Not been feeling like attending dharma events

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MiphamFan
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Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by MiphamFan » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:37 pm

I still maintain my own daily practices, but over the last year, as I started working, I've somehow become less and less interested in attending Dharma-related events such as empowerments and teachings, unless perhaps I could receive Dzogchen related empowerments and teachings such as the Nyingthig Yabzhi etc.

Actually I've been feeling like this even before I started working -- I have already received more teachings and practices than I can reasonably practise as a householder, some I am clearer about, others less so. What then is the point of receiving even more? I tried to approach some lamas who live closer to me see if I could establish a closer relationship with them, in particular learning Dzogchen, but they generally seemed more interested in asking me to participate in their dharma centres' regular pujas and so on, which I am not really interested in; at this point, I feel like what I received from ChNN is more than sufficient.

At the same time, I also feel like there is so much worldly stuff I have to learn just to keep up, for all that Boomer whingeing about millennials, we live in a much more dynamic, disruptive economy than you do/did.

I guess the reason for this ramble is that I feel kinda cut-off from Dharma-related contacts IRL, but I don't know if it would really be a good use of time to go for all these events, especially these empowerments where after they are given, no practice guidance is really given and the teacher goes off.

Any thoughts?

Terma
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Terma » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:34 pm

I don't think there is anything wrong with that at all. In fact I think a lot of times people just like to go around and "collect" different empowerments, with no real intention of practicing what they have received. Of course making a good connection to a teacher in this way can be a good thing.

I'm in the same boat as you. In the last few years I have gone to teachings in order to either receive empowerments or transmissions related to my practice or otherwise to request an empowerment for a later time or meet face to face in order to receive instructions, have implements blessed and so-forth. Of course, it is great to hear teachings from our Masters as well but for me that is just icing on the cake after everything else.

Miroku
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Miroku » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:46 pm

I understand that quite well. Honestly I think the best thing one can do is find a practice group with which you have the same transmission and practice more with them than going to some teachings all the time. Sometimes when an interesting or great lama comes it is always good to go but once you have had your share of teachers and teachings it is probably better to engage more with those that you already have and deepen the relationship and connectin with them and also the sangha.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
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PSM
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by PSM » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:30 pm

Personally, I think the best approach is to follow this loop:

Explain experience to teacher
Get instructions and clarifications from teacher
Go home
Implement
Gain experience
Return to teacher
Repeat

Getting too involved in a dharma centre is not great in my experience. Also, there's little point in getting empowerments for things you'll never practice.

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Snowbear
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Snowbear » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:31 pm

Have you been open to exploring other Buddhist schools?

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:37 pm

I've had a similar experience over the past few years, these days I am more selective about what I attend, and often i'd rather get a few minutes to talk with a senior student or teacher about my practice than I would attend an empowerment. Going narrower but deeper is helping me, if that makes sense.
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Simon E.
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Simon E. » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:05 pm

PSM wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Personally, I think the best approach is to follow this loop:

Explain experience to teacher
Get instructions and clarifications from teacher
Go home
Implement
Gain experience
Return to teacher
Repeat

Getting too involved in a dharma centre is not great in my experience. Also, there's little point in getting empowerments for things you'll never practice.
Yup this. With fewer and fewer 'get instructions' and more and more ( I hope) implement.
For a while I went to the opposite extreme and avoided all contact with all things Dharmic at all..I was suffering from severe spiritual indigestion.
I didn't stop practice however.
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

Terma
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Terma » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:19 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:46 pm
I understand that quite well. Honestly I think the best thing one can do is find a practice group with which you have the same transmission and practice more with them than going to some teachings all the time. Sometimes when an interesting or great lama comes it is always good to go but once you have had your share of teachers and teachings it is probably better to engage more with those that you already have and deepen the relationship and connectin with them and also the sangha.
I think this is great advice.

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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Simon E. » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:40 pm

This.

CTR used to say loudly to certain people 'stay out of the spiritual supermarket!'.
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:48 pm

Terma wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:19 pm
Miroku wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:46 pm
I understand that quite well. Honestly I think the best thing one can do is find a practice group with which you have the same transmission and practice more with them than going to some teachings all the time. Sometimes when an interesting or great lama comes it is always good to go but once you have had your share of teachers and teachings it is probably better to engage more with those that you already have and deepen the relationship and connectin with them and also the sangha.
I think this is great advice.
:good:
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

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Pema Rigdzin
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Pema Rigdzin » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:15 pm

I generally have a lot of the same feelings as the OP regarding preferring private practice over going to Dharma centers. The only thing anyone's said that I disagree with is the assertion that obtaining more and more empowerments, including ones we won't practice or get full instruction on, is pointless. According to our tradition, empowerments themselves have great potential to purify obscurations and generate merit. While not the main point from the Dzogchen POV, all masters agree that those things absolutely can enhance and strengthen our practice.

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Matt J
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Matt J » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:16 pm

When I first started to explore Vajrayana, I listened to Reggie Ray on a talk. While I did not ultimately go with his organization, what he said stuck with me. He said that people approach the mandala differently at different times. Some people like to be deep in the center of the mandala, fully involved in the community and pujas. Others would do as some said here, practice on their own for a time. Of course, there is a broad spectrum in the middle. I think it is natural to have different approaches at different times.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Aryjna
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Aryjna » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:21 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:15 pm
I generally have a lot of the same feelings as the OP regarding preferring private practice over going to Dharma centers. The only thing anyone's said that I disagree with is the assertion that obtaining more and more empowerments, including ones we won't practice or get full instruction on, is pointless. According to our tradition, empowerments themselves have great potential to purify obscurations and generate merit. While not the main point from the Dzogchen POV, all masters agree that those things absolutely can enhance and strengthen our practice.
I've been wondering about that lately. I wasn't sure that it is a good thing to try to receive many empowerments related to practices that you will not be practicing. Then again, important lamas have received hundreds of empowerments.

MiphamFan
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:36 am

PSM wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Personally, I think the best approach is to follow this loop:

Explain experience to teacher
Get instructions and clarifications from teacher
Go home
Implement
Gain experience
Return to teacher
Repeat

Getting too involved in a dharma centre is not great in my experience. Also, there's little point in getting empowerments for things you'll never practice.
I do this with the Dzogchen Community, but my contact with e.g. the senior SMS teachers has mostly been through email recently. I guess on some level I am feeling a bit lonely for contact IRL, and the kind of contact available is not what I want.

I am really curious about those who establish some kind of close relationship with a lama living near them -- did you go to all the regular pujas and so on before they started to accept you and teach you?

A lot of people here in Singapore, I realize, just visit lamas and talk to them about problems they encounter in daily life and other mundane stuff and the lamas seem to listen and chat with them. But when I say I want to learn Dzogchen then they tell me to go for the regular events. On the other hand, I have come to realize that many, if not most, of the lamas stationed at the dharma centres here are puja lamas , i.e., they know how to perform pujas and can be personable figures for the community, but they are not really "teaching" lamas.

Anyway that was in the past, I've come to feel that my spiritual "home" is still with the DC, even if not in the physical world. I would like to have the opportunity to closely study some Dzogchen texts (or you know what, not even Dzogchen, but core texts like the Bodhicaryavatara too) with a teacher, but that seems out of my reach for now.

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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Vāgendra » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:21 pm

A lot of people here in Singapore, I realize, just visit lamas and talk to them about problems they encounter in daily life and other mundane stuff and the lamas seem to listen and chat with them. But when I say I want to learn Dzogchen then they tell me to go for the regular events. On the other hand, I have come to realize that many, if not most, of the lamas stationed at the dharma centres here are puja lamas , i.e., they know how to perform pujas and can be personable figures for the community, but they are not really "teaching" lamas.
To have a "teaching" lama, there has to be requesting and planning of some kind. Some of those "puja lamas" are very capable meditators, especially the older ones. But if they don't have a mandate to teach, or the students just want to chat about about relatively mundane issues (which is what laypeople often want or need to discuss) there is a lack of suitable context for them to teach. Trungpa is remembered to have said that everything you could possibly need, as a practitioner or teacher, is in Mipham's collected works. As a Dzogchen practitioner -- or even just as a Dzogchen meditator with ordinary problems -- all you need to do for those problems is read the Seven Treasures and the Choying Dzo in particular. At least, that is the jist of what Dza Paltrul wrote in his praise of the Seven Treasures.

MiphamFan
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:55 pm

Vāgendra wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:21 pm
A lot of people here in Singapore, I realize, just visit lamas and talk to them about problems they encounter in daily life and other mundane stuff and the lamas seem to listen and chat with them. But when I say I want to learn Dzogchen then they tell me to go for the regular events. On the other hand, I have come to realize that many, if not most, of the lamas stationed at the dharma centres here are puja lamas , i.e., they know how to perform pujas and can be personable figures for the community, but they are not really "teaching" lamas.
To have a "teaching" lama, there has to be requesting and planning of some kind. Some of those "puja lamas" are very capable meditators, especially the older ones. But if they don't have a mandate to teach, or the students just want to chat about about relatively mundane issues (which is what laypeople often want or need to discuss) there is a lack of suitable context for them to teach. Trungpa is remembered to have said that everything you could possibly need, as a practitioner or teacher, is in Mipham's collected works. As a Dzogchen practitioner -- or even just as a Dzogchen meditator with ordinary problems -- all you need to do for those problems is read the Seven Treasures and the Choying Dzo in particular. At least, that is the jist of what Dza Paltrul wrote in his praise of the Seven Treasures.
I didn't mean that as a diss of the "puja lamas" BTW. I think it is entirely possible to be an accomplished practitioner and skilled ritual specialist, but for whatever reason, not be a "teaching lama" or at least unable/unwilling to teach a particular individual at a particular time, although I still did find it disappointing.

The problem with reading by oneself is that you don't know if you interpret it correctly, or if there are difficult passages. I guess one has to learn Tibetan to some level of proficiency.

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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Simon E. » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:00 pm

Learning Tibetan is a 'counsel of perfection' it not of the essence.

What is of the essence is a teacher that you can consult preferably in person or by phone or by email or snail mail and who will engage with you..even if that is not as often or for as long as you would wish.
Attending events for many people becomes less attractive after a while. But there is a balance to be struck.
Most of us do not thrive as hermits.
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:42 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:37 pm
I still maintain my own daily practices, but over the last year, as I started working, I've somehow become less and less interested in attending Dharma-related events such as empowerments and teachings, unless perhaps I could receive Dzogchen related empowerments and teachings such as the Nyingthig Yabzhi etc.

Actually I've been feeling like this even before I started working -- I have already received more teachings and practices than I can reasonably practise as a householder, some I am clearer about, others less so. What then is the point of receiving even more? I tried to approach some lamas who live closer to me see if I could establish a closer relationship with them, in particular learning Dzogchen, but they generally seemed more interested in asking me to participate in their dharma centres' regular pujas and so on, which I am not really interested in; at this point, I feel like what I received from ChNN is more than sufficient.

At the same time, I also feel like there is so much worldly stuff I have to learn just to keep up, for all that Boomer whingeing about millennials, we live in a much more dynamic, disruptive economy than you do/did.

I guess the reason for this ramble is that I feel kinda cut-off from Dharma-related contacts IRL, but I don't know if it would really be a good use of time to go for all these events, especially these empowerments where after they are given, no practice guidance is really given and the teacher goes off.

Any thoughts?
my view is that as practitioners we eventually get to a point where we NEED guidance, we need our guru for a vivid example, answers, etc. and it is not enough with going to see another gurú that will disappear in his tours or business.

in this condition i have found my self forced to be responsible for my own. And, being studying and working in the mean time, presence, recognition of the emptiness and karma of phenomena inside and around me all time, while awaken or sleep, became my main practice. all saddhanas became secondary practices.

by no means i'm pretending to hold the truth about this matter, but i can speak for my experience that the more empowerments/transmisions you get, the more tools you have. if applyed according to circumstances, then they become virtuous and not a burden. if came the case that you feel need for mantaining the daily practice, any guruyoga is enough.

so, going back to what i meant, we reach a point where we are forced to learn to walk on our own, like a baby turning into a child. then you will need to know what conduct really means. then is like a time where you contrast everything you belived you knew, and find out a concrete answer. more often a raw answer that you might don't like. anyway if any doubts happens to occur, guruyoga refreshes, is like a "reset" in any case. also i must say that the desire to see your teacher will never dissapear, and is a pretty strange thing to me that my trust -devotion- have stabilized in this way.

have fun!

edit: im my case i also decided to assist the sangha's needs, organize small retreats, group study, reconciliation, discusion, etc. that's all i can say. you know.. buddha, dharma AND sangha.
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PeterC
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by PeterC » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:57 am

PSM wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Personally, I think the best approach is to follow this loop:

Explain experience to teacher
Get instructions and clarifications from teacher
Go home
Implement
Gain experience
Return to teacher
Repeat

Getting too involved in a dharma centre is not great in my experience. Also, there's little point in getting empowerments for things you'll never practice.
:good:

Excellent advice. Remember Milarepa’s last advice to Gampopa.

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Ogyen
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Re: Not been feeling like attending dharma events

Post by Ogyen » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:29 am

I also see it a completely natural stage in one's practice. I've always been a "remote" practitioner, but I've been fortunate to have a little direct in person contact with some folks in the DC. I know a ton virtually...

My partner and I are both Dzogchen práctitioners so we have each other and with our kids and all of the Transmissions we receive from ChNN (at ridiculous hours like 2am, but we're committed) and we make do, and about once a year we try to attend an event in the most accesible DC... USUALLY this involves a fair expense in time and travel, so it's well planned in advance, but consistent.

It's important to have contact IRL with someone who also practices, IMO... At least once in a while... nirmanakaya -> Sangha. Important not to cut out completely such an important part of the practice.
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