Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

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heart
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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby heart » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:23 am

"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:46 am


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:02 pm

One thing Tibetans don't seem to have much of a problem with from the start is rebirth, karma, the lower realms, etc... whereas with a lot of westerners they're prone to be disbelieving from the beginning and even if they claim to believe in rebirth and so on, they might just say that but not actually really have conviction in it.

Robert Thurman in one of his podcasts related a story of how when he was a monk his teacher challenged him on this point. He said he finally had to admit that despite saying he believed in rebirth and enlightenment, it was still just a religious fantasy rather than being something he really had conviction and realistic certainty about, largely owing to his materialist education and background.

If you're really serious about karma and rebirth, for instance, you'll plan for it like you would your retirement. You see old Tibetan ladies doing this around the stupa in Boudha, Kathmandu. However, if you unconsciously feel such a thing as a future life is just a religious belief or fantasy, then you'll probably just plan for this life and that's it. Nothing past your retirement and funeral.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Grigoris » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:52 pm

I reckon it's a silly question. Of course "Westerners" can REALLY be Dharma practitioners and 2 hours of formal practice is a day for a lay practitioner is probably WAY more than any "Easterner" practices. We should not be comparing oursleves to monks (and even Ngakpa, who are essentially lay CLERGY) but to lay followers of Buddhism. That way we will get a much more realistic idea of whether we are REALLY practitioners or not.
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Yudron » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:17 pm

Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Admin_PC » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:45 pm


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Grigoris » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:52 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Pero » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:17 pm

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: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:56 pm

I strongly suggest to Westerners seriously interested in dharma practice, not to work to much. But to make good money. That means getting a professional license of some sort so that you can make your own hours. Having a boss makes thing tougher. If you can make good money working no more than five hours a day, then you have plenty of time to devote to dharma practice and family life. That means also you can live simple life and need few things. Get good bargains on food and such and definitely you can even practice 10 hours a day and still work. If you are young, maybe don't have children and that will free up a lot of time. That's my suggestion.

I usually practice between 5 and 8. Then I work between 8 and noon. Then I eat lunch and rest. Then I try to practice between 2 and 4, taking break betwen 4-5 to answer emails and return calls, then 5-8 practice. 8-10 relax, watch movie. Then sleeping.

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby lobster » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:59 am


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:27 am


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Terma » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:36 am


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby kirtu » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:38 am



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby kirtu » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:45 am



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Admin_PC » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:21 am

forgot to mention this in my initial post:
I can really only speak for Americans, but we tend to be an angry bunch who like a challenge.
When I hear that I can't do something, the martial artist in me says "yeah? watch me!"
Maybe he was trying to light a fire in our bellies, get us to call on that fierce Boddhisattva of action to kick ourselves into fervent practice.
I doubt he was trying to discourage, otherwise I don't think he'd waste his time.

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby untxi » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:34 pm


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Sheila » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:42 pm


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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby kirtu » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:56 pm



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby MalaBeads » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:39 pm

I'd like to respond a bit to the opening post with a reminder. Lamas, especially Vajrayana lamas, are always teaching in a particular time and place and context. We do them, and ourselves, a great disservice to think that what they say at a particular time and place, and to a particular group of people or an individual, is something that is an absolute and applies to all people, at all times, in all places.

You simply can't turn something a Vajrayana teacher says into an absolute slogan and wave it around as if it were true for all time.

I think your question is a sincere one, Tom, and I don't mean to jump on you. It's just a reminder of how this teaching is done.

Because this teaching is new to us in the west (at least in this form) we have a tendency to want to grasp what our teachers say as a measure (to ourselves) that we have "understood".

I understand less and less all the time. And maybe that's okay.

:namaste:
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Pero » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:40 pm

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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