Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

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Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:26 pm

Evans-Wentz played a pioneer role in the study of the literature of the Nyingmapa and Kagyudpa schools and produced a series of early texts(1919, 1935) in collaboration with Tibetan Lamas who were familiar with the oral traditions. At that time European scholars had little knowledge of any Eastern literature or concepts. Evans-Wentz himself came from a background of Vedanta and Theosophy, and working under assumptions derived from these schools of thought subsequently led to many mistakes in his translations of the Tibetan teachings. He didn't know how to read Tibetan, never visited Tibet and never lived as a monk or under the guidance of any Lama. His letters and diaries only indicated a rather formal relationship with any Lama he worked with. The Tibetan texts he collected were roughly translated by the Tibetan Lamas who knew english and then those translations were further reworked and edited by Evans-Wentz over a couple of years. He approached the texts from the standpoint of modern neo-theosophy and occultism, Neo-platonic philosophy and modern popularized Advaita Vedanta which all erroneously led him to assert that the essential teaching of Dzogchen is the existence of a metaphysical entity which he called "the One Mind." And the purpose of Dzogchen was to somehow "merge" with this "Mind". C.G. Jung based his studies off of Evans-Wentz' information which led him to state that there was in fact nothing profound in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. He further evaluated the "findings" of Evans-Wentz, subjugating and comparing them to his own views which only served to proliferate the mistranslations. He grievously misunderstood concepts used in the teachings such as the Dharmakaya which he mistook for khunzi or "storehouse consciousness" which he equated to the unconscious in modern psychotherapy. He mistranslated Dharmakaya as the aspect of our minds which is able to retain vestigial imprints (memories) which then have the ability to subconsciously dominate our perceptions. And that the purpose of infiltrating this aspect of ourselves was to account for these subconscious perceptions so that they can be brought to conscious attention and therefore no longer act as subconscious projections. So he took the aspiration of attaining this state of "nonduality" (which he again misinterpreted as accounting for dichotomous conceptual extremes in our experience) for attaining some kind of perception-less state of unconscious blankness. He spoke of the Tibetan philosophies and teachings with great disdain and said they had nothing to offer the west.

I'm sure during those times the ripple effects of these awful mistranslations took a prominent place in the west's perception of these teachings. And I know times are now different with the large accessibility to proper teachings and Lamas who spread the true Dharma.

But I can't help to think that these early mistranslations still hold a place in influencing the perceptions of those who only study Evans-Wentz and C.G. Jung.

And I can't help but to suspect that there has been further mistranslations based on Evan-Wentz' and Jung's writings.

Not that they truly matter anymore due to the real teachings being readily accessible like i said but....

How much do you think these early mistranslations actually had/still have an effect?
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:00 am

I'm just trying to say that during that era, when the west's exposure to eastern thought was in it's infancy; mistranslated text like Evans-Wentz' which ultimately led to a prominent western psychotherapist like C.G. Jung denouncing the profundity of those teachings... has to have sustained some sort of residual effect in certain circles.

I mean, i commend Evans-Wentz for his effort and passion in translating those texts but they're ultimately wrong and spread falsity. And such an influential character like Jung deciding that the teachings were not credible or had nothing to offer and stating that to be so has to have had an effect.

I know my friend was learning of Buddhist philosophy in his psychology or philosophy class (one of the two) and it makes me wonder if he'd even be receiving credible information... if the information had been derived from Evans-Wentz or Jung's conclusions.

Ultimately it doesn't matter, those who take interest and seek the truth will find that in the teachings. But it's unfortunate that there's a possibility of someone thinking they understand what the teaching is about and even deciding it's not worth their time based on the conclusions of Jung, for example.
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby kalden yungdrung » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:12 am

asunthatneversets wrote:I'm just trying to say that during that era, when the west's exposure to eastern thought was in it's infancy; mistranslated text like Evans-Wentz' which ultimately led to a prominent western psychotherapist like C.G. Jung denouncing the profundity of those teachings... has to have sustained some sort of residual effect in certain circles.

Well like told before in those days it was a very special translated text, if we do it compare to the opinion of Freud. Yeh we have to see it in relation to. So it was for those days more or less "ok" . So you do compare it from anno data 2011, go back in time.....


I mean, i commend Evans-Wentz for his effort and passion in translating those texts but they're ultimately wrong and spread falsity. And such an influential character like Jung deciding that the teachings were not credible or had nothing to offer and stating that to be so has to have had an effect.
If i take a psychologist from today and i hear what he / she is telling or explaining about mind and the moment of the dying, then Yung' s translation or book is still great

I know my friend was learning of Buddhist philosophy in his psychology or philosophy class (one of the two) and it makes me wonder if he'd even be receiving credible information... if the information had been derived from Evans-Wentz or Jung's conclusions.
Well then he was lucky, because here in Holland don't they teach the Bardo States to the students. If they did so, then the science of mind would be looking more clear. Then Buddhists who are trained in the experience about mind could take over the job of the psychologist :D

Ultimately it doesn't matter, those who take interest and seek the truth will find that in the teachings. But it's unfortunate that there's a possibility of someone thinking they understand what the teaching is about and even deciding it's not worth their time based on the conclusions of Jung, for example.
Then they must meet a Dzogchen Guru, he/she will make it clear, i hope so. Besides that Dharma and especial Dzogchen is not understandable for everybody

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Last edited by kalden yungdrung on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:22 am

Also makes me wonder if such conclusions by Jung were projections of his own 'shadow' (which was what his own work was based on). I remember another story about Jung i read, about an entry in his personal journals where he had been asking around in the 'metaphysical' community to see whether anyone knew of someone 'who truly knew themselves'. He wrote that someone told him there was a man in India by the name of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi who knew himself, and that he should go there. But Jung said he never went, because he was afraid of what he might've found out.
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby tobes » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:18 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
But I can't help to think that these early mistranslations still hold a place in influencing the perceptions of those who only study Evans-Wentz and C.G. Jung.

And I can't help but to suspect that there has been further mistranslations based on Evan-Wentz' and Jung's writings.

Not that they truly matter anymore due to the real teachings being readily accessible like i said but....

How much do you think these early mistranslations actually had/still have an effect?


Jung is one of the last in a long line of German thinkers to have profoundly misunderstood Buddhism. To what extent do these misunderstandings still have an effect? I would say that the residue still remains, and is operative in people who do not actually investigate Buddhism and only gain a superficial understanding via European sources like Jung or Weber, or via cultural sources.

But one thing I've learned: everyone misunderstands everything all of the time.

Human life is basically just a symphony of uninformed and dubious opinion. And yes, I include myself in that category.

:anjali:
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:41 am

tobes wrote:Jung is one of the last in a long line of German thinkers to have profoundly misunderstood Buddhism.


I wouldn't say he misunderstood Budddhism - I'm not sure he ever tried to understand it at all. What he was interested in was finding 'evidence' to support his view of all 'religion' being a vessel for individualtion - in other words, what he was into was the manipulation of various 'religious' or 'spiritual' doctrines in such a way that they fit the pattern he created.
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .
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Re: Erroneous views on Dzogchen of W.Y. Evans-Wentz and C.G.Jung

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:34 am

Off Topic Blavatsky posts have been split:

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=2990
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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