Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Astus wrote:
Meido wrote:Bankei had several teachers.

Adding to Kirt's points, we might also recall that after his initial awakening Bankei still went looking for someone to confirm his experience [he found Dosha Chogen, who told him that he had indeed recognized his nature but had yet to clarify it...Bankei at first rejected this, but then realized Dosha was right and so stayed to practice under him for over a year].


But he realised the unborn on his own


But not just on his own. Of course you attain realization yourself but you at least have to be pointed in the right direction. And that's my point - no one aside from Shakyamuni Buddha and dispensation Buddhas does this.

So, I go with Kirt on this, that while certainly Bankei had sources to learn about Zen - and he was an ordained monk - it was not the case that he found the right teacher eventually.


We disagree a bit - Dosha was Bankei's right teacher although in reality Dosha was the cherry on the top of the dessert - the whole process was the right teacher. And in Bankei's case this was correct.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:12 pm

Luke wrote:It takes less training to be a Zen teacher than to be a Vajrayana teacher.


Ah, no, not really. To be a *teacher* perhaps, beginning Zen. To attain some realization, sure - that can happen easily. To really cut through "the whole matter" - pretty much like with Vajrayana mahasiddha types, 12 years-ish (and that would be zippy, zippy). Zen does take a different view of course and a different course of training.

Luke wrote:I would like to benefit other beings sometime in the future by teaching Buddhism. I feel that I'll never really understand Buddhist tantra comprehensively enough to be able to teach it in any beneficial way. But I feel that learning Zen is more doable for me.


Okay - but Zen is not "the easy way" (some people have told me that Zen was "easy" compared to Vajrayana - usually just before or after their first Zen mini-retreat). Not easy, not hard, just impossible. Thus the Great Way unfolds. All beings are Buddha, like water and ice.

So perhaps Vajrayana isn't your cup of tea. But you liked Gampopa ....

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

kirtu wrote:The people who realize the nature of mind without a living guru are either found in legends or are Krishnamurti or worse (for his time and circumstance Krishnamurti was okay, but ...).

Can't agree with you there, sorry.


Wait, you think Krishnamurti had something to offer beyond just basic spirituality? He was the archetype of the lost Seeker.

Luke wrote:Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Me. 8-)


and Krishnamurti ...

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:15 pm

I am not sure why this topic even evokes any interest. The answer, as retro implied, is simple: "Anyone who is not interested". If someone is interested, than they should practice Vajrayana.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Luke wrote:But I do have suspicions that I am just not cut out for Tibetan Buddhism at all. For example, except for the chapter on bodhichitta which I really enjoyed, I find the book "The Words of My Perfect Teacher" to be very boring and uninspiring. But this seems to be a book that one has to say is totally wonderful if one does Tibetan Buddhism. I liked The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and any stories of Gampopa's life much, much better. I always feel very warm-hearted about Gampopa. I feel that reading his teachings created a lot of the good karma which allowed me to experience so many interesting Buddhist things over the past 5 years. But *sigh* there is so much negative politics in the Kagyu school these days (Karmapa controversy, etc.).

And I really hated doing the Longchen Nyingthik ngondro. Are other ngondros really so different?

And I don't believe that reciting thousands of mantras is really of great benefit. But believing the opposite is a key belief in Tibetan Buddhism, isn't it?
You don't have to like WoMPT unless you really want to be Nyingma. WoMPT and The Jewel Ornament cover the same material (mostly).

Ngondro are hard, that's part of the point.

Bodhicitta, mediation, and wisdom are all more important than mantras.

“If you have developed bodhicitta in your mind-stream you will succeed in all the things ordinary people fail at, the knowledge mantras or tantric spells described in the sutras and tantras, in certain anthologies and so on to make it rain, stop hail, and so forth. Blame this on ordinary people’s lack of bodhicitta. Thus, if you want to rid yourself and others of sickness, etc. and want to have greater abilities, you must develop this mind. It is wrong to think an instruction taught on some tantric spell is at fault if it does not work for you.”
-Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand pg. 560
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby justsit » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:42 pm

Luke wrote:Another interesting related question is "Which mental illnesses are usually made worse by tantric Buddhist meditations and which mental illnesses do they usually make better?"

On Buddhist forums, I have heard stories about delusional people becoming even more delusional...


If a person has a history of psychosis or clinical depression, vajrayana may not be the best path for them. I have personally known three sangha members (non-monastics) who have committed suicide in the past several years; one I know for certain had a documented psych history. To be fair, that person was also exposed to some very nasty stuff related to a controversial teacher (not NKT).
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Jacqui » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:08 pm

I think if someone doesn't have the connection and doesn't want to practice vajrayana, then they shouldn't. There are so many methods out there.

I initially hated vajrayana practice but then I received instructions and a practice that I really connected with and it made sense. Also, I think I dropped a little of my habitual thinking patterns (which is what ngondro is kind of designed to help you with). There's no one-size-fits-all with this kind of thing in my experience.
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:32 pm

justsit wrote:If a person has a history of psychosis or clinical depression, vajrayana may not be the best path for them. I have personally known three sangha members (non-monastics) who have committed suicide in the past several years; one I know for certain had a documented psych history. To be fair, that person was also exposed to some very nasty stuff related to a controversial teacher (not NKT).

I think you are getting right to the truth! About a decade ago, I had clinical depression, so I am in this category.

Now that I reflect more deeply, I realize that one thing I hated about practicing ngondro was the fact that I always had to do it alone. I live far from my sangha and lama and only see them once a year. If I lived close to them and did ngondro in a group with them regularly, I might have felt differently about it. Meditating in a group is really a different feeling, especially since my sangha members are so extremely kind. It is very hard to stick to a complicated religious path without the regular support of a sangha.

Practing sadhanas of deities didn't make me feel so depressed, probably because I spent more time in meditative bliss focused on the mantra. Whereas when I do ngondro, much of the time is filled up with reciting lots of stuff when I am not in a deep meditative state.

I would say that one disadvantage of Vajrayana is that there are so many different lineages which each do totally different things. So if you learn one Tibetan Buddhist center's meditations, then the next Tibetan Buddhist center's meditations will most likely be completely different! There isn't much large-scale standardization or compatibility. When your main teacher is in a foreign country, it can be a bit awkward to go to local sanghas which you aren't really excited about just to hang out and feel slightly Buddhist.
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:41 am

Konchog1 wrote:Ngondro are hard, that's part of the point.


Ngondro is transformative, trains people in Bodhicitta and accumulates merit and wisdom. That's the point.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby wisdom » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:30 am

I do the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro. It was designed for westerners who have little time but its also perfect for a Dzogchen practitioner due to its straightforward simplicity. Its hard because we don't want to put forth effort, because effort is draining. Intuitively this is correct, because realization is effortless. In practice though we have to put forth effort until we come to such a realization, otherwise we will simply remain as we are, at best. As for me, well, I've been procrastinating my Ngondro for about an hour now. I said "Right after I eat" and now here I am, still online...
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:30 am

wisdom wrote:I do the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro. It was designed for westerners who have little time but its also perfect for a Dzogchen practitioner due to its straightforward simplicity. Its hard because we don't want to put forth effort, because effort is draining. Intuitively this is correct, because realization is effortless. In practice though we have to put forth effort until we come to such a realization, otherwise we will simply remain as we are, at best.

Sure. I believe that any spiritual path requires effort for it to be fruitful.

wisdom wrote:As for me, well, I've been procrastinating my Ngondro for about an hour now. I said "Right after I eat" and now here I am, still online...

Perhaps this forum should come with a warning label:
"WARNING! You are about to enter a very addictive Buddhist forum. Your daily practice and personal commitments may suffer as a result."

hehe
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:53 am

Greetings kirt,

kirtu wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

kirtu wrote:The people who realize the nature of mind without a living guru are either found in legends or are Krishnamurti or worse (for his time and circumstance Krishnamurti was okay, but ...).

Can't agree with you there, sorry.

Wait, you think Krishnamurti had something to offer beyond just basic spirituality? He was the archetype of the lost Seeker.

No, I'm not talking about Krishnamurti.

I'm talking about present day practitioners of Buddhism who operate within non-guru-centric traditions, and the fact you've basically declared them as being incapable of realising the nature of the mind.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Anders » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:38 am

Astus wrote:I think it is only a stereotype that Tantra is complicated while Zen is simple. As already mentioned, there are many ways in Vajrayana that are simple and straightforward. On the other hand, if you have ever looked into a classic Zen work like the Blue Cliff Record, it is anything but simple.

Zen and Tantra (from "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha", p 79-80)

One evening, after a Dharma talk at the Boston Dharmadhatu, a student said to Seung Sahn Soen-sa, "At a recent seminar on Zen and Tantra, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche compared Zen to black and white and tantra to color. What do you think of this?"
Soen-sa smiled and said, "Which one do you prefer?"
(Laughter from the audience.)
The student shrugged his shoulders.
Soen-sa said, "What color is your shirt?"
"Red."
"You are attached to color."
The student hesitated for a few moments, then said,
"Maybe you are attached to black and white."
Soen-sa said, "The arrow has already passed downtown."
There was a long silence. "Do you understand?" (A few giggles.) "Okay, I will explain: The dog runs after the bone." There was another long nervous silence. "Okay, I will explain even more." (Loud laughter.) "When you are thinking, your mind and my mind are different. When you are not thinking, your mind and my mind are the same. Now tell me -when you are not thinking, is there color? Is there black and white? Not thinking, your mind is empty mind. Empty minds means cutting off all speech and words. Is there color then?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know? I hit you! Now do you understand?" (Laughter.) "In original mind there is no color, no black and white, no words, no Buddha, no Zen, no Tibetan Buddhism."
The student bowed and said, "Thank you."
Soen-sa said, "'Thank you? ' What do you mean by 'Thank you'?"
"Only 'Thank you.'"
Soen-sa laughed and said, "Only 'Thank you' is good. I hope that you soon understand your true self."
The student said, "I've begun."


I think this demonstrates more that Zen can be obscure more than that it can be complex.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:I'm talking about present day practitioners of Buddhism who operate within non-guru-centric traditions,


What traditions are those?

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:44 am

Anders wrote:I think this demonstrates more that Zen can be obscure more than that it can be complex.


I agree. :bow:
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:56 am

I really don't think that those who do not practice Vajrayana and never have should feel at all inhibited in telling us all about it.
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby Sönam » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings kirt,

kirtu wrote:Wait, you think Krishnamurti had something to offer beyond just basic spirituality? He was the archetype of the lost Seeker.

No, I'm not talking about Krishnamurti.

I'm talking about present day practitioners of Buddhism who operate within non-guru-centric traditions, and the fact you've basically declared them as being incapable of realising the nature of the mind.

Maitri,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

Nevertheless, if not incapable, without a guru (or a realized pointer) it's not easy to eliminate doubt (no reference). And that the point for the guru.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:16 pm

Hi, i have been practicing vajrayana more than a year now with emphasis also on mahayana. i have been diagnosed with schizophrenia allthough it was only overwhelming fear and paranoia and for me that was the case because of the surroundings and the city i lived in.

anyway, vajrayana fits me quite well and i think what confuses western practitioners about vajrayana that they do rituals and deity yogas and stuff the ngondro. without a foundation on the reasons, effects, ''goal's'' , and the knowledge of the path. and how it is to be travelled. from what ive come to known that even if you say '' i am a vajrayana practitioner '' but you are lost and dont know really what you are doing, you should probly open up to the wisdom of buddhadharma as a whole.

as for the basis in hinayana and mahayana i think it is enough that you hold the view of the 4 noble truths and generate and practice mahayana motivation and mind training and combine that with vajrayana tantra and the correct view. i find it hard that with the right amount of knowledge, that should be extensive and pretty much answering all the dark spots on the map of tibetan buddhist path and covering the different aspects of things at the same time. its hard to get lost.

what i think that makes people go lost or get the feeling they dont know what they are doing practicing vajrayana is that they dont understand buddhist psychology in general and also dont understand the psychology aspect of tantra. and i think if you dont have a psychological understanding of buddhism especially meditation and vajrayana tantra you are not really understanding the practice.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Who SHOULDN'T practice Vajrayana?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:23 pm

Luke wrote:
As for me, I'm a bit obsessive about details, so I found it very frustrating to practice tantric meditations which had so many details and I hated the feeling of never being entirely confident that I was practicing them correctly. I could ask lamas questions, but still I was never very confident about my practice. All the complicated details were very distracting for me. ("Who is this guy in the deity's retinue? What's the meaning of this mantra? What's the meaning of this term? etc.)

I also disliked having to read Tibetan texs while simultaneously thinking of the meaning in English while simultaneously visualizing the right things while simultaneously thinking of the meaning of each of the visualized things. It's like trying to compose a symphony in your mind alone. It's very challenging, for people like me, just plain frustrating.



this is interesting. seems like with your obsession on details you led your self maybe astray of the point and meaning of practice. i dont personally find it so important to visualize and get every detail right.

as for the visualization part, for me it is quite effortless when reciting a text and visualizing the same time since when you recite it you automatically create the image in your head. and also it is said that it is enough to believe that the refuge tree is infront of you. you dont have to put so much effort in visualizing it. just knowing that its there.

also for the meaning part of the visualization i think the meaning will be revealed to you if you just rest in empty state of mind, it will come up. so you dont have to work in that either.


i have the same thing with Achi sadhana, the wrathful part that am i doing it correctly, probly not because something is disturbing me, maybe because i dont get the symbolism and not so good with emptiness realization so that i could not cling and grasp at the images of inner and outer enemies. but also it opens up perceptions in you.

i think that you just do your best without trying to be a perfectionist and it works just fine.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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