Go Easy on the Platitudes

In Tibetan Buddhist circles you hear many people theses days referring to their lama as Buddha so-and-so, or Dorje Chang so-and-so. But in truth only those who have attained accomplishment can see their lamas as Dorje Chang, Vajradhara. Ordinary beings cannot.

I think I have quite strong faith in my Lamas, I think it would be hard to find anyone as highly realised as them, but I can’t bring myself to call them Dorje Chang so-and-so. Not because of who my lamas were or are, but because it would be artificial for someone of my level to talk like that, as if I’ve understood that they are buddha, Dorje Chang, etc.

And is it the case that those who use these epithets when referring to their lama actually treat their lama as if they are buddha? Not from what I’ve seen. I’ve heard those who use such epithets speak critically of decisions their lama has made, as if they have been made by an ordinary confused being.

We need to recognise that using this type of language comes with corresponding responsibilities. Do we have the view and practice of that level? Is that truly how we  see our lama, and do we interact with them according to that view consistently? If not, it would be better not to address our lamas with these terms.

To use such terms carelessly cheapens them, and, just in general, we should try to root out our hypocrisy and pretence, and try to be authentic.

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