What Is “Dharma Combat”?
Any seeker who investigates the modern spiritual marketplace in many parts of the world usually finds himself or herself in a unique position: within the period of, say, an hour, it is possible to encounter several hundred teachers, groups, cults, and organizations, all of whom claim to be the unique, the one-and-only, the long-awaited and greatly anticipated One.
Of course, they can’t all be correct. Even if it would be the case that there were one who was really the “One,” and if one group actually did have a monopoly on the truth, then that voice would soon be drowned out by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other voices who are loudly making the identical claim.
The situation could possibly be described as something akin to establishing civilization on a new frontier. Many explorers have ventured ahead of the rest, staked out their territory, and named the continent after themselves. For new individuals who arrive on the scene later, they can perhaps find themselves in a vulnerable position from those who have established themselves and welcome them into their land.
In another sense, the modern spiritual scene is a melting pot of hundreds of different cultures, traditions, paradigms and perspectives, many operating within a few miles of each other, somewhat similar to a virtual Tower of Babel.
These perspectives bring to the table widely various assumptions and implicit viewpoints which are often never spoken of directly. While they often speak their message, they often leave out crucial aspects of the context of their messages.
The result is a potential mishmash of confusion and misunderstanding, mixed with a healthy dose of culture shock. In this sense, Dharma Combat is not only the semblance of a system of checks-and-balances, but is an attempt to provide the context and overview of different messages, such that if a seeker investigates a certain message or teaching, they may have a better grasp on “where they are coming from.”
Further, Dharma Combat can be a useful consideration that a certain group, teacher, or organization may proclaim a very good message, yet the possibility exists that they may leave out certain aspects, have gaps in their message, which another teaching or organization may specialize in. In this sense, Dharma Combat may serve to “fill in the gaps” of certain messages, and perhaps open the possibility to mutual benefit.
Thus, the ultimate goal and hope is to replace an area of conflict, confusion and misunderstanding with clarity, context, and perhaps, teamwork.