Sunday, July 1, 2012
Interpretation of The Coming of the Great Master
The Coming of the Great Master: Part 1
The Coming of the Great Master: Part 2
It's my latest blend of story writing and spirituality to hopefully give you another way to access spiritual truth.
Meet the Believers
The true believers that gather together are essentially representing all the spiritual traditions and religions of the world. Hence, each individual has a different colored robe. It's probably a stretch to say that all the religions would ever cooperate around anything, but that's not what's important. It's the collective orientation and focus. They are focusing their spiritual path in a certain way--it's focused towards the material world. Hence, all their actions are taken in pursuit of material things and representations. They have strayed, so in that way, they aren't really believers of any faith despite their pretences. This is the truth of many spiritual traditions and spiritual leaders. However, I would in no way say that it's true of all of them. There are still many wonderful rabbis, imams, priests, pastors, bishops, monks, rinpoches, and so forth who are appropriately focused, and in turn, they focus their congregations appropriately. However, there are still many who aren't, and who turn spiritual teachers and masters into monuments and elevate them in inappropriate ways. And so we see that process from the Believers.
Elevating the Individual and the Destruction of the Village
It's no coincidence in this story that while focusing all the energy and resources of the Village on one individual, the Village falls into deep poverty. Where wealth and resources are overly focused in one area, the balance of life is destroyed. So you see as the temple is built, the Village is bankrupted. As things are put into the temple and food is stocked, famine comes to the land. We are seeing the Believers' inner poverty come to the world around them. They are, however, so far astray that they cannot see this. They simply think it's a new burden to bear as opposed to seeing how their actions have desecrated their region.
Is this not ringing a bell? In how many ways do we exalt the material while our larger human community suffers. You cannot take from one area and not affect another. It's why reciprocity is vital, which I'll talk about more later on in this intrepretation.
Furthermore, we see the worship of the individual. The West has become very sickened by its worshipping of single individuals. We build them up, and then we hate them. No sooner is a President, pop star, or professional athlete built up before we want to tear them down again. It's a horrible process for the individual and the community. We are all equal and equally valuable parts of our greater human community. The master knows this already, which is why she wants nothing to do with the Temple. She knows what's real and where the real work needs to be done.
The Inability to Recognize the Master
It is precisely because of the Village's suffering that the master makes her appearance. So, there's an interesting way that the Believers going astray calls the great master to their Village so that she can bring things back into balance. And she does go to the temple just as the Believers had hoped, but because they are so lost, they cannot recognize her. Their images of what the master should look like cloud their eyes. Their worship of the individual makes it so that they are hard-hearted, without charity, and without clear sight. Consider this similar to those who will not help another who doesn't believe their way. Because the master doesn't look like what they think a master should look like, they turn her away again and again. I also had her be a woman in this particular allegory precisely because women have been denigrated in so many ways and oftentimes by other women. Hence even the women Believers can't recognize the master, which is another way to say that they don't recognize their own greatness.
And yet, the master gives them three chances. She isn't standing in her fullness because she is also testing them. She wants to see how they react in the situation because the master doesn't just ally herself with mindless devotees. She's not interested in that kind of support, and interestingly enough, the Believers send her to the people who need her the most. From those connections, she goes her work and starts to reveal herself.
Miracles and the Healing of the Village
Now, part of the reason that I'm writing an interpretation is because I want people to be sure that they understand miracles in this story. The miracles that are happening are coming from the Villagers themselves. The master gives them opportunities to unlock their own generosity and charity which had been sucked out by the ego of the Believers to create a monument to an individual. By allowing the blind woman to help her, the master is helping the woman to see what is important. The same goes for the Farmer and the Tailor. Their generosity transforms their luck in life, not so much what the master is doing although she is an important gateway.
Of course, the Believers don't understand any of this. They think the miracles are just proof of the master's greatness, which they also don't really understand. Do you see? The master is just helping people to be kind. She took on the image of the poor girl to give the others a chance to re-ignite their hearts and their sense of love and service.
The Revealing of the Master
The Believers find the master doing a healing ceremony in a circle in the poorest section of the village. Poorest can be used literally or as a metaphor. Poverty can be internal as much as external, so I could easily have had the master working with the rich people of the village who'd forgotten their way. Either way, the master goes where healing is needed. And here is also where she prefers to be found by the Believers because she's also making a point about where spiritual people should be focused.
Even when they see her, they can't recongize her. Since she's no longer dirty and in rags, they realize that she's not a girl, but is a woman. This is also a metaphor for how women have been denigrated. They can't see a woman's wisdom. They saw a girl at their doorstep because that was all they were able to see at the time. You may have had experiences in your life where you didn't notice a painting in a house or some detail about that painting, and then one day you did. You asked your friend, "Has that always been there?" They, of course, said yes unless they were messing with you. ;) Seriously though, you get my point.
The master is also in white with black trim. White radiates all colors, and black absorbs all colors. Hence she embodies all spiritual traditions and shines out all those teachings to those who come to her.
Denial of the Gifts
Yet, even after she's revealed herself, the Believers are trying to get her to play their game. They try to give her their gifts, but on the spiritual path, it's all about "how" things are gotten and given. Because they aren't coming from a clean space, she doesn't want anything to do with the gifts. She doesn't even talk directly to them. It's in part because she's teaching the whole Village and not just them. She won't elevate them as they have elevated themselves. For this group of Believers, they're pretty humble, so they can take it. In other areas of our society, those individuals would get angry, spiteful, or perhaps even violent despite their "spiritual" tradition. All kinds of atrocities have been done throughout history in the name of religion, so this isn't my conjecture. Check a history book about Crusades if you want to see some of the wars done in the name of religion. You can also check out witch hunts, holy wars, jihads, and other things. Ultimately, these are done in the name of power, however, not true religion
Reciprocity and the Re-Balancing of the Life in the Village
In addition to the Villagers' hearts healing the Village, the work the master does with the people is about reciprocity. She's showing them how to share and support each other. The gratitude of the deformed man who is healed is so great that it draws more abundance to the Village than ever before. His tailoring is coming from a sense of service, gratitude, and love. That's the abundance flowing from him. He's a great example in this piece because he's come the furthest. I use deformed in a physical sense, but I could also have used it in a spiritual or emotional sense. She's helped him to see what's important, but it all started when he was willing to give to her when he had little and nothing to gain. She repeats this line because she's helping the people learn how to give. Giving when we think we'll get something back isn't truly giving. It creates obligations and expectations, and those attachments aren't fluid and healthy. When people learn to give without expectations, both are freed up, and it becomes natural to continue to give. It's like breathing. There is exhalation and inhalation. Giving and receiving. It is our natural state, and that's where the great master is leading the Villagers.
The Redemption of the Believers
But the master isn't interested in omitting anyone. She understands that the Believers have more ideas and ego in the way. She has to break them down before they're even willing to listen. If she'd had accepted even one of their gifts--even a morsel of bread or a drop of wine--they would have just followed her around as devotees singing her praises instead of doing the work of their hearts. So at the end, she sees them near repentance and offers them a way to atone. She has them give back what they took, but keep a candle each. The candle, of course, is a metaphor for their aspiration for illumination. Then she sends them out--not casts them out--to walk her path. In this way, she's offering them a chance to become a master like herself, and you kinda get the idea that perhaps the same thing happened to her once. Now, the cycle continues, and just before they leave her, she lets them know that the great master is always living in her great house because that house is the one in her heart. Then, they finally understand the lesson about love and charity and can go to the next Villages that have lost their way to teach them.
Other Spiritual Allegories
I hope that offers some more insight to the story. If you like my spiritual allegories, here are a couple others that you may enjoy. Have fun!
The Tale of the Butterfly
Awakening the Fool