TRC wrote:...do realised beings still have the capacity to harm and abuse others?
Simple answer: No.
Middling answer: An actual
realized being can do things that conventionally appear as if it is harm or abuse, but in reality it is not harm. But basically it is a moot point in that there are very few beings alive today that are on that level--if any. I cannot swear to you that there is even one.
Long answer: In the past there were people of such high realization, and the histories of the Vajrayana have plenty of examples. Tilopa put Naropa through major abusive trials. Marpa put Milarepa through major abusive trials, and Mila was a teenager when he started. But in the end all the abuse and trials were what was needed for the student to attain Buddhahood. So on a theoretical level righteous indignation at the very idea
of it isn't appropriate. Thus there are conversations here where not everyone is up in arms about it.
However in today's world having that theoretical view accepted has become license for unenlightened bad behavior to have the pretext of Dharmic activity. Why should Vajrayana orthodoxy maintain the idea that a teacher can do no wrong int he light of the trouble it is causing? I believe (my opinion
) it is because at some point the student must learn to put aside their critical, negative, fault finding mind. At the end of the path one sees the entire world as Dharmakaya, or "The Great Perfection". At that point there can be no criticism or fault finding at all. Can you imagine what it would take to not see anything in life as negative? Looking at all of human history with its pain, suffering, horror upon horror, and still not be critical? Well you gotta start somewhere, and seeing past the lama's faults is the place to start. But, as I recently posted above, I believe the American legal system will soon put an end to the traditional acceptance of the appearance of abuse with the interpretation that it is of benefit.
Until then it is best to play it safe and stay away from the lamas that are controversial. Better to have one that you can see them in a positive light without having to play mind games with yourself.
...I have heard teachers define "realized" as "having a clear visualization of the deity". In the latter sense I think somebody who is realized can still have serious faults.
Yep. Having achieved a spontaneously virtuous mind that is free to act for the benefit of others in an unconventional way is a bit more than just having a clear visualization.