On Aro gTér

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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:02 am

Ngondro isn't sexy enough to appeal to the masses, you're right. But neither is the Lam Rim.

I found it very interesting that the Karmapa changed the Monlam liturgy to contain mostly Sutric recitations when in the past it had been heavily tantric. But maybe I'm reading too much into it.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:16 am

deepbluehum wrote:There is a text called the Golden Rosary. It details the history of the Drikung Kagyu.


gregkavarnos wrote:The Lineage of Diamond Light - Crystal Mirror series - Volume V traces a whole bunch of various Nyingma lineages.
:namaste:


Lineage of Diamond Light: "Most of the information is based on traditional texts transmitted by Tarthang Tulku's own teachers."

As for any book with the title "Golden Rosary", I've found none. Books like this or the one recommended by Greg are collections of stories, not studies. Just to give an example: this is a collection of stories, and this is a study.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:34 am

The Tibetans did this themselves. Taranatha, Go Lotsawa, etc.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:50 am

Astus wrote:As for any book with the title "Golden Rosary", I've found none. Books like this or the one recommended by Greg are collections of stories, not studies. Just to give an example: this is a collection of stories, and this is a study.


It's true, they are stories (I'm speaking of the Masters of the Golden Rosary volume). They're a particular kind of story: namthar. They serve a particular pedagogic purpose in that they inspire faith in the practice and encouragement to practice (among other purposes).
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby zangskar » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:21 am

Astus wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:There is a text called the Golden Rosary. It details the history of the Drikung Kagyu.


gregkavarnos wrote:The Lineage of Diamond Light - Crystal Mirror series - Volume V traces a whole bunch of various Nyingma lineages.
:namaste:


Lineage of Diamond Light: "Most of the information is based on traditional texts transmitted by Tarthang Tulku's own teachers."

As for any book with the title "Golden Rosary", I've found none. Books like this or the one recommended by Greg are collections of stories, not studies. Just to give an example: this is a collection of stories, and this is a study.

I have this article by M. Kapstein on my computer, which has some introuctory discussion on historiography versus hagiography with a casestudy on Shangpa. It's not the final word probably, but there are further references, he is a good writer and not least, it's short.
Chronological Conundrums in the Life of Khyung po rnal'byor: Hagiography and Historical Time
http://www.thlib.org/static/reprints/ji ... 1_2005.pdf
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby muni » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:26 am

Astus wrote:
How do we measure another person's realisation? By his words and actions. That is something observable for us. So how does a lineage actually helps us discerning genuine teachers from fakes?


Rely on words is good for politicians' case. :tongue: How to discern genuine from fake: through our own practice and so our own clarity. Teacher - Student.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:33 am

Astus wrote:As for any book with the title "Golden Rosary", I've found none. Books like this or the one recommended by Greg are collections of stories, not studies. Just to give an example: this is a collection of stories, and this is a study.
Masters of Mahamudra by Dowman has both. The Fourteen Dalai Lamas by Mullin. There is one on the Karmapa lineage too which may (also) contain the sort of info you are looking for.

Thing is that lineage accounts (like Abhidharma, for example) though describing historical or "factual" information have a soteriological slant because Buddhism is a practice of liberation and not just "facts for the sake of facts".

Let's take an example from the Mahapari... Sutta/Sutra. In this "story" there is an account of Buddha eating some spoilt food and dying. Somebody interested in facts will want to know exactly what sort of food it was that the Buddha ate that killed him. As you may know there are reems of studies and arguments about whether it was pork or a type of mushroom or... But it's not really the point of the account is it? The point of the account is that the Buddha, in order to allow Cunda to accumulate merit, accepted and ate spoilt food. And even though deathly ill from its consumption he did not allow the sangha to persecute Cunda but instead, in order to concile Cunda, uttered the following words:
Relieving Cunda's Remorse
56. Then the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "It may come to pass, Ananda, that someone will cause remorse to Cunda the metalworker, saying: 'It is no gain to you, friend Cunda, but a loss, that it was from you the Tathagata took his last alms meal, and then came to his end.' Then, Ananda, the remorse of Cunda should be dispelled after this manner: 'It is a gain to you, friend Cunda, a blessing that the Tathagata took his last alms meal from you, and then came to his end. For, friend, face to face with the Blessed One I have heard and learned: "There are two offerings of food which are of equal fruition, of equal outcome, exceeding in grandeur the fruition and result of any other offerings of food. Which two? The one partaken of by the Tathagata before becoming fully enlightened in unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment; and the one partaken of by the Tathagata before passing into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains. By his deed the worthy Cunda has accumulated merit which makes for long life, beauty, well being, glory, heavenly rebirth, and sovereignty."' Thus, Ananda, the remorse of Cunda the metalworker should be dispelled."

57. Then the Blessed One, understanding that matter, breathed forth the solemn utterance:


Who gives, his virtues shall increase;
Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;
Whoso is skilled in virtue, evil shuns,
And by the rooting out of lust and hate
And all delusion, comes to be at peace.


Now if you want studies and facts you could read: "Did Buddha die of mesenteric infarction?" by Ven. Dr. Mettanando Bhikkhu, a Thai monk and former medical doctor, published in the "Bangkok Post" (2000 May 17). In this study Mettanando and von Hinüber argue that the Buddha died of mesenteric infarction, a symptom of old age, rather than food poisoning.

Whatever turns you on! :smile:
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:46 am

If such stories of lineages are not historical accounts but religious texts with the purpose of education it only shows that "lineage" is a matter of faith, a form of doctrine, and not a historical fact or an actual community that requires people to join in order to become teachers. And that's why those who want to keep this doctrine of lineage only need to create their own myths that connects them to a traditional story to legitimise themselves. That is also the reason I say that lineage is an insufficient way to claim authenticity, and the focus should be on the actual teachings someone transmits to others.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:48 pm

Astus wrote:If such stories of lineages are not historical accounts but religious texts with the purpose of education it only shows that "lineage" is a matter of faith, a form of doctrine, and not a historical fact or an actual community that requires people to join in order to become teachers. And that's why those who want to keep this doctrine of lineage only need to create their own myths that connects them to a traditional story to legitimise themselves. That is also the reason I say that lineage is an insufficient way to claim authenticity, and the focus should be on the actual teachings someone transmits to others.
They are both: historical accounts and religious texts. It's not like the two are mutually exclusive as accounts. Why would the soteriological elements of the accounts concerning Milarepa make his existence as a historical persona any less tangible or real?

I think I get your point now. is it that you believe that lineages mean nothing (in terms of the validity of the practices themselves) unless the experiences/outcomes being described can be historically validated by an objective source? Is that what you are trying to say?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:18 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I think I get your point now. is it that you believe that lineages mean nothing (in terms of the validity of the practices themselves) unless the experiences/outcomes being described can be historically validated by an objective source? Is that what you are trying to say?


Not exactly. I'm saying that lineage itself is not relevant to the validity of the teaching. A good example is Bön where they have many Buddhist teachings but no Buddhist lineage. And even if someone has a traditionally accepted lineage it is no guarantee for correct teachings.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:29 pm

Astus wrote:Not exactly. I'm saying that lineage itself is not relevant to the validity of the teaching.
If a teaching was invalid would it survive as the basis for a lineage?
A good example is Bön where they have many Buddhist teachings but no Buddhist lineage.
The Buddhist teachings currently utilised by Bon have a transmission lineage and the Bon practitioners passing on and utilisin these techniques ar part of the lineage. You do know, for example, that a number of the (historical) lineage holders of Mahamudra belong to Buddhist and Nath lineages?
And even if someone has a traditionally accepted lineage it is no guarantee for correct teachings.
This is true, it's not always a guarantee. The one thing that lineages do provide though is a framework for the verification of practices (new and old).
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:34 pm

If a teaching was invalid would it survive as the basis for a lineage?


Of course. Look around, humanity can maintain innumerable stupid and harmful traditions. Even in Buddhism. In fact, conservative thinking is what tries to keeps things as they were "in the good old times". On the other hand, perfectly working and valid teachings can disappear.

The Buddhist teachings currently utilised by Bon have a transmission lineage and the Bon practitioners passing on and utilisin these techniques ar part of the lineage.


Since it is obvious that the teachings are taken from Buddhism while they claim to have their own ancient lineage going back to thousands of years, naturally the lineage is a made up myth. And by this I don't mean that the teachings or the teachers are wrong, but it is because of the teachings themselves that they are acceptable for a Buddhist, and not because of some lineage.

The one thing that lineages do provide though is a framework for the verification of practices (new and old).


If someone doesn't believe in the teachings, the person doesn't believe in the lineage either. If they believe the teachings then it doesn't matter what lineage it is. So how does a lineage verifies a practice? Something that worked for others doesn't mean it will work for me or a different group of people. The majority of religions can trace back their traditions to hundreds of years, and so you could say that because of that their practices are fine. Even in Buddhism, what makes you choose one lineage instead of the other, if what is important is the existence of a lineage?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:43 pm

Astus wrote: So how does a lineage verifies a practice?


I don't think it does verify a practice. It can help increase the faith and trust of the student in the practice, though. Here it has value.

On the other side, faith and trust in the practice can be harmed when teachers are clearly fabricating a lineage narrative to suit their own agendas, or to prop up their own position. (There may be other reasons to create such a narrative out of thin air than good ol' instrumental rationality, and some of those might be helpful to students somehow hypothetically; I'm saying that this is the harmful one.)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:06 pm

I don't think it does verify a practice. It can help increase the faith and trust of the student in the practice, though. Here it has value.


I agree.

On the other side, faith and trust in the practice can be harmed when teachers are clearly fabricating a lineage narrative to suit their own agendas, or to prop up their own position.


I agree again. However, if it were not the lineage that were used for authentication but the teaching itself this whole problem would be avoided.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 pm

Astus have you seen the Blue Book? This was an old attempt at a real history. It's not hagiography. I forget which, but a Sakya lama gave a history of Naropa's students, and showed to some degree that Marpa could only have met with Naropa's students. I suggest you hit Malcolm about this. To be sure there are copious attempts at objective history by Tibetans, not just namthars and religious stories. The factual basis for the lineage is very important part of faith.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:25 pm

Astus wrote:Of course. Look around, humanity can maintain innumerable stupid and harmful traditions.
I said valid. For a stupid and harmful tradition to be maintained it must mean that there is some validity and/or value to it. Maybe not the type of validity and value that you consider intelligent and helpful but...
Since it is obvious that the teachings are taken from Buddhism while they claim to have their own ancient lineage going back to thousands of years, naturally the lineage is a made up myth.
Do you think "Buddhists" have a monopoly on some techniques/practices? And I think you will find that Bon practitioners recognise which techniques are/were Buddhist and which were Bon. If a Christian takes, let's say, guru yoga and practices using the figure of Christ as a guru and due to the effectivenes of the technique it is adopted by Christians would this mean that the technique is Christian? Does it mean that the Christian lineage is now broken? Does it mean that the thread of the Buddhist lineage is broken?
If someone doesn't believe in the teachings, the person doesn't believe in the lineage either. If they believe the teachings then it doesn't matter what lineage it is.
So how did they receive the teachings if the lineage is irrelevant? It fell out of the sky? If the individual thinks that the technique/practice starts and ends with them, then that, my friend, is just egotistical pride. Check out this teaching.
So how does a lineage verifies a practice?
Firstly, you misunderstood what I meant. I meant that, well I'll give an example: Let's say I had a sudden flash and insight and vision etc... and happened to be chewing on some grape flavoured chewing gum when it happened. So I consider the chewing gum as the source of my insight and vision and make a practice around the chewing of gum. If I belong to an established lineage, I can take this practice to somebody more qualified and realised than me, within the lineage, and tell them about my amazing practice and experience and then they can verify... If you do not belong to an established lineage...? :shrug:
Something that worked for others doesn't mean it will work for me or a different group of people.
This is not 100% correct. There are actually some practices (Anapanasati, for example) that work for everybody. And, anyway, Budhism is not psychoanalysis, it's not me, me, me, me... Lojong is a perfect example of this point.
Even in Buddhism, what makes you choose one lineage instead of the other, if what is important is the existence of a lineage?
Karmic proclitivty makes you choose one lineage over another, nothing else. Thankfully, though, some individuals, over the course of history, decided to pass on the techniques so that we now have the privilege of being able to "choose". It was due to their efforts to maintain a lineage of transmission that we now have the benefit of having the practices available.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Ngondro isn't sexy enough to appeal to the masses, you're right. But neither is the Lam Rim.

I found it very interesting that the Karmapa changed the Monlam liturgy to contain mostly Sutric recitations when in the past it had been heavily tantric. But maybe I'm reading too much into it.


Back to topic for a moment: is ngondro a common practice in Aro gTer? if so, which one?
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:05 pm

Astus wrote:However, if it were not the lineage that were used for authentication but the teaching itself this whole problem would be avoided.

There is no difference. The guru is the teaching.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:05 pm

[quote=gregkavarnos]Do you think "Buddhists" have a monopoly on some techniques/practices? And I think you will find that Bon practitioners recognise which techniques are/were Buddhist and which were Bon.[/quote]

No, Buddhism in general doesn't contain the idea that a specific teaching or technique is their possession, nor the concept of an authentic lineage.

I think you have heard of Zhang Zhung Nyan Gyud, Tapihiritsa, etc. No attribution to Buddhism there.

So how did they receive the teachings if the lineage is irrelevant? It fell out of the sky?


You know the story of the first sutras in Tibet that fell from the sky, don't you? :)
Lineage, tradition and community are not synonyms. The idea of a lineage exists in Zen, (Tendai), and Vajrayana, to form exclusive claims on certain teachings and strengthen their position as orthodox. But Buddhism can survive perfectly well without such lineages too.

If I belong to an established lineage, I can take this practice to somebody more qualified and realised than me, within the lineage, and tell them about my amazing practice and experience and then they can verify... If you do not belong to an established lineage...?


On one hand, experienced practitioners, wise and compassionate teachers and enlightened beings are not restricted to lineages. On the other hand, even without the benefits of a teacher and a community when can verify experiences by the recorded teachings and personal life.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:13 pm

Here's another angle at it, from an old thread on this same topic:

Jikan wrote:Apropos of whether an invented history & lineage are problematic for Dzogchenpas:

I also saw lay tantrikas who had acted irresponsibly, old sorcerers, and ordinary people who had pretended to be lamas, inconceivable numbers of them vomiting blood and experiencing unbearable bodily pain. I saw many carnivorous creatures devouring them and many denizens of hell hurling accusations of misdeeds at them.


This is from Delog Dawa Drolma's account of her experiences in the various realms, recorded in English in Delog (p. 82). I assume this text has some authority in this forum and in this thread.

I would like to know if there is any plausible rebuttal to the position that our friends involved in a "vajra romance" with the Aro scene are, in fact, students of ordinary people who are pretending to be lamas, as Dawa Drolma puts it. This is the primary critique against Aro, that it's phony. It's clear to me from this and other sources that if it's phony, then it's a problem. But the problem goes away if David or anyone else can show it's not phony. Well?


viewtopic.php?f=48&t=6455&start=40#p77328

Whether or not we think lineage matters for ourselves, in Dzogchen, the matter of transmission matters and it matters a lot, and transmission occurs through a lineage of some kind. (some of the material I quote above seems a bit naive to me in hindsight, but this part of it holds up.)

If we're asking about lineage vis a vis Aro gTer, what we're implicitly asking about is Dzogchen in Aro gTer. Do members of this group regard their teaching as Dzogchen?
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