How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

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Coëmgenu
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How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:17 pm

Greetings, all.

Let us say that I am an utter newcomer to Buddhism.

Let us say that I am highly persuaded or interested in the Buddhist wisdom preserved solely in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.

This is not to say anything "better" or "worse" about Tibetan Buddhism. For the purposes of this post, Tibetan Buddhism has preserved a lot of the late Indian "general Mahayana" (to say nothing of the ever larger Vajrayana) tradition that was lost after the decline of Buddhism in India, and preserves a lot of Indian (i.e. "natively" Buddhist) wisdom that never had a chance to be translated into Buddhist Hybrid Chinese.

Let us say that I live in rural Ontario (or Kansas for that matter), how do I access the wisdom preserved by the Tibetan tradition, given that (and this may be my own ignorance speaking here) I lack access to a "personal teacher/guru"?
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Indrajala
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Indrajala » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:36 pm

There's nothing stopping you from picking up Tibetan literature in translation and reading it until you have the opportunity to study under someone. You could also start to study Classical Tibetan, which would facilitate your study of Tibetan Buddhism.
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tiagolps
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by tiagolps » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:07 pm

Newar buddhism is another form of buddhism that might strike your fancy, if you are looking for schools that preserve the Indian tradition. It has degenerated a bit though...

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Newar
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Enjoy the domain of the tranquil nirvana.
Fully possessing the om and the soha,
You overcome even the greatest of evils.

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philji
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by philji » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:30 pm

I have heard many good things about this centre so maybe it would be worth paying it a visit.
http://www.riwoche.com/eventscalendar.html

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justsit
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by justsit » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:02 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Let us say that I live in rural Ontario (or Kansas for that matter), how do I access the wisdom preserved by the Tibetan tradition, given that (and this may be my own ignorance speaking here) I lack access to a "personal teacher/guru"?
There are plenty of teachings by prominent gurus available on YouTube and on DVD. You may find someone you feel a connection to, someone who resonates with you.

Lack of access is a relative term. At some point, you may want to meet a particular teacher; It will likely require travel and a degree of effort. Unless you live in a large metropolitan area, or are independently wealthy, you may only see your teacher once a year or less.

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:01 am

My thanks. My question was predicated on the notion that one needed an "in-person" teacher, as such unavailable to those in the rural West. Is such not necessarily the case?
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:06 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Greetings, all.

Let us say that I am an utter newcomer to Buddhism.

Let us say that I am highly persuaded or interested in the Buddhist wisdom preserved solely in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.

This is not to say anything "better" or "worse" about Tibetan Buddhism. For the purposes of this post, Tibetan Buddhism has preserved a lot of the late Indian "general Mahayana" (to say nothing of the ever larger Vajrayana) tradition that was lost after the decline of Buddhism in India, and preserves a lot of Indian (i.e. "natively" Buddhist) wisdom that never had a chance to be translated into Buddhist Hybrid Chinese.

Let us say that I live in rural Ontario (or Kansas for that matter), how do I access the wisdom preserved by the Tibetan tradition, given that (and this may be my own ignorance speaking here) I lack access to a "personal teacher/guru"?
Malcolm (himself an acharya with teaching credentials) has already mentioned about and if there is this necessity of an "in-person" relationship before. In this case someone was concerned about joining Dzogchen Community, and not be able to develop this kind of relationship with CNN! He said that this is secondary if he follows the practices properly, try to keep contact with Rinpoche through mail and try to meet him once if possible! If you want an introduction, I think anything available at the moment is worth and useful! Have you ever considered some online courses, that offers tutorship by distance, there is a variety of these online?
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:37 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Greetings, all.

Let us say that I am an utter newcomer to Buddhism.

Let us say that I am highly persuaded or interested in the Buddhist wisdom preserved solely in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.

This is not to say anything "better" or "worse" about Tibetan Buddhism. For the purposes of this post, Tibetan Buddhism has preserved a lot of the late Indian "general Mahayana" (to say nothing of the ever larger Vajrayana) tradition that was lost after the decline of Buddhism in India, and preserves a lot of Indian (i.e. "natively" Buddhist) wisdom that never had a chance to be translated into Buddhist Hybrid Chinese.

Let us say that I live in rural Ontario (or Kansas for that matter), how do I access the wisdom preserved by the Tibetan tradition, given that (and this may be my own ignorance speaking here) I lack access to a "personal teacher/guru"?

There are lots of teachers who are accessible online now. ChNN gives direct introduction and webcasts, Garchen Rinpoche gives teaching and empowerment, there's the FPMT, and so many other groups. The question of a personal teacher of guru is sort of a complex one, because there is more than one kind of guru/disciple relationship. IME so far, genuine devotion means more than anything else.

I'd start by looking into some teacher's activities, watching videos etc. if you cannot make it to anything in person.
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:15 am

I'm in a similar situation. I can't make it into the city very often. I attend as many teachings being streamed online as I can, with CNNR, Garchen Rinpoche. I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything like altar practices, bowls, some preliminaries, that kind of thing. More complicated rituals, deity practices aren't going to be happening for a while. I'll probably be doing semde/mahamudra for the rest of my life. The biggest issue I've found for myself is consistency and commitment. I do the best I can.
No place, no focus, no missing the point

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:34 am

PuerAzaelis wrote:I'm in a similar situation. I can't make it into the city very often. I attend as many teachings being streamed online as I can, with CNNR, Garchen Rinpoche. I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything like altar practices, bowls, some preliminaries, that kind of thing. More complicated rituals, deity practices aren't going to be happening for a while. I'll probably be doing semde/mahamudra for the rest of my life. The biggest issue I've found for myself is consistency and commitment. I do the best I can.
Depending of which deity practices you do, there are also some reliable informations online. For exemple the website kalachakranet.org has many resources on how stablish a Kalachakra practice for initiates! Things such as how to do mudras etc are explained. But of course that ideally should be learned from a teacher!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:00 am

One thing in my experience: don't look down on online opportunities with a poverty mentality, especially if you have a genuine connection to a teacher, it's an auspicious thing. I have both a "home base" where I have in person teachers, and I follow ChNN online, though hope to see him in person when I can.
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:09 am

Nice advice.
No place, no focus, no missing the point

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:30 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:One thing in my experience: don't look down on online opportunities with a poverty mentality, especially if you have a genuine connection to a teacher, it's an auspicious thing. I have both a "home base" where I have in person teachers, and I follow ChNN online, though hope to see him in person when I can.
Yes! I personally believe that there is no substitute to a real in person contact with a teacher. But we are also quite privilleged beings in some ways! We have the chance to connect with extremely precious Dharma, practices and teachers in an extremely convenient, cheap and confortable ways! Something impossible in bygone eras! But we must also remember the difficulties and toil that practitioners such as Marpa, Atisha, Hsuan Tsang and others, who risked their lives, resources in order to both get and teach Dharma. Passing through mountains, deserts, bandits and much more. In an age with no modern transportations and securities!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:14 am

Hsuan Tsang and others, who risked their lives, resources in order to both get and teach Dharma. Passing through mountains, deserts, bandits and much more. In an age with no modern transportations and securities!
Seems to say that we should be willing to endure the minor inconvenience of getting up at 3 in the morning etc., to receive teachings that once were so much harder to receive.
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by smcj » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:20 am

Dr. Reginal Ray, who was a Trungpa student, wrote an introductory college course textbook on Tibetan Buddhism that gives a nice overview called "Indestructible Truth". He is both a practitioner and a scholar, and a good writer to boot. I wish I had this book when I was starting so that I could have spent less time trying to make sense of an overwhelmingly complicated assortment of teachings. It won't get you far on the Path, but you'll have an overview of the Path.
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:31 am

smcj wrote:Dr. Reginal Ray, who was a Trungpa student, wrote an introductory college course textbook on Tibetan Buddhism that gives a nice overview called "Indestructible Truth". He is both a practitioner and a scholar, and a good writer to boot. I wish I had this book when I was starting so that I could have spent less time trying to make sense of an overwhelmingly complicated assortment of teachings. It won't get you far on the Path, but you'll have an overview of the Path.

I believe the follow up to this is Secrets of The Vajra World incidentally, which I found a really helpful overview as well.
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:46 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
smcj wrote:Dr. Reginal Ray, who was a Trungpa student, wrote an introductory college course textbook on Tibetan Buddhism that gives a nice overview called "Indestructible Truth". He is both a practitioner and a scholar, and a good writer to boot. I wish I had this book when I was starting so that I could have spent less time trying to make sense of an overwhelmingly complicated assortment of teachings. It won't get you far on the Path, but you'll have an overview of the Path.

I believe the follow up to this is Secrets of The Vajra World incidentally, which I found a really helpful overview as well.
He is also, IMO, an excellent teacher in his own right and there is a large amount of material available for free on his website:
https://www.dharmaocean.org/
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:27 am

Coëmgenu wrote:My thanks. My question was predicated on the notion that one needed an "in-person" teacher, as such unavailable to those in the rural West. Is such not necessarily the case?
At some point in time you will need an "in-person" teacher for some things. I live on a small island off the coast of Turkey ad are limited by funds but I still make an effort to see my teachers once a year. I normally come back with enough to keep me busy for one lifetime! :smile:

For example: If you go to a teacher and say you want to start ngondro. Well, depending on how fit you are, this can easily keep you busily in daily practice for over a year. During this year+ you go to a Vajrasattva initiation and get instruction for the next section and then (depending on your rate of accumulation) another year+ of daily practice.

If, after the initiation, you are given a daily Dharmapala practice to do, well then you have a lifelong practice right there.

So don't panic.

I would say to start with Sutra practices initially, especially the Three Heaps Sutra (Confession Buddha practice) and as you accumulate merit doors will open up all around you. Guaranteed!
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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by PeterC » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:32 am

In many of the stories of the mahasiddhas, the subject only met his/her teacher once, received initiation and instruction, then just practiced alone. Those stories are more numerous than those of the mahasiddhas who spent extensive periods receiving teachings.

What a lot of modern students look for in a guru is a combination of therapy, confessional and self-validation. If you don't need those then really you don't need to see your teacher that often if you practice seriously

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Re: How to access "specifically" Tibetan Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:57 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Let us say that I live in rural Ontario (or Kansas for that matter), how do I access the wisdom preserved by the Tibetan tradition, given that (and this may be my own ignorance speaking here) I lack access to a "personal teacher/guru"?
I suggest investing in communication with Tibetan masters and asking them your above question. It will probably cost a bit, but it just might clarify your problems better than anything else.
And while waiting for the reply or the opportunity to meet them, investigate what thoughts come up in your mind, what hopes, expectations, fears.

Reading books or passively listening to lectures (whether online or in person) can be a way to suppress one's actual concerns. It can also be a way of telling oneself, "Oh, I'm just too small, too unimportant to talk to the great teachers, I should just keep a low profile." One can waste a lot of time and money and opportunities that way.

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