Sunday, August 7, 2011

Morality, spirituality and meditation

In our modern world of consumerism, whenever there is a demand chances are that there will be supply (and at a profit). Spirituality is packaged for sale, like everything else. That include many monasteries (and pseudo-monasteries) offering meditation classes, healing classes and other spiritual packages. Gone are the day when gurus wouldn't teach anything related to high-level spirituality like deep meditation before a student had proved to be of high moral training and after gone through many difficult tests in life. So much about theory, let's take an example.

Let say Mr. Chan who was middle-aged, has been working at his company for over 10 years; a veteran, though not yet close to his retirement age of 60. Recently his (younger) bosses gave him hard time, asking him to do non-productive and tedious work, reprimanding him for any minor mistakes; while on the other hand, a young lady of his rank was given tasks that potentially could yield good returns to the company, and, as one would suspect, his boss gave this young lady lots of support.

What should Mr. Chan do? Well, let's continue to read the story: Mr. Chan went to some meditation classes for some good meditation, together with some general spirituality advice of forgive and forget. He did his meditation diligently, and he could truly forgive his boss during and after meditation. And he went back to work looking at his boss as if he was an angel. Needless to say, after a few days, he was depressed again (surely he wanted his "well-deserved" salary raise and promotion and he resented the unfair treatment towards him). No matter, his meditation class was still on, and off his went; predictably with the same result a few days later!

What is the problem here? There are two things one can change in face of difficulty. Firstly, we can change the world around us (which oftentimes means using our consciousness and cognitive skills), and secondly, change our inner self. For the average modern man, it is usually advisable to do the first, and then do the second.

In Mr. Chan's case, no meditation can solve the "administrative" problem in his office. He has to use his consciousness, cognition and perhaps creativity, or a bit of political maneuver. If he failed, then he should get another job, perhaps one at lower level, or at much lower level; or staying in the same company (if possible) and accepting less responsibility. After that, he can benefit truly from his meditation and other spiritual pursuits.

Only the one who can put down the burden arising out of his consciousness, can he begin to cultivate his inner self. There is no other way. The Buddha and the Taoist Masters of the past had been right all along.

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