A Reflection on Buddha’s Advice to do Charity if one cannot do the Work
In this post, I would like to reflect on a statement that is attributed to the Buddha, and that goes like this:
“Those who cannot break the oppressive chains of the senses and whose feet are too weak to tread the real road, must discipline their conduct in such a way that all their earthly days pass irreproachably practicing charitable works.”
The real road is the Path that takes us deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Being, into the inner and outer reality. To make progress on it, there is a lot that one needs to change in one’s life, a lot to sacrifice and a lot to replace. One’s life has to become centered around that higher goal, otherwise the life devours us, and we become detached from a deeper spirituality.
The awakening of the consciousness and of the Kundalini, learning from the initiations, the passing of tests, being taught in the higher dimensions, receiving profound revelations, incarnating diverse parts of the Being, all of that requires dedication unlike anything else, because the work is done from moment to moment.
To the Gnostic-esoteric teachings come many people who are attracted to one aspect of it or another. Many of those decide to stay and learn about the Path and various practices, and some decide to give the Path a chance by taking it up through a dedicated study and practice. Out of those who do that, only a fraction is determined enough to do what is necessary to go through the Probationary path in order to enter the Path proper.
Samael Aun Weor has said that his school (The Gnostic Movement) was like a train that goes from one station to another. Some people enter at one station, exit at another, new people board on another station etc. He said that a few are those who reach the train’s destination, which is to achieve larger stages of the Path. Unfortunately, only a few (relatively speaking) will do what is necessary to incarnate the Spirit or reach the spiritual resurrection and beyond. However, many will do proper work and dedicate their life to try and achieve that. The above quoted statement of the Buddha is not referring to them, but to those who do see value in walking the Path and developing virtues, though cannot overcome their egos in order to progress. If such people are being honest with themselves, they see and understand their situation, looking for other way to express that longing for development. Unfortunately, a lot of people react negatively to the Gnostic teachings when they begin to fail, blaming the teachings for it, and then either completely abandon spirituality or find some other form of it that is easier to do.
The question arises, could it be that someone who has an interest in the Gnostic work and attempts the Path seriously is not ready for it after all? This wonderment comes from thinking that the Being directs us to the teachings in the first place, so why would he organize for us to find and attempt the work if we are not ready for it?
This questioning is based on the very little of what we know about reality. Unless we are shown the workings of the Being, we can only speculate and react to it, though the truth about it can be known. It is said that there are a number of cases of people who are ready for the work, but cannot do it because of their karmic account that needs to be balanced out before the circumstances are favorable for the inner work to take place. This karmic account can manifest through certain disabilities, or difficult life situations (such as living in a country or a time when internet access and the Gnostic teachings are not available). However, it may also be that sometimes the Being is not yet ready to do what it takes to lift its essence out of the immersion and the fascination with material existence.
The advice of the Buddha to do charity if one is certain that the inner work is an impossibility for them at this time, is likely a good idea, because by so doing one would gain karmic credit that would provide with future lives favorable for the work. Not only that, but by so doing, the person would also develop virtues such as compassion and love, and would possibly have access after death to planes of existence where a lot could be gained by staying there for some time, such as being endowed with spiritual energy and inspiration, receiving knowledge, etc. This, in combination with having a good environment and a healthy body that a good karmic credit would provide, would have a substantial effect in moving the person closer and closer to the goal of the awakening and the stepping out of the Wheel of Samsara.
Having said all the above, it is important to differentiate between laziness and comfort of being within the ego, and a real inability to do the work. As long as there is a sincere wish to pick ourselves up each time we fail and try again, it most likely means that we should keep going.
HDP, September 2021.