What's a "pure tradition"?

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passel
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by passel » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:44 pm

Purity is just an assertion, right?
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

smcj
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by smcj » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm

I once heard the previous Kalu R say that he saw all the monks and nuns as arhats. Guess he was able to see the purity of the Dharma present even in their lowly Shravakayana level vows.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:46 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:26 pm
It sounds like you are saying, indirectly, that Buddhas cannot help all living beings because they cannot appear as Spiritual Guides.
No. That’s your own thought.
How do you know that these flesh and blood teachers are not enlightened, just because they appear as ordinary? This would imply that there is a break in the lineage, because although there might be a lineage of scripture, what you're saying is that there is no lineage of realisation.
Nope, that’s all yours again.
I don't believe that. Even at the time of Buddha, some people saw him, a fully enlightened being, as a very limited being so their perceptions were wrong. You can't believe everything that appears to your mind. Naropa saw Tilopa as an old man who fried fish alive, Asanga saw Buddha Maitreya as a dog, etc. Even in the golden age, people got it wrong!
No, they saw them in accord with their karmic disposition and level of realisation. When Asanga saw mangy, worm-ridden dog he didn’t pretend to see a Buddha, he saw the dog with all its suffering and developed uncontrived bodhicitta. Only then did he recognise Lord Maitreya. I think this is an important point. Would Asanga have developed bodhicitta if he had not seen the suffering dog? And upon seeing the dog as a suffering being should he have acted to relieve that suffering in accord with its appearance or say to himself actually this dog is a fully enlightened Buddha, I will prostrate and listen to its whimpering, oops I mean teachings?
I'm not suggesting otherwise, however there is a big difference between having some purity and being pure. Though I work towards developing perfect uncontrived renunciation and bodhicitta, my aspirations and motivations are not pure. They are mixed with all the mundane thoughts of the eight worldly dharmas.
One of the benefits of death meditation from the lamrim is that it prevents the eight worldly concerns and makes our Dharma practice pure, therefore I would say that if we have a realisation of death, our Dharma practice will be pure.
And is your realisation of death at such a level? Because I’m honest enough with myself to know that even after 30 years of practice, mine isn’t.
According to the Abhisamayalamkara, the hindrance of manifest pride is separated from with the awakening of the Mahayana lineage, with the development of great compassion so this is prior to generating the mind of enlightenment, uncontrived bodhicitta. Manifest pride is having pride in qualities that one does possess... which of us can say that we honestly take no pride in our achievements and abilities? And if we do, then by this measure, we have not even awakened the Mahayana lineage.
Again, I would say that if you have love, compassion and humility through exchanging self with others, pride will not be a problem because we're doing our practice for others.
So you’re saying you have developed great compassion? Otherwise pride is still afflicting you...unless you disagree with this teaching from Maitreya?
We can create pure karma without a pure motivation? Hmmm, here was me thinking that intention was important, not just the activity. So if I give a large donation of money to a hospital in order to further my political standing, I'm creating pure karma and practising perfect generosity? Are you sure that's how it works?
In general, we need a good motivation to create good karma, but due to the power of the Three Jewels, simply beholding Buddha's image is a cause of liberation, even if you look at it with an angry mind. This benefit comes because of the power and purity of the object, not from our motivation. In Heruka Tantra it is said that just by seeing a sincere Heruka practitioner we purify our negativities and attain liberation. We don't need a special motivation because we receive the blessings of Heruka abiding at the heart of that person.

In the example you gave, you're right - if our motive is selfish we do not create good karma, even if our actions looks ostensibly compassionate.
I repeat, claims of pure teachings, pure traditions, pure teachers are for me a red flag. They sit alongside claims of being racially pure as being divorced from reality and a hindrance to being a decent human being never mind a buddhist practitioner.
Okay, fair enough but I still disagree :smile:
You are allowed, I’m just another practitioner with no special qualities. :smile:

Bristollad
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:52 am

smcj wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:28 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:43 pm
smcj wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:33 pm

Good question.

Don’t assume there is no answer. Do the guru yoga practice and see if the answer comes to you.
It's a rhetorical question actually. And yes, guru yoga is part of my practice.
It does have an answer. Actually it has several answers, depending on who’s doing the answering. So you might want to go over that question with your mentor.
Or maybe you just didn’t understand the point I was making? :thinking:

Bristollad
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:56 am

smcj wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I once heard the previous Kalu R say that he saw all the monks and nuns as arhats. Guess he was able to see the purity of the Dharma present even in their lowly Shravakayana level vows.
And do you see all monks and nuns as arhats? Do you think you should pretend you do because he saw them that way?

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by kirtu » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:03 am

smcj wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I once heard the previous Kalu R say that he saw all the monks and nuns as arhats. Guess he was able to see the purity of the Dharma present even in their lowly Shravakayana level vows.
That is, of course, a form of pure vision.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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

Post by smcj » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:29 am

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:56 am
smcj wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I once heard the previous Kalu R say that he saw all the monks and nuns as arhats. Guess he was able to see the purity of the Dharma present even in their lowly Shravakayana level vows.
And do you see all monks and nuns as arhats? Do you think you should pretend you do because he saw them that way?
I do not see them that way. I do not pretend otherwise.

However I have high confidence KR was able to understand what an arhat is, and was able to see how those monks and nuns, by having taken those vows, were already in some small way participating in that result.

You can think of it like looking at a woman that’s been pregnant for 9 days. She’s just as pregnant as a woman that’s been pregnant for 9 months. It’s just not as easily seen.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by DGA » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:17 am

passel wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:44 pm
Purity is just an assertion, right?
I think so, yes.

Specifically, it's an assertion regarding a lack of impurity. Something is pure to the extent it is not impure.

This means that it makes some sense to ask someone who makes an assertion about purity about what impurity might mean.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by kirtu » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:26 am

passel wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:44 pm
Purity is just an assertion, right?
Ah, no, not just. OTOH it is sort of "just" a form of upaya.

A better way of thinking about it is the Drikung assertion, bordering on eternalism of sorts, that virtue is real. Deity Yoga, for example, is really pure in terms of accumulating merit and wisdom and purifying the impure aggregates and impure mind of the meditator. I think Garchen Rinpoche went so far as to say that this forumulation is unique to the Drikung (although I have heard similar statements with my Nyingma teachers and in Sakya there is a famous teaching that almost directly says this as well - I will not otherwise discuss this last one publicly -).

Upaya, but higher forms of upaya, that when engaged from the lower paths has a purifying "effect/result". And this is true for all forms of Buddhadharma as well.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by smcj » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:35 am

Buddha Nature is purity.
The Dharmakaya is formless purity.
The Sambogakaya and Nirmanakaya are the purity of the Dharmakaya manifesting as enlightened appearances. The Dharmakaya itself, remaining unborn, can never become impure.

Impurity is Buddha Nature manifesting as unawareness and what appears to unawareness. You could say that unawareness misapprehension the appearance of the form kayas as objects. This then snowballs into ego, tainted emotionality based on ego, unskillful actions based on those emotional obscurations, situations and conditions that result from unskillful actions, and the suffering that accompanies those situations.

Pretty standard, right?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by kirtu » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:29 am

smcj wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:35 am
Buddha Nature is purity.
The Dharmakaya is formless purity.
The Sambogakaya and Nirmanakaya are the purity of the Dharmakaya manifesting as enlightened appearances. The Dharmakaya itself, remaining unborn, can never become impure.

Impurity is Buddha Nature manifesting as unawareness and what appears to unawareness. You could say that unawareness misapprehension the appearance of the form kayas as objects. This then snowballs into ego, tainted emotionality based on ego, unskillful actions based on those emotional obscurations, situations and conditions that result from unskillful actions, and the suffering that accompanies those situations.

Pretty standard, right?
Sure, but these are all labels.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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passel
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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by passel » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:54 am

kirtu wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:26 am
passel wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:44 pm
Purity is just an assertion, right?
Ah, no, not just. OTOH it is sort of "just" a form of upaya.

A better way of thinking about it is the Drikung assertion, bordering on eternalism of sorts, that virtue is real. Deity Yoga, for example, is really pure in terms of accumulating merit and wisdom and purifying the impure aggregates and impure mind of the meditator. I think Garchen Rinpoche went so far as to say that this forumulation is unique to the Drikung (although I have heard similar statements with my Nyingma teachers and in Sakya there is a famous teaching that almost directly says this as well - I will not otherwise discuss this last one publicly -).

Upaya, but higher forms of upaya, that when engaged from the lower paths has a purifying "effect/result". And this is true for all forms of Buddhadharma as well.

Kirt
Do any of those hold that a thing’s purity is distinct from its emptiness
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:00 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:03 pm
I don't think it developed from the Nyingma tradition, it came from Atisha.
Think again.

The Kadam were founded by Dromton.
Dromtönpa was born in Tolung at the beginning of the period of the second propagation of Buddhism in Tibet. "His father was Kushen Yaksherpen (sku gshen yag gsher 'phen) and his mother was Kuoza Lenchikma (khu 'od bza' lan gcig ma)." * His father's title skugshen indicates he was an important figure in the Bon tradition. He began preaching in Tibet in 1042.
* Gardner, Alexander (February 2010). "Dromton Gyelwa Jungne". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters.

Chekawa Yeshe Dorje, one of Dromton's main students, compiler of Atisa's teachings and a prolific writer himself:
...was born into a family that practiced the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. ... he also sought teachings from other traditions. He received teachings from Rechungpa (one of Milarepa's main disciples) and later from Kadampa Geshes.
So...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:17 am

I always found the notion of purity a rather "puritan" idea.

The need to stress the purity of a tradition bears a strong odor of orthodoxy and fundamentalism, to my mind.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:35 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:34 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:07 pm
Yes, true, so paradoxically we need to find a valid Teacher to start with who can give us valid teachings so that we can develop wisdom. I guess if we find the wrong teacher then we might end up like Angulimala, if we have no innate wisdom from previous lives.
What is innate wisdom in your view? If wisdom is something that is accumulated, how can it be innate?
By innate, I mean the wisdom we have brought with us from our previous lives through spiritual practice; imprints from previous practice.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:42 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:41 pm
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:26 pm
In general, we need a good motivation to create good karma, but due to the power of the Three Jewels, simply beholding Buddha's image is a cause of liberation, even if you look at it with an angry mind. This benefit comes because of the power and purity of the object
Would you please describe the purity that inheres in an image of Buddha? Is purity a characteristic, a function... or a lack of some characteristic or function? How does purity work in this example, to your mind?
Buddha's form is the karmic result of pure actions so it is an expression of purity. Also, it has been explained that the actions of making offerings to an image of Buddha is no different from making offerings to the living Buddha, so there's no difference. In the past, practitioners have been able to receive teachings and advice from images of Buddha, for example, Atisha had a small statue of Tara that he used to consult whenever he had to make an important decision. It is only ordinary appearance that means that we view statues as works of art rather than actual Buddhas. As we gain spiritual realisations, how we see the image of Buddha changes, indicating that it is not ordinary. Beholding Buddha's image blesses our mind.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:43 am

passel wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:44 pm
Purity is just an assertion, right?
But not without a foundation. As I explained in a previous post, purity has to have a valid basis of imputation; we can't just assert purity randomly. It can only be asserted in dependence upon certain criteria.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:56 am

What is the definition of pure? something that is unmixed with anything else. For example, pure water is water without any additives.

Why then is it so difficult to accept the idea of spiritual purity - that pure Buddhist teachings are the teachings of Buddha with nothing added and nothing taken away? It seems odd to me that people in this thread are projecting all kinds of strange labels onto the idea of purity - orthodoxy, puritanism, claims divorced from reality and a hindrance. Don't people want to practice what Buddha taught and not what Buddha didn't teach? In that case, you would need to find a pure tradition, one that teaches and practices Buddha's teachings unmistakenly with lineage blessings. What's so strange about that?

Also, to say that one tradition is pure is not to say that others are impure. It's not asserting some kind of supremacy. As I said earlier there are criteria to establish whether something is pure or not and we can assess a tradition with those criteria from Nalanda monastery.

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:01 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:42 am
It is only ordinary appearance that means that we view statues as works of art rather than actual Buddhas.
It is only ordinary appearance that means that we view Buddhas as "actual", rather than expressions of our own true nature.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What's a "pure tradition"?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:02 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:56 am
Why then is it so difficult to accept the idea of spiritual purity - that pure Buddhist teachings are the teachings of Buddha with nothing added and nothing taken away?
Because all dharma are compounded.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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