Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

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Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:20 pm

Hello everyone,

I have a dilemma. I am contemplating "switching" dharma centers -- from a Kagyu center to the Gelug Center. I've been to the Kagyu center only a few times seven years ago.
I feel close to the Kagyu teachers there & the community. That hasn't changed. However, I only recently realized how important it is to be physically close to experienced
teachers & students. I don't think this will be possible for me with the Kagyu center. The Gelug center is much closer, & more convenient.
The Kagyu center is farther away, & I may not be able to attend it many times.

My question in brief is: Is it okay in some circumstances to switch centers & traditions? I imagine that this is not advisable for those firmly set on a path. However, I am just
a beginner. I did not know about the different traditions when I first came to the Kagyu center. Further, I imagine that beginners may need to first get a taste of the different traditions,
before choosing one path or the other. Would you agree?
I am contemplating whether or not to meet with the Kagyu teacher first & talk to him about this...On the other hand I haven't been there for so long, that this may not be as important as I make
it to be. I would like your input -- perhaps it will help me see things more clearly.

Much love
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:32 pm

I don't see any cause for alarm at all here. :namaste:

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby Minjeay » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:45 am

Dear Seeker,

I think as a western disciple you really shouldn't worry about this traditions too much. As long as you don't have an intimate teacher-disciple-relationship with a teacher, or don't have MUCH trust in him, there is no need to ask someone for permission to do something in your spiritual life. And hey, it is YOUR development! If this brings you any further, why should you not do it? I would advise you to not let such issues confuse you. What is important all about these things is the question, whether someone is able to help you move on with your personal and spiritual development and not which tradition such a person belongs to.

Anyway, if you are used to Kagyu teachings, you may have to adapt to a different use of terms and language and maybe even different attitudes concerning spiritual matters - but for the latter, I think, that depends more on the persons who run a particular center than just on the tradition.
And of course you MIGHT face sectarian attitudes in centers, which might be a topic if you mention that you have a background with a "different" tradition - but I would say that sectarianism might be a reason to not attend to such a center at all, as such a behaviour, or confirming such a behaviour in interested persons, does not reflect high spiritual development ;-)

Best wishes
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby Simon E. » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:34 am

I think it can take a little trial and error before settling down...it is also though easy in our age to switch for all sorts of reasons that might not be too clever in the long run. The Kagyu or Gelug ancestors were for the most part born into a village tradition depending on the affiliation of the local Lama.
We on the other hand are spoilt for choice.

So, experiment a little. I did...but settle down at some point.

Simon E.
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:38 am

I'm sure an abusive teacher or cult group would want you to think there is something wrong with going away to some reputable teacher or teachers because then you'd realize how they lied to you. When I was young and stupid I grabbed onto the first teacher I met and he was very strict about not learning from other sources. Later I found out he was making up everything and had no empowerments. He just didn't want me asking questions or learning of his deception.

Je Tsongkhapa had many many teachers from many specific lineages. Kagyupa is enfolded in Geluk. Both lineage heads are on good terms with each other. There should be no real conflict. The teachings are compiled in different ways however, so it means more memorization for you.

MORE THAN ONE TEACHER IS GOOD! You need empowerment lamas, tutor lamas, vow lamas, root lamas, and these almost never can all be the same person.
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:47 am

As you haven't been there in 7 years, and only a few times then, I'd say there shouldn't be any question or issue if this is ok.

Investigating which tradition you're "in tune with" for lack of a better term, is ok. You need to find your path.
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Switching dharma centers -- not advisable?

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:28 pm

Thank you all so much for your input, I found it useful. Many thanks. :namaste:
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