yegyal wrote:This is a very good point Jnana, because culture plays a major role in all this. But I would argue that Tibetan or Himalayan Buddhist culture does have strict secrecy and discipline in regards to the teachings.
I've never had that impression.
You can go to Nepal or come to India and get any teaching you want if you ask around. There are plenty of Lamas out there who make a living from acting as a guru for secret teachings. In fact, it is easy to find a Lama who gives empowerments for a specific practice you have in mind. Everyone will know that he is the local expert in said field. There is nothing secret about it. The texts are easily obtained one way or another.
If there is money to be made, then discipline is easily lost to opportunism. You can get a Lama to go to a foreign country, pay for their expenses and then ask for any teaching you want. Where is the discipline when you are basically hiring a guy to give empowerments?
And those of us that come from non-Buddhist cultures for the most part don't know this. This is something we have to learn and that can take years. And yes, it's very easy to attend empowerments or listen to a lama give incredibly profound "secret" teachings, but just because you paid your money at the door and are physically present doesn't mean that you're a suitable vessel that can make use of them.
Such an inferiority complex doesn't help anyone. It is contrived humility. If you think native Buddhist cultures somehow get things right and practice better, you need only look at how dysfunctional and feudal a lot of extant Buddhist cultures are to realize otherwise. This isn't limited to Tibetan Buddhism, either. Look at how screwed up things can get in places like Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
In other words, you don't have to kowtow to foreign cultures and raise them above yourself. That's just orientalism at work.