tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby lama tsewang » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:56 am

That also , is a big problem , as you mention , yudron. I find it quite strange , if someone comes here to teach dharma here , asnd then is not committed to following through with it.
Is the purpose in coming here to really teach Dharma here, or is it to raise funds , for another place.
If thats the case, it should be stated honestly. What of numerous people here , who wnat to pursue , really pursue Dharma here , and dont do it properly.
I know of so many cases where people were given monastic precepts, and then were not taught by their teachers , at all about what to do , how to live etc...
Now where I am there are several Asian monks (in Vancouver , Canada) . They have given me a very different impression of whats going on
One of them , I know very well , who remarked to me, that I was only half trained , he said that my teachers were always travelling around and not looking after their students.
He also said to me again and again that when giving monastic precepts to the students , it is the responsibility of the Preceptor to look after their student .

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition here has a reputation among Buddhist monks for having precepts being given to people, and then the student gets abandoned. That is very sad, and is a serious case of misconduct on the part of the teacher.

Having a cadre of professional practitioners , is the best way to have Dharma taught here in a clear fashion , and of the greatest benefit to all practitioners here.




Yudron , there is also a kind of assumption on , the part , of your post, that the people here are not capable of being as effective , in their practice as some Asians, think about it.
Also look at some of the Asian monastic centres that are supported by us , the Tibetan ones. Many of them may just be glorified orphanages.
Kalu Rinpoche talked about this when he was here.

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:57 am

Excellent, where in Taiwan?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby lama tsewang » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:59 am

The Zen traditions here are all locally financed.
vietnamese have come here in large numbers , they have set up a SAngha here .
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:02 am

The Western-Viet Namese tradition of Plum Village seems to me to be the best model of a balanced community that provides opportunities for both Asian and Western practitioners. I have a beef with the revised precepts but as a community Plum Village functions very well.

I don't feel a sense of brotherhood with Western monks in the Tibetan tradition. We can be quite competitive with eachother. Community feelings need to be nurtured.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby lama tsewang » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:03 am

Hmm , we are starting to get a good discussion going here, an excellent one . But I myself , must watch that i not get too attached to my opinions. SIGH

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:05 am

same for all of us...

It is a an important discussion Western Vajrayana practitioners need to have. In fact, I think it warrants a conference "Is there a future for Western monks and nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions?"
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:17 am

JKhedrup wrote:same for all of us...

It is a an important discussion Western Vajrayana practitioners need to have. In fact, I think it warrants a conference "Is there a future for Western monks and nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions?"



I think we need to drop ethnic identities associated with traditions and just be Buddhists.

That might take a few generations though...
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:15 am

Huseng wrote:I think we need to drop ethnic identities associated with traditions and just be Buddhists.


These aren't so much ethnic as lineage labels.

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:35 am

kirtu wrote:
Huseng wrote:I think we need to drop ethnic identities associated with traditions and just be Buddhists.


These aren't so much ethnic as lineage labels.

Kirt


Really? But people so often identify themselves as Tibetan Buddhists although they're not Tibetan (nor Ladakhi, Mongolian or Bhutanese...).
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:59 am

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Huseng wrote:I think we need to drop ethnic identities associated with traditions and just be Buddhists.


These aren't so much ethnic as lineage labels.

Kirt


Really? But people so often identify themselves as Tibetan Buddhists although they're not Tibetan (nor Ladakhi, Mongolian or Bhutanese...).


Tibetan Buddhism as used by Westerners denotes Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana Buddhism that developed primarily in Tibet. It's a lineage label not an ethic identification.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Yudron » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:03 am

lama tsewang wrote:That also , is a big problem , as you mention , yudron. I find it quite strange , if someone comes here to teach dharma here , asnd then is not committed to following through with it.
Is the purpose in coming here to really teach Dharma here, or is it to raise funds , for another place.
If thats the case, it should be stated honestly. What of numerous people here , who wnat to pursue , really pursue Dharma here , and dont do it properly.
I know of so many cases where people were given monastic precepts, and then were not taught by their teachers , at all about what to do , how to live etc...
Now where I am there are several Asian monks (in Vancouver , Canada) . They have given me a very different impression of whats going on
One of them , I know very well , who remarked to me, that I was only half trained , he said that my teachers were always travelling around and not looking after their students.
He also said to me again and again that when giving monastic precepts to the students , it is the responsibility of the Preceptor to look after their student .

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition here has a reputation among Buddhist monks for having precepts being given to people, and then the student gets abandoned. That is very sad, and is a serious case of misconduct on the part of the teacher.

Having a cadre of professional practitioners , is the best way to have Dharma taught here in a clear fashion , and of the greatest benefit to all practitioners here.




Yudron , there is also a kind of assumption on , the part , of your post, that the people here are not capable of being as effective , in their practice as some Asians, think about it.
Also look at some of the Asian monastic centres that are supported by us , the Tibetan ones. Many of them may just be glorified orphanages.
Kalu Rinpoche talked about this when he was here.

Tsewang


Actually, I agree with you about almost everything you have written. I must not have been expressing myself clearly. I certainly have absolutely no concept that we over here are not as effective in our practices as Asians. One of my main lamas is a Tibetan monk and Abbot who lives in what was formerly Tibet, and two are elder Tibetan Ngakpas who are now American Citizens. The Monk lama has done noble work establishing a new genuine monastery in Kham, two three year retreat centers, one Dzogchen retreat center for nuns to enter after completing their first three year retreat, and a shedra, as well as social/medical/educational support services for the lay people in the area around the monastery. He is very clear that he is here to raise money for them, and establish the Dharma here as well. But there are only so many dollars, and he has countless people back home relying on him for food, medicine and clothes. What to do? He didn't encourage many people to become monks and nuns here, but a bunch were inspired to do so (not me!) and it was (as usual) not possible for most of them to sustain it without a monastery here, so several are no longer monastics. What was he supposed to do, say not to them when they earnestly asked him for vows? That doesn't seem right, either.

It's true we need monks and nuns here, but currently the bulk of full time American Dharma people here are mostly the yogis and yoginis in long term retreat at the druptra facilities of Khenpo Kartar, Garchen Rinpoche, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche and Khentrul Lordro Thaye, some professional translators, and the people who work as Dharma centers. Few of these have taken permanent monastic vows, or wish to. I don't equate being a monastic with being a better practitioner.
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Huifeng » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:38 am

"tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west"

Brothers and sisters, may you succeed in your goal!!

:namaste:

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:19 am

kirtu wrote:Tibetan Buddhism as used by Westerners denotes Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana Buddhism that developed primarily in Tibet. It's a lineage label not an ethic identification.

Kirt


I understand that, but my point is that it is possible to step outside such boundaries to get a larger perspective. Ecumenical in the sense of going outside said Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana sphere.

In due time I think this will happen inevitably, though it'll take several generations.
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby greentara » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:40 pm

jkhedrup, "I don't feel a sense of brotherhood with Western monks in the Tibetan tradition. We can be quite competitive with each other. Community feelings need to be nurtured"
The above statemement is a real eye opener!
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:12 pm

Yes I am sorry to say it but thought I should be honest here. Things are different when I interact with Western monks in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. And Tibetan/Himalayan monks from Vajrayana I also can get along with quite well.

There are exceptions of course but this is my general experience. I think part of the problem is that we are not trained in how to live in community, which as Westerners we definitely need, because we don't live in extended family units like the Tibetans/Thais etc. That and I also feel there is a lot of competition that manifests around perceived closeness to teachers.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:21 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:Tibetan Buddhism as used by Westerners denotes Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana Buddhism that developed primarily in Tibet. It's a lineage label not an ethic identification.

Kirt


I understand that, but my point is that it is possible to step outside such boundaries to get a larger perspective. Ecumenical in the sense of going outside said Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana sphere.

In due time I think this will happen inevitably, though it'll take several generations.


As you know Vajrayana is the pinnacle of the Mahayana lineages and Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana has some differences with Japanese Vajrayana. Furthermore as you know there are distinct lineages within Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana so I don't think we will see a western ecumenical Buddhism distinct from the Buddhist lineages that currently exist.

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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Yudron » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:17 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Yes I am sorry to say it but thought I should be honest here. Things are different when I interact with Western monks in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. And Tibetan/Himalayan monks from Vajrayana I also can get along with quite well.

There are exceptions of course but this is my general experience. I think part of the problem is that we are not trained in how to live in community, which as Westerners we definitely need, because we don't live in extended family units like the Tibetans/Thais etc. That and I also feel there is a lot of competition that manifests around perceived closeness to teachers.


Since we are being honest here, do you see higher than rates of mental illness in Western Vajrayana monastics than in the general population?
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby bryandavis » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:18 am

I sure noticed a lot of possible mental illness during long term practice with a large group!

Or perhaps it is becuase the chaf is allowed to rise in that situation, and it would be likely to happen to most people?
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:41 am

Yudron wrote:Since we are being honest here, do you see higher than rates of mental illness in Western Vajrayana monastics than in the general population?


The potential for great power via tantra is likely to attract certain types of people. Namely, those who feel they lack power and control in their lives. If you have a stable life, both material and emotional, then the draw might not be so strong. On the other hand, if you have a lot of problems in life and suffer a lot of instability, the promise of rapid progression and attainment of both stability and power via tantric practices might hold great appeal.
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Re: tibetan buddhist monasticism in the west

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:48 am

kirtu wrote:As you know Vajrayana is the pinnacle of the Mahayana lineages and Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana has some differences with Japanese Vajrayana. Furthermore as you know there are distinct lineages within Indo-Tibetan-Himalayan Vajrayana so I don't think we will see a western ecumenical Buddhism distinct from the Buddhist lineages that currently exist.

Kirt


Right, but much of the rest of the Mahāyāna world is taking an interest in classical Śrāvakayāna, especially with scholarship, archaeology and translations making a lot of the ancient material available. The meetings between many cultures (especially within Asia) is making a lot of past sectarianism less relevant.

If you understand the academic side of Buddhism especially (and this is more and more a critical aspect of how western Buddhism collectively perceives and values things), then the teachings of the historical Śākyamuni Buddha hold great precedence.

I mean, for example, do you take Śākyamuni's teachings as more critical than a terma text?

I think the practice lineages will remain, but strictly Tibeto-centric models will be hard to intentionally maintain in the future for the reasons given above.
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