Validity of recorded empowerments

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:27 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Johnnydangerous,

The mentioned post looks like it is referring to receiving the teachings online via live webcast.

I didn't see anything there about recordings.

Perhaps some are not getting that a recording of a online webcast is not the same as a live online webcast.

It's addressed specifically, go back and read the whole thread please.
Hello Everyone,

We have received several inquiries asking if one actually receives the empowerment if done by streaming, and following is Rinpoche’s reply:

“The touching of the vase to the crown of the head is the outer empowerment. The inner empowerment is to visualize yourself as the deity. The real empowerment is to realize the nature of your mind.
“When you cultivate bodhicitta, that is the real deity, and when you do this, that is when you actually receive the empowerment over the internet.
“If you live near the temple and think, ‘Oh, I don’t need to go to the temple; I can just receive the empowerment over the internet,’ that is not the right motivation. If you have the opportunity to come to the temple, then you should come.

“If you don't live nearby and cannot come, but with all your heart would like to, that is the right motivation for receiving the empowerment over the internet.”
So unless we are missing something, Garchen Rinpoche does indeed say that the recordings are valid empowerment with the qualifying circumstances that he mentions, and when one cannot make it in person. I am glad to hear about it if someone interprets his words differently, but they read as pretty unambiguous to me. Note though, eh does mention that the recordings are not some excuse to not go in person as well.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:34 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Johnnydangerous,

The mentioned post looks like it is referring to receiving the teachings online via live webcast.

I didn't see anything there about recordings.

Perhaps some are not getting that a recording of a online webcast is not the same as a live online webcast.
There have been numerous statements regarding recording too, if you really care then search around DW, you will find them. What I would like to see is maybe some scriptural stuff. Of course I would not be deluded enough to believe that there are tantra that talk about internet web cast recordings, but this whole idea of "live" and "here and now" seems kind of strange when you also consider that some practioners received empowerments, instructions, etc... in dreams, visions, from sambhogakaya manifestations, etc...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"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."
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by supermaxv » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:36 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Hello Everyone,

We have received several inquiries asking if one actually receives the empowerment if done by streaming, and following is Rinpoche’s reply:

“The touching of the vase to the crown of the head is the outer empowerment. The inner empowerment is to visualize yourself as the deity. The real empowerment is to realize the nature of your mind.
“When you cultivate bodhicitta, that is the real deity, and when you do this, that is when you actually receive the empowerment over the internet.
“If you live near the temple and think, ‘Oh, I don’t need to go to the temple; I can just receive the empowerment over the internet,’ that is not the right motivation. If you have the opportunity to come to the temple, then you should come.

“If you don't live nearby and cannot come, but with all your heart would like to, that is the right motivation for receiving the empowerment over the internet.”
So unless we are missing something, Garchen Rinpoche does indeed say that the recordings are valid empowerment with the qualifying circumstances that he mentions, and when one cannot make it in person. I am glad to hear about it if someone interprets his words differently.
There is another quote in that thread that addresses the issues of recorded empowerments, but I actually read the above quote as talking about live streaming, not recorded.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Lhug-Pa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:36 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I guess you didn't read the whole thing? It's addressed specifically, go back and read the whole thread please.
Well I'd addressed the other post I think you're referring to, right here:

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 89#p229261

All I'm saying is that the ones who relayed that information about recordings perhaps misunderstood something.

Maybe someone could contact H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's translator about this, and she can ask him directly and in detail about receiving teachings via recorded webcasts versus via live webcasts, and we can be sure to get the final word directly from H.E.'s translator.
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Protectors How do I choose one?

Post by conebeckham » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:40 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Yes. In fact, there are many lineage transmissions that no longer exist, because they were not passed on.....so, for example, there is the text for Transmisison of consciousness in Marpa's lineage, but the actual blessing transmission no longer is extant.
I mean in the case where somebody is trying to transmit them (even a recorded attempt, ie not here and now) and somebody is trying to receive them.
I think he is benefitting beings, and making connections....but this does not change my opinion that, relatively speaking, there is limited value in getting an "empowerment" from a video recording, as compared to a live interaction. This is just my opinion, based on my own experience.
But how much of our experience is just experience? I mean I remember at one empowerment the couple behind me were crying like babies, I felt like my brain had just gone through a high power microwave oven and the people in front of me were having a conversation along the lines of: "I didn't feel anything, did you feel anything? What were we meant to feel?" etc... I get the same feeling with the recorded videos and live internet transmissions too.

How much of it all really is just expedient means? I'm starting to think that it is like 99% internal, 0.5% external and 0.5% plain old bs. But then, I'm just a deluded twit.

Frankly speaking, I think the majority of folks who "attend empowerments" don't actually "get" them, anyway....this will surely make me very popular here at DW. :thinking:

People talk about the Vajrayana as being the "Path that takes the Result as the Path," you know. But I think that frankly, for most of us, at least initially, the path is an "Aspirational" path. Why? Because we don't even know the result! How can you take the result as the path, if you don't know the result?

Having endeared myself to all of you, now....I will say that the Vase Empowerment, which is common to all levels of Tantra, is the authorization to practice Creation Stage, as we all know, and this is the doorway through which we all apparently must go when practicing the Two Stages. In my view, "Empowerment" or "Initiation" is first of all a permission to engage in the practice. The remaining three empowerments, these days given all together with the first in a HYT Wangkur, are exceedingly more subtle, and frankly rely on some experience. The only way to get that experience is to practice, and to continue to have a relationship with one's teacher, and to study, etc.

Creation stage is very profound, actually.....and it's less restrictive than those practices that come later on. Also, it has the ability to be combined with practices related to The Path of Liberation, or Nature of Mind, etc., so.....I view the whole thing as a process, and in that context, there's a place for all sorts of transmissions.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:41 pm

supermaxv wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Hello Everyone,

We have received several inquiries asking if one actually receives the empowerment if done by streaming, and following is Rinpoche’s reply:

“The touching of the vase to the crown of the head is the outer empowerment. The inner empowerment is to visualize yourself as the deity. The real empowerment is to realize the nature of your mind.
“When you cultivate bodhicitta, that is the real deity, and when you do this, that is when you actually receive the empowerment over the internet.
“If you live near the temple and think, ‘Oh, I don’t need to go to the temple; I can just receive the empowerment over the internet,’ that is not the right motivation. If you have the opportunity to come to the temple, then you should come.

“If you don't live nearby and cannot come, but with all your heart would like to, that is the right motivation for receiving the empowerment over the internet.”
So unless we are missing something, Garchen Rinpoche does indeed say that the recordings are valid empowerment with the qualifying circumstances that he mentions, and when one cannot make it in person. I am glad to hear about it if someone interprets his words differently.
There is another quote in that thread that addresses the issues of recorded empowerments, but I actually read the above quote as talking about live streaming, not recorded.
You're right Supermaxv, here's the relevant bit form later in the thread:
The answer from the Garchen Institute is unambiguous and as follows (emphasis added):

We were told the following by Garchen Rinpoche for empowerments that Garchen Institute has put on Ustream. The recordings can be included as well as the livestream. It is not my impression that these apply to all empowerments available online, but for the ones he’s approved. Other lamas may have different requirements and it is important to follow the instructions of the Lama giving the empowerments.
The things that are said here do not seem ambiguous to me..that said, if someone wants to check again for clarification that's their prerogative, but to me this reads as a pretty clear qualified "yes" to the question of the recordings.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by JohnJ » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:46 pm

conebeckham wrote: Well...
Absolutely, I hope everyone who watches livestream empowerments will make every effort to see and speak with Garchen Rinpoche. I am just thinking of all those who might be discouraged by judgements of finality from respected online personas. Also, while I respect the fact that Malcom is a qualified teacher, he is not my teacher, and he is not qualified to instruct Garchen Rinpoche's students. Unless I am corrected by my teacher, I will not accept Buddhadharma as an episcopacy.

I rarely get to see Garchen Rinpoche. I have a personal teacher close to my heart that lives near me, but is often on retreat. I know what it is like to have to depend upon livestream teachings. In remembering that hardship, I was coming to the defense of those who might feel even further ostracized by such uncaring opinions and words. I remember in a letter that Garchen Rinpoche sent to all the people who had taken refuge, bodhicitta, and Vajrayana vows at the time he gave a Vajarkilaya empowerment, he expressed such amazement that our faith would cause us to do anything to receive teachings, and how inspired he was that we had the devotion to make time to go so far as to follow him on the Internet. That is in complete opposition to the general attitude here, which is to discredit, disqualify, dissociate from those who don't hold vows and empowerments "in the proper" or "perfect" way.
Adi wrote: Allow me to edit this, which will just be another opinion, but possibly relevant here.
Thank you so much, I think this is how I should have written things originally.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Lhug-Pa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 pm

Johnnydangerous,

Yes that's the quote I posted a link to earlier.

If anyone feels they can receive teachings from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche via webcast recordings, then maybe they can.

It's just that in regard to that mentioned quote, I don't know who relayed that information and if they understood H.E. Garchen Rinpoche correctly, so I personally would wait for a live stream webcast and not assume that the recordings of the webcasts are sufficient.

Or like I said maybe someone knows how to contact H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's translator directly.
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:The things that are said here do not seem ambiguous to me..that said, if someone wants to check again for clarification that's their prerogative, but to me this reads as a pretty clear qualified "yes" to the question of the recordings.
Doubters gotta doubt! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"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: Protectors How do I choose one?

Post by supermaxv » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 pm

conebeckham wrote:Frankly speaking, I think the majority of folks who "attend empowerments" don't actually "get" them, anyway....this will surely make me very popular here at DW. :thinking:
I can't pull the quote, but didn't His Holiness the Dalai Lama say something to that effect after an empowerment he conferred? Either way, I definitely agree that point should not be ignored.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by KonchokZoepa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:49 pm

supermaxv wrote:Now, Garchen Rinpoche is not my guru and I have no dharma connection to him, but I have close dharma siblings who find him incredibly inspiring and feel a strong connection to him which I think is utterly wonderful, and I also have no question regarding the "validity" of his blessings as conferred over the Internet.... but I do cringe slightly when people very casually recommend around here that they take empowerment from him online simply because he is the only one who is doing so in such an open, flexible, and convenient manner. I can't quite articulate why, but from a motivation and examine-your-guru standpoint* that doesn't seem quite right to me.

* i am not insinuating anything here
I recommended it to a person who lives in myanmar and has no access to other teacher. He is looking for a protector to practice so why not. Should i withhold my knowledge and leave him be up to his own luck until someone else decides to help the guy.

and taking an empowerment doesn't really mean that he will be your guru, that is up to you to decide. if you after that decide the Lama is not the right teacher for you, you have every right not to take more empowerments or teachings from him, only thing is that you should not think ill of him or disrespect him.
also none of us have perfect motivation, to wishing to practice the Dharma is enough, that is already a pure attitude, that is at least the hinayana level of motivation. how many of us can truthfully say even to ourselves that we have a pure mahayana motivation when receiving teachings or empowerment. at times we might have it and at other times we might not.

point being, if you wish to perfect yourself before you think you are ready for teachings or empowerments your gonna miss the train man.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by KonchokZoepa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:57 pm

Yes I think Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche gives quite an interesting teaching about empowerment in one of his books, can't remember the name, anyway its quite detailed and reading that i can certainly say that i haven't received the true empowerment even once and i would think that most other people also have not received it, it is actually quite profound to actually receive the true meaning of the empowerment. So i agree with Conebeckham here in this point.
but after some empowerments when you do the practice you will definitely notice that you received true blessings even though you realized or actualized your realization during the empowerment.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by KonchokZoepa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:58 pm

and supermaxv

Garchen Rinpoche also says almost every time in online empowerments that receiving an empowerment is like tantric sojong, you renew your vows and purify your transgressions, of course i would assume that that requires the four opposite powers to work.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Lhug-Pa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:17 pm

Sherab Dorje,

I think that any authentic Lama could empower their webcasts in such away that one can receive Transmission from the recordings after the live stream is over, if it is their specific intention to empower the webcast recordings that way.

It seems most Teachers only empower with their intention their live webcasts in such a way that one can receive Transmission from them live only.

And again, until I see something about webcast recordings from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche or his translator directly, I'll assume that the webcast has to be live, and not recorded (it seems to me that the recordings are only for reviewing what was already transmitted during the live webcast).

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:33 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Sherab Dorje,

I think that any authentic Lama could empower their webcasts in such away that one can receive Transmission from the recordings after the live stream is over, if it is their specific intention to empower the webcast recordings that way.

It seems most Teachers only empower with their intention their live webcasts in such a way that one can receive Transmission from them live only.

And again, until I see something about webcast recordings from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche or his translator directly, I'll assume that the webcast has to be live, and not recorded (it seems to me that the recordings are only for reviewing what was already transmitted during the live webcast).
Unless you (or others arguing against the validity of recorded empowerments) are considering receiving empowerments from one of Garchen Rinpoches recorded webcasts I cannot see why you (or anybody else) are even wasting your time arguing your point. Unless, of course, you want to save us from ourselves.

Actually, it seems that the majority of the discussion here justifies the saying: idle hands make for the devils work.

Again, like I said earlier: if people cannot come up with scriptural sources justifying one view or the other than it's all just conjecture really. Pretty bloody useless actually, though, I must admit, it makes for an interesting waste of time (read: entertainment)! :smile:
"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: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Alfredo » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:58 pm

Say, don't the sutras say that Buddhas have the power to multiply their bodies and teach simultaneously in many different places? Do you suppose THEIR empowerments would be valid?

Look, if you accept Garchen Rinpoche (or whoever) as your guru, and he says its valid, then end of story.
(no longer participating on this board)

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Lhug-Pa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:45 pm

Fair enough.

Actually, considering that it is a possibility that H.E. Garchen Rinpoche could intend that even the webcast recordings are sufficient as well, I was out of line in commenting on this.

In fact I'd appreciate it if the mods here would delete my posts and any quoting of my posts in this thread.

And my apologies if I somehow caused any doubts to arise in anyone.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by pensum » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:20 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:Again, like I said earlier: if people cannot come up with scriptural sources justifying one view or the other than it's all just conjecture really.
With all due respect to Garchen Rinpoche (and i do respect him), it's easy to find scriptural authority explaining why it is not possible to receive certain empowerments over the internet, whether live or recorded. Almost any empowerment text itself will contain the reason; but, out of convenience, i'll just refer to Jamgön Mipham's explanation of empowerment found in his commentary on the Guhyagarbha Tantra:

How does empowerment bring about such maturation? From the inconceivable force of the coming together of certain causes and conditions (there are two causes and four conditions), the special realization of profound mantra is either produced in actuality, or the ability to produce it is established in one's being. The resembling cause for this maturation is the great bliss of purity and equality, the reality that indivisibly pervades the disciples channels, energies, essences and mind. The concurrent causes are certain substances, such as the vase in the first empowerment, the bodhicitta substance of the master and consort in the second empowerment, the substance of the wisdom consort in the third empowerment, and the substance of symbols and expressions in the fourth empowement. (Luminous Essence, pg. 91, translated by Dharmachakra Translation Committee)

As indicated by the passages i have underlined, in order for an empowerment to be effective one not only must hear the teachings and mantras, and see the mudras and symbols presented by the vajra master, but one also needs to ingest various consecrated substances such as the water from the vase for the first empowerment and the sexual fluids of the master and his consort for the second—obviously, this is not possible when simply watching a webcast or recording.

But as i said one needs to read any given empowerment text itself to see what substances, etc. are required, as some simple empowerments don't require any substances or special preparation, hence why in my original post i said it would be possible to receive some empowerments by live stream, whereas those requiring more elaboration, especially including the ingesting of various substances would of necessity be excluded from being received in such a manner, unless of course the substances were consecrated prior to the empowerment and supplied beforehand to those following the webcast so that they could consume them at the proper point during the ritual.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by dzogchungpa » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:38 am

pensum wrote:As indicated by the passages i have underlined, in order for an empowerment to be effective one not only must hear the teachings and mantras, and see the mudras and symbols presented by the vajra master, but one also needs to ingest various consecrated substances such as the water from the vase for the first empowerment and the sexual fluids of the master and his consort for the second—obviously, this is not possible when simply watching a webcast or recording.
I'm curious though, is there any explanation of why it is necessary to ingest certain substances in order for the empowerment to be effective?
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Post by Malcolm » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:01 am

JohnJ wrote:Why express an opinion that is in direct contradiction to the words of an established, well respected and loved teacher?
It is pointless to reply.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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