Translating "Dzogchenpa"

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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Dronma » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:41 am

Namdrol wrote:What it has come to mean in the context of Tibetan society is that women are more suited to menial work. Off the top of my head, I can think of only five Tibetan woman who authored texts prior to the mid-twentieth century -- Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Migyur Paldron (daugher of Terdag Lingpa) and Sera Khandro. There are only four or so significant Indian woman who authored texts too, Siddhirajni, Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, and Laksminkara.


And even those Great Dakinis had been through many difficulties and humiliations - only because they were women - for being able to practise the Dharma!

Namdrol wrote:The fact is that Tibetan Buddhism is completely patriarchal and sexist -- in fact it is pretty toxic for women in general and is in much need of reform (some of which is happening).

N


Exactly! :thumbsup:
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Dronma » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:46 am

Adamantine wrote:You misunderstood me: I think a translation issue? I didn't say that you accept it-- I said that is how you are interpreting the term skye dman-- //// meaning that this is how you assume the Tibetan culture defines it. I don't know how you are confusing interpretation with acceptance. I was just reflecting what you said in your own post:
Dronma wrote:Probably, according to their view about females as being of lower rebirth, they do not even believe that a female can have such capacity for practising Dzogchen.


OK. I am sorry! :)
But you see, I also have my own little experiences from Tibetans.... It is not only through reading books. ;)
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:04 am

Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Its bullshit. skye dman simple means inferior rebirth, that is all.


Ok, but what's your understanding of what that means? Dronma is interpreting it that women don't have capacity for practicing Dzogchen, or Dharma, etc. .

My understanding is that it means there are greater obstacles to practicing Dharma. . . and to aspects of life in general-- freedoms, etc.. which is more or less what they were saying. . from a Vajrayana perspective it never meant that women had less capacity than men, that would automatically break a root vow to even use the term then..


What it has come to mean in the context of Tibetan society is that women are more suited to menial work. Off the top of my head, I can think of only five Tibetan woman who authored texts prior to the mid-twentieth century -- Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Migyur Paldron (daugher of Terdag Lingpa) and Sera Khandro. There are only four or so significant Indian woman who authored texts too, Siddhirajni, Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, and Laksminkara.

The fact is that Tibetan Buddhism is completely patriarchal and sexist -- in fact it is pretty toxic for women in general and is in much need of reform (some of which is happening).

N


I understand these things can be generalized-- but I just have rarely if ever seen any of these tendencies in a number of Tibetan lamas I've had the good fortune to study with-- a good portion from old Tibet, and some of which you and I share. But then, maybe the Nyingmas are a bit different because the monastic system isn't as overarching, and there's a greater proportion of female saints....
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:12 am

Namdrol wrote: Off the top of my head, I can think of only five Tibetan woman who authored texts prior to the mid-twentieth century -- Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Migyur Paldron (daugher of Terdag Lingpa) and Sera Khandro. There are only four or so significant Indian woman who authored texts too, Siddhirajni, Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, and Laksminkara.



N


This is more or less a global thing though Namdrol- - I mean, there were far fewer female authors in Europe or America in the 19th or early 20th century then there has been in the last 60 or so years... let's put things in perspective...
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:24 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Namdrol wrote: Off the top of my head, I can think of only five Tibetan woman who authored texts prior to the mid-twentieth century -- Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Migyur Paldron (daugher of Terdag Lingpa) and Sera Khandro. There are only four or so significant Indian woman who authored texts too, Siddhirajni, Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, and Laksminkara.



N


This is more or less a global thing though Namdrol- - I mean, there were far fewer female authors in Europe or America in the 19th or early 20th century then there has been in the last 60 or so years... let's put things in perspective...


There have been hundreds of women authors through the ages in the West, especially since the 17th century. On this score, Western culture has a much better score than Indo-Asian culture.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Jikan » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:47 pm

I think Namdrol's criticism of books such as Dakini's Warm Breath as representative of culture taken historically are legit. I would like to entertain the possibility that such books may have some value in reorienting and reforming this tradition away from misogyny. That is, it may be revisionist fantasy, but there may be some utopian value to it.

(incidentally, take a close look at the sources Simmer-Brown cites in DWB... )
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:52 pm

Adamantine wrote:I understand these things can be generalized-- but I just have rarely if ever seen any of these tendencies in a number of Tibetan lamas I've had the good fortune to study with-- a good portion from old Tibet, and some of which you and I share. But then, maybe the Nyingmas are a bit different because the monastic system isn't as overarching, and there's a greater proportion of female saints....



Nyingmapas are every bit as bad as the all the others -- this is a Tibetan cultural issue, not a lineage issue. Tibetans do not have, in their own culture, an idea of civil rights and universal sufferage. This is because Tibetans have not yet rejected the feudal power stuctures of their past -- in fact, all they have done is export them to west where they survive in extra-govermental organizations -- very much like the papacy preserving the stuctures of the Roman Imperium with the Pope as emporer and the college of cardinals representing the senate.

I do not want to paint all Tibetans in a bad light-- they are human beings just as we are, and we like they suffer many faults too that are a result of acculturation. But let's not be blind, shall we?

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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:03 pm

Namdrol wrote:

Nyingmapas are every bit as bad as the all the others -- this is a Tibetan cultural issue, not a lineage issue. Tibetans do not have, in their own culture, an idea of civil rights and universal sufferage. This is because Tibetans have not yet rejected the feudal power stuctures of their past -- in fact, all they have done is export them to west where they survive in extra-govermental organizations -- very much like the papacy preserving the stuctures of the Roman Imperium with the Pope as emporer and the college of cardinals representing the senate.

I do not want to paint all Tibetans in a bad light-- they are human beings just as we are, and we like they suffer many faults too that are a result of acculturation. But let's not be blind, shall we?

N


Well if you are talking about the hierarchical structures with which Guru's relate to their disciples, (What else would you be referring to by extra-governmental organizations? Samdhong Rinpoche was democratically elected, etc.) how Gurus may expect free labor for Dharma centers etc. then this is deeply built into the Dharma itself-- not related to Tibetan political structures.. The Vajrayana is founded on the model of mandalas in the form of kingdoms, with the Yidam/Guru on thrones in the center of palaces, etc. And serving the Guru and the Dharma are considered the supreme way to generate merit. . . If you have issue with these things, which is generally why the social-structures of Dharma centers arise the way they do-- then you aren't critiquing Tibetan culture per se you are criticizing the nature of Vajrayana itself. And many people would-- looking at how Marpa treated Milarepa or how Tilopa treated Naropa-- or how Do Khyentse treated Patrul Rinpoche-- it doesn't paint a pretty picture if you are looking with a mundane eye that is concerned with social politics. . But these stories are prominent, as you know, because of the supreme level of realization reached by the disciples who were seemingly used or abused . . .
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:07 pm

I mean, Padampa Sangye's great gift to Machig Labron was syphilis.. how P.C. is that?

But this was actually an essential ingredient of her practice.. and she cured herself once the karma was purified.. but from a feminist perspective this just doesn't fly. I don't think we can fit Vajrayana into a politically correct package and expect anything to be left once it's opened..
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:10 pm

Adamantine wrote: then you aren't critiquing Tibetan culture per se you are criticizing the nature of Vajrayana itself.


I am ok with that. Vajrayāna can use some criticism.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:14 pm

Adamantine wrote:but from a feminist perspective this just doesn't fly.


This does not fly from the perspective of basic human decency. The minute that Vajrayāna practice becomes more important than basic human decency, Vajrayāna practice ceases to be Dharma and becomes a mere cult.

N
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:23 pm

Adamantine wrote:how Gurus may expect free labor for Dharma centers etc. then this is deeply built into the Dharma itself-- not related to Tibetan political structures.. The Vajrayana is founded on the model of mandalas in the form of kingdoms, with the Yidam/Guru on thrones in the center of palaces, etc. And serving the Guru and the Dharma are considered the supreme way to generate merit. . . If you have issue with these things, which is generally why the social-structures of Dharma centers arise the way they do-- then you aren't critiquing Tibetan culture per se you are criticizing the nature of Vajrayana itself.


The model of Vajrayāna that emerged in India during the 8-12 centuries is very much a reflection of the style of feudalism and vassalage present in Indian culture, a model Tibetans adapted to their own feudal system.

Serving the master and the Dharma is wonderful. But such service can be easily perverted to worldly ends.

I have observed before that in a real sense, anuttarayoga tantra is not suited to institutional practice of the kind we see in Tibetan culture.

Many absolutist notions about gurus we find in traditional sources (where they are not shear didactic fabrications such as Milarepa's towers) need to be questioned, and can be questioned even after we have entered Vajrayāna.

Samaya is not koolaid, though it seem that many people treat it as such. Insitutionally mandated sexism does not need to be a part of Vajrayāna -- this just leads to the ruthless exploitation of women. Justifying it by invoking Machig Labdron is just sad.

N
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:37 pm

Namdrol wrote:Samaya is not koolaid, though it seem that many people treat it as such. Insitutionally mandated sexism does not need to be a part of Vajrayāna -- this just leads to the ruthless exploitation of women. Justifying it by invoking Machig Labdron is just sad.

N


I interpret this story of Machig in the same light as I would Padmasambhava being swallowed and eaten by his female teacher Kungamo, or Tilopa provoking Naropa to get the living crap beat out of him by a wedding party, etc. I hardly see it as an expression of "institutionally mandated sexism" anymore than I would the story of Padmasambhava or Naropa. If we decide that the stories of the siddhas are just fantasy, bent on political ends, and hold mundane views of social politics and western scientific materialism as supreme-- then it seems to me that this would render our faith in vajrayana and guru yoga sterile, and there wouldn't be much point in following this path at all. I mean, you have your experiences of teachers and their qualities, and I have mine. I believe I have good reason for my views that are hardly koolaid-- but each person has their own personal practice, relationship with teachers and gurus, etc. and some of this is just not fit for debate. But I would hope that people practicing Vajrayana for a long time would have had experiences that contextualize the stories of the siddhas as more than mere fantasy. There is blind faith, and there is informed faith. . .
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:05 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Samaya is not koolaid, though it seem that many people treat it as such. Insitutionally mandated sexism does not need to be a part of Vajrayāna -- this just leads to the ruthless exploitation of women. Justifying it by invoking Machig Labdron is just sad.

N


I interpret this story of Machig in the same light as I would Padmasambhava being swallowed and eaten by his female teacher Kungamo,


The former (if true) is a story of teacher who gives a student a disease (though in fact the story hinges on ML breaking samaya and contracting a disease). The later is a story of a common feature of many initiations.

or Tilopa provoking Naropa to get the living crap beat out of him by a wedding party, etc.


Tilopa, supposedly, had the power to completely restore Naropa to health.

If we decide that the stories of the siddhas are just fantasy, bent on political ends, and hold mundane views of social politics and western scientific materialism as supreme--


I think TNR's defense of Kosha Cosmology is pretty poor, frankly, since it also depends on us accepting the the Bible, the Koran and so on as superior to western empirical science.

then it seems to me that this would render our faith in vajrayana and guru yoga sterile, and there wouldn't be much point in following this path at all.


If we are following Vajrayāna because of some miraculous tale, we are doomed before we have even started.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:16 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Namdrol wrote: Off the top of my head, I can think of only five Tibetan woman who authored texts prior to the mid-twentieth century -- Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Jomo Menmo, Migyur Paldron (daugher of Terdag Lingpa) and Sera Khandro. There are only four or so significant Indian woman who authored texts too, Siddhirajni, Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, and Laksminkara.



N


This is more or less a global thing though Namdrol- - I mean, there were far fewer female authors in Europe or America in the 19th or early 20th century then there has been in the last 60 or so years... let's put things in perspective...


There have been hundreds of women authors through the ages in the West, especially since the 17th century. On this score, Western culture has a much better score than Indo-Asian culture.


There have been much greater numbers of authors in general in the West (what exactly are we defining as the West here?), so proportionally this is not a fair accounting. Also, you are clearly grouping many countries and multiple land masses into your accounting of what is the "West", and opposing it to India and Tibet, two countries only. I hardly think your comparisons are useful. Also, you deflect the issue of whether women are considered to have as great or greater potential as men onto an issue of authorship, which is a bit of a red-herring. Many yogis and yoginis who reach high levels of realization don't author texts.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:40 pm

Namdrol wrote:
The former (if true) is a story of teacher who gives a student a disease (though in fact the story hinges on ML breaking samaya and contracting a disease). The later is a story of a common feature of many initiations.


Your account of the former is not how I have heard it.

or Tilopa provoking Naropa to get the living crap beat out of him by a wedding party, etc.


Tilopa, supposedly, had the power to completely restore Naropa to health.


As Machig was restored to health. .

If we decide that the stories of the siddhas are just fantasy, bent on political ends, and hold mundane views of social politics and western scientific materialism as supreme--


I think TNR's defense of Kosha Cosmology is pretty poor, frankly, since it also depends on us accepting the the Bible, the Koran and so on as superior to western empirical science.


I don't believe I was referencing TNR's defense of Kosha Cosmology.

then it seems to me that this would render our faith in vajrayana and guru yoga sterile, and there wouldn't be much point in following this path at all.


If we are following Vajrayāna because of some miraculous tale, we are doomed before we have even started.

Vajrayana, as we know it today, is built on thousands of miraculous tales.. If we discount them all, there is hardly anything left. If we don't believe that anything is possible, then we no longer believe in Sunyata. We are either nihilists or eternalists.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:41 pm

Adamantine wrote: If we don't believe that anything is possible, then we no longer believe in Sunyata. We are either nihilists or eternalists.


If you think that apple trees can grow from wheat seeds, you have left the realm of common sense.

N
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:12 pm

Adamantine wrote:There have been much greater numbers of authors in general in the West (what exactly are we defining as the West here?), so proportionally this is not a fair accounting. Also, you are clearly grouping many countries and multiple land masses into your accounting of what is the "West", and opposing it to India and Tibet, two countries only. I hardly think your comparisons are useful. Also, you deflect the issue of whether women are considered to have as great or greater potential as men onto an issue of authorship, which is a bit of a red-herring. Many yogis and yoginis who reach high levels of realization don't author texts.


Can you provide a citation from a primary text which states that woman have more potential than men for awakening? I personally do not beleive that gender makes one person superior to another person in terms of capacity for awakening. I think it is a very silly thing to say.

If Tibetan tradition truly maintains that woman had a greater potential for awakening than men, it would stand to reason that it would report more instances of awakened woman than men. But in the fact there are very few reports of awakened woman as opposed to endless litneys of men who are supposed to have achieved awakening.

While it is certainly the case that we can find positive messages about woman's potential for awakening in many tantras, in general Tibetan cultural practice, woman have been very disadvantaged.

If we take just one culture, Anglo-American culture, and compare it with Indo-Tibetan culture, the incidence of female authorship is much higher in our culture than in Indo-Tibetan culture. Why? It is quite simple -- in old Tibet educating women was not the norm, it was by far and away the exception. Of course, through the influence of Western values, Tibetan culture has decided to value the education of women, and this is a good thing, a positive direction. But there is still enormous sexism in both cultures, our and their's.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Adamantine » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:17 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote: If we don't believe that anything is possible, then we no longer believe in Sunyata. We are either nihilists or eternalists.


If you think that apple trees can grow from wheat seeds, you have left the realm of common sense.

N


Well, hand prints in rock, or Milarepa fitting inside a yak's horn...these have
all left common sense far behind. Vajrayana is meant to invoke uncommon sense.
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Re: Translating "Dzogchenpa"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:18 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote: If we don't believe that anything is possible, then we no longer believe in Sunyata. We are either nihilists or eternalists.


If you think that apple trees can grow from wheat seeds, you have left the realm of common sense.

N


Well, hand prints in rock, or Milarepa fitting inside a yak's horn...these have
all left common sense far behind. Vajrayana is meant to invoke uncommon sense.



Funny how no one ever sees these "miracles" actually done. Oh right, we don't have enough merit, I forgot.

If you assume for example that Virupa really stopped the sun such a cataclysmic event shoud have been recorded around the world. Can you imagine?
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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