empowerments and focus

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Virgo
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Virgo » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:42 pm

conebeckham wrote:Sure, Kevin...I don't think I implied that a Kalacakra practitioner need practice anything else, or that someone should practice something if they haven't received the empowerment. Perhaps you've misunderstood me.
Hi Cone,

No, sometimes I just don't flesh out what I say very well.

When I said:
Virgo wrote:But would you tell Kalacakra that he must do a Yamantaka sadhana everyday? No, of course not.

So if not, why tell the initiated they must do something else besides what they have received through empowerment?
What I meant was that if a person is a practitioner, they are that deity, why would you tell them they need to keep some commitment other than what they had been introduced to during the time of that empowerment (even if they have had many other empowerments)?

And when I said:
Virgo wrote:You are empowered; you don't need to receive or practice other things... you can but there is simply no need to.

Kevin
What I mean by this is that you don't need anything else other than the instructions connected with what you received and practice. It doesn't matter if you have received many others or if you continue to receive more or not. Everything else becomes somewhat irrelevant unless you choose to employ them at some other time.

Kevin

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conebeckham
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:57 pm

Ah---got it!

Yes, we agree, actually.

Though there is no contradiction with practicing more than one deity, actually--just so we're clear. In fact, for instance, in Kalacakra practice, one sometimes appears as Vajravega, a wrathful deity related to the main Kalacakra Heruka deity we are likely all familiar with.....
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


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

ngodrup
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by ngodrup » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:11 am

The thing is, you may well find yourself with several commitments
and little time. You may well find yourself in a dilemma. The good
news is, the samayas are easy to damage but hard to break. And
we have special methods to correct "errors and omissions" --
you've heard maybe of E & O insurance? The Lord of all
Mandalas is Vajrasattva. Every day, you can apologize and
make up for any shortcomings.

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conebeckham
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by conebeckham » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:31 am

Right on!
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


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

jmlee369
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by jmlee369 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:16 am

heart wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
I am imagining Magnus is quite familiar with the POV you express but left to honor HH Dalai Lama's own perspective as the lineage Guru giving the wang.
Well, he used his common sense. He was never going to seriously practice this deity, I am quite sure.
I did, it was quite embarrassing since there was a hundreds of people present and me and my girlfriend was the only one that stood up and left. There been a teaching on emptiness first that we attended. I was doing Ngondro at the time but I know already that I wouldn't be practicing a major Gelug yidam practice, my interest was in the Kagyu/Nyingma direction. As it turned out mainly Nyingma or rather Dzogchen. AnywayI think it would have caused me a lot of problems if I stayed. Also, already next day I met several people that attended the empowerment that had no interest at all in doing the practice, I was glad I wasn't one of them.

/magnus
I think HHDL would have been very pleased by your decision.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (currently the most prominent Kalachakra Master), often emphasizes the importance of these preliminaries, for example during the Kalachakra initiation in Bloomington USA in 1999:

"I would like to congratulate those who are attending here only for the preliminary teachings and not the Kalachakra. Because in actual fact the topics I am covering in the preliminary teachings are the more important elements of the practice. So I would like to express my appreciation for those who are just attending the preliminary teachings.

Those who do the opposite, not attend the preliminary teachings but rather come just for the Kalachakra Empowerment Ceremony, I must admit that these people are more clever than I am. When I announce a Kalachakra Empowerment, because Kalachakra is so popular it attracts people, but what I really intend is to spend time during the preliminary teachings and speak more about the general aspects of the path of the Dharma. So these people have in fact managed to fool me but of course if among those people who are just attending the Kalachakra teaching if they have a firm grounding in the common paths, the general practices of the Dharma then of course it is fine. But if people simply come for the empowerment with no real grounding in the preliminary practices then simply attending the Kalachakra ceremony alone, I do not know what benefit that can have."

Or, if possible even more direct, Holiness said the following during the Manjusri Initiation in New York City in 1998:

"If one can engage on the Vajrayana path on the basis of a clear understanding of the tantric path, then it can be truly profound and effective. Some Tibetan masters of the past have emphasized many of the significancies of the Vajrayana teachings by the representation of the vajra and bell. The Tibetans say that if one utilizes these implements with a full awareness of their significance and a full understanding of the Vajrayana path, then when one rings the bell it will have a profound symbolism and meaning. But the simple act of playing a bell doesn't really have any profundity. One can see that even cows have bells around their necks and make loud noises.

The reason I point this out is that unfortunately sometimes people in their rush to attain Vajrayana teachings because of the way in which it is promoted as the best, highest and quickest, people hastily rush to receiving initiations without full realization of what it involves and what is its true significance. There is a real danger that one's ringing a bell is like the cow's. This is very true even of the Tibetan Buddhists as well. When they hear there is an initiation everyone rushes to it with great enthusiasm. But if someone hears there is a series of lectures taking place on Buddhism then they say, "Oh yes, well….." Sometimes I exploit this weakness and use it to my advantage. I announce there is a Kalachakra initiation and everybody rushes to it. I do the Kalachakra ceremony last and very fast but I spend much more time explaining the key elements and a general overview of the Buddhist path. That way they have to sit and listen to them. This is my skillful means! Although I thought I was rather smart but some of the students are even smarter. They make sure they arrive only exactly on the Kalachakra initiation day."
With regards to the general conversation in this thread, I will just offer what has been my limited experience with Gelug lamas. As a whole, the approach has been that individual commitments should be upheld separately (when asked explicitly). Most lower tantra wang and jenang come with few if any recitation commitments (a few mantras a day, perhaps), but HYT is a different matter. The minimum is the six session guru yoga and many lamas will require daily sadhana practice, usually a short version that takes about 15 minutes, I would say. Sometimes an alternative commitment is completing the approximation retreat. But I think most lay practitioners do not have too many HYT practices, so it does kind of boil down to one deity in practice for many people.

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conebeckham
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by conebeckham » Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:23 pm

a friend posted this on FB, and I just thought it was pretty funny...it's not directed at anyone here. Maybe it's directed at myself.Image
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


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

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heart
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by heart » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:42 pm

conebeckham wrote:a friend posted this on FB, and I just thought it was pretty funny...it's not directed at anyone here. Maybe it's directed at myself.Image
:smile:

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Virgo
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Virgo » Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:40 am

:lol:

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明安 Myoan
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:29 am

Oh my goodness, I needed that laugh :rolling:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

tingdzin
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by tingdzin » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:34 am

Yes, great post!

Simon E.
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Simon E. » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:34 am

heart wrote:
conebeckham wrote:a friend posted this on FB, and I just thought it was pretty funny...it's not directed at anyone here. Maybe it's directed at myself.Image
:smile:

/magnus

Spot on...we have all come across this..maybe even strayed into that space ourselves. I know I have. :thinking:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

Lobsang Damchoi
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Lobsang Damchoi » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Hi All,

In response to the general thread and specifically to this response by jmlee369:

"With regards to the general conversation in this thread, I will just offer what has been my limited experience with Gelug lamas. As a whole, the approach has been that individual commitments should be upheld separately (when asked explicitly). Most lower tantra wang and jenang come with few if any recitation commitments (a few mantras a day, perhaps), but HYT is a different matter. The minimum is the six session guru yoga and many lamas will require daily sadhana practice, usually a short version that takes about 15 minutes, I would say. Sometimes an alternative commitment is completing the approximation retreat. But I think most lay practitioners do not have too many HYT practices, so it does kind of boil down to one deity in practice for many people."

I'm mainly Gelupa in HYT and sure -- a few short sadhanas every day is do-able (especially when memorized). But my dilemma is two-fold:
A) one gets attracted to other practices that carry no commitment: long-life, dharma protectors, practices for physical problems, practices to aid friends, etc.
B) in the time it takes to do 3-4 short sadhanas I could be doing the long sadhana of my main yidam, which seems for me (as a beginner) more beneficial.

There's also the question of how fully one can internalize all the conceptual and visual details involved in multiple HYT practices, as well as the rituals, both on and off the cushion. I'd be interested in how non-Gelug people treat these questions. Thanks!
Lobsang Damchoi

jasonhine
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by jasonhine » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:28 am

I'm just wondering if there is any purpose or benefit taking more than one HYT empowerment in the Gelug tradition. If I already have a Heruka empowerment and practice it, is there any benefit or value also taking a Yamantaka or a Vajrayogini empowerment? Is it possible to combine the practices in some way...or would I just have a lot of practices to do?

Fortyeightvows
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:24 am

id you are already doing heruka then it would be very sensible to also do vajrayogini

jmlee369
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by jmlee369 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:55 am

Lobsang Damchoi wrote: I'm mainly Gelupa in HYT and sure -- a few short sadhanas every day is do-able (especially when memorized). But my dilemma is two-fold:
A) one gets attracted to other practices that carry no commitment: long-life, dharma protectors, practices for physical problems, practices to aid friends, etc.
B) in the time it takes to do 3-4 short sadhanas I could be doing the long sadhana of my main yidam, which seems for me (as a beginner) more beneficial.

There's also the question of how fully one can internalize all the conceptual and visual details involved in multiple HYT practices, as well as the rituals, both on and off the cushion. I'd be interested in how non-Gelug people treat these questions. Thanks!
The reason for having the three main yidams is for rather specific purposes. I think most people who are not thinking of becoming teachers in the near future would be better off doing one sadhana (though I would give around 1.5 hours for that). We have Guhyasamaja as the main basis for tantric exegesis and practice, but Yamantaka is quite prominent since it is to eliminate obstacles when beginning practice and also the container in which the practices of the other two systems are performed. Chakrasamvara is for enhancing the results of the main practice. Given all that, my personal opinion is that proficiency in Yamantaka would probably go first, followed by the other two.

Fortyeightvows
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:08 am

jmlee369 wrote: Yamantaka is quite prominent since it is to eliminate obstacles when beginning practice and also the container in which the practices of the other two systems are performed. Chakrasamvara is for enhancing the results of the main practice. Given all that, my personal opinion is that proficiency in Yamantaka would probably go first, followed by the other two.
I know at least a few prominent geluk teachers who agree with you and teach accordingly

Tigersnest
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Re: empowerments and focus

Post by Tigersnest » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:08 am

Malcolm wrote: The way to unify all commitments is in Guru Yoga. If you understand this, you understand the real point of the teachings.

It is said that when Atisha came to Tibet, he thought he had nothing really to share, until he noticed one day that Rinchen Zangpo was practicing different several mandalas a day. Then Atisha realized he had a purpose and advised Rinchen Zangpo (many years his senior) to focus on one mandala, commenting, "Tibetans practice one hundred mandalas and realize none, whereas Indians practice one mandala and realize all.”

Correct. Why? Every time you take any empowerment into any deity, you are promising to take that deity as your yidam until you achieve awakening. So, when you have taken Dzogchen teachings, you should understand how to unify everything into one practice, and doing so fulfills all commitments. However, if you do not have this understanding, then it is better to be more judicious.
Would it be fair then that if one were to take an HYT empowerment with commitment with a master of a particular Lineage or School who is also a Dzogchen master such as HH the Dalai Lama that if one were to then later on follow the Dzogchen teachings and carry out particular retreats related to them, then one would be able to do so by focussing one pointedly on those practices rather than switching gears and doing other practices doing ones retreat.

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