Is lineage enough?

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kirtu
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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by kirtu » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:46 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:44 pm
A couple of points:
...living simply and humbly and not showing the example of living an opulent, samsaric pleasure based life.
Actually as a ngakpa, if one has realised the deity, living an opulent pleasurable lifestyle is no different to making offerings to the deity.
But they will not create suffering in doing so. For example Lama Dawa ....

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by TharpaChodron » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:42 pm

So we are supposed to view our teachers as 100% infallible and enlightened, but how about we demistify and deconstruct everything and understand, in truth, the teacher/guru is typically very human, and that is not to say they are flawed. As was said in the film "Night of the Iguana," I find nothing disgusting about human behavior except meanness.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:44 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:42 pm
So we are supposed to view our teachers as 100% infallible and enlightened, but how about we demistify and deconstruct everything and understand, in truth, the teacher/guru is typically very human, and that is not to say they are flawed. As was said in the film "Night of the Iguana," I find nothing disgusting about human behavior except meanness.
I think you can only view your teacher as a Buddha if you have investigated their teachings, their lineage and most importantly, their example for a long time and dispelled all doubts. Faith is a deep root and cannot be planted hastily, or later there will be a loss of faith and many regrets.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by TharpaChodron » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:01 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:44 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:42 pm
So we are supposed to view our teachers as 100% infallible and enlightened, but how about we demistify and deconstruct everything and understand, in truth, the teacher/guru is typically very human, and that is not to say they are flawed. As was said in the film "Night of the Iguana," I find nothing disgusting about human behavior except meanness.
I think you can only view your teacher as a Buddha if you have investigated their teachings, their lineage and most importantly, their example for a long time and dispelled all doubts. Faith is a deep root and cannot be planted hastily, or later there will be a loss of faith and many regrets.
I think investigating the teachings is the most important thing, i.e. is the teacher approaching existence from an accurate viewpoint or not. Are they abusing the teaching for personal gain? If they are acting in good faith, even unchecked desire, I am not as concerned. It's like the difference between murder and manslaughter. What is the intent, I ask.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by DGA » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:11 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:44 pm
TharpaChodron wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:42 pm
So we are supposed to view our teachers as 100% infallible and enlightened, but how about we demistify and deconstruct everything and understand, in truth, the teacher/guru is typically very human, and that is not to say they are flawed. As was said in the film "Night of the Iguana," I find nothing disgusting about human behavior except meanness.
I think you can only view your teacher as a Buddha if you have investigated their teachings, their lineage and most importantly, their example for a long time and dispelled all doubts. Faith is a deep root and cannot be planted hastily, or later there will be a loss of faith and many regrets.
What's faith?

related discussion:

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27876

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Adamantine » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:13 pm

DGA wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:38 am
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:23 am

So my question is - in addition to lineage as a guarantor of a teacher's credentials and one's own observation of their behavior - should we require something more? A published code of conduct, an institutional constitution that ensures bad behavior is censured and prevented from continuing, other checks and balances?
Among other things, I think there needs to be a change in culture among Dharma practitioners, particularly in the West. Specifically, there needs to be a lot less credulity and passive acceptance of make-believe. Practitioners need to be increasingly intolerant of bullshit behavior. Be grownups. Be whole people. Put differently, there needs to be supports in place to ensure that the vulnerable are not exploited or exploitable, and that those who have been hurt can heal and live in peace.
In other words, critical thinking skills need to be taught better, although this is more effectively done in the context of schooling, rather than as adults. This is clearly not judiciously accomplished in the USA or we wouldn’t have our current political representatives in office, among other things...
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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Adamantine » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:15 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:23 am
I've been following the dicussion about Nakpa International on another thread and the role of lineage.

I, probably like most people here, would want to know that a teacher belongs to a bona fide lineage before seeking teachings from them. And I think this holds true for the major orthodox forms of Buddhism available today. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of an orthodox tradition is that it has a demonstrable lineage.

But, just because a group/teacher can lay claim to a history of respected teachers is that enough. Thankfully, all of my teachers have been beyond reproach but there are teachers within my own tradition I would not trust even though they have the seal of approval of the lineage. I cannot think of a Tibetan or Zen or Theravadin school that has not been touched by scandal at some point - and it does not seem to be letting up.

So my question is - in addition to lineage as a guarantor of a teacher's credentials and one's own observation of their behavior - should we require something more? A published code of conduct, an institutional constitution that ensures bad behavior is censured and prevented from continuing, other checks and balances?

There are a number of traditional texts that deal with how to examine a potential Vajra Guru. Words of My Perfect Teacher has a good chapter on this
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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by passel » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:51 pm

Texts alone won’t save you from abusive or fraudulent teachers because teachers have (or are given, or just take) implicit and explicit power to limit your access, understanding, and interpretation of them.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:11 am

Adamantine wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:15 pm

There are a number of traditional texts that deal with how to examine a potential Vajra Guru. Words of My Perfect Teacher has a good chapter on this
I'm afraid it is just not that easy. That's why I was suggesting that one also need to look at constitution of a Sangha (something like they have here http://sfzc.org/about-zen-center/principles-governance). The Guru model of practice such as we have in the Vajrayana is susceptible to abuse by its very nature. I think any Dharma institution which uses it needs to be able to ensure things do not go wrong. I bet Pema Chodron wishes they'd had one in place at Shambala.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:11 am
Adamantine wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:15 pm

There are a number of traditional texts that deal with how to examine a potential Vajra Guru. Words of My Perfect Teacher has a good chapter on this
I'm afraid it is just not that easy. That's why I was suggesting that one also need to look at constitution of a Sangha (something like they have here http://sfzc.org/about-zen-center/principles-governance). The Guru model of practice such as we have in the Vajrayana is susceptible to abuse by its very nature. I think any Dharma institution which uses it needs to be able to ensure things do not go wrong. I bet Pema Chodron wishes they'd had one in place at Shambala.
I think it's very simple. These are the ten qualities to be possessed by a Mahayana Spiritual Guide according to Maitreya's Ornament for Mahayana Sutras:

(1) A mind that is controlled by the practice of moral discipline.
(2) A mind that has become peaceful and undistracted through the practice of concentration.
(3) Reduced self-grasping through the practice of wisdom.
(4) Greater knowledge than the disciple.
(5) Delight in teaching Dharma.
(6) A wealth of scriptural knowledge.
(7) A deep and stable realization of emptiness.
(8) Great skill in explaining Dharma.
(9) Compassion and love for his disciples.
(10) Enthusiasm for teaching Dharma, being free from discouragement or laziness.

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Mantrik » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:06 am

passel wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:51 pm
Texts alone won’t save you from abusive or fraudulent teachers because teachers have (or are given, or just take) implicit and explicit power to limit your access, understanding, and interpretation of them.
Excellent point.

The teachings themselves are totally integrated to slowly create the belief that exploitation is 'blissful' and sexual exploitation is actually helping your pure teachers attain enlightenment, for example by acting as a monk's consort. Of course, they have self-generated so are no longer a worldly monk and so have you, so all is well and 'much merit' is generated for all, 'Lama says.....' .

The same approach to merit generation means you are blissfully happy to give away your possessions, leave your family and enter servitude, etc. It is an insidious and iterative process. Scritpures are integral and associated with the corrupt teacher by always conveying them as if spoken by him, so 'Lama says Buddha wants you to.' So the victims believe that they are following Buddha's teachings and their teacher is infallible.


Once within the 'bubble', especially when living 24/7 in the environment, manipulating reality appears to be relatively easy as there is no access to teachers or teachings which may 'confuse' because they are not from 'our lineage'.
At some point those who have been with the errant Guru long enough can become complicit in hiding and excusing abusive behaviour, and become abusive themselves with the approval of the Guru in a sort of symbiosis where all 3 Poisons are given a good airing at the expense of the cannon fodder lower down the order.
Having seen it for myself, I feel that any Guru who is complicit in abuse by their senior teachers and continues to allow them to teach etc. is not leading an organisation fit to be called 'Buddhist' and certainly should be expelled from their lineage or that lineage itself becomes complicit and tainted.
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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:38 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am

I think it's very simple.

...

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.
You know it's not that simple. People only learn the lesson you suggest after a while - and in a Sangha that actually promotes them!

People join Dharma groups for all sorts of (and frequently the wrong) reasons - community, daddy issues, a clear set of life rules cos they can't cope in the real messy world etc. They do not know to go thru the list you set out. Or even if they do, they choose to ignore the warning signs if they conflict with the real reason they are there.

Sangha have samaya with each other as well as the guru. Community rules needs to exist to ensure the vulnerable - the very people who do not use your list - are OK. Any group needs to show they are prepared for the worst, IMHO.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by amanitamusc » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:18 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:11 am
Adamantine wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:15 pm

There are a number of traditional texts that deal with how to examine a potential Vajra Guru. Words of My Perfect Teacher has a good chapter on this
I'm afraid it is just not that easy. That's why I was suggesting that one also need to look at constitution of a Sangha (something like they have here http://sfzc.org/about-zen-center/principles-governance). The Guru model of practice such as we have in the Vajrayana is susceptible to abuse by its very nature. I think any Dharma institution which uses it needs to be able to ensure things do not go wrong. I bet Pema Chodron wishes they'd had one in place at Shambala.
I think it's very simple. These are the ten qualities to be possessed by a Mahayana Spiritual Guide according to Maitreya's Ornament for Mahayana Sutras:

(1) A mind that is controlled by the practice of moral discipline.
(2) A mind that has become peaceful and undistracted through the practice of concentration.
(3) Reduced self-grasping through the practice of wisdom.
(4) Greater knowledge than the disciple.
(5) Delight in teaching Dharma.
(6) A wealth of scriptural knowledge.
(7) A deep and stable realization of emptiness.
(8) Great skill in explaining Dharma.
(9) Compassion and love for his disciples.
(10) Enthusiasm for teaching Dharma, being free from discouragement or laziness.

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.
What if said guru allows the sangha to disrupt the events of another tradition.
You follow such a guru.Right?

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:13 pm

amanitamusc wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:18 am
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am
Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:11 am


I'm afraid it is just not that easy. That's why I was suggesting that one also need to look at constitution of a Sangha (something like they have here http://sfzc.org/about-zen-center/principles-governance). The Guru model of practice such as we have in the Vajrayana is susceptible to abuse by its very nature. I think any Dharma institution which uses it needs to be able to ensure things do not go wrong. I bet Pema Chodron wishes they'd had one in place at Shambala.
I think it's very simple. These are the ten qualities to be possessed by a Mahayana Spiritual Guide according to Maitreya's Ornament for Mahayana Sutras:

(1) A mind that is controlled by the practice of moral discipline.
(2) A mind that has become peaceful and undistracted through the practice of concentration.
(3) Reduced self-grasping through the practice of wisdom.
(4) Greater knowledge than the disciple.
(5) Delight in teaching Dharma.
(6) A wealth of scriptural knowledge.
(7) A deep and stable realization of emptiness.
(8) Great skill in explaining Dharma.
(9) Compassion and love for his disciples.
(10) Enthusiasm for teaching Dharma, being free from discouragement or laziness.

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.
What if said guru allows the sangha to disrupt the events of another tradition.
You follow such a guru.Right?
I think we have a different view of this, but if I express my view, we will both be in trouble! :tongue: I think it's best for you to drop your agenda.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:15 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:38 am
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am

I think it's very simple.

...

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.
You know it's not that simple. People only learn the lesson you suggest after a while - and in a Sangha that actually promotes them!

People join Dharma groups for all sorts of (and frequently the wrong) reasons - community, daddy issues, a clear set of life rules cos they can't cope in the real messy world etc. They do not know to go thru the list you set out. Or even if they do, they choose to ignore the warning signs if they conflict with the real reason they are there.

Sangha have samaya with each other as well as the guru. Community rules needs to exist to ensure the vulnerable - the very people who do not use your list - are OK. Any group needs to show they are prepared for the worst, IMHO.
I do think it is that simple. We are encouraged to investigate our potential root Guru for a long time and the quality of the teachings is not a good enough reason to rely on a Spiritual Guide. I also think the tradition should teach these values that the Spiritual Guide is supposed to conform to.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:15 pm

I do think it is that simple. We are encouraged to investigate our potential root Guru for a long time and the quality of the teachings is not a good enough reason to rely on a Spiritual Guide. I also think the tradition should teach these values that the Spiritual Guide is supposed to conform to.
You are putting the onus of avoiding bad gurus solely on the seeker. While we each have a responsibility to look out for ourselves, it surely helps if we can see the group we want to join is alive to the possibility of communal disharmony and bad behavior.

I am sure there are many folks in Rigpa and Shambhala who thought they would never fall for a dodgy guru until it happened to them.

Even if the rules are laid out by the tradition, there needs to be a system of redress if the rules are not followed.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by amanitamusc » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:11 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:13 pm
amanitamusc wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:18 am
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:03 am


I think it's very simple. These are the ten qualities to be possessed by a Mahayana Spiritual Guide according to Maitreya's Ornament for Mahayana Sutras:

(1) A mind that is controlled by the practice of moral discipline.
(2) A mind that has become peaceful and undistracted through the practice of concentration.
(3) Reduced self-grasping through the practice of wisdom.
(4) Greater knowledge than the disciple.
(5) Delight in teaching Dharma.
(6) A wealth of scriptural knowledge.
(7) A deep and stable realization of emptiness.
(8) Great skill in explaining Dharma.
(9) Compassion and love for his disciples.
(10) Enthusiasm for teaching Dharma, being free from discouragement or laziness.

NUMBER 1 is a mind that is controlled by moral discipline - what is the Guru's example? To my mind that excludes all the crazy wisdom stuff so there's no excuse for misbehaviour. If a Spiritual Guide cannot show an example of a controlled mind and practice basic moral discipline, bye bye.
What if said guru allows the sangha to disrupt the events of another tradition.
You follow such a guru.Right?
I think we have a different view of this, but if I express my view, we will both be in trouble! :tongue: I think it's best for you to drop your agenda.
I'm fine with my agenda as you seem to be with yours.

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Mantrik
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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Mantrik » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:33 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:15 pm
I do think it is that simple. We are encouraged to investigate our potential root Guru for a long time and the quality of the teachings is not a good enough reason to rely on a Spiritual Guide. I also think the tradition should teach these values that the Spiritual Guide is supposed to conform to.
So, we really should spend time examining a Guru claimed as a wondrous emanation of Buddha and holy Spiritual Guide to see if they are living up to the values of the Tradition in which they ordained:

If suitable, a Lama would most certainly not be encouraging complete beginners to take HYT and Tantric Vows to create samaya,nor give such Empowerments having been expelled from his monastery of course, nor teach them to follow practices forbidden by his own lineage, knowing that to be samaya breaking.

Nor would a suitable Guru appoint as a senior teacher someone who was a known abuser, whom the Guru himself claimed had a 'sexual lineage' and previously made disrobe, of course. That would lead to the deduction that the 'Buddhist' edifice was, 'a Priori', a Dodgy Shag den.

Nor would such a perfect Guru encourage disruption of the teachings and vile abuse of his own Guru because that would be very far from moral discipline as taught within his lineage, wouldn't it?

Of course, the above examples are ridiculous, unbelievable, and no Guru could possibly act this way without being noticed as someone lacking all credibility as a Guru in any Buddhist tradition. Anyone carefully examining them is highly likely to notice.....sadly, very few in 'modern buddhism' do examine closely .......... but are slowly hooked and reeled in.

The criterion of 'moral discipline' seems to be a very ephemeral, inconsistent and elastic notion when interpreted by some. But then, if the 'Tradition' teaches that sexual abuse is OK because senior teachers and the Guru are 'beyond karma', of course they are able to comply with it with that interpretation.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:29 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:33 pm

So, we really should spend time examining a Guru claimed as a wondrous emanation of Buddha and holy Spiritual Guide to see if they are living up to the values of the Tradition in which they ordained.
I agree.

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Re: Is lineage enough?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:32 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm

I am sure there are many folks in Rigpa and Shambhala who thought they would never fall for a dodgy guru until it happened to them.

Even if the rules are laid out by the tradition, there needs to be a system of redress if the rules are not followed.
I totally agree. I really do feel for those who want to follow a genuine Buddhist path and who have felt betrayed and deceived by misconduct of those they looked up to. I can only hope they don't abandon Buddhism altogether.

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