Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

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Dorje Shedrub
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Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:10 pm

Malcolm » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:28 pm wrote:
The supreme vajrayana guru is a fully ordained monk. This is taught very clearly in tantras such as Kalacakra. Westerners are enamored of upasaka gurus, the most inferior kind, with predictable results.
[Original post]
If this is the case, would it be best for single Dzogchen practitioners to ordain as a monastic if they have the opportunity both to ordain and receive monastic training?

Does the DC have any monastic members, and has ChNN ever discussed this?

DS
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Norwegian » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:30 pm

Going into solitary retreat is the better option for single Dzogchen practitioners, if they have the means to do so, and are capable of doing so.

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Aryjna » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:08 pm

I remember seeing ChNNR making some references to monks now and then, but I don't think he gave an opinion if it's good or not. I remember a story about a Gelug friend he had after leaving Tibet, who was a monk and was very worried in India because he did not have a sangha and could not renew his vows as is necessary for monks. Later he gave back his vows and was much more relaxed. But I don't think ChNNR is against ordination in general. It seems that it is a matter of your circumstances. It can be a limitation in some cases, if you just want to be a monk just for the sake of being one. In other cases it can be a very good choice if by becoming a monk you have better circumstances for study and practice.

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by florin » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:25 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:10 pm
Malcolm » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:28 pm wrote:
The supreme vajrayana guru is a fully ordained monk. This is taught very clearly in tantras such as Kalacakra. Westerners are enamored of upasaka gurus, the most inferior kind, with predictable results.
[Original post]
If this is the case, would it be best for single Dzogchen practitioners to ordain as a monastic if they have the opportunity both to ordain and receive monastic training?

Does the DC have any monastic members, and has ChNN ever discussed this?

DS
If you are a dzogchen practitioner and understand this view and live in that knowledge and are happy with this and very clear about your capacity, this is the best . But if you think that you would want to improve your capacity for dzogchen through tantra, then ordination in order to receive a tantric education, i believe is one way to go about it. But in the west, monasticism doesnt always mean that you can get the training you aspire to.
Generally if you ordain with a sangha there will be some expaectations to be respectfull of their way of doing things and participate in their activities. If you follow CNNr approach then you should be aware that being part of a vajrayana monastic sangha while trying to practice some of what CNNr teaches, it could lead to some dissonance or confussion on your part.It doesn't have to be that way but is quite possible. If you are someone who understands tantra from the dzogchen pov as is explained by CNNr then you shouldn't have that many difficulties in marrying vajrayana and dzogchen.
The nature of diverse phenomena is non-dual. This means that both pure vision and impure vision are a manifestation of the energy of the primordial state. Even though in reality there is no duality, everything manifests separately. KG

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Miroku » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:50 pm

Rinpoche in one of his retreats expressed opinion that it is not good to be a monk in the west. Because when you are a monk you hove so many vows and every month you have to do purification rituals to which you need at least 2 or 3 other monks. So he advised against it as it would lead only to trouble.
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:14 pm

florin wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:25 pm
But if you think that you would want to improve your capacity for dzogchen through tantra, then ordination in order to receive a tantric education, i believe is one way to go about it.
Sorry dude, but I am going to call BS on this one. Nyingma monastics practice Dzogchen and ChNN teaches tantric techniques to support Dzogchen practice. No dissonance, no confusion. You are talking nonsense.
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"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:26 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:14 pm
florin wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:25 pm
But if you think that you would want to improve your capacity for dzogchen through tantra, then ordination in order to receive a tantric education, i believe is one way to go about it.
Sorry dude, but I am going to call BS on this one. Nyingma monastics practice Dzogchen and ChNN teaches tantric techniques to support Dzogchen practice. No dissonance, no confusion. You are talking nonsense.
Absolutely. Dzogchen is not based on monasticism, but on receiving DI, removing doubt and integration with daily life. As we need support, various tantric practices are available to us. Last time I looked, robes added.........zilch.
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:07 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:26 pm
Last time I looked, robes added.........zilch.
You mean the last time you were a Vinaya abiding monastic it meant zilch? Being a monastic involves a LOT more than just wearing robes, yah know?

...and if you think wearing robes doesn't add zilch or is insignificant, why don't you take a vow to constantly wear robes for three months? Then maybe you will begin to understand the significance of robes.
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:51 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:07 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:26 pm
Last time I looked, robes added.........zilch.
You mean the last time you were a Vinaya abiding monastic it meant zilch? Being a monastic involves a LOT more than just wearing robes, yah know?

...and if you think wearing robes doesn't add zilch or is insignificant, why don't you take a vow to constantly wear robes for three months? Then maybe you will begin to understand the significance of robes.
You know I meant ordination. Yawn..... :roll:
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:56 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:51 pm
You know I meant ordination. Yawn..... :roll:
You are going to have to excuse me, my mind reading has been a bit off recently.

So are you now saying that ordination adds zilch? I am having problems understanding your point.
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Mantrik » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:06 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:56 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:51 pm
You know I meant ordination. Yawn..... :roll:
You are going to have to excuse me, my mind reading has been a bit off recently.

So are you now saying that ordination adds zilch? I am having problems understanding your point.
Ordination seems to me to add nothing to the 3 Statements and the process. Integration into everyday life would not seem easier as you cannot generalise about monastic or lay life's challenges.
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Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:26 pm

I wasn't thinking that ordination would enhance Dzogchen practice, but rather, I was pondering whether ordination and living in an established community of monastics with opportunities for study, practice, and service (eg. Sravasti Abbey) would be better for a single Dzogchen practitioner rather than living as a householder without family, community, or the discipline that monastic life provides.

This also touches on the question as to whether the monastic community is important to maintain and develop in the West. I also can't help but think about the sex scandals that keep coming up and wonder if this has any bearing on the question of monasticism in the West.

I connected the question to Dzogchen since I am a Dzogchen practitioner, but perhaps my question is broader. I appreciate everyone's contributions. I would love to hear Malcolm's opinion.

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For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by florin » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:35 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:14 pm
florin wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:25 pm
But if you think that you would want to improve your capacity for dzogchen through tantra, then ordination in order to receive a tantric education, i believe is one way to go about it.
Sorry dude, but I am going to call BS on this one. Nyingma monastics practice Dzogchen and ChNN teaches tantric techniques to support Dzogchen practice. No dissonance, no confusion. You are talking nonsense.
I wanted to help, that is all.
Maybe it is just me who thinks that attempting to practice two different curriculums from two different transmissions while living as a monastic in a monastic setting might present some potential for confusion.
The nature of diverse phenomena is non-dual. This means that both pure vision and impure vision are a manifestation of the energy of the primordial state. Even though in reality there is no duality, everything manifests separately. KG

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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:17 am

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:06 pm
Ordination seems to me to add nothing to the 3 Statements and the process.
Fair enough, Nyingmapa monastics since the 8th century seem to disagree with you, but obviously you are welcome to your opinion.
Integration into everyday life would not seem easier as you cannot generalise about monastic or lay life's challenges.
I don't understand what you are saying here. Could you please clarify?
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:20 am

florin wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:35 pm
I wanted to help, that is all.
Maybe it is just me who thinks that attempting to practice two different curriculums from two different transmissions while living as a monastic in a monastic setting might present some potential for confusion.
Okay, I get your point now. But one would not need to continue practicing in the DC if they ordained as a monastic. There would be no value in that. One would imagine that the monastic curriculum would be more than enough.

We are in the Dzogchen forum, not a DC forum, so there is no real assumption that the OP would have to practice in the DC too, if they chose to become an ordained monastic.
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:23 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:26 pm
I wasn't thinking that ordination would enhance Dzogchen practice...
Personally I think it would. Having spoken to a few ex-monastics they all said to me that practice (in general) is easier and "better" in a monastic context as there are less distractions and there is a more structured practice setting.
This also touches on the question as to whether the monastic community is important to maintain and develop in the West. I also can't help but think about the sex scandals that keep coming up and wonder if this has any bearing on the question of monasticism in the West.
So far those involved in the sex scandals were lay teachers so, if anything, there seems to be a negative correlation between sex scandals and Buddhist monasticism in the west.
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Mantrik » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:09 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:17 am
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:06 pm
Ordination seems to me to add nothing to the 3 Statements and the process.
Fair enough, Nyingmapa monastics since the 8th century seem to disagree with you, but obviously you are welcome to your opinion.
Integration into everyday life would not seem easier as you cannot generalise about monastic or lay life's challenges.
I don't understand what you are saying here. Could you please clarify?
Simply that we can't assume monastic life would be a tranquil and supportive environment. Sometimes they get as little time to sit and practise as a lay person with a job. Neither is it guaranteed to be free of anger, attachment etc.
(I have spoken to monastics too. )

So a monastic would need to attain 'no more doubt' and 'integrate' into daily life in a similar way as a lay person and, as the Master says: 'Work with circumstances'.

Ordaining for a while may give a better opportunity for practice, or not, but moving away from the monastic environment and back into lay life after that experience may or may not make it easier to have a stabilised practice.

I recall ChNN saying, and I paraphrase, that vows are useful for people who need them in order to control how they behave. Now I think he meant Refuge Vows etc. but I think it applies to ordination.

So I see two aspects - the ordination (hence my comment on robes) and its usefulness, and the monastic environment and its usefulness.

I won't generalise, as individuals respond very differently to environments and circumstances, as you know, so I'm at a loss to explain why anyone can make a 'universal truth' out of 'it depends'.

The circumstances being discussed are not 8th Century but DC members in the present.
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Mantrik » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:26 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:20 am
florin wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:35 pm
I wanted to help, that is all.
Maybe it is just me who thinks that attempting to practice two different curriculums from two different transmissions while living as a monastic in a monastic setting might present some potential for confusion.
Okay, I get your point now. But one would not need to continue practicing in the DC if they ordained as a monastic. There would be no value in that. One would imagine that the monastic curriculum would be more than enough.

We are in the Dzogchen forum, not a DC forum, so there is no real assumption that the OP would have to practice in the DC too, if they chose to become an ordained monastic.
Seems you are assuming there would be a Dzogchen master present in the monastery to give (assuming DI had been given) subsequent practices and guidance as required.

The OP specifically asked about the DC and ChNN's teachings.
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Re: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:37 am

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:26 am
The OP specifically asked about the DC and ChNN's teachings.
Ummmm... No. Read the OP and then the subsequent post by the poster.
Seems you are assuming there would be a Dzogchen master present in the monastery to give (assuming DI had been given) subsequent practices and guidance as required.
Not exactly a bizarre assumption for the Nyingmapa lineage.
"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: Is Monastic Ordination the Better Option for Single Dzogchen Practitioners?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:46 am

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:09 am
Simply that we can't assume monastic life would be a tranquil and supportive environment. Sometimes they get as little time to sit and practise as a lay person with a job. Neither is it guaranteed to be free of anger, attachment etc.
(I have spoken to monastics too. )
Well, that is not the info I got from the (western) monastics (and ex-monastics) I know, quite the opposite actually.
So a monastic would need to attain 'no more doubt' and 'integrate' into daily life in a similar way as a lay person...
Was there ever any doubt?
Ordaining for a while may give a better opportunity for practice, or not, but moving away from the monastic environment and back into lay life after that experience may or may not make it easier to have a stabilised practice.
Or it may.
The circumstances being discussed are not 8th Century but DC members in the present.
Completely irrelevant point and FYI: DC practitioners are not the only Dzogchen practitioners. So please, whenever you feel ready, you can let go of that and focus on the issue at hand:

Is monastic ordination a better option for Dzogchen practice on the basis of the statement Malcolm made in another discussion about monastics being supreme Vajra Gurus (in comparison to ngakpa).
"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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