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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:41 pm 
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I think folks have an idea of "creating oneself as the deity" as somehow less "profound" or somehow, less "real" or "final" than the "result" of the completion stages, whether you're talking about completion with or without characteristics.

The meaning of the Vase Empowerment alone is quite profound and the transformation of skandhas, etc., into wisdoms, Five Buddha Families, etc., is really not understood or actualized, IMO. I think, frankly, Tulku Urgyen's point can be amplified....we think of the Creation Stage as merely "visualizing the deity" and for us, beginners, that's the first step...but when you plumb the depths of the Creation Stage, and the First Empowerment alone, it's qute, quite deep. I don't want to get into more specifics on a public forum...but this is indicative of the lack of "background" we have, here in the West, regarding Vajrayana Buddhism. We all want to rush to the so-called "Highest" stuff....but we don't realize the background and impact, and meaning, of stuff we consider "lower." As is said, "The deepest stuff is presented first, yet not realized until later...."

Then again, maybe I'm just making assumptions and generalizing....everyone's different.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:10 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
I think folks have an idea of "creating oneself as the deity" as somehow less "profound" or somehow, less "real" or "final" than the "result" of the completion stages, whether you're talking about completion with or without characteristics.


I got this idea from TUR, but then again I found his As It Is vol.1 very difficult to understand (I found vol. 2 easier).

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:14 pm 
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You've inspired me to go back and read both of them, again...I have them both, and I recall loving them to death when they first came out.

It seems I maybe haven't fully understood it all, either....no surprise when we're talking about Tulku Urgyen's speech. Bottomless depth, there...... :bow:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Quote:
You've inspired me to go back and read both of them, again...I have them both, and I recall loving them to death when they first came out.

It seems I maybe haven't fully understood it all, either....no surprise when we're talking about Tulku Urgyen's speech. Bottomless depth, there......


I think it's more likely I haven't understood it (or I should say that I misunderstood). But if I inspired you to read his books again, even if it's just from my misunderstanding, that's something too. :D
Maybe you can explain it to me where I misunderstood him (if so) later.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Tsongkhapafan wrote:
The Dalai Lama gives Kalachakra empowerment to - what, maybe 100,000 people at a time, so if you've got a problem with mass empowerments,


Empowerments are dealt with differently in the different lineages. In Sakya you can only give a HYT empowerment to a maximum of 25 people max at a time (provided that none of those people have taken this empowerment before - even if they have generally the 25 person limit will be respected but it could be that a few people who have previously taken the empowerment would be permitted to attend too).

But the tradition in the Kalachakra across lineages is that the Kalachakra can be given to masses of people at once.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:02 pm 
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kirtu wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
The Dalai Lama gives Kalachakra empowerment to - what, maybe 100,000 people at a time, so if you've got a problem with mass empowerments,


Empowerments are dealt with differently in the different lineages. In Sakya you can only give a HYT empowerment to a maximum of 25 people max at a time (provided that none of those people have taken this empowerment before - even if they have generally the 25 person limit will be respected but it could be that a few people who have previously taken the empowerment would be permitted to attend too).

But the tradition in the Kalachakra across lineages is that the Kalachakra can be given to masses of people at once.

Kirt

When Kalacakra is given by HHDL it is offered as a spiritual blessing as well as a full empowerment so those who have a peripheral connection or limited interest in Buddhism can also participate and benefit. For such people there is no requirement to take tantric vows or accept HH as a vajra guru or even to be buddhist. AFAIK this is the only HYT empowerment where the usual committments are relaxed like this and most likely explains why such events are so well attended.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:10 pm 
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kirtu wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
The Dalai Lama gives Kalachakra empowerment to - what, maybe 100,000 people at a time, so if you've got a problem with mass empowerments,


Empowerments are dealt with differently in the different lineages. In Sakya you can only give a HYT empowerment to a maximum of 25 people max at a time (provided that none of those people have taken this empowerment before - even if they have generally the 25 person limit will be respected but it could be that a few people who have previously taken the empowerment would be permitted to attend too).

But the tradition in the Kalachakra across lineages is that the Kalachakra can be given to masses of people at once.

Kirt


I would have thought that giving a Jenang of an action tantra Deity such as Tara, Manjushri or Avalokiteshvara would be more suitable if you're simply going to give an blessing to a large group of people, would you care to comment? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:49 pm 
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Tsong Khapa Fan-
The Kalachakra Tantra itself is historically related to the kingdom of Shambhala and there is a whole "mythos," if you will, about the Khalka Kings, world peace, etc.

There's stuff published out there, in English, about why, specifically, this empowerment is given publically to large groups.

As for Jenangs, these are different than full empowerments, even in the lower classes of Tantra. In other words, Lower Tantra has full empowerments as well, not just Jenangs. Jenangs, actually, are more associated with the two highest classes of Tantra. And in many schools jenangs can only be given after one has received full Wangkur.

For example, White Tara and Medicine Buddha are High Tantra practices, actually.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:16 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
Tsong Khapa Fan-
The Kalachakra Tantra itself is historically related to the kingdom of Shambhala and there is a whole "mythos," if you will, about the Khalka Kings, world peace, etc.

There's stuff published out there, in English, about why, specifically, this empowerment is given publically to large groups.

As for Jenangs, these are different than full empowerments, even in the lower classes of Tantra. In other words, Lower Tantra has full empowerments as well, not just Jenangs. Jenangs, actually, are more associated with the two highest classes of Tantra. And in many schools jenangs can only be given after one has received full Wangkur.

For example, White Tara and Medicine Buddha are High Tantra practices, actually.


Hi conebeckham,

Thanks for your comments, I sincerely appreciate it. When you say "full empowerment", what do you mean? Do you mean taking commitments to do certain Deity practices or do you mean that these Deities' empowerments can be received as HYT practices? Is the Wangkur the oral transmission of the practice or is it the full empowerment according to HYT?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:52 pm 
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"Wangkur" is the full empowerment, or,rather, the full four empowerments, usually the most elaborate version of "empowerment" there is, and, as far as I understand, the only rite of conferral that carries the samayas. Often these rites will include a "jenang" which is a rite of "permission" to practice, as well....there's also a "Jinlab" or blessing which is somewhat different than either, but I don't know the exact differences off the top of my head, and would have to research.

So, I'd say the Wangkur is the Full Empowerment, usually (but not definitively) for HYT (Lower tantra Wangkurs would have complete Vase Empowerments, for example, but the nature of the remaining empowerments would differ).

Commitment to practice is a different thing entirely than the Wangkur/Jenang/Jinlab itself--it's not really "built-in" to any empowerment I've seen, though there may be some empowerment texts that do have such commitments explicitly spelled out....each text and tradition is a bit different. The Samayas I refer to above, with the Wangkur, are not really "practice" or "recitation commitments"--they're the samayas of the families, etc., that you find in HYT--maintain a bell and dorje, give gifts, etc.

The "Oral Transmission" could mean two different things....it could be the "Lung," or reading transmission, or it could be the "Tri" or explanation of the practice itself.....

This is all from my memory, so I'd have to go back to research for more detail, and I may have mis-stated something...so if others more knowledgable, or less lazy, wish to add or correct me, have at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Being alien is not enough and can be even counter-productive. It should not be forgot that Tibet has been a part of Western esotericism since the 19th century or even before as a mystical land. There is also the recent history of Tibet that a large number of the population fled from the country and now they are oppressed by the Communists - this whole brings up Western concepts of freedom and the evil enemy of that. There's also the image of Tibetans being a spiritual, peaceful people living close to nature which again resonates with old Western ideas. It's just another thing how neo-pagan movements are growing in numbers and that goes quite well with the magical features of Vajrayana. Thus it is an already existing mythology that Tibetan Buddhism can build on. How Tibetan Studies is a common part of oriental curricula in universities is another positive factor.


Of course, just being exotic won't be enough, but it's an important factor as Yeshe mentioned in reference to how occult societies like the Theosophists spread quite far. In addtion, Madonna gave a good boost to Kabbalah in the U.S. Sure, Tibetan Buddhism is known in the West....but that doesn't mean much in terms of how the average person knows Tibetan Buddhism. When people think Buddhism, they think of the Dalai Lama as a nice guy....that's about the extent.

However, in terms of the West, I think people want to be with the "In" crowd. And if that "In" crowd requires a special handshake and secret code word to get in the club, they'll eat it up. But of course, this can be countered when you have Jodo Shinshu being so popular. I can see how this would dominate a more economically and war torn depressed area. At that point, people would be fed up with secrets and anything resembling a bourgeoisie lifestyle. So, a simple practice that is open to all without all the window dressing would be successful as it was for Honen and Shinran during the Kamakura era.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:21 am 
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Hm so, since I've been going through Buddhist Ethics by Jamgon Kongtrul recently, I've found him quoting Manjurshri Fundamental Tantra which says: "... without initiation, one cannot be called a mantrin."

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:56 pm 
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Pero wrote:
Hm so, since I've been going through Buddhist Ethics by Jamgon Kongtrul recently, I've found him quoting Manjurshri Fundamental Tantra which says: "... without initiation, one cannot be called a mantrin."


Exactly right.

But Tibetan Buddhism is more than just the Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhist style Mahayana and Kriya Tantra will likely stick by itself.

Kirt

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:31 pm 
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On reflection I am less concerned about Vajrayana surviving in the West than the potential for an overall decline in interest in spiritual development worldwide as western culture and values spread throughout China and India.

I wonder if there is any factual research which shows the pattern of interest in spiritual development, if indeed it can be defined. Is there an overall decline, a cycle or even an inversion as West adopts Eastern religion and culture and vice versa. Kali Yuga may well be the future pattern for India, for example - but what of the rest of the world?

Incidentally, I always find it funny when Westerners get hot under the collar about the growth of religions other than Christianity, as if it is a 'western' religion and the others are 'foreign'. Maybe nobody told them that Jesus was not from LA.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:59 pm 
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Yeshe wrote:
On reflection I am less concerned about Vajrayana surviving in the West than the potential for an overall decline in interest in spiritual development worldwide as western culture and values spread throughout China and India.

I wonder if there is any factual research which shows the pattern of interest in spiritual development, if indeed it can be defined. Is there an overall decline, a cycle or even an inversion as West adopts Eastern religion and culture and vice versa. Kali Yuga may well be the future pattern for India, for example - but what of the rest of the world?

Incidentally, I always find it funny when Westerners get hot under the collar about the growth of religions other than Christianity, as if it is a 'western' religion and the others are 'foreign'. Maybe nobody told them that Jesus was not from LA.


ROFL!!!!
i prefer to think that it will evolve, and the expedients once used to drive the desire and needs towards the path are less necessary...

Monks went to monasteries for economic survival reason at times ...yes ..no....

is that really a good thing....

i used to love doing vajrayana and going about making money and visualizing the whole enterprise as Tantric....

no reason for it not to survive the western ways....

you just gotta view Wall Street as creating paper nectar that sifts through the hands of the uninitiated and cleanses them majikly....or that their bank accounts are really secret Yogic programming....
dividend sheets instruction to join the path....

it's all there....the temples of wall streets and the golden bridges into the great Temple cities where hot dog carts are actually edible wish granting jewels served by devas.....

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:47 pm 
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For it to stick I also think monastic seats must be established.

I also think that the Lamas should stop touring the west, staying a few days in each place, returning maybe once every other year, or even less often. Giving all kinds of seemingly unrelated, almost random, teachings and empowerments of all levels to all kinds of practitioners.

I think that if a teaching or empowerment requireing any kind of commitments in the form of vows, or any kind of samaya, on the behalf of the participants, then it should only be given to those who have established a personal relationship with the teacher, and which the teacher has the time and other resources to follow up also after the teaching or empowerment.

Also I think that the selling of Dharma should stop. That dharma centers don't use visit of Lamas giving empowerments to generate income, and that if Dharma books are to be sold it is sold at the cost of printing only.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:51 pm 
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Inge wrote:
For it to stick I also think monastic seats must be established.

I also think that the Lamas should stop touring the west, staying a few days in each place, returning maybe once every other year, or even less often. Giving all kinds of seemingly unrelated, almost random, teachings and empowerments of all levels to all kinds of practitioners.

I think that if a teaching or empowerment requireing any kind of commitments in the form of vows, or any kind of samaya, on the behalf of the participants, then it should only be given to those who have established a personal relationship with the teacher, and which the teacher has the time and other resources to follow up also after the teaching or empowerment.

Also I think that the selling of Dharma should stop. That dharma centers don't use visit of Lamas giving empowerments to generate income, and that if Dharma books are to be sold it is sold at the cost of printing only.



:applause:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Inge wrote:
For it to stick I also think monastic seats must be established.


Probably (for the long term definitely) but although the West has a long history of monasticism most people are unaware of it and deride it. Westerners do not like monasticism and are suspicious of inner mental or spiritual development in general. To overcome this yogic families have to be established across all the traditions. I do see these yogic families developing BTW.

Also Westerners want to throw out traditions with a long developmental history because they are seen as archaic forms - the reality is that the explanation for the evolution of these forms has been lost in common knowledge and just explained (and explained incorrectly) as mere tradition.

Another issue is that ethnic Buddhists often bring their own set of assumptions and conditioning about non-ethnic Buddhists to the table and these also need to be examined as they can be damaging (for example some Asian people I have been around assume that a non-Asian person can't have real faith in a guru esp. in a deceased guru and are mostly operating on a level of knowledge acquisition so guru yoga will have less impact on the mind of a non-Asian person, some assume that everything in the Dharma is filtered through some kind of Christian or deistic filter and many assume that non-Asian people are really mostly tourists).

I disagree with the assumptions behind your assertions about what touring lamas and lineage holders need to do. First there aren't that many lineage holders and many of them have specifically sent lamas to set up centers. It's largely up to us to stop screwing around and begin to go very deeply into the Dharma.

I disagree also with the notion that empowerments are being done in a random (or haphazard) fashion. The idea articulated in the past has been that planting seeds that might come to fruition in future lives is what they were doing. I think this was mostly for internal Tibetan consumption as there was apparently some questioning of the activities of high lamas who initially came to the West and started teaching. More recently it has come out that Tibetan lamas knew for quite some time before the Chinese invasion that they needed to teach in the West. However from my interpretation the West at that time was a barbaric place filled with war (even though Asia is also filled with war just look at the history of the West from the brief period of the 1800's forward). So there was never a good time to do so and finally their hand was forced.

Now they have found or cultivated some very sincere students as a result of efforts really from the 50's and 60's forward. It's taken a while even though Buddhism in general has already been in the West around 150 years.

Kirt

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:58 pm 
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One point I did not yet find mentioned - (I did skip 3 of the 7 pages though...) - is rebirth. Some current Westerners were previously from India or Tibet and vice versa. Sometimes, something from previous lives 'clicks' this time through - I think this is where Vajrayana and some other forms of Tibetan Buddhism will find growth in the West. People who have practiced traditionally in Tibet or India previously and are then reborn in the US or Europe for example will want to find their former lineages to continue practicing - or will feel more at home following structures they previously related to.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:44 am 
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Beer (2004: p. 142) states:[38]


"Deity Yoga employs highly refined techniques of creative imagination, visualisation, and photism in order to self-identify with the divine form and qualities of a particular deity as the union of method or skilful means and wisdom. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "In brief, the body of a Buddha is attained through meditating on it". - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana

The problem as I see it, is in the vows we may have taken in this or previous lives (for some of us MANY thousands of years ago). To divulge the nature of the most "terrifying" shortcut to enlightenment ever discovered, to those neither trained to understand nor constrained by any ethical structures from exploitation of the mechanisms whereby the "Wheel of Dharma" may be quite easily circumvented seems tantamount to a 'betrayal' of millenia of guarded esoteric practices, or like "teaching emptiness to those unprepared".

Nevertheless, Western Mystery Schools and Traditions (like the "Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn") have published accounts of the Esoteric Tantra Asana teachings, bereft of cultural strictures, and no mass breakdown of discipline has been perceived:

"Dzogchenpa samaya:

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu relates that once someone asked the famous Dzogchen Master, Yungtön Dorje Pel, what his practice consisted of, and he replied with the negative “mepa” or “there isn’t.” Then his startled questioner asked again, “Then you don’t meditate?,” to which the Master replied, “And when am I ever distracted?” This is the essence of samaya in Dzogchen teaching: not to meditate or to practice something with the mind and yet never to be distracted, for one remains uninterruptedly in the self-perfection of the single state of rigpa or Truth.[55]"

In this denotation, dzogchen is a verb, and denotes the perfect process in the grammatical sense or alternately an infinitive verb, wherein the great continuum of 'one taste' (Wylie: ro gcig) or as Capriles renders it "single state" is the effortless 'contemplating' or abiding in the view of non-distraction from rigpa."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzogchen

- Jondalf


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