Kalu Rinpoche Podcast – Episode 2 – 25 Nov 2020 (9 min) – Is sacrifice devotion? Part 1 / 2
Welcome back to Kalu Rinpoche podcast. This is episode 2 – “Is sacrifice devotion?”
Is devotion something that we clearly misunderstood? Or is it something that we can actually improve with greater understanding, with analyzing what is the meaning of devotion. Because all of us, when we become religious, we find this word of devotion everywhere in all the different religion, and all the different tradition, and including in our mindset that we tend to have this idea that we need to have a devotion, when we have a faith, when we have a spiritual practice, or religious practice, gods, enlightened being, whatever you call them.
From my own personal point of view, I’m speaking as a Buddhist practitioner, and I want to talk about the devotion from my own understanding, so that we can understand better, so that we can have less illusion in our mind.
Many of us, when we think about the devotion, we have this idea with a great emotion, a great connection, or deep connection from the heart, or maybe something greatly profound, something very, greater than anything else. A pure connection to the gods, pure connection to the enlightened being, guru, master, teacher, whatever you call it.
I think from my own personal point of view, is something that I need to share with all of you. Because many of us, when we come to the Buddhist world as a practitioner, we are surrounded by people who tell you that you need to have a devotion, you need to have a devotion, you need to have a devotion. And we get carried away with this idea that we must just simply pray and pray and pray and then somehow there will be a reward by the result of praying and keeping the pure intention combined together. And we have this very strong idea in our mind. And yet we still lack of understanding the true meaning of devotion.
Some people get a very extreme idea about the devotion, because they think the devotion is something to do with sacrificing, that’s why I choose this topic. Because many people when they come to the religious organization, they think that showing your devotion is important. Speaking through your devotion is important. Sacrificing and making a statement and becoming the example, based on the idea of the devotion is important. And inspiring other people based on the idea about the devotion is important. We get carried away with so many great different ideas, which is great in its own way, but it is truly not liberating. Being great and perfect in its own different way, is something completely different path. Being free and liberated from your own illusion is something that we must achieve and something that we need to obtain over time, with a greater understanding with the meaning of devotion itself.
My brief explanation will be: if you don’t have the understanding of the reality of the suffering and the cause of the suffering, if you don’t have a deeper knowledge about the reality of the suffering or the acceptance, a little acceptance, the understanding of the devotion can be very challenging, from my own personal point of view. If you just simply do the practice, combined with the devotion, saying “That’s what other people are doing, that’s what I should be doing, and that’s what I should prove to other people and say to other people, and that’s how I should pretend and behave.” With the idea of the devotion in your head, of course that will not liberate your mind. And then also carrying the idea “Oh, I need to sacrifice my time, and my energy, and my whole life dedicating under the name of devotion.” I don’t think that is really helpful.
And then some people they compare themselves to the great masters that have existed over thousands and thousands of years ago, and yet they have a difficulty to be a simple, honest, simply as honestly, simply as genuine to themselves, let alone to other people. And that is a big problem that we need to overcome as a practitioner. If you don’t have that problem, well maybe you are very fortunate being.
So I am going back to the topic idea about the devotion. So when we talk about the devotion, people tend to think about, it is something to do with the great extreme emotion, and some people they have this idea that is pure connection, that you are chosen by the guru and then purely connected to you, or due to your karmic connection. We have so many different ideas about the devotion. And some people they think that they are not pure enough and therefore they don’t have devotion enough and therefore they are not receiving a blessing enough, and they have this kind of guilty mindset, the guilt trip mindset, that they tend to go in that direction, which is also not really helpful in the long run.
So therefore in order to have a complete understanding about the devotion, you need to have an understanding to the reality of the suffering. When you see the reality of the suffering as it is, without any manipulation, without any trickiness, without any illusion in between, if you see the reality of the suffering as it is, the teachings of the Lord Buddha becomes much more sweet to our ears, rather than the harsh truth. The whole perspective and the mindset changes over time gradually. Seeking for approval by other people, seeking for recognition by other people, that tendency, that sensation of grasping, tend to fade away if you truly and simply have acceptance to the reality of the suffering as it is, without any excuse, without any manipulation, without any illusion in between. That’s the first step.
The second step is that we need to find the distinction between what is respect and what is genuine devotion. There can be a respect when you see the Buddha, when you see the sangha, when you see the Dharma, when you go to the temple, when you see and hear other people chanting, the rhythm, the echo of the sound of all the sutras, all the beautiful paintings on the wall, and beautiful statues, and people making prostrations, of course there can be a goose bump, and some kind of a very special feeling in the body, like a tingling feeling in your body. And some people they mistake that as a devotion, they mistake that as something to do with a connection to the past life, and future, and present, and so on so forth.
My advice is that whatever the tingling feeling you get when you go to special places, just let it be, enjoy that very present moment that you’re experiencing, but don’t make that as a realization statement. All the different positive sensations will come and go. So don’t get excited by that, don’t be disappointed by that, that’s the most important mindset that you have to carry on.
Thank you for listening, and see you next time.