What's the point of abusive gurus?
Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:58 pm
The notion that there is a person to destroy is pernicious and false. This is annihilationism.heart wrote: ↑Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:42 pmI am a little surprised at this discussion and several others recently. Vajrayana (including Dzogchen) is not really about finding a nice teacher that can teach you nice things, right? It is about recognising the natural state, decide on that and gain full realisation in the natural self liberation and that will leave nothing of our current like and dislikes, hopes and fears and so on. It will utterly destroy the unrealised people that we are.
1) Naropa was already an advanced Vajrayāna practitioner when he sought out Tilopa.I am pretty sure none of you think that Naropa let Tilopa abuse him to the point of death without Naropa getting some realisation, some awakening in the process. That would be very stupid on his part and I think we all know that Naropa wasn't stupid.
2) Naropa did not realize buddhahood, because in the end, he disobeyed Tilopa over the issue of debating Hindus.
3) Tilopa did not actually personally abuse Naropa. He put Naropa in situations where Naropa acted out his egotism and got into trouble as a result.
4) These stories are comparatively rare. In fact, in the entire history of the Sakya tradition, filled with masters who attained the highest realizations, none of these stories exist. I cannot think of any similar stories in the Gelug, Jonang, or Nyingma traditions either. For some reason, however, the Kagyu tradition's take on guru devotion, using Tilopa/Naropa, Marpa/Mila narratives, is frankly unhealthy and leads students the wrong way. I also cannot think of any stories like this in the Kagyu tradition following Milarepa, in fact. So why do Tibetans and westerners constantly invoke the Tilopa/Naropa refrain? It makes no sense and merely promotes a sense that if you guru does not beat you, you are not making progress. Beyond this, there is the fact that Milarepa story is a complete fiction, as the research of Peter Alan Roberts clearly shows based on the earliest bios of Milarepa.
For example, let us take the case of Virupa. Virupa was a monk, Shri Dharmapāla, abbot of Nalanda, who practiced Vajrayogini for twenty years. He thought he was not getting anywhere. So one night he decided to quit and tossed his māla in the toilet. He had a dream of Nairatma, and she told him that he had erred, and that he needed to retrieve his māla from the latrine and wash it. You see, he had received empowerments of Cakrasamvara, but his master had died before Dharmapāla could receive intimate instructions related to experiences on the path. So he misinterpreted his experiences of heat on the path of application, and further, he was practicing the wrong yidam. So the next day, he encountered nirmanakāya Nairatma and her band of yoginīs, received the Hevajra empowerment and instructions, and achieved one bodhisattva bhumi after another for six consecutive nights, realizing the sixth bhumi. Now, Virupa was definitely a crazy yogi, everywhere he went he challenged people's expectations, but he did it with kindness, not anger— though when he reversed the Ganges, he might have flooded a hut or two, and when he stopped the sun in the sky, he might have damaged some crops. In his dealings with Dombhi Heruka and Kanha, it is recorded he showed them nothing but kindness. It is well known that among the 84 mahāsiddhas, when it came to manifesting magical powers, Virupa was the greatest. Finally, people became a little too freaked out by Virupa's displays of power, so Avalokiteshvara intervened and asked Virupa to stop. Of course Virupa assented, having converted thousands of Hindus to Buddhadharma and the practice of Avalokiteshvara in particular, and when he passed, it is recorded that he dissolved his physical body into a statue of Avalokiteshvara in South India. The point of all of this is that there is more than one model of guru/disciple relationships.
Another of the root downfalls is causing people to lose faith in the Dharma. You are going to have to explain to me exactly how it is that promulgation of these few narratives does Vajrayāna more good than harm, considering they are exceptions and not the rule.
And further, those of us who extol such stories as that of Tilo and Naro, think carefully, could you handle Tilopa as your guru? And if you answer honestly, you will admit there is no way you can handle this. And if you can't handle this, for what reason do you hold this up as an ideal model of a guru and student relationship?