Recognising reincarnations

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:31 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
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"?


The real problem with tulku system is that it is a Tibetan cultural artifact, and not something which can be found in sutra or tantra.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:32 pm

Malcolm wrote: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.
Now the application of pure vision is inane. I can't wait to see what will come up with next.
The tulku system only works in a world where there is higher and lower, pure and impure.
So tell me something that I have not said repeatedly in this conversation.
Once you have decided that you are going to trot down the path of "pure vision", well, now you have no reason to ban Shugden and NKT here at all.
Now you are being ingenious and trying to pull down the status of the board based on my expression, of my personal opinion. You going to stoop much lower?
According to "pure vision", the pope is as much a Buddha as the HHDL or the HHK, etc.
Apparently you disagree with the notion of a Tathagatagarbha too.

Excellent.

I think it is time I went and engaged in some practice.
"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 7:32 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: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.


Considering that the tulku system does not come from tantras, why would they even mention it?
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote: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.


Considering that the tulku system does not come from tantras, why would they even mention it?
They are all situated within the same framework: Tibetan Vajrayana. Please don't cherry pick.
"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 7:43 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote: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.


Considering that the tulku system does not come from tantras, why would they even mention it?
They are all situated within the same framework: Tibetan Vajrayana. Please don't cherry pick.


First, my authority is not Tibet, my authority is sutra and tantra. I do not have to accept Tibetan cultural practices as authoritative, I don't eat Tsampa, drink Chang, or herd yaks.

Greg, the tulku system started in Kagyu, than spread to other schools. It is not a universal thing in Buddhism, it never existed in India, and it does not need to exist in the West. I can understand your attachment to it, but it really is something which is a cultural practice of Tibetans and not really something which has a strong foundation in sutra and tantra.

This does not mean that there are no reincarnations, or that no one can recognize a reincarnation with accuracy. But the point is that there is a sufficient amount of corruption in the system to call the whole system into question. As long as there is no clearly defined criteria by which a tulku may be recognized, then I am afraid it is just a matter of faith whether one accepts someone as a reincarnation of a master or not.

This is why I bring up the examples of NKT. For example, according to them, <redacted> is Sakya Pandita's reincarnation. According to your logic, since this is the opinion of Trijiang Rinpoche, I should accept it, or at least not dispute it. Can't you see how crazy your point of view is? according to your point of view, I should accept that a worldly spirit is the reincarnation of one of the most important Sakya masters.
Last edited by Jikan on Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed the name of a controversial gyalpo per ToS
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Jikan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:50 pm

thread temporarily closed for cleanup.

Reopened. I've lightly edited two posts in this thread with respect to this clause in the ToS:

History has shown discussions about Shugden/Dolgyal on websites such as this one result in flame wars. The management has taken a decision not to allow reference to or any discussion/debate of, and that means from all sides, all things Shugden/Dolgyal including: Teachers, monasteries, associated organizations, images, audio/video, written publications etc.


let's not invite problems. thank you.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:First, my authority is not Tibet, my authority is sutra and tantra. I do not have to accept Tibetan cultural practices as authoritative, I don't eat Tsampa, drink Chang, or herd yaks.
So the tulku system is on par with eating tsampa and herding yaks... :roll:
Greg, the tulku system started in Kagyu, than spread to other schools. It is not a universal thing in Buddhism, it never existed in India, and it does not need to exist in the West.
Neither did/is Dzogchen, you reckon we should get rid of that too?
I can understand your attachment to it...
I am not attached to it. If I was attached to it I would not be calling for its reformation. I am just not averse to it.
This does not mean that there are no reincarnations, or that no one can recognize a reincarnation with accuracy.
I never said this.
But the point is that there is a sufficient amount of corruption in the system to call the whole system into question.
This is our fundamental point of disagreement.
As long as there is no clearly defined criteria by which a tulku may be recognized, then I am afraid it is just a matter of faith whether one accepts someone as a reincarnation of a master or not.
I agree up to a certain point, but we have already had this discussion.
This is why I bring up the examples of NKT. For example, according to them, <redacted> is Sakya Pandita's reincarnation. According to your logic, since this is the opinion of Trijiang Rinpoche, I should accept it, or at least not dispute it. Can't you see how crazy your point of view is? according to your point of view, I should accept that a worldly spirit is the reincarnation of one of the most important Sakya masters.
So you are not capable of maintaining pure view. Neither am I. That means that in most circumstances we are guided by personal expressions of attachment and aversion So just admit it and join the club!
"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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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:13 pm

zenman wrote:
kirtu wrote:
zenman wrote: Surely there are no buddhas teaching at every dharma center.


Yes there surely, literally, are, even at some Zen and Theravadin centers (not every dharma center though).

However this statement was made in the context of Vajrayana (specifically Tibetan Buddhism) and is not meant to be literal.


You say that literally there are fully enlightened buddhas at every dharma center?


I clearly did not say that. I said that there do exist real Buddhas though. Some of them are in fact at centers (some centers). These include Zen and Theravadin centers as well (I suppose I need to modify this to include Arhats at Theravadin places).

People are at different levels of realization. Some people really are Buddhas (not many though).


With great respect and gratitude to those many buddhist teachers and masters I have met and studied with, none of them, in my personal view have attained this level. I do not mean to say bad things here.


Where are you studying?

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:23 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:

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"?


"A Gem of Many Colors." Tsadra Pubs., by Snow Lion, now I suppose Shambhala...
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:31 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
conebeckham wrote:I(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"?


Kongtrul's biography is Gem of Many Colors. Enthronement has a document Kongtrul wrote on the occasion of the enthronement of the 10th Tai Situpa.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:47 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:First, my authority is not Tibet, my authority is sutra and tantra. I do not have to accept Tibetan cultural practices as authoritative, I don't eat Tsampa, drink Chang, or herd yaks.
So the tulku system is on par with eating tsampa and herding yaks... :roll:


My point is that it is a cultural practice.



Greg, the tulku system started in Kagyu, than spread to other schools. It is not a universal thing in Buddhism, it never existed in India, and it does not need to exist in the West.
Neither did/is Dzogchen, you reckon we should get rid of that too?


Dzogchen existed in India, and is found in the tantras, unlike the tulku system.


I can understand your attachment to it...
I am not attached to it. If I was attached to it I would not be calling for its reformation. I am just not averse to it.


I am not averse to it. If Tibetans want to continue the tulku system, they are free to. Some of their reincarnations might even be real ones, like ChNN — but most will be chosen and "blessed" as tulkus.


But the point is that there is a sufficient amount of corruption in the system to call the whole system into question.
This is our fundamental point of disagreement.


Yup, we disagree on this point.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:Dzogchen existed in India, and is found in the tantras, unlike the tulku system.
If I remember correctly, a certain tulku whose teachings I have been following the past few weeks, stated quite clearly, a number of times that the Dzogchen teachings/method did not originate from India, but from one of the current day -stans: Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan...

So...

But now we digress.
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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 10:53 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Dzogchen existed in India, and is found in the tantras, unlike the tulku system.
If I remember correctly, a certain tulku whose teachings I have been following the past few weeks, stated quite clearly, a number of times that the Dzogchen teachings/method did not originate from India, but from one of the current day -stans: Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan...

So...

But now we digress.


Dzogchen was brought to Tibet from India by way of Vajrāsana. This is clearly stated in the early Dzogchen annals.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Jikan » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:30 am

Jikan wrote:
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.


I think Sherab Dorje raised an interesting issue some time back that I'd like to bring us back to: the question of whether or to what degree the tulku system as developed in Tibet offers an efficient way to identify and train teachers and leaders when resources are scarce. Thoughts on this?
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:52 pm

Jikan wrote:
I think Sherab Dorje raised an interesting issue some time back that I'd like to bring us back to: the question of whether or to what degree the tulku system as developed in Tibet offers an efficient way to identify and train teachers and leaders when resources are scarce. Thoughts on this?


Not necessarily. Two major schools of Tibetan Buddhism do not operate this way: the largest, Gelugpa and as well as Sakya.

The Gelugpas appoint their leaders and teachers through education, not tulku lineages, with the notable exception of the Panchen Lama, who is the head of Tashi Lhunpo monastery. The Dalai Lamas are not monastic heads, but actually part of the Drepung Monastic system.

The leadership of Sakyapas is held in the Kohn family lineage. The abbocy of Ngor (a subsect of Sakya) is circulated among the scions of four families. It is only in the smallest of the Sakya subsects, Tshar, and Eastern Tibetan Sakya monasteries where tulkus play a significant role in the leadership of monasteries.

The leadership of Mindroling likewise is held in an old family, and is not tulku based.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jikan wrote:
I think Sherab Dorje raised an interesting issue some time back that I'd like to bring us back to: the question of whether or to what degree the tulku system as developed in Tibet offers an efficient way to identify and train teachers and leaders when resources are scarce. Thoughts on this?


Not necessarily. Two major schools of Tibetan Buddhism do not operate this way: the largest, Gelugpa and as well as Sakya.

The Gelugpas appoint their leaders and teachers through education, not tulku lineages, with the notable exception of the Panchen Lama, who is the head of Tashi Lhunpo monastery. The Dalai Lamas are not monastic heads, but actually part of the Drepung Monastic system.

The leadership of Sakyapas is held in the Kohn family lineage. The abbocy of Ngor (a subsect of Sakya) is circulated among the scions of four families. It is only in the smallest of the Sakya subsects, Tshar, and Eastern Tibetan Sakya monasteries where tulkus play a significant role in the leadership of monasteries.

The leadership of Mindroling likewise is held in an old family, and is not tulku based.
So you believe that hereditary religious leadership is better than the tulku system? Or do you prefer the Gelug model?

PS The Dalai Lamas are tulku, are they not?
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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 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:30 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So you believe that hereditary religious leadership is better than the tulku system? Or do you prefer the Gelug model?

PS The Dalai Lamas are tulku, are they not?


I think the Gelug model is best for the West.

HHDL is a tulku, however, the Fith Dalai Lama's recognition was fraudulent, according to his autobiography, and every one from the 8th to the 13th was selected by a lottery operated by the Qing dynasty Ambans.

M
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:37 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Jikan wrote:
I think Sherab Dorje raised an interesting issue some time back that I'd like to bring us back to: the question of whether or to what degree the tulku system as developed in Tibet offers an efficient way to identify and train teachers and leaders when resources are scarce. Thoughts on this?


Not necessarily. Two major schools of Tibetan Buddhism do not operate this way: the largest, Gelugpa and as well as Sakya.


You are on thin ice here as both Gelug and Sakya recognize and train tulkus. Neither are completely devoid of tulkus although the relationship with the recognition can be different. You in fact note this wrt Sakya sub-sects. Your example wrt the office of the Dalai Lama is strained at best. In fact Gelug tulkus can indeed be sought (other than the Dalai and Panchen lamas).

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:46 pm

All Tibetan lineages seek for, and recognize, tulkus. Sakya is run via family lineages, Geluk is run via "nomination" based on qualities. HHDL is not supreme head of Geluk lineage.

I think it can be safely said that Tulkus, and tulku recognition, are integral parts of all Tibetan lineages, and the system has, in fact, produced leaders in all lineages. This is not to say the Tulku System is not problematic, of course--this should be obvious to anyone with even a glancing familiarity with Tibetan culture.

Part of the "system" that we haven't really discussed here, is what happens AFTER recognition, enthronement, etc. THAT is what is interesting, IMO--the attention and training that is bestowed upon Tulkus is, IMO, in large part the basis of success, though of course "personality" of the Tulku plays a part.

Having a way of recognizing successful masters at an early age is not a bad thing, considering the time and energy needed to train someone to be a Loppon. But perhaps something else is needed--a method of delaying responsibility, and delaying conferral of power, until a tulku is trained and has reached maturity, demonstrates ability, and above all, desires to fulfill the role.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:09 am

conebeckham wrote:Part of the "system" that we haven't really discussed here, is what happens AFTER recognition, enthronement, etc. THAT is what is interesting, IMO--the attention and training that is bestowed upon Tulkus is, IMO, in large part the basis of success, though of course "personality" of the Tulku plays a part.


The dharma of BF Skinner?

But perhaps something else is needed--a method of delaying responsibility, and delaying conferral of power, until a tulku is trained and has reached maturity, demonstrates ability, and above all, desires to fulfill the role.


I would argue that this is what seems to be happening in the west. A case in point is Trinlay Tulku (French/American trained in part by Shamar Rinpoche).

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