The Buddhist Lotus Sutra Teaches "Skillful Means" and Expedient Methods, Which Zen Masters Use, And You Should Stop Being So Strick and Learn This, too!

Some masters seclude themselves deep in the mountains to avoid people because they want to cultivate, or just don’t want the bother.

Milarepa, after his enlightenment, took on a teaching mission but used to transform himself into a tiger to scare visitors away whom he didn’t want to see.

Some masters would “slip out the back door,” or tell their students to say they weren’t there or resting, or actually go on trips to avoid meeting people.

The famous enlightened superpower monk, Chi-gong, used to eat dog meat and drink wine after his enlightenment. People (including the other monks) therefore ignored him and left him alone thinking he wasn’t a true monk since he broke the “rules of behavior.”

They would run to the head monk for “religious affairs” but whenever they were in trouble they would run to Chi-gong for help, as he was the only one enlightened and with superpowers galore! The rest of the time, all these people fixated on how they thought a monk should act left him alone.

That’s pretty skillful of him. That’s pretty stupid of them, but that just goes to prove my point that most people lack spiritual wisdom, especially the wisdom of understanding skillful means.

Ages ago, one famous Zen master of China didn’t want to be dealing with students who couldn’t recognize the difference between true enlightenment teachings and the outward display of being religious. He didn’t want to waste his time on those without wisdom, so he called all his close students together and asked them to prepare a non-vegetarian feast in honor of his deceased mother.

Of course it was against the dharma rules to (1) eat meat and wine and (2) use monastery funds for personal reasons like that, so most of his students left him. Only one remained who recognized that he had the true eye of the dharma, and that’s the one he helped achieve enlightenment. The others lacked the wisdom to know what he was doing.

I’m told that two famous teachers in the US love to curse and use foul language in their seminars so that people don’t attach to them and place them in that “guru status.” Smart fellows! Smart strategy!

I know another guy who puts up many roadblocks for people who want to meet him. He doesn’t want to waste his time on those simply interested in being entertained, who just want to say they know him or who are just slightly curious about the Tao (and who will forget any teachings the very next day), so only those who jump through the hoops (since that proves their sincerity and interest) get his attention. And boy do they get a lot of attention, but only if they prove their sincerity.

Martial arts masters are the same way -- they don’t want to waste their time on the foolish or not-devoted.

My own teacher would use a variety of methods to discourage requests he didn’t like. When National Geographic came to visit with the purpose of wanting to do an article on him, two American dentist friends told me (it was painfully obvious they said) he acted like a crazy person all night so that they lost interest in him and left without making the request, figuring this guy was “bananas.” As soon as they were out the door, he was 100% back to normal.

It’s called “skillful means,” get it?

You don’t directly deny anybody the teachings, but you skillfully cause it that you don’t have to waste time on people whose intentions don’t interest you. Time is precious in the world, and unless there is a debt to be paid, you don’t want to waste your time on people who aren’t really looking to cultivate or who won’t produce anything.

So what do you do?

Simply chase away those folks using a skillful way that causes them to make the decision themselves.

You can’t criticize any of these enlightened monks. Each of these masters has their own way, and unless you are their stage or higher, who are you to comprehend?

As to what to do after your own enlightenment, that’s up to you, but “don’t spend other people’s money” and become the expert on what they should or shouldn't do. Remember, they're at a stage higher than you.

Some masters will choose to go into retreat or leave the world, which makes them Arhats rather than Bodhisattvas. Some will choose to become teaching masters and teach in the public or in monasteries, and that’s great. Some, like the famous Zen boatman monk, will just bide their time ACTIVELY waiting for one single student to which they can pass the dharma.

All I’m telling you is how it works. Don’t think it’s a master's job to see you, or deal with you, or that he can solve your problems. It’s your karma. All they care about is helping you become enlightened because then you’ll take responsibility for yourself and determine best how you can help others. Use them as role models but expand your degree of wisdom. Don't be asking them for help but see if you can help them, as they are extremely busy without you realizing it.

I hope that sheds some light on the matter.




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