everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

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everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby tamdrin » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:40 pm

I am getting the feeling that getting the teachings in the west means only really getting your tongue wet so to speak. Is anyone else sick of hearing about the same topic over and over again because the only thing a lama wants to do is come and introduce people to Buddhism. I mean one can get introduced to any of the practices such as the six yogas or whatever you consider the most essential teachings but often times it will be nothing more than an introduction. It wont go into any depth or detail like I assume that monks/nuns learn about more deeply the path of meditation in the monasteries? Then we are left to piece things together from advice from this or that teacher or text. It could really be quite a frustrating thing considering I know there are loads of texts that are probably only still in Tibetan detailing the steps of the path and various commentaries outlining how to make progress...
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:16 pm

My teacher teaches the entire path, soup to nuts. But you had best be prepared to do some serious practice, and some serious retreat, over a seriously extended time.

I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:34 pm

tamdrin wrote:I am getting the feeling that getting the teachings in the west means only really getting your tongue wet so to speak.


??? No we are getting everything .... in Sakya and Nyingma really everything. I have the impression that Karma Kagyu teachers may be somewhat more reserved but I have no real basis for this beyond what I have heard. Drikung Kagyu seems to be giving everything too. Gelug also seems to be offering everything available ....

There are lots of introductory teachings which is good but most of the teachings I attend are presented on various levels for all the people there. And these are often meditative practices as well.

Where are you?

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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby tamdrin » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:46 pm

I'm mostly with Drikung Kagyu. Some Nyingma... but I will also take teachings with the Gelugpa's or Sakya's if they are good. The problem here is there is access to many instructions and Lama's but there is a lack of the continuity of the instruction thus westerners don't have much opportunity or conditions to make steady progress on the path.. I wonder if westerners have the philosophical / intellectual backgrounds to truly understand the teachings however...
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby tamdrin » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:51 pm

conebeckham wrote:My teacher teaches the entire path, soup to nuts. But you had best be prepared to do some serious practice, and some serious retreat, over a seriously extended time.

I wouldn't have it any other way.



Meaning he tells you to do the 4 thoughts/ngondro then some creation completion.. Then whatever comes next... I feel like there is a lot more to understanding the dharma/ working with a Teacher then jujst this sometimes...
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby conebeckham » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:57 pm

With all due respect...

Perhaps the reason you are not "getting everything" is that you have not committed to a given system, or more precisely, a given teacher?

In addition to the more traditional three year retreats offered by many Kagyu and Nyingma centers in the West, I know a Sakya Lama here who definitely outlines the entire path and teaches everything. There are also a variety of "programs"--5 year programs, graduated programs, etc.-being offered these days. But the key is that you have to commit to a given system. If you're going to do Drikung, great....I understand they have a Yangzab Dzokchen tradition and there was (is?) a gradual program within that system?
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:01 am

Meaning he tells you to do the 4 thoughts/ngondro then some creation completion.. Then whatever comes next... I feel like there is a lot more to understanding the dharma/ working with a Teacher then jujst this sometimes...


There is, and there isn't.
The main thing is that you have to do the practice...and then, based on your practice, you have something to discuss with your teacher. If we're talking Tantra/Vajrayana, though....all there really is, is Creation and Completion. Everything falls into that.......but it is based on your own mind, engaging in the systems, and working with the systems, that your own personal course is charted out.....

Creation and Completion are both incredibly profound, complex, and many-layered.....on their own, and together.
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby kirtu » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:12 am

tamdrin wrote:The problem here is there is access to many instructions and Lama's but there is a lack of the continuity of the instruction thus westerners don't have much opportunity or conditions to make steady progress on the path.. I wonder if westerners have the philosophical / intellectual backgrounds to truly understand the teachings however...


This is manifestly not the case with any of the groups I know. And all my lamas (Sakya, Nyingma, Drikung and Gelug) cover philosophy, etc. on multiple levels.

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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby tamdrin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:23 am

No Cone,
I am commited to my Tsawai Lama. In fact I was forunate that, the first Lama I went to see (on the other side of the country b/c I knew he was the one) was my Tsawai Lama. He has given me profound blessings and everytime I see him it is as if he were speaking oceanic wisdom of pith instructions to me, planting seeds that will ripen in the future perhaps. But nonethless I am a lazy student who has encountered many obstacles. And even with a commitment to a Lama there are many questions that come up and there are many routes that may be traveled depending on the student and even with devotion without the help of understanding the scriptures taught by the Buddha, and commentated upon by the great masters One can fall into doubt about one's progress on the path. Even more so in the west where many of the Lama's do not speak english it can be difficult to ask the MANY questions that come in the course of practicing on the "path".
:)
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby conebeckham » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:30 am

Cool, Tamdrin....
I have no other advice...it sounds like a distance thing, more than anything else......
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby tamdrin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:42 am

What it comes down to is this:
The only reason for practicing Buddhism at all is to progress to a certain stage where liberation is guaranteed. That means never having to endure the misery of lower rebirth, and eventually attaining enlightenment or Buddhahood. However, talk of enlightenment or "realization" as it is commonly referred to in Tibetan Buddhist circles can be misleading. There are levels of realization on the way to full realization which would be Buddhahood (which by the way who knows if anyone since Buddha Shakyamuni has truly attained for some reason I don't consider so many specious claims of Dzogchen teachers attaining the "rainbow body" to necessarily mean that all these teachers have become Buddha's). For example it is most certain that ordinary people have become "Arya's" through Buddhist practice- people who have seen the ultimate truth of emptiness directly, and therefore are certain to progress to Buddhahood within a given number of lifetimes (my current understanding is that people of this stage will always be reborn in favourable conditions ie: kind parents and loving teachers but then again hey look at some of the hardships the Tibetan Lama's are still going through, wouldn't these be people who would have been potentially such stream-entering beings in the past?) This means, in mahayana gradually making way through the Five paths of accumulation, preparation, seeing, meditation, and no more learning. There are three parts to the path of accumulation. There are four stages to the path of preparation such as heat, peak, patience, and highest worldly dharma. It is at the third part of the second path that of patience (zod pa) that marks one's attainment of being permanently liberated from potential rebirth in a lower realm. But it is not until one reaches the path of seeing (mthong lam) that one sees the truth of emptiness directly. At this time one sees directly the truth of what the Arya Buddha taught mainly the four noble truths, each which have four parts making a total of sixteen moments that are cognized on that path. Such an attainment is a monumental goal for Buddhist practicioners because one has seen the DHarmakaya of Buddha for the first time..yada yada
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby kirtu » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:30 am

tamdrin wrote:What it comes down to is this:
The only reason for practicing Buddhism at all is to progress to a certain stage where liberation is guaranteed. That means never having to endure the misery of lower rebirth, and eventually attaining enlightenment or Buddhahood.


We can all practice phowa and attain liberation in the bardo by going to the Pure Lands.

And until then we can accumulate merit and wisdom via various practices and esp. daily deity yoga practice. In the off session we constantly see ourselves as the deity, the embodiment of enlightenment, where all of our aggregates are the aggregates of enlightened body, speech and mind and we keep our lamas in our hearts (or on our heads as a crown). By following this we swiftly purify our perceptions and accumulate merit and wisdom. Everything is basically purification, accumulation or merit and wisdom and transformation into enlightenment. And until that happens our practice creates deep interconnections in a positive way (after spending lifetimes creating deep interconnections in a negative way).

Please see Jamgon Kongtrul's Creation and Completion and the Lives of the 84 Mahasiddhas and other very profound texts.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby Hanzze » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:54 am

"everything we can get in the west is only an introduction"

Indeed, we can only get instructions, to put it into practice is what we will never get. It is not a question of west, but a question of fear to leave his habits. There will be no teacher who can teach you that. But they are still patient, even it does not look like this.
Let us take care that the teacher does not going to be impatient and joins you habit, once in the same net, there is no more help. No need to fight together the spider, just drop of the net.
Just that! :-)
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby Jnana » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:34 am

conebeckham wrote:My teacher teaches the entire path, soup to nuts. But you had best be prepared to do some serious practice, and some serious retreat, over a seriously extended time.

Indeed.

tamdrin wrote:It could really be quite a frustrating thing considering I know there are loads of texts that are probably only still in Tibetan detailing the steps of the path and various commentaries outlining how to make progress...

If a student is ready and able to commit to extensive practice and retreat then I've never heard of a situation where they were unable to receive all the necessary detailed teachings and instructions, including translations of the necessary texts with commentary.

Of course, different teachers have different styles, and there are some teachers who generally don't give a lot of extra explanation, maintaining that by doing the practice with a sufficient foundation of preliminaries, the practice itself will unfold and reveal deeper layers of meaning eventually culminating in realization.

All the best,

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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby ground » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:32 am

I agree. As long as there is the thought that there is "something better 'out there' [east, west, south, north, monasteries, schools X or Y, lama X or Y]" it is just an introduction.

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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby heart » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:51 am

tamdrin wrote:No Cone,
I am commited to my Tsawai Lama. In fact I was forunate that, the first Lama I went to see (on the other side of the country b/c I knew he was the one) was my Tsawai Lama. He has given me profound blessings and everytime I see him it is as if he were speaking oceanic wisdom of pith instructions to me, planting seeds that will ripen in the future perhaps. But nonethless I am a lazy student who has encountered many obstacles. And even with a commitment to a Lama there are many questions that come up and there are many routes that may be traveled depending on the student and even with devotion without the help of understanding the scriptures taught by the Buddha, and commentated upon by the great masters One can fall into doubt about one's progress on the path. Even more so in the west where many of the Lama's do not speak english it can be difficult to ask the MANY questions that come in the course of practicing on the "path".
:)


I know the feeling tamdrin. The practitioners blues, I get it frequently to. My guess is that there is a few very personal questions that you want to ask but that the answers scares you. My advice is to go see your master and ask them in a very honest manner.

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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby Tilopa » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:18 am

tamdrin wrote:I am getting the feeling that getting the teachings in the west means only really getting your tongue wet so to speak. Is anyone else sick of hearing about the same topic over and over again because the only thing a lama wants to do is come and introduce people to Buddhism. I mean one can get introduced to any of the practices such as the six yogas or whatever you consider the most essential teachings but often times it will be nothing more than an introduction. It wont go into any depth or detail like I assume that monks/nuns learn about more deeply the path of meditation in the monasteries? Then we are left to piece things together from advice from this or that teacher or text. It could really be quite a frustrating thing considering I know there are loads of texts that are probably only still in Tibetan detailing the steps of the path and various commentaries outlining how to make progress...


Become a monk. :tongue:
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby Adamantine » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:16 am

conebeckham wrote:My teacher teaches the entire path, soup to nuts. But you had best be prepared to do some serious practice, and some serious retreat, over a seriously extended time.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


same here!
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 pm

tamdrin wrote:I am getting the feeling that getting the teachings in the west means only really getting your tongue wet so to speak. Is anyone else sick of hearing about the same topic over and over again because the only thing a lama wants to do is come and introduce people to Buddhism. I mean one can get introduced to any of the practices such as the six yogas or whatever you consider the most essential teachings but often times it will be nothing more than an introduction. It wont go into any depth or detail like I assume that monks/nuns learn about more deeply the path of meditation in the monasteries? Then we are left to piece things together from advice from this or that teacher or text. It could really be quite a frustrating thing considering I know there are loads of texts that are probably only still in Tibetan detailing the steps of the path and various commentaries outlining how to make progress...


All of my lamas teach everything from refuge and the 4 noble truths to Dzogchen's lhundrup togal in a very detailed, in depth way, and they also conduct retreats throughout the year, every year, guiding qualified students through the practices very thoroughly. They also teach "over and over again" on the topics you're probably referring to in your post, and there's an excellent reason for it - because even after receiving again and again some of the most profound empowerments and instructions this world has ever seen, our mindstreams still revert all too often to their same old stubborn, jaded, prideful ways, full of the five poisons. So we ned to be reminded again and again. And again. The sooner we listen and actually take to heart and practice those old boring fundamental teachings we think we've heard enough of, the sooner we'll stop receiving them.
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Re: everything we can get in the west is only an introduction

Postby narraboth » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:58 pm

hi, if they teach 6 yogas and you feel that it's no more than an introduction, then maybe students are not really qualified to practice 6 yogas yet. Or, actually the lama has taught some very essence points, but due to students' lacking experiences, they don't understand. Is it lama's problem? No! you should do the preparation by yourself, lamas can't do it for you.

I mean, it's not about west. Western people are lucky, they always request high high teachings, and lamas agree to give. But when giving it, not many students can really accept or even understand it, so it all becomes an introduction. In East, lamas don't even give those high teachings to general students! When you are ready, you go to the lama, and lama will tell you what to do next.

If you want something really cool, make yourself ready first, finish all the required ngondro etc first; and then you go to the lama privately, report what you have done and see if you are ready for higher teaching. Don't expect getting the most secret and essential teaching in a 100 people hall, not to meantion even the lama really gives it there, probably you won't know.
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