A. How do you know whether someone is enlightened or not? What do you mean by unenlightened things? What do you think enlightened teachers’ lives should be like? Have you ever considered that their behaviour doesn’t appear to be as respectable as you expect because you cannot see them as they are? There is a saying that if you attain enlightenment, all the universe also becomes enlightened along with you. In other words, once you are enlightened, you realise that everything is perfection itself, happiness itself and eternity itself. The purpose of your practice is not to check whether a person is enlightened or not but to become enlightened yourself.
Ancient masters would say, “Don’t avoid illusions. They are the Buddha you are seeking. Don’t follow the Buddha. It is an illusion you are trying to avoid.” What matters now is not why enlightened teachers’ lives are undesirable but why you cannot see the Buddha hidden in their poor behaviour. However sacred their personal lives may be, they are no better than Maras to you if you cannot see and hear beyond what reaches your eyes and ears.
Supposing that you have a serious illness and there is a doctor with the ability to cure you of your illness, who behaves poorly, will you see this doctor or not in order to save your life? If their teachings are good, accept them. See their offensive behaviour as expedients they present to teach you.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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