Of late I recall what my Instructor Master said during our Upasampada (higher ordination), that in future if we get a lot of (material) support while servicing the community and/or practising, do not be quick to think that it is because of our cultivation or merit or that we are doing the right things, for Mara also has his supporters!
How true! When we get praises and support for our deeds, we tend to blind-sight ourselves and become even self-righteous at times. Ego and pride follows swiftly thereafter. This is somewhat like the blind leading the blind, the leader and the followers all go down the wrong path. One should note that the followers in this case, being blind themselves may not be able to tell that the leader is going down the wrong path and may possibly even urge him onwards, cheering up.
On the flip side, sometimes we may be doing the right thing but be criticised by the masses. A parable tells of this one sane person in a village of crazy people; this sane person’s opinion is deemed insane by the masses, who are crazy! Some versions tell of this sane person ultimately giving up sanity and becoming insane, just to be sane, while other versions tell of how this sane person decides to leave the village alone, choosing to remain sane.
Maybe sometimes when we face much difficulties and obstacles in life or our practices, it is not because we are wrong, but it is because we are right. How then can we tell? A better way is to not be swayed by the mass, but to reflect on the effect one’s practise have on oneself; or to reflect on one’s deeds. If the result is more ego, pride and defilements etc, then one may wish to rethink or seek one’s master for guidance; if the result is less ego, pride and defilements etc, then one can proceed and head for the next checkpoint. 🙂
So what do you think? Are you garnering support from Mara, or facing obstacles by ‘insane villages’? 😉