A lot of the "secrecy" has to do with 2 things:
Some, "pure lineages" are more concerned with dilution. The "unpure" ones are concerned with control.
These are big claims. Do you have any evidence in support of them? I mean material evidence, specific instances where this happens. You've spoken only in hypotheticals and generalities so far.
I suppose you are wanting an extremely long list of those who have worked to help protect the integrity of the dharma, and conversely, those who have only sought to use it for personal ends (ie. money, self-aggrandizement, etc).
Protecting the integrity of the dharma is what I mean by not inviting dilution. For instance, how many people have mistaken the first noble truth for a pessimistic, "woe unto me" worldview, when nothing could be further from the truth? Yet, without the great masters turning the wheel of the dharma, keeping it alive and protecting the message from being so diluted or confused as to lose their real meanings, there is no way to tell just what type of disaster Buddhism would be.
In fact, the Dalai Lama has gone through great efforts to expound on the dharma for monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen alike. Likewise, non-profit organizations exist to help protect the integrity of the dharma, such as Dharma Seed
. Without efforts such as these, there is no way to tell how the teachings would be perceived by the world in the present day, though one could look at some more extreme anti-Buddhist viewpoints for examples. Thankfully, Buddhism has largely avoided such dilution over the centuries due to the maintenance of the integrity of the dharma.
For an example of the second (control), watch this video
(it's only 5:42). Granted, it is a "Hindu" video, but such a thing is not exclusive to Hinduism. Buddhism may not have as much corruption, but it most certainly exists. One only has to recall the deeds of the Aum Shinrikyo
group, which used an amalgam of ideas, including Buddhist ideas, in efforts to convince its followers to release a mixture of cyanide gas onto a city train, "killing 12 people and injuring thousands"
It doesn't always happen "from the top down", though. Fake Monks in India
Then, of course, there is always the example of China and Tibet, although I'm not quite sure what the "official stance" on the subject is here on this site, its moderators, and its members in general, so I think it might be best avoided other than a brief mention.
Azidonis wrote:The dharma is free. You can learn from the Buddha without any sort of formal sangha, and then you have no vows to remain quiet about anything.
It is true that it is possible to learn Dharma without any sort of formal sangha, and without a teacher. It is exceptionally difficult to do so. Can you name some persons known to history who have accomplished the path on their own?
For most of us mere mortals, all the supports and guidance we can find are necessary. Hence, relying on the guidance and methods of a capable teacher is advised.
We are all "mere mortals", last time I checked.
That doesn't change the fact that after a point, outside help and guidance takes less precedence to inner guidance in many respects. Ultimately, as long as one perceives the need for guidance, one has not arrived at a freedom from dependency on guidance. In that light, the perception of needing guidance pretty much defeats itself.
Guidance assists one in walking the path, but it cannot help where there is no path.
That said, I do agree that "the guidance and methods of a capable teacher is advised". I would, however, urge anyone seeking a teacher to approach the quest with the utmost caution, forethought, and care.