Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby conebeckham » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:37 pm

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.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:38 pm

conebeckham wrote: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.



And may all beings benefit! :anjali:
Chaz
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:23 am
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Chaz » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:44 pm

One thing I think we oftentimes loose sight of, is that with many of these "foreign" teachers (not just the Tibetans), they teach the Dharma and practice the way they were taught. There's nothing "wrong" in what they teach and how they teach it its just how they roll (in the common vernacular). Some try to go beyond all that into what they think might be more culturally relevant with varying levels of success. They don't always get it right, but at least their trying.
Chaz
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:23 am
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:20 pm

Chaz wrote:
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.


Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is a lot more than a emanantion of Manjusri. He live on your side of the pond so feel free to look him up and discuss his choice of words with him. The article is old, more than 10 years, and was originally posted in Tricycle. An American magazine. I quoted a piece of this article to show you that not all Lama as equally impressed or inspired with the idea of an American Buddhism. I agree with that sentiment but I wouldn't use the word racist myself. Enough now.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:29 pm

conebeckham wrote:A couple things:


Good post Cone!

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Tilopa » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:22 am

Pero wrote: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.


An ex monk who is now an astrologer authorized to give highest yoga tantra initiations by HH? Sorry but I just don't believe it.
Last edited by Tilopa on Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Tilopa » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:32 am

conebeckham wrote: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.


Exactly correct imho but would add that 'those individuals' will also need actual experiential realizations not just an understanding based on study and familiarity.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Jnana » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:02 am

heart wrote:
Yeshe D. 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.

As already mentioned previously in this post, it isn't about "Asian" versus "Western."


Traditional versus Academic suits you better?

There have been countless very traditional Asian teachers -- both historically as well as currently -- who don't believe that any of the Mahāyāna sūtras or tantras were ever taught by Gautama Buddha. If one is seriously going to engage in the śrāvakayāna teachings, and not merely pay lip-service to the idea, then it helps to understand the traditional context of what constituted the mainstream pan-Indian dharma for at least the first 1000 years after the Buddha's awakening. Fortunately, one mainstream Sthaviravāda school still exists -- generally quite orthopraxic, and very traditional.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:39 am

Yeshe D. wrote:There have been countless very traditional Asian teachers -- both historically as well as currently -- who don't believe that any of the Mahāyāna sūtras or tantras were ever taught by Gautama Buddha. If one is seriously going to engage in the śrāvakayāna teachings, and not merely pay lip-service to the idea, then it helps to understand the traditional context of what constituted the mainstream pan-Indian dharma for at least the first 1000 years after the Buddha's awakening. Fortunately, one mainstream Sth aviravāda school still exists -- generally quite orthopraxic, and very traditional.


To my knowledge not many Tantras is said to be taught by the Buddha. Every lineage don't have to be going back to the Buddha himself but they do have to have an enlightened source. If not what would the value be?
Orthopraxy for sure doesn't mean "making it up as you go" and the Sthaviravāda is known for their Orthodox stance. The way Theravada is taught today in the west, removing rebirth and karma, is quite sad.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:15 am

Tilopa wrote:
Pero wrote: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.


An ex monk who is now an astrologer authorized to give highest yoga tantra initiations by HH? Sorry but I just don't believe it.


Hmmm I fail to see what being an astrologer has to do with it? Or being an ex monk?
In any case I don't believe the resident Lama would make such a big mistake and invite someone who is unauthorised.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Jnana » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:23 am

heart wrote:Every lineage don't have to be going back to the Buddha himself but they do have to have an enlightened source.

Indeed.

heart wrote:The way Theravada is taught today in the west, removing rebirth and karma, is quite sad.

Well then it isn't really Theravāda or Buddhadharma at all; but it is still unfortunate whenever atheistic/materialistic views are presented as accurate representations of the dharma.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:41 am

Yeshe D. wrote:.. but it is still unfortunate whenever atheistic/materialistic views are presented as accurate representations of the dharma.


I am not sure what you mean with this, can you elaborate?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Jnana » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:13 pm

heart wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:.. but it is still unfortunate whenever atheistic/materialistic views are presented as accurate representations of the dharma.


I am not sure what you mean with this, can you elaborate?

I meant that any teachings which dismiss or marginalize karma and rebirth aren't the Buddha's dharma. It's unfortunate when they are presented as if they were Buddhadharma.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby heart » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:29 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:
heart wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:.. but it is still unfortunate whenever atheistic/materialistic views are presented as accurate representations of the dharma.


I am not sure what you mean with this, can you elaborate?

I meant that any teachings which dismiss or marginalize karma and rebirth aren't the Buddha's dharma. It's unfortunate when they are presented as if they were Buddhadharma.


Then we are in full agreement. :smile:
I am sure you are aware that parts of what is called "American Buddhism" is leaning in this direction.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Tilopa » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:47 pm

Pero wrote:Hmmm I fail to see what being an astrologer has to do with it? Or being an ex monk?
In any case I don't believe the resident Lama would make such a big mistake and invite someone who is unauthorised.


Are you sure he was giving initiations and not just an explanation of the practice to those who had already received initiation from a Lama?
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Tilopa » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:51 pm

heart wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:
I meant that any teachings which dismiss or marginalize karma and rebirth aren't the Buddha's dharma. It's unfortunate when they are presented as if they were Buddhadharma.


Then we are in full agreement. :smile:
I am sure you are aware that parts of what is called "American Buddhism" is leaning in this direction.

/magnus


A very dangerous tendency indeed and as you say very sad that people who teach like this are given credibility as buddhist teachers.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Pero » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:53 pm

Tilopa wrote:Are you sure he was giving initiations and not just an explanation of the practice to those who had already received initiation from a Lama?


Yes, he was giving initiations and commentary.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby Tilopa » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:57 pm

Pero wrote:
Tilopa wrote:Are you sure he was giving initiations and not just an explanation of the practice to those who had already received initiation from a Lama?


Yes, he was giving initiations and commentary.


Interesting. I hadn't heard of a western gelug teacher giving HYT initiations before.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:22 pm

Minor point perhaps...

Cultures are adaptations to circumstance. They are collectively the actual result of attempts by societies to adapt to circumstances of life in the most effective means. That is they are attempting to bring happiness to peoples. But as circumstances vary so do cultures.

As such cultures may differ but neither may be better nor worse. If we take one culture and impose it upon another peoples whose culture has evolved by differing circumstance, we could say that culture is inferior to this other. But we cannot do so. The evolving of a culture is always the product of the circumstance of interaction with the circumstance of other cultures.

One stand alone culture never exists. The moment we introduce a aspect of another culture to another the circumstance of the first and second have changed. So both are not what they were and never can be. They have both changed though perhaps minutely.

So cultures can not be in such terms as better or worse described. They are mechanisms of adaptation not solid objects.

A note on tantra....I am certainly no scholor, but tantra and any other things in Tibetan Buddhism though not specifically delinated in every aspect by the Teacher Buddha are certainly considered to be evolved from the initial teachings. It is not a case of another enlightened teacher just being produced and then teaching some other things. These things of tantra are considered to be present in some form in the initial teaching and elaborated by others who may be enlightened.

As a example..... Bon though holding very many exactly similiar tantric methods and means is not consdiered by many Tibetans to be a form of Buddhism. As Bon derives in its inception not from the teacher Buddha but from another enlightened master. So it is not considered by many to be called rightfully Budfdhism, as Buddhism refers in this day and time to not any Buddha but to the teacher Buddha who was born 2500 years ago. This does not in this consideration disallow other enlightened masters and their views but to be Buddhism it must evolve essentially from the teacher Buddha. The elements of tantra may be found in his words and intetion.

Tibetan Buddhist schools derive lineage wise from the teaher Buddha not another, though many others are present refered to and hold influence.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Rebel Buddha: On The Road To Freedom

Postby conebeckham » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:51 am

A copy of this book has been given to me, so I will read it and report back...perhaps we can actually discuss the book, then, eh? :smile:
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

PreviousNext

Return to Kagyu

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Karma Jinpa, MSNbot Media and 8 guests

>