Discrimination

herb2
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Discrimination

Post by herb2 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:52 pm

Hi all
I have been a Christian contemplative for many years who studies and practices comparative religions for several reasons, such as to improve my spiritual practice and remove any bias on my part; to improve my respect and tolerance towards other’s who practice religions other than the one’s I do; and to seek the Truth about spirituality.

After studying and practicing Hinduism for many years and, I might add, never once experiencing any discrimination, I was at the library some months ago when a book about Dzogchen all but jumped off the shelf at me. Bringing it home I read it cover to cover within a week and my spiritual practice began to skyrocket! After re-signing out the book twice more and reading it cover to cover several more times, I was hooked. I now love Buddhism!

However, unfortunately, the closest place to actually go and join a Nyingma group with a competent teacher is a 10 hour drive away, involving crossing an international border!

A few weeks ago, a one in a million thing happened where I was made aware of a small group of Buddhist’s from the Kagyu tradition run by a Buddhist nun, who meet and practice where I live! I started going there right away and to my amazement, bodhichitta, faith in Buddhism and what the teacher there calls “good motivation” began to arise in me powerfully. And I have found that the teachings honour both Dzogchen and, Mahamudra, which I am now learning.

Everything was going along fine when, last week I asked my teacher a question from a book she had borrowed me about one of the three roots, or three sources of Vajrayana practice: the guru, the yidam and the dharmapalas. My question was about dharmapalas. But before going into dharmapalas, my teacher wanted to talk about the yidam. Being a Christian I asked if it might be OK if I just stay with my chosen Yidam.

That’s when she launched what I can only describe as a hate filled vent about Christianity and her mistaken opinion that I jump around from religion to religion but gain nothing and that I should just stick to one path. To me this inferred that I should either convert to Buddhism or stay only with Christianity. I said nothing, other than I had come to love Buddhism and the Dharma. When she was done I asked to be excused and left. Since then my newfound faith, bodhichitta and “good motivation” have withered and died, I have been unable to meditate or even sleep properly, missing work, and am struggling with the fear that, going back to the Buddhist group, I will be discriminated against.

My question is this: is Buddhism an exclusive religion where they believe their way is the only way, or is it an inclusive religion like Hinduism where they believe that all paths lead to the same destination?

This is the only Kagyu group near me, so if I switch groups, I will have to try something other than Nyingma or Kagyu. But, other than feeling discriminated against, I really love the Kagyu tradition.

🙏❤️

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PeterC
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Re: Discrimination

Post by PeterC » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:01 am

Some factual responses to your questions. Before we get into it, though, your use of the word "discrimination" is completely out of place. First, you went to a Dharma teacher and asked him whether your personal blend of the Dharma and christianity was ok, and if I've understood you correctly, he answered, completely correctly, that it wasn't in accordance with the Dharma. You can't be both a Christian and a Buddhist, their systems of beliefs are incompatible. You might not like that, but it is what it is, and it is not helpful to either tradition to pretend otherwise. BTW Christianity and most schools of Hinduism have incompatible tenet systems, too, but perhaps the Hindus you spoke to chose not to make a big deal of that. However in Buddhism, the view is considered to be extremely important, and any decent Dharma teacher would not be doing their students a favor by misrepresenting it.

Second, and I don't know where exactly you live, christians claiming "discrimination" against themselves is usually a pretext for christians wanting to impose their belief system on others. You don't want to associate yourself with people who engage in that practice.
herb2 wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:52 pm
Hi all
I have been a Christian contemplative for many years who studies and practices comparative religions for several reasons, such as to improve my spiritual practice and remove any bias on my part; to improve my respect and tolerance towards other’s who practice religions other than the one’s I do; and to seek the Truth about spirituality.
Not all religious traditions accept the idea of some kind of universal spirituality, "all routes lead to the top of the mountain" sort of idea. No major christian tradition does, for instance.
After studying and practicing Hinduism for many years and, I might add, never once experiencing any discrimination, I was at the library some months ago when a book about Dzogchen all but jumped off the shelf at me. Bringing it home I read it cover to cover within a week and my spiritual practice began to skyrocket! After re-signing out the book twice more and reading it cover to cover several more times, I was hooked. I now love Buddhism!
You need to be very careful about reading texts on topics like Dzogchen without the guidance of a teacher. It's very, very easy to think you understand what they're saying but miss the point in critical areas. You will see long debates on this board between people who have been practicing and studying for decades along these lines. Just because it looks simple doesn't mean its easy.
However, unfortunately, the closest place to actually go and join a Nyingma group with a competent teacher is a 10 hour drive away, involving crossing an international border!

A few weeks ago, a one in a million thing happened where I was made aware of a small group of Buddhist’s from the Kagyu tradition run by a Buddhist nun, who meet and practice where I live! I started going there right away and to my amazement, bodhichitta, faith in Buddhism and what the teacher there calls “good motivation” began to arise in me powerfully. And I have found that the teachings honour both Dzogchen and, Mahamudra, which I am now learning.

Everything was going along fine when, last week I asked my teacher a question from a book she had borrowed me about one of the three roots, or three sources of Vajrayana practice: the guru, the yidam and the dharmapalas. My question was about dharmapalas. But before going into dharmapalas, my teacher wanted to talk about the yidam. Being a Christian I asked if it might be OK if I just stay with my chosen Yidam.
Jesus isn't an yidam, on any definition that someone knowledgeable about the Dharma would accept. You might want to think of Jesus in those terms, but that's something you've created for yourself, you will not find any Dharma text that supports that idea.
That’s when she launched what I can only describe as a hate filled vent about Christianity and her mistaken opinion that I jump around from religion to religion but gain nothing and that I should just stick to one path. To me this inferred that I should either convert to Buddhism or stay only with Christianity.
Christians often have a blind spot about how their religion is perceived by others. Many non-christians (and quite a few christians) see it as a purveyor of self-interested intolerance and worldly evil over the centuries. There are compelling facts that support that interpretation. You may disagree with that view, but you should understand why many people hold it.

You've said that you identify as christian, previously tried out hinduism, now fell in love with the Dharma. Is the teachers inference that you're religion-hopping so completely unreasonable? It's what a reader of your post here would have guessed.
I said nothing, other than I had come to love Buddhism and the Dharma.
Maybe, but had you come to understand it? Is what you fell in love with really the Dharma, or just a version of it that you made up?
When she was done I asked to be excused and left. Since then my newfound faith, bodhichitta and “good motivation” have withered and died, I have been unable to meditate or even sleep properly, missing work, and am struggling with the fear that, going back to the Buddhist group, I will be discriminated against.
If a few harsh words cause your motivation to wither and die, you need to work on your motivation. We believe that there is not the slightest bit of true happiness to be found in samsara. Why should you expect to find comfort, solace and emotional support from a Dharma teacher?
My question is this: is Buddhism an exclusive religion where they believe their way is the only way, or is it an inclusive religion like Hinduism where they believe that all paths lead to the same destination?
This is a false dichotomy. The Dharma has no need to consider 'inclusivity' and 'exclusivity', nor for that matter does any other religion. The Dharma shows, we believe, the path to liberation. If you want to believe things contrary to what is set out in that path, and Christianity holds such beliefs, such as the existence of an eternal soul, then you're not practicing that path. Would it show compassion to pretend that you are?
This is the only Kagyu group near me, so if I switch groups, I will have to try something other than Nyingma or Kagyu. But, other than feeling discriminated against, I really love the Kagyu tradition.

🙏❤️
Don't think you'll get another answer from another tradition, be it Kagyu, Sakya, Zen, Theraveda or whatever. You should first understand why you got the answer you did. If you haven't read it, DJKR's book "What makes you not a Buddhist" might not be bad place to start. No irony intended, it's a good introductory discussion of the core of the Buddhist tenet system.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Discrimination

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:19 am

herb2 wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:52 pm
Hi all
I have been a Christian contemplative for many years who studies and practices comparative religions for several reasons, such as to improve my spiritual practice and remove any bias on my part; to improve my respect and tolerance towards other’s who practice religions other than the one’s I do; and to seek the Truth about spirituality.

After studying and practicing Hinduism for many years and, I might add, never once experiencing any discrimination, I was at the library some months ago when a book about Dzogchen all but jumped off the shelf at me. Bringing it home I read it cover to cover within a week and my spiritual practice began to skyrocket! After re-signing out the book twice more and reading it cover to cover several more times, I was hooked. I now love Buddhism!

However, unfortunately, the closest place to actually go and join a Nyingma group with a competent teacher is a 10 hour drive away, involving crossing an international border!

A few weeks ago, a one in a million thing happened where I was made aware of a small group of Buddhist’s from the Kagyu tradition run by a Buddhist nun, who meet and practice where I live! I started going there right away and to my amazement, bodhichitta, faith in Buddhism and what the teacher there calls “good motivation” began to arise in me powerfully. And I have found that the teachings honour both Dzogchen and, Mahamudra, which I am now learning.

Everything was going along fine when, last week I asked my teacher a question from a book she had borrowed me about one of the three roots, or three sources of Vajrayana practice: the guru, the yidam and the dharmapalas. My question was about dharmapalas. But before going into dharmapalas, my teacher wanted to talk about the yidam. Being a Christian I asked if it might be OK if I just stay with my chosen Yidam.

That’s when she launched what I can only describe as a hate filled vent about Christianity and her mistaken opinion that I jump around from religion to religion but gain nothing and that I should just stick to one path. To me this inferred that I should either convert to Buddhism or stay only with Christianity. I said nothing, other than I had come to love Buddhism and the Dharma. When she was done I asked to be excused and left. Since then my newfound faith, bodhichitta and “good motivation” have withered and died, I have been unable to meditate or even sleep properly, missing work, and am struggling with the fear that, going back to the Buddhist group, I will be discriminated against.

My question is this: is Buddhism an exclusive religion where they believe their way is the only way, or is it an inclusive religion like Hinduism where they believe that all paths lead to the same destination?

This is the only Kagyu group near me, so if I switch groups, I will have to try something other than Nyingma or Kagyu. But, other than feeling discriminated against, I really love the Kagyu tradition.

🙏❤️
i heard once that there can be thirtika -eternalists- buddhists. that can happen. but at some point in your personal progress you will ask and answer yourself if there is really something eternal.

now if you go around 20 years studying buddhism and still cling to fundamentalisms, it can turn into a problem haha.. but in the beginning it is uncontrollable really, we where rised in a particular society, with a culture, religion, etc.

if your teacher taughts sectarianism, it is better to look for another. a teacher should thaught understanding, not believing. that's my humble opinion.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by herb2 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:06 am

Dear PeterC
Thank you for the very thoughtful response. It is giving me food for thought. Mahatma Gandhi used to say, “I am a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim.” Also my Guru, while I was studying and practicing Hinduism was a Hindu Priest, a Christian and a Muslim. He was the one who first inspired me to follow my heart and study as many religions as I want. You might want to look him up some time. His name is Sri Ramakrishna.

While I studied Hinduism I met hundreds of Hindu’s, many were very advanced spiritual seekers. Also I work with several Sikh’s and have discussed my interest in comparative religions with them without ever feeling discriminated against. As Sri Ramakrishna taught, and most Hindu’s believe, all true religions are but different paths to the same destination. What Buddhist’s call the Ultimate Truth is the exact same thing Christian’s call God.

Many of Sri Ramakrishna’s followers studied and practiced Buddhism, so I just assumed that Buddhist’s would be OK with someone who wanted to seek enlightenment, even though they are a Christian, but it appears I was wrong.

This reminds me of a conversation I was having one time with a Muslim. I told him that we were both worshiping and praying to the same God and, instead of hating and killing one another, we should realize that we are true spiritual brothers, so we should be loving and helping each other, and he whole-heartedly agreed. But while we were talking, his friend showed up, literally grabbed him and dragged him away, saying to him, “Why are you talking to that infidel?”

No offence taken by your response and none intended by mine. I only wish you love and enlightenment.

🙏❤️

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:09 am

But Gandhi wasn't actually a Muslim or Christian, he just said that.

It's hard to get anywhere trying to hold contrary philosophies, dipping your toe in this, that or the other thing you can never go deep into anything. I think that's what the teacher was getting at. Also, we have no idea whether people's Gods are the same, whether all religions lead to the same place etc..that is speculation, to be completely frank.

I've had various influences too, I've done all kinds of Taoist practices for most of my life, enough that at one time I was quite interested in Taoism. I still read about it and consider it an interest, I still do some of the practices that don't conlfict. It has a lot of things going for it. I decided on Dharma though, and I look at everything else as a compliment to that, rather than the other way around.

You can't really be a Buddhist and a Christian simultaneously. You can be one of the other that appreciates the wisdom of one or the other, but trying to deeply hold two conflicting philosophies will eventually be a problem. So it's not like you have to abandon anything, you have to decide what your view is, and proceed from there.
Many of Sri Ramakrishna’s followers studied and practiced Buddhism, so I just assumed that Buddhist’s would be OK with someone who wanted to seek enlightenment, even though they are a Christian, but it appears I was wrong.
Anyone of any religion can benefit from Buddhist meditation and ethical teachings. Practicing Mahamudra and Dzogchen really requires one to hold the entire worldview of Dharma. If one does not, they don't make any sense at all.

So again, it's not like you need to throw anything about, but it sounds like you do need to decide what point of view you are going to adopt to go any farther.

You are aware that Buddhism is essentially non-theistic right? In the sense of Abrahamic theism at any rate, you simply cannot reconcile that philosophy with Dharma.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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PeterC
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Re: Discrimination

Post by PeterC » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:11 am

herb2 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:06 am
Dear PeterC
Thank you for the very thoughtful response. It is giving me food for thought. Mahatma Gandhi used to say, “I am a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim.”
Interfaith dialogue does require a certain amount of friendly, vague and meaningful-sounding pronouncements. Statements like that, however, cannot be taken literally. Being a christian requires belief in, amongst other things, that there is only one all-powerful creator god, that there is an eternal soul that is not reincarnated, that without the sacraments one is going to hell, and so forth. This cannot be reconciled with either the Muslim view of salvation and the role of the prophet, and it absolutely cannot be reconciled with the vedic religions' views.

It is of course good to show respect for people who are trying to live a morally good life and to improve themselves according to their beliefs. But you cannot say that all those beliefs are the same - because they are not - or that their practices lead to the same destinations, because there is no way to know that.

In short - it's your life and you're free to do as you wish. But you shouldn't tell people that you're practicing the Dharma if you hold christian beliefs, because you're not. You can certainly practice some methods of meditation inspired by Buddhist practices, and I'm sure that will be helpful, but that's about as far as you can go. Similarly if you're doing vajrayana practices, you cannot tell people that you're a christian, because no sensible definition of christian beliefs would permit that.
Also my Guru, while I was studying and practicing Hinduism was a Hindu Priest, a Christian and a Muslim. He was the one who first inspired me to follow my heart and study as many religions as I want. You might want to look him up some time. His name is Sri Ramakrishna.
The 19th-century Sri Ramakrishna? You may have taken inspiration from learning about him, but clearly he didn't actually say those things to you

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Re: Discrimination

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:07 pm

herb2 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:06 am
What Buddhist’s call the Ultimate Truth is the exact same thing Christian’s call God.
no, it isn't a phenomena.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Simon E. » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:32 pm

It might be useful herb2 to ask yourself if there is anything that your Christian contemplative practice lacks that leads you to look elsewhere. If from your point of view there is not then your task becomes one of deepening rather than widening.
If you are not acquainted with the works of Thomas Merton I suggest that you remedy that. I think you will recognise a kindred spirit.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:50 pm

I’m going to (sort of) contradict some of the other responses here.
First, to say “I am” this or that requires context.
One can certainly follow the teachings of many paths and religions insofar as daily life is concerned. This is very common around the world.

For example, regarding the concept of forgiveness, I would say that I follow Jesus’ Dharma on that. (‘Forgiveness’ doesn’t pop up in Buddhist teachings) Likewise, I follow Ben Franklin’s advice on being thrifty.
The only difference here is that Jesus is the focus of a “religion” and Franklin is not. But Franklin is also very similar to Confucius insofar as being a wise sage, and Confucianism is regarded as a “religion”.

Do you see the point here? Yes, you can certainly follow Buddha’s eightfold path, practice shamatha meditation, and regard yourself as a student of the Buddha, and at the same time, practice forgiveness and “who shall cast the first stone” and all of the other moral teachings of Jesus, and, like a Hindu, regard all living creatures as sacred, and you can follow Sioux and believe that the Earth is the mother of all things and the Sky is the father, and you can incorporate every spiritual path you find, when it’s all about the aspect of daily life and your attitude and behavior. In that regard, most spiritual teachings are compatible, and many overlap.

But, when you get into specific doctrines and the reasons for why different religions teach different dharmas, then you will find that many basic premises are incompatible.
And while it is certainly fine to reconcile all the various doctrines within your own mind, if that brings you wisdom and peace of mind and so on, then of course, that’s wonderful. But again, that’s your own doing. Your own concoction.

A person can think, “I’m going to meditate on Buddha Amitabha and when I die, I will be reborn in that Buddha’s Pure Realm, and Buddha Amitabha will introduce me to Jesus”. That might certainly be a workable belief system for many people, and it definitely includes a Buddha, but it also is definitely not Buddhism.

A friend of mine, an atheist, reconciles all the religious teachings, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, easily:
“It’s all bullshit” she says. So, simply finding a common denominator, that in itself, is not a great accomplishment.

As far as how the person at the Kagyu center addressed you, that’s too bad. I know a few instances where people have been either driven out or driven away by the actions and attitudes of some ‘senior students’ who know a great deal but also lack wisdom.

I can also relate to the challenge of being really far from a good Dharma center, authentic teachers, and so on. At least now there is the internet. You don’t have to climb the Himalayan mountains.
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Re: Discrimination

Post by muni » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:28 pm

I am very sorry for the way how you have been treated Herb. A bodhisattva helps without limits and putting someone off is that not. Bodhisattva helps all beings.

I have not studied other religions, but Dzogchen is our nature and is beyond any religion, beyond any bias.

You need a compassionate teacher. If you feel the wish to follow Dzogchen Master, go for it. And you talk with the Master. If it is too far, try to go once or contact in your possible way ( email, facebook...). Ask the Master how to do. ( or Kagyu Mahamudra)

Care for your arising faith in your nature as a jewel beyond all discriminations.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:40 pm

herb2 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:06 am
Many of Sri Ramakrishna’s followers studied and practiced Buddhism, so I just assumed that Buddhist’s would be OK with someone who wanted to seek enlightenment, even though they are a Christian, but it appears I was wrong.
You might approach the Zen tradition. Tibetan Buddhism is more closed.

The key issue here is refuge. You cannot go for refuge in two different religions at the same time. It does not make any sense at all to try. If you are a Christian, that's fine. But you cannot hold Jesus Christ as your savior and go for refuge to the Buddha, who rejected completely the idea that anyone was going to save you but yourself.

The issue is going for refuge. The Buddha himself regarded all other religions as being deficient.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by herb2 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:34 pm

Thank you again for your responses, especially muni. I could actually feel the love, compassion and concern in your response.

About the comment about Sri Ramakrishna encouraging me to study and practice other religions, I did not hear his words and audibly but “spiritually.” When a devotee takes on a guru who’s physical body has died, for that person to be a real guru he or she must resonate for you so strongly that it’s almost like they can talk to you literally. And this was how Sri Ramakrishna encouraged me to study and practice other religions.

You guys are looking at this intellectually and philosophically instead of spiritually. Let me explain the difference. Another politician who dabbled in religion was once talking to Sri Gandhi and said to him, “you and I are the same.” Gandhi replied, “I am a spiritual seeker who masquerades as a politician, whereas you are a politician who masquerades as a spiritual seeker.” Anyone who has studied and practiced Gandhi’s teachings about spirituality as thoroughly and sincerely as I have will find to their amazement that he was far more deeply and sincerely religious than they previously thought.

While studying Christianity, Sri Ramakrishna had a mystical experience where he literally perceived the visible presence of Jesus walking up to him, talking to him, then merging into Sri Ramakrishna’s own body. For the rest of his life, Sri Ramakrisna kept a picture of Jesus in his room and would burn incense in front of it and pray to Jesus every night before he went to sleep. He not only studied and practiced Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, he actually discovered the spiritual truths of all three of those religions. And, “spiritually,” he has been my inspiration.

I sought Self-realization while studying and practicing Hinduism, but it never came. However, while studying and practicing Dzogchen, I realized, experientially, who I really am, who I am not(I realized that I was not the egoic-self image I had always thought I was, and I realized the illusoriness of my kleshas. Thus, within weeks of taking up the study and practice of Buddhism, I made far more spiritual progress than I had, doing likewise with Hinduism for several years. It’s not that I think Buddhism is better than Hinduism, it’s just that Buddhism is resonating powerfully for me, spiritually.

🙏❤️

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:59 pm

herb2 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:34 pm
I sought Self-realization while studying and practicing Hinduism, but it never came. However, while studying and practicing Dzogchen, I realized, experientially, who I really am, who I am not(I realized that I was not the egoic-self image I had always thought I was, and I realized the illusoriness of my kleshas. Thus, within weeks of taking up the study and practice of Buddhism, I made far more spiritual progress than I had, doing likewise with Hinduism for several years. It’s not that I think Buddhism is better than Hinduism, it’s just that Buddhism is resonating powerfully for me, spiritually.
One cannot practice Dzogchen without receiving empowerment from a qualified guru. Have you done so? Dzogchen is not something one can practice from a book.

"While studying Christianity, Sri Ramakrishna had a mystical experience where he literally perceived the visible presence of Jesus walking up to him, talking to him, then merging into Sri Ramakrishna’s own body. For the rest of his life, Sri Ramakrisna kept a picture of Jesus in his room and would burn incense in front of it and pray to Jesus every night before he went to sleep. He not only studied and practiced Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, he actually discovered the spiritual truths of all three of those religions. And, “spiritually,” he has been my inspiration."
I am afraid that the spiritual truths of Buddhadharma are not compatible for what passes as spiritual truth in theistic religions. In Buddhadharma there is no god, no savior, and no creator.

BTW, this is not an issue of discrimination, but a cold, hard assessment of the key differences between Buddhism and other paths.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Simon E. » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:04 pm

You are posting in the Dzogchen forum. In a forum dedicated to “ the discussion of Mahayana And Vajrayana Buddhism”

“We guys” are mostly practising Buddhists who hold that Buddhism is superior to any other spiritual tradition.
In fact the Buddha himself that his religion was the only way to achieve Enlightenment as defined by him.
You need to reflect on that you want to be taken seriously.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: Discrimination

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:23 pm

herb2 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:34 pm

I sought Self-realization while studying and practicing Hinduism, but it never came. However, while studying and practicing Dzogchen, I realized, experientially, who I really am, who I am not(I realized that I was not the egoic-self image I had always thought I was, and I realized the illusoriness of my kleshas. Thus, within weeks of taking up the study and practice of Buddhism, I made far more spiritual progress than I had, doing likewise with Hinduism for several years. It’s not that I think Buddhism is better than Hinduism, it’s just that Buddhism is resonating powerfully for me, spiritually.

🙏❤️
It's really not about "thinking something is better". It's having enough faith in what the Buddha taught (as opposed to what is taught in Christianity, Hinduism etc.) as the right path. It's not like you are trying to make the decision for others, or claiming other paths are terrible. You are just saying "this makes the most sense to me, so I am going to practice it in order to realized it's results".

As to your experience, that's great, it sounds like you had a real breakthrough in your meditation. I would still contend that this is a place where you have to make the pivotal decision of either dedicating yourself more fully to Dharma, or continuing on a syncretic path. If you do the latter that's fine, but it is not the Buddhist path, those are different things, and you should not be fooling around with Tantra or Dzogchen if you're not willing to fully dedicate your spiritual life to it. Again, I suspect this is the root of your experience with this teacher.

If I might leave you with a thought:

It's a bit offensive to claim to "already have your own yidam". This not only fundamentally misunderstands what a Yidam is, it assumes that elements from another religion (one with a long history of colonizing less powerful religions) can simply be grafted onto a tradition that puts a huge amount of emphasis on what is transmitted from teacher to student. This may be what upset the teacher.

It sounds to me like actually practicing Dzogchen or Tantra is not really a fit for you. I might suggest you check out some teacher who teach a very "open" sort of thing intended for people of different, or no faith, a traditional Kagyu center is unlikely to fit the bill. There are of course, many ways to make use of Buddhist meditation practices and similar without taking empowerment, or needing to share the Buddhist worldview. There are innumerable teachings that are geared towards the "Buddhish" practitioner, and virtually every Dharma center I know of has "open" meditation practices that fit this sort of interest. Tantra is another ballgame, as mentioned.

For instance, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche teaches fairly openly in his webcasts, and many of his more accessible teachings do not assume a particular religion, and are simply meant to benefit whoever is practicing them. This is not really the same as practicing as a Bonpo, but it does not need to be. Like I said, meditation practice can benefit anyone, but Dzogchen and Tantra go way beyond meditation practice which you can just pick up or put down when you want. Eventually you will hit contradictions that are irreconcilable, they actually carry with them practice expectations and other commitments that make it pretty much impossible to follow as something other than a Buddhist.

On the larger subject, this thread is going to begin running afoul of the ToS soon, so we should decide what direction it's going to take, and whether herb2's questions can even adequately be answered here.

You might want to check out our sister site www.dharmapaths.com

It is specifically geared towards interfaith/comparative religion discussion, this site is not.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

cjdevries
Posts: 264
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Re: Discrimination

Post by cjdevries » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:27 pm

I really enjoyed your posts Herb. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Ramakrishna practiced each path one at a time without mixing them. So he would be a practicing Muslim for a while, then he would put that totally aside and practice Christianity. Perhaps he wanted to see the benefits in his spiritual growth that would come from practicing each path one by one, without mixing them up. It seems to me this approach could be beneficial. Ramakrishna was my mom's first teacher and I think he was an iconoclast in a good way. Some people thought he was nuts, I believe! But I don't think so.

Also this video I've found to be very helpful. It is a talk by Swami Sarvapriyananda. If you go forward to 1:21 (1hour 21 minutes) he talks about Buddhism and how he studied some of the leading Tibetan scholars, teachers and what he learned. The really interesting part of the lecture happens at 1 hour 24 minutes:
Last edited by cjdevries on Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.
"Without the mud, there is no lotus possible" -Thich Nhat Hanh
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

avatamsaka3
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Re: Discrimination

Post by avatamsaka3 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:42 pm

If the worst thing that happens is you just do some meditation and learn to be more compassionate, then your interaction with Buddhism will have value. If you're trying to be a serious Buddhist on a traditional path, then you need to understand deeply and practice Buddhist doctrine, and that (as people have said) is often incompatible with other religions. I don't think berating you was necessary, though.

Also, just a heads up, please be careful about Gandhi. He was a conflicted person at best in so many respects. I admit he had some great ideas, but he also had some extremely harmful and backwards ideas.

As far as not sleeping and such, just take care of yourself and switch the question to "How can I be happy today?" rather than "How can I deal with all this confusion?" Also, as far as meditation is concerned, if your practice wanes when you hit adversity, that's the classical sign that your practice wasn't very solid to begin with. Not trying to criticize; I've been the same way recently. But the value of a teacher to create a really solid foundation can't be overemphasized. Are you familiar with Tara Mandala? They have some meditation teachers there you might like. (Also, I should ask: How much investigation of this Kagyu teacher did you do before jumping in head first? You never jump in head first without "looking at the bottom of the water"? See what I mean?)

Simon E.
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Re: Discrimination

Post by Simon E. » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:47 pm

What has any of this to do with Dzogchen?
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

Malcolm
Posts: 31729
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Discrimination

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:50 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:47 pm
What has any of this to do with Dzogchen?
Nothing.

avatamsaka3
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Discrimination

Post by avatamsaka3 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:50 pm

OK, if a person is coming here and is just not a serious Buddhist, this may not be the right venue. But I'd say in whatever venue it is, there should be some consideration of the well being of the person. There are plenty of traditional reasons for thinking that way. At least, the person comes away understanding that you can't learn Dzogchen from a book alone.

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