Nurturing the Seed of Dharma

Some who run dharma institutions feel that if their students or members were to direct all their time and effort to study and practice that there would not be enough people to look after the daily running of the centre.
For example it has happened more than once, and in both the East and the West, that I have been talking about how study and practice is more important than work, and then a person of authority in the centre has said that I shouldn’t say such things else no-one will help with the jobs around the centre. On one such occasion I replied quite curtly, “If you know better than me what should or should not be said, why did you bother inviting me to teach.”
What’s more, such concerns are groundless. If a dharma organisation gives good opportunities to its members to study and practise – but particularly to study – it’s impossible that such a centre will have a shortage of people. It’s also impossible that everyone connected to a centre will give up all mundane activities and focus solely on the dharma. So the people who complained at my teaching that the study and practice of the dharma is more important than worldly work need not have worried.
Should a dharma centre give all who walk through its doors constant work to do, it will not attract people and will likely struggle to keep its current members. But if it instead prioritises encouraging and giving opportunities for people to learn and educate themselves in the dharma, it will attract many new people and particularly people who are bright and dedicated, because these types of people are always on the look out for such opportunities.
Orientated like this, the centre will flourish exponentially, because as the members become more knowledgeable and stable the centre will have more people who are able to teach and offer opportunities to others with gratitude for the dharma in general and for the centre and its teachers in particular.
There are more than enough examples of this. Take Serta Larun Gar for instance, it grew from 3 people to over 10,000 people in just 30 years. This happened because the Lama’s sole concern was to care for and educate those who came to him for the dharma.
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