Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
This is your particular perspective and not at all normative for the tradition.


It was and is totally normative for those people in Tibet who were able to read and had wide access to books. It is a story often repeated, for example, Longchenpa sees and reads books from the Vima Nyinthig before he finds Kumaraja and asks him for the transmission. There are many other examples from Tibetan history.


Reading books is not problematic. You suggested that if one approaches one's guru and he declines to give you a particular transmission that you should just ignore him and go get it from someone else. This only really applies if you do not have a close relationship with your teacher.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:50 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:You suggested that if one approaches one's guru and he declines to give you a particular transmission that you should just ignore him and go get it from someone else. This only really applies if you do not have a close relationship with your teacher.


No, that is not really the case.

And in fact we can see from history that for example, Tsongkhapa wanted to receive Kalackra, and his guru, Rendawa, discouraged him from receiving those teachings.

We also see this today with the present Dalai Lama, who was heavily discouraged by his gurus from making a connection with Nyingmapa teachings he was interested in the sixties.

What we observe is that people's manner of receiving teachings in Tibet does not fit a settled pattern.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby nyamssnanggong'phel » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:21 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Saw this on a friend's page recently. It gives food for thought:


"If we receive teachings against the teacher's wish, or without first checking whether he has agreed, or we use various means to oblige the teacher to give us teachings without being sure whether he considers those teachings suitable for us, this will lead to a breach of samaya.

When the time is not ripe, using pressure or complaint.

To insist on getting the instructions leads to a breach of samaya.

The teacher knows the disciples capacity and therefore the most suitable teachings to give. So if we use different means such as cunning and insistence to get teachings against the teachers wishes, we will cause our samaya to degenerate.


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Zurchungpa's Testament, p148-9" thank you Geoffrey Dearing



Yet I have seen many instructions for lamas to only confer teachings to those who repeatedly ask. Repeatedly asking indicates that the student is serious.

So there seems to be a contradiction.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:25 pm

nyamssnanggong'phel wrote:Yet I have seen many instructions for lamas to only confer teachings to those who repeatedly ask. Repeatedly asking indicates that the student is serious.

So there seems to be a contradiction.


I'd thought the passage quoted in the OP had mostly to do with not being a snot to your teacher about what teachings you want to receive. I think we can all agree it's not a good idea to be a pushy, unbearable snot to your teacher.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:31 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:You suggested that if one approaches one's guru and he declines to give you a particular transmission that you should just ignore him and go get it from someone else. This only really applies if you do not have a close relationship with your teacher.


No, that is not really the case.

And in fact we can see from history that for example, Tsongkhapa wanted to receive Kalackra, and his guru, Rendawa, discouraged him from receiving those teachings.

We also see this today with the present Dalai Lama, who was heavily discouraged by his gurus from making a connection with Nyingmapa teachings he was interested in the sixties.

What we observe is that people's manner of receiving teachings in Tibet does not fit a settled pattern.


Both are cases of well-established advanced practitioners making an informed decision on how to best benefit others. For the average practitioner the same approach can easily end up in students acquiring teachings as if they were a stamp collection, rather than taking it as a medicine to cure sickness. Haven't we seen enough of that already, with so-called advanced students regaling all and sundry with lists of the empowerments they have received, all the while not having tamed their own minds?
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Both are cases of well-established advanced practitioners making an informed decision on how to best benefit others.


You can rationalize their behavior however you want. There are countless other examples of the same phenomena in Tibetan biographies. My point is that there is no genuine "standard" or "tradition" upon which your sentiments are based.

For the average practitioner the same approach can easily end up in students acquiring teachings as if they were a stamp collection, rather than taking it as a medicine to cure sickness.


At least they are acquiring teachings, as opposed to building collections of stamps and so on. There is no downside.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Both are cases of well-established advanced practitioners making an informed decision on how to best benefit others.


You can rationalize their behavior however you want. There are countless other examples of the same phenomena in Tibetan biographies. My point is that there is no genuine "standard" or "tradition" upon which your sentiments are based.


I am not rationalizing their behaviour. I am saying that when the examples you cite are on the level of HHDL or Tsongkhapa, the burden is on you to show that this applies to the average practitioner. Rather, it looks more like you are looking to rationalize your own rampant individualism.

Malcolm wrote:At least they are acquiring teachings, as opposed to building collections of stamps and so on. There is no downside.


Receiving teachings you are not able to practice out of acquisitiveness merely leaves an imprint of acquisitiveness and craving associated with Dharma teachings. Receiving teachings you are not ready for, can lead one to develop all sorts of wrong conceptuality about the teachings that could be avoided by relying on the care of a realized master and following his or her prescription. Sure people can self-prescribe, but if they don't know what they are doing they can harm themselves just like with any medicine.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:14 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:I am not rationalizing their behaviour. I am saying that when the examples you cite are on the level of HHDL or Tsongkhapa, the burden is on you to show that this applies to the average practitioner.


It applies to anyone who is literate and still has a pulse.


Malcolm wrote:At least they are acquiring teachings, as opposed to building collections of stamps and so on. There is no downside.


Receiving teachings you are not able to practice out of acquisitiveness merely leaves an imprint of acquisitiveness and craving associated with Dharma teachings.


Better to have a craving for Dharma teachings than crack or tobacco.

Receiving teachings you are not ready for, can lead one to develop all sorts of wrong conceptuality about the teachings that could be avoided by relying on the care of a realized master and following his or her prescription.


Average practitioners cannot tell if their teachers are realized. The average teacher generally is only interested in promoting their own teaching lineage.

And what kinds of wrong conceptuality are we worried about here? Why the conservatism? Especially coming from someone who hardly fits a conventional definition of a Tibetan Buddhist since by your own admission you continue to practice Hinduism?

In any event, I think it is important for people to study and receive a lot of things, rather than get stuck in these Tibetan lineage politics. Even if they spend some time in a state of confusion, life is short, teachings are rare, and deciding not to go to a teaching because "it might be bad for me" is really false thinking. If you are interested in tummo, go find a tummo teacher. If you are interested in Dzogchen, go find a Dzogchen teacher.

Teachers really cannot discern your capacity unless they have known you for years.

Of course, once you have perceived the essence of all teachings, then going to teachers is a waste of time unless you have a very specific reason for wanting this or that teaching.

M
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby heart » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:09 pm

Really Malcolm, I have friends following your lead, they end up with people that are ready to sell any transmission they got (and maybe a few others). Never seen any happiness except pride coming from that. The main point in Dzogchen and Vajrayana is not the teaching, it is the teacher.

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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:40 pm

I think it depends on who you are, quite frankly.

Kongtrul certainly did us all a favor by actively seeking out transmissions from any sources he felt were genuine.

I think there comes a point in a students' development where he or she can determine what sort of transmission would be beneficial or useful, and that student can actively seek out that transmission from any viable source. By the same token, collecting teachings and transmissions, being blown hither and yon between various lineages, systems, and gurus, can be a real impediment for beginners or those with less than mature understanding.

The fact is, there are gurus who will "sell" their transmission to any takers. There are also teachers who seek to control a student's exposure to teachings, for a variety of reasons--some admirable, and some perhaps less so. Tibetan hagiography is replete with stories of all sorts of relationships--Rechungpa's trips to India, Mila's great hardships, even Kongtrul's request for the Shangpa transmissions.

I don't think any statement can be made that applies to everyone here.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:10 am

I think that Malcolm has a point that cultivating multiple relationships with teachers can give one context to prevent abuse and narrow sectarianism. I think that finding a realized guru, attending them and implementing their teaching in one's own life is optimal but perhaps this is rare in this day and age. I have never thought that realization was particularly rare amongst teachers. Maybe I am overly optimistic.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby conebeckham » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:47 pm

I think, personally, in the beginning it is best to cultivate a strong relationship with one teacher. One lineage, and one stream of instruction.

But, at a certain point, one resolves all points into one, so to speak....and as Malcolm said, there is then no need to chase after a bunch of teachers or teachings, but to pursue one's own specific interests and development is the motivation.

This is a very personal thing, though, and it could sound like vanity or pride, not merely confidence and maturity.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Karma Jinpa » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:58 am

So much to say here...

If the likes of the Gyalwang Karmapa and Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche say that they can't tell who is a qualified vessel or what is in the practitioner's mind to determine if someone is suitable, how can we hope to know what's best for ourselves, being delude beings? This question has been the source of some consternation for me over the years, but the general consensus from my various lamas has been that if one has a sincere interest in certain teachings or practices, rather than a superficial one, then it is worth investigating. Maybe it's a connection that stems from practice (or an aspiration) in past lives; maybe we've just found something that resonates with us.

A lot of good points have been made. As Cone has suggested, there is no cookie-cutter Dharma... No one instruction or teacher-student dynamic fits all. That's part of the beauty of this path, actually: acknowledgement that there are beings with various propensities and capacities, and the amount of vehicles and methods available in order to deal with this fact. As for the politics of lineage and the ups and downs of devotion, Middle Way seems best. Not too tight, but not too slack.

Maybe Atisha was right to say that attending to one guru per lifetime is best. Maybe it was for him, but the impermanence of circumstances doesn't allow many of us to do this nowadays. Especially for those in the West, we lead much too frenetic and worldly lives. Often we're lucky if we see a guru once a year. Perhaps it's a sign of the degenerate age. Then again, would we really want to turn back the clock of we could? Many of us wouldn't be practicing Dharma because things were much less widely taught back in the day. There are few good things that came out of Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet, but I daresay that the Tibetan diaspora teaching Vajrayana more openly is one of them.

Lastly, I'm really glad that samaya can be repaired, and vows retaken, otherwise I suspect many of us would be utterly screwed. I know my perceived connection to certain deities has led me to borderline nag teachers for certain empowerments. Sure, I asked nicely, but insisting without being aware of the subtle hints to the contrary are important to satch for. Most lamas being as nice as they are, I think there's a steep learning curve for beginners in this regard, and maybe more seasoned practitioners can teach more of the lama etiquette.

Luckily for all involved, I've become much more grounded since then. I'd be really happy if I could just practice something to completion and receive the signs nowadays. I'm also happy to know that asking three times for somethin spiritual is common to more than just the Jewish tradition (interested parties are typically turned away from the temple/synagogue three times before being allowed to convert).
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:16 am

Atisha had many gurus if I remember correctly.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

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"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:47 am

Either 107 or 108 as I remember. The story goes that Serlingpa/Suvarnadvipi was the one who he saw as most kind, because it was based on cultivating his instructions that he was able to develop bodhicitta.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:43 am

JKhedrup wrote:Either 107 or 108 as I remember. The story goes that Serlingpa/Suvarnadvipi was the one who he saw as most kind, because it was based on cultivating his instructions that he was able to develop bodhicitta.
Even though Serlingpa was Chittamatrin and repeatedly tried to lead Atisha away from Madhyamaka. Atisha considered it skillful means to show him all of the flaws in Chittamatrin reasoning.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby narraboth » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:58 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
This is your particular perspective and not at all normative for the tradition.


It was and is totally normative for those people in Tibet who were able to read and had wide access to books. It is a story often repeated, for example, Longchenpa sees and reads books from the Vima Nyinthig before he finds Kumaraja and asks him for the transmission. There are many other examples from Tibetan history.


I think the case is difference here.
If someone wanted to practice or study a text, but one of his close guru told him 'you are not ready for that yet' and refused to give the teaching, then he went to see another lama and got it.... I wouldn't say there's no samaya damage at all.
It's very different from the case of 'this lama doesn't have the lineage, so i have to find another lama to give me'.

HHDL's case is also slightly different. As far as I remember, HH still honestly told his Gelug teachers that he wanted to receive Nyingma teaching, and his gurus accepted. Same happened when HH decided to give up DS worshiping. Of course you can say 'well his teachers had no choice', but I think that somehow skillfully avoided the samaya problem when you are against your guru's will.

Samaya breaking happens when you 'think what your guru says or thinks is not important and behave against his will' (I remember this is the definition of first downfall), I am pretty sure Tsongkapa wouldn't generate that kind of bad idea, even in the end he decided to do what he wanted to do. For other people...... they need to be careful about their own samaya.
Last edited by narraboth on Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:09 pm

Good point!
"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: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby Paul » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:51 pm

One of the very best factors of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's style of teaching is that he expects his students to act like adults and make sure they don't restrict themselves in what they want to study if it is apparent that it will help their circumstance. In addition to that there is the proviso that his students respect him, the community, the teachings etc. and *actually practice*. In the end, we are responsible for ourselves as we're not children.

I personally like connecting with a lot of teachers as each one presents things in a slightly different way. This combination of different forms of presentation has been very, very useful.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
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Re: Insisting on receiving instructions damages samaya

Postby muni » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:26 pm

Paul wrote:One of the very best factors of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's style of teaching is that he expects his students to act like adults and make sure they don't restrict themselves in what they want to study if it is apparent that it will help their circumstance. In addition to that there is the proviso that his students respect him, the community, the teachings etc. and *actually practice*. In the end, we are responsible for ourselves as we're not children.

I personally like connecting with a lot of teachers as each one presents things in a slightly different way. This combination of different forms of presentation has been very, very useful.



With respect to Rinpoche as to you and all as well, I translate adult in genuine responsability for ones own being/practice.
Since our real serious and so heavy world is made up by "adults".
I probably have to avoid to take words literary.
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