Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:58 am

Luke wrote:I also happen to enjoy Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's dharma talk videos a great deal. What I find very inspiring about him is that he understands how to blend Vajrayana effectively with modern life. My current lama is an extremely traditional Tibetan monk, and I often don't feel that I can talk to him openly, although I have a lot of respect for him. I want a dharma practice which I can blend with my life, instead of feeling in some secret society.


Mindfulness can be easily incorporated into our daily activities.
CNNR teaches a form of guru yoga from the point of view of dzogchen and all he asks of his students is they do this very simple type of Guru Yoga together with mindfulness throughout the day.
If you feel "separated from most things" mindfulness will reconnect you back. :)
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:07 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:The "addition vs. subtraction" thing is interesting, for sure in theory I wanted to subtract, but I found it did not click with my personality..maybe you are the opposite. To be fair though, Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings are full of non-doing and non-thinking concepts

But one first has to convince a guru that one is worthy and ready to receive such teachings. I tire of such "dharma courtship" in which every interaction is careful and polite in the hopes of "scoring" (getting the advanced teachings) in the future! lol I find it more inspiring to let go of all goals and attachment right. I don't feel that I have to get permission from a guru to "let go."

Johnny Dangerous wrote:but isn't the easiest way to find out by just going and sitting at some Zendos?

Yep. That's what I plan to do when I'm ready.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:15 am

alpha wrote:Mindfulness can be easily incorporated into our daily activities.
CNNR teaches a form of guru yoga from the point of view of dzogchen and all he asks of his students is they do this very simple type of Guru Yoga together with mindfulness throughout the day.
If you feel "separated from most things" mindfulness will reconnect you back. :)

What is that? Like visualizing the guru always being over your head/shoulder like in the Longchen Nyingthik ngondro? No, I don't want to force tantric imagery over my daily life anymore.
It was my fault for not being more clear earlier. I meant feeling separated from people in terms of a feeling of social identity. Feeling that I have all these practices and visualisations which I can't talk about with normal people. I don't want to have the "I'm part of something you'd never understand" feeling all the time. I don't like having all these secrets which I'm forbidden from disclosing. It's like living as a spy or something. I don't find it normal or comfortable. And at the end of the day, an ordinary person probably couldn't tell the difference between the mani mantra and one of the most secret mantras anyway! lol

Perhaps some people like the feeling of "Oh, now I can retreat back into my secret world of Vajrayana! How nice!" but I don't want to be like that anymore.

I don't need to visualize people as deities anymore. They can simply be what they are--sentient beings which have buddha-nature--and that's enough for me!
Last edited by Luke on Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Sherlock » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:17 am

Luke wrote:
alpha wrote:Mindfulness can be easily incorporated into our daily activities.
CNNR teaches a form of guru yoga from the point of view of dzogchen and all he asks of his students is they do this very simple type of Guru Yoga together with mindfulness throughout the day.
If you feel "separated from most things" mindfulness will reconnect you back. :)

What is that? Like visualizing the guru always being over your head/shoulder like in the Longchen Nyingthik ngondro? No, I don't want to force tantric imagery over my daily life anymore.


You don't need to visualize any human figure in his guruyoga, just an A. He doesn't even ask you to have that much faith in him, just the bare minimum of "interest" to receive and practice it.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:27 am

Sherlock wrote:
Luke wrote:
alpha wrote:Mindfulness can be easily incorporated into our daily activities.
CNNR teaches a form of guru yoga from the point of view of dzogchen and all he asks of his students is they do this very simple type of Guru Yoga together with mindfulness throughout the day.
If you feel "separated from most things" mindfulness will reconnect you back. :)

What is that? Like visualizing the guru always being over your head/shoulder like in the Longchen Nyingthik ngondro? No, I don't want to force tantric imagery over my daily life anymore.


You don't need to visualize any human figure in his guruyoga, just an A. He doesn't even ask you to have that much faith in him, just the bare minimum of "interest" to receive and practice it.



That is right.
It is a very essential and simple type of guru yoga, directly from mind to the nature of mind for wich you don't need preparation or to practice it in a formal setting.
And combined with mindfulness becomes a very powerful all-encompassing practice.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:30 am

I know someone who originally studied Vajrayana and Dzogchen in particular, but then read a book from Ajahn Sumedho and thought that since it's the same as Dzogchen why take all the fuss that it involves so switched to Theravada.
"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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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:43 am

Astus wrote:I know someone who originally studied Vajrayana and Dzogchen in particular, but then read a book from Ajahn Sumedho and thought that since it's the same as Dzogchen why take all the fuss that it involves so switched to Theravada.


Ajaan Sumedho gives "pointing out" instructions every time but he doesnt give Direct Transmission of his state in an experiantial way.
So the question is if he can impart his state to those who listen to him.
Pointing out instructions are not enough.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:10 pm

Luke, have you studied much classical Indian Buddhist literature? Abhidharma and so forth.

Nobody can claim that as exclusively their own and moreover it isn't associated with a single ethnic or lineage development of Buddhism. You can read it on your own without any organization. I've found such readings extremely insightful and empowering. There's no secret or esoteric truth concealed therein. It is all out in the open and logically elucidated. If you read it, you get it without having to defer to tradition.

I've come to the point where I don't feel particularly compelled to identify as anything other than Buddhist. I guess I never did. I've learnt from Tibetan, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Nepali teachers. I don't personally identify with any lineage or tradition. You don't have to be part of any particular school or community. If you feel inclined towards Zen, then do zazen for a bit and see what comes of it.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:30 pm

alpha wrote:
Sherlock wrote:You don't need to visualize any human figure in his guruyoga, just an A. He doesn't even ask you to have that much faith in him, just the bare minimum of "interest" to receive and practice it.


That is right.
It is a very essential and simple type of guru yoga, directly from mind to the nature of mind for wich you don't need preparation or to practice it in a formal setting.
And combined with mindfulness becomes a very powerful all-encompassing practice.

Thank you for your concern, guys, but the one thing which would be going against my lama is to practice Dzogchen teachings without first completing ngondro. He doesn't mind if his students attend dharma talks of other teachers, but doing Dzogchen without first completing ngondro is something which he has indicated that he is strongly against. In fact, I met a very great lama in Tibet who praised us for practicing ngondro and for not going straight to practicing Dzogchen. So this is the one line I don't want to cross. So anyway, I want to get away from all this Tibetan stuff because I am tired of all this "forbidden/not forbidden" stuff.

Indrajala wrote:Luke, have you studied much classical Indian Buddhist literature? Abhidharma and so forth.

Nobody can claim that as exclusively their own and moreover it isn't associated with a single ethnic or lineage development of Buddhism. You can read it on your own without any organization. I've found such readings extremely insightful and empowering. There's no secret or esoteric truth concealed therein. It is all out in the open and logically elucidated. If you read it, you get it without having to defer to tradition.

No, I haven't studied much of that, but you make good points, and I was already thinking along these lines. My plan is to practice Zen and to study the foundational Mahayana concepts that it's built on. For example, the Diamond Sutra remains great no matter which Mahayana sect one chooses.
Even if one's meditation is simple, one doesn't need to be simple-minded.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:54 pm

I took down almost all of the Tibetan Buddhist decorations in my room, except for a small thangka of White Tara which is unassuming enough. Perhaps at some future time, I will give them away to some local Vajrayana practitioners.

Ironically, I didn't have any images of Shakyamuni Buddha hanging on my wall...
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby anjali » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:37 pm

Hi Luke,

If you are going to go the way of Zen, read up on silent illumination (unless you are more of a koan type), and find yourself a good teacher. The most compatible with Zen teaching in the Tibetan tradition I've found is Mahamudra. There are some excellent manuals on Mahamudra meditation that can easily compliment a zen approach. Best wishes on simplifying your practice.

:anjali:
All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
If there is clinging, you do not have the view. --Drakpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:45 pm

Luke wrote:Thank you for your concern, guys, but the one thing which would be going against my lama is to practice Dzogchen teachings without first completing ngondro. He doesn't mind if his students attend dharma talks of other teachers, but doing Dzogchen without first completing ngondro is something which he has indicated that he is strongly against. In fact, I met a very great lama in Tibet who praised us for practicing ngondro and for not going straight to practicing Dzogchen. So this is the one line I don't want to cross. So anyway, I want to get away from all this Tibetan stuff because I am tired of all this "forbidden/not forbidden" stuff.

.


I find it somewhat perplexing that you want to keep to your lama's view regarding the necessity of preliminaries before dzogchen but you dont want to keep the secrecy of vajrayana which i'm sure your lama would agree that there is no way around that.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:54 pm

anjali wrote:The most compatible with Zen teaching in the Tibetan tradition I've found is Mahamudra. There are some excellent manuals on Mahamudra meditation that can easily compliment a zen approach. Best wishes on simplifying your practice.


Anzan Hoshin translated "The Practice of the Co-Emergent Mahamudra", and the late John Crook led Mahamudra retreats. Since only a few meditation manuals have been translated so far to English from Chinese, Mahamudra is the closest in view one can find as a complement to Zen.
"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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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:57 pm

alpha wrote:I find it somewhat perplexing that you want to keep to your lama's view regarding the necessity of preliminaries before dzogchen but you dont want to keep the secrecy of vajrayana which i'm sure your lama would agree that there is no way around that.

And it's not a matter of "want"--it's a matter of respect. I will still respect my lama even when I choose another path.

I don't want the burden of the secrecy. It is more of a burden if I am constantly practicing techniques and participating in rituals which I can never talk about openly. If I don't practice these things anymore and don't go to these events anymore, then I will gradually forget about a lot of it, and my mental burden will be less.


anjali wrote:Hi Luke,

If you are going to go the way of Zen, read up on silent illumination (unless you are more of a koan type), and find yourself a good teacher. The most compatible with Zen teaching in the Tibetan tradition I've found is Mahamudra. There are some excellent manuals on Mahamudra meditation that can easily compliment a zen approach. Best wishes on simplifying your practice.

:anjali:

Thank you.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:13 pm

Luke wrote:Even if one's meditation is simple, one doesn't need to be simple-minded.


If you have the interest, aside from practice it is very useful to read Buddhist history. It puts everything into perspective and helps form solid judgements about what is and isn't really Dharma.

If you want some books to read on the subject I can e-mail you a few.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:18 pm

I don't understand what all the fuss is about? Do you want people to convince you that you are right to leave, or wrong to leave?

It doesn't sit right with you anymore? Try something else! Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravada, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Pure Land, etc... It is all Buddhism.

Why make such a song and dance of it? You can always come back to Vajrayana if you wish anyway.

And what's this "guilt" thing that you say exists in Vajrayana? I have never seen this teaching. Want to pull out a reference to it?

As for the practices that draw you to Zen, they exist in the Vajrayana too: Shine practice (for example), Dzogchen, Mahamudra...

Are you sure you know what you are running from?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Sherlock » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:03 pm

It seems to me that mostly he doesn't want to have all the fuss associated with samayas. Nothing wrong with that. Like you said yourself greg, much of what is taught under a Vajrayana context is taught in other traditions as well.

Others may dispute this, but I'd say one of the key things found in Vajrayana that are not as developed (but extant to some extant) in other traditions are methods dealing with physical movements to help with contemplation. Maybe learning hatha yoga can be useful for that if you don't want to deal with Vajrayana or Dzogchen.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Holybla » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:24 pm

I did that too. There was something impalpable about Zen. I prefer siddha yoga, shaktipat yoga.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:36 pm

Luke wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:You should practice the Lam Rim. (Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Words of my Perfect Teacher, Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment etc.)
There are no Gurus, no pujas, no rituals, no secrecy, no visualizing.

Just progressive stages of mind changings that you do at your own pace.

I read the Jewel Ornament of Liberation and I think it's great and I feel very warmly about Gampopa (just like I feel very warmly about Dogen), but none of the local Kagyu groups appeal to me, and like I said, I want to get away from the whole complex, Tibetan system. But I agree that I should read Tsongkhapa's works sometime, no matter what I do.
I don't understand your assumption that studying the Jewel Ornament requires you to join a Kagyu group. Why can't you just study the Jewel Ornament by yourself and discuss it with anyone you want?
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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby randomseb » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:20 am

Padma Sambavha's Tibetan book of the Great Liberation is a good place to find the core of some of the Tibetan practices, especially Kagyu, after you no longer need all of the religious stuff and mantra practice. Jewel Ornament is still somewhat doctrinal, that is to say, it's throwing together a bunch of conceptual things, a religion.. I am actually currently reading through it a bit every day, and am about half way done, and that's my impression of it so far!

Great Liberation is very similar to Zen, you know? But not the strict, militaristic common zen we hear of today, but the ancient, original patriarchal zen.

Most high level practices in most religions are, of course, the same.. That's just expected!
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!
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