Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

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Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Glasswalker » Thu May 23, 2013 1:28 am

Greetings,

this is my first post, though I have been stalking the list for a while. Apologies for my lack of knowledge and for the wordiness of this post, but I need to ask the question properly.

In short, I am a student of western esotericism and after years of work it paid off. For a few years I have had a strong belief that east and west had the same end result with the more esoteric work and about 4 years ago I started studying Tibetan Buddhism. I am an academic in my dayjob, thus naturally my research was academia based. I read books about books ;) and source material such as sutras and Sadhanas, tantras, etc. My realisation was that in the Dharma is said clearly and concisely what we in the west hide behind initiations. Now, the didactics of the western method does have some validity, though this made me more drawn to the Dharma. I started visiting a theravada center and "learned to meditate". I have also done a few retreats. I have been wanting to start a vajrayana practice, but have been held back by the traditionalism in some of the centers that basically seem to be aimed at turning you into a monk and not considering the tantrika/yogin aspect of a layperson....
So as it has been I have mostly been getting my vajrayana fix by doing Vajrasattva, Tara and Medicine Buddha Sadhanas and following HH Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's webcasts.

A few weeks ago something ripened within me and I started to look at becoming part of a school, with refuge and empowerments and the whole shebang.
Anyway, there are several centers within travel distance to me but there is a diamond way center literally 4 streets away. I looked on the 'net and it seemed alright, though I was a bit surprised as it didn't seem very vajrayana focused. But I thought, sod it, I have been going around for the past 2 years constantly feeling like I want to take refuge officially etc so why not. I went down there.

The people seemed decent, though there is a bit of an odd vibe. They all claim that Ole Nydahl is their root guru.... which I find is odd, considering there's like 100 odd centers around the world... also there seems to be a big focus on practices which are not very tantric. Now, I know that we don't immediately start by working with Tummo, but they were basically saying that its all nGondro and 16th Karmapa Guruyoga. Maybe one gets an empowerment from Ole, at some point....

Right. Also, there was a Buddhist version of "Born again Christian" vibes. Its hard to explain, and I don't mean any offense.
The final oddness was I mentioned that I had been saving up for 2 years to go and do this retreat in Switzerland ( http://www.ganden.ch/english/rinpoche.html ) and they were immediately telling me that its not a good idea to mix and to get empowerments except within the specific lineage etc etc....

So, someone more knowledgeable than me, please pm me or reply here. How valid is the diamond way buddhism? If i take refuge with "Lama" Ole, will that even be recognised? I read the E-sangha article mentioned in another thread and its gotten me wondering.

With The risk of sounding llike a complete tosser, I am basically interested in taking refuge to be formally part of the vajrayana "egregore". I wish to learn some of the tantric methods to work with the dharma. I'm more of a tantrika than a sectarian buddhist, however I definitively see the need in a proper path. Essentially, all true teachings need some level of dogmatism as a didactic method. based on my research Kagyu is probably what would work best for me. But I might be wrong?

What is the opinion of the board? Can I use diamond way as a springboard? should I meditate with them (its the only center that doesn't charge money per meditation sitting) and find a "real kagyu" Lama fast as hell? Or just screw it and find a different center?

Also, as a sidenote if someone with experience would rather take this to msn/skype/pm and have a serious talk from a meta-level that would also be appreciated.

Thanks everyone beforehand and I am sorry if I come across as an ignorant and arrogant pr*ck. I think its best to start with cards on the table ;)
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 23, 2013 1:49 am

Ole Nydahl/Diamond Way are controversial but legit. Go with your feelings.

Ngondro first is standard. Doing Tummo and the like without the fundamentals (Both kinds of Bodhicitta, Ngondro, and Shamatha) is like practicing the Lesser Key without even knowing the LBRP. At best, nothing will happen. At worst, something will happen.

I recommend starting with the Lam Rim. If you like the Kagyu, read Lord Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation. It covers all the fundamentals. Other standard Lam Rim texts are Lord Tsongkhapa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and Patrul Rinpoche's Words of my Perfect Teacher.
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: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Glasswalker » Thu May 23, 2013 2:06 am

Thanks Konchog,

I am aware that Tummo etc is later, much like the example you mentioned. However the diamond way guys said specifically that within diamond way Ole teaches that Tummo and active completion stage work, such as working with the drops etc is not needed as its all "part of nGondro."
Now, I am not coming with my cup full. I may have gone from a to z with other stuff but I want to do Vajrayana properly. If my future Lama thinks I need to stick with vipassana for 3 years I will do so ;)
I just found it odd that Ole thinks that 100 000 prostrations, vajrasattva purification would lead to the "same effects".

As a follow up question: What do you mean with legit but controversial? Are his empowerments and taking refuge with him accepted by other Lamas, or will it be the case that if I ever wish to have an empowerment that is not offered in Diamond way, and I contact the group they might say, no xxx wang for you since you belong to a vajrayana school we don't believe is valid, hence your previous work counts as nothing ;)

I know for example that the "New kadampa" is frowned upon and if you have taken refuge with a new kadampa Lama and/or received HYT there, some other schools refuse to work with you.

;/
Last edited by Glasswalker on Thu May 23, 2013 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 23, 2013 2:17 am

Glasswalker wrote:I am aware that Tummo etc is later, much like the example you mentioned. However the diamond way guys said specifically that within diamond way Ole teaches that Tummo and active completion stage work, such as working with the drops etc is not needed as its all "part of nGondro." I just found it odd that Ole thinks that 100 000 prostrations, vajrasattva purification would lead to the "same effects".
I don't know what that means.

Glasswalker wrote:As a follow up question: What do you mean with legit but controversial? Are his empowerments and taking refuge with him accepted by other Lamas, or will it be the case that if I ever wish to have an empowerment that is not offered in Diamond way, and I contact the group they might say, no xxx wang for you since you belong to a vajrayana school we don't believe is valid, hence your previous work counts as nothing ;)
I don't know much but I've heard: "Ole is an egomaniac and a bigot" "Diamond Way are extremists" "Diamond Way supports the wrong Karmapa" etc. But, I've never heard that their teachings are wrong or their lineage is fake. As far as I know, Diamond Way teachings are the standard Karma Kagyu teachings.
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: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Glasswalker » Thu May 23, 2013 2:26 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Glasswalker wrote:I am aware that Tummo etc is later, much like the example you mentioned. However the diamond way guys said specifically that within diamond way Ole teaches that Tummo and active completion stage work, such as working with the drops etc is not needed as its all "part of nGondro." I just found it odd that Ole thinks that 100 000 prostrations, vajrasattva purification would lead to the "same effects".
I don't know what that means.

Sorry, I am tired, its 03:21 here. Let me clarify what I meant. There is a thread on here discussing what the usual path in the kagyu is. "Basically its chenrezig, nGondro a few empowerments here and there and more nGondro."-loose quote.
So, I am aware that work with Yidams and working with the drops and the channels is not something one does as a first practice.
When I was at the center I asked the teacher how one works and he explained what they do in nGondro. Then he immediately followed up by saying that Ole doesn't think that its necessary to work with completion stage practices at all as it is already contained in nGondro.

This confused me so I asked him to clarify. He replied that Ole does not think one needs to meditate on the drops and the channels, since doing the prostrations and the Vajrasattva purification has the same effect and indirectly activates the same inner channels and energies as one would get from working directly with these things.

See to me that sounds like saying that you can just keep saying a buddha's name and have a strong wish to be reborn in thats Buddha's pureland for it to happen.
or am I missing something?
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu May 23, 2013 2:33 am

See to me that sounds like saying that you can just keep saying a buddha's name and have a strong wish to be reborn in thats Buddha's pureland for it to happen.
or am I missing something?



Not a Kagyu practitioner, but far as I know you are definitely missing something, Vajrasattva, Chenrezig, prostrations are about much more than your quote, even a quick glance at a sadhana will show that.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:07 am

He replied that Ole does not think one needs to meditate on the drops and the channels, since doing the prostrations and the Vajrasattva purification has the same effect and indirectly activates the same inner channels and energies as one would get from working directly with these things.
That's bizarre. And wrong.

Sure, Vajrasattva helps in the Completion Stage . . . but it cannot be a replacement. That's just not how channels work.

So much for earlier me's opinion.

As far as I know, Diamond Way teachings are the standard Karma Kagyu teachings.
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: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby heart » Thu May 23, 2013 5:27 am

The Diamondway path only contains a small subset of the Karma Kagyu teachings. There have been a lot of discussion about if Ole actually is a qualified teacher. I can't see a single reason to get involved.

Glasswalker, don't look for Sangha look for a Guru.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Adamantine » Thu May 23, 2013 7:09 am

heart wrote:The Diamondway path only contains a small subset of the Karma Kagyu teachings. There have been a lot of discussion about if Ole actually is a qualified teacher. I can't see a single reason to get involved.

Glasswalker, don't look for Sangha look for a Guru.

/magnus

:good:

I agree. Glasswalker, it seems like you should focus on seeking
a Kagyu or Nyingma Guru if you prefer one that
emphasizes the tantric householder-yogi lineages. That said,
part of the tantric path is being extremely careful about
who you accept as your guru. It's more important than picking
the right wife or husband. You need to examine very carefully, from
many angles. A great guru will lead you to liberation. A wicked
or unqualified guru will lead you deeper into suffering, in this and
future lives. Don't rush this.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 23, 2013 7:22 am

Ngondro and Guru Yoga practices are tantric/Vajrayana practices. Although many of the other practices at Diamond Way centers are "streamlined" and "westernised" versions of traditional Kagyu practices, the ngondro and guru yoga of the 16th Karmapa are 100% legitimate.

As for the "don't look for a sangha look for a guru" advice... well, on the one hand it is sound advice, on the other hand finding a guru before you have "experimented" with various sangha and traditions is not such a good idea. Having a guru requires a certain level of commitment, a level of commitment that I believe is difficult (to impossible) to effect if one has not checked out the various options first.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Glasswalker » Thu May 23, 2013 8:15 am

Opening a can of worms here I feel ;)

Thanks everyone for your feedback. This does lead me back to step one in my thinking. If you would please indulge me further guys n gals?

So we are saying that
1 even though some of the practices, nGondro and Guru Yoga on the karmapa is legit,
-some of the explanations given by Ole on these is not quite so legit.
i.e. that nGondro is all one needs as that will actually activate channels, for example.

2 There is controversy in his legitimacy.
-to me this is one of the dodgy parts. I am a qualified lifecoach and I know --exactly-- how easy it is to have an audience and make people feel a specific way and make them feel like they are part of something great. A charismatic leader who is used to have 100 people in an audience can make anyone feel like they have been empowered. I for one believe that something genuine is happening when an empowerment happens. if the person doing the empowerment doesn't have the full blessing of the lineage to be able to do the empowerment, hasn't actually mastered the practice into which empowerment happens... thats like a random person doing a claying on of hands and claiming you are now a sufi, versus a sheik who has memorised the entire quoran and has done millions of prostrations and has visions of an angels doing it. OK wrong system, but you get me?

- I have also come across footage of people standing in line infront of him for blessings. Not during an initiation, just generally. I have never seen anything like this in a tibetan context. Whats up with that?

3 Diamond way only contains part of the karma kagyu stuff and a lot of westernised/streamlined things
-same thing here. After the meditation we did a sanskrit mahakala song. There were no visualisations just pure singing. I asked about it and was told that "because the energy has been built up over thousands of years we can connect to the dhammapala without needing to visualise we can just connect to it by song" this didn't sit right with me.

4 For me Bodhicitta is 80% of the reason I want to do this at all.
-The meditation we did had one line which was kind of an implied bodhicitta and there was no dedication of merit at the end. Again, this was implied. I am not a "legit" practictioner, but I have done a few years worth of Tara, Menla and Vajrasattva Sadhanas and the Guruyoga done on the Dzogchen online community and the one in the diamond way center was extremely streamlined and felt a bit out. Kinda like walking into a whitepainted protestant church after being used to orthodox incenceladen Greece.... ;)

4 I should look for a lama, not a sangha. true that.
-But guys, how do I do that without being the outsider who has x years of other experience running around? The only Lama I have any experience of is HH Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche over the webcasts and he seems very legit. However there is no way he will be my Lama ;)
My serious plan was to do that retreat in Switzerland. Chod sits right with me (it was one of the things mentioned in Neels magic and mysticism in tibet I read when I was a wee boy) So maybe I start there, take refuge with the Lama doing the course and see where that goes?
-Would you suggest I go around to a few centers and .... hang around? i am out of my depth here.

Magnus if you have any advice for scandinavia, I'm all ears. pm me ?

Geographically I am ok to travel to UK/Scandinavia/Netherlands/Belgium/Germany but the centers where I am are low on resident Lamas....

5 If I'm into the yoga and tantric layperson trip then kagyu or Nyigma Lama is what I need to go for
-so which european groups are legit?
-I wonder if it would be useful to create a thread similar to the one on the kagyu forum for each school, outlining the "modus operandi" of each school as it were?
-My gut feeling is not to "collect" empowerments, yet it seems that it is very difficult to know which school/guru/lama works for one without occasions to meet them/try them?

Thanks so much for the responses this far. I hope I am not too vexing. This is really helping to get my bearings!
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby heart » Thu May 23, 2013 8:58 am

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche have Gomde's in England, Austria and Denmark and small study groups in most European countries for example Stockholm (which is were I am).

Tulku Dakpa has a center in Helsinki, Finland. He teaches Longchen Nyingthig to his students. Taklung Tstrul Rinpoche will give the complete Longchen Nyingthig empowerments there in september.

Jigme Khyentse and Tulku Pema Wangyal in France http://www.songtsen.org/F/chanteloube/apropos.php

These are just a few suggestions, there are many possibilities.

/magnus
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Lingpupa » Thu May 23, 2013 9:25 am

Hi Glasswalker,

I'll put my cards on the table to begin with: Ole totally gets up my nose.

That said, the "waiting in line for a blessing", though it would be a cold day in hell when I did that for ON, is not particularly unusual when a really, really, really high Lama is on the throne.

As far as I saw in the thread above, nobody has mentioned that traditionally there is a question mark over your practice of Tara, Menla and Vajrasattva without having received appropriate empowerments. It is true that Tara (and Chenrezi, for example) are not "highest yoga tantra" deities, and I don't think many people would think you would exactly get into trouble through practising them at this stage, but it is said to be much more effective if you have the empowerments.

There is a strong tradition that mahamudra, which normally would be supported by the ngondro (and with particular emphasis on Guruyoga, which will be no surprise if you have had teachings from ChNNR) can take you all the way to enlightenment, and that this is a path outside of both sutra and tantra. But this is not a wishy-washy streamlining - it would appear to require intense commitment and practice. So again I must concede that ON has the beginnings of a point here, but it does sound as if he's exaggerating it. It is ridiculous, if I may say so, to suggest that ngondro and guru yoga have the "same" effect as, for example, tummo, unless you are taking the "well it's all going in the same direction in the end, isn't it, so it doesn't matter, does it" line.

I understand very well what you mean by
...the traditionalism in some of the centers that basically seem to be aimed at turning you into a monk and not considering the tantrika/yogin aspect of a layperson.

Be glad that they have made that clear! There are centres which, on the face of it, are there primarily to serve and support people with jobs, families and responsibilities – "householders", you may say – but where the teachings basically revolve around being nice to your spouse, parents, children etc., and the meditation instruction is largely limited to observing your breath, a bit of lojong, and the chanting of a few prayers. These are, of course, very good things, but they are probably not what you are looking for.

I would say that, in spite of the famous examples of Marpa and Milarepa, many kagyu centres and teachers (okay, this is a broad brush, don't take it as a fixed rule) do seem to view the majority of their "sangha", i.e. the householders, as a kind of feedstock (which is really too harsh, but you probably know what I mean), and that "juicy" teachings are reserved for people in three-year retreat (and not necessarily their first three-year retreat either). I have always been very impressed with Samye Ling in Scotland, but I have hardly ever been there, so I can't tell you what it's like in that respect. Surely, though, in the light of what you say about travel, it would be well worth checking out.

If that doesn't work, you may find Nyingma groups more open to the idea of being a serious practitioner while still having an ordinary life. Again, of course, I'm painting with an extremely broad brush, so there is probably no substitute for a lot of hard looking. Good luck with it!
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Thu May 23, 2013 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Deleted reference to Karmapa "controversy".
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Glasswalker » Thu May 23, 2013 10:47 am

Great thanks guys n gals

Magnus, could you PM me about Stockholm if you have a moment?

re the Practices: I have received permission to do them (via a Lama from the lets not mention the kadampa tradition name) I am ok to do them I simply don't do arise as. this is fully sutra and practiced even outside Vajrayana.

I agree that if one takes the "All roads lead to Rome" thats fine what Ole says. However, lets say that the end result isn't the ultimate goal ;) (can of worms warning).
There is a lot in HYT and the energy work that does lead to "Realisation" and there is stuff that doesn't. For example you can do mindfulness meditation from now until the cows go home and still not become enlightened. You can also have received pointing out instruction actually realised yourself as a realised being, yet be completely at an odds when asked to stop the hail or ward of famine. Which is something we sometimes forget in the west that yogins do.
So if we assume that there is an endgoal "Rome" you might still want to visit other areas. In Zen there is a massive difference between realising satori and understanding Zen as an enlightenment thing and the creation of the eternal body that one inhabits after the bodies physical death...

But I guess thats whether we understand everything as metaphors for inner transformation and hold on to a notion of process/skills/understanding being indivisible or not...

There is a lot of good replies here. Thanks to everyone who replied and to those of you who PM:ed me. Much appreciated.
I feel more confident regarding where to stick my nose and I'm certain I will get some good info personally.

I'll return to forumstalking and will ask again if I need your expertise. Thanks everyone this has been really good. (and first fully positive forum experience as a new poster to boot)
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 23, 2013 11:16 am

Lingpupa wrote:I would say that, in spite of the famous examples of Marpa and Milarepa, many kagyu centres and teachers (okay, this is a broad brush, don't take it as a fixed rule) do seem to view the majority of their "sangha", i.e. the householders, as a kind of feedstock (which is really too harsh, but you probably know what I mean), and that "juicy" teachings are reserved for people in three-year retreat (and not necessarily their first three-year retreat either).
Hogwash on two major accounts: 1. Ngondro IS a "juicy" teaching, there are examples of practitioners gaining realisations through Ngondro alone. 2. If you have completed Ngondro practices, or are in the process of completing them, ie you have shown that you are a "serious" practitioner, then many lama will give you "juicy" teachings without you having done the 3 year retreat. The three year retreat is a prerequisite if you want to be a lama. Of course, learning/applying the practices outside of retreat, takes a hell of a lot longer.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 23, 2013 12:21 pm

PS The OP may wish to check out this thread too: http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=7407#p88087
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Lingpupa » Fri May 24, 2013 10:26 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Hogwash on two major accounts: 1. Ngondro IS a "juicy" teaching, there are examples of practitioners gaining realisations through Ngondro alone.

I take your point. I didn't want to spill even more ink outlining what I meant, and chose "juicy" as a shorthand, thinking most people would have a sense of what I was getting at - that's why I put it inside quotes.
But bearing in mind that you go on to use the word yourself in your next statement, I think you yourself do indeed have a sense of what I meant:
2. If you have completed Ngondro practices, or are in the process of completing them, ie you have shown that you are a "serious" practitioner, then many lama will give you "juicy" teachings without you having done the 3 year retreat.

Yes, certainly, but to some extent also no, if I may say so. For sure, you will get more "advanced" teachings (let me repeat that I do take your point about Ngondro being "juicy"), but I submit that there is often a "glass ceiling", hard to pass through without doing a (or two or three) three-year retreats.

But to thrash this out thoroughly we would have to be much more specific about what we mean by "juicy" or "advanced", and that would require going into a level of detail that would probably not be helpful.
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 am

Lingpupa wrote:Yes, certainly, but to some extent also no, if I may say so. For sure, you will get more "advanced" teachings (let me repeat that I do take your point about Ngondro being "juicy"), but I submit that there is often a "glass ceiling", hard to pass through without doing a (or two or three) three-year retreats.

But to thrash this out thoroughly we would have to be much more specific about what we mean by "juicy" or "advanced", and that would require going into a level of detail that would probably not be helpful.
I do believe that that we can "thrash it out" without going into details about practices.

Suffice to say that the whole "three year retreat" deal has more to do with the standardisation of a monastic curriculim than the substantial or intrinsic quality of the practices themselves. The whole idea of the retreats seems to have originated with the back-flip that the Kagyu lineage made when it transformed from a bunch of dirty roaming yogis to gompas and shedras. The stories of the 84 mahasiddhas are testimony to that fact. Now you may say that maybe there is more left unsaid in the stories than said, this does not invalidate the fact that many of the mahasiddhas never left their day-to-day life in order to practice and reach extraordinary levels of realisation and capacity.

So I am going to have to disagree that there is a glass-ceiling, I would say that there are definitely benefits to the three year retreat: time being one of them, pressure to complete the practices, a more stable practice environment, direct daily access to a teacher, etc...

But (and this, for me is the crux of the matter): is it really necessary to complete all those practices if one is not going to be a lama, or is the yidam (more than) enough?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Lingpupa » Fri May 24, 2013 2:25 pm

We are of almost one mind, as it happens.
gregkavarnos wrote:Suffice to say that the whole "three year retreat" deal has more to do with the standardisation of a monastic curriculim than the substantial or intrinsic quality of the practices themselves.

I couldn't agree more.
The whole idea of the retreats seems to have originated with the back-flip that the Kagyu lineage made when it transformed from a bunch of dirty roaming yogis to gompas and shedras. The stories of the 84 mahasiddhas are testimony to that fact.

Again I second you entirely.

...many of the mahasiddhas never left their day-to-day life in order to practice and reach extraordinary levels of realisation and capacity.

I know, I know, and I would be really happy if this approach was more honoured these days.

I would say that there are definitely benefits to the three year retreat: time being one of them, pressure to complete the practices, a more stable practice environment, direct daily access to a teacher, etc...

I have to quote you slightly out of sequence here, but I don't think it changes what you say. The above sentence is, I believe, almost obvious, and I expect most of us would agree with it. But you preface it with:
So I am going to have to disagree that there is a glass-ceiling,


I suspect that the reason you disagree is that we have understood this phrase differently. I am not saying (or at any rate I did not intend to say) that there has to be, needs to be or should be a glass ceiling. What I wanted to say is that the tradition as we have it now tends to insert a glass ceiling, and tell students that "Well, this much you can do, as a kind of preparation, but if you want to do the Six Yogas then maybe that will come at the end of your first three year retreat, or maybe not". (I'm using the Six Yogas merely as an example, because they are well known.)

But (and this, for me is the crux of the matter): is it really necessary to complete all those practices if one is not going to be a lama, or is the yidam (more than) enough?

Once again I agree entirely, although there is the question of whether its the outer version of the yidam practice, or the inner version, or the secret version, or the ultimate version or the ultimate secret version, or... Well, I'm being humorous there (or trying to be), but that kind of structure also has, I suspect, a political/institutional purpose as much as a spiritual one.
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Re: Karma Kagyu versus Diamond way

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 24, 2013 4:13 pm

Lingpupa wrote:I suspect that the reason you disagree is that we have understood this phrase differently. I am not saying (or at any rate I did not intend to say) that there has to be, needs to be or should be a glass ceiling. What I wanted to say is that the tradition as we have it now tends to insert a glass ceiling, and tell students that "Well, this much you can do, as a kind of preparation, but if you want to do the Six Yogas then maybe that will come at the end of your first three year retreat, or maybe not". (I'm using the Six Yogas merely as an example, because they are well known.)
I dig what you are saying. I guess it all depends on ones lama as to how "far" along the path they want to take you. The truth is though that as a practitioner, outside of a retreat situation, you need to start out quite early and be really dedicated to be able to complete the institutional prerequisites. On the other hand, you may have the karma to meet a lama that assesses your situation and just hands you over a yidam. You may not even be aware they have done so. I have personally seen this happen (not to me, to a friend...).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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