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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:24 am 
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What do the various titles of the Mahayana Traditions mean? (ie- Geshe, Rinpoche, Lama, Venerable)

"Geshe" refers to a certain level of monastic and philosophical training. It
is traditionally received after approximately 25 years of full-time intensive
study at one of the great monasteries. It is similar to someone getting a
"ph.d." level of study and accomplishment, although it is much more than that.
There are also different levels of Geshe. For example, a "Lharampa Geshe"
graduated with great honors and was among the top of his class. It is
primarily a title referring to academic excellence and degree of training in
the Buddhist philosophical texts.

"Rinpoche" means "precious" and refers to someone who in their last life
attained such a high degree of mastery that they did not have to take any more
rebirths. However, out of their compassion for others, they took another birth
at will - or rather took a human form - in order to teach others. Hence, they
are "precious" because they returned to show us how to do it ourselves.

"Venerable" is a term for those who are ordained. Any monk or nun is
traditionally referred to as "venerable". It is simply a term of respect for
those who have chosen the monastic life and have taken it upon themselves to
preserve the teachings in this way.

"Lama" means literally "heavy with qualities". It is a title which implies
that the person who is the referent of this term has demonstrated spiritual
qualities and the ability to lead others in their spiritual life and path.
There are some Tibetan Buddhist traditions where you can "earn" the title
"lama" after doing a certain amount of retreat and study. In other traditions,
one must earn the title "lama" by way of demonstrating their qualities over
the years - or because they have been recognized clearly as a "Rinpoche" - and
then are a "lama" by definition!


PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:25 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am
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Orthodox Chinese Buddhism-Ven Master Sheng-yen: Page 141: 4.14 'What do the terms Dhyana Master, Vinaya Master and Dharma Master Mean?'


PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:26 am 
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I suppose tulku should be defined in the original post too.

Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:39 am 
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plwk wrote:

Excellent description of the situation in Chinese Buddhism. I would only add one comment, that I don't find it all that appropriate for all lay Buddhists to refer to monastics as "acarya" or "shifu". I think that these should only be applied when that monastic is actually their own "acarya" (so might as well just say "laoshi" / "teacher") or their preceptor (as "shifu").

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Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University, Taiwan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:56 am 

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:50 am 
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I don't know why. It's pretty common practice as stated in the book to address any monastic as "master" (shifu) and refer to oneself as "disciple" (dizi) toward them even if you don't have such a direct relationship with them. In that instance, you do. For example, if asking a monastic to explain something you would say; "请师父为弟子开示". I also address various monastics as shifu just in passing.



PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:34 am 
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I addressed all the monastics at Buddha Mind and other affiliates as well as Shifu, it just means master. I find it appropriate to do so, because I wouldn't know any other way to address them with utmost respect. Either way they are my Meditation masters, they also give Dharma lectures and are like guidance to my cultivation. I also address other masters who aren't really my master.

Peace in Chan

Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be. Always be mindful, and be your own master. This is true freedom. - Grand Master Wei Chueh

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Posts: 1953
Was dipping into Ven Sheng Yen's PDF book on Orthodox Chinese Buddhism and noticed pages 18-19 are missing.


Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm
Posts: 589
:namaste: Wise ones, perhaps it may seem innapropriate for me to refer to people as Noble, but if it is understood that i see everyone as a Buddha, perhaps then this is understood. I feel foolish doing this sometimes... what will people think?! daft as brush! no doubt, but it is just my personal style. no impropriety nor disrespect meant.

please correct me if this is offensive or improper.

best wishes,

White Lotus.

in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

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