Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Josef » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:19 pm

justsit wrote:No one is saying change the dharma either. Sheesh.

Not in this thread, but there are plenty of people who want to jettison aspects of the teachings that they are uncomfortable with.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:20 pm

Nangwa wrote:Nobody is calling DPR a racist.


The implication is there and it stands out like a sore thumb.

You may not find it offensive and I respect that. I happen to find it offensive and as I said earlier, deeply offensive. Not just just the implication of a specific teacher, but the additional implication that anyone in this thread who happens to agree with DPR is also a racist.

The mere mention of racism is uncalled for.
Last edited by Chaz on Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Josef » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:21 pm

Chaz wrote:
Nangwa wrote:Nobody is calling DPR a racist.


The implication is there and it stands out like a sore thumb.

You may not find it offensive and I respect that. I happen to find it offensive and as I said earlier, deeply offensive. Not just just the implication of a specific teacher, but the additional implication that anyone in this thread who happens to agree with DOR is also a racist.

The mere mention of racism is uncalled for.



I disagree. I dont think it was implied at all.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:30 pm

Nangwa wrote:
justsit wrote:No one is saying change the dharma either. Sheesh.

Not in this thread, but there are plenty of people who want to jettison aspects of the teachings that they are uncomfortable with.



Have you actually read the book for crying out loud? DPR endorses nothing of the sort. What he does with his book is offer a discussion and a suggestion that certain cultural aspects of Buddhism (not Dharma) be jettisoned for the sake of wider accessability and he does a damned good job. He doesn't suggest eliminating "uncomfortable teachings".

I would suggest that had you read Rebel Buddha, you wouldn't be making such a statement in this context.

I would agree that there are those who advocate a revisionist approach to Dharma and I disagree with that approach. However that subject is irrelevant to the topic at hand. If you want to discuss that, fine, but with all due respect, it belongs in a separate thread.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:33 pm

Nangwa wrote:
I disagree. I dont think it was implied at all.



yes, I know. I kinda got that. However, it changes nothing. But, you may disagree all you like.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Josef » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:42 pm

Chaz wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
justsit wrote:No one is saying change the dharma either. Sheesh.

Not in this thread, but there are plenty of people who want to jettison aspects of the teachings that they are uncomfortable with.



Have you actually read the book for crying out loud? DPR endorses nothing of the sort. What he does with his book is offer a discussion and a suggestion that certain cultural aspects of Buddhism (not Dharma) be jettisoned for the sake of wider accessability and he does a damned good job. He doesn't suggest eliminating "uncomfortable teachings".

I would suggest that had you read Rebel Buddha, you wouldn't be making such a statement in this context.

I would agree that there are those who advocate a revisionist approach to Dharma and I disagree with that approach. However that subject is irrelevant to the topic at hand. If you want to discuss that, fine, but with all due respect, it belongs in a separate thread.

No, and I wont be reading the book. No offense to Rinpoche or anyone else but I am not interested in the subject matter since it is irrelevant to my personal practice.
I never implied or accused DPR of doing or endorsing anything.
My statement wasnt directed at the book or Rinpoche.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:45 pm

Chaz wrote:
heart wrote:
Chaz wrote: and in reply to you and other posters in this thread let me quote Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.


I am DEEPLY offended. DEEPLY!!! The implication of racism is misplaced and wrong.


Raising the issue of racism is a serious problem esp. with Americans who have a kind of obsessive relationship with the subject on the one hand and on the other hand refuse to come to grips with it's serious history. So the subject of racism in any form remains a superreactive negative issue that is symbolically used to destroy other people in US culture. However this is not the intention at all. Unfortunately people have a tendency to oversimplify arguments.

But in fact no one (I'm not and I doubt Magnus is either) is suggesting that people here are racist and we are the only people to have quoted Thinley Norbu. Because racism or the charge of racism is such a contentious kind of thing people are bound to react negatively and without thinking (i.e. people will just generally behave reactively). No one is suggesting that DPR is racist in any way, etc.

What has been stated is that the impulse to create a kind of Western Buddhism that has arisen in the past couple of decades is likely to have a racist or xenophobic element at it's root (so Thinley Norbu said this explicitly and I am suggesting a kind of xenophobia with a reactive obsession of sorts on elements that appear foreign or exotic). When I first read Thinley Norbu's statements in Tricycle I initially thought they might be excessive. He is a well-know to have wild opinions at times. But overtime I think he may have some valid points that need to be considered.

DPR has been trying to teach as best he can to deepen the realization of his students. None of the basic teachings of Dharma are culturally situated (except the big two that Bachelor threw overboard from the get-go: karma and rebirth are automatically shuffled into a conceptual bin marked "other") and that DPR has published teachings that appeal to Westerners or more likely Americans shorn of what people feel are cultural overlays is laudable.

I also think it rather cowardly to think that your fellow Buddhists are racists


No one is saying that.

You'd be better served to simply come out and demonstrate the courage of your convictions and just call us a bunch of racists leaving Thinley Norbu Rinpoche out of it.


No one is doing that.

The additional implied implication the the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche somehow falls under that same pathetic umbrella of racism is beyond offensive.


There was no such implication.

However in my experience people born and raised in the US also use these kinds of exaggerated claims to destroy argumentation and shut down something they don't like and using racism as a tool to do so is a kind of US pattern. We see it in the press frequently.

So anyway I applaud DPR on his teaching and if I am able over the next few months then I will endeavor to read it.

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:52 pm

heart wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:
heart wrote:You have to first realize it, then change the way you communicate it. Not the other way around.

Who here has suggested otherwise?


Well this whole thread is about Westerners knowing, rather than realizing, the true meaning of Buddhism a lot better than the Asian teachers.


Magnus -

That's not the case even with most of the subissues coming up. Certainly DPR's book is all about making the Dharma more accessible to Westerners not actually with Westerners knowing better than Asians or Asian teachers.

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:09 pm

kirtu wrote:
heart wrote:
Well this whole thread is about Westerners knowing, rather than realizing, the true meaning of Buddhism a lot better than the Asian teachers.


Magnus -

That's not the case even with most of the subissues coming up. Certainly DPR's book is all about making the Dharma more accessible to Westerners not actually with Westerners knowing better than Asians or Asian teachers.

Kirt


Kirt,

I am sure it is. DPR seems to be a great teacher. His student Cortland Dahl translated one of the best Dzogchen books and wrote a fantastic preface to that book.
What I been reacting about in this thread is the idea that doing your sadhana in Tibetan and having a Thangka on the wall somehow implies spiritual materialism. Also the idea that Buddhism fall under the laws of Darwinism and the idea that all Mahayana lineages are fantasy. I am sure DPRs book is great but that is not the same as saying every post in this thread is great. I find the Thinley Norbu article very interesting in a discussion such as this and anyway you brought it up first. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:20 pm

justsit wrote:The "point" as made by DPR is that he sees it as unrealistic to take the model of Tibetan Buddhism as practiced in Tibet, plunk it down in 21st century America, and expect it to work in the same way.


This is true. No one is seriously contesting this. But one of the questions is what this actually means. There are very traditional groups (most organizations in fact) that seem to be able to adapt what many people see as foreign cultural elements quite successfully. Monasticism has been a part of that.

In general it appears to be some people in the Asian and Asian-American communities that seem to have problems with Westerners involved in what they assume are Asian only forms (lighting candles as prayer or aspiration [something which is practically universal], chanting [also nearly universal but also something that Westerners identify as other (the chanting style is different but I have yet to go to a church where some form of chanting is not done)], offerings (Westerners don't do offerings per se but they are also nearly universal and Westerners get the idea quickly), prayer (universal), contemplation (universal if not done universally)). Some Asians do assume that Westerners are axiomatically unable to understand Buddhism or will deterministically misunderstand Buddhism and this has inhibited it's dispensation in the West*.

Monasticism was the rock bottom foundation for TB in Tibet; how can that system work here?? We in the US do not have, and very likely will never have, a monastic orientation.


Except that the US used to have a fairly strong Catholic monastic tradition until fairly recently. I don't see any reason why monasticism can't work here although it will be a minority practice.

We don't have enough candidates and qualified teachers,


Well not yet at any rate.

few if any parents here will send their 6 year olds away,


Of course that won't happen in that way but it just means that Khenpos are minted in their 30's and 40's instead of their 20's.

we don't have the big financial sponsors,


This is mixed. Over the past 30 years or so several millionaires have contributed significantly to Dharma projects.

there is NO societal support.


Not as yet but we are the society. Societal support can and must develop.

So...he offers his thoughts to stimulate discussion.


Excellent! Let's engage them. But so far people have not said directly what DPR's thoughts are......

I must say, I find it particularly disturbing that anyone on this forum would suggest that somehow there is any racist context or subcontext in Rinpoche's discussion.


No one suggested that.

Kirt

* For example in hs in Hawaii I somehow told two girls I was talking with that I was Buddhist. They responded immediately that I couldn't be Buddhist because I wasn't Asian.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:22 pm

Chaz wrote:
heart wrote:
Chaz wrote: and in reply to you and other posters in this thread let me quote Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.


I, personally, couldn't care less what Thinley Norbu Rinpoche has to say as far as this thread is concerned.

I am DEEPLY offended. DEEPLY!!! The implication of racism is misplaced and wrong.

I also think it rather cowardly to think that your fellow Buddhists are racists and THEN hide behind Thinley Norbu Rinpoche to assert that in a public forum. You'd be better served to simply come out and demonstrate the courage of your convictions and just call us a bunch of racists leaving Thinley Norbu Rinpoche out of it.

The additional implied implication the the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche somehow falls under that same pathetic umbrella of racism is beyond offensive.

I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

I also think an apology is in order.


Using the word "racist" is certainly not my choice of words. If you read the whole article you will find some very interesting views expressed by one of the major and senior Tibetan lineage holders that actually lived here in the West a long time. I think it very important to read it when you discuss "American Buddhism" and it is well worth contemplating.

I sorry if you feel offended, that was not my intention.

/magnus
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:53 pm

heart wrote:What I been reacting about in this thread is the idea that doing your sadhana in Tibetan and having a Thangka on the wall somehow implies spiritual materialism.


Ok - certainly that is valid. Doing sadhana in Tibetan (or at all in fact) and thangka's have been decried in some circles as slavish mimicry. But I haven't seen it done on this board or this thread. And anyway the mimicry thing has usually been alleged by non-Buddhists.

Also the idea that Buddhism fall under the laws of Darwinism and the idea that all Mahayana lineages are fantasy.


Again I don't see that exactly here except in one subthread but the poster never claimed that Mahayana lineages were fantasy.

I find the Thinley Norbu article very interesting in a discussion such as this and anyway you brought it up first. :smile:


I certainly think Thinley Norbu's views need to be considered. BUT he upsets everyones applecarts in these kinds of statements (something not evident from his books).

Kirt
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:45 pm

kirtu wrote:
heart wrote:What I been reacting about in this thread is the idea that doing your sadhana in Tibetan and having a Thangka on the wall somehow implies spiritual materialism.


Ok - certainly that is valid. Doing sadhana in Tibetan (or at all in fact) and thangka's have been decried in some circles as slavish mimicry. But I haven't seen it done on this board or this thread. And anyway the mimicry thing has usually been alleged by non-Buddhists.


Mimicry isn't necessarily a bad thing nor a good thing. It can be a form of flattery. It can also be slavish, but it isn't inherently one way or the other.

I think doing sadhana practice in a foreign language without an understanding of the content is kinda pointless. I do a Chenrezig practice in both Tibetan and English. Most of the time I do it in English, because that's a language I understand. My copy of the Sadhana includes the Tibetan along with the phonetic pronounciation. As I recieved the practice, it is sung to a specific melody rather than spoken. The melody doesn't work well in English, so maybe once a week I sing along with Lama Cathy Wesley, if for no other reason than to keep in practice because I sometimes do this as a group practice and in group we use the Tibetan (translations vary some, but the tibetan doesn't). I like this, as the experience can be profound. A room full of people singing the Chenrezig sadhana is quite uplifting. Just the same I prefer the English as it's more meaningful for me.

Also the idea that Buddhism fall under the laws of Darwinism and the idea that all Mahayana lineages are fantasy.


Again I don't see that exactly here except in one subthread but the poster never claimed that Mahayana lineages were fantasy.


I believe the post in question mentioned "mythology". Mythology and Fantasy are two entirely different things. The suggestion of the Mahayana containing mythological elements is a strong one.


I find the Thinley Norbu article very interesting in a discussion such as this and anyway you brought it up first. :smile:


I certainly think Thinley Norbu's views need to be considered.


I don't. Trinley Norbu is like a pot calling the kettle black with his talk of racism. The fact that these high-ranking Tibetan Lamas have yet to empower western students for such things as pointing-out instruction is, in some peoples' minds, ethnocentric at least and utterly racist at worst. The Strange Case of Reggie Ray and The Sakyong is one such example.

In short, Trinley Norbu is in no position to call anyone or anything racist.


BUT he upsets everyones applecarts in these kinds of statements


Ya think? :tantrum:
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:07 pm

heart wrote:Using the word "racist" is certainly not my choice of words.


Yes, but posting those words was and that choice tends to suggest that you agree with the words quoted.


If you read the whole article you will find some very interesting views expressed by one of the major and senior Tibetan lineage holders that actually lived here in the West a long time.


Well, I don't think so. Right now I wouldn't read that article if the author was an emanation of Majusri. Someone offering a sweeping (and unfounded AND unfair) generalization of racism is not worth a second of my time to read. But I tell you what: I'll read that article if you read Rebel Buddha. Deal?

I sorry if you feel offended, that was not my intention.


I'm sure. Seriously. One thing you should keep mind in the future. On my side of The Pond, a wise man keeps race out of the conversation. Introducing it, as you did, is impolite at the very least. Especially if the person in question has no right accusing others.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:22 pm

Chaz wrote:I think doing sadhana practice in a foreign language without an understanding of the content is kinda pointless. I do a Chenrezig practice in both Tibetan and English.


I think the language issue brought up sometimes is entirely dismissable. I know few people who don't do this (mostly their native language privately and either that or Tibetan in group practice). Of course people must have empowerment and know what the sadhana says prior to any real engagement.

But for some empowerment is one of those foreign, alien elements.

Also the idea that Buddhism fall under the laws of Darwinism and the idea that all Mahayana lineages are fantasy.


Again I don't see that exactly here except in one subthread but the poster never claimed that Mahayana lineages were fantasy.


I believe the post in question mentioned "mythology". Mythology and Fantasy are two entirely different things. The suggestion of the Mahayana containing mythological elements is a strong one.


I'm pretty sure I raised the mythology aspect and Tibetan Buddhism is replete with it. By which I mean religious mythology or a kind of organizing story but certainly not fantasy. A point to be made is that most Tibetans tend to believe the mythology as a kind of historical fact (although this may be exaggerated too - in the past couple of years I have read of what seem to be Tibetan criticisms on sites saying that Westerners love the Tibetan Medieval stuff but this might also be PRC people on those sites - one of the sites is Phalyul.org the Tibetan news site).

I certainly think Thinley Norbu's views need to be considered.


I don't. Trinley Norbu is like a pot calling the kettle black with his talk of racism. The fact that these high-ranking Tibetan Lamas have yet to empower western students for such things as pointing-out instruction is, in some peoples' minds, ethnocentric at least and utterly racist at worst.


Okay. But no Tibetan lineage head aside from possibly Chagdud Tulku has permitted students to teach at this level. I don't know of any Westerners who are authorized to give empowerments at any level at least publicly. We still have a ways to go even if this will eventually happen.

The Strange Case of Reggie Ray and The Sakyong is one such example.


I don't follow Shambhalla/Vajradhatu so I don't know what this refers to exactly (aside from Ray starting his own organization).

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:41 pm

kirtu wrote:Okay. But no Tibetan lineage head aside from possibly Chagdud Tulku has permitted students to teach at this level. I don't know of any Westerners who are authorized to give empowerments at any level at least publicly. We still have a ways to go even if this will eventually happen.


Hey Kirt, Jhampa Shaneman is a westerner who came here to a local center last year and gave initiations of Heruka and Vajrayogini. (I did not go.)
He was authorised to give these initiations by the 14th Dalai Lama.
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:46 pm

Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote:Okay. But no Tibetan lineage head aside from possibly Chagdud Tulku has permitted students to teach at this level. I don't know of any Westerners who are authorized to give empowerments at any level at least publicly. We still have a ways to go even if this will eventually happen.


Hey Kurt, Jhampa Shaneman is a westerner who came here to a local center last year and gave initiations of Heruka and Vajrayogini. (I did not go.)
He was authorised to do give these initiations by the 14th Dalai Lama.


The astrology guy? He has real authorization from HHDL?

BTW - I forgot about Ole Nydhal ...

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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:55 pm

kirtu wrote:The astrology guy? He has real authorization from HHDL?

BTW - I forgot about Ole Nydhal ...


Yes.
I don't think Ole Nydhal is worthy of mention...


P.S.: Sorry about misspelling your name, it's corrected now. :smile:
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:06 pm

Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote:The astrology guy? He has real authorization from HHDL?

Yes.


I see he has been active in Canada (which makes sense). He was apparently a monk for 14 years or so. Do you know anything more about him? It would usually take quite some time to get authorization to give initiation and then after completing a series at a tantric college. However it is clear from Tibetan history that that is not the only way possible.

P.S.: Sorry about misspelling your name, it's corrected now. :smile:


Oh no worries. I've had people tell me I should change the spelling since college. In Germany I pronounce it so that Germans can hear the letters otherwise it always becomes Kurt. But the Norwegian spelling is odd even in the US (except apparently for Minnesota).

Kirt
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Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:18 pm

kirtu wrote:I see he has been active in Canada (which makes sense). He was apparently a monk for 14 years or so. Do you know anything more about him? It would usually take quite some time to get authorization to give initiation and then after completing a series at a tantric college.


I'm afraid not. The only other thing the center said in the message I received was that he has many years of practice and a retreat(s?) behind him. I have no reason to doubt them.


Oh no worries. I've had people tell me I should change the spelling since college.


:rolling:
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