Does the Dharma have an expiration?

Probably one of the most oddly framed questions I’ve seen about the Dharma in a long while.  This may get a bit abstract so buckle up while we unpack this thing together.  It’s not every day a question tickles your philosophical bone in the way this one got me

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Some folks out there, with a knee jerk reaction, would snap and immediately say “No”.  Some of those same folks with that quick no are also out here snapping at people for using social media to spread the Dharma.  Stating that that is a gross misapplication of the Dharma or that true transmission of teaching can’t possible take place through the internet.  That just wreaks of dualistic, dogma based, subjective thinking.  These are also the folks out here gate-keeping mentioned in this article Meditation and Gate-keeping.  .  To save you the step they are the folks that will bust your chops for incorrect accent marks or mispronouncing the Pali text.  You know the type real pedantic mofos.  At one point I was guilty of the same, trying to pigeon-hole the teaching and fit it into this perfect little box.  Through reflection on the actual Dharma and what it means I was able to quit looking at the road sign when the Dharma points out a path that, in all honesty, I had to make for myself using the Dharma as a guide not a set of directions.  We are  furthering an ethos not assembling IKEA furniture.  Damn I like the look of the Hemnes, moving on…

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Each generation is tasked with spreading the Dharma in the way best suited for the times.  It may change and absorb characteristics of our times.  But in my opinion, what is created is no less valid than the Dharma spoken by the Buddha himself and his disciples.  Did he not put the teaching in terms best suited to the crowd he’s in?  It is said the B man’s final words were to “Be a light unto yourselves” and to “work out your own salvation”.  Whether those accounts are true or not I can’t say as I wasn’t there but doesn’t that message make sense after a life of preaching anti-dogma sentiments.  I could be taking one too many liberties here but it at least follows a line of logic.  To continue to look toward the traditionalists to carry the torch for us is to pull the wool over our own heads.  That thinking won’t advance the Dharma to the new up and coming generations.  In an age of sex, cars, money, etc. flaunted on social media, wouldn’t it be great to have something that makes people stop and think of something of a little more implicit value?  

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This isn’t to say there is anything wrong with finding favorites among more traditional teachers is in any way wrong.  Just keep in mind that it isn’t wrong to making the teachings your own.  We are the ones tasked with carry this on.  Thich, Jack Kornfield, and, Allan Watts time and popularity won’t last forever rather than see the teaching die with them pick it up and make it yours, or at least quit hating on those of us trying to advance the cause even if you find it unconventional 

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