restricted texts question

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restricted texts question

Postby anjali » Thu May 31, 2012 6:37 pm

Greetings,

I have recently enjoyed reading Thrangu's Rinpoche's outstanding commentaries on Pointing Out the Dharmakaya and An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning: Teachings on Mahamudra (along with some of his other works). I was hoping to obtain the 9th Karmapa's texts and read them side by side with the commentaries but have discovered that they are restricted. What would be required to gain access to the texts?

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Re: restricted texts question

Postby justsit » Thu May 31, 2012 7:12 pm

Usually it requires some type of approval from the guru, or completion of ngondro or a particular retreat or course, it varies by teacher.
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby conebeckham » Thu May 31, 2012 7:49 pm

If you read Tibetan, they can be had from TBRC for free, if you register.

If you do not read Tibetan, and want to read the English translation of Chagchen Ngedon Gyamtso--the biggest of the three texts--which, I believe, is published and sold by Dzokchen Ponlop Rinpoche's organization--you would need permission from a lineage teacher. Khenpo Tsutrim Gyamtso "toured" shortly after the publication of the English translation, and gave the Pointing Out Instructions which are included, and indicated that these instructions were necessary in order to purchase the book. There may be different requirements now--did you check the interwebz?

In any case, it's best to get transmission from a teacher, and very best to work with this text one-on-one, or in formal teaching situations, for most people.
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby conebeckham » Thu May 31, 2012 7:57 pm

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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Silent Bob » Thu May 31, 2012 8:10 pm

If you study Thrangu Rinpoche's three books of commentary on the text in question, you'll have gotten the gist of the material. The alternative, as Cone suggests, would be for you to acquire a reading knowledge of Tibetan.

Chris
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby anjali » Thu May 31, 2012 10:55 pm

Thank you all for the feedback. Learning Tibetan is not an option--at least for the foreseeable future.

I'd love to talk with a Mahamudra master about practice, but so far I haven't been able to identify anyone I'm attracted to other than Thrangu Rinpoche. Unfortunately, he is not in good health these days. Admittedly I only have a limited knowledge of who is highly regarded in Mahamudra circles. So, any pointers to meditation masters would be greatly appreciated. Someone accessible here in the US would be nice.

Ideally, I'd like to find a teacher who would start with the pointing out instructions and will work with students at the level of Essence Mahamudra and straight shamatha/vipashyana training. It would be great to work with a master on one of the key meditation texts after pointing out instructions.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Silent Bob » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:12 am

Check your PM's.
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Finney » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:45 am

There's something about these restricted texts that I've never understood. Not all restricted texts as I can see why a tradition might want to reserve certain teachings. Rather, it's that the restrictions aren't always applied equally. In this case, if you're Tibetan or a westerner who can read Tibetan, then the text is freely available. Otherwise you need special permission. I've come across this before but it's never made sense to me.

Am I overlooking an important point here?
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:53 am

The restriction of a particular text depends on the teacher and how the blessings are passed on. With Sutra Mahamudra everything is pretty much open. With Essence Mahamudra things are much more closed because there are aspects that if known will harm the pointing out - I guess.
I studied and practiced Sutra Mahamudra and also received accidental pointing out instructions just by asking a question. So it's not always clear cut. If I'm being honest whilst I see Mahamudra and Dzogchen to be equal in terms the level of realization I think these days a student would be wiser to follow the more open approach of Dzogchen. My view of this is recently formed so don't take my word for it.
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby heart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:59 am

Finney wrote:There's something about these restricted texts that I've never understood. Not all restricted texts as I can see why a tradition might want to reserve certain teachings. Rather, it's that the restrictions aren't always applied equally. In this case, if you're Tibetan or a westerner who can read Tibetan, then the text is freely available. Otherwise you need special permission. I've come across this before but it's never made sense to me.

Am I overlooking an important point here?


About this particular text it is that it contain a kind of a teachers guidance commentary: Ask the student this, if answer that then ask him to do this, if answer like that ask him to do that. So it could destroy the experience of receiving these kind of pointing-out for someone that haven't got it. Which would be a shame.

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Re: restricted texts question

Postby heart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:03 am

Andrew108 wrote:The restriction of a particular text depends on the teacher and how the blessings are passed on. With Sutra Mahamudra everything is pretty much open. With Essence Mahamudra things are much more closed because there are aspects that if known will harm the pointing out - I guess.
I studied and practiced Sutra Mahamudra and also received accidental pointing out instructions just by asking a question. So it's not always clear cut. If I'm being honest whilst I see Mahamudra and Dzogchen to be equal in terms the level of realization I think these days a student would be wiser to follow the more open approach of Dzogchen. My view of this is recently formed so don't take my word for it.


Dzogchen isn't so much more open, it is just ChNNR and maybe a few others. There are a lot of restricted texts and commentaries, some incredibly guarded.

/magnus
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:50 am

anjali wrote:Ideally, I'd like to find a teacher who would start with the pointing out instructions and will work with students at the level of Essence Mahamudra and straight shamatha/vipashyana training. It would be great to work with a master on one of the key meditation texts after pointing out instructions.


Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche does exactly that. According to Erik Pema Kunzang although Rinpoche has had a history of teaching Dzogchen, he is mainly focussing on Essence Mahamudra these days. He basically starts with the pointing out rather ngondro etc. first.

Same with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, although he focusses on Dzogchen.
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby heart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:21 pm

Paul wrote:
anjali wrote:Ideally, I'd like to find a teacher who would start with the pointing out instructions and will work with students at the level of Essence Mahamudra and straight shamatha/vipashyana training. It would be great to work with a master on one of the key meditation texts after pointing out instructions.


Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche does exactly that. According to Erik Pema Kunzang although Rinpoche has had a history of teaching Dzogchen, he is mainly focussing on Essence Mahamudra these days. He basically starts with the pointing out rather ngondro etc. first.

Same with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, although he focusses on Dzogchen.


Actually Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche keeps teaching Dzogchen several times every year but it is true he is putting more emphasis on Mahamudra these days.

/magnus
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:37 pm

heart wrote:Actually Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche keeps teaching Dzogchen several times every year but it is true he is putting more emphasis on Mahamudra these days.

/magnus


Hi Magnus - I've just remembered what Erik said a bit clearer: he was explaining that the terminology Rinpoche was using these days is now mainly Mahamudra. As far as I can tell from what older students (ie you!) the content and style has not changed much.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: restricted texts question

Postby heart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:51 pm

Paul wrote:
heart wrote:Actually Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche keeps teaching Dzogchen several times every year but it is true he is putting more emphasis on Mahamudra these days.

/magnus


Hi Magnus - I've just remembered what Erik said a bit clearer: he was explaining that the terminology Rinpoche was using these days is now mainly Mahamudra. As far as I can tell from what older students (ie you!) the content and style has not changed much.


When he is teaching very freely I think that is true but if he teach a Dzogchen text he will use Dzogchen terminology. Not that it matter that much, only for me the Dzogchen terminology make more sense.

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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Finney » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:27 pm

heart wrote:About this particular text it is that it contain a kind of a teachers guidance commentary: Ask the student this, if answer that then ask him to do this, if answer like that ask him to do that. So it could destroy the experience of receiving these kind of pointing-out for someone that haven't got it. Which would be a shame.

/magnus


Andrew108 wrote:The restriction of a particular text depends on the teacher and how the blessings are passed on. With Sutra Mahamudra everything is pretty much open. With Essence Mahamudra things are much more closed because there are aspects that if known will harm the pointing out - I guess.


Thanks Andrew and Magnus for the replies. So then, would the ideal situation be that all copies of the text--even those in Tibetan--get restricted for all students until their teacher gives them the necessary instructions?

The problem teachers have today is that the Tibetan texts have been made so widely available that teachers can't physically restrict the Tibetan originals. But since they can restrict the translations they've made they follow the traditional/ideal practice for them. Yes? No?
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby heart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:52 pm

Finney wrote:
heart wrote:About this particular text it is that it contain a kind of a teachers guidance commentary: Ask the student this, if answer that then ask him to do this, if answer like that ask him to do that. So it could destroy the experience of receiving these kind of pointing-out for someone that haven't got it. Which would be a shame.

/magnus


Andrew108 wrote:The restriction of a particular text depends on the teacher and how the blessings are passed on. With Sutra Mahamudra everything is pretty much open. With Essence Mahamudra things are much more closed because there are aspects that if known will harm the pointing out - I guess.


Thanks Andrew and Magnus for the replies. So then, would the ideal situation be that all copies of the text--even those in Tibetan--get restricted for all students until their teacher gives them the necessary instructions?

The problem teachers have today is that the Tibetan texts have been made so widely available that teachers can't physically restrict the Tibetan originals. But since they can restrict the translations they've made they follow the traditional/ideal practice for them. Yes? No?


Well, I think it is the rampant spiritual materialism in the west that frighten the Tibetan Lamas. I guess they had problem like this in Tibet to, but very small scale. However I think eventually most restricted texts will be freely available. It is in the interest of Tibetans to preserve their culture and religion.

/magnus
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby Jinzang » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:54 pm

Finney wrote:There's something about these restricted texts that I've never understood. Not all restricted texts as I can see why a tradition might want to reserve certain teachings. Rather, it's that the restrictions aren't always applied equally. In this case, if you're Tibetan or a westerner who can read Tibetan, then the text is freely available. Otherwise you need special permission. I've come across this before but it's never made sense to me.

Am I overlooking an important point here?


Your average Tibetan would have problems understanding the Tibetan text without a detailed commentary. I was at a teaching on Mahamudra by Garchen Rinpoche and the Tibetan translator, who was otherwise very good, kept fumbling the translation of the Mahamudra terminology.
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby anjali » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:43 pm

Again, thank you all for your comments.

In my own case, I've been meditating for a really long time now. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the detailed Mahamudra meditation teachings--especially vipashyana. (That goes for Dzogchen teachings to.) As I've said, I have especially enjoyed the meditation manual commentaries by Thrangu Rinpoche. For example, reading side-by-side Clarifying the Natural State (Tashi Namgyal) + Crystal Clear (Thrangu commentary) was very productive. I was hoping to do the same with Wangchuk Dorje's texts.

In my reading, reference to the three main meditation texts by the 9th Karmapa kept turning up. Of the three (Pointing out the Dharmakaya, Eliminating the Ignorance of Darkness, and The Ocean of Definitive Meaning), it turns out that Eliminating the Ignorance of Darkness is available in print. The other two are of course restricted. It's an odd situation with those three texts. There are written commentaries available for the restricted texts, but no commentaries available (that I can find) for the unrestricted text! I found a 7 DVD set (for 104 USD) of Thrangu Rinpoche's commentary on Eliminating but no available transcription. Yet, there are plenty of commentaries for the restricted texts. (In addition to Thrangu Rinpoche's commentary on The Ocean, I also liked Traleg Kyabgon's commentary.) Go figure.

At least I'm starting to get a handle on the restricted text issue and how next to proceed. Personally, I have no problem with restricted texts. I come from a tradition that also has restricted teachings and meditation methods.

Moving on to the issue of teachers. Some other folks I talked with have also suggested Tulku Urgyen's sons. I'm considering this. My first introduction to Tibetan Buddhism was Tulku Urgyen's works. I felt a strong connection with him and his lucid teachings. Unfortunately, he has long since passed on. I've tried reading his sons' works. They are good, but don't grab me like Tulku Urgyen's works. Still, I'm open to possibilities. Tsoknyi is currently on a book tour in the US promoting his new book. In mid-June he will be visiting a bookstore about 4 hours from where I live. So, my plan is to drive up and see him. I would like to see Chokyi Nyima but am not sure how to go about that. I am open to suggestions of other teachers. Don't hesitate to PM me if you think it would be useful. (Thanks Silent Bob, your PM is much appreciated and I will respond soon.)

:anjali:
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  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: restricted texts question

Postby In the bone yard » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:10 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
Well, I think it is the rampant spiritual materialism in the west that frighten the Tibetan Lamas.


It is rampant on this website! :rolling:

We always want to practice higher than we can understand.
We have to control that thinking with basic meditation.
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