A different look at Guru Yoga

MalaBeads
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by MalaBeads » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:49 pm

It's more than just "saving face" I think. One of the things that has not been mentioned is the family connection. Sogyal Rinpoche was raised "like a son" by Dudjom Rinpoche as he (Sogyal Rinpoche) so often said. He used to sleep in a small bed at the foot of Dudjom Rinpoche's bed. So there is a family link that djkr may be trying to defend (or at least not offend). This was Sogyal Rinpoche's "training". Also I remember that one of the reasons Chokyi Nyima did not do a lot of retreat was that his father (Tulku Urgyen) said he had done enough "retreat" in his last life. (He didn't need to do it now.) Perhaps (and I only say "perhaps") the same rationale applies here. I don't know.

What emerged during my reading of djkr's three statements was he trying to condemn Sogyal Rinpoche while at the same time trying to uphold him. Trying to please too many people also. That is what I took away from my reading.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Lingpupa » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:22 pm

That wasn't Dudjom R was it? I thought it was Jamyang Khyentse Ch Lodro? (Sorry, writing on mobile phone)
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conebeckham
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by conebeckham » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:25 pm

Lingpupa wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:22 pm
That wasn't Dudjom R was it? I thought it was Jamyang Khyentse Ch Lodro? (Sorry, writing on mobile phone)
Yes, JKCL. He died in 1959, when Sogyal Rinpoche was 10 or 11 years old.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:16 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:22 pm
I like what I heave read from Ringu Tulku a lot.


There is a difference between someone advocating real devotion and connection to the Outer Guru, and someone advocating for devotion to the Outer Guru as basically an obligatory institutional thing, whatever else they want to claim it is. Once it turns from an experience of the individual state of Guru yoga to the one where you are supposed to reinforce cultural and institutional norms by showing fealty and somehow that is the practice...then I ain't interested, and I can tell the difference.

I'm sure some will claim there's no difference, but I haven't even been around that long and I believe I can sufficiently grok which teachers are advocating which.
If you don't mind, can you take a moment to explain the distinction you're making here? I don't think I understand what it is.

Thanks!

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:47 pm

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:16 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:22 pm
I like what I heave read from Ringu Tulku a lot.


There is a difference between someone advocating real devotion and connection to the Outer Guru, and someone advocating for devotion to the Outer Guru as basically an obligatory institutional thing, whatever else they want to claim it is. Once it turns from an experience of the individual state of Guru yoga to the one where you are supposed to reinforce cultural and institutional norms by showing fealty and somehow that is the practice...then I ain't interested, and I can tell the difference.

I'm sure some will claim there's no difference, but I haven't even been around that long and I believe I can sufficiently grok which teachers are advocating which.
If you don't mind, can you take a moment to explain the distinction you're making here? I don't think I understand what it is.

Thanks!
Sure, the distinction is that with latest scandals, some people (like DJKR) seem to be making a primarily institutional argument about Guru Yoga - i.e. "this is what you should do, because our tradition dictates it, and it is impossible to have pure vision if you do not agree".

Never mind that there is no consensus on what tradition "says" on the whole anyway - in fact that is obviously a huge subject of commentary down through the ages, so if there were one approach and one approach only, that commentary would be unnecessary.

Beyond that, it's a typical religious institution's claim to infallibility, it happens to be put out there i Vajrayana form, but that's what it is. Focusing on devotion to the Outer Guru not as a conduit for the student to attain the same state, but simply as a set of rules to be followed.

To me, this is light years away from my understanding of Guru Yoga via ChNN, and for that matter other teachers of mine, stuff I have read etc. I keep getting implicitly told my understanding is somehow not "traditional', yet there are plenty of teachers who seem to teach in just such an nontraditional way, if that is so.

If you don't get the distinction I don't know how else to put it, a part of religious institutions and their games is 100% samsara, to my mind it always the job of students and teachers to be discerning that part, and minimizing it as much as possible, instead of presenting it as the ideal.

YMMV.

Basically, if this were the Catholic Church making a similar argument in it's religious setting, most people wouldn't even give this conversation a second thought.
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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:00 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:47 pm
Focusing on devotion to the Outer Guru not as a conduit for the student to attain the same state, but simply as a set of rules to be followed.
OK, this is clear. I understand the distinction. However, I don't know any lamas (especially including Khyentse Rinpoche) who teach the latter. Khyentse Rinpoche's note on the guru-student relationship I think very clearly talks about guru yoga and pure perception as being methods for the student to become enlightened.

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by MalaBeads » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:02 am

conebeckham wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:25 pm
Lingpupa wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:22 pm
That wasn't Dudjom R was it? I thought it was Jamyang Khyentse Ch Lodro? (Sorry, writing on mobile phone)
Yes, JKCL. He died in 1959, when Sogyal Rinpoche was 10 or 11 years old.
Yes, JKCL. My most sincere apologies. Hmmm, guess I have to rethink the family link thing.
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conebeckham
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by conebeckham » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:45 am

MalaBeads wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:02 am
conebeckham wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:25 pm
Lingpupa wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:22 pm
That wasn't Dudjom R was it? I thought it was Jamyang Khyentse Ch Lodro? (Sorry, writing on mobile phone)
Yes, JKCL. He died in 1959, when Sogyal Rinpoche was 10 or 11 years old.
Yes, JKCL. My most sincere apologies. Hmmm, guess I have to rethink the family link thing.
Maybe, but Dzongsar Khyenste is a Khyenste Tulku, eh? Blood may be thicker than water, bu where does Tulku-ness fit in that comparison? :smile: :shrug:

My personal feeling is that an 11 year old can't really be said to have "Trained" in any major way in practice. No matter who one's teacher is. I'm sure there are exceptions.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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smcj
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:01 am

All the various teachings on emptiness, from no-self to Madhyamaka, are showing us how the normal view of reality is mistaken. It is presented in ways that we can understand step-by-step. We are taught to not cling to views, not cling to impermanent things, not cling to self. We are taught that the unenlightened mind is ignorant and deluded, and enlightenment sees things as they really are.

My thesis is: at some point it should occur to us "the way I see it is all wrong".
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:06 am

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:01 am
All the various teachings on emptiness, from no-self to Madhyamaka, are showing us how the normal view of reality is mistaken. It is presented in ways that we can understand step-by-step. We are taught to not cling to views, not cling to impermanent things, not cling to self. We are taught that the unenlightened mind is ignorant and deluded, and enlightenment sees things as they really are.

My thesis is: at some point it should occur to us "the way I see it is all wrong".
So what does that mean in practical terms, we just assume we are like children, incapable of decision making? We leave all the ethics up to our Gurus, and simply have them dictate "the way to see it"?

Do we have any insight at all in the relative world, should we give up our agency entirely? I still don't understand what point you are trying to make by repeating this.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:06 am

It means we admit we are unaware, deluded, ignorant, however you want to put it. That means thinking "things truly are how I see them and I know it to be so simply because I see them that way" is a fundamentally flawed view and a source of danger.

That's not Guru Yoga. That's not Vajrayana. That's all of Buddhism.

Or, to put it in my own terms, the ultimate source of all danger in the universe is buying into your own b.s. Personally, as an ex-addict, I know this to be true from first hand experience.
So what does that mean in practical terms, we just assume we are like children, incapable of decision making?
It starts with taking Refuge, then the Preatimoksha Vows, and so on down the line.
Last edited by smcj on Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:22 am

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:06 am
So what does that mean in practical terms, we just assume we are like children, incapable of decision making?
It means we admit we are unaware, deluded, ignorant, however you want to put it. That means thinking "things truly are how I see them and I know it to be so simply because I see them that way" is a dangerous error.

That's not Guru Yoga. That's not Vajrayana. That's all of Buddhism.

Or, to put it in my own terms, the ultimate source of all danger in the universe is buying into your own b.s. Personally, as an ex-addict, I know this to be true from first hand experience.
This is true of any opinion though, it's as true of what you are saying right now to me as what you think you're responding to in my own words. Hell Trungpa wrote a whole book on it, there Lojong slogans addressing just this..I don't think this understanding is news.

So I ask again, what is your point in stating it here? Unless indeed you believe we are simply supposed to give up our agency or ability to reason in the relative world. If you are just saying that we are deluded beings, then I imagine here nrealy anyone would agree with you, I sure would. I just don't see how it connects to any of your conclusions, nor really -what- exactly you are concluding from this revelation in the first place.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:25 am

Let me ask you; how do you understand Taking Refuge and walking the Path?
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:27 am

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:25 am
Let me ask you; how do you understand Taking Refuge and walking the Path?
Stop asking riddle-y questions and answer mine.

Sure, I understand taking refuge. Amazing, even though I disagree with you, I know.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:28 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:27 am
smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:25 am
Let me ask you; how do you understand Taking Refuge and walking the Path?
Stop asking riddle-y questions and answer mine.

Sure, I understand taking refuge.
Ok, so does that entail giving up all agency?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 am

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:28 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:27 am
smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:25 am
Let me ask you; how do you understand Taking Refuge and walking the Path?
Stop asking riddle-y questions and answer mine.

Sure, I understand taking refuge.
Ok, so does that entail giving up all agency?

No, it's impossible to give up agency in samsara until you are actually completely done with samsara..in fact, that this the very basis of the idea of accumulation of merit, by my understanding. it's the reason that Buddha activity is talked about the way it is in Uttaratantra etc....you can't jump straight to Buddha activity, if you live in Samsara, you have agency, and it does not matter if you like it or not. You can choose to be responsible for it, give it to someone else to assuage guilt and confusion etc..but the agency is yours.. "None can purify another". Taking refuge does not make you helpless, on the contrary, it is a declaration of just how responsible for your own actions and views you are - especially in the Mahayana.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:50 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 am

No, it's impossible to give up agency in samsara until you are actually completely done with samsara..in fact, that this the very basis of the idea of accumulation of merit, by my understanding. it's the reason that Buddha activity is talked about the way it is in Uttaratantra etc....you can't jump straight to Buddha activity, if you live in Samsara, you have agency, and it does not matter if you like it or not. You can choose to be responsible for it, give it to someone else to assuage guilt and confusion etc..but the agency is yours.. "None can purify another". Taking refuge does not make you helpless, on the contrary, it is a declaration of just how responsible for your own actions and views you are - especially in the Mahayana.
Ok, you don't give up agency. And it is up to you to walk the Path. How does one do that? Part of the Path is the Vinaya:

Shravakayana
Pratimoksha Vows
Curbing negative actions

Mahayana
Bodhisattva Vows
Curbing negative attitudes

Vajrayana
Tantric Vows
Curbing negative vision, seeing everything as being without fault

So if you're going to practice Vajrayana at some point you're going to need to embrace pure view and leave your objections behind. How to do that? The simple answer is to start by finding a fully enlightened Buddha for a teacher. Such a being will be nothing other than the primordial purity manifesting in an uncorrupted, undiminished way. There will be no emotional afflictions, not obscurations of awareness, and everything he does will be perfectly appropriate for the karma of sentient beings. In the presence of such a Buddha any and all faults you see in him are by definition nothing other than your own impure vision. Knowing this you can dismiss your negative mind and have confidence in that Buddha's teaching.

Having an out guru that is perfection, we can expand on that and try to see the world as perfection, and finally as our own mind as unborn.

But of course you're not going to find a perfect Buddha as a teacher. But you still have those same defects in your own mind that sees fault in perfection. Only now your teacher really does have faults and imperfections. Does that mean we are all doomed to never be free of our own negative minds, simply because we don't have a fully enlightened Buddha standing there in fromt of us?
Last edited by smcj on Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:55 am

But of course you're not going to find a perfect Buddha as a teacher. But you still have those same defects in your own mind that sees fault in perfection. How do you suggest that you get rid of them?
Instead of addressing this to "me", why don't we address this to anyone, and have you answer the question I keep asking, which you so far have refused to answer, which a few people have asked:

How does seeing things as primordially pure null and void requirements of relative conduct or discrimination? How do -you- suggest someone live a life in the relative world if according your inferences here, one must give up all discrimination of right and wrong, or completely distrust one's relative reasoning?

I would really like you to take a concrete position instead of making these constant claims about other people's misunderstandings of pure vision, and explain why you think Pure Vision simply means not having opinions.

I would really like you to be up front about your purpose in repeatedly harping on this theme, rather than constantly playing the riddle game. Can you do this, or do we need to stop for a while?

If you are just trying to say you think I'm (or whoever else) full of my own opinions, I'll take it under advisement, and you are welcome to your take on the matter. If you have some more subtle point I would like to see it explicitly stated.

If you can answer my question, I will give it a go at yours.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:49 am

How does seeing things as primordially pure null and void requirements of relative conduct?

I have never said or implied any such thing. If anything that's a Malcolm position with which I disagree.

My understanding of Vajrayana is that it is completely in keeping with the spirit of Mahayana. What is different is that a real practitioner, which is a rarity, is capable of virtue that isn't seen as such by the conventional mind. It's still moral, but not limited by the opinions of others.

Think of an M.D. that goes to a village in the Amazon that has no real medicine. If the M.D. wants to do a minor surgery they might object to him cutting someone with a knife. They are unaware and don't see what he is really doing. Yes, he is cutting someone with a knife. No, he is not hurting them, in fact quite the opposite.
How do -you- suggest someone live a life in the relative world if according your inferences here, one must give up all discrimination of right and wrong, or completely distrust one's relative reasoning?
Turn it around. See everything in positive terms--everything without exception--both internal and external. Everything is an opportunity to practice Dharma. In every situation you can practice one or more of the Perfections. In Vajrayana you can even use eating, shitting and sleeping as prayers.

With pure view the world is no longer an ugly place from which one must wrest some sort of satisfaction. (A lot of people see Dharma as some sort of golden lollipop that will do that for them.) The world is seen as sentient beings working out their karma. Their suffering is motivating them to find relief. Dharma is the only true relief, so the world is actually motivating sentient beings towards enlightenment. (A few months ago I heard Gyalton R. say that the wish to be happy was an indication of one's Buddha Nature.)

You've already laid down your weapons and opened yourself with faith and trust. Give life your all without expectation or fear. Invest the actions you take with love. Love the act of living life. If your actions are formal practice the Nyingmas suggest compassion/bodhicitta. The Kagyu suggest devotion/Guru Yoga. Without investing one form or another of your love none of the practices are said to work.

Or something like that. I personally am still doing NgonDro. You really need to talk to a real teacher about this stuff.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Miroku » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:17 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:45 am
MalaBeads wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:02 am
conebeckham wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:25 pm


Yes, JKCL. He died in 1959, when Sogyal Rinpoche was 10 or 11 years old.
Yes, JKCL. My most sincere apologies. Hmmm, guess I have to rethink the family link thing.
Maybe, but Dzongsar Khyenste is a Khyenste Tulku, eh? Blood may be thicker than water, bu where does Tulku-ness fit in that comparison? :smile: :shrug:

My personal feeling is that an 11 year old can't really be said to have "Trained" in any major way in practice. No matter who one's teacher is. I'm sure there are exceptions.
Well, Karmapa's birds reached enlightenment... soo why not. However, I am kinda with you on this one. It seems ridiculous, unless he really had a pure vision and devoted himself ocmpletely to the guru, which his narrative of those years suggest. On the other hand, there is the reality that he effed up. And whatever training he had was either useless as he did what he did or fake.
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