Conventions contrary to scripture.

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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Fri May 20, 2011 7:24 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I hold my precepts BETTER THAN you! EVERYONE CAN SEE this and so this makes ME a better practitioner and ABOVE lay people whose path is LESS PURE.
:rolling:

Just as an example.

Oh, and I only accept money inside envelops, counting it with a pair of tweezers. See how well do I hold my precepts?
:lol:


With the former we just need to hold our precepts as purely as possible without a show. If we feel like comparing ourselves to someone then we can think of how much better we are holding our precepts than Shakyamuni. At any rate we need to hold them internally, even secretly.

As to the later we would be better off without such fanaticism. We live in the real world and have to make accommodation with reality. Again, being honest and dropping any kind of show.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Astus » Fri May 20, 2011 8:30 pm

This line of reasoning for the futility of monasticism and that we are in the final days make me think of Shinran who realised his utterly evil, totally deluded situation and put his faith solely in Amitabha's vow as the only way to escape samsara and attain buddhahood. That argument makes all other teachings totally pointless.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 20, 2011 8:48 pm

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:If someone really has the wish to be a bhikṣu or a bhikṣuni, they can do that. But in the end, it will not prevent the predicted disappearance of Shakyamuni's Dharma sasana.


Well no, but as Gelek Rinpoche said there will be ups and downs before the Dharma actually disappears.

Kirt



The dharma won't disappear. Dzogchen teachings will be around for much longer than the Buddhist monastic Sangha. In fact, eventually, that is mainly what people will identify as Dharma i.e. Dzogchen teachings.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Fri May 20, 2011 9:09 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Sure I remember. Care to show me the expiration date? Sutra can be read variously on this point.


About 2500 years.


That's what I mean about sutra can be read variously on this point. We can make arguments for an earlier or later decline about everyone generally hits on 2500 years. So time has been up for a few decades or by a few hundred years.


A revival of the tradition of Chandragomin in very much in order, IMO.




The gomi ordination never existed in Tibetan Buddhism or Mulasarvastivada. There is no tradition for it, do cannot be revived.


It doesn't matter as Chandragomin is the model and people cannot be prohibited from privately taking the eight vows daily on their own or, if their teacher supports it taking the eight vows permanently, and thus reestablishing the tradition in a de facto manner.

Having said that, the merit is still exceeded by monastics and people very much need merit.


People accumulate the most merit by meditating correctly.


I thought people accumulated the most merit by raising bodhicitta. But anyway we are living in a time where many people go through a mini-rudra period where they emphasize practice and still pursue an outwardly worldly life and don't really tame their minds or behaviour although they honestly think they are practising correctly. The restraint of the precepts is still very much needed.

Then for monastics they are the models of Buddha and should be modelling all of their behaviour on the behaviour of Buddha, being a model for everyone. Doing so they accumulate vast merit.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Fri May 20, 2011 9:15 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Paths of renunciation cannot bear fruit in the Kaliyuga. At best, it is a show for posterity.


This is the case for most people but most people are not going to even raise interest in entering the sangha. For those that do their practice can be very beneficial for themselves and for others who have a similar bent but haven't decided to enter the sangha. And they can remind other people to be virtuous and just remind them of positive values.

Kirt



Maybe. Most of the people I know who take monastic vows just take vows to create a lack of merit since they cannot keep their vows.

N


It's a tough time. But that's what sojong is for. Better a monastic with a good heart who is constantly messing up but purifying than no monastic at all. Getting just a little better over time is good, just as long as there is no permanent downfall. And if there is, then take the consort (or not) and just focus on Ati or Anuttaryogatantra - (ja lus or bust) or Pure Land practice. But having tried is better than not. This is also why we need temporary monastic ordination.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 20, 2011 10:31 pm

kirtu wrote:
It doesn't matter as Chandragomin is the model and people cannot be prohibited from privately taking the eight vows daily on their own or, if their teacher supports it taking the eight vows permanently, and thus reestablishing the tradition in a de facto manner.



It has no force. It would be a made up ordination. No lineage. Therefore, useless. But if you want to take the fast day vows everyday for your whole life, I won't stop you.

But anyway we are living in a time where many people go through a mini-rudra period where they emphasize practice and still pursue an outwardly worldly life and don't really tame their minds or behaviour although they honestly think they are practising correctly. The restraint of the precepts is still very much needed.


If you need a vow, take a vow. If you don't, no point.

Then for monastics they are the models of Buddha and should be modelling all of their behaviour on the behaviour of Buddha, being a model for everyone.


One cannot model the Buddha through characteristics since the Buddha is not something definable by characteristics.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Fri May 20, 2011 11:30 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
It doesn't matter as Chandragomin is the model and people cannot be prohibited from privately taking the eight vows daily on their own or, if their teacher supports it taking the eight vows permanently, and thus reestablishing the tradition in a de facto manner.



It has no force. It would be a made up ordination. No lineage. Therefore, useless. But if you want to take the fast day vows everyday for your whole life, I won't stop you.


It's not made up at all. It's mentioned in Kongtrul's "Ethics" and it's also mentioned as a possibility in every Sakya overview of pratimoksha vows I have ever been at (taking the eight vows for an extended period or life and the phrase "like how Chandragomin lived" is often explicitly added).

But anyway we are living in a time where many people go through a mini-rudra period where they emphasize practice and still pursue an outwardly worldly life and don't really tame their minds or behaviour although they honestly think they are practising correctly. The restraint of the precepts is still very much needed.


If you need a vow, take a vow. If you don't, no point.
[

That's true. That's my point. People really do need the vows. Most people can't jump into Ati mode immediately.

Then for monastics they are the models of Buddha and should be modelling all of their behaviour on the behaviour of Buddha, being a model for everyone.


One cannot model the Buddha through characteristics since the Buddha is not something definable by characteristics.


HAHAHA - the Buddha we see is not the Buddha. But the vows restrain behavior and people display the very gross behavior of a Buddha (no killing, no stealing, no harsh speech, no intoxicants). IOW as Daido Roshi said the precepts are there to guide people in the practice of living the life of a Buddha outwardly. With that restraint in place people can settle down over time and tame their minds. Thus the vows free people from negative karma and negative behavior that would otherwise tend to keep them from developing inwardly and really meditating.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 20, 2011 11:57 pm

kirtu wrote:
It's not made up at all. It's mentioned in Kongtrul's "Ethics" and it's also mentioned as a possibility in every Sakya overview of pratimoksha vows I have ever been at (taking the eight vows for an extended period or life and the phrase "like how Chandragomin lived" is often explicitly added).



It is rejected by Vasybandhu and also Sapan points out there is no Gomi ordination. Sakyas also ordain "nuns" even though Gorampa explicitly rejects the practice as corrupt.



That's true. That's my point. People really do need the vows. Most people can't jump into Ati mode immediately.


That's up to them. If they want to, they can.


Thus the vows free people from negative karma and negative behavior that would otherwise tend to keep them from developing inwardly and really meditating.


Not really. They actually make negative behavior heavier in karma since no one was ever prevented from engaging in negative behavior by a vow. Mindfulness is what prevents negative behavior, not vows.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Sat May 21, 2011 12:48 am

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
It's not made up at all. It's mentioned in Kongtrul's "Ethics" and it's also mentioned as a possibility in every Sakya overview of pratimoksha vows I have ever been at (taking the eight vows for an extended period or life and the phrase "like how Chandragomin lived" is often explicitly added).



It is rejected by Vasybandhu and also Sapan points out there is no Gomi ordination. Sakyas also ordain "nuns" even though Gorampa explicitly rejects the practice as corrupt.


Vasubandhu where? Sapan in the "Three Vows"?

Thus the vows free people from negative karma and negative behavior that would otherwise tend to keep them from developing inwardly and really meditating.


Not really. They actually make negative behavior heavier in karma since no one was ever prevented from engaging in negative behavior by a vow. Mindfulness is what prevents negative behavior, not vows.


Even though the Sravaka schools assert vows as a physical thing the whole point of vows are to practice mindfulness. They are an aid to mindfulness. That is their purpose.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 1:47 am

kirtu wrote:
Vasubandhu where?



Karma chapter. He mentions them, and then points out they do not exist in Sarvastivada and its offshoots.

Sapan in the "Three Vows"?


Yes, he points they never existed in Tibet.

Even though the Sravaka schools assert vows as a physical thing


Only Vaibhashika. Sautrantikas reject theory of avijñapti.

the whole point of vows are to practice mindfulness. They are an aid to mindfulness. That is their purpose.
Kirt


It is better to just be mindful. Vows don't really help mindfulness - it is a myth that they do. I never needed a vow not to kill. Once I decided killing was a bad thing, I stopped killing things. Taking a vow of not killing did not make me better at it. Etc.

The difference we are having is this. I don't think that these things are really helping people. You have a more conservative take on it. But I don't think vows are that essential. Not harming others, helping others, and realizing the nature of our minds. This includes all vows of three yānas. There are no vows not included in this. So who needs more than this? No one.

N



N
Last edited by Malcolm on Sat May 21, 2011 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Sat May 21, 2011 2:17 am

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Vasubandhu where?



Karma chapter. He mentions them, and then points out they do not exist in Sarvastivada and its offshoots.


I'll certainly check it out.

Sapan in the "Three Vows"?


Yes, he points they never existed in Tibet.


That's quite different from actually not having been practiced. It's a point of Indian Buddhism that didn't get copied in some form to Tibet.

Even though the Sravaka schools assert vows as a physical thing


Only Vaibhashika. Sautrantikas reject theory of avijñapti.


Thanks, I need to firm up my understanding of the philosophy of the schools in general.

the whole point of vows are to practice mindfulness. They are an aid to mindfulness. That is their purpose.


It is better to just be mindful. Vows don't really help mindfulness - it is a myth that they do. I never needed a vow not to kill. Once I decided killing was a bad thing, I stopped killing things. Taking a vow of not killing did not make me better at it. Etc.


Some people really don't know that killing is wrong. American's and countless other societies enshrine killing one's enemies as a virtue. History is replete with this. Similarly for all the other five precepts. You may not have needed moral instruction on this but really many people in many societies really do.

Then the practice of the eight vows is a mildly ascetic practice and comes directly from Shakyamuni Buddha over his previous lives. It is an ancient Indian pre-Buddhist practice adapted for Shakyamuni's teaching. And the upshot of the practice is to accumulate merit and to raise mindfulness of body, voice and mind.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 2:23 am

kirtu wrote:That's quite different from actually not having been practiced. It's a point of Indian Buddhism that didn't get copied in some form to Tibet.


They were never practiced in our ordination lineage, Mulasarvastivada.


Some people really don't know that killing is wrong. American's and countless other societies enshrine killing one's enemies as a virtue. History is replete with this.


Those people don't generally take Buddhist vows. They are not even Buddhist

Similarly for all the other five precepts. You may not have needed moral instruction on this but really many people in many societies really do.


Listen, you cannot fix samsara. You will never convince everyone to stop killing.

Then the practice of the eight vows is a mildly ascetic practice and comes directly from Shakyamuni Buddha over his previous lives. It is an ancient Indian pre-Buddhist practice adapted for Shakyamuni's teaching. And the upshot of the practice is to accumulate merit and to raise mindfulness of body, voice and mind.


It is something quite relative. If you want to do posadha fast day vows, great. If you want to be a monk, fine. But it is not essential. It is not essential to accumulating merit, and it is not essential to realization. If it was, all Buddhas would have taught Vinaya etc., but they do not.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Sat May 21, 2011 2:28 am

Namdrol wrote:The difference we are having is this. I don't think that these things are really helping people. You have a more conservative take on it.


I was about to say we are at a kind of impasse ....

But I don't think vows are that essential. Not harming others, helping others, and realizing the nature of our minds. This includes all vows of three yānas. There are no vows not included in this. So who needs more than this? No one.


People raised in bad societies, or with bad teachers, or in bad historical situations. People in Nazi Germany, or Poland during WWII, Serbska and Croatia predominately during the 1990;s, Anguilimala, Rwanda, any country during wars or anywhere during economic depressions, anyone raised in a mind controlling situation dominated by others (there is a short teaching about this by Asanga).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 2:32 am

kirtu wrote:People raised in bad societies, or with bad teachers, or in bad historical situations. People in Nazi Germany, or Poland during WWII, Serbska and Croatia predominately during the 1990;s, Anguilimala, Rwanda, any country during wars or anywhere during economic depressions, anyone raised in a mind controlling situation dominated by others (there is a short teaching about this by Asanga).
Kirt


Dharma will never exist in these places with these conditions. So what's the point of even bringing it up?

Angulimala acheived Arhatship very quickly.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Sat May 21, 2011 2:34 am

Namdrol wrote:
Similarly for all the other five precepts. You may not have needed moral instruction on this but really many people in many societies really do.


Listen, you cannot fix samsara. You will never convince everyone to stop killing.


That's true but we can try (Khenchen Tsewang - this was in the context of a trip to Ottowa and I said dress warm but they mostly won't really listen. And he said to me "We have to try ").

Then the practice of the eight vows is a mildly ascetic practice and comes directly from Shakyamuni Buddha over his previous lives. It is an ancient Indian pre-Buddhist practice adapted for Shakyamuni's teaching. And the upshot of the practice is to accumulate merit and to raise mindfulness of body, voice and mind.


It is something quite relative. If you want to do posadha fast day vows, great. If you want to be a monk, fine. But it is not essential. It is not essential to accumulating merit, and it is not essential to realization.


That's true of course. But it's a nice method that can benefit people who like it.

If it was, all Buddhas would have taught Vinaya etc., but they do not.


And this is the point you made some time back. It's a good point. I have often wondered why some (maybe many) Buddhas did not teach vinaya. Were the people then just more naturally virtuous or what?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby kirtu » Sat May 21, 2011 2:41 am

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:People raised in bad societies, or with bad teachers, or in bad historical situations. People in Nazi Germany, or Poland during WWII, Serbska and Croatia predominately during the 1990;s, Anguilimala, Rwanda, any country during wars or anywhere during economic depressions, anyone raised in a mind controlling situation dominated by others (there is a short teaching about this by Asanga).
Kirt


Dharma will never exist in these places with these conditions. So what's the point of even bringing it up?

Angulimala acheived Arhatship very quickly.


Yes he did but if he had been taught correctly he wouldn't have killed in the first place.

The point is that as much as possible we have to raise the level of virtue in places where we live and hopefully everywhere in the world. I knew people from the former Yugoslavia who in fact would have been lined up against a wall and shot (and might have been) and having grown up in Germany I knew and met people who had been deceived by the society in the 30's and 40's and I met concentration camp survivors.

As KDL says in notes in a sadhana: "save as many as you can". I think we have to do the best we can on this point esp. as the 21st century is clearly becoming as much a river of blood as the 20th was. Just little drops of Dharma can help many people I think.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 2:49 am

kirtu wrote:
As KDL says in notes in a sadhana: "save as many as you can". I think we have to do the best we can on this point esp. as the 21st century is clearly becoming as much a river of blood as the 20th was. Just little drops of Dharma can help many people I think.

Kirt


Best way to save others is to become realized yourself, like KDL. Otherwise, it is not much use trying to help anyone in more than a temporary way.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Jnana » Sat May 21, 2011 1:05 pm

Namdrol wrote:Also Dzogchen and tantric teachings do not require a monastic Sangha for support. During most eons when Dzogchen was taught, it was taught separately from any kind of sutric teaching at all.

This kind of dzogchen-centric viewpoint is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the vast majority of Buddhists in the history of the Buddha's dispensation never heard of dzogchen, and to this day this dzogchen narrative would not be accepted as authoritative by many (most) Buddhist traditions in East Asia and SE Asia. Even in Tibet the historicity of the dzogchen tantras was questioned. Therefore there is no reason whatsoever for any contemporary Buddhist to submit to this particular mythological narrative.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 1:15 pm

Jñāna wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Also Dzogchen and tantric teachings do not require a monastic Sangha for support. During most eons when Dzogchen was taught, it was taught separately from any kind of sutric teaching at all.


This kind of dzogchen-centric viewpoint is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the vast majority of Buddhists in the history of the Buddha's dispensation never heard of dzogchen...



So what? That is their lack of fortune. Now they have a chance to hear about it, and it they are interested, practice it. And from this Dzogchen centric POV, a monastic Sangha is not necessary for the Dharma. It also was not necessary during Sikhin's dispensation. He had no monastic Sangha. On the other hand, even though Buddha himself mentions Sikhin, etc. there is no reason for any contemporary Buddhist to submit to Buddha's mythology of the four or seven past Buddhas, unless of course they choose to.

and to this day this dzogchen narrative would not be accepted as authoritative by many (most) Buddhist traditions in East Asia and SE Asia.


Again, so what? This is just a question of authority and as we know, that lies in oneself.

Even in Tibet the historicity of the dzogchen tantras was questioned.


In India the historicity of Mahayana sutras were questioned. In Tibet, the historicity of Kalacakra was also considered suspect. Again, so what?

Therefore there is no reason whatsoever for any contemporary Buddhist to submit to this particular mythological narrative.


There is no reason for any contemporary Buddhist to submit to any mythological narrative of any kind other than personal choice.

Now then, back to what I was saying. When all is said and done, the only teaching that will be left and widespread will be Dzogchen teachings. That will be the Dharma which people will know and which will have survived. The reason is very simple. Dzogchen is the real essence of Dharma, the vehicle beyond cause and effect.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Conventions contrary to scripture.

Postby Jnana » Sat May 21, 2011 2:31 pm

Namdrol wrote:So what? That is their lack of fortune.

You're promoting an extreme supersessionist ideology.

Namdrol wrote:Again, so what?... Again, so what?... Now then, back to what I was saying.

Sorry, but your tradition isn't the only game in town.

Namdrol wrote:
Jñāna wrote:The optimal conditions for meditative development are provided by extensive and sustained immersion in intensive retreat practice.

Not necessarily.

Maybe not necessary for some, but considered necessary for most of us according to the traditional Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna texts. Vimalamitra's Rim gyis 'jug pa'i sgom don goes on at some length explaining the need for solitary practice. At the beginning of this section he states:

    Without seeking solitude and practicing meditation on cannot achieve omniscience.

He then quotes numerous sūtras to support this, and goes on to refute the claim that it's unnecessary for householders to practice in solitude. There are many other sūtra treatises, as well as Tibetan chagchen and dzogchen manuals which also emphasize the importance of sustained solitary practice.

All the best,

Geoff
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