switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:00 am

Sure, some sources categorize anything where you are forcing concentration on an object as "forceful", and shamatha where you focus on nothing and simply let the elaboration clear as "natural", to put it roughly. It's not a value judgement of course, but it seems that different approaches work for different folks. I've read similar descriptions as this from everyone from HHDL to Tenzin Wangyal.

It's not my term either BTW.


this seems to indicate on different stages of shamatha practices as taught in the tibetan buddhist tradition.

1-4 forceful attention
and from the 5th stage onwards you rest without any ''point'' of concentration and from somewhere along the line you start concentrating or resting in awareness. up to the achievement of shamatha.

you can listen to your teacher, but as a note Alan B. Wallace have written in his book how rare the actual accomplishment of shamatha is and how it is a foundation for all other practices, also he stated that it is basically impossible to achieve without retreat and in the past it took 3-9 month of strict retreat but nowadays takes 1-2 years of retreat to accomplish. so forgive me for doubting westerners who live in busy cities not to have accomplished shamatha.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:02 am

Adamantine wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:well from whom do i ask? i am not in close contact with any of the lamas that i have met. should i ask the one i feel most devoted towards?


If you don't have a real relationship with any Lama, where you feel you can ask questions about your practice.. then that is your problem right there.
Ideally, there would be someone you could physically visit or see at least a couple times a year to consult with about your practice, it's direction, your experiences, obstacles, etc. and get their advice on your focus. This is essential. Often this can be achieved by attending group retreats that they are presiding over, or scheduling a private interview. Do you best to achieve this.. and yes, with the one you feel most devoted to of course, if possible!



well i just found out that i have a Lama, Rinpoche living in the same country, i have never met him but will go meet him maybe one day. he lives in another city so maybe hes my future guru.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:06 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
Sure, some sources categorize anything where you are forcing concentration on an object as "forceful", and shamatha where you focus on nothing and simply let the elaboration clear as "natural", to put it roughly. It's not a value judgement of course, but it seems that different approaches work for different folks. I've read similar descriptions as this from everyone from HHDL to Tenzin Wangyal.

It's not my term either BTW.


this seems to indicate on different stages of shamatha practices as taught in the tibetan buddhist tradition.

1-4 forceful attention
and from the 5th stage onwards you rest without any ''point'' of concentration and from somewhere along the line you start concentrating or resting in awareness. up to the achievement of shamatha.

you can listen to your teacher, but as a note Alan B. Wallace have written in his book how rare the actual accomplishment of shamatha is and how it is a foundation for all other practices, also he stated that it is basically impossible to achieve without retreat and in the past it took 3-9 month of strict retreat but nowadays takes 1-2 years of retreat to accomplish. so forgive me for doubting westerners who live in busy cities not to have accomplished shamatha.


Yeah, I know..there's a standard gradual path for sutra stuff...even some gradualist teachers don't seem to adhere to it strictly though.

If you have no problem focusing on Sadhana, what is the problem?

How are other peoples accomplishments relevant to your question? See the thing is that you are sitting here waffling about what you should be doing because you don't have guidance (that's how it appears at least), if you had the guidance you wouldn't need to worry about what other people can or cannot do.
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:17 am

they are not relevant. the only reason why it came up because you seemed to indirectly imply your achievement of shamatha, even though you might have not indirectly implied it. and i simply questioned it. and backing it up with some information how and why it is so rare accomplishment nowadays. nothing to do with me lacking in having guidance on my path.

and also some people seem to understand shamatha or shine as a buzzword and not understand that the word implies to a certain level of accomplishment in meditation.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:24 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:they are not relevant. the only reason why it came up because you seemed to indirectly imply your achievement of shamatha, even though you might have not indirectly implied it. and i simply questioned it. and backing it up with some information how and why it is so rare accomplishment nowadays. nothing to do with me lacking in having guidance on my path.

and also some people seem to understand shamatha or shine as a buzzword and not understand that the word implies to a certain level of accomplishment in meditation.



I have no idea about my "acheivement of shamatha", since i'm not on here to measure my progress my someone elses. All I know is I have directly asked some of the questions you are asking to the Geshe at my center, who was a monk for a big chunk of his life, and in fact really emphasizes the teaching of Shamatha/Vipassana. He told me pretty much verbatim he thinks that Sadhana is a complete Buddhist practice, and contains within it the elements of Shamatha and Vipassana.

I am fairly sure know what the different contexts of the term shamatha or shine are, and am not seeing it as any kind of buzzword. It is used as an accomplishment in the same sense that someone "accomplishes a deity", or "accomplishes X yoga" or similar to my understanding, and this doesn't alter the standard, conventional use of the practice term.

Anyway the bottom line is you seem to be adhering to the standard idea that one shouldn't even touch Vajrayana practice without some serious juice in sutra practices, it's not the first time i've seen it obviously, but even some conservative teachers don't seem to teach that way, so take it as you will.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:28 am

even though sadhana is a complete practice that includes shamatha and vipashyana.

i havent personally made any significant progress in shamatha through practicing sadhana.

and i have yet to see or read any evidence that you can actually accomplish shamatha by doing a sadhana.

my intention really was not to measure my progress by measuring it against someone elses. that kind of thought has not occured in my mind. sorry for the confusion it has caused you.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:29 am

thank you for pointing out it also as conventional practice term. why i see it being used like a buzzwords since people talk confusedly about it. confusing the accomplishment meaning with the convential practice term.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:30 am

"Yet to read any evidence", well, since there are plenty of teachers, and experienced folks on here (not counting myself as one btw, i'm pretty new and clueless admittedly) who are saying this, I would think that's evidence of it, or at least evidence that it might be true for some people. If it just comes down to not being able to concentrate well enough on Sadhana I would think the only remedy is some direct instruction, whatever it is.
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:36 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Anyway the bottom line is you seem to be adhering to the standard idea that one shouldn't even touch Vajrayana practice without some serious juice in sutra practices, it's not the first time i've seen it obviously, but even some conservative teachers don't seem to teach that way, so take it as you will.


well to some degree i adhere to this yes. although not completely since i do my best to practice the vajrayana. yet with two years of practice i still have the same ongoing delusion which paralyzes me from removing the root cause of this suffering or problem, so i am not satisfied with the fruits of the practice. with this progress i dont see it being possible to achieve any real fruits of the practice. so i want to spend years as a theravada monk to train and achieve shamatha and train in vipashyana. this is because it is quite hard to become a monk in tibetan buddhist tradition and i dont think even this would eradicate the root cause, on the other hand it might be wishful thinking but i think that in strict monastic discipline in a forest monastery doing shamatha and vipashyana many hours a day, you will at some point have the penetrative concentration and wisdom from with you can make real progress in terms of samsaric suffering. i like practicing vajrayana but in my condition it doesnt seem the best thing to do right now. i wouldnt be abandoning vajrayana completely but simply training in theravada to have a better foundation for faster progress in vajrayana when i would decide to be ready to take upon the vajrayana as my main practice again.. although in the meanwhile before making the decision to become a monk and gathering the conditions and resources that take a while i will still continue with vajrayana.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:38 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:"Yet to read any evidence", well, since there are plenty of teachers, and experienced folks on here (not counting myself as one btw, i'm pretty new and clueless admittedly) who are saying this, I would think that's evidence of it, or at least evidence that it might be true for some people.


(who) are saying what ? no need to mention who i just didnt understand that what are they saying ?
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Sherab » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:39 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:how it is viewed that if you switch from vajrayana having taken refuge and empowerments and then choose to become a theravada monk?

are there any problems with this ?

As long as you keep your tantric and bodhisattva vows, I don't think there is a problem.

Personally I just think it is weird. Vajrayana practices (but not views and attitudes) are based off the practices of the lower vehicles, so unless you actually give up tantric and bodhisattva vows, there is really no need to move to a lower vehicle if you wish to do the practices of the lower vehicles without giving up the views and attitudes of the higher vehicles.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:42 am

Sherab wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:how it is viewed that if you switch from vajrayana having taken refuge and empowerments and then choose to become a theravada monk?

are there any problems with this ?

As long as you keep your tantric and bodhisattva vows, I don't think there is a problem.

Personally I just think it is weird. Vajrayana practices (but not views and attitudes) are based off the practices of the lower vehicles, so unless you actually give up tantric and bodhisattva vows, there is really no need to move to a lower vehicle if you wish to do the practices of the lower vehicles without giving up the views and attitudes of the higher vehicles.


no no, i dont intend to just discard the attitude and view of the higher vehicle. i just want to live as a theravadan forest monk and develop in meditation practice deeply and intensively for many years, and then coming back to vajrayana practices.

also my vow's are not that heavy that i could not keep them while being a theravadan forest monk.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Anders » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:43 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:how it is viewed that if you switch from vajrayana having taken refuge and empowerments and then choose to become a theravada monk?

are there any problems with this ?


I know of one western Vajrayana monk, apparently very gifted, who was told by his lama to ordain in Theravada for a number of years. He ordained at Chithurst and evidently settled very well until his lama told him to rejoin the fold.

The Theravadin monks seemed perfectly fine with it, somewhat impressed even. And obviously his lama felt it was a good idea for him.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:45 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:"Yet to read any evidence", well, since there are plenty of teachers, and experienced folks on here (not counting myself as one btw, i'm pretty new and clueless admittedly) who are saying this, I would think that's evidence of it, or at least evidence that it might be true for some people.


(who) are saying what ? no need to mention who i just didnt understand that what are they saying ?



Well, conebeckham mentioned it in a post, my own teacher mentioned it to me, and I don't recall for certain but i'm 99% sure i've read the same sentiment in a good number of books. I think Bokar Rinpoche in Chenrezig Lord of Love mentions it..it's not an unusual thought at all, i've seen it a bunch of places, a ton of books i've read that references tantric sadhana mention that it is like sutra practice..only appearances and emptiness are simultaneous, rather than "switched on and off" like sutra practice. Maybe that sounds weird but that is the gist of it if i'm remembering right.
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:47 am

that refers to the vipashyana practice, which has defenitely opened to me a little bit but you didnt mention anything about shamatha in your post or i missed it.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:50 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:that refers to the vipashyana practice, which has defenitely opened to me a little bit but you didnt mention anything about shamatha in your post or i missed it.


Shamatha and vipassana are two sides of the same coin as I understand it, not seperate forms of meditation exactly and again both are said to be present in sadhana practice, or maybe, sadhana is supposed to accomplish similar goals. However we put it, I would think that before just giving up on it (since you said you can concentrate ok during sadhana anyway), you should just get some guidance from a teacher on what to do...ordaining as a monk to learn shamatha is a pretty big step!
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:54 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:that refers to the vipashyana practice, which has defenitely opened to me a little bit but you didnt mention anything about shamatha in your post or i missed it.


Shamatha and vipassana are two sides of the same coin as I understand it, not seperate forms of meditation exactly and again both are said to be present in sadhana practice.


i have attended quite elaborate and extensive shamatha teachings in a mahamudra retreat and also vipashyana, and there is a clear distinction between them. although they work hand in hand complementing each other.

the techniques are not the same out of the context of sadhana and even in sadhana they develop through different facets or qualities of the practice. they are present in sadhana.

but what you quoted '' yet to see clear evidence ''

you just proved the benefits of vipashyana. from what i meant '' yet to read or see clear evidence'' is to hear a story or something that someone has achieved the accomplishment of shamatha through sadhana practice instead of formal shamatha training.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:58 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:i find vajrayana practices fruitless at the moment since i dont have the accomplishment of shamatha. and even though it was discussed on this forum that vajrayana meditations are shamatha practice i see it impossible to actually achieve shamatha with vajrayana practices, i think that is preliminary work you need to do before seriously hoping to get a pleasant and fast fruits from vajrayana practice.

and it is said in the 37 practices of bodihsattva that transcending the four formless jhanas is the practice of a bodhisattva

Do you need to change what you're doing or just work on the basics?

I have yet to achieve shamatha as well, at least I think. Something else to remember is it's really hard to gauge yourself. Things like developing concentration are subtle, with distractions or hindrances coming less and less often, not stopping all at once. Self-criticism tends to be a fixed view, that is it doesn't change with circumstances.

Why not try a month of two hours of anapanasati or vipassana a day? One as soon as you wake up, one in the evening.
I actually find the mind calms down greatly when I practice mindfulness of form with a body-scanning approach.
After this experiment, you might not feel you've "arrived" at a sustained shamatha, or any form of jhana, but you'll at least have a far better understanding of what your mind is up to that hinders this.
After all, your suffering must be understood before it can be meaningfully helped.
For instance, try these instructions: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... thmed.html

If you hope attaining a jhana will be easier than shamatha, you may be disappointed.
Depending on your mindset, it can be easy to make jhanas another way not to measure up: "There are eight of them and I can't even attain the FIRST one??"
Be gentle with yourself.

I can give more details on my personal struggles with shamatha if they'd be helpful.
Good luck :)
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:00 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:that refers to the vipashyana practice, which has defenitely opened to me a little bit but you didnt mention anything about shamatha in your post or i missed it.


Shamatha and vipassana are two sides of the same coin as I understand it, not seperate forms of meditation exactly and again both are said to be present in sadhana practice.


i have attended quite elaborate and extensive shamatha teachings in a mahamudra retreat and also vipashyana, and there is a clear distinction between them. although they work hand in hand complementing each other.

the techniques are not the same out of the context of sadhana and even in sadhana they develop through different facets or qualities of the practice. they are present in sadhana.

but what you quoted '' yet to see clear evidence ''

you just proved the benefits of vipashyana. from what i meant '' yet to read or see clear evidence'' is to hear a story or something that someone has achieved the accomplishment of shamatha through sadhana practice instead of formal shamatha training.


Ok man, sounds like you have your answers then. Have a good one, and whatever the case I hope your practice goes in a good direction, and you get the concentration you want.. sorry if i'm not making sense to you.
"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: switching from vajrayana to theravada for some time

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:03 am

hehe, funny you think its ridiculous. i think it would be very nice and great if it was possible and a recorded case from someones dharma story, or at least some vajra master who says its possible. anyway, rather than getting an answer to that question, maybe i just try to attain the accomplishment one way or another.
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