pemachophel wrote:"The wisdom lamas want us to focus mainly on Dzogchen and Mahamudra these days."
The questions could be asked, "Which wisdom lamas, when, and to whom in what circumstances?"
Several of my Teachers emphasize working in the world for the sake of all sentient beings. In that case, good to have some tools in one's tool chest. Mantrayana provides us with some exceptionally powerful and effective tools.
Of course, one's Teacher may say when one is (or is not) ready to work in the world. Each one of us are on our own path.
Thanks for the "citation." It's an interesting discussion with many pros and cons. I have a friend who has spent most of 40 years (yeah, that's right -- 40 years) in retreat. He has no interest in learning activity pujas. From his POV, if one realizes, one will spontaneously benefit sentient beings. However, I have ngakpa Lamas who actively teach Their students (including Western students) how to make beneficial changes in other sentient beings' experience and do not see this as a lesser path. In fact, I think that we Westerners' focus on personal Enlightenment via Dzogchen and Chagchen can sometimes be counterproductive if not balanced by a very large dose of Bodhicitta. Think Garchen Rinpoche as one example of a Lama Who emphasizes compassion while still being a very high level Dzogchen practitioner/Teacher. Or consider the famous Phowa Lama, Ayang Rinpoche, Who is also famous for his ngo-tro (introduction to the nature of mind) teachings and abilities. Perhaps even closer to home, I think I saw an announcement that Lama Tharchin is doing a large Earth Wealth Vase consecration this coming weekend -- a great example of skillful means and compassion.
Also, mantrayana activities don't have to be over-the-top elaborate and difficult to learn/do. I've seen weather control based on a single stanza of the Sampa Lhundrubma.
Here's a little list of some useful activities that I personally think even modern Western ngakpas might profitably learn/use. Interestingly, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, a famous Dzogchen Teacher, teaches His students simplified versions of most of these in order to be able to "work with circumstances" as appropriate.
Phowa (for self, but also for others)
Ne-dren (a.k.a. Chang-chog) for benefiting the deceased
Bardo prayers for the dying and dead
Yang guk (Hooking wealth)
Tshe guk (Hooking life)
Sur-chod (Feeding hungry ghosts)
Riwo Sangchod (accomplishes many different activities depending on focus)
Naga puja (also for a variety of reasons)
Healing Chod (Such as chod with chang-bu gya-tsa and other such activity addenda)
Jin seg (Fire pujas for any and all of the four Enlightened activities)
How to use the various individual stanzas of the Sampa Lhundrubma
Of course, many (if not most) sadhanas have a lay-jor section where one develops the mantric power to accomplish various activities in the world.
More later. My next thun starts now.
Obviously everyone can't and doesn't need to be a ngakpa. However, for those who have the time and Bodhicitta, becoming such a community resource can be very beneficial for all involved. Personally, I think we need more such Western practitioners. Anyen Rinpoche in Denver and Loppon Rechung in Boulder, CO are both training groups of students to help with dying, death, cremation, etc. Tsewong Sithar Rinpoche is training a group of students to do healing via chod as well as help beings in the bardo through Ne-dren. Lama Dawa is training a group of students to do healing via Dorje Gotrab. Lama Dawa regularly teaches a range of mantric activities (re health, wealth, longevity, earthquakes, fires, weather) to help improve the experience of sentient beings. And Garchen Rinpoche sent out the word last weekend for His students to do certain prayers to help mitigate the ill effects of Hurricane Sandy.
I totally agree that one must first obtain some power of mantra through intense, prolonged practice before being able to make these practices work. No question about that. However, I think it's important to remember that the manifold skillful means of mantrayana are not just for personal Enlightment but also for working in this saha world.
While offering the hope of increasing wealth undoubtedly attracts people who might otherwise not be motivated to attend Dharma events, I can't believe that Tharchin Rinpoche's primary motivation in holding this upcoming puja is not to increase the yang wealth energy in the world on outer, inner, secret, and most secret levels. That the yang wealth energy in the world is declining during this degenerate age is quite apparent. Just look at the loss of money and property this last week with Hurricane Sandy. My local newspaper put the loss at $50 billion. To me, it's wonderful that mantrayana has methods to help slow and reverse this degenerate trend. That some people might also be attracted to the Dharma in general because of activities such as this is even more wonderful.
Now back to working on my own skill set.
The main meaning of Ngakpa is when our five root emotions radiates as Five Wisdoms, when the Subject, Object and Action dissolves into emptiness, becomes one single taste called Dharmakaya. Then you have been naturally enrolled as Rigzin ( Vidyadhara ), a true, genuine nagkpa with Boddhichitta intention.
Yudron wrote:Nice post.
I think four of Longchenpa's 30 verses of advice are relevant here"
"In public ceremonies you heal children or subdue demons.
You give your capabilities away to the crowd.
Because you really want food and money, your own needs cloud your judgment.
Tame your own mind – that’s my sincere advice."
"You think that you will enhance your practice by taking a partner
And transforming sexual energy in the context of the third empowerment,
But the path of non-retention has snared many great meditators.
Keep to the natural path – that’s my sincere advice."
"Countless books on divination, astrology, medicine and other subjects
Describe ways to read signs. They do add to your learning,
But they generate new thoughts and your stable attention breaks up.
Cut down on this kind of knowledge – that’s my sincere advice."
"You may think awakened activity means to subdue skeptics
By using sorcery, directing or warding off hail or lightning, for example.
But to burn the minds of others will lead you to lower states.
Keep a low profile – that’s my sincere advice."