnersSocial Disaster : 6. The Relationship between Spiritual Mentor & DevoteeWhen they grow up, they will love justice, and hate prejudice.If clergy and monks are undisciplined and do not cherish their congregation according to the Six Directions, the harm that will come to the congregation can be concluded on three levels.Loss of respect for one’s own human dignity If clergy lack self-discipline and don’t fulfil their duties to wards their congregation as prescribed by the Six Directions, the first level of disaster which will happen to them is that the congregation will lose their sense of responsibility for their own human dignity this loss giving rise (at the minimum) to the following three undesirable symptoms:- Creating a society of erroneous core values: The six duties placed upon the clergy primarily aim to discourage the congregation from unscrupulousness and encourage them to do wholesome things, in order that they might achieve heaven and Nirvana. If the clergy fail to perform these duties, society will become in undated with erroneous core values. People in general will have no idea of their purpose in life and will consequently have no motivation to do good things or to persevere with the practice of spiritual perfections. The most destructive form of despair of someone with erroneous core values is that spirituality can no longer help them any more. They will have no more trust in the law of karma and their sense of conscience will disappear. Their life will become dominated by defilements in the mind and all their behaviour will become immoral. When the society is full of those with erroneous core values, the clergy themselves will become infiltrated directly or indirectly by such values too. If those with erroneous core values become ordained as clergy or monks themselves. Spiritual values will be directly eroded because even the clergy themselves become shameless;- Spealing out against spiritual values: Hypocritical laypeople professing piousness and religious scholarship by claiming to be holier than thou’. They set themselves up as opponants to those who practice genuinely and find allies amongst the underworld professions who the genuine clergy’s work impedes;- Acting against spiritual values: When behaviours of extreme immorality become the norm in society, even those who intend to be scrupulous feel threatened and forced in to a corner of ten succumb to aggression themselves until, finally, there is no one left to practice spiritual values and eventually spirituality will vanish altogether.Lack of vision concerning the natural environmentLoss of respect for others’ human dignityIf clergy lack self-discipline and don’t fulfil the duties to wards their congregation as prescribed by the bord Buddha. The second level of disaster which will happen to them is that the congregation will lose their sense of responsibility for the human dignity of others-this loss giving rise (at the minimum) to the following three undesirable symptoms:- They become biased: Those who have erroneous core values always think highly of themselves or think only of their interests and of their cronies. These are not the sort of people to bring justice to society. Everything they say and do is based on their prejudices. They spend all their time thinking of ways to divert benefits from those who deserve it, into their own pockets, The most obvious example of this is the ‘old boy network’. This not only creates an unjust society, also leads to corruption, embezzlement, bribery, blame, mudslinging and abuse of the death penalty. A society of biased people consequently cannot find peace or improvement. In this respect, if the clergy are unable to fulfil their duties, they will have the chance to influence people in other directions for the better. Properly influenced by the clergy, parents have a great chance to instill justice in their children from an early age young. At school, children have a great opportunity to learn justice from their teachers. When they grow up, they will love justice, and hate prejudice. A society with such citizens can find peace without much trouble. It is as if the clergy act as a reliable mould for core values for the rest of society. If a mould is reliable, it doesn’t matter what you put in it when it comes out it will be more or less the same shape. Thus, if the clergy are allowed to perform their duties, the other five social groups will have some chance to perform their duties too;- Discrediting opponents: Under the influence of erroneous core values, the desire for public acceptance leads False Friends to want to publicize themselves in various ways. At the same time, they try to discredit their rivals by fault finding, sarcasm, laying open others’ personal affairs or blatently lying. In short, the biased seek advantage for themselves or their cronies by saying’ good things about themselves and bad things about everyone else’;- Fabricating evidence to incriminate opponents: Besides discrediting opponents to win others to their side, these persons with erroneous core values try to add weight to their case by distributing libelous leaflets, anonymous letters to a rivals’s boss or trumped up charges. Some with seriously erroneous core values might rid themselves of their rivals by luring them into the trap of immoral behaviour, where the police are already waiting to make an arrest;Acting against spiritual values: When behaviours of extreme immorality become the norm in societyLoss of respect for economic fairnessIf clergy lack self-discipline and don’t fulfil the duties to-wards their congregation as prescribed by the Six Directions, the third level of disaster which will happen to them is that the congregation will lose their sense of responsibility for economic fairness in society at large-this loss giving rise (at the minimum) to the following three undesirable symptoms:- Indulgence in Roads to Ruin : life, especially city life, tends to lure people of all walks of society to be involved in the Six Roads to Ruin. It is only those with sound core values and a good conscience who are able to avoid becoming prey to them. If the clergy can anchor the core values of society to shun the Roads to Ruin, parents and teachers will have the confidence to reinforce these values for children as they grow up. On the contrary, those who backslide into erroneous core values for children as they grow up. On the contrary, those who backslide into erroneous core values will celebrate indulgence in the various forms of Roads to Ruin. This is especially true of youngsters who see drinking, smoking, and going out at night as part of proving their adulthood and independence. The irony is that such explorations place a financial burden on teenagers from an early age and may destroy their studies and their future. It can be said that lives involved with Roads to Ruin will not stop until they manage to destroy themselves. As long as they are not bed-ridden, there is no hope that they will turn around and avail themselves of positive core values;- Hypocrisy: People who are immersed in the Roads to Ruin having enough money for daily spending, breaking the law and being unable to keep one’s word. This is because they always take the easiest way out when faced by a problem-eventually becoming hypocrits. They might borrow money from friends or cousins, promising to pay back at the end of the month but when it is due, they excuse themselves and defer the repayment again and again. Some may just make themselves scarce, disappearing for a long time, only returning to borrow more. The word of anyone immersed in Roads to Ruin cannot be trusted. They cannot keep promises and are hypocrits.- Bringing harm to themselves and others: Because those addicted to the Roads to Ruin never have enough money, they crave for money. They always find shortcuts to get more money and welcome any kind of job. They accept high earning jobs requiring low investment, without consideration whether it is immoral or illegal. They have neither shame nor fear. Government officials and civil servants might, for example, seek the opportunity to engage in corruption, demanding bribes or selling illegal goods. Entrepreneurs, and businessmen do business on Roads to Ruins such as black market casinos. Some might open bars or night clubs which sell drugs through the back door. Youngsters who lack the capability to do big business, might rob temples and houses or sell drugs. Girls might get caught up in prostitution and drugs. All these jobs are based on erroneous core values. Not only do they break the laws and harm the persons who perform them they also harm the economy and society.parents and teachers will have the confidence to reinforce these values for children as they grow up.Loss of Respect for the EnvironmentWhen clergy and congregation lack self-discipline and don’t fulfil the minimal responsibilities to each other as prescribed by the Six Directions, the fourth sign of harm will be that they will lack any sense of responsibility to the Six Directions and to the natural environment-this being expressed in two main ways by their behaviour.- Lacking responsibility for their duties in the Six social groups in each of the Six Directions: especially lacking a good interaction with the social groups in each of the Six Directions, will cause a clergy and congregation to misbehave in at least three ways:- Lacking respect: Respect means recognizing and appreciating the goodness of another person, object or event. If a person is aware of the goodness of someone or something, they will respect that thing, not looking down on it or them, but following them or take them as their wxample. This is the complete meaning of ‘respect’. If the clergy lack positive core values and fail to perfect their duties, they will fall under the power of mental defilements. The most disasterous victims of loss respect will usually be the Triple Gem (which will lead to a loss of conscience); parents (leading to family disintegration); teachers (which will lead to the disappearance of knowledge), and others in society (leading to arrogance). The lack of all these sorts of respect will eventually lead to grave social problems.- Unwholesome speech: Those with erroneous core values tend to think they are superior to others and try to show off by boasting about themselves, spmetimes deceiving others to gain advantages for themselves. They never admit it when they are wrong. They argue relentlessly with their parents and and teachers. They even quarrel with their extended family to make others believe that they are right and others wrong.- Unwholesome behaviours: Those who have erroneous core values, besides speaking in an unwholesome way are ready to lapse into any of the tragic or criminal behaviours illustrated daily on the front page of the newspapers.- Lacking responsibility for the natural environment: lacking responsibility for the natural environment may causes bosses and employees to misbehave in at least three ways:- Lack of vision concerning the natural environment: A person suffering from erroneous core values is often of little intelligence, selfish, and narrow-minded. When they do something, they think only of short term interests, neglecting the long term ones. In short, they work without a long term plan.- Have excuses for everything: The person suffering from erroneous core values, tends to be shoddy – minded in everything they do. Once they make mistakes, they pass the buck, making excuses, claiming others or claiming they have been treated unfairly. When are nailed down with evidence, they deceive others to get out of taking responsibility. When people are warned for throwing waste into the water, they respond that it was only a little from their house, thus cannot affect the water. If contamination is found, they claim it comes from manufacturing plants instead. In fact, although it is only a little amount of household waste, although it is only a little amount of household waste, there are so many houses along the river means that it adds up to more than is dumped by all the plants together! The argument from the household was only an excuse. The Water Treatment Law, although it exists, cannot control the plant owners who try to save the cost of water treatment by secretly leaking waste into the water. When they too are caught by officials, they too argue that they are being treated unjustly by officials. From the above examples, one can see behaviors of those with erroneous core values who try to lie their way out of every problem, and have no responsibility to the environment.- Destroying the natural environment: As those with erroneous core values are shoddy-minded, selfish, and lack conscience or vision about the natural environment, they constantly damage the natural environment. It takes a long time to see the outcome. Once the outcome is seen, it is already too late to correct.Summary of social Problems CausedTheir life will become dominated by defilements in the mind and all their behaviour will become immoral.The problems of the zenith can be summarized down to two main points:Manifest social problems: Easily seen is public deterioration in morality as a result of ignorance of religious teachings. Such people like to say that their lack of involvement in spirituality is because the clergy are not worthy of respect. For the same reasons they withhold financial support for the religion and some go further, overtly making legislative changes necessary for the dismantling of the religious establishment;Covert social problems: The covert social problems mostly originate from the clergy’s neglect of its duties. Considered with wise reflection, the problems might be analyzed as such:1. Good members of the clergy who practice in strict accordance with the monastic code are sometimes unable to pass on their knowledge to others because:- The congregation are not interested to learn-all they want from the clergy are blessings and charms such as holy water and amulets;- The congregation undervalue the teachings they receive because they think they are already highly qualified in academic subjects-so thinking, they consider their ability in vocational subjects makes earning money more important than knowing spiritual teachings.2. Some clergy have no opportunity to receive higher academic education: They try to make up for their lack of quail-fications by studying scriptural subjects hard-but as soon as they graduate, they leave the clergy to look for work and so do not fulfil the duties fitting for a qualified clergy;3. Some clergy formerly had troubled lay backgrounds and having ordained, find difficulty in training themselves towards purity in body, speech and mind. Consequently, they are unable to fulfil the transcendedtal goals of their religion, and instead may cause problems in the clerical community or cause the deterioration of faith in the congregation. Six sets of reciprocal responsibilities for six types of social problem In conclusion, social problems can be reduced down to problems of juvenile delinquency, youth problems, marital problems, government problems, economic & industrial problems and religious problems. Each of the six problem sectors has reciprocal responsibilities which serve to avert catastrophe from that quarter. Indeed, if everyone were to fulfil their responsibilities in all six directions properly, demonstrating their responsibility in this respect, everyone in society would be able to live together harmoniously. Each person’s life would be truly enriched and society as a whole would abide in peace and would be ever progressing.Progress in life tends to be achieved as the result of responsibility in earning one’s livelihood it is the causal outcome of one’s question of fate or destiny. On the contrary, if one has problems concerning one’s relationships in any or all of the six directions, then you can know for yourself that it is caused by a failing in the level of responsibility you show in your duties relating to the offending direction(s). It is the result of cause and effect and cannot be blamed on fate or destiny. If you try to solve problems without having identified the real cause of the problem it will only lead to clouding and confusion of that problem-not an improvement.
The six duties placed upon the clergy primarily aimArbitratin between social partnersThe question arises of what should be done in the case of reciprocal responsibilities in the case that one or both of the social partners in a relationship fail to keep their side of the bargain. Take the example of a marital relationship. In the ideal world, both the husband and wife will fulfil their side of the bargain and in doing so, no danger will grow up in the relationship or for society at large – there will be happiness and prosperity for husband, wife and society at large.If the husband fulfils his duties to her but the wife doesn’t fulfil her duties to him, it can be said that the wife has done nothing to deserve such a good husband. In addition, certain harm will come to the family.If the wife fulfils her duties to him but the husband doesn’t fulfil his duties to her, it can be said that the husband has done nothing to deserve such a good wife. In addition, certain harm will come to the family.If the neither the husband nor the wife fulfil their duties to each other, certain harm will come not only to the family but to society at large too.The same goes for the other pairs of social partners in their relevant relationships, It is all very well to know that your irresponsible husband is unworthy of you as a responsible wife-but what should you do about it divorce him? It is all very well to know that your irresponsible employer is unworthy of you as a responsible employee but what should you do about it go on strike? On the contrary, the Buddhist attitude is not to have conditions on our virtuous behaviour. We are not going to give up our virtues just be cause someone doesn’t treat us right. Such ‘stubbornness’ will only stir up disharmony in society that is worse than before. The answer is to speak to your social partner about it. You have to find a way to encourage or persuade your social partner to keep their side of the bargain too. If you have already spoken to them without result, it would tend to demonstrate that you lack sufficient conversational skills to stimulate them into action. In such a case, one should make a more thorough study of the Buddhist skill of ‘artful speech’ and not to give up in one’s effort to be a ‘true friend’ to your social partner. Don’t think you are being selfish by wanting them to be more responsible towards you. Remind yourself that their responsibility, apart from making your life more happy, will be good for them too and will help society at large to develop in a wholesome way. At the same time you should seek every opportunity to educate others as to their responsibilities vis-à-vis the six directions.The Six Directions as a microcosm of society as a whole Our interfaces with others in the six directions represent the Smallest unit or common denominator of society. In real life, when it comes to the time for us to launch ourselves into wider society, with more influential social positions which are many times more taxing than the ‘six directions’ detailed by the Buddha, if we are still unable to live up to our responsibilities at the level of the smallest unit of society (the six directions) then don’t expect to be able to ‘get it right’ on any more complex levels of society!Some clergy have no opportunity to receive higher academic educationThe Lord Buddha went further than simply specifying the duties of the householder to the six directions he expounded a set of virtues that would help to cement the bonds of friendship for all six directions too! Without these virtues then any attempts to establish friendship will come to nothing. The Buddha called this set of virtues the Four Bases of Sympathy [sangaahavatthu]:1. Generosity [dana]: This means wholeheartedly sharing with others things useful to them but which are excess to our needs;2. Kindly speech [poyavaca]: This means speaking kindly to others in a way which encourages them and facilates harmony, respect and faith. They are the sort of endearing words that make people want to act upon them.3. Helpfulness [atthacariya]: This means performing actions which are helpful to yourself and to others. In fact it is another form of giving lending a willing hand in times of need (and the scope of this virtue includes using our talents, knowledge and abilities for the benefit of those around us).4. Consistency [samanattata]: This means starting as you mean to continue and continuing as you have started out especially in the relationships and friendships you have with others closest to you. It also means conducting yourself in a way appropriate to your status in society, family or work place. In the social situation, this last virtue is what engenders trust in society and diffuses suspicion.The underlying principle of the Four Bases of Sympathy is that we need to be compassionate for all around us by giving all we can to them. Thus a large part of taking responsibility for those around us is being generous, compass sionate and willing to help them. This shows us that the ideal society in the Buddha’s global vision is a society based on a foundation of self-sacrifice – rather than being a society for the exchange of benefits- and this comes as no surprise when we study the way the Lord Buddha exemplified self sacrifice throughout his many lifetimes as the bodhisattva. Everything starts from giving and giving comes from the impartial intention of loving kindness and compassion to wards oneself and others.The generosity of the man-in-the street will be consummate only when that person really has responsibility for the human dignity of himself and others, when that person re all had responsiblility for the ethical economics which underlie human dignity and when he really ans responsibility for the emergence of a society of peace and well – being –in a way which sees fellow men as those sharing the same happiness and suffering of himself.
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