Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Dharmaswede » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:41 pm

"During the spring of 2012 Lama Ivo decided that he would follow the injunction of his root teacher, the dakinis and the precious Dharma protectors and would change the direction of his activity completely. As he has done in the past, he chose to do this the hard way, making it a most unusual and demanding lesson for his students. He announced to his closest group of personal disciples that he intended to go on a journey around the world with no set goal. Everyone who wanted to follow him had to renounce everything – home, possessions, family and friends – and follow his guidance with no objections and no guarantees. It was a test like no other, for loyalty and width of vision."

This is a huge, and very dangerous, responsibility to take upon oneself.

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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:14 pm

Dharmaswede wrote:"Everyone who wanted to follow him had to renounce everything – home, possessions, family and friends – and follow his guidance with no objections and no guarantees."

Did anyone actually do that?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:28 pm

Alfredo wrote:The basic idea behind what he is doing--raising Tibetan Buddhist concepts from out of their Tibetan cultural background. . . . I wonder if this sort of thing is the wave of the future.



If Vajrayana and the Terma tradition are authentic, and we have the merit to receive them, then this will inevitably happen more and more. Vajrayana is not Tibetan, per sé. While of course we must be discerning about authenticity of teachings being revealed by Westerners (same as with Tibetans), I think it is inauspicious to cultivate knee-jerk suspicion. Instead we could celebrate. :anjali:
Last edited by dakini_boi on Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby michaelb » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:30 pm

In my last post I meant there are lamas I wouldn't take teachings from due to stuff I have heard about them from others online. This is such a case. expecting unquestioning loyalty and obedience from students, having them risk everything and go to the other side of the world with you seems a bit much. Very risky. Don't drink the Kool-Aid.
:cheers:
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby dzoki » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:16 pm

michaelb wrote:
dzoki wrote:Real tertons usually keep their discoveries secret for many years and do not broadcast them as soon as something popped up in their mind.
That's not entirely true. Some lamas, Pema Lingpa and Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok spring to mind, made terma discoveries in public.


Of course discovering sa-ter in public is entirely different thing, yet even when many sa-ter where discovered publicly, that does not mean that they were deciphered immediately and taught. Also many gongter where dictated publicly, but the tertons who did this such as Dudjom Lingpa were prophesied in earlier Termas.
Choggyur Lingpa for example had to prove himself and had to seek a confirmation from Situ Rinpoche and other masters before his terma even became widely taught.
Ivo claims to be disconnected from Tibetan tradition, yet his website states that his terma was received from Dorje Yudronma - is she not a Tibetan lokapala?
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:43 pm

Honestly, who cares? No one here is going to run off to Mexico to become a student of Ivo's or practice these things. Best to let it alone.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:00 am

But some of his practices can be practiced now, without going to Mexico. Besides, where exactly do you think "here" is? :smile:

Lama Ivo has already told his side of the story in some detail on his website, so before asking him to comment, it might be better to read that first. I was actually hoping to learn what other people say about him, in the hopes that that would prove revealing.

So far my impression (from reading his website) has been mixed. On one hand, he seems serious, intense, and knowledgable. I can hardly fault him for being a Westerner, or an iconoclast. On the other, he has obviously groomed his followers to obey him with some intensity, even when he guides them in unexpected directions. This model of guru-dom is one which I wish could be reformed out of Vajrayana, not simply universalized to make it less Tibetan. But then, I am an unenlightened wretch, so what do I know?
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Malcolm » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:07 am

Alfredo wrote:But some of his practices can be practiced now, without going to Mexico. Besides, where exactly do you think "here" is? :smile:

Lama Ivo has already told his side of the story in some detail on his website, so before asking him to comment, it might be better to read that first. I was actually hoping to learn what other people say about him, in the hopes that that would prove revealing.

So far my impression (from reading his website) has been mixed. On one hand, he seems serious, intense, and knowledgable. I can hardly fault him for being a Westerner, or an iconoclast. On the other, he has obviously groomed his followers to obey him with some intensity, even when he guides them in unexpected directions. This model of guru-dom is one which I wish could be reformed out of Vajrayana, not simply universalized to make it less Tibetan. But then, I am an unenlightened wretch, so what do I know?



I read it.

Who cares? Unless you are interested in being his student, of what concern is it to you?

After all this nonsense about Ngagpa Chogyam, Roach, etc., if I have learned anything at all, people are going to believe whatever the hell they want no matter what anyone else says.
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:18 am

I find him interesting, e.g. as an attempt to address certain well-known problems with Tibetan Buddhism. Again, he and Aro gTer may be part of a wave of Westernized Vajrayana, not just oddities.

It is also interesting how Tibetan Buddhists (of whatever ethnicity) instinctively react to Lama Ivo, but not Chogyam Trungpa, with suspicion, and are willing to criticize the one and praise the other, even when they have no personal connection with either. I wonder what accounts for these differing presumptions.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby smcj » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:45 am

It is also interesting how Tibetan Buddhists (of whatever ethnicity) instinctively react to Lama Ivo, but not Chogyam Trungpa, with suspicion, and are willing to criticize the one and praise the other, even when they have no personal connection with either. I wonder what accounts for these differing presumptions.

Trungpa R. was recognized as a tulku at a young age in the Karma Kagyu tradition. That's what gave him credibility.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:50 am

Then maybe that's another thing that needs to be reformed.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby smcj » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:00 am

Alfredo wrote:Then maybe that's another thing that needs to be reformed.

Having experienced a gamut of qualities in tulkus, I recommend people not rely on the title of "tulku" as a guarantee of Dharma accomplishment. Of course it should be said that some i've met actually were accomplished, so reserving judgment without being dismissive is the appropriate course, IMHO.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:21 am

dzoki wrote:These days there are people who are deceived by Mara into believing that they are discovering some teachings. People such as Seonaidh Perks, "Ngagpa" Chogyam and others (I am sure there are many more). Outwardly they may not appear mad and their conduct seems to be humble and down to earth, however inwardly they are mad, because they believe whatever visions they have to be true and they take them for a face value. Real tertons usually keep their discoveries secret for many years and do not broadcast them as soon as something popped up in their mind. Visions are just illusions, whether they are genuine pure visions or not. These days we have so many termas that there is a question whether it is really worth to reveal any new ones. So maybe it would be good for any new terton to first consider whether he clings to those visions or not and whether it is worth writing down anything that he might think of.


Yet if they come from a Tibetan settlement, wear a shantab and zen, speak in Pidgin English and call themselves "Tulku" then no matter how atrocious their behaviour they will be universally heralded as the second coming of Drukpa Kunleg by the same people that dismiss Western teachers as madmen. Such is our self-hatred and lack of appreciation of our culture.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby smcj » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:46 am

Yet if they come from a Tibetan settlement, wear a shantab and zen, speak in Pidgin English and call themselves "Tulku" then no matter how atrocious their behaviour they will be universally heralded as the second coming of Drukpa Kunleg by the same people that dismiss Western teachers as madmen. Such is our self-hatred and lack of appreciation of our culture.

Um, sounds like you've experienced something you resented. If so, sorry to hear it.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:52 am

smcj wrote:
Yet if they come from a Tibetan settlement, wear a shantab and zen, speak in Pidgin English and call themselves "Tulku" then no matter how atrocious their behaviour they will be universally heralded as the second coming of Drukpa Kunleg by the same people that dismiss Western teachers as madmen. Such is our self-hatred and lack of appreciation of our culture.

Um, sounds like you've experienced something you resented. If so, sorry to hear it.


No, just the superficiality of judging qualifications based on ethnic origin. I was quite lucky to have a Western root guru. They rarely get the respect they deserve based on their study and accomplishment.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby smcj » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:36 am

No, just the superficiality of judging qualifications based on ethnic origin. I was quite lucky to have a Western root guru. They rarely get the respect they deserve based on their study and accomplishment.

Ok, so you feel your teacher did not get the respect he deserved? I mean, if you respected him, isn't that good enough?
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:29 am

The notion that it is enough to focus on our own teachers, and ignore the wider ethical problems plaguing Tibetan Buddhism (or Buddhism in general), to me shows a lack of spiritual responsibility.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Anders » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:28 pm

I am in two minds with such things.

On the one hand, we should expect such things to happen authentically in the west, and probably in ways that are more different from Tibetan Buddhism than how Tibetan Buddhism has differed from Indian Buddhism. That is after all the whole point of termas - continuous revelations of methods especially suited to new circumstances and dispositions. So my instinctive response is 'this sounds like it could be a very good thing'.

On the other hand, this is also the preferred route for con artists and the self-deluded. And they seem to outnumber the real deal in such cases in even higher proportion in this area than elsewhere on the spiritual circuit. So a certain measure of scepticism seems a requirement in all cases.

It is also made more difficult to ascertain since many of the usual review mechanisms obviously do not apply - Such revelations are not quite the same thing as what has gone before and so can not be measured by exactly the same yardstick. And when it comes to westerners doing this on their own, I wouldn't, I wouldn't expect a rush of support from the Tibetan side no matter how genuine it may be. So peer review is not to be expected to begin with either.

I think it basically boils down to the same criteria one would originally evaluate the Buddha on - does it work? Is the community healthy? Does the teacher seem honest and ethical? Does it look like you can expect results from this?

Things that stand out to me as potential red flags:

"Also, a student can drop out at any stage by his/her own wish, but would lose the privilege to attend any further teachings and activities."

Not too keen on this 'you are either in or you are out' message.

And also

"If you are an advanced Vajrayana practitioner on the other hand, you may find our lineages uniquely fascinating, but this may put you in position to make some very difficult choices and decisions. This would be a situation which would require the utmost care - no one wants any broken samayas. The call will ultimately be yours."

I am not exactly sure what they are implying here - is it suggesting that if you join with them, you should break with other teachers?

Overall though, I don't get any showstop vibes from it all, limited info as there may be. I guess you'd have to experience the teacher and community more in person to judge. Be interesting to see what they will put forward when they move to webcasts and such.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Malcolm » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:04 pm

Alfredo wrote:The notion that it is enough to focus on our own teachers, and ignore the wider ethical problems plaguing Tibetan Buddhism (or Buddhism in general), to me shows a lack of spiritual responsibility.


So what do you suggest? Frankly, most of us who have been around for any length of time have come to the conclusion that trying to out unethical teachers doesn't work. Their students just cling tighter, and circle the wagons. For example, Mary Finnegan has been waging a war on Sogyal Rinpoche for more than twenty years. Is he any less successful? No. He is more successful than ever.
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Re: Lama Ivo Kalushev of Bulgaria

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:46 pm

Anders wrote:I am in two minds with such things.

On the one hand, we should expect such things to happen authentically in the west, and probably in ways that are more different from Tibetan Buddhism than how Tibetan Buddhism has differed from Indian Buddhism. That is after all the whole point of termas - continuous revelations of methods especially suited to new circumstances and dispositions. So my instinctive response is 'this sounds like it could be a very good thing'.

On the other hand, this is also the preferred route for con artists and the self-deluded. And they seem to outnumber the real deal in such cases in even higher proportion in this area than elsewhere on the spiritual circuit. So a certain measure of scepticism seems a requirement in all cases.
Termas need ratification by recognised and qualified masters, or they need to be discovered by the masters themselves. Why didn't Ivo Kalushev show his terma to ChNN when he had the chance? You think he didn't show them to ChNN, in order to protect ChNN? You think that if the content of the termas was legit that it would matter if they were not specifically Tibetan Vajrayana? That ChNN would not have been able to recoginse their validity? I imagine he didn't show them to ChNN probably coz they are "fake" and would have been proven "fake" by a qualified and realised teacher and then he would have been exposed for what he is: a fraud capitalising on the ignorance of the gulible.

You see, in southern Mexice he is safe from the gaze of real teachers and objective criticism based on direct evaluation. He can be anybody he wants to be when in Mexico, if he has the right money.

But, ultimately, Malcolm is right. You can scream until you are blue in the face about Ivo (and every Ivo) but if the karma fits, you wear it.
"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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