Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Pero » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:11 pm

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:Sounds like we're rather debating over the meaning of the word "evil" then...?

Vipers don't have self-awareness, nor a free will, nor do they have the intellectual capacity to reflect on ethics and the Buddha Dharma. They just follow their instincts. I wouldn't call that evil, either. But people who abuse their power in dharma centers do have self-awareness and so on.

We are all vipers at times.
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: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby AlexanderS » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:36 pm

I would say that I have mixed experiences with dharma centers. I think overall most of the people I have met have been kind decent people. Some are some of the nicest people i've met and a few come across as very cold and arrogant.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby heart » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:48 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Erm, I didn't say Buddhism is evil. That's Malcolm's word, and he didn't use it to characterise Buddhism per se but "religion, such as it is". And he didn't say 'all religion is evil'. What he actually said was much more nuanced:

Malcolm wrote:This is a problem with religion in general. It fosters this stupid us vs. them mentality and reinforces tribalism. This is among the many reasons why I eschew the label "Buddhist". I have no interest in religion, per se. Religion, such as it is, is pretty evil.


You may ask him what he meant. I understood him as suggesting that even a perfectly valid 'spirituality' (excuse the word), the moment it transforms to a religion with all its typical accoutrements, becomes deeply ambiguous, to say the least. Institutionalization corrupts. I don't think Malcolm's 'evil' is a metaphysical concept, btw.


I don't find that statement very nuanced at all, blanket statements seldom are. The word religion is quite difficult to define and any known definition would include a lot of things none of you considers religion and the word evil do carry the connotation of intent, doesn't it? You answered to my reply to Malcolm with a post about your very bad experience with dharma centers so naturally I thought you agreed with him.

/magnus
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:13 pm

heart wrote:I have seen plenty of us vs. them mentality outside of religion, so much indeed that I don't think it has anything in particular to do with religion.


Religions exemplify the most pernicious aspect tribalism.Tribes create religions in order to create social cohesion.

Dharma is not like that.

Buddhism, unfortunately, is Dharma reduced to the level of a religion. This is extremely clear when one examines the history of Buddhism in Asia.

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.

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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby heart » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:48 pm

Malcolm wrote:
heart wrote:I have seen plenty of us vs. them mentality outside of religion, so much indeed that I don't think it has anything in particular to do with religion.


Religions exemplify the most pernicious aspect tribalism.Tribes create religions in order to create social cohesion.

Dharma is not like that.

Buddhism, unfortunately, is Dharma reduced to the level of a religion. This is extremely clear when one examines the history of Buddhism in Asia.

M


What have you been reading? Turn of the last century anthropology? Start with defining religion, you will find that Dzogchen is religion according to most if not all definitions.. Then think just a moment were all your teachers would be without Buddhism, were they would be without the monasteries of Tibet. You got this all upside down man.

/magnus
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby heart » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:49 pm

Pero wrote:
ReasonAndRhyme wrote:Sounds like we're rather debating over the meaning of the word "evil" then...?

Vipers don't have self-awareness, nor a free will, nor do they have the intellectual capacity to reflect on ethics and the Buddha Dharma. They just follow their instincts. I wouldn't call that evil, either. But people who abuse their power in dharma centers do have self-awareness and so on.

We are all vipers at times.


Yes, without doubt.

/magnus
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby dzoki » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:52 pm

Wow, there is some heated debate here, including bashing, tribalism and emotions :popcorn:
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:55 pm

heart wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
heart wrote:I have seen plenty of us vs. them mentality outside of religion, so much indeed that I don't think it has anything in particular to do with religion.


Religions exemplify the most pernicious aspect tribalism.Tribes create religions in order to create social cohesion.

Dharma is not like that.

Buddhism, unfortunately, is Dharma reduced to the level of a religion. This is extremely clear when one examines the history of Buddhism in Asia.

M


What have you been reading? Turn of the last century anthropology? Start with defining religion, you will find that Dzogchen is religion according to most if not all definitions.. Then think just a moment were all your teachers would be without Buddhism, were they would be without the monasteries of Tibet. You got this all upside down man.

/magnus


"Dzogchen" can be a religion, sure -- if people start turning Dzogchen into a tribal identity and reduce it to a bunch of conceptual formulations. But in reality, Dzogchen is a personal experience. If you don't have that personal experience, then your Dzogchen is just a fantasy, like priests building stairways to heaven.

As I have pointed out in the past, Buddhadharma is one thing, "Buddhism" is quite another.

I am not that interested in arguing about it, but as far as I am concerned, there is a difference between Dharma and Buddhism; the former is not a social identity, it is an evolving personal truth. That latter is a social identity which enforces a rigid system of belief to participate in that social identity.
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: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby viniketa » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:02 pm

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:Sounds like we're rather debating over the meaning of the word "evil" then...?


It's a word I like to use sparingly. It is laden with intent, and seldom is intent so concentrated as to be "purely" evil, or even purely good. Like TNH, I tend to think of evil as a lack of compassion, and therefore a matter of degree.

I don't doubt that there are so-called "gurus" who exploit students and their vulnerabilities in may ways. To do so for self-aggrandizement and self-gain may come close to "pure" evil, but such a "guru" may be so deluded as to even believe they are "helping" followers by doing so. Either way, best to stay away from them.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Pero » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:13 pm

viniketa wrote:
ReasonAndRhyme wrote:Sounds like we're rather debating over the meaning of the word "evil" then...?


It's a word I like to use sparingly. It is laden with intent, and seldom is intent so concentrated as to be "purely" evil, or even purely good. Like TNH, I tend to think of evil as a lack of compassion, and therefore a matter of degree.

Lately I've been thinking that "good and evil" is pure fantasy. You know, like in movies and books haha. In real life it's just not so simple.
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.
- Shabkar
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby viniketa » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:21 pm

Pero wrote:In real life it's just not so simple.


Things in "real life" cannot be as simple as the words we use to describe them. Words are models, and models, by definition, are always less complex than what they try to describe, yes? :D

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Pero » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:56 pm

viniketa wrote:
Pero wrote:In real life it's just not so simple.


Things in "real life" cannot be as simple as the words we use to describe them. Words are models, and models, by definition, are always less complex than what they try to describe, yes? :D

:namaste:

Haha yes and no. Sometimes pretty simple things are described/talked about with incredebly complicated words. :tongue:
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: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:47 pm

Malcolm wrote:"Dzogchen" can be a religion, sure -- if people start turning Dzogchen into a tribal identity and reduce it to a bunch of conceptual formulations. But in reality, Dzogchen is a personal experience. If you don't have that personal experience, then your Dzogchen is just a fantasy, like priests building stairways to heaven.

As I have pointed out in the past, Buddhadharma is one thing, "Buddhism" is quite another.

I am not that interested in arguing about it, but as far as I am concerned, there is a difference between Dharma and Buddhism; the former is not a social identity, it is an evolving personal truth. That latter is a social identity which enforces a rigid system of belief to participate in that social identity.

Very well put.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Sheila » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:42 pm

Aside from genuine issues, I have noticed what I believe to be an ingenuine effort on the part of some to amplify or even perhaps invent "scandal" in Buddhism.

For example, when the Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche YouTube "confession" came out, some of the same people (using a host of different usernames) went quite deliberately around the internet, in a very short period of time, eagerly posting the information on every forum possible. From what I can tell, this collection of people is the same, or includes a few of the same, that post the "June Campbell" and "12 year olds used for sex in tantra" mantras ad nauseam.

It's very hard to call them on it - if one does, one is labeled a "supporter of abuse." "Why can you not support the victim!!" etc. It neatly makes it (all but) impossible to point out the fact that something hinky is going on.

I find this disturbing, but interesting. I've wondered about groups with several possible motives--perhaps people truly (though I think wrongly) disturbed by the disinformation that all Buddhist teachers are predators, to Chinese government workers, to the Catholic church (eager to have another religion or two join them scandal hell). And it's of course possible the motives of multiple people and groups happen to dovetail on this subject.

One thing seems very clear to me, though, and that is that the amount of talk about scandal is wildly disproportionate to the level of actual scandal in the average Buddhist center. I certainly have no problem with the idea that occasionally a center or teacher may behave scandalously; but to extrapolate that out as somehow representative is way off. Most Buddhist centers are, I daresay, utterly boring (by scandal standards).

I'm sure some of this is simply the "what makes news" phenomenon; warm, happy stories aren't generally in the headlines, and neither are warm, happy Buddhist centers. But headlines, as we know, do not reflect the norm.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:23 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:"Dzogchen" can be a religion, sure -- if people start turning Dzogchen into a tribal identity and reduce it to a bunch of conceptual formulations. But in reality, Dzogchen is a personal experience. If you don't have that personal experience, then your Dzogchen is just a fantasy, like priests building stairways to heaven.

As I have pointed out in the past, Buddhadharma is one thing, "Buddhism" is quite another.

I am not that interested in arguing about it, but as far as I am concerned, there is a difference between Dharma and Buddhism; the former is not a social identity, it is an evolving personal truth. That latter is a social identity which enforces a rigid system of belief to participate in that social identity.

Very well put.
Seconded. Thank you for clarifying Malcolm.
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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby username » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:35 am

People who in effect deform Dzogchen into a religion, a taught classic pitfall, and/or in effect imply the world would be the same or a better place without Buddhist religion have not realized the first thing about Dzogchen.
Last edited by username on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Tom » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:13 am

Malcolm wrote:I am not that interested in arguing about it, but as far as I am concerned, there is a difference between Dharma and Buddhism; the former is not a social identity, it is an evolving personal truth. That latter is a social identity which enforces a rigid system of belief to participate in that social identity.


This is not a fair definition of religion (buddhism in this case) but more an example of how religion can be misused.
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Yudron » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:13 am

I'm going to be radical here and say that if the flavor of your Dharma centers are really as folks are describing above, and its been around more than 10 years, it is a failure of the teacher in charge. He or she should put an end to this kind of behavior. If people are becoming more arrogant, jealous and competitive, their practice is going in the wrong direction, and they need to be firmly redirected.

That being said, when a new powerful teacher comes to an area he or she will attract a wide variety of people, some are going to stay and practice diligently, and some won't. Actually, where there are already existing centers, the new center or group will attract the people who could not get a long with the others at the old centers, so there is often an influx of difficult people at the onset.

From the managerial point of view, it takes a long time to learn to work with people and their various expectations within Dharma groups. The leaders will inevitably make mistakes. So, if the center is relatively new, there is something said for being kind and patient with the people who have been put in charge. It may or may not have been their preference to be put in this role.

:soapbox:
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby username » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:21 am

Steveyboy wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:I noticed onTsem Tulku's website that you can buy prayers for all manner of worldly situations. For example if you need to improve your chances of scoring high in an exam or if you are having legal problems and so on. Also you can buy treasure vases and all the rest of the paraphernalia that will make your life go well. Tsem Tulku is having a movie made about his life. Also you can read in cartoon format miracles attributed to him. So all of this worldly activity and no way to criticize when you don't get what you want?
Wisdom is sold as a commodity these days. Big dharma organisations need big dollars and Tsem Tulku's business model is one shared by a number of branded dharma organisations. You can buy what you like but you can't criticize when what you have bought into doesn't work for you? This kind of business is one that business people all over the world dream about.
I'm not a Buddhist anymore. Not if buying into dharma and then shutting up is what it means to be Buddhist.


I think I understand where you are coming from but you must understand that all organisations require funding to function in order to benefit people. However, I think you shouldn't call the work this organisation is doing as just a business. I have seen how the rituals and wealth vase are done in accordance to authentic rituals from the monastery and have their blessings and the money raised is channeled back to the monastery and monks as well as the running costs of the organisation. Almost everything being done within this organisation brings some kind of benefit to people.

I am very sure if you are unhappy with anything you have ordered or purchased, they will be more than happy to assist you or at the very least refund your money if you are not happy with anything. My point? I think you are looking at the organisation on a very superficial level. Many of the things provided by the organisation benefit people on so many levels but more importantly, we are using these avenues to spread the teachings. In fact, a majority of Tsem Tulku's teachings are available to be viewed on YouTube for free.


Hi Steveyboy,
I hope you are well. I know years ago Tsem Tulku was presented as a young man by Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I am genuinely interested to know if he ever had a meeting with HHDL and if so when was it? Maybe you can ask him for me? I would be grateful. Thanks.
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes
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Re: Gurus For Hire Enlightenment For Sale

Postby Malcolm » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:04 am

username wrote:People who in effect deform Dzogchen into a religion, a taught classic pitfall, and/or in effect imply the world would be the same or a better place without Buddhist religion have not realized the first thing about Dzogchen.


It would be inane to assert the latter, just as it would be inane to assert the same about Christianity or Islam (i.e. that the world would be the same or better without them).

M
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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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