Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

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Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Epistemes » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:07 pm

I am having difficulty understanding this section from "Crazy Wisdom" by Trungpa Rinpoche:

"Padmasambhava, having married, became more playful. He even began to experiment with his aggression, finding that he could use his strength to throw things and things could get broken. And he carried this to an extreme, knowing that he had the potential for crazy wisdom within him. He danced holding two scepters -- a vajra and a trident -- on the palace roof. He dropped his vajra and trident, and they fell and hit a mother and her son who were walking below, simultaneously killing them both. They happened to be the wife and son of one of the king's ministers. The vajra hit the child's head, and the trident struck the mother's heart.
(...)
Padmasambhava's crime was committed in the wildness of exploring things, which is still on the sambhogakaya level -- in the realm of experiencing things and their subleties, and of exploring birth and death as well.
(...)
This does not mean to say that Padmasambhava was subject to karma. Rather, he was exploring the legality of karma -- karmic interplays with the outside world, the confused world."


Huh?? Padmasambhava accidentally murders two people and karmically gets away with it?

I don't care if you are a dharmakaya - how in the hell do you get away with murder "on the sambhogakaya level"?

Rinpoche explains a little more:

" Since the vajra is connected with skillful means, the child killed by the vajra is the opposite of skillful means, which is aggression. The trident is connected with wisdom, so the mother killed by it represents ignorance. And there are further justifications based on the karma of previous lives: the son was so-and-so and committed this-and-such a bad karmic act, and the same with the mother.


As if these "representations" and karma itself cleared Padmasambhava's karmic slate.

Still further:

The story of Padmasambhava at this point is in a completely different dimension -- that of the psychological world.


So, nobody was actually (conventionally) killed?

:crazy:
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Tilopa » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:06 pm

Tibetans love fairy tales and Lamas often give their own - sometimes different - interpretations. Don't believe everything you read and not everything written is meant to be taken as literally true.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Virgo » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:10 pm

Things like this are just meant to represent that Padmasambhava was "crazy" and fearless. Unless you are fearless, it's hard to let go of grasping in a Dzogchen sense. "Conceptualization falls apart with the abandon of a madman..." and so forth. But it's not about being aggressive.

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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Kunzang » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:30 am

get away with murder


I think that would be involuntary manslaughter at best. And he didn't get away with it all; they exiled him. And it was a pretty harsh sentence for a divine lotus-born adopted son of a king. Right?

One of the lesser known biographies (in which Padmasambhava has a womb-birth) has a different occasion for his exile:

He was brought up by the king's minister as one of the minister's sons (there's a back-story I won't go into). Then, when Padmasambhava was 10 years old, they went on a picnic and the minister and the minister's real son were being bitten by flies so Padmasambhava flicks a stone with his finger (presumably to shoo away the flies) and the stone penetrates the brain of, and kills the minister's real son. Because the boy (Padmasambhava) was actually a crown prince he had to be given a lesser punishment than execution, so they ordered him banished.

Either that kid had a really thin skull or Padmasambhava had a really strong finger. I remember flicking stones when I was a boy; never killed anyone.

Both stories sound fishy as all get out, don't they? He was probably framed. :tongue:

Anyways, a 10 year old boy banished from home and country; that don't seem fair at all.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Thug4lyfe » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:16 am

Well, we have enough crazy people in the 21st century telling people how to live without having Buddhism getting mixed up in it!

Say no to Bill Hicks etc!
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Kelwin » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:33 am

Even though Buddhists are generally honest people, life stories of the masters are not to be believed literally. Well, not all of it anyway. Even though Guru Rinpoche was obviously an historical person, many of the more extreme stories about him developed over time.

If you're interested, you can read Ngawang Zangpo's "Guru Rinpoche" : http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=10321. It compares 4 life stories, and shows development through time.

Something similar happened to Milarepa by the way. You can read about this in Peter Allen Robert's "Biographies of Rechunpa" : http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=21912
(Rechunpa was main lineage holder, not Gampopa. And Milarepa never killed all those family members. Oh and he didn't build those multiple towers either)

For me it was a bit shocking when I first found out about these blatant changes in history. However, it actually increased my faith, because the parts of the stories that always seemed unlikely to me, were indeed proven to be made up afterwards.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby maybay » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:52 am

Kelwin wrote:You can read about this in Peter Allen Robert's "Biographies of Rechunpa" : http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=21912
(Rechunpa was main lineage holder, not Gampopa.

I remember the issue but I didn't come away with this conclusion?
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Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Malcolm » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:05 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Huh?? Padmasambhava accidentally murders two people and karmically gets away with it?



If it was an accident, there is no karmic retribution. "Karma is volition and what proceeds from volition" -- this is the definition of karma given by the Buddha.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Malcolm » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:06 pm

Epistemes wrote:
So, nobody was actually (conventionally) killed?

:crazy:



It's a didactic tale, not history.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Caz » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:31 am

Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists, Its especially not appropriate today you've got to demonstrate some morale discipline as a means to accomplishing the path in such a degenerate age. When people have a mind of faith they receive benefit because they do not see the person or object as faulty but there is so little faith today and very little correct practice of Guru devotion.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Thug4lyfe » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:40 am

Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists, Its especially not appropriate today you've got to demonstrate some morale discipline as a means to accomplishing the path in such a degenerate age. When people have a mind of faith they receive benefit because they do not see the person or object as faulty but there is so little faith today and very little correct practice of Guru devotion.

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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:35 pm

Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists, Its especially not appropriate today you've got to demonstrate some morale discipline as a means to accomplishing the path in such a degenerate age. When people have a mind of faith they receive benefit because they do not see the person or object as faulty but there is so little faith today and very little correct practice of Guru devotion.


While I have some sympathy for that, when I think about all of the old practitioners from the Vajradhatu sangha I have met they are among the most devoted and hard working I have met. I have never really understood Trungpa's behaviour, nor think it is much of a role model, but he sure did establish some successful practice groups. Crazy wisdom if it is genuine really doesn't give a rat's ass about who is offended, and still brings benefit. The problem is just that it can serve as a very convenient justification of all kinds of nefarious behaviour by those who are mere wolves in sheep's clothing.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Thug4lyfe » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:28 pm

I guess it comes back to impermanence. Practice in an isolated place like Tibet where every aspect of life involves religion might not suit an urban setting like our modern culture.

One of my teacher said that the Tibetan techniques wouldn't suit us in the city because it requires one already being very simple and pure.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Paul » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:40 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists, Its especially not appropriate today you've got to demonstrate some morale discipline as a means to accomplishing the path in such a degenerate age. When people have a mind of faith they receive benefit because they do not see the person or object as faulty but there is so little faith today and very little correct practice of Guru devotion.


While I have some sympathy for that, when I think about all of the old practitioners from the Vajradhatu sangha I have met they are among the most devoted and hard working I have met. I have never really understood Trungpa's behaviour, nor think it is much of a role model, but he sure did establish some successful practice groups. Crazy wisdom if it is genuine really doesn't give a rat's ass about who is offended, and still brings benefit. The problem is just that it can serve as a very convenient justification of all kinds of nefarious behaviour by those who are mere wolves in sheep's clothing.


Personally, I see Trungpa Rinpoche's actions as being highly suited to cutting through the mentality of hippies (i.e. many of his students) - something clearly needed at some particular time and space, but not universally applicable.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Heruka » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:12 am

Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists,



i agree, from my perspective its not a very good read, most of trungpas collected teachings are not that clear or useful to students.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Heruka » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:17 am

btw, saying guru rinpoche is like saying "the man" did it......well which "man" did it? what aspect of this multifaceted folklore story did a "guru rinpoche" commit such a crime?
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby heart » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:05 am

When I met my teacher in 1984 and took refuge I asked what books I should read and he said without a moment of hesitation "Cutting through Spiritual Materialism". When I finally got hold of it many months later it was like a revelation. Any doubts about becoming "religious" was completely dispelled and the heart of the Buddhas teachings was rising like a great golden sun in my mind. It changed my life. A classic book, equally valid today. If you don't get it now, you will in the future. Trungpa Rinpoche was a great master.

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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Caz » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:37 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists, Its especially not appropriate today you've got to demonstrate some morale discipline as a means to accomplishing the path in such a degenerate age. When people have a mind of faith they receive benefit because they do not see the person or object as faulty but there is so little faith today and very little correct practice of Guru devotion.


While I have some sympathy for that, when I think about all of the old practitioners from the Vajradhatu sangha I have met they are among the most devoted and hard working I have met. I have never really understood Trungpa's behaviour, nor think it is much of a role model, but he sure did establish some successful practice groups. Crazy wisdom if it is genuine really doesn't give a rat's ass about who is offended, and still brings benefit. The problem is just that it can serve as a very convenient justification of all kinds of nefarious behaviour by those who are mere wolves in sheep's clothing.


Very true. Of course when you look back over the course of time and see that Trungpa Rinpoche was one of the very founders of Buddhism in the west it doesnt give a good impression to act the way he did. Crazy wisdom is just Crazy and something Id very much avoid mainly because im not Crazy nor do I have the insight to see what is actually benefical so therefore it would be much better to rely on someone who has very clear cut morale discipline in order to see what is to be practiced and what is to be abandoned, Plus if the founder of an organisation behaves in such a way it sets an example for the students to follow and look what happened to his successor. Whether Padmasambhavas story is true or merly symoblic I dont know much of his life is sorrounded in myth but I dont think he infected his students with HIV. :popcorn:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Caz » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:40 am

Heruka wrote:
Caz wrote:Crazy wisdom doesnt look good for practising Buddhists,



i agree, from my perspective its not a very good read, most of trungpas collected teachings are not that clear or useful to students.


Cant say Ive ever read his books but generally I dont pick up works by people who dont keep appropriate morale discipline.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Trungpa Rinpoche's "Crazy Wisdom": Padmasambhava's Crime

Postby Jnana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:03 am

heart wrote:When I met my teacher in 1984 and took refuge I asked what books I should read and he said without a moment of hesitation "Cutting through Spiritual Materialism". When I finally got hold of it many months later it was like a revelation. Any doubts about becoming "religious" was completely dispelled and the heart of the Buddhas teachings was rising like a great golden sun in my mind. It changed my life. A classic book, equally valid today. If you don't get it now, you will in the future. Trungpa Rinpoche was a great master.

Indeed. My first teacher said the same of that one as well as a number of his other books.

IMO Trungpa Rinpoche was able to communicate the subtleties of the vajrayāna to a modern Western audience better than most Tibetan lamas. Still highly relevant material.

All the best,

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