Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:24 pm

Regarding Orissa: Yes, HH Dudjom Rinpoche's refugee community (the ones who survived--many many died of tropical diseases when they descended into India) settled in the jungle of Orissa in the early 60's. There were a bunch of encampments there, including Kyabje Penor Rinpoche's community, and some Gelug camps. Each camp had a number. I understand that HH Dudjom Rinpoche's camp was mostly ngakpa families. You can read a little about it in Chagdud Tulku's bio "Lord of the Dance."

There is still a community there, but many families have relocated all over the world now.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby ngodrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:38 pm

Yudron wrote:Regarding the so-caled ngakpa vows, most commonly the "hair vows" of the Throma cycle: I think one takes vows because one support for one's practice, not because one has already accomplished the practice, eh?


Of course the ordinations in both Sanghas, red and white, are a method of practice.

And I think there's something to what J. Khedrup is saying, that if one is allowed into
the Sangha of Ngakpas, there's some sense that the practitioner has the capacity to
sincerely make the attempt. That said, it may be an overstatement to suggest that
already accomplishing it is a per-requisite.

Tantra, as a vehicle, does make certain assumptions however...
And I think this may be a confusion for some-- according to the nine vehicle presentation--
the Mantra vehicles are *not* a sub-branch of the Mahayana vehicle. Rather, they
are predicated on experience of the result of such "lower vehicles" to some extent.
That in no way diminishes the role of the three principles of the path as Lama Tsongkhapa
presents it. Everyone practices what they can, as best they can, we'd hope.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:51 pm

I remember reading in Chagdud Rinpoche's Lord of the Dance years ago that there was a controversy amongst the Nyingmapa settlers because some said a more famous terma should be propagated rather than a few small ones, in a time of limited resources and not enough unity. Does anyone remember which termas were vying for popularity at that time?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:19 am

Yudron wrote:Yes, one will encounter the view that monasticism is lower path for a serious practitioner, and thereare arguments to be made for and against that...

What would be the arguments in favor of this view?
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:26 am

tomamundsen wrote:
Yudron wrote:Yes, one will encounter the view that monasticism is lower path for a serious practitioner, and thereare arguments to be made for and against that...

What would be the arguments in favor of this view?


Tantra is the swift path to liberation and enlightenment and being a monastic keeps one from fully participating in HYT (i.e. consort practice) and is a drain on a practitioners time.

The first argument can even be said to originate from Atisha.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:39 am

kirtu wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
Yudron wrote:Yes, one will encounter the view that monasticism is lower path for a serious practitioner, and thereare arguments to be made for and against that...

What would be the arguments in favor of this view?


Tantra is the swift path to liberation and enlightenment and being a monastic keeps one from fully participating in HYT (i.e. consort practice) and is a drain on a practitioners time.

The first argument can even be said to originate from Atisha.

Kirt

Cool, that makes sense. Thank you :namaste:
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:19 am

Being a monk of course I have to question the validity of such arguments. The fact that HH Dalai Lama, HH Karmapa, the late HH Penor Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, the late HH Trulshik Rinpoche are all monks make me think at the very least it is not an obstacle to enlightenment. :namaste:

If it were honestly an obstacle to enlightenment then they would be accumulating faults by ordaining others as monks, so I find the argument rather unconvincing. The time argument also leaves doubt as generally (generally) people with families have more responsibilities than singles. Of course not all ngakpas are married, and the wandering yogi paradigm would mean you were free from the institutional obligations of a monastery which would free you up for practice. That makes sense.

The point about consort practice fits into what I was thinking before about those ordained as ngakpas being already quite advanced. From my Gelug and Kagyu teachers I have heard that in order to be able to use the union of the female/male energies for meditation one already has to be on a high level of realization. That otherwise there is a danger it could become common attachment.

But perhaps this is not the only reason for the ngakpa ordination, it seems that there are many other roles/benefits associated with it besides the consort aspect.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:20 am

JKhedrup wrote:Being a monk of course I have to question the validity of such arguments. The fact that HH Dalai Lama, HH Karmapa, the late HH Penor Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, the late HH Trulshik Rinpoche are all monks make me think at the very least it is not an obstacle to enlightenment. :namaste:

If it were honestly an obstacle to enlightenment then they would be accumulating faults by ordaining others as monks, so I find the argument rather unconvincing.


Also, according to a friend that is a Nyingma monk it is quite possible to do consort practice with a visualized consort, and this is anyway a lot more realistic than actually trying to find a really qualified consort which always been quite difficult I would say.

/magnus
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:30 am

This is also what I have heard from my Gelug teachers.

I also understand that the time when the interaction of male/female energies becomes useful is during the Path of Seeing, which is quite up there. Of course, this is a Gelug view so it might not be held across the board.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:00 am

JKhedrup wrote:This is also what I have heard from my Gelug teachers.

I also understand that the time when the interaction of male/female energies becomes useful is during the Path of Seeing, which is quite up there. Of course, this is a Gelug view so it might not be held across the board.


Yes, it is very advanced no matter how you look at it. However, if you are a layman it is better if we can at least try integrate everything with Dharma, even our sex life, but I wouldn't call that doing the practices of the third empowerment.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby ngodrup » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:41 pm

JKhedrup wrote:This is also what I have heard from my Gelug teachers.

I also understand that the time when the interaction of male/female energies becomes useful is during the Path of Seeing, which is quite up there. Of course, this is a Gelug view so it might not be held across the board.


If being on the path of seeing were a requirement, then it couldn't be a practice leading one *to* the path of seeing, and would be a fault
for those teachers who who give wangs. Now as I'm told my my Nyingma teachers who are Ngakpas, only high level Bodhisattvas actually
see the deities, yet we "ordinary beings" have this practice to purify our perceptions by way of practicing "as if" it were our actual perception.
And of course, it is really so, and only our faulty karmic perception is an obstacle. So this is the practice as well as the result, or more specifically
the practice *of* the result while still at "lower levels." I've heard Gelug lamas call this "simulated" pracitce. I think the presentation is different.
It would be very interesting to compare Ngakrim with say Rangzompa's presentation of deity yoga.

On the point of consort practice, I read H. H. Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche in a now out of print book speak of this along lines that
when one first starts out, the lama ascertains whether an external consort is required for the disciple's practice. If the disciple can
connect with qualities without a consort, no problem. But if the consort is required, the Lama finds the qualified consort for the student.
If that is the traditional way, then there's no difficulty finding the consort as it's not the disciple's job!
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:41 pm

It is said, one can come to enlightenment by focusing on compassion, and that eventually brings one to non-dual wisdom, or one can focus on these practices that bring about experiences (and one hopes eventually realization) of bliss-emptiness and awareness- emptiness and then compassion naturally wells up from within.

Whatever we do, the masters all say that the most important thing is genuine faith and devotion, and merging one's mind with the guru's mind. I cant see how the color of one's robes could make the slightest difference in that. We just need to be really soft and sincere.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:40 am

Sherlock wrote:Certainly. The Mulasarvastivada vinaya dates back to Shantarakshita and was carried on in Amdo and Atisha wasn't allowed to teach on his own vinaya (which also dates back to Imperial proscriptions only allowing the Mulasarvastivada lineage). No doubt the Kadampas heavy emphasis on the teachings of the sutras was an influence on all later teachings, however, I think whether or not that influence had a positive effect on how the tantras and Dzogchen were taught is a different matter.


The way I've heard it, some Tibetans, mistrusting the Mulasarvastivadin lineage of vinaya already extant in Tibet, requested that Atisha transmit the Vinaya lineage he held. But upon hearing that the Mulasarvastivada had already taken root, he declined and stated that his reason was because the Mulasarvastivdin vinaya was completely pure and there was no need to replace it with his lineage.

Also, one cannot say that Guru Rinpoche, Khenpo Shantarakshita and Trisgon Deutsen felt monasticism to be unimportant... They took great care in choosing the 7 young men who would test out monasticism in Tibet and see if it could flourish, before ordaining more. And there's the story of King Trisong Detsen unfurling his long hair to allow the red and white sanghas to each sit upon it to his left and right in order to show equal respect to both sanghas, etc.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:43 am

JKhedrup wrote:Yes Shantarakshita was a hugely important figure and established Tibet's first monastery. But the emphasis in the historical accounts I have heard (albeit limited) from Nyingma lamas and students tend to emphasize Guru Rinpoche far more. Shantarakshita is not spoken about so much. Of course, my teachers in all the traditions emphasize that Guru Rinpoche had to prepare the land of Tibet using his miraculous siddhis to receive the dharma.


Traditional accounts of Guru Rinpoche depict him in terms of emanation that sometimes displayed the aspect of a lay tantrika and at other times as a monastic pandita. Let's not forget how huge the importance and impact upon the initial transmission of Dharma in Tibet--in terms of sutra, tantra, AND Dzogchen-- Vimalamitra and [the Tibetan] Vairochana had; both were, of course, monks.

JKhedrup wrote:Was the situation such that without the Kadampa renaissance the Sutra teachings would have been overlooked entirely in favour of Dzogchen etc., or is this an exaggeration?

I would say this is probably an exaggeration.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 am

JKhedrup wrote:Being a monk of course I have to question the validity of such arguments. The fact that HH Dalai Lama, HH Karmapa, the late HH Penor Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, the late HH Trulshik Rinpoche are all monks make me think at the very least it is not an obstacle to enlightenment. :namaste:


Ngari Panchen was the author of probably THE text on the three levels of vows that Nyingmapas turn to and rely upon to know what those vows entail and how to keep them. HH Dudjom Rinpoche wrote a famous commentary on that text... In the section at the end where Ngari Panchen explains how to keep the three levels of vows without contradiction, he states plainly that the ideal master of the Vajrayana (and Dzogchen) will be a master who holds both the monastic vows and tantric samaya and keeps both purely.

Now, what follows is purely my conjecture, but I imagine both Rinpoches would agree that in a master with some concrete realization, THAT is what makes a Vajrayana master ideal, but that in the absence of that, one will have the best shot in a master who has both levels of vows and keeps them. Anyway, I thought it important to note this statement, made by the monastic Ngari Panchen, and commented upon and supported by HH Dudjom Rinpoche, a ngakpa.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Namgyal » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:37 am

''In Tibet, historically among the practitioners there were two communities, the community of white robes and long hair, and the monastic community of yellow and red robes. The community of white robes refers to lay practitioners, particularly Vajrayana practitioners where they don’t assume the external appearance of a monastic order. In some cases, you find that those who engaged in long-term retreat kept their hair, never cut it and kept it plaited and tied up. There is a textual basis for these kinds of conduct. In the tantric and Vajrayana texts, we find the reference that the members of the white robes community need not observe the external forms of monastic life, but so far as key precepts are concerned, must practice them all. So historically these lay practitioners take upasaka vows, and on that basis, they take bodhisattva and tantric vows and follow that line. On the other side, members of the monastic order-the foundation for their life is the monastic discipline and the life of an ordained member-cut their hair, adopt a particular set of robes and appearance, and lead a celibate way of life. So historically there evolved these two distinct lines of practitioners, and each pursue his life with a certain clarity and direction.'' (HH Dalai Lama)

Isn't it just a spectrum from Nyingma through to Gelug (Professor Samuel's 'clerical and shamanic') ...Nyingma having the most 'white', Kagyu about half and half, and Gelug almost entirely 'red'?

As for the notion of superior and inferior, I asked a very elderly Gelugpa lama about monastic ordination and he told me that the life of a lay practitioner was superior because it allowed for greater flexibility. He advised me to follow his path by starting a business, raising a family and so forth. I replied that it was easy for him to say this because he had previously been a monk for thirty years, not to mention a dozen previous incarnations! He had a good laugh about this and agreed that I had a point. My own opinion is that to be a post-monastic practitioner like this, a true ngakpa, one has to be at the very highest level of realisation. It is worth remembering that Buddha taught that no one ever became enlightened without first having been a monk, for at least one lifetime, and usually a great many more. The tantric practices involving a consort can be completed in the bardo, by visualisation, or with an invisible divine consort, so being a monk is not really an impediment. In any case such practices are so advanced there can only be a handful of people in the world qualified to undertake them. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that in order to undertake such practices one has to have the kind of non-attachment that enables one to alternately tuck into a plateful of ones favourite food and a plateful of excrement, with no differentiation!
:namaste: R.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yeti » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:09 pm

Raksha wrote:It is worth remembering that Buddha taught that no one ever became enlightened without first having been a monk, for at least one lifetime, and usually a great many more.

Can I please ask which Sutra Buddha said this in?
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:22 pm

Yeti wrote:
Raksha wrote:It is worth remembering that Buddha taught that no one ever became enlightened without first having been a monk, for at least one lifetime, and usually a great many more.

Can I please ask which Sutra Buddha said this in?


Yes, one of the reasons I view the Vajrayana as a more appropriate vehicle for modern day women.
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yeti » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:59 pm

Yudron wrote:
Yeti wrote:
Raksha wrote:It is worth remembering that Buddha taught that no one ever became enlightened without first having been a monk, for at least one lifetime, and usually a great many more.

Can I please ask which Sutra Buddha said this in?


Yes, one of the reasons I view the Vajrayana as a more appropriate vehicle for modern day women.

Yes, and I'd like to know how this relates to Tara's vow too.
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:02 pm

I agree from a philosophical and practical standpoint. Many women have and will continue to generate great realization through the path of tantra. But from an institutional standpoint, Taiwanese Buddhism is the place where women are truly the major force and key decision makers, the nuns holding all sorts of different leadership roles. Taiwan is the one country in the Buddhist world where I think nuns have more advantages than monks in terms of education and leadership opportunities in the Buddhist community. Empowerment of the nuns has meant greater roles for laywomen in the running of the temples as well.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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