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 kirtu » Wed May 01, 2013 4:19 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Adamantine wrote:1.To disparage the Master
2.To transgress the three levels of vows
3.To be hostile to vajra brothers and sisters
4.To foresake loving kindness on behalf of sentient beings
5.To abandon the enlightened mind
6.To disparage one's own doctrine and those related to it
7.To divulge secrets to the immature
8.To abuse the five components which are primordially pure
9.To develop doubt in the inner doctrines of the tantras
10.To have compassion for evil beings especially those who harm the doctrine
11.To apply conceptualisation to wordless natures
12.To belittle those who have faith
13.To violate the commitments that have been undertaken
14.To disparage women, the source of discriminative wisdom


Ha! I committed all 14 of these root downfalls when I left Vajrayana many years ago. I didn't believe any of it.


You abandoned enlightened mind? You abandoned Bodhicitta and really said that you would never raise Bodhicitta again in your life? You disparaged your root teacher? Really?

We might actually get angry with your guru or with Vajra siblings or with women and the symbolism (although that is not totally symbolism) but really to abandon them? Really abandon the intention to seek enlightenment for all beings really permanently? I really have never met anyone who has done this and I really don't believe it.

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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Simon E. » Wed May 01, 2013 4:25 pm

I hope this won't be misunderstood Kirt, and certainly should not be seen as an encouragement to abandon samaya..but I have seen it.
Someone I knew well, and who would be known to some on this forum personally and online from E Sangha days , converted to the Orthodox Church.
I really don't think he is coming back.
Just to make the point that it can happen.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 01, 2013 4:30 pm

Luke wrote:But I think what a lot of this discussion illustrates is that the average Vajrayana practioner rarely spends much time thinking about the teachings of the historical Buddha because he or she already has so many other issues and concerns which are unique to Vajrayana (samaya issues, planning which empowerments or retreats to attend next, thinking about their lama's teachings, reading the writings of other lamas in their lineage, etc.). Often in Vajrayana, Buddha Shakyamuni seems like little more than a background image.


It depends - in Sakya and Nyingma (Palyul) Shakyamuni is mentioned quite a bit (at least with my teachers). However HH Trulshik Rinpoche gave Shakyamuni Buddha empowerment specifically because one of his teachers expressed the view you expressed in the last line:

Often in Vajrayana, Buddha Shakyamuni seems like little more than a background image.


and specifically asked him to spread the empowerment and focus on teaching about Shakyamuni Buddha. This is not just for Westerners. This conversation occurred in Tibet or India.

Although to be fair, the view in Vajrayana is that all the deities symbolize elightenment ....


That's true but there are different views in Vajrayana. The lama embodying all the qualities is true for sure. Deities symbolizing enlightenment is also true. But the relationship between the deities and and individual and the individual and the lama is somewhat different in the three outer tantras and the inner tantras. Even in the outer tantras the relationship with the guru is slightly different from kriya -> charya -> yoga tantra.


But whether one agrees with this approach or not depends on one's personality and mindset.


Tantra really is for all mindset's and personalities. It's more a matter of interest in following tantra or not. This is encoded in effect in the teaching on individuals belonging to various families including the no-family family (people who for now are spiritually deaf and dumb).

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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Wed May 01, 2013 4:33 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:For me that stuff is all pretty well explained with ideas like the nine vehicles and whatnot. It's not the path for everyone, but from what I understand it all seems pretty well-grounded in Sutra to me, in fact it's supposed to only be practiced if it IS grounded in sutra.

Yes, very true. Tibetan Buddhism as a whole works well and is undoubtedly Buddhist in its intentions and goals. I guess the impression one has of it depends largely on which parts of the vast whole one's lama emphasizes.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Wed May 01, 2013 4:37 pm

kirtu wrote:Tantra really is for all mindset's and personalities. It's more a matter of interest in following tantra or not. This is encoded in effect in the teaching on individuals belonging to various families including the no-family family (people who for now are spiritually deaf and dumb).

Hmm, I don't want to twist your words, but are you trying to imply that any Buddhist who isn't interested in practicing tantra is "spiritually deaf and dumb"?
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby kirtu » Wed May 01, 2013 6:18 pm

Luke wrote:
kirtu wrote:Tantra really is for all mindset's and personalities. It's more a matter of interest in following tantra or not. This is encoded in effect in the teaching on individuals belonging to various families including the no-family family (people who for now are spiritually deaf and dumb).

Hmm, I don't want to twist your words, but are you trying to imply that any Buddhist who isn't interested in practicing tantra is "spiritually deaf and dumb"?


No - the family of no-family are people who don't do any kind of spiritual practice and have no interest in spirituality on any level.

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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:29 pm

Luke wrote:Here is another translation of the 14 tantric vows. I think that just about everybody, except for highly realized masters are attached to the five skandhas in some way (vow #8) and are therefore breaking this vow.
Lord Atisha said that he never broke his Pratimoksha vows, broke his Bodhisattva vows once a while, and broke his Tantric vows all the time. The purpose of vows is to mold behavior and thought pattens. The reason why the Tantric vows are so much harder to keep than the other vows is because they improve you more than the other vows.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-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."

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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Wed May 01, 2013 8:24 pm

I've been reflecting on these issues more, and I think one reason that a lot of us westerners who practice Vajrayana run into trouble is that we generally are learning Vajryana in just bits and pieces, and sometimes the bits and pieces we are aware of don't make sense of the whole. Reading a lam-rim text or two helps, but still, there is so much to know to grasp the whole system mentally and to learn what all the different rituals mean.
Monks and nuns who study the whole system thoroughly from the beginning are much less likely to run into trouble. Perhaps if sanghas had more shedras and fewer empowerments things might balance out better.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 01, 2013 11:18 pm

kirtu wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Ha! I committed all 14 of these root downfalls when I left Vajrayana many years ago. I didn't believe any of it.


You abandoned enlightened mind? You abandoned Bodhicitta and really said that you would never raise Bodhicitta again in your life? You disparaged your root teacher? Really?

We might actually get angry with your guru or with Vajra siblings or with women and the symbolism (although that is not totally symbolism) but really to abandon them? Really abandon the intention to seek enlightenment for all beings really permanently? I really have never met anyone who has done this and I really don't believe it.

Kirt

Yes, I have abandoned my root guru and fellow practitioners (and disparaged them in private) when I became disillusioned with Vajrayana in particular, and institutional Buddhism in general. As far as bodhicitta and enlightenment are concerned, these are concepts that I have found unhelpful and have chosen to abandon also.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Wed May 01, 2013 11:42 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Yes, I have abandoned my root guru and fellow practitioners (and disparaged them in private) when I became disillusioned with Vajrayana in particular, and institutional Buddhism in general. As far as bodhicitta and enlightenment are concerned, these are concepts that I have found unhelpful and have chosen to abandon also.

Okay... So which Buddhist concepts do you find helpful?
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 01, 2013 11:55 pm

Luke wrote:Okay... So which Buddhist concepts do you find helpful?

Not many. The Four Noble Truths perhaps, and the value of compassion, but that is about it.

I willing to concede that I am on a one-way trip along a road to nowhere.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 3:01 am

Konchog1 wrote:The reason why the Tantric vows are so much harder to keep than the other vows is because they improve you more than the other vows.


How are they superior to the common precepts which attempt to prevent impure actions of body, speech and mind?
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 3:02 am

dharmagoat wrote:I willing to concede that I am on a one-way trip along a road to nowhere.


We'll be waiting for you at the end of it.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby plwk » Thu May 02, 2013 3:23 am

I willing to concede that I am on a one-way trip along a road to nowhere.

Say hi to Image for me at the end... :tongue:
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Thu May 02, 2013 3:42 am

Indrajala wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:The reason why the Tantric vows are so much harder to keep than the other vows is because they improve you more than the other vows.


How are they superior to the common precepts which attempt to prevent impure actions of body, speech and mind?


Ya, I'm not sure this is why they are harder to keep, Konchog. They way I've heard it expressed is that the Tantric vows are primarily based on the notion of pure perception, so they are essentially damaged everytime you perceive something to be impure. Hence, Atisha's statement that he broke these vows constantly. Of course, this is why we need to practice and continuously mend the vows.

As for Indrajala's question, (though I would replace the 'superior' with 'different') is that they are not intended to prevent negative physical actions, but rather "confused" perception of the environment and it inhabitants. So in terms of the Atisha quote, he claims he never broke the common precepts because he didn't have a problem abstaining from the prescribed negative actions. However, as far as I understand the common precepts, assuming that you're referring to the five precepts or even the vinaya, do not cover mental actions, but only those of body and speech.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 02, 2013 4:30 am

yegyal wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:The reason why the Tantric vows are so much harder to keep than the other vows is because they improve you more than the other vows.
How are they superior to the common precepts which attempt to prevent impure actions of body, speech and mind?
They way I've heard it expressed is that the Tantric vows are primarily based on the notion of pure perception, so they are essentially damaged everytime you perceive something to be impure.
That's partly why. But also compare the Tantric Vows to the others. Pratimoksha, Vinaya, and Bodhisattva. There is a large difference in the standard the Tantric vows hold you to. For example, the Bodhisattva vows aren't impossible if you maintain mindfulness and regularly generate Bodhicitta. The most difficult vow is usually the eighteenth, which is broken when you either give up working towards Enlightenment or forsake any sentient being by thinking "I wish he never attains Enlightenment". In the Tantric vows this is taken one step further. Now you break a vow if you merely think "I wish he is unhappy".

The Tantric Vows are more difficult because they hold you to a stricter standard. Which results in quicker attainments for the diligent.

Also, I didn't say superior. I said harder.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-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 yegyal » Thu May 02, 2013 4:34 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Also, I didn't say superior. I said harder.


That part was responding to Indrajala.
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 4:59 am

Konchog1 wrote:The Tantric Vows are more difficult because they hold you to a stricter standard. Which results in quicker attainments for the diligent.

Also, I didn't say superior. I said harder.


How is that any different from bodhisattva precepts where becoming angry or belittling others in any way is a pārājika?
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Re: Has anyone else left Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 02, 2013 5:05 am

Indrajala wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:The Tantric Vows are more difficult because they hold you to a stricter standard. Which results in quicker attainments for the diligent.

Also, I didn't say superior. I said harder.


How is that any different from bodhisattva precepts where becoming angry or belittling others in any way is a pārājika?
The Tantric Vows are more difficult.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-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 Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 5:09 am

Konchog1 wrote:The Tantric Vows are more difficult.


You've yet to really demonstrate this. This is just your belief and value assessment. You're entitled to it, of course, but let's just conclude it is entirely subjective unless we establish proper criteria with which to judge whether one set of precepts are more difficult than another one.
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