Huseng, my friend, I must assure you that I am not anti-intellectual in the slightest. And I have definitely come across the type of anti-intellectual person with "faith" and beliefs they can't handle being questioned. But I am not that sort of person. I think part of the fact is that I wasn't putting myself and my views clearly in context earlier. So lemme try to clarify.
I am strongly pro-intellectual in general--in fact I am a nursing student and up to my eyeballs, gladly, in evidence-based practice... and I'm specifically pro-intellectual in the case of most western people first exploring Buddhism and seeing what the teachings actually consist of (instead of some vaguely feel-good notion of what the Buddhist path is) and taking some time to test it out to see if it holds up to analysis and to their own observations, experiences, and conclusions. I am especially for this in the case of people considering and exploring Vajrayana. I think it's an excellent idea to study the foundational Buddhist texts, particularly the distillations of the main points re: aggregates, elements, and sense fields and the major mental afflictions and their derivatives, etc; and especially the distillations of the Prajnaparamita sutras such as the Madhyamakavatara and Mulamadhyamakarikas, and the main points of the Tathagatagarbha sutras like the Uttaratantra shastra; likewise for Buddhist logic, and so on. These are just some of the main things I personally think are important for most every beginning western Buddhist interested in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. Then, in terms of inner tantra ala Nyingma, you can't go wrong with shastras like Do Drupchen's Key to the Precious Treasury or Mipham's Essence of Clear Light, both on the Guyhagarbha tantra. And I fully support people studying Davidson and the like if they're moved to.
When I seemed to poo poo academic study of tantra, I didn't make it clear I was speaking from the POV of someone who has already done tons of research and studying and asked many, many, many questions of scholars and contemplated things and came to my own conclusions. I WAS that "doggedly curious and doubtful person" I mentioned in an earlier post and which you took to be a pejorative label. It wasn't--some of us are just that way and we need extra help coming to terms authentically with Vajrayana practice and squaring it with our intellects and their notions. That's not a judgmentally qualitative statement, only a matter of fact one. But now I've been practicing inner tantric creation stage for 12 yrs--not a long time by most accounts, and there are no impressive claims I can make about my practice, but I have practiced enough to have gotten into my own groove with practice. And I eventually came to realize that--within the realm of creation stage in Nyingma, which is intertwined with the view and practice of Dzogchen--a whole bunch of intellectual focus is beside the point in creation stage because the aim of practice isn't to build something up with the intellect, but to gradually rely less and less on the intellect and ease more into one's real condition, which is perfected and endowed with all qualities from the beginning. So it's not that this is anti-intellectual in the conventional foolish, threatened, self-conscious way we all too often see in the world today. Rather it's deeper than the intellect--it's about tapping into the unstained condition the intellect is a distortion of.
So, to restate briefly, I think intellectual study is excellent in the beginning and until one comes to grasp that the practice is more profound than intellectual data. At that latter point, if one wants to do analysis, the supreme analysis is along the lines of "who is visualizing this seed syllable and mantra mala?" and the like. That way one can go straight to the point.
Last edited by Pema Rigdzin
on Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:54 am, edited 2 times in total.