Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:55 pm

Well, you will certainly not get the merest scent of an argument or textual engagement from me.

I just do what I have been taught to the best of my ability, with regular checks with those I consider authoritative to make sure I am not straying from their practice teachings.

So why contribute to the thread ? I hear someone ask...not unreasonably.

Because as has been already pointed out the Kagyu is first and last about praxis.
Not discussion, and not comparative religion.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:36 pm

Can we quit the meta-discussion?

Thanks.

This is not a comparative religion thread, it stopped being that a LONG time ago.

As such the thread will remain open as long as it remains civil (which thus far it has) and informative (which it definitely is).

The next instance of meta-discussion (attempt to derail the discussion) will result in a formal warning and/or suspension.
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Matt J
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Matt J » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:09 pm

Depends on the teacher and student. In Tergar, reading, discussion and practice are all encouraged if it fits. For me, it really helps to set my practice right. If I hadn’t come across Mipam’s Lamp To Dispel the Darkness, I might still be spending a lot of time resting in the dullness. Reading and discussion can be a part of contemplating the teachings. Maybe if you are a student of high caliber who can receive practice instructions, understand them, and right away practice correctly, then such things seem counterproductive. Too much reading is an issue, but so is bad practice.
Simon E. wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:55 pm
Because as has been already pointed out the Kagyu is first and last about praxis.
Not discussion, and not comparative religion.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:20 pm

I am not, and never was, a student of higher calibre.. :smile:

But back in the day study material was scanty and discussion not overly encouraged and so we were thrown into practice practice practice.

There were disadvantages, but also definite advantages..
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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tobes
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by tobes » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:04 pm

Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:09 pm
Depends on the teacher and student. In Tergar, reading, discussion and practice are all encouraged if it fits. For me, it really helps to set my practice right. If I hadn’t come across Mipam’s Lamp To Dispel the Darkness, I might still be spending a lot of time resting in the dullness. Reading and discussion can be a part of contemplating the teachings. Maybe if you are a student of high caliber who can receive practice instructions, understand them, and right away practice correctly, then such things seem counterproductive. Too much reading is an issue, but so is bad practice.
Simon E. wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:55 pm
Because as has been already pointed out the Kagyu is first and last about praxis.
Not discussion, and not comparative religion.
This is also my experience from two great Kagyu masters who I don't wish to name. One of them wrote excellent commentaries on Asanga (and always linked Mahamudra to that philosophic-yogic tradition), recommended a path of scholarship as highly advantageous, instituted a shedra program and even joked that he was addicted to reading books. I have confidence that he knew more about Mahamudra than anyone here.

Praxis depends upon right view; right view is not easily obtained.

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tobes
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by tobes » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:22 pm

Returning to the fundamental question of the thread: I am now very inclined to the view that the difference between Kagyu Mahamudra and what Vedanta teaches about ultimate reality hinges much more on how language is understood than it does metaphysics - although these do run together in various ways.

Vedanta means most precisely: "accepting the (epistemic) authority of the Vedas" which obviously the Buddha did not and nor does any Buddhist tradition. The acceptance of the Vedas is predicated on realist notions of language, which the Indian grammarians make an extraordinary effort to establish. Anyone tried to learn Sanskrit? It's intense because the language is itself inseparably connected to the very origin of the cosmos; and it is utilised in ritual to connect the priest or yogin to that origin.

When Buddhist philosophy is in full swing it is entirely critical of this notion of language - everything is nominal; words are mere conventions; ultimate truth is non-conceptual and non-linguistic. Finger at the moon et al.

I'm not really sure what this big difference really amounts to, in terms of yogic practice and its relationship to philosophical understanding. I suppose the Buddhist will often be a bit reticent about language, dialectics etc - an attitude which has presented itself quite a bit on this thread. And we must also consider secret mantra, seed syllables etc - do Vedic notions of sacred sound come in through this door? Probably. Well, definitely.

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by amanitamusc » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:41 pm

tobes wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:22 pm


I'm not really sure what this big difference really amounts to, in terms of yogic practice and its relationship to philosophical understanding.

Simply this.Buddhadharma, including Kagyu is the path to liberation.
Vedanta is eternalist and does not lead to liberation.

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tobes
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by tobes » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:49 am

amanitamusc wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:41 pm
tobes wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:22 pm


I'm not really sure what this big difference really amounts to, in terms of yogic practice and its relationship to philosophical understanding.

Simply this.Buddhadharma, including Kagyu is the path to liberation.
Vedanta is eternalist and does not lead to liberation.
Sure, as a good Buddhist I believe that.

But it sure sounds a lot like an axiomatic dogma. In the sense that: can you really assert that upon all the Hindu sages through the ages? How can you really tell if they were/are liberated or not?

If you are liberated, sure, you probably can. But if not, I think it is merely clinging to a belief - ironically a barrier to liberation.

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:32 am

I have been present when three different Vajra teachers on three separate occasions were asked about the relationship between Buddhadharma and Vedanta.
All three dismissed the possibility of their leading to the same goals... one with a good deal of forcefulness as he was concerned about the degree of conflation he was seeing.

I'll go with them.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Astus » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:48 am

tobes wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:22 pm
hinges much more on how language is understood than it does metaphysics
There are crucial ontological differences between Vedanta and any Buddhist (including Shentong) views. Vedanta holds consciousness an absolute, and rejects everything else. Mahamudra takes consciousness to be empty, and at the same time inclusive of all appearances. This shows well in how the two systems approaches meditation, where in Vedanta one removes impermanent phenomena and stays in the pure consciousness, while in Mahamudra one removes only attachment but does not reject appearances.
Vedanta means most precisely: "accepting the (epistemic) authority of the Vedas"
No. It means end (anta) of "lore" (veda), and refers to the Upanisads, as Vedantins mainly base their teachings on those texts.
The acceptance of the Vedas is predicated on realist notions of language, which the Indian grammarians
Vedanta teaches only one ultimate, everything else (including language) is a product of ignorance and is unreal.
ultimate truth is non-conceptual and non-linguistic. Finger at the moon et al.
That is not a uniquely Buddhist concept. Vedanta also aims to go beyond all mental products, but in a somewhat different manner than Buddhists, and that's where one should pay attention to.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:42 am

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:32 am
I have been present when three different Vajra teachers on three separate occasions were asked about the relationship between Buddhadharma and Vedanta.
All three dismissed the possibility of their leading to the same goals... one with a good deal of forcefulness as he was concerned about the degree of conflation he was seeing.

I'll go with them.
Should anyone argue that this is a pov based on 'authority' then I would agree totally. It is.
Genuine Vajrayana is posited first and last on the authority of its lineage holders.

Within that, there is of course room for disagreement about interpretation and authenticity. But basically, Vajrayana stands or falls on the authority of it's teachers.

It differs in that from academic discussion.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by smcj » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:30 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:42 am
Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:32 am
I have been present when three different Vajra teachers on three separate occasions were asked about the relationship between Buddhadharma and Vedanta.
All three dismissed the possibility of their leading to the same goals... one with a good deal of forcefulness as he was concerned about the degree of conflation he was seeing.

I'll go with them.
Should anyone argue that this is a pov based on 'authority' then I would agree totally. It is.
Genuine Vajrayana is posited first and last on the authority of its lineage holders.

Within that, there is of course room for disagreement about interpretation and authenticity. But basically, Vajrayana stands or falls on the authority of it's teachers.

It differs in that from academic discussion.
:good:
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by smcj » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:43 pm

BTW I came across this video of Shenpen Hookham talking a bit about Shentong. For those of you that don’t know her she’s both a student of and translator for KTGR. Her Oxford PhD. thesis, published as “The Buddha Within”, got the whole issue of Shentong in Karma Kagyu rolling.

Somewhere around the 30 minute mark of this video she mentions that Shentong isn’t widely taught, and that a teacher would normally take a single student aside and instruct them about it when they think the student is ready. That would explain why I keep getting the silent treatment when I ask Kagyu Khenpos about Shentong.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OJbwUd4Sezo&t=4072s
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:51 pm

She's the real thing, is Shenpen. I've known her since she was an 18 year old undergraduate.

Anyway, enough of my name dropping.. :smile:
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Astus
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Astus » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:16 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:42 am
Genuine Vajrayana is posited first and last on the authority of its lineage holders.
'Many religious traditions abound, hailed
as oral and single-recipient transmissions.
They are acceptable if they agree with the tantras,
but otherwise they are compilations of falsifications.
There is also no harm in accepting the transmission
of teachings in dreams, visions of gods,
and the like, so long as these accord
with sutras and tantras.
But if they do not accord with all the sutras and tantras,
they should be known as demons' blessings.
A master, too, should be perceived as a master
if he is in harmony with the sutras and tantras.
But, master or no, be indifferent toward him
if he does not teach in accord with the Buddha's teaching.'

(A Clear Differentiation of the Three Codes, v 532-535, p 166)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:17 pm

Astus wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:16 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:42 am
Genuine Vajrayana is posited first and last on the authority of its lineage holders.
'Many religious traditions abound, hailed
as oral and single-recipient transmissions.
They are acceptable if they agree with the tantras,
but otherwise they are compilations of falsifications.
There is also no harm in accepting the transmission
of teachings in dreams, visions of gods,
and the like, so long as these accord
with sutras and tantras.
But if they do not accord with all the sutras and tantras,
they should be known as demons' blessings.
A master, too, should be perceived as a master
if he is in harmony with the sutras and tantras.
But, master or no, be indifferent toward him
if he does not teach in accord with the Buddha's teaching.'

(A Clear Differentiation of the Three Codes, v 532-535, p 166)
So tell me Astus, just so we are clear. Are you saying that the Vajrayana is NOT posited on the authority of its lineage holders? Or what?
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Astus
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Astus » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:33 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:17 pm
Are you saying that the Vajrayana is NOT posited on the authority of its lineage holders?
It is primarily the collection of tantras that defines what Vajrayana is.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:35 pm

This is the difference between the living tradition and book larnin'.

Its the living tradition that interprets the tantras and sutras... where they apply at all.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

Simon E.
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:41 pm

But I have fallen into the behaviour which I have vowed not to do.
Empty debate for the sake of it.

I'm out. :smile:
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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conebeckham
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Re: Brahman and Atman in Kagyu?

Post by conebeckham » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:44 pm

Astus wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:33 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:17 pm
Are you saying that the Vajrayana is NOT posited on the authority of its lineage holders?
It is primarily the collection of tantras that defines what Vajrayana is.
I am not really wanting to debate, either...but I must point out that Vajrayana Buddhism relies on the oral transmission of explanations of the tantras, themselves. It is an explicit feature of Vajrayana that Tantras must be transmitted and explained by qualified gurus, as they are written, for the most part, in language which requires explication.

This should be obvious to anyone who has 1. read any of the tantras themselves, even in translation, and 2. taken any abhisheka from a qualified guru with regard to any of these tantras.

The text do not stand alone. At all.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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