One day the venerable Mogalana (one of the close disciples of Lord Buddha) visited the hell realms. How surprised he was, in the hell realms there were a number of spiritual teachers. Some of them even leave messages to his disciples on earth, not to continue the teachings that they have always taught. Especially because the harder their students practice the teachings here on earth, the more the masters suffers in the hell realms.
In an age when there was Buddha and Avatar, there were a number of spiritual teachers who experienced spiritual down fall by reincarnating in the hell realm. It is unimaginable, what happened in the other time and the other place. And after learning from the experience of spiritual groups in the West which collapsed, there are some critical points that make spiritual families collapse.
In line with the spiritual growth of a teacher, many students usually come and pay some respect. Some of them even kiss the feet, praise the teacher, some others are donating goods and money. Without deep practice of mindfulness, these various forms of respect can easily increase the ego of the master significantly. And that’s the important seed of spiritual down fall.
The growing ego in the heart of a master will then invite many strange followers. As far as it can be observed in the West, many spiritual families collapsed because of sex and money. In the story of spiritual groups who have a lot of money and abundance of followers, they eventually break up, there was even dangerous parties of drugs.
The spiritual group who was led by George Gurdjieff in France can be classified as a rare spiritual community. The spiritually family which was guided by J. Krisnamurti was even rarer. And those spiritual families in the West who collapsed, they lose the chance of sharing light to the world. Most of their teachers even experienced a number of accidents which are not worth telling in the public spaces.
Learning from stories like this, then the spiritual family of Compassion in Bali is growing carefully and modestly. Being big in size is not the direction to follow. Mainly due to being big in size is being complicated. And being complicated is the beginning of many spiritual diseases.
That is the reason why, there was a rich spiritual friend from Jakarta, there was also a rich spiritual seeker from a European country, both of them have a noble intention to establish an Ashram or meditation center for the spiritual family of Compassion in Bali. But we politely said no to their proposal. Especially because of the new buildings which would require a lot of maintenance. This will inevitably forces us to collect money from the students.
To be honest, the spiritual family of Compassion do not have any building. We even don’t have any petty cash money. Especially because all the donations from our students are entirely donated to the Buddhist monastery where we have shared the teachings for years. There are negative sides of course and some of our spiritual friends get disappointed in this regard.
A number of medical doctors should be refused to become the members of the medical team, since the number of medical doctors are more than enough. Many friends who come from far away wanted to be dharma workers (spiritual servants) in the spiritual group of Compassion. They were also refused because the number of spiritual servants are too many.
All of those decisions were made not because they committed mistakes, not because we are arrogant, but because we want to learn from one of the British influential thinkers in the 1980s (EF Schumacher), who wrote the beautiful book “Small Is Beautiful”. Once upon a time, Mahatma Gandhi traveled using the third class train in India. When his students asked why, the last holy soul answered: “because there is no fourth class.” There is a beautiful and profound spiritual message behind this event: “simplicity is the warmest blanket for the soul”. As the message that often delivered in the full moon night, at the end of meditation sessions, please help the spiritual family of Compassion to share light longer, not by giving us money, but by letting us grow in simplicity and sincerity.
Author: Gede Prama.
Photo Courtesy: Spiritual Family of Compassion Documentation.
Proofread by: Kirsty Spence.