HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby T. Chokyi » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:48 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I am not sure that this is the right place for a Rangtong/Shentong debate Tsonghkhapa fan.
It might be interesting in a seperate thread ? Or refresh an existing one ?


Hi Simon, that wasn't my point - what I was suggesting was that commentary to Tsongkhapa's works should not be given by those outside the Gelugpa tradition as they may not understand it and may misrepresent it. Each Tradition has its own unique and precious features which are not understood by those who are not lineage holders (those who have practised within the tradition and mastered its teachings completely). It would therefore seem to me that the teachings of each tradition should be taught only by those who have mastered them by gaining practical experience.


You have a weak argument here.

Karmapa can use any commentary he wants to teach from, we who have no realizations shouldn't be suggesting for Karmapa that he shouldn't be teaching from a text by Tsongkhappa. I don't think there is any Geshe that thinks he can teach from this text any better than Karmapa, and I'd be very wary of one who thinks that he could...surely you also limit Tsongkhappa with this idea... saying only Gelugpas can understand Tsongkhappa, I doubt Tsongkhappa would even say such a thing.
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:55 pm

Tsongkhapa would be thrilled that Karmapa is teaching this text, as the 4th Karmapa was one of his vow preceptors and teachers. Surely he would not have taken vows and teachings from Drikung and Kamtsang Kagyu masters if he felt they were not realized.

Tsongkhapafan is simply a product of his/her upbringing- don't blame them for their narrow view- they haven't been exposed to the full richness of the various interpretations within the Gelug tradition, much less within the other sublime traditions of Kagyu, Nyingma and Sakya, so the narrow mindedness is to be expected. It's a bit of a shame really.

Most of the Geshes I know hold the Karmapa in high regard- that is why he was invited to teach at Sera Lachi (Sera Jey and Mey together)- I attended! Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok taught the 3 Principal Aspects of the Path at Sera Jey- Geshe Sonam told me the senior lamas agreed it had been the best commentary presented to the assembly in years.

So please don't lump the entire Gelug tradition in with Tsongkhapa fan's camp. They are on the extreme end of the sectarian spectrum, and these days our blessed teachers are appreciating the value of other approaches and how they lead to new insight of Tsongkhapa's presentation more and more.

:namaste:
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: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby michaelb » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:21 am

Wonderful :twothumbsup:

In the snow ranges of Tibet,
Owing to the sublime beings of the past,
Many profound teachings were taught.

These days most pratitioners
Hold the various teachings to be contradictory
Like heat and cold.
They praise some teachings and disparage others.

Some holy beings have said that
Madhyamaka, Mahamudra, and Mahasandhi
Are like sugar, molasses, and honey:
One is as good as the other.
For this reason, I have listened to
And reflected on all of them without partiality.

Sectarian practitioners with aversion and attachment,
Please don't reprimand me.

When the immaculate white snow mountain
Of Madhyamaka, Mahamudra, and Mahasandhi
Is bathed in the sunlight of pure perception,
The stream of blessings will certainly flow.

Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol
Great 19th Century Gelug Nyingma yogi
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:45 am

All I have to say is - be happy and work for the benefit of all living beings.

All the best.
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby Jikan » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:21 am

T. Chokyi wrote: saying only Gelugpas can understand Tsongkhappa, I doubt Tsongkhappa would even say such a thing.


innocent question from a sympathetic outsider:

Would Tsongkhapa have understood that there would be such persons as Gelugpas in the sense we understand that term today? I'm ignorant on the question of whether or not Tsongkhapa intended to found an independent school or tradition.

I'd always thought there was a great deal of common heritage between contemporary Gelugpa & Kagyupa, looking no further than Gampopa & the Kadampa. Am I mistaken?
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby smcj » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:30 am

Jikan wrote:
T. Chokyi wrote: saying only Gelugpas can understand Tsongkhappa, I doubt Tsongkhappa would even say such a thing.


innocent question from a sympathetic outsider:

Would Tsongkhapa have understood that there would be such persons as Gelugpas in the sense we understand that term today? I'm ignorant on the question of whether or not Tsongkhapa intended to found an independent school or tradition.

I'd always thought there was a great deal of common heritage between contemporary Gelugpa & Kagyupa, looking no further than Gampopa & the Kadampa. Am I mistaken?

The way I've heard it put is that he did intend to create a new tradition. He objected to what he saw as decadence in the Vajrayana of the time, specifically the lack of moral and intellectual discipline in the Nyingma. That's why the Gelugpas have such an emphasis on the Vinaya and scholasticism as perforation to tantra.

But history isn't my strength, so others may have more reliable and detailed information about it.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:16 am

I don't think that Lama Tsongkhapa started out wanting to found an entirely new "tradition", though as you mentioned he did want to reinvigorate monastic discipline which had become lax. From the Stanford biography of Tsongkhapa: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tsongkhapa/

In 1402, Tsongkhapa, with his teacher Rendawa (Red mda' ba gzhon nu blo gros, 1349–1412) and others, at the temple of Namstedeng (rNam rtsed ldeng/lding) convened a gathering of monks with the intention of reinvigorating the Buddhist order. From this came Tsongkhapa's short, but influential works on basic Buddhist morality (Sk. prātimokṣa) that in turn laid the foundation for the importance some Gelukpa monasteries would place on a stricter adherence to the monastic code. In 1403 his influential works on ethical codes for bodhisattvas (Byang chub gzhung lam) (Tatz 1987) and for tantric practitioners (rTsa ltung rnam bshad) (Sparham 2005) appeared. His separate explanations of the three ethical codes (Tib. sdom gsum) are distinguished by the centrality they give to basic morality, the importance the bodhisattva's code retains in tantra, and, in the antinomian tantras, the presence of a separate, prātimokṣa-like ordination ritual and a common code of ethical conduct


He certainly had a group of students and a solid syllabus of study that he had developed for them. According to Berzin, his students founded Ganden monastery, rather than him founding it himself. As Tsongkhapa entered the last phase of his life, many of his students were already founding monasteries:

Several of Tsongkhapa’s close disciples founded monasteries to continue his lineages and spread his teachings. While Tsongkhapa was still alive, Jamyang Chojey (‘Jam-dbyangs Chos-rje bKra-shis dpal-ldan) (1379-1449) founded Drepung Monastery (‘Bras-spungs dGon-pa) in 1416 and Jamchen Chojey (Byams-chen Chos-rje Shakya ye-shes) (1354-1435) founded Sera Monastery (Se-ra dGon-pa) in 1419. After Tsongkhapa’s passing away, Gyu Sherab-senggey (rGyud Shes-rab seng-ge) (1383-1445) founded Gyumay Lower Tantric College (rGyud-smad Grva-tshang) in 1433 and Gyelwa Gendun-drub (rGyal-ba Ge-’dun grub) (1391-1474), posthumously named the First Dalai Lama, founded Tashilhunpo Monastery (bKra-shis lhun-po) in 1447.


By the time of Lama Tsongkhapa's passing away, however, it is clear from the way he passed his robe and hat to Gyalsabje (Darma Rinchen) that he was designating a successor and "passing on a lineage". By the time of Khedrupje, the order had already grown exponentially and from then on many of the 1st and 2nd generation of Lama Tsongkhapa's disciples founded monasteries all over the Land of Snows.

Before he passed away, Tsongkhapa gave his hat and robe to Gyeltsabjey (rGyal-tshab rJe Dar-ma rin-chen) (1364-1432), who held the Ganden throne for twelve years afterwards. This began the tradition of the Ganden Throne Holder (dGa’-ldan khri-pa, Ganden Tripa) being the head of the Gelug order. The next throne holder was Kaydrubjey (mKhas-grub rJe dGe-legs dpal-bzang) (1385-1438), who later had five visions of Tsongkhapa, clarifying his doubts and answering his questions. The Gelug lineage has flourished ever since

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... khapa.html
Last edited by JKhedrup on Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:24 am

This is certainly the case, as both Berzin and Thurman (qualified scholars fluent in the language and with years spend with lamas of the order) assert.

Many of Tsongkhapa's most important teachers were of the Kagyu lineage (once again quoting from Berzin):

Tsongkhapa also went to study the practice of Manjushri Dharmachakra (‘Jam-dbyangs chos-kyi ‘khor-lo) and Madhyamaka with the Karma Kagyu Lama Umapa (Bla-ma dbu-ma-pa dPa’-bo rdo-rje). This great master had studied Madhyamaka with the Sakya tradition and, since childhood, had daily visions of Manjushri, who taught him one verse each day. Tsongkhapa and he became mutual teacher and disciple. Lama Umapa checked with Tsongkhapa to get confirmation that the teachings he received in his visions of Manjushri were correct.
This is very important, since visions can be influenced by demons.

Together with Lama Umapa, Tsongkhapa did an extensive retreat on Manjushri. From this time onward, Tsongkhapa received direct instruction from Manjushri in pure visions and was able to receive from him answers to all his questions. Before this, he had to ask his questions to Manjushri through Lama Umapa.


In terms of the tantric teachings as well, some of Tsongkhapa's most profound tantric realizations came through his practice of teachings of the Kagyu lineage:

Soon after this, Tsongkhapa did his first major tantric retreat, on Chakrasamvara according to the Kagyu lineage. During this retreat, he meditated intensely on the six teachings of Naropa and the six teachings of Niguma (Ni-gu’i chos-drug, six yogas of Niguma). He gained great realization.


The Stanford biography notes the influence of Lama Marpa in the tantric works of Lama Tsongkhapa:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tsongkhapa/
He accords great importance to esoteric yoga. In this respect, his work is firmly located in the mainstream Tibetan tradition, influenced in particular by the translator Mar pa (Mar pa Chos kyi blo gros) (1012–1097), who spread the Six Teachings of Nāropa (Nā ro chos drug), a later Indian synthesis of diverse tantric practices, in Tibet. Based on this Tsongkhapa gives detailed explanations of the nāḍī (channels for the energy or feelings that run through the tantric practitioner's body), cakra (circles of channels in the heart, throat, and other central points up the center of the body from the bottom of the spine, or tip of the sex organ, to the top of the head) and caṇḍalī (an intense pleasure experienced as heat that spreads through the channels and fills the body). Tsongkhapa is praised, in particular, for his explanation of theory and praxis associated with the illusory body (Sk. māyā-kāya, Tib. sgyu lus) and clear light (Sk. prabhāsvara, Tib. 'od gsal), a skillful adaptation of his understanding of the two truths to yogic praxis.


In terms of the Kadampa teachings, Berzin notes that Lama Tsongkhapa received these from a Nyingma master:

After the retreat, Tsongkhapa and his disciples restored a great Maitreya statue in Lhasa, which was the first of his four major deeds. They then went into retreat for five more months. After this, the Nyingma Lama Lhodrag Namka-gyeltsen (Lho-brag Nam-mkha’ rgyal-mtshan), who continually had visions of Vajrapani, invited Tsongkhapa, and they also became mutual teacher and disciple. He transmitted to him the Kadam lam-rim and oral guideline lineages.
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: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby T. Chokyi » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:16 am

Jikan wrote:
T. Chokyi wrote: saying only Gelugpas can understand Tsongkhappa, I doubt Tsongkhappa would even say such a thing.


innocent question from a sympathetic outsider:

Would Tsongkhapa have understood that there would be such persons as Gelugpas in the sense we understand that term today? I'm ignorant on the question of whether or not Tsongkhapa intended to found an independent school or tradition.

I'd always thought there was a great deal of common heritage between contemporary Gelugpa & Kagyupa, looking no further than Gampopa & the Kadampa. Am I mistaken?


A "tradition" can take on a life of its own, so from the followers side it can go many directions, did Je Tsongkhapa see which way all the directions would go... I think he could if he wanted to, and this is due to his clarity. Anyway, if a group has a great teacher and they go off and have a central place like Gaden, then a movement can start, and it can develop an energy of its own...the beginning for this movement traces back to that one important and powerful teacher with a myriad of qualities able to be an example and of course teach.

From what I've understood Je Tsongkhapa founded Gaden Monastery in 1409, and that was toward the end of his life, so during that time all of his followers gathered there in that one place, they became known as "Gadenpas" which had to do with their affiliation with Gaden. From what I understand a little later still they were called Gedenpas which has the connotation of being virtuous ones, and then a while after that Gendenpa morphed into Gelugpa which basically means "holders of the virtuous tradition". Maybe Khedrup la can find out from his Geshe friend when exactly the term "Gelugpa" came into use. Gaden's founder, Je Tsongkhapa, would have been known as a "Gadenpa" during his day. I would venture to say with the level of Je Tsongkhapa's clarity he could see how his Gadenpas would go, for instance, they say Je Tsognkhapa had many visions, some of the visions were extended for long periods of time.
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Re: HH Karmapa UTD to teach 3 Principal Aspects of Path

Postby Tom Watson » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:31 am

smcj wrote:Start of paragraph 4:
“Mind and form are not empty of their own natures
But are empty of truly existent mind and form”,

That's an interesting take on Tsongkhapa. It's in quotes in the poem. I wonder if that means Tsongkhapa said it.



The poem, In Praise Of The Incomparable Tsong Khapa, by Gyalwa Mikyo Dorje, the Eighth Karmapa (1507 – 1554), was translated by Glenn H. Mullin and Losang N. Tsonawa with the assistance of Geshe Losang Tenpa of Ganden Monastery. In the 1982 edition of The Life and Teachings of Tsong Khapa, edited by Robert A.F. Thurman, footnote 10, page 258, refers to these two lines. It reads:

It seems that during the time of Tzong Khapa many Tibetans were mistaking emptiness, or shunyata, for a type of vacuum-like object somewhat similar to that experienced by gods of the formless realms. Tzong Khapa asserted that such an "emptiness" was not the real thought of Buddha, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva or Chandrakirti, and that the liberation achieved by cognizing it was a short-lived freedom. This sentence, quoted from Je Rinpoche, points to the true emptiness.

.
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