Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:03 pm

smcj wrote:I think Alfredo is using the quote to try to say that R. is anti-intellectual/anti academic:
Alfredo wrote:...even though he has had some Western education, and is aware of critical scholarly approaches to Buddhism (I have heard him criticize them back), his version of ris med engages in more or less the same sort of special pleading as other sectarian movements, and cannot withstand scholarly criticism.
(formatting mine)
Supported by R. saying that the non-dual cannot be intellectualized:
...even the most seasoned dharma practitioner in the West sometimes I do have doubt, how much they are really understanding. Of course we are not talking about actual realization of nonduality, but we are talking about intellectual understanding of nonduality. Because the concept is just not proveable. Because every logic, language, method of measurement, is dualistic. So dualistic method cannot measure and value something nondualistic. Always! And anything that cannot be proved, or anything that does not have a "manufacturing date," so to speak, I think in the materialistic world, modern world, it's all not really...it's a [struggle?], it's like a [struggle?], it really doesn't have much value in it
(formatting mine)


Western scholars have the worst kind of sectarian attitude, the believe they are only dealing with facts and so their truths are absolute. Just reviewing the last 100 years of scientific history will reveal something quite different.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby mandala » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:06 pm

Alfredo wrote:That last quote is quite disturbing.

I admire DJKNR's openness to Tsongkhapa. However, it seems that Tibetan tradition discourages the notion that Tsongkhapa (or any other great figure) might have been wrong about anything--even when he disagrees with himself! I wish it were possible to say (for example) that Tsongkhapa's systemization of Indian Buddhist philosophy is too procrustean by half, but obviously very fruitful in reinvigorating Tibetan Buddhist thought.


Well yes, it was shocking but on a pragmatic note makes alot of sense.

I'm interested to hear what you consider Tsongkhapa to be wrong about. And I have to say, just because something appears to you to be a contradiction, doesn't mean it necessarily is :spy:
User avatar
mandala
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Alfredo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:16 pm

Very likely I read more into the quote than he meant to say. I like DJKNR, and can see that he is trying to be liberal and open-minded, but he is more constrained by his tradition than perhaps even he realizes. On one hand, he obviously talks to academic Buddhist Studies people (the Oxford scholar may be Richard Gombrich, who retired a few years ago; the California scholar I speculate to be Steven Goodman of CIIS, who is on his board); on the other hand, he does not quite seem to understand or approve of its characteristic methodologies. Talk of "objectivity" is out of fashion in this postmodern age, yet DJKNR seems surprised, in an almost pre-modern way, that a university department would strive for it. Nor does he react well to the well-founded suggestion that the historical Buddha did not teach nonduality (or the Mahayana scriptures and tantra, he might have added), but instead gives us some boilerplate about how one can't approach nonduality in a dualistic way. (O RLY? And can comas be understood only by the comatose?) In other words, he cannot bring himself to recognize the challenges posed by academic Buddhism to Buddhist tradition, and this is why I said what i did.

Mandala, I see Tsongkhapa's presentation of Indian Buddhist philosophy (e.g. the division into four tenet systems) as a factual distortion, however fruitful it may have been for Tibetan scholasticism.
Alfredo
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Jikan » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:22 pm

Alfredo wrote:Very likely I read more into the quote than he meant to say. I like DJKNR, and can see that he is trying to be liberal and open-minded, but he is more constrained by his tradition than perhaps even he realizes. On one hand, he obviously talks to academic Buddhist Studies people (the Oxford scholar may be Richard Gombrich, who retired a few years ago; the California scholar I speculate to be Steven Goodman of CIIS, who is on his board); on the other hand, he does not quite seem to understand or approve of its characteristic methodologies. Talk of "objectivity" is out of fashion in this postmodern age, yet DJKNR seems surprised, in an almost pre-modern way, that a university department would strive for it. Nor does he react well to the well-founded suggestion that the historical Buddha did not teach nonduality (or the Mahayana scriptures and tantra, he might have added), but instead gives us some boilerplate about how one can't approach nonduality in a dualistic way. (O RLY? And can comas be understood only by the comatose?) In other words, he cannot bring himself to recognize the challenges posed by academic Buddhism to Buddhist tradition, and this is why I said what i did.


Are there still university departments who take the historicist categories you use here (postmodern, premodern, &c) seriously anymore? There's a substantial body of scholarship discrediting them, produced by scholars who insist that appeals to objectivity are both sensible and desirable. One such study:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Tim ... zVdQfAKVgC
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Alfredo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:23 pm

Then I applaud them, and hope you are right.
Alfredo
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:52 pm

Alfredo wrote: In other words, he cannot bring himself to recognize the challenges posed by academic Buddhism to Buddhist tradition, and this is why I said what i did.


Do you feel that the academia recognizes the challenges posed by the actually living tradition of Buddhism to their work?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Alfredo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:07 pm

What challenges do you mean?
Alfredo
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:20 pm

Alfredo wrote:What challenges do you mean?


The fact that a lot of their work is based on misunderstandings and prejudice.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby ngodrup » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:07 pm

What might Je Tsongkhapa be wrong about?

Epistemology.
That Buddha Nature is not an Ultimate phenomenon.
That Atisha's thought was superior to Rangzom's.

I'm clearly not say he was, I'm saying these are debate points.
ngodrup
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Alfredo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:09 pm

(reply to Magnus)

I have a very different impression of the field. What could you be thinking of...?
Alfredo
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:14 pm

Alfredo wrote:(reply to Magnus)

I have a very different impression of the field. What could you be thinking of...?


You studied comparative religion?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Alfredo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:57 pm

Among other things.
Alfredo
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:13 pm

Alfredo wrote:Here's the quote I was thinking of:

[...] I've been talking with a lot of--a few, a few scholars in Oxford. They're very good, really good! Very good. There are many so-called Buddhist professors, or Buddhist experts, and they strongly oppose reincarnation. They don't believe that nonduality is taught by the Buddha, and stuff like that. Very good. It's a very educational for me. [smiles, audience laughs] I would just yesterday talked about--someone I had actually only heard the name, but never really learned anything about...him. Um, Karl...Karl Popper. Karl Popper? So... Also, in Oxford I was told that they're studying Buddhism "objectively." That's very interesting. [smiles, audience laughs] So this is all disorienting for me because [stammers] I had to switch my mind back to the Buddhist mind, so to speak, in order to talk about...this.

Anyway this is very important subject. [long pause] If we don't talk about nonduality, then I don't think we can really talk about Buddhism at all. And nonduality's not so easy. Recently I was talking to...Indians, just Indian intellectuals. And I was even kind of...worried...that how much we Tibetans actually manage to conceive the idea of nonduality thoroughly, as much as these Indians seems to have done. It's not that easy, this nonduality, to really conceive this. Especially if are, you think like, I think, like Karl Popper's way. And if you really think that something can be observed and valued objectively, nonduality's difficult. [shifts on seat] About a year ago I met a professor in America--Berkeley University--and he told me something very interesting. He said actually, it's very important that the Tibetan lamas know the history of Buddhism, and especially the history of Buddhism in the West. And he said especially in America because, he said, that the emergence of Buddhism in the West may be, may have...it started, you know, it started with a very Descartes-like Buddhism. So it's a very dualistic Buddhism, so to speak. I can understand him, because even the most seasoned dharma practitioner in the West sometimes I do have doubt, how much they are really understanding. Of course we are not talking about actual realization of nonduality, but we are talking about intellectual understanding of nonduality. Because the concept is just not proveable. Because every logic, language, method of measurement, is dualistic. So dualistic method cannot measure and value something nondualistic. Always! And anything that cannot be proved, or anything that does not have a "manufacturing date," so to speak, I think in the materialistic world, modern world, it's all not really...it's a [struggle?], it's like a [struggle?], it really doesn't have much value in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqRyAny ... xvzM9778se (start from 4 minutes in)


This quote presents a false argument, one that is is very superficial.

DKR goes from the premise that because Buddhologists in general do not accept the idea that Mahāyāna was historically taught by the Buddha (in other words, texts were composed that used the persona of the Buddha as a mouthpiece for various Mahāyāna doctrines) that they, indeed all Westerners, therefore are under suspicion of being incapable of understanding the nondual message taught in those texts.

His argument is at base a species of cultural chauvinism. This cultural chauvinism that DKR frequently expresses in his lectures is distressingly blind.

In sum, he starts with an issue of historiography and ends up leveling a charge of philosophical incompetence. DKR has a bad attitude about westerners. Its a pity really.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10185
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:16 pm

Alfredo wrote:
Mandala, I see Tsongkhapa's presentation of Indian Buddhist philosophy (e.g. the division into four tenet systems) as a factual distortion, however fruitful it may have been for Tibetan scholasticism.


The four tenet system is Indian in origin.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10185
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:53 pm

Malcolm wrote: DKR has a bad attitude about westerners. Its a pity really.

I kind of agree, but he has had a lot of experience with westerners, and seems to be quite appreciatve of western culture. Maybe he has a point?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:59 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote: DKR has a bad attitude about westerners. Its a pity really.

I kind of agree, but he has had a lot of experience with westerners, and seems to be quite appreciatve of western culture. Maybe he has a point?


A point about what? He does not understand us.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10185
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby smcj » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote: DKR has a bad attitude about westerners. Its a pity really.

I kind of agree, but he has had a lot of experience with westerners, and seems to be quite appreciatve of western culture. Maybe he has a point?

A point about what? He does not understand us.

My teacher said to me once, "Our minds look like a wiggling can of worms to them, so they give us the Dharma and hope we can make something out of it."

Personally I'd like to nominate Chime R. (Kagyu in the U.K.) as the tibetan lama that understands us the best.
smcj
 
Posts: 1448
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:14 pm

Alfredo wrote:Among other things.


Ah well, if you don't know what I mean you are either very lucky or very young. :smile:

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:16 pm

smcj wrote:My teacher said to me once, "Our minds look like a wiggling can of worms to them, so they give us the Dharma and hope we can make something out of it."


Sorry, but I have met many Tibetans and even Tibetan lamas and teachers, for the most part their minds are just as infected with worms as ours appear to be.

I personally am rather tired of the cultural chauvinism exhibited by Tibetans. It is one thing to appreciative of one's culture. It is another thing to rest on the laurels of history (actually socio-geographical happenstance) and use this fact to tout the superiority of one's culture.

I don't like it when American politicians waffle on about American "exceptionalism" and I don't like it when Tibetan teachers waffle on about Tibetan exceptionalism. There is nothing particularly exceptional about human beings in general, apart from our capacity to think and reason -- and even that is very questionable when viewed from a cosmic perspective.

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
Posts: 10185
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche brief comment on Je Tsongkhapa

Postby heart » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:23 pm

Actually, Mahayana might have been taught by the Buddha. The archeological proofs are becoming just as solid as for the Hinayana scriptures.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Gelug

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>