What's a "pure tradition"?

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DGA
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What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by DGA » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:41 pm

A comment was made elsewhere that deserves its own topic:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:20 pm
DGA wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:00 am
There's an organization that is based in the UK and is very controversial. When it implodes, for whatever reason, we won't discuss it at DW. Mercifully.
It never will because it's a pure tradition benefiting so many people all over the world. Sorry to disappoint.
viewtopic.php?f=40&p=464494#p464481

Ok, what's a "pure tradition"? And what does it mean to claim that a given organization (any one) represents a "pure tradition"?

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by passel » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:58 pm

DGA wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:41 pm
A comment was made elsewhere that deserves its own topic:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:20 pm
DGA wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:00 am
There's an organization that is based in the UK and is very controversial. When it implodes, for whatever reason, we won't discuss it at DW. Mercifully.
It never will because it's a pure tradition benefiting so many people all over the world. Sorry to disappoint.
viewtopic.php?f=40&p=464494#p464481

Ok, what's a "pure tradition"? And what does it mean to claim that a given organization (any one) represents a "pure tradition"?
‘Pure tradition’ is usually just code for ‘I will ignore all sources of valid cognition in favor of arguments from authority, until I grow out of it or am somehow enjoined from doing so.’
Last edited by passel on Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:59 pm

Be aware: I am watching this conversation REALLY closely.
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:12 pm

So:

In the context of Vajrayana:

A lineage of authentic masters (male or female).
Adherence to Vinaya for all who are ordained.
Adherence to Tantric Vows for all lay Lamas.
Empowerments given only by those with extant authority from their lineage.
Acceptance that students may concurrently receive teachings from more than one Guru from more than one tradition, as a 'pure' tradition is never under threat.

Absence of samaya breakers as teachers.
Absence of exploitation in all its forms.
Absence of attacks on other valid traditions.

Expulsion of those Lamas who pollute the tradition through samaya breaking.
Expulsion of those committing serious and deliberate breaches of vows and and do not seek to repair them.
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:21 pm

Pure tradition means the teachings of Buddha with lineage blessings, nothing added and nothing taken away.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:21 pm
Pure tradition means the teachings of Buddha with lineage blessings, nothing added and nothing taken away.
So:
Vinaya applied fully with nothing removed.
No unauthorised additions to sadhanas.
No attacks on high Lamas.
No giving empowerments after expulsion from your lineage.
Expulsion of those teachers breaking their samaya and vows.
No return to teaching after sexual predation.

Great - all those harmful 'Rinpoche' folk can follow your example.:)
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by lelopa » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:09 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:21 pm
Pure tradition means the teachings of Buddha with lineage blessings, nothing added and nothing taken away.
So:
Vinaya applied fully with nothing removed.
No unauthorised additions to sadhanas.
No attacks on high Lamas.
No giving empowerments after expulsion from your lineage.
Expulsion of those teachers breaking their samaya and vows.
No return to teaching after sexual predation.

Great - all those harmful 'Rinpoche' folk can follow your example.:)
:good:
ཨོཾ་ཨཱཿཧཱུྃ་བོ་དྷི་ཙིཏྟ་མ་ཧཱ་སུ་ཁ་ཛྙཱ་ན་དྷཱརྟུ་ཨཱཿ

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:20 pm

I believe the purpose of this thread is to discuss, in a general way, what it means for a tradition to be pure. I think it's a good and important subject because we all want to meet and practice within a pure tradition so that we can attain results.

I also understand that some may be tempted to get in 'digs' about specific traditions that they disagree with. I understand the temptation but really there's no meaning in criticising what people practice - we all have freedom to practice as we wish.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:29 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm

So:

Vinaya applied fully with nothing removed.
No unauthorised additions to sadhanas.
No attacks on high Lamas.
No giving empowerments after expulsion from your lineage.
Expulsion of those teachers breaking their samaya and vows.
No return to teaching after sexual predation.
Vinaya applied. I assume you understand that Vinaya is simply a means of controlling the mind and actions and not just a set of scriptures or physical and verbal rules? On this basis, I agree.

No unauthorised additions to sadhanas - I agree, we must continue to practice the essence of what the lineage has transmitted.

No attacks on high Lamas - that depends on their actions. At the moment many people are criticising Sogyal Rinpoche, for example, is this incorrect? Surely high Lamas need to be accountable for their actions, they are not 'gods' who should be never be questioned. People questioned the Buddha, for example. If there is no questioning and just blind acceptance then that's a possible cult.

No giving of empowerments - I agree, if you are expelled from your lineage or tradition, you cannot continue to teach or to give empowerments, this makes sense.

Expulsion of teachers breaking their vows - expulsion is a harsh word; everybody can realise their errors and try to improve surely? They certainly would no longer teach but it depends on what you mean by expulsion: would you deny people the teachings because of their moral downfalls? Taking the teachings to heart is the only way to improve.

No return to teaching after sexual predation - In general I agree, but again, there may be exceptions if the person sincerely recognises their faults, attempts to reform, purifies and shows deep remorse. Isn't everybody worth a second chance, depending on circumstances?

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by lelopa » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:06 pm

:shock:
ཨོཾ་ཨཱཿཧཱུྃ་བོ་དྷི་ཙིཏྟ་མ་ཧཱ་སུ་ཁ་ཛྙཱ་ན་དྷཱརྟུ་ཨཱཿ

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by kirtu » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:11 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:29 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm

So:

Vinaya applied fully with nothing removed.
No unauthorised additions to sadhanas.
No attacks on high Lamas.
No giving empowerments after expulsion from your lineage.
Expulsion of those teachers breaking their samaya and vows.
No return to teaching after sexual predation.
....
No attacks on high Lamas - that depends on their actions. At the moment many people are criticising Sogyal Rinpoche, for example, is this incorrect?
Sogyal Lakar did not follow pure vinaya and caused a great deal of suffering.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:30 pm

There have been discussions on other threads about the value of a Guru being authentic, recognised by their own lineage, able to point clearly to their own masters and the permissions given to them to teach others and give empowerments.

So in any 'pure' tradition we must of course exclude any putative 'Guru' from purity who, for example:

Lacks evidence of basic qualifications of either academic or tantric competence.
Has no extant approval as teacher or tantric master from their own monastery.
Invents methods of ordination which do not comply with those of the tradition in which they have been trained, or any other authentic tradition.
Allows internal organisational considerations to overrride Tantric Vows and shows total hypocrisy by then permitting samaya breakers to re-ordain in contravention of their own rules.
Breaks samaya with respect to their own Gurus, such as HHDL, for example and plagiarises and perverts scriptures taught in their lineage.

I'm sure there are other qualities which preclude a Guru from purity, and several have been discussed here, but critically if someone asserts that a tradition is 'pure' then the Gurus in that tradition, as lineage holders, must be the conduit for that purity. No lineage, no Vinaya adherence, broken samaya, broken vows, sexual exploitation.........not much chance anyone will swallow that claim, methinks.
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:41 pm

kirtu wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:11 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:29 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm

So:

Vinaya applied fully with nothing removed.
No unauthorised additions to sadhanas.
No attacks on high Lamas.
No giving empowerments after expulsion from your lineage.
Expulsion of those teachers breaking their samaya and vows.
No return to teaching after sexual predation.
....
No attacks on high Lamas - that depends on their actions. At the moment many people are criticising Sogyal Rinpoche, for example, is this incorrect?
Sogyal Lakar did not follow pure vinaya and caused a great deal of suffering.

Kirt
Indeed, so if Lamas are giving Buddha's teachings but not living in accordance with them, then we should question their example and actions.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:52 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:30 pm
There have been discussions on other threads about the value of a Guru being authentic, recognised by their own lineage, able to point clearly to their own masters and the permissions given to them to teach others and give empowerments.

So in any 'pure' tradition we must of course exclude any putative 'Guru' from purity who, for example:

Lacks evidence of basic qualifications of either academic or tantric competence.
Has no extant approval as teacher or tantric master from their own monastery.
Invents methods of ordination which do not comply with those of the tradition in which they have been trained, or any other authentic tradition.
Allows internal organisational considerations to overrride Tantric Vows and shows total hypocrisy by then permitting samaya breakers to re-ordain in contravention of their own rules.
Breaks samaya with respect to their own Gurus, such as HHDL, for example and plagiarises and perverts scriptures taught in their lineage.

I'm sure there are other qualities which preclude a Guru from purity, and several have been discussed here, but critically if someone asserts that a tradition is 'pure' then the Gurus in that tradition, as lineage holders, must be the conduit for that purity. No lineage, no Vinaya adherence, broken samaya, broken vows, sexual exploitation.........not much chance anyone will swallow that claim, methinks.
I agree, if there was no lineage, no keeping of moral discipline and actively acting in contradiction to Buddha's teachings, broken commitments on behalf of the Gurus and so forth then there could not be a pure tradition. These are important points to assess when investigating whether a lineage is pure or not; that's why we have to check carefully.

I still feel that the authenticity of the lineage and the example of the Teachers are the most important things to consider.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by DGA » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:17 am

I'd like to zero in on this idea of purity. In some Tibetan traditions, it is claimed that a particular practice may be more or less potent because those who practiced it have kept their samaya intact, "pure." This is an advantage of the terma tradition, in my opinion. The treasures of Guru Rinpoche are excellent in many ways, and this is one of them: the "short" traditions are more potent and relevant, and because there are still new terma being revealed, we have powerful new practices available to us. That's one answer, I suppose, to what a "pure" tradition might be.

But that's not the same as claiming that a specific organization is or represents a pure tradition or pure lineage.

I suppose I messed up when I started this conversation, or at least I was a bit careless. It's this question of purity that interests me. Any further thoughts on it?

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:23 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:17 am
I'd like to zero in on this idea of purity. In some Tibetan traditions, it is claimed that a particular practice may be more or less potent because those who practiced it have kept their samaya intact, "pure." This is an advantage of the terma tradition, in my opinion. The treasures of Guru Rinpoche are excellent in many ways, and this is one of them: the "short" traditions are more potent and relevant, and because there are still new terma being revealed, we have powerful new practices available to us. That's one answer, I suppose, to what a "pure" tradition might be.

But that's not the same as claiming that a specific organization is or represents a pure tradition or pure lineage.

I suppose I messed up when I started this conversation, or at least I was a bit careless. It's this question of purity that interests me. Any further thoughts on it?
According to the tradition of Nalanda Monastery, when Dharma is taught there should be three purities. a pure mind on the part of the student, pure speech on the part of the Spiritual Guide, and pure Dharma. The last two of these is relevant to the idea of a pure tradition.

The speech of the Spiritual Guide is pure if it is unmistaken and clear, if he or she received it from an authentic Spiritual Guide and if the oral transmission and lineage teachings have blessings. The Dharma is pure if it reveals the entire path that leads to enlightenment, presents each point unmistakenly, and has been handed down in an unbroken lineage from Buddha Shakyamuni.

It seems to me if a Spiritual Guide is teaching pure Dharma purely, and this transmission is continued unbroken from generation to generation, then that tradition is a pure tradition. It is only by practising a pure tradition that we can attain realisations and finally, enlightenment; however this also depends on the mind of the student which is pure if he or she is free from holding wrong views, has faith in the Spiritual Guide and in the Dharma that is taught and has a correct motivation, thus purity is a dependent relationship.

Seeing how easily it is for any of these important factors to be missing, it's kind of miraculous that pure Dharma exists in these spiritually degenerate times - how fortunate we are!

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:15 am

Is purity possible whilst we are in samsara?

As suffering sentient beings, our every motivation is mixed with the 3 poisons. For instance, we listen to the Dharma because we want to increase our understanding of the path, to provide support for our practise of meditation and subsequent realisations and because it's what is expected of us, because it makes us feel righteous, to meet up with friends and so avoid loneliness, to confirm our sense of intellectual superiority, and so on. Claims of purity from individuals or organisations that are plainly in or part of samsara always strike me as false and to be avoided.

Khen Tashi Tsering Rinpoche when he was in London once explained how he thought that one problem westerners sometimes have is the lack of a "warts and all" understanding of their Dharma teachers. He explained that young monks living in their kangsten develop a much more realistic picture of the senior monks and teachers, an understanding and experience of their normal human foibles, and that this was a healthier basis for subsequent teachings on viewing the guru as inseparable from the Buddha.

Viewing the guru as inseparable from the Buddha whilst clinging to a fairytale of their "purity", a nonsensical rejection of their present human weaknesses is a recipe for disaster in my opinion, and can lead to or excuse some very impure behaviour from teachers and students.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by amanitamusc » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:20 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:23 am
DGA wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:17 am
I'd like to zero in on this idea of purity. In some Tibetan traditions, it is claimed that a particular practice may be more or less potent because those who practiced it have kept their samaya intact, "pure." This is an advantage of the terma tradition, in my opinion. The treasures of Guru Rinpoche are excellent in many ways, and this is one of them: the "short" traditions are more potent and relevant, and because there are still new terma being revealed, we have powerful new practices available to us. That's one answer, I suppose, to what a "pure" tradition might be.

But that's not the same as claiming that a specific organization is or represents a pure tradition or pure lineage.

I suppose I messed up when I started this conversation, or at least I was a bit careless. It's this question of purity that interests me. Any further thoughts on it?
According to the tradition of Nalanda Monastery, when Dharma is taught there should be three purities. a pure mind on the part of the student, pure speech on the part of the Spiritual Guide, and pure Dharma. The last two of these is relevant to the idea of a pure tradition.

The speech of the Spiritual Guide is pure if it is unmistaken and clear, if he or she received it from an authentic Spiritual Guide and if the oral transmission and lineage teachings have blessings. The Dharma is pure if it reveals the entire path that leads to enlightenment, presents each point unmistakenly, and has been handed down in an unbroken lineage from Buddha Shakyamuni.

It seems to me if a Spiritual Guide is teaching pure Dharma purely, and this transmission is continued unbroken from generation to generation, then that tradition is a pure tradition. It is only by practising a pure tradition that we can attain realisations and finally, enlightenment; however this also depends on the mind of the student which is pure if he or she is free from holding wrong views, has faith in the Spiritual Guide and in the Dharma that is taught and has a correct motivation, thus purity is a dependent relationship.

Seeing how easily it is for any of these important factors to be missing, it's kind of miraculous that pure Dharma exists in these spiritually degenerate times - how fortunate we are!
You are giving a lot of information.So just to be clear what is your pure tradition?
Also does your tradition believe that HH Dalai Lama follows a pure tradition.
This is mainly for the newbies so they are not mislead.
A non answer speaks volumes.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:45 am

amanitamusc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:20 am

You are giving a lot of information.So just to be clear what is your pure tradition?
Also does your tradition believe that HH Dalai Lama follows a pure tradition.
This is mainly for the newbies so they are not mislead.
A non answer speaks volumes.
It doesn't matter whether I believe that my tradition is pure or not, or if you believe it is not, I am giving objective criteria for saying whether a tradition is pure and we can all judge our own traditions accordingly.

I don't know about other people's tradition, that's for them to judge.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:52 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:15 am
Is purity possible whilst we are in samsara?

As suffering sentient beings, our every motivation is mixed with the 3 poisons. For instance, we listen to the Dharma because we want to increase our understanding of the path, to provide support for our practise of meditation and subsequent realisations and because it's what is expected of us, because it makes us feel righteous, to meet up with friends and so avoid loneliness, to confirm our sense of intellectual superiority, and so on. Claims of purity from individuals or organisations that are plainly in or part of samsara always strike me as false and to be avoided.

Khen Tashi Tsering Rinpoche when he was in London once explained how he thought that one problem westerners sometimes have is the lack of a "warts and all" understanding of their Dharma teachers. He explained that young monks living in their kangsten develop a much more realistic picture of the senior monks and teachers, an understanding and experience of their normal human foibles, and that this was a healthier basis for subsequent teachings on viewing the guru as inseparable from the Buddha.

Viewing the guru as inseparable from the Buddha whilst clinging to a fairytale of their "purity", a nonsensical rejection of their present human weaknesses is a recipe for disaster in my opinion, and can lead to or excuse some very impure behaviour from teachers and students.
I respectfully disagree that it's not possible to have a pure motivation in samsara because we can train in renunciation and bodhichitta and our motivation, which might not initially be pure, becomes purer and purer. Also, although we may grasp at inherent existence, love and compassion are not true grasping minds and therefore they are pure, although it's possible for love to be mixed with attachment, we need to check.

One of the points of the lamrim teachings regarding the Guru as Buddha is that 'appearances are deceptive and our own opinions are unreliable' so although we need to check the reliability of a Teacher before accepting them as our root Guru, we need to understand that our Guru will appear to have faults but we understand these to be the projections of a faulty mind; thus we can view our Guru as inseparable from Guru Vajradhara and this is what we need to do to receive powerful blessings and to make progress in our Tantric practice.

If a Guru engages in misconduct, we can use the Dharma to judge whether their actions are correct or not.

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