Validity of recorded empowerments

Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 02, 2014 8:19 pm

T. Chokyi wrote:I can't imagine that you don't see this as an opportunity to learn something.i


One cannot receive an empowerment from a recording of an empowerment. It simply isn't possible. Such a thing resembles the son of a barren women. You can talk about such a boy all you want, you can describe his hair, his abilities, his intelligence, his wit, grace and charm — but in the end, you have to admit you are talking about a fantasy.

M
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 02, 2014 8:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:My answer was clarifying that ChNN said he could not confer a full empowerment through the net and why he felt this was so. The Dalai Lama on the other hand, opined that people watching Kalacakra and participating actively via a webcast could receive the empowerment in that way. But here, this is all taking place within the context of an active mandala.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Karma Jinpa » Fri May 02, 2014 9:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:One cannot receive an empowerment from a recording of an empowerment. It simply isn't possible. Such a thing resembles the son of a barren women. You can talk about such a boy all you want, you can describe his hair, his abilities, his intelligence, his wit, grace and charm — but in the end, you have to admit you are talking about a fantasy.


I'm guessing the practice of adoption wasn't very popular back in the day... :stirthepot:
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby pensum » Fri May 02, 2014 9:39 pm

T. Chokyi wrote:Gar Drolma was very clear when they wrote back that Rinpoche indicated both live, on the net, and recorded count, I'm only clarifying what was said, not blowing a trumpet here that you have to believe it or accept or give a kazillion reasons why or why not...thats how he offered it, and from what I heard he taught it that way for those that wanted it, it was for those that have a connection with Rinpoche and at that time, I was also under the impression that the empowerments would be removed after a finite amount of time, I don't know what you consider your connection to Rinpoche....but I don't think he was referring to what other teachers do or don't do (past, present or future) he was only saying what he was doing at that time with those 13 Golden Dharmas.
Sincerely, T. Chokyi


So, T. Chokyi, setting aside my own personal viewpoint on the matter, and assuming what has been presented to us in the name of Garchen Rp. to be the case, an important question to ask Garchen Rinpoche (and/or his resident Khenpo) would then be what aspects of those particular empowerment rituals allow them to be conferred both by live webcast and especially even when the recording is viewed after? and i'm referring here to the specific contents and procedure of the actual empowerment texts that he used in comparison to other similar empowerment texts, namely things like the establishing and closing of the mandalas, the ingesting of any related substances, physically conferring the vase empowerment, and the like. And note that any answer should refer to the specific practicalities and directives of these particular empowerment texts themselves and not any others or general theoretical notions, for example "place the vase on the disciple's head".

Once those points have been satisfactorily clarified, then what did he himself do differently in this specific instance that those particular empowerments would be valid even when only a recording is viewed?

Then, if in his opinion watching a recording is indeed valid, as anyone can download the recordings and they themselves or others whom they share it with can receive the empowerments by watching a copy, which can be further copied and shared ad infinitum, by what mechanism is an empowerment validly received by watching a copy of a copy of a copy a hundred or more years from now? And by "validly" i mean that it would be accepted as a valid unbroken lineage for someone with any other necessary credentials to pass on in person to future generations.

If on the other hand, he claims that a copy of a recording is not valid, but only the original recording is, then what precisely differentiates one copy from another? For if a copy of a copy is not valid, then no one can receive an empowerment by watching a digital recording online, for the very nature of any streaming media is that a copy of the data stored on the original server is downloaded onto one's own computer in order to be able to watch it, so even upon viewing the recording they have officially provided on Youtube one is in actuality already only viewing at minimum a copy of a copy of a copy of the original recording (for the upload to Youtube is a copy unto itself, and furthermore one which they reformat for compression etc. beyond this though it is likely that they create further copies which they send to their various server centers scattered about the globe in order to provide backup and faster download times on a global scale, and note it is unlikely that the original recording was directly uploaded but a copy of it in the first place which would make it another further step removed).

Those are a few questions which arise off the top of my head that I'm sure i'm not the only one who would be interested in hearing his answers and explanations to. So it would be great if you could pass them along. I for one look forward to hearing his answers. Thanks!
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 02, 2014 9:45 pm

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 02, 2014 9:51 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
face palm buddha 2.jpg


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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Adi » Fri May 02, 2014 10:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:One cannot receive an empowerment from a recording of an empowerment. It simply isn't possible. Such a thing resembles the son of a barren women. You can talk about such a boy all you want, you can describe his hair, his abilities, his intelligence, his wit, grace and charm — but in the end, you have to admit you are talking about a fantasy.

M


I think this is a good analogy. And speaking of using one's reason and logic, I also think it wise for people to go look up what a recording actually is. For those not familiar, basically it is temporarily fixing a very limited range of interpreted and compressed electromagnetic spectra onto some kind of media, making what is going on fixed in time and totally lifeless. On old magnetic media it was just the proportional rearrangement of magnetically charged molecules. Digitally it is just changing a lot of ones to zeroes and zeroes to ones. And what is recorded on either is a very, very limited range of whatever was present, be it sounds or sights. Add to that all recordings contain small errors that multiply when copied. It really is like the barren women analogy or going to a restaurant after it is closed for the day and eating the menu.

I think many people are seduced by the illusion that recordings give, that something is actually right in front of you or going on right now, when in actuality it's a very limited, dead, lifeless view of something in the past. So to my mind, it's one thing to think an empowerment is happening when you are simply viewing it live but at a great distance and quite another to think one can get it from something that isn't truly immediate, that is over, that is dissolved.

And one last note: digital recordings in general cannot capture the range of sound that old reel-to-reel decks could. It's a matter of physics. When digital recordings sound really, really good it is because of sophisticated post-production tricks and enhancements to make it seem as if it is really that good. It isn't. So a recorded empowerment isn't even fully captured and is often played back with tricks and ticks that compound the illusion. As someone who worked in broadcast and music media for years, I just don't see how a live empowerment could be truly suspended on dead tape, film or digital drives and then reanimated later on.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Virgo » Fri May 02, 2014 10:19 pm

Malcolm wrote:There are no siddhis without empowerment,
just as there is no oil even if sand is pressed.
Whoever proudly explains the tantras and citations
to those without empowerment,
both master and disciple go to hell
as soon as they die even if there are siddhis.

-- Mahāmudratilaka-tantra

Very scary.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby pensum » Fri May 02, 2014 10:29 pm

Oh and T. Chokyi, one last question i forgot to include in my previous post: If a live stream or recording is valid without the physical blessings (vase, substances etc.), and time and distance are not a concern, then why can't someone receive the empowerment simply by reading the empowerment text itself? as it is essentially nothing more than a recording of the empowerment and at that a more direct one in being the direct record by the originator of the empowerment rather than an interpretive performance by someone usually several generations removed. So why does he or anyone bother going through the ritual other than for show, gathering disciples and to raise money?

And this would go for the lung as well, yet the very definition of a lung is to get the actual "living breathing scripture" so to speak, so how would that be possible from a recording? and if so then lungs aren't necessary at all as one could just read the text oneself. so, as the possibility of receiving a lung just by listening to a recording totally undermines this practice, why has it traditionally been said that one needs to get the lung?

In short, why specifically are the recordings of these empowerments valid yet not the recordings of any other empowerment ritual by any other lama? what makes these particular recordings unique, beyond him just proclaiming that they are, and how does he justify such a claim?

And with that i'll await answers to these most fundamental of questions before burdening you with any more. Cheers!
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Lhasa » Fri May 02, 2014 10:49 pm

Virgo wrote:
Malcolm wrote:There are no siddhis without empowerment,
just as there is no oil even if sand is pressed.
Whoever proudly explains the tantras and citations
to those without empowerment,
both master and disciple go to hell
as soon as they die even if there are siddhis.

-- Mahāmudratilaka-tantra

Very scary.

Kevin

Yup, and the Catholic church used to teach that if you swallowed your toothpaste on purpose during the three hour fast before receiving communion, and died on the way home, you went straight to hell.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 02, 2014 10:59 pm

Lhasa wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Malcolm wrote:There are no siddhis without empowerment,
just as there is no oil even if sand is pressed.
Whoever proudly explains the tantras and citations
to those without empowerment,
both master and disciple go to hell
as soon as they die even if there are siddhis.

-- Mahāmudratilaka-tantra

Very scary.

Kevin

Yup, and the Catholic church used to teach that if you swallowed your toothpaste on purpose during the three hour fast before receiving communion, and died on the way home, you went straight to hell.


The point, of course, is that one should not expect to have any positive results from the practice of Vajrayāna if one does not enter Vajrayāna in a proper way.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Virgo » Fri May 02, 2014 11:39 pm

Lhasa wrote:Yup, and the Catholic church used to teach that if you swallowed your toothpaste on purpose during the three hour fast before receiving communion, and died on the way home, you went straight to hell.

Yes, but popes are not realized beings. There is a big difference...

(The authors of the tantras were realized beings)
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Virgo » Fri May 02, 2014 11:43 pm

By the way this is not a judgement call either way by me because I do not know enough. It's simply my reaction to that section of tantra.'
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby JohnJ » Sat May 03, 2014 12:35 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The issue is not whether someone can receive an empowerment through the internet.
Actually, this was raised as an issue too. And your answer was basically that people cannot receive full empowerment via the internet, neither through live broadcast nor through a recording.


My answer was clarifying that ChNN said he could not confer a full empowerment through the net and why he felt this was so. The Dalai Lama on the other hand, opined that people watching Kalacakra and participating actively via a webcast could receive the empowerment in that way. But here, this is all taking place within the context of an active mandala.


I apologize for any redundant questions, and questions that are off topic from this thread, but since the teachings of ChNN were brought up again I'd like to make sure my understanding is clear.

By full empowerment, am I correct in understanding that you mean one that includes all 4 empowerments and has the necessary physical supports? Your answer earlier seemed to indicate that for students of the right capacity, direct introduction could suffice for their ripening, and so a full empowerment would not be necessary, while for students of lesser capacity a full empowerment is definitely necessary. Have I understood this correctly, according to the Dzogchen perspective and teachings of ChNN?

Is the central difference between a meaning empowerment and a full physical empowerment, according to ChNN, found in whether or not there are physical supports? If there is greater underlying difference, could you say a few words as to what that difference is? For instance, sometimes ChNN states that for many people a meaning empowerment can be much more important than a traditional empowerment, does this also have to do with one's capacity?

My questions centrally revolve around the meaning of the word 'full' in this explanation of empowerment, since I have never thought the teachings and path presented by ChNN was lacking, or "not full".

Thank you in advance for helping to clarify any misunderstandings that I might have on this issue.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby T. Chokyi » Sat May 03, 2014 1:53 am

JohnJ wrote:
I apologize for any redundant questions, and questions that are off topic from this thread, but since the teachings of ChNN were brought up again I'd like to make sure my understanding is clear.

By full empowerment, am I correct in understanding that you mean one that includes all 4 empowerments and has the necessary physical supports? Your answer earlier seemed to indicate that for students of the right capacity, direct introduction could suffice for their ripening, and so a full empowerment would not be necessary, while for students of lesser capacity a full empowerment is definitely necessary. Have I understood this correctly, according to the Dzogchen perspective and teachings of ChNN?

Is the central difference between a meaning empowerment and a full physical empowerment, according to ChNN, found in whether or not there are physical supports? If there is greater underlying difference, could you say a few words as to what that difference is? For instance, sometimes ChNN states that for many people a meaning empowerment can be much more important than a traditional empowerment, does this also have to do with one's capacity?

My questions centrally revolve around the meaning of the word 'full' in this explanation of empowerment, since I have never thought the teachings and path presented by ChNN was lacking, or "not full".

Thank you in advance for helping to clarify any misunderstandings that I might have on this issue.


I can answer part of this as well, yes to your first question, Rinpoche does it like that in person, the full empowerments, so although it is broadcast for people to watch in the community still if its a full empowerment you'd have to be there for a full on empowerment if you wanted to experience as you have said the four empowerments, with the altar and everything set up traditional way, there are practices like JanaDakini of Rinpoche's that you can go to in person and have a complete empowerment for, Rinpoche sets up all the supports, the altar everything, everything the traditional way...and yes, the four empowerments are given, but Rinpoche says that what is indispensable is direct introduction (DI), he gives this at specific times throughout the year, although its said he is giving this all the time, in other words this is what he "is"... he also gives lungs at the end of each of his retreats by the live broadcast, some retreats are open and others are closed, these lungs are extensive and considered "secondary" practices and they are for everybody... like Vajrapani, Green Tara, etc...so having the lung is sufficient for you to start your practice for the secondary practices. Rinpoche explains this well, and sometimes has specific reatreats on these, and you can get the booklets for details of the practice and ask senior students to help. He also gives the lungs for the Tun Book, so you can do short, medium or long Tun Sadhana with DC depending on which transmission you have the lung for, eventually rather quickly if you join the DC and listen you will have all three. Capacity has to do with everything, but your capacity isn't "fixed" it can increase, it isn't something that is just greater for some and less for others, this capacity can increase with your effort, in other words actually do the practice of Guru Yoga, being in that state, as Rinpoche says "try to get into that state with the Guru Yoga of White Ah and Tigle". Rinpoche hasn't said that a full empowerment is necessary if you think you have less capacity, and that it isn't necessary for those with more capacity...he just teaches to get DI and "do your best", to do Guru Yoga of White Ah and Tigle. Rinpoche stresses listening to the teachings, he says that going to the essence, hearing the teachings is important, and understanding them, he does not differentiate between "greater" capacity people should do this and "lessor" capacity people should do that. He encourages practice together and has stressed that those with less capacity can be helped during practice by those with a little more capacity etc...

If I left things out I'm sure M will reply.

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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby T. Chokyi » Sat May 03, 2014 1:58 am

JohnJ wrote:


My questions centrally revolve around the meaning of the word 'full' in this explanation of empowerment, since I have never thought the teachings and path presented by ChNN was lacking, or "not full".



I just wanted to stress that this idea of "fullness" has to do with going in the essence. Rinpoche says that DI and doing Guru Yoga, which you can learn and get transmission for from Rinpoche during the live broadcast, is indispensable.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby T. Chokyi » Sat May 03, 2014 2:23 am

pensum wrote:
T. Chokyi wrote:Gar Drolma was very clear when they wrote back that Rinpoche indicated both live, on the net, and recorded count, I'm only clarifying what was said, not blowing a trumpet here that you have to believe it or accept or give a kazillion reasons why or why not...thats how he offered it, and from what I heard he taught it that way for those that wanted it, it was for those that have a connection with Rinpoche and at that time, I was also under the impression that the empowerments would be removed after a finite amount of time, I don't know what you consider your connection to Rinpoche....but I don't think he was referring to what other teachers do or don't do (past, present or future) he was only saying what he was doing at that time with those 13 Golden Dharmas.
Sincerely, T. Chokyi


So, T. Chokyi, setting aside my own personal viewpoint on the matter, and assuming what has been presented to us in the name of Garchen Rp. to be the case, an important question to ask Garchen Rinpoche (and/or his resident Khenpo) would then be what aspects of those particular empowerment rituals allow them to be conferred both by live webcast and especially even when the recording is viewed after? and i'm referring here to the specific contents and procedure of the actual empowerment texts that he used in comparison to other similar empowerment texts, namely things like the establishing and closing of the mandalas, the ingesting of any related substances, physically conferring the vase empowerment, and the like. And note that any answer should refer to the specific practicalities and directives of these particular empowerment texts themselves and not any others or general theoretical notions, for example "place the vase on the disciple's head".

Once those points have been satisfactorily clarified, then what did he himself do differently in this specific instance that those particular empowerments would be valid even when only a recording is viewed?

Then, if in his opinion watching a recording is indeed valid, as anyone can download the recordings and they themselves or others whom they share it with can receive the empowerments by watching a copy, which can be further copied and shared ad infinitum, by what mechanism is an empowerment validly received by watching a copy of a copy of a copy a hundred or more years from now? And by "validly" i mean that it would be accepted as a valid unbroken lineage for someone with any other necessary credentials to pass on in person to future generations.

If on the other hand, he claims that a copy of a recording is not valid, but only the original recording is, then what precisely differentiates one copy from another? For if a copy of a copy is not valid, then no one can receive an empowerment by watching a digital recording online, for the very nature of any streaming media is that a copy of the data stored on the original server is downloaded onto one's own computer in order to be able to watch it, so even upon viewing the recording they have officially provided on Youtube one is in actuality already only viewing at minimum a copy of a copy of a copy of the original recording (for the upload to Youtube is a copy unto itself, and furthermore one which they reformat for compression etc. beyond this though it is likely that they create further copies which they send to their various server centers scattered about the globe in order to provide backup and faster download times on a global scale, and note it is unlikely that the original recording was directly uploaded but a copy of it in the first place which would make it another further step removed).

Those are a few questions which arise off the top of my head that I'm sure i'm not the only one who would be interested in hearing his answers and explanations to. So it would be great if you could pass them along. I for one look forward to hearing his answers. Thanks!


Oh my goodness Pensum, wow, I"ve seen both your posts! I'll try to encapsulate what your questions are, and they are excellent questions for Mel and Khenpo Samdup. I don't know how Khenpo Samdup will respond to all the questions we have here that I have sent to Mel already...I know they will be presented, Mel didn't know if Khenpo will want to "go public" right away... there is a translator coming next week I was told, so it may even have to wait past this Sunday if Khenpo wants to run it through the translator, he is working on his English, I thought he was pretty good when I met him. I don't know how Khenpo Samdup will respond, but I do know these questions will be asked and if I get answers back I'll post.

Pensum your a very good natured person, thank you so much.

Also Cone, I did send Mel the question where you were talking about the empowerment you took etc, I passed what you posted in its entirety the way you wrote it, I'll be curious about that question.

I also invited Mel to the board, so I may not be saying much at all. Don't feel shy to write the center they are open to communications, theres also more than one center, so perhaps if this question is a big one for you, and you have questions they'll surely get back with you. Mels mentioned something in a communication today that was interesting, she said that they didn't have any technology back in the time of the Tantras like our technology, she was making a point about Rinpoche using the technology of the day in a relative way. Technology for recording and broadcasting back in the days when the Tantras were written didn't exsist, so how could any of the Tantras say specifically not to use a broadcast or a recording.

I know... I know.... :stirthepot:

Just thought I'd mention it.


Sincerely,
T. Chokyi
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby JohnJ » Sat May 03, 2014 4:39 am

T. Chokyi wrote:
JohnJ wrote:


My questions centrally revolve around the meaning of the word 'full' in this explanation of empowerment, since I have never thought the teachings and path presented by ChNN was lacking, or "not full".



I just wanted to stress that this idea of "fullness" has to do with going in the essence. Rinpoche says that DI and doing Guru Yoga, which you can learn and get transmission for from Rinpoche during the live broadcast, is indispensable.


Thank you so much for your response, it was certainly helpful in thinking about these matters. Being a member of the Dzogchen Community and taking part in in-person, open and closed webcasts, I thought I had a fairly decent grasp on what ChNN was saying in regards to empowerment and going in the essence. The 4 traditional empowerments being given the label "full" seemed to indicate that other forms of empowerment were incomplete in some fashion, though that inference is likely my mistake.

My understanding, as Malcolm pointed out earlier in this thread, was that Rigpa Tsal Wang is the root of all empowerments, and therefore, according to Dzogchen teachings, the heart of everything 'fullness' could possibly be. If I understood that bit of conversation correctly, for some people a sort of ripening is needed before the Rigpa Tsal Wang can be properly received, and that this is the point of the 4 empowerments in context of HYT. I am just wondering more about the Donwang and its relation to these things.

For instance, next week there is a Guru Amitayus teaching in the DC. I have been informed that the empowerment will not be broadcast. My assumption is that this is the because Rinpoche does not feel that it can be given as a Donwang, or Meaning empowerment. However, the teachings and practice will be broadcast in a closed webcast, seeming to indicate that for those who have received Rigpa Tsal Wang and the tridlung for this practice, it is enough for participation. They are not "partial" practioners, or somehow incomplete, if they truly understand the nature of the Direct Introduction. I hope that I have understood this correctly.
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 03, 2014 8:26 am

pensum wrote:Oh and T. Chokyi, one last question i forgot to include in my previous post: If a live stream or recording is valid without the physical blessings (vase, substances etc.), and time and distance are not a concern, then why can't someone receive the empowerment simply by reading the empowerment text itself? as it is essentially nothing more than a recording of the empowerment and at that a more direct one in being the direct record by the originator of the empowerment rather than an interpretive performance by someone usually several generations removed. So why does he or anyone bother going through the ritual other than for show, gathering disciples and to raise money?

And this would go for the lung as well, yet the very definition of a lung is to get the actual "living breathing scripture" so to speak, so how would that be possible from a recording? and if so then lungs aren't necessary at all as one could just read the text oneself. so, as the possibility of receiving a lung just by listening to a recording totally undermines this practice, why has it traditionally been said that one needs to get the lung?

In short, why specifically are the recordings of these empowerments valid yet not the recordings of any other empowerment ritual by any other lama? what makes these particular recordings unique, beyond him just proclaiming that they are, and how does he justify such a claim?

And with that i'll await answers to these most fundamental of questions before burdening you with any more. Cheers!
Dude, are you going to take online empowerments from Garchen Rinpoche? From recordings? Is he your guru or are you considering taking him on as a guru?

So who died and made you the grand inquisitor then?

I mean really, no respect at all!
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Re: Validity of recorded empowerments

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 03, 2014 8:47 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
face palm buddha 2.jpg


classic
Thanks, I whipped it up for situations just like these!
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