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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:28 am 
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mindyourmind wrote:
I think the Aro folks are ok, at least on the bits and pieces that I know about them.
I am sure they are. The few members that I have met personally seem to have very good intentions. No doubt about it.
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I wouldn't practice there, but I don't think they do harm, and maybe they even do some good in spreading the Dharma.
I guess it depends on how you define harm. As for spreading Dharma, there are a few groups out there that puport to spreading Dharma (and do actually spread some Dharma) but I wouldn't recommend you going near them, even with a ten foot pole.
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I see no real reason to run them down.
I personally am not running them down. Thing is though, a Dharma organisation should be able to withstand some logical criticism and examination otherwise...
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:54 pm 
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Thanks for the clarifications, SDW!

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:31 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
sdw wrote:
Sure. The meaning is whatever people make of it.
Great. So if I dressed my students up as Peter Pan and Wendy and we practiced phowa to Never-Never Land whilst worshiping the great wisdom dakini Tinkerbell in our spiritual battle against the gyalpo Captain Hook, that's cool right? That's a path to liberation, correct? Because the meaning is whatever people make of it, right? I mean, it's all emptiness in the long run, anyway. Pure vision et al...

Agreed?

C'mon. I was just agreeing with you that wearing robes was not inherently meaningful.


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:08 pm 
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sdw wrote:
C'mon. I was just agreeing with you that wearing robes was not inherently meaningful.


Shardröl
Fair enough, please excuse my strech of logic. So the question that arises then is: why wear them? Why attach significance (meaning) to them?
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:50 am 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
sdw wrote:
C'mon. I was just agreeing with you that wearing robes was not inherently meaningful.

Fair enough, please excuse my strech of logic. So the question that arises then is: why wear them? Why attach significance (meaning) to them?

In my case I wear robes on the occasions when I do because that is the instruction of my teachers. The robes represent a commitment to practice (for anyone who may find that interesting or inspiring) & serve as a visible representation of the ngak'phang tradition. Twenty years ago many people had never heard of that style of practice; now it is much more widely known. I think that's a good thing.


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:44 am 
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I don't think I expressed the question correctly. You see my lama has given me robes to wear when teaching too, but it's just a plain old lay teachers gown. And yes, of course, there are specific ngakpa "dress codes". But the stuff Aro people wear seems to reflect the entire attitude of the organisation, both to dress codes and to teachings. To use a football metaphor: the coach told them to take the ball and run, but they took it and left the field (and are still running). Maybe it's time to stop running and check out the play again?
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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:20 am 
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Maybe even following the living example of realised masters, like those on the Aro website, may also be in call?
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Ngakpa Shérab Dorje Rinpoche was a Dzogchen master who lived an ordinary life as a yak herder integrating each moment with practice. Such Lamas were often disregarded by those who expected Lamas to be dressed in brocade.
;)

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:37 am 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
I don't think I expressed the question correctly. You see my lama has given me robes to wear when teaching too, but it's just a plain old lay teachers gown. And yes, of course, there are specific ngakpa "dress codes". But the stuff Aro people wear seems to reflect the entire attitude of the organisation, both to dress codes and to teachings.

There is stuff on Aro websites about the symbolism of various aspects of the robes, yes, but what attitude do you mean? Personally I have no particular desire to wear robes. It's something I do for teachings & practice (maybe I did not make it clear that we don't wear robes all the time) but if it was entirely up to me I think I'd mostly wear black velvet. :smile:
Quote:
To use a football metaphor: the coach told them to take the ball and run, but they took it and left the field (and are still running). Maybe it's time to stop running and check out the play again?

I honestly don't know what you're referring to here but if you explain it I'll attempt to comment.


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:28 am 
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Shardrol,

I have no horse in this race. Just butting in since I think I may help with communication gaps that appear to be happening.

I believe what Greg is alluding to with the football metaphor is that the different types of very unique, Aro-lineage specific robes and decorations make it seem that matters of dress and appearance have been perhaps over emphasized. In the Nyingma lineage in general, people are used to some specific dress according to lineage, some may be for doing tsa lung yogas only and kept secret.. some for elaborate ceremonies like drupchens or wangs. But usually there are not very different elaborate types of robes to be worn just for tsoks -- other than the general zens of common to the wider Nyingma lineage, not hats, etc. The level of public photographs of all these different types of robes specific to your lineage gets really confusing to people familiar with the established and wider-known lineages, and people begin to think maybe it is about showing off, and about fashion. If these robes were kept more hidden, and were not on such public display, worn walking around and in various publicly presented photos, maybe no one would be poking fun in the first place. But I think Greg is getting at that he thinks it's been taken a bit far, and apparently some, like him, find it to be taken to the point of absurdity.

Of course, this questioning or judgmental gaze must go hand-in-hand with a skepticism of the validity of the lineage. Because I don't think he or anyone else here who is sincerely practicing would go around poking fun at the robes of a terma lineage they believed was truly authentic. Actually, as Dharma practitioners we shouldn't really be judging others too much at all, but examining ourselves for our own faults.

As for myself, regarding your lineage I can't say I confidently know either way. I don't feel comfortable making the assumption that the terma is a fraud, or a mistaken vision, or on the other hand deciding that it is the real deal. I don't know enough about it other than speculation and hearsay, and no Lamas I know have ever denounced it outright publicly or privately to my knowledge, nor have any voiced support or recognition. I do have a Dharma brother that used to be a student of your teacher though, and left to find a widely esteemed Nyingma Lama to study deeply with. He seemed to feel it was night and day, and that what he had been practicing was certainly not authentic Dharma. But that is one man's opinion, alas. As for me, I am happy to practice in the Dudjom lineage which I have great faith and confidence in, and which is widely revered by all the great masters, not speculate on one which I am uncertain of.

I truly wish that it is authentic Dharma, and practicing it will lead you and others to full liberation as quickly as possible. I hope it is not a false path as many seem to think. But please don't be surprised or saddened either that it's eccentricities (from the elaborate multiple wardrobes to the lack of comprehensive tsok sadhanas or sadhanas in general, etc.)when contrasted with the established terma traditions will provoke incredulity and even some chiding.

I hope this helps, and may your practice bear fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:46 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
sdw wrote:
Sure. The meaning is whatever people make of it.
Great. So if I dressed my students up as Peter Pan and Wendy and we practiced phowa to Never-Never Land whilst worshiping the great wisdom dakini Tinkerbell in our spiritual battle against the gyalpo Captain Hook, that's cool right? That's a path to liberation, correct? Because the meaning is whatever people make of it, right? I mean, it's all emptiness in the long run, anyway. Pure vision et al...

Agreed?
:namaste:


I don't think it's important whether you use Indian or Anglo-Saxon mythology to make your practice more colourful.

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Is it just a case of mythology? If yes, what of lineage then?
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:36 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
Is it just a case of mythology? If yes, what of lineage then?
:namaste:


Anyone can make up their own lineage. There was Samantabhadra, then Vajrasattva, then make up some Indian/Tibetan/Chinese names and put yourself at the end. Or find a famous teacher from the recent past who is already dead and make up a middle person that will serve as your teacher who is also already dead. Oh, and don't forget to call it a secret transmission.

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:33 pm 
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Hate to be the one to tell you this Astus, but the lineage figures (except for Dharma/Sambhogakaya) are normally real historically existing people.

But let's cut straight to the point here: are you saying that lineages do not mean squat?
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:02 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
But let's cut straight to the point here; are you saying that lineages do not mean squat?


Not exactly. As the four reliances say, rely on the Dharma and not the person. While the Buddhist community survived millennia, specific lineages spanning centuries unbroken is usually a legend. I haven't studied the history of Tibetan Buddhism, nor have I seen many scholarly works on the subject of lineages, but in Zen - where lineage is a central concept - when properly researched it becomes obvious that history is more complex than myths want to tell us. It doesn't mean religious stories are useless, but to me lineage is no proof of one's teaching's authenticity. If the teaching is OK it doesn't matter who teaches it.

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Not exactly. As the four reliances say, rely on the Dharma and not the person.
Well, lineage is not about reliance on the person per se. If you were given a teaching from Joe the corner store owner would you trust it? Let's say it was a teaching on lung and channels and chakra etc... with specific visualisations, mantra, etc... Would you practice it because it is "OK"?
Quote:
While the Buddhist community survived millennia, specific lineages spanning centuries unbroken is usually a legend.
But not always.
Quote:
I haven't studied the history of Tibetan Buddhism, nor have I seen many scholarly works on the subject of lineages, but in Zen - where lineage is a central concept - when properly researched it becomes obvious that history is more complex than myths want to tell us.
Obviously!
Quote:
If the teaching is OK it doesn't matter who teaches it.
How do we judge if it is okay if it has not come down to us via a (supposed) lineage of OK practitioners or, at the very least, from a currently living realised teacher?
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:41 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
How do we judge if it is okay if it has not come down to us via a (supposed) lineage of OK practitioners or, at the very least, from a currently living realised teacher?


How do we measure another person's realisation? By his words and actions. That is something observable for us. How do we test the realisation of dead people we hear stories about? We can't. What we can do about people in the stories is either believe it or not. But does our belief validates the person who claims connection to the people in the stories? Yes. The difference is that either we believe someone because we are familiar with the person's actions and words, or we believe someone because we believe the stories he tells us about others. So how does a lineage actually helps us discerning genuine teachers from fakes?

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Astus wrote:
How do we measure another person's realisation? By his words and actions. That is something observable for us. How do we test the realisation of dead people we hear stories about? We can't. What we can do about people in the stories is either believe it or not. But does our belief validates the person who claims connection to the people in the stories? Yes. The difference is that either we believe someone because we are familiar with the person's actions and words, or we believe someone because we believe the stories he tells us about others. So how does a lineage actually helps us discerning genuine teachers from fakes?
I don't know about you, but I have a degree of trust in my teachers, and their teachers, and their teachers teachers...
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:18 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
I don't know about you, but I have a degree of trust in my teachers, and their teachers, and their teachers teachers...
:namaste:

No you don't, that is called blind faith. If your trust is real it comes from the dharma you have experienced through practice. Your practice has given you faith in your teacher and his teacher and so on.


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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Same fecal matter different couiffure!
(well, that's the way it goes in the Vajrayana, anyway...)
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Meditation:
why look for it in a lie?

The net of illusion:
why hold it so tight?

Trust in the truth
of the precious guru's word;

Saraha says:
I've made my declaration

Hence the importance of lineage. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: On Aro gTér
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:25 am 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
I don't know about you, but I have a degree of trust in my teachers, and their teachers, and their teachers teachers...


Let me put it in another way. The global Buddhist community has a large number of lineages. They all claim to represent the correct teaching. They usually define themselves in one way and in contradiction to other lineages. If we say that they are all correct in and of themselves, it denies what the individual lineages say. If we say that only this or that lineage is true it necessarily makes all the other claims for a pure lineage false, making the fact of having a lineage unimportant as it stops being the defining factor in determining authenticity. In either case the lineage becomes nothing more than rhetoric. Not to mention that an "unbroken lineage" is quite like an illusion of permanence.

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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