Dazzle wrote:Hi Luke,
With respect, the purpose of my practice has never been to be able to have fantastic experiences or do ''interesting things', (and I didn't say such things were horrible or severely condemn anyone). Actually I probably stopped having fantasies of being Superwoman with superpowers when I was about 10.
Okay, let me be more clear. I didn't intend to simply bounce negativities back and forth with you. Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully. If I upset you in some way, I apologize.
The main purpose of my practice is not to have fantastic experiences. My main goal is to one day realize the true nature of my mind and reality (okay, this might be a fantastic experience, but it's the most important one) and to teach others to do the same. To me, the extreme accuracy with which Buddhism describes the mind and reality is what is special about it. What appeals most to me about Tibetan Buddhism is its approach of simultaneously developing wisdom and compassion and its myriad tools for developing the mind.
Yes, I know that you didn't say that being interested in paranormal powers was horrible. However, I know that many people who practice Vajrayana (at least publicly) say basically that anyone who is interested in such things is an idiot; this is what I disagree with and this is what I was reacting against. It's possible to be both an ethical, mature person and be interested in siddhis. One gains morality points in the eyes of other Vajrayana practioners by publicly expressing disdain and grave concern about these things; however, these same people who criticize these things are often most interested in the advanced practices of the Six Yogas of Naropa, Dzogchen, and Chöd which do indeed have some fantastic elements themselves.
My teacher told us " If you want to learn magic or have fantastic experiences - go and look for a magician, this isn't the right place for you,"
I don't mean any disrespect towards your teacher, but I'd like to respond to this.
If what he meant by "magician" was simply a stage magician like David Copperfield, then this is completely different. This type of magician does not possess any paranormal abilities, and therefore could teach nothing interesting to seekers of the occult.
If your teacher meant a non-Buddhist with paranormal abilities by the word "magician," then where would anyone find a person who knows as much about these things as masters of Tibetan Buddhism do (except perhaps Bön practitioners, who are very similar)? As far as I know, there simply aren't any non-Vajrayana practioners who know these things. Ancient Tibetan lamas always seemed to display greater powers than mere "magicians": this is why seekers of the occult want to study with them. Reading Tarot cards in a New Age bookshop is a poor substitute. Even Aleister Crowley's abilities paled in comparison to those of great lamas.
Once my own lama said, "Buddhism isn't about learning 'tricks.' " This of course is true, but the word 'tricks' trivializes the significance of siddhis to many people. To a great lama with great powers and a very high viewpoint, siddhis are indeed merely 'tricks' because he/she can do them easily and sees how they are of minor importance compared to attaining Enlightenment.
However, to many people, experiencing first-hand, reliable proof of paranormal phenomena might well be the most important event in their lives. If these things were easy to do and experience, everyone would be doing them, but clearly they are not. Experiencing proof of paranormal things beyond the scope of modern science has the capacity to radically transform a person's view of the world and shows them the possibilities which lie within the universe and the mind. In this sense, these things are not mere 'tricks.'
Also, lamas are human too, and I think that some of them who can't do these things might be jealous of those who can, just like lots of guitar players without a lot of technique complain that some other guitar players play "too fast."
http://www.dharma-media.org/ratnashripj ... bwang.htmlDrubwang Rinpoche has accomplished the highest state of meditative realization. Occasionally he has performed miracles in order to inspire the disciples of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni - especially for Vajrayana practitioners, and in particular for the Drikung Kagyu lineage...
Dazzle wrote: I am of course aware of many different accounts of siddhi. Can you give me some reliable quotes refering to ancient Buddhist masters displaying siddhi specifically for the purpose of promoting Buddhism, please?
...One day Drubwang Rinpoche traveled with a couple of his attendants to the district of Manali, and visited some very remote places. One area he visited used to be a Buddhist place, but because it was so remote and had lots of snowfall in the winter, over time there were no longer any teachers or lamas available there to teach. It had become place unknown to Buddhists. He found that there were still some ancient temples walls, paintings and a prayer wheel there. However, the prayer wheel was no longer turning and the doors were all closed up by a stone wall. There were only these signs of the past Buddhist activities, but no longer were these temples or sacred prayer wheels being maintained or taken care of. When Drubwang Rinpoche arrived in this remote area, many people came to see him and receive his blessings. He asked them to open up the blocked windows and doors to reveal the old prayer wheel hidden inside. The people were very curious why he was opening up this old prayer wheel. After they had done as he asked, and everything had been cleared away, Drubwang Rinpoche sat down outside the doors to the large prayer wheel and he began to meditate. The people there also joined his meditation. After about 15 to 20 minutes, the prayer wheel began to spontaneously turn. The people began to make prostrations and their devotion to him began to increase. Drubwang Rinpoche stayed there for a couple of months and gave many teachings and personal advice to the people there. During that time the people were very devoted and made a lot of offerings to him. When it is was time for Drubwang Rinpoche to leave that place, he left all the donations he had received there to the people in order for them to restore the old monasteries and ancient prayer wheel.