A different look at Guru Yoga

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jkarlins
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by jkarlins » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:27 pm

I think both sides in this debate have good points.

I think it's surreal that people online so rarely say things like, "You could be right," or accept that both sides in a disagreement have some element of truth.

It's rarely as simplistic as saying "both sides are right," but that's usually part of it. But then, that makes heated debate difficult.

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by MalaBeads » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:07 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:45 am

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.

I would agree. That's why I put "training" in quotes.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Simon E. » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:09 pm

smcj wrote:
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.
Having spent a good deal of my professional life supporting those who are attempting to break addictions of various kinds I applaud anyone who achieves that. It's tough.
However sometimes the addicted person actually substitutes one addiction for another. Having read numerous responses made by you to a number of people on a myriad of topics I wonder whether you are now addicted to endless proliferation of views of a largely contrarian nature.
Just a thought, which may or may not be useful to you..
"Any major dude with half a heart
Will surely tell you my friend,
Any minor world that breaks apart
Can fall together again.
Any major dude will tell you."

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smcj
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:58 pm

I think it safe to say I'm not in sync with the prevailing DW culture. But hey, that keeps it from getting boring around here!
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 Simon E. » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:05 pm

I am not sure there IS a prevailing DW culture.

'Every valley a lama, every lama a dharma' comes to mind.
"Any major dude with half a heart
Will surely tell you my friend,
Any minor world that breaks apart
Can fall together again.
Any major dude will tell you."

Steely Dan.

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Grigoris » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:21 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:05 pm
I am not sure there IS a prevailing DW culture.

'Every valley a lama, every lama a dharma' comes to mind.
Every lama a drama?

Or as my greek lama likes to say: Άλλο ο λάμα και άλλο το κλάμα. (translit. Allo to lama, allo to klama)

The lama is one thing and blubbering is another...
"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: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:35 pm

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:49 am


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.)
Believing that someone is relatively wrong on something does not make the world an ugly place. In fact, the very idea that holding opinions is 'negative' ironically IMO would be a bigger stumbling block. Opinions and thoughts are not the problem.
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.
This is pretty basic stuff, every one of my teachers has focused on things like this, at one time or another. It still does not explain why you continue with all these threads accusing people of losing pure vision because they dare to have opinions. Opinions can be utilized, managed and let go of, being relative by definition, they come and go and one can use them skillfully - as part of the path as it were. They are also a reflection of purity themselves. Not to mention, if your thesis here were true in the way you claim it is, your own deeply held opinion about people holding opinions would also fit under it's umbrella.

Again, from my point of view it is ironic that you seem to be saying that holding opinions is a problem (which is, finally, I believe what you are saying) - because believing that opinions or thoughts are a problem actually prevents one from having pure vision. Similarly, I am fairly confident that in terms of the Dzogchen view, ChNN would dispute the idea that one must consciously avoid having opinions, or force oneself to have only "positive" opinions to see things as primordially pure, and I suspect someone is blocking their own perception by believing this to be so.
Or something like that. I personally am still doing NgonDro. You really need to talk to a real teacher about this stuff.
I have actually done a short retreat with one of my teachers which was fairly intimate, where we had long talks on just this subject. Not just lecture talks either, but back and forth, delving deep type stuff. I certainly don't claim expertise, but it's not a new subject to me.

I'm not going to pretend I have it all worked out, or even that I have processed that retreat really, there was some serious mojo there.

I will say though, I feel confident that he also would not agree with you that having opinions on relative things - such as Sogyal's actions etc. would somehow prevent pure vision, nor that having opinions and living a relative life as we must is an impediment. How one sees opinions, and the holding of them though..that has everything to do with it.

Your thesis seems similar to believing that the nature of mind must be devoid of movement, that one cannot find purity in relative thoughts and opinions - either one's own or others.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:07 pm

I will say though, I feel confident that he would not agree with you that having opinions on relative things - such as Sogyal's actions etc. would somehow prevent pure vision.
I do not have any samaya with Sogyal. As such I have no need for a GY pure view of him.

As the texts say, the progression goes from the guru, to the world, to one’s own mind. There are stages. It is only at the final stage where you see the non-dual primordial purity of everything that Hitler, Sogyal, Ted Bundy, AIDS, and genocides of various flavors are seen as expressions of primordial purity. As Malcolm has said, for a being with a pure mind even Avici Hell is seen as a Buddha field.

In DJKR’s original piece he equate the critical mind with the dualistic mind. That means ultimately seeing faults is an obstacle to non-dual awareness. It’s not that complicated.

As for application, see things in an exclusively positive light until such time as you can perceive primordial purity directly. Then you won’t need to see negativity. You’ll see both how things are and how they appear, and will automatically do the right thing.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:32 pm

Yeah, we've all heard it before, read the explanations, etc.

it still fails to give any real explanation of how to move forward with one's "pure vision" when one is being abused. IMO that's because there is a part of the history of Guru Yoga which is basically about institutional control, kind of undeniable, isn't it? It is up to the individual to figure out what is authentic teaching and what is someone using authentic teaching to attain and maintain power over someone else. IMO this is pretty obvious, if you would prefer to assume all gurus are pure, go for it.

So let's go back to one of your quotes from Ringu Tulku:
Guru Yoga should be viewed as different from the actual guru/student relationship. We practice Guru Yoga as an ideal because it is a practice, an exercise. The guru/student relationship is something else. I don't mean that you should not have faith in your guru. It is good to have faith in our guru, but with an open mind and open eyes.
How do you see this in light of the idea that we are not supposed to find fault with the Gurus actions?

What does "finding fault" mean? Does it mean he cannot do anything wrong relatively (only "positive"), or does it mean that we see it is similar to the Lojong slogan of bring all blames into one, that regardless of relative appearances, this is the path?

Is it possible to object to a Guru's relative actions, but still see him with pure vision? I know many texts say it is not.

Mostly, I would contend that the traditional texts can not address this because of the power dynamic present in the times they were written..nonetheless, we have to address it now, and simply falling back on the traditional explanation is not sufficient.
Sometimes people are too dependent on their guru. Not only in the West, sometimes also in the East. They ask his advice on everything, like what kind of color they should paint their bathroom, and so on. This is not necessary. The guru's job is to try to teach his student how to actually stand on his/her own feet, to be independent as much as possible, to try to understand the Dharma and know how to practice by themselves.
This one is more along the lines of my understanding, it is just the same as what compassionate parents want for their children.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:27 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:32 pm
Yeah, we've all heard it before, read the explanations, etc.

it still fails to give any real explanation of how to move forward with one's "pure vision" when one is being abused. IMO that's because there is a part of the history of Guru Yoga which is basically about institutional control, kind of undeniable, isn't it? It is up to the individual to figure out what is authentic teaching and what is someone using authentic teaching to attain and maintain power over someone else. IMO this is pretty obvious, if you would prefer to assume all gurus are pure, go for it.

So let's go back to one of your quotes from Ringu Tulku:
Guru Yoga should be viewed as different from the actual guru/student relationship. We practice Guru Yoga as an ideal because it is a practice, an exercise. The guru/student relationship is something else. I don't mean that you should not have faith in your guru. It is good to have faith in our guru, but with an open mind and open eyes.
How do you see this in light of the idea that we are not supposed to find fault with the Gurus actions?

What does "finding fault" mean? Does it mean he cannot do anything wrong relatively (only "positive"), or does it mean that we see it is similar to the Lojong slogan of bring all blames into one, that regardless of relative appearances, this is the path?

Is it possible to object to a Guru's relative actions, but still see him with pure vision? I know many texts say it is not.

Mostly, I would contend that the traditional texts can not address this because of the power dynamic present in the times they were written..nonetheless, we have to address it now, and simply falling back on the traditional explanation is not sufficient.
If you've got a fully enlightened Buddha as a guru then there is no difference between the practice and relationship. Any fault you see will be your own mental obscuration. But effectively that will not be the case. You'll have a less than perfect person as your teacher. He/she will have faults. So you've got to make allowances for that in some way, shape, or form. They will have faults, and your mind will have negativities that appear as their faults. Both will be in effect. But the goal of the practice is not to straighten out the lama, but to rid your own mind of the negativities that project faults outward.

Ringu Tulku simply separates the meditation practice from the interpersonal interaction. That makes sense on a few levels. He reserves the unconditional faith, trust and devotion to the visualized guru, the Sambogakaya manifestation. DJKR's piece went into how to "spin" seeing your guru drown in a lake, or fumble at a meeting, and still see him/her as pure. Those are two different styles of coping with the problem of not actually having a fully enlightened Buddha as your teacher.

But then we are told that if we see him/her as a Buddha we get the blessings of a Buddha, Bodhisattva, Arhat, ordinary person, etc. So it pays to give them a mental upgrade to whatever extent possible.

But we should keep in mind that neither Ringu Tulku or DJKR were ever abused by their teachers. So they never were really challenged, even though they knew the theory.

*****

I had a friend that was writing a book with a famous lama. The lama seduced my friend's wife. There was betrayal by both teacher and wife, but the betrayal by teacher had a longer lasting effect. It destroyed my friend. At the time I told my friend to keep his samaya, but out of friendship with him I promised to slug the guy at first opportunity if I ever came across him since I did not have samaya. (Fortunately I never laid eyes on the lama.)

Make sense?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:13 pm

Yeah, again, i'm familiar with all the traditional "by the numbers" explanations, and that is all you are stating here, near as I can tell.

What i'm wondering is if we can unpack what "finding fault" actually means. one can believe a thing is relatively wrong, but still understand it is "pure" in the sense we mean here..but maybe that's just the Dzogchen talking.
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Re: A different look at Guru Yoga

Post by gb9810 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:39 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:13 pm
Yeah, again, i'm familiar with all the traditional "by the numbers" explanations, and that is all you are stating here, near as I can tell.

What i'm wondering is if we can unpack what "finding fault" actually means. one can believe a thing is relatively wrong, but still understand it is "pure" in the sense we mean here..but maybe that's just the Dzogchen talking.
yup.. my 2 cents:

this may be where a good foundation in the two truths and selflessness may be helpful, so one can avoid getting trapped by certain vajrayana concepts, taking them as real or solid.

faults or erring are mere relative, dualistic concepts, just like pure/impure, correct/incorrect, up/down, negative/positive...etc. Their ultimate essence or nature are pure and no different.

a teacher's erring act, and my thought of "he erred", are both ultimately pure. The same as saying he is tall (vs. short), he is old (vs. young).. He is also ignorant of many things (e.g. particle physics, proof of Fermat's last theorem, Hungarian,..., heck, he may even be tone-death to the gravity of the sexual abuse issue and behave inappropriately on social media!)

These are are characterizations, with conventional labels, to particular observations or arisings in the relative world. I don't find them mutually exclusive or in conflict with "pure perception", or their ultimate purity. A teacher's lack of relative omniscience also in no way affect my confidence in his realization and how much I have and can learn from him, to realize the nature of my mind. (though obviously I won't try to learn Hungarian from him. :)

Ultimate equality and purity of course do not imply all actions are the same in the relative world, and that they are all to be accepted with no judgements or reactions. What one does in reaction to these relative arisings, however, will depend on one's karma as well as one's limited wisdom and compassion. Just like turning one's parents in to the police if they broke the law: different cultures/social norms/individual situations may dictate different actions, and we may or may not agree with another's choice. (e.g. smcj may find it easier to punch someone else's guru rather than one's own is perfectly understandable.) One can certainly vehemently stand or fight against certain behavior, take on a zero-tolerance stance, while understanding the ultimate purity and equality of it all. Or not. And each actions/choices will have their own consequences in the relatively world, obviously.

Heck, we can only do our best to "know everything in this life is a dream and an illusion; have compassion for those who don't realize it." As practitioners, we train to have the latter as motivation for actions and choices (rather than mindlessly out of habitual tendencies, the 5 poisons, or what not), within one's limited capability. Of course, "those who don't realize it" include pretty much everyone, including ourselves... :)

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