Namdrol wrote:Look, the simple fact is that Tibetan Buddhism, like every other faith in the world, needs to adapt to the modern age. It is trying to adapt -- I am not suggesting that it needs to abandon its narratives, principles such as rebirth, and so on. But when it comes to how it works its way through the world, the teachings need to adapt themselves to the society in which they find themselves. Mahasiddhas stopping the sun are not essential to Dzogchen or Tibetan Buddhism. Insisting such stories are "true" is actually a huge impediment for many people who might otherwise come to the Dharma.
Listen, you're the one that picked that
particular story as your example: not I. I have no doubt that there is some exaggeration or symbolic license mixed into various hagiographies of the siddhas and other great masters. I also have no doubt that many of the so-called miraculous acts did, in fact, happen. Why? Because as I have said my own direct experience defies common sense and I have learned from trustworthy sources close to me first-hand and second-hand accounts of various so-called miraculous occurrences. Listing all of them here for you to try to critique seems like not respecting them properly.
I also feel like you are being willfully obtuse for someone who follows terma traditions and who was close with Ngakpa Yeshe Dorje who was able to alter weather patterns on a regular basis.
In terms of a publicly spoken of 'miracle' (I am using quotes because I am no fan of the word in this context) I don't feel shy about bringing up is related to a terma phurba in the possession of the Nechung Oracle (himself a type of contradiction to common sense) who regularly gives very powerful public Kilaya blessings with it. He told us that the elderly monk who gave him the phurba was actually there in person when it was revealed, and told him about how he watched Lerab Lingpa plunge his hand into the side of a cliff-face-- the rock reacting like liquid as he pulled it out. Tulku Urgyen describes a similar account of his grandmother, the daughter of Chokgyur Lingpa, who witnessed him reveal many tromter
(public terma) for the benefit of skeptics such as yourself. In this one account she and over a thousand others witnessed him as he drew a design on the surface of the rock, and the rock then opened up like the "anus of a cow and the stone just poured out to reveal a cavity containing the terma. As the interior became visible, we saw that it was filled with scintillating rainbow light. We also noticed an unusually lovely fragrance that seemed to permeate the entire valley. A vast quantity of scarlet sindhura powder came spilling forth as well." She goes on to say after he blessed people with the objects and explained them, the whole crowd wept out of faith and devotion. "Even if you were a stubborn intellectual, all skepticism would melt away. Everyone was struck with wonder."
Now, I guess you think that Tulku Urgyen's grandma was lying to him just to control him with the opium of religion? And the elderly Nechung monk too? Would that be the motivation of all my sources, at least one of which you've described as one of your Lamas? You think that is my motivation when I allude to experiences beyond "common-sense"? If so, you are getting a bit too close to the mindset of Chinese Communists.
Another thing I can discuss openly is a video I witnessed which an acquaintance showed me, along with the Nechung Oracle, of a young tulku from Kathok monastery in Tibet. This tulku carries around the kangling which was actually the thigh-bone of his previous incarnation. He has a habit of producing blessing-pills from his head. He rubs his head and these perfectly polished little pills which are quite fragrant just bubble forth and fall into his lap. Many Tibetans have been inspired with faith seeing this, and everyone wants to collect the pills for their blessing power-- he tells people to put them in bodies of water where they will benefit countless beings. Enough stories about him circulated to disturb the Chinese Government at high levels so they "invited" him to Bejiing, and flew him there where they requested him to display this activity. He did, and they then "asked" him never to do it again. Of course, people continued to ask him to do it back at home with pure faith and he wouldn't say no, so my acquaintance was afraid for this Lama's life. The tulku never liked anyone documenting this but because this American guy was an old friend at that point, had devotion, and was helping them rebuild gompas there.. he agreed but only on the condition he would only show the video to people with faith. I happened to be there when he wanted to share it with the Nechung Oracle so I had the opportunity to watch, and there is no trickery involved, -- you can clearly see these little pellets popping forth from the top of his head. I was given a few, actually.. Does this kind of thing jive with your "common-sense"? It certainly doesn't jive with the PRC.
Another huge impediment is that woman are not treated as equals in Tibetan Buddhism. In particular, young attrative woman are subject to tremendous sexual attention, most of it unwanted, as well as actual harrasament, emotional abuse and scare tactics which prevent them from speaking out.
I am sure this happens sometimes.. but this is not particular to Tibetan Buddhism. This is particular to men-in-general across the globe. Men's libidos cause great harm to women, in various ways, across all traditions and among all those who hold no tradition. This is the sad truth. To blame Tibetan Buddhism for having men who also engage in this harmful stupidity is the same as blaming "Tibetan Buddhism" for having samsaric individuals in it that aren't yet Buddhas. Of course, not everyone practicing Dharma is yet a Buddha, and is subject to craving and aversion... and not everyone's conduct is in line with relative Dharma ethics. But this hardly can be determined to be a downfall of Tibetan Buddhism in particular. If that were true, then you wouldn't find these same downfalls across the board on a global scale. This is a human downfall. I don't think any Buddhas have acted in this way.