Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby smcj » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:37 am

Also Atisha pointed out that practice of anuttaratantra save for the practice tied to the vase empoverment and mantra recitation is out of bounds for monastics.

Wasn't Atisha a monk? He said he kept his monastic vows purely. This doesn't sound right.
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:41 am

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:What the heck?


Hi Konchog,

are you trying to make a point here? If so, I'm afraid, I don't get it.

Best wishes,

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He says breaking the vow is bad, then turns around and says it okay to break the vow with a virtuous motivation.
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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:24 am

Konchog1 wrote:He says breaking the vow is bad, then turns around and says it okay to break the vow with a virtuous motivation.


Thanks for explaining. But I'm afraid, I don't see that, at least not in the passages you've quoted:

Konchog1 wrote:
There was a way of getting foreign funding, but this involved avoiding the tax collectors from the government, which required breaking a monastic vow. There was no other choice but to do that back then. Many of the other lamas did this and didn’t care about breaking these vows since it was invisible. But, I did care and I still do.

[...]

So if we begin to analyze, then of course there would be bad karma if this tax were for the common good of others, such as a tax which funds a hospital for the blind or a tax that will build a road. This would have bad karma. But in general, I think it does not necessarily have the nature of bad karma.


He's dealing with two different and independent questions here. (1) does avoiding the tax collectors constitute the breaking of a monastic vow? - Yes, it does. And (2), does it have the nature of bad karma? - If the taxes are used for good purposes, yes, it does.

Imho the sentence "But in general, I think it does not necessarily have the nature of bad karma" does not imply that the breaking of the vow is ok. I rather understand it as a philosophical statement on the question if the action of evading taxes in itself necessarily means to accumulate bad karma. And it's fairly easy to reconstruct the reason: if you lived in a country where the taxes are used to finance negative purposes (like warfare or genocide) then it would not mean bad karma to evade taxes. Therefore not paying one's taxes does not necessarily imply bad karma, but normally it does. That's all that follows from this sentence. :shrug:
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:18 am

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:He says breaking the vow is bad, then turns around and says it okay to break the vow with a virtuous motivation.


Thanks for explaining. But I'm afraid, I don't see that, at least not in the passages you've quoted:

Konchog1 wrote:
There was a way of getting foreign funding, but this involved avoiding the tax collectors from the government, which required breaking a monastic vow. There was no other choice but to do that back then. Many of the other lamas did this and didn’t care about breaking these vows since it was invisible. But, I did care and I still do.

[...]

So if we begin to analyze, then of course there would be bad karma if this tax were for the common good of others, such as a tax which funds a hospital for the blind or a tax that will build a road. This would have bad karma. But in general, I think it does not necessarily have the nature of bad karma.


He's dealing with two different and independent questions here. (1) does avoiding the tax collectors constitute the breaking of a monastic vow? - Yes, it does. And (2), does it have the nature of bad karma? - If the taxes are used for good purposes, yes, it does.

Imho the sentence "But in general, I think it does not necessarily have the nature of bad karma" does not imply that the breaking of the vow is ok. I rather understand it as a philosophical statement on the question if the action of evading taxes in itself necessarily means to accumulate bad karma. And it's fairly easy to reconstruct the reason: if you lived in a country where the taxes are used to finance negative purposes (like warfare or genocide) then it would not mean bad karma to evade taxes. Therefore not paying one's taxes does not necessarily imply bad karma, but normally it does. That's all that follows from this sentence. :shrug:
Oh I see now. Still my argument remains. If evading taxes can be neutral karma-wise, then I believe in those cases it wouldn't be a misdeed. And how could a non-misdeed break a vow?

So is Shamar Rinpoche saying that getting foreign funding to support the Dharma cannot be a virtuous or even neutral act?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:21 am

dzoki wrote:I think that monastic sangha is relevant and important, but I would like to see vajrayana go back to its roots. First of all I would not permit general public to receive these teachings the way it is now. My sentiment is that it should really be more serious and much more hidden and secret.
If this was enforced then 99.9% of us here would not have received vajrayana teachings and practices.
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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: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby dzoki » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:54 am

smcj wrote:
Also Atisha pointed out that practice of anuttaratantra save for the practice tied to the vase empoverment and mantra recitation is out of bounds for monastics.

Wasn't Atisha a monk? He said he kept his monastic vows purely. This doesn't sound right.


He was but, prior to becoming monk he was a lay tantric yogi, in that time he received all his anuttaratantra training.
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby dzoki » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:57 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
dzoki wrote:I think that monastic sangha is relevant and important, but I would like to see vajrayana go back to its roots. First of all I would not permit general public to receive these teachings the way it is now. My sentiment is that it should really be more serious and much more hidden and secret.
If this was enforced then 99.9% of us here would not have received vajrayana teachings and practices.


Yes and it might even be better for us. Also I am sure that if we would have been serious in Dharma practice we would receive also higher tantras. Like this we are just a bunch of lazy guys wasting our life with internet and breaking samayas.
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:04 pm

dzoki wrote:Yes and it might even be better for us. Also I am sure that if we would have been serious in Dharma practice we would receive also higher tantras. Like this we are just a bunch of lazy guys wasting our life with internet and breaking samayas.
I don't know if you know enough about my practice to be able to speak on my behalf.
"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."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby Ivo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:20 pm

dzoki wrote:
conebeckham wrote:I think most "lay teachers" don't wear the true monastic robes, they wear robes that, on first glance, may appear to match the monastic robes. The Shentab skirt, and the vest, etc., would be appropriate for monks, IMO, but I have no problem with "lay teachers" wearing maroon lower garment (shamgyur) and zen, etc. "Lay teachers" are still to be distinguished from "non-teachers" I would think....?


I also don´t mind if they wear monastic or "monk-like" dress, they can wear anything, but for the general public, this is confusing.

conebeckham wrote:And I think "Inner Tantra" is suitable for monks, up to a point. Many great Lamas have commented on how the monastic vows and tantric samaya can be kept in harmony, and I see no problem ...Atisha may have said that, but Ngari Panchen and others have a different view.


I am not sure what sources Ngari Panchen used as his basis, and also maybe from the point of anuyoga this is fine. But in Samvara and Hevajra etc. in the original way of transmission of these tantras, the practitioners were required to bring consort in order to receive secret empowerment. Which obviously members of monastic sangha could not do. The only exception were bodhisattvas who have achieved bhumis, that is why there were a handful of mahasiddhas who were monks, since there is no mistake in prajna, they could bring a consort to be symbolically present at the empowerment. Later this was replaced with visalisations, tsakli etc. Also for example Gampopa proposed to use milk instead of alcohol for the monastic recipients of anuttaratantra empowerment. So Tibetans modified these things in order to fit with Kadampa doctrine.

I think that monastic sangha is relevant and important, but I would like to see vajrayana go back to its roots. First of all I would not permit general public to receive these teachings the way it is now. My sentiment is that it should really be more serious and much more hidden and secret. Secondly I see a role of monastic sangha in preserving outer tantra practices and sutra studies and philosophy. These things could be taught to general public and in many cases I think that they would have been much more beneficial for the confused "tantric" practitioners than the actual practice of tantra. As for highest tantra and inner tantras, these would be taught to serious lay practitioners who would undergo regular retreats - for example half year in half year out, or some kind of semi-retreat setting for a whole life, but during the process of such training everything would be included, all the aspects of secret mantra in the way that they were practiced in India and Odiyana, if these could be rejuvenated, refreshed and reconstructed. Instead of complicated sadhanas with loads of prayers, simple Indian style sadhanas would be taught. I think this would have great benefit. Anyways this is just my sentiment, so basically a namtog and nothing to be taken seriously.


:good: Excellent post!
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:00 pm

dzoki wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
dzoki wrote:I think that monastic sangha is relevant and important, but I would like to see vajrayana go back to its roots. First of all I would not permit general public to receive these teachings the way it is now. My sentiment is that it should really be more serious and much more hidden and secret.
If this was enforced then 99.9% of us here would not have received vajrayana teachings and practices.


Yes and it might even be better for us. Also I am sure that if we would have been serious in Dharma practice we would receive also higher tantras. Like this we are just a bunch of lazy guys wasting our life with internet and breaking samayas.


I think there are plenty of non-monastic wester people who have benefitted immensely from receiving and practicing vajrayana teachings. And most of the kagyu linage masters pre-gampopa were not monastics.
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Re: Shamar on Monastic Buddhism in Tibet

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:28 pm

There are two sides to the issue of Vajrayana in the West, IMO. (Maybe more than two sides, but anyway...)

On the one hand, I understand Dzoki's concerns and thoughts--it's frankly true that very few of us are really practicing the Highest Yoga Tantra in the most serious way. I think, though, that some of us have done so, for various periods of strict retreat. Even the great lamas talk about approaching this as an "aspirational path" though Tantra is supposed to be the path of taking the result as the cause. The good news is that there are some few people really taking this seriously, and practicing long-term, in retreat.

The other side of the coin is that any connection to these teachings is said to be a good thing, and plants seeds. Now, I know the whole "snake-in-the-bamboo-tube" thing....but it's my opinion that most of us, even those who have entered the path via empowerment and instruction, haven't really entered the tube. Some don't have the capacity, frankly....and I have heard Lamas say that there is no failing for such folks.

I'm talking specifically about the Path of Means, here. I think that the Path of Liberation, Mahamudra approach in our Kagyu lineage, is more widespread and less dangerous. It's also ultimately a Highest Yoga Tantra doctrine, despite our lineage's often-gradual approach.

Interestingly, also, H.E. Shamar Rinpoche teaches a less "Vajrayana" approach--he's created a "ngondro" which is more akin to Kadampa approach, with confessions and prostrations to the 35 Buddhas, etc., and he has restricted the HYT approach to fewer students. In a sense, the comments I've seen from him with regard to Vajrayana in the West mirror Dzoki's thoughts and concerns. H.E.'s Situ, Gyaltsab, Jamgon, and other high eminences of the Kagyu lineage bestow HYT empowerments and teachings, but not as openly as some other teachers. Frankly, most of the time, the HYT empowerments are given for the purpose of retreat-though there have been occasions when such empowerments are offered publicly.

H.H. Karmapa Orgyen Tinley Dorje stresses monastic discipline, as anyone who has followed his career thus far knows. Shamar's comments on money-handling and monastic discipline are true enough, I think, though this has been the situation in the Tibetan system for centuries, and I agree with Stewart that the comments reflect a thinly-veiled agenda. I'm happy to hear that H. E. Shamar Rinpoche places a high value on monasticism, and that he has some "pure monks" as he's indicated, but I am sure that there are a great many good monks in various Kagyu monasteries throughout Tibet, Nepal, and India, and to suggest otherwise, even implicitly, is somewhat telling.
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