A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

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Simon E.
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A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:39 pm

Firstly this is NOT an attempt to revive the Shambala thread via the back door..believe me!

But that thread made me refocus on an unresolved dilemma and I would welcome views and advice.

Basically, the facts are these, how to come to some kind of resolution when one has witnessed behaviours that would be widely seen as abuse in a context where one has received huge personal benefit.

I have grappled with this for decades, quite literally, and I am no nearer resolution.

It seems to me that there are two inauthentic types of response.

The first is simply denial. To deny that abuse has taken place at all, or that it is not really abuse because it stems from 'Crazy Wisdom'..This simply won't do.

The second is to deny that one received benefit, that the insights which arose were not real or lasting.

I have gone between both poles over the years, But neither satisfy the heart.


I suspect that students of both Rigpa and Shambala will be grappling with the same polarities over the next few years..I have mentioned those organisations not to invite yet more analysis of them as organisations but as examples.

The nearest I can get to a resolution is to adopt a 'dont know' mind. To put all in the cloud of unknowing and sit with it like a koan, not expecting a logical answer.

What would you do?
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

Matylda
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Matylda » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:16 pm

If one received benefits from a teacher should be concerned basically with that
if there is person who was abused by anyone - teacher included then has free choice to go to police and report
if one is observing teachers behavior at the time of receiving benefit then in fact is not getting anything, there is no benefit

our parents and ancestors are pretty much burdened by evils.. shall we forget about our direct parents and dump them? since they commited evil?
generally it is very adviceable to be careful before engaging with any teacher.. and then be even 100 times more careful about ones own motivation.

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:15 pm

You have not understood the situation, or my post, or its context Matylda.
But thank you for your reply.

:namaste:
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

Tata1
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Tata1 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:12 pm

I would add a third approach.

Boths responses are equally empty

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justsit
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by justsit » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:30 pm

Maybe I'm misinterpreting your two choices, but they seem very black and white, all or nothing.

I get that denial is not a real option, for obvious reasons. The evidence is quite clear.

But are you saying it is necessary to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater as well? Why must you deny benefits from the teachings you received?

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Jangchup Donden
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Jangchup Donden » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:45 pm

Dharma is pure, but the way it's transmitted to samsaric beings understandably has samsaric issues.

If you practice Dharma with Bodhichitta, with an attitude free of selfishness (or at least with the intention to rid yourself of selfishness) it's going to be of immense benefit. Even if whoever you received it from never had or has abandoned that intention.

I'm reminded of the story of the dog's tooth:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/dogs-tooth/

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Grigoris
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Grigoris » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:53 pm

Basically, the facts are these, how to come to some kind of resolution when one has witnessed behaviours that would be widely seen as abuse in a context where one has received huge personal benefit.
There is nothing new or unique about this situation.

Consider capitalism: Huge personal benefit for a few, abuse for the rest.

How do you personally resolve that at a daily level? Why not apply the same strategy to this?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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DechenDave
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by DechenDave » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:07 pm

If you know that the two polarities you have outlined are inauthentic, then drop them. They are worse than useless.

That leaves room for you to ask what you can realistically do about this situation and what would be considered normal, common, healthy decency on the part of a witness such as yourself. If you have lived with this for decades, is the window even still open to act? If yes, then in what way? The man is dead, so do you know how to bring benefit directly to the recipient of the abuse?

There is a good chance that if you pare it down like this and discover nothing concrete that you can feasibly do, you may be left with garden variety feelings of (or even an actual state of) guilt rather than a vajra-koan.

What can be done about guilt? There is ammends and/or punishment. If the first is attainable, attain it. If not, you are already punishing yourself. Problem solved in a way.

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:24 pm

Thank you, each of you..your answers have been very useful.
It might seem weird that these things still need some resolution after all this time, but they clearly do.
Obviously I have my own karma-vipaka to deal with. And when you encounter a teacher so radical the fallout is equally intense.

I really feel for the Shambala and Rigpa people, Vajra teachings are so precious and things go deep.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Matt J
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Matt J » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:03 pm

From what I've seen, most Buddhist traditions place realization on a spectrum. There are ordinary beings, practitioners, various stages of Arhatship, various stages of the Bodhisattva, all the way up to full Buddhahood. Accordingly, there is room for partial realization. This conflicts with the inherited Western notions of holiness-- either it comes from heaven or it doesn't. The Buddhist view is a bit more subtle.

I don't agree with others who say that the teachings some teachers have given are invalid because of their misconduct. In East Asia, there is a saying along the lines that the maras don't take notice of you until you have attained some measure of spiritual success. As wisdom increases, concepts dissolve, one is deconditioned, and freedom increases. It is a double-edged sword--- freedom itself can be used to help or harm others. Padmasambhava said that the view should be as vast as the sky, but conduct should be fine as barley flour. Why would he say this and why would this statement be so widely circulated if it didn't point to a common problem? It is as though the more expansive the view, more meticulous one needs to be in one's conduct.

Here is an official koan that this situation reminds me of:
Whenever Master Baizhang would address the community in the Dharma Hall, there was an old man who would always come to hear the talk. When the community dispersed, he left as well. One day he didn't leave. The master asked, “Who are you?”
The old man said, “A long time ago I resided on this mountain as abbot. Once a student asked me whether a great adept still falls into cause and effect. I answered that no, a great adept does not fall into cause and effect. As a result, I've been living as a wild fox for countless ages. Now I ask the master to please say a turning phrase for me so that I may be free of this fox body.” Then he asked, “Does a great adept fall into cause and effect or not?”
The master said, “A great adept does not ignore cause and effect.”
With these words the old man had a great awakening. He bowed and said, “I've been released from the wild fox body.”
"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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Grigoris
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:37 pm

I think that ultimately it just comes down to accepting that this is samsara.

So basically nothing is perfect.

Expecting perfection in an imperfect world is bound to lead to problems.

The Shambala mess is a perfect example of people expecting perfection, "dropping their defenses" and getting (literally in many instances) nailed for it.

The whole "12 years watching the teacher" thing is not taught for nothing. People want short cuts, but unfortunately end up in dead ends.

It seems to me you learned some valuable lessons, teach them to others so that they replicate your gains for themselves and avoid your mistakes.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:57 am

Aye..I did learn some very valuable lessons.

In the end, perhaps that will be CTR's legacy. To me at least.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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weitsicht
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by weitsicht » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:20 am

Simon,

you are brave at looking.
Keep looking.

Can you accept that both harm has been done and benefit has been contributed?
The potentiality of the paradox?
It might seem weird that these things still need some resolution after all this time, but they clearly do.
Sit in calmness and look: who needs resolution?

The vajra is two-pointed, it has no center, the mirror is empty, everywhere metaphors pointing at the same.

The harm, the benefit, together with zillion other energetic formations - some more, some less important to what is your present energetic formation - are drops in a big ocean
not nothing, neither a big solid thing.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

Rinchen Samphel
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Rinchen Samphel » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:23 pm

I was reading the aspiration of Samantabhadra yesterday. In it it says that limitless emanations are sent out to tame whomever by whatever means. That really stuck out to me. Take from it what you will. That whole prayer becomes something new everytime its read.

Whats really the difference between harm and benefit, especially when you are dealing with a severely awakened being? Are we the best ones, ignorant and in samsara, to decide what is best for ourselves, to decide how we are benefitted? Is respecting our egoic notions of harm and benefit of benefit in the eyes of a vidyadhara? Dont worry, i dont know either. Sending you love, simon. Its in our own hands, more than we think, whether we are helped by enlightened activity, just have to make sure we have the eyes to see it as such and not let dualistic grasping destroy it.

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:30 pm

Thanks all.:namaste:
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:00 pm

The tibetans have a saying that when there is much dharma, there is also much mara.

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tobes
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by tobes » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:44 am

To some extent, the paradox should just be left as a paradox; it is not unique to 20th/21st century, CTR, Vajrayana in the west. These kinds of struggles are just part of the terrain.

However, it might help to bring to mind that the true guru is your own dharmakaya; the conventional guru is just so because s/he helps bring you to this understanding. You don't have to invest in any of the samsaric crap, in fact, you should be rejecting it. This includes all the personality stuff - this is wholly irrelevant to accomplishing the path.

Also, to constantly attend to the inseparability of all gurus. Including past masters etc. If you stick with this, you're sticking to what truly matters and what truly liberates. :anjali:

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:56 am

:namaste:
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

PeterC
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by PeterC » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:58 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:39 pm
The nearest I can get to a resolution is to adopt a 'dont know' mind. To put all in the cloud of unknowing and sit with it like a koan, not expecting a logical answer.
I never liked that interpretation. I think it lacks both wisdom and compassion. I think the challenge in this situation is not knowing what things are, but in accepting what they are. Sometimes abuse is just abuse (which is almost certainly the case with Lakhar and Mukpo Jr.). Sometimes what looks like abuse isn’t really abuse. And perhaps sometimes abuse is also something else. But whatever it is, I see no benefit in closing your eyes to it.

Simon E.
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:37 pm

I didn’t turn a blind eye Peter. I saw abuse and couldn’t rationalise it away,, so sought teaching elsewhere, largely from Thrangu Rinpoche , ( during this time I also attended teachings from Sogyal, but had reservations fortunately or it would have been frying pan and fire!)..
What I sat with was an unresolvable realisation that l had received enormous benefit..from a serial abuser. I could deny neither the abuse, nor the benefit. Just dismissing him as a psychopath would have been simple but dishonest to myself. On the other hand to take the route that some of students followed and claim that the abuse was ‘crazy wisdom’ would have been equally dishonest to myself.
So I sat with it. “ straight and on the rocks” to borrow a phrase from the man himself.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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