Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

JKhedrup
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Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:34 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby kirtu » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:00 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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:12 am

You are right, too bad I cannot edit the title of the thread. But what I mean is, monasticism was basically a framework developed later in Nyingma to allow the tradition to continue to flourish in the paradigm of Buddhism dominated by the Gelug tradition-this seems to be what he is arguing here.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby kirtu » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:37 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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:02 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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:10 am

Thanks Magnus. Could you say that there are separate lines of transmission associated with each of those 6 monasteries? Or were several of them practicing Longchen Nyingthig for example?

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:18 am

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:24 am


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Sherlock » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:39 pm

There is the old legend of Nubchen scaring Langdarma into letting white-robed lay practitioners continue in peace even during the Dark Age of Tibet. It's historically very unlikely (the idea of Langdarma being an enemy of Buddhism is also being called into question in light of evidence from Dunhuang) but it does show how central the concept of non-monastic continuity from the Imperial era was to the early Nyingmapas.

Nyingma lineages were transmitted outside of monastic circles, often through families. The history of both the Nyingthig as well as the Dzogchen Longde lineages were all passed by and through laypeople for example, and the Nyingma lineage of the Khon family in the Sakya has always been held by laypeople. And of course, Guru Padmasambhava himself was not a monastic. I think in light of all that, the early Nyingmapas probably never really felt that monasticism was that important in achieving enlightenment.

Up until Kumaraja who passed them on to Longchenpa, the Nyingthig teachings seem to have been transmitted in a non-monastic lineage.

The early Kadampas seemed to have an ambivalent at times even negative attitude towards tantric practice which seems to have come from Imperial proscriptions against mahayoga. They didn't want to let Atisha teach the dohas of the mahasiddhas he intended to and set in advance his teachings for him -- mostly related with sutras. Milarepa called Dromton a great mara because of this. I think Atisha did manage to change some of their minds and most of the sarma lineages come from around his time or after.

Still, I think the Kadampas' incorporation of tantric teachings was gradual and the greater body of the Kadampas (who later became identified as Sakyapas and Kagyupas) had a sceptical view of Nyingma tantras and Dzogchen even when some of them did incorporate these teachings into their monasteries.

According to the internal history of the Dzogchen teachings, they have always been mistrusted by the monastic establishment of course. Malcolm once said that the Kadampas "monkified" Dzogchen, which I think is true.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:37 pm



"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby heart » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:39 pm

"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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby dzoki » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:09 pm


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:14 pm



"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Sherlock » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:39 pm


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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:45 pm

Yes Shantarakshita was a hugely important figure and established Tibet's first monastery. But the emphasis in the historical accounts I have heard (albeit limited) from Nyingma lamas and students tend to emphasize Guru Rinpoche far more. Shantarakshita is not spoken about so much. Of course, my teachers in all the traditions emphasize that Guru Rinpoche had to prepare the land of Tibet using his miraculous siddhis to receive the dharma.

Was the situation such that without the Kadampa renaissance the Sutra teachings would have been overlooked entirely in favour of Dzogchen etc., or is this an exaggeration?

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby ngodrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:51 pm

So, clearly the original Buddhists in Tibet included a monastic Sangha.
The monastery was so important that the king was advised to bring the
supreme Ngakpa, Guru Rinpoche to Tibet to ensure the success of the Samye
project.

This first transmission of Buddhism was just that-- the complete Buddhism that
existed in India-- both Monastic and yogic. Thus from that time forward there were
always two sanghas. Nyingmapas generally do not speak of a distinction between
Monastic and lay, rather we have two sanghas --and there are also householders who
are practitioners bu who were not members of the white sangha of yogis. One doesn't
have to be ordained in either sanghas to accomplish high realization, nor is ordination
a criterion for being authorized as a lama.

Nyingmapas generally feel that the view of the Sarma is overstated when they say
that Atisha had to come to re-establish Buddhism that had become corrupted during
the suppression. The monastics were an easy target, but the ngakpas were not so easy
to take out and could pass for bonpos! ;) We like to recall that Lord Atisha once met
and debated with the Omniscient Mahapandita Rangzom Chokyi Zangpo and lost!
Lord Atisha's response was that had he known there were such great Buddhist scholars
in Tibet, he would not have come.

Well the "new-fangled" Buddhism came, and a new schools were born sakya, kagyu, etc.,
and this also resulted in a new school called "old school." It had its original monasteries
and continued to build new ones such as Kathog ca 1160, Dorje Drak in the 1300's, Mindrolling
during the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama... All these followed more or less their own
local traditions. Some were sacked by invading foreigners, sometimes by followers of other
traditions.

In response to the sectarian warfare, a new model was proposed: the Rime Movement.
Some Scholars now say that because of the Terma tradition and the textual basis such as
the Rinchen Ter Dzod, that the Nyingma is now the most recent and modern of the Tibetan
Orders. That may be overstated. :)

As the role of non-monastics, I think we only need to look at who has been selected to lead
the community in exile. Dudjom and Khyentse Rinpoches, and Mindrolling Trichen were Ngakpa.
Penor, Trulshik and now Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche were/are monks. So it is easy to conjecture
that equal status is given to the two sanghas in the minds and hearts of Nyingmapas.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:44 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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:55 pm

Yudron,
Those are sad stories and I will certainly try to research and inform myself better of those sad events...

Most of the Tibetan Ngakpas I have met are very nice. However, some Western ngakpas have told me bluntly that monastic vows are outdated and unnecessary. When I explained what Lord Buddha said about the monastic Sangha in the Mahayana Sutras that we all uphold, they simply told me this was a lower path.

Once I saw a poster advertising a Ngakpa ordination for a fixed price on the Internet, telling people to come to an event and pay the fixed fee for this ordination, so too be honest I was very doubtful.

Others have told me that to be a ngakpa means that one already has a high realization, can rest the mind in its ultimate nature every single moment etc. So then I though one already has to be very advanced on the path to even consider this ordination. Like it was an ordination for holy beings.

Fortunately, I had the good fortune of meeting Namkha Rinpoche of the Rigdzin Community in France and even had the honour of staying in Rinpoche's home in Switzerland as a guest with Geshe Sonam. Rinpoche explained to me a little about what he termed the "Red and White Sangha" and how we need both to maintain the dharma, and that neither could do it alone without the other. He explained to me what being a Ngakpa actually meant and I met several of his students who seemed to be very kind, sincere practitioners.

Namkha Rinpoche is a truly non-sectarian teacher and invites many great Ngakpa lamas as well as Gelug monks, including Geshe Sonam who I translate for, to teach at his centre. I am glad I was able to learn a little bit from him, as it has helped open my mind to this lay tantrika tradition.

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Re: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby kirtu » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:12 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: Is the Nyingma tradition profoundly non-monastic?

Postby Yudron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:15 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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