JKhedrup wrote:I have a heavy aversion to institutional structures and instinctively want to rebel against them. But I think in Buddhism they definitely serve their purpose, sometimes even saving the teachings from disaster.
IMHO I think all these approaches to the path are valid and coexist well within the Nyingma. There are some great khenpos, tulkus and lamas who where part of the monastic tradition for their whole lives.
JKhedrup wrote:Sometimes the institutions are what preserve the texts and lineages that let the yogi/nis wander off and gain those realizations.
Exactly, such as Longchenpa and Patrul Rinpoche
However, you see for example in Jamgon Kongtrul's biography that in some cases they can be obstacles.
I haven't read it, can you please explain a little.
JKhedrup wrote:Still, I firmly believe they bring more light to the world than darkness.
I think there is both enough scriptural and empirical evidence to support this view.
JKhedrup wrote:There are two examples of strong women's communities that come to mind in the world of Tibetan Buddhism:
In my pilgrimage to Wutai Shan and Central Tibet in 2007 my limited and defiled perception observed that a lot of the monasteries I visited seemed to house monks whose main practice was sleeping in the shrine rooms. The nunneries seemed to be the opposite, full of women practising. In fact the monks seemed to me to have this air about them as to no care for PHR, impermanence, etc. I found the same observation of the Tibetan monks at Wutai Shan.
JKhedrup wrote:And in the Gelug tradition we have had the first woman Geshe (a Westerner) and in the next two-three years will have several Tibetan nun geshes as well.
I once had the good fortune of being able to listen to a teaching on the nature of mind by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. For those of us who didn't understand Tibetan we just sat there and tried to be as present as possible during that teaching. There was a western Geshe there, quite fluent in Tibetan. Whilst all the other Nyingmas sat there and tried to take the teaching as directly as possible, the western Geshe was rocking backwards and forwards vigorously whilst counting points with one hand on the finger of the other. Now I am not criticising this behaviour at all, he's probably much more enlightened than me, it's just the observation of the contrasting behaviour to the approach to receiving these types of teachings depending on the tradition you come from. Maybe it's nothing at all, just my namtok.
As a footnote
. Although my mind and practice are not capable of understanding Padmasambhava's enlightened mind at all, and whilst he supported the monastic tradition, and was also an ordained monk, I find it interesting that there doesn't seem to be much chronicling of him hanging out in villages or monasteries at all, it seems he spent most of his time in caves and charnel grounds. This does not disregard the incredible study and practice he made sure he received. IMHO I just take it as a teaching to practice and not get caught up in the phenomenal world.
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche