I know Gelug lama's who forbid their students from prostrating to them unless its in the context of a major empowerment.
I can understand that. In fact, my sangha members rarely prostrate to our lama either. What I found strange was that this visiting lama and all of his students did not prostrate to the Three Jewels (our Buddha statue on the altar) when entering the puja room. Most Tibetan Buddhists always do this in my experience.
Pema Rigdzin wrote:
I have several Dzogchen lamas and have been fortunate enough receive teachings from others still who are also Dzogchenpas and every single one of them always prostrates to the 3 Jewels and 3 Roots when entering the shrine room. These lamas are from different monasteries from all over Tibet. I've never before heard of any Dzogchen lama doing any different. Even one of my root lamas who is recognized as a master of Dzogchen does his best to prostrate even though he practically has no cartilage left in his old, arthritic knees.
Exactly. That has been what I've always observed as well. That's why I found this visiting group to be so odd.
Don't get stuck on the holiness stuff, after all, it's their practice.
It's not so much a matter of "holiness" as it is a matter of respect. Prostrations may seem very "holy-looking" to westerners when they first see them, but after you see people do them enough times, it becomes pretty ordinary (and therefore, this is why the absence of them feels so strange). It's sort of like a man not offering to shake hands in a handshaking culture.
If they came in and burned the place down, then peed on the ashes, so what? The Buddhas are not harmed.
No, Buddhas cannot be harmed, but all images of Buddhas must be treated with respect by anyone who has taken refuge. I wouldn't talk about desecrating Buddhist temples lightly. The bad karma a person would incur by doing so would be immense, and any compassionate person would feel sorry for such an ignorant person.
Next, wish the lama and his students well. May they swiftly find enlightenment. And may you derive great merit from your gift of a place for study and teaching.
Well said. I do wish them well. I don't hold anything against them. I was just surprised, that's all.
I think it's interesting that the biggest divisions in the present-day Vajrayana community are not between the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism, but are between those sanghas who practice in a more traditional way and those who do not.