Once, a Buddhist teacher’s controversial lifestyle was brought to the attention of the Dalai Lama by a group of Western Buddhist monks.
“What would be his advice?” they wondered.
The Dalai Lama’s reply was profound and unmistakable:
“One’s view may be as vast as the sky,” he said, “but one’s regard for cause and effect should be as finely sifted as barley flour.”
In other words, you may be an intellectual giant, a great orator, an inspirational teacher, but if you act like an idiot, that’s what you are, and you must face society’s music and take responsibility for your actions.
You may be an inspired and devoted student, but if your teacher is unable to sift through the barley of his or her own heart and mind, then it’s time for you to notice and wake up. It’s time to come down from the vast blue sky-temple of your mind and carry some water, sift some barely.
So, fellow Buddhists, fellow yogis, fellow spiritual seekers everywhere: your teacher’s mind may be as vast as the azure-blue sky over Arizona, but what counts in the end is what happens on those stubbly fields of life:
How good is he or she in sifting those personal bags of barley?
How good are we in doing our own mental sifting?
Editor: Brianna Bemel
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