The Karmapa is NO Rock Star!

The 17th Karmapa is not a rock star.
Sometimes I wonder if westerners, converting to Buddhism, can tell the difference between their fascination with Michael Jackson (or The Beatles) and the 17th Karmapa.
Do we devote ourselves to him because he has a pretty face? Because he is funny? Because we watched him grow up before our eyes?
What if the Karmapa looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? What if he was deformed with funny teeth and could barely speak? Mute? Would we devote ourselves to him?
Appearances, according to the higher teachings of the lineage, are ultimately delusions. If we attach ourselves to appearances too much, we may miss the message, be deluded, or simply cajoled or tricked.
Yet, how much of our devotion of the Karmapa is based on a fantasy rather than grounded reality?
We need to ask these questions.
During the Karmapa’s visit to KTD in 2011, he speaks specifically about looking at refuge first and foremost as taking refuge in self. That motivation is important to remember. Ultimately, the Karmapa is a representation of our best self nature. The Buddha Karmapa can point the way, but as human beings, striving on the path, we must develop our minds and follow the directional paths the great masters provide us.
If we are simple enough to follow without skeptical inquiry, then we may actually follow the Karmapa for mere appearances. What good is that? The Karmapa would not be happy for our lack of developing our thoughts? And, we will remain in samsara for aeons.


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