(5/20/02 5:50 am)
From Chuckle Chela "Another reply to Chris" on 5/19/02 down inside thread:
(deleted link since it can't be found)
Chris--I agree with virtually everything you say, particularly in regards to personal responsibility. I wholeheartedly agree that we have a responsibility to bear the truth and not to lie. Indeed, this is a part of yama/niyama, the very foundation, the sine qua non of yoga.
Speaking of yama/niyama, I'd like to address one of your first points. You wrote: "…as long as the lessons and books are kept intact, the CRUCIAL mission of SRF is fulfilled." Yes, this is so, but is this enough? Part of the SRF mission, as outlined in the Aims and Ideals, is to overcome cruelty with kindness, evil by good, sorrow by joy, ignorance by understanding. Part of the SRF mission at present involves a monastic order, laymembers working for the organization, temples, meditation centers and their congregations, and so on. It seems that there have been some breakdowns in how SRF is carrying out these parts of its mission. People are being hurt, and we have to ask whether our behaviors as SRF leaders (whether the SRF president or a lowly usher) are morally justified. These are the issues with which the Walrus concerns itself: the treatment of members and monastics, for example.
This brings us back to yama/niyama. We aren't practicing yoga if we are hurting others. As Sri Daya Mata has said, "You cannot go around talking God all day long, and at the same time ride roughshod over other people, and still have God-communion." Alas, we ourselves in SRF appear to be guilty of this very thing. (I'd also like to say that those who argue that we should just "get over it," and stop being sensitive whiners are missing the point. The fact that we may be whiners in no way excuses the behaviors of others which might be causing pain, regardless of its degree. We may have to stop whining, yes, but others may have to stop hurting their fellow devotees).
While any lying, slandering, and negativity on this message board could "talk people off the path," so also our spiritually awful behaviors can lead others off the path. Thirty monastics left the order last year. They were lead out of their vocations, partially by some rather unpleasant actions; a number of them left SRF altogether. A relative of mine working as a laymember at Mother Center, as a result of abusive behavior from superiors (most of whom were senior monastics), left his job, left SRF, left the spiritual path altogether, and went into months of psychotherapy. As you stated, there are consequences to our behaviors.
As KS said in agreeing with you, the SRF leaders bear responsibility for their behaviors.
I hope this helps explain why the issues of treatment of others by SRF leaders is a "core issue" for Walrus members. I would point out again that very few who post here on the Walrus have been attacking Master or his teachings; much of the Walrus concerns the behaviors of the current SRF leaders in their attempts to carry out his mission. In my opinion, most of the postings, even those criticizing Master or the teachings, have been sincere efforts to figure things out, however misguided they might be. All learning occurs in this way, and the willingness to risk certainty for uncertainty, comfort for discomfort, and the sincerity, indeed, the desperation of many of the contributors to the Walrus is evident. That being said, I'll reiterate that you are entirely correct about our responsibility to the truth.
Regarding Lobo's point about intent as a factor in our karma, I'm sure he's correct that it plays a role, but I'm less sure that is a sufficiently mitigating factor, if that is our concern. The road to hell, as the old saying goes, is paved with good intentions. If we are to say that good intentions are sufficient, can we not then argue that the ends justifies the means, since our intentions are honorable? (I'm not suggesting Lobo was trying to argue this, but I wanted to make this point about intentions). Our intentions in the Walrus may be good--providing a discussion forum and sounding board, helping others avoid suffering, trying to figure things out, providing a sense of community--but it still behooves us to act morally so that we don't cause further suffering.
I thank you, Chris, for bringing these points to the fore. While we struggle in our efforts to understand and to help, we must at the same time be wary of our words: if not, we'll be guilty of the very things of which we accuse others!
(Edited by Greylin to delete link that goes nowhere.)