Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators
Zenda wrote:Yes, simple. Hope everyone is fortunate to have this situation. Feel free to delete this and previous posts. They aren't helpful.
CrawfordHollow wrote:Well, I am not so sure that many folks, especially those writing and publishing books in the West, are actually abiding by the traditional rules of secrecy that come with Vajrayana. It is true that there is much you can find through google and the internet on just about anything from the Vajrayana, including full translations of sadhanas and such. I think that this type of spiritual marketplace atmosphere takes away from the integrity of the practices and the tradition. On the other hand, the situation that we have here in the West is far different than India and Tibet where these practices originated from. Our role as practitioners is evolving and some leeway must be made to compensate for the difference.
It is relatively easy to get empowerments, especially if you have the means to travel and can afford the price of retreat. It is not so easy to develop a super close bond with a guru and get the support that you may need to really go in depth with you practice. It is possible, but not easy by any means. I think that having the books and teachings available to us through modern media can be a great support when we can't have so much one on one time with our teachers. Still, the commitment and respect needed to take up Vajrayana practice is still just as necessary as it was centuries ago in the Himalayas. Take ngondro, for example. It still takes 100,000 plus of each practice to complete. This is just as challenging if not more so than it was for Tibetans. We are still sentient beings whos minds need to be tamed and purified. Vajrayana is still the most effective method (in my opinion), and we can't expect to change it too much if we want it to work. As Greg said, it all comes down to the guru.
I would like to see teachers do more to prepare their students for Vajrayana. Perhaps empowerments are given too freely, although this is certaintly not true with all teachers. If empowerments are to be given freely, I think the teacher should explain why secrecy and samaya is so important. When it comes down to it, Vajrayana is risky business. I guess I didn't offer up a very clear answer, but its a tough one. How is the Vajrayana to be transmitted in a modern culture? What, if any of the traditional boundaries should be allowed to be broken for the ease of us Westerners? Big questions, but I would say that it would be best, for our own karma and the sake of our lineages, to stick to tradition as much as possible and keep secret what was once secret.
Well, I am not so sure that many folks, especially those writing and publishing books in the West, are actually abiding by the traditional rules of secrecy that come with Vajrayana.
Yudron wrote:Well, it sounds like you found a good match for you... a lama and sangha that don't "push your buttons" about this issue. That"s wonderful!
(7) Disclosing confidential teachings to those who are unripe
Confidential (secret) teachings concern actual specific generation (bskyed-rim) or complete stage (rdzogs-rim) practices for realizing voidness that are not shared in common with less advanced levels of practice. They include details of specific sadhanas and of techniques for actualizing a greatly blissful deep awareness of voidness with clear light mental activity. Those unripe for them are people who have not received the appropriate level of empowerment, whether or not they would have faith in these practices if they knew them. Explaining any of these unshared, confidential procedures in sufficient detail to someone whom we know fully well is unripe so that he or she has enough information to attempt the practice, and this person understands the instructions, constitutes the root downfall. The only exception is when there is a great need for explicit explanation, for example to help dispel misinformation and distorted, antagonistic views about tantra. Explaining general tantra theory in a scholarly manner, not sufficient for practice, is likewise not a root downfall. Nevertheless, it weakens the effectiveness of our tantric practice. There is no fault, however, in disclosing confidential teachings to interested observers during a tantric empowerment.
(12) Deterring those with faith
This refers to purposely discouraging people from a particular tantric practice in which they have faith and for which they are fit vessels, with proper empowerment and so forth. If we cause their wish to engage in this practice to end, this root downfall is complete. If they are not yet ready for such practice, however, there is no fault in outlining in a realistic manner what they must master first, even if it might seem daunting. Engaging others like this, taking them and their interests seriously rather than belittling them as incapable, actually boosts their self-confidence to forge ahead.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Kind of begs the question though, why are sadhanas so easy to find if they shouldn't be discussed lol!
Nyima wrote:. Now, I get the whole thing about ego and spiritual materialism, however, at the same time, I think it would be beneficial sometimes to hear at least a little bit about the progress and the experiences that more advanced practitioners have made.
Jainarayan wrote:This is a question out of sincere curiosity. Is the secrecy of Vajrayana that it exists as well as about the practices of individuals and their progress? Properly one doesn't reveal a mantra given by a guru either. It is for the student only. So I can understand keeping the practices and one's sadhana and relationship with one's lama secret. But if keeping secrecy in the Vajrayana's very existence, how would one come to learn of it, that it is the path that is right for them? Or is secrecy of Vajrayana's existence not the issue? Or is this a totally nonsensical question?