That is how I usually feel when considering other monastics. We have a temple dog, she was and is a great guard dog but presently we live in a place that doesn't require one so much, that may change of course. But we are glad she is part of the team. She is a people lover, and very dog friendly too, an all round brilliant and beautiful creature. Our landlord has been remarking that she is a full time job, possibly because we go for walks a couple times per day, that hardly qualifies as full time IMHO, but whatever. She is a source of pleasure and enjoyment and amusement that I cherish.
I wish that were the experience I had with other monastics. Venerable has had more contact with others and is quite disappointed in them leading her to be what seems like protective to me. Like these little dogs -terriers that we meet on our walks. They are ferocious in their guardianship of their humans. She protects me from them because they have shunned, obstructed and slandered us. She is very perceptive and able to see through much of what I who am gullible to a fault, would overlook.
Apparently there is a mass of conservative Buddhists out there who manipulate and deceive and vie for support and control of the Sangha, who are avoided by friendly monastics but who have caused schism and who shun us. These monastics have slandered us and gossiped and spread innuendo about us and others until the entire Sangha is disintegrated like solutes collapsing out of solution. No one speaks out and no one speaks to one another because of the back stabbing and lying that goes on. It is appalling, and sad.
Our entire system- the semi organized religion of Buddhism is set up to remain passive and separate during this sort of division, to give them enough rope that they might either hang themselves or make a tree swing and become friendly on their own again. Meanwhile time passes and opportunity for communion is lost.
Venerable says we are unique in our practice and our true Sangha consists of those who have gone before that are no longer visible but whom we know through their writings and recordings. Ours is a solitary path but at least we have each other, at least we stand out as an alternative to the conservatives. And we have our brilliant friends who may or may not identify as Buddhist but are on the path of practice and actually are better at it than I am most of the time.
Ok, back to the books, I am studying but keep returning to contemplation of other things.