Wake up call

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Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:41 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Even then we have travesties such as Steven Segal and so on.

Yeah. No idea how that came to pass.

I mean, it was Penor Rinpoche who "recognized" him.
I know how it happened, and it was not really Penor Rinpoche's fault. I am not going to say anymore on the subject.

theanarchist
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Re: Wake up call

Post by theanarchist » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:17 pm

Malcolm wrote: The idea that you have to live this hardcore ascetic lifestyle to become a realized person is a myth. You do not need to spend years and years in retreat. I know many people who have spend years and years in retreat and they are just as screwed up now as when they went into retreat, and just as ordinary. I also have done long term intensive retreat (3+ years), and while it was an awesome experience, I certainly did not come out of it a realized person. At least according to my master, there is no need for this. As long as one applies the the teachings in a consistent way to one's life, integrating view, meditation and conduct, then one will eventually attain realization. Anyway, most of us will attain realization in the bardo, not in this life.

Then how is it, that so few western practitioners qualify to teach vajrayana or dzogchen, even after decades following that path? At that rate, tantric buddhism is going to die out because of a lack of lineage hoders

Plus, Tibetans as teachers for westerners is not an ideal situation on the long run, because of the cultural differences and the potential for misunderstandings this brings.

When Padmasambhava introduced tantric buddhism in a wider fashion in Tibet, the first generation of disciples produced a ton of realized teachers.

Is that because he was a better teacher than, say, Dzongsar Khyentse? Or because those old stories are exaggerated? Or because of the progress of the kaliyuga the circumstances are less favourable? Or these days there are hardly any disciples with this amount of talent and determination?
Last edited by theanarchist on Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lhasa
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Lhasa » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:06 pm

So, were all those new realized teachers former Bonpos? :stirthepot:

MiphamFan
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Re: Wake up call

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:10 pm

No, they were former Chan Buddhists.

Also they had higher capacities than modern students.

But anyway, not all of Padmasambhava's students became teachers directly. Many later were tertons.
Last edited by MiphamFan on Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:14 pm

theanarchist wrote: Then how is it, that so few western practitioners qualify to teach vajrayana or dzogchen, even after decades following that path?
Who says this is so?
When Padmasambhava introduced tantric buddhism in a wider fashion in Tibet, the first generation of disciples produced a ton of realized teachers.
Tons? You mean 25, don't you?

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:15 pm

MiphamFan wrote:No, they were former Chan Buddhists.
And a number of Bonpos, like Bagor Vairocana.

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:19 pm

in my seats it's good to get off the wagon of Americans for Tibetan cultural reform. We don't have dogs in that fight, nor should we. Being a Buddhist doesn't give us papers to disassemble Tibetan religious culture. Heard of cultural imperialism?

That comment isn't an encouragement to give it all a pass. We're creating an American vajrayana culture every time we host lamas and put on teachings, even though we have few realized western teachers. We can make the choice to be indifferent to these aspects of Tibetan culture by cultivating our own attitudes.

From my seats most American disciples are intoxicated by this stuff. It makes a perfect fire. I'm curious why a society so set on egalitarianism that there is a tendency to gloss the student teacher relationship as ordinary is also obsessed with tulkus.

"Rinpoche, I can't imagine what powers and insights come with being a tulku, but could you tell us about all your previous lives..."

"... I'm a little scared of Rinpoche, they can all read minds you know...."

"... I don't know why there's a torma on the railing of the stair, but lama is a Rinpoche, so I'm sure there's a reason, don't ask..."

".. He's my lama. That other one is a Khenpo and knows a lot, but he's not a Rinpoche..."

"is he a real Rinpoche or one of those called Rinpoche..."

It's not all bad. I have great faith in many tulkus. But we're playing with wizards and magic while Tibetans are worried about, in part, the capital of religious dynasties and careers.

It's probably projection on my side, but what I took from Dzongsar Khyentse was a goad to us converts to smarten up and get more serious as well.

MiphamFan
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Re: Wake up call

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:25 pm

It's a concern for all Vajrayana practitioners regardless of ethnicity.

If you are a Vajrayana practitioner you should be concerned for how the lineages will continue. I hope more Westerners can hold and pass on lineages.

Chimed Rigdzin Rinpoche has passed his lineages on to some of his Western students.

NOTE: not talking about Aro, talking about his legitimately authorized students like James Low and Martin Boord

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:09 pm

Sure. I'm concerned about it. I do think our cultural infatuation with Tibet gets in the way.

Lama comes here and says the big fishes should take care of little ones. So us senior students should teach the little ones. Garchen Rinpoche says the same thing all the time. Lama also says that everyone should know how to umze and choppon the practices. But then everyone is falling over themselves saying they can't, they're not qualified, they aren't khenpos or lamas, they haven't done retreat. We're not talking about prescribing dharma to people. We're talking about some basic continuity of practice and study. That's our Samaya.

So then there are people who try to do this and then people think they are being inappropriate. We've had American monastics and teachers come to us, friends of some of us, and people get uncomfortable. Who said you could do this! And if they aren't attacked on credentials they're attacked on style. That's not how lama would talk about that! Well, sorry, lama is a seventy year old Tibetan dude from Kham, this is a 30 year old American dude. But I'm not comfortable with it!

Lama doesn't get involved. Our dogs, our fight.

And so it goes. Back to the tulku system. Tibetan? CHECK. Tulku? CHECK. OK. Yer legit.
MiphamFan wrote:It's a concern for all Vajrayana practitioners regardless of ethnicity.

If you are a Vajrayana practitioner you should be concerned for how the lineages will continue. I hope more Westerners can hold and pass on lineages.

Chimed Rigdzin Rinpoche has passed his lineages on to some of his Western students.

NOTE: not talking about Aro, talking about his legitimately authorized students like James Low and Martin Boord

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:16 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:in my seats it's good to get off the wagon of Americans for Tibetan cultural reform. We don't have dogs in that fight, nor should we. Being a Buddhist doesn't give us papers to disassemble Tibetan religious culture. Heard of cultural imperialism?

That comment isn't an encouragement to give it all a pass. We're creating an American vajrayana culture every time we host lamas and put on teachings, even though we have few realized western teachers. We can make the choice to be indifferent to these aspects of Tibetan culture by cultivating our own attitudes.
I have no interest in Tibetan cultural reform. We are in agreement that any modifications of Tibetan culture should come from Tibetans, not Americans, Europeans or Chinese people. This however does not prevent us from observing that some Tibetan cultural institutions maybe are not all that they are cracked up to be.

It is important to recognize however that there are Tibetan cultural practices, like recognizing tulkus, that are not actually part of the Dharma. Can anyone point me to a reference in either sūtra or tantra, Nyingma or Sarma, that says, "In the last 500 years of the Dharma, the only way the Dharma will be preserved is through recognizing small children as the reincarnations of dead masters"?

The funny thing too is that people somehow believe tulkus get better training than ordinary people. Really, this is a fantasy. The fact is that young tulkus are often put to work at a very young age raising money for their monasteries, and as a result, they often have very inferior training compared with normal scholars in shedras.

Of course we have to understand that the practice of recognizing tulkus began with the second and third Karmapa, and these masters were fantastic. Then it became a big fashion, and within 200 hundred years, tulkus were being recognized everywhere.

We also should understand that the 5th Dalai Lama's recognition, by his own account, was completely fraudulent. He was also a fantastic master, but he certainly was not the reincarnation of the fourth Dalai Lama.

theanarchist
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Re: Wake up call

Post by theanarchist » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:33 pm

Malcolm wrote: Truthfully, the only reincarnation that I have any confidence is in Chogyal Namkhai Norbu because he was recognized by someone who attained rainbow body, his uncle. The rest of them I really don't believe in.

This here is completely anonymous so I can say this much.

Almost two decades ago I met a Tibetan lama and I had a nagging suspicion that I had to have known that man from before. I don't know what made me do it, but we were alone in that room, I pointed at a photo that someone had put on the shrine that showed his supposed previous incarnation and I asked him, what's your connection to that one. He said, in a very strange voice, "that's me", and we both knew, it was the truth.

That man absolutely hates to be put on a throne or be praised as a teacher, or dragged in front of a crowd.

Some say that he is Manjushri incarnate, I just say, he is the most intelligent person I have ever had the pleasure having converstation with.
Last edited by theanarchist on Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

theanarchist
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Re: Wake up call

Post by theanarchist » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:38 pm

Malcolm wrote: The funny thing too is that people somehow believe tulkus get better training than ordinary people. Really, this is a fantasy. The fact is that young tulkus are often put to work at a very young age raising money for their monasteries, and as a result, they often have very inferior training compared with normal scholars in shedras.

In the Nyingma lineages a lot of the tulkus come from a family background of lamas, so those get a very good dharma education for certain. Just look as the family of Tulku Orgyen

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:43 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Malcolm wrote: The funny thing too is that people somehow believe tulkus get better training than ordinary people. Really, this is a fantasy. The fact is that young tulkus are often put to work at a very young age raising money for their monasteries, and as a result, they often have very inferior training compared with normal scholars in shedras.

In the Nyingma lineages a lot of the tulkus come from a family background of lamas, so those get a very good dharma education for certain. Just look as the family of Tulku Orgyen
It's a mixed bag, actually. Some tulkus get great educations. Some just learn some rituals, and mainly go around giving blessings to raise money. I have met both kinds.

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:49 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Truthfully, the only reincarnation that I have any confidence is in Chogyal Namkhai Norbu because he was recognized by someone who attained rainbow body, his uncle. The rest of them I really don't believe in.

This here is completely anonymous so I can say this much.

Almost two decades ago I met a Tibetan lama and I had a nagging suspicion that I had to have known that man from before. I don't know what made me do it, but we were alone in that room, I pointed at a photo that someone had put on the shrine that showed his supposed previous incarnation and I asked him, what's your connection to that one. He said, in a very strange voice, "that's me", and we both knew, it was the truth.

That man absolutely hates to be put on a throne or be praised as a teacher, or dragged in front of a crowd.

Some say that he is Manjushri incarnate, I just say, he is the most intelligent person I have ever had the pleasure having converstation with.
Again, the point is not that there are no reincarnations; the point is that the tulku system basically corrupt, meaning that it is too easily manipulated for financial, personal and political gain. It does not mean that every tulku is false, though it is my conviction that the vast majority of so called tulkus [95%+] are absolutely not the reincarnations of the masters they whose names they bear, in other words, no more than 5 in every 100.

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:24 pm

I'm with you.

See what I've put in bold below. I think where we differ is that I'm asserting we're the ones idealizing Tibetan cultural institutions, even more so than most Tibetans.

Sure, Tibetans, particularly older Tibetans, are pretty fiercely defensive of their culture. But most Tibetans I know, if given an opportunity to be candid without risk of being put on the record and being judged, are pretty cynical about a bunch of things, and tulku lines and dharma dynasties are at the top of the short list. I'm sure that's a function of power and privilege, but I've heard things.

But for Americans, we have no excuse. We willingly buy all in to Tibetan cultural institutions we really have nothing to do with. It's like we can't separate dharma re dharma from Tibetan culture re a specific wrapper for dharma from an entirely different context.

We really don't have to become Tibetan to do this thing. But that seems to be just the thing many of us do.

So I take Dzongsar Khyentse's comments as a call for the rest of us to forget about Tibet and dharma dynasties, and make the teachings a living part of our lives in this society, and maybe the younger generation of Tibetan masters will met us half way. If it's a call just for the younger generation of Tibetan masters to buck up, then we'll still be fantasizing about Shangri-la and idolizing even the most dysfunctional parts of Tibetan religious culture. That's not good for anyone.
Malcolm wrote:
I have no interest in Tibetan cultural reform. We are in agreement that any modifications of Tibetan culture should come from Tibetans, not Americans, Europeans or Chinese people. This however does not prevent us from observing that some Tibetan cultural institutions maybe are not all that they are cracked up to be.
Last edited by Urgyen Dorje on Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ngodrup
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Re: Wake up call

Post by ngodrup » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:28 pm

The fact that there is corruption, does not mean that the system itself is a failure.
It is beneficial, in some ways. B analogy, you rarely hear people say the American
constitutional democracy system is corrupt and should be disposed of. Reform is
appropriate, but we are not the ones to do it (for the Tibetans). That would be hubris,
plain and simple. Rather, its just a very huge Caveat Emptor-- take it with a ton of salt.

On a tangential topic of Ch NNR, I have heard at least one very prominent Geshe--
a candidate for Ganden Tri-- speak very highly of him, citing specifically his service
to the Tibetan people by publishing on Tibetan History and Culture. The same Geshe
openly criticizes pervasive nepotism in Tibetan society.

I think there is a middle way.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche also said at that same time that if there are really genuine
Vajrayana practitioners in the world, then he's not worried about the world, everything
will be ok. so clearly his point was to up the quality of practitioners, both Tibetan and
Western.

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:39 pm

ngodrup wrote:B analogy, you rarely hear people say the American
constitutional democracy system is corrupt and should be disposed of.
Actually, we often hear that here from some of the more so called "conservative" voices on this forum (I guess they want a monarchial restoration or some such silliness).

More seriously, American Democracy has become corrupted by money and power. This will be the major theme of the next election:

Image

On a tangential topic of Ch NNR, I have heard at least one very prominent Geshe--
a candidate for Ganden Tri-- speak very highly of him, citing specifically his service
to the Tibetan people by publishing on Tibetan History and Culture. The same Geshe
openly criticizes pervasive nepotism in Tibetan society.
That's cool.

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:53 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:I'm with you.

See what I've put in bold below. I think where we differ is that I'm asserting we're the ones idealizing Tibetan cultural institutions, even more so than most Tibetans.
Frankly, we are just naive, as a whole, making unwarranted assumptions based in a Shangri-la attitude.

But we are learning...

We do not need to imagine to accept the Dharma, we have to accept everything Tibetan. That will not work at all. We need to practice a Dharma that functions within our culture.
But the truth is that for a Westerner to practice a teaching that comes from Tibet there is no need for that person to become like a Tibetan. On the contrary, it is of fundamental importance for him to know how to integrate that teaching with his own culture in order to be able to communicate it, in its essential form, to other Westerners. But often, when people approach an Eastern teaching, they believe that their own culture is of no value. This attitude is very mistaken, because every culture has its value, related to the environment ment and circumstances in which it arose. No culture can be said to be better than another; rather it depends on the human individual whether he or she will derive greater or lesser advantage from it in terms of inner development. For this reason it is useless to transport rules and customs into a cultural environment different from the one in which they arose.
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State (Kindle Locations 149-155). Kindle Edition.

We can respect the Dharma, yet be doubtful of the tulku system's long term value in the modern world, and still be very good practitioners.

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Wake up call

Post by dzogchungpa » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:59 pm

ngodrup wrote:Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche also said at that same time that if there are really genuine
Vajrayana practitioners in the world, then he's not worried about the world, everything
will be ok. so clearly his point was to up the quality of practitioners, both Tibetan and
Western.
Yes, that was my impression, keeping in mind that the category of practitioners includes Tulkus.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Malcolm
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Re: Wake up call

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:56 pm


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