Jes Bertelsen?

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Jes Bertelsen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:54 pm

There is a new book in English by this teacher: http://www.amazon.com/Essence-Mind-Approach-Jes-Bertelsen/dp/1583946152/

From: http://www.vaekstcenteret.dk/english.asp :
This advanced spiritual training is taken care of by Jes Bertelsen, whose Tibetan teacher, Tulku Urgyen, in 1989 authorized him to teach Dzogchen (an advanced form of meditation) from a western perspective and for westerners. Tulku Urgyen acknowledged Vaekstcenteret’s basic schooling as valid preparation for the actual meditative praxis.

I am curious, but there doesn't appear to be very much in English about him on the internet. Does anyone here have anything to say about him?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby heart » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:04 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:There is a new book in English by this teacher: http://www.amazon.com/Essence-Mind-Approach-Jes-Bertelsen/dp/1583946152/

From: http://www.vaekstcenteret.dk/english.asp :
This advanced spiritual training is taken care of by Jes Bertelsen, whose Tibetan teacher, Tulku Urgyen, in 1989 authorized him to teach Dzogchen (an advanced form of meditation) from a western perspective and for westerners. Tulku Urgyen acknowledged Vaekstcenteret’s basic schooling as valid preparation for the actual meditative praxis.

I am curious, but there doesn't appear to be very much in English about him on the internet. Does anyone here have anything to say about him?


I had the book in my hand two days ago and I was not very impressed, it was a mix of Christianity, Dzogchen and psychology in it. But it is true he was a student of Tulku Urgyen, checked that with other of his students.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby alpha » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:40 pm

heart wrote:I had the book in my hand two days ago and I was not very impressed, it was a mix of Christianity, Dzogchen and psychology in it.
/magnus


He is a christian born psychologist with a dzogchen perspective . :stirthepot:
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:17 pm

Lots of quotes from the book can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/Essence-Mind-Appr ... 583946152/

This one in particular I find strangely embarassing:

And being a Westerner, you must relate to our Christian cultural background-- and this is said frequently by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as by many others. We cannot act as if we had grown up in a Buddhist society. If we do that we cut off our Christian roots-- the entire archetypal level. Jung put it this way, "anima naturaliter christiana", which means: the Western atheistic soul is at the deeper, archetypal level Christian. This also is an insight that we cannot just throw overboard. We must relate to it.


So, who is the 'you' here? An average 21st c. European? Then is there really any sound reason to claim that he or she is Christian? Similarly, who are the 'we'?

Then there's that load of cobblers about 'our Christian roots'. So if 'we' are European atheists, are 'our roots' still Christian? Even if 'we' are Christian, are 'our roots' specifically Christian?

And, the cherry on top, Jung's statement that 'the Western atheistic soul is at the deeper, archetypal level Christian' - and the authoritarian comment that for some inexplicable reason Jung's remark 'is an insight that we cannot just throw overboard' but instead 'must relate to'.

How come 'our' - again, European? Western? what does that 'we' mean here - 'entire archetypal reason' is Christian? How could the deep structure (presuming one finds sufficient reasons to believe there's any 'deep structure' to it) of 'our' sensibility in the West be Christian?

Really, there are already way too many assumptions, generalizations, cannots and musts in the brief fragment quoted - one need not even mention Jung with his whacky but oh-so-lovable theories that are just about as scientific as the belief in the man on the moon.

I can't help wondering, how can a Dzogchen teacher rely on the views of a guy who claimed that the 'Eastern soul' is substantially, essentially different from the 'Western one', which is why no 'Buddhism' could ever be 'understood', let alone properly practiced, by Westerners? And how can a 21st c. Dzogchen teacher who is also a psychologist rely on Jungian theories with all their gross inaccuracy, their misrepresentations and blatant prejudice?
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:33 pm

OK, thanks for the info. I was also put off by the Christian stuff. Having been raised as a Jew and having basically no connection or affinity with Christianity whatsoever, I find it kind of hard to believe that my "soul is at the deeper, archetypal level Christian."
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Anders » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:55 pm

maybe worth asking erik pema kunsang about this. Also danish and a student of Tulku Urgyen.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Otsal » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:33 pm

What on earth was Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche thinking when he not only authorized Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen, but told him to do so in a way suited to his own culture? ;)

Or: isn’t it amazing how Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s students and sons are instrumental in bringing the Dharma to so many people around the world in such diverse ways?

Let me begin by making clear that I do not represent Bertelsen or his community, nor the publisher, and have no interest in debating the merits of his approach. We can better use our time to practice in accordance with the instructions of our teachers.

A quote from the foreword to Bertelsen’s book that explains a bit about the audience for whom this is intended:
“. . .The Essence of Mind . . . can be seen as an open introduction to Jes Bertelsen’s perspective on the path from ordinary mind to the nondual, enlightened essence. The text discusses training in meditation and wordless prayer in a language familiar to most Western readers. This distinguishes it from [his] subsequent books that deal more explicitly with Dzogchen. Through its undogmatic, open approach, based on the author’s own experience, the text sheds light on foundational meditation practices that can uncover the source of consciousness: the essence of mind.”

Bertelsens presentation of an approach towards recognition of the nature of mind, his version of the preliminaries you might say, is certainly unorthodox – it is not Buddhist but “open” as he himself says. People who regard him as their teacher have diverse backgrounds and affinities. A minority are Buddhist in any strict sense. More identify as Christians, some also incorporating Orthodox Christian practices in their spiritual training. Some have been students of Osho/Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh. It is a very diverse community of about 1000 people, mostly Danes and a fair number of Norwegians. It has existed since 1982 and is thriving. There is some general English language information about Vaekstcenteret, as the community is called, on their homepage.

Borrowing the useful distinction made by Malcolm, it can be said that Bertelsen teaches Dharma, not Buddhism. He teaches Dzogchen to the extent that his students are able to receive what he has to offer – thanks to Tulku Urgyen and the lineage of realized masters, as he always reminds everyone – and he does so in a most rigorous, uncompromising, and clear way. His approach is not a “Dzogchen lite”.

As to more information: the foreword and particularly the 25-page appendix of The Essence of Mind contain a fair bit. If you read German, a number of Bertelsens key texts have been translated and published in Germany by Opus Verlag. There is a two volume “Sammelausgabe”, Das Wesen des Bewusstseins, which contains, among other things, an earlier translation of the book under discussion here, as well as five other books. Together, Bertelsen himself considers these six to form a single series of core works on the nature of consciousness (hence the title). The earliest of these works was originally published in 1983. For those with a deeper familiarity with Dzogchen, Das Fliessende Licht des Bewusstseins (orig. 2008) is perhaps the most interesting and is contained in Bind 2. None of these have appeared in English.

On the “Autoren” page of Opus you can also find a few pieces, in German, that give some details of Bertelsen’s life story and the development of his authorship, the approach to preliminary practices developed by Bertelsen, as well as extensive interview excerpts that also form the core of the appendix of The Essence of Mind. Otherwise, like Bertelsen’s teaching, it is all in Danish.

Magnus, vajra brother: If and when you read the book, I’d be interested in your response to it. Until then, not so much :) In case you are wondering about it, like Anders just suggested, perhaps you should ask Erik specifically about Bertelsen’s authorization level and what Tulku Urgyen instructed him to do. He knows first hand. Not that that would or should change your (or anyone else's) feelings about the compatibility between Bertelsen’s way of presenting a path towards recognition and your own inclinations and beliefs. But it might clarify his relationship to the lineage for you –perhaps that would be of some benefit.

Long post from a long-term lurker. I hope this is of some use.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Fa Dao » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:10 pm

Correct me if I am wrong but aren't the Dzogchen Teachings supposed to be beyond cultural and religious trappings? So then why put a christian overlay to something that goes beyond culture or religion?
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:48 pm

Otsal wrote:What on earth was Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche thinking when he not only authorized Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen ...

Thanks for posting. I guess I would like to see some independent corroboration of this authorization, or at least some details about it. Is there any more information about this in his Danish or German books?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Otsal » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:40 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Otsal wrote:What on earth was Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche thinking when he not only authorized Bertelsen to teach Dzogchen ...

Thanks for posting. I guess I would like to see some independent corroboration of this authorization, or at least some details about it. Is there any more information about this in his Danish or German books?


You're welcome, Dzogchungpa. And indeed, it is wise to seek independent corroboration. I did so myself and have received it from a number of people who were very close to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche including some who were present at key meetings between Tulku Urgyen and Jes Bertelsen, including Erik Pema Kunzang who was the translator during their final meeting in 1995. Perhaps Magnus will be able to come back with a response from Erik at some point.

Bertelsen has written about his first meeting with Tulku Urgyen (when Andreas Kretschmar translated) in a few places, most extensively in Bevidsthedens flydende lys (The Flowing Light of Consciousness). Here's what it says there in my own quick translation from the Danish:

(p. 62 ff.) "I would not have dared nor been able to carry out the following attempt at a deeper investigation of Longchenpa’s fundamental concepts and time-transcendent Dzogchen without having met Tulku Urgyen and without the instruction in Dzogchen that I received from him. It feels appropriate, therefore, to say a little about this meeting.

It took place in 1989 during a trip to Nepal with a couple of friends. We were to visit a common friend who at the time was living in Nepal in connection with his humanitarian work. The idea was to see and walk in the Himalayas, to try and meditate in a proper cave, and to experience the Orient. My friend in Nepal insisted that I should also meet a Tulku he knew. This meeting took place at the beginning of our trip. At the time, Tulku Urgyen was staying at his small retreat monastery at Yangleshö, one of the most important pilgrimage sites connected with Padmasambhava. The monastery is located near the village of Pharping at the edge of the Kathmandu Valley on one of the innumerable foothills of the Himalayas, about an hour’s drive from the city. There is a cave here, where in the 8th Century Padmasambhava had sat in a longer retreat with his consort Sakyadevi. It is said that Padmasambhava had reached full enlightenment here, the tenth level or bhumi.
Tulku Urgyen himself had constructed the small monastery around the cave, so to speak, much like Francis had built his monastery around his cave on Monte Subasio outside Assisi. Tulku Urgyen had done a shorter retreat in this cave together with the 16th Karmapa before the monsatery was built. The Karmapa than asked Tulku Urgyen to construct such a building at Padma’s cave. And so he did.
When I first met Tulku Urgyen here and when he began to speak about practice – via a translator – I got the sense that this was a person who absolutely knew what he was talking about, and what meditation and consciousness were in the deepest sense. It was a feeling that was not only rooted in my heart, but could be sensed all the way down in my cells and bones. He explained to me that there was a way in Dzogchen to introduce nondual, enlightened consciousness. This is referred to as the pointing out instruction.
After this first, preliminary meeting I asked the translator whether I had understood correctly that Tulku Urgyen had offered to give me this instruction. And the translator answered calmly: yes, you just need to ask him for it tomorrow and he will point out your enlightened consciousness for you.
Honestly, I did not sleep much that night.
Throughout my entire life I had investigated the essence of consciousness both in theory and in practice. Through bi-directional practice I had every day for 15 years listened and tried to feel inwards towards the source of consciousness. And even though I had seen and experienced and understood much, there nevertheless was a boundary, a veil, a doubt or resistance that I had never managed to pass.
And now this Tulku claimed that he could introduce this enlightened consciousness directly. But what would be the price, if it actually succeeded? Would one die? Would the ”I” disappear entirely and would one then become insane or manic? Would it hurt? And what about my children, love, friends and work?
In the end I decided that this was a unique situation and I had to say yes, no matter what the cost might be, and try to practice as best I could during the process. Then I got a few hours of peaceful sleep.
The next day, October 14, the actual meeting took place. When I had asked Tulku whether he would point out the innermost essence of consciousness, he immediately began the proces: a description of the basic aspects of consciousness, the significance of the heart, about objectless dzogchen practice, that nondual, enlightened consciousness is like the sun, and that dualistic mind and all ordinary experiences are like the rays of the sun. That consciousness and the mind always move with the rays, away from the sun. That Dzogchen was to turn oneself toward the source and to melt into openness.
And then the actual pointing out came.
And the gates of consciousness opened.
The thousands of situations where practice had met the boundary, the veil or doubt, all arose at once, and like a domino effect the barriers collapsed and released the congealed energy as flowing light. Light and energy and bliss and love flowed freely through mind and body. And the distinction between mind and body and consciousness and Tulku’s consciousness melted away. A profound sense of ancient recognition. Streams of grateful tears; cascades of the laughter of realization. And simultaneously with all these waves and streams of insights and realizations, consciousness somewhere remained unaffected and allowed that whatever manifested dissolved of its own accord back into the source; a natural state of apperceptive openness and unlimited freedom. This unbroken apperceptive unity with Tulku Urgyen’s enlightened consciousness lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour. Nuclear fusion.

This meeting set in motion a process that lasted for more than two years: every morning when I sat and practiced alone for a few hours, consciousness and the heart would open to the same streaming state of love and flowing light that was liberated from all form and all distinction in the open limitless unity of apperception.

It took two years to integrate this to such an extent that I felt ready once more to make the journey and meet Tulku Urgyen.
This meeting became just as powerful. Where the first had been about Dzogchen and trekchö, the second meeting concerned Dzogchen and tögal – the science of the fundamental structures of the visions. Tulku showed me again and again how in my practice I failed to distinguish precisely enough between the visions and the one who experiences. There was a subtle fixation on the experiencer.
It felt like a thousand-headed ego-dragon, where every practice conversation – and there were many – was about Tulku Urgyen, with a friendly smile and surgical precision, chopping the heads of the poor ”I”. Several times I had an almost irresistible urge to run off and head home. It’s a long way from Nepal to Nørre Snede.
Over the course of seven years I managed to visit and meet with Tulku Urgyen six times until his death in 1995.
He spoke of Longchenpa repeatedly and encouraged me – who at the time knew no Tibetan – to read and practice Longchenpa. Tulku Urgyen stressed that I should teach Dzogchen in my own way, so it fitted with Western culture. He gave me all this in his great generosity: feely.
Within the Dzogchen tradition it is said, that the recognition of the nature of mind happens in a meeting between a teacher and a student. There are two classical practice situations where this can happen. One of these is the pointing out instruction. And the other is an initiation, which has to do with the collapse of language.
This is supported by my own experience. Both in my own process and through the thousands of practice conversations I have had with people over the years about meditation, prayer, processes of the heart, neutral observation, bidirectional consciousness and Dzogchen.
In principle it is conceivable that someone might attain the nondual state on their own, but for most of us it is certainly the case that we need the dialogue, experience and feedback from an authentic teacher."
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:51 am

And being a Westerner, you must relate to our Christian cultural background-- and this is said frequently by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as by many others. We cannot act as if we had grown up in a Buddhist society. If we do that we cut off our Christian roots-- the entire archetypal level. Jung put it this way, "anima naturaliter christiana", which means: the Western atheistic soul is at the deeper, archetypal level Christian. This also is an insight that we cannot just throw overboard. We must relate to it.
Why shouldn't Europeans cut off their (imported) Christian "roots"? They managed to cut off their pre-Christian roots, so why hang onto the Christian ones? Unless he is trying to say that European archetypes only stretch back some 2,000 years and he wishes to deny tens of thousands of years of pre-Christian history? Many of the Christian archetypes (especially in Orthodox Christianity) go back MUCH further than 2,000 years. Anyway, it seems to me that Mr Bertelsen seems to be falling into the (common) error evident in all New Age writings: mixing and matching disparate traditions/theories in order to satisfy their personal tastes but doing service to none of them. But then again I have not read the whole book, and given the snippets displayed here, I severely doubt I will ever read it.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby heart » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:01 am

Otsal wrote:Magnus, vajra brother: If and when you read the book, I’d be interested in your response to it. Until then, not so much :)


Hmm, I am not going to read it since I found it rather strange and uninteresting. And Otsal if you are a vajra brother I think you can ask Erik or Andreas yourself. :smile: I asked someone who knows more to respond to this thread, lets see what happens.

/magnus
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:17 pm

Otsal wrote:You're welcome, Dzogchungpa. And indeed, it is wise to seek independent corroboration...

OK, thanks, that is interesting. I think I will read the book when I get a chance.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Dronma » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:55 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Why shouldn't Europeans cut off their (imported) Christian "roots"? They managed to cut off their pre-Christian roots, so why hang onto the Christian ones? Unless he is trying to say that European archetypes only stretch back some 2,000 years and he wishes to deny tens of thousands of years of pre-Christian history? Many of the Christian archetypes (especially in Orthodox Christianity) go back MUCH further than 2,000 years.


Good point! :twothumbsup:
For example, I am more related to the pre-Christian Greek roots. What can I do now? :tongue:
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby mantrika » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:11 am

Christianity is indeed an imported religion and only gained foothold in the late middle ages in many countries trough out europe.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:59 am

mantrika wrote:Christianity is indeed an imported religion and only gained foothold in the late middle ages in many countries trough out europe.
You mean central and Northern Europe, it entered Italy via Greece pretty early in the game. Right at its inception actually. But as an official state religion? That would be with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine around 300AD.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby jeeprs » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:25 am

He has a PhD in the History of Ideas from Aarhus University, Denmark


That is an important point. "History of ideas' is a distinct sub-discipline, usually taught in Comparative Religion departments. It explores some of the great underlying themes and ideas as they are expressed in various cultures and historical periods and is considered to have started with a book called The Great Chain of Being by Arthur Lovejoy, originally published in 1936. I studied it as part of a comparative religion degree, and am very sympathetic to that kind of cross-cultural approach, although I understand that not everyone is. But if the grand traditions are relating 'universal truth' then I would be inclined to say that none of them have a monopoly or exlusive rights to it, so I would rather hope that some of the same underlying ideas might be discernable in the different traditions.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby monktastic » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:10 am

Otsal wrote:...And the gates of consciousness opened...


Wow. That's the first in-depth description of a pointing-out instruction I've ever read. Truly fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for sharing -- I don't think I would have ever found it otherwise.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby LhodroeRapsal » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:25 pm

Hello

This attitude of being so skeptical from the outset in some parts of this thread seems unclear and unnessecary - even though I agree that emphasis on Christianity is strange because in the book itself it does not have this emphasis. It surely does not impose any Christian beliefs, it is more claiming the essence of all mystical systems is the same, but Bertelsen does often in his books point out at that the western mind in general is conditioned in another way than the Tibetan mind - and you need be aware of that especially because the preliminary practise of Dzogchen is created to fit the Tibetan mindset. Below the conditioning it is the same unconditioned essence. Why not read some of the book before judging, especially when it deals with such a controversial subject, such as changing the outer frame of teaching Dzogchen - it is mainly a book about the dualistic mind and its relation to the nondual mind than it is about Buddhism, Christianity or Jungian psychology.

I am rereading the book now. I read this book seven years ago in Danish (the book is originally from 1994), so now I am reading it in English both to refresh my memory and to see it with new eyes. I have been taught by Jes Bertelsen since 2005, and it wasn't before 2012 that I had my first deep encounter with the traditional Dzogchen teachings through Chökyi Nyima. This meeting, with Chökyi Nyima has changed and widened my perspective on Dzogchen further than I had before, I now feel a stronger connection with the lineage and the specific form of Buddhadharma as presented in Tibetan Buddhism (but I already felt it strongly but more vague). It has not, so far, made me think that what Bertelsen is trying to do in any way is wrong, just the opposite - because I found no inner contradictions.

There are some subjects I am reflecting more on now from my ten month travels in Nepal and India, matters I am not sure how it works out in the system that Jes Bertelsen has developed eg. at Bertelsens center there is no chanting, no rituals, no prostration, the buddhadharma is not taught directly, there are generally no ornaments, so it is very pure western to look at (or at least very pure Scandinavian) and the meditaionpractise is from the beginning much more focused on what is already there (more zenlike maybe) than what is typically the case in Tibetan Buddhism. Chökyi Nyima said something like; "even if people get a scent of the nonceptual mind through being introduced to it, like a through pointing out, most people cannot maintain it because they have the wrong view of themselves and the world". Bertelsen agrees upon the principle of emptiness and impermanence but he doesn't teach this as a view, at least not in the courses I have been with him. Probably the reason is that he does want to impose a belief (which it seems to be for many western Buddhists) - it has to be seen. And the preliminary practice also differs quite a lot, where at bertelsen center you work with the inner energy system, you do therapy, and you train your attitudes in your daily living- but you can question if this training is sufficient compared with the ngondro. But you can also question if the ngondro is adequate for a western mindset who didn't grow up in a tibetan context. It seems they start from different platforms even though they agree on the essence of the teachings, but the approach is in some ways different and yet it is not, because Bertelsen also tries to make the mind, the feelings, the actions in the world and the body more in coherence with the buddhanature.

I never really fancied this specific book of Jes Bertelsen that much. It is ok, but in my opinion he has written a number of other books on Dzogchen that are the better than this one. So I am curious why they chose to publish this book in English, and not the ones that for me seems to be dealing with Dzogchen in a more detailed matter. But maybe it has to do with that the publishers mainly wants to publish a book that is more general and easy to read (and then maybe later publish his more detailed books).

I think it is a very good and relevant discussion to look at if it does make a difference, regards to the training and teaching of Dzogchen, whether you are from a western country or from Tibetan culture. But this specific discussion doesn't take a lot of space in this book (so far, because I haven't finshed the book yet), it mainly deals with the authors experiences with explaining and training other people in how to unveil the dualistic mind, so that the nondual nature of the mind is introduced and recognized through a teacher, and stabilized.

I find it very interesting is too see whether Jes Bertelsen in his life time succeeds in giving a transmission to someone who actually realizes Rigpa. But without any doubt Tulku Urgyen has given Jes Bertelsen this permission, and actually asked him to to try to adjust the Dharma to the western (maybe specifically the Scandinavian one?) mindset. It has been confirmed to me by Erik Pema Kunsang and by Tulku Urgyens son Chökyi Nyima that Jes Bertelsen was given the permission to teach Dzogchen by Tulku Urgyen. I was told that Chokyi Nyima expressed, when he visited the center Bertelsen is leading, that he could feel that this center was a place of Dharma.

I am very curious to hear from people who actually reads the book (or tries to) to know what they think of the presented framework in the book by Bertelsen.
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Re: Jes Bertelsen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:02 am

OK, thanks for that. I haven't read it yet, but I plan to.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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