Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:24 pm

Regarding Orissa: Yes, HH Dudjom Rinpoche's refugee community (the ones who survived--many many died of tropical diseases when they descended into India) settled in the jungle of Orissa in the early 60's. There were a bunch of encampments there, including Kyabje Penor Rinpoche's community, and some Gelug camps. Each camp had a number. I understand that HH Dudjom Rinpoche's camp was mostly ngakpa families. You can read a little about it in Chagdud Tulku's bio "Lord of the Dance."

There is still a community there, but many families have relocated all over the world now.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby ngodrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:38 pm


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:51 pm

I remember reading in Chagdud Rinpoche's Lord of the Dance years ago that there was a controversy amongst the Nyingmapa settlers because some said a more famous terma should be propagated rather than a few small ones, in a time of limited resources and not enough unity. Does anyone remember which termas were vying for popularity at that time?

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:19 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:26 am



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:39 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:19 am

Being a monk of course I have to question the validity of such arguments. The fact that HH Dalai Lama, HH Karmapa, the late HH Penor Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, the late HH Trulshik Rinpoche are all monks make me think at the very least it is not an obstacle to enlightenment. :namaste:

If it were honestly an obstacle to enlightenment then they would be accumulating faults by ordaining others as monks, so I find the argument rather unconvincing. The time argument also leaves doubt as generally (generally) people with families have more responsibilities than singles. Of course not all ngakpas are married, and the wandering yogi paradigm would mean you were free from the institutional obligations of a monastery which would free you up for practice. That makes sense.

The point about consort practice fits into what I was thinking before about those ordained as ngakpas being already quite advanced. From my Gelug and Kagyu teachers I have heard that in order to be able to use the union of the female/male energies for meditation one already has to be on a high level of realization. That otherwise there is a danger it could become common attachment.

But perhaps this is not the only reason for the ngakpa ordination, it seems that there are many other roles/benefits associated with it besides the consort aspect.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:20 am

"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:30 am

This is also what I have heard from my Gelug teachers.

I also understand that the time when the interaction of male/female energies becomes useful is during the Path of Seeing, which is quite up there. Of course, this is a Gelug view so it might not be held across the board.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:00 am

"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby ngodrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:41 pm


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:41 pm

It is said, one can come to enlightenment by focusing on compassion, and that eventually brings one to non-dual wisdom, or one can focus on these practices that bring about experiences (and one hopes eventually realization) of bliss-emptiness and awareness- emptiness and then compassion naturally wells up from within.

Whatever we do, the masters all say that the most important thing is genuine faith and devotion, and merging one's mind with the guru's mind. I cant see how the color of one's robes could make the slightest difference in that. We just need to be really soft and sincere.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:40 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:43 am

Last edited by Pema Rigdzin on Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Namgyal » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:37 am

''In Tibet, historically among the practitioners there were two communities, the community of white robes and long hair, and the monastic community of yellow and red robes. The community of white robes refers to lay practitioners, particularly Vajrayana practitioners where they don’t assume the external appearance of a monastic order. In some cases, you find that those who engaged in long-term retreat kept their hair, never cut it and kept it plaited and tied up. There is a textual basis for these kinds of conduct. In the tantric and Vajrayana texts, we find the reference that the members of the white robes community need not observe the external forms of monastic life, but so far as key precepts are concerned, must practice them all. So historically these lay practitioners take upasaka vows, and on that basis, they take bodhisattva and tantric vows and follow that line. On the other side, members of the monastic order-the foundation for their life is the monastic discipline and the life of an ordained member-cut their hair, adopt a particular set of robes and appearance, and lead a celibate way of life. So historically there evolved these two distinct lines of practitioners, and each pursue his life with a certain clarity and direction.'' (HH Dalai Lama)

Isn't it just a spectrum from Nyingma through to Gelug (Professor Samuel's 'clerical and shamanic') ...Nyingma having the most 'white', Kagyu about half and half, and Gelug almost entirely 'red'?

As for the notion of superior and inferior, I asked a very elderly Gelugpa lama about monastic ordination and he told me that the life of a lay practitioner was superior because it allowed for greater flexibility. He advised me to follow his path by starting a business, raising a family and so forth. I replied that it was easy for him to say this because he had previously been a monk for thirty years, not to mention a dozen previous incarnations! He had a good laugh about this and agreed that I had a point. My own opinion is that to be a post-monastic practitioner like this, a true ngakpa, one has to be at the very highest level of realisation. It is worth remembering that Buddha taught that no one ever became enlightened without first having been a monk, for at least one lifetime, and usually a great many more. The tantric practices involving a consort can be completed in the bardo, by visualisation, or with an invisible divine consort, so being a monk is not really an impediment. In any case such practices are so advanced there can only be a handful of people in the world qualified to undertake them. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that in order to undertake such practices one has to have the kind of non-attachment that enables one to alternately tuck into a plateful of ones favourite food and a plateful of excrement, with no differentiation!
:namaste: R.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yeti » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:09 pm

"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:22 pm

Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yeti » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:59 pm

"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:02 pm

I agree from a philosophical and practical standpoint. Many women have and will continue to generate great realization through the path of tantra. But from an institutional standpoint, Taiwanese Buddhism is the place where women are truly the major force and key decision makers, the nuns holding all sorts of different leadership roles. Taiwan is the one country in the Buddhist world where I think nuns have more advantages than monks in terms of education and leadership opportunities in the Buddhist community. Empowerment of the nuns has meant greater roles for laywomen in the running of the temples as well.


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