Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

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tkp67
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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by tkp67 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:37 pm

I had seen some Tibetan monks speak many years ago shortly after being released and it was a profound moment for me the likes of which I did not understand. I feel the HHDL emanates this as well. I have also met someone who venerates them on his altar. My ego was too entwined to let go to that level of emptiness (not saying I have) but the allure was undeniable just too far for me to "get".

Coming here and just hearing it expressed after practicing Buddhism that makes sense to me on a personal level did their example really start to make sense to me in a profound way which I don't feel at this point is necessary to explain. I just made me wonder what would my experience been like with out exposure, even if for but a few moments, did not exist? I guess I should just have more faith that it should still be there because it already is.

Thank you for suffering me as a sounding board.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:43 pm

Rinchen Samphel wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:08 am
The Dharma isn't in-built with all this baggage. Just find a Guru who is connected to a lineage and practice until you receive results, and then practice more. All sentient beings, in the hell realms, the animal realms, etc. are eagerly awaiting your Buddhahood. Imagine for a second, all of the beings in the hells, palms together, praying for your awakening.

This stuff will all be sorted out based on the merits of the beings inhabiting this world and the Dharmapalas. I think all that our Gurus want from us, ultimately, is to practice the teachings and actually experiance results. Our Bodhicitta will then decide what is best next.

This conversation is like trying to decide where to fly a plane when you dont know how to fly one. Best to learn how to fly first.
:good: Pretty much just this, excellent summation. Our pure motivation and intention is the more important factor in figuring out how to be correct.
Sonam Wangchug wrote:If there was not a correct and an incorrect way to interpret the Dharma, then the whole notion of an extensive training for a Dharma teacher would be redundant. Since everyone is just going to interpret things how they want to.
The "absurd" part is you taking your own preference for a conservative, textual fundamentalist approach to Dharma, and claiming it is the "correct" one, as if it doesn't exist alongside all the other relative interpretations of the same source material. I'm not saying "anything goes", I have teachers who teach via their own traditions, and I listen to them. I'm saying that thankfully the interpretation you favor is not everyone's, and doesn't need to be, because not all teachers even teach conservative or parochial versions of Dharma.

As far as Khenpos, sure, people respect them for their scholarship and learning, but plenty of teachers are more inclined towards direct teaching and experience anyway. I've taken wonderful teachings from Khenpos, but this is not the only style. You act like every traditional teacher shares the same view towards interpretation of texts etc. as a conservative Khenpo...they don't, and that is demonstrably obvious.
Sonam Wangchug wrote:What you say is simply not at all consistent with Buddhist history.
Sometimes it seems your tendency to think in binary absolutes is so strong that I don't think you even comprehend what I'm saying, assuming that I am simply throwing the baby out with bathwater, don't follow tradition etc...I've come to expect it from the "Vajra Cop" mentality that perks up it's head every so often on DW, but I have great confidence in my own teachers and the effort and sincerity I put into my practice. That is a bigger deal to me than holding the "correct" position on this or that subject, or pretending I am culturally Tibetan. YMMV, and someone always has to be "that guy" for us, regardless of where on the spectrum we sit.
Frankly, I find the argument a bit absurd, It is like if every teacher teaches to Visualize Dorje Phurba as dark blue, everyone would be too confused to do it? because there is no actual correct way to understand a Sadhana, since we are all just hearing it according to our own karma, so maybe it's really yellow?
No, not what I was saying, that's quite the strawman..er strawkilaya.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

PeterC
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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by PeterC » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:33 am

I’m going to have to come out on the ‘boring pedant’ side of the debate, as usual. For some things.

The Dharma is this uniquely valuable and precious gift that we encounter only through a remarkable alignment of unlikely coincidences. It is quite the single most important thing that we can encounter and to which we can dedicate this life. It is also very hard to preserve. Over time teachings become corrupted, and we live in an age when the dharma is degrading and will eventually vanish from the world. We cannot be certain if beyond this life we will again have the opportunity to receive and practise the Dharma. So we must not waste this opportunity. All this is basic 101-level doctrine, that no lineage disputes.

Practising the Dharma involves changing our outlook on the world in quite radical ways. It involves transforming, with various techniques, the way the ego interacts with phenomena.

If you practice the vajrayana, then the starting point for your practise is to see your guru as equivalent to the Buddha: as if sakyamuni had appeared in front of you on a white elephant and was telling you how to practise. If he did, would you try to adapt bits of the teachings he gave you?

Now given all this, why would one seek to change, adapt or edit the teachings we receive? Of course there is some space for developing one’s own understanding - putting it into your own words - and that’s something every teacher does with their students. But the basic structure of the teachings and how they are practised - why would one seek to change those?

There are of course many things that have accreted around the teachings but have no basis in sutra or tantra. The tulku system, for example, clothes, decorations, that sort of thing. None of this is particularly important to the teaching, though it can be extremely important to the institutions surrounding the teaching. All of this is fair game.

The reason I end up being a boring pedant on these issues is because I’m acutely aware of how little time I have. I’m ageing. I don’t know how long I have left. The Dharma provides an intricate recipe, and I don’t fully understand how all parts of the recipe work - I have to take it on trust. As such, I’m not going to arbitrarily decide to substitute pears for apples or sugar for honey in parts of the recipe - I’m going to follow it as closely as possible, because I can’t risk the consequences of messing it up.

But that’s just me. Everyone can and will do whatever they feel like. I just don’t see how making things up for yourself is a rational choice, when it comes to the vajrayana in particular.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:30 am

I'm not clear on what either of you is actually arguing for or against, other than just professing your orthodoxy. I understand the Guru as central to Vajrayana, however, I don't see the manifestation of Guru devotion looking the same for everyone at all. Hell, it isn't. You can find Gurus themselves with serious weight (such as Mingyur rinpoche) writing about the different way that people approach the Guru. If it were somethign everyone was supposed to approach the exact same way there would not be the volumes and volumes of writing there is on the subject.
Now given all this, why would one seek to change, adapt or edit the teachings we receive?
As if all teachings say the exact same thing and have been not interpreted through myriad different voices, every time one person teaches another person something it is adapted, whether you wish it to be or not. If this were not so there would not be 84,000 different teachings. That speaks to the importance of being a good receptacle for the teachings.

I don't think "the Guru is the sangha" or anything like that, but I do think that a lot of Westerners enter the Vajrayana with some pretty romantic and idealized views of what the Guru disciple relationship is( or is supposed to be) that are basically inaccessible to the vast majority of people not born into the right culture. There is also the thought that one can simply adopt Tibetan cultural mores and this, somehow, will substitute for genuine devotion - which is an active state that transcends culture entirely, not a set of rules.

It's funny because I don't agree with this notion that we can dispense with the Guru at all, but when I read some of the hidebound responses I see on this forum, I understand why newer Vajrayana students go away with a bad taste in their mouth.
But that’s just me. Everyone can and will do whatever they feel like. I just don’t see how making things up for yourself is a rational choice, when it comes to the vajrayana in particular.
Who is making things up? Can you qualify this? With specifics please. All my teachers have emphasized devotion and gratitude towards the teacher and the teachings more than prescriptive advice, though of course that's needed at times. IMO sometimes the prescriptive advice becomes an impediment to the state itself.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by PeterC » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:01 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:30 am
Who is making things up? Can you qualify this? With specifics please. All my teachers have emphasized devotion and gratitude towards the teacher and the teachings more than prescriptive advice, though of course that's needed at times. IMO sometimes the prescriptive advice becomes an impediment to the state itself.
All the comments at the start of this thread and in many similar threads. I’m sure you’re familiar with these. From your previous comments I don’t think you and I are really in a different place on these questions. However as comments on this forum show there are a lot of people who are in a very different place.

Yes I know this may be offputting to some. But frankly a lot about the dharma will be offputting to a lot of people.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:46 am

PeterC wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:01 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:30 am
Who is making things up? Can you qualify this? With specifics please. All my teachers have emphasized devotion and gratitude towards the teacher and the teachings more than prescriptive advice, though of course that's needed at times. IMO sometimes the prescriptive advice becomes an impediment to the state itself.
All the comments at the start of this thread and in many similar threads. I’m sure you’re familiar with these. From your previous comments I don’t think you and I are really in a different place on these questions. However as comments on this forum show there are a lot of people who are in a very different place.

Yes I know this may be offputting to some. But frankly a lot about the dharma will be offputting to a lot of people.
It's true, sometimes I just reflexively poke at sacred cows;) An old habit.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

PeterC
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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by PeterC » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:59 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:46 am
PeterC wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:01 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:30 am
Who is making things up? Can you qualify this? With specifics please. All my teachers have emphasized devotion and gratitude towards the teacher and the teachings more than prescriptive advice, though of course that's needed at times. IMO sometimes the prescriptive advice becomes an impediment to the state itself.
All the comments at the start of this thread and in many similar threads. I’m sure you’re familiar with these. From your previous comments I don’t think you and I are really in a different place on these questions. However as comments on this forum show there are a lot of people who are in a very different place.

Yes I know this may be offputting to some. But frankly a lot about the dharma will be offputting to a lot of people.
It's true, sometimes I just reflexively poke at sacred cows;) An old habit.
Nothing wrong with that at all. Sometimes all a sacred cow has to offer is bullshit.

Actually I think these debates are a useful thing, even if they are a bit annoying for people. It's not obvious at first what are transmitted teachings and what are cultural customs that have attached themselves to the teachings, and people need to be able to discuss it.

It's a bit like the discussions on who is and isn't a qualified teacher, and what is and isn't the genuine dharma - those are difficult discussions for many people, but how else can someone examine the teacher and the teachings before accepting them, as we are often advised to do. There are various sutras that require practitioners to speak up when the Dharma is being misrepresented. And this kind of discussion has well-established antecedents. There are libraries of tibetan polemic texts arguing back and forth about what is and isn't fake Dharma, why someone is right or wrong, etc. Our discussions here don't reach anywhere near the level of Sapan, Gorampa and Tsonkhapa, but if they were able to argue publicly about what is and isn't the true Dharma and the correct way to practice, we should be able to as well.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 am

The reality is that we are directly reaping the benefits of the tulku system, it is how the teachings got to us.

To argue it is redundant is is naive, bordering on dangerous (for the continuity of the teachings).
"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."
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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by muni » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:27 am

sakyamuni had appeared in front of you on a white elephant.
Oh, this image! Now everyone here sits on such a white elephant.

Beautiful.

I am sorry. Back to topic.. on the elephants.

I trust H H Dalai Lama. The Amazing Goodness as Nature, will not disappear, and help, if consciousness is receptive. _/\_ _/\_ _/\_
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:49 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 am
The reality is that we are directly reaping the benefits of the tulku system, it is how the teachings got to us.

To argue it is redundant is is naive, bordering on dangerous (for the continuity of the teachings).
I don’t buy that for a second. In my view the teachings got to us DESPITE a sociopolitical system designed to retain power and wealth in certain families.
The tulku system was the way that privilege showed itself in a particular religious culture but in fact stems from the same processes that elsewhere spawned monarchies. The particular aristocracy that resulted could not sustain outside of the complex social structure that prevailed within pre- invasion Tibet.
This is why so many supposed ‘tulkus’ are finding other ways to serve their people.
“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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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:13 am

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:49 am
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 am
The reality is that we are directly reaping the benefits of the tulku system, it is how the teachings got to us.

To argue it is redundant is is naive, bordering on dangerous (for the continuity of the teachings).
I don’t buy that for a second. In my view the teachings got to us DESPITE a sociopolitical system designed to retain power and wealth in certain families.
The tulku system was the way that privilege showed itself in a particular religious culture but in fact stems from the same processes that elsewhere spawned monarchies. The particular aristocracy that resulted could not sustain outside of the complex social structure that prevailed within pre- invasion Tibet.
This is why so many supposed ‘tulkus’ are finding other ways to serve their people.
Says the guy who's main teachers were all tulku.
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"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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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:35 am

They were also pragmatists.They knew when to apply upayas and when those narratives had served their purpose.
“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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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:30 am

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:35 am
They were also pragmatists.They knew when to apply upayas and when those narratives had served their purpose.
You can rationalise it any way that spins your dials, that does not change the fact that they were tulku and that the teachings were maintained and propagated via the tulku system.
"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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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by FiveSkandhas » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:06 pm

I probably shouldn’t have waded into this thread in the first place and I am going to bow out after this post because although I have practiced Vajrayna, I have only received low-level initiation in the Shingon school of Japan on Mt. Koya: one of the last vestiges or East Asian esoteric Buddhism, and one that is IMHO fading fast in its native land. But that is another sad tale for a different part of DW. This thread is specifically about Tibet so I will defer to the “Tibet experts,” of which I am not one.

I will leave you with a few things to chew on:

1) While orthodox Shingon requires a Shiso (guru), it seems a much less “guru-centric” system than Tibetan Vajrayana in terms of day to day on the ground actual practice. My impression only. So it is at least possible to imagine a vajrayana in which the guru relationship is perhaps not eliminated but “de-emphasized.”

2) I find it extremely significant that the Dalai Lama is essentially declaring he will not reincarnate although he is not saying Tibetan Buddhism or Gelugpa is ending. Chew on that if you will.

3) The line between “real” Buddhism and new-age twaddle is always going to be contentious because of upaya (skillful means). I think I we all have our “smell tests” and they are not always the same. For examples, when a certain Western Nyngmapa guru started incorporating Native American dream catcher rituals into her practice, to me that was crossing the line beyond Buddhism. Others may (and have) disagreed. Another interesting piece of advice, again perhaps not applicable to Tibetan Buddhism proper, comes from my own Japanese teacher: “If you don’t feel like you can come to me and/or leave me freely any time, it is not a healthy teaching relationship.” In other words, if you are feeling “trapped” by a guru you might be edging into a culty or abusive situation.

4) The tone of this thread is getting a little aggressive IMHO so although this is my last post, I humbly ask that you remember Atisha-Sama’s wonderful beloved phrase for humble peasant laymen, despite his unfathomable scholarly skill: “just be kind.”
:bow:

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by PeterC » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:20 pm

Do we even really need to care very much about the tulku system? Systematic recognition of tulkus was a solution to Tibet-specific socio-economic problems around management of monasteries. If it does not function today, due to the massive changes in the roles and funding of monasteries in the past century, isn't it the problem of those within that system to figure out whether and how it should adapt? To the extent that the tulku system is about preservation of teachings - and it clearly is, but that isn't all it's been about historically - then it's the problem of the throne holders of individual lineages. Being a practitioner of a lineage doesn't give you a vote in how they decide to organize its transmission to future generations. People seek out great teachers. If a lineage isn't producing them, students will end up going elsewhere.

It's worth remembering that the Sakyapas, who are held in high regard for upholding high standards of practice and scholarship in their lineage, operate on a hereditary system, rather than relying on the tulku system. However you don't hear people complaining that they need to abandon their outdated, feudal dynastic practices and modernize...because what they're doing clearly works very well.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:47 pm

FiveSkandhas wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:06 pm
2) I find it extremely significant that the Dalai Lama is essentially declaring he will not reincarnate although he is not saying Tibetan Buddhism or Gelugpa is ending. Chew on that if you will.
I think it is time to set something straight here: HHDL (may he have good health and a long life) is a politician more than he is a religious figure.

If the Dalai Lama did not reincarnate it wouldn't mean squat to the Nyingmapa (for example). Hell, the 11th Panchen Lama vanished in 1995 and the Gelug lineage has continued to rock and roll.

I believe that HHDL has announced that he may not reincarnate for two reasons:

1. The Tibetan people now have a democratically elected parliament, so they, theoretically, do not need a political-religious ruler.

2. HHDL is well aware that the Chinese government will try to meddle in the choice of his successor and present a puppet. In order to avoid this...

This DOES NOT mean that HHDL is making a statement about the relevance (or not) of the tulku system.

It seems that people want to take advantage of his statement in order to push their own agenda (like the BBC reporter and HHDL's joke about a female Dalai Lama having to be good looking).
"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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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:18 pm

How can one deny that there is likely some lack of authenticity in the Tulku system? Are we to assume that Tibet was actually a fully enlightened society, and that no one was ever given Tulku status for questionable reasons? Come on. I'm not saying it's all bad, but it's obvious that it can serve purposes that go way beyond the religious, some of which are iffy.

I agree on HHDL's statements though, he is not trying to shake up the fundamentals of Vajrayana or anything like that.
Five Skandhas wrote:1) While orthodox Shingon requires a Shiso (guru), it seems a much less “guru-centric” system than Tibetan Vajrayana in terms of day to day on the ground actual practice. My impression only. So it is at least possible to imagine a vajrayana in which the guru relationship is perhaps not eliminated but “de-emphasized.”
It's impossible to have the type of Tantric practice known in Tibet without a "Guru centric" practice. Literally impossible, as in people would have to rewrite nearly every practice text (which would render them lifeless), etc..and that ain't happening. However, certainly the mores and social customs of the relationship between Guru and Disciple will change in the West to fit the new cultural space Vajrayana is in, and already has been.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by tkp67 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:30 pm

Is it is healthy for the Buddhist community to use the questioning of the fruits of another practice as the proofs are specific to each practice?

In the evaluation of this decision and the ramification I think using that as a metric detracts from the meaning to be understood because it feels like an easy way to get the ego to rise in self and others

Personally this has been really powerful in revealing a secret practice without revealing more than can be readily found on the internet an am very happy to continue to learn from it and venerate what has been an obvious influence in my own life albeit from a distance.

I have been spending a good amount of time in a region with a temple blessed by HHDL and the effect of the location on the mind is amazing and undeniable. Small in number yet powerful in presence. If anyone this dialog detracting please inform it is not the intent.

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 pm

While orthodox Shingon requires a Shiso (guru), it seems a much less “guru-centric” system than Tibetan Vajrayana in terms of day to day on the ground actual practice. My impression only. So it is at least possible to imagine a vajrayana in which the guru relationship is perhaps not eliminated but “de-emphasized.”
Guru-Yoga is a foundation for the 3 highest tantras. Shingon doesn’t have those tantras. Therefore there’s no need for Guru-Yoga as practiced in Tibet.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Reincarnation of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:44 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:18 pm
...but it's obvious that it can serve purposes that go way beyond the religious, some of which are iffy.
This applies to any phenomenon you could care to mention.
"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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