Johnny Dangerous wrote:
say, awakening is beyond it all
amazed that we judge those by one standard... another religous war, eh?
the only thing is value lies in those who receive it
This strikes me as a really non-critical response Lindama, It is a basic tenet of any Buddhist system to always question and evaluate a teacher before committing to their stuff, for a set of really good reasons. Now, it's questionable how often people live up to that, but the impulse is a vital one for authentic spirituality, I think.
First, you need to know I am not defending Tolle, per se. In fact, I know little about him compared to the other non-traditional teachers coming through the Bay Area. I know too many in spite of my so-called serious zen practice and equally devoted part-time love for Tibetan practice. I'm not so fussy, a closet Tibetan coming out of the closet.
I have not read Tolle's book cover to cover, listened to a whole talk on youtube, nothing. I have read enough about his take on the pain body that it resonates with me and seen endless quotes which open the heart and mind ... but I already knew that from my own experience! Again, I think he has something to offer to many people and who knows how they will evolve and find the tradition that is right for them if they are destined to go further ... he is a way shower. Not to mention the good that can be done in the world simply with open hearts.
I have already pointed out, as others have, that Tolle (and others) make teachings available to people who may not find them any other way... yada yada. I saw Adyashanti before he got big... it's not hard to see him as an old zen master who speaks from emptiness, after all he trained in zen. It was easier to see before he got big.... before people made him big... (btw, before Oprah made Tolle big, but he was acually already big for many). In my mind, it's no diff than the second ancestor who cut off his arm to prove how serious he was about wanting a teacher... many people are wanting more. My take is that Adya had to altar his teaching for the audience.... he used to speak more like a zen master without ever uttering a word of zen. The silence was stunning, and still is at times. Nowadays, people are at many stages of awakening and I at least see that he tries to include a wider audience. So, now, we are into a new arena... it's not so easy to discern what is awakening and what is skillful means to address the masses who are hungry for their own spiritual inheritance.
Do you know about all the awakened mystics in the US and elsewhere who never had but a few followers... it is happening a lot on the planet. The Buddha is hardly the only one. That's the beauty for me... there is someone for everyone.
So, to respond to your comments
it maybe helpful to know where I am coming from. My first teacher was not buddhist. He always said, if he taught anything it was the transpersonal heart center, in fact it was much more, or not... what else is there? He taught us the tools we needed to connect with our natural being and what obscured living a full and spontaneous life. He warned us that the road to awakening was paved with dead bodies and tried to give us a map and understanding of the difficulties. He sent us home with tools for awareness of this.. there was no one on one. He was a Buddha in my eyes tho he never said so. As a matter of fact, today is the fourth anniversary of his death although I have not seen him in twenty years. He refused guru status and sent us home to explore our own lives and heart center in the transcendent. He never advertised, yet he claims he worked with over 30,000 people in his life. From the long view, I think this is pretty accurate. After a brief and wondrous exposure to Dzogchen, I settled on a local zen teacher for many years while secretly keeping up my Tibetan connection. Turns out, I never did fool the zennies who were my family for a long time. Little did they know, I tried to keep up my dzogchen meditation, tho that is questionable without guidance. I never did care... it's all in the living. And, mostly I preferred to cook at retreat. That is another kind of meditation. Eventually, thankfully, that fell apart.
Anyone outside of the Buddhist system falls outside of the Buddhist tenets. I suppose this is what rubs me the most. Tolle is not a Buddhist, how can we apply those standards to him? And, we have to understand that the relationship is different... it is rarely, if ever, one on one, it lacks the intimacy and vulnerability and the consequences ... the audience is wide and vast. Still, the experience can be felt as intimate, believe it or not. After all, there's nothing that is separate from us! If Buddhism comes to this, this relationship will have to change. How will Buddhism handles the masses? As it is, the Buddhist belief system says that the deepest training benefits and needs a close relationship... how can this be sustained. I know zen teachers who are burned out by the demand for one on one. but this is not what Tolle, Adyashanti and others are about. I once had a personal interview with Adyashanti on the one retreat that I went to in 2002... he told me what I already knew: "STOP". ok
So, the whole traditional thing about checking out teachers, asking if they are enlightened, etc. just is not in this paradigm. The need to evaluate is not there because the type of commitment, if at all, is not the same. As far as living up to the Buddhist standards, checking out the teacher.... do you really think that we can check it out ahead? We go into this with our eyes closed no matter how we think we are evaluating the teacher. If anything, we luck out according to our karma.... Thus, I think that the value needs to be seen according to how the person receives the teaching and how it benefits. We can't apply Buddhist standards as we know them ... we can't judge from our own realization either ...or how our teachers treated us.
Do you know how hungry the average person is??? The impulse is alive in many people these days.
so we keep on keep'n on
thanks for listening
ps... I have heard this ad nausea on the zen forum, it won't be resolved any time soon, unless it is. Maybe you will be the pioneers.