Yidams

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Malcolm
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Re: Yidams

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:09 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
smcj wrote:And, as far as this thread is concerned, I'd like to see the question posed to Tibetan lamas that were raised and trained in Tibet over the ones in India too.
I've heard Anam Thubten, who meets this criterion, address this question. His answer was a bit more subtle than what I've heard so far on DW. :smile:

Don't be a tease, do tell.
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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dzogchungpa
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Re: Yidams

Post by dzogchungpa » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
smcj wrote:And, as far as this thread is concerned, I'd like to see the question posed to Tibetan lamas that were raised and trained in Tibet over the ones in India too.
I've heard Anam Thubten, who meets this criterion, address this question. His answer was a bit more subtle than what I've heard so far on DW. :smile:

Don't be a tease, do tell.
Well, let's just say it wasn't so much what he said as the way he said it. :smile:

Sorry, gotta run!
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

BuddhaFollower
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Re: Yidams

Post by BuddhaFollower » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:That's the reason why I say ask an Asian.
Your fan boyism for "Asian Lamas" is not charming, and it is pretty racist, actually.

First time I agree with Smcj. :jawdrop:
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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conebeckham
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Re: Yidams

Post by conebeckham » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:31 pm

smcj wrote:I picked up a book today and apropos of this thread and found the following:
Ringu Tulku (Karma Kagyu/Nyingma khenpo) "Being Pure" p.2:

While Buddhsim does not teach that there is one 'creator' God, we do believe in the existence of many beings of great power--Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They may not be able to take all your negativities away from you, but they can bestow blessings, and give an indication of how to practice yourself, of the way to go.

And if that wasn't offensive enough to the prevailing DW culture, check out this quote from p.7:

Going for refuge to the Buddha is not about asking Buddha to come help you, and save you. That is not going for refuge. That is prayer, and you can do that also, that is okay from the Buddhist point of view.

*********************************

So what point am I trying to make? A while ago I introduced the idea of Shentong here at DW to howls of protest. After enough threads people began to investigate for themselves by reading up on it They found that such a view is accepted in certain quarters. Maybe some people liked it, maybe they didn't. But they understood the there is more than one way to look at ultimate reality.

Now I'm putting forward the idea that there may be literal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on a non-material plane that are accessed through faith and devotion. The howls of protest are even louder this time. Again I would like for people to investigate for themselves, but this time not by reading up on it. The reason is that the higher teachings that people use to discount the deities are part of Dharma too. However my position is that those teachings are being used inappropriately. So people will have to go ask a teacher. But make sure the teacher is Asian, preferably an old one, as they are not as corrupted by materialistic views as we are. I think that you'll find that most lamas accept the validity of seeing the deities as actual celestial Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
First of all, Shentong is a perennial topic around here, and was a perennial topic on E Sangha, and I am sure it goes back to the usenet days, and obviously before that, when we all sat around a campfire and sang cowboy songs.

I think there are literal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, of course. The question is, how does one relate to them? And how does one relate to oneself? Buddhas that appear to you and I are Form Bodies. There's no doubt that the Uttaratantrashastra talks about Buddhas performing activities--but really, all activity performed by the Buddhas is merely a manifestation of the Dharmakaya.
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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conebeckham
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Re: Yidams

Post by conebeckham » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:36 pm

smcj wrote:
If you espouse Shentong, you are saying the Ultimate is empty of that which is Other. If Yidams are sambhogahakaya, they are manifestations or apperaances of the Dharmakaya, which is the Unobscured Ultimate the Shentongpas posit. so, too, is the practitioner, ultimately the Dharmakaya. How, then, could one assert a truly existent Yidam apart from oneself, as a Shentongpa?
As I have said, don't ask me. Ask an Asian lama. Nothing I say is going to convince anybody of anything.

But in this thread there have been two good responses quoted from two Karma Kagy lamas.
The previous Kalu R said, "The deities are pure appearance and emptiness. However you (the questioner) are impure appearance and emptiness." Chime R's answer was "Tara is as real as you are". Both used the questioners own existence as a reference point to affirm they're validity so as to avoid this type of confusion without breaking the rules.
From the point of view of the Karma Kagyu mainstream, as I see it, it is mistaken to interpret Buddha Nature as a Higher Power, somehow "other" than ourselves.
I suggest you read a Karma Kagyu commentary on the last chapter of the "Uttaratantra " which is titled "Buddha Activity". Recently I saw such a commentary by Thrangu R called "Buddha Nature" where at the end he explains how the Buddha Activity is different than a godhead. It was pretty close. I can't quote it here though since it is not in front of me.

But in any case ask an Asian lama. Make sure they understand you don't accept thar the deities are actually present when you practice. See what they say.
I never said the deities weren't actually present. I question your interpretation of the "mode" of their presence, that's all.

I've read several commentaries on the Uttaratantrashastra, and studied it with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, years ago. That doesn't make me an expert, but I will go back and review it and report back.
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")

smcj
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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:09 pm

I question your interpretation of the "mode" of their presence, that's all.
What is your understanding of my interpretation?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Yidams

Post by chimechodra » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:35 pm

smcj wrote:
I question your interpretation of the "mode" of their presence, that's all.
What is your understanding of my interpretation?
I am not conebeckham, but in a previous page, you seemed to be implying that the qualities and activities of a buddha are somehow separate and solidly self-existent, apart from the trikaya.

smcj
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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:59 pm

chimechodra wrote: I am not conebeckham, but in a previous page, you seemed to be implying that the qualities and activities of a buddha are somehow separate and solidly self-existent, apart from the trikaya.
On a different thread I said that there can be body, speech, mind, qualities and activities reincarnations of a great lama. Such was the case with Kontrul. Is that what you mean? That does not have anything to do with this thread.
I've read several commentaries on the Uttaratantrashastra, and studied it with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, years ago. That doesn't make me an expert, but I will go back and review it and report back.
Don't review it. Ask Lama Lodro if you should believe Chenrezig is actually present when you do Chenrezig practice. Then resist the urge to complicate his response with a bunch of philosophical blah blah blah.
I think there are literal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, of course. The question is, how does one relate to them?
How about relating to them like there are literal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Why complicate the issue?
Last edited by smcj on Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Yidams

Post by Mr. G » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:30 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:That's the reason why I say ask an Asian.
Your fan boyism for "Asian Lamas" is not charming, and it is pretty racist, actually.

First time I agree with Smcj. :jawdrop:
Well that's simply because you're both ignorant racists.

Do you really believe Asians possess some special genetics that enables them to grok the Dharma better than everyone else? That's so laughable and sad that anyone in this day and age thinks that.
  • How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:51 pm

Mr. G wrote: Well that's simply because you're both ignorant racists.

Do you really believe Asians possess some special genetics that enables them to grok the Dharma better than everyone else? That's so laughable and sad that anyone in this day and age thinks that.
No. Tibetans have a different culture than we do. The way they hear and understand Dharma is different than what we hear. If you ask a Tibetan if the deities are real and you ask a Westerner if the deities are real, you will get two different answers. Since the topic at hand is how to understand the deities in the original context, the proper procedure is to ask an expert that has not corrupted the teachings with their quasi-secular interpretations that misapply the higher teachings.

So I proudly say again, with absolutely no qualms about being accused of racism, that in order to get the correct answer people should ask a lama of Tibetan heritage so as to not get a corrupted answer. The simplest way I can think to ask the question is, "Should I believe that the dieiy is actually present when I do my sadhana practice?" Then when the answer is yes say,"But aren't they all the nature of emptiness? (Or non-duality, or provisional, or nature of my own mind, or whatever your favorite idea that discounts their nature might be) The answer will be yes. So then go back and say, "So therefore I do not have to believe they are really present when I do my practice." Let me know what your Tibetan lama says.

As far as I am concerned this is a win-win. Even if some lama shoots me down, someone will have gone to the effort to have contact with the living tradition of the Vajrayana. As far as that goes it is a plus, as per the signature in all of my posts.
Last edited by smcj on Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Vasana
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Re: Yidams

Post by Vasana » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:00 pm

Care to define 'real' for us all again? Is this fundamentally about the 'empty of other' position?

I'm surprised you're still talking about the ontological status of anything in such a binary way. It's a false set of choices.

Are real and unreal the only outcomes you would accept? Could the truth be more nuanced and fluid than you're presenting it to be?

I heard a story of a lama being asked by one person if the hells were real and he said no. Another person asked him another time and he said yes.

The opposite of a fact is a falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” – Niels Bohr

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Last edited by Vasana on Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:04 pm

Vasana wrote:Care to define 'real' for us all again?

I'm surprised you're still talking about the ontological status of anythingsuch a binary way.

Are real and unreal the only outcomes you would accept? Could it be more nuanced and fluid than you're presenting it to be?
No. That complication is exactly what needs to be removed and clarity established. As Chime R. is famous for pointing out, we make it much too complicated. It's much simpler than what we make out of it. We can't see the forest for the trees.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Yidams

Post by Vasana » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:14 pm

Insisting on the reality or unreality of anything is precisely missing the forest for the trees.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

smcj
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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:26 pm

Vasana wrote:Insisting on the reality or unreality of anything is precisely missing the forest for the trees.
Not understanding how to practice and make progress on the Path is not seeing the forest for the trees.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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conebeckham
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Re: Yidams

Post by conebeckham » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:36 pm

Is it possible that Tibetan lamas could say "yes," there are deities residing at locations--Mt. Kailash, for example, or the Cool Grove Charnal ground near Gaya--and that, at the same time, the same Tibetan Lama could see no contradiction with the position that all such statements and appearances are unreal, in the end?

And that, furthermore, one's own mental continuum, or awareness, purified of defilements, is not other than Cakrasamvara atop Mt. Kailash, or Mahakala residing at Silwai Tsel?
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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Vasana
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Re: Yidams

Post by Vasana » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:36 pm

smcj wrote:
Vasana wrote:Insisting on the reality or unreality of anything is precisely missing the forest for the trees.
Not understanding how to practice and make progress on the Path is not seeing the forest for the trees.
Non-sequitur? You didnt address my proposition you just used it to imply that everyone else 'just doesn't get it.'

It sure is a good thing that there exists practices that use direct perception like Mahamudra and Dzogchen which don't soley rely upon logical inferences, isn't it?
You spoke of the truth being simpler after all.
Last edited by Vasana on Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Yidams

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:40 pm

smcj wrote:
Vasana wrote:Care to define 'real' for us all again?

I'm surprised you're still talking about the ontological status of anythingsuch a binary way.

Are real and unreal the only outcomes you would accept? Could it be more nuanced and fluid than you're presenting it to be?
No. That complication is exactly what needs to be removed and clarity established. As Chime R. is famous for pointing out, we make it much too complicated. It's much simpler than what we make out of it. We can't see the forest for the trees.
I have a feeling you are misinterpreting him, because the fact is, your stance (that externally existent deities somehow occupy your mindstream when you do sadhana practice, almost like a spirit possession) is also a complication and gives rise to problems.

Simplicity probably refers to the primacy of non-conceptual experience over all these concepts. The fact is your view is just as conceptual as the strawman you are setting up, namely that people who don't believe that you literally summon an external deity in sadhana practice don't believe in other mindstreams existing relatively.

Why don't you ask a lama if an external deity literally possesses you when you practise a sadhana?

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Malcolm
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Re: Yidams

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:46 pm

smcj wrote: No. Tibetans have a different culture than we do. The way they hear and understand Dharma is different than what we hear. If you ask a Tibetan if the deities are real and you ask a Westerner if the deities are real, you will get two different answers. Since the topic at hand is how to understand the deities in the original context, the proper procedure is to ask an expert that has not corrupted the teachings with their quasi-secular interpretations that misapply the higher teachings.
Lets see, who has corrupted what teachings with interpretation. Please be specific.
So I proudly say again, with absolutely no qualms about being accused of racism, that in order to get the correct answer people should ask a lama of Tibetan heritage so as to not get a corrupted answer.
Right, because other people who have practiced as long or longer don't know shit.
The simplest way I can think to ask the question is, "Should I believe that the dieiy is actually present when I do my sadhana practice?" Then when the answer is yes say,"But aren't they all the nature of emptiness? (Or non-duality, or provisional, or nature of my own mind, or whatever your favorite idea that discounts their nature might be) The answer will be yes. So then go back and say, "So therefore I do not have to believe they are really present when I do my practice." Let me know what your Tibetan lama says.
When you do the sadhana, you are supposed to be the deity, it is not actually conceived as some external entity to which you are making an appeal. For example, when one makes offerings, prostrations and praises in a sadhana to whom is one making offerings, prostrations and praises? One is making offerings, prostrations and praises to oneself as the deity.

You arrogantly have elected yourself the defender of the tradition against what you perceive to be corrupting influences, but as far as I can tell, you have not actually understood the tradition you imagine you are defending.

...someone will have gone to the effort to have contact with the living tradition of the Vajrayana.
You do realize that I am someone who was appointed by a real, live Tibetan to be an Ācarya within the Sakya school, and someone who was entitled Lama connected with a Nyingma monastery (Donak Tharling) by another, real live Tibetan? And yet, somehow you seek to cast aspersion on us all who actually made connections with the living tradition of Vajrayāna because we don't accept your very skewed ideas of what this tradition states.
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

smcj
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Re: Yidams

Post by smcj » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:51 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
smcj wrote:
Vasana wrote:Care to define 'real' for us all again?

I'm surprised you're still talking about the ontological status of anythingsuch a binary way.

Are real and unreal the only outcomes you would accept? Could it be more nuanced and fluid than you're presenting it to be?
No. That complication is exactly what needs to be removed and clarity established. As Chime R. is famous for pointing out, we make it much too complicated. It's much simpler than what we make out of it. We can't see the forest for the trees.
I have a feeling you are misinterpreting him, because the fact is, your stance (that externally existent deities somehow occupy your mindstream when you do sadhana practice, almost like a possession) is also a complication and gives rise to problems.

Simplicity probably refers to the primacy of non-conceptual experience over all these concepts. The fact is your view is just as conceptual as the strawman you are setting up, namely that people who don't believe that you literally summon an external deity in sadhana practice don't believe in other mindstreams existing relatively.
What I'm saying is simple: Ask a lama if you are supposed to believe that a deity is actually present when you do sadhana. Throw whatever complications you want at him such as...
Malcolm wrote:
When you do the sadhana, you are supposed to be the deity, it is not actually conceived as some external entity to which you are making an appeal. For example, when one makes offerings, prostrations and praises in a sadhana to whom is one making offerings, prostrations and praises? One is making offerings, prostrations and praises to oneself as the deity.
...or...
Malcolm wrote:You do not have to believe a deity is present — that is dualistic. You have to be the deity.
...and then say, "So all that means that I don't have to believe that there is a deity actually present when I do sadhana, right?" Let me know what he says.

I realize some people do not have access to Tibetan lamas. And one lama may tell one person one thing and another person something else. However it is best to get a reliable answer from a traditional authority.. What's wrong with doing that?
Last edited by smcj on Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Malcolm
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Re: Yidams

Post by Malcolm » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:01 pm

smcj wrote: ...and then say, "So all that means that I don't have to believe that there is a deity actually present when I do sadhana, right?"
You do not have to believe a deity is present — that is dualistic. You have to be the deity.

Sadly, it is quite useless conversing with you, because you just misinterpret what everyone says and make really off the wall remarks.
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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