Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:01 pm

This is a gross mischaracterization of the story I related and I am not sure what benefit a response will do, but I should respond as now I fear Geshe la will be framed in an unfair light. (I should know better that to tell personal stories on online forums!) Of course Geshe Sonam is devoted to Lama Tzongkhapa, he has spent the best years of his life studying and meditating based in many ways on LTK's presentation. And he has done several migtsema retreats. I mean, I have worked with Geshe la pretty much every day for the last two years and can tell you that no one who knows him would say he wasn't devoted to Tsongkhapa, especially after the commentaries he gave on the mid-length Lam Rim and last chapter of the Lam Rim Chenmo.
My understanding from the interaction was that Geshe la was saying in fact these sectarian affiliations are not the be all and end all, and we need to honour all of our influences. As I am sure you are aware, Lama Tzongkhapa had influences from several different lineages.
Geshe la was trying to honor all of this, rather than claiming allegiance to one "tribe". I think this is remarkable actually because he has not really left his monastery all that much but always tries as much as he can to interact with lamas of different lineages and traditions- including Theravada monks (this is quite unusual for a Geshe).
Even Phabonkhapa, who is touted as one of the more sectarian lamas of this century, incorporated the Vajrayogini practice from Sakya. Lamas draw inspiration from all kinds of unlikely sources, it's just that now it is not faux pas to aknowledge it.

Caz, if your understanding was due to my poor relation of the story I also apologize. Sometimes things don't come through the way I want on the internet!
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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Caz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:14 pm

JKhedrup wrote:This is a gross mischaracterization of the story I related and I am not sure what benefit a response will do, but I should respond as now I fear Geshe la will be framed in an unfair light. (I should know better that to tell personal stories on online forums!) Of course Geshe Sonam is devoted to Lama Tzongkhapa, he has spent the best years of his life studying and meditating based in many ways on LTK's presentation. And he has done several migtsema retreats. I mean, I have worked with Geshe la pretty much every day for the last two years and can tell you that no one who knows him would say he wasn't devoted to Tsongkhapa, especially after the commentaries he gave on the mid-length Lam Rim and last chapter of the Lam Rim Chenmo.
My understanding from the interaction was that Geshe la was saying in fact these sectarian affiliations are not the be all and end all, and we need to honour all of our influences. As I am sure you are aware, Lama Tzongkhapa had influences from several different lineages.
Geshe la was trying to honor all of this, rather than claiming allegiance to one "tribe". I think this is remarkable actually because he has not really left his monastery all that much but always tries as much as he can to interact with lamas of different lineages and traditions- including Theravada monks (this is quite unusual for a Geshe).
Even Phabonkhapa, who is touted as one of the more sectarian lamas of this century, incorporated the Vajrayogini practice from Sakya.


Well you have cleared it up by saying "My understanding from the interaction was that Geshe la was saying in fact these sectarian affiliations are not the be all and end all, and we need to honour all of our influences." With respect to Lama Phabonkhapa it would be fairly foolish to consider him sectarian when he incorporated the the Vajrayogini practice from the Sakya system.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:17 pm

I agree to a point, but I have read some pretty sectarian stuff that Pabkhongkhapa wrote and I have to call that as I see it. When you read some of the stuff in Tibetan it is actually quite shocking. In fact, I gave up on him pretty much altogether for many years.But then I came to the conclusion that he does present some things of value, and learning from those does not mean I have to agree with his sectarian statements. (I could not believe what I was reading when I first saw them, to be honest. But there it was, in Tibetan, and not just one or two sentences, but long paragraphs)

BUT please let us not start another Phabongkhapa debate. Dharma Wheel is pretty peaceful!

BUT -I think that some of his work on Vajrayogini was quite exceptional. And I am not a fan of many of his other works, but this particular time I was quite moved by his writings. Even one Sakya lama praised some of the Gelug commentaries on VY but asked that this not be broadcast too widely! (I can understand, it is one of their 13 Golden Dharmas I believe) I would love to take the initiation and commentary from the Sakya tradition as well to have a richer understanding of the practice, which I took from a former Gyumey abbot. (himself an exeptional master) Jestun Kushok la or HH Sakya Trizin give it quite often.

This is another great thing about the non-sectarian approach, that the things we appreciate in our root tradition, we can find their "sources" and connect with those as well. I have no doubt that because the Vajrayogini practice existed in such a prominent was in the Sakya tradition for so many centuries, they have a presentation that will be uncommon, profound, and tempered by many more generations of practitioners. In the Gelug it is still relatively "new".
Last edited by JKhedrup on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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
JKhedrup
 
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Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:26 pm

Caz wrote: With respect to Lama Phabonkhapa it would be fairly foolish to consider him sectarian when he incorporated the the Vajrayogini practice from the Sakya system.


It is proper to consider him sectarian based on the numerous grossly sectarian comments scattered in his collected works.

M
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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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:29 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Even one Sakya lama praised some of the Gelug commentaries on VY but asked that this not be broadcast too widely!



The Sakya commentaries written Dharmabhadra and Thugkwan are fine in that they do not depart at all from the earlier Sakya commentaries. Pabhongakha instituted some novelties in his presentation of the system that earned some criticism by the present head of Sakya. It is for this reason that if you want to hear the Vajrayogini teachings from a Sakya Lama you must receive the empowerment from a Sakya lama.

M
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http://www.bhaisajya.guru
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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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:31 pm

Yes, many Gelug teachers are trying to make peace with this. No one can deny what is there in black and white in his collected works, and not just one volume. Malcolm can direct you to where to find it. (He sent the stuff to me and as my Tibetan improved I forced myself to read it).

In fact, I thank Malcolm for opening my eyes in this way because it caused me a lot of soul searching and helped me find my own way of coping in the very traditional Tibetan Buddhist settings in which I work and live. (Well, it was one of several factors but much appreciated).

History has so many lessons to teach us. Some of them are painful.

Malcolm, I am sure... And I would think you are probably right that it was Ngulchu Dharmabhadra's commentary. Do you think that most of the Sakya lamas would be willing to give someone like me an initiation, who has had it previously in Gelug? It would be nice to be able to take a broader range of teachings on it.

I would love to know what the things Phabongkhapa instituted are, but I am betting they are too detailed for discussion on a general forum.
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
JKhedrup
 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:46 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Yes, many Gelug teachers are trying to make peace with this. No one can deny what is there in black and white in his collected works, and not just one volume. Malcolm can direct you to where to find it. (He sent the stuff to me and as my Tibetan improved I forced myself to read it).

In fact, I thank Malcolm for opening my eyes in this way because it caused me a lot of soul searching and helped me find my own way of coping in the very traditional Tibetan Buddhist settings in which I work and live. (Well, it was one of several factors but much appreciated).

History has so many lessons to teach us. Some of them are painful.

Malcolm, I am sure... And I would think you are probably right that it was Ngulchu Dharmabhadra's commentary. Do you think that most of the Sakya lamas would be willing to give someone like me an initiation, who has had it previously in Gelug? It would be nice to be able to take a broader range of teachings on it.

I would love to know what the things Phabongkhapa instituted are, but I am betting they are too detailed for discussion on a general forum.


Any Sakya lama would happily give you the dbang lung and khri of the Naro Khacho system.

Major changes Pabhongkha made was tossing out the introduction to Dharmata; and he made the Guru yoga section very complicated in a completely unnecessary way, he added offerings and so on that are not needed, etc. In other words, he tried to bring the sadhana into line with Gelug expectations of a Cakrasamvara sadhana.

Actually, one on the most important commentaries in Sakya on Naro Khacho was written by a Gelug disciple of Khyentse Wangpo.

M
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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Caz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:31 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Caz wrote: With respect to Lama Phabonkhapa it would be fairly foolish to consider him sectarian when he incorporated the the Vajrayogini practice from the Sakya system.


It is proper to consider him sectarian based on the numerous grossly sectarian comments scattered in his collected works.

M


And yet when he taught he taught to all regardless of sect. But lets not get into the business of dragging Lama's names through the mud. Sectarianism to combat Sectarianism is still Sectarianism. :rolling:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:35 pm

At the height of the recent Gelugpa controversy ToS here prohibited discussion of it.

Pabongka and Trijang were central to the issue, having engaged in a practice now no longer permitted whilst also having been central to the education of many modern Gelugpas.

Certainly, Pabongka's 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand' is used by many teachers to this day.

Pragmatism seems to have broken out, and whatever side of the lineage schism Gelugs fall, they can regard some of the teachings of a lineage master as useful whilst simultaneously recognising his sectarian faults.

It is certainly difficult, but not impossible, to regard a Guru highly as a spiritual guide, and recognise that in this lifetime he made some mistakes. Threads on DW have given several examples, and the good qualities of a lineage and of a spiritual friend are not to eb regarded as totally destroyed because of such downfalls.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Caz wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Caz wrote: With respect to Lama Phabonkhapa it would be fairly foolish to consider him sectarian when he incorporated the the Vajrayogini practice from the Sakya system.


It is proper to consider him sectarian based on the numerous grossly sectarian comments scattered in his collected works.

M


And yet when he taught he taught to all regardless of sect. But lets not get into the business of dragging Lama's names through the mud. Sectarianism to combat Sectarianism is still Sectarianism. :rolling:


Of course, it is called "making converts".

M
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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby KeithBC » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:56 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:Why follow one tradition? Because then you avoid the pitfall of picking and choosing what already accords with your own understanding and create a new form of YouDharma instead of BuddhaDharma.

Are not all traditions of Buddhism Buddhadharma? We have to pick and choose one at some stage. If we pick more than one, how does that detract from Buddhadharma?

Nothing wrong with picking more than one. The pitfall is in choosing to omit what feels uncomfortable.

If parts of a tradition feel too uncomfortable, it may be a sign that a different tradition might be more suitable, which is fine. But there is a danger in avoiding teachings or practices just because of discomfort. It is precisely through going beyond our comfort levels that we make progress. Staying within ones comfort zone guarantees stagnation.

The advantage of following one tradition is that you are more likely to expand your comfort zone to accommodate its teachings, and thereby make progress.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:15 pm

KeithBC wrote:
The advantage of following one tradition is that you are more likely to expand your comfort zone to accommodate its teachings, and thereby make progress.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


True. However, being uncomfortable and then expanding your comfort zone to accommodate the teachings you receive, staying may mean having sex with a Guru and/or ending up in a cult. ;)
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby KeithBC » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:52 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:
KeithBC wrote:
The advantage of following one tradition is that you are more likely to expand your comfort zone to accommodate its teachings, and thereby make progress.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


True. However, being uncomfortable and then expanding your comfort zone to accommodate the teachings you receive, staying may mean having sex with a Guru and/or ending up in a cult. ;)

True enough. There is danger in expanding your comfort zone too much. The traditional protection agains such things is adherence to a traditional lineage. As usual, the middle way is the best.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:21 pm

KeithBC wrote:The traditional protection agains such things is adherence to a traditional lineage.


Virtually all of the sexual misconduct I have heard about is in traditional lineages with traditional teachers.
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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: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Osho » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:34 pm

Total ignorance here. Help please JKhedrup.
Is your Geshe La the New Kadampa chap who lives in Ulverston or someone completely different?
More about Mindfulness here
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:53 pm

Osho wrote:Total ignorance here. Help please JKhedrup.
Is your Geshe La the New Kadampa chap who lives in Ulverston or someone completely different?


All Geshes answer to 'Geshe-la'. He already stated who his Geshe is:

''I remember very clearly one time someone asked me what Geshe Sonam's lineage was. I answered Gelug. Geshe la overheard and scolded me gently. ''

Terms of Service here do not permit discussion of the NKT as it almost always ends in a flame war.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Osho » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:19 pm

Missed that who the Geshe is.
Yes or no would help.
No intention of discussing those who shall not be named, simply curious.
A lot of this is a foreign language to a newbie.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:30 pm

Osho wrote:Missed that who the Geshe is.
Yes or no would help.
No intention of discussing those who shall not be named, simply curious.
A lot of this is a foreign language to a newbie.


Sorry - I was a bit abrupt.

I thought the quote would tell you who his Geshe is, as opposed to who he isn't, in case you wanted to find out.

Sticking my beak in again to steer the conversation away from banned topics - I need to learn to leave it to the Mods.
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby Osho » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:37 pm

Appreciate it Blue Garuda. Been having a Google and I think I have narrowed it down to two possible suspects.
Been an eye opener too.
Some of those Tibetan Buddhists seem to be an argumentative crew and no mistake from what bit I've read so far.
Thank you for your beak.
;-)
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Re: Why follow one tradition of Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:46 pm

This is actually a very "modern" question. We have so many more choices these days, in the last 20 years, compared with the entire history of dharma over the last 2500 years.

It used to be, and I mean, within your parents' lifetime, that if you really wanted to fully devote yourself to the study of dharma, you pretty much had to drop everything else you were doing with your life, and you had to find a temple or a teacher, and those were almost always in remote and hard to get to places and you might have to climb through mountains and forests, and then when you got to one (that you would have only heard of by word of mouth) you had to hope that they would take you in, and if they did, then you really had to hope the teacher was worthwhile, and that they had good teachings, and if you could even read, maybe some printed texts.

And that was just to get started.

Nowadays it's just "click" and you are on some website and it's like "hmmm....do I really want chocolate or vanilla?"

I am not putting you down...it's a good question. But in perspective, it's also very funny.
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