The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Pero » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:50 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Pero wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:I'm talking about Dharma and dzogchen is not an exception.

Not all things work the same way. Anyway, you're saying no one has done it. Thanks.


You're putting words in my mouth to suit your bias. If you like, take the example of Dudjom Lingpa. He had no guru, unless you count dreams, which I don't.

Your example is like an exception (kind of) which proves the rule.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:28 pm

Pero wrote:Not all things work the same way. Anyway, you're saying no one has done it. Thanks.


You're putting words in my mouth to suit your bias. If you like, take the example of Dudjom Lingpa. He had no guru, unless you count dreams, which I don't.[/quote]
Your example is like an exception (kind of) which proves the rule.[/quote]

Dzogchen has many examples like Dudjom Lingpa but doesn't like to talk about it. Note ChNN only spent 6 months with his teacher. He says the stuff he learned when he was a kid he mostly didn't remember. Most of his Dzogchen learning came from his own dreams. ChNN openly encourages folks to develop their own "dreams of clarity." If you understand visions and dreams as being your own mind, much of these issues can be worked out ourselves. If the basic principles can be clearly communicated, most of Dzogchen is quite easily digestible and doable yourself. Oral transmission is a method to create a group dynamic.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Pero » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:49 am

deepbluehum wrote:Dzogchen has many examples like Dudjom Lingpa but doesn't like to talk about it.

My point was, Dudjom Lingpa is not much of an example. Even if you ignore that he's considered to be a reincarnation/emanation of one of the 25 disciples of Padmasabhava, how many people do you know that were/are being taught by Buddhas since they were babies? In other words, you basically have to use the top of the cream for your examples and unfortunately most of us are not top of the cream.

Note ChNN only spent 6 months with his teacher. He says the stuff he learned when he was a kid he mostly didn't remember.

I'm not sure he said that. He's been receiving teachings since he was a child and Changchub Dorje just made him understand the real meaning of what he was taught. Actually you're shooting yourself in the foot, if Rinpoche hadn't met CC then his knowledge would've remained mere book knowledge and wouldn't have led anywhere.

ChNN openly encourages folks to develop their own "dreams of clarity."

Strange thing to say. Does someone teach people "don't develop dreams of clarity, don't develop your practice but stay in ignorance"?

Oral transmission is a method to create a group dynamic.

What do you mean?

Oh btw, sorry for going off topic so much haha.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:51 am

Pero wrote:My point was, Dudjom Lingpa is not much of an example. Even if you ignore that he's considered to be a reincarnation/emanation of one of the 25 disciples of Padmasabhava, how many people do you know that were/are being taught by Buddhas since they were babies? In other words, you basically have to use the top of the cream for your examples and unfortunately most of us are not top of the cream.


There are examples of masters who quietly practice Dzogchen without telling anyone, no one knew who their teacher was, and they attained Rainbow Body.

I'm not sure he said that. He's been receiving teachings since he was a child and Changchub Dorje just made him understand the real meaning of what he was taught. Actually you're shooting yourself in the foot, if Rinpoche hadn't met CC then his knowledge would've remained mere book knowledge and wouldn't have led anywhere.


He said it.

Strange thing to say. Does someone teach people "don't develop dreams of clarity, don't develop your practice but stay in ignorance"?


Dreams of clarity are not important to all Vajrayana and Dzogchen teachers.

What do you mean?


I'm saying what important about it is it creates a lineage that people can identify with and follow, and it allows someone to control the flow of information.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Pero » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:09 am

deepbluehum wrote:There are examples of masters who quietly practice Dzogchen without telling anyone, no one knew who their teacher was, and they attained Rainbow Body.

No one knowing doesn't mean they didn't have them.

He said it.

The main point is that without CC he wouldn't know Dzogchen.

Dreams of clarity are not important to all Vajrayana and Dzogchen teachers.

I doubt that.

I'm saying what important about it is it creates a lineage that people can identify with and follow, and it allows someone to control the flow of information.

Oh. Though it could be used that way, I don't think that's the reason for oral transmission.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:43 am

deepbluehum wrote:
Take the Suttanta tradition for example.


Invalid example.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby mutsuk » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:48 am

deepbluehum wrote:The Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud is the source of Bon Dzogchen, but it's not so much a tantra as a clearly written manual.


No, it is in no way the source of Bon Dzogchen. It's the most important cycle sure, but it only concerns the transmission of teachings associated with Tapihritsa and Nangzher Löpo. Except for the three Nyamgyü and a couple of manuals, it stands alone by itself. And in this regard, the ZZNG is in no way a practice manual. It has its own manuals which are not in the ZZNG volume but outside.
You have numerous Bon Dzogchen teachings (actually all these teachings) which are not connected or dependent on the ZZNG.
As usual, the way you limit things reduces the picture and gives a wrong idea of the situation.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:29 pm

It seems this thread is veering into another subject entirely, not that it isn't interesting...
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:46 pm

JKhedrup wrote:It seems this thread is veering into another subject entirely, not that it isn't interesting...


As usual...
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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: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:00 pm

Malhotra makes some interesting comments about tantric traditions and morality on pages 202/203 of "Being Different".

"A case in point is tantra, which, as I have mentioned above, is the set of spiritual techniques... which are recommended for certain advanced practitioners of dharma. Tantra often runs into trouble in the West, because it utilizes transgression as the vehicle to transcend dualism in certain cases. To even begin to understand tantra, however, we must bear in mind the cultural and philosophical context in which it exists. Tantra originated as a range of bodily technologies for perfecting the individual
Many of its practices, texts, beliefs and traditions are opposed to any normative order and serve as a form of counterculture in India. Its rejection of order takes the form even of sanctioning the deliberate violation of norms, particularly those centred on ritual purity. Over time, there occurred a healthy cross-fertilizing back and forth with Vedic and other traditions. Elements may have been borrowed from Vedic and other rituals, symbols and philosophies, and reformulated, systematized and integrated into the coherent corpus of what became known as the tantra tradition. These two poles of values and rituals coexist and mutually penetrate each other in complex ways.
In dharma traditions, ethics or morality is not an end in itself, nor is it optimally imposed from without. Morality is but a preparatory eans for attaining a higher spiritual state or perfection. [b][/b] Worldly morality may be transgressed by spiritual adepts in order to achieve the goal of spiritual liberation in a different, more effective and quicker mode. The tantric practitioners who pursue spiritual liberation through the disciplined use of transgressions must observe rigorous precepts such as not harming others, chastity, freedom from hedonistic cravings, truthfulness and so on...
In the end, tantra defies analysis in Western moral terms and is intelligible only from an Indian spiritual point of view. Western morality sees all transgression as immoral and thus worthy of rejection
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:16 pm

JKhedrup wrote: Western morality sees all transgression as immoral and thus worthy of rejection


Thank you, JKhedrup. I'm glad the program is resuming after that 'commercial break'. :D There is a lot of truth in what Malhotra is saying here, IMO. Although, there are plenty of counter-currents in the West that allow for experiential learning through transgression; it is afforded to the young more than to adults.

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:19 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Take the Suttanta tradition for example.


Invalid example.


So sayeth the King!
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:33 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Take the Suttanta tradition for example.


Invalid example.


So sayeth the King!



It is invalid because it does not correspond to the mode of transmission of the teachings. Sutrayāna texts to do not require any transmission because they are essentially paths of renunciation, not tied to any particular experience. Sutrayāna paths are based on taking a vow. This has caused confusion for many famous Vajrayāna scholars in all schools such as Sakya Pandita, etc., who assume that the function of empowerments and so on is to impart yet another series of vows. But this is a terrible mistake. The function of empowerments is to impart experiences. Subsquent to having that experience, it may be important to guard a comittment regarding that experience, but without that experience the vow is useless.

Your idea that texts are sufficient, and can be treated exactly as forumulas to be reproduced like for example, a drug formula, or a formula for synthesizing a plastic precisely demonstrates the pitfalls the western analysis of Dharma traditions.
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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.

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:38 pm

Let me try to sew up a point here so that this might get back on topic. What's happening on this board with Western dharma is imagining a dharma that isn't real, a Pollyanna dharma. Vedic dharma has always been about heredity. The idea that from the primordial sound AUM emanated all the Vedas, the rishis the brahmans and all the castes is the basis for this millennial aged Eugenics program. Make no mistake, it is about racism. It's not good. It is a mind numbing evil. Shame on India for it. If you want to go get involved with that, you can't, you are barred by birth. You can go be an outcaste; see how you like it. Then, you look at Malcolm's new fetish for all things Vedic, I think it arises from the similarity of the Dzogchen tantras to the Vedas with respect to their "primordial origin" in the sound of "A." It creates the same basic program, with brahmans and all that, which are the "rigzins," etc., a privileged class who have special access to divinity. The deal is so locked in, you have to commit symbolic suicide, dying to everything in society, just to go be spiritual, because you sure can't be spiritual if you ain't brahmin. Hell with that system. Here's a reason why India is so F'd up, it's the caste system. It makes people crazy. It makes the country crazy. The idea that Sanskrit itself encodes the primordial sounds of divinity is stupid bullshit. That's is one deep frak that goes all the way down into your consciousness, into the very fabric of your existence matrix. Nazis could not have thought of a better one. Indians need to grow a pair and denounce it once and for all. Defrock the brahmins, burn the Vedas, it's garbage. This attitude of primordial authority is bullshit. frak that bullshit. I'm not going to accept or respect that evil shit.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:51 pm

Malcolm wrote:It is invalid because it does not correspond to the mode of transmission of the teachings. Sutrayāna texts to do not require any transmission because they are essentially paths of renunciation, not tied to any particular experience. Sutrayāna paths are based on taking a vow. This has caused confusion for many famous Vajrayāna scholars in all schools such as Sakya Pandita, etc., who assume that the function of empowerments and so on is to impart yet another series of vows. But this is a terrible mistake. The function of empowerments is to impart experiences. Subsquent to having that experience, it may be important to guard a comittment regarding that experience, but without that experience the vow is useless.

Your idea that texts are sufficient, and can be treated exactly as forumulas to be reproduced like for example, a drug formula, or a formula for synthesizing a plastic precisely demonstrates the pitfalls the western analysis of Dharma traditions.


I don't agree with any of this. You're just caught by the nose. You're boxed into a mandala, really like four concentric ones. I can tell you to sit in lotus and become aware of the breath, and the body will do the rest. Then, you have that experience. The notion that sutrayana depends on taking a vow is an attitude ChNN reports about some version of Hinayana he had access to. It doesn't apply to every. The suttas don't say you have to take a vow to do four mindfulness. Dzogchen transmission related to how all the paths play out is based on a certain opinion about Hinayana, etc., which aren't whole truths. But if you accept it these piecemeal explanations, then it necessarily winds you up with a certain way of dealing with transmission, etc. It's cause and effect. Really, the whole shebang is well designed to put a guru on a throne. Way to be a free American and go bow to a monarch, like Obama. Honestly, the difference between live aural learning and time-staggered visual learning is not important. The undercurrent of all your comments is to proselytize Dzogchen.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:05 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Let me try to sew up a point here so that this might get back on topic. What's happening on this board with Western dharma is imagining a dharma that isn't real, a Pollyanna dharma. Vedic dharma has always been about heredity. The idea that from the primordial sound AUM emanated all the Vedas, the rishis the brahmans and all the castes is the basis for this millennial aged Eugenics program. Make no mistake, it is about racism. It's not good. It is a mind numbing evil. Shame on India for it. If you want to go get involved with that, you can't, you are barred by birth. You can go be an outcaste; see how you like it.


An analsys of the role of Varna in pre-5th century AD India shows that jati and varna were not so hard and fast. In fact the ossification of jati in India really is a function first of Mughal interference and secondly, British interference.

Incidentally, there really is no caste system in South India -- the area most free from colonial influence.

Then, you look at Malcolm's new fetish for all things Vedic, I think it arises from the similarity of the Dzogchen tantras to the Vedas with respect to their "primordial origin" in the sound of "A."


You obviously have not been paying attention to my writing for many years. I have observed that Vedic ideas are important in Buddhism in a postive sense rather than the commonly assumed negative sense for the entire 17 years I have participated online in any fashion. I have always been interested in and felt positive regard for the Vedas.

Dzogchen, Tantra, and the Vedas, as well as some trends in Mahāyāna Sutra, all share common assumptions about śabda based on ancient Indian grammatical science.

Here's a reason why India is so F'd up, it's the caste system. It makes people crazy. It makes the country crazy.


As noted above, the ossification of the caste system (in North India primarily) is largely a result of eight hundred years of external colonialism by first the Mughals and then the Brits-- imposing caste as a method of social control. It is not intrinsic to the Indian culural idea of Varna or Jati. Any quick read of the Pali suttas proves this.

Further, the Dalit identity was largely created by Colonial Brits.

The idea that Sanskrit itself encodes the primordial sounds of divinity is stupid bullshit.


It's not about Sanskrit per se --though for some Indians it may very well be. Nevetheless, no one can argue that Sanskrit is not a brilliant language system, and in fact modern linguistics up to Chomsky is based on it.
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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: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:13 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:It is invalid because it does not correspond to the mode of transmission of the teachings. Sutrayāna texts to do not require any transmission because they are essentially paths of renunciation, not tied to any particular experience. Sutrayāna paths are based on taking a vow. This has caused confusion for many famous Vajrayāna scholars in all schools such as Sakya Pandita, etc., who assume that the function of empowerments and so on is to impart yet another series of vows. But this is a terrible mistake. The function of empowerments is to impart experiences. Subsquent to having that experience, it may be important to guard a comittment regarding that experience, but without that experience the vow is useless.

Your idea that texts are sufficient, and can be treated exactly as forumulas to be reproduced like for example, a drug formula, or a formula for synthesizing a plastic precisely demonstrates the pitfalls the western analysis of Dharma traditions.


I don't agree with any of this.


It's ok, you don't have to.
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: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:16 pm

deepbluehum wrote:The notion that sutrayana depends on taking a vow is an attitude ChNN reports about some version of Hinayana he had access to.


No, I am not making this assertion based on his point of view.
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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: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:An analsys of the role of Varna in pre-5th century AD India shows that jati and varna were not so hard and fast. In fact the ossification of jati in India really is a function first of Mughal interference and secondly, British interference.


Crazy scholars.

Incidentally, there really is no caste system in South India -- the area most free from colonial influence.


No, they don't have kshatriyas. Only the Aryans get to be that. Didn't you know? Aryans come from clans. Other later arriving Aryan clans got absorbed into Katri, like the Jat. South Indians HAVE brahmins. Their brahmins are very strict. The most strict. It is a hereditary right and duty, period.

Malcolm wrote:
Then, you look at Malcolm's new fetish for all things Vedic, I think it arises from the similarity of the Dzogchen tantras to the Vedas with respect to their "primordial origin" in the sound of "A."


You obviously have not been paying attention to my writing for many years. I have observed that Vedic ideas are important in Buddhism in a postive sense rather than the commonly assumed negative sense for the entire 17 years I have participated online in any fashion. I have always been interested in and felt positive regard for the Vedas.

Dzogchen, Tantra, and the Vedas, as well as some trends in Mahāyāna Sutra, all share common assumptions about śabda based on ancient Indian grammatical science.


I apply Popper's criticism of Hegel's historicism about how it leads to from Platonism to Fascism to the Vedic cosmological views leading to an eon of genetic subjugation and enslavement.

Malcolm wrote:
Here's a reason why India is so F'd up, it's the caste system. It makes people crazy. It makes the country crazy.


As noted above, the ossification of the caste system (in North India primarily) is largely a result of eight hundred years of external colonialism by first the Mughals and then the Brits-- imposing caste as a method of social control. It is not intrinsic to the Indian culural idea of Varna or Jati. Any quick read of the Pali suttas proves this.


Ridiculous claim. Pali suttas support the notion that Buddha rejected the notion of hereditary brahmins which was prevalent at the time, which is why he mentioned it.

Malcolm wrote:
The idea that Sanskrit itself encodes the primordial sounds of divinity is stupid bullshit.


It's not about Sanskrit per se --though for some Indians it may very well be. Nevetheless, no one can argue that Sanskrit is not a brilliant language system, and in fact modern linguistics up to Chomsky is based on it.


Evil is often brilliant.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:07 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Pali suttas support the notion that Buddha rejected the notion of hereditary brahmins which was prevalent at the time, which is why he mentioned it.



The Pali suttas prove that varna was fluid and that people change their varna -- please examine the Ambhaṭṭha sutta in the Digha Nikāya.

They do not prove that Buddha rejected varna; merely that he thought personal moral character was of far greater importance than family lineage.

The Pali suttas however also, in keeping with the Upanishads, also support the idea that kṣatriyas were a better caliber of people than brahmins in general, which is why the Buddha was born in a Kṣatriya family -- since at that time they were more respected than brahmins.
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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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