Tibetan Lamas and wealth

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shankara
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by shankara »

Milarepa was very critical of the opulence of the Lamas, he basically said they were just living "off the fat of the land" in exchange for performing rituals. Thus he and his disciples shunned all of that stuff and lived in caves and survived by begging.
Danny
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Danny »

Milarepa had huge negative karma to overcome, his days of black magic and revenge on hiis uncle stealing his family's wealth basically made him a outcast.
javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

how can we discern inbetween a Lama who is in equanimity and another who is not?
PeterC
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by PeterC »

shankara wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:27 pm Milarepa was very critical of the opulence of the Lamas, he basically said they were just living "off the fat of the land" in exchange for performing rituals. Thus he and his disciples shunned all of that stuff and lived in caves and survived by begging.
Milarepa also said of Marpa that he couldn’t emulate Marpa’s conduct, the life of a wealthy householder, because he lacked Marpa’s capacity.
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tkp67
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by tkp67 »

https://www.tibethouse.jp/about/buddhis ... nglish.pdf

A GUIDE TO THE BODHISATTVA'S WAY OF LIFE

Sanskrit: Bodhisattvacharyavatara

fwir it mentions one should understand one's own wealth and the wealth of others.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

javier.espinoza.t wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:05 pm how can we discern inbetween a Lama who is in equanimity and another who is not?
Short answer is you can’t.

However I personally have confidence in HHDL and HHK17 (O.T.). I don’t think either one is hurting for cash.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
jmlee369
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by jmlee369 »

If you look into the biographies of some of the lamas with large estates (e.g. Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche published in English recently), you can see it took a lot of good management to not bankrupt your estate. As much wealth as these lamas gained, they were also obliged to spend huge sums. Even these days, I have heard that a lama returning to one of the Three Great Seats (Sera, Drepung, Ganden) has to have at least USD$10,000 prepared to make offerings to the assembly. When you have monastic assemblies of 3000 people, it takes a lot to make even a modest offering per sangha member, let alone other needs and projects like food, medical care, construction, maintenance.
shankara
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by shankara »

Danny wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:14 pm Milarepa had huge negative karma to overcome, his days of black magic and revenge on hiis uncle stealing his family's wealth basically made him a outcast.
This may be so, nonetheless he was offered by villagers to remain and be their teacher a number of times and on each occasion refused. Not only this but he mocked and opposed the "establishment" Lamas who he considered not to be genuine practitioners of Dharma. There must have been something wrong with their way of life for him to criticise them like that.

It's all in the biography by Tsangyon Heruka.
PeterC wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:52 am
shankara wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:27 pm Milarepa was very critical of the opulence of the Lamas, he basically said they were just living "off the fat of the land" in exchange for performing rituals. Thus he and his disciples shunned all of that stuff and lived in caves and survived by begging.
Milarepa also said of Marpa that he couldn’t emulate Marpa’s conduct, the life of a wealthy householder, because he lacked Marpa’s capacity.
This may be so. Do you think that the majority of Lamas at present have even the same, never mind more capacity than even Milarepa? Whatever Milarepa's past Karma was, he had the Karmic force to meet Marpa who was a Mahasiddha. He could fly in the air, appear in multiple forms, all kinds of things. I don't see any of the present Lamas doing that.

In any case, Milarepa remains an ideal model of conduct for any practitioner, a true ascetic who lived for the Dharma and not for the distractions of wordly pleasures and status.
Last edited by Ayu on Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: A saying by HHDL when the source cannot be provided should not be used for argument.
PeterC
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by PeterC »

shankara wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:51 am
PeterC wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:52 am
shankara wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:27 pm Milarepa was very critical of the opulence of the Lamas, he basically said they were just living "off the fat of the land" in exchange for performing rituals. Thus he and his disciples shunned all of that stuff and lived in caves and survived by begging.
Milarepa also said of Marpa that he couldn’t emulate Marpa’s conduct, the life of a wealthy householder, because he lacked Marpa’s capacity.
This may be so. Do you think that the majority of Lamas at present have even the same, never mind more capacity than even Milarepa? Whatever Milarepa's past Karma was, he had the Karmic force to meet Marpa who was a Mahasiddha. He could fly in the air, appear in multiple forms, all kinds of things. I don't see any of the present Lamas doing that.

In any case, Milarepa remains an ideal model of conduct for any practitioner, a true ascetic who lived for the Dharma and not for the distractions of wordly pleasures and status.
This is a deep rabbit hole, so let me make a few propositions that I think we can agree on.

First, lamas today, lamas in tibet a century ago, and lamas in the days of Marpa and Milarepa all lived in very different social situations. A lama recognized as a Tulku today inherits huge responsibilities and obligations and often has to think in terms of how to meet them.

Second, it is without doubt that the renunciate devoting him/herself to practice is by far the most conducive way to live in order to practice the Dharma.

Third, there have been important lineage holders in the vajrayana for as far back as one can see up to today who lived lives of mundane comfort. Indrabhuti, Lilapa, Mandarava, the DLs, the Sakya throne holders, Dudjom Rinpoche - it’s a very long list. Whatever we might think about the desirability of the renunciate lifestyle, it is clear that material wealth is not an obstacle to achievement.
Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Malcolm »

shankara wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:51 am
It's all in the biography by Tsangyon Heruka.
Which is almost entirely fictional.
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that name does not exist."
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Nemo
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Nemo »

For many it is the family business. Basically you get an academic degree in Dharma and start earning. They put on an exotic show for the gullible. Then invent theories why capitalist Buddhism is OK. Which doesn't fit well with the Buddha who forbade his monks from touching money or owning property. Of course it can be done but if you want to spot the phonies with mere intellectual understanding it's very easy. The phonies are utterly ruled by the 8 worldly dharmas. Every decision is in their favor. Some even regret not getting a legit job in computers. But that kind of honesty means they are one of the good ones. If you want the 8 worldly dharmas Buddhism is a terrible place to try and get them.
Danny
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Danny »

And yet revolutions (cultural, environmental, spiritual, political) always, when one strips away the ideological garbage is about wealth and land ownership, the Americans did it, the Russians, the Chinese did it etc. Tibet was no different.

Regards
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Grigoris
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Grigoris »

PeterC wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:25 pmWhatever we might think about the desirability of the renunciate lifestyle, it is clear that material wealth is not an obstacle to achievement.
How can a phenomenon, something without any inherent existence, be an obstacle to enlightenment?

The only obstacle to enlightenment is an ignorant mind full of attachment and aversion.
"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
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Nemo wrote:...if you want to spot the phonies with mere intellectual understanding it's very easy. The phonies are utterly ruled by the 8 worldly dharmas. Every decision is in their favor.
One of my friends makes the same point. He said that if you can use the 8 worldly dharmas to predict a teacher’s actions in advance, then their minds are defiled. A truly free mind acts without those concerns for the benefit of all. This avoids the trap of having to interpret someone’s actions after the fact.
Grigoris wrote:The only obstacle to enlightenment is an ignorant mind full of attachment and aversion.
A good point to keep in mind.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by SilenceMonkey »

I think wealth in tibetan tradition is a symbol of generosity as well. There was a great Dzogchen master in Northern India whom I once met. He lived in a mansion, but was a total yogi who spend most of his time on the couch reciting mantras. He was very old and had a true air of renunciation.

I think for a lot of these masters, wealth often comes in the form of offerings from the faithful... For example, the Dalai Lama had a particular fondness for this lama and may have offered him a nice car out of devotion. I heard this and my mouth was hanging open. Can't say if it's true or not, but I did see the car. This, to me, shows that lamas sometimes play with wealth as ephemeral objects, making offerings of great devotion as a way of practicing bodhicitta.
PeterC
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by PeterC »

Grigoris wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:01 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:25 pmWhatever we might think about the desirability of the renunciate lifestyle, it is clear that material wealth is not an obstacle to achievement.
How can a phenomenon, something without any inherent existence, be an obstacle to enlightenment?

The only obstacle to enlightenment is an ignorant mind full of attachment and aversion.
Indeed. But there are people who think that unless your lama is a cave-dwelling yogi who doesn't want gold because "it's too heavy to carry and you can't eat it", they somehow aren't quite good enough. I used to think that way for a while.
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Grigoris
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by Grigoris »

PeterC wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:14 amIndeed. But there are people who think that unless your lama is a cave-dwelling yogi who doesn't want gold because "it's too heavy to carry and you can't eat it", they somehow aren't quite good enough. I used to think that way for a while.
I imagine that these sort of people are the same ones that own the latest iPhone and refuse to make donations at teachings and empowerments. ;)
"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
PeterC
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by PeterC »

Grigoris wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:34 am
PeterC wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:14 amIndeed. But there are people who think that unless your lama is a cave-dwelling yogi who doesn't want gold because "it's too heavy to carry and you can't eat it", they somehow aren't quite good enough. I used to think that way for a while.
I imagine that these sort of people are the same ones that own the latest iPhone and refuse to make donations at teachings and empowerments. ;)
Of course - because of course if you made donations then perhaps the Lama only spends time with you for the money. And an iPhone is a necessity, not a luxury, you’re just going along with society’s requirements.

Once one begins to rationalize, the sky’s the limit
yagmort
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by yagmort »

i guess many lamas violating Bodhisattva branch vow: Giving teachings, having disciples, building monasteries, or gathering people for the purpose of receiving reputation, profit, or remuneration..
javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Tibetan Lamas and wealth

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

yagmort wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:25 pm i guess many lamas violating Bodhisattva branch vow: Giving teachings, having disciples, building monasteries, or gathering people for the purpose of receiving reputation, profit, or remuneration..
it happens.
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