Downfalls that obstruct the perfection of moral discipline
Forsaking those who have broken their moral discipline.
We incur a secondary downfall if we ignore with a judgmental or self-righteous attitude those who have broken their moral discipline. This also advises that we should keep the intention to help all living beings, including those who have broken their moral discipline.
This is something we do all of the time. We judge people for their shortcomings and for their failings. Who amongst us has not fallen short? Who amongst us has never fallen flat on their face? Yet when we see others do the same we judge and condemn them. We lose all respect for them and start taking our distance from them. Somebody who has broken their moral discipline did so either out of ignorance or out of a lack of strength, but either way they are an object of compassion and understanding, not contempt and judgment.
Not acting in ways that cause others to generate faith.
To help others effectively it is necessary to conduct ourselves in a way that causes them to develop confidence in us. If we fail to do this but retain bad habits that are likely to attract criticism, we incur a secondary downfall. This also advises us to keep pure moral discipline to show a good example to others so as to increase others’ faith in us.
The reality is this: our words only count for about 10-20% of what we communicate, our actions and behavior are the rest. We could have the most pure speech alive, but if our actions are not consistent with our speech, it will have no power. People have more confidence in somebody who is negative but doesn’t pretend to be otherwise than they do somebody with pure speech but is a hypocrite. We could say nothing at all, but if our actions were pure and consistent with the Dharma, our simple living would be a powerful teaching to all who know us. At the end of the day, it is our example more than anything else that matters. So we need to be mindful of how others perceive us.
This doesn’t mean we need to be fake about it, pretending to be somebody we are not. Kadam Morten said there are two types of master, the one who shows the final result and the one who shows the example of getting there. And in the end, he said, the latter is the more beneficial. It is much more beneficial to others for us to “keep it real” in our example than try to pretentiously carry ourselves off as some holy being. Nobody is better at this than Gen-la Khyenrab. There is absolutely nothing pretentious about him, yet there is no denying his deep experience and understanding of the Dharma. It is because he is just an “everyday” sort of guy that is the demonstration of his greatness. He is completely approachable, down to earth, humble and friendly, yet at the same time unbelievably wise and realized. He just cuts through the crap like nobody else. All we need do is be ourselves – a practitioner doing their best to put the instructions into practice, while making mistakes and learning from them. This is the best example. Not some pious, uptight, phony.