One of the hallmarks of my teaching career is that I will improvise a new methodology for the art of renunciation. Renunciation is a supremely important act because it is what precedes any act of meaningful meditation. But the world has changed so much that its now impossible to practice the aforementioned as those before us did. With regard to this there is need for us to become innovative and come up with more suitable renunciation methods that suit the current times where it’s literally impossible to retreat unto the forests to seek the unfathomable.
Masters and Buddhas of the past have been thought of as mad men for the selfless deeds they performed in order to attain to the state of enlightenment. This is why their teachings have been so much misunderstood and misinterpreted because their ways of life were simply unrealistic to the ordinary modern man. One may ask: Why would a man be so foolish as to escape from his father’s kingdom to go sit under a bodhi tree while gazing at the stars, never to return home where an entire kingdom awaits his inheritance and rulership?
It is as a result of such delusion that men are not able to understand the lives of the buddhas, let alone the dharma they teach. I recall with a crystal clear memory when I renounced everything to go in search for the Deathless. Everybody struggled to convince me that I had run mad (giggles) and I almost believed those imbeciles. I had decided to put everything away when I first heard the teaching of the buddha and listened to them no more. Then I embarked on Zen teachings which are the vehicle that delivered me on that other shore of life where men tremble at the thought trying to cross to.
The doctrines of materialism have now extended to every corner of the world. I think this to be one of the main contributions for my dispensation at this time and place. I have for many years meditated on the reasons for my reincarnation in Africa but it fills my heart with untold compassion because this is the place where materialism doctrines have come to manifest in full force only recently. Five hundred years ago in Africa, or in Kenya at least, there existed no nations. People were living apparently innocent lives until slave trade came in the picture, followed by colonialism which permanently changed the outlook of Africa. As an African I consider colonialism to be the best thing that ever happened to Africa because it brought civilization. This led to an end in tribal wars that Africans used as an expression for mightiness.
Now, if I hadn’t taken birth in the poorest continent I would still always have the illusion that there is holiness in the poor. But I shall teach this with much clarity that poor people are not any more religious as they purport to be. When I was young I used to think that poor people shall automatically have a meal ticket to heaven because they always appear to be so (outwardly) religious. But, luckily, I have experienced, first-hand, the situation on a large scale. In fact meditation is more difficult for the poorer men because they usually have more to lose – their poverty. The same concept explains why mystics rarely, if at all, reappear in the Indian subcontinent.
By Philip Kamau