My filled Tara statue (questions)

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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:42 pm

Hey, duders, just trying to be respectful of tradition. Don't point your feet at the statue, don't be naked in front of it. If you think I'm being a fool, please remember we are told to sit respectfully when we receive transmission and that includes not lazily lying there or pointing our feet or back toward him. Also, we are asked never to leave our dharma texts on the floor. Same thing.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:46 pm

mint wrote: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?
Go back and read this thread again viewtopic.php?f=66&t=5876&hilit=guilt#p66014 I mean you started it but it seems you didn't read it!
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:53 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: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?
:namaste:

Well, there isn't much one can do about it. Misconceptions about Buddhadharma are very common, even among practitioners. But people's needs to use a temple supersede the eventually hazardous aspects of potential misinterpretations, I guess.
I can imagine a Christian seeing the statue bellow and thinking "these Buddhists are depraved!"
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:02 pm

Well, you can't take everybodys delusion into account now, can you? Especially when in samsara ALL is delusion!
:namaste:
PS Just another depraved Buddhist!!! :rolleye:
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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 4:05 pm

:lol:
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby mint » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:12 pm

padma norbu wrote:Hey, duders, just trying to be respectful of tradition. Don't point your feet at the statue, don't be naked in front of it. If you think I'm being a fool, please remember we are told to sit respectfully when we receive transmission and that includes not lazily lying there or pointing our feet or back toward him. Also, we are asked never to leave our dharma texts on the floor. Same thing.


I hope you don't think I'm being critical of your decision to be respectful tradition, and I don't think you're a fool at all. If anyone is a fool, it's me since I don't even know what tradition states about such things nor do I have a shrine to care for. I didn't even know what a filled statue was until I googled it yesterday. I'm just asking, in general, where and why tradition states that these sort of things are inappropriate. And what, exactly, is the penalty, if any, for engaging in such inappropriateness?

[I can, of course, appreciate the notion that any "action" directed towards a statue or text implicitly suggests the state of our reverence for Dharma, and I can also appreciate the concept of a sacred space. Having traversed the Western religions, though, actions such as closing the doors so that "Tara" doesn't see you or your spouse naked sounds something like idolatry to me. I'm not saying it is - it's just, from my background and to these novice ears, that's the mental image that I get. It's the sort of reaction a Catholic might have towards a statue of Jesus or Mary, or the way a Muslim may react to handling the Qu'ran. Maybe it's just a basic human response to that which is perceived as being sacred and differs from individual to individual without it being quite so dogmatic as it sounds.]
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pero » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:28 pm

padma norbu wrote:Hey, duders, just trying to be respectful of tradition. ...

Good. I heard that if you have a consecrated statue you should consider it like there is a Buddha present in it so you should behave accordingly. In any case it's better to be mindful of these things because it doesn't cost us much to be respectful and there can be only benefit from it. It's why I don't want to have any statues though haha.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:02 pm

mint wrote:closing the doors so that "Tara" doesn't see you or your spouse naked sounds something like idolatry to me. I'm not saying it is - it's just, from my background and to these novice ears, that's the mental image that I get.


It's along the same lines as offering water bowls. A lot of vajrayana practice is almost like reversed from what it seems. That is why I stopped doing this sort of practice for a while when I learned about Dzogchen; because it was difficult to keep both views at the same time. It is difficult to maintain a Dzogchen view in everyday reality, I think. For example, in another thread, I mentioned demons and I got a PM right away telling me "it's all in my mind," yet he was willing to do a Sang ritual for me to help (which is nice.) There are some other things I would like to mention here, but they were learned at a retreat and I though I keep almost typing it, I can't deny that I keep remembering I was told, "we don't discuss what goes on here" at that very same retreat. I suppose by mentioning this fact, I have discussed it somewhat, but oh well. Suffice to say, there's more to be said about this inner/outer relationship.

I don't think Tara cares about seeing me naked. I think it is a cultural thing and a form of respect, so we don't just become casual about the Buddha in the bedroom. A consecrated statue is supposed to be viewed as a living Buddha or where a Buddha may reside.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby mint » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:29 pm

padma norbu wrote:I don't think Tara cares about seeing me naked. I think it is a cultural thing and a form of respect, so we don't just become casual about the Buddha in the bedroom. A consecrated statue is supposed to be viewed as a living Buddha or where a Buddha may reside.


"Buddha In The Bedroom." Sounds like a Tantric sex book title. Probably is.
We never want to become casual about that, now do we? :lol:

The idea of 'consecration' in Buddhism is new to me. As skillful means, I can see the value in it. It also seems unskillful, though, as it might lead to confusion regarding whether the object was actually imbued with any particular presence outside of the presence of our minds. It also seems to suggest a theistic impulse, too: namely, the idea that we're "being watched." I'm sure this is only a problem for those less experienced and knowledgable, though. I really have no basis to say otherwise.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:51 pm

mint wrote:
padma norbu wrote:I don't think Tara cares about seeing me naked. I think it is a cultural thing and a form of respect, so we don't just become casual about the Buddha in the bedroom. A consecrated statue is supposed to be viewed as a living Buddha or where a Buddha may reside.


"Buddha In The Bedroom." Sounds like a Tantric sex book title. Probably is.
We never want to become casual about that, now do we? :lol:

The idea of 'consecration' in Buddhism is new to me. As skillful means, I can see the value in it. It also seems unskillful, though, as it might lead to confusion regarding whether the object was actually imbued with any particular presence outside of the presence of our minds. It also seems to suggest a theistic impulse, too: namely, the idea that we're "being watched." I'm sure this is only a problem for those less experienced and knowledgable, though. I really have no basis to say otherwise.


This "it's all in our minds" stuff really has a way of confusing people in itself. It's not exactly accurate for our relative condition. I don't even think most of us can come close to really understanding this concept as anything beyond theoretical. In this relative condition, we have the delusion of self and other; also in this dimension are many other inhabitants (demons, animals, ghosts, etc.) including the display of the Buddhas who emanate for our benefit.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby kirtu » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:14 pm

padma norbu wrote:Hey, duders, just trying to be respectful of tradition. Don't point your feet at the statue, don't be naked in front of it. If you think I'm being a fool, please remember we are told to sit respectfully when we receive transmission and that includes not lazily lying there or pointing our feet or back toward him. Also, we are asked never to leave our dharma texts on the floor. Same thing.


This is of course the traditional way of behaving wrt Buddha statutes and scriptures, etc. We behave this way because they are actually manifestations of Buddhas. This behaviour is to maintain respect for the Dharma and to avoid the unintentional creation of negative karma. However in your house you have to decide what to do (certainly not putting scriptures, Dharma books or sadhanas on the floor or walking on them is good). Closing the shrine doors so that the Buddhas don't see you naked, etc. is traditional. But in fact they see you anyway. And they don't see negativity so their perception of you naked is pretty refined.

I have been told that this is more a Hindu thing to begin with although Buddhist couples being intimate will but a screen up in front of the Buddha. I have never been to a temple where the Buddha statue is closed off although they do exist in Nepal and Japan for sure. At a Zen monastery I went to, when the teacher gave teaching then the Buddha shrine in the hall was closed but that was to emphasize that the Buddha was present in the flesh.

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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby wisdom » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:45 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: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...?


I am only recently into Dzogchen, but I came to Buddhism in general as a result of studying many other traditions, I don't have an altar at this time but it doesn't bother me, I will probably eventually have one but only as a manifestation of skillfulness, in order to bring my physical surroundings and body into full participation. I've had altars of many kinds, made offerings of many kinds to many different kinds of gods and spirits, and held different views in regards to this.

This is just my opinion on the matter.

The purpose of an altar is to remind one of ones path. Its there to keep the mind focused on ones vows, ones intentions, ones thoughts. To remind one to be present. To remind one that Tara (if I understand her correctly) can bestow Wisdom, or that the Buddha is our own nature. The use of bells, vajras, and other ritual implements are there to remind us of the things which they represent. If we don't know what they represent then we are just blindly adhering to what amounts to orthodoxy. If we know what our alter represents, what each thing is a symbol of, we can use it as a tool to connect ourselves more deeply to those things. Its when we don't know, forget what they represent, or forget that they are symbols representing something and start to believe they really are the things in themselves, that we fall into error.

Being afraid of a statue seeing you naked or doing something else is cause for one to consider why one feels that way. If we start to close doors and veil our altar, we assert the view that there is a difference between this and that. That there exists some barrier. We are asserting the view that the natural state only exists in certain conditions, and not in others. This is the dual vision of pure/impure. Yet being concerned with how another person might perceive our altar could be different. In that case we veil the statue or things in question so as not to cause undue alarm, confusion, or in essence, suffering. We do it for the benefit of all beings, not because we adhere to a dualistic view about an object.

This doesn't mean that these things are just useless objects either, or that they have no spiritual power. When we visualize a Guru or Buddha, we make a connection with that Guru or Buddha. The same is true for objects and pictures. Where there is a statue of Tara, there is a connection to Tara. Whats happening when we have an altar is that we are bringing our physical body, our physical eyes, into the visualization process and into participation with the energy and beings in question. Now our body has a connection, our whole space, our house, and when we visualize it internally, our minds make that connection. When we say Her mantra, our voice and energy make that connection. Now we are connected to Tara, or the Buddha, and so forth on all three levels of Body, Voice, Mind.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pero » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:59 pm

wisdom wrote:Being afraid of a statue seeing you naked or doing something else is cause for one to consider why one feels that way. If we start to close doors and veil our altar, we assert the view that there is a difference between this and that.

Oh there certainly is a difference between this and that for most of us.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby wisdom » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:07 pm

mint wrote:The idea of 'consecration' in Buddhism is new to me. As skillful means, I can see the value in it. It also seems unskillful, though, as it might lead to confusion regarding whether the object was actually imbued with any particular presence outside of the presence of our minds. It also seems to suggest a theistic impulse, too: namely, the idea that we're "being watched." I'm sure this is only a problem for those less experienced and knowledgable, though. I really have no basis to say otherwise.


A consecrated object has a specific purpose, whereas an unconsecrated object might have many purposes or no purpose in mind. It is mental, but we have to recognize the power of our minds. Its true that mental things happen in our minds, but also its true that our perceptions of a thing change how that thing is perceived by others. Energy is real. If we consecrate an object for a purpose, and use it repeatedly for that purpose, it becomes imbued with a particular energy. This energy can be felt when walking into any temple or church, whether or not there are people there actively doing a ritual or mass. It can be perceived in places like airports, which are used primarily for one thing. It can be felt in hospitals, which people go to only for mostly one reason. Prisons, police stations, the DMV. When you walk into the home of a balanced and happy person the experience if far different than walking into the home of an unbalanced an angry person. Every place has its particular energy, and this is more focused (consecrated) depending on the consistency with which that place is used primarily for one thing, or imbued with a particular energy.

We should also consider that we ourselves are objects, and we ourselves become imbued with energy depending on our actions, thoughts, and feelings. This is more or less our Karma. When we cultivate Bodhicitta, we are consecrating ourselves to a particular and single purpose.

So in this case, referring also to the discussion on altars, a Tara statue consecrated for a particular purpose might be hidden from view when not used for that particular purpose, not becuase we assert some dualistic notion about it, but because it has been set aside for a particular purpose. In the same way one does not use an airport as the DMV. Its not because we make some distinction between the airport and DMV as being dualistic, they are both empty of self nature, but in a relative sense they are used for particular things in the phenomenal universe, and if we were to act as though they were not, we are not applying skillful means, trying to put a square peg into a round hole as it were. Its self defeating.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:45 am

padma norbu wrote:It's along the same lines as offering water bowls. A lot of vajrayana practice is almost like reversed from what it seems. That is why I stopped doing this sort of practice for a while when I learned about Dzogchen; because it was difficult to keep both views at the same time. It is difficult to maintain a Dzogchen view in everyday reality, I think.
What makes you believe that doing water bowl offerings is not a Dzogchen practice (ie not within the Dzogchen view)? In the Kagyu tradition we are taught that the goal of ALL practices is Mahamudra. Why is it not the same in Dzogchen?
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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 mint » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:47 am

wisdom wrote:
A consecrated object has a specific purpose, whereas an unconsecrated object might have many purposes or no purpose in mind. It is mental, but we have to recognize the power of our minds. Its true that mental things happen in our minds, but also its true that our perceptions of a thing change how that thing is perceived by others. Energy is real. If we consecrate an object for a purpose, and use it repeatedly for that purpose, it becomes imbued with a particular energy. This energy can be felt when walking into any temple or church, whether or not there are people there actively doing a ritual or mass. It can be perceived in places like airports, which are used primarily for one thing. It can be felt in hospitals, which people go to only for mostly one reason. Prisons, police stations, the DMV. When you walk into the home of a balanced and happy person the experience if far different than walking into the home of an unbalanced an angry person. Every place has its particular energy, and this is more focused (consecrated) depending on the consistency with which that place is used primarily for one thing, or imbued with a particular energy.

We should also consider that we ourselves are objects, and we ourselves become imbued with energy depending on our actions, thoughts, and feelings. This is more or less our Karma. When we cultivate Bodhicitta, we are consecrating ourselves to a particular and single purpose.

So in this case, referring also to the discussion on altars, a Tara statue consecrated for a particular purpose might be hidden from view when not used for that particular purpose, not becuase we assert some dualistic notion about it, but because it has been set aside for a particular purpose. In the same way one does not use an airport as the DMV. Its not because we make some distinction between the airport and DMV as being dualistic, they are both empty of self nature, but in a relative sense they are used for particular things in the phenomenal universe, and if we were to act as though they were not, we are not applying skillful means, trying to put a square peg into a round hole as it were. Its self defeating.


:good:

I don't disagree with you; however, the kind of devotionalism which I'm saying is unskillful - and I'm not implying that padma norbu engages nor anyone here engages in this type of activity in regards to their filled statues or shrines - is the devotionalism which leads to an overemphasized awareness of ego rather than a surrendering of ego. An unskillful person may look at a consecrated object and see their being as separate, profane, imprisoned, etc. thus centering on the ego. That would be the temptation for some people - maybe I'm including myself in that category - unable to engage in an abstract form of devotion which doesn't centralize inwardly, and why I call it situationally unskillful.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby padma norbu » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:53 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
padma norbu wrote:It's along the same lines as offering water bowls. A lot of vajrayana practice is almost like reversed from what it seems. That is why I stopped doing this sort of practice for a while when I learned about Dzogchen; because it was difficult to keep both views at the same time. It is difficult to maintain a Dzogchen view in everyday reality, I think.
What makes you believe that doing water bowl offerings is not a Dzogchen practice (ie not within the Dzogchen view)? In the Kagyu tradition we are taught that the goal of ALL practices is Mahamudra. Why is it not the same in Dzogchen?
:namaste:


I didn't say water bowl offerings weren't dzogchen practice. According to my teachers, there really is no such thing as "dzogchen practices." If anything, that's just a convenient term.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:37 am

mint wrote:The idea of 'consecration' in Buddhism is new to me.


Often one will see the names of Buddhist concepts and rituals translated using English religious jargon that originated in, or is at least most commonly associated with, Christianity. Without learning what is actually being referred to in such instances can be misleading to newcomers who might assume that the term means the same thing in the Buddhist context as it does in the more familiar Christian context. In the Buddhist context of filling a Buddha statue with mantras and other meaningful substances, consecration refers to taking the filled statue and reciting a liturgy and doing a visualization in which one requests that the respective Buddha come to take its place in the statue and remain there are an object of refuge through which one can generate merit. In other words, due to one's request, the wisdom deity manifests an emanation imbues the statue with its awakened presence, and this lends special support to one's practice of prostrations and offerings to the Three Jewels/Three Roots.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:53 am

gregkavarnos wrote: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...?


I put my shrine together when I first began practicing Buddhism, and along the way it has become more and more elaborate. It now features wisdom deity images, stupa, Dharma text, the 7 bowl offerings & butter lamp, some nice artificial flowers, amrita, rakta, and tormas, etc. The essence of my practice is now Dzogchen, but I certainly continue to prostrate to it and (occasionally nowadays, due to a combo of busy-ness and laziness) fill the water bowls and make the outer, inner, and secret offerings. At the very least I make all the offerings on tsok days and wheel days (as long as circumstances permit). My root lama emphasizes a strategy of descending with the view (i.e. bird's eye view) while ascending with the conduct; therefore such practice is in no way contradictory to Dzogchen practice, even if it is not absolutely essential.
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Re: My filled Tara statue (questions)

Postby Yontan » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:51 am

padma norbu wrote:From a Dzogchen perspective, what are some thoughts on how my relationship should be to this Tara?

From the Dzogchen perspective, there is no basis for relating to Tara. However, there is plenty of benefit from practicing the visualization, mantra recitation, etc., while also applying dzogchen teachings.
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