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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Yeshe,

The word visualize refers exclusively to a function of the mental consciousness, which is the only consciousness that can conceptualize. The eye consciousness is utterly non-conceptual and can only inform the mental consciousness with raw visual data by way of the eyes. Only the mental consciousness has the ability to mentally elaborate on this visual data. So, whether we're talking about visual, olfactory, taste, auditory, or tactile experiences in sadhanas, were using the word "visualize" to mean "bring to mind."

Also, when I spoke of "looking nakedly at thoughts," since thoughts don't have any color, size, shape, etc, they can't be seen by the visual consciousness, so to say "looking at them" only means "directing one's attention to them," which can be done because the mental consciousness can observe it's own mental events.

In the end, I think this issue of misunderstanding what is meant by visualizing in the context of a sadhana is a perfect example of the necessity of a relationship with a qualified vajra master. This topic can be a very subtle one and requires the expert input of such a master. Whenever possible, I especially feel that often just being present in the same space, in a one on one interview type situation with the lama when receiving such an explanation can cause a much more nuanced understanding to come about. I don't think it's necessarily due to something mystical because there's something about face to face, one on one communication between humans in general that text or audio recordings often can't convey. There's something about seeing the facial expressions, hand gestures, and just being tuned into the same channel so to speak, that facilitates much more.



I am conversant with the practices and the role of the guru. I am not concerned here with a misunderstanding of the practice, but the reason behind the often extensive descriptions of what we are to 'see', for example in terms of the guru, throne, mandala, body mandala etc. and hardly any guidance on what else we should bring to mind.

The sticking point here is obviously one of vocabulary, and in your post you found it necessary to explain that your words did not mean what most dictionaries accord them. I think the other words you use such as 'bring to mind' or 'directing one's attention' and ' conceptualise' demonstrate that the word 'visualise' is a poor one for the practices. I think you are addressing ingorance of the practice rather than the paucity of vocabulary to describe it.

I've sat with quite a few lamas - the extent to which nuances are conveyed is sometimes dependent on their ability to convey such things in English (or the accuracy of the person translating). Sadly, I don't speak Tibetan, which is why I raised the question of the original Sanskrit and whether the word 'visualisation' may not be the only translation.

Again, on the original topic, I think a possible reason for the absence of description of the non-visual aspects of the 'visualisation' is probably that we are expected to impute them.

It may also be the case that colourful pictures are a good aid to memory. This obviously begins with the deity's body, clothing and ornaments, posture, mudra etc., mandala, retinue and so on.

I'm unsure what you mean by ''the mental consciousness can observe it's own mental events'' as this would seem to imply a duality.

I was reading a history book the other day, and it was clear that 'self-generation' is a relatively recent practice. Prior to that, the 'in front' generation and use of statues was not dissimilar to the Hindu 'darshan' I mentioned, where the contact with the deity is through an imputation of the deity within the statue or image, and the contact was eye-to-eye. I still have a suspicion that this had a part to play in the writing of the sadhanas we now use, but we may never know. ;)

Here is a link to the book I mentioned: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0415 ... sib_rdr_dp

This link leads to a very pertinent exposition on the use of 'visual' and 'visualisation' in the context I was exploring:

http://www.shinzen.org/shinsub3/artZenSemantics.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:47 pm 
Hi Pema,

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're expressing that the visualizations can encompass a variety of sense-consciousnesses and that it's specific to the sadhana and the instructions from the guru. Am I understanding you correctly?

This has been my experience, as some empowerments may include a blessing and mantra transmission, some may include blessing and mantra and a sadhana given out at the end, and if one is inclined to engage in higher tantra and receive extensive training on a sadhana, then we're instructed down to the detail how to do each part. And we practice it under that teacher's instruction (as in a retreat setting).

So the specifics of what to visualize and how will be particular to what we've received and how we've been instructed. Just bouncing back here, to be sure I understand what you mean :)

Kindly,
Laura


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:26 am 
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Yeshe wrote:
I am conversant with the practices and the role of the guru. I am not concerned here with a misunderstanding of the practice, but the reason behind the often extensive descriptions of what we are to 'see', for example in terms of the guru, throne, mandala, body mandala etc. and hardly any guidance on what else we should bring to mind.

Yeshe,
Where concise sadhanas are concerned, often a very minimal description is included in the sadhana itself and therefore a background knowledge in the general features of generation stage practice is assumed, as well as the practitioners' having received the explanation from the lama. So, it's not that anything's left out of the practice, just out of the liturgy. Medium and longer sadhanas are often more descriptive, though they similarly presuppose the above-mentioned background knowledge and the lama's explanation.

Yeshe wrote:
The sticking point here is obviously one of vocabulary, and in your post you found it necessary to explain that your words did not mean what most dictionaries accord them. I think the other words you use such as 'bring to mind' or 'directing one's attention' and ' conceptualise' demonstrate that the word 'visualise' is a poor one for the practices. I think you are addressing ingorance of the practice rather than the paucity of vocabulary to describe it.

Not sure what you mean. I'm also unaware of a better word in English, since none rally seem to truly capture all the aspects of generation stage fully. Therefore, I think that if one receives the necessary explanation and teachings from the lama, and thus comes to know what the practice entails, then vocab is not a big deal.

Yeshe wrote:
I've sat with quite a few lamas - the extent to which nuances are conveyed is sometimes dependent on their ability to convey such things in English (or the accuracy of the person translating). Sadly, I don't speak Tibetan, which is why I raised the question of the original Sanskrit and whether the word 'visualisation' may not be the only translation.

Yeah, the language barrier can make things difficult. I don't speak much Tibetan either, so I'm extremely fortunate that my lamas speak English pretty well.

Yeshe wrote:
It may also be the case that colourful pictures are a good aid to memory. This obviously begins with the deity's body, clothing and ornaments, posture, mudra etc., mandala, retinue and so on.

To understand this stuff, it's really beneficial to receive the lung for the primary tantra that explains your tradition's approach to generation stage and then study it under a qualified lama's guidance. For instance, in the Nyingma tradition, our approach is based upon the Guhyagarbha tantra, so that is a major text many of us study. There are also commentaries on these types of tantras and on the general approach to generation stage in each tradition. They will make so much of this stuff clear.

Yeshe wrote:

I'm unsure what you mean by ''the mental consciousness can observe it's own mental events'' as this would seem to imply a duality.

I mean that as thoughts and emotions bubble up and do their thing in one's mind, one can observe them. There is indeed a duality here, as there is any time there's a "watcher" and a "watched," both implicit in ordinary mind. However, there are instructions that take one past the point of just observing these mental events to a point at which watcher and watched both dissolve and nonduality is nakedly "experienced," for lack of a better word. You may have received these instructions; if not, I'll leave it to a qualified lama to explain.

Yeshe wrote:

I was reading a history book the other day, and it was clear that 'self-generation' is a relatively recent practice. Prior to that, the 'in front' generation and use of statues was not dissimilar to the Hindu 'darshan' I mentioned, where the contact with the deity is through an imputation of the deity within the statue or image, and the contact was eye-to-eye. I still have a suspicion that this had a part to play in the writing of the sadhanas we now use, but we may never know. :)

Here is a link to the book I mentioned: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0415 ... sib_rdr_dp

This link leads to a very pertinent exposition on the use of 'visual' and 'visualisation' in the context I was exploring:

http://www.shinzen.org/shinsub3/artZenSemantics.htm

I believe HYT-style self-generation goes back to at least the 7th or 8th century but I'd have to double check. Was your book claiming it was more recent than that? Thanks for the quote, btw.

-Brian


Last edited by Pema Rigdzin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:21 am 
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Laura wrote:
Hi Pema,

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're expressing that the visualizations can encompass a variety of sense-consciousnesses and that it's specific to the sadhana and the instructions from the guru. Am I understanding you correctly?

Laura,
Each tradition bases its approach to generation stage on one or more root tantras, i.e. the Guhyagarbha of the Nyingmapas. Such tantras lay out the fundamental aspects of all HYT generation stage sadhanas. All such sadhanas follow a basic format(even if aspects of it are only implied in the liturgy), but for the details of how to visualize/contemplate the practices of that format in any given sadhana, one has to learn the details from the lama.

Laura wrote:
This has been my experience, as some empowerments may include a blessing and mantra transmission, some may include blessing and mantra and a sadhana given out at the end, and if one is inclined to engage in higher tantra and receive extensive training on a sadhana, then we're instructed down to the detail how to do each part. And we practice it under that teacher's instruction (as in a retreat setting).

So the specifics of what to visualize and how will be particular to what we've received and how we've been instructed. Just bouncing back here, to be sure I understand what you mean :)

Kindly,
Laura

This is kind of complicated because there are empowerments(wang) and there are blessings(jin lab) and there are permissions(jenang) and to the untrained eye they can be hard to distinguish. Sometimes a tradition only has a blessing or permission for a certain deity's practice and sometimes it may have an empowerment, a blessing ceremony, and a permission ceremony for the practice. Which one the lama gives at any given time is up to his/her skillful means. Also, even some actual empowerments are much more elaborate than others. If the lama has decided to give the actual empowerment, he/she may not have time to give the reading transmission and explanation at the same time, or there may be some other reason not to. For instance I've often wondered, when lamas give several empowerments back to back but not the reading transmissions and explanations, if they are giving the main part and leaving it up to us to determine which of those practices we're drawn to and setting it up for us to approach them or another qualified lama for the lung and tri. I don't know. Sometimes lamas also allow the sadhana to be distributed even if empowerment but no lung or tri was given, and sometimes I've barely noticed that the lung was given and the tri was short and sweet, giving us enough to get started and then ask questions later as they arise.

-Brian


Last edited by Pema Rigdzin on Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:18 am 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
I am conversant with the practices and the role of the guru. I am not concerned here with a misunderstanding of the practice, but the reason behind the often extensive descriptions of what we are to 'see', for example in terms of the guru, throne, mandala, body mandala etc. and hardly any guidance on what else we should bring to mind.

Yeshe,
Where concise sadhanas are concerned, often a very minimal description is included in the sadhana itself and therefore a background knowledge in the general features of generation stage practice is assumed, as well as the practitioners' having received the explanation from the lama. So, it's not that anything's left out of the practice, just out of the liturgy. Medium and longer sadhanas are often more descriptive, though they similarly presuppose the above-mentioned background knowledge and the lama's explanation.

Yeshe wrote:
The sticking point here is obviously one of vocabulary, and in your post you found it necessary to explain that your words did not mean what most dictionaries accord them. I think the other words you use such as 'bring to mind' or 'directing one's attention' and ' conceptualise' demonstrate that the word 'visualise' is a poor one for the practices. I think you are addressing ingorance of the practice rather than the paucity of vocabulary to describe it.

Not sure what you mean. I'm also unaware of a better word in English, since none rally seem to truly capture all the aspects of generation stage fully. Therefore, I think that if one receives the necessary explanation and teachings from the lama, and thus comes to know what the practice entails, then vocab is not a big deal.

Yeshe wrote:
I've sat with quite a few lamas - the extent to which nuances are conveyed is sometimes dependent on their ability to convey such things in English (or the accuracy of the person translating). Sadly, I don't speak Tibetan, which is why I raised the question of the original Sanskrit and whether the word 'visualisation' may not be the only translation.

Yeah, the language barrier can make things difficult. I don't speak much Tibetan either, so I'm extremely fortunate that my lamas speak English pretty well.

Yeshe wrote:
It may also be the case that colourful pictures are a good aid to memory. This obviously begins with the deity's body, clothing and ornaments, posture, mudra etc., mandala, retinue and so on.

To understand this stuff, it's really beneficial to receive the lung for the primary tantra that explains your tradition's approach to generation stage and then study it under a qualified lama's guidance. For instance, in the Nyingma tradition, our approach is based upon the Guhyagarbha tantra, so that is a major text many of us study. There are also commentaries on these types of tantras and on the general approach to generation stage in each tradition. They will make so much of this stuff clear.

Yeshe wrote:

I'm unsure what you mean by ''the mental consciousness can observe it's own mental events'' as this would seem to imply a duality.

I mean that as thoughts and emotions bubble up and do their thing in one's mind, one can observe them. There is indeed a duality here, as there is any time there's a "watcher" and a "watched," both implicit in ordinary mind. However, there are instructions that take one past the point of just observing these mental events to a point at which watcher and watched both dissolve and nonduality is naked "experienced," for lack of a better word. You may have received thee instructions; if not, I'll leave it to a qualified lama to explain.

Yeshe wrote:

I was reading a history book the other day, and it was clear that 'self-generation' is a relatively recent practice. Prior to that, the 'in front' generation and use of statues was not dissimilar to the Hindu 'darshan' I mentioned, where the contact with the deity is through an imputation of the deity within the statue or image, and the contact was eye-to-eye. I still have a suspicion that this had a part to play in the writing of the sadhanas we now use, but we may never know. :)

Here is a link to the book I mentioned: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0415 ... sib_rdr_dp

This link leads to a very pertinent exposition on the use of 'visual' and 'visualisation' in the context I was exploring:

http://www.shinzen.org/shinsub3/artZenSemantics.htm

I believe HYT-style self-generation goes back to at least the 7th or 8th century but I'd have to double check. Was your book claiming it was more recent than that? Thanks for the quote, btw.

-Brian



I understand what you mean, and also the teaching within which 'they become non-dual' .

In the case of one HYT empowerment and the extensive sadhana, after the empowerment itself I took around 50 pages of handwritten notes 'live' to accompany a printed commentary of around 400 pages. In adition to that,there is instruction on the use of vajra, bell and damaru, not to mention mudras, all in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I am still asking questions and making notes, of course. LOL :)

However, accepting all of the above, I still believe that there is an inherent bias in favour of sight.. I agree that we are to impute and understand the process from the basis of what the root guru teaches us, and also understand that even some of the visual aspects of a visualisation are also to be imputed. It is also impossible for anyone to ever be absolutely sure; even at a mundane level, the colour blue one person sees is not necessarily the same as the blue anopther sees, even though they may agree to call their separate visions 'blue'.

I would have to buy the book to dig out the exact date asserted for the first record of 'self-generation', as the tasters on Amazon don't allow much searching. I read the section I mentioned in a bookshop - cheeky but free. The important point is that it appeared later than 'in front' generation, and may be considered either as a refinement, a development, or indeed a wise and carefully-timed revelation of a higher level of tantric experience. In self-generation, as you say, we are to regard all experiences as 'aspects' of the deity - the 'vajra body aspect, sound as the vajra speech aspect (all sound as mantra), and all thoughts or movements of mind as the vajra mind..' (to quote from your answer to Laura).

That was the context of my OP, and I guess I'll leave it with two comments I received from a quite senior lama: 'Don't know.' and 'Doesn't matter'. LOL :)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Yeshe wrote:
In the case of one HYT empowerment and the extensive sadhana, after the empowerment itself I took around 50 pages of handwritten notes 'live' to accompany a printed commentary of around 400 pages. In adition to that,there is instruction on the use of vajra, bell and damaru, not to mention mudras, all in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I am still asking questions and making notes, of course. LOL :)


I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for (this kind of) vajrayana :)


Kind regards


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:22 pm 
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TMingyur wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
In the case of one HYT empowerment and the extensive sadhana, after the empowerment itself I took around 50 pages of handwritten notes 'live' to accompany a printed commentary of around 400 pages. In adition to that,there is instruction on the use of vajra, bell and damaru, not to mention mudras, all in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I am still asking questions and making notes, of course. LOL :)


I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for (this kind of) vajrayana :)


Kind regards



I've seen complete beginners at HYT empowerments. If someone is not ready for, say, Vajrayogini HYT practice, they should not enter into the commitments. They may regard it as a blessing, perhaps bringing them closer to the guru and practice in the future.

Even if they regard the empowerment as a permission, receiving it does not indicate their personal readiness.
I would rather see empowerments given at a time when the guru feels the disciple is ready, not when thousands have 'bought' into an event.

It's a bit 'cart and horse' sometimes in the West, where some choose to give empowerments like Kalachakra to thousands at a time and, as Pema said, several empowerments in succession.

The empowerment I mentioned is part of very extensive preparation. Retreats also may require completion of 100,000 or more mantra recitations etc.

I can't see any point in entering HYT half-heartedly, but lay practitioners, particularly householders, face many challenges in simply creating the time.

Having said that, Tantra is not about intellectualism, and everyone can find their own pace for this lifetime! :)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:39 am 
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TMingyur wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
In the case of one HYT empowerment and the extensive sadhana, after the empowerment itself I took around 50 pages of handwritten notes 'live' to accompany a printed commentary of around 400 pages. In adition to that,there is instruction on the use of vajra, bell and damaru, not to mention mudras, all in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I am still asking questions and making notes, of course. LOL :)


I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for (this kind of) vajrayana :)


Kind regards


TMingyur, you say this very often, both here and on another site, and it always puzzles me. Since Vajrayana only consists of Kriya tantra, Charya Tantra, Yoga tantra, and Anuttarayoga tantra(which includes Dzogchen and Mahamudra), what are you thinking of as "Vajrayana" that you do "have the capacity" for? Also, Vajrayana is said to be for those who are intelligent and have plenty of mental & emotional afflictions. Now, you're definitely intelligent, and I'm only assuming you're not too different from the rest of us as far as afflictions, so it seems like you definitely have the capacity. Do the generation and completion stages just not appeal to you?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:25 am 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
In the case of one HYT empowerment and the extensive sadhana, after the empowerment itself I took around 50 pages of handwritten notes 'live' to accompany a printed commentary of around 400 pages. In adition to that,there is instruction on the use of vajra, bell and damaru, not to mention mudras, all in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I am still asking questions and making notes, of course. LOL :)


I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for (this kind of) vajrayana :)


Kind regards


TMingyur, you say this very often, both here and on another site, and it always puzzles me. Since Vajrayana only consists of Kriya tantra, Charya Tantra, Yoga tantra, and Anuttarayoga tantra(which includes Dzogchen and Mahamudra), what are you thinking of as "Vajrayana" that you do "have the capacity" for? Also, Vajrayana is said to be for those who are intelligent and have plenty of mental & emotional afflictions. Now, you're definitely intelligent, and I'm only assuming you're not too different from the rest of us as far as afflictions, so it seems like you definitely have the capacity. Do the generation and completion stages just not appeal to you?


See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:45 am 
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TMingyur wrote:

See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

Kind regards


Hi.

I'm guessing you have no access to a guru at the moment for any Vajrayana, yet you write as if you 'know' what may be the outcome of your practice. if you don't mind me saying so, that's not only 'wrong from the perspective of Vajrayana', it is your choice to defeat yourself before you try. If you have passed an exam at school, or learned to drive a car, you'll know that a defeatist attitude is most harmful.

Nothing in Vajrayana is 'simply ritualistic', however of course there is a certain amount of effort involved in learning sadhanas and their meaning. The most important aspect is the experience of the mind, not what others may observe as 'external' actions.

I'm unsure why you think the self-generation experience will at best last for only a few minutes, and that this is the best one may hope for. I would see that as your starting point, not your goal. Whether monk, nun or householder, self-generation can ultimately lead to your whole waking and sleeping life being experienced as the deity, even the cooking and cleaning.

I don't understand the 'no other Vajrayana' comment. Are you judging Vajrayana from what you are reading here and in books etc. or have you tried to engage in the process? Some of the sadhanas are very short and simple - no need to launch into self-generation at all. The only prerequisite as far as I am concerned is to do so with a mind of compassion, so spending time in Lam Rim and Lojong is the context within which (I think) Vajrayana should be framed. And the really good news is that you can apply love and compassion throughout every minute of your householder's day. If you are able to hold that mind of compassion for some time then you are already well on the road to Tantra. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:08 am 
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Yeshe wrote:
TMingyur wrote:

See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

Kind regards


Hi.

I'm guessing you have no access to a guru at the moment for any Vajrayana, yet you write as if you 'know' what may be the outcome of your practice.

Well maybe, maybe not. I mean there are teachers who teach and some are giving what has been called "empowerments" ... every now and then. I even participated ... let's say due to some sort of reverence ... and also some portion of curiosity.

Yeshe wrote:
if you don't mind me saying so, that's not only 'wrong from the perspective of Vajrayana', it is your choice to defeat yourself before you try. If you have passed an exam at school, or learned to drive a car, you'll know that a defeatist attitude is most harmful.

Let's just leave it at that "I do not feel any inclination" ... so this again may hint at lacking capacity.

Yeshe wrote:
The most important aspect is the experience of the mind, not what others may observe as 'external' actions.

I agree.

Yeshe wrote:
I don't understand the 'no other Vajrayana' comment. Are you judging Vajrayana from what you are reading here and in books etc. or have you tried to engage in the process?

Please I do not judge! I am simply describing my subjective experience in terms of thinking about and feeling. The basis being both "reading in books" and teachings of some teachers.

Yeshe wrote:
Some of the sadhanas are very short and simple - no need to launch into self-generation at all. The only prerequisite as far as I am concerned is to do so with a mind of compassion, so spending time in Lam Rim and Lojong is the context within which (I think) Vajrayana should be framed. And the really good news is that you can apply love and compassion throughout every minute of your householder's day. If you are able to hold that mind of compassion for some time then you are already well on the road to Tantra. ;)

Oh yes I can sympathize with what you are saying about "Lam Rim and Lojong" and "mind of compassion". Although I do not feel to be on the "road to Tantra".
Please don't understand my subjective attitude as critizism. It is really just displaying my capacity.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:50 am 
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TMingyur

Of course, I respect your decision, but If you have attended classes, received teachings and empowerments and read books, then I'm sure you have time to try the practice, even if it means less of the other activities.

I don't think you can determine your 'capacity' until you have given Tantra a reasonable amount of time.

Good luck with your practice, whichever direction it takes.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Hi TMingyur, I find your words very interesting about your capacity or inclinations. I appreciate you sharing the personal experience.
So long as you keep your mind and heart open, I'm sure you'll continue to do what's right for you at any given time.
Just my two cents :)

Best,
Laura


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:16 am 
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TMingyur wrote:
See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

Kind regards


TMingyur, yeah there's no Vajrayana aside from the two stages; as far as I know, most of lamrim is sutra, and lojong in the Tibetan traditions is only Vajrayana to the extent that one blends it with guru yoga; without the guru yoga, it's pretty much sutra. I think one could practice lojong just fine from a sutra approach. In any case, if you're just not inclined toward tantra, there's nothing wrong with that. There are many precious, worthwhile approaches to Buddhist Dharma aside from tantra. I wish you well with whichever one(s) you are inclined to practice.

I will say, however, that to say that Buddhist tantra is simply ritualistic is absolutely incorrect. It would be hard to find something that, even from a merely intellectual or cognitive point of view, were more profound - given that one knows all the how's and why's. Add direct experience based on this thorough intellectual understanding and it's all the more profound. Unfortunately, many people receive empowerments and sadhanas to attempt to practice but few ever get a chance to receive the guidance through the root tantras or their commentaries - or even extensive pith instructions - to understand how tantra even really works, so it's not surprising that people would have such a shallow understanding of it. Another area where Buddhist education is unfortunately lacking in the West is Abidharma. I say this because so many of Buddhist tantra's facets are antidotes to the samsaric version of the functions of the mind and body which are outlined in Abidharma.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:08 am 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

Kind regards


TMingyur, yeah there's no Vajrayana aside from the two stages; as far as I know, most of lamrim is sutra, and lojong in the Tibetan traditions is only Vajrayana to the extent that one blends it with guru yoga; without the guru yoga, it's pretty much sutra.

Hmh ... guru yoga ... I forgot that ...

Well in that case perhaps I do practice vajrayana ... at least a little bit ... :smile:

Kind regards


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:47 am 
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TMingyur wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
See if there is no other vajrayana than this then I open-heartedly admit that I do not have the capacity for vajrayana at all. No problem with that.
Reading Yeshe's description it is simply too much effort for what is simply ritualistic. Now you may say that my view is completely wrong (from the vajrayana perspective) then I would respond "Yes, but there is no other way I can see it and that proves that I do not have the capacity for this".
Also I do not want to spend time visualizing myself as deity knowing that the experience that may result at some time will last a few minutes at best considering the householder life that I am living.

Kind regards


TMingyur, yeah there's no Vajrayana aside from the two stages; as far as I know, most of lamrim is sutra, and lojong in the Tibetan traditions is only Vajrayana to the extent that one blends it with guru yoga; without the guru yoga, it's pretty much sutra.

Hmh ... guru yoga ... I forgot that ...

Well in that case perhaps I do practice vajrayana ... at least a little bit ... :smile:

Kind regards


Indeed. Lam Rim also places the spiritual guide at the centre, spending some time explaining how one is to rely upon the guru. Atisha, in the root text, also mentions making offerings in front of paintings and statues, and explains how best to enter the path of Tantra (Secret Mantra), which is why I mention it as a a good text to study:
http://www.lamrim.com/atishalamp/LampForThePath.PDF

Tantra is meaningless without having attained proper motivation, which is where Lam Rim and Lojong practices are helpful. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:55 pm 
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TMingyur wrote:

Hmh ... guru yoga ... I forgot that ...

Well in that case perhaps I do practice vajrayana ... at least a little bit ... :smile:

Kind regards


Hi, TMingyur.

Though it is one of many methods, I would have to say that Guru Yoga is at the very heart of Vajrayana practice.

:namaste:

M

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:54 pm 
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Pema Rigdzin wrote:
It would be hard to find something that, even from a merely intellectual or cognitive point of view, were more profound - given that one knows all the how's and why's. Add direct experience based on this thorough intellectual understanding and it's all the more profound. Add direct experience based on this thorough intellectual understanding and it's all the more profound. Unfortunately, many people receive empowerments and sadhanas to attempt to practice but few ever get a chance to receive the guidance through the root tantras or their commentaries - or even extensive pith instructions - to understand how tantra even really works, so it's not surprising that people would have such a shallow understanding of it.


:good:

I would think it would be wildly difficult to try to take on the sort of practice we're talking about without extensive, specific instructions. I guess people do it? But I think the practice would be so different.

TMingyur I do agree that there's a profound experiential piece to this picture. I'll go further to posit that it can't really be captured in conversation here but you might find yourself being moved in a different direction one day if you're drawn to doing guru yoga and you've received empowerments. Life surprises us sometimes! :)

But whatever roads you take I wish you the best on your path. I think it's cool that you know yourself enough that you're so directed. I've felt very much the same way, I set my sights and have been really persistent about the direction I've taken. As long as we're diligent and sincere with bodhicitta at the heart of our practice, the particulars of the practice are much more individual imho.

Just more two cents from me...

Kind wishes,
Laura


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:54 am 
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malalu wrote:
TMingyur wrote:

Hmh ... guru yoga ... I forgot that ...

Well in that case perhaps I do practice vajrayana ... at least a little bit ... :smile:

Kind regards


Hi, TMingyur.

Though it is one of many methods, I would have to say that Guru Yoga is at the very heart of Vajrayana practice.

:namaste:

M

Definitely. I can't speak for other traditions, but I know many Nyingma lamas of the past and present have said that guru yoga is the quickest and most profound path. I wouldn't be surprised if the masters of the other Tibetan traditions say the same.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:36 pm 
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The various "visualization" (in the sense in the OP) practices I've engaged in, basically all the senses are involved. The more one can bring all the aspects of the mind to bear on the object, the better.

~~ Huifeng

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