bjf77 wrote:With all that I said before, in my previous post....I have a sort of bone to pick.
Before I say anything though let me preface it with this:
ChNN is amazing!! His teaching is amazing (method and introduction).
The community though, in my very weak and humble opinion, could use some work. I came out here to Pasadena, CA, from SLC, UT (there are NO other D.C. members in SLC that I know of), alone for this retreat...and I guess I shouldn't complain, because I did come out to meet ChNN and receive teachings in person. However, the community has been quite oddly 'distant' overall. People have been kind, polite, and genuinely 'nice', but have remained at a distance from me (and I assume from other loners at this event). I have remained a loner the entire time at this retreat. I have attempted several times to try to start conversations to get to know people and start to 'experience' the Dzogchen Community. I have been a member since 2008 and this is the first time I have had the chance to interact and relate with other members of the community in person. I don't feel like I am socially inadequate or awkward. Maybe a bit shy at times, but I tend to be able to make 'friends' fairly easily and am able to carry a conversation. I feel like I somehow, somewhere, missed some 'boat' though. The longest conversation I had was about 2 minutes and everybody seemed interested in ending our little chat as quickly as possible. It just struck me as odd.
Perhaps, the issue is one of expectation that should be dropped....A close friend of mine, I talked to via the internet tonight about this topic told me, "it's a great time to experience working with your own condition"...TRUE! But I can't help but feeling a bit disappointed. This is suppose to be a community, it's very name is such, the Dzogchen Community. In my opinion, it doesn't feel much like a community, but more of a 'fend for yourself' 'feel/mentality'. Perhaps it's just the mixture of people at this particular area/retreat? I don't want this post to come across as harsh....I love ChNN, the teaching, and the Community (at least with my limited digital contact) and was hoping that the experience would be reciprocal from the community. Apparently, this is an issue that exists in my mind as it is a judgement, a part of dualistic vision, and should be dropped.
So, what am I going to do, besides be aware of the judgement, emotion etc... and let it self liberate? Well, if I am ever fortunate enough to be at a D.C. event again, retreat, teachings, practice, etc.... I will make it a point to find that loner or 'newb' and welcome him/her and try to help them get their bearings, answer questions, get to know them, even invite them out for a lunch or dinner (if appropriate for the situation) and be as much like a 'community' member as possible, because I don't want another to have the experience that I have had with something that is so dear to me. I would challenge all D.C. members to do the same.
Much Love, Light, and Bows....
It's partly your feeling of being a novice and wanting someone to hold your hand. It's understandable. We should help each other. Rinpoche is always saying we need to collaborate even to the point of supporting each other in retreats.
Having said that, I have been tight with different tight knit dharma groups for a long time. Overall, I don't like it. I've come to the point where I prefer to go it on my own. I am very thankful for ChNN's distant approach. The essence of the teaching, guru yoga and direct introduction is very brief and you get liberated with no ceremonies, donations, years and years of ngondros, group trips, endless socializing and a teacher that's always telling you what to do. I'm always a bit peeved by masters who spend far more time chatting and bossing people around their mundane matters than anything else in the endless job of suckup to get money for centers, not to mention intertwining themselves in your personal life, and creating tensions in relationships. There is a big problem of manipulation by masters who trade on their knowledge of methods. If you don't know any better, you might think it's worth everything you have to experience the heights of tantric practice. Then a master like ChNN comes along and just hands it over for nothing. You're liberated; now, go home.
You have to know these traditional Tibetan Buddhist masters are very clever, patient and ingenious in their methods of sucking you in. I should mention it's partly a cultural thing, where students follow masters sometimes from a young age and become like their children. Some traditional masters keep this attitude of father to the students. I don't think this translates well in the West. I saw one master get his ass handed to him for being a sexist on several occasions by women after he counseled them on cooking and having women only do the food service work at the center. Of course, he's only doing what he knows from Tibet, but he got it into his head that Westerers need Asian culture along with Dharma instructions. Screw that.
As you can see. Things can get very complicated. It can be better to have a simple American attitude of keep to yourself. ChNN dovetails very well with what we have here. I used to take it to heart that ChNN is mainly for Westerners and is not really "Tibetan" style. I've come to realize that Western style is more conducive to dharma than Asian culture. We have a spirit of independence and that is what the Muni wanted originally, as in the Rhino Sutta. Self-liberate your hurt feelings. Liberation is like growing up. Slowly, this generates amazing good karma and you will make all the right connections without trying, particularly with the dakinis, who make all the hurt go away.