The Silent Master

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The Silent Master

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:05 pm

I don't know many teachers from Tibetan schools that's why I ask this question.

Is it common, or normal, that a highly educated lama teaches to his Western community some sadhanas, gives the necessary empowerments, but otherwise gives no lectures on general Mahayana nor on Tantra? What could be a reason for this?
"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: The Silent Master

Postby Josef » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:06 pm

Astus wrote:I don't know many teachers from Tibetan schools that's why I ask this question.

Is it common, or normal, that a highly educated lama teaches to his Western community some sadhanas, gives the necessary empowerments, but otherwise gives no lectures on general Mahayana nor on Tantra? What could be a reason for this?


I havent really experienced this. I am sure there are examples but for the most part teachers want to give instructions along with empowerments etc. There are certainly cases where you can go to an event and just get an empowerment and sadhana but most teachers will give at least some kind of instruction, it might not be at the same time as the empowerment but teachers tend to teach.
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Re: The Silent Master

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:32 pm

I'm talking about a resident teacher and not just someone who came by, gave an empowerment and went on.
"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: The Silent Master

Postby Josef » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:27 pm

Astus wrote:I'm talking about a resident teacher and not just someone who came by, gave an empowerment and went on.

then no. I dont think there are many "silent teachers" at all.
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Re: The Silent Master

Postby heart » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:31 am

Astus wrote:I don't know many teachers from Tibetan schools that's why I ask this question.

Is it common, or normal, that a highly educated lama teaches to his Western community some sadhanas, gives the necessary empowerments, but otherwise gives no lectures on general Mahayana nor on Tantra? What could be a reason for this?


This kind of teacher normally expect the students to show deep interest by practicing very much before he teach. Also he might not feel comfortable teaching in public but rather to small groups of dedicated students. In general I think the best way to find out is to ask him in a respectful way.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: The Silent Master

Postby Astus » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:05 am

He has a small group of dedicated practitioners, about 5-6 people I met there, and I asked them about what teachings were given throughout the years.
"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: The Silent Master

Postby Luke » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:31 pm

Astus wrote:I don't know many teachers from Tibetan schools that's why I ask this question.

Is it common, or normal, that a highly educated lama teaches to his Western community some sadhanas, gives the necessary empowerments, but otherwise gives no lectures on general Mahayana nor on Tantra? What could be a reason for this?


Since I haven't been to many sanghas besides my own, I can't comment much from personal experience; however, I have heard many people on Buddhist forums say that when their lamas teach about general Mahayana topics that very few people show up. Perhaps, some lamas got tired of giving teachings which no one would listen to.

This doesn't apply to my lama, however, because he talked for over a year about Shantideva and he's always talking about the Six Paramitas and the Eight Worldly Dharmas. This year, he's talking a lot about death and rebirth.

Also, sometimes visiting lamas give general dharma teachings as well as empowerments. The visiting lama who I received a Vajrasattva empowerment from also gave a series of teachings about the Heart Sutra.
****************
Although in cases where a lama is teaching people who are already Buddhist scholars, he or she might only teach advanced meditation practices because he or she assumes that the students already know the basics.

Tilopa was the epitome of a silent teacher, since he remained silent for a whole year a time and then taught Naropa advanced practices after Naropa supplicated him and passed a difficult trial.
****************
Another possibility for not teaching general Dharma might be that the lama feels that the students might not be receptive to it yet, and might feel that it's simply better for students to develop and open their minds through meditation before they try to confront difficult concepts like emptiness.

Some students may approach Buddhism in the same way as they approach yoga: as merely a nice way to develop their minds and bodies a bit, and Buddhist teachers have to think of what the best way to benefits these types of students is.
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Re: The Silent Master

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:16 am

If a blessing empowerment is given, permission for mantra, or an empowerment which enables a student to do a sadhana it would be typical for some teaching to be given along with it. And explanation of the symbolism associated with the deity for example, would be typical. Or an explanation of the nature of the deity and how we can relate to that as practitioners.

I don't know why that didn't happen in this case but I'm confident that the lama had his reasons. Perhaps he expected that the students were coming into the situation with some level of knowledge, or any other number of reasons which I could only venture to guess.

In any case it's typical to have a bit of teaching along with permissions and transmissions/blessings. I'm curious as to what the other students had to say about the event, but if you're not comfortable sharing that Astus then that's okay.

Kind wishes,
Laura
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Re: The Silent Master

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:36 pm

I didn't mean there were no teachings for the empowerment for there were. I meant he gives no teachings generally, you know, Dharma speeches.
"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: The Silent Master

Postby Heruka » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:49 am

I meant he gives no teachings generally, you know, Dharma speeches.


if we remain aware, we could discover if this was just mundane silence, or a teaching in itself. the emphasis is, essense of practice, as a student of dharma, to remain aware. then we can catch everything.
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