Anyone here interested in sharing the name of your main lama(s) and how you came to meet them and become their students? I ask for two reasons:
1) I think its really inspiring, like reading the Namthars of the past masters.
2) I think it's relevant to the discussion here, even though this thread is old.
First, we are Vajrayana practitioners, so even if we haven't seen our lamas display overt siddhis, we somehow have seen enough qualities to cultivate enough faith to entrust them with our Enlightenment. Many of our lamas are likely to be recognized, enthroned, and trained Tulkus. We have certainly benefitted from that fact. WIthout the Tulku system, for all it's corruption and problems, we might have take much longer to connect with our teachers, maybe even when we were close to dying or in the next life. I personally met some of my most precious teachers through searching the Internet for lamas. Maybe some of you old timers had a chance run-in with yours on the streets of Nepal or India before you even knew what a Tulku was. For some of us, the interdependence of the words "Google" and "Nyingma Tulku" might prove or have proven the difference between wandering aimlessly in samsara another year or lifetime, and liberation in a lifetime. So I think insofar as the original intent of the Tulku "system" was to facilitate the training and progress of regular ol' yangsis and the Enlightened activities of nirmanakaya tulkus, giving more beings access to their teachings, the system is still working, and should not be abandoned as long as more sincere seekers are benefitting from it. Decidedly there are aspects that are antiquated and even harmful to these ends and that should be changed, IMHO. But sharing the qualities of our lamas and how we first realized they were our teachers, whether they are "officially" tulkus or not, will help us to focus less on the politics and economics of the tulku "system" and more on the "tulkus" whose activites the system is there ostensibly to promote, and from which we have undoubtedly benefitted greatly.
On a similar note, I have kids of my own. I am also a school teacher and the moderately intelligent son of a highly intelligent and wealthy doctor. I grew up in a white gated community alright? (I just realized something for the first time! How ironic that we Jews were once put in gated communities "for our own protection" and later we would put ourselves in gated communities "for our own protection?") Anyway, I was well educated and given many resources, and I am by all worldly standards a failure. Dharma-wise, I can recall obscure facts about deities and lineage masters and so forth after hearing or seeing them once, but I cannot sit still and focus in meditation for 5 minutes after 12 years of practice. Many of my 12 year old students couldn't sit still or shut up for 5 minutes. On the other hand, I saw Khyenstse Yangsi at 11 or 12 years old receive empowerments for 9 days from HH Penor Rinpoche for 4-5 hours each day, sitting on a throne in front of 5,000 people and not squirm, not stretch his legs, not wipe the sweat from his brow, not once. Yet he knew all the prayers and he got up and received the samaya substances from HHPR exactly when he was supposed to, and sit right back down and maintain the same poise and dignity you would expect from Dilgo Khyenstse Rinpoche's boy tulku. I wanted to run screaming from the temple and stretch my aching knees the whole time and couldn't understand what the hell was happening, even with the translator.
My almost 4 year old son just breaks s**t constantly! At the dharma center, he runs around and screams through the shrine hall and if I tell him to sit still and be quiet? Fah-geta-bahtit! Did you see the footage of 4 year old Kongtrul Rinpoche giving blessings to a line of people for probably an hour??? Hahahaha!
My point? Somebody's calling some of these recognitions right! That's all I'm sayin! And even if many of them aren't on the Bhumis yet, if some of them get on the Bhumi's through their training, then as far as I'm concerned the system is still working, and who benefits? The "tulku" does. The family does. We do. The more tulkus. The quicker. The better. IMHO. Heck, even the more trained scholars and better meditators the better! And if some member of the Tibetan 1% has his lazy spoiled kid recognized and hauled off to a monastery or retreat center and puts the training he receives into practice and actually gets some real accomplishments? I say good! I bet the real tulku who got ignored cause he was born into a poor family would be happy too, cause that rich kid could've just grown up to be another member of the 1% with no dharma. What do our aristocrats do with our kids? They make 'em CEOs of their companies when they retire or make 'em president of the United States in order to maintain political or economic hegemony. What do they do? They send 'em to monasteries and retreat centers to become spiritual practitioners and teachers in order to maintain political and economic hegemony... six of one, half dozen of the other I guess.
Second, with respect to siddhis, we tend to think of siddhis in very clear cut terms: levitating, walking through walls, shooting lasers from their eyes... cool s**t like superheroes. Some of them do that I guess, but there are all kinds of siddhis. And our lamas might have displayed them in front of us, but due to our doubts or obscurations, didn't recognize them as being siddhis, or passed it off as coincidence, or saw nothing at all cause we were sleeping during the teaching.
For instance, how many of us have heard our teacher give the most eloquent, sonorously flowing teaching that everyone was stunned by and felt to each person there like it was given specifically for them, like they were the only one there and it answered one or many questions they'd been quietly harboring for weeks or months? Isn't that said to be one of the siddhis, like Buddha Shakyamuni who spoke simultaneously to every being at His teaching in their own languages? (I know. that was literal. but the function is the same.) My teacher Tulku Orgyen Phuntsok, who isn't considered a high ranking Tulku in the wide world of Tibetan Buddhism, who no one has said has even attained shamatha, let alone the first Bhumi or eighth bhumi, but who was recognized by Dudjom Rinpoche as one of his main disciples who was a life-long wandering dzogchen yogi and chod master, has given more and more teachings like the one I described in recent years. He has also answered what I thought were good questions from students that I KNOW he knew the answers to with, "I don't know." He has also on one or two occasions given me reasons to think he might be clairvoyant. He's never walked on water. He multiplied loaves once...but he did it by cutting the loaves in half. E MA HO!
HAPPY CHOEKOR DUCHEN!