Empowerments outside the Lineage

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Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby cataractmoon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:10 am

What are the various positions of taking and practicing empowerments outside the Karma Kagyu lineage? I realize teachers hold multiple lineages and am not really interested in the teacher angle. I am more interested in the student angle. Is it wise? Problematic? Harmful? Confusing to practice one Yidam from a lineage that may differ in practice in another lineage?

Thanks!
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:54 am

I think it depends on what you're practicing, and also who is instructing you in practice.

For example, Vajrayogini in Sakya (Naro Khacho) and Vajrayogini/Varahi in Kamstang, are different.....if one is going to practice one of these, you should choose one, and not try to practice both simultaneously. Maybe taking empowerments in both systems is okay, though with the main yidams, such as this one, there's usually some sort of practice commitment.

Same with Dharmapalas, I think.....some Dharmapalas are more specific to a given lineage, others are more "shared." But even then, the details can differ.....a good example from my personal experience is White Mahakala. The sadhana as practiced by Shangpa (and Karma) Kagyu differs from that practiced in the Sakya, I believe.

The bigger question is why one would want to obtain a given empowerment. If it is with the intent of serious practice, and commitment, I would think you'd want to stick with one lineage at a time.

Some traditions stress the actual Empowerment Ceremony as a path--Nyingma in particular--while others stress that, though it's possible to view that way, empowerment is more of a ripening......for most of us.

These are my observations, so take all this with a grain of salt.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby maybay » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:09 am

cataractmoon wrote:What are the various positions of taking and practicing empowerments outside the Karma Kagyu lineage? I realize teachers hold multiple lineages and am not really interested in the teacher angle. I am more interested in the student angle. Is it wise? Problematic? Harmful? Confusing to practice one Yidam from a lineage that may differ in practice in another lineage?

Thanks!

The first empowerment I received from a Karma Kagyu master was actually Nyingma. The style of presentation is similar. Run with either the studied Sakya or the more laissez-faire Kagyu/Nyingma.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Lingpupa » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:41 am

maybay wrote:... either the studied Sakya or the more laissez-faire Kagyu/Nyingma.

I say old chap, steady on there. Wielding a bit of a broad brush over the delicate painting, aren't you?
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby maybay » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:55 pm

I don't know, am I? Just my experience.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:22 pm

conebeckham wrote:The bigger question is why one would want to obtain a given empowerment. If it is with the intent of serious practice, and commitment, I would think you'd want to stick with one lineage at a time.


Circumstances may dictate otherwise. You may have to move and not have your lineage available.

Some traditions stress the actual Empowerment Ceremony as a path--Nyingma in particular--


Empowerments are also a path in Sakya.

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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Dharmaswede » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:09 pm

conebeckham wrote:

Some traditions stress the actual Empowerment Ceremony as a path--


Does this path entail anything beyond the obvious (attending empowerment ceremonies)? Are there norms for what empowerments should be sought out?

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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby maybay » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:39 pm

Dharmaswede wrote:
conebeckham wrote:

Some traditions stress the actual Empowerment Ceremony as a path--


Does this path entail anything beyond the obvious (attending empowerment ceremonies)?

Faith in the master and the ritual, right motivation, your vivid attention, and a solid understanding of Mahayana doctrine would go a long way. There are always vows involved, and occassionally there's a practice commitment.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:14 pm

Chokyi Nyima rinpoche talks about empowerements relatively extensively in his book called - The Bardo Guidebook.

he also says that if you do not generate or have any realization experience during the empowerment, you did not receive the empowerement in its full form or potential. something like that.
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He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Karma Jinpa » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Dharmaswede wrote:
conebeckham wrote:

Some traditions stress the actual Empowerment Ceremony as a path--


Does this path entail anything beyond the obvious (attending empowerment ceremonies)? Are there norms for what empowerments should be sought out?

Best Regards,

Jens


Garchen Rinpoche is known to have said that empowerment is the Vajrayana equivalent of Sojong, the Mahayana practice of "Restoration and Purification."

http://www.kagyu.org/monlam/vows.php

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sojong

http://www.scribd.com/doc/98796510/Garchen-Rinpoche-Phowa-Teachings-2011-12
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby smcj » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:51 pm

Empowerments are fine. Beware of commitments though. Find out beforehand what you're agreeing to. You don't want a lot of baggage.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Karma Jinpa » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:42 pm

smcj wrote:Empowerments are fine. Beware of commitments though. Find out beforehand what you're agreeing to. You don't want a lot of baggage.


An additional caution: taking empowerments from a guru creates samaya bonds with both that guru and those present who are taking the empowerment with you. So it all goes back to thoroughly investigating the lama.

I've heard it said that it is difficult to break such bonds once they are forged, and that it is a severe transgression if one does.

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དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:32 pm

conebeckham wrote:Same with Dharmapalas, I think.....some Dharmapalas are more specific to a given lineage, others are more "shared." But even then, the details can differ.....a good example from my personal experience is White Mahakala. The sadhana as practiced by Shangpa (and Karma) Kagyu differs from that practiced in the Sakya, I believe.


Are you certain? I thought basically all Chadrukpa lineages originate with the Shangpa Kagyud, including Gonkar.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby conebeckham » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:40 pm

Well, there's a Nyingma Chagdrupa, actually, I think in the Jangter lineage....and I think it didn't come from Shangpa--IIRC. I'll try to find it and post a link...

But yes, in general, all the popular Chagdrupa practices, including Gonkar, have Shangpa sources...my point was that there may be different sadhanas out there. Sakya Gonkar sadhana, I believe, differs from the ones practiced by Karma Kagyu folks.

The source can be common, while the sadhana gets changed.
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby conebeckham » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:57 pm

http://www.treasuryoflives.org/biograph ... Dorje/3010

There's a bit here about a Nyingma revalation of Six Armed Mahakala. Also, there's a comment in Kongtrul's autobio about the "Nyingma volume of Chagdrupa instructions" and there's info out there about Jangter's Chagdrupa, which has three faces and six arms (naturally), and is held in higher esteem than the normal "Nyingma Mahakala Supreme" said to be Gonpo MaNing. This Chagdrupa is practiced at Khordong Monastery presently, and I think it came from Rigdzin Godem...so, it's Terma, and not associated with the Shangpa. (Shangpa does have a three-faced Chagdrupa, incidentally...it's pretty uncommon).
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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby Karma Jinpa » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:37 am

conebeckham wrote:...Jangter's Chagdrupa, which has three faces and six arms (naturally), and is held in higher esteem than the normal "Nyingma Mahakala Supreme" said to be Gonpo MaNing...


Interesting how one can be held in higher esteem than the supreme Mahakala emanation... :shrug:

Does anyone have some good sources of info on Gonpo MaNing? He's a subject of some curiosity for me, as the first protector I encountered. :stirthepot:
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


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Re: Empowerments outside the Lineage

Postby conebeckham » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:20 pm

What I think was meant, is that in general, MaNing is the supreme Mahakala emanation in many Nyingma lineages...or so I've heard. So, Jangter presents an anamoly.

But Nyingma Mahakala information in general is pretty scarce. I'd bet, though, that most Kamtsang folks would say Bernakchen is supreme, and his is a terma tradition!
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