Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Mr. G » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:14 pm

Chaz wrote:
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.


Chaz, please spare me the linguistic circumambulations. If you don't want to post anything worth talking about regarding the book except "buy the book", that's fine. And if someone who has read the book wishes to post the talking points from the book, that's fine as well.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:12 pm

Quick story about DPR--
Years back, he asked me what practice I was engaged in....I said I was working on my prostrations. "Frustrations?" He said....I said, "No, Rinpoche, it..." and kinda left it at that when I caught him giving me a funny look, raised eyebrows and all....."What else?" he said....I said I was doing Chod on a regular basis as well....to which he replied, with a spot-on NY Jewish Grandmother accent," Ah, yes...you mix it up and make a nice soup! a NICE soup!"

That was my first audience with DPR.

I'd love to hear more specifics about his presentation, but after reading Chaz's response to my post, I'm even more confident that this book is miles apart from Mr. Batchelor's presentation, which I have read, and with which I have issues.

What's interesting about this thread is how some of us just ASSUME the worst when we hear about "stripped down," acultural (is that a word?) presentations of Dharma.....

Tangent: I'd strongly recommend Dzongsar Khyentse's "What Makes you NOT a Buddhist?"
http://www.amazon.com/What-Makes-You-No ... 807&sr=1-1

Good food for thought--and rather than being acultural, I'd say it's multi-cultural!
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Mr. G » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:15 pm

conebeckham wrote:Tangent: I'd strongly recommend Dzongsar Khyentse's "What Makes you NOT a Buddhist?"
http://www.amazon.com/What-Makes-You-No ... 807&sr=1-1

Good food for thought--and rather than being acultural, I'd say it's multi-cultural!


I agree, that was a good book cone! :thumbsup:
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:07 pm

conebeckham wrote:Quick story about DPR--
Years back, he asked me what practice I was engaged in....I said I was working on my prostrations. "Frustrations?" He said....I said, "No, Rinpoche, it..." and kinda left it at that when I caught him giving me a funny look, raised eyebrows and all....."What else?" he said....I said I was doing Chod on a regular basis as well....to which he replied, with a spot-on NY Jewish Grandmother accent," Ah, yes...you mix it up and make a nice soup! a NICE soup!"

That was my first audience with DPR.


Ok. My first audience. Group interview with 5 other students. DPR enters the room. We all stand . Bow. We all introduce oursleves. I say, "Thank You Rinpoche, my name is Chaz ######". Rinpoche says "Jazz?". I say no Rinpoche, Chaz. C.H.A.Z.. Rinpoche says "Yes, Jazz.". I say, "NO, its ............". Then I realize he has this HUGE grin on his face which means he's just messing with me. So I'm thinking, "Ok Rinpoche, I guess you got me on that one.".

My turn for a question comes. I'm terrified. I'm afraid he won't answer my question or he'll answer by just messing with me some more. I ask the question anyway. I want to know what the phrase "Genuine Devotion" means, as used in the Kagyu Lineage Prayer and a poem written by one of DPR's teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He ponders this for a moment, looks at me and says "Open heart". He pauses, reconsiders and says, "Yes, Open Heart."

I'd love to hear more specifics about his presentation, but after reading Chaz's response to my post, I'm even more confident that this book is miles apart from Mr. Batchelor's presentation, which I have read, and with which I have issues.


I suspect you may be right, but haveing not read batchelor, there's nothing I can say on the subject.


I haven't heard anything, yet, but I expect that within the year a video of DPR's Rebel Buddha teaching on DVD will be made available to the public. Not all of DPR's recorded teachings are vailable, but considering the promotional effort that went into the RB tour, and DVD is kind of a foregone conclusion.

What's interesting about this thread is how some of us just ASSUME the worst when we hear about "stripped down," acultural (is that a word?) presentations of Dharma.....


I see that too and I find myself very frustrated by that. Unfortuneately for you folks, I'm generally not at my best when frustrated like that.

While there's nothing "wrong" with culturally-specific accoutrements in our practice it isn't mecessarily a good thing either. Trungpa Rinpoche warned us about the ultimate end of what he called Spritual Materialism 30 year ago. The Dharma doesn't "need" things like robes, and Thangkas and Damarus and exotic languages and if one is skillfull it can be seen clealy that an "adharma" presentation may be the most effective approach. DPR speaks constantly on the subject of "Western Buddhism" He's geninely not interested in propogating Tibetan Buddhism save for certain elements he deems appropriate to individual students' needs and disposition.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:58 pm

Chaz wrote:Trungpa Rinpoche warned us about the ultimate end of what he called Spritual Materialism 30 year ago. The Dharma doesn't "need" things like robes, and Thangkas and Damarus and exotic languages and if one is skillfull it can be seen clealy that an "adharma" presentation may be the most effective approach.


Well interestingly Reginald Ray addresses some of this in the current issue of Tricycle. In fact Trungpa is supposed to have said not long before his death that perhaps the organization that he had created needed to die off. Ray also addresses Trungpa's use of a corporate structure without any experience with a corporate structure leading to a kind of ossification of the presentation of his teachings (it is well-known that many people regard Shambhalla presentations as very rigid and Ray goes into this a bit).
Trungpa was willing to experiment of course but not all the experiments paid off (and many think of him as a true terton).

There is nothing exotic about Dharma languages. It's just that historically Dharma has been written in those languages. Unfortunately many anglophiles are foreign language-phobic. All the other so-called "trappings" all have a reason for their use. I'm not sure why people want to focus on them (if in fact they do).

The main thing is to cultivate virtue, reject any non-virtue and purify the mind. In the dominant hedonistic/materialistic view in the world today this is rejected and even when people know it's true it is often the case that people want to indulge in worldly suffering AND practice Dharma at the same time.

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby ground » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:34 am

kirtu wrote:The main thing is to cultivate virtue, reject any non-virtue and purify the mind.

:thumbsup:

Simple truth.

I wonder what these kinds of discussions are really about. Either a teaching is Mahayana or it is not. If it is Mahayana then the question is whether the teacher is a Mahayana teacher too or not. If both, the teaching and the teacher, are Mahayana then the question is whether the student is a Mahayana student too or not.

Conceit is what ruins every Mahayana teaching, be it on the teachers or on the students side or both.


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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:11 am

kirtu wrote:
Chaz wrote:Trungpa Rinpoche warned us about the ultimate end of what he called Spritual Materialism 30 year ago. The Dharma doesn't "need" things like robes, and Thangkas and Damarus and exotic languages and if one is skillfull it can be seen clealy that an "adharma" presentation may be the most effective approach.


Well interestingly Reginald Ray addresses some of this in the current issue of Tricycle.


Really? Y'know I have to get a copy of that issue. It sounds great!


In fact Trungpa is supposed to have said not long before his death that perhaps the organization that he had created needed to die off.


Did he really? Did RR say that or did you hear/read that somewhere else? I read Dragon Thunder by by Dianah Mukpo - Trungpa's widow - and she doesn't mention that, although she does say that the Vidyadhara had second thoughts about the Regent. So, it wouldn't surprise me to here he second thoughts about other things, including Vajradatu.

Ultimately CTR's organization did sort of die or at least evolved into something else.


Ray also addresses Trungpa's use of a corporate structure without any experience with a corporate structure leading to a kind of ossification of the presentation of his teachings (it is well-known that many people regard Shambhalla presentations as very rigid and Ray goes into this a bit).
Trungpa was willing to experiment of course but not all the experiments paid off (and many think of him as a true terton).


He did like to experiment and that's for sure. He'd try just about anything that gave his students an opportunity to practice, but not all of them worked.

To bring this back to the topic (sort of), I'm fortunate in that many of the senior students in Nalandabodhi were long-time students of the Vidyadhara. Many of them met DPR when he came to Boulder as an attendant to the 16th Karmapa on one of his visits. DPR would return some years later to teach at Naropa and the beginnings of Nalandabodhi. Some of the material used in Rebel Buddha came out of those days - Rinpoche teaching a group of students that had studied with CTR back in the day. Kind of fitting that the thinking around Rebel Buddha came from teaching the Vidyadhara's former students. Like the Buddha, CTR was a rebel. He bucked the status quo. He did things his way and he was fearless about it. It didn't matter if a new idea would fail, because there are always new ideas to try out. He wanted his students to practice and those students were rebels just like their guru. It's completely appropriate that some of DPR's first teachings in Boulder were about rebellion.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:20 am

Chaz wrote:While there's nothing "wrong" with culturally-specific accoutrements in our practice it isn't mecessarily a good thing either. Trungpa Rinpoche warned us about the ultimate end of what he called Spritual Materialism 30 year ago. The Dharma doesn't "need" things like robes, and Thangkas and Damarus and exotic languages and if one is skillfull it can be seen clealy that an "adharma" presentation may be the most effective approach. DPR speaks constantly on the subject of "Western Buddhism" He's geninely not interested in propogating Tibetan Buddhism save for certain elements he deems appropriate to individual students' needs and disposition.


That kind of Dharma isn't "without cutural trappings" it just, like Cone noted, added a cultural dimension. It is multicultural. So to engage on more culture, our Western, in Dharma is of course necessary in order to communicate it fully. However, as the example Stephen Batchelor, this can be done in both a good and a bad way. Trungpa Rinpoche is a great example of a good way. But if you read "Cutting through Spiritual Materialism" again he don't exactly consider Thangkas or Damarus as neither the cause nor the definition of spiritual materialism. In fact the way he define it is an attitude. That attitude could very easy be a part of "Western Buddhism" as well or any other form of multicultural Buddhism.

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

Postby Mariusz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:08 pm

heart wrote:
Chaz wrote:If you guys are REALY interested in what kind of shape "Western" Buddhism may take in the near future, READ THIS BOOK AND READ IT NOW!


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


I wonder when the vajrayana lineages will be fully preserved in the western by the westerners?
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:58 pm

Mariusz wrote:I wonder when the vajrayana lineages will be fully preserved in the western by the westerners?



When? Maybe never.

If? Maybe not.

That is the future and we cannot know the future any more than we can relive what is past. It may be that Vajrayana fizzles and dies in the west. It may fully flower. Most likely it will continue to evolve as it has for centuries and who knows what form it will take?
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:31 pm

In fact Trungpa is supposed to have said not long before his death that perhaps the organization that he had created needed to die off.


Did he really? Did RR say that or did you hear/read that somewhere else?


That he heard. He says he wasn't at the meeting where Trungpa Rinpoche came out and supposedly said that. BUT Ray says that he did hear TR say essentially that later.


From the Winter 2010 Tricycle, interview with RR: Blazing with Wakefulness, where RR discusses CTR and this quote is from a part where CTR is expressing dissatisfaction apparently over time with some of the way things were unfolding with students:

I remember one time I was with him and he was very, very sad. And he would periodically go into that space where, in his own mind, he seemed to be letting it go and feeling like “No, this isn’t it.” Before his death, it became known that the Regent, his dharma heir, had AIDS, and there were increasing problems in the bureaucracy. At a certain point (I wasn’t at this meeting, but a friend who was there told me about it), he was asked, “How are we going to keep all this together?” And he basically said, “Maybe we should just let it go. Let it fall apart. It’s probably the best thing that could happen. Just let the whole thing go.” I was present at other times, at Naropa, when he said basically the same thing. At a certain point, it appeared that we’d hit a wall and things were not working. And he said, basically, if this is really the end of our effectiveness, then we have to be ready to let it go—even Naropa. There is no point in hanging on to something just for the sake of hanging on.


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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:50 pm

Chaz wrote:
Mariusz wrote:I wonder when the vajrayana lineages will be fully preserved in the western by the westerners?



When? Maybe never.

If? Maybe not.

That is the future and we cannot know the future any more than we can relive what is past. It may be that Vajrayana fizzles and dies in the west. It may fully flower. Most likely it will continue to evolve as it has for centuries and who knows what form it will take?


Vajrayana don't exactly evolve Chaz. Now and then various means appears and disappears but the main core, the wisdom and it's lineage of transmission, will not and should not change. If you think that it could and should you still haven't understood anything about Buddhism, in particular Vajrayana. If you don't believe me please ask DPR.

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

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:51 pm

Mariusz wrote:
I wonder when the vajrayana lineages will be fully preserved in the western by the westerners?


It may take at least 20 more years but probably more like 50-100 years depending on what you mean by fully preserved in the West by westerners. What is a Westerner? Do you include Asian people who were born and raised in the West? Is the question actually when will non-Asian people be fully invested with the Dharma? If that's the actual question then perhaps Thinley Norbu is right about Western racism being a significant element in this debate (please note I am not accusing you or anyone of racism but Thinley Norbu's comments may have some validity on this point). Or do you mean Westerners as lineage holders? If so, when the Dalai Lama is reborn in the West to an ethnic Tibetan family will that count?

I anticipate that Vajrayana in the West will primarilly be practiced in householder families like old Tibet and areas of India.

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby dechen_namdrol » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:53 pm

I may just be throwing rocks at a beehive here, and I am sorry if that happens, because it isn't my intent. But since I am pondering this personally, I thought I would toss it out for others to ponder if they choose.

Why do we Westerners always feel we can IMPROVE on things? Are we ignorant enough to think that the lineage masters didn't have it right? I mean, it worked for how many practitioners before us? And we think we can make it better or more relevant? I don't get it, seriously... and I'm not trolling. We're all the same, each and every one of us. Culture is a mirage when it comes down to the serious work of getting a calloused butt.

Could it perhaps be that wanting the teachings tailored to our "cultural sensitivities" is a form of spiritual materialism? Another alarm bell for me personally is that the "culture" WE have in the West isn't really much more than the combined influence of commercials, advertising, "keeping up with the Jones'" and feeding our own misguided belief in "self" anyway, is it?

In any case I don't see why the rush... it took how long for coffee to make it to main street Seattle from Muslim traders in caravans?
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:46 pm

dechen_namdrol wrote:Why do we Westerners always feel we can IMPROVE on things?


Because that's how we roll here in the west. BUT ... I don't think this is about improving something.....or anything for that matter

Are we ignorant enough to think that the lineage masters didn't have it right? I mean, it worked for how many practitioners before us? And we think we can make it better or more relevant?


You're assuming that's what some of us believe. Also it's not a question of doing it better than Tilo, Naro, Marpa and Mila. What DPR is talking about, more or less, is about making the dharma more easily accessible.

For instance - I find myself using the terms "Sangha" and "Community" interchangably and it seems lately I'm using Community more and more, expecially when talking with non-Buddhist westerners. The reason is when I use the word Sangha, I have to back up and describe what that means and it's a lot easier to sidestep the word altogether and use a word that fits and is understood. There's also a matter of trying not to seem pretentious by using words that others won't understand. I'm trying to share ideas and not impress others with my command of Tibetan, Pali and Sanskrit.

Could it perhaps be that wanting the teachings tailored to our "cultural sensitivities" is a form of spiritual materialism?


Of course it is and we should avoid all attachments that arise from Spiritual Materialism.

Another alarm bell for me personally is that the "culture" WE have in the West isn't really much more than the combined influence of commercials, advertising, "keeping up with the Jones'" and feeding our own misguided belief in "self" anyway, is it?


You won't get an argument from me there, but whatever culture we have is still our culture and we, as Buddhists still have to deal with it along with those "misguided" souls that live within that system. They have their experience of the phenomenal world and the Dharma should adapt. The Buddha didn't teach the Dharma the same way for everyone. He taught according to the individual needs, disposition and potential of those who came to him.

One example is we're starting to see teachers leaving their robes at home for public teachings. You almost never see a picture of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche in robes. DPR doesn't always wear robes and you're just as likely to see him in maroon sweats. Trungpa Rinpoche seldom wore robes. Why? Because robes can be an uneccessary distraction. Many Tibetan Sanghas don't use Tibetan in their practice texts because the language can be a distraction and sometimes a turn-off.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with robes and Tibetan texts or big, fancy unpronouncable Sanskrit words. But of all those things are an obstacle to the propagation of Dharma, then you have a problem and the solution is to find way to not use them and still get the point accross.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby justsit » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:09 pm

Which brings us back to one of the points DPR is trying to make.
When Buddhism was taken into Tibet, did Tibetans try to become Indians? To act like Indians? Speak Sanskrit? etc. Of course it took time, but Tibetans developed a "cup" uniquely Tibetan. Water is still pure, yes?

Fast forward to the 1970's. Tibetan lamas bring dharma to America (I use this example because it is the one DPR uses and the one with which I am most familiar). Very soon CTR addresses the issue of spiritual materialism. Why? What did he see that motivated him to write his book? So now for us, is it realistic or useful for 21st century Americans to practice in exactly the same way as Tibetans in another land and another time? Are the forms absolutely critical in some way? If so, why? If not, why? These are questions, I don't claim to have answers; but I wholeheartedly agree with Rinpoche, we need to understand what is essential and what is not, what is the pure water and what is just cup. Rinpoche is certainly not claiming that one or the other is more authentic, or better, or easier; rather, I think, he is opening the discussion from the top. He reminds us, the Buddha said "Question! Find out!"

Now, Rinpoche is no fool, and is very much aware of the dangers of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as the Catholics did in the 1960's. He is firmly rooted in traditional and rock solid teaching, and encourages all his students to pursue rigorous study at the highest levels. But, as the book shows, he is convinced that some, not all, forms can be greater hindrance than help. It remains to be seen how this will develop. Should be an interesting journey, in any case.

Just my .02. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:26 pm

kirtu wrote: Is the question actually when will non-Asian people be fully invested with the Dharma? If that's the actual question then perhaps Thinley Norbu is right about Western racism being a significant element in this debate (please note I am not accusing you or anyone of racism but Thinley Norbu's comments may have some validity on this point).


What are you talking about?

Justsit wrote:Are the forms absolutely critical in some way? If so, why? If not, why?


What exactly are "forms"?
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:23 am

Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote: Is the question actually when will non-Asian people be fully invested with the Dharma? If that's the actual question then perhaps Thinley Norbu is right about Western racism being a significant element in this debate (please note I am not accusing you or anyone of racism but Thinley Norbu's comments may have some validity on this point).


What are you talking about?


http://www.american-buddha.com/words.west.htm

I am sorry about the link (american buddha should be avoided) but it seems to be the only place you can read the article, it is an interview with Thinley Norbu Rinpoche from the Tricycle. I'm guessing this is what kirtu is referring to.

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

Postby heart » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:38 am

I am not very impressed with the way "spiritual materialism" is used in this thread. Please have a look at Trungpa Rinpoche own words http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/cutting.htm

"Ego is constantly attempting to acquire and apply the
teachings of spirituality for its own benefit. The teachings are
treated as an external thing, external to "me," a philosophy which
we try to imitate. We do not actually want to identify with or
become the teachings. So if our teacher speaks of renunciation of
ego, we attempt to mimic renunciation of ego. We go through the
motions, make the appropriate gestures, but we really do not want to
sacrifice any part of our way of life. We become skillful actors,
and while playing deaf and dumb to the real meaning of the
teachings, we find some comfort in pretending to follow the path."

Avoiding Tibetan culture could be "spiritual materialism" just as completely surrender to Tibetan culture could be "spiritual materialism".

/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: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:39 am

heart wrote:I am not very impressed with the way "spiritual materialism" is used in this thread. Please have a look at Trungpa Rinpoche own words http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/cutting.htm

"Ego is constantly attempting to acquire and apply the
teachings of spirituality for its own benefit. The teachings are
treated as an external thing, external to "me," a philosophy which
we try to imitate. We do not actually want to identify with or
become the teachings. So if our teacher speaks of renunciation of
ego, we attempt to mimic renunciation of ego. We go through the
motions, make the appropriate gestures, but we really do not want to
sacrifice any part of our way of life. We become skillful actors,
and while playing deaf and dumb to the real meaning of the
teachings, we find some comfort in pretending to follow the path."

Avoiding Tibetan culture could be "spiritual materialism" just as completely surrender to Tibetan culture could be "spiritual materialism".

/magnus



So? Nobody has said anything that might disagree. And I have read CTSM. It was one the first books on Buddhism that I bought. What CTR is saying is that any form of attachment, one way or the other, is attachement and should be avoided.

The thing about CTR's teaching on this subject, especially when you start digging into it is that in his view anything and everything can represent spiritual materialism. It basically pulls the rug out from beneath you and leaves you with nothing to stand on, or get attached to.

So Tibetan Buddhism is fine. Just don't cultivate attachments to it.
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