Recognising reincarnations

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Jikan » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Accepting that ChNN is the reincarnation of Adzom Drugpa does not entail that I must accept all or even any other recognitions of reincarnations.


following this to its conclusion: one may well have reason to believe someone is a reincarnation of someone else, but this has nothing to do with the question of the political institution of reincarnation-recognition. I think this distinction is getting lost in the shuffle of this conversation for some parties.

if you have a precious human rebirth now, it follows that at some time in lives previous you'd done something right. Is it necessary to have an enthronement ceremony for each of you in order to take this at face value? Accepting this premise but rejecting the "tulku system" as a social construct are not contradictory positions.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:12 pm

Jikan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Accepting that ChNN is the reincarnation of Adzom Drugpa does not entail that I must accept all or even any other recognitions of reincarnations.


following this to its conclusion: one may well have reason to believe someone is a reincarnation of someone else, but this has nothing to do with the question of the political institution of reincarnation-recognition. I think this distinction is getting lost in the shuffle of this conversation for some parties.

if you have a precious human rebirth now, it follows that at some time in lives previous you'd done something right. Is it necessary to have an enthronement ceremony for each of you in order to take this at face value? Accepting this premise but rejecting the "tulku system" as a social construct are not contradictory positions.



Thank you.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:25 am

Jikan wrote:following this to its conclusion: one may well have reason to believe someone is a reincarnation of someone else, but this has nothing to do with the question of the political institution of reincarnation-recognition. I think this distinction is getting lost in the shuffle of this conversation for some parties.
Not at all. The distinction is a false one, because currently we have a chicken-egg situation in effect. If it wasn't for Dusum Khyenpa and the system that evolved after his death, then people would not even have heard the word tulku, let alone people being recognised, and benefiting from their recognition as tulku.

What is being "lost" is the glaring fact that this is samsara which, by it's very nature, is "imperfect". What we have happening here, in effect, is a system based in conventional reality, being used to identify extraordinary individuals. Now everything in samsara is open to abuse, so it comes as no surprise that the tulku recognition process is being abused too. This does not nullify the attempt to track down extraordinary individuals in an attempt to help them develop their capacities even further. It is not JUST about money and power. There are plenty of tulku doing very solid Dharma work (this includes ChNN and the Karmapas). The development of the Kagyu lineage (for example) was based heavily on the functioning of the tulku system (with all it's flaws), now does somebody here want to try to tell me that it failed? It seems to me that my being able to practice the precious teachings of the Karma Kamtsang were a direct consequence of the positive functions of the tulku system.

The other thing I am objecting to here is Malcolms clumsy dismissal of the system, when in reality he (and other students of ChNN) clearly benefits from the system. What I am objecting to is that he is quite happy to reap the benefits of the system when it comes to his own practice and his teacher, but instead of rejoicing for other people and their teachers, he goes on to (personally) condemn them. And, yes, doubting the veracity of the recognition of the Karmapa tulkus(or any other tulku teacher other than your own) is a condemnation of their capacities. It is egotistical, derogatory and hypocritical behaviour. It is also a clear case of biting the hand that feeds you.

Obviously the tulku recognition system needs to be reassesed/refurbished, there are a number of issues that need sorting out. But I, for one, am against throwing out the baby with the bath water especially when I take account of the immeasurable benefit it has brought practitioners all over the world.
if you have a precious human rebirth now, it follows that at some time in lives previous you'd done something right. Is it necessary to have an enthronement ceremony for each of you in order to take this at face value? Accepting this premise but rejecting the "tulku system" as a social construct are not contradictory positions.
So you believe that all people that have a precious human rebirth are tulku? Is that what you are saying?
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:07 am

To bring things back to the practical level. I understand what you are saying Greg, in an ideal world, it would be great to have a pure vision of all teachers. In an ideal world, all teachers of the dharma would be pure and none would take advantage of their students. However, we know this isn't the case. Since there are charlatans out there, it is best to be careful and perhaps have a discerning view.

Having taken that into account, I am on board with Malcolm on this one. Personally, I only feel that I can be responsible for devotion and respect to teachers I have chosen to have a dharma connection with. I can only be responsible to view as Buddhas those teachers with whom I have tantric samaya. That is already quite a commitment. To extend this view to every Vajrayana master teaching in the world today is not something I can manage. It is also something that might not be recommended, considering how many sad stories of abuse I have heard over the years about students of charlatans masquerading as Vajrayana masters who take financial and sometimes sexual advantage of their students.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:23 am

JKhedrup wrote:To bring things back to the practical level. I understand what you are saying Greg, in an ideal world, it would be great to have a pure vision of all teachers. In an ideal world, all teachers of the dharma would be pure and none would take advantage of their students. However, we know this isn't the case. Since there are charlatans out there, it is best to be careful and perhaps have a discerning view.
Pure vision requires seeing ALL phenomena as aspects of the mandala of the deity. If we practice pure view selectively, then it is not pure view, it is dualistic egotistical preference.
Having taken that into account, I am on board with Malcolm on this one. Personally, I only feel that I can be responsible for devotion and respect to teachers I have chosen to have a dharma connection with. I can only be responsible to view as Buddhas those teachers with whom I have tantric samaya. That is already quite a commitment. To extend this view to every Vajrayana master teaching in the world today is not something I can manage. It is also something that might not be recommended, considering how many sad stories of abuse I have heard over the years about students of charlatans masquerading as Vajrayana masters who take financial and sometimes sexual advantage of their students.
Then you are not engaging in pure view. Now, obviously, it is REALLY difficult to engage in pure view (I'm not trying to kid anybody here, just pointing out the obvious re pure view), in which case, if we are incapable of seeing all phenomena as elements of the mandala of the deity, at least we should refrain from cultivating aversion. Discriminating wisdom is fine, if it is discriminating wisdom, and not just discrimination. ;)
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:57 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:And, yes, doubting the veracity of the recognition of the Karmapa tulkus(or any other tulku teacher other than your own) is a condemnation of their capacities.


Therefore, according to your own reasoning, you yourself must accept that HH Karmapa, Orgyen Thrinly Dorje, is the real Karmapa. And if you don't, you are condemning him. Moreover, you are asserting that the late Shamarpa was wrong in not accepting Tai Situ's candidate. Not only that, but you are equally asserting that Tai Situ is wrong not to accept HH Karmapa, Thrinly Thaye Dorje, as being the real Karmapa.

The only solution for you then is that you must regard both Karmapas as the same and take teachings from them both.

Basically what you are saying is that we all must accept all tulku recognitions on faith without question.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:59 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:at least we should refrain from cultivating aversion.


You do realize that now we are going to comb your every post for examples of aversion?
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby ngodrup » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:21 pm

Tulku Thondup has written a very nice little book on just this.
Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku tradition of Tibet.
In it he explpores all these topics and more-- including both unrecognized
Tulkus such as Je Tsongkhapa and false Tulkus.

One thing to bear in mind, to my way of thinking, is a particular Lama
may in fact be a false Tulku but still a great teacher-- authentic in every
other respect. A close reading of H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's autobiography
is a case in point. There was some maneuvering involved in determining which
monastery he would be enthroned at-- in essence which Tulku he would be
formally recognized as. That fact does not diminish in any way that he was
a Tulku and a great Lama, but does admit the *possibility* error in terms of which
tulku.

On the topic of pure view, I'm completely with Sherab. Samaya does not admit
exceptions, but does allow for leaving some things alone-- i.e. not thinking about
them. As my teacher used to say "chew on peoples faults, gives a bitter taste. Chew
on their qualities, sweet." In the banquet of live, we don't have to taste everything.
Other people may very well have haggis on their table when yours has bacon.
There's no need to look for tables that have haggis! Our job is to enjoy our tsog. But doing
so doesn't allow us the privilege on denigrating other people's food or taste. You can say,
"I think it must taste good, since others like it." And leave it at that. Either everything
is pure or not. To to bring the analogy back: If I'm a Nyingmapa, I really don't need to concern
myself with Karmapas whether one or a hundred. But I am expected to hold the view that
the kagyu is pure, that its lineages are pure that Karmapas in general are amazing, show respect
should the occasion arise, and bow out if I have any qualms about a particular.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:05 pm

Tulkus are GREAT!

The Tulku System sucks.



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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:09 pm

conebeckham wrote:Tulkus are GREAT!
The Tulku System sucks.


it seems our friend Greg does not want to distinguish between the two. I for one think nirmanakāyas are excellent. But developing a whole bureaucracy predicated in the principle of "recognitions", as we have seen throughout Tibetan history is fraught with manipulation, fraud and abuse.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:Therefore, according to your own reasoning, you yourself must accept that HH Karmapa, Orgyen Thrinly Dorje, is the real Karmapa. And if you don't, you are condemning him. Moreover, you are asserting that the late Shamarpa was wrong in not accepting Tai Situ's candidate. Not only that, but you are equally asserting that Tai Situ is wrong not to accept HH Karmapa, Thrinly Thaye Dorje, as being the real Karmapa.

The only solution for you then is that you must regard both Karmapas as the same and take teachings from them both.

Basically what you are saying is that we all must accept all tulku recognitions on faith without question.
No, I did not say that at all. This is yet another clumsy attempt by you to deflect the conversation away from the real subject, in order to cover up your own logical flaws and egocentric concerns.
You do realize that now we are going to comb your every post for examples of aversion?
And this is bordering on childish.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:16 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:This is yet another clumsy attempt by you to deflect the conversation away from the real subject, in order to cover up your own logical flaws and egocentric concerns.


If there is a flaw in my logic, prove it. Otherwise, your comments are baseless ad hominem remarks with no substance (countdown to thread meltdown begins now...)
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:This is yet another clumsy attempt by you to deflect the conversation away from the real subject, in order to cover up your own logical flaws and egocentric concerns.


If there is a flaw in my logic, prove it. Otherwise, your comments are baseless ad hominem remarks with no substance.
I have, you are unwilling to admit them and that is why this conversation continues to drag on for no reason at all. I have pointed out what pure view entails and how preferring "one" over "another" has nothing to do with with pure view and everything to do with egotistical concern and dualising (like, dislike, believe, don't believe, is tulku, is not tulku, etc...).

I have admitted that the tulku system is flawed and shown how the idea of tulku cannot (unfortunately, and as much as I personally would like it to be able to) be separated from the system that recognises tulku.

You have responded by trying to start a bun fight over a certain controversy (notice how I did not take the bait?). Now whilst the example does highlight some of the flaws in the system, at the same time it also shows how the system can, does and has worked in a positive manner, for over 800 years.

conebeckham wrote:Tulkus are GREAT!

The Tulku System sucks.
Yes and no, because: No tulku system, no tulku. Not that there will not be manifestations and incarnations of highly developed beings, of course there would be (and has been). But they will not be tulku as we know them. Like many of our teachers are. They will just be really powerful and highly developed people. Now this is not a negative thing per se, but like I said in another post: consider the glorious Kamstang lineage... How would it have existed without the notion of the tulku system? What would that have meant for all those fantastic practices? The libraries? The monasteries? The art work? Etc... Again: no use throwing out the baby with the bath water.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:44 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Tulkus are GREAT!

The Tulku System sucks.
Yes and no, because: No tulku system, no tulku. Not that there will not be manifestations and incarnations of highly developed beings, of course there would be (and has been). But they will not be tulku as we know them. Like many of our teachers are. They will just be really powerful and highly developed people. Now this is not a negative thing per se, but like I said in another post: consider the glorious Kamstang lineage... How would it have existed without the notion of the tulku system? What would that have meant for all those fantastic practices? The libraries? The monasteries? The art work? Etc... Again: no use throwing out the baby with the bath water.


I am not certain we can infer that all those things are the result of the Tulku system. Sometimes, in fact, I think they exist despite it.

(Kongtrul's opinion, in his autobio, is worth a look......)
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Jikan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:45 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:No tulku system, no tulku.


I'm not so sure this is so. We have some historical precedent for a lineage of well-trained masters in the absence of the tulku system as it developed late in Tibet in the form we know it now: Buddhist India. Another: elsewhere in the Buddhist world, it's often understood that this contemporary master had been that one in times past. It's possible that the nirmanakaya manifestations that come into this world will find the training/practicing/learning opportunities they need to be effective as teachers in the absence of the tulku system, and we know this because it's been done before, and done outside Tibet.

If it comes down to finding criteria by which an institution such as a temple or a monastery will invest limited resources in a particular trainee--is the tulku system necessarily the most effective and efficient one? I don't know the answer to that question.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:51 pm

Malcolm wrote:Therefore, according to your own reasoning, you yourself must accept that HH Karmapa, Orgyen Thrinly Dorje, is the real Karmapa. And if you don't, you are condemning him. Moreover, you are asserting that the late Shamarpa was wrong in not accepting Tai Situ's candidate. Not only that, but you are equally asserting that Tai Situ is wrong not to accept HH Karmapa, Thrinly Thaye Dorje, as being the real Karmapa.

The only solution for you then is that you must regard both Karmapas as the same and take teachings from them both.

Basically what you are saying is that we all must accept all tulku recognitions on faith without question.
Karmapa is as Karmapa does. There is no objectively existing phenomenon known as the Karmapa, is there now?

Tulku is as tulku does, regardless of the process of recognition. Take the example of Seagal. Why doubt that he is a tulku? Because he is an ass? If a tulku is not on a non-regressive Bodhisattva bhumi then it is just as likely that their practice will degenerate as it is that it will develop positively. Have you forgotten about the workings of karma?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:58 pm

conebeckham wrote:I am not certain we can infer that all those things are the result of the Tulku system. Sometimes, in fact, I think they exist despite it.
Maybe, maybe not. Personally I would prefer an overhaul of the tulku system rather than its being scrapped just because it has some flaws. Like I said earlier: this is samsara, it is flawed by its very nature
(Kongtrul's opinion, in his autobio, is worth a look......)
Thank you. I will track it down and read it.

Is this the one you mean: "Enthronement: The Recognition Of The Reincarnate Masters Of Tibet And The Himalayas" or is it this one: "The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors"?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:12 pm

Greg I understand what you mean in terms of maintaining a view of all beings as the deity and the deity's retinue, the environment as the mandala and so forth. This is an important aspect of our practice, especially deity practice.

However, on a practical level, it would be wise to advise discernment on the matter of teachers.

I have counselled (and translated interviews for) so many people who have been abused or taken advantage of by "tantric masters".

To advise anything other than careful evaluation and discernment when approaching a teacher-student relationship with any lama is irresponsible and dangerous. There are too many damaged people out there for it to be otherwise.

We owe people realistic and clearheaded advice.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:24 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:This is yet another clumsy attempt by you to deflect the conversation away from the real subject, in order to cover up your own logical flaws and egocentric concerns.


If there is a flaw in my logic, prove it. Otherwise, your comments are baseless ad hominem remarks with no substance.
I have, you are unwilling to admit them and that is why this conversation continues to drag on for no reason at all. I have pointed out what pure view entails and how preferring "one" over "another" has nothing to do with with pure view and everything to do with egotistical concern and dualising (like, dislike, believe, don't believe, is tulku, is not tulku, etc...).

I have admitted that the tulku system is flawed and shown how the idea of tulku cannot (unfortunately, and as much as I personally would like it to be able to) be separated from the system that recognises tulku.

You have responded by trying to start a bun fight over a certain controversy (notice how I did not take the bait?). Now whilst the example does highlight some of the flaws in the system, at the same time it also shows how the system can, does and has worked in a positive manner, for over 800 years.


Hi Greg:

Well, you have not shown any such flaws, and moreover, you have only succeeded in proving that tulku system is inane by referring to pure vision. The tulku system only works in a world where there is higher and lower, pure and impure. Once you have decided that you are going to trot down the path of "pure vision", well, now you have no reason to ban <redacted> and NKT here at all. According to "pure vision", the pope is as much a Buddha as the HHDL or the HHK, etc.
Last edited by Jikan on Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited per terms of ToS viz. controversial practices
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:24 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Greg I understand what you mean in terms of maintaining a view of all beings as the deity and the deity's retinue, the environment as the mandala and so forth. This is an important aspect of our practice, especially deity practice.

However, on a practical level, it would be wise to advise discernment on the matter of teachers.

I have counselled (and translated interviews for) so many people who have been abused or taken advantage of by "tantric masters".

To advise anything other than careful evaluation and discernment when approaching a teacher-student relationship with any lama is irresponsible and dangerous. There are too many damaged people out there for it to be otherwise.

We owe people realistic and clearheaded advice.
No doubt about this at all. Like I said earlier: discernment is necessary, discrimination is not. Especially if it is driven by ego. The tantric texts are very clear about evaluating a teacher. The tantric texts do not call for abolishing of the tulku system though, do they? They are all situated within the same framework: Tibetan Vajrayana.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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