Getting back on track after a failing teacher

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:20 am

heart wrote:Being disappointed with your Guru is often just having assumptions about what a Guru is.


However, you're not supposed to speak of the faults of your guru, nor really think critical thoughts about them. This can lead to neurosis when in fact the guru is engaging in questionable or disreputable activities, and you have to keep your criticism to yourself.

It seems illogical to embrace ideas that cause so much anxiety, no?
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:26 am

heart wrote:
I am pretty sure someone you trusted broke your heart. It happens everywhere in life, it is a part of life.

/magnus


Sure, broken trust happens, but then I'm talking more about deep faith placed in a teacher or guide, particularly within the Buddhist context.

So this comment...

They will realise that it is a critique from someone who has no first hand experiential knowledge about that of which he opines.

... is true if it means I've never been deeply shattered by misplaced faith in a spiritual teacher.

I personally think we should have faith in abstract Dharma, not people. Dharma doesn't betray or assault you. It is abstract, existential truth. The real refuge is the Dharma, because it liberates and technically infallible.

The sooner people realize that, the sooner they free themselves of a lot of anxiety and unfulfilled expectations with respect to the sangha, teachers, organizations and so on.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:53 am

Indrajala wrote:
heart wrote:Being disappointed with your Guru is often just having assumptions about what a Guru is.


However, you're not supposed to speak of the faults of your guru, nor really think critical thoughts about them. This can lead to neurosis when in fact the guru is engaging in questionable or disreputable activities, and you have to keep your criticism to yourself.

It seems illogical to embrace ideas that cause so much anxiety, no?


It is actually quite difficult to become a proper disciple to a Guru. It takes many years and a lot of work and countless disappointments and ups and downs to go from student to disciple. You will have bad thoughts of your Guru during this process. You will never understand this process from reading about samayas, they are not rules they are appreciation of the teaching. If you don't get the teaching you will not get the samayas and you will not become a disciple. So the capacity of the Guru to communicate the Dharma is real question.

/magnus
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:16 am

Indrajala wrote:
heart wrote:Being disappointed with your Guru is often just having assumptions about what a Guru is.


However, you're not supposed to speak of the faults of your guru, nor really think critical thoughts about them. This can lead to neurosis when in fact the guru is engaging in questionable or disreputable activities, and you have to keep your criticism to yourself.

It seems illogical to embrace ideas that cause so much anxiety, no?


One is not supposed to think critical thoughts about or criticize anyone no matter what Buddhist tradition one practices. Now, in the situation with a Vajrayana guru that you're speaking about, it's not a fault to recognize undeniable faults that are causing harm rather than teaching or exemplifying Dharma. There are clear guidelines in the traditional literature defining the criteria by which a guru is judged as qualified. For this reason one is admonished to carefully vet one's guru before taking him or her on as one's guru. Now, even that can't necessarily guarantee anything, but if one's guru turns out to be bad for one's practice then there is no fault in simply withdrawing from that relationship and finding a teacher who's the real deal.

There is also the fact that even if one's teacher is a buddha, one is still going to perceive faults and such, but it's one's job to investigate one's mind to determine if the faults are with the guru (or any other person) or with oneself, the perceiver of the faults. Once one is reasonably certain which one is the case, one takes the appropriate action. No need for launching into neurosis about it all.

Lastly, if you find a guru who is truly precious in that he/she possesses both the Dharma of scriptural transmissions and the Dharma of realization, it is such an incredible boon to one's practice. This is my experience, and that of many Dharma friends with a variety of lamas.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:08 am

Vajrapine wrote:For some years I have followed a teacher in the Tibetan tradition, who simply put has failed.

It has been a very painful process to accept this, and in that process I have lost the drive to practice. It just dissipated. I don't mind practice in theory, but I seem to totally have lost the connection in practice.

I would be immensely grateful for any advice, especially from anyone who has been through a similar experience, on how to get back in the saddle.

VP


Send loving kindness to your former teacher and wish him happiness.....we are all stuck in Samsara and have made mistakes so hopefully he can use the Dharma to fix himself and lift himself back up...just as we use the Dharma to embetter ourselves.

Continue to practice on your own and attend the teachings of MANY other teachers,learning from them,as you progress through life until you find one that you feel has truelly earned your respect.

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby heart » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:11 am

Indrajala wrote:
heart wrote:
I am pretty sure someone you trusted broke your heart. It happens everywhere in life, it is a part of life.

/magnus


Sure, broken trust happens, but then I'm talking more about deep faith placed in a teacher or guide, particularly within the Buddhist context.

So this comment...

They will realise that it is a critique from someone who has no first hand experiential knowledge about that of which he opines.

... is true if it means I've never been deeply shattered by misplaced faith in a spiritual teacher.

I personally think we should have faith in abstract Dharma, not people. Dharma doesn't betray or assault you. It is abstract, existential truth. The real refuge is the Dharma, because it liberates and technically infallible.

The sooner people realize that, the sooner they free themselves of a lot of anxiety and unfulfilled expectations with respect to the sangha, teachers, organizations and so on.


The deep faith you have in your parents, your boy/girlfriend, your school teachers and any other person of authority are just as difficult to get over when it is broken and still we all know they are a part of life, Pretty much unavoidable in a life. Spiritual relationships are not different.

Actually the real refuge is the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. But if you put your trust in Dharma, appreciation of the Buddha and the Sangha will follow naturally. So I don't really disagree with you.

/magnus
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:57 pm

Indrajala wrote:Place faith in the Dharma, not fallible humans.

Be your own teacher.



That attitude does not work in Vajrayāna.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:59 pm

Indrajala wrote:I'm aware folks from Tibetan Buddhism will tend to disagree with this, but then I see how disappointed Tibetan Buddhists can be with their gurus. Some spend years and years with someone only to be emotionally and spiritually devastated.


Hence the detailed and pointed instructions in Vajrayāna texts about taking extreme care in choosing one's guru; the kind of guru to avoid, and the pitfalls of picking a bad one.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:05 pm

Indrajala wrote:The real refuge is the Dharma, because it liberates and technically infallible.
.


The real refuge is the Dharmakāya, because unlike the Dharma and the Sangha, it is not impermanent.

That aside; as you know, the guru considered the primary refuge in Vajrayāna because that is the person from whom one receives both the ripening empowerments, and more importantly, the liberating instructions.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby dude » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:17 pm

[I am fine with that. The way forward, in my experience, is to focus on the general Mahayana Dharma. See if it have truth, if it is valid, just like Indrajala suggested actually. However, I don't know to much about this particular case. What feels like sexual misconduct can be just a case of assuming something that wasn't so, like thinking your Lama is a monk/nun, when it just isn't so.

/magnus[/quote]

Again I agree with you on the way forward.
I don't know much about the particulars either, nor am I in a position to make a judgement on another person's perception of this particular teacher.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:41 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Agreed. That is just the way to bring the Vajrayana into disrepute.

Indrajala is throwing out stuff to get a reaction, clearly it is a quiet day at the monastery. But threats of physical violence are not acceptable and do nothing to foster understanding.


No, I've stated my actual opinion. Also, I'm not in a monastery at the moment.

I honestly think placing faith in human beings is dangerous and often undesirable given the reality I see on the ground in various countries. I'm well aware this is an unorthodox view. Even in Theravada laypeople are expected to cultivate unconditional faith in the sangha as a prerequisite for spiritual benefits.

Still, the figurative foaming at the mouth one encounters when questioning Buddhist traditions is instructive: strong emotional reactions when we're supposed to see things as empty.

In any case, my opinion is that liberation from suffering does not require a guru-disciple relationship. This is of course different from the Vajrayana model, but it aims for buddhahood, which is separate discussion. Let's first get to liberation from suffering first before proceeding to more lofty goals.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby dude » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:57 pm

There is also the fact that even if one's teacher is a buddha, one is still going to perceive faults and such, but it's one's job to investigate one's mind to determine if the faults are with the guru (or any other person) or with oneself, the perceiver of the faults. Once one is reasonably certain which one is the case, one takes the appropriate action. No need for launching into neurosis about it all.

Lastly, if you find a guru who is truly precious in that he/she possesses both the Dharma of scriptural transmissions and the Dharma of realization, it is such an incredible boon to one's practice. This is my experience, and that of many Dharma friends with a variety of lamas.[/quote]

This is my experience as well.
It has also been my experience to find myself very much at odds with what I have been told.
It has been a difficult process to deepen my understanding, and it still continues.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:46 pm

Indrajala wrote:This is of course different from the Vajrayana model, but it aims for buddhahood, which is separate discussion. Let's first get to liberation from suffering first before proceeding to more lofty goals.


Unless of course one is interested in Vajrayana right from the start...
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:51 pm

Indrajala wrote:In any case, my opinion is that liberation from suffering does not require a guru-disciple relationship.


Then why do you interfere with this discussion?
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:57 pm

Indrajala wrote:This is of course different from the Vajrayana model, but it aims for buddhahood, which is separate discussion. Let's first get to liberation from suffering first before proceeding to more lofty goals.



And the path to liberation according to Jeff lies in trolling forums whose views you don't accept? How delightfully obscure!
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby kirtu » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:00 pm

I temporarily removed some postings dealing with violence and reactions to that. Please stay on topic. Also remember that this discussion is taking place in the Vajrayana forum and that the Guru is indispensable in Vajrayana. So some of the posting content is under consideration for further action.

From the Vajrayana perspective the guru is the embodiment of the Buddhas of the past, present and future here in the flesh for you. They have the keys to realization and the blessings of the lineages.

Now in fact your guru may not be a perfect guru. Even Jamgon Kongtrul said that "nowadays perfect gurus are rare." So it may behoove people to read his comments in Ethics on the student/teacher relationship. This has apparently also been published under the title "The Teacher-Student Relationship" by Jamgon Kongtrul.

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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:47 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
And the path to liberation according to Jeff lies in trolling forums whose views you don't accept? How delightfully obscure!


I have over 4000 posts on this forum and used to be a mod. I assure you I'm not trolling.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:37 pm

kirtu wrote:
Now in fact your guru may not be a perfect guru. Even Jamgon Kongtrul said that "nowadays perfect gurus are rare." So it may behoove people to read his comments in Ethics on the student/teacher relationship. This has apparently also been published under the title "The Teacher-Student Relationship" by Jamgon Kongtrul.

Kirt



Sounds like we are dealing with a not-even-marginally-adequate-in-terms-of-qualities guru here. And the implication of your post could lead one to believe that you disapprove separating oneself from a guru of questionable merits.

Actually, it is really, really easy to learn how to construct a mandala, read a liturgy, perform some mudras, ring a bell, wave a vajra around in the air and play a damaru, etc. Along with that, dress up in some traditional robes, look Tibetan, and walla, now you are a Guru.

The hard part about being a guru is guiding people along the path of Buddhahood when you yourself are not a Buddha — and that is where the pitfalls and dangers lay. Guiding people without conditioning them, helping them to understand and then open up their innate capacity for awakening is not easy. Frankly most so called "gurus" these days are just marketing religion in the name of awakening.

Anyone can learn a ritual or two. Waking up is a different matter.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Tsondru » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:38 pm

Indrajala, whether you consider it 'trolling' or not those around you certainly aren't pleased by your posts.

It seems rather pointless to come into a 'vajrayana' forum saying such things like in my opinion a guru is not necessary for liberation ' When in Vajryana it is. Then to say your not speaking for the vajrayana system, which we are talking about.

If you are not a Vajrayana student, why are you constantly commenting on Vajrayana forums the bulk of which is inflammatory to tibetan Buddhists? If you are a Tibetan buddhist why are you so busy critiquing the system which unless you've been at this for a long time are an amateur at.

It seems arrogant to me, whether one considers oneself a 'scholar' of sorts or not. To come into Vajrayana forums and be surrounded by senior students whose specialty of practice and study is vajrayana. Then to proceed saying all sorts of bothersome posts which those students try and correct consistently.

I noticed since your ordination, your posts have become more and more critical and inflammatory, I don't know if you are interested in being a Monastic or a political commentator. You may say you are just questioning tradition and this and that. However at the end of the day, I think it's not skillful.

Vajryana is complex and nuanced, so while you do not admittedly agree to specialize in it, to constantly come around commentating on it, often in ways that are inflammatory to many TB students, simply seems troll-ish.

Sorry if the post comes across as a bit strong, but I find your posts offensive not particularly in the idea of free inquiry, more in how and where they are used.
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Re: Getting back on track after a failing teacher

Postby Indrajala » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:40 pm

Tsondru wrote:It seems rather pointless to come into a 'vajrayana' forum saying such things like in my opinion a guru is not necessary for liberation ' When in Vajryana it is.


Strictly speaking, liberation from suffering is not the same as buddhahood. The point of Vajrayana is rapid progress to buddhahood.

My point really is that it is perhaps wiser to achieve liberation from suffering (particularly neurosis of all types, including emotional reactions) first and then think about buddhahood. The former does not require unconditional faith in a guru, and if you have achieved such liberation, then you'll be in a ready state to truly discern who is and is not a qualified guru.

I say this out of concern because, frankly, I've met a lot of people who strongly advocate Vajrayana on one hand yet display instability in their lives, particularly with respect to their emotions, relationships and life decisions. The numerous charlatan gurus don't help much.

We frequently hear Vajrayana teachers speak of "suitable vessels". Well, if general conduct and stability are any guide to suitable vessels, I don't see a lot of practitioners displaying the requisite qualities.

I also wonder where all these realized beings are in organizations that display strong nepotism and coverups of scandals. Sexual abuse in Tibetan monasteries is a real concern, so if the enlightenment machine really works so well, where are the bodhisattvas and realized yogis addressing or better yet preventing these problems?

I sincerely think focusing on the basics and foundations before proceeding to lofty goals of buddhahood is needed. It eliminates the widespread need for gurus, which would curtail a lot of the abuse in my estimation. If turbulent passions are placated as the Buddha taught, then a clear mind and firm foundations will ensure people can make good decisions with respect to their relationships with others.
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