Requesting Teachings

climb-up
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Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:02 am

Sorry for the obvious question but,
What is the process for requesting specific teachings from a Lama.

My only personal experience is with ChNN in the DC (wherein you didn't really request teachings) and with Dr. Nida, where I found out he was giving an empowerment that I was just able to make it to, so I did.
All other empowerments that I have seen info about are usually something where (it appears) that a Lama (often visiting) has decided to give a certain teaching and if you want to attend you can. Sometimes it appears that the teachings were requested by an organization hosting the lama.

On the other hand, I have heard that it is traditional to request teachings and empowerment specifically. Is there a process?
Is it only appropriate to ask a Lama for certain teachings if you are a part of their group and no them personally enough to ask them in conversation?

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heart
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:23 am

climb-up wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:02 am
Sorry for the obvious question but,
What is the process for requesting specific teachings from a Lama.

My only personal experience is with ChNN in the DC (wherein you didn't really request teachings) and with Dr. Nida, where I found out he was giving an empowerment that I was just able to make it to, so I did.
All other empowerments that I have seen info about are usually something where (it appears) that a Lama (often visiting) has decided to give a certain teaching and if you want to attend you can. Sometimes it appears that the teachings were requested by an organization hosting the lama.

On the other hand, I have heard that it is traditional to request teachings and empowerment specifically. Is there a process?
Is it only appropriate to ask a Lama for certain teachings if you are a part of their group and no them personally enough to ask them in conversation?
You approach the Lama with a gift and a khata and request the teaching, empowerment or transmission. But you have to be clever. If it is a "lung" you want it is better to bring the tibetan text. If it is a teaching or an empowerment you might have to wait and travel somewhere where the Lama has more time. If the Lama needs a translator then that is an other complication. Dharma centers are normally not very keen on people asking for things so keep it to yourself. You should also know that requesting a empowerment equals to accept that Lama as one of your main masters. To not practice it afterwards is a breach of Samaya.

/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)

pemachophel
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by pemachophel » Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:46 pm

Also, you may have to ask several times. If you receive a no or maybe the first two times, ask again. If it's still no on the third attempt, then that really does mean no. By making you ask more than once, the Teacher is gauging how really badly you want whatever you are asking for. In addition, if the Teacher doesn't know you, that may also provoke a no. In that case, try to get the know the Teacher some before asking again.

Last but not least, if you ask for a wang and the Teacher says yes, you become the patron for that wang and may have to foot the bill for any expenses. Or not, depending.

Good luck & best wishes.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:13 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:46 pm
Also, you may have to ask several times. If you receive a no or maybe the first two times, ask again. If it's still no on the third attempt, then that really does mean no. By making you ask more than once, the Teacher is gauging how really badly you want whatever you are asking for. In addition, if the Teacher doesn't know you, that may also provoke a no. In that case, try to get the know the Teacher some before asking again.

Last but not least, if you ask for a wang and the Teacher says yes, you become the patron for that wang and may have to foot the bill for any expenses. Or not, depending.

Good luck & best wishes.
That is true. I had to ask many times over 3 years time for one empowerment I requested. I think Dzongsar Khyentse tells a story about him asking a Lama for a teaching many times and that Lama had written down every time Dzongsar Khyentse requested it. I think he asked 7 times for that teaching before he got it.

/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)

yagmort
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by yagmort » Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:37 am

anyone please give an example why do you need to request a teaching? i mean if you have root guru then it is up to him to decide how you progress on the path so you don't need to worry as he will provide you with all necessary wangs/lungs/teaching, unless he tells you specifically to go and request a teaching from other master. is it a misconception in my mind and you can request teachings on your own whim?

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PeterC
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by PeterC » Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:21 am

yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:37 am
anyone please give an example why do you need to request a teaching? i mean if you have root guru then it is up to him to decide how you progress on the path so you don't need to worry as he will provide you with all necessary wangs/lungs/teaching, unless he tells you specifically to go and request a teaching from other master. is it a misconception in my mind and you can request teachings on your own whim?
Even if he says you ought to practice something, you still need to request that teaching from him formally. This is part of creating the auspicious circumstances for the teaching to take place.

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:09 am

yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:37 am
anyone please give an example why do you need to request a teaching? i mean if you have root guru then it is up to him to decide how you progress on the path so you don't need to worry as he will provide you with all necessary wangs/lungs/teaching, unless he tells you specifically to go and request a teaching from other master. is it a misconception in my mind and you can request teachings on your own whim?
I also thought like that for a long time, but it seems to be a mistake. All empowerments, transmission and teachings a master give is requested by someone. In the west normally by the people running the center. Of course I heard som stories about people that got empowerments without requesting them, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. So what you get, just participating in various retreats, is other peoples ideas what is necessary. Might be quite alright actually, it is difficult to say.

For a long time I only requested short "lungs" for various Dzogchen texts that where translated to English in order to put them in to practice. I only requested one empowerment in all these years I been with my teacher. That was something that felt very important to me because I felt a bit stuck and when I finally got it it have been a continuous blessing to me.

/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)

yagmort
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by yagmort » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm

thank you both for responses.
i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
means if one has a root guru then of course one can request some particular teaching/wang/whatever - given one knows that his root guru holds the teaching, because a disciple doesn't necessary aware of the list of all teachings/practices/transmissions his guru holds.
but i was talking about requesting teachings from other masters. i may be negatively biased but it looks to me that wuite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.

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PeterC
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by PeterC » Wed Dec 25, 2019 3:36 pm

yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm
thank you both for responses.
i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
means if one has a root guru then of course one can request some particular teaching/wang/whatever - given one knows that his root guru holds the teaching, because a disciple doesn't necessary aware of the list of all teachings/practices/transmissions his guru holds.
but i was talking about requesting teachings from other masters. i may be negatively biased but it looks to me that wuite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.
Well, yes and no.

I am usually very critical of collecting empowerments that one does not plan to practice, but that's largely a personal preference on how I like to organize my practice. Many great lamas receive empowerments for the purposes of renewing vows, making auspicious connections etc. - one cannot fault that approach.

Why would one seek a specific teaching from a different teacher? Well, one's root guru doesn't have to be, and perhaps shouldn't have to be the source of everything. I know a few very advanced practitioners who get advice from their root gurus on what to practice, but always receive those practices from other teachers who are deeper in that particular practice, or are a throne holder in that particular lineage, or just because their root guru thinks it would be a good idea for reasons undisclosed. This might be at one's own initiative - there might be something you're very interested in but you've never really had the chance to request from your root guru, and another teacher is accessible who is an acknowledge master of that, etc.

Access to teachers is usually limited. You might not see your primarily teachers more than once or twice in a year, and you can't always get enough personal time with them to request and receive specific teachings. However if you do have access to a teacher who can give you something you're interested in - why not? Infidelity isn't really a big thing in the Dharma.

climb-up
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:04 am

Thank you for the responses. 🙏

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:04 pm

yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm
thank you both for responses.
i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
means if one has a root guru then of course one can request some particular teaching/wang/whatever - given one knows that his root guru holds the teaching, because a disciple doesn't necessary aware of the list of all teachings/practices/transmissions his guru holds.
but i was talking about requesting teachings from other masters. i may be negatively biased but it looks to me that wuite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.
I think, if it is a Lama you have confidence in, it is fine to request "lung" for general prayers, offering and the like.

/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)

climb-up
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm

yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm

i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
quite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.
FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments.
Rather I have received instruction from only two lamas, who I respect a great deal and practice what they teach. I was unable to receive certain teachings from my root lama before he passed away and was given a specific list of empowerments that it would be a good idea to receive by a 'vajra elder brother' whom I respect very much. These are not meant to be collected, but practiced.

I personally am not particularly comfortable with asking for a specific teaching, but since ChNN was (at least almost) the only one who taught and practiced these things, and since I am not able to travel, I think asking is what I am left with.

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:07 pm

climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm
yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm

i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
quite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.
FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments.
Rather I have received instruction from only two lamas, who I respect a great deal and practice what they teach. I was unable to receive certain teachings from my root lama before he passed away and was given a specific list of empowerments that it would be a good idea to receive by a 'vajra elder brother' whom I respect very much. These are not meant to be collected, but practiced.

I personally am not particularly comfortable with asking for a specific teaching, but since ChNN was (at least almost) the only one who taught and practiced these things, and since I am not able to travel, I think asking is what I am left with.
Practice what you got instead, running after ChNNR teachings seem difficult and maybe impossible if you can't travel. Also no one is transmitting the Longsal teachings at this 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)

climb-up
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:25 pm

heart wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:07 pm
climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm
yagmort wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:15 pm

i should have probably been more precise and said: "on your whim from any teacher".
quite a lot of western buddhists develop some kind of a collector approach on regards of teachings/empowerments, thinking they know better if they should practice this or that.
FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments.
Rather I have received instruction from only two lamas, who I respect a great deal and practice what they teach. I was unable to receive certain teachings from my root lama before he passed away and was given a specific list of empowerments that it would be a good idea to receive by a 'vajra elder brother' whom I respect very much. These are not meant to be collected, but practiced.

I personally am not particularly comfortable with asking for a specific teaching, but since ChNN was (at least almost) the only one who taught and practiced these things, and since I am not able to travel, I think asking is what I am left with.
Practice what you got instead, running after ChNNR teachings seem difficult and maybe impossible if you can't travel. Also no one is transmitting the Longsal teachings at this time.

/magnus
That's the plan, I have at least another year to work through the SMS Base for the first time and, honestly, I feel like have enough to keep me busy for the rest of this lifetime. I am not in any particular hurry to run out and cahse things, but want to know how to go about asking when the time seems approproiate.
I'm not so much interested in the Longsal teachings (I mean, Im sure they are wonderful, but I don't think they are being transmitted, as you say) as much as Longde teachings. I was also told it was ideal to receive certain semde and menangde teachings.
My understanding is that these teachings are transmitted, even if they aren't practiced widely. I'm not totally sure how that works, but it seems like it has to do with making contact with the lineage and keeping it unbroken. ...?

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by heart » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:45 pm

climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:25 pm
heart wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:07 pm
climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm



FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments.
Rather I have received instruction from only two lamas, who I respect a great deal and practice what they teach. I was unable to receive certain teachings from my root lama before he passed away and was given a specific list of empowerments that it would be a good idea to receive by a 'vajra elder brother' whom I respect very much. These are not meant to be collected, but practiced.

I personally am not particularly comfortable with asking for a specific teaching, but since ChNN was (at least almost) the only one who taught and practiced these things, and since I am not able to travel, I think asking is what I am left with.
Practice what you got instead, running after ChNNR teachings seem difficult and maybe impossible if you can't travel. Also no one is transmitting the Longsal teachings at this time.

/magnus
That's the plan, I have at least another year to work through the SMS Base for the first time and, honestly, I feel like have enough to keep me busy for the rest of this lifetime. I am not in any particular hurry to run out and cahse things, but want to know how to go about asking when the time seems approproiate.
I'm not so much interested in the Longsal teachings (I mean, Im sure they are wonderful, but I don't think they are being transmitted, as you say) as much as Longde teachings. I was also told it was ideal to receive certain semde and menangde teachings.
My understanding is that these teachings are transmitted, even if they aren't practiced widely. I'm not totally sure how that works, but it seems like it has to do with making contact with the lineage and keeping it unbroken. ...?
In the Dam Ngak Dzö you find the the 18 empowerments of Semde, the Longde empowerment and the Mengakde empowerments. However, I have no idea who can help you to actually apply the teachings (a part from the Mengakde that is practiced a lot). At the moment it seems the SMS is dead.

/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)

climb-up
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:08 am

heart wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:45 pm
climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:25 pm
heart wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:07 pm


Practice what you got instead, running after ChNNR teachings seem difficult and maybe impossible if you can't travel. Also no one is transmitting the Longsal teachings at this time.

/magnus
That's the plan, I have at least another year to work through the SMS Base for the first time and, honestly, I feel like have enough to keep me busy for the rest of this lifetime. I am not in any particular hurry to run out and cahse things, but want to know how to go about asking when the time seems approproiate.
I'm not so much interested in the Longsal teachings (I mean, Im sure they are wonderful, but I don't think they are being transmitted, as you say) as much as Longde teachings. I was also told it was ideal to receive certain semde and menangde teachings.
My understanding is that these teachings are transmitted, even if they aren't practiced widely. I'm not totally sure how that works, but it seems like it has to do with making contact with the lineage and keeping it unbroken. ...?
In the Dam Ngak Dzö you find the the 18 empowerments of Semde, the Longde empowerment and the Mengakde empowerments. However, I have no idea who can help you to actually apply the teachings (a part from the Mengakde that is practiced a lot). At the moment it seems the SMS is dead.

/magnus
ChNN did teach non-Longsal Longde as well right? Or is that incorrect?
I was thinking that if I had a longde empowerment I could learn from the shang shung material that is not Longsal. I have a Longde book that I have only read the introduction of (I didn't realize it was a separate lung to practice when I bought it) so my plan has kind of been to someday receive the Longde empowerment and then read the book. ...maybe there is a flaw in this plan?

yagmort
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by yagmort » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:58 am

climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm
...FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments...
my apologies, i just have used your thread to ask some questions which have been puzzling me for sometime. i wasn't even remotely having you on my mind while having asked them :)

climb-up
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by climb-up » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:32 am

yagmort wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:58 am
climb-up wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:35 pm
...FWIW I am not interested in requesting anything on a whim, or from any teacher, nor am I interested in collecting empowerments...
my apologies, i just have used your thread to ask some questions which have been puzzling me for sometime. i wasn't even remotely having you on my mind while having asked them :)
Lol, no apologies needed. I figured it wasn’t about me per se, but I also thought I’d mention it.

I remember ChNN said more than once that some people just collect empowerments as a blessings, and that that was not a good thing; that you should only receive teachings if you intend to practice them!

yagmort
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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by yagmort » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:49 am

climb-up wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:32 am
I remember ChNN said more than once that some people just collect empowerments as a blessings, and that that was not a good thing; that you should only receive teachings if you intend to practice them!
exactly!

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Re: Requesting Teachings

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:43 am

yagmort wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:49 am
climb-up wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:32 am
I remember ChNN said more than once that some people just collect empowerments as a blessings, and that that was not a good thing; that you should only receive teachings if you intend to practice them!
exactly!
And other great teachers, HE Garchen RInpoche for one, tell us that getting wangs is an important practice, and since one yidam fulfills all yidams, one should not worry in the least that one is not practicing all of them. Every valley has a lama, etc.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche

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