Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:03 pm

heart wrote:Western Buddhism? Meaning Buddhism in western clothes having a coke in the break? I fail to see why western culture should be better than Tibetan culture?

/magnus



Yes, I know. You keep bringing that up.

Have you read the book? Have you seen Rinpoche teach on this?

That's where the answer to your question lies. Not on this forum. I haven't said there's anything iherently superior about "western culture" or inferior about Tibetan, so I have no idea why you're asking me - I didn't write the book. Ponplop Rinpoche did. If you haven't got the book, buy it and read it. If you can't make Seattle this weekend, buy the book and read it.

FYI: Rinpoche doesn't say anything about superiority of one culture over another. That's that's not the point. He just happens to write this book in a way that is largely free of cultural reverences. That appeals to a lot of people. It would be applicable to people in Kenya not just the US or EU.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:06 am

Chaz wrote:
heart wrote:Western Buddhism? Meaning Buddhism in western clothes having a coke in the break? I fail to see why western culture should be better than Tibetan culture?

/magnus



Yes, I know. You keep bringing that up.

Have you read the book? Have you seen Rinpoche teach on this?

That's where the answer to your question lies. Not on this forum. I haven't said there's anything iherently superior about "western culture" or inferior about Tibetan, so I have no idea why you're asking me - I didn't write the book. Ponplop Rinpoche did. If you haven't got the book, buy it and read it. If you can't make Seattle this weekend, buy the book and read it.

FYI: Rinpoche doesn't say anything about superiority of one culture over another. That's that's not the point. He just happens to write this book in a way that is largely free of cultural reverences. That appeals to a lot of people. It would be applicable to people in Kenya not just the US or EU.


Chaz,

I am in Sweden and so I want make it to Seattle this weekend. I didn't read the book and so far you done a pretty bad job of explaining why I should read it. So please instead of getting agitated just tell us what the teaching in the book is and why you consider it important. You did read the book, didn't you?

/magnus
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:34 pm

heart wrote:Chaz,

I am in Sweden and so I want make it to Seattle this weekend.


Cool! Anywhere near Dalarna?


I didn't read the book


From what I've read of this thread, that much is obvious.

and so far you done a pretty bad job of explaining why I should read it.


Really? Well, if that's how you feel about it, I'm sorry. But if that, in truth, is how you feel about it then you probably wouldn't read even it if I was better example of touchy/feely/warm-and-fuzzy western Buddhism.

On the other hand I see your response as nothing more that an excuse to not read something - an excuse where you try to shift the reason to read Ponlop Rinpoche from your need to what you percieve as my bad behavior. A lame excuse at best.

So please instead of getting agitated just tell us what the teaching in the book is and why you consider it important.


Why I consider Rinpoche's book important (or not) will likely be different from what you will take from reading. Therefore what I think is importrant will be largely irrlevant to your experience.

Is it that you can't find the book in Sweden. The book is less that $20 USD/Euro and is available from a number of online outlets. Can't afford it perhaps? PM me and we'll see about getting you a copy of your own. We'd have to wait til after the new year if that's ok (Christmas budget has us a little tapped-out till then) and besides, Rinpoche has his students practice one of the Paramitas each month. January will be the Paramita of Generosity and it would be an excellent opportunity to bring this apparent need to my practice. So, I'd be happy to do that, if that's what you need. I'll take a swing by The Boulder Bookstore on Saturday - maybe they'll have some autographed copies for sale after Rinpoche's visit.

And if you're interested, I know this old gal here in Denver who makes kick-ass Lefse. She supplies Lefse for the Sons of Norway hall in lakewood. Best I've ever eaten. I could get you some of that, too, if you like. Yes, I know Lefse is Norwegian (my family is mostly Norwegian), but hell, nothing wrong with a little cross-culture exploration, now is there? Some Krumkakke maybe? All in the season y'know?

You did read the book, didn't you?


yes and I'm on my second reading right now. I belong to a Denver-based group of Rinpoche's students and we'll be starting a book discussion group tomorrow night. Too bad you live so far away as I'd be happy for you to attend, but then you'd have to read the book yourself.

You see, Magnus, in order to discuss a book you have to have read it in the first place. In order to question a teacher you must first "hear" him teach.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Mr. G » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:46 pm

Well to be frank, justsit was the only one to offer an example of what the book is about which I appreciate. But I think to treat this book with the secrecy of a tantra and say that the book can only be discussed if one has read it is unfair. A person can easily take specific examples (not vague examples) from the book and state them here for further discussion.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby dechen_namdrol » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:19 pm

I don't get it.

If the bare, stripped-down practice is what you want, fine.... go seek that out. 84000 ways, right? Chöd isn't right for everyone, Dorje Phurba isn't right for everyone, celibate monk/nun life isn't right for everyone.... etc etc etc.

IMHO accepting something based on its cultural origin is just as contrary to the path as rejecting something based on its cultural origin.... you vs me, us vs them. Brocade shirts or golf shirts made in Bangladesh are ultimately no different, but if you choose one over the other BECAUSE of culture bias... well.... there's a problem. What happened to leaving one's homeland behind? I think too many Westerners are trying too hard to hold onto their American or Canadian identities. There's no value in the notion of national identity, it causes conflict and suffering. We're all people, we all have Buddha-nature. That's it, that's all.

Also IMHO, I don't think that anyone should be drinking coke. It is CRAP for the body, and I really get disappointed when I see it offered on shrines or to lamas. It isn't that hard to make a cup of tea, and it's GOOD for the body!

Anyway, I'll step off my soap box now. And, I'm not attacking DPR.... 84000, right? Anyway, there's tea in my serkyem and I practice Chöd, and I take my 7 year old son to tae kwon do and we enjoy going to hockey games once in awhile.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:06 pm

mr. gordo wrote:Well to be frank, justsit was the only one to offer an example of what the book is about which I appreciate. But I think to treat this book with the secrecy of a tantra and say that the book can only be discussed if one has read it is unfair. A person can easily take specific examples (not vague examples) from the book and state them here for further discussion.



Its not secret tantra or anything like that.

I'm just saying it's impossible to discuss a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Period.

Trying to discuss this in an environment where not everyone is on the same page - having read the book - leads to tagental, irrelevant derails, like the response about culture and teaching meditation in a Vajrayana context. It may be important to the person asking BUT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BOOK. If that person had actually taken the time to read the book they too would realize the inappropriate nature of the question relative to what DPR is trying to teach. Or the questions about whether or not cultural influence/baggage is a good/bad thing. Again, in the context of Rebel Buddha that's completely irrlelvant. The book isn't about that at all. It might be appropriate in a discussion of Trungpa Rinpoche's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, but not in Rebel Buddha.

And what I don't get is where does all this resistance to buying/borrowing a $20 USD book come from? Just get the damned book. Get the info you seek directly from the source. Hell, you might just learn something.

In addition, I feel it's extremely disrespectful of one of the best and most important teachers of his generation to comment on his book/teaching without having read it first.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:11 pm

dechen_namdrol wrote:we enjoy going to hockey games once in awhile.



You dis DPR for drinking Coke and you take your kid to what is nothing less than gladitorial combat/bloodsport (hockey)?

And before you say I don't "understand" hockey, you should know that I was born and raised in northern Minnesota. I've forgotten more about hockey than many people know.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Josef » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:49 pm

Chaz wrote:
dechen_namdrol wrote:we enjoy going to hockey games once in awhile.



You dis DPR for drinking Coke and you take your kid to what is nothing less than gladitorial combat/bloodsport (hockey)?

And before you say I don't "understand" hockey, you should know that I was born and raised in northern Minnesota. I've forgotten more about hockey than many people know.


He didnt "dis" DPR for drinking Coke and hockey is far from being a "bloodsport".
You're reacting a bit too strongly here in my opinion.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby dechen_namdrol » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:55 pm

Chaz wrote:
dechen_namdrol wrote:we enjoy going to hockey games once in awhile.



You dis DPR for drinking Coke and you take your kid to what is nothing less than gladitorial combat/bloodsport (hockey)?

And before you say I don't "understand" hockey, you should know that I was born and raised in northern Minnesota. I've forgotten more about hockey than many people know.


I'm not "dis" ing anyone, I thought I made that clear. I'm merely pointing out that I believe that clinging to the notion of "American" or "Canadian" or "Tibetan" Buddhism are contrary to the path, as is the old hinayana vs mahayana crap that gets trotted out all the time. Take the medicine that's appropriate to YOUR own afflictions and stop wasting what little time there is in this life arguing in futility over which way is better... that's the point I'm trying to make.

And, enjoying a sporting event doesn't mean enjoying a fight. Afterall, we'd all be much better off if world leaders settled their perceived differences in a hockey rink or a soccer pitch than with guns and bombs and chemical weapons. And, I don't get upset if my local team doesn't win... but I do feel badly for the guys on the ice thinking it's all anything more than a silly dream... and I take the opportunity to teach my son about how anger is an unhealthy emotion and expressing it in such a way as fighting does nobody any good, because everyone involved in a fight suffers regardless of any false perception of "winners" or "losers".
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:59 pm

I'd bet Rinpoche would be somewhat dismayed at the adversarial tone.

I haven't read the book yet. Full disclosure.
But I was talking with one of Rinpoche's long-time translators, over the weekend, and we discussed the book. His summary was that it was Dharma "stripped" of cultural trappings, and he felt it was a "go-to" book for the 21st Century, in the same way many of us found Trungpa's "Myth of Freedom" or "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" so profound for our paths, back in the late 20th Century, heh heh.

The Dharma IS something that transcends culture, and the message can be given in a straightforward way. And I'm sure Dzokchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a master who can do this, without "leaving anything out" or somehow making it "Dharma Lite(tm)" like so many of these so-called "Western Buddhism" books and approaches do.....

Although I'm frankly dismayed by the "self-help Buddhism" image, the "meditation as psychotherapy" posture, and the crass materialism and "dumbing down"
of "Dharma" in the West, I've also found that the "exotic" trappings --the bells and whistles (kanglings?), etc., so to speak--can sometimes become more important than the message itself. Of course, if you practice long enough, you'll eventually tire of the "romantic exoticism" and move on to Kabbalah or whatever the next big thing is...or you'll get the "message" to some degree at least and realize that although Dharma does transcend cultural trappings, it's also essentially no different than those "trappings" from which it sometimes manifests itself.....It's coemergent in that way!

I look forward to reading the book, by the way...but I do my practices in Tibetan, with my Thangkas and my Drilbu and Damaru, etc.....while thinking (mainly) in English!
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby dechen_namdrol » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:03 pm

conebeckham wrote:I'd bet Rinpoche would be somewhat dismayed at the adversarial tone.


Although I'm frankly dismayed by the "self-help Buddhism" image, the "meditation as psychotherapy" posture, and the crass materialism and "dumbing down"
of "Dharma" in the West, I've also found that the "exotic" trappings --the bells and whistles (kanglings?), etc., so to speak--can sometimes become more important than the message itself. Of course, if you practice long enough, you'll eventually tire of the "romantic exoticism" and move on to Kabbalah or whatever the next big thing is...or you'll get the "message" to some degree at least and realize that although Dharma does transcend cultural trappings, it's also essentially no different than those "trappings" from which it sometimes manifests itself.....It's coemergent in that way!

I look forward to reading the book, by the way...but I do my practices in Tibetan, with my Thangkas and my Drilbu and Damaru, etc.....while thinking (mainly) in English!



Yah, what he said. Kinda.

Any religion or belief system WILL unavoidably have a cultural impact. Look at Islam and Christianity and Judaism... cultures that have adopted those religions have been culturally affected by that adaptation. It isn't bad or good, it just is. If you decide to practice Zen seriously, you'll end up with a Japanese name and some Japanese cultural trappings around the house. If you follow Islam your choice will be reflected in your daily life in a tangible, "culturally significant" way as well. If you're Christian, you'll attach more religious significance to Christmas than most Giftmas subscribers do. If you practice seriously in "Tibetan" Buddhism you'll end up taking on some of the cultural characteristics too. Big deal. Practice whichever path you choose, baggage and all without accepting or rejecting... it'll eventually be unimportant.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:02 pm

I'm in agreement with you, Dechen Namdrol, though I do note that the "quantity" of baggage varies..

For example, Trungpa's folks chant sadhanas in English. Most of Kalu Rinpoche's western disciples chant in Tibetan, mainly. So do most Karma Kagyupas under the KTD/KTC umbrellas.... I understand Western Sakyapas use English. The Khenpo Bros. students chant their Sakyamuni Sadhana in English....Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche's students do their Drupchens in Tibetan, full-on.....But none of these folks dismisses the origins of the tradition (from India, and thence from Tibet)--and you'll note Trungpa's assimilation of certain Japanese elements maintains it's "Japanese-ness," even....yet all this is translated into English, French, German, Spanish, etc....

I tend to view the exotic trappings as a "hook" for some folks--and, after all, even in Tibetan culture, you could say the damaru and kangling are "hooks!"

What's funny, to me, are those who claim to be "Western" and vehemently aren't "Tibetan Buddhists," yet they wear maroon robes.....but nevermind.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:23 pm

I'd bet Rinpoche would be somewhat dismayed at the adversarial tone.


Your probably right (he said, hanging his head in shame). Baaaaaaaaad Student!

Thanx for the reality check.

I haven't read the book yet. Full disclosure.
But I was talking with one of Rinpoche's long-time translators, over the weekend, and we discussed the book. His summary was that it was Dharma "stripped" of cultural trappings,


I suppose that would be Tyler?

Whatever. But I think the estimate you received is pretty accurate. It's not like DPR presents some argument to strip Buddhism of it's cultural components. As your friend points out (correctly) the presentation found in the book is fair devoid of culture tarpping. That's all. That's what is meant by saying he "presents an argument. The argument to reduce culrture trappping is demonstrated in the book itself, not some sort of advocacy for a paradigm shift. What DPR wrote would likely be recieved equally by Theravedins, Mahayanists, Vajarayana students, Thais, Koreans, Kenyans Americans and yes, even Swedes and Canadians ;-). It's not like a discussion of the Heart Sutra that would only be relevant to the Mahayana. In fact, it occured to me that were it not for the author's name on the cover, it could be easily be attributed to a Theravedin author. In fact the only thing about this book a Theravedin might object to is DPR's habit of not citing his references to sutra by chapter and verse, but then he nver really does that anyway.


and he felt it was a "go-to" book for the 21st Century, in the same way many of us found Trungpa's "Myth of Freedom" or "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" so profound for our paths, back in the late 20th Century, heh heh.


As much as I adore DPR, I'd be hesitant to put Rebel Buddha up there with MOF or CTSM, even though it's possible this book could be that ground-breaking, especially with DPR's fellow Gen-Xers.

The Dharma IS something that transcends culture, and the message can be given in a straightforward way. And I'm sure Dzokchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a master who can do this, without "leaving anything out" or somehow making it "Dharma Lite(tm)" like so many of these so-called "Western Buddhism" books and approaches do.....


I would have to say DPR has the ability to teach a profound, yet elegant dharma and not go to "Dharma Lite".

Although I'm frankly dismayed by the "self-help Buddhism" image, the "meditation as psychotherapy" posture, and the crass materialism and "dumbing down"
of "Dharma" in the West, I've also found that the "exotic" trappings --the bells and whistles (kanglings?), etc., so to speak--can sometimes become more important than the message itself.


I totally agree. There's an element of what I'd call "New Ager Buddhism" lurking out there. I also think the dumbing-down you see - stripping the Dharma down into bite-sized chunks devoid of anything that may require serious thought/ analysis.

I look forward to reading the book, by the way...but I do my practices in Tibetan, with my Thangkas and my Drilbu and Damaru, etc.....while thinking (mainly) in English!


Once you've read it, I for one would be VERY interested in anything you might want to share.

I do a lot of my practice in Tibetan as well. I find a certain beauty there that English simply can't offer yet. I still need a ton of damaru practice - I could go for a Damaru for Dummies video. My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said a Bell/Dorje set (yeah I know that's kind wierd).

I don't know if your friend metioned this, but almost the entire Nalandabodhi practice liturgy is in English. No Tibetan or phonetics. Even our sadhanas such as Kongchock Chidu are in English save for the mantras. In that respect it's a lot like the Shambhala chant book. I think Rinpoche has been serious for a long time about keeping the culture trappings in what he's teaching to a minimum. On the other hand there are some things you simply can't do right now without an element of foreign culture thrown in. Dharma and it's practices aren't that well developed in the west - we don't have the "language" yet.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Mr. G » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:24 pm

Chaz wrote:
I'm just saying it's impossible to discuss a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Period.



Honestly, I don't think it's impossible to post a succinct summation of one of Rinpoche's points and then proceed to have discussion over it.

And I'm not against buying the book, it's that I have a TON of books that I need to get to as well. :smile:
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:35 pm

Chaz wrote:You see, Magnus, in order to discuss a book you have to have read it in the first place. In order to question a teacher you must first "hear" him teach.


You see Chaz I am not questioning DPR, I am questioning you. If DPR wants to join the discussion in this thread he is welcome. Then I ask him directly. But I will not buy a book because you say so, believe me. You have to do better than that. My only reason for posting in this thread was to find out if and how DPR's book differs differs from lets say Stephan Batchelors "Buddhism Without Belief"?

/magnus
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:49 pm

heart wrote: My only reason for posting in this thread was to find out if and how DPR's book differs differs from lets say Stephan Batchelors "Buddhism Without Belief"?


ok......

But I can't/won't speak to Batchelor because I haven't read his books (yet).

You never asked me if I'd read Batchelor.

To get that kind of info, you'll need to find someone whop has read both books OR .....

You'll have to read both books yourself (the best bet IMO).
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:52 pm

mr. gordo wrote:
Chaz wrote:
I'm just saying it's impossible to discuss a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Period.



Honestly, I don't think it's impossible to post a succinct summation of one of Rinpoche's points and then proceed to have discussion over it.


Then you'd be discussing the summation and NOT the book. I'd prefer to discuss the book. Wouldnt you?
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Mr. G » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:55 pm

Chaz wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:
Chaz wrote:
I'm just saying it's impossible to discuss a book with someone who hasn't read the book. Period.



Honestly, I don't think it's impossible to post a succinct summation of one of Rinpoche's points and then proceed to have discussion over it.


Then you'd be discussing the summation and NOT the book. I'd prefer to discuss the book. Wouldnt you?


I wrote "the summation of one of his points in the book." Is this an impossibility? Did he not break down the general overview of his book into different points?

Of course I'd like to discuss the entirety of the book, but I'm sure 2 or 3 talking points would be nice as well.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:01 pm

Nangwa wrote:
Chaz wrote:
dechen_namdrol wrote:we enjoy going to hockey games once in awhile.



You dis DPR for drinking Coke and you take your kid to what is nothing less than gladitorial combat/bloodsport (hockey)?

And before you say I don't "understand" hockey, you should know that I was born and raised in northern Minnesota. I've forgotten more about hockey than many people know.


He didnt "dis" DPR for drinking Coke and hockey is far from being a "bloodsport".
You're reacting a bit too strongly here in my opinion.



perhaps, but have you ever actually attended a hockey game? I can't remember going to a hockey game where there wasn't at least one fight and the crowd went absolutly nuts when the fight started and they weren't screaming "OH please stop fighting!". I've seen spectators start bench-emptying brawls in the WCHA for crying out loud. The ONLY difference between what happens on a hockey rink and a Roman arena is that Hockey players don't use dull, rusty swords on each other. yet.

And I disagree on the dissing.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:05 pm

mr. gordo wrote:I wrote "the summation of one of his points in the book." Is this an impossibility? Did he not break down the general overview of his book into different points?

Of course I'd like to discuss the entirety of the book, but I'm sure 2 or 3 talking points would be nice as well.



Well do you want to discuss the book or a third-party summation of what was written? If you want to go on what other people say without looking at it for yourself I guess that's up to you. I'd rather not if it's all the same.
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