Commitment...?

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Gandharva
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Commitment...?

Post by Gandharva » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:31 am

Hi everyone!

I made a research on this topic but some more info would be great! :twothumbsup:

I am transitioning from Theravada to Vajrayana, it is - after many years - a heartfelt decision that I made almost two years ago and after a lot of research. I feel a very strong connection with Sakya (and Bön) teachings and it seems that FINALLY I will have the chance to receive them: H.E. The 27th Chogye Trichen Rinchen Paljor Rinpoche is coming to my country for a cycle of teachings.

It will be a cycle of 2-day empowerments (each) - Hevajra, Vajrapani Buthadhamara + Mahakala, White Tara and 1-day for Vajrasattva.

My question:

1) It is stated on the announcement that THERE WILL BE NO COMMITMENT ON DAILY PRACTICE.

What is the difference, in "essence" and in results, between a initiation with and without commitment?

I found this on Buddha Weekly:
You are only taking a practice commitment or Yidam commitment or Guru (usually all three) if you take a refuge vow, and if you take on the commitment. If you simply attend, and receive a blessing, this is not necessarily a practice initiation. In Tibet, many people attend initiations simply for the blessing, without the intention to practice.

For example, Kalachakra is a Highest Yoga Tantra. It would only be a full practice initation if you received both the initiations (all four) and then the oral practice instructions, which will also have the Sadhana to practice. If you simply attended a big event and felt moved and blessed, but received no instructions — you took a blessing, basically.
Could someone give me any additional details?

mahabuddha
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by mahabuddha » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:33 am

It means you are not bound by samaya to keep up the practice. For example, if you had a teacher and requested an empowerment for practice, that teacher may say, this is your practice and do this minimum on certain days or may have this as your daily practice. Just going to empowerments mostly means blessings for 99% of those attending.

Gandharva
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Gandharva » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:18 pm

mahabuddha wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:33 am
It means you are not bound by samaya to keep up the practice. For example, if you had a teacher and requested an empowerment for practice, that teacher may say, this is your practice and do this minimum on certain days or may have this as your daily practice. Just going to empowerments mostly means blessings for 99% of those attending.
Thank you for your answer! :thumbsup:

I think it is meaningless (well, at least in my point of view) to go for a cycle of teachings and "maybe someday" put them on practice.

Anyway... does this affect the empowerment in its essence?

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:26 pm

Gandharva wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:18 pm
mahabuddha wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:33 am
It means you are not bound by samaya to keep up the practice. For example, if you had a teacher and requested an empowerment for practice, that teacher may say, this is your practice and do this minimum on certain days or may have this as your daily practice. Just going to empowerments mostly means blessings for 99% of those attending.
Thank you for your answer! :thumbsup:

I think it is meaningless (well, at least in my point of view) to go for a cycle of teachings and "maybe someday" put them on practice.

Anyway... does this affect the empowerment in its essence?
Hmm, I feel like the above comment is maybe a bit shortsighted, and you may be missing the function of an empowerment. Empowerments actually change you subtly, even if you only attend as a "blessing"..which btw should not be looked at as some minor thing. It's kind of incongruous when people talk about "blessings" as if they are some waste of time in Vajrayana, they are serious bidnass. In my experience in the Sakya lineage this is a common understanding, but that's just me.

Some teachers (depending on lineage and other factors) recommend that if you have the Karma to take a teaching, you should; even if you cannot put it into practice right away. Having the opportunity for the blessing of the lineage is a big deal and can profoundly affect your practice, even if you don't get a sadhana etc.

An empowerment ripens the student, it is not just a practice permission. Empowerments (even small ones like Jenangs) are powerful and profound experiences and shouldn't be treated as simply a way to get practices or some technical exercise.

This of course doesn't necessarily mean one can't exercise some discrimination, or should just "collect" empowerments either.. but you gotta take opportunities when you can and take advantage of your merit.

Anyway, IME your own intention and willingness to "tune in" and really enter this mandala is probably the largest determinant of whether it's worth your time.
"...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

Gandharva
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Gandharva » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:26 pm
Gandharva wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:18 pm
mahabuddha wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:33 am
It means you are not bound by samaya to keep up the practice. For example, if you had a teacher and requested an empowerment for practice, that teacher may say, this is your practice and do this minimum on certain days or may have this as your daily practice. Just going to empowerments mostly means blessings for 99% of those attending.
Thank you for your answer! :thumbsup:

I think it is meaningless (well, at least in my point of view) to go for a cycle of teachings and "maybe someday" put them on practice.

Anyway... does this affect the empowerment in its essence?
Hmm, I feel like the above comment is maybe a bit shortsighted, and you may be missing the function of an empowerment. Empowerments actually change you subtly, even if you only attend as a "blessing"..which btw should not be looked at as some minor thing. It's kind of incongruous when people talk about "blessings" as if they are some waste of time in Vajrayana, they are serious bidnass. In my experience in the Sakya lineage this is a common understanding, but that's just me.

Some teachers (depending on lineage and other factors) recommend that if you have the Karma to take a teaching, you should; even if you cannot put it into practice right away. Having the opportunity for the blessing of the lineage is a big deal and can profoundly affect your practice, even if you don't get a sadhana etc.

An empowerment ripens the student, it is not just a practice permission. Empowerments (even small ones like Jenangs) are powerful and profound experiences and shouldn't be treated as simply a way to get practices or some technical exercise.

This of course doesn't necessarily mean one can't exercise some discrimination, or should just "collect" empowerments either.. but you gotta take opportunities when you can and take advantage of your merit.

Anyway, IME your own intention and willingness to "tune in" and really enter this mandala is probably the largest determinant of whether it's worth your time.
The measures (minor/major) are assumptions of yours... that's not the point here - sorry if I haven't made myself clear: my question is based on the fact that I am 100% commited to keep the practice, no matter if it implies in 100,000 times a mantra and prostations or whatever. It is my volition to go deep in the teachings and, attending an enpowerment where there's no possibility of go beyond the blessings, wouldn't be something where I can fully develop my potential.

It is not a matter of more/less or diminishing the teachings, it is a matter of profile: I am in a moment in my life that I have the will and the TIME. So, I have to take this advantage and work on it.

I like that you mentioned the "collection" of empowerments: that is something that I want to avoid, I have seen quite a lot of this! :!: That is another factor for me to dedicate to some restrict amount of practices: better to commit to a few and go deeper and deeper than keep jumping everywhere and staying in the surface.

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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:08 pm

Whether you are capable of going beyond the "blessings" bit is really more about you, your circumstances and motivation than it is the question of official commitment, by my understanding.

In general, Sakya practice involves getting multiple empowerments. I mean I'm not saying everyone does, but IME that is part of the culture of the lineage, virtually all the long term, basically exclusive Sakyapa I know have a ton of them. I have a number of them and I'm not even an exclusive Sakya guy.

Maybe others would have more insight than me.
"...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

greenvajrapani27
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by greenvajrapani27 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:13 pm

My concern has always been with these "Multiple Empowerments".
In the old days in Tibet a teacher would give a "Single Empowerment" and in some cases the student(s) would prepare a whole year in advance for that empowerment.
These empowerments were taken very seriously but I don't that this is the case today.
Seems that on any given weekend in a large city you can just walk in off the street, drop some money into a bowl and get and empowerment with no questions asked.

Gandharva
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Gandharva » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:25 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:08 pm
Whether you are capable of going beyond the "blessings" bit is really more about you, your circumstances and motivation than it is the question of official commitment, by my understanding.

In general, Sakya practice involves getting multiple empowerments. I mean I'm not saying everyone does, but IME that is part of the culture of the lineage, virtually all the long term, basically exclusive Sakyapa I know have a ton of them. I have a number of them and I'm not even an exclusive Sakya guy.

Maybe others would have more insight than me.
Thank you! :thanks:

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Hazel
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Hazel » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:40 pm

Is a blessing equivalent to a lung? Like the op would still have permission to practice with merit (albeit not as much), but not take on commitments?

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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:51 pm

greenvajrapani27 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:13 pm
My concern has always been with these "Multiple Empowerments".
In the old days in Tibet a teacher would give a "Single Empowerment" and in some cases the student(s) would prepare a whole year in advance for that empowerment.
These empowerments were taken very seriously but I don't that this is the case today.
Seems that on any given weekend in a large city you can just walk in off the street, drop some money into a bowl and get and empowerment with no questions asked.
It's a reasonable concern, but if the the people taking these empowerment are fully present and recognize the preciousness of what they are getting (not saying they do always), then whether or not they agree to do a daily sadhana it is a positive thing and can have a profound effect on the mindstream of the participant. Of course if people are just going to mess around and don't really care about what they are receiving then it means little, but that is pretty much common sense, isn't it?

FYI for the record I put a moratorium on empowerment myself for my own reasons, so I am not saying everyone should do them no matter what. IMO though it is very important to recognize what they are actually are and their function in lineages, not just to think of them as "permission" to practice something. In a sense an empowerment is one of the most profound types of "practices" you can do, thinking of it as a mundane conferring of permission etc. is starting off on the wrong foot.
"...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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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:02 pm

Hazel wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:40 pm
Is a blessing equivalent to a lung? Like the op would still have permission to practice with merit (albeit not as much), but not take on commitments?
Lung is oral transmission, with some practices this is enough to engage in the practice, it depends a lot on the teacher it seems, and there are endless arguments all over DW about that.
"...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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Re: Commitment...?

Post by heart » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:32 am

greenvajrapani27 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:13 pm
My concern has always been with these "Multiple Empowerments".
In the old days in Tibet a teacher would give a "Single Empowerment" and in some cases the student(s) would prepare a whole year in advance for that empowerment.
These empowerments were taken very seriously but I don't that this is the case today.
Seems that on any given weekend in a large city you can just walk in off the street, drop some money into a bowl and get and empowerment with no questions asked.
If you read for example the newly published "The Life of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great" you will see that giving multiple empowerments to big groups of people that you don't know certainly existed in the "old days of Tibet". However the style of giving an empowerment to a single student that been preparing (practicing) for it for a long time still exist today also in the West. So, nothing much have changed.

/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)

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schubertian
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by schubertian » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:50 pm

Is it too late for me to weigh in with my 2 cents?

If it is not too late this sounds like an excellent teacher and an excellent program of the basic practices of Sakya (missing an important one, however)

If you have concerns about the expectations on the part of the teacher for putting the practices into effect on a daily basis then you should contact the center, or the co-ordinator and just ask them directly.

the blurb (from a magazine and not from the center, I note) is not very clear, I don't think. Is there more to it?

My experience with Sakya is that yes, if you attend a program and receive a big empowerment then you are allowed to make that a main practice that you do every day, if want, and that you attend the program with precisely that intention in mind. In fact, it is the 'default settting'.

In Sakya it is allowable to attend a major empowerment 'for blessing', which means that you would like to make a karmic link with the teacher and the practice which may bear fruit in the future, but you have no intention of doing the sadhana on a daily basis at all. In that case you don't say anything during the 'repeat after me' parts of the ritual, and you don't drink anything if it comes around, etc. You just sit quietly and watch and listen. That is considered ok.

this seems weird to me:
I found this on Buddha Weekly:
You are only taking a practice commitment or Yidam commitment or Guru (usually all three) if you take a refuge vow, and if you take on the commitment. If you simply attend, and receive a blessing, this is not necessarily a practice initiation. In Tibet, many people attend initiations simply for the blessing, without the intention to practice.
This is perhaps garbled by the Buddha Weekly reporter? I don't understand what the first sentence means at all - it is unintelligible. The second sentence should probably read "If you would like to simply attend to receive a blessing without the intention to practice as a daily commitment, then that is permitted" This sentence is also unintelligible as it stands in the original

Call them. I'm sure they can clear it up no problem. Seems like a great opportunity to take on the main Sakya practices, that does not come around very often. (Naro Khachod is probably also going to be offered is my guess, check with them). You should go and then you can be a Sakyapa!

Tenma
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Re: Commitment...?

Post by Tenma » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:04 am

[

My experience with Sakya is that yes, if you attend a program and receive a big empowerment then you are allowed to make that a main practice that you do every day, if want, and that you attend the program with precisely that intention in mind. In fact, it is the 'default settting'.

In Sakya it is allowable to attend a major empowerment 'for blessing', which means that you would like to make a karmic link with the teacher and the practice which may bear fruit in the future, but you have no intention of doing the sadhana on a daily basis at all. In that case you don't say anything during the 'repeat after me' parts of the ritual, and you don't drink anything if it comes around, etc. You just sit quietly and watch and listen. That is considered ok.

[/quote]

That does explain why Lama Kunga Thartse mentions the phrase "A practice sadhana will be given, but the empowerment can be taken as a blessing" in many of his empowerments (not all of them, some like Red Dzambhala and Vajrayogini have a prerequisite) such as:

http://www.ewamchoden.org/?p=5531
http://www.ewamchoden.org/?p=5527
http://www.ewamchoden.org/?p=5374

He does explain further on the blessing part you mention here in this White Tara Empowerment:
"The empowerment can be taken as a daily practice or as an auspicious blessing, like a seed to ripen later. A meditation guide will be offered at the Empowerment. "

http://www.ewamchoden.org/?p=4562

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