snailI have receive the following question:

Do you pay your own way or do you receive some financial compensation from your sangat?

To which I respond:

This is a question that I do understand some people are really concerned about. I am in the fortunate position that I donate to the temple, classes, CRS buildings, etc. more than I financially receive from them. But does your question imply that if a spiritual teacher relied on the temple or classes he teaches for income it would be a bad thing? If so, you may want to reflect more upon that. You may want to read my blog called “Money, Money, Money” written 10/17/13. I do know that in other cultures people generously donate to support the teacher. Therefore, they have no need to charge in order to have a place to sleep and food to eat. That tradition does not seem to be as popular in the west. There are so many such superficial standards that people go by to evaluate others. It can be particularly misleading when people from one culture are judged by standards of another culture. This is unfortunately common in not just the spiritual, but many arenas of life.

Allow me to end with an old tale. There were two monks, one old and one young. While traveling on foot, they came upon a stream to cross. At the same time a young woman needed to cross the stream as well, but she felt unable to do so on her own. The old monk picked her up, carried her across and set her down at the other bank of the stream as the young monk followed along. Walking several miles more, the old monk turned to the young one and said, “I can tell something is troubling you. What is it?” The young monk said, “We are monks and are not to touch women, yet you carried that young woman over the stream.” The old monk said, “Yes, that is true and I set her down on the other bank. You have been carrying her all this time.”

My point is that we all do well to look deeper than the superficial. It is important to under-stand, not over-stand. As one of my books is titled, “Look Deeper, Live Better.”

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.