Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

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Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Shemmy » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:42 pm

Hi, a really great forum here, so I thought I'd join in! I don't know, I hope this doesn't alienate too many people if I just leap in and tell you about my practice background.

I am an American who has lived over here in Asia for 17 years. I've lived in Korea and Thailand and was in Taiwan for a year. Never went in for Buddhism much in states, tho' I was a big meditator in conjunction with Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga teachings for 10 years. I did experiment a bit with Shambhala back then during that period and used to go to their all day sitting retreats and weekly sitting meditations, which I wrote off as being not as powerfull as Kundalini yoga though enjoyable. When I moved over to Asia I was I guess too overwhelmed by just living my life here and the yogi inside of me seemed to have not made it across the ocean with me and I stopped practicing cold, just like that, never to meditate or do yoga again until 5 years ago when I felt that I wanted to make a more serious exploration of Buddhist meditation. I just started reading books on Vajrayana and practicing giving offerings to Buddah images and doing the "Essence of Good Fortune" meditation series that Lama Geshe Kelsang Gyatso put in his Lamrim book, and was quite drawn in by what I found by doing that. I began reading a bit about meditation on emptiness and began doing what i could with that, given I'd had zero instruction. Began using Kundalini yoga to infuse energy in with the meditations and felt a lot of improvements in my attitude and situation. Though, i was not kidding myself that I was doing anything other than my own thing.

Still there seemed to be a lot that seemed worthwhile, so I persisted, despite not really knowing what I was doing and depite there being no teachers in a formal sense or classes in anything I felt inclined to practice. Also, around that time I was teaching a lot of monks English in my job, and that was also inspiring and helpful and some monks were willing and able to discuss texts I'd been reading and Buddhist insights I had glommed onto on an informal basis. The monks were mostly Thai Thervada and so my interest in Mahayana/Vajrayana gave us something to talk about. Not to mention my wife,who is an excellent Theravada practitioner in many respects and whom I could talk to about my practice and things that I was reading which she felt made a lot of sense to her and I got her reading the few books on Vajrayana translated into Thai.

So, basically I continued pretty diligently, doing sitting and reading for several more years, reading Chogyam Thrungpa and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche really helped me make huge progress I felt with sitting meditating on nature of mind and emptiness. I had moved to Korea by this time, and often went to the temples and took in the atmosphere of the Zen that is practiced there, but still did not go for any teachings. I went back to Thailand and this year I started visiting the Bangkok chapter of Shambhala and that gave me a huge boost. I got notices about teachers and lamas coming through town and got a big boost to my meditations on mind through attending teachings and empowerments given by HH Phakchok of the Ka-Nying Sherup Ling Monastery in Katmandu. We did an intensive on Non-Conceptual meditation using a text by Vimalamitra for support and meditation instructions by Phakchok that have helped me deepen my meditation quite a bit.

This last week, we had Lama Rinchen Phuntsok teach the Arya Tathagatagarba Namah Mahayana Sutra and give us teachings and empowerments to do the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro. I am quite enthused about the results of this already, there is something quite distinct arising from this practice after only 5 days of doing it. I really feel I want to get through it and finish the five 100,000's before it's too late! So, I feel like I have suddenly become a commited Dudjom aspirant. And with that, I have joined the forum hoping to add more fuel to the fire!
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Adamantine » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:36 am

Welcome Shemmy!

The Dudjom Tersar is a great connection, and the ngondro is very profound. The lineage blessings are very powerful and swift. There is a great book recently released written by Dudjom Rinpoche's son Thinley Norbu Rinpoche titled "A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar" which is a wonderful commentary on the short ngondro. I believe you may find great inspiration in it.

I wish you diligence and joyful perseverance in your practice-

A
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Shemmy » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:08 am

Thanks A,

Yes, Thinley Norbu's book looks like an essential for me. That and Patrul Rinpoche's "Words of my Perfect Teacher." Both are not available over here, and the bookshops won't order Thinley Norbu's book for some reason. There's still a lot paranoia in Thailand about Vajrayana, and may be that the book hasn't gotten someone's stamp of approval. If someone decides they don't like you, you can face severe punishments in Thailand for violating their sense of correct "Buddhism," or insulting the Buddah as they call it, namely prison time in some of the worst prisons in the world. Lots of hassles with ordering yourself over here, customs, post office stuff but looks like it is something I'll have to do.
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Adamantine » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:10 am

Shemmy wrote:Thanks A,

Yes, Thinley Norbu's book looks like an essential for me. That and Patrul Rinpoche's "Words of my Perfect Teacher." Both are not available over here, and the bookshops won't order Thinley Norbu's book for some reason. There's still a lot paranoia in Thailand about Vajrayana, and may be that the book hasn't gotten someone's stamp of approval. If someone decides they don't like you, you can face severe punishments in Thailand for violating their sense of correct "Buddhism," or insulting the Buddah as they call it, namely prison time in some of the worst prisons in the world. Lots of hassles with ordering yourself over here, customs, post office stuff but looks like it is something I'll have to do.


Is it difficult for you to order online? I just checked and it seems that amazon.com does ship to Thailand, so you should be able to order it direct!

Here is another great resource which is instantly accessible: this is the website of another son of Dudjom Rinpoche -Shenpen Dawa Rinpoche, and it contains some great information and some wonderful prayers, including a translation of the ngondro which may be different from the one you have: http://tersar.org
This prayer in particular strikes deep and is the last terma that HH Dudjom Rinpoche revealed, so it is very precious:http://tersar.org/Recognizing.html
Enjoy!

-A
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Luke » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:10 pm

Welcome Shemmy! I practice the Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro, but I just started it, so I don't know too much about it yet.

Shemmy wrote:Yes, Thinley Norbu's book looks like an essential for me. That and Patrul Rinpoche's "Words of my Perfect Teacher." Both are not available over here, and the bookshops won't order Thinley Norbu's book for some reason. There's still a lot paranoia in Thailand about Vajrayana, and may be that the book hasn't gotten someone's stamp of approval. If someone decides they don't like you, you can face severe punishments in Thailand for violating their sense of correct "Buddhism," or insulting the Buddah as they call it, namely prison time in some of the worst prisons in the world. Lots of hassles with ordering yourself over here, customs, post office stuff but looks like it is something I'll have to do.

Wow! I had no idea that there was so much religious discrimination against Vajrayana in Thailand!

Maybe the best thing would be for you to just download the pdf files of Vajrayana books and store them as encrypted files on your computer.

Perhaps Vajrayana has traditionally had so much secrecy because this helped it survive in such hostile environments.
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby Shemmy » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:56 pm

Luke wrote:Welcome Shemmy! I practice the Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro, but I just started it, so I don't know too much about it yet.

Shemmy wrote:Yes, Thinley Norbu's book looks like an essential for me. That and Patrul Rinpoche's "Words of my Perfect Teacher." Both are not available over here, and the bookshops won't order Thinley Norbu's book for some reason. There's still a lot paranoia in Thailand about Vajrayana, and may be that the book hasn't gotten someone's stamp of approval. If someone decides they don't like you, you can face severe punishments in Thailand for violating their sense of correct "Buddhism," or insulting the Buddah as they call it, namely prison time in some of the worst prisons in the world. Lots of hassles with ordering yourself over here, customs, post office stuff but looks like it is something I'll have to do.

Wow! I had no idea that there was so much religious discrimination against Vajrayana in Thailand!

Maybe the best thing would be for you to just download the pdf files of Vajrayana books and store them as encrypted files on your computer.

Perhaps Vajrayana has traditionally had so much secrecy because this helped it survive in such hostile environments.


That's kind of a worst case scenario and the focus has been less on upholding the dignity of Buddhism by jailing people and more on the other state institution which is the Royal Family, with over two thousand people getting jail time this year for just making comments that someone interpreted as being critical of the Royal Family. Thailand is actually more severe than most people know, and they have to do a good job of concealing it to keep the tourist market.

But there have been some very positive developments lately, namely other schools of Buddhism are being allowed to come out and do teachings in public. A center connected to Tich Naht Hanhn's group opened in Ayuthaya recently and we have seen a steady stream of Vajrayana teachers over the last couple of years. Also, there is a nun, Bhikkuni Dhammananda, who has successfully gotten the law changed so that women may ordain here as nuns.Interestingly she has built a small Tibetan style temple dedicated to the Medicine Buddha behind her regular Thai temple that she oversees. I think Thailand is the only Theravada country that hasn't allowed women to ordain for quite some time, and that seems to be in the process of changing. I talked to a young woman recently who ordained for a few weeks and she said it completely unnerved her to have people bowing to her in a highly honorifc way, something that would never happen to a woman of her economic background normally.

But things are never clear here and rule of law doesn't really exist, so people have to tread lightly even when things seem to be getting more open, hence why I think a book store said they wouldn't order any Vajrayana books that weren't on their list. Also, the one thing that Vajrayana is famous for here is the yab-yum reprsentations. Many Buddhists here completely freak about it and you could easily get into real trouble here for having such a picture on your wall, if not with the law but with people who take deep offense at such things. People get really upset seeing them. They feel it's a total abomination. There's no reasoning with them about it and it's probably one of the main reasons there is a problem with Vajrayana. You just don't depict the Buddah having sex, which is how they interpret yab-yum versions of the Buddahs.
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Re: Dudjom Vajrayanist in Thailand says hello!

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:06 am

Hi Shemmy! Welcome aboard!

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