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It can, but generally worldly deities are treated like powerful friends. "Remember how you promised to help us? Please do this for me. Here is an offering as a sign of my gratitude"waimengwan wrote:it probably breaks the refuge commitments then the entire Gelug tradition for example is put into question.
Even some Tibetans, mostly those who consider themselves 'progressive', have misgivings about my continued use of this ancient method of intelligence gathering. But I do so for the simple reason that as I look back over the many occasions when I have asked questions of the oracle, on each one of them time has proved that his answer was correct. This is not to say that I rely solely on the oracle's advice. I do not. I seek his opinion in the same way as I seek the opinion of my Cabinet and just as 1 seek the opinion of my own conscience. I consider the gods to be my 'upper house'. The Kashag constitutes my lower house. Like any other leader, I consult both before making a decision on affairs of state.
So what do you call Umapa's serving as a medium of Manjushri for Je Tsongkhapa?
At the age of thirty-three he met with the remarkable Lama Umapa (dBu ma pa), who came to Tsang (gTsang) with the intention of studying with Tsongkhapa. Umapa had had a vision of Manjushri, the embodiment of enlightened wisdom, which had changed his life from that of a simple cowherd. As a result of this vision he took up practices related to Manjushri and eventually experienced Manjushri's constant presence.
Lama Umapa became Tsongkhapa's direct line of communication with Manjushri. They spent periods of retreat together during which Umapa conveyed to Tsongkhapa Manjushri's advice and responses to questions concerning the correct understanding of reality. Eventually Tsongkhapa himself experienced visions of Manjushri, who bestowed empowerments on him and gave him teachings.
Tsongkhapa also went to study the practice of Manjushri Dharmachakra (‘Jam-dbyangs chos-kyi ‘khor-lo) and Madhyamaka with the Karma Kagyu Lama Umapa (Bla-ma dbu-ma-pa dPa’-bo rdo-rje). This great master had studied Madhyamaka with the Sakya tradition and, since childhood, had daily visions of Manjushri, who taught him one verse each day. Tsongkhapa and he became mutual teacher and disciple. Lama Umapa checked with Tsongkhapa to get confirmation that the teachings he received in his visions of Manjushri were correct. This is very important, since visions can be influenced by demons.
Together with Lama Umapa, Tsongkhapa did an extensive retreat on Manjushri. From this time onward, Tsongkhapa received direct instruction from Manjushri in pure visions and was able to receive from him answers to all his questions. Before this, he had to ask his questions to Manjushri through Lama Umapa.
When Lama Tsongkhapa would ask him questions, Lama Umapa would ask Manjushri and then relay the response back to Lama Tsongkhapa. After some time Manjushri told Lama Umapa to send Lama Tsongkhapa into retreat, but Lama Umapa said that if he did so others would criticize him. Manjushri told him not to worry, but to send Lama Tsongkhapa into retreat.
ngodrup wrote:So what do you call Umapa's serving as a medium of Manjushri for Je Tsongkhapa?
It couldn't be Manjushri, since Buddhas don't speak through mediums.
Or maybe, some schools teach that Manjushri is a Bodhisattva and not a Buddha?
In that case, the teachings that Manjushri gave would be open to dispute.
So, the matter really is a can of worms.
Best to leave the matter open ended to my way of thinking, or else
we're renouncing too many things-- baby along with the bathwater.
Thank you. It clears up many controversial topics which were in e-sangha and here. So, is it similar to Asanga who finally had the same kind of relationship with Maitreya and consulted with Him the new Yogacara ideas?JKhedrup wrote:I checked with Geshe Sonam at breakfast about the Lama Umapa stories in Je Rinpoche's biography and he told me Umapa was not functioning as a Kuten (medium) and nothing he has ever read has characterized his relationship with Manjushri as being like that.
I realize this is the opinion of one Geshe (albeit a learned one), but this also seems to be the view of Geshe Sonam Rinchen, Alex Berzin and many other qualified sources.
If there is a passage that indicates Umapa was a medium I would definitely be interested in seeing it- would make for some more good breakfast conversation!
it is particularly discused when Umapa with Yamantaka: viewtopic.php?f=102&t=5770&hilit=yamantaka&start=90conebeckham wrote:I was going to use the Asanga story as an example. Come to think of it, any of the Mahasiddhas who discovered Tantras-Luipa, etc.- would be much the same.
ngodrup wrote:JKhedrup: Thank you for exploring this with Geshe Sonam.
My comment is not intended to undermine pure vision or termas.
Rather, it comes from experience of growing up in a family that practiced Spiritualism.
Spirit medimumship takes many forms, not just trance channeling or possession.
There are seances, trumpet circles, and even materialization-- where the spirit
is seen by all. All of these and even crystal balls and ouija boards can be seen
as oracular in nature.
Tibetans have technical terms surrounding some of these phenomena, but I think
we face some translation issues. Seems "medium" in TIbetan only refers to trance
possession. But when one person sees and hears a being and another doesn't, and the
one with the "deficient" hearing and seeing asks the one who does see and hear
to speak to that 'entity' for them, we call it a medium in English.
Of course, pure vision is a completely different phenomenon. Or...
waimengwan wrote:If the oracles and the deities that possess them is unreliable and only consulted for certain situations.
Where do you draw the line of when you believe the oracles predictions and when you dont? Monks and High Lamas of the Gelugpa order are not fools why would they carry on using such oracles then, and that includes the His Holiness Dalai Lama. I mean why would you even ask someone dodgy? I wouldn't if the advice is known to be unreliable. Then better for me to rely on my own perception and logic.
Where in the scriptures that tells you, when it is A believe when it is B don't believe.
So IMHO I would think the the Monks and Lamas do believe in the predictions and advice of the oracles and they do rely on the oracles.
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