Mahamudra in the Modern World

Malcolm
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Malcolm »

dharmagoat wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
dharmagoat wrote: It is religious orthodoxy that I avoid, not tradition. I always been inspired by the line of innovators within the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Tilopa, Nāropa, Milarepa, Marpa...
How can you possibly believe that these four masters were innovative in any way at all?
Okay, maybe those four can't actually be called 'innovators', but they were transmitting a system that was new to Tibet at the time.
You Mean Marpa? Vajrayana had already been wide spread in Tibet for 200 years by the time Marpa went to India.
BuddhaFollower
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by BuddhaFollower »

dharmagoat wrote: It is religious orthodoxy that I avoid, not tradition. I always been inspired by the line of innovators within the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Tilopa, Nāropa, Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa being the principal ones that come to mind. I see Dr. Ray continuing this process of keeping the tradition alive and viable, via his teacher Chögyam Trungpa who did so much to allow Vajrayāna to be adopted in the West.
Tilopa and Naropa are Indian.

They aren't Tibetan or Kagyu.
dharmagoat wrote: Okay, maybe those four can't actually be called 'innovators', but they were transmitting a system that was new to Tibet at the time.
Tilopa and Naropa did not set foot in Tibet.
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.
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dharmagoat
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dharmagoat »

Let me concede that what I said was inaccurate so that we can move on.
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dzogchungpa
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dzogchungpa »

Sherlock wrote:Trungpa was actually quite traditional, based on what his other students say.
I'm not an expert, but I don't think the Shambhala stuff is particularly traditional.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
Sherlock
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Sherlock »

As I said, those of us who never met him will never know. But his students like Tony Duff and others represent him as being quite traditional with regard to the teachings, even if he did some things that might not seem "traditional" outside a formal teaching.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

I'm not an expert, but I don't think the Shambhala stuff is particularly traditional.
My understanding is that Shambhala is supposed to ready people for traditional practice. Those practices he did not alter.

But I don't know that for a fact.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Fruitzilla
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Fruitzilla »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Yes he does, but I think you might be missing the context he is teaching them in. Again, i'd recommend Indestructible Truth. It's a good book by itself, but you will see, his worldview is that of a Vajrayana practitioner (actually, same could be said for some of those that you mention above, despite their more ecumenical presentation).

Stuff on this forum doesn't enthuse you :roll: ...ok. So sorry the 50's of regular posters can't tailor it properly your likings.
I'll read his book, I'm curious enough. The difference between orthodoxy and modernism seems to be mostly about presentation and differences on focus IMHO. People will disagree of course...

On a personal note: please don't try to frame me as a pouty, demanding teenager. Nowhere do I demand or expect other people to tailor things to my liking, I'm just relating my opinion.
Simon E.
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Simon E. »

Sherlock wrote:Trungpa was actually quite traditional, based on what his other students say.

Those of us who never met him will really never know for sure what he was like though. According to Tony Duff he was very particular about shamatha and ngondro as prerequisites for serious practice.
I am taking a long break from Buddhist forums. I have a lot of work to do on my egoic reactions before participation is useful to me and to others..
But I thought I would interject here.

Chogyam Trungpa ( whose student I was for more than 20 years ) was an intensely traditional teacher of the Vajrayana.
We should not be fooled by his highly unconventional behaviour into losing sight of that fact.
The content of his Vajrayana teaching was completely traditional..he saw Shambala as a useful introduction for those not ready for commitment to Dharma.
He prided himself on the traditional and orthodox nature of his teaching content.
He wrote often and said repeatedly that there is no Vajrayana outside of a traditional and orthodox lineage.
That submitting to a bona fide Vajrayana teacher was of the essence. That there is no point even discussing the matter with those who have not taken Vajrayana Refuge.
When the 16 th Karmapa visted the USA for the first time Trungpa Rinpoche went into overdrive to ensure that everything thing about the visit went smoothly, and that every detail conformed to Karma Kagyu orthodoxy.
He had zero tolerance for D.I.Y. Buddhism, for secularisation, for neo Vedanta, for every expression that fell outside of orthodox Vajrayana.

I will now return to my rocking chair.

:namaste:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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dharmagoat
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dharmagoat »

All the best, Simon. I would dearly like for you to PM me sometime.
Simon E.
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Simon E. »

Sorry, I don't do PM's.

I am off now on my forum holidays.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

The content of his Vajrayana teaching was completely traditional..he saw Shambala as a useful introduction for those not ready for commitment to Dharma.
That's what I was trying to say, only I don't have the authority to say it with certainty. Anyone that has more than a superficial understanding of Trungpa should know that.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Malcolm »

Fruitzilla wrote: I'll read his book, I'm curious enough. The difference between orthodoxy and modernism seems to be mostly about presentation and differences on focus IMHO.
In Vajrayāna there is no such thing as modernism. There is the lineage, and how the lineage presents the teachings. The lineage is unalterable and without a lineage there is no Vajrayāna to speak of.

Zen, for example, is a sūtrayāna teaching, and this while there is rhetoric about the lineage of patriarchs, ancient buddhas and so on, there is not a universally held idea that the lineage is something inviolable or absolutely necessary. Plenty of people practice Zen without the kind of guru devotion that characterizes Vajrayāna. Also these days many people practice Zen who really do not believe that Zen was actually passed down in a lineage from the time of the Buddha. There is more room for so-called "modernism" in Zen.

But in Vajrayāna, the Vajrayāna teachings are held to come directly from Buddha Vajradhara to our gurus. There is truly little point in trying to practice Vajrayāna if you don't believe this. The second thing is that one should have faith that one's root guru is actually a Buddha, or at least one should try to develop that sincere conviction over time. If one does not have this conviction, it is very difficult to make progress in Vajrayāna practice; but if one has this conviction, it becomes very easy.

Since there is no way to modernize this essential feature of Vajrayāna, Vajrayāna will always resist modernization.

For example, there is a well known story about how Naropa displayed a mandala in the sky to Marpa, and asked Marpa to whom he would prostrate, the guru or the mandala, Marpa, thinking that he saw his guru everyday, but never saw such miraculously manifested mandalas, chose to prostrate to the mandala...big mistake that cost Marpa his family lineage...

So, Mahamudra in the modern world is an impossibility, if by that one means, how can Mahamudra be adapted to fit modern society — it can't, we can only adapt ourselves to Mahāmudra, mahāmudra cannot be adapted to suit us.
DesertDweller
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by DesertDweller »

I hate to be a nitpicker, but I find this use of the term "modernism" to be extremely unhelpful without its first being defined. What exactly do people here mean by "modernism"? It's an extremely broad term, and without defining what exactly we mean by it, we will merely be talking past each other. For example, what is "modernism" (a specifically secular ideology) in Vajrayana, and what is merely "modern" in the sense of making teachings available to people in geographical and historical circumstances which differ from those in which they originated? There's surely a difference. For instance, webcasting the Dalai Lama's speeches is surely "modern," but is it "modernism"? I doubt it. So what do we mean by "modernism"?
Sherlock
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Sherlock »

I agree.

I think "orthodoxy" is actually nothing more than being serious about practice and following guides (both in the flesh teachers and books).

"Modernism" is refusing to follow that to various degrees.
Malcolm
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Malcolm »

DesertDweller wrote:So what do we mean by "modernism"?
Modernism: A Roman Catholic movement, officially condemned in 1907, that attempted to examine traditional belief according to contemporary philosophy, criticism, and historiography.
Remove the "Roman Catholic", and you get my meaning.
  • Modernism: A movement that attempts to examine traditional belief according to contemporary philosophy, criticism, and historiography.
This is deeply incompatible with Vajrayāna.

Hence we can speak of Buddhist Modernism, people like Stephen Batchelor, etc.
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dharmagoat
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dharmagoat »

As far as I know, Dr. Ray does not refer to his approach as 'modernist', so it would seem that the use of this term is a red herring as far as this thread is concerned.

By the way, it seems that Buddhist Geeks got the title of Dr. Ray's audio course wrong, it should be "Mahamudra for the Modern World".
Last edited by dharmagoat on Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Malcolm
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by Malcolm »

dharmagoat wrote:As far as I know, Dr. Ray does not refer to his approach as 'modernist', so it would seem that the use of this term is a red herring as far as this thread is concerned.

Ummm, I don't think anyone did use it with respect to RR...I was addressing another issue which you introduced with your enthusiasm for "innovation."
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dharmagoat
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dharmagoat »

Malcolm wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:As far as I know, Dr. Ray does not refer to his approach as 'modernist', so it would seem that the use of this term is a red herring as far as this thread is concerned.
Ummm, I don't think anyone did use it with respect to RR...I was addressing another issue which you introduced with your enthusiasm for "innovation."
Okay, I just wanted that to be made clear.
DesertDweller
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by DesertDweller »

Thanks. Now we're all more or less on the same page about "modernism." Now judging by the definitions Malcolm cited, "innovation" can exist without being "modernist." I suppose in that case it could either be a "valid" or "invalid" innovation, and this is where there probably exist lots of shades of gray between the extremes of obvious heresy and obvious sanctity. In my understanding, a "valid" innovation would be one which grew organically from within the tradition, based on purely traditional principles, in response to a present need. But I suppose this is where everything gets tricky. Take for instance the issue of recorded empowerments, which I think were deemed acceptable by Garchen Rinpoche. He obviously, I would say, was drawing from his understanding of traditional principles in addressing a modern need. But there is dissension over whether this is a "valid" innovation or not. In any case, whether right or wrong, it doesn't seem "modernist" in the sense of Malcolm ' s definitions (which are basically the standard ones), though it is certainly modern.

As for "orthodoxy," I personally find it quite innocuous as a term. It merely means "right belief," and indicates the historical standards of doctrine and tradition. Of course, people can often use this term to beat others over the head with, and also it is obvious that there is always disagreement about what is and isn't "orthodox" within any religious tradition (i.e. Catholics consider themselves to be orthodox, not those who belong to the Orthodox Church, etc.)

Anyway, :focus:
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dharmagoat
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Re: Mahamudra in the Modern World

Post by dharmagoat »

DesertDweller wrote:As for "orthodoxy," I personally find it quite innocuous as a term. It merely means "right belief," and indicates the historical standards of doctrine and tradition.
Oops, it seems that I used this term incorrectly in an earlier post. It would have been better to have said "It is religious conservatism that I avoid, not tradition."

We learn.
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