Institutional Buddhism

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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:15 pm

xylem wrote: but it might be hard. regardless, the burden is on us, not the lama.


You would never say that about a doctor or any other kind of professional. So why give gurus a pass?
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Fa Dao » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:24 pm

Pure perception is actually just resting in the natural state. In the natural state not only your Guru but all sentient beings are Buddha's.

/magnus

Not trying to be contentious or start an argument but please correct me if I am wrong but isnt the natural state beyond pure and impure perception/vision? Doesnt the natural state manifest when one goes beyond both the pure and impure? and isnt it also beyond thoughts of anyone being a Buddha or a sentient being? Keep in mind I am just going on what my teacher, ChNN, has said. If I have misunderstood him I really do want to understand where my understanding has gone astray.
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby heart » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:39 pm

Fa Dao wrote:Pure perception is actually just resting in the natural state. In the natural state not only your Guru but all sentient beings are Buddha's.

/magnus

Not trying to be contentious or start an argument but please correct me if I am wrong but isnt the natural state beyond pure and impure perception/vision? Doesnt the natural state manifest when one goes beyond both the pure and impure? and isnt it also beyond thoughts of anyone being a Buddha or a sentient being? Keep in mind I am just going on what my teacher, ChNN, has said. If I have misunderstood him I really do want to understand where my understanding has gone astray.


Pure in Dzogchen is kadag, primordial purity, I think ChNNR agrees with that. Pure perception in Vajrayana is to acknowledge that everything is kadag. Even if we stiffly apply the Mahayoga view, pretending we never got any Dzogchen teachings, the view of Mahayoga is that everything is inseparable purity and equality.

/magnus
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Fa Dao » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:41 pm

cool, thanks Magnus!!
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby uan » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:
So then we lose the opportunity forever? There are an infinite number of opportunities, some we see, most we don't. That well doesn't run dry.



That's being optimistic.


No. That's Dzogchen.

Once you realize what our natural state is and that we all have it, then every moment is an opportunity.

Malcolm wrote:
uan wrote:
I agree with the first part of your premise, which is ChNN presents us with a unique opportunity, but if one doesn't take it, it'd only be a big deal in a conventional sense, and probably not even then, and certainly not in a "time is running out" sense.


Time is running out. It alway is. People live 80-90 years at most, in general.


Or less, in general. Then there's the bardo. Then rebirth. And so on. As a Lhoppon of my acquaintance once put it "mind doesn't come to body, body comes to mind."

Unless of course you believe we live then die and that's it.
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby xylem » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:44 pm

if anything, vajrayana is about personal responsibility. at the pith we stand or fall on our own awareness or unawareness. it's the same with every aspect of the practice. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't explain the samayas" or "oh the lama didn't say what i should do in this situation". it's up to us to learn dependent origination, learn the precepts, and learn how to apply them. it's the same dialectics. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't test me on sunyata". it's up to us to apply our reason and ask questions. it's the same with mind training. we can't so, "oh, the lama didn't point out i'm a miserable bitch". it's up to us to look at our own hearts. and it's the same with the vajrayana. the root of the vajrayana is the lama. we can't say, "oh, the lama was a fraud. he didn't tell me he was in it for the pussy and beer money." it's really up to us to examine the lama like every other aspect of our practice from the first and last.

what makes this difficult for western converts is that we give all of our responsibility away. we project all sorts of qualities and expectations from our own side that are completely unrelated to the lama's qualities and capabilities. we have some unnatural notion that the spiritual work is done from the side of the lama and not our own side. we come away from teachings high on some sort of contact lama buzz and reach for that again and again. if we thought about it rationally we'd know this is madness, but there is so much psychological need. it's really hard to look beneath that veneer to even begin to examine the lama in a traditional way, and having built up all of this psychological projection around the lama, it's really difficult, even painful, to address a problem and walk away. given all this, i think it's even more imperative to put the burden on responsibility of examining the lama entirely on the student. why? because there's a little bit of personal introspection and self-work we need to do to get to that point.

i don't think it's any different with doctors. there are plenty of MD's, CA's, DOM's that have wonderful credentials on paper that may be completely worthless either because of their personal qualities, professional qualities, or one's connection to the clinician. one really needs faith and confidence in a doctor just like a lama or one can't heal. the same requirement for some personal introspection before committing to working with a clinician is at play. one can be eating crap, living off of coffee and stress, no exercise or sleep, and go to a doctor with some expectation that they are going to allow you to keep living like a nut job. one has to come to some sense of personal responsibility for one's health and healing and have oriented their minds somewhat towards changing one's life.

-xy

Malcolm wrote:
xylem wrote: but it might be hard. regardless, the burden is on us, not the lama.


You would never say that about a doctor or any other kind of professional. So why give gurus a pass?
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Adamantine » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:46 pm

xylem wrote:if anything, vajrayana is about personal responsibility. at the pith we stand or fall on our own awareness or unawareness. it's the same with every aspect of the practice. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't explain the samayas" or "oh the lama didn't say what i should do in this situation". it's up to us to learn dependent origination, learn the precepts, and learn how to apply them. it's the same dialectics. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't test me on sunyata". it's up to us to apply our reason and ask questions. it's the same with mind training. we can't so, "oh, the lama didn't point out i'm a miserable bitch". it's up to us to look at our own hearts. and it's the same with the vajrayana. the root of the vajrayana is the lama. we can't say, "oh, the lama was a fraud. he didn't tell me he was in it for the pussy and beer money." it's really up to us to examine the lama like every other aspect of our practice from the first and last.

what makes this difficult for western converts is that we give all of our responsibility away. we project all sorts of qualities and expectations from our own side that are completely unrelated to the lama's qualities and capabilities. we have some unnatural notion that the spiritual work is done from the side of the lama and not our own side. we come away from teachings high on some sort of contact lama buzz and reach for that again and again. if we thought about it rationally we'd know this is madness, but there is so much psychological need. it's really hard to look beneath that veneer to even begin to examine the lama in a traditional way, and having built up all of this psychological projection around the lama, it's really difficult, even painful, to address a problem and walk away. given all this, i think it's even more imperative to put the burden on responsibility of examining the lama entirely on the student. why? because there's a little bit of personal introspection and self-work we need to do to get to that point.

i don't think it's any different with doctors. there are plenty of MD's, CA's, DOM's that have wonderful credentials on paper that may be completely worthless either because of their personal qualities, professional qualities, or one's connection to the clinician. one really needs faith and confidence in a doctor just like a lama or one can't heal. the same requirement for some personal introspection before committing to working with a clinician is at play. one can be eating crap, living off of coffee and stress, no exercise or sleep, and go to a doctor with some expectation that they are going to allow you to keep living like a nut job. one has to come to some sense of personal responsibility for one's health and healing and have oriented their minds somewhat towards changing one's life.

-xy

Malcolm wrote:
xylem wrote: but it might be hard. regardless, the burden is on us, not the lama.


You would never say that about a doctor or any other kind of professional. So why give gurus a pass?

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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:51 pm

xylem wrote:if anything, vajrayana is about personal responsibility. at the pith we stand or fall on our own awareness or unawareness. it's the same with every aspect of the practice. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't explain the samayas" or "oh the lama didn't say what i should do in this situation". it's up to us to learn dependent origination, learn the precepts, and learn how to apply them. it's the same dialectics. we can't say, "oh, the lama didn't test me on sunyata". it's up to us to apply our reason and ask questions. it's the same with mind training. we can't so, "oh, the lama didn't point out i'm a miserable bitch". it's up to us to look at our own hearts. and it's the same with the vajrayana. the root of the vajrayana is the lama. we can't say, "oh, the lama was a fraud. he didn't tell me he was in it for the pussy and beer money." it's really up to us to examine the lama like every other aspect of our practice from the first and last.

what makes this difficult for western converts is that we give all of our responsibility away. we project all sorts of qualities and expectations from our own side that are completely unrelated to the lama's qualities and capabilities. we have some unnatural notion that the spiritual work is done from the side of the lama and not our own side. we come away from teachings high on some sort of contact lama buzz and reach for that again and again. if we thought about it rationally we'd know this is madness, but there is so much psychological need. it's really hard to look beneath that veneer to even begin to examine the lama in a traditional way, and having built up all of this psychological projection around the lama, it's really difficult, even painful, to address a problem and walk away. given all this, i think it's even more imperative to put the burden on responsibility of examining the lama entirely on the student. why? because there's a little bit of personal introspection and self-work we need to do to get to that point.

i don't think it's any different with doctors. there are plenty of MD's, CA's, DOM's that have wonderful credentials on paper that may be completely worthless either because of their personal qualities, professional qualities, or one's connection to the clinician. one really needs faith and confidence in a doctor just like a lama or one can't heal. the same requirement for some personal introspection before committing to working with a clinician is at play. one can be eating crap, living off of coffee and stress, no exercise or sleep, and go to a doctor with some expectation that they are going to allow you to keep living like a nut job. one has to come to some sense of personal responsibility for one's health and healing and have oriented their minds somewhat towards changing one's life.



This reminds me of the paradox of getting a job and experience. You can't get a job without experience. You can't get experience without a job.

How do you learn about the Dharma? Find a Lama! How do you make sure that a Lama isn't evil? Learn the Dharma!

Also, the further consequences of this idea do have some consequences which I'm not sure I'm comfortable with. Would you say that those people that died in the sweat lodge with James Ray were at fault? How about people who are in charge of destructive new religious movements? Should the victims of Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, or Paul Schäfer be held accountable for what was done to them?

I would say not. Even though an individual should examine a teacher very closely we as a community also have a responsibility to call out things we know are wrong.

In regards to your statement about doctors. The reason we have malpractice and fraud against doctors is because, to be blunt, we can't all train to be doctors and therefore we have to trust that they know what really is good for us. When they don't or act with malice then it really is the doctor's fault. Unless you think everyone should go to medical school in order to select a physician.

I think that there is room for a middle way here. Individuals should check out their teachers and at the same time teachers that are really dangerous should be exposed so that people who do check out teachers should be able to easily find out that said teachers are frauds and/or said teachers can be brought to the attention of the relevant legal authorities.
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:16 pm

xylem wrote:if anything, vajrayana is about personal responsibility.


So is life.

what makes this difficult for western converts is that we give all of our responsibility away.


I don't agree with this sentiment at all.

we project all sorts of qualities and expectations from our own side that are completely unrelated to the lama's qualities and capabilities.


This is a two way street -- there is a cultural lack of comprehension on both sides.

we have some unnatural notion that the spiritual work is done from the side of the lama and not our own side.


No one I know has this idea.

...we come away from teachings high on some sort of contact lama buzz and reach for that again and again.


When there is such dependencies, it is not as if westerners are not being encouraged to become empowerment junkies.

if we thought about it rationally we'd know this is madness, but there is so much psychological need. it's really hard to look beneath that veneer to even begin to examine the lama in a traditional way, and having built up all of this psychological projection around the lama, it's really difficult, even painful, to address a problem and walk away. given all this, i think it's even more imperative to put the burden on responsibility of examining the lama entirely on the student. why? because there's a little bit of personal introspection and self-work we need to do to get to that point.


Well, this is all great, but in Vajrayāna students are disempowered in all kinds of direct and indirect fashions which makes examining teachers for proper qualities damn near impossible. Students are put in the catch-22 of comitting to lamas they do not know or missing out entirely because they do not trust the situation. For the most part, the cultural hierarchies that Tibetan Buddhism is embedded within make it virtually impossible to for students, especially beginning students to have a clear picture of their teachers. These memes and hierarchies are also exploited by western teachers. And this is not merely a problem in Vajrayāna, this is also a problem in Zen. (In Theravada it is a little more clear since lay teachers are compartively rare and monastic precepts are highly valued.) The of course there is the taboo again criticizing any lama from whom one has received transmission no matter how egregious their behavior has been. This taboo is actually more enforced by students than lamas. So there is enormous peer pressure within dysfunctional groups to regard the pathological behavior of Dipshit Rinpoche, etc., as "awakened activity".

So frankly, while I can appreciate the caveat emptor approach, we are too quick to divorce gurus from their own personal responsibilty to their students when we insist it is all on the student.


one has to come to some sense of personal responsibility for one's health and healing and have oriented their minds somewhat towards changing one's life.


As a physician of Tibetan Medicine myself I can appreciate your sentiment, but ultimately, if I am not correctly treating the patient, that does not lie at the feet of the patient, that is my fault. So we professionals don't really get a pass the same way privileged gurus do when they do serve the best interests of their patients.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby xylem » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:01 am

malcolm-la...

i largely agree with you. the more important issue is protecting people being led astray or being abused and manipulated by false teachers.

in my experience all of these abuses are ignored and even fostered by dysfunctional concepts about "samaya". again, we give our power and reason away. for many people "samaya" is something like being in the mafia or signing a pact with the devil: one's "all in" regardless of what.

the truth is, and i'm sure you know this, we have no samaya with the lama if the lama has no samaya with us. the basis of all the countless samayas is love and compassion, and if a lama is harming us-- the contract is broken. call the sheriff. get an order of protection. find an attorney. any sangha member that uses "samaya" to cover up abuse by a lama is, in fact, rupturing their own precepts.

the truth is, and i'm sure you also know this as well, we have samaya with each other as well as our lama. if i know that my lama is sexually abusing my sangha sister and i turn my back on her to support my lama, you know, samaya and all... i am doing something very dark.

vajrayana is based on a personal relationship with someone who is, presumably, higher than us in realization. maybe someday a vajrayana culture will arise where that does not come along with a vertical power hierarchy. it certainly is possible. until then, i think it's naive to think we can tweek things to make everyone safe from harm.

-xy
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:58 am

Should be:

Malcolm wrote: So we professionals don't really get a pass the same way privileged gurus do when they do not serve the best interests of their patients.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Institutional Buddhism

Postby oldbob » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:28 pm

Yudron wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
I have spent the last 20 years devoting almost my whole life to Buddhist texts, and in particular Dzogchen texts. Everything I have studied or read was somehow related to my practice, even my working stuff out as a sectarian jerk (which people still accuse me of) was related somehow to my practice. I have come to the point in my understanding where I clearly see that all these sectarian divisions of this relgion and that relgion are negative. Not in the sense that we should not all pursue a spiritual path that is pleasing to us (right now mine is smelling roses, listening to music and typing this post), but in the sense we should be kind and generous about others spiritual paths. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying put on rose-colored spectacles and ignore for example that in the past there have been grave injustices met out to many peoples in the name of religion, the misdeeds of institutional religion in all its forms. We can recognize these and then move on.

Humanity needs to move into post-religious, post-tribal phase where we meet each other with respect and decency. I am trying my best to meet all of you here on Dwheel from that point of view, and I also fail, will fail, have failed, and for that I am sorry. But my deepest wish is that we can all just get past all divisive nonsense and focus on what is truly important. It's a process, and no one gets it right the first time.

M


I'm reading this rather late, but I have to say -- Wow, what a beautiful post!

Malcolm, we have been exchanging posts for over ten years in various forums. I have always valued your knowledge of Tibetan and texts. There is a place for it. There is that famous Tibetan saying, though, that you can't get butter from churning water and you can't get realization from stirring conceptual mind. We really need Buddhas a lot more than scholars.

At some point Khenpo Ngagchung burned all of Chatral RInpoche's precious texts and told him to go practice. This is what I am trying to do, and I hope we all can, and also make a decision to integrate the real non-duality in our life -- all splitting and pitting one side against another.


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