Re: Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo & Lama Tsultrim Allione: Shambhala's Sakyong Mipham
Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:24 am
Wow. Thank you for sharing this, I think there is a lot of benefit from people hearing these stories. Do you believe that "peaceful" gurus necessarily offer a sort of slower path than "wrathful" gurus as a rule?pemachophel wrote: ↑Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:09 amWe're talking as if the branding of Jetsun Shuksep by Lama Pema Gyatsho was a great transgression and a crime against females. Having been Jetsun Shuksep's student in my last life and one of Her present Tulku's shabji for almost 20 years in this life, I don't see it that way. Just with Marpa and Milarepa, I feel quite confident that Jetsun Shuksep would've said Lama Pema Gyatsho's acts were skillful means for the purification of Her bad karma. Did She suffer terribly? Of course She did. Besides branding, She was kicked out of Her Teacher's community, beaten, and told to walk naked around the Barkor. But She was willing to undergo these trials for the sake of Enlightenment. If, within Vajrayana, these were considered wrong or shameful acts on the part of Her Guru, they would not have been included in Her namthar. Her namthar is a record of Her Liberation and everything in it is meant as a description of what led to that Liberation. Would I like to be branded on my forehead? No way... but then I don't have Jetsun Shuksep's bravery and perseverance on the path to Liberation.
We moderns (with our liberal, humanist, relativist views) need to understand that the Vajrayana is an inherently dangerous path where all safety nets have been discarded. There are no limits to what a real Guru might do to insure the Liberation of Their student. In Alexandra David-Neel's Magic & Mystery in Tibet, there's a story where she comes across a Lama whose student is practicing chod every night and is so scared that David-Neel cautions the Lama that the student is on the verge of dying. The Lama says that the student has only to realize the inherent nature of his own mind and all fear will evaporate. The Teacher did not intervene in the student's nightly chod.
One of my own Teachers deliberately caused me immense mental and emotional pain. After years of suffering through this, She said that it was in order to insure that my mind stayed in the View every minute of every day. Harsh? Absolutely. But don't hang out with Wisdom Dakinis (a.k.a. Mamos) if you can't take the heat.
Chatral Rinpoche, one of this Teacher's Root Gurus, was also famous for doing outrageous things, making outrageous requests of students. There is a well-known story of Chatral Rinpoche shitting on a plate and asking a Western student who was requesting teachings on one taste to eat that shit. The student decided he didn't need those teachings after all. Another time, a Tibetan disciple of Chatral Rinpoche was near death. This disciple (or former disciple) had broken samaya which had never been confessed and repaired. Seeing the writing on the wall, he was now afraid he was going to Narme Hell. He invited Chatral Rinpoche out to a fashionable restaurant and bought Him dinner. He said how sorry he was and asked if Chatral Rinpoche would pardon him. Chatral Rinpoche told the man to offer absolutely every single one of his possessions to Him. If I remember correctly, the man ran out of the restaurant. I was told this story by Jetsun Shuksep's Tulku as an example of how serious Vajryana samaya is as well as how, as a Vajrayana Guru, Chatral Rinpoche "played for keeps." Today, everyone likes to say they were a student of Chatral Rinpoche. But the truth is that, for years, most people stayed away from Chatral Rinpoche out of fear.
Similar with Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche Whose bio was recently posted on this site in another thread. I personally know a well-known Western Dharma practitioner who asked Kunzang Dorje to become His student. Kunzang Dorje took out a piece of copper wire, straightened it out a bit, and told this Westerner to insert it up his penis. The Westerner decided he was needed elsewhere.
Then there's Kusum Lingpa Who gleefully shoplifted in drag while His students shuddered in a combination of embarassment and fear of being immanently arrested. And that's only one example of this Teacher's outrageous, iconoclastic behavior.
My point being, if you (we, me) are not willing to risk everything on the Vajrayana path, maybe you/we/me should not follow this path. The pervasive contemporary attempt to water down the Vajrayana to make it palatable to us moderns and profitable to its purveyors risks, as one of my Dharma brothers recently wrote, turning it into "Tibetan Presbyterianism." The 84 Mahasiddhas of India did not tell Their Gurus what They could and couldn't do in terms of Their teaching methods.
Many people gravitate to Gurus who are always nice, always kind, always "compassionate" in our everyday version of that word. We pick Gurus who we like and are easy to get along with, Who we are comfortable with. For some of us, this is all we can handle. But when you're with a highly Realized Teacher, it can be very, very scary. To Them, this world is a fiction, a dream, an illusion, and Their job is to wake us up out of that fiction as quickly and completely as possible. For this kind of Teacher, nothing is "off the table" in terms of skillful means. When confronted with this sort of Teacher, you may not be able to take the heat.
I totally understand the problem with sexual abuse that is causing so much anguish and upsetment in our Tibetan Buddhist world. One of my own Teachers was well-known for having sex with His female students. So I have some first-hand experience of this situation. But I would caution we Tantrikas to be very careful in jumping to pervasive modernist conclusions about all this. It is very, very difficult to tell who is a true Guru and who is not, and our tightly cherished notions of right and wrong don't apply in the world of the Swift Path. That's what makes Vajrayana so damn dangerous. This path is not for everyone. The fact that it's being marketed to everyone without the proper warning labels on the side of the package is part of the degenerations of the Kali Yuga.
I'm sure I'm going to catch flak for this post, but, in my opinion and experience, this whole situation is not as easy and straightforward as many seem to think. For anyone thinking about entering the Vajrayana, all I can say is caveat emptor.