Dr. Reginald Ray

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Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Chaz » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:47 pm

mr. gordo wrote:Nah, I hear ya Chaz...different strokes for different folks. Personally I wish he would come back to posting in forums as I think he has a wealth of information. Too bad he doesn't post more in his Sakya blog.


Yes, Malcom does have a wealth of knowledge ands it would be awesome if he'd share more, but his particular ....... idiom ....... becomes unbearable. As an example I would cite his repudiation of Dr. Reggie Ray. It's nearly impossible to find anything about Reggie Ray to put down. His credentials are impecable (although I'm not so sure about his Vajrayana creds myself). Yet, Malcom saw fit to completely disrespect one of the most highly respected western Dharma teachers in the world.

For reasons like that, despite his wealth of knowledge, I find it hard to give Malcom the crdit that may be do him.

Pero: Yeah, I can be a bit touchy, but even if I thought you're really stupid, I'd try real hard to not confront you with it.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:52 pm

Chaz wrote:Yes, Malcom does have a wealth of knowledge ands it would be awesome if he'd share more, but his particular ....... idiom ....... becomes unbearable. As an example I would cite his repudiation of Dr. Reggie Ray. It's nearly impossible to find anything about Reggie Ray to put down. His credentials are impecable (although I'm not so sure about his Vajrayana creds myself). Yet, Malcom saw fit to completely disrespect one of the most highly respected western Dharma teachers in the world.



I don't recall what Malcolm said about Reggie Ray.

To my knowledge, Reggie Ray left Shambhala because he was giving tantric empowerments without the authorization of The Sakyong. I guess it's up to the individual person to decide whether this is considered something to be commented on.

I think "unbearable" is a bit much. lol
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Chaz » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:22 pm

mr. gordo wrote:
Chaz wrote:Yes, Malcom does have a wealth of knowledge ands it would be awesome if he'd share more, but his particular ....... idiom ....... becomes unbearable. As an example I would cite his repudiation of Dr. Reggie Ray. It's nearly impossible to find anything about Reggie Ray to put down. His credentials are impecable (although I'm not so sure about his Vajrayana creds myself). Yet, Malcom saw fit to completely disrespect one of the most highly respected western Dharma teachers in the world.



What exactly did Malcolm say about Reggie Ray? I don't recall exactly.


He said that Ray wasn't a qualified Dharma teacher.

You can find a transcript here:

http://esanghalert.wordpress.com/category/reginald-ray/

To sum up, Ray was quoted as saying a belief in literal rebirth wasn't necessary. Malcom took some serious issue with that, made his condemnation and then locked the thread.

To my knowledge, Reggie Ray left Shambhala because he was giving tantric empowerments without the authorization of The Sakyong. I guess it's up to the individual person to decide whether this is considered something to be commented on.


Ray left Shambhala because he wanted to give those empowerments and the Sakyong refused to permit it. That may have something to do with Malcom's repudiation but I don't think so. As it turns out Ray's defection has never been a very big deal, even within the Shambhala community. You'd think that Ray's deceision to empower his students without the Sakyong's blessing would have stirred up a hornet's nest like The Tradition That Shall Not Be Named did with the Practice That Shall Not Be Mentioned. Yet, there was nothing. Ray continues teaching and attracting students. He still works closely with Tricycle and other publications. He recently completed a lovely center in Crestone, CO. If he's done or said anything to merit Malcom's repudiation, then it's a sentiment shared by very few people.

It should also be kept in mind that the Sakyong himself has never, to the best of my knowledge ever publicly disavowed or repudiated Ray in any way. His office did announce that Ray's students' Vajrayana empowerments didn't hold over to Shambhala. But that's all.

I think "unbearable" is a bit much. lol


Maybe, but I found it unbearable enough to cease visiting or posting to eSangha long before the hacker got to it.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby heart » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:39 pm

Chaz wrote:
He said that Ray wasn't a qualified Dharma teacher.

You can find a transcript here:

http://esanghalert.wordpress.com/category/reginald-ray/

To sum up, Ray was quoted as saying a belief in literal rebirth wasn't necessary. Malcolm took some serious issue with that, made his condemnation and then locked the thread.


Well, I kind of agree with Namdrol in the sense that I find Buddhism without rebirth unacceptable. On the other hand I often disagreed with Namdrol on e-sangha on other issues. We have exchanged emails now and then for many years and always found him very bright and actually quite generous.

/magnus
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Chaz » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:59 pm

heart wrote:
Chaz wrote:
He said that Ray wasn't a qualified Dharma teacher.

You can find a transcript here:

http://esanghalert.wordpress.com/category/reginald-ray/

To sum up, Ray was quoted as saying a belief in literal rebirth wasn't necessary. Malcolm took some serious issue with that, made his condemnation and then locked the thread.


Well, I kind of agree with Namdrol in the sense that I find Buddhism without rebirth unacceptable.


That's fine, you can believe what you want. I believe that my refuge is in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and NOT in my belief in rebirth.

Ray isn't alone in his assment you know. I know of a high ranking Lama in the Kagyu lineage that said the same thing on a Buddhist Geeks webcast about a year ago. And I'm not talking about some college kid who just left a three-year retreat either. The guy as the word "Rinpoche" in his name, so it's pretty safe to assume the guy knows what he's talking about.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:19 pm

I agree with Malcolm as well. Rebirth not taken literally but as metaphor is Dharma lite.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Pero » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:23 pm

Chaz wrote:That's fine, you can believe what you want. I believe that my refuge is in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and NOT in my belief in rebirth.


The thing is, rebirth is part of Dharma that you take refuge in.

edit: my second comment became kind of misplaced with the topic move hehe
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:15 am

Pero wrote:
Chaz wrote:That's fine, you can believe what you want. I believe that my refuge is in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and NOT in my belief in rebirth.


The thing is, rebirth is part of Dharma that you take refuge in.

edit: my second comment became kind of misplaced with the topic move hehe



Yes, that's true - that, and a lot of other things. For me it's not such a big deal, though. I have far more important things to concern myself with.

I also like to think that I really couldn't go up against Reggie on this matter. He know's the Dharma far better than I. You too. I'd wager Malcom as well.

What you might do is contact Reggie yourself. Get it straight from the horse's mouth. Go to Buddhist Geeks and listen to Ponlop Rinpoche's comments. There's only something like 4 interviews so you shouldn't have any trouble finding the 'cast. If memory serves, it would be the third interview (chronologically).
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:22 am

Chaz wrote: I'd wager Malcom as well.


I would definitely wager against that.

I would also wager that H.H. Dalai Lama, H.H. Sakya Trizin and Chogyal Namkhai Norbu would disagree with Ray as well....now that we're just flippantly throwing names out there.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Heruka » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:13 am

ray said incarnation and reincarnation, smith argues about rebirth.

is there not a distinction to be made?
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Heruka » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:16 am

“The whole belief in past lives is something that Buddhism inherited from Indian Tradition. And I think, as with many things in Asian Buddhism, we need to take a critical look at this and see…you know, the Buddha said to his own students “…anything that I teach you, don’t take it at face value, don’t believe it just because even I said it– you have to look at it and evaluate it within your own framework and see if it makes sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, dump it, get rid of it.” And I think that incarnation, ah… reincarnation, as a literal teaching, I don’t find it helpful for anybody because it takes your focus away from this life. But if incarnation is viewed as a sort of metaphor for the fact that we humans are on some kind of extremely long spiritual journey that happened before we were born, and it’s going to keep on going, then I think it’s helpful.”
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Heruka » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:35 am

just an after thought, on sutra teachings, i dont think there is any disagreement across all schools and traditions, tantra and beyond is another matter, and differences do occur, of course rays comments would have been nice to hear or read in terms of the context of the audience he was speaking to. sometimes rebirth can be a block to beginners in buddhism, if ray means one can set aside rebirth for now, and progress with other aspects of the buddhas teachings, this i think is ok, but to argue to reject it outright is not dharma as loppon smith points out.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:19 am

mr. gordo wrote:
Chaz wrote: I'd wager Malcom as well.


I would definitely wager against that.


I take it then you've read Ray's books and have attended teachings as well?
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:42 am

Heruka wrote:just an after thought, on sutra teachings, i dont think there is any disagreement across all schools and traditions, tantra and beyond is another matter, and differences do occur, of course rays comments would have been nice to hear or read in terms of the context of the audience he was speaking to. sometimes rebirth can be a block to beginners in buddhism, if ray means one can set aside rebirth for now, and progress with other aspects of the buddhas teachings, this i think is ok, but to argue to reject it outright is not dharma as loppon smith points out.



I would agree. Things like rebirth and karma are often a difficult pill for some to swallow - especially in the west. You can't really force someone to believe anything, but given time can come to believe in just about anything. All things change.

However, to try and force it is unwise and unskillful. There are much more important things for newcomers to consider - none of which has anything directly to do with rebirth, so making a big issue out of it is pointless.

For the record, I believe in a literal rebirth. I believed in it before I became a Buddhist, so I don't consider it important to either my understanding or practice of Dharma. Not everyone comes to the Dharma so inclined and I don't think it wise to expect that.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:32 am

mr. gordo wrote:To my knowledge, Reggie Ray left Shambhala because he was giving tantric empowerments without the authorization of The Sakyong. I guess it's up to the individual person to decide whether this is considered something to be commented on.



I've been thinking about this.

I've been facinatied for years by Reggie Ray's role in the development of Buddhism in the in the US, especially within the Shambhala Mandala as well as some branches of the Kagyu Lineage. He's been teaching for years and was an early student of Trungpa Rinpoche and the 16th Karmapa. He was I believe both the resident teacher at the Shambhala Mountain Center and on the first faculty at Naropa Looking at his history, Ray's path seemed to be heading towards some serious empowerments and responsibilites. I'm not sure what the Sakyong was thinking when he wouldn't work with Ray's request for empowerment to give pointing-out instructions and so on. But, if Ray couldn't get the Sakyong's blessing, why didn't he just go to the Karmapa ...... either of them?

What's really facinating is that Ray literally struck out on his own. Oddly enough he hasn't gotten the condemnation you might expect.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Pero » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:39 am

Chaz wrote:I'd wager Malcom as well.


But I wouldn't since I know Malcolm a bit, while I don't know anything about Reginald Ray. To me it seems that people forget that Malcolm actually is a teacher himself.

Go to Buddhist Geeks and listen to Ponlop Rinpoche's comments.


I did, and to me, he didn't say what Ray said. Nice talk though, Ponlop Rinpoche saying how Westerners say they can still chant in Tibetan but that to him it's not really Tibetan was hilarious haha.

Heruka wrote:sometimes rebirth can be a block to beginners in buddhism, if ray means one can set aside rebirth for now, and progress with other aspects of the buddhas teachings, this i think is ok, but to argue to reject it outright is not dharma as loppon smith points out.


Yeah this is kind of my opinion too.

ray said incarnation and reincarnation, smith argues about rebirth.
is there not a distinction to be made?


Yeah some say that but I think it's a BS distinction and I doubt very much RR was talking about it.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:49 pm

Chaz wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:
Chaz wrote: I'd wager Malcom as well.


I would definitely wager against that.


I take it then you've read Ray's books and have attended teachings as well?


I've read his books Indestructible Truth and Secret of the Vajra world. What does that have to with him denying rebirth? It's one thing to say "If you don't believe in rebirth, put it aside for now". It's another to say "You can drop rebirth from Buddhism and there is no problem". It's one thing to have a discussion on "killing" in Buddhism as there is scriptural support for both sides of the argument. There is no scriptural support for rebirth as a metaphor no matter how some people like to stretch it. It's almost laughable.

For the record, I believe in a literal rebirth. I believed in it before I became a Buddhist, so I don't consider it important to either my understanding or practice of Dharma.


In all honesty, why practice Buddhism if one doesn't believe in rebirth? At that point Buddhist meditation is just another form of psychotherapy that helps one get through the day. Nothing wrong with that, but why not be a secular humanist and practice the Sedona Method, Silva Method, or any other new-age teaching. One doesn't need Buddhism to feel better about themselves. One needs Buddhism to escape the cycle of death and birth .
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:50 pm

Pero wrote:
Chaz wrote:I'd wager Malcom as well.


To me it seems that people forget that Malcolm actually is a teacher himself.



Yes, authorized to teach subjects in Sakya and authorized to teach under Kunzang Dechen Lingpa.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Jnana » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:30 pm

mr. gordo wrote:What does that have to with him denying rebirth?

It's not like Reggie Ray is writing books denying rebirth and running around talking to anyone who will hear him talk about denying rebirth.

mr. gordo wrote:There is no scriptural support for rebirth as a metaphor no matter how some people like to stretch it.

Trungpa Rinpoche "psychologized" the teachings on the six realms in order to make them more meaningful to his students. Ray is one of those students. Ray is apparently continuing with this same approach. (As is often the case with Ani Pema and other senior students of Trungpa Rinpoche who are now teachers.)

mr. gordo wrote:It's almost laughable.

What would be laughable -- if it weren't so utterly lamentable -- is the almost palpable sense of self-righteous indignation and arrogance pulsing behind your statement. Do you find the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche to be "almost laughable"?

mr. gordo wrote:In all honesty, why practice Buddhism if one doesn't believe in rebirth?

In all honesty, Buddhism is about confronting and challenging oneself and one's beliefs on every level. It's not about merely replacing an atheistic worldview or a Judeo-Christian worldview with an Indian worldview. As Ray says in Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body:

    Buddhism, in its most subtle and sophisticated expression, is not a tradition that seeks to provide answers to life's questions or to dispense "wisdom" to allay our fundamental angst. Rather, it challenges us to look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion.

And:

    The role of tradition, at least according to Buddhism, is thus not to limit the search, the experience, the journey, but to open us to it — tradition here is inspiration, challenge, and provocation, and some helpful practices, not a set of answers.

This is by far a more refined and challenging approach than your "[W]hy practice Buddhism if one doesn't believe in rebirth?"

All the best,

Geoff
Last edited by Jnana on Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Crystal and the Way of Light - Blog Post by Namdrol

Postby Jikan » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:33 pm

Chaz wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:To my knowledge, Reggie Ray left Shambhala because he was giving tantric empowerments without the authorization of The Sakyong. I guess it's up to the individual person to decide whether this is considered something to be commented on.


<snip>

What's really facinating is that Ray literally struck out on his own. Oddly enough he hasn't gotten the condemnation you might expect.


Not in public, of course.

What were the circumstances under which Ray left Shambhala? Was it Ray's idea to strike out on his own, so to speak, or was it suggested to him, and if so, by whom?

I don't know the answer to these questions, and I'm not convinced this is a useful line of debate to carry out publicly. I'm posing them as a reminder that things aren't always as they seem when you're dealing with charismatic figures in bureaucratic institutions (with apologies to Max Weber).
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