Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

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Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:10 pm

Is Nyingma the most liberal of all the Tibetan Buddhist schools? What about Jonang? If Nyingma is the most liberal of all the Tibetan schools, then in what way is Nyingma more liberal? Whether it is the most liberal or not, in what ways is Nyingma actually more conversative than other traditions (or could be perceived as such)? Debate! Discuss!

And finally: Is Nyingma the most liberal of all the major traditional schools of Buddhism, period (not just Tibetan Buddhism but ALL traditional worldwide traditional Buddhist schools)??

Don't forget to debate the definition and enumerate the divisions of what could be considered "liberal"!
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Yogicfire » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:12 am

Nyingmpa is the oldest tantric tradition in Tibet, and so it contained many of the earlier secret teachings of tantra that got purged out or excluded in the later Indian transmissions, with the Gelugpa especially being quite strong on that point.

I am sure some other posters can elucidate in more detail on Nyingmpa practice, I just know from personal experience that there were certain 'liberal' tendencies that I observed in my time in monasteries and around practitioners in India and Nepal. I remember some monks having long hair and wondering about that... They were on retreat and conditions were a little different than normal.

The Jonang tradition died out as a separate lineage, and it was included within the Nyingmpa and Kagyu schools as a sub-tradition if I remember rightly...
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby muni » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:46 am

Liberal. Broad minded? I only am a begging thief. Even Nyingma can be called the root in that begging-recieving; the deepest respect for any other traditions and recieved teachings is there. Nyingma, Sakya, Jonang, Kagyu, Gelug and also Bon.

To respect and show gratefulness to Theravada and all kinds of Mahayana, Vajrayana, other relgion, non-religion altruism is comfortable. Or to let go our clinging to a tradition without losing respect and gratitude toward the offered teaching.

As what is meant has no partiality, is free from tradition-name.

Conservative, I don't know. Broadminded: Yes.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:51 pm

sherabzangpo wrote:Is Nyingma the most liberal of all the Tibetan Buddhist schools?


Well what do you mean by liberal?

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Josef » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:41 pm

Yogicfire wrote:
The Jonang tradition died out as a separate lineage, and it was included within the Nyingmpa and Kagyu schools as a sub-tradition if I remember rightly...

The Jonang lineage is still and has been active and unique.
They were exiled from central Tibet in the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, but they didnt die out.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby muni » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:44 pm

oops, dying out? Indeed Nangwa, Jonang is very alive!
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Yogicfire » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:15 pm

Well, I didn't say that it had died out completely - I said that it doesn't exist as a separate lineage. I think that is right? The Jonang lineage had some controversies, and was brought into the Nyingmpa/Kagyu schools as I understood it. The lineage and teachings still survive within those schools..
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Josef » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:37 pm

Yogicfire wrote:Well, I didn't say that it had died out completely - I said that it doesn't exist as a separate lineage. I think that is right? The Jonang lineage had some controversies, and was brought into the Nyingmpa/Kagyu schools as I understood it. The lineage and teachings still survive within those schools..

The Jonang was booted from central Tibet in the time of the 5th Dalai Lama because of their views of Shentong.
The lineage has maintained its unique and separate identity and still lives today. It was not assimilated into the Nyingma/Kagyu. Jamgon Kongtrul sympathized with them and included some of their teachings in the Rime movement but the Jonangpa have always maintained their own lineage.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Yogicfire » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:29 pm

I agree that I overlooked the fact that the Jonang tradition has continued to exist in spite of all the persecutions in central Tibet. I hadn't realised that it was still intact as an independent line, and alive. Nice to hear that that is the case...

Concerning the other point about assimilation of Jonang teachings into the major Tibetan schools, it did happen, but to what extent and as to what kind of teachings went over, I am not sure. Various sources state that the shentong view was incorporated into the Nyingmapa and Kagyu schools, and certain practice lineages went into other schools, too:

Jok Druk ( Six Unions, ie. Yogas) is the lineage that has brought us the famous Kalachakra and its Six Yogas, or Unions, in the Dzogrim. These six body, speech and mind trainings consist of: individual gathering, mind stabilization, control, heat, retention and samadhi.

Jok Druk promotes the shentong view of Madhyamika (Middle Way "free of the four extremes" and hence, radical ) philosophy. It used to exist as part of the separate Jonangpa institutional lineage but was absorbed into the Gelugpa following political issues after the death of Taranatha.


http://www.khandro.net/TibBud_cutting_the_cake.htm
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby muni » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:09 pm

http://www.jonangfoundation.org/ With deep gratefulness. May their teaching benefit as many as possible.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Josef » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:36 pm

Yogicfire wrote:
Concerning the other point about assimilation of Jonang teachings into the major Tibetan schools, it did happen, but to what extent and as to what kind of teachings went over, I am not sure. Various sources state that the shentong view was incorporated into the Nyingmapa and Kagyu schools, and certain practice lineages went into other schools, too:


I would actually want to qualify this statement as follows.
"Some" Nyingmapa's and Kagyupa's incorporated the Shentong view into their teaching and practice.
The Nyingma and Kagyu interpretations of emptiness are not rigid, certain individuals can agree with any view they chose and still identify as Kagyu or Nyingma.
Personally I think the shentong view is wacky, I'm a Gorampa (Sakya) agreeing Nyingmapa.
Shentong isnt necessarily a Jonang "invented" view either so its hard to attach it to strongly to them.
As a lineage though, it is identified as "their view" much like the Tsongkhapa interpretation of Prasangika is the identified view of the Gelugpas.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:07 pm

I'm not sure what "most liberal" means?
Does this mean "most liberal in giving?"
Or does it mean "most liberal (i.e., "loose") in behavior?

I'm sure we're not talking about the political views, are we?

I think Nyingmapas could be viewed as the most "liberal" in giving.....this is because the Dzokchen Tradition, in general, stresses Pointing out the View as a pre-requisite, really, for all practices. Therefore, in many (most?) Dzokchen lineages, which are pretty much all Nyingma, Pointing Out is given first. Rushen, Ngondro, Kyerim and Dzokrim are all understood as practiced from the POV of "View." Even so-called "lower Tantra" classes such as Mahayoga are practiced from the POV of Ati. by contrast, many Sarma schools work through Mahayana practices, through ngondro and Kyerim practices, before really fully presenting the "Highest" explanations....(This is generalization, I know....many of the current Sarma teachers are influenced by the Rimay Movement, which was largely a Nyingma-flavored development).

I also think Nyingmapas are viewed as the most liberal in their behavior, whether this actually the case or not is a separate issue. The very nature and history of these lineages presupposes a "nonmonastic" framework, historically. This is not to say Monasticism is not important to current Nyingmapas--that would be foolish. Also, those familiar with the Samayas of tantric practices would be quick to point out that seeming "liberality" in behavior could be mistaken interpretation on the part of the viewer.

Also, on a tangent, it's not really correct to say that the Jonang Lineage was subsumed by the Gelukpa. It's true that the modern Geluk lineage did incorporate Kalachakra teachings and practices from the Jonangpas, just as they incorporated, for example, Shangpa Kagyu practices, and Sakya Practices, etc., as filtered through their own presentation of tenets, etc. But the philosophical underpinnings of the Jonang lineage, specifically the Shentong of Dolpopa, as presented largely by Taranatha, were repressed, even vilified. Somewhat for political reasons, and somewhat, by some teachers, as seemingly anathema to Tsong Khapa's views. but there were, and are, small enclaves of people maintaining the Jonang practices, and they have recently resurfaced. In recent times, Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, and his disciple Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, have sought to practice and propagate this lineage and tradition of Kalachakra.

Shentong is not "one thing," either, but has been interpreted in a number of different ways. As I understand it (not very well), the primary exponent in our times, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, maintained different lineages of "exegesis" of Shentong. However, it's not the case that it is a uniformly endorsed position in the Karma Kagyu, much less in any of the lineages that have incorporated other Jonang practices.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:00 am

conebeckham wrote:I also think Nyingmapas are viewed as the most liberal in their behavior, whether this actually the case or not is a separate issue. The very nature and history of these lineages presupposes a "nonmonastic" framework, historically. This is not to say Monasticism is not important to current Nyingmapas--that would be foolish. Also, those familiar with the Samayas of tantric practices would be quick to point out that seeming "liberality" in behavior could be mistaken interpretation on the part of the viewer.

Exactly. It's a big mistake when some westerners think that dressing up in a white shawl and living like a hippie is all that is required to be a Ngakpa.

Here is a great interview with Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche, which clarifies many of these things:
http://www.snowlionpub.com/pages/N76_1.html

I think "liberal" is often thought of as a word meaning "more for oneself to indulge in," whereas the primary thought of good practioners of any of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages is to benefit other beings.

Plenty of Nyingmapas tend more towards austerity than indulgence. H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche spent about 13 years in solitary retreat in caves.
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby heart » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Luke wrote:
conebeckham wrote:I also think Nyingmapas are viewed as the most liberal in their behavior, whether this actually the case or not is a separate issue. The very nature and history of these lineages presupposes a "nonmonastic" framework, historically. This is not to say Monasticism is not important to current Nyingmapas--that would be foolish. Also, those familiar with the Samayas of tantric practices would be quick to point out that seeming "liberality" in behavior could be mistaken interpretation on the part of the viewer.

Exactly. It's a big mistake when some westerners think that dressing up in a white shawl and living like a hippie is all that is required to be a Ngakpa.

Here is a great interview with Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche, which clarifies many of these things:
http://www.snowlionpub.com/pages/N76_1.html

I think "liberal" is often thought of as a word meaning "more for oneself to indulge in," whereas the primary thought of good practioners of any of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages is to benefit other beings.

Plenty of Nyingmapas tend more towards austerity than indulgence. H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche spent about 13 years in solitary retreat in caves.



I wear my Ngakpa shawl with pride, it is a part of my samaya. If you look at me you might think that I am a hippie with my long hair and beard. It is a mistake to think that westerners can't be real practitioners.

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:01 pm

Yep-

It's a mistake to think that hippies with striped Zens, Long hair, earrings, aren't serious, committed practitioners with samaya.

In the same way it's a mistake that everyone who looks that way is a committed practitioner.

But--as Dharma Practitioners, we shouldn't become too attached to our judgements, eh?
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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby heart » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:34 am

Just to add to the confusion. :smile: I used to be a "kind of a hippie", traveling around the world, and that is how I met my Guru in Katmandhu almost 26 years ago. I would say that many of my Guru's old disciples were "kind of a hippie". My hair was long then and my hair is long now, but now it is a part of my samaya.

Yes, like Cone says, we have to keep an non-attached open mind. Still I do understand the sentiments of Luke and I still hesitate to wear my zen in public. In Tibet, my Guru says, the wearing Ngakpa clothes was a sign of having some realization but he also often make the point that all laymen that keep samaya and have a continuous practice are Ngakpas.

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?

Postby Luke » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:50 pm

Yes, yes, no specific type of outer appearance automatically makes a person a real practioner or a fake practicioner. What really matters is what he/she does with his/her mind.

I recently attended a teaching of H.H. the Dalai Lama and he mentioned an American Zen Buddhist he knew who wore Zen clothes and who had redecorated his entire house in a Zen style. HHDL felt that this was too much.

Anyway, Heart, if you're carrying on the Ngakpa tradition in a pure and authentic way, that's great, and I wish you success with your practice.
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