A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

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DechenDave
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by DechenDave » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:08 pm

Simon E. wrote:
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.
In terms of how (I perceive) you’re framing it (i.e. what to do or think about having a brilliant, helpful yet abusive and flawed teacher) - I’m not sure it wasn't resolved by moving over to Thrangu R.
Don’t think there is much to sit with. He was apparently both. Period. What’s to resolve? Given how many teachers have actually provided us with examples of being both I think we just have to grow up and deal.
If what’s really bothering you is why you didnt take direct action like beating him up or calling the cops - if you did in fact witness violence (anything else can be chalked up to consenting adults - especially in the 70’s) - then I’m not sure. I guess I reiterate my previous post.

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

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:22 pm

You might think that there was not much to sit with but you weren’t there.
We had few reference points. We were making this stuff up asr we went along. Including CTR. And the Tibetan Karma Kagyu hierarchy were not much help. They had no contingencies for the kind of scenarios that were emerging. They just muttered platitudes.
It never occurred to me to call the legal authorities. Simply didn’t occur to me. But yes abuse was going on. Largely it amounted to abuse of power..and yet at the same time ...Teaching that cut to the bone.
“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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DechenDave
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by DechenDave » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:43 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:22 pm
You might think that there wasnot much to sit with but you weren’t there.
On the contrary I think there was much to sit with. But I have interpreted this thread (and some other comments) as indicating that you are still sitting with it. As such, I feel that moving over to Thrangu R, as long ago as you did, was a solid vajra-move all things considered.

We had few reference points. We were making this stuff up asr we went along. Including CTR. And the Tibetan Karma Kagyu hierarchy were not much help. They had no contingencies for the kind of scenarios that were emerging. They just muttered platitudes.
This is true. They didnt have reference points either. They were faced with a situation, in a new culture and new land, where the way they would normal deal with or avoid it was not going to be good enough to satisfy our customs and feelings) Still isnt really.
It never occurred to me to call the legal authorities. Simply didn’t occur to me. But yes abuse was going on. Largely it amounted to abuse of power..and yet at the same time ...Teaching that cut to the bone.
Well, suffice it to say I actually do have experience with a similar catastrophic situation in my personal life (as a witness who was also somewhat dependent upon an abusive person/situation), where I have to live with what I did and didn’t do more than 20 years ago. I handled it the way I handled it. I have regrets, and I have faced some of it, and avoided some of it, and presently there are concrete limits to what I can actually do.
Fwiw, my shrink didn’t coddle me when I brought my guilt to her after decades of blocking it out. But she didnt encourage feelings of guilt and shame either. She basically said I’m not alone, its tragically all very common, and it’s difficult to do anything about now and I was young etc. In other words, she gave me permission to acknowledge it and move on

Fwiw. Take with a grain of salt etc.

Russell
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Russell » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:03 pm

There are two modes of knowing here, truth for you and objective truth. You received enormous benefit from your teacher who was obviously realised to you, this is (your) truth, when you go further than this into what a teacher is like for others and what is happening for others you don't know and can't ever know.

Someone linked a video clip to Lama Lena talking about this, I can't find it at the moment, but her main points where when it comes to others, you don't have facts about their experience, you only have your sense appearances and your interpretations and stories, so stay focused on what your teachers are like for you. What others experience is due to their karma and what you experience is due to yours.

She also mentions some really weird stuff realised teachers do, even the sweetest ones, that likely she will never be able to figure out but that really helped her to get over her need to know everything mind.

So maybe you can still separate these things a bit more - don't talk about facts, and apply your don't know mind to what CTR was like for others but keep your personal direct experience of the effect he had on you as another thing that doesn't even need analysing anyway.

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

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:11 pm

Thank you Dechen Dave and Russell and everyone else. You have given me lots of food to digest quietly and I think I will take some time to do that.

: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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heart
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by heart » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:53 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:39 pm
What would you do?
I would forgive him. Nobody can be perfect in everyones eyes all the time.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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DechenDave
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by DechenDave » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:15 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:11 pm
Thank you Dechen Dave and Russell and everyone else. You have given me lots of food to digest quietly and I think I will take some time to do that.

:namaste:
May you find peace brother. :smile:

PeterC
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by PeterC » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:29 am

Simon E. wrote:
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.
Not saying you turned a blind eye at all. Indeed I think from your comments here you’re very clear that this was abuse, and that you also benefitted from the abuser’s teachings. And that, as they say, is what it is. There’s no cloud of unknowing here, nothing to penetrate. But since we’re using East Asian Buddhism references, this is reminiscent of the story of the two young monks, the old woman and the stream. It’s been a very long time: perhaps you just need to stop carrying it.

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

Post by Simon E. » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:00 am

You are right of course. It’s a narrative that woven together with other narratives forms part of my ‘identity’. I get glimpses of possibilities beyond that of course. The most lasting was after ‘Pointing Out’.

But the ol’ samskaras have a way of showing through. It’s analogous to working with a form of addiction. Actually, it IS a form of addiction.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

Misty
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Misty » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:55 pm

I believe cognitive dissonance is predictable and normal for someone placed in this position. You were offered great personal benefits and opportunity and others were targeted for abuse (possibly infused with tastes of kindness to keep them hooked into the abuse cycle). You show wisdom and compassion by not negating, minimizing or justifying the abuse because you benefited.

With respect for differing opinions, personally, I feel unsettled with applying the analogy of the lama helping the old woman to situations where students are abused. On the surface, I understand the easing of suffering that is intended but upon deeper reflection I found.....

In the analogy, the Lama's actions were to aid a struggling elder, his actions were helpful and beneficial. Dropping views that bring discomfort to this kind act, dropping the narratives that could become obstacles to helping females in the future is wise and compassionate.

When a trusted teacher's actions are deeply wounding abuse, feeling discomfort with this behaviour is healthy and beneficial and I cannot believe that trying to drop this discomfort is wise or compassionate. I believe it can lead to indifference to the suffering of others. Feeling beneficial discomfort, recognizing and listening to its message, "this harm is not okay", I think this is the seed of wise and compassionate action that will lead our Buddhist community to stop the abuse and help to grow the motivation and intention to prioritize and provide healing support to survivors, victims and compassionate witnesses of those who have succumbed to the inner and outer wounding inflicted by abusive behaviours.

May all beings benefit.

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

Post by Matt J » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:18 pm

Trungpa is such an enigma, even now. My local Shambhala Center hosted a traditional Nyingma lama recently that I attended. The lama spoke very highly of Trungpa and his reputation in the traditional community, and was quite familiar with Trungpa's writings. In fact, in Tibet, Trungpa was a terton or terma revealer.

The very next day, I found this article:

https://www.chronicleproject.com/at-the-redneck-bar/

I think Simon E. is right to call him an enigma. This isn't some one who was kind of a good teacher, but with deeply human flaws. This is some one with a depth of spiritual realization that is clearly recognized by others, but who also engaged in abusive activity. The traditional narrative is that as the one increases, the other diminishes.

Actually, the person he reminds me of the most is G.I. Gurdjieff--- with enlightened and abusive qualities. There was one story of Gurdjieff, who was an Armenian (maybe), coming on a boat to America. Right before they docked and were about the face the customs/immigration authorities, some one on the boat saw Gurdjieff tossing his passport and visas into the ocean. Gurdjieff also ended up driving a car too quickly and seriously damaging himself in an accident. I wonder if Trungpa was like that--- pushing his practice to such levels that his body and his students weren't able to handle.
"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

Arnoud
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Arnoud » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:38 am

I can relate.

I wonder if the issue with this dichotomy stems from our deeply rooted conditioning that teachers are Buddhas and thus perfect and the dichotomy is not perfect.

For me, believing that realized beings can bring benefit while not being Buddhas or perfect has given me a lot of peace. Took away the need to reconcile two supposedly opposing views.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:16 am

Simon E. wrote:
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?
are you putting your personal benefit in first place?

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

Post by Simon E. » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:54 am

Probably. I am a bit like that. You know, afflicted.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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

Post by Simon E. » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:58 am

I would appreciate it if this thread was allowed to die.
It was heartfelt.
It was useful.To me at least.
It’s gone.

: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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Miroku
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Re: A Non-Zen Koan For Vajrayana Students

Post by Miroku » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:14 am

Aaaand that's a wrap. Thank you all for a nice discussion. :twothumbsup:
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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