A couple things:
Dungse Tinley Norbu Rinpoche is a provocative teacher. I find his statements, as quoted, thought-provoking, for sure...but I don't take offense. His statements are valid, as generalizations, in my opinion.
I agree that throwing the "race card" issue into this discussion can be inflammatory, but I think reasoned minds must admit that there is an element of this at play, at least in some situations, and with some people. I also think there's a "Cultural Imperialism" at play.....specifically here in the USA, where "rugged individualism" and self-reliance are seen as defining national traits. Like any generalization, there are many sides to consider....but the main thing is not to jump immediately into a reactionary defense.
It would be interesting to see what DPR says about those statements of Dungse Tinley Norbu Rinpoche, wouldn't it?
Again, few of us have read the book under discussion but we've created our own discussion, based on our preconceived (and sometimes reactionary) idea of what DPR's saying. This is okay, even though I myself find it somewhat comical. But the issues we're discussing have been "out there" for some time....in fact, there's a thread about "Western Buddhism" and I've seen that same notion crop up on every board I've ever participated in.
I practice sadhana, and I chant in Tibetan, having studied the language enough to understand the gist of what I'm saying, though this is an ongoing process for me. I am traditional in my practice, following the practices and methods that have been passed down to me by my teachers. I take the time to learn the melodies, the liturgical order, the mudras, the musical techniques, the tormas....everything. These constitute the container. The Dharma itself is there, and, in a sense, it is inseparable from the container.
In other words, the communication and practice of the path MUST take some sort of cultural form. Even what some may call "Stripped down" Dharma still conforms to a certain kind of cultural milieu.
I grant that some students are attracted by the exoticism of the container itself. This is a gross sort of materialism. Magnus ( I think it was?) talked also about a more subtle kind of Spiritual Materialism, which Trungpa was dealing with as well...
We'd do well to understand that young Tibetan monks learn their liturgies by heart, and often don't understand what it is they've learned, until it is explained to them later on, prior to retreat. The Bhutanese, in fact, use Tibetan--a language similar to theirs, but again, there is, let's just say, "incomplete comprehension" about what they're chanting, until it is specifically taught.
I understand, and sympathize, with those who see the so-called "cultural trappings" as a sideline, or a distraction, from the point--and the Lamas do too--as my Teacher said recently during a Druppa we were engaged in, "no one is getting enlightened by banging the cymbals and drums, you know"--
But I have little patience for those who wish to create their own, "American" or "Western" Dharma Traditions without thoroughly learning the traditions that already exist. Genuine Western Dharma Traditions will evolve, over time, and will develop....it's my feeling they can't be "forced" or "created" by individuals, unless those individuals are thoroughly grounded in an existent tradition in the first place. And even then, it's a tough row to hoe.....look at Trungpa's comments about scrapping his whole institution and framework near the end of his life. Fortunately, I think that framework has grown, and morphed, a bit, and continues to evolve. Contrast this with Flaming Jewel or some of the obviously-contrived stuff that's out there.....or even with well-meaning, and traditionally-inspired, developments like Yogi Chen's.
So....it will be interesting to read DPR's book....in the meantime, I'll continue to sit on my cushion, gaze at my thangkas, burn my incense, recite in Tibetan, and count my mantras on my mala.....the practice itself, after all, is more important than all the conceptualizing about how it should be, at least for an ignoramus such as myself with no results to show.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.