More Trungpa talk

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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby flavio81 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:25 am

I went through all fourteen pages.

Once, about 10 years ago, i -already some years in vajrayana- was told to read "Cutting through spriritual materialism".
I was blown away. It was -and still is- the most concise, dense, straight, practical, clarifying, straightening book i have ever read not only in tibetan buddhism, but in spirituality in general. It blew my mind. Before it, i had pieces of buddhist info in my head. The book assembled the whole puzzle of pieces and i saw the big picture. This came as a shock.

I didn't know anything about Trungpa but i set myself to research about the guy. I then found out that he drank alcohol, had sex, etc.

Rather than find this outrageous, i found it amusing. Because i had no doubt that the teachings on that book were 100.00% pure, Tibetan Buddhism, and that such a book could only have been with a person with very deep knowledge of dharma based on real insight, not just intellectual knowledge.

Now, there are people who still are shocked and start claiming things like Trungpa "did harm to other people", that his drinking was unacceptable, and this and that.

We are buddhists here. Chogyam Trungpa was a buddhist master of the Kagyu lineage. He was also a tulku. So, to judge him as a "good" or "bad" buddhist master one should use strictly the criteria of the Kagyu lineage, NOT our vulgar preconceptions of good and bad inherited from centuries of Catholic moral.

So let's see. Was he certified "good" by a respected Kagyu authority? Yes, by none other than the 16th Karmapa, one of the last true great mahasiddhas on the western world, who expressed about CTR in no other terms than being his "heart son" and being "no different" than him. Also by the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche.

Chogyam Trungpa had an immense task -- to bring tibetan buddhism to the western world in the most skillful way. And he delivered.

The first step was to understand the culture and the language. He went to England to learn the language. He did it. By the late 1960s he was probably the tibetan buddhist master with the best command of the english language. He also learned everything he could learn that was related to the western world.

DRUGS

He went to USA to find deluded, hedonistic folks that indulged themselves in drugs, and used all sorts of New Age and eastern spirituality to ultimately increase their egos. Chogyam Trungpa mingled with the hippies, and with the Ginsberg-like crowd, and tried the drugs these guys were taking, NOT to indulge himself, but to have a full understanding of the way these guys were living and experiencing life. Doing everything -including doing things that have the danger to damage yourself- to best understand the needs of your disciple is no other than an example of immense compassion. For example, on "Cutting through spiritual materialism" Trungpa explains very clearly and logically why taking LSD will not help the person progress further on his path, for example. To say this with authority, is logical that he had to actually try LSD first, otherwise how could he give valid, useful advice on it? Same with the rest of the drugs the deluded hippies consumed. Trungpa's advice always came from actual experience, not cheap moralistic considerations.

Afterwards, he "opened his mouth" and sweep his disciple's feet. In an extremely skillful way, he clearly explained to these westerners the immense amount of damage they were doing to themselves, coining the very appropriate term of "spiritual materialism". The ones that got the message, stayed with him, left the New Age things, and started practicing actual Kagyu buddhism. The lectures were 100% pure and true to the lineage.

SEX and PRIVACY

To people obsessed with the sex topic, you must understand that lay and/or nomadic Tibetan culture has an attitude to sex that, from the viewpoint of the Bible Belt would totally be described as "promiscuous". He wasn't a monk anymore so there were no reason he couldn't have sex.

Reading the "Dragon Thunder" book by CTR's wife (Diana Mukpo) will be a revelation for the CTR naysayers.

Trungpa chose to literally have ZERO private life. Anyone could and would enter his room and he would attend him/her, no matter what time. He never hid anything from his personal life. This was disconcerting to Diana, initially.

Picture this: Diana had fathered kids with CTR. Then she had another lover. The lover was a closer student of CTR. He then had a kid with Diana. NOTHING was kept private from no-one, not only CTR was well aware of everything but actually the three hung around together and cared for each other, literally like a family. Diana was always well aware of all of Trungpa's sexuality. Which you could NOT call "affairs" (because they weren't hidden from anyone) nor exploits (because, correctly understood, the purpose is not to take advantage of the other person but to aid them into their dharma path. Sex is the ultimate form of personal communication.)

It is wrong to judge this behavior assuming CTR's mind was mundane. In the same way it is plainly wrong for a student to try to behave as CTR did, without having exactly his same level of realization, endorsed by somebody of the straospheric caliber of someone like the 16th karmapa.

Again, CTR wasn't your typical sutrayana buddhism master. He was acting right within the framework of the Kagyu tradition, which he was an approved member. The drinking, the sex, getting two specific students naked by force, etc, make perfect sense once one studies the life of Tilopa, Naropa, and Marpa, three of the most important historic masters of the Kagyu lineage, as correctly pointed out on previous posts.

THE CAR CRASH

According to lady Diana, he wasn't drunk (this was england late 1960s, CTR did not had yet any taste of the US hippie life). He crashed his car into a joke shop. No one got seriously hurt but himself. Trungpa was very shocked by this (no pun intended) and took this as a clear message of the utmost importance. He wrote about this:

I realized that I could no longer attempt to preserve any privacy for myself, any special identity or legitimacy. I should not hide behind the robes of a monk, creating an impression of inscrutabilty which, for me, turned out to be only an obstacle. With a sense of further involving myself with the sangha, I determined to give up my monastic vows. More than ever, I felt myself given over to serving the cause of buddhism.


ALCOHOL

Many videos of Trunga's talks show him with physical signs (eyes, body movements) of being under the physical influence of alcohol. But what is startling is that his mind didn't seem to be affected by him. This is confirmed once he opens his mouth and starts to talk. Zero nonsense came out from that mouth. Can we, then, honestly say his mind was "inebriated" or "intoxicated"?

Diana Mukpo, on her book, notes she didn't like Trungpa drinking at all, that it wasn't good at all for his health, obviously. Here is the only real controversy or mystery i can find with CTR. No one knows for sure why he did drink so much to put his own health at risk. On past posts somebody has noted that perhaps it was his way to deal with the physical pain he chronically suffer after his accident. Any guess?

But it cannot be stressed enough that CTR's alcohol consumption did harm no other than himself and only himself, for he never stopped teaching.

OZEL TENDZIN / THE REGENT

Diana's book is very fair and honest with this topic. Basically, according to her, Thomas Rich was a very applied disciple, with a lot of very good qualities and very liked and appreciated by everybody in the community. But, of course, he wasn't a realized being. He got VIH (when it was a new thing) and when it was an open secret he -according to Diana- started telling other people not to worry because CTR told him the practices will shield him and others from any damage. According to Diana, Trungpa did NOT give this advice to Thomas Rich and rather started getting very worried about what to do with the guy... So from this point of view, one cannot put the blame on the HIV infections on CTR.

LEGACY

As far as i know, CTR was the first tibetan-born, fully-monasticly-educated Tibetan Buddhism master to establish himself and to teach in USA.
Many standard terminology used on tibetan buddhistm books was actually coined by CTR.
He was the first one to bring a major tibetan buddhist lineage head (the 16th Karmapa) to the new continent.

Perhaps without him, we wouldn't be writing about tibetan buddhism in this forum. Or our knowledge of tibetan buddhism would come exclusively from scholars.

And here, i stop.
If this is a virtual sangha, do we achieve virtualization instead of realization?
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby smcj » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:40 am

Perhaps without him, we wouldn't be writing about tibetan buddhism in this forum. Or our knowledge of tibetan buddhism would come exclusively from scholars.

He got Tibetan Dharma jump-started in the U.S., no doubt. By that time people were getting tired of the offering of Hindu swamis available so it would have happened anyway, but slower, and the Kagyus would certainly not have the prominence they do now.

Whether you be pro or con that much is safe to say, imho.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby muni » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:47 am

dzogchungpa wrote:I watched "When the Iron Bird Flies" the other day, and I was impressed by Tsultrim Allione's presence. I started to read about her, and, what do you know, turns out she's a Trungpaite too! I'm not sure if he was her very first lama, but based on her bio: http://taramandala.org/about/lama-tsultrim/, and her preface to "Women of Wisdom", it seems that he was. Truly, the man's influence on western Buddhism is incalculable.

Here's an excerpt from the book:
After a year I managed to get to a Tibetan meditation center called
Samye Ling in Scotland. The day I arrived I heard that the abbot of
the place, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, was to return from the
hospital where he had been recovering from a car accident. I had
imagined he would be a wise-looking old man, so when I saw him
I was shocked to see a youthful, handsome Tibetan, who was still
badly paralyzed from his accident.

I did not have any contact with Trungpa Rinpoche for several
months, because he was still too weak to receive people and he was
surrounded by a group of very possessive disciples. When I finally
did meet him, it was quite funny and wonderful.

I was scheduled for an official "interview," which was something
I had never experienced before. I told the people organizing the interviews
that I had no idea what to say to him, but they assured me
that I need not worry, for he would start the conversation. So I went
into the room and sat timidly on the floor in front of his chair and
looked at him. He did not say anything; nor did I. We stayed like
that for about forty-five minutes.

Now I realize that what happened was some kind of mind-to-
mind transmission, but at the time I only knew that I had experienced
something that was completely beyond words and form. It
reminded me of some of the experiences I had had sitting near the
stupa at Swayambhu. It was an experience of space that extended
outward without any reference back. This space was luminous and
bliss-provoking, a release, similar to, but beyond, sexual orgasm.
When I emerged everyone was eager to know what he had said and
I had to respond, "Nothing!"


Wow. When Buddha turned silent he was explaining what cannot be touched by words.
In silence the questions are answers at the same time.

Oh well, what do I know?
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:37 pm

flavio81 wrote:I went through all fourteen pages.

Once, about 10 years ago, i -already some years in vajrayana- was told to read "Cutting through spriritual materialism".
I was blown away. It was -and still is- the most concise, dense, straight, practical, clarifying, straightening book i have ever read not only in tibetan buddhism, but in spirituality in general. It blew my mind. Before it, i had pieces of buddhist info in my head. The book assembled the whole puzzle of pieces and i saw the big picture. This came as a shock.

I didn't know anything about Trungpa but i set myself to research about the guy. I then found out that he drank alcohol, had sex, etc.

Rather than find this outrageous, i found it amusing. Because i had no doubt that the teachings on that book were 100.00% pure, Tibetan Buddhism, and that such a book could only have been with a person with very deep knowledge of dharma based on real insight, not just intellectual knowledge.

Now, there are people who still are shocked and start claiming things like Trungpa "did harm to other people", that his drinking was unacceptable, and this and that.

We are buddhists here. Chogyam Trungpa was a buddhist master of the Kagyu lineage. He was also a tulku. So, to judge him as a "good" or "bad" buddhist master one should use strictly the criteria of the Kagyu lineage, NOT our vulgar preconceptions of good and bad inherited from centuries of Catholic moral.

So let's see. Was he certified "good" by a respected Kagyu authority? Yes, by none other than the 16th Karmapa, one of the last true great mahasiddhas on the western world, who expressed about CTR in no other terms than being his "heart son" and being "no different" than him. Also by the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche.

Chogyam Trungpa had an immense task -- to bring tibetan buddhism to the western world in the most skillful way. And he delivered.

The first step was to understand the culture and the language. He went to England to learn the language. He did it. By the late 1960s he was probably the tibetan buddhist master with the best command of the english language. He also learned everything he could learn that was related to the western world.

DRUGS

He went to USA to find deluded, hedonistic folks that indulged themselves in drugs, and used all sorts of New Age and eastern spirituality to ultimately increase their egos. Chogyam Trungpa mingled with the hippies, and with the Ginsberg-like crowd, and tried the drugs these guys were taking, NOT to indulge himself, but to have a full understanding of the way these guys were living and experiencing life. Doing everything -including doing things that have the danger to damage yourself- to best understand the needs of your disciple is no other than an example of immense compassion. For example, on "Cutting through spiritual materialism" Trungpa explains very clearly and logically why taking LSD will not help the person progress further on his path, for example. To say this with authority, is logical that he had to actually try LSD first, otherwise how could he give valid, useful advice on it? Same with the rest of the drugs the deluded hippies consumed. Trungpa's advice always came from actual experience, not cheap moralistic considerations.

Afterwards, he "opened his mouth" and sweep his disciple's feet. In an extremely skillful way, he clearly explained to these westerners the immense amount of damage they were doing to themselves, coining the very appropriate term of "spiritual materialism". The ones that got the message, stayed with him, left the New Age things, and started practicing actual Kagyu buddhism. The lectures were 100% pure and true to the lineage.

SEX and PRIVACY

To people obsessed with the sex topic, you must understand that lay and/or nomadic Tibetan culture has an attitude to sex that, from the viewpoint of the Bible Belt would totally be described as "promiscuous". He wasn't a monk anymore so there were no reason he couldn't have sex.

Reading the "Dragon Thunder" book by CTR's wife (Diana Mukpo) will be a revelation for the CTR naysayers.

Trungpa chose to literally have ZERO private life. Anyone could and would enter his room and he would attend him/her, no matter what time. He never hid anything from his personal life. This was disconcerting to Diana, initially.

Picture this: Diana had fathered kids with CTR. Then she had another lover. The lover was a closer student of CTR. He then had a kid with Diana. NOTHING was kept private from no-one, not only CTR was well aware of everything but actually the three hung around together and cared for each other, literally like a family. Diana was always well aware of all of Trungpa's sexuality. Which you could NOT call "affairs" (because they weren't hidden from anyone) nor exploits (because, correctly understood, the purpose is not to take advantage of the other person but to aid them into their dharma path. Sex is the ultimate form of personal communication.)

It is wrong to judge this behavior assuming CTR's mind was mundane. In the same way it is plainly wrong for a student to try to behave as CTR did, without having exactly his same level of realization, endorsed by somebody of the straospheric caliber of someone like the 16th karmapa.

Again, CTR wasn't your typical sutrayana buddhism master. He was acting right within the framework of the Kagyu tradition, which he was an approved member. The drinking, the sex, getting two specific students naked by force, etc, make perfect sense once one studies the life of Tilopa, Naropa, and Marpa, three of the most important historic masters of the Kagyu lineage, as correctly pointed out on previous posts.

THE CAR CRASH

According to lady Diana, he wasn't drunk (this was england late 1960s, CTR did not had yet any taste of the US hippie life). He crashed his car into a joke shop. No one got seriously hurt but himself. Trungpa was very shocked by this (no pun intended) and took this as a clear message of the utmost importance. He wrote about this:

I realized that I could no longer attempt to preserve any privacy for myself, any special identity or legitimacy. I should not hide behind the robes of a monk, creating an impression of inscrutabilty which, for me, turned out to be only an obstacle. With a sense of further involving myself with the sangha, I determined to give up my monastic vows. More than ever, I felt myself given over to serving the cause of buddhism.


ALCOHOL

Many videos of Trunga's talks show him with physical signs (eyes, body movements) of being under the physical influence of alcohol. But what is startling is that his mind didn't seem to be affected by him. This is confirmed once he opens his mouth and starts to talk. Zero nonsense came out from that mouth. Can we, then, honestly say his mind was "inebriated" or "intoxicated"?

Diana Mukpo, on her book, notes she didn't like Trungpa drinking at all, that it wasn't good at all for his health, obviously. Here is the only real controversy or mystery i can find with CTR. No one knows for sure why he did drink so much to put his own health at risk. On past posts somebody has noted that perhaps it was his way to deal with the physical pain he chronically suffer after his accident. Any guess?

But it cannot be stressed enough that CTR's alcohol consumption did harm no other than himself and only himself, for he never stopped teaching.

OZEL TENDZIN / THE REGENT

Diana's book is very fair and honest with this topic. Basically, according to her, Thomas Rich was a very applied disciple, with a lot of very good qualities and very liked and appreciated by everybody in the community. But, of course, he wasn't a realized being. He got VIH (when it was a new thing) and when it was an open secret he -according to Diana- started telling other people not to worry because CTR told him the practices will shield him and others from any damage. According to Diana, Trungpa did NOT give this advice to Thomas Rich and rather started getting very worried about what to do with the guy... So from this point of view, one cannot put the blame on the HIV infections on CTR.

LEGACY

As far as i know, CTR was the first tibetan-born, fully-monasticly-educated Tibetan Buddhism master to establish himself and to teach in USA.
Many standard terminology used on tibetan buddhistm books was actually coined by CTR.
He was the first one to bring a major tibetan buddhist lineage head (the 16th Karmapa) to the new continent.

Perhaps without him, we wouldn't be writing about tibetan buddhism in this forum. Or our knowledge of tibetan buddhism would come exclusively from scholars.

And here, i stop.


Thank you for writing this thorough encomium!

It will not keep those who are averse to the appearances of CTR's life from judging and discounting him, but it helps consolidate my thoughts on the matter.

Although, I have a hard time with Osel Tenzin myself. Even I can't explain that whole scenario, regardless of Rinpoche's involvement/distance from it.
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby Karma Sherab » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:39 pm

Hi, after all this time this conversation is still going!

There is one thing that perpetually leaves me perplexed (to quote an earlier post)

"So let's see. Was he certified "good" by a respected Kagyu authority? Yes, by none other than the 16th Karmapa, one of the last true great mahasiddhas on the western world, who expressed about CTR in no other terms than being his "heart son" and being "no different" than him. Also by the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche."

I just don't understand, don't understand.

To a bird brain like me, I would infer that those who say Trungpa Rinpoche was "not good" are risking being accused of a hubris in believing they know better than the impeccable masters and if they hold samaya with any of them or their students, - they risk being in breach of the first Vajra Samaya.

Many of the world's religious traditions hold that in this chaotic age we can't judge who is good or otherwise. I prefer to play it safe and just follow HH the XVIth Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche on this.

That's all - just a follower.
One kind word can warm three winter months
Japanese Proverb
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby flavio81 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:01 pm

Karma Sherab wrote:To a bird brain like me, I would infer that those who say Trungpa Rinpoche was "not good" are risking being accused of a hubris in believing they know better than the impeccable masters and if they hold samaya with any of them or their students, - they risk being in breach of the first Vajra Samaya..


Well, i would guess (?) that criticizing Trungpa is OK if they do not follow the Kagyu tradition...
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby smcj » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:34 am

I'm not sure about this, but I think the way tantric samaya works is that if you have taken initiation with a given lama, then you should try to see their actions as pure. But you are not constrained if you haven't taken initiation.

Having said that, my teacher never criticized any other teacher, even privately. Some he spoke of enthusiastically, and then there were some he kept quiet about, but he was never critical.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:52 am

smcj wrote:I'm not sure about this, but I think the way tantric samaya works is that if you have taken initiation with a given lama, then you should try to see their actions as pure. But you are not constrained if you haven't taken initiation.
This is my understanding as well.

smcj wrote:Having said that, my teacher never criticized any other teacher, even privately. Some he spoke of enthusiastically, and then there were some he kept quiet about, but he was never critical.
I think that's a Tibetan thing, not a Tibetan Buddhist thing. But I could be wrong.
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: More Trungpa talk

Postby MalaBeads » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:55 pm

I never met Trungpa Rinpoche. I had the opportunity but I wasn't ready.

But today, now, I would have to say he is one of my teachers. And I rely on him.

I'm very glad I had the opportunity to be in his presence.

Even if I wasn't ready.
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Re: More Trungpa talk

Postby invisiblediamond » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:07 am

Konchog1 wrote:
smcj wrote:I'm not sure about this, but I think the way tantric samaya works is that if you have taken initiation with a given lama, then you should try to see their actions as pure. But you are not constrained if you haven't taken initiation.
This is my understanding as well.

smcj wrote:Having said that, my teacher never criticized any other teacher, even privately. Some he spoke of enthusiastically, and then there were some he kept quiet about, but he was never critical.
I think that's a Tibetan thing, not a Tibetan Buddhist thing. But I could be wrong.


I've met lamas who talk a lot of ess eitch ai tee..
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An interesting posting!

Postby greentara » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:46 am

Dhamma musing has an interesting posting on Chogyam Trungpa. It's obvious Dhammika isn't attracted to Crazy Wisdom.
If you're a big fan of Trungpa's ... don't read it!
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Re: An interesting posting!

Postby Norwegian » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:54 am

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Re: An interesting posting!

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:56 am

I read it. I really like Dhammika, but sometimes his being basically Theravedin shows when he talks about Vajrayana, IMO of course.

Trungpa is a polarizing figure for anyone though, much less someone with Theravedin roots. for some reason people have this really hard with the notion that someone can be both severely (*&&ed up, and have some level of attainment. Personally the idea doesn't bother me lol, so I continue to find his writings inspirational.

I always like it when without fail, someone in one of the discussions says "look, these things need to be honestly discussed", like that hasn't been happening for years. People make their decisions on it and that's 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: An interesting posting!

Postby heart » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:39 am

greentara wrote:Dhamma musing has an interesting posting on Chogyam Trungpa. It's obvious Dhammika isn't attracted to Crazy Wisdom.
If you're a big fan of Trungpa's ... don't read it!


I don't find it very interesting, he is just repeating the general sentiment about Trungpa that is so common these days.

/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: More Trungpa talk

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:06 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:I've met lamas who talk a lot of ess eitch ai tee..
And I have met a lot of lamas who talk a lot of tee arrr ewe tee aych! :thinking:
"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: An interesting posting!

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:02 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I read it. I really like Dhammika, but sometimes his being basically Theravedin shows when he talks about Vajrayana, IMO of course.
Although he does amusingly cite Mahayana to attack Theravada.
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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