Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:59 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I just can't imagine Drukpa Kunley brushing and flossing (or even washing) all that often. If at all!!! :smile:
:namaste:


Haha true.

However we don't really know if he actually carried a stench a lot of the time or if his oral hygiene was actually poor enough to negatively effect his health.

So what I wrote still stands generally speaking.

By the way, I'm not one to give much importance to fulfilling the status quo, living up to society's expectations, etc. It's just that keeping ones body healthy (hence the reason for Yantra Yoga, etc.) is important, also as per the Tulku Thondup quote in my previous post. Although if we're really relaxing in Awareness of the Nature of Mind 24/7, then maybe our bodies will take care of themselves without us having to do anything externally. Until that point, perhaps we should do what we gotta, and try to eat clean (i.e. organic or non-GMO) food even if it's very little food, take good herbs or Chulen pills, practice Khrul Khor or at least get some exercise, etc.

:anjali:
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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby dzoki » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:12 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Low hygiene can actually be bad for one's health. For example, by not brushing and flossing regularly, bacteria can actually affect ones brain and the arteries connected to the heart.


Yeah, it is good to brush the teeth daily, gum infection can kill you.

On the precepts of Inner Tantra, Tulku Thondup's Enlightened Journey wrote:"To afflict one's own five aggregates, which are the Buddha families. One should not abuse one's own body but take care of it."


My teacher told me that this means not to harm one´s body deliberately, including not doing things that obviously are not good for your health such as smoking, taking drugs etc. When illness occurs, that is really manifestation of our karma. Then it depends, on what you want to do, here I mean retreat situation, obviously if you are working and living in society it is better to take care of the illness. But in carefree beggar situation, you can also sit with the illness. As my teacher said: "To a practitioner illness is an ornament. There is no problem, it is just experience. All experiences pleasant, unpleasant, they are just like ornaments." Sometimes it is better to let illness to manifest fully, because if you treat it, first you deprive yourself of opportunity to practice in unpleasant circumstances, which can enhance your practice and realisation and secondly you do not let that karma to purify fully.

Lhug-Pa wrote:Not to mention that if we're unhygienic/carry a stench, and if people find out that we're Dharma practitioners, they could be driven away from the Dharma if they see us as an example of what Dharma leads to. Of course for some people nothing is ever good enough; so if we're doing our best, and we still don't live up to their standards, then it's on them at that point.


In retreat you don´t see many people, also if you don´t eat meat your bodily odor will be less intense. I meant this low hygiene thing for people who want to do a retreat whether in formal setting of a retreat center or on their own in some suitable place. City is not very conducive to retreat.

I think that the difficulties is what prevents people from taking up a life of a kusali. Our culture in general supports the idea that life must be only pleasant. Sickness is something totaly unwelcome and so is physical weakness, pain, old age etc. But all of these things come whether we want or not. And in retreat they do come a plenty. You get sick, you get also physicaly exhausted, you have pains, but this is actually good, it is a purification. A kusali type of practitioner should equally welcome all situations, bad or good. I think this is what we all should work on. I know several people who started a life of a retreatant but then left, when asked why, all of them say: "It was difficult." Of course it is difficult, everything is difficult in samsara, yet we go such legths to obtain living standards that any sickness or discomfort in retreat looks ridiculous in comparison to all those years of work that any regular person spends their life in.
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Re: Can Westerners REALLY be Dharma practitioners?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:13 pm

dzoki wrote:Sometimes it is better to let illness to manifest fully, because if you treat it, first you deprive yourself of opportunity to practice in unpleasant circumstances, which can enhance your practice and realisation and secondly you do not let that karma to purify fully.


Sometimes, being the keyword here. Oftentimes, it would from what I understand be better to do a practice—combined with Ayurveda or Tibetan Medicine—that is specifically for sending back provocations; as it is said that many illness are due to provocations, and not only to one's own negative karma alone.

Also, wouldn't you say that purification can come more-so from Mantras and from the practice itself, rather than purification always having to manifest as sickness? For example in Longchenpa's Precious Treasury of Philosophical Systems, he wrote that Vajrayana really is the Path that has few difficulties and hardships. Of course each one's karma is different; so as they say, one's mileage may vary.


dzoki wrote:I meant this low hygiene thing for people who want to do a retreat whether in formal setting of a retreat center or on their own in some suitable place. City is not very conducive to retreat.


True. Although better to do it in the city than not at all, if necessary; which I'm quite sure you could agree with.


dzoki wrote:I think that the difficulties is what prevents people from taking up a life of a kusali. Our culture in general supports the idea that life must be only pleasant. Sickness is something totaly unwelcome and so is physical weakness, pain, old age etc. But all of these things come whether we want or not. And in retreat they do come a plenty. You get sick, you get also physicaly exhausted, you have pains, but this is actually good, it is a purification. A kusali type of practitioner should equally welcome all situations, bad or good. I think this is what we all should work on. I know several people who started a life of a retreatant but then left, when asked why, all of them say: "It was difficult." Of course it is difficult, everything is difficult in samsara, yet we go such legths to obtain living standards that any sickness or discomfort in retreat looks ridiculous in comparison to all those years of work that any regular person spends their life in.


Very true. Nonetheless, if someone is so sick or tired that they can't even sit up or stay awake despite their best efforts, then measures should be taken to at least be able to sit up and/or stay awake (Medicines, Teas, Sorig, Chulen, Dhutse, etc.).

Anyhow, your post is inspirational, and I agree with the essence of it. Thank you Dzoki, you wrote many things that helped to motivate me.
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