Terma wrote: ↑Wed Jun 07, 2023 5:30 am
You make it sound as though our lamas- many who have the strongest aspirations for us to find an end to suffering, purposely want to delay our realisations in favour of keeping up with good ol' lineage standards.
I doubt it. Rather, they understand and probably can see that many students who jump straight to the good stuff are not getting to the essence, and not having the experiential breakthroughs needed to progress.
But of course, most don't want to hear the words "accumulate merit" or "purify obscurations blocking our realisations." Instead, not having faith and devotion in the lama they take it with a grain of salt and do what they want and not what the lama is advising.
On the other hand, if a truly qualified lama is working with a student and deems them ready to jump right in, then I really don't think they will force them to do practices that they don't need to do.
Just my opinion though. I prefer to follow the advice of the masters I put trust and faith in, and that have agreed to guide me. To each their own though.
I am sure that all the lamas have the best of intention. How can it not be? They have their vows to benefit all sentient beings. However, we also need to take responsibility for our own path.
As CNNR often said you needed to go to the essence of the practice. If we do not have a deep understanding of the aim of the practice, then how do we get to the essence. For example, the four thoughts that turns the mind. When one of my first lamas gave the lungs for the ngondro practice to a few of us beginners, he required us to contemplate the four thoughts for at least 15 minutes every day. Soon, I was listening to another lama and he said that if we had time, we should contemplate these but if we did not, that was okay. I was confused but upon reflection it dawned on me - the aim of the practice is to "push us toward dharma and practice". For me, when I wake up every morning, there is nothing I would rather do than going to a 3-year retreat. In fact, the only thing holding me back is I have family responsibilities. So, in a sense, I don't need to just keep on doing this practice once I obtain a degree of familiarity. It is there if I somehow lose my motivation for dharma one day.
Similarly, we do refuge and boddhicitta, it is to renew/set our motivation and intention for practice. Do we really need to mechanically accumulate 100,000 to tick the box? I now believe we do not need to do so. It is great to do this every now and then but I do not believe we have to spend years of our life reciting these alone.
Similarly, for Vajrasattva practice, which I personally enjoy doing, one teacher once said (I forgot who) that we have had countless lives and our past misdeeds are so numerous that countless lives of Vajrasattava practice may not necessarily purify them all! Yet, we do this to support our practice rather than as the final solution.
The essence of Dzogchen teachings is we must go beyond mind - discover the nature of our mind (1st statement of Garab Dorje). Other mind-based practices are there as secondary practices to support our main practice. This really takes a long time to sink for me due to my pre-existing conceptions.
Despite their best intention, lamas can still make mistakes. Unless they are buddhas or have clairvoyance, how do they know exactly what's the best for us? After many years, I come to understand this point: They do their best to help us but they have their own limitations (including their own cultural limitations). It is up to us to ask questions and clarify points.