Watch Your Words

I came across a someone who is supposed to teach the Dharma via video clips online. I say ‘supposed’ because he also adds in unscientific doomsday information that has been scaring the masses for some time and continue to do so. Some of the stuff mentioned has been officially debunked too. In one episode, this person says something very grave, in a definite manner. It was so seriously put across that some students made copies of that episode for disseminating in the form of discs to share the message with more.

Recently, the teacher says that was a bad idea, that what said was taken out of context, that other teachings should be heard too. He claimed he didn’t give a guaranteed accurate message. I checked the problematic episode, and can perfectly understand why a fuss was made out of it – because the message was really put across in a very serious and self-contained manner, so much so that it is unfair to say it was taken out of context, or that he was only speaking about a possibility. Anyway, the episode was cut that way, with no warning that its contents are incomplete or subject to change. And the irony of it all, as that episode remains online.

What makes things worse is the teacher is flippant in speech, and squirms around inaccurate stuff said earlier, constantly changing what he is ‘supposed to have meant’ with incredible rationalisation. Systematic checks prove so for many issues raised. Does he expect every single person who watches any one of his videos to endlessly follow-up with all his past and future videos, because absolutely everything he says must be seen together? Who can anyone trust whatever he says at any point in time then? Is it not safer to ignore him altogether to avoid confusion? This reminded me of the importance of being as self-contained in speech and writing as possible.