Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

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Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby LionelChen » Thu May 23, 2013 7:53 pm

I've heard several versions of an infamous tale where a lama attempts to teach the truth of emptiness to a disciple whose mind find itself attached to the notions of existence and non-existence.

I have always wondered however, if this tale had any historical basis or if this is simply a modern day parable.

Anyone care to shine a light on this?
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu May 23, 2013 8:07 pm

It sounds like a totally plausible event...why does it matter? It's exactly how it is.



This is not a side-note: do you know the Harry Potter books/movies?
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby LionelChen » Thu May 23, 2013 8:16 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:It sounds like a totally plausible event...why does it matter? It's exactly how it is.


Oh - it doesn't. I'm merely curious.



This is not a side-note: do you know the Harry Potter books/movies?


Yes. Haven't read the books but did take my little cousin to see the movies. She likes them a lot.
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu May 23, 2013 9:15 pm

In "Small Boat, Great Mountain" by Ajahn Amaro,
(see: https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/small-boat-great-mountain),
beginning on p.9 of the text, p.31 of the pdf one finds the following:
There is a story I am reminded of that happened at a Buddhist
conference in Europe. A Tibetan lama was there, and a member
of the audience was an extremely serious German student. The
rinpoche had been teaching visualizations of Tara and the puja
to the 21 Taras. During the course of this teaching, this student,
with great sincerity, put his hands together and asked the question:
“Rinpoche, Rinpoche, I have zis big doubt. You see, all day
we do the puja to the 21 Tara and, you know, I am very committed
to zis practice. I vant to do everything right. But I have zis
doubt: Tara, does she exist or does she not? Really Rinpoche, is
she zhere or not? If she is zhere, I can have a full heart. But if
she’s not zhere, zen I don’t vant to do zhe puja. So please,
Rinpoche, once and for all, tell us, does she exist or does she
not?” The lama closed his eyes for a while, then smiled and
replied, “She knows she is not real.” It is not recorded how the
student responded.


I suppose you could contact Ajahn Amaro and ask him where he heard this.
By the way, I've always liked this story very much. :)
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
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Ayu » Thu May 23, 2013 9:47 pm

I read this story in German - it is said it was in a conference in Berlin, where a seeker asked a Rinpoche in a workshop at questioning time:
<<<"I do practice for long time... But it is difficult for me to follow it all with my full heart... Because i have the doubt if Tara is really existing or not. Is she real? Sometimes you speak as if she was a real person, but sometimes you say she is the wisdom of Buddha Amoghasiddhi, and sometimes you say she is just a clever instrument. If I knew for sure that she really exists, i would double my efforts in my practice. So - Rinpoche, does Tara exist or does she not exist in reality?"

For some moments the Lama kept thinking, then he looked upward to get in eye contact with this student, a smile darts over his face and he answeres:

"She knows, that she doesn't really exist." :smile:
>>>

It is a short passage within this wonderful article from Ajahn Amaro about the coexistence of northern and southern Buddhism - how he calls it. It is a peaceful clairification about Hnayana and Mahayana side by side:
http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=8911#more-8911

Maybe somebody can translate it better than me:
„Existiert sie wirklich?“

Die Szenerie: eine buddhistische Konferenz in Berlin. Zwischen den vielen Foren und Präsentationen gab es auch einige Lehrer, die Workshops anboten. Einer davon ist ein älterer, recht bedeutender tibetischer Lama; er hat Anleitungen zu einem Text mit dem Titel „Lob den 21 Taras“ gegeben. Jetzt ist es Zeit für Fragen und Antworten.

Ein junger Mann mit gerunzelter Stirn bittet um das Wort:

„Rimpoche, ich bin jetzt seit vielen Jahren Ihr Student. Ich bin voll der Praxis hingegeben und bin sehr gewillt, all die Pujas, die Visualisierungen und die Niederwerfungen auszuführen. Aber es fällt mir schwer, mit ganzem Herzen dabei zu sein, denn ich habe diesen Zweifel: Die Tara, gibt es sie wirklich? Manchmal reden Sie, als wäre sie eine reale Person, aber manchmal sagen Sie auch, sie sei die Weisheit des Buddha Amoghasiddhi, oder schlicht ein geschicktes Mittel. Wenn ich das mit Gewissheit wüsste, dann würde ich meine Bemühungen verdoppeln. Also – Rimpoche, die Tara, existiert sie nun wirklich oder existiert sie nicht?

Für einige Augenblicke denkt der Lama nach, dann hebt er seine Augen empor, um denen des Fragenden zu begegnen. Ein Lächeln huscht über sein Gesicht. Er antwortet:

„Sie weiss, dass sie nicht wirklich existiert.“




Edit: Ah, it is also in English avaiable. :smile:
Last edited by Ayu on Thu May 23, 2013 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu May 23, 2013 9:51 pm

I guess the unbelievability is because German keeps saying "zis and zat" all the time. Like it's a bad joke where a German, an Irishman, and an Italian walk into a bar.
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu May 23, 2013 9:54 pm

OK, the original the German was translated from is here:
http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-archive/2008/6/1/between-arhat-and-bodhisattva.html

"Does She Really Exist?"

The scene: a Buddhist conference in Berlin. Among the many panels and presentations, some teachers have come to give workshops as well. One such elder is an eminent Tibetan lama; he has been giving instruction on The Praise to the Twenty-One Taras. It is now time for questions and answers.

A young man with furrowed brow requests to speak. He asks in broken English, “Rinpoche, for many years now I have been your student. I am committed to the practice but I have the doubt. I am very willing to do the pujas, the visualizations, the prostrations, but it is very hard to have the whole heart in it, because I have this doubt: Tara, is she really there? Sometime you talk like she is a real person, but sometimes you say she is the wisdom of Buddha Amoghasiddhi, or just a skillful means.

If I could know for sure, I would redouble my efforts. So, Rinpoche, Tara, does she really exist or does she not?!”

For a few moments the lama ponders, then raises his eyes to meet those of his inquirer. A smile spreads across his face.

He responds, “She knows that she is not real.”
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Thu May 23, 2013 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Ayu » Thu May 23, 2013 9:54 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:I guess the unbelievability is because German keeps saying "zis and zat" all the time. Like it's a bad joke where a German, an Irishman, and an Italian walk into a bar.

:rolling:

When i read it i thought, it must have been Dagyab Kyabgön Rinpoche, Loden Sherab - it sounds like he was it.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 24, 2013 11:53 am

Let's stick to the topic shall we?

What happens in the bar??? :popcorn:

:tongue:
"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: Tara (or GuanYin) knows she doesn't exist?

Postby Ayu » Fri May 24, 2013 12:33 pm

In the bar sits a very smart Tara - she is the only one, who is so clever to know, that she doesn't exist, that there is no bar and nothing happens...
Image
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