Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:06 pm

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Shaking one hundred world systems and illuminating a hundred world systems refers to wisdom attainment and can also refer to one hundred rebirths at the level of the 1st bhumi. So it depends on how this sutra was actually intended.



According to Mahasiddha Virupa, it means in one's lifetime, not in one hundred lifetimes.


So what did Virupa say about the sutra?

Kirt


He didn't. It is part of the vajra verses:

Shaking one hundred nirmanakaya realms,
Hearing,
One hundred offerings,
One hundred lights are radiated,
One hundred lower explanations,
One is able to evenly abide in one hundred different samadhis,
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:13 pm

You got the point, fellows. We don't need to be overly literal.
Regarding the public demonstration of siddhis, I see it as dangerous as the public recognition of frauds. :|

Until convinced otherwise, I believe realization is probably the rarest thing on Earth, even among life long practitioners.
It was great if all those famous lamas who are said to be in the 7th and 8th bhumis and more (yes, we have living Buddhas!) were really there.
I don't have reasons to believe it, especially when we see some of those falling into disrepute. People can believe whatever they want, though. Nevertheless, I'm still to be convinced and factuality seems to point to the fact that enlightenment is indeed very rare.
I like a lama who shines through his teachings and presents real solutions for today's students, not someone in a throne whose time is more occupied with politics and money than Dharma practice.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:22 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:You got the point, fellows. We don't need to be overly literal.
Regarding the public demonstration of siddhis, I see it as dangerous as the public recognition of frauds. :|


Dude, you are putting siddhas out of work...
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby spanda » Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:02 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Regarding the public demonstration of siddhis, I see it as dangerous as the public recognition of frauds. :|
.


Why? Even the office of Dalai Lama asked to such a demonstration when it was necessary.

For example, in the case of Michael Roach , when he claimed that around his 22nd year, he realized emptiness and
bodhicitta directly, and he started the consort practices, claiming that he is capable to engage in actual consort practice without breaking his monks vows (which, by default, would necessitate that Geshe Michael Roach had at very least attained the 8th Bodhisattva Bhumi, a level very close to Buddhahood itself).

In that moment, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, sent him a letter:

"Dear Geshe Michael,
If your conduct will be the way you explained in the letter then it will not be normal from the monasteries point of view or according to the monasteries point of view. Where the need is more important than what is to abandoned, along with that one should be able to perform other miracle powers, show control or freedom like Milarepa or like any of those yogi’s such as Dukpa Kunleg. Then, in this way, people can see the realizations and power and so devotion grows in them. Even they have mistaken appearance, people see their special qualities of showing control and high realizations , in this way seeing the mistakes does not destroy peoples faith and instead they see only qualities.
Gelongma Palmo in order to destroy the heresy of the people of the city who believed she had broken her vows and to inspire them and bring them to enlightenment, she cut off her head and put it on a spear and danced in space and said “if it is true that I am not pure, not a fully ordained nun then my head should not come back, if it is true that I
am pure then my head should come back”. Then her head came back on her body, like before, and that proved to the people in the city, the words of the truth. The head from the spear came back to her body as before, so everybody in the city completely believed that she did not have any mistakes and is pure, destroying all their wrong views and
heresy and this caused them to have incredible devotion to her.
Just to clarify I don’t mean you have to be enlightened to do that kind of conduct. It might seem that way from the story. All it means is having high realizations and showing to others through external miracle powers.
By showing miracle powers then other people can generate devotion and non heresy. By seeing the miracle power, something external, then they can have faith in high realizations, seeing that you have control and you are free and whatever conduct you do does not have the stain of samsara.
If one performs those behaviors to develop people’s devotion then it is not just an ordinary miracle that is needed, one needs to do a special kind of miracle, for example the6th Dalai Lama pee-ed from the top of the Potala and just before the urine hit the ground he drew it back again inside his vajra. Also there is the story of the previous incarnation of Gonsar Rinpoche who pulled in mud through his vajra.
With much love and prayers,
Lama Zopa"

Even the Office of H.H. Dalai Lama sent him a letter:

"Dear Rev. Michael Roach,
This is to thank you for your letter. We have gone through your long explanation but still do not support your coming to
Dharmsala. If you have reached the path of seeing, as you claim in your letter, you should then be able show extraordinary powers and perform miracles like the Siddhas of the past. Only then will the followers of Tibetan Buddhists be able to believe and accept your claims. Otherwise, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the Spiritual and Temporal leader of Tibet, having responsibility over the welfare of Tibetan Buddhism many have often complained to Him that He should be strict with those who are not adhering to the general norms of discipline according to our tradition. And your coming to Dharmsala will be seen by many as His Holiness condoning your behavior and practice.
In view of all these we advise you not to visit Dharmsala in the greater interest of the purity of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. However, as for the other members of your group those who are interested are welcome to attend the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Tenzin Geyche Tethong
Secretary to H.H. the Dalai Lama
Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama”


I think that, this would be one of the best method to really evaluate the level of someone. I'm wrong? Even Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, I one of his webcast talked about something like that.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:08 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote:So what did Virupa say about the sutra?

Kirt


He didn't. It is part of the vajra verses:

Shaking one hundred nirmanakaya realms,
Hearing,
One hundred offerings,
One hundred lights are radiated,
One hundred lower explanations,
One is able to evenly abide in one hundred different samadhis,


Oh the Vajra Verses. Well now, that's totally straightforward and any child can read it and understand it without error. That's why it is expounded in secret. And for sure it has no layers or levels of meaning*.

Even Virupa can be dinged if we apply this literally. He didn't manifest 100 offerings (just several dozen or so are recorded), he didn't radiate 100 physical lights (except late at night in his cell), he didn't explain a whole lot, not even to his monks before they expelled him, and he didn't shake 100 worlds (just reversed the Ganges and split a few Hindu rupas and caused a witch cult to become Buddhists).

Kirt

*For non-English speakers, these two lines are complete sarcasm.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:40 pm

kirtu wrote:That's why it is expounded in secret. And for sure it has no layers or levels of meaning*.


suit yourself.

N
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:50 pm

:lol:
What I meant was that those who hide behind the notion that publicly demonstrating siddhis is dangerous, risk having more frauds passing as bodhisattvas at least on the path of seeing. If we are to accept that this or that lama is on xth bhumi on faith, hearsay and so on, there's no guarantees whatsoever. If a lama accepts, even tacitly, that he is a bodhisattva on the bhumis, he should prove it if asked.
MR is a bad joke, but he is not alone in this. Lamas who accepts being treated as actually enlightened beings and didn't even entered the path of seeing are misleading people. They only help people building unhealthy fantasies that usually end pretty badly.
This doesn't mean that there's no danger in publicly demonstrating siddhis in a totally opened way. I can think of a few bad things that could happen.
But demonstrating them to a council of peers is reasonable.
You all know where I'm getting. I have serious doubts that most of these lamas whose students claim to be on the 8th bhumi and above have even entered the path of seeing, let alone the path of no more learning...
It's mostly politics. The higher the throne, the higher the bhumi. :roll:
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:13 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote::lol:
What I meant was that those who hide behind the notion that publicly demonstrating siddhis is dangerous, risk having more frauds passing as bodhisattvas at least on the path of seeing. If we are to accept that this or that lama is on xth bhumi on faith, hearsay and so on, there's no guarantees whatsoever.


I've never heard of a lama stating that they were on the bhumi's to begin with.

One problem with demonstrating siddhi is determining it's authenticity. The charlatan Lenz for example is supposed to have demonstrated events that wowed his market. More recently Sai Baba was controversial but many people followed him based on what could have been stage magic.

Then we can point to the Carlos Castenada books - his teacher was supposed to have occasionally caused earthquakes when he defecated.

Kirt
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Adamantine » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:04 am

kirtu wrote:
One problem with demonstrating siddhi is determining it's authenticity. The charlatan Lenz for example is supposed to have demonstrated events that wowed his market. More recently Sai Baba was controversial but many people followed him based on what could have been stage magic.

Then we can point to the Carlos Castenada books - his teacher was supposed to have occasionally caused earthquakes when he defecated.

Kirt



Yeah but on that note can we really assume all the accounts of ancient India's Siddhas --whatever tradition they were from (or lack of)-- were authentic? Obviously there is a rich history of the art of illusion in India- this book looks to be illuminating in this regard: http://www.amazon.com/Net-Magic-Wonders-Deceptions-India/dp/0226756874/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309049962&sr=1-2

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:54 am

kirtu wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote::lol:
What I meant was that those who hide behind the notion that publicly demonstrating siddhis is dangerous, risk having more frauds passing as bodhisattvas at least on the path of seeing. If we are to accept that this or that lama is on xth bhumi on faith, hearsay and so on, there's no guarantees whatsoever.


I've never heard of a lama stating that they were on the bhumi's to begin with.

One problem with demonstrating siddhi is determining it's authenticity. The charlatan Lenz for example is supposed to have demonstrated events that wowed his market. More recently Sai Baba was controversial but many people followed him based on what could have been stage magic.

Then we can point to the Carlos Castenada books - his teacher was supposed to have occasionally caused earthquakes when he defecated.

Kirt

Well, I also never heard any lama stating he had any siddhis, but some know what is said and written about them and do nothing about it (that's why I several times said tacitly accepting it), so gross exaggerations stick.

Well, stage magic is stage magic, not the ability to read minds, stick a phurba in a rock or more amazing stuff siddhas are said to be able to do. You can fool a crowd under special conditions. You can't fool peers watching you closely in a controlled environment.
While having siddhis is but an indication and not a certificate of authenticity per se, not having them while pretending to be in the bhumis, tacitly or admittedly, is a certificate of lack of authenticity. This is a crucial difference.

The thing is, if you say are in the bhumis or allow people in the Sangha to spread the word that you are, not dimissing it publicly, clearly and in a way that doesn't seem just modesty, then you shouldn't hide behind excuses if a sincere student asks for a demonstration. It's legit.

For instance, let us imagine that I start saying that you are in the 8th bhumi and are the tulku of a former abbot of an important monastery. You know I'm saying these things publicly. People start prostrating at your feet, trusting in your qualifications and asking advice daily, while writing in their websites about how you practically are a living Buddha and the whole shebang. If you don't clearly emit a statement dismissing without any shadow of doubt such attainments, what would that make you? Perhaps a fraud and an opportunist, no? That's my point. :smile:
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Adamantine » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:29 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:[
For instance, let us imagine that I start saying that you are in the 8th bhumi and are the tulku of a former abbot of an important monastery. You know I'm saying these things publicly. People start prostrating at your feet, trusting in your qualifications and asking advice daily, while writing in their websites about how you practically are a living Buddha and the whole shebang. If you don't clearly emit a statement dismissing without any shadow of doubt such attainments, what would that make you? Perhaps a fraud and an opportunist, no? That's my point. :smile:


I think the issue here is the essence of the Tantric path. Our path is to cultivate pure vision, and out focal point is the Guru. We cultivate the view of them as being an actual Buddha, for this is a skillful method. But we can't just intellectually attach to it as a skillful method, we must really begin to have this view. Then, many Lamas, often the highest ones, say often they do not have any high attainments to speak of, they are nothing special, and because we cultivate our view of them as Buddhas we ignore this and see it as their profound quality of humility and manifesting even a slight hidden-yogi approach. And yet, to take their statements at face value, to then think "they are nothing special, they are not realized, just like they say", would destroy our practice. It is a catch 22. The Lamas may not discourage pure vision, knowing it is the very way of practice. This is to be differentiated from stupid-vision (a cousin of idiot-compassion). There is a powerful play here, a danger of losing the path, throwing the baby out with the water, a delicate balance indeed. And I believe there are actually miracles revealed only when ones devotion has ripened and the teachers mind blooms like a flower in response. . there is an interdependence. I don't think the Lamas I have experience with would just run around displaying these things in public, in fact most of them are quite private in general.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:46 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:[
For instance, let us imagine that I start saying that you are in the 8th bhumi and are the tulku of a former abbot of an important monastery. You know I'm saying these things publicly. People start prostrating at your feet, trusting in your qualifications and asking advice daily, while writing in their websites about how you practically are a living Buddha and the whole shebang. If you don't clearly emit a statement dismissing without any shadow of doubt such attainments, what would that make you? Perhaps a fraud and an opportunist, no? That's my point. :smile:


I think the issue here is the essence of the Tantric path. Our path is to cultivate pure vision, and out focal point is the Guru. We cultivate the view of them as being an actual Buddha, for this is a skillful method. But we can't just intellectually attach to it as a skillful method, we must really begin to have this view. Then, many Lamas, often the highest ones, say often they do not have any high attainments to speak of, they are nothing special, and because we cultivate our view of them as Buddhas we ignore this and see it as their profound quality of humility and manifesting even a slight hidden-yogi approach. And yet, to take their statements at face value, to then think "they are nothing special, they are not realized, just like they say", would destroy our practice. It is a catch 22. The Lamas may not discourage pure vision, knowing it is the very way of practice. This is to be differentiated from stupid-vision (a cousin of idiot-compassion). There is a powerful play here, a danger of losing the path, throwing the baby out with the water, a delicate balance indeed. And I believe there are actually miracles revealed only when ones devotion has ripened and the teachers mind blooms like a flower in response. . there is an interdependence. I don't think the Lamas I have experience with would just run around displaying these things in public, in fact most of them are quite private in general.


Yes, I don't think any wise lama would display those things in public. I really don't care that much about miracles if my lama teaches me well and his conduct is not hurtful. Do his teachings help me? Does he seem like a wise and experienced practitioner who gives great advice and his conduct reflects such wisdom? If so, I need no miracles. If, OTOH, he has a strange conduct, shows lack of discernment and so on, perhaps one or two demonstrations of siddhis helps believing he may be in the bhumis, thus incapable of acting in a hurtful manner. It's not a litmus test or anything. It can help. Now, I'm pretty sure if Michael Roach was in the bhumis, he would have clarified it very simply by showing it to a council of Lamas. He didn't so we can know he isn't. Had he done it and we could still doubt it, but at least he would have some arguments of weight on his side.

Now, if you say you are nothing special and have no attainments and mean it, then you shouldn't be teaching Vajrayana. So, you either are a qualified teacher or you aren't. And if you aren't, you are wasting your students human lives.
I believe there's modesty in the case of many lamas when they say they haven't achieved anything (while they may in fact be way "up there") who take the supra-mundane siddhi as the only worthy achievement when compared to mundane ones.
But I also believe that this attitude is faked by many others. I believe it and it's known that great teachers of the past believed in such too, that enlightenment is very rare, even inside monasteries.

As you know seeing our lama as a Buddha doesn't mean actually believing he is one. That would be schizophrenia! Tantric practice and the cultivation of pure vision is not the same as plunging in a fantasy world. When we talk about the transformation of our impure vision in pure vision regarding this issue, we are talking about the manifestation of the enlightened nature of the lama and our karmic vision impeding us from realizing such nature. All the flaws are but conventional while in fact everything is perfect just the way it is. Enlightenment is present from the start. This doesn't mean that our lama is truly on the 8th bhumi, as the true nature of Buddha is present both in him and in us and we know we have flaws. These flaws have no reality beyond conventionality and that's where the cultivation of pure vision points to.

With gold you can make a statue or an ashtray, gold will be gold, and seeing the gold behind both the statue and the ashtray is the goal of developing pure vision. So although I know that, I also know that from a conventional perspective, this or that lama is not a Buddha. I may feel devotion for the meaning of a Buddha statue and stick a chewing gum in an ashtray, both made of gold. Metaphorically speaking, although they have the same nature, gold, their conventional function is not the same. Likewise, the nature of a murderer and a lama is the same, but I won't receive empowerments from the first, although when cultivating pure vision I shouldn't see him as a murderer, but as a daka or a Buddha.

Ultimately, enlightenment is already present just from the start. But I can't mix the ultimate and the conventional unskillfully. One is qualified to teach (conventional teachings as is Buddhadharma) and one is not. Same for different lamas, one is in the bhumis and one hasn't entered the path of seeing, so they have different capacities to teach the Dharma, the corollary being that using the cultivation of pure vision as an excuse for saying nothing to clarify that one isn't actually in the bhumis when people think and say we are doesn't cut it.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:26 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:
As you know seeing our lama as a Buddha doesn't mean actually believing he is one. That would be schizophrenia! Tantric practice and the cultivation of pure vision is not the same as plunging in a fantasy world. When we talk about the transformation of our impure vision in pure vision regarding this issue, we are talking about the manifestation of the enlightened nature of the lama and our karmic vision impeding us from realizing such nature. All the flaws are but conventional while in fact everything is perfect just the way it is. Enlightenment is present from the start. This doesn't mean that our lama is truly on the 8th bhumi, as the true nature of Buddha is present both in him and in us and we know we have flaws. These flaws have no reality beyond conventionality and that's where the cultivation of pure vision points to.

With gold you can make a statue or an ashtray, gold will be gold, and seeing the gold behind both the statue and the ashtray is the goal of developing pure vision. So although I know that, I also know that from a conventional perspective, this or that lama is not a Buddha. I may feel devotion for the meaning of a Buddha statue and stick a chewing gum in an ashtray, both made of gold. Metaphorically speaking, although they have the same nature, gold, their conventional function is not the same. Likewise, the nature of a murderer and a lama is the same, but I won't receive empowerments from the first, although when cultivating pure vision I shouldn't see him as a murderer, but as a daka or a Buddha.

Ultimately, enlightenment is already present just from the start. But I can't mix the ultimate and the conventional unskillfully. One is qualified to teach (conventional teachings as is Buddhadharma) and one is not. Same for different lamas, one is in the bhumis and one hasn't entered the path of seeing, so they have different capacities to teach the Dharma, the corollary being that using the cultivation of pure vision as an excuse for saying nothing to clarify that one isn't actually in the bhumis when people think and say we are doesn't cut it.


Well, as has been pointed out in the thread on Tsongkhapa and Dzogchen, --Dzogchen abandons the two truths..just an aside to your "can't mix the.."

Patrul Rinpoche in WOMPT explains:
"After examining him carefully and making an unmistaken assessment, from the moment you find a teacher has all the positive qualities mentioned
you should never cease to consider him to be the Buddha in person. This teacher in whom all the attributes are complete is the embodiment of the compassionate wisdom of all Buddhas of the ten directions, appearing in the form of an ordinary human simply to benefit beings. . . .

So that such a true teacher may skilfully guide the ordinary people needing his help, he makes his everyday conduct conform to that of ordinary people. But
in reality his wisdom mind is that of a Buddha, so he is utterly different from everyone else. Each of his acts is simply the activity of a realized being attuned to the nature of those he has to benefit. He is therefore uniquely noble. Skilled in cutting through hesitation and doubt, he patiently endures all the ingratitude and discouragement of his disciples, like a mother with her only child."
"

You see, the time to doubt the teacher is in the examination period, before you take them as a tantric Guru. After that, all the traditional teachings lead one to an opposite conclusion than yours: the story of the dog's tooth, and the saying --if you see your teacher as a Buddha, you receive the blessings of a Buddha-- if you see your teacher as a special person, you get the blessings of a special person, if you see them as a regular joe, you get the blessings of a regular joe, --a dog, the blessings of a dog and so on. What sounds schizophrenic to me is developing faith in one's Guru as a living Buddha and then at the same time having the discursive thought "oh they're not even on the first Bhumi, let alone the eighth Bhumi, or whatever. that seems schizo!
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:09 am

I'm aware of that teaching, Adamantine. In fact, I don't consider it far away from what I've said, but I'll develop this idea later.
I'm also aware that that teaching it's often abused.

I think it was Namdrol who told back on E-Sangha that while in Hinduism (forgive me if my memory fails me) it's said that the world stands over a turtle, who stands over another turtle and likewise at infinity, in Buddhism sometimes we stand over a dog's tooth, over a dog's tooth and likewise to infinity. :lol:
The fact is that I very much doubt that not mattering the faith you have, if you place your trust upon an unqualified teacher, you risk following him to the abyss. A blind leading the blind kind of situation, if you get what I'm saying.

If your teacher is a great being, you can only benefit from seeing him as a Buddha. If he is not, it's like jumping from a cliff. When you stick with a teacher after examination, and this means a lot of stuff I won't discuss now, all this debate is pretty much meaningless. You don't even need to fake some sort of faith. It springs from you heart effortlessly. If this is not the case, maybe one hasn't found the right teacher just yet. More, you can't actually see someone as a Buddha, since until enlightenment we don't know what Buddhahood is. But you can consider your master's activities as the play of his enlightened nature. ChNN explains this quite well from a Dzogchen perspective. So it's all good. As Patrul Rinpoche said "after examining him carefully and making an unmistaken assessment, from the moment you find a teacher has all the positive qualities mentioned you should never cease to consider him to be the Buddha in person." Lying, even if by omission, about one's spiritual attainments is not one of the qualities a Vajra master should possess.

What I'm talking about is what leads you to a certain teacher. Is it his title and supposed bhumi? Some people get impressed by these notions and follow a teacher based on that. It's a bit like throwing dice. Some are luckier than others.

You very well quote:

"So that such a true teacher may skilfully guide the ordinary people needing his help, he makes his everyday conduct conform to that of ordinary people. But in reality his wisdom mind is that of a Buddha, so he is utterly different from everyone else. Each of his acts is simply the activity of a realized being attuned to the nature of those he has to benefit. He is therefore uniquely noble. Skilled in cutting through hesitation and doubt, he patiently endures all the ingratitude and discouragement of his disciples, like a mother with her only child."

Indeed, if your teacher is enlightened or at least way ahead of us, his wisdom mind is that of a Buddha. If he is not, his mind lacks wisdom and his everyday conduct conform to that of ordinary people because that's what he is: ordinary.

What I'm saying is not bizarre, I guess. People shouldn't fake their spiritual attainments, directly or indirectly. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. :smile:
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:29 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:What I'm talking about is what leads you to a certain teacher. Is it his title and supposed bhumi?


Again, perhaps I missed the response earlier, I'll go back and check, but I've never heard of a teacher stating that they were on a bhumi. Namdrol told us on e-Sangha that Kongtrul and I think Khyentse had checked each other out bhumi-wise privately (I'm not sure where he got this but I don't doubt it but it's not in "Gem of Many Colors"). <A Western tulku from e-Sangha> was supposed to be on such and such a bhumi but I don't know the circumstances around that alleged assertion (neither his teacher nor his lineage masters made such statements about themselves and now <he> cannot defend himself over this and it is not my intention to drag him through the mud).

I question how these siddhis are supposed to be seen (not the siddhis themselves or the people who have them). For example the 6th Dalai Lama is asserted to have done some remarkable things while urinating. Okay - then he could have altered his capture by the Mongols as well but chose for some reason not to. I have been told privately by a friend that a master performed a real physical miracle that involved my friend and a few other people (I cannot go into the details for several reasons) and in conversation with this lama he asserted that he had performed another one concerning this person as well on the day of a cataclysmic event. Okay - why didn't he stop the cataclysmic event itself? Can HHDL fly through the air and swim in the earth? He at least hasn't demonstrated this. Zen Master Seung Sahn is also alleged to have performed something close to a miracle under some circumstances through real mind reading. Where are the great masters of the past two centuries now? Most left this life well before their 80th year to say nothing about demonstrating miraculous lifespans. Interdependence is subtle and I suspect that siddhi and miracle manifestations are subtle as well.

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:34 am

re: literalist bhumi readings

Lama Lodro in his "Bardo Teachings" said that a direct tulku (a real nirmanakya) will meditate in his mother's womb on a particular deity in order to manifest one of five specific types of powers in the coming life. So basically manifesting overt miracles is only one of the five (unfortunately I had to give this book away but it's in his appendix and also in the explanation in the text). From memory the other powers are manifesting wisdom, manifesting teaching, manifesting activity and manifesting compassion. Any nirmanakya will manifest these anyway but this meditation is to establish a special emphasis on one of these five powers.

So it would appear that contrary to literalist readings the emphasis on one of the five powers may limit a tulku who is on the lower bhumis or on no bhumi.

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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:00 am

I am not going to personalize this topic, as you probably have guessed, Kirt, but you are a Buddhist for long enough to know what is said about many, many lamas with their knowledge. Some are really tulkus. Others just jump the bandwagon. Aren't you aware how tulku tittles are attributed to the offspring of Tibetan aristocratic families? Am I giving you any news? Surely not.

The simple fact of accepting a tulku title means one consciously admits one is a reincarnation of a high end practitioner, usually a bodhisattva in the bhumis.
So, according to the reasoning I've explained earlier in previous posts, things are quite simple. Unless we don't want to see them. And it's as they said, the worst blind...

That womb story is quite fantastic. I don't know what to make of it, but someone with the capacity of meditating inside the womb would probably recall his previous life with great clarity. Hum, and probably would be able to speak and teach as soon as his body allowed it. Seems fantasy in most cases. Possible? Perhaps. Common? As much as the morning star, I guess.

The fact, Kirt, is that people love this tulku business. "Oh... my lama is a tulku! My lama is the reincarnation of this and that famous lama! I must be so special to study under this great teacher!". It's rubbish, that's what it is.

The tulku system is about politics and money, while it shouldn't.
There are exceptions, obviously, but we wouldn't need the "institutional aspect" that made it into the sad spectacle it is today.
The problem comes when these titles obfuscate real accomplishments, the result being great practitioners remaining ignored while spoiled aristocrats lead whole communities, monasteries, dozens or hundreds of centers from their pompous thrones and fake attainments. It's a circus adequate to this degenerate age.
Note that I am not making a blanket statement. I believe there are real tulkus. Just not as many as we would like to think.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby dzoki » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:46 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:The fact, Kirt, is that people love this tulku business. "Oh... my lama is a tulku! My lama is the reincarnation of this and that famous lama! I must be so special to study under this great teacher!". It's rubbish, that's what it is.


Also people like to add title of Rinpoche to any tibetan Lama, first he is just Lama, later he becomes Rinpoche, sometimes he is not even a Lama in the first place, maybe just a ngagpa.
Another think that people like is to exaggerate and invent stories about their Lamas (this is especially case if Lama is Tibetan). Western people adore Tibetans and being Tibetan often makes you automatically a holy person in eyes of many Westerners. So even a genuine Lama can look like a charlatan in the light of these invented stories. Sometimes there even doesn´t have to be a Lama, just some normal practitioner who does a retreat from time to time and people start to portray him as a yogi.
In general many people live in fantasies and they like to project their fantasies on others, also our culture very much encourages "living" in some other fantastic worlds, daydreaming and fantasizing about some nonexisting realities with elves and fairies, so there is no wonder that this shows in the Dharma as well.
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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:32 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I am not going to personalize this topic, as you probably have guessed, Kirt, but you are a Buddhist for long enough to know what is said about many, many lamas with their knowledge. Some are really tulkus. Others just jump the bandwagon. Aren't you aware how tulku tittles are attributed to the offspring of Tibetan aristocratic families? Am I giving you any news? Surely not.


Sure but with Western tulkus we are necessarily getting away from that.

The simple fact of accepting a tulku title means one consciously admits one is a reincarnation of a high end practitioner, usually a bodhisattva in the bhumis.


Most tulkus are 2-6 when this happens. Even if one were a teenager they would still not bear this responsibility. As mature practitioners, sure. Then this gets back to what is really meant by powers on the bhumis. I'm uncertain about that.

The main point of the identification should be to spur a practitioner to seriously consider how they can benefit beings and take responsibility for teaching or intensive practice in some way. Done correctly, tulku identification can be a means of sheparding a rare and precious resource.

That womb story is quite fantastic. I don't know what to make of it, but someone with the capacity of meditating inside the womb would probably recall his previous life with great clarity. Hum, and probably would be able to speak and teach as soon as his body allowed it. Seems fantasy in most cases. Possible? Perhaps. Common? As much as the morning star, I guess.


As multiple tulkus have said the birth process introduces obscuration. So tulkus on the higher bhumis can be obscured? Namdrol and others say no and say it definitively. Mayhaps be, mayhaps aint. The tulkus who said it though have often been great. Therefore I trust their statement. I have had a teacher tell me directly that until a certain point is reached in development in this body clarity and awareness can be obscured. OTOH many of the highest tulkus also manifest Dharma study and practice habits intuitively as little kids. We often see this kind of thing in our society also until we beat it out of the kids in one way or another (i.e. Western culture tends to be caustic wrt religious interest in many cases).

The fact, Kirt, is that people love this tulku business. "Oh... my lama is a tulku! My lama is the reincarnation of this and that famous lama! I must be so special to study under this great teacher!". It's rubbish, that's what it is.


Often in the beginning. Then hopefully they mature.

The tulku system is about politics and money, while it shouldn't.


The young men in Gesar's movie are also products of politics and money? Seems a stretch. But clearly the tulku system does need reform.

The problem comes when these titles obfuscate real accomplishments, the result being great practitioners remaining ignored while spoiled aristocrats lead whole communities, monasteries, dozens or hundreds of centers from their pompous thrones and fake attainments. It's a circus adequate to this degenerate age.


I'm not sure the situation is as bad as you make it out as although the point with advanced practitioners being ignored is real and has to be fixed. The main problem is that practitioners are holding themselves back usually. How do we address this problem? Part of the thing is that Dharma culture is also still shallow with many Westerners. That btw is partly what several of the young tulkus in the film said. The institutionalized expectations are not necessarily relevant to the current situation. Then the tulkus should make the needed changes. Ashoka for example feels strongly that his activity in the aid agency he works for is the kind of activity he should pursue.


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Re: Who are the tulkus in the documentary "TULKU"

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:37 pm

dzoki wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:The fact, Kirt, is that people love this tulku business. "Oh... my lama is a tulku! My lama is the reincarnation of this and that famous lama! I must be so special to study under this great teacher!". It's rubbish, that's what it is.


Also people like to add title of Rinpoche to any tibetan Lama, first he is just Lama, later he becomes Rinpoche, sometimes he is not even a Lama in the first place, maybe just a ngagpa.


Yes, people don't know how to behave ....

Another think that people like is to exaggerate and invent stories about their Lamas (this is especially case if Lama is Tibetan). Western people adore Tibetans and being Tibetan often makes you automatically a holy person in eyes of many Westerners.


.... sure, in the beginning ....

So even a genuine Lama can look like a charlatan in the light of these invented stories.


Unfortunately so ....

Sometimes there even doesn´t have to be a Lama, just some normal practitioner who does a retreat from time to time and people start to portray him as a yogi.


That's because people feel that they have no time for practice themselves so almost by definition anyone engaged in a few weeks of practice is a yogi.


In general many people live in fantasies and they like to project their fantasies on others, also our culture very much encourages "living" in some other fantastic worlds, daydreaming and fantasizing about some nonexisting realities with elves and fairies, so there is no wonder that this shows in the Dharma as well.


That's true - market fundamentalism, fascism and communism are good examples. Then they are many others.

But the Dharma isn't a fantasy. Neither is benefiting others as best one can.

Kirt
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