Some questions about Tibetan buddhism

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Some questions about Tibetan buddhism

Postby ivanyo » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:54 am

Hello,

I'm strongly thinking of joining a tibetan buddhist community;

1) The buddhist community is of a Kagyu tradition, this I do not know if suits me yet. But once ordained, is it possible to switch to something else without this being of conflicts towards my practice? After all this is the only type except a diamond way community, which from my understanding also is of Kagyu tradition.

2) I have considered myself more of a Theravada type, although I feel I got pointed that way from Goenka's lectures at a 10-day vipassana retreat. But I don't really see myself much of a person who want to identify myself with such cultural concepts(I tend to find them dividing), and I find tantric means rather interesting to not seek learning from. Is dividing nessecity? Can I do anapanasati and vipassana meditation while being in a Kagyu tradition? I feel it brings me effectivly towards liberation and I find the technique very strong. Is it possible to incorporate vipassana meditation with Tantric ways? Eventually switch between them in guidence from a lama?

3) Is it possible to start traning as a yogi in tibetan tradition without strong Tibetan linguistic abilities? Any from west who have gone through such training, eventually know anyone who have started such an endeavour?


May you all enjoy the fruits of the way of bodhisattva!
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Re: Some questions about Tibetan buddhism

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:36 am

ivanyo wrote:Hello,

I'm strongly thinking of joining a tibetan buddhist community;

1) The buddhist community is of a Kagyu tradition, this I do not know if suits me yet. But once ordained, is it possible to switch to something else without this being of conflicts towards my practice? After all this is the only type except a diamond way community, which from my understanding also is of Kagyu tradition.

Are you asking about becoming a monk, or just practicing as a lay person? Not sure what ordination refers to here. If you're just a layperson, it's totally fine to receive teachings from teachers of other traditions and possibly switch traditions if that's what you want to do.

ivanyo wrote:2) I have considered myself more of a Theravada type, although I feel I got pointed that way from Goenka's lectures at a 10-day vipassana retreat. But I don't really see myself much of a person who want to identify myself with such cultural concepts(I tend to find them dividing), and I find tantric means rather interesting to not seek learning from. Is dividing nessecity? Can I do anapanasati and vipassana meditation while being in a Kagyu tradition? I feel it brings me effectivly towards liberation and I find the technique very strong. Is it possible to incorporate vipassana meditation with Tantric ways? Eventually switch between them in guidence from a lama?

In Vajrayana in general, there is a strong sense of devotion to the lama and following his instructions to the letter. You can speak with your own lama about if those practices will be good for you, but you should listen to what he says. If you're diving into a Kagyu group, I think your lama will probably just want you to do ngondro and as fast as possible. Which would mean not doing vipassana. Of course, you're free to disregard his recommendations and incorporate vipassana on your own, but that's not really going to help you on your path because the key is following the lama's instructions.

ivanyo wrote:3) Is it possible to start traning as a yogi in tibetan tradition without strong Tibetan linguistic abilities? Any from west who have gone through such training, eventually know anyone who have started such an endeavour?

Again, I'm not sure what type of commitment you are talking about making. As a layperson, you don't need to know Tibetan in order to practice. However, I've noticed that most serious practitioners do also try to learn the language.
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Re: Some questions about Tibetan buddhism

Postby viniketa » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:12 am

Regardless of 'tradition' or 'vehicle' (yāna) chosen, there are basic ideas that underlie 'becoming a Buddhist'.

Refuge and Lay Precepts

Refuge

"Taking refuge" is the basic concept that defines "becoming a Buddhist". It is not even necessary to take refuge in a formal session with a teacher, but it may help to clarify your choice and to remember your commitment. The idea behind taking refuge is that when it starts to rain, we like to find a shelter. The Buddhist shelter from the rain of problems and pain of life is threefold: the Buddha, his teachings (the Dharma), and the spiritual community (the Sangha). Taking refuge means that we have some understanding about suffering, and we have confidence that the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (the "Three Jewels") can help us.

The Three Refuges
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dharma for refuge.
I go to the Sangha for refuge.


The Five Precepts of Lay Buddhism

The Five Precepts constitute the basic Buddhist code of ethics, undertaken by lay followers of the Buddha Gautama in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. The Five Precepts are commitments to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication. Undertaking the five precepts is part of both lay Buddhist initiation and regular lay Buddhist devotional practices.

The Buddha is said to have taught the five precepts out of compassion, and for the betterment of society. They undertaken voluntarily rather than as commandments from a higher power. The precepts are intended to help a Buddhist live free from remorse, so that they can progress more easily on their path.

The Five Precepts:

I vow to refrain from destroying living creatures.
I vow to refrain from taking that which is not given.
I vow to refrain from sexual misconduct.
I vow to refrain from incorrect speech.
I vow to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Renewing the vows in the Precepts and the Refuges is often a part of daily practice.

If one wishes to dedicate the whole of one's life to Buddhism and teaching Buddhism, then one 'ordains' in chosen tradition, which involves following many additional precepts.

Hope this helps.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Some questions about Tibetan buddhism

Postby pathfollower » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm

1. You can practice any kind of Buddhism and be a practitioner of the Vajrayana as well, there are no conflicts because the Vajrayana practices have as foundation all the tenets of the Buddha's teachings, and one cannot really accomplish Vajrayana without keeping in mind the foundations at all times. What makes one a Vajrayana practitioner is not simply having a root guru and having done such and such practices, but mainly in having the right attitude and motivation, without which those Vajrayana practices mean nothing and can actually be harmful because then they will support arrogance rather than dissolving it. The opportunity to practice the Vajrayana is a great blessing.
2. If you are going to do Vajrayana practice it is highly recommended that you have a good foundation in "shamata" or tranquility meditation in order to have the right concentration to make those practices effective (including ngondro), and this you appear to have done so you are in a good position to benefit from the Vajrayana. Vipassana meditation may mean something different in Tibetan Buddhism, where it is "insight" meditation into the nature of the mind itself, which consists of different techniques for gathering the accumulation of wisdom, including inquiring about what the mind is and also looking directly at thoughts. This kind of Vipassana meditation is not done until one has a great deal of experience with tranquility meditation and has a good amount of training in the preliminary practices (such as ngondro). To do so without this foundation will not only lead to no results but may definitely discourage the practitioner from developing in the Vajrayana path further. The same can be said of doing any deity practices that one has not had "empowerments" for, although one can do some practices in a group..one definitely has to talk to a qualified Lama regarding this.
3. The Kagyu lineage is called "the practice lineage" because of the emphasis of doing practice foremost while also learning, since our time is limited. You mention the diamond way Kagyu. You should research into the Kagyu as a whole, understand that there has been a split with the 17th Karmapa, and my opinion is that the Tai Situ and the Dalai Lama have it right and the 17th Karmapa is Ogyen Trinley Dorje. You can go on You Tube and kagyuoffice.org and compare the two, to me this shows a clear distinction. I know the other choice has many centers in Europe, due to Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje not being allowed out of India because of inability to get a visa to Europe due to pressure from the other group. The politics are very sad to see, hopefully it can be resolved in the future because it has no place in the teachings.
4. It is not necessary to learn Tibetan, although it is useful, and required in the three year retreat, but chanting in Tibetan is (learning the correct pronunciation) because Tibetan sounds more sonorous and "chantable" than western languages for one thing, and the vibrations of Tibetan have blessing in their own right due to having been used for the practices, just as the mantras have blessing in their own language.
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