Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 02, 2013 8:32 am

Indrajala wrote: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?
Making material offerings to a teacher and/or paying for their travelling expenses so one can receive teachings is neither a new, nor a particularly Western, phenomenon.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 10289
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 9:02 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Making material offerings to a teacher and/or paying for their travelling expenses so one can receive teachings is neither a new, nor a particularly Western, phenomenon.


I never said it was.

I'm simply saying that the idea of secret and sanctity in respect to teachings is problematic when we consider how you knowingly pay for a certain teacher, who is well known to be an adept in a given practice, to come and teach people who all know what they're aiming to get. In today's world you get them on a plane and make advertisements for X empowerment to be given.

Where's the secrecy and discipline in that?
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu May 02, 2013 9:11 am

"You should examine students before they receive spiritual teachings to ascertain whether they are suitable recipients.You might impose a difficult task , or criticize them with words that cut to the heart or determine whether they lose faith when your conduct contradicts their expectations, or say, " I want this or that possession" and see whether they are able to relinquish it .If they are not suitable recipients, they will give up because they lose their faith or are too fond of their possessions. Since there is no possibility of their being benefited or being equal to the samaya involved, you should understand that it is best not to be connected with such people.
If , on the other hand , they maintain their faith and are open-handed, you can take these as signs that they have some karmic connection with you from previous lives.So even though you have no need for their possessions, you should accept these in order to perfect their spiritual development.The value of this lies in the auspicious connection between master and student not going awry
."

Longchenpa
AOM
alpha
 
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: kent

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu May 02, 2013 9:25 am

"So the teachings are kept secret not because they are ignoble.Rather, they are kept secret to prevent others from reinforcing negative karma and to avoid impairing the dharma's greatness: there is no fault in maintaining secrecy.

The actual way to maintain secrecy , applies to the three kinds of people discussed earlier-ordinary people, those who are small-minded and those who divulge secrets.
Do not disclose the terms, texts, key points, or even partial discussion of the tenets of these teachings.......

Even if people who have heard rumours of them ask you, I would advise you to maintain secrecy and reply, " I'm not sure", or " Not having practised them, I have no idea." "

Longchenpa
AOM
alpha
 
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: kent

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 02, 2013 9:30 am

Indrajala wrote:Where's the secrecy and discipline in that?
You've obviously never organised an empowerment for fellow vajra brothers and sisters.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 10289
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 02, 2013 9:35 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Indrajala wrote:Where's the secrecy and discipline in that?
You've obviously never organised an empowerment for fellow vajra brothers and sisters.


Plenty of empowerments are advertised online with an open door policy. They happen in Nepal and India, too.

I know there are ones that are done in private, but the idea of secrecy and the sanctity of it all clearly isn't that strong.
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu May 02, 2013 9:47 am

"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu May 02, 2013 9:57 am

Konchog1 wrote:If you try to do [Completion Stage practices] without proper preparation-which means a thorough grounding in the graduated path-and without a stable deity practice, you will lose your mind. I mean that quite literally. You really need to know what you are doing; otherwise all sorts of things can start to happen. If the energies move into a wrong area, moving them back again is incredibly difficult. There are many mediators who have gone completely crazy because that have not followed the practices correctly or tried to take shortcuts.
-Tantra by Geshe Tashi Tsering pg. 117


All types of Mahamudra and Dzogchen are completion stage practices, still they are taught very openly and I doubt there were many who have lost their minds because of that. Or perhaps what was meant are specific wind related techniques? In that case, we're back to the subject discussed a few pages back.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu May 02, 2013 10:01 am

yegyal wrote:Again, I think it's a mistake to assume that you would even know about the things that are actually kept secret.


In that case, everything that can be learnt about Vajrayana without sitting at the feet of a guru are not secret at all. I wonder what could be left to teach to the actual disciples in secret...
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 02, 2013 10:29 am

Indrajala wrote:Plenty of empowerments are advertised online with an open door policy. They happen in Nepal and India, too.

I know there are ones that are done in private, but the idea of secrecy and the sanctity of it all clearly isn't that strong.
All sorts of things are advertised on the internet, if you do not have the predisposition to seek them it is unlikely you will ever encounter them. Somebody seeking out and being drawn to an advertised empowerment obviously has a connection (karma vipakka, yah know) or else they wouldn't bother. They would just be down at the pub knocking back beers with a few mates whilst watching the football and talking about chicks they wish they had "shagged".
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 10289
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Luke » Thu May 02, 2013 10:33 am

gregkavarnos wrote:All sorts of things are advertised on the internet, if you do not have the predisposition to seek them it is unlikely you will ever encounter them. Somebody seeking out and being drawn to an advertised empowerment obviously has a connection (karma vipakka, yah know) or else they wouldn't bother. They would just be down at the pub knocking back beers with a few mates whilst watching the football and talking about chicks they wish they had "shagged".

Ah, but if people are only able to encounter Vajrayana teachings as a result of their past karma, then why do lamas need to restrict access to these teachings and act as the "gatekeepers"?
The way you describe it, people's past karma is already the "gatekeeper," so it seems unnecessary to have other "gatekeepers."
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1727
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby heart » Thu May 02, 2013 11:16 am

Indrajala wrote: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?


Getting empowerment's from someone you don't consider realized have very little value I think. Also, in my own experience is that it can be quite difficult to get teachings and empowerment's from your Guru just because you "want" it even if they agree to give it to you. But perhaps you have other Guru's than me?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 3142
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Thu May 02, 2013 12:14 pm

Astus wrote:
yegyal wrote:Again, I think it's a mistake to assume that you would even know about the things that are actually kept secret.


In that case, everything that can be learnt about Vajrayana without sitting at the feet of a guru are not secret at all. I wonder what could be left to teach to the actual disciples in secret...


You're probably right. All the beans that there were to spill have probably been spilled by now. This was just speculation and a bit of wishful thinking on my part. And with that I think it's about time for me to stop talking about secrecy, as I've already said more than my share on this topic. It's been fun!
yegyal
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:02 am

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby alpha » Thu May 02, 2013 12:23 pm

heart wrote:
Indrajala wrote: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?




Getting empowerment's from someone you don't consider realized have very little value I think. Also, in my own experience is that it can be quite difficult to get teachings and empowerment's from your Guru just because you "want" it even if they agree to give it to you. But perhaps you have other Guru's than me?

/magnus



If i was interested in doing a particular practice and would need an empowerment for being able to do that practice i would seek to receive it from any teacher who can give that empowerment provided that he is qualified , regardless of school, sect or what have you....
AOM
alpha
 
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: kent

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 02, 2013 12:54 pm

Luke wrote:Ah, but if people are only able to encounter Vajrayana teachings as a result of their past karma, then why do lamas need to restrict access to these teachings and act as the "gatekeepers"?
They don't. I, for example, am drawn to a certain practice but a teacher will be the one to assess whether I am ready to engage in the practice.

This works in all walks of life.

I may be drawn to formula one racing. I may even know how to drive a car. Does that mean I should immediately be given a formula one vehicle or should I go through a period of training etc... to ensure that I don't kill/injue myself and others the first time I press the accelerator?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 10289
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 02, 2013 12:55 pm

Astus wrote:I wonder what could be left to teach to the actual disciples in secret...
Shitloads of stuff. You cannot even begin to imagine how much more there is.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 10289
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Thu May 02, 2013 1:21 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Shitloads of stuff. You cannot even begin to imagine how much more there is.


That's good, because it seems the entire path is well described in several versions, plus all the open teachings and empowerments, consequently none of them are secret or restricted.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby heart » Thu May 02, 2013 2:28 pm

alpha wrote:
heart wrote:
Getting empowerment's from someone you don't consider realized have very little value I think. Also, in my own experience is that it can be quite difficult to get teachings and empowerment's from your Guru just because you "want" it even if they agree to give it to you. But perhaps you have other Guru's than me?

/magnus



If i was interested in doing a particular practice and would need an empowerment for being able to do that practice i would seek to receive it from any teacher who can give that empowerment provided that he is qualified , regardless of school, sect or what have you....


Methods are great but a real Guru is a lot better. :smile:

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 3142
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Adamantine » Sun May 05, 2013 3:11 am

It’s important to maintain secrecy in the Vajrayana. The Vajrayana is called ‘the secret mantra yana’ because it is intended to be practiced in secrecy. It is not secret because there is something to hide, but in order to protect the practitioner from the pitfalls and downfalls that ego can bring to the practice. In particular, practitioners tend to fall prey to “spiritual materialism,” where their practice becomes just another fashion statement intended to adorn their egos and make them feel important, or have them feel that they’re part of a ‘cool’ social tribe, rather than to tame and transform their minds. When practiced in this way, the Vajrayana path becomes worse than useless.

Also, the Vajrayana teachings are ‘hidden’ in the sense that their meaning is not apparent to someone who has not received the appropriate teachings. It’s like a foreign language. Because some of the imagery and symbolism can seem strange or even violent to the uninitiated, it’s generally recommended to keep it hidden so that it doesn’t put off newer practitioners, who might develop wrong views about the Buddhist path in general and the Vajrayana path in particular.
~~Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
User avatar
Adamantine
Former staff member
 
Posts: 2940
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:09 am
Location: Space is the Place

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Sun May 05, 2013 3:49 am

Adamantine wrote:It is not secret because there is something to hide, but in order to protect the practitioner from the pitfalls and downfalls that ego can bring to the practice. In particular, practitioners tend to fall prey to “spiritual materialism,” where their practice becomes just another fashion statement intended to adorn their egos and make them feel important, or have them feel that they’re part of a ‘cool’ social tribe, rather than to tame and transform their minds. When practiced in this way, the Vajrayana path becomes worse than useless.
This applies to me, so I can appreciate it. But as someone else said before, the ego can also feel like it's in a 'secret club'. Thankfully, I've been spared this delusion.
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
User avatar
Konchog1
 
Posts: 1355
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:30 am

PreviousNext

Return to Tibetan Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests

>