Guess who said this?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).

Guess who said this?

A. Eckhart Tolle
2
17%
B. Deepak Chopra
1
8%
C. Pema Chödrön
1
8%
D. Situ Rinpoche
6
50%
E. HH Dalai Lama
2
17%
F. None of the above
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 12

smcj
Posts: 5709
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by smcj » Fri May 25, 2018 7:11 am

Funny you say that, because for me that is exactly the reason why he could not be equated with God, I think the analog to God is rather the primordial essence :smile:
Good chance primordial essence and godhead are fungible. At least that’s kinda my interpretation of Situ R’s quote.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

emaho
Posts: 856
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:33 pm

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by emaho » Fri May 25, 2018 7:27 am

I guess it runs down to the question if you have a personal or non-personal understanding of god.
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

smcj
Posts: 5709
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by smcj » Fri May 25, 2018 7:30 am

emaho wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:27 am
I guess it runs down to the question if you have a personal or non-personal understanding of god.
If you mean “God/Buddha is a person”, then no I don’t believe that. In fact, if you read the linked article, Situ R says that if there are any mental processes happening then it isn’t “Buddha”.

If you mean “I as a person can benefit directly through faith and prayer in Buddha/Dharmakaya“, then yes I believe that.
Last edited by smcj on Fri May 25, 2018 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

emaho
Posts: 856
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:33 pm

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by emaho » Fri May 25, 2018 7:36 am

Oops, yes, I meant if you understand god as a person or not.
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

smcj
Posts: 5709
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by smcj » Fri May 25, 2018 7:43 am

emaho wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:36 am
Oops, yes, I meant if you understand god as a person or not.
Nope. Not that.

But once you get into yidams and dharmapalas it can sure seem that way.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

User avatar
Ayu
Former staff member
Posts: 6961
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by Ayu » Fri May 25, 2018 8:52 am

smcj wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:43 am
emaho wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:36 am
Oops, yes, I meant if you understand god as a person or not.
Nope. Not that.

But once you get into yidams and dharmapalas it can sure seem that way.
Yes. But this is a common misconception of people who do not really practice a yidam or dharmapala. Isn't it? At least I believe so. As soon as one practices it for a while they have to understand the yidams as non-dual.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

smcj
Posts: 5709
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by smcj » Fri May 25, 2018 11:36 am

Ayu wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:52 am
smcj wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:43 am
emaho wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:36 am
Oops, yes, I meant if you understand god as a person or not.
Nope. Not that.

But once you get into yidams and dharmapalas it can sure seem that way.
Yes. But this is a common misconception of people who do not really practice a yidam or dharmapala. Isn't it? At least I believe so. As soon as one practices it for a while they have to understand the yidams as non-dual.
A few months ago I was talking to Lama Chödrak, who is in charge of the Kagyu Monlams around the world. He isn’t a world class yogi or scholar. He’s an administrator. But he is certainly a thoroughbred Karma Kagyupa.

With DW in mind I brought up the subject of the nature of the deities. I told him that when westerners hear that the deities are “the nature of your own mind” or “nondual” that we interpret that to mean they aren’t real. He said, “Oh no no no. You’ve got to develop faith and trust in them. Then, once you’ve done that, you dissolve them into yourself and rest in emptiness. That’s the nondual part.”

YMMV
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

User avatar
Ayu
Former staff member
Posts: 6961
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by Ayu » Fri May 25, 2018 4:36 pm

smcj wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 11:36 am
...

YMMV
No, I agree completely.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4813
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by conebeckham » Fri May 25, 2018 4:55 pm

smcj wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 11:36 am
Ayu wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:52 am
smcj wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:43 am


Nope. Not that.

But once you get into yidams and dharmapalas it can sure seem that way.
Yes. But this is a common misconception of people who do not really practice a yidam or dharmapala. Isn't it? At least I believe so. As soon as one practices it for a while they have to understand the yidams as non-dual.
A few months ago I was talking to Lama Chödrak, who is in charge of the Kagyu Monlams around the world. He isn’t a world class yogi or scholar. He’s an administrator. But he is certainly a thoroughbred Karma Kagyupa.

With DW in mind I brought up the subject of the nature of the deities. I told him that when westerners hear that the deities are “the nature of your own mind” or “nondual” that we interpret that to mean they aren’t real. He said, “Oh no no no. You’ve got to develop faith and trust in them. Then, once you’ve done that, you dissolve them into yourself and rest in emptiness. That’s the nondual part.”

YMMV
There are many ways of approaching this, but I think it's a mistake, no matter what level of tantra one is practicing, to dismiss deities as "not real" based on some sort of "nondual" or "Mind Nature" equivalence. Lama Chodrak's comments reflect the view of a Kagyu gradualist approach to deity yoga which is the way it is taught and practiced for most of us.....one undertakes deity yoga viewing the deity as "real," in some sense, and as separable from our normal selves, in some sense. Gradually, and especially when one encounters the main yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage, one's understanding of the nature of the deity is refined--and, likewise, one's understanding of one's own nature, and the relationship between that and the yidam's nature, develop.

There is also a less "gradualist" approach to deity yoga which points out the "Ultimate Nature" of the deity and there are sadhanas which feature methods that emphasize this as a sort of "short-cut." Many of the deity yogas found in the Nyingma's higher yanas reflect these sorts of methods.

Either way, though, it's a mistake to grasp at an intellectual understanding of the nature of yidam and not actually follow the practice instructions you're given. I think Lama Chodrak would agree that the Ultimate Nature of the deities is, and has always been, beyond duality, regardless as to whether one is visualizing the deity, reciting mantra, working with tsalung tigle, or resting after dissolution. This is consistent with the primordial inseparability of Appearance and Emptiness, after all. Creation Stage and Completion Stage inform each other, and ultimately the goal is to practice them simultaneously and not sequentially, though we start with a more sequential method or approach, most of the time.

As for this idea of "God" and "Buddha-nature" equivalence, it is fraught with perils, IMO. "God" means many things to many people, and the vast majority of theists, both mono-and poly-, would dispute certain key tenets that are essential to Buddha Dharma. In the article the original quotes are lifted from, HE Situ Rinpoche is discussing "pramana" which is about "knowledge" or "proof" or "Correct cognition." When he examines the notion of "god(s)" he first points out that the notion of an "other" who creates (us, the world, existence, etc.) is not correct according to Buddhism. Then he goes on to talk about "Primordial Wisdom" which we all possess, at least as potential. He says that he personally does not believe in a dualistic "Other" God or gods to be propitiated, but he does make a case that, on the level of dualism, our ordinary form, supplications and so on are appropriate--but not to please some "other," more as our own need. He says that our receipt of grace is similar to that of Christians, but then he makes a statement right after that about everything being illusion. I do not believe most theists would be comfortable with that assertion, nor, frankly, with some idea of receiving "Buddha's Grace" being equivalent with Christian Grace. I'm not a theologian, but Christian Grace is a very "well-developed" concept and a cornerstone of Christianity. In some sense, reliance on God's Grace is the core of Christian belief. I personally don't see Buddhism as emphasizing this to such a great degree--I note that Rinpoche comments early on that we are our own products, in fact. But these are simple generalities I'm stating, and this sort of discussion is huge and frankly never-ending....it's ultimately a distraction from the practices, in my view. Comparative Religion is not "pramana" or "debate" in the Buddhist sense.

In the question and answer section that follows, he addresses "Faith without reasoning,"and I found this whole section to be a wonderful potential antidote to the sort of secular "Buddhism" popular with some these days, and also good advice for those who are prone to over-intellectualization or over-conceptualization. Then he segues into how Pramana, and actually using debate and conceptualization, are valid methods to recognize or reveal the Two Truths. I think it's a wonderful article.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

smcj
Posts: 5709
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Guess who said this?

Post by smcj » Fri May 25, 2018 5:58 pm

I think it's a mistake, no matter what level of tantra one is practicing, to dismiss deities as "not real" based on some sort of "nondual" or "Mind Nature" equivalence. Lama Chodrak's comments reflect the view of a Kagyu gradualist approach to deity yoga which is the way it is taught and practiced for most of us.....one undertakes deity yoga viewing the deity as "real," in some sense, and as separable from our normal selves, in some sense. Gradually, and especially when one encounters the main yidam practices of the Kagyu lineage, one's understanding of the nature of the deity is refined--and, likewise, one's understanding of one's own nature, and the relationship between that and the yidam's nature, develop.
I like Bokar R.'s summation of this in his book on Tara. He says something to the effect that since we see things dualistically that we see Tara as a deity. But since Tara sees things from a non dual perspective she sees herself as not different than the nature of our mind.

Kinda cool.

As for this idea of "God" and "Buddha-nature" equivalence, it is fraught with perils, IMO.
True.

But then I believe that avoiding the discussion is fraught with even more perils, as it allows us to import our negativities and closed mindedness which come from our antipathy towards Christianity into our practice. That, in my opinion, can be an insurmountable obstacle to our practice of Vajrayana.

Specifically within the Karma Kagyu there is a type of approach which says, "The only things that really transforms you are the practices, so don't waste your time trying to understand what you are doing." It's like the Nike slogan "Just Do It". That worked in Tibet, but from what I am told it isn't working here. I suspect it is because of our intolerance for anything which we see as having a parallel in Christianity. That is why I brought up the issue with the nature of the deities with Lama Chödrak. But that perspective of course is just my current opinion, which is only how my unawareness sees things from my present karmic position. It is not anything reliable.

However when HHK17 (O.T.) recently visited the nuns currently in our 3 year retreat he was asked by them what they could do to best help Vajrayana come to the West. He told them to study first, then practice. He said study alone would not get them there, but then after study then they should practice. So maybe the "don't understand what you are doing" approach is going to be changed in the future.
I think it's a wonderful article.
So do I.

It is an excerpt from his book "Creation and Completion". The whole book is worth a read. As one point he gets into the different types of Rantong, one of which sounds indistinguishable from Shentong except for semantic formulation. I suspect that was the type of Rangtong that Mipham R. subscribed to.

But that is for another thread.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Matt J and 55 guests