Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Spiritual Mendicancy

In a new world, a brave new world in which materialism, wealth, and corporate power reign supreme, spiritual mendicancy would be frowned upon at best; in the brave new world of the West and China, spiritual mendicancy does not exist. All mendicants are considered as pariahs, though they are so labeled by unreflective hypocrisy, as if everything in the universe were not interdependent. There is no culture of spiritual mendicancy in such a brave new world of the West and China; mendicants would never be venerated for their pursuit of the supramundane.  In the West it's called homelessness, a state of not owning property.  

Sadhus, spiritual mendicants in India
And the irony is that crass materialism is correct for the wrong reasons, because everything in all eventuality would come back to the mundane, to the nondual space that mendicants had initially negated, because the material cries forth for recognition, because reality is not one-sided; as it says in the Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya sūtra (般若波羅蜜多心経 "Heart Sūtra")
Form is void, void is form.  
There is a correctness to materialism and wealth which, if we so chose, we could come to terms with. For example, no one would deny that Mother Theresa was a paragon of selfless mendicancy. But imagine the immensity of happiness and fulfillment she could have brought to so many more impoverished, sick people if she had been a multi-millionaire. It is utterly false that the ends justify the means when it comes to the pursuit of wealth. But values can be adjusted relative to time and circumstance without having to lose one's soul in the process, and there is no one size fits all. The love of money is not the root of all evil, this is a superficial teaching.  There simply is no root of all evil, and that's just the point; spiritual mendicancy is a path, but it just might be a very circuitous one for some people. Spiritual mendicancy is not a path for all, and old souls who have already sufficiently advanced to the reality-realm of the nondual have the option to move onward and upward, to transmute this brave new world into a happy new world.  It is far more challenging than renunciation.
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha