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Will the Real Dharma Warrior Please Stand Up

Today’s Internet is filled with egotistical humans claiming to have levels of accomplishments, yet they have no credentials to support their claims, and in the process of emitting self-indulgent lies, they attack the real warriors of the Buddhist Path. 

Why do such actions transpire, and how can they be tamed? 

First, one has to evaluate what a real warrior of the Buddhist Path is and means.  Dharma refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of Buddhism.  Warrior is defined as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.  In Dharma, being a warrior means maintaining the strength and dignity in a situation, making sure that when the Buddhadharma is being presented, it is presented in a proper and clear atmosphere.  

Chogyam Trungpa talked a lot about this sort of thing.  The dharma warrior is about creating the space and container so the Teachings of the Buddha can come forth.  They are not about vomiting self-indulgencies, quoting movie lines that mock the teachings, or ad libbing poetry and song that defames Dharma.  The Teachings of the Buddha are pure and should be treated with respect, or they will not exist.  If the real warriors cannot create the container for the Vajra Masters to appear and teach, then there will not be proper space for the Dharma to come forth. 

In this regard, and from this perspective, the dharma warrior has a lot of responsibility.  Real warriors on the Buddhist Path understand that their role is not just about cleaning up other’s messes, but about something more; to allow the Teachers to extend even further, so that they can have a very expansive vision for the benefit of all sentient beings.  Real dharma warriors don’t worry so much about worldly items or approval in Dharma, or being some hot shot meditator, monk or nun.  Trungpa spoke a lot about this in his writings on spiritual materialism.  The writers at Protecting Nyingma appreciate Trungpa Rinpoche’s pioneering work in the United States during his short life. 

Because the teachings are true and powerful, they present a real challenge to one’s ego.   In Vajrayana Buddhism, this is why the Dharmapalas are so important; they are protectors of the Dharma, and will repel that which is harmful to the Teachers and the Teachings.   They are wrathful deities, often times with different colors, multiple heads, arms and legs – each aspect representing and symbolizing something very specific and for purposeful.  These warriors have the single-pointed focus of protecting that, which is true and powerful.    

We are not in the time when Shakyamuni Buddha walked the Earth, rather we find ourselves amidst technology beyond our imagination, convenience at our fingertips, and the ability to arm one man or woman in warfare enough to wipe out an entire town.  We also find ourselves in a time when spirituality is declining, and people’s interest in the basic principles of kindness and compassion wane.   We are in a time when our Teachers are mocked, provoked to break vows, and rarely properly greeted.  Only the real dharma warriors still embrace the richness of tradition and ritual.  Those not interested pursuing the Buddhist Path as intended merely dance with it for entertainment, and then call themselves accomplished. 

When one’s ego is so inflamed that they are compelled to defame and mock Buddhist Masters and the Buddhist Teachings, they do so from pride and ignorance, and have no accomplishment, only higher levels of hatred, anger and resentment.  Dharma warriors present obstacles to these folks from motivation to protect the Dharma.  In fact, real dharma warriors perceive themselves as having the responsibility of repelling those who defame the Dharma; it is their duty to present obstacles to the neurotic tendency of others who wish to bring harm to the Teachers and the Teachings.   They help facilitate one’s access to the Dharma, and align themselves with the Bodhisattva mentality.  The more real dharma warriors carry out their duties, the more the ego of the one looking simply for entertainment becomes inflamed and resentful.  Such individuals begin to call themselves names that represent something precious out of mockery, and attempt to entice others to join them.  The old saying, misery loves company becomes real in their lives. 

When you can understand the role and responsibility of the real dharma warrior, then you can begin to understand why real warriors don’t step down, step away, or give up.  They have taken the vow of protecting the dharma, and that is their charge; not for themselves, but for the benefit of bringing forth the dharma for all sentient beings, including the very ones that bring harm to them and the teachings.  That is the ultimate compassion. 

Real dharma warriors practice meditation, keep their vows, have generosity towards others and most importantly have devotion to the Guru.  They do not meddle in other religions, call it something that they like, and then create their own second hand give away. 

What the attention seekers fail to understand is that Vajra Masters are indestructible, just like the very Vajra itself.  So, in the end what is really happening, is those who seek to mock, play dress up, and bring shame to dharma are simply creating the causes for their next life.  Oy!

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