Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby narraboth » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:10 pm

the problem nowaday is that you can't really spend 7 years and then recieved empowerment, although you are supposed to.
To do any formal vajrayana practice you need an empowerment (including Ngondro), it's not very practical to ask people doing 7 years sutrayana practice before they even entering vajrayana ngondro.

I think it's ok to get empowerments from great master whom you don't need to spend too long to check: like HH Sakya Trichin, Sakya Dachen Rinpoche, HHDL, Trulshik Rinpoche, Taklung tsetrul Rinpoche, etc. Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi rinpoche didn't spend years to check if he should recieve Rinchen Terdzo from Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, because it's not necessary. It's well known that Taklung tsetrul rinpoche is true lama and he is great.
But you can't spend much time with those great great masters unless you are very lucky, so you will need a lama who's close to you, and you can spend more time to develop a deeper relationship. In the end he might be the person who gives you the most help, but you need to start with an empowerment.

That's usually how things work today I think.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:38 pm

plwk wrote:Ah but are those seeking it ready for the responsibility/commitment that comes with it in some cases?
Or is it that some have a habit of making a 'resume' out of a list of such & such empowerments longer than a roll of toilet paper? Then they forgot what they have taken, from whom and what needs to be done...
Or treat it like some collectible candy bars? :tongue:

I know what you're saying, and I dislike those shallow motivations as much as you do. I am not trying amass empowerments like a child trick-or-treating for Halloween candy. The only empowerments I really wanted were the Varjasattva and Guru Rinpoche empowerments. Now that I have those two, I don't feel any particular need for more until a lama tells me that I should get another one.

Actually, if I just knew that my lama had ever given an empowerment I would feel better because one of the things one is supposed to look for in a guru is the ability to confer empowerments. This is said on page 8 of "The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion" which Mudra posted in another thread.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/content/Media/ ... _copy1.PDF

mudra wrote:Have you discussed the issue directly/openly with your lama?

No, becuase I only became aware of it very recently. I've just had the growing feeling that something about my relation with this lama was quite odd. From small doubts, grow larger doubts.

mudra wrote:If you ask me, and bear in mind that I am quite ready to admit that I might be way off the mark, but bluntly: the fact that you think your Lama is holding out on you is a possible indication of an attitude which just might not be desirable in a student who would be expected to keep samayas pure.

Perhaps, but it is a two-street. I can understand a lama not wanting to teach a student if he thinks that student is an unkind person. However, I have worked very hard to help my sangha over the past two years. Perhaps my motivation sometimes makes me impatient, but I think that that is much better than the opposite: being very patient because one no longer cares at all about Vajrayana. So I will keep caring and keep trying.

I think it's reasonable to switch sanghas when I don't feel confident that I can ever advance here mainly because the important retreats are always when I'm working. Most of my lama's more advanced students focus on Ngondro and Nyungnes and perhaps later a bit of Chöd. My lama may or may not teach a bit of Mahamudra to some of them. I don't know. I dislike the secrecy. I don't want to wait years for something which may never happen. Perhaps he's happy with not teaching very much. Who knows? I certainly don't.

Anyway, it's clear enough to me now that I should go elsewhere.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby kirtu » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:22 pm

Different schools handle this differently but basically mostly only the high lamas give empowerments. An empowerment incurs a deep karmic relationship even if the empowerment isn't from highest yoga tantra (or maha, anu, ati in Nyingma).

In "Blazing Splendor", the memoirs of Tulku Urgyen (but really the history of his family going back to Chokgyur Lingpa's generation), the 15th Karmapa got into a kind of fight (not physical) with Tulku Urgyen's uncle Samten Gyatso. The 15th Karmapa had asked Samten Gyatso to give a cycle of empowerments and teaching (I don't have the text at hand although the details are mentioned there) and not just to the 15th Karmapa but to a closed group - and to start traveling around and giving empowerments and teaching. Samten Gyatso refused and they had this back and forth - in the end the Karmapa ordered him to do this and Samten Gyatso finally relented and gave the empowerments and them embarked on an apparently reluctant decade at least of traveling around giving empowerments and teaching. Empowerments are serious.

I will never forget when HH Trulshik Rinpoche said in NYC in 2000 that the assembled hall of disciples and students should propagate the Shakyamuni Buddha practice even to the point of giving empowerments of Shakyamuni Buddha (this was stated as a more tenative thing but was still shocking). I went and asked my Sakya lama (who also doesn't give empowerments) about this but phrased the question badly and people around me didn't know the context - people were aghast (and rightly so). I mean how much practice, etc. would be needed to give a kriya yoga tantra empowerment of Shakyamuni Buddha? There is a technical answer to this BTW and lots of people CAN give such an empowerment but certainly don't.

For the technical answer to this issue we only need to look up Jamgon Kongtrul's Encyclopedia where he discusses tantric gurus and the sections where he goes into the mechanics of tantra itself.

At least in Nyingma and many Sakya empowerment cycles, the recipients are themselves consecrated as Vajra Masters. But that's not the end of the story and in reality intense study and practice are needed and then permission to give empowerments. The permission comes at the end of a specialized set of studies.

Your lama may not have done this yet or may not have permission or may have done both and have been requested not to give them just yet or may have decided for himself that the time isn't right for him just yet.

Nyungne and ngondro are very, very good with ngondro of course being the foundation of higher tantric practice and study.

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Pero » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:22 pm

kirtu wrote:For the technical answer to this issue we only need to look up Jamgon Kongtrul's Encyclopedia where he discusses tantric gurus and the sections where he goes into the mechanics of tantra itself.


Can you tell me which book specifically is this?
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:48 pm

kirtu wrote:Nyungne and ngondro are very, very good with ngondro of course being the foundation of higher tantric practice and study.

Yes, they are. I'd be thrilled to start Ngondro, but this is impossible with my current sangha for reasons I've described in my other threads. In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:06 am

Luke wrote: In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


dont think on it, just get on with it.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:12 am

kirtu wrote: in the end the Karmapa ordered him to do this



Unless one has an over lordship political, worldly lean on ones home regional monastery, this only makes sense. nothing to do with dharma at all.


sorry that this gets included.

imp sure we would like to believe it is all the workings of a Buddha

:anjali:
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Luke » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:06 am

Heruka wrote:
Luke wrote: In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


dont think on it, just get on with it.

Yes, your impatience coincides with my own.

So you're not one of those people who recommends that I spend three years evaluating another guru? Do you believe that less time is required?
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:52 pm

plwk wrote:
Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments...

Ah but are those seeking it ready for the responsibility/commitment that comes with it in some cases?
Or is it that some have a habit of making a 'resume' out of a list of such & such empowerments longer than a roll of toilet paper? Then they forgot what they have taken, from whom and what needs to be done...
Or treat it like some collectible candy bars? :tongue:


I suppose there are two types of people who would want to receive many empowerments: those who have a consumer mentality, like you described, and those who understand the function and purpose of empowerments and understand that each empowerment (whether it's a different one or the same one received many times) generates vast merit, purifies obscurations, and plants powerful seeds to realize one's own benefit and the benefit of others. Of course, some traditions have an approach where at the very least the mantras associated with each empowerment must each be recited x amount each day, but some other traditions have the approach of fulfilling everything within a single essential daily practice (because if you realize one deity, you realize them all). These are both valid approaches and each serves a particular skillful means, but for those following a tradition that takes the latter approach, one should not be ashamed of receiving as many empowerments as one is able to from one's principle lama and/or lamas one knows one can trust.

Honestly, even for the consumerist people, while their motivation may be incorrect for actually showing up at the venue where the empowerment is being given each time they go to attend an empowerment, only the most insincere person with no real interest in practicing the Dharma would fail to have their motivation corrected each time when the lama goes into the preliminaries to the empowerment: explaining the purpose and what the proper motivation is. That theme is always brought up and revisited at so many points during the empowerment ceremony. Eventually that point is bound to stick and begin to grow in the minds of even the empowerment collectors.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:45 pm

Luke wrote:
Heruka wrote:
Luke wrote: In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


dont think on it, just get on with it.

Yes, your impatience coincides with my own.

So you're not one of those people who recommends that I spend three years evaluating another guru? Do you believe that less time is required?


what i believe has no relevance to what you already think you know, its a good fantasy searching for some perfect external "guru" as you say, that is a nice mind game to play if you wish to make more internal excuses and waste more time, then project a defensive attitude to others that don't coincide with your already arrived at ideas of a perfect guru. many lifetimes we can waste on games like that, no problem. its a classic race to the bottom, a downward spiral.

With an attitude like that, you might think of doing a ngondro twice over.

good luck.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby kirtu » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:21 pm

Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote:For the technical answer to this issue we only need to look up Jamgon Kongtrul's Encyclopedia where he discusses tantric gurus and the sections where he goes into the mechanics of tantra itself.


Can you tell me which book specifically is this?


No. It would be basically spread out under specific topics in the Encyclopedia which is now some eight or so volumes (I think) in English with more coming.

This is partly discussed in Ethics where HE Jamgon Kongtrul talks about tantric gurus. But he doesn't discuss tantric higher study that lead to permission to give empowerment or the technical scope of that in that text. It could be in Systems of Buddhist Tantra (part of book six) but should be in The Elements of Tantric Practice (part of book eight). I have not read them and are not able to do so now.

Systems will talk about the commonalities and differences between the traditions bur Elements will really deal with the mechanics and should go into the empowerment question.

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby kirtu » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:28 pm

Heruka wrote:
kirtu wrote: in the end the Karmapa ordered him to do this



Unless one has an over lordship political, worldly lean on ones home regional monastery, this only makes sense. nothing to do with dharma at all.


sorry that this gets included.

imp sure we would like to believe it is all the workings of a Buddha

:anjali:


I would respectfully suggest that perhaps HH 15th Karmapa feared a loss of Dharma if Samten Gyatso hadn't followed his request (to put this more in context Samten Gyatso was focusing his activities on his extended family and their personal monastery on a mountain top in Nangchen). I put this more in the province of two mahasiddhas dealing frankly with each other at a very high level. It may have been that some purification was needed on both sides actually (if I remember Samten Gyatso was one of the teachers of HH 15th Karmapa). Unfortunately I gave this to me precious text away as I have to move shortly and cannot now look the incident up. But there were repeated issues with the4 possible disappearance of at least one lineage held by their family and this may have also played a role in the incident.

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby kirtu » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:52 pm

Luke wrote:
kirtu wrote:Nyungne and ngondro are very, very good with ngondro of course being the foundation of higher tantric practice and study.

Yes, they are. I'd be thrilled to start Ngondro, but this is impossible with my current sangha for reasons I've described in my other threads. In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


If you don't have the empowerments to begin refuge (does your lineage require empowerment for refuge?) then begin with Atisha's refuge prayer* which includes Bodhicitta and do 100,000 of them. You can do mandala offering without empowerment even in Nyingma (I mention this because on one level it looks like Nyingma is a bit "strict" about lung at least for ngondro but overall this is a blessing more than an actual empowerment [except that Vajrasattva for ngondro and Guru Yoga do have short empowerments so it starts getting complex ....), you can recite Vajrasattva mantra with just basic visualization and you can do a basic Guru Yoga where you visualize a lineage master whom you have a connection with on your head and melting into you blessing you.

These in turn will cause purification and the accumulation of merit at least that can set the stage for formal ngondro in your lineage.

Kirt

*Atisha's Refuge Prayer
SANG GYE CHO DANG
SOG CHE CHO NAM LA
CHANG CHUB BAR DU DAG NEY KYAB SU CHI
DAG GE GYEN SO GYEN PAY SO NAM CHI
DRO LA PEN CHER SANG GYEN DRUB PAR SHO

This is usually translated as:
In the excellent Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
I go for refuge until Enlightenment is won
By the merits of giving and the other perfections
may I attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:11 am

kirtu wrote:No. It would be basically spread out under specific topics in the Encyclopedia which is now some eight or so volumes (I think) in English with more coming.

...


I see, thanks.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:49 am

Heruka wrote:what i believe has no relevance to what you already think you know, its a good fantasy searching for some perfect external "guru" as you say, that is a nice mind game to play if you wish to make more internal excuses and waste more time, then project a defensive attitude to others that don't coincide with your already arrived at ideas of a perfect guru. many lifetimes we can waste on games like that, no problem. its a classic race to the bottom, a downward spiral.

How is searching for a new teacher a waste of time? You told me to "just get on with it," but I can't "just get on with it" with my current sangha because of their schedule. Finding a new sangha with a schedule that actually fits my schedule will allow me to save time in the long run.

I didn't create these ideas of what a perfect guru should be. I read them in the guide which Mudra posted ("The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion"). I'm just trying to go by tradition.

Sure, maybe a more skilled person could see an ordinary guru as being a Buddha, but it's no doubt far easier to see a great guru as being a Buddha.

I'm not quite sure what you're angry about. If I've inadvertently offended you in some way, I apologize.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:07 pm

Luke wrote:I didn't create these ideas of what a perfect guru should be. I read them in the guide which Mudra posted ("The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion"). I'm just trying to go by tradition.

Sure, maybe a more skilled person could see an ordinary guru as being a Buddha, but it's no doubt far easier to see a great guru as being a Buddha.


"Great Guru" huh? That's really something relative. For example for me, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is a great guru but from reading your posts I think he'd probably be a terrible guru for you. Or also I think Tulku Urgyen wouldn't be that great for me, but I have no doubt he was a great guru too.

Really I think that in the end no matter what you or others say about "going by tradition" you'll be mostly going by your own impression. We can see faults even in the greatest of gurus and not see anything wrong even with unqualified ones.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby Luke » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:50 pm

Pero wrote:Really I think that in the end no matter what you or others say about "going by tradition" you'll be mostly going by your own impression. We can see faults even in the greatest of gurus and not see anything wrong even with unqualified ones.

Yeah, you're probably right, but I often read things about lamas who felt incredibly moved just upon hearing the name of their gurus and who feel almost moved to tears everytime they think about their gurus.

I guess there is just great "chemistry" between one pair of people due to past karma, but not much "chemistry" between a different pair of people. Also, I suppose that a student will need to purify his/her mind in order to see more of the great qualities of a guru.
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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby heart » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:19 pm

Pero wrote:
Luke wrote:I didn't create these ideas of what a perfect guru should be. I read them in the guide which Mudra posted ("The Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion"). I'm just trying to go by tradition.

Sure, maybe a more skilled person could see an ordinary guru as being a Buddha, but it's no doubt far easier to see a great guru as being a Buddha.


"Great Guru" huh? That's really something relative. For example for me, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is a great guru but from reading your posts I think he'd probably be a terrible guru for you. Or also I think Tulku Urgyen wouldn't be that great for me, but I have no doubt he was a great guru too.

Really I think that in the end no matter what you or others say about "going by tradition" you'll be mostly going by your own impression. We can see faults even in the greatest of gurus and not see anything wrong even with unqualified ones.


Good points Pero, but I do believe Tulku Urgyen would be a great teacher also for you. :smile:

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby kirtu » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:57 pm

Luke wrote: In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


Make sure you do really serious work on the common preliminaries: the unsatisfactoriness of samsara and truth of suffering, precious human birth, impermanence and death, and the infallibility of karma (this is the Sakya order of contemplations - in all the other schools the order is precious human birth, impermanence, karma and the shortcomings of samsara).

These are vital in order to cut our subtle attachments to viewing samsara in particular as a potential place of true happiness and to generate Bodhicitta and build bodhisatta motivation (time is short: everyday 50,000 humans leave this world to say nothing of countless animals).

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Re: Lamas who never (or almost never) give empowerments

Postby muni » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:11 pm

kirtu wrote:
Luke wrote: In fact, my main goal now is to begin Ngondro.


Make sure you do really serious work on the common preliminaries: the unsatisfactoriness of samsara and truth of suffering, precious human birth, impermanence and death, and the infallibility of karma (this is the Sakya order of contemplations - in all the other schools the order is precious human birth, impermanence, karma and the shortcomings of samsara).

These are vital in order to cut our subtle attachments to viewing samsara in particular as a potential place of true happiness and to generate Bodhicitta and build bodhisatta motivation (time is short: everyday 50,000 humans leave this world to say nothing of countless animals).

Kirt


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People here are having great opportunities.
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