Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:34 am

Emptiness can be seen without having been explored intellectually. Just because the label shunyata is not applied does not mean that the *intention* of the the teachings on shunyata are not discovered.

Lots of traditions have the concept of service without desire for anything in return-- for example the nishkama karma yoga of the Bhagavad Gita. The four brahma viharas are not exclusive to Buddhism either.

It's wonderful to have devotion in the liberating power of the Buddha Dharma. I am not so sure it's good to make categorical statements about other philosophies simply because they don't share the same labels. I am really not sure that it makes much of a difference how good one is with words when dealing with the ineffable.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:45 am

Karma Dorje, it's widely acknowledged that emptiness can be realized through Dzogchen and Mahamudra without any intellectual analysis. Outside of that, though, I cannot see what causes exist to lead one to discover even so much as the full extent of the Buddhist view of emptiness conceptually, much less its realization, without analysis, contemplation, and meditation since no other tradition aside from Bon speaks on the topic as explicitly and with as much emphasis as Buddhism does. Most humans aren't even drawn to a yogic or even spiritual life, apart from approaches aimed at making samsara more palatable (which is an entirely understandable aim, I'll admit), and so searching for actual liberation isn't even on most people's radar. This is even probably true to some extent for many Buddhists. I suppose anything might be possible, but with human rebirth alone being the long shot it is, not to mention how hard it is to gain liberation through practicing Buddha Dharma, I really can't fathom why anyone would push the "not everyone needs to study and practice; some can just float along and figure it out themselves somehow" angle.

I do think the sentiment tends to come from a pure place of wishing all people well, believing in the qualitative universality of our true nature and potential, and not wanting to be elitist or exclusive and support a "my way's the only true way" attitude. But as much as I support all that--and as much as I recognize that attachment to "one's path as supreme" can be a dense obstacle--I also have to admit that I don't see anything in any paths but Buddhism and Bon that describe as accurately how and why samsara and sentient beings come about, what their true nature & potential is, or how to reveal that true nature and reverse samsara. And nobody has explained how and why that belief of mine is incorrect. Just pointing out that altruism and some mundane meditational states corresponding to ethereal samasaric realms are not the exclusive province of Buddhism is not gonna cut it because those are not the actual criteria for liberation and total realization.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Namgyal » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:04 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote: I'm willing to brush aside that you're involved just as much in philosophy with your position as I am with mine. The question is, though, would you mind explaining precisely how simply staring into the sky with no instruction, introduction, or concrete method--or talking to statues--can bring about realization, in and of itself? You must know how and why these approaches would work, since you clearly believe in them so strongly.
I am fully willing to stand corrected and admit my error if you can help me understand how the above methods could result in buddhahood despite a person having no knowledge of basics of the Buddha's teachings and therefore no effort to accumulate merit and purify obscurations/enter into knowledge of their true condition (i.e. Dzogchen/Mahamudra).
Namgyal wrote:'Even if one is not able to practice all the details of the Eleven Yogas of Vajrayogini, one who knows how to really pray deeply to the goddess Tara will receive the same benefits.' H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

What His Eminence is saying is that 'one who has a truly open heart may spontaneously acquire all the siddhis'. There is no need for them to study and practice in the way that you have described because like the Mahasiddha Santideva they can simply say, 'excuse me Mr. Buddha could you help me please'. Of course possessing such a child-like nature, that is so pure and uncontrived, 'is as rare as stars in daytime', but it does exist. When you assert that there is only one rather complicated path to liberation, you are actually referring only to your path, which is suitable for your complicated nature.
Lord Buddha taught 84000 different paths to freedom.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Yudron » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:09 pm

Namgyal wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote: I'm willing to brush aside that you're involved just as much in philosophy with your position as I am with mine. The question is, though, would you mind explaining precisely how simply staring into the sky with no instruction, introduction, or concrete method--or talking to statues--can bring about realization, in and of itself? You must know how and why these approaches would work, since you clearly believe in them so strongly.
I am fully willing to stand corrected and admit my error if you can help me understand how the above methods could result in buddhahood despite a person having no knowledge of basics of the Buddha's teachings and therefore no effort to accumulate merit and purify obscurations/enter into knowledge of their true condition (i.e. Dzogchen/Mahamudra).
Namgyal wrote:'Even if one is not able to practice all the details of the Eleven Yogas of Vajrayogini, one who knows how to really pray deeply to the goddess Tara will receive the same benefits.' H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

What His Eminence is saying is that 'one who has a truly open heart may spontaneously acquire all the siddhis'. There is no need for them to study and practice in the way that you have described because like the Mahasiddha Santideva they can simply say, 'excuse me Mr. Buddha could you help me please'. Of course possessing such a child-like nature, that is so pure and uncontrived, 'is as rare as stars in daytime', but it does exist. When you assert that there is only one rather complicated path to liberation, you are actually referring only to your path, which is suitable for your complicated nature.
Lord Buddha taught 84000 different paths to freedom.


I don't have realization, so I don't know for sure. However, I have been taught that the deity and one's lama are the same. Therefore, if by praying to your lama with deep faith and devotion is an effective path to liberation, then praying to Tara must also be. Rare, though. More likely one would have a nyam, a taste of what liberation would be like, and it would dissipate, and there would be confusion about how to proceed. You can see this from many posts on DW where people latched on to an experience and deviate into grasping, pride or delusion.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:20 pm

The Shantideva I am thinking about was a Madhyamaka scholar as well as a bodhisattva. Maybe you had someone else in mind?
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Namgyal » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:20 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:The Shantideva I am thinking about was a Madhyamaka scholar as well as a bodhisattva. Maybe you had someone else in mind?

Arya-Shantideva was originally a monk nicknamed 'Bhusuku' who was persecuted by the other monks for being a simpleton. One day he prayed to Manjusri and the Bodhisattva appeared in front of him, Bhusuku asked, 'Please, Lord Manjusri, would you grant me the power of perfect scholarship so I can pass my test tomorrow.' The following day, in front of an assembly of incredulous monks, he passed his Dharma test by spontaneously composing the 'Bodhisattvacharyavatara.' :smile:
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:12 pm

It is said that Shantideva was a scholar and master of debate but did show this to the other monks. Thinking he was a simpleton, they requested a teaching from him in an attempt to mock and embarass him. He asked them if they wanted to hear a commentary or a new teaching, this is when he displayed his true powers and insight and expounded the Bodhisattvacharyavatara. He already had a vision of Manjushri long before this. This is off-topic and the stuff of legend at that. The point being is that Shantideva had a deep and profound understanding of the Buddhist cannon, he just kept his knowledge a secret. His faith and devotion were matched by the power of study, contemplation, and meditation. You can read about this on http://www.khandro.net and other places.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:30 pm

Yudron wrote:I don't have realization, so I don't know for sure. However, I have been taught that the deity and one's lama are the same. Therefore, if by praying to your lama with deep faith and devotion is an effective path to liberation, then praying to Tara must also be. Rare, though. More likely one would have a nyam, a taste of what liberation would be like, and it would dissipate, and there would be confusion about how to proceed. You can see this from many posts on DW where people latched on to an experience and deviate into grasping, pride or delusion.

My reply here is a little off topic but I thought that perhaps it might be interesting to clarify this notion of devotion and praying to the lama and how that might bring about realization without study or effort.
Devotion in this sense doesn't consists of thinking of the teacher as being outside or praying to the lama. The point here is that what ones feels is the same as the teacher feels and how you and the teacher feel is the same as how the deity feels. There is absolutely no distance between student/teacher/deity. Devotion here means bringing close or bringing together or more accurately self-liberating together the experiences of samsara - continually as an automatic function - from it's own side in an uncontrived way. The sensation of pain is the same as the teachers sensation of pain which is the same as the deities sensation of pain. There is no difference as to the nature of that pain between student/teacher/deity. It is total identification and at the same time one gives up grasping to my pain or my desire or my anger and so on. So devotion is a kind of integration. It is an understanding that your real nature and the teacher's real nature and the deity's real nature are not distant in time or in space but are/is immediately apparent.
Conceptual ideas and intellectual speculation can cut a student off from the immediacy of devotion. In the end student/teacher and deity come from the same place, are the same thing.
I thought I might interject here and give some extra idea about what devotion really means and how devotion just by itself can bring about authentic realization.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Namgyal » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:44 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:It is said that Shantideva was a scholar and master of debate but did show this to the other monks....The point being is that Shantideva had a deep and profound understanding of the Buddhist cannon, he just kept his knowledge a secret. You can read about this on http://www.khandro.net and other places.

This unique version of his story is from a single commentary by Geshe Tsoephel and it is not supported by other sources. The Dharma Publishing (1979) translation of the 'Caturasitisiddhapravrtti' (Buddha's Lions) portrays him as a simple hearted monk, as does this online version on the blog of Tsem Rinpoche...

'...However, the abbot was a very kind man, and at night fall, he visited Bhusuku to give advice. Being desperate, Bhusuku said he’d do anything so that he will not fail the next morning. So the abbot told him to spend the whole night reciting the mantra of Manjusri and gave Bhusuku the secret precepts of Manjusri’s sadhanas, and the blessing of the mantra, then he left. Knowing his own weakness well, Bhusuku tied the collar of his robe to the ceiling in case he nod off during the night, and all night long he recited the mantra over and over again. At dawn, Bhusuku jerked awake and here he was, not wiser than he’d been the night before. Just then, a great voice boomed from the ceiling: “What do you think you’re doing!” Bhusuku looked up and saw an enormous figure floating in the air above his head, he said he have been invoking the aid of Lord Manjusri to help him recite a sutra on that very morning and proceeded to ask who the floating person was. In reply, the unusual guest said “That’s a foolish question. You’ve been invoking me half the night.” Startled, Bhusuku finally realized he was talking to Manjusri himself! And immediately pressed his palms together in the gesture of supplication and begged for the power and realization of every quality of perfect insight.'
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:20 pm

OK,

I'm not looking to prove you wrong or anything. There are many examples of great practitioners who obtain knowledge without putting in years of study, Mipham and Jigme Lingpa come to mind. It just seemed like an extreme position to say that these masters obtained realization without having "a clue to the meaning of emptiness." I apologize if I misinterpreted you.

ChNN has spoken of this. He talks about how out of pure devotion many Tibetans would go through much hardship and danger in order to meet him and obtain a blessing. When he tried to teach them though, often they would not be interested, as they were only interested in a blessing. He seems to be very critical of this. I personally think that faith and devotion is a vital part of the path that is missing in many Western practitioners. It is not easy for people to really have the devotion and pure vision in a guru that is the lifeblood of Vajrayana- especially when they only see their teacher once a year or over a webcast. Faith must be balanced by understanding. A bird cannot fly without two wings. I have never met a teacher who said that it is not necessary to have understanding and knowledge.

I appreciate where you are coming from, though. I don't want you to think that I am trying to argue with you. Without devotion one will not get very far.

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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote:I suppose anything might be possible, but with human rebirth alone being the long shot it is, not to mention how hard it is to gain liberation through practicing Buddha Dharma, I really can't fathom why anyone would push the "not everyone needs to study and practice; some can just float along and figure it out themselves somehow" angle.


I am not suggesting floating along. I am just saying that the spiritual discipline one encounters is simply a matter of one's samskaras and hence one's ignorance, not one's wisdom. Diligent and openhearted practice of any advaita approach will naturally lead to an understanding of emptiness. Most Western buddhists who criticize Vedantic approaches haven't had a deep experience of Vedanta or Hindu tantra with a traditional teacher, or much realization of their own tradition.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby dorjeshonnu » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:59 pm

Namgyal wrote:immediately pressed his palms together in the gesture of supplication and begged for the power and realization of every quality of perfect insight.'
why waste time on an internet forum
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Sherlock » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:12 pm

I think it is better to think of devotion as continuous action rather than an emotion, as I used to. Devotion lies in your daily practice.

As for faith, I think Malcolm has said somewhere that "confidence" is a better translation. After all, if you have genuine experience of the taste of chocolate, you don't need to take the word of someone who has eaten it before on what it is like.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby pemachophel » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:45 pm

Of the three kinds of faith described in the Tibetan Buddhist literature, confidence (based on experience) is the third and highest kind.

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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Namgyal » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:39 am

dorjeshonnu wrote:
Namgyal wrote:immediately pressed his palms together in the gesture of supplication and begged for the power and realization of every quality of perfect insight.'
why waste time on an internet forum

Only you know the answer to this question...if it is any consolation I am sure that most, if not all, of the members periodically ask themselves the same thing.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby Yudron » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:11 am

Andrew108 wrote:
Yudron wrote:I don't have realization, so I don't know for sure. However, I have been taught that the deity and one's lama are the same. Therefore, if by praying to your lama with deep faith and devotion is an effective path to liberation, then praying to Tara must also be. Rare, though. More likely one would have a nyam, a taste of what liberation would be like, and it would dissipate, and there would be confusion about how to proceed. You can see this from many posts on DW where people latched on to an experience and deviate into grasping, pride or delusion.

My reply here is a little off topic but I thought that perhaps it might be interesting to clarify this notion of devotion and praying to the lama and how that might bring about realization without study or effort.
Devotion in this sense doesn't consists of thinking of the teacher as being outside or praying to the lama. The point here is that what ones feels is the same as the teacher feels and how you and the teacher feel is the same as how the deity feels. There is absolutely no distance between student/teacher/deity. Devotion here means bringing close or bringing together or more accurately self-liberating together the experiences of samsara - continually as an automatic function - from it's own side in an uncontrived way. The sensation of pain is the same as the teachers sensation of pain which is the same as the deities sensation of pain. There is no difference as to the nature of that pain between student/teacher/deity. It is total identification and at the same time one gives up grasping to my pain or my desire or my anger and so on. So devotion is a kind of integration. It is an understanding that your real nature and the teacher's real nature and the deity's real nature are not distant in time or in space but are/is immediately apparent.
Conceptual ideas and intellectual speculation can cut a student off from the immediacy of devotion. In the end student/teacher and deity come from the same place, are the same thing.
I thought I might interject here and give some extra idea about what devotion really means and how devotion just by itself can bring about authentic realization.


I believe the word devotion that we are referring to here is mos gus in Tibetan.

mos = longing, motivation, inspiration, devotion. It is called the “want particle” by Jim Valby.

plus

gus pa -- devotion or deference.

Equals

mos gus-- devotion (or some would say respect)

There is a longing intensity to the word that is not dry, I think. Someone above said the Tibetan word for devotion can be translated as confidence. While confidence is important, I don't think that is the flavor of the word in Tibetan. There are lots of other words for confidence.

I don't believe that deities feel pain, but I think I know what you are driving at in general.
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Re: Contemporary tertons of Eastern Tibet

Postby dorjeshonnu » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:00 am

Namgyal wrote:Only you know the answer to this question...
untrue
if it is any consolation I am sure that most, if not all, of the members periodically ask themselves the same thing.
wakening, benefits from dharma study
dharma study, benefits from informed guidance
informed guidance, can appear with peer discussion

discuss to inform, discuss to be guided
inform from study, be guided to study
study dharma to avoid faults and delays

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