Ok think for bit. When you used to be Christian or not. If you ever went to church and heard the sermons, some were regular light seasons. And some were just for fillers, or as the trade name by a Father slipped to us then peer ministers as forever known as “fluff”.
I’ve never understood why it would be necessary to have a “fluff” series of sermons on hand until I became ordained. I totally sympathize with the minsiters in the God centered religions. Because they have to limits on how much scripture they can offer to their congregations. And there are fixed expectations and limits to tolerance of what they can offer in their sermons.
People are brilliant in what they want to receive in their religious path. They have comfort levels that they do not want trounced on on Sundays or Saturdays. It may be the same for Buddhist except for one thing.
And that one thing is the Path. only our feet trod on. The guidelines we have are taught by Buddha and his disciples have carried those teachings into our modern lives through succeeding generations of Sangha. What we have is choices in how and where we choose to learn from and if we can be accepted for instruction by a master.
And my view is no different from any other ordained Sangha member. We have for over 2,500 years been upholding Buddhas teachings, our teachers have carried their masters lineages to us for us to carry on in our future generations. And consistency is the key here, not fluffy words.
We have the duty to keep our studies of the Tripitika and our practice as Vinaya monastics even faced with so much pressure to conform to our western ways and people. Fluff will not help you with reality, it only comforts for a moment. What helps is the hard work of study, practice and precepts! Really!
Well, I am one of those masters and I still have to trod the Path for myself. I am very acutely aware of the need for Sangha to modernize and explore different teaching ways for students of Buddhism and disciples in our modern times. However, not much has changed in the content and how we would approach teaching someone and training ourselves. That’s the beauty of it, methods, cultural acceptance, society, lineage in methodology or capability of the master all come in to play with so many variables, it’s really a treasure that people should appreciate that accessible Sangha reside within their community.
Most people go to temples for the first time expecting unrealistically that with that visit all their questions are answered, all their problems are solved and all their wishes come true. Well wouldn’t that be nice!
They want fluff. But what they need is the homework. Right! you say, homwork is for those years spent in school! Wrong! You owe yourself the effort to study sutras, practice methods Sangha teach you to help yourself achieve your wishes, overcome your obstacles, and progress and walk the Path yourself.
I’m no responsible for your mind. You are. Just you. It’s your duty to yourself to be stable, healthy and make the effort in your life. Buddhism offers many ways to do that. Sangha who are ordained in Vinaya are the traditional teachers you can rely on for dharma teachings.