"Left Home cultivators" (a.k.a Bhikshus and Bhikshunis) are neither kings nor leaders

by Lin Zi Yi, Jinan, Shandong, China, The Buddhist Channel, April 17, 2008

In her letter "Non-Political World Sangha" only gratifying to autocratic rulers, Visakha Kawasaki again fails to realize is that Left Home cultivators, better known as Bhikshus and Bhikshunis, are neither kings nor leaders. They are simply people who have left the afflictions of the world and dedicate their every thought and breath to the Buddha Dharma.

Obviously she does not understand the meaning in the sentence I wrote: "It is quite obvious that one blade of grass can not change a tree," that not even millions of blades of grass can do it, and implies that I favor oppressive governments, that she has spent less time researching the merit and virtue needed to influence and change conditions, and much more time thinking about how to reply to my letter, so much that she has lost the ability to see past her own democratically imposed political rhetoric.

Her statements reflect her involvement in pro-democracy propaganda. She creates sides where they are non-existent, and twists words to create an enemy. There is a problem with pro-democracy movements when they try to impose their ideals on non-democratic countries. The problem is that they are not interested in caring for the security, society and the people. They are only interested in over-throwing governments and not reforming existing ones.

The teachings to kings and leaders, as she posts, are only for kings and leaders, not Left Home cultivators. Please be clear on that. Obviously this is why she does not understand the meaning behind "It is quite obvious that one blade of grass can not change a tree. Not even millions of blades of grass can do it."

This literally means that without the merit and virtue to influence and change conditions, to be patient and cultivate until one has attained said virtue and merits, they are that blade of grass, unable to influence and change conditions. It is also said that one Left Home cultivator practicing correctly on the mountain is better than one hundred that do not. Same thing.

Kawasaki again misunderstands what a non-political world Sangha means when she says "Lin Zi Yi's concept of a Non-Political World Sangha can only be gratifying to the rulers of China and Burma. If Tibetan and Burmese monks and nuns became passive, who else would dare to stand up and highlight the appalling oppression and human rights abuses the people are suffering?"

Again she has lost the ability to see past her own democratically imposed political rhetoric. If monks and nuns do not cultivate merit and virtue to influence and change conditions with out taking sides they cannot stand up and highlight oppression and human rights as Left Home cultivators.
Even in regard to the Buddha preventing a war, The World Honored One stood in the middle of the river and did not take sides. He did not take up arms and throw rocks, sticks, or any other object to protect himself, or even slander the two groups in order to get his point across.

When speaking of the Buddha's intentions in influencing society and the cultural habits within, please understand that when one clearly sees the causes and conditions of specific habits and rituals, it is the responsibility of that seer to inform those who have the capability to understand and change. Inform, not get personally involved other than teach the Buddha Dharma.

For the record, members of the Sangha cannot faithfully serve as counselors of kings and rulers if they possess their own political agendas. They are never to take sides, but simply speak the truth of the Buddha Dharma. This is what the Buddha did in the water war.

It is not the function of the Buddha Dharma to force people to follow its ways. That totalitarian view of imposing one's will on a country is for those who are being funded by special interest groups.

It is clear that most of the "democratic" organizations out there that have sufficient power to get into the media, and cause global political ripples, are being funded by a bigger entity; special interest groups which create small cliques within foreign countries to cause political upheavals, gain control of government, and place their own ruling body in the driver's seat so to say.

This happens much too often. I don't see Kawasaki raising her concerns of human rights abuses by the U.S. government for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even for the way the U.S. government treats their own citizens.

There is a big difference between being driven by selfish desires and being driven by the desire to help others selflessly, and non-violently regardless of a king, leader, Bhikkshu and Bhikshuni. My position is quite clear; if one wishes to influence society, people and government, they must cultivate virtue. Simply claiming to be Buddhist is not enough.

The true culture of Buddhism is the Buddha Dharma, not the heritage and language of a country. No country can be claimed a "Buddhist Country". It is the people who cultivate the education of Buddhism, for only the Dharma is the authority and people.