1st Notes

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smcj
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1st Notes

Post by smcj » Tue May 15, 2018 3:24 pm

https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Toward-A ... +awareness
This was written as a way to introduce Dharma to non-practitioners. However it has a very unusual, maybe even unique, perspective and presentation. People here at DW might enjoy it as a refreshing way to look at things and to get out any Dharma Wheel rut they may be in. (pun intended) Kindle edition is $4.

I've been heavily influenced by this book, so if you think my perspectives are interesting you might like to see where I get my weirdness. Or, if you are offended by how I have posted, you might want to look at it so you can have ammunition to attack me.

The manuscript was called "1st Notes" but they renamed it something more sellable. I'm going to continue calling it 1st Notes.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

smcj
Posts: 5728
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: 1st Notes

Post by smcj » Mon May 21, 2018 9:31 pm

137 views of my post to date.
Anybody take a look at the book yet?
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Location: California

Re: 1st Notes

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:50 pm

smcj wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 9:31 pm
137 views of my post to date.
Anybody take a look at the book yet?
I did, using the Look Inside at Amazon. It is appealing, but I am reading less now, so do not know if I will get this one.

If you knew him personally or know someone who knew him well, give us a little biography and how he impressed you or them.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

smcj
Posts: 5728
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: 1st Notes

Post by smcj » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:42 am

I knew him personally. Suffice it to say that I have accepted him as a genuine Dharma teacher. However I have no wish to convince anybody else about that, so I will keep the reasons to myself.

I will share a little about what I know of his life and path, which will help people to understand where the book is coming from. He had been something of a renaissance man. He studied history, languages (mastering multiple), literature, and music. I believe flute was his primary instrument. But by the early '50s he had whittled those interests down to literature and music, focusing on Shakespeare and Bach as the ultimate in each. But even as he examined the genius of both he still had the "...but there's got to be more" idea going through his head. Then, as he was studying the B Minor Mass, it occurred to him that he was listening to Back musically pray. That made him interested in prayer, but basically as a continuation or extension of the artistic impulse. So he studied about Christian prayer and taught it to himself much as he would teach himself another musical instrument. I'm sure he learned the appropriate theology and philosophy, but to him it was all about the practice of meditation and prayer.

After some time he remarkably got some sort of low level result, some initial realization. But when it happened he understood that he had done as much as he could on his own. The problem was her felt there really wasn't anybody he could go to in a Christian context for further instruction. Some time went by and then the Tibetans showed up on his radar. He had a sense that they really understood what they were doing. So he went to India and ordained as a Gelug monk, taking care to get permission to keep his beard, which somehow was a symbol of his Christian realization. He got whatever instruction he needed and returned to L.A., where the people that knew him stopped referring to him as "George" and started calling him "The Monk". Since he was the only one in L.A. at the time that wasn't a problem.

When Geshe Gyeltsen (FPMT) came to L.A. he told the people around him something like, "Now you get a chance to hear it from the horse's mouth. Go listen to this new Geshe." So the L.A. Gelug center was half Lama Yeshe people and half Monk people. I would describe his position in that context as an FPMT adjunct. However since I'm a Kagyupa that wasn't how I saw him.

He liked the Christians he counseled to have some exposure to Buddhism, and he encouraged Buddhists to take a look at the Bible. But he was clear that they shouldn't be mixed. He said that each was like a recipe, and if you tried to mix them you'd likely end up with a spaghetti-cake. People that were interested in both had to have two separate practices. And if someone came to him that was Hindu, or Jewish, he'd speak to them in that context. He never pushed anybody into anything, and he never criticized another Dharma teacher. There were some that he didn't discuss, but if he spoke of someone he'd speak to their strong point. BTW, he spoke highly of ChNN, which checkmates any of my reservations about ChNN's teachings.

He was very conservative with his Dharma. He was clear that nothing should be changed. Much of what he installed in me was a reverence for Dharma. In fact I see in Malcolm's posts the influence of lamas that parallel things Monk told me. He never renounced his Christianity, but Gelug Vajrayana became his main practice. Later on he transitioned a bit to Nyingma and Dzogchen, but I'm pretty sure his main sadhana practice was always Gelug.

So the book has both Christian and Buddhist references. Also it isn't really written like other things you might have read. It's organized more like a piece of music than an essay. Themes and motifs get introduced, then later developed and expanded, with recapitulations. It's unusual.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: 1st Notes

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:36 pm

Sounds like I really should read his book.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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