Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Jinzang
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Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Jinzang » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:27 pm

I was surfing the web and came across this to Kalu Rinpoche's recent visit to San Francisco. I found this startling, knowing how reluctant Tibetans are to publicly criticize high lamas. Did anyone here see Kalu Rinpoche on his recent tour and do you want to comment?
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meiji1
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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby meiji1 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:17 pm

The lama seemed more nonplussed by Kalu Rinpoche, than anything.

Kalu Rinpoche was here in Vancouver, recently. I should have gone to see him, but stupidly I did not.. everyone I talked to about him here seemed quite impressed, though.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:35 am

I don't know if "cool reception" is what I'd call this...perhaps it's an apt description--keeping in mind that LLR was a very close student of previous Kalu Rinpoche's, and has known Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche for decades as well. I don't see that LLR said anything "negative" about Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche in the interview.

For what it's worth, I agree with LLR's characterizations. Keeping that in mind, I think Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche was honest, true, and spoke from the heart...and he stressed the essentials of Dharma, and pointed out some of the "misgivings" we may have with the institutions of Dharma. In my view, it was an "Interesting beginning" for Yangsi Rinpoche's relations with his Western students, both old and new. Time will tell how it develops.

Of course, you should all consider that I am quite close to LLR, and have spent limited time with Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche, though I, too, have known him for decades. I also didn't have the good fortune to meet Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche in his last life, though I did see him, once, from afar. Long story.


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Tilopa » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:04 am


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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:24 pm

That's how I understood it. I was a little :jawdrop: when I read the interview. If it was a westerner speaking like that, I wouldn't be surprised. But for a Tibetan lama this is not usual when speaking about the tulku of a great lama, especially one's own teacher.
I don't know any of the involved, although I know some of the work of the late Kalu Rinpoche, but I've seen a few "new generation" lamas teach and, honestly, I usually prefer the eldest, with a few exceptions. You are either casual or traditional or know how to be both in the appropriate circumstances. I don't fancy hybrid versions. They remind me of those younger catholic priests trying to be cool (and failing miserably)l. Only their devotees think they are. To the rest of the world they are neither one thing, not the other. This doesn't mean Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche won't become a good teacher, if he alredy isn't. I guess in the end we have to go back to the flaws of the tulku system. If there weren't such high expectations upon him, perhaps things were different.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:55 pm

The previous Kalu Rinpoche did ngondro 70 times! Two things come to mind. 1) does this one really need to do all that again? Because karma is not lost. So 2) either a) we are seeing some really subtle wisdom from this guy or b) this guy isn't a real tulku. Word around the teapot is something went wrong in the process. But I'm of the mind that this guy might have done so much practice in the previous life, that he is not feeling too motivated this go around. I mean 70 ngondro? And we have masters these days that are even excusing ngondro. Anyway there's a letter from the previous Kalu that talks about the importance of practice that they had translated and were going to hand out at this Kalu's talks, just to nudge him in the direction of tradition. In my opinion, direct introduction or initiation followed by practice of channels and winds and other practices from mahamudra or dzogchen are more than sufficient. That's how it was done in the Milarepa days. The Tibetans started a war of accumulations of practices, treating practitioners like asses having practices packed onto their backs. Also Westerners work so hard, their hardship is already unbelievable. Americans especially are working several jobs and are packed down with burdens. If they can practice anything it is great. In the context of their deep suffering I can imagine a real master would see, after looking into their bloodshot eyes, that there is no need to give a talk about 1 million repetitions.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:51 pm

This will take some time to put into words, so bare with me, please.

Most important than the actual format of the practice (Ngöndro or any other) is its the deep meaning and purpose. How this will be achieved depends on the teacher, the student and their relation. When I talk about lamas of the older generation, I'm not specifically addressing the format of the practices they handle to their students, but mostly about the perception of their deep realization, whose effects we may realize at some extent if we spend enough time around.

We also have our projections, expectations and so on and so forth about how a teacher should be like. They may doom us or help us. We need to analyse the teacher, but prior to such endeavor we need to learn how to do it. Some manage, some don't and this is particularly connected with the humbleness we approach the teachings and the initial insights we may gain through study and a little practice. None of the above is without relation to our karmic potential, current circumstances and so on.

There are some teachers who, in my obscured opinion, became too "westernized" in a bad way. Let me try to be clear about my take concerning this issue. It's likely that Dharma needs a new approach when being presented to the West in this day and age. This has more to do with the way it is presented than the actual content that shouldn't be corrupted. The way practitioners live the Dharma is the same. What may change is the presentation, never the deep meaning. Externally things may look a little different, but internally in terms of what we realize, it must basically be the same: cutting through obscurations we gain realization.

It really doesn't matter how odd the teacher acts and looks if he gets results with his students (at least some of those who do practice). It's a matter of keeping the water pure and clear inside the container. The container may be a glass, a jar or a paper cup, whatever is more appropriate to the needs of those listening, but the water must remain pure, not mattering its storage. However, my perception is that is not always the case when traditional training is lacking to the teacher. Lamas who don't do extended retreats, who never were particularly bright in theirs studies and don't show particular insight about the more subtle aspects of the Dharma simply shouldn't teach. This doesn't mean they need to be intellectuals. It means they must have gained some degree of realization. A blind leading the blind gets everyone to fall from a cliff. What is important is to realize if a lama is casual and looks "westernized", but has deep realization or he is simply frivolous and makes his living by teaching Dharma, career style. It doesn't matter if he is a tulku or not, as we know there are fake tulkus. It's easy to make a living if you have a big title. This doesn't mean that all tulkus are fake or anything of the sort. This means it is up to us to do our best to understand who we have sitting on the throne. Is it an attempt or is it the real thing? Unless we are realized, we can't really know for sure, so we need to go by our best guess and this leads us to the preparation that needs to come before the analysis. we also need to be very honest with ourselves when we do it, because sometimes we just need someone to hold on to. This frailty often leads to poor choices.

The point I am trying to make is that one needs to learn to recognize a good teacher, especially when there are some who, IMO, use their fame to act more like pop stars than anything else. In the end, it's our responsibility.

edit: I just want to make clear that I don't have any opinion regarding Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche in particular. He may be a Buddha for all I know.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Grigoris » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:24 pm

C'mon everybody, sing along: "The wheel of samsara goes round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheel of samsara goes round and round, all the live long day!"
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby lisehull » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:30 pm

To get a feel for where Kalu Rinpoche is coming from, check out this website: www.paldenshangpa.net/
He also has a Facebook site.
I attended his teachings in Ashland, OR and found him interesting. I understand Lama Lodru's apprehension. The new Kalu Rinpoche is quite untraditional.
Lise

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:54 pm

I checked your link and it's not exactly my cup of tea, but perhaps for others he rocks. He sure seems nice. :smile:
Btw, Buddha wasn't exactly a "human being just like us", but I guess the point is that we can attain Buddhahood while being humans. See .
I'm just saying this because the debate concerning Buddha being simply a human, or a special human or whatever we prefer to call him happens so often that it's better if we cut it by the root so that nobody comes here saying "but Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche said Buddha was a human just like us". Usually it happens with people used to the "westernized Zen" and then we see posts that make our chin drop from people who start affirming that Buddha had flaws and the like. A Buddha can't have flaws, by the definition of Buddhahood. Being a Buddha means no cognitive or afflictive obscurations, so no flaws. We are the result of our karma. Buddha was a nirmanakaya. I wish I was just like him instead of him being just like me. :lol:

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:56 pm

As DN says as long as the content of the cup is the same what does it matter what the cup looks like from the outside. This appears to be a more sane and healthy approach to the "westernization" issue than some others have taken - I'm thinking of the thread about Trungpa. I say if the path being taught is the same path, good for him, his website looks great. I have not been around the scene as long as some of you old timers here but I personally found Lama Lodu Rinpoche's remarks to be completely bizarre and inappropriate. I've just never heard a lama speak that way about another lama.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Yes, it's not common, unless he means to hint something. I'm not sure he is in complete and hearfelt agreement with the choice of this tulku. From his words, one would wonder... Kalu Rinpoche left very big shoes behind, if you get what I'm saying.
Anyway, I think it may be better to let people judge for themselves. I'm tired of all this tulku sh*t anyway and for me it counts zilch these days. :smile:

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:26 pm

Read it again, there is Absolutely No Question about LLR's conviction that he is the Tulku of previous Kalu Rinpoche.


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:32 pm

The bottom line for me was:

"I must say that what I heard did not impress me"

versus

"Q:So we should not judge teachers?

A:Best not to judge anyone, especially one who is an incarnation of a bodhisattva."

I mean I'm really, really sorry but this just appears Bi. Zarre. Also appears to speak more to me about Lama Lodu Rinpoche's older approach than Kalu Rinpoche's newer approach.

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:40 pm

I see no contradiction.

I hear things from people that do not impress me, but that doesn't mean I judge the person in his or her entirety on that one experience. Owning one's own feelings and experiences isn't the same as judging another--there's a difference, though perhaps it could be subtle. And I think you'll find a few instance of LLR saying that he has no "special perception," etc.--he's honestly reporting his experience, but at the same time he's clear that that is "his" experience, and not one that negates the experiences of others. No doubt you're familiar with the stories of Buddha teaching, and different students hearing different things?

Perhaps you could ask him yourself, if you desire clarification. I've discussed this with him in depth, so I'm sharing this much...but I don't wish to speak for him, or, goodness knows, "defend him." (AS IF....) :shrug:


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:28 pm


Jinzang
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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Jinzang » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:20 am

The question in my mind is not why is Lama Lodu uncomfortable with Kalu Rinpoche's non-traditional teaching style, but why did he feel so strongly about it that he put up a page on the KDK Center website?
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:32 am


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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

Postby Heruka » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:35 am


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Re: Kalu Rinpoche: Panned in San Francisco

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