On Aro gTér

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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby sdw » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:03 am

Adamantine wrote: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.

Hello, Adamantine

Thank you for your explanation. Yes I think I did miss Gregkavarnos's point.

The pictures of the Aro lamas wearing elaborate embroidered robes are formal portraits on our websites. No one actually walks around wearing them. What they generally wear is the usual ngakpa zen & white shamthab. I have seen photographs of Tibetan lamas wearing elaborate robes; I even have a photograph of the Dalai Lama wearing the Dorje Zahorma hat. This sort of costume is far from unique to the Aro gTér.

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.

I know. But, as I said in my first post in this thread, I don't think ridiculing sincere practitioners is a useful way to express skepticism.

Actually, as Dharma practitioners we shouldn't really be judging others too much at all, but examining ourselves for our own faults.

I agree.

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.

That sounds extremely reasonable & fair-minded.

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 don't have a problem with people expressing their opinions & I don't wish to argue with anybody about anything.

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

Thank you, & the same to you.


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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Adamantine » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:33 am

sdw wrote:The pictures of the Aro lamas wearing elaborate embroidered robes are formal portraits on our websites. No one actually walks around wearing them. What they generally wear is the usual ngakpa zen & white shamthab. I have seen photographs of Tibetan lamas wearing elaborate robes; I even have a photograph of the Dalai Lama wearing the Dorje Zahorma hat. This sort of costume is far from unique to the Aro gTér.



Well, there is a pic Greg posted in this thread in which I suppose is what you referred to as the special robes that the apprentices wear? The pic looks like a regular walking around moment. This special colorful garb for disciples does seem unique compared to the rest of the terma traditions. Also, as I said it may be unusual to wear elaborate robes for regular tsok gatherings, I thought you'd said that was one of the times the elaborate embroidered robes were worn. I did refer to specific times and places where certain costumes are worn in my own experience (which may be very limited!): for tsa-lung, for sacred dance, and for drupchens or wangs. I used this experience as a basis from which to hypothesize as to why some people here and elsewhere like Greg who are aware of the tradition may interpret the Aro array of outfits as going too far. But yes, certainly there is precedent for elaborate costumes in the Vajrayana tradition, that is undisputed!

There are more or less two directions, two rivers: one with a strong current going downhill towards greater delusion, and one flowing, (misting) against gravity upwards towards greater wisdom. I hope we are all flowing rapidly along in the latter. Probably though, even many of us in traditional undisputed lineages are unknowingly surfing along in the former. Since we don't really know, we should all be as supportive of each other as possible, and most importantly, compassionate and kind!

In that vein, I agree with you here
I don't think ridiculing sincere practitioners is a useful way to express skepticism.


Take good care.
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby sdw » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:18 am

Adamantine wrote:Well, there is a pic Greg posted in this thread in which I suppose is what you referred to as the special robes that the apprentices wear? The pic looks like a regular walking around moment. This special colorful garb for disciples does seem unique compared to the rest of the terma traditions.

The two women pictured with Ngak'chang Rinpoche in the photo Greg posted had just taken ngak'phang ordination & were wearing their white shamthabs for the first time, on a beach where we had performed a fire ceremony. It's true that the shawls are brightly colored - red rather than maroon - but other than that the costume is the traditional robes of ngakpas/ngakmas. Aro apprentices wear ordinary clothing with a shawl similar to the ones in the photo. In the Aro tradition robes (& shawls) are not usually worn for ordinary activities but for teachings, ceremonies, & pilgrimages. You know, a lot of people seem to believe we're strutting around like peacocks thinking these robes make us better than everybody else & this is just not the way it is.

Years ago my teacher gave a retreat at a Zen center. One of the center's instructions for retreatants was that we should wear dark, subdued colors. I was the only robed student from our sangha attending so I decided to write the people at the center in advance telling them about my brightly-colored robes & how I was supposed to wear them & hoping that wouldn't cause any kind of problem. I didn't want to show up & have some sort of scene ensue. They said they had to think about it for a while but eventually they told me it would be okay for me to wear the robes during the retreat.

Work periods were part of the retreat & the job they assigned me was cleaning the bathrooms. I was the only one cleaning the bathrooms & I was the only one wearing brightly-colored robes. I don't think this was a coincidence. It's not that I resented cleaning the bathrooms - I want to make that clear. It's just that I felt there was a certain attitude behind my having been given that assignment. Something like 'let's take her down off her high horse a bit'. I think they thought it would be good for me to have a lesson in humility.

Well that's something I'm sure I could use - though my lack of humility when it manifests is not connected with my robes. I actually felt awkward in my bright colors in the midst of a sea of dark & subdued. I've never liked being conspicuous. I've been 6 feet tall from the time I was about 14 & in those days (1960s) that was pretty unusual for a girl & I felt like a freak. Eventually I got over it but I still would rather blend in than stand out, at least physically. So I'm not exactly swanning around thinking I'm hot stuff because I have a colorful shawl. Where people may see 'showing off' what I experience is just trying to carry out my teachers' instructions.

Also, as I said it may be unusual to wear elaborate robes for regular tsok gatherings, I thought you'd said that was one of the times the elaborate embroidered robes were worn. I did refer to specific times and places where certain costumes are worn in my own experience (which may be very limited!): for tsa-lung, for sacred dance, and for drupchens or wangs. I used this experience as a basis from which to hypothesize as to why some people here and elsewhere like Greg who are aware of the tradition may interpret the Aro array of outfits as going too far. But yes, certainly there is precedent for elaborate costumes in the Vajrayana tradition, that is undisputed!

Yes, the Aro lineage holders do wear elaborate robes for Tsog. For us it's an elaborate practice, though still pretty unelaborate by usual Vajrayana standards.

There are more or less two directions, two rivers: one with a strong current going downhill towards greater delusion, and one flowing, (misting) against gravity upwards towards greater wisdom. I hope we are all flowing rapidly along in the latter. Probably though, even many of us in traditional undisputed lineages are unknowingly surfing along in the former. Since we don't really know, we should all be as supportive of each other as possible, and most importantly, compassionate and kind!

In that vein, I agree with you here
I don't think ridiculing sincere practitioners is a useful way to express skepticism.


Thank you for your good wishes. I hope the same for you.


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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Kunzang » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:30 am

sdw wrote:Yes, the Aro lineage holders do wear elaborate robes for Tsog. For us it's an elaborate practice, though still pretty unelaborate by usual Vajrayana standards.


Hi Shardrol,

The only Aro gTer tsog I went to (in Ann Arbor) you served me a beer while wearing a very unelaborate robe -- i.e., you were topless!

Do y'all still do that? To me it looked as if you and the other topless ngakmo who was serving seemed really uncomfortable about it.

My sangha-mate who was also there relayed the story to our teacher, the late Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, who was kind of surprised and asked "and then what?" :lol: I think he may have been a tad bit disappointed that the rest of the tsog was such a tame affair.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for anything I've written over the years that may have been hurtful. I mostly lurked when the main fracas was occuring on Tricycle and then eSangha so I don't know if you even remember my involvement (I've the same username). I think you always acted admirably and civil while all that stuff went on.

Also, maybe you might be interested in a story from one of my sangha friends: Back in '09 my friend went to Nepal and happened to go to meet Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche. In the group he was with, someone asked KDR about Ngakpa Chogyam and when KDR answered he referred to him not as Ngakpa Chogyam but as "Terton Rinpoche". I thought I would mention that, as in an earlier discussion here on dharmawheel someone claimed that Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche had denounced Ngakpa Chogyam and I think that's highly unlikely if was calling him "Terton Rinpoche" in '09 which was so close to his passing.

Shardrol, I hope you are well and happy and that your practice is flourishing,

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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:06 am

Hi there,

I am not big on fanfare in general so the Aro approach doesn't real hold much attraction for me. And who knows, maybe they don't like me much either as some of their webpages indicate a deep distrust of the "red Sangha".

Personal preferences aside, one of the ways that I discern the effectiveness of a practice tradition is based on the behaviour of its students and teachers. If Ngakma Shardrol is an example of a student and teacher in the lineage then this contributes to me having a positive impression. Instead of getting angry, offended or righteous at some tough questions and comments she has remained calm, dignified and open. That says a lot about her.

I am neither here nor there on Aro gTer- some of the terminology such as the "Goddess of Maniacal Mutilation" "virulent voluptuous vajra-sadist who lacerates the deceptions and connivances of Tirthikas"and other names of some of their deities seem a bit odd, but that's not enough to set off alarm bells. I don't know enough about Dzogchen to say that their approach is at odds with its fudamental principles.

What I do know is that one of the members of the organization maintains a patient and open attitude despite criticism that others from newer approaches under the microscope have not been able to do.

So I think Ngakma Shardrol at least is a great asset to the tradition.
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: On Aro gTér

Postby Kunzang » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:13 am

JKhedrup wrote:Hi there,

I am not big on fanfare in general so the Aro approach doesn't real hold much attraction for me. And who knows, maybe they don't like me much either as some of their webpages indicate a deep distrust of the "red Sangha".

Personal preferences aside, one of the ways that I discern the effectiveness of a practice tradition is based on the behaviour of its students and teachers. If Ngakma Shardrol is an example of a student and teacher in the lineage then this contributes to me having a positive impression. Instead of getting angry, offended or righteous at some tough questions and comments she has remained calm, dignified and open. That says a lot about her.

I am neither here nor there on Aro gTer- some of the terminology such as the "Goddess of Maniacal Mutilation" "virulent voluptuous vajra-sadist who lacerates the deceptions and connivances of Tirthikas"and other names of some of their deities seem a bit odd, but that's not enough to set off alarm bells. I don't know enough about Dzogchen to say that their approach is at odds with its fudamental principles.

What I do know is that one of the members of the organization maintains a patient and open attitude despite criticism that others from newer approaches under the microscope have not been able to do.

So I think Ngakma Shardrol at least is a great asset to the tradition.


I agree with you 100%, Ven. Khedrup. Shardrol has always been exemplary. Me -- not so much :emb:
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:16 am

I am working on things too- hopefully as the years of practice continue to go by there will be meaningful progress! These internet forums are actually quite good places to train in patience, wisdom and openness.
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: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:03 am

Astus wrote: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.
That's a pretty twisted image of lineage that you have there my dear Astus. It's not the way it works in the Vajrayana. For example there a number of lineages for Mahamudra, but no one lineage is better or worse than the others. The difference lies in who the teachings were passed down through. So when, for example, my teacher gives me a practice, he will tell me who he received this practice from (his teacher), who they received it from (the teachers teacher), etc... until one arrives at the individual that "conceived of" the practice. That way I can check by finding my teachers teacher whether he received the practice or whether he is just talking sh*t. I can then read accounts of the previous teachers explaining or outlining the practice to see if what I have received accords with their teachings. I can read about accomplishements/attainments/signs any that may arise as a consequence of the practice, etc...

Lineage is a way of verifying that you have been given gold and not well-polished brass.

Of course I (and other I) can make up all manner of lineages etc... but they tend to fall apart quite quickly under investigation because normally there will be accounts of the lineage and practice outside of ones lineage anyway: historical accounts, comparitive accounts, critical accounts, etc...
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:59 am

sdw wrote:I know. But, as I said in my first post in this thread, I don't think ridiculing sincere practitioners is a useful way to express skepticism.
Firstly I did not ridicule the practitioners, I was making a point about the get-up. Now if you consider that the get-up is the practitioner then that, to me, indicates a problem. It indicates an over-investement and identitfication with outer appearance. This, unfortunately, is what happens when the essence of a lineage is lacking. And the essence of a lineage is not the robes, not the bells and whistles, but the practice. In keeping with the recent Christmas spirit: If a tree is beautiful you don't need to cover it with tinsel, decorations and flashing lights. Now the phenomena of clinging to outer appearances is also a problem with people in formal lineages, but one must look at the majority of the practitioners to pass an objective judgement. In the tradition I practice in we are not even allowed to wear a zen, but the practices are 100% guaranteed.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Astus » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:07 am

Greg,

Do you know of any research on lineages in Tibetan Buddhism?

In some Zen communities they regularly recite their lineage. There are volumes on lineages and transmission stories, something very typical of Zen you may say, from what the so called koans come. Do their regular repetition and written documentation make it immediately true? No. Just as royal dynasties become extinct, so do spiritual lineages. But that doesn't necessarily mean the end of the kingdom/tradition. As with all living things, human enterprises also go through changes, death and rebirth.

Interestingly, Tibetan practice lineages are not as strict as Zen, since as you say, it needs to go back only to the person who created the practice itself. And that can be anyone from centuries ago or someone from the same century. That is, if a living teacher starts teaching a new method, there is no lineage behind it yet, making it perfectly valid to spread new techniques without any lineage behind it.
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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."

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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherlock » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:37 pm

"New" lineages still come from manifestations of enlightened beings who passed them on to the physical lineage founder.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:54 pm

Astus wrote:That is, if a living teacher starts teaching a new method, there is no lineage behind it yet, making it perfectly valid to spread new techniques without any lineage behind it.
Actually, the living teacher may belong to an established lineage but the practice may not. It will then be tried and tested within the lineage, before it goes on to be established within a practice lineage (if it passes the tests).
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby sdw » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:19 pm

Kunzang wrote:Hi Shardrol,

The only Aro gTer tsog I went to (in Ann Arbor) you served me a beer while wearing a very unelaborate robe -- i.e., you were topless! Do y'all still do that? To me it looked as if you and the other topless ngakmo who was serving seemed really uncomfortable about it.

Hello, Kunzang

Whoa, I had no idea we had ever met in person.

Well that was not really an Aro gTér tsog, it was a somewhat awkward & chaotic combination of Aro gTér & Flaming Jewel practices & I don't think it worked very well. At any rate it has not been repeated. I didn't realize - till I read your post just now - that there had been people present who were not members of either sangha.

My sangha-mate who was also there relayed the story to our teacher, the late Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, who was kind of surprised and asked "and then what?" :lol: I think he may have been a tad bit disappointed that the rest of the tsog was such a tame affair.

I am happy to have amused him. :smile:

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for anything I've written over the years that may have been hurtful. I mostly lurked when the main fracas was occuring on Tricycle and then eSangha so I don't know if you even remember my involvement (I've the same username). I think you always acted admirably and civil while all that stuff went on.

I do remember you; I believe we exchanged a few personal emails back in the day. I appreciate your apology & I am happy to accept it.

Also, maybe you might be interested in a story from one of my sangha friends: Back in '09 my friend went to Nepal and happened to go to meet Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche. In the group he was with, someone asked KDR about Ngakpa Chogyam and when KDR answered he referred to him not as Ngakpa Chogyam but as "Terton Rinpoche". I thought I would mention that, as in an earlier discussion here on dharmawheel someone claimed that Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche had denounced Ngakpa Chogyam and I think that's highly unlikely if was calling him "Terton Rinpoche" in '09 which was so close to his passing.

Interesting. I had not heard this story before.

Shardrol, I hope you are well and happy and that your practice is flourishing,

Thanks, Kunzang, & the same to you.


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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:22 am

So it was the Flaming Jewel influence that got you topless? I was taken to one talk/practice session with Traktung Rinpoche when he was visiting NYC years back. . . sadly I did not have the fortunate karma to be served by topless dakinis. :cry:
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby sdw » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:22 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
sdw wrote:I know. But, as I said in my first post in this thread, I don't think ridiculing sincere practitioners is a useful way to express skepticism.

Firstly I did not ridicule the practitioners, I was making a point about the get-up. Now if you consider that the get-up is the practitioner then that, to me, indicates a problem.

It looks like I misunderstood you. The comment you put under the photograph ('all dressed up') made me think you were making fun of the people in it, not just the clothes. It's easy to get the wrong idea when it's just letters on a screen between people who have never met. I'm sorry.

It indicates an over-investement and identitfication with outer appearance. This, unfortunately, is what happens when the essence of a lineage is lacking. And the essence of a lineage is not the robes, not the bells and whistles, but the practice.

Of course.

In keeping with the recent Christmas spirit: If a tree is beautiful you don't need to cover it with tinsel, decorations and flashing lights. Now the phenomena of clinging to outer appearances is also a problem with people in formal lineages, but one must look at the majority of the practitioners to pass an objective judgement. In the tradition I practice in we are not even allowed to wear a zen, but the practices are 100% guaranteed.

Yes, but still there is not actually an inverse relationship between elaborateness of dress & seriousness or efficacy of practice. As an example we have Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whose disciples sometimes wore military uniforms or British upper-class formal dress. I would say our judgments are usually anything but objective.


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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby sdw » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:32 am

Adamantine wrote:So it was the Flaming Jewel influence that got you topless? I was taken to one talk/practice session with Traktung Rinpoche when he was visiting NYC years back. . . sadly I did not have the fortunate karma to be served by topless dakinis. :cry:

I didn't mean to blame it on them, I just meant that the awkwardness Kunzang perceived may have been because the whole situation was kind of incoherent. It was an experiment. After that, when we practiced tsog with the Flaming Jewel sangha we either practiced our tsog or theirs but not both at once.


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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:51 am

The topless tsog deal happens to be one of the saddest things (associated with "Dharma") that I have heard of for a LONG time. :(
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Alex Hubbard » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:21 am

The topless tsog deal happens to be one of the saddest things (associated with "Dharma") that I have heard of for a LONG time.


Hi Greg,

could I ask whether this is because of nakedness being a problem as such or because you don't see the connection to Buddhist practice in general?

I wonder whether because Tibetan Vajrayana (so to speak) doesn't practice with the naked body as much as its Indian forebears did, that when people hear about nakedness for the purpose of vajrayana practice they assume it must be an invention, or, an excuse for voyeurism or something like that. We all seem pretty content to have naked buddhas in thangkas and statues, and also individuals wearing sambhogakaya ornaments (bone crowns for example) over their clothes for empowerments and cham dances, but when it comes to utilising the naked body as an expression of dharmakaya as a support for practice, people assume the worst. Not that I don't get why that is, I mean, it's unusual to be naked around other people right (although not in Finland where I live, because of sauna)? But that doesn't mean that it must be a corruption of practice or necessarily a cause for crappy behaviour.

It's actually pretty odd to use human femurs as trumpets or dead people's skulls as a drum (for most people, I'd assume), but we understand that there's a principle within vajrayana behind using bone in this way. The same goes for nakedness. When we practise in this way people choose whether to wear robes or smart clothes, sambhogakaya ornaments, and then some wear nothing. When men and women privately undress for a tsog or empowerment then this is only another form of symbolism, and one that encourages congruence with the practice of pure vision and the realisation of an uncontrived experience of ourselves and others. Is this required for vajrayana practice, of course not. But so much of our practice is about skillful means that the idea that such-and-such a thing is 'not necessary' could be said of many of the supports for practise that we all utilise. For some people wearing symbolic clothing is a support for practice; for others wearing ordinary clothing is a support for practice. Some traditions have colourful shrine rooms, others plain ones. Neither is more right, and both function within their own traditions, and, different people are inspired by and drawn towards them.

I guess the other thing is to ask whether nakedness as a practice is 'traditional', I mean, did vajrayana practitioners either in Tibet or India do those things, and even if they did, so what, should we copy them, or not? As David Chapman wrote on Approaching Aro, there are some examples to be found of nakedness within the Tibetan tradition, and obviously within India it was more common, perhaps for cultural reasons. Should we assume that nakedness is too much, is going too far, and if so, for what reasons? Why should we dress as the yidam only as long as the yidam is wearing clothes but not if they aren't? Should we edit the use of dharmakaya display because of our worries, or might it be possible, within the right framework (dedicated vajrayana practitioners privately practising tsog for example), to go beyond conventional attitudes to the body, nakedness, sexuality, and gender, and to embody pure vision in our practice?

What do people think, is nakedness a problem because of the body itself, because of our fears or vulnerabilities about nakedness? Or is it because it's too different from ordinary behaviour, or too unlike the majority of Tibetan practice? Is it too unfamiliar? Or is it simply not Buddhist, and if so why? Is it because of concern that some people in the room might use it as a support for voyeurism, or something else? Do we feel different about women going 'topless' but not men, and in the context of our practice should we? I'm curious!

All the best,
Alex.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:57 am

While I've been aware of Aro gTér over the years, not being a nyingmapa I have never really been that bothered by them. Do I think they are a proper lineage? Probably not. Do I think they are a dangerous cult? Probably not.

To be honest they seem like a bunch of aging hippies who like to dress up, play at spirituality and party like it's 1969 (viz. topless tsogs). They remind me of the early days of Vajradhatu - though thankfully without the military overtones. It's a manifestation of a slowly disappearing Boomer Buddhism.

I don't see why people get so worked up by them. If you want to get worked up about something there's Ole Nydahl, Michael Roach, the NKT, Dorje Chang Buddha III, Tulku Buddha Maitreya etc. Or am I missing something?
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.
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Re: On Aro gTér

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:11 pm

Alex Hubbard wrote: Hi Greg,

...blah, blah, blah...

All the best,
Alex.
Dear Alex,

If I wanted a topless woman to serve me beer I would just go to a strip club. At least the women there are being paid to show me their breasts and not just being jived with the (same old sexist) pseudo-spiritual b*llsh*t you just dished me up. What do you reckon the men were wearing at the aforementioned tsog?

It's like the Osho crowd: You want to have an orgy? Have an orgy! Why (try to) justify it by saying it is a (pseudo) spiritual trip?

So is that what we use Buddhism for? To justify our need to play "dress up" and perv on some "cleavage"?

Sad. Really f*ck*ng sad! :crying:
:namaste:
PS Sorry for the expletives, but it is the only way Iets me really express exactly how "down" this gets me.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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