My filled Tara statue (questions)

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My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:53 am

When I began practicing Tara, I felt like it was incomplete without a statue, so I bought one and had it filled.

From a Dzogchen perspective, what are some thoughts on how my relationship should be to this Tara? She is in a small red cabinet I painted and hung a yellow silk backdrop in. The doors are usually closed, but every now and then I open them and fill the water bowls, light the candle and some incense and do Tara practice in front of it with a feeling that I am really connected. Much of the time, however, I don't do this. In fact, for a long time after discovering Dzogchen, I didn't even fill the water bowls because I was trying to focus on the Dzogchen view and it felt confusing to do both. Now, it is less confusing, so I try to do both, but often in the morning I just fill the bowls and don't light a candle or incense. I fill the bowls with the intention of bringing myself closer to the Buddhas in order to help all sentient beings and then I get ready for work and then I often do Tara practice on the subway during my commute. I have my mala in my coat pocket and it's very easy to get in a half hour of practice while to everyone around me, it just looks like I'm asleep or resting. Anyway, my point is that I haven't ever forgotten about Tara or anything like that, but I don't open the Tara cabinet everyday and do prostrations, etc.

Does anyone know what Namkhai Norbu or any other Dzogchen masters might have said regarding filled statues? I don't get the feeling Namkhai Norbu is tied to maintaining an altar, especially with all his travelling, but I believe he has some filled statues around him at various places. I think I saw some up on a shelf next to his bed in on the Thun DVD and it looked like a small shelf with no water bowls or anything. I will pop that dvd in a bit later to confirm if I remember correctly...
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sönam » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:58 am

padma norbu wrote:I don't get the feeling Namkhai Norbu is tied to maintaining an altar, especially with all his travelling, but I believe he has some filled statues around him at various places.


He says, recently, in his last teaching, that it was not necessary to maintain an altar, that a statue of Padmasambhava was largely enough ...

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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:28 pm

Sönam wrote:
padma norbu wrote:I don't get the feeling Namkhai Norbu is tied to maintaining an altar, especially with all his travelling, but I believe he has some filled statues around him at various places.


He says, recently, in his last teaching, that it was not necessary to maintain an altar, that a statue of Padmasambhava was largely enough ...

Sönam
(nb : it was one of the two very last days, you can listen to the record)


But he also says that one should do whatever resonates with one. If one has no interest in a shrine, fine, no problem. If one wants a really unelaborate shrine, that's OK. Or if one wants to have a full-on traditional, elaborate shrine with statues and the seven bowl offerings, a butter lamp and incense, and amrita, rakta, and tormas, also no problem.

If someone feels inclined to the latter, I think it's very useful since while one is working to discover/get used to one's natural state, using a shrine as a support for generating merit in conjunction with that is very powerful: it's one method to ensure a precious human birth in the future with all the best circumstances for Dzogchen practice, such as health, long life, enough material support, and the freedom to practice.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:41 pm

Also, I think if you consider that any manifestation of Tara - your visualization of her; the naked perception of your filled & consecrated Tara statue, etc - is the embodiment of all your gurus and all wisdom beings as well as your own nature, then you're golden. In the end of your practice, you always release it all within the self-liberated view where everything resolves without contradiction anyway...
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:06 pm

Cool, this is about what I thought. Seems to be quite natural if you're just honest about what you're doing; ie. not worshipping a statue like a God that must be appeased or will turn on you like some hawaiian idol.

However, is there any sort of minimum commitment one must upkeep regarding a filled statue? I understand we don't need to maintain an altar, but if we already have a filled statue, is there really anything we should be doing?
I feel like it can go 2 ways:
1. either respect the vajrayana tradition of maintaining an altar, or
2. don't because you are not limited in any way.
I don't really think I can offend the Buddhas, but I'd hate not to fulfill some minimum commitment just for lack of research effort.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:21 am

padma norbu wrote:Cool, this is about what I thought. Seems to be quite natural if you're just honest about what you're doing; ie. not worshipping a statue like a God that must be appeased or will turn on you like some hawaiian idol.

However, is there any sort of minimum commitment one must upkeep regarding a filled statue? I understand we don't need to maintain an altar, but if we already have a filled statue, is there really anything we should be doing?
I feel like it can go 2 ways:
1. either respect the vajrayana tradition of maintaining an altar, or
2. don't because you are not limited in any way.
I don't really think I can offend the Buddhas, but I'd hate not to fulfill some minimum commitment just for lack of research effort.


If you create an altar out of the right motivation, whether weak or strong, there will be a corresponding urge to maintain it. Follow that urge, just don't go crazy with it, and you'll be fine. A shrine is functioning well if it turns your mind to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, peace and compassion, if it inspires reverence. For a shrine to function this way, periodic dusting and washing is in order, for most people.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:23 am

padma norbu wrote:Cool, this is about what I thought. Seems to be quite natural if you're just honest about what you're doing; ie. not worshipping a statue like a God that must be appeased or will turn on you like some hawaiian idol.

However, is there any sort of minimum commitment one must upkeep regarding a filled statue? I understand we don't need to maintain an altar, but if we already have a filled statue, is there really anything we should be doing?
I feel like it can go 2 ways:
1. either respect the vajrayana tradition of maintaining an altar, or
2. don't because you are not limited in any way.
I don't really think I can offend the Buddhas, but I'd hate not to fulfill some minimum commitment just for lack of research effort.


There's only one commitment, which is being respectful. As you've said, this is not because the statue is an idol we worship, but a symbolic representation of the Three Jewels and Three Roots. Beyond maintaining respectful thoughts, speech, and actions around such representations, if you wish to make offerings, doing so will only benefit you; but if you don't feel like making offerings, there's no problem. The best offering is the offering of your practice in any case.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:42 am

The doors are usually closed...
Why?
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sönam » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:34 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
The doors are usually closed...
Why?


not to be seen by anybody ... could create wrong energy.

About maintaining or not, as said, only the intention is important, otherwise a shrine is "only" another object, material stuff, it's only a reminder ... real shrine is immaterial. Life is a mandala, so wether it's about a shrine or the toilet seat, it's all about relation ... and energy.
You can have a material shrine and make immaterial offerings ...

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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:54 am

A Tara statue would create wrong energy???

A protector statue, okay, I can dig that, but a Tara statue???
Tara.jpg
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sönam » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:41 am

gregkavarnos wrote:A Tara statue would create wrong energy???

A protector statue, okay, I can dig that, but a Tara statue???
Tara.jpg


It is not the Tara statue that could create wrong energy ... but the one that would look at it with a wrong view (mental event). It's all about interconnection and energy.

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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:47 pm

I know this, but that means we should hide ALL icons, statues, texts, mala, etc... "just in case".
It seems to be falling into an iconoclastic mentality.
iconoclasts.jpg
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This raises a question for me: how many of you self professed Dzogchenpas DO NOT have an altar/shrine with icons, bells, vajra, statues, texts, etc...?
"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: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:51 pm

Generally all that material is kept hidden from the public view.
Dzogchen practitioners may have all those things. It's not that they don't practice tantra as secondary practices.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:00 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Generally all that material is kept hidden from the public view.
How do you hide a temple from public view? :shrug:
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:46 pm

I was thinking about our own little "home gompa"... not public temples. :lol:
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:05 pm

I know! But what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? So I hide my shrine items, but if somebody goes to a temple, whcih is a public space, how does one hide the contents of that so that they do not "create wrong energy"? Like I said before, with the protectors I can understand, and temples normally have seperate shrines rooms for their protectors, but for the rest?
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:11 pm

I keep the doors closed for the reasons said above and also because it is considered improper to be naked in front of the statue and since it's in the bedroom, we're always walking in after a shower and getting dressed, etc. Also, there is a feeling of something special happening when I open it. When you see something every day out of the corner of your eye, you lose that reverent feeling.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby mint » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:16 pm

padma norbu wrote: it is considered improper to be naked in front of the statue


Why is it considered improper to be naked in front of a statue?

I have a Bhaishajyaguru statue in my "bedroom." I really have no other place to put it as I live in a space which is one room. It is not consecrated or filled. There is always plenty of nakedness. Is this sinful?
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:18 pm

There is no place in Buddhism for sin. Leave your bagage at the temple door please! :smile:

Anyway, the Buddha used to hang with naked ascetics too, he probably practiced naked asceticism himself.
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby mint » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There is no place in Buddhism for sin. Leave your bagage at the temple door please! :smile:

Anyway, the Buddha used to hang with naked ascetics too, he probably practiced naked asceticism himself.


When padma norbu said "improper," "sinful" is what it sounds like even I know there is no sin. So, if there is no sin, how can it be improper?
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