Neither true, nor fair (Post 2 of 3)

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James Belither (NKT)

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Nov 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/22/97
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Neither true, nor fair (Post 2 of 3)
A Reply to Ken Jones from James Belither, the Secretary of the New Kadampa
Tradition

Recently (30/10/97) an article appeared on the internet entitled ‘MANY
BODIES, ONE MIND: MOVEMENTS IN BRITISH BUDDHISM’ by Ken Jones. I welcome
this article, not for its almost entirely negative presentation of the New
Kadampa Tradition (NKT), but for the opportunity it gives to refute many of
the assumptions and inaccuracies contained within it.


(1) The NKT, FWBO and SGI UK versus the ‘traditional UK Buddhist
organisation’

Ken Jones acknowledges that ‘In the NKT and FWBO newcomers receive a
grounding in basic Buddhism which is arguably superior than what they might
expect from less systematically organised centres’, but then proceeds to put
a negative spin on this by saying that ‘The negative features of the
movement will not readily be apparent, and new members grow into its ethos’,
as if Buddhism is taught well with the intention of sucking people in and
exploiting them. No evidence is provided to substantiate this.

According to Ken Jones the ten thousand or so followers of these three
traditions allow themselves to be exploited in return for ‘a sense of
belonging and identity needs ... The members of these movements are grateful
to belong.’ How can he justify this extraordinary assessment of the
motivations and aims of many thousands of people?

To my knowledge, Ken Jones has never visited any NKT Centre. I was told that
he attended one meeting of one NKT group recently. He angrily berated the
speaker, and told everyone not to come to future meetings but to go to his
Buddhist group instead. He made no attempt at open dialogue, and left
immediately rather than socialise and discuss his view.

He gives no example of how the members of these three traditions are
exploited in exchange for a ‘sense of belonging’, or who derives what
benefit from this supposed exploitation.

But why stop at criticising only these three movements? Why can the same
criticisms not be made of any Buddhists who gather together? What criteria
are there for discriminating which gatherings of Buddhists fulfil the role
of the Sangha, or Spiritual Community, and which are exploitative?

Mr Jones contrasts the forcefulness of the ‘new movements’ with the
traditional UK Buddhist organisation that ‘tends to be a rather introverted
body of practitioners ...’. To whom is he referring?

For the follower of a ‘traditional’ UK Buddhist organisation ‘Help is
available but quite a lot of persistent personal effort is required, and
there is commonly a high fallout rate.’ From my own experience, a great deal
of persistent personal effort is required in following the teachings
presented in the New Kadampa Tradition.

Moreover, the last part of his sentence suggests the rather bizarre notion
that the validity of a Buddhist tradition is determined by the number of
people who turn away from it.

For the ‘traditional’ Buddhist organisation Ken Jones says ‘some modest
publicity’ is required but then it is ‘up to the newcomer to take his or her
interest further’. The growth in number of NKT Centres and groups has been
largely natural and organic.

People who have been coming as visitors to Centres, often for many years,
quite naturally develop the wish to see a Centre in their local area or home
town. Since they have been inspired and helped by Buddha’s teachings, why
should there not be others in their area who could similarly be inspired and
benefited?

An elderly man recently told me that he encountered Buddhism in Burma during
the war, was drawn to and fascinated by it, but on returning to England
thought Buddhism was an eastern religion that could have no relevance to his
life. A few years ago, walking down the street he was amazed and delighted
to see a poster in a shop window announcing that an English Buddhist nun
would be giving a public talk in his home town. Having attended meetings for
a number of years he now happily considers himself a Buddhist and engages in
regular study and meditation.

Members of NKT Centres do not go from door to door or preach on street
corners. NKT Centres publicises their events through posters, newspaper
adverts, or local radio, using ways of communication that are totally
acceptable in our society. People have complete freedom whether or not to
come. When they come, they listen to a talk on basic Buddhism, are given
instruction in meditation, invited to ask questions, and offered tea and
biscuits. They are free to leave at any time, and free to come back the
following week. If nobody is interested then the group stops its meetings.

Why be critical that newcomers are made very welcome? Of course newcomers
should be made welcome! There is no virtue inherent in introversion.

I have checked with the organisers of the group in west Wales mentioned by
Ken Jones, and the statement that the NKT promised in the local press an
‘explosion of Buddhism’ is untrue, and just harmless (in this case)
journalistic hyperbole.

Ken Jones worries that ‘At the present rate soon every town in England and
Wales will have an NKT presence something quite unprecedented in Buddhist
terms, and well ahead of the two other movements.’ This may be
‘unprecedented’ but why is it so dreadful, especially as Mr Jones admits
that the NKT provides a good grounding in basic Buddhist ideas? Personally,
I would be happy to see Nyingma monasteries or Zen temples dotted all around
the country, and to see Theravadin monks walking in the High Street of every
town. For that matter, why should I be unhappy to see mosques and temples,
as well as churches, the length and breadth of the country?


(2) The ‘manual’ for the NKT teaching training programme

Ken Jones presents three sections from what he calls the ‘manual for the NKT
teacher training programme’. Since reference to this so-called ‘manual’ has
been cited by a number of sources critical of the NKT, I will explain about
the origin and use of this document.

In 1991/92, a number of NKT Centres with branch groups ran workshops for
teachers and would-be teachers in order to share experiences and ideas. They
started in a very low key and informal way, but gradually became more
structured. Someone who attended took notes of some of the points for their
own use and typed them up. They were photocopied and passed around. A more
polished form of the notes was produced for use as a discussion document for
future workshops, with the title ‘Notes for Teaching Skills’, but it was
never checked with Geshe Kelsang.

Sometime in 1992 when Geshe Kelsang heard about the scope and development of
these workshops he immediately advised against them, saying ‘The best way to
become a good teacher is to become a good student.’ The workshops stopped,
and the so-called ‘manual’ disappeared. It was never used and never intended
to be used as a manual for the teacher training programme.

In 1995, a university academic and former member of an NKT group, aggrieved
that his former girlfriend had decided to become a Buddhist nun, wrote to
Geshe Kelsang seeking, he said, clarification on certain points for use in a
wider discussion. Although his covering letter was mild, to his former
girlfriend he privately expressed the wish to destroy the NKT. His document
quoted copiously from ‘Notes on Teaching Skills’. It seems he made good his
word to send it to every Buddhist organisation and to every newspaper.

Of the three sections quoted by Ken Jones, the first deals with discussion
and consensus within the NKT. One of the key features of NKT study
programmes is discussion. Students are invited to discuss the material
studied to deepen their understanding. At the same time it is important for
the Teachers of Centres under Geshe Kelsang’s spiritual direction to come to
agreement as to the meaning of his books, not in order to stifle open
discussion, but to be able to provide clear guidance and direction on the
basis of understanding and not speculation.

In Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition, it is customary for each monastery, and in the
larger monasteries even each monastic college, to have what is called their
‘yig.cha’; their own particular view on matters of interpretation which the
monks from that monastery would be expected to uphold in debate and
teaching. Holding to their ‘yig.cha’ does not restrict a spirit of fresh
enquiry.

When explaining Buddhism according to their tradition, NKT teachers are
expected, not unnaturally, to teach according to the writings of their
Teacher and Spiritual Guide, Geshe Kelsang, and it is therefore necessary
and beneficial for all to reach a clear understanding of those writings, and
broad agreement as to their meaning. From his side, Geshe Kelsang has never
claimed that his writings are his own, but re-presentations of the teachings
of Je Tsongkhapa in a form that is more suited to the modern world.

As for the second section, it is indeed true that people (when organising
meetings) should ‘Be very careful not to give the impression it is a
recruitment drive’ for the simple reason that it is not.

The third section concerns how to talk to people who come to meetings and
who are aggressively hostile towards Buddhism. The advice is not argue back
but to go along with them as appropriate. This helps to calm the situation,
and create a better climate for a reasoned discussion. If they reject what
is being said, then fine but at least there is a chance for a meeting of
minds. The sinister spin that has put on this advice was never intended.
Admittedly, this is partially a fault of the original document, being a
collection of statements which in themselves were taken out of context, but
then the compiler never thought these words would be picked apart and used
in evidence to support already jaundiced views.

James Belither
NKT Secretary

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/22/97
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James Belither (NKT) wrote in message <656eh3$iea$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>...


>Neither true, nor fair (Post 2 of 3)

Likewise applies to Jim Belither's reply to Ken Jones.
Some points from one who went through both the NKT and FWBO (and thankfully
came out the other end!).

>Ken Jones acknowledges that ‘In the NKT and FWBO newcomers receive a
>grounding in basic Buddhism which is arguably superior than what they might
>expect from less systematically organised centres’,

Critical though I may be of much of these organisations' bases, I must say
that the grounding I received in basic buddhism, especially from the NKT,
was excellant. I especially remember Foundation Programme classes at Tara
Centre lead by (the then) Gen Thubten Gyatso, Heart Disciple of Geshe
Kelsang. We would all come out of the gompa after the daily 2 hour session
flying. The teachings he gave in Dorset (a week of Amitayus HYT empowerment,
commentary, etc) on the union of Sutra and Tantra were IMO unsurpassed -
don't think I've forgiven Geshe Kelsang for ordering the tapes of these
teachings to be destroyed. Shortly afterwards he ordered all Gen Thubten
tapes destroyed at NKT Centres. Also I remember the 2 week "Transcendental
Principle" study retreat at Padmaloka (FWBO) lead by that fine fellow
Prakasha - most excellant.

Nevertheless, I have seen something of the exploitation of 'belongingness
needs' in people by both the NKT and FWBO, though nothing like the
exploitation of other movements that I've come across both personally and
via others. Some exploitation seems to be part of the package of groups with
strong 'group culture and identity'.

>He gives no example of how the members of these three traditions are
>exploited in exchange for a ‘sense of belonging’, or who derives what
>benefit from this supposed exploitation.

An example I can give is the number of people who work morning to late
evening for the Centres, receive no salary and are encouraged to live off
the Social Security and Housing Benefit systems in the process. (I have a
copy of a taped talk by the then Heart Disciple of Geshe Kelsang given at
Tara Centre in 1993 which clearly supports this point, Jim.)

>The growth in number of NKT Centres and groups has been
>largely natural and organic.
>People who have been coming as visitors to Centres, often for many years,
>quite naturally develop the wish to see a Centre in their local area or
home
>town

Hmm, what do you mean by 'largely'? I have been present at meetings in eg
Tara Centre where plans were formulated for trying to generate the basis of
a NKT group in as many local towns as possible. There had been no request by
local people, though this would be part of the blurb sent out. There would
be gripes that eg Losang Dragpa Centre in Keighley (at that time) had got
its hands on a town that Tara Centre felt should be its territory.
After G Kelsang had been heard to say (as he passed through Greater
Manchester en route to Tara Centre) that the beings of such a place really
needed buddhadharma, Tara Centre went frantic. Eg I was given the task of
starting off Salford Mahayana Buddhist Centre (NKT) - certainly nobody in
Salford had in any way requested a NKT presence. Likewise with other areas -
eg the attempts to establish NKT groups at Bury and Rochdale led to debts of
hundreds of pounds (all off-written by Tara Centre) basically because people
weren't interested. One has got to admire the NKT's tenacity.

> If nobody is interested then the group stops its meetings.

Not quite true, that one, Jim.


>I would be happy to see Nyingma monasteries

Given G Kelsang's comments about their corruption of buddhadharma I most
certainly don't believe that. I have heard GK explain that Dzogchen is not
buddhadharma, and mixing it with dharma would lead to the corruption of
dharma, so I hardly think an organisation obsessed with purity would welcome
the presence of the Nyingmapas.


>
>(2) The ‘manual’ for the NKT teaching training programme

>A more


>polished form of the notes was produced for use as a discussion document
for
>future workshops, with the title ‘Notes for Teaching Skills’, but it was
>never checked with Geshe Kelsang.
>Sometime in 1992 when Geshe Kelsang heard about the scope and development
of
>these workshops he immediately advised against them

>The workshops stopped,
>and the so-called ‘manual’ disappeared.

Funny that, Jim, but I, and many others, attended a Teaching Skills course
(was it 3 days?) as part of the Spring Festival in Dorset in April 1994.
"Notes on (so it says on my copy) Teaching Skills" was the text used and was
'openly' sold - in fact people were 'encouraged' to buy a copy! This was
only one of several courses run - best check your dates.


>As for the second section, it is indeed true that people (when organising
>meetings) should ‘Be very careful not to give the impression it is a
>recruitment drive’ for the simple reason that it is not.

NOT true at all, Jim. Recruitment forms an important part of the NKT's ethos
(unless you've changed tack in the last one and a half years).

We teachers were taught numerous little deceipts - eg "when someone asks you
how students at NKT Centres support themselves, you should say to them,
'Through the generosity of others'. This is better than telling them that
most students live on state benefits."

>The sinister spin that has put on this advice was never intended.
>Admittedly, this is partially a fault of the original document, being a
>collection of statements which in themselves were taken out of context, but
>then the compiler never thought these words would be picked apart and used
>in evidence to support already jaundiced views.

Again,a half-truth at best.

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

>James Belither
>NKT Secretary
>
>

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/22/97
to

Avyorth wrote:
>
>>I would be happy to see Nyingma monasteries
>Given G Kelsang's comments about their corruption of buddhadharma I most
>certainly don't believe that. I have heard GK explain that Dzogchen is not
>buddhadharma, and mixing it with dharma would lead to the corruption of
>dharma, so I hardly think an organisation obsessed with purity would
welcome
>the presence of the Nyingmapas.


Dear Avyorth,

I became involved with the New Kadampa Tradition around the same time as you
did. From then till now I have attended all the teachings Geshe-la has given
except for a few in America and a couple in Germany. Since I don't think you
attended the teachings I could not attend, it seems safe to say that I have
been to every teaching by Geshe-la that you have.

In all those teachings Geshe-la has rarely mentioned other traditions except
to praise the Kagyus for their emphasis on meditation and the great Sakya
Lamas in the Heruka and Vajrayogini lineages. I have never heard him say a
single criticism of the Nyingmas.

So when and where did he talk about the Nyingma's "corruption of
Buddhadharma" or that "Dzogchen is not Buddhadharma"?

On the other hand in Joyful Path of Good Fortune he says:
"Before Atisha's time the thirty-seventh king of Tibet, Trisong Detsen (AD
circa 754-97), had invited Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, and other Buddhist
Teachers to Tibet, and through their influence pure Dharma had flourished"

and also Geshe-la said (in this newsgroup, some time ago):
"We should practice our own tradition purely but respect other traditions.
We should never try to destroy the spiritual life of others. Although some
people say 'I am Nyingmapa', 'I am Gelugpa', this is just a different way of
presenting Dharma. The real essence is the same"

Avyorth, one of the main causes of the present situation concerning Dorje
Shugden practice are false rumours about what other lamas teach. Because of
rumours like this one people believed Pabongkha Rinpoche was against the
Nyingmas. It is irresponsible to spread such rumours which some people will
readily believe.

Personally, I would be very happy if there were Nyingma monasteries all over
the country. The main point is for sentient beings to become free from
suffering and anything that leads towards that end is to be encouraged.
Spreading false allegations about what lamas teach doesn't, IMHO, lead
sentient beings out of samsara.

Rabten

Michael McLoughlin

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
to

In article <656eh3$iea$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>, madh...@mail.rmplc.co.uk
says...
>

SNIP

As Ken is not on-line I shall provide copies of your 3-part post to him
and shall post any reply he might widh to make on ukrb,arbt and arbnkt.
However there are a few points I would like to take issue with myself.



>
>To my knowledge, Ken Jones has never visited any NKT Centre. I was told
that
>he attended one meeting of one NKT group recently. He angrily berated
the
>speaker, and told everyone not to come to future meetings but to go to
his
>Buddhist group instead. He made no attempt at open dialogue, and left
>immediately rather than socialise and discuss his view.

I too was at this meeting (before I knew Ken Jones personally). It was
the public meeting to inaugurate the NKT branch in Aberystwyth. Your
interpretation of it is bizarre. Ken did not angrily berate anybody but
made a few points that he wanted to make. Firstly, the NKT had decided to
call their group the Aberystwyth Buddhist Group and obviously had not
taken the time to check if any other group existed. In fact, this
non-denominational group is longest-running Buddhist meditation group in
Wales. Ken welcomed the NKT to Aberystwyth but put in a couple of caveats
that he thought may be useful for someone just of the street (in fact the
meeting was largely made of NKT members from North Wales branches of NKT
down for the meeting), namely: that the Buddhism of the NKT is that as
interpreted by one teacher only (GKG) and not a non-denominational group
(as the original title of the Aber NKT group might suggest); and, for
those like me who had hoped to join a Tibetan Buddhist group that the NKT
had disassociated itself from the main four Tibetan schools. On my word
of honour, he did tell anyone not to go to future meetings nor did he
tell everyone to go to the group he attended. That is just plain wrong.
I see recently that the NKT has recently started a second group at the
University in the town calling itself simply "The Meditation Society".
Seems odd that there could be enough genuine interest for 2 NKT groups
(or 1 official, 1 unofficial) in a small town of less 15,000 souls.

SNIP

>For the ‘traditional’ Buddhist organisation Ken Jones says ‘some modest
>publicity’ is required but then it is ‘up to the newcomer to take his or
her
>interest further’. The growth in number of NKT Centres and groups has
been
>largely natural and organic.
>
>People who have been coming as visitors to Centres, often for many
years,
>quite naturally develop the wish to see a Centre in their local area or
home
>town. Since they have been inspired and helped by Buddha’s teachings,
why
>should there not be others in their area who could similarly be inspired
and
>benefited?

It was quite appraent at the time the NKT group was set up in Aberystwyth
that every shop in the town (it only has about half a dozen streets) had
been asked to put up a poster (even the Jehovah's Witnesses have never
managed that in Aber). I think Ken's point is that NKT does everything
short of preaching on the street corners to spread it's "message". Most
Buddhists I know of all traditions are proud that Buddhism is not an
"in-yer-face" religion. Surely people will only come to the Dharma when
they are sufficiently sick of Samsara to seek it out for themselves.
Otherwise, I suspect that people attend for a few sessions until the
novelty wears off and then go back to where they were before.
MY main point here is that in order to set up branches offering
fully-fledged courses in towns as small as Aber (pop. under 15,000) means
that NKT must have the biggest number of teachers of any Buddhist group
in Britain. Do all of these (many of them very young and, evidently to
old lags like me, very dharmically wet behind the ears) really have
sufficient meditative and intellectual experience of dharma to teach as
opposed to merely parroting the content of GKG's works? I think this is
question I'd really like to get your opinion on.

This is the last of my points. No doubt Ken will seek to answer you at
length if he thinks any purpose will be served by it.

Mick


Robin Faichney

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
to

On 23 Nov 1997 11:47:38 GMT, m...@aber.ac.uk (Michael McLoughlin)
wrote:

>MY main point here is that in order to set up branches offering
>fully-fledged courses in towns as small as Aber (pop. under 15,000) means
>that NKT must have the biggest number of teachers of any Buddhist group
>in Britain. Do all of these (many of them very young and, evidently to
>old lags like me, very dharmically wet behind the ears) really have
>sufficient meditative and intellectual experience of dharma to teach as
>opposed to merely parroting the content of GKG's works? I think this is
>question I'd really like to get your opinion on.

Meanwhile, you can have mine, for what it's worth. :-)

I attended the first few NKT meetings in Stirling. The monk who
spoke at the first meeting was very good, but the "teacher" who
then took over was another matter. I think it was at the second
meeting that someone asked "What is the Buddhist response
when you see a starving child on television, say in Somalia?"
This "teacher", instead of taking the opportunity to bring up
compassion, instead began to talk of karma, saying
that people's situation in this life is determined by their
behaviour in previous lives! Skillful means? I'm afraid my
early impressions of the NKT were dominated by the thought
that they believed this person to be a good Buddhist teacher.
(If that seems a bit thin, I also heard about things he did and
said at subsequent meetings, after I'd packed it in, which
were similarly "skillful", and no doubt my general impression
of him and of the NKT is also coloured by them.)

In a similar vein, another early question was raised for me
about the NKT when I learned that their weekly meeting in
a hired room in Stirling was designated by them the "Stirling
Mahayana Centre"! The general practice of other groups,
of not claiming to have a centre in a town until they have
premises of their own, was apparently not good enough for
the NKT. Then I looked at their web site and saw how
many Mahayana Centres there were! Is it possible they
just want to look very much bigger and better-established
than they are? Or am I being unBuddhist even to think
such a thing? :-)

If the answer to that is "our intention is only to spread the
Dharma, and ends justify means", then my suspicions
will have been confirmed.

Robin Faichney

Don Martin

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
to

In article <347836ee...@lorne.stir.ac.uk>,
r.j.fa...@spamoff.stir.ac.uk (Robin Faichney) wrote:

> In a similar vein, another early question was raised for me
> about the NKT when I learned that their weekly meeting in
> a hired room in Stirling was designated by them the "Stirling
> Mahayana Centre"! The general practice of other groups,
> of not claiming to have a centre in a town until they have
> premises of their own, was apparently not good enough for
> the NKT. Then I looked at their web site and saw how
> many Mahayana Centres there were! Is it possible they
> just want to look very much bigger and better-established
> than they are? Or am I being unBuddhist even to think
> such a thing? :-)

****** I do not think that your veiw is at all unBuddhist.
On the contrary, your concern would appear to be well
placed and shows compassion towards those who may be
inadvertantly attracted to a group on the assumption
that it is something other than it is. The technique
employed by the nkt groups, namely having a parent
centre with many associated satelite groups, is a well
known and easily observed marketing ploy. Increasing
the number of outlets in a paticular location will
encourage custom which may otherwise be attracted to
competitors retail outlets.
I sometimes muse on the possibilities of groups being
required by law to display truthfully their 'content'
on the packaging, just like foodstuffs. It would be fun
to then read some of the disclusures. ( Warning this
group contains simulated Dharma and various addatives
obtained from non-Dharma sources..etc etc)

--

Don, Never go by appearances,
The Born-Again Buddhist. I look intelligent.
(....and again and again)

Don Martin

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
to

In article <19971123....@rainbows.demon.co.uk>,
d...@rainbows.demon.co.uk (Don Martin) wrote:

> ( Warning this group contains simulated Dharma and

various *addatives* obtained from non-Dharma sources
..etc etc)

****** Oops...I forgot to use my smell-checker again. ;-)

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
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Bodhisattva Centre wrote in message <657kgl$9b6$1...@eros.clara.net>...


>I became involved with the New Kadampa Tradition around the same time as
you
>did. From then till now I have attended all the teachings Geshe-la has
given
>except for a few in America and a couple in Germany. Since I don't think
you
>attended the teachings I could not attend, it seems safe to say that I have
>been to every teaching by Geshe-la that you have.


Hello Rabten,
How could I forget you, and your article in Full Moon magazine on ecological
issues. "What does ecology matter anyway, don't you realise that the
environment is only a projection of mind!" Ah, perhaps someone should tell
Friends of the Earth!

Yes, it's true that G Kelsang did praise the Kagyupas and their meditative
tradition, at the same time he severely criticised the Gelugpas for their
corruption. Do you remember how he told us that the tradition of Lam Rim and
meditation had been all but lost, and how Trijang used to be mocked for his
interest in it? That all the Gelugpas could do was spend their time debating
meaningless philosophical issues? Even at Sera monastery, he said, the monks
didn't know how to meditate. Yes, I've heard similar criticisms about the
Tibetan system from eg Suvajra of the FWBO who spent some time in north
India amongst the Tibetan refugee monks. He told me of monks who knew all
the rituals of Tibetan religiousity and yet knew nothing of Dharma. I think
Martin Luther would have recognised the symptoms!

So, the question of the Nyingmas and what is or is not "pure Dharma" ala G
Kelsang? I don't see much point arguing whether you or I attended GK
teachings the other did or did not attend. I personally remember GKelsang,
Gen Thubten, and Samten Kelsang saying that Dzogchen was not authentic
buddhadharma and that the Nyingmapas were not pure Dharma practitioners. So,
to resolve the issue quite simply, I suggest that someone in the NKT posts
that the NKT recognises Dzogchen as authentic Buddhadharma. If this is done,
then I will immediately post an apology for my mistake! Then the issue of
the Nyingmas and their understanding of Dharma will be further clarified.

Quite simply I say this because my understanding of Dzogchen (poor as it is)
is that it is the quintessential teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni. Perhaps
you're right and G Kelsang recognises the purity of the Nyingmapas.

Conversely, if there is no NKT statement that Dzogchen is authentic
Buddhadharma, then I, and perhaps the other ng readers, will reach the
conclusion that G Kelsang believes that Dzogchen is not authentic Dharma. In
fact, I will make a posting to that affect, that the NKT and G Kelsang
believe Dzogchen not to be Buddhadharma, and that consequently the
Nyingmapas who rely so much upon Dzogchen are not pure buddhists. This
seems the simplest solution to the disagreement, wouldn't you agree?

Looking forward to an early clarification to the question of whether
Dzogchen is or is not pure Buddhadharma - do other readers believe that
Dzogchen is buddhadharma or that it is Bonpo?

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

>Rabten
>
>

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
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Michael McLoughlin wrote in message <65954q$vfl$1...@infoserv.aber.ac.uk>...


>In article <656eh3$iea$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>, madh...@mail.rmplc.co.uk
>says...

> Do all of these (many of them very young and, evidently to


>old lags like me, very dharmically wet behind the ears) really have
>sufficient meditative and intellectual experience of dharma to teach as
>opposed to merely parroting the content of GKG's works? I think this is
>question I'd really like to get your opinion on.

Dear Mick,

I read your points with much interest because I believe you touch upon the
kernel of much that is cultish and deceptive about the NKT.

I'll not address your points one by one as I don't think it necessary.
Instead let me make one or two comments:
the NKT have a policy of 'awarding' titles to teachers "overseas" ie outside
the UK. For instance all teachers outside the UK are either known as 'Gen'
(and addressed as 'Gen-la') if they are ordained, or 'Kadam' if they are
lay. This has nothing to do with their realisations or experience; instead
we were quite openly told whilst I was involved in the NKT that it was to
increase their credibility and hence their ability to gain adherents to the
NKT. In fact I'd be interested in knowing why someone like Kelsang
Khyenrab, a novice monk of only a very few years, is referred to as
Venerable?

In fact the heaping of honourific titles is a common practice: another
example - a very young and inexperienced lassie who'd been ordained but only
a year or so, was asked to become the resident teacher at the NKT meditation
retreat centre in Dumfrieshire - Tharpaland. When the publicity material was
printed what did I see? Wow! resident teacher the Ven Kelsang Monlam, a
fully-experienced meditation teacher, fully qualified, close disciple of
Geshe Kelsang, ad nauseum...... Julie Netto, aka Monlam, had become
involved in the NKT only a short time before they'd ordained her. Her
meditation experience was VERY VERY minimal - she'd lived at Tara Centre at
the same time as myself.

This sort of activity of grossly inflating the experience and knowledge of
NKT teachers in publicity is very very common - in fact there ought to be a
trade-description legislation about it!

So, let the buyer beware of any NKT goods.

As the instructions given to us NKT teachers puts it. "We do not teach our
own ideas. We teach only the meaning of Geshe-la's books."
"We should not worry about converting people at the beginning. To start with
we need to agree with people, to show that we understand where they are at,
not to resist them or argue with them. If we have a wild horse, the best way
to tame it is to mount it, to go with it. We need to build up a rapport. If
we feel that the Teacher understands us and is sympathetic to us, we will
naturally feel close to him or her, and keep coming back."
Please note: I was an NKT teacher and the above are official NKT
instructions given to me and other teachers. You wild horses beware, there's
an NKT teacher out there waiting to mount you!!!!!

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

>This is the last of my points. No doubt Ken will seek to answer you at

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Avyorth Rolinson wrote in message <65aeec$f...@neon.btinternet.com>...

>
>Hello Rabten,
>How could I forget you, and your article in Full Moon magazine on
ecological
>issues. "What does ecology matter anyway, don't you realise that the
>environment is only a projection of mind!" Ah, perhaps someone should tell
>Friends of the Earth!
>

Hello again Avyorth,
I'm up for a debate on that anytime. It's a bit like saying the Dalai Lama
is abusing his position of authority by banning the religious pratices of
others - It's not politically correct, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

>Yes, it's true that G Kelsang did praise the Kagyupas and their meditative
>tradition, at the same time he severely criticised the Gelugpas for their
>corruption. Do you remember how he told us that the tradition of Lam Rim
and
>meditation had been all but lost, and how Trijang used to be mocked for his
>interest in it? That all the Gelugpas could do was spend their time
debating
>meaningless philosophical issues? Even at Sera monastery, he said, the
monks
>didn't know how to meditate. Yes, I've heard similar criticisms about the
>Tibetan system from eg Suvajra of the FWBO who spent some time in north
>India amongst the Tibetan refugee monks. He told me of monks who knew all
>the rituals of Tibetan religiousity and yet knew nothing of Dharma. I think
>Martin Luther would have recognised the symptoms!

Je Tsongkhapa's most important text, Great Exposition of the Stages of the
Path (a commentary to the Lamrim), isn't on the syllabus to qualify for a
Geshe degree.
Nor is Sunrays of training the Mind, his commentary on Lojong.
Nor are Lamp Thoroughly Illuminating the Five Stages or Great Exposition of
the Stages of Path of Secret Mantra, his principle works on Highest Yoga
Tantra.

>
>So, the question of the Nyingmas and what is or is not "pure Dharma" ala G
>Kelsang? I don't see much point arguing whether you or I attended GK
>teachings the other did or did not attend. I personally remember GKelsang,

Since you have such a clear memory surely you can tell me when Geshe-la said
this. As all his talks are taped and transcribed I will then be able to jog
my memory.

>Gen Thubten, and Samten Kelsang saying that Dzogchen was not authentic
>buddhadharma and that the Nyingmapas were not pure Dharma practitioners.
So,
>to resolve the issue quite simply, I suggest that someone in the NKT posts
>that the NKT recognises Dzogchen as authentic Buddhadharma. If this is
done,
>then I will immediately post an apology for my mistake! Then the issue of
>the Nyingmas and their understanding of Dharma will be further clarified.
>

Funnily enough, someone recently asked me to check a transcript they'd been
given. It was a Highest Yoga Tantra commentary written by a Nyingma lama. I
read it and saw very beautiful explanations of how to go for refuge,
generate bodhichitta, purify negativities etc. So, happily, I could say
'this Nyingma teaching is pure Buddhadharma.' Unfortunately I couldn't
comment on the rest of the sadhana as I had not received initiation.

>Quite simply I say this because my understanding of Dzogchen (poor as it
is)
>is that it is the quintessential teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni. Perhaps
>you're right and G Kelsang recognises the purity of the Nyingmapas.
>

'It [bodhichitta] is the quintessential butter
That comes from churning the milk of Dharma.'
-Shantideva.

>Conversely, if there is no NKT statement that Dzogchen is authentic
>Buddhadharma, then I, and perhaps the other ng readers, will reach the
>conclusion that G Kelsang believes that Dzogchen is not authentic Dharma.
In
>fact, I will make a posting to that affect, that the NKT and G Kelsang
>believe Dzogchen not to be Buddhadharma, and that consequently the
>Nyingmapas who rely so much upon Dzogchen are not pure buddhists. This
>seems the simplest solution to the disagreement, wouldn't you agree?
>
>Looking forward to an early clarification to the question of whether
>Dzogchen is or is not pure Buddhadharma - do other readers believe that
>Dzogchen is buddhadharma or that it is Bonpo?
>

The easiest way to establish whether something is pure Buddhadharma or not
is to check whether it is taught in a Sutra or a Tantra, that way it becomes
irrelevant whether one teacher says it is and one teacher says it isn't. If
Buddha says it is, then it is. If, as you say, it is the quintessential
teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni then he is bound to have gone on about it
rather a bit, don't you think?

Since I don't have access to the Kangyur, perhaps someone with more
knowledge than I could answer. I believe Chris Flynn practices Dzogchen and
often offers the vast wealth of his scriptural knowledge to this newsgroup,
since you've already been in contact with him, you could ask him directly
for chapter and verse.

>Yours in the Dh (ark)
>Avyorth

Rabten

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Robin Faichney wrote in message <347836ee...@lorne.stir.ac.uk>...


>I attended the first few NKT meetings in Stirling. The monk who
>spoke at the first meeting was very good, but the "teacher" who
>then took over was another matter. I think it was at the second
>meeting that someone asked "What is the Buddhist response
>when you see a starving child on television, say in Somalia?"
>This "teacher", instead of taking the opportunity to bring up
>compassion, instead began to talk of karma, saying
>that people's situation in this life is determined by their
>behaviour in previous lives! Skillful means? I'm afraid my
>early impressions of the NKT were dominated by the thought
>that they believed this person to be a good Buddhist teacher.
>(If that seems a bit thin, I also heard about things he did and
>said at subsequent meetings, after I'd packed it in, which
>were similarly "skillful", and no doubt my general impression
>of him and of the NKT is also coloured by them.)
>


Dear Robin,
Sometimes it is not so easy to tell what is skillful and what is not.

Please let me recount the following tale that happened to the brother of a
Buddhist friend of mine.
After a life that had been filled with tragedy, it seemed things were
turning around when his wife gave birth to a son. He adored his child and it
gave his life purpose again. Then tragedy struck again, the child died (a
cot death I believe). After this he became suicidal.
His brother (my friend) and many others talked and talked with him trying to
give him hope. Eventually he gave in and went along to the Buddhist classes
my friend was reccommending.
At the end of the class he asked the only question that had been occupying
his mind for months and to which he had found no answer:
"Why should an innocent child die? What is the reason for cot death?"
The Teacher (a young NKT Teacher) replied that it was either that in a
previous life they had been a murderer, or that they had died suddenly in a
previous life and had a little bit of human life left to live.
The listener was horrified and returned home in shock. That night my friend
was on the phone to him all night going over the teachings on karma.
My friend told me of the incident and I was horrified. How could a Dharma
teacher be so insensitive? How could he not realise how much suffering he
had caused? I resolved to have words with the teacher and see if there was
anything I could do to pick up the pieces.
Before I had got round to doing anything, my friend visited again. This time
he had a different story. His brother was now sincerely following Buddha's
teachings and was enormously grateful to his young teacher! Why? Because he
had realised it was the truth. He had finally found an explanation.
While all his other friends' advice had been like painkillers or
distractions that took his attention away from the tumour that was eating
him, the words of Buddha was like a scalpel that had cut it out.

Robin, you probably know the story of the old woman who asked Buddha how
could she bear the suffering of the death of her loved ones. Buddha said
that he would tell her once she had made a special offering. Buddha her told
her to collect mustard seeds from the all the house in the village that had
not experienced the suffering of losing a loved one and then offer these
seeds to him.
The old lady of course could gather no such seeds and so returned empty
handed, but with a clearer understanding of the wretchedness of samsara.
Quite a wrathful teaching but very skillful.
When someone comes to me who is mourning I comfort them in whatever way I
can but I know that the only real comfort is to understand that death is the
nature of samsara and liberation is the only cure.

I have often witnessed teachers give advice that I felt sure would turn out
disastrously, but actually turned out far better than any advice I could
have hoped to give.

Nowadays I think: who am I to say what is skillful or not? Maybe when I
develop deep realisations and have clairvoyance I'll be an authority on
skillful means, till then I just check whether it's in accordance with the
word of Buddha. If it is, fine, I'll give it a go.

all the best,
Rabten

craig s. bialick

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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"Avyorth Rolinson"wrote:


> So, the question of the Nyingmas and what is or is not "pure Dharma" ala G
> Kelsang? ... I personally remember GKelsang, Gen Thubten, and Samten

Kelsang >saying that Dzogchen was not authentic buddhadharma and that the
Nyingmapas >were not pure Dharma practitioners. So,to resolve the issue

quite simply, I >suggest that someone in the NKT posts that the NKT
recognises Dzogchen as >authentic Buddhadharma...

>
> Conversely, if there is no NKT statement that Dzogchen is authentic
> Buddhadharma, then I, and perhaps the other ng readers, will reach the
> conclusion that G Kelsang believes that Dzogchen is not authentic Dharma...

>
> Looking forward to an early clarification to the question of whether
> Dzogchen is or is not pure Buddhadharma - do other readers believe that
> Dzogchen is buddhadharma or that it is Bonpo?

In the article, 'Shugden versus pluralism' Tseten Samdup writes-

>>Propitiation of Shugden has taken on the characteristics of a fanatical
cult, >>in which there is no place for the views or practices of other
schools of >>Tibetan Buddhism, particularly those of the ancient Nyingma
tradition founded >>by Padmasambhava...(snip)....in 1975, a group of
Gelugpa monks and nuns were >>too scared to participate in special prayers
to Guru Padmasambhava - who
>>established Buddhism in Tibet and who is also especially associated with
>>the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism - that were organised as a
>>contribution to the Tibetan people's struggle for freedom.

As a Nyingma practitioner who has an appreciation for the written works of
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,I too am very interested in hearing the NKT answer to
this question.

dust be diamonds,
shugchang

Kent Sandvik

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
> Je Tsongkhapa's most important text, Great Exposition of the Stages of the
> Path (a commentary to the Lamrim), isn't on the syllabus to qualify for a
> Geshe degree.
> Nor is Sunrays of training the Mind, his commentary on Lojong.
> Nor are Lamp Thoroughly Illuminating the Five Stages or Great Exposition of
> the Stages of Path of Secret Mantra, his principle works on Highest Yoga
> Tantra.

Sorry, but this is a slight misrepresentation, don't know really why...
The Geshe study texts are mostly based on commentaries on existing
texts, for example the Geshe's are not directly studying Vasubandhu's
Abhidharma-kosha, instead using a commentary written by the First Dalai
Lama, at least at Sera Me. In most cases the main text is a commentary,
however the original text, such as Lamrim Chenmo is also used for
memorizing purposes, as it's *elemental* for the debating sessions. Any
Geshe that does not know Lamrim Chemno inside out is an impossibility.
Same with not knowing various texts by Maitreya, Shantideva and so
forth. If someone does not believe it, I would recommend speaking and
asking questions from a Geshe, and usually you get back a long listing
of elements from Je Tsongkhapa's texts. Actually, if there's something
that preserves the teachings of Je Tsonkhapa, it is the monasteries of
Sera, Drepung, Ganden and othes. Without these institutions Je
Tsonkhapa's teachings would most likely decline and die out. So we who
follow Je Tsongkhapa's teachings should always actively try to help and
assist these monasteries, if not with resources at least in our prayers.
Especially as Je Tsonkhapa was instrumental in the foundation of these
institutions.

Sarva mangalam, Kent


--
Remove z from my email address above if you want to respond directly
(this is to avoid spam emails).

Robin Faichney

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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On Mon, 24 Nov 1997 17:59:05 -0000, "Bodhisattva Centre"
<bodhi...@clara.net> wrote:

>Robin Faichney wrote in message <347836ee...@lorne.stir.ac.uk>...
>>I attended the first few NKT meetings in Stirling

>>...someone asked "What is the Buddhist response


>>when you see a starving child on television, say in Somalia?"
>>This "teacher", instead of taking the opportunity to bring up
>>compassion, instead began to talk of karma, saying
>>that people's situation in this life is determined by their
>>behaviour in previous lives! Skillful means?

>Dear Robin,


>Sometimes it is not so easy to tell what is skillful and what is not.

That is true, and is a point well worth making. However, it would
appear from what you say below, that sometimes it is not so
easy to tell what is mere consolation, and what is a forthright
transmission of the hard truth.

You say a person who was finding it impossible to come to
terms with the cot death of his son, was initially shocked, but
in the longer term helped, by being told that either his son
had been a murderer or had died suddenly, in a previous life.

Perhaps I should say at this point, that though I consider
myself a Buddhist, I am most certainly not a fundamentalist.
Fundamentalists, in any religion, are those who take it
literally, while liberals, like myself, look for a deeper or
higher meaning. I did study religion formally, as part of
my first degree, though only briefly, and one of the first
things we were taught was that all talk of God is
analogical, or metaphorical. Like countless others, I
extend that to all religious talk. So I cannot accept your
view of this story about a previous life as the initially
unacceptable but ultimately healing truth. As you say,
he had found an explanation. That, to me, even though
hard at first, is mere consolation. That may be the best
that can be achieved at some times, but it is a
temporary measure, and that "truth" will at some stage
have to be shed as a snake sheds an old skin.

Now, I don't have any real problem with any of that,
just with the confusion between consolation and reality.
Look at it this way: a child starves in Somalia because
in a previous life she did something wicked. Now, I
cannot see any other purpose in telling such a story,
than to console the questioner: hey, you don't have to
worry about people starving -- or, to extend it, people
suffering in any way -- because karma means they
only get what they deserve. That's not realism, it's
a shitty get-out from the pain of empathy, of facing up
to the suffering that is going on all around us. It stinks,
and so does anyone who uses such tactics. It's an
easy thing to say, but I mean it seriously here: I
doubt whether such people deserve to be called
Buddhists. They are rationalising the avoidance
of compassion, and calling that rationalisation a
"truth" of Buddhism! If it was, I'd be ashamed to call
myself a Buddhist.

Karma is a terrific concept, when wisely used, but it is
not an absolute truth that we can cling to regardless of
its application. And rather a good rule of thumb for the
beneficial use of the concept, I've found, is that you
should mind your own karmic business. Suffering is
suffering, and the past of that person is *absolutely*
irrelevant.

Robin

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Bodhisattva Centre wrote in message <65c24c$ek$1...@eros.clara.net>...
Greetings Rabten,

>I'm up for a debate on that anytime.

Interesting point - I'll see if I have the time. If so it would obviously be
a good idea to start a new thread - "Buddhism and Ecology" or something.

> It's a bit like saying the Dalai Lama
>is abusing his position of authority by banning the religious pratices of
>others - It's not politically correct, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Nor that it is true.


>>Geshe Kelsang, Gen Thubten, and Samten Kelsang saying that Dzogchen was


not authentic
>>buddhadharma and that the Nyingmapas were not pure Dharma practitioners.
>So,
>>to resolve the issue quite simply, I suggest that someone in the NKT posts
>>that the NKT recognises Dzogchen as authentic Buddhadharma. If this is
>done,
>>then I will immediately post an apology for my mistake! Then the issue of
>>the Nyingmas and their understanding of Dharma will be further clarified.

>The easiest way to establish whether something is pure Buddhadharma or not


>is to check whether it is taught in a Sutra or a Tantra, that way it
becomes
>irrelevant whether one teacher says it is and one teacher says it isn't. If
>Buddha says it is, then it is

I wonder where you got this idea from - given that a very large part of the
Buddhist world do not accept the tantras, nor for that matter the Mahayana
sutras as the word of the buddha? So who is it "the easiest way" for? Are we
to understand that what you or G Kelsang decide is a sutra or tantra, is the
word of the buddha?

>Since I don't have access to the Kangyur, perhaps someone with more
>knowledge than I could answer

Again you have decided that the Kangyur (and only the Kangyur?) is the word
of the buddha. Unfortunately one of the oldest buddhist traditions, the
Theravadin, would disagree with you.

So what we need to do is to find a genuine and common basis of agreement in
the buddhist world as to what you all agree is the word of the buddha. Then
you would be on safe ground. So it seems that this basis would be the
sutra-pitakas of the Theravadin and Sarvastivadins. Only that which is in
these texts could be safely held up as buddha's word. (Go on someone,
tell me of a buddhist tradition that doesn't accept these texts! There's
bound to be at least one - but don't include Maitreya's lot, please.)

Hmm, slight problem here because much of what is taught as buddhadharma in
the NKT is definitely not found in these volumes. Oh no, Rabten! You, G
Kelsang and the NKT may not be teaching pure, genuine buddhadharma!

Anyway back to the Nyingmapas and Dzogchen. Until Chris Flynn appears over
the horizon like the proverbial cavalry, you'll have to make do with my
fumbling excuse for historical knowledge.
John M Reynolds in The Golden Letters" (Introduction) explains that the
first human teacher of Dzogchen was Garab Dorje who'd received these
teachings direct from Vajrasattva in a previous life. Vajrasattva had
received them by direct mind-transmission from Samantabadhra, the Primordial
Buddha - so really you can't get closer to buddha's teaching than that, can
you? And just in case your going to dismiss such a method of transmission
you'd better reflect upon the origin of the tantras, or the Kadam Emanation
Scripture - no less mythical than that account.

While we're at it, we must surely not forget the Bardo Thodol and the other
termas - so important to the Nyingmapa tradition. The Nyingmapa accept these
as pure buddhadharma, pure scripture hidden by the buddha of tibet,
Padmasambhava, and rediscovered when the time was right, so to speak. Some
of the Nyingmapa teaching and practice derives from such texts - so am I
right in thinking that you, recognising the purity of the N tradition,
recognise these texts as authentic buddhadharma? Remember that Padmasambhava
emanated directly from buddha amitabha's tongue - hard to imagine a more
direct link to the sayings of the buddha.

Actually when you think about it it's not so different from the Gelugpa and
NKT reliance upon the Kadam (or Ganden) Emanation Scripture, the source of
the NKT's lama chopa, ganden lhagyama, migtsema prayer, and instructions on
vajrayana mahamudra. Passed directly from Manjushri to Tsongkhapa it surely
will not be found in the Kangyur, yet the NKT and G Kelsang accept it as the
pure teaching of buddha!

Hmm, how does that fit with your definition of buddha's teaching?

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Bodhisattva Centre wrote in message <65c24c$ek$1...@eros.clara.net>...
Greetings Rabten,

>I'm up for a debate on that anytime.


Interesting point - I'll see if I have the time. If so it would obviously be

a good idea to start a new thread - "Buddhism and Ecology" or something.

> It's a bit like saying the Dalai Lama
>is abusing his position of authority by banning the religious pratices of
>others - It's not politically correct, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Nor that it is true.


>>Geshe Kelsang, Gen Thubten, and Samten Kelsang saying that Dzogchen was


not authentic
>>buddhadharma and that the Nyingmapas were not pure Dharma practitioners.
>So,
>>to resolve the issue quite simply, I suggest that someone in the NKT posts
>>that the NKT recognises Dzogchen as authentic Buddhadharma. If this is
>done,
>>then I will immediately post an apology for my mistake! Then the issue of
>>the Nyingmas and their understanding of Dharma will be further clarified.

>The easiest way to establish whether something is pure Buddhadharma or not


>is to check whether it is taught in a Sutra or a Tantra, that way it
becomes
>irrelevant whether one teacher says it is and one teacher says it isn't. If

>Buddha says it is, then it is
I wonder where you got this idea from - given that a very large part of the
Buddhist world do not accept the tantras, nor for that matter the Mahayana
sutras as the word of the buddha? So who is it "the easiest way" for? Are we
to understand that what you or G Kelsang decide is a sutra or tantra, is the
word of the buddha?

>Since I don't have access to the Kangyur, perhaps someone with more

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

>
>Rabten
>

Axel Foley

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
to

Hi. I have no knowledge of the culture of these newsgroups, nor the
protocols that exists, nor even the appropriateness of the following
questions. I would like some guidance in my life. I hope this is the right
place to get it.

I would like to know the Buddhist's views on sex. Is it forbidden? Is any
and all sexual contact with women discouraged?

Have any of you ever had a spiritual experience when staring at the Niagara
Falls in Canada? Any thoughts that came to mind when you were contemplating
things that were troubling you? Any guidance you received?

Thank you.
Rick

Mick_G

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Axel:
One thing to keep in mind is that there really is not a concept of sin like
in the Christian religion. I mean since there really is no heaven and no
hell other than the conditions we make for ourselves, what reason would
there be for sin.

Having said that there are some suggestions on how to live a life conducive
to practice. But even here one must be careful, because there are rules that
were developed for monks and nuns to abide by. These rules were for
maintaining order and again an environment conducive to practice in the
context of a monastery.

There are many great Tibetan sages who had children. Remember the robes of a
monk do come off. Desire, is the problem. If sex is one of those things you
just can't live without, hey it might be a good idea to abstain for a while
to see what life is like when you don't have it nagging at you all the time?

Mick
Axel Foley wrote in message <3479e...@isc-newsserver.isc.rit.edu>...

Axel Foley

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Kent Sandvik

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
> PREAMBLE:
> At this time, the practice of worshipping the Wisdom Buddha Gyalchen Dorje
> Shugden is being suppressed and the worshippers themselves are being
> persecuted. These actions are being undertaken by the Dalai Lama and his
> exile government and various followers.
> On this newsgroup eminent followers of Dorje Shugden (notably Venerable
> Geshe Kelsang Gyatso) are seeking clarification as to why this persecution
> is being undertaken. However the Dalai Lama seems to have no interest in
> discussing his decisions, least of all with those directly affected by his
> actions.

Sorry, but the premise is misleading and used in a political way. There
is no percecution of any practitioners, with the exception of those who
feel they are percecuted due to one's one view of the situation. Kind of
reminds me how we label the world based on our own bakshaks triggering,
causing us to suffer based on illusions that we create ourselves.

As Chris and others have pointed time after time, if one does not accept
the recommendation of HH Dalai Lama, one is free to start one's own
tradition and continue with the practices they feel are important.
Anything else is misleading sentient beings by causing misery by
publishing misinformation, sorry to say that but that's how it is.

Now, if a Buddhist teacher tells that one should not take refuge in
wordly gods, is this also religious percecution? According to your
definition it is, actually....

P.M. Dierking

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
to

>In a similar vein, another early question was raised for me
>about the NKT when I learned that their weekly meeting in
>a hired room in Stirling was designated by them the "Stirling
>Mahayana Centre"!

It has also been suggested in the past that the center
address and principal-member home address correlation
is astounding.

john pettit

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to Avyorth Rolinson

Avyorth Rolinson wrote:

This is a fine showing Ayforth -- exactly the line of thought I've been
mumbling under my breath all along as I imbibe this fascinating thread.
I'm not up to playing Chris Fynn's cavalry right now but I think you've
launched a formidable conceptual stampede on your own here.

One of the things which most intrigues me is the brilliant consistency
with which the NKT spokespeople dissimulate any sectarian attitude,
especially vis a vis the Nyingma and Dzogchen traditions. Now just about
everyone--not the least being you yourself, who obviously knows the
scene from the inside--says that the New Kadampas maintain such
attitudes; but the New Kadampas themselves are evidently very careful
not to express these views in a public forum.

In fact one of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's books notes with approval that
Longchen Rabjam, the greatest writer in the Dzogchen tradition, accepted
the Prasangika view, which is correct. However, Longchenpa's view was by
no means the same interpretation as Tsongkhapa's -- in fact Longchenpa's
view is nearly the same as Khedrup Je's Sakyapa arch-rival Gorampa Sonam
Senge's view. Political correctness, meet twentieth century Central
Tibetan theocratic politics. How d'y do? Very much obliged.

So it seems that the NKT is projecting a cautious public image -- never
say anything bad about anyone else (except, of course HHDL)-- while
pursuing another agenda in private, e.g., Dzogchen is not Buddhadharma.
Even though you and I and others have repeatedly invited them to disavow
such opinions in the public forum of alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan, they
have yet to do so. As you (or perhaps it was someone else) have
suggested earlier, their failure to respond here is damning evidence
that a narrow-minded fundamentalism lies at the core of NKT dogma.

I would appreciate any further details you could provide on this covert
agenda of the NKT. What exactly does Geshe Kelsang Gyatso say about
Dzogchen, for example? Does he simply say that it's non-Dharma, or does
he offer any compelling philosophical reasoning or scriptural evidence
to support his view? If so, what is that evidence? My hunch is that he
has no such reasoning or evidence to provide. I suspect that his
position--that Dzogchen is not Dharma--is simply a rumor which he
learned from his own teachers, and continues to parrot without any
rational or scriptural understanding whatsoever.

If any NKT scholars wish to engage me in debate in this forum, I would
be happy to respond. It is one thing to hold a philosophical position,
and quite another to uphold it in a forum of public debate. So if any of
you think Dzogchen is not Buddhadharma, I challenge you to prove your
position through scriptural reference and reasoning. If you fail to
respond, it will only serve to demonstrate that your positions are
without basis in scripture or reasoning. If you should fail to respond,
this failure will, at the very least, demonstrate that you are a bunch
of imposters who claim to be scholars, but in reality have very little
knowledge of scripture and little--if any--understanding of the
scriptual materials you have actually studied.

jp

Bodhisattva Centre

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Avyorth, shall we do this properly?

FORMAL DEBATE:
Why Do Shugden Practitioners Deserve Persecution?
(Part I: because they are sectarian)

in three parts:
-preamble
-debate
-call for other debates

PREAMBLE:
At this time, the practice of worshipping the Wisdom Buddha Gyalchen Dorje
Shugden is being suppressed and the worshippers themselves are being
persecuted. These actions are being undertaken by the Dalai Lama and his
exile government and various followers.
On this newsgroup eminent followers of Dorje Shugden (notably Venerable
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso) are seeking clarification as to why this persecution
is being undertaken. However the Dalai Lama seems to have no interest in
discussing his decisions, least of all with those directly affected by his
actions.

Therefore what scraps of reasoning the Dalai Lama has seen fit to offer will
now be debated with anyone who wishes to defend the Dalai Lama's viewpoint.
For this particular debate, Avyorth, you have been unilaterally chosen to
represent the Dalai Lama (who in your opinion is 'a cool dude'). How
wonderful!

DEBATE:
in two parts:
-Stating the Dalai Lama's position
-Refuting the Dalai Lama's position

STATING THE DALAI LAMA'S POSITION
In three parts:
-the propandum
-the reason
-the evidence to establish the reason

The position: Dorje Shugden practitioners deserve persecution.
The reason: because the are sectarian
Avyorth's evidence: Avyorth personally remembers Geshe Kelsang saying that
the Nyingmapa Tradition is a corruption of Buddhism and that Dzogchen is not
pure Buddhadharma.

REFUTING THE POSITION
in three parts:
-refutation a (the reason lacks logical coherance)
-refutation b (the reason is not supported by evidence)
-a clarification on sectarianism

Refutation A:
It does not follow that if someone engages in sectarian persecution they
themselves deserve sectarian persecution. For example, the Chinese having
invaded Tibet are engaged in the programme of systematically destroying
Tibet's religion and culture. It does not follow that the Chinese deserve to
have their country invaded and their religion and culture systematically
destroyed. Therefore the Dalai Lama's position is wrong because it lacks
logical coherance.

Refutation B:
Despite 'personally remembering' Geshe Kelsang teaching that the Nyingmapa
Tradition is a corruption of Buddhism and that Dzogchen is not Buddhadharma,
Avyorth is unable to provide details of a single time when Geshe Kelsang
taught this. Nor is he able to account for Geshe Kelsang's statement:
'Although some people say "I am Nyingmapa", "I am Gelugpa", this is just a
different way of presenting Dharma. The real essence is the same.' Therefore
Avyorth's defence of the Dalai Lama's position is invalid because it is not
supported by evidence.

A Clarification on Sectarianism
What is and is not sectarian behaviour? Undoubtably there will be points of
difference between Geshe Kelsang's practice and that of a Nyingma lama. For
example Geshe Kelsang will practice principally the Guru Yoga of Je
Tsongkhapa, whereas a Nyingmapa will (I presume) principally practice the
Guru Yoga of Padmasambava. Thus when Geshe Kelsang teaches Guru Yoga he will
teach the Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa and reveal the pre-eminent qualities of
Je Tsongkhapa. This is his tradition. However to do this and not to teach
the Guru Yoga of Padmasambava is not sectarian.
In addition to different practices it is possible (I don't know) that Geshe
Kelsang will teach different views to the Nyingma Lama, this again is not
sectarian. For example, Geshe Kelsang teaches Nagarjuna's viewpoint as
clarified by Chandrakirti and Je Tsongkhapa. He claims this to be the only
viewpoint that leads to enlightenment. Nowadays some (all?) Sakyas follow a
slightly different view. If asked who is right who is wrong? Geshe-la will
say Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Je Tsongkhapa are right and anyone who
disagrees is wrong. If necessary there can be debate on this point.
Nevertheless the Sakya lineage and Gelugpa lineage co-exist happily
understanding that they have different views of the ultimate nature of
reality.
Nothing so far is sectarian. Differences in doctrine is the nature of
different traditions. Christians have different doctrines, so do Moslems,
Jews, Sufis, Hindus, Theravadins, etc etc. Accepting the differences between
spiritual traditions, choosing one and happily accepting the others is a
healthy spiritual practice. Thinking that all traditions must have the same
doctrine and working towards that aim for its own sake is sectarian, because
it involves destroying the doctrines of others.
So, in summary, Geshe Kelsang can teach only his tradition, can teach things
that contradict other traditions, and can even debate to establish which
view is correct, without once engaging in a single moment of sectarianism.
But is it possible for Dalai Lama to ban a religious practice, make it
impossible for those worshippers to represent themselves in government,
encourage his followers to ensure that future generations never even hear
the name 'Shugden' and send envoys around the world to disparage the
practice - without engaging in sectarianism?

CALL FOR FURTHER DEBATES:
Avyorth please accept the role of Dalai Lama for the following debates:

Why do Dorje Shugden practitioners deserve persecution (part II: because the
dough balls said so three times in succession)

Why do Dorje Shugden practitioners deserve persecution (part III: because
the Nechung oracle said so)

If anyone else would like to represent the Dalai Lama please feel free to do
so.
If anyone has heard the Dalai Lama give other reasons why Dorje Shugden
practitioners deserve persecution please bring them forward for debate.
If the Dalai Lama is listening, please answer this question: Why do Dorje
Shugden practitioners deserve persecution?

Rabten


Michael McLoughlin

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

In article <65cf5k$870$1...@eros.clara.net>, bodhi...@clara.net says...
>
>

Rabten's reply below is, I'm afraid, perfect confirmation of why many
non-NKT members have a problem with the movement. Is it just me or does
the reply sound as if it were written (_pace_ obvious doctrinal
differences) by a fundamentalist christian. The tone of earnestness, the
call to adhere to scripture, the attitude of "the Lord works in
mysterious ways". In fact try re-reading the piece substituting Christian
for Buddhist and Jesus Christ for Buddha. Sound familiar?
Rabten, I don't wish to offend you but it really seems as if you have put
your critical faculties on hold. Unless you are high up the
Bodhisattvabhumis you do not comprehend the workings of Karma, surely a
more thoughtful and sceptical approach to dharma is better way to learn
how all those elements we do not initially understand actually work
rather than taken GKG or even the Buddha's word for it.
As Robin has rightly pointed out in another answer to your post, the
reply that the teacher gave and the man accept is in fact an avoidance of
the facts rather a full explanation of them.
Mick

>Dear Robin,
>Sometimes it is not so easy to tell what is skillful and what is not.
>

>skillful means, till then I just check whether it's in accordance with
the

Richard P. Hayes

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Axel Foley wrote:

> I would like to know the Buddhist's views on sex. Is it forbidden? Is any
> and all sexual contact with women discouraged?

Sex is discouraged only if you enjoy it, look forward to it, continue to
think about it afterwards or write questions about it to Buddhist news
groups. If it's something that you think about in about the same way you
think about blowing your nose on a cold winter day, then sex is fine.
It's a biological function much like any other, which it would be silly
to forbid or discourage were it not for the fact that it is the greatest
single source of personal unhappiness and turmoil that life has to
offer. (How many movies and country and western songs are about the
heartache of not being able to start your chainsaw? It pales in
comparison to the number of movies and songs written about a sexual
relationship that has not met up to one's unrealistic expectations.)

In my own view, sex is the best proof I have found for the fact that
live cannot have been created by an intelligent god. No intelligent
creator would have made the renewal of life contingent on a process as
capricious, wasteful, messy, annoying and troublesome as sexual
intercourse. No, sexuality can only have become a part of life through
blind chance and lots of bad luck.

Buddhism is the only relgion that offers you any real hope of escaping
from the thralldom of sexuality. If you meditate very diligently, you
can transcend your sex drive. Then you will be reborn as a mushroom in
your next life.



> Have any of you ever had a spiritual experience when staring at the Niagara
> Falls in Canada? Any thoughts that came to mind when you were contemplating
> things that were troubling you? Any guidance you received?

Niagara Falls is a river falling off a cliff. Given the laws of gravity,
the water is bound to go down. This is simple physics. It is surely not
an occasion for rapture or spiritual experiences. If watching Niagara
Falls transports you into a spiritual realm, you are probably not
meditating enough. If looking at Niagara Falls is about as interesting
to you as blowing your nose on a cold winter day, THEN you are beginning
to make real spiritual progress.

I'd love to write more, but it's a cold winter day, and I need to blow
my nose.

Yours till Niagara falls,
Coyote

James Belither (NKT)

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

In article <65aeec$f...@neon.btinternet.com>, Avy...@btinternet.com says...

>
So,
>to resolve the issue quite simply, I suggest that someone in the NKT posts
>that the NKT recognises Dzogchen as authentic Buddhadharma. If this is
done,
>then I will immediately post an apology for my mistake! Then the issue of
>the Nyingmas and their understanding of Dharma will be further clarified.
>


Reply to Avyworth Rolinson,

I contacted Geshe Kelsang with your question about the NKT's attitude
towards Dzogchen and Geshe Kelsang asked me to send you this reply.
Thankyou.
Best wishes,
Jim Belither
NKT Secretary

Geshe Kelsang says:
Personally, I have never said that Dzogchen or Nyingma are not Buddhadharma
because I respect these traditions. In 'Joyful Path of Good Fortune', I said
that the teachings of Padmasambhava are pure Buddhadharma. Before Lama
Tsongkhapa, Lamas such as Buton Rinpoche, Sakya Pandita, Lotsawa Rinchen
Sangpo, debated whether Dzogchen was Buddhadharma or not, but I have never
been interested in this debate. If you wish to have a full explanation of
what these Lamas said and what other Lamas said to prove the contrary,
please ask other Tibetan scholars. I do not wish to become involved in this
debate. I respect and appreciate very much the Dzogchen and Nyingma
traditions. I rejoice in their practice, and I think that it is very
important to respect each other and to keep harmony between traditions.

>Looking forward to an early clarification to the question of whether
>Dzogchen is or is not pure Buddhadharma - do other readers believe that
>Dzogchen is buddhadharma or that it is Bonpo?
>

Bodhisattva Centre

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Michael McLoughlin wrote in message <65e7jj$18a$1...@infoserv.aber.ac.uk>...


>In article <65cf5k$870$1...@eros.clara.net>, bodhi...@clara.net says...
>>
>>
>
>Rabten's reply below is, I'm afraid, perfect confirmation of why many
>non-NKT members have a problem with the movement.

I'm sorry you have a problem with my post. I think your reply presents an
interesting point: which is more useful faith or intellectual understanding?
Of course we need both, but if you had to bet your bottom dollar which would
you go for? I would choose faith every time because with faith we will
definitely get good results (faith is a naturally virtuous mind check
Dignaga Compendium of Valid Cognition), whereas intellectual understanding
may only get us pride and another samsaric rebirth.
If you want one I am quite capable of holding a high-brow discussion on the
validity of faith. The importance of which, ironically enough, was the
conclusion of my theology degree principally focussed on Madhyamika
philosophy.
Anyway, such a discussion isn't relevent to this thread. If you can explain
what it is about NKT members you dislike I can try to reassure you, or make
it worse in the process.

All the best,
Rabten

Michael McLoughlin

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

In article <65eiuc$in5$1...@eros.clara.net>, bodhi...@clara.net says...

>
>
>Michael McLoughlin wrote in message
<65e7jj$18a$1...@infoserv.aber.ac.uk>...
>>In article <65cf5k$870$1...@eros.clara.net>, bodhi...@clara.net says...
>>>
>>>
>>
>>Rabten's reply below is, I'm afraid, perfect confirmation of why many
>>non-NKT members have a problem with the movement.
>
>I'm sorry you have a problem with my post. I think your reply presents
an
>interesting point: which is more useful faith or intellectual
understanding?

I am not making a difference between intellectual understanding and
faith. I think the distinction is false. I see no place in Buddhism, as I
understand it, for blind faith and only a limited place for intellectual
understanding. For example, having faith in the doctrine of emptiness is
not the same as understanding emptiness. Similarly, understanding the
philosophical basis for the doctrine of emptiness is not the same as
understanding emptiness in itself.
I think the problem here is your definition of faith. If by faith in
one's guru, for example, you mean blind acceptance of everything he or
she says/does then one is little more than a sap. If by faith in the guru
one means confidence in their wisdom and compassion then that is another
matter, a certain amount of skepticism is a healthy quality if it means
you have to test the guru assertions for yourself and not just take them
on trust - only by testing them can you be assured that you have
assimilated them into your own experience. You learning is then active
and not merely passive.
In your orginal post you seemed to have blind faith in the working of
karma - you cannot have full knowledge of it unless you are completely
realised - surely then an open-minded skepticism is the only
intellectually vaild position? More important, however, in this
particular instance is the point that Robin Faichney makes. The teacher's
explanation may have been scripturally correct but both he and the poor
individual involved are fooling themselves if they think that they have a
right understanding of karma. What is even more important, as RF
stresses, the explanation removes the all-important necessity to face up
to individual suffering and through that suffering to develop compassion
for the suffering beings in Samsara. How you can refer to the young
monk's action as skillful is beyond me.


>Of course we need both, but if you had to bet your bottom dollar which
would
>you go for? I would choose faith every time because with faith we will
>definitely get good results (faith is a naturally virtuous mind check
>Dignaga Compendium of Valid Cognition), whereas intellectual
understanding
>may only get us pride and another samsaric rebirth.

Do you know this for youself or is this based on blind faith in the
scriptures? I cannot believe that mere faith alone will get one anywhere.
What the scriptures say must always bear the test of common sense. I have
great confidence in my teacher and great affection for him but if he told
me do something that went against my common sense he would get fairly
short shrift (I know him too well, by the way, for anything of the like
to happen).
I think there is a big difference between having confidence in the Three
Jewels and just checking your common sense in at the door and accepting
everything a lama or sutra/tantra/shastra says without examining it -
especially, as in your tradition, when you do not have the chance to
receive teachings from a wide variety of teachers.
Mick

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Michael McLoughlin wrote in message <65e7jj$18a$1...@infoserv.aber.ac.uk>...

>Rabten's reply below is, I'm afraid, perfect confirmation of why many

>non-NKT members have a problem with the movement. Is it just me or does
>the reply sound as if it were written (_pace_ obvious doctrinal
>differences) by a fundamentalist christian. The tone of earnestness, the
>call to adhere to scripture, the attitude of "the Lord works in
>mysterious ways". In fact try re-reading the piece substituting Christian
>for Buddhist and Jesus Christ for Buddha. Sound familiar?


Hi Mick,

Indeed you've hit the nail on-the-head, for me at any rate.

Having been through the NKT training machine for 2 years or so, I'm quite
tuned to 'NKT-speak'. It's a sort of pious, slightly old-fashioned,
not-a-native English-speaker type of thing. I watched myself and others
slowly (or not so slowly) acquire the habit as we embedded into the NKT
culture. I think it's based upon an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to copy
G Kelsang's English.

You learn to speak in an impersonal and authorative manner - a bit like the
speach patterns of Margaret Thatcher when PM - including the famous 'we'.
Lots of words like, 'sincerely', 'definitely', 'it is true that' ......
Actually I often found it amusing to see some very young and inexperienced
person suddenly lecture, no! 'preach' would be more accurate, about eg karma
as if they'd had direct realisation. In fact the tone of voice and it's
implied authority come, IMO, from the kind of blind zealous faith that forms
the dharmic 'insight' of many of the NKT teachers. Believing that your
teacher (or Teacher!) is the Third Buddha of this Age, and is consequently
omniscient, is rocket fuel to the over-zealous. The unfortunate thing about
it is that it does work on many people. It seems to hook into our social
conditioning - you ring the bell, and the dog salivates!

Avyorth Rolinson

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

James Belither (NKT) wrote in message <65edcm$gkq$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>...

Greetings Jim,
Hope you're all well up at the Priory. Many thanks indeed for speaking with
G Kelsang and clarifying that he and the NKT accept that Dzogchen teachings
and practice are pure buddhadharm.

It's not often that one enjoys issuing an apology for having misunderstood
someone's view, but I assure you that it is with much happiness that I
apologise for saying that G Kelsang believes Dzogchen and the Nyingmapa
tradition weren't pure buddhadharma. I obviously misunderstood what he said,
probably due to what I'd heard from Gen Thubten Gyatso (in Spain) who was G
Kelsang's Heart Disciple at the time.

I know it's only one small point but a journey of a thousand miles begins
with one step ........so I've heard :-)
Perhaps other disagreements that seem to encourage sectarianism and
factionalism will also be eventually resolved by all parties being willing
to discuss and clarify their views and intentions.

I'm sure that there will be several people who are relieved that the
teachings and practice of Dzogchen are now 'kosher' ala NKT. Not least the
car load of NKT disciples from Amitabha NKT Centre who'd surreptitiously
come up to Bristol to take Dzogchen empowerment and teachings at the local
Sakya Centre recently. Now they can openly discuss these teachings and
practices at the NKT Centre. IMO this is a really good step forward.

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

Stephen H. Kawamoto

unread,
Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

On Dorje Shugden and the fuss over KMT, please visit the following
website:

http://www.diamondway.org/bt3controversy.htm

Stephen
--
"Those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know
what religion means." -- Mohandas Gandhi

Kent Sandvik

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
> The case in hand is the issue of the worship of Dorje Shugden.
> For reasons (as yet unclear) the Dalai Lama has chosen to ban the worship of
> Dorje Shugden. This decision and its implementation _is_ sectarian. Perhaps
> if I use an example you will realise the difference between this and
> agreeing to differ.

This is an incorrect statement. You could find informationa about this
all at http://www.tibet.org, statements from HH Dalai Lama that clearly
states why this happened.

> I worship Dorje Shugden. I am very happy for anyone to follow whatever
> spiritual beliefs they have. I have no intention ever of imposing my
> spiritual views on others. In my Dorje Shugden sadhana I pray for the
> welfare of all living beings. But for some reason other Buddhists do not
> like my practice and try to interfere with it. Why do they do this? It is
> because directly or indirectly the Dalai Lama has asked them to.

Glad. And as you have noticed, HH Dalai Lama has not stopped your
personal worship of this practice, as you are able to continue with it.

> So, Chris, why do Shugden practitioners deserve persecution?
Again, as I said earlier, if you want something to become a percecution,
based on how you label the issue, then it becomes a percecution. As
Buddha taught as the main premise, in Dhammapada, chapter 1, verse 1:

Everything has mind in the lead, has mind in the forefrent, is made by
mind.
If one speak or actcs with a corrupt mind, misery will follow, as the
wheel of a cart follows the foot of the ox.

With prayers that you will be relieved of suffering and all the causes
of suffering. Maitri, Kent

Lozang Trinlae

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

Avyorth wrote:

> Yes, it is very true that such practices are commom fare with the NKT. As
> I've mentioned before they frequently give their staff grand titles eg Gen
> or Venerable, when these titles are misleading. I gave one example of a
> young inexperienced nun barely ordained two years whom they adveritised as
> Venerable Kelsang Monlam, a fully-experienced meditation teacher. I don't
> know how the law stands vis-a-vis trade-descriptions for meditation
> teachers, but this was very obviously deceptive. This is not only my view,
> but was also discussed by other NKT students who knew the young woman.
> Personally I don't think it helped her having to 'be' something she patently
> wasn't. Anyway, last I heard she was no longer at Tharpaland, the NKT
> retreat centre.


This issue inspires some interesting points. Anyone who has studied
about refuge objects knows that 'arya sangha' are those practioners
who've realized emptiness/have entered the path of seeing. However
upholders of the dharma, lay or ordained, are also refuge objects. What
is an upholder of the dharma? HH the Dalai Lama states, "When one is
able to undertake a genuine practice of these three trainings [of
ethics, concentration, and wisdom], based on the study of the three
scriptural collections, and to impart the same to others, it can truly
be said that one is upholding the Buddhadharma.' (World of Tibetan
Buddhism/Wisdom Publications) So however much one is doing this,
including keeping their vows as part of training in ethics, in that much
measure they could be said to be upholding dharma. So *if* you
regard/qualify the person as a refuge object (in some measure at least)
there should be no question or doubt of using the term 'Venerable', if
one is a Buddhist.

On the other hand, this term 'Venerable' is popular in SE Asia; but note
how in the western tradition alternatives for indicating vow-holders in
Christianity are used such as 'father', 'brother', 'sister', and the
like. In the Tibetan 'Ani' used for nuns is similar (although some think
it can be demeaning). 'Kusho' and 'cho-la' seem to have an endearing
affect also but are not quite as potent with meaning as 'Venerable'
seems. So there is no reason why other terms can't be used/developed
that are appropriate and suitable for use in English to denote ordained
persons (indeed if such distinctions are desired, etc., and not everyone
may think the are!)

Lastly, one of the characteristics which distinguish our (Tibetan)
Buddhist tradition from other religions is that lay persons can indeed
get the education and transmissions and do required retreats, etc., and
eventually become 'qualified meditation instructors' without any
monastic ordination at all. So whether the person was ordained or how
long should have no bearing on the use or advertising of such
qualifications. (Indeed, if such were true we would have the absurd
consequence of lay-yogis who have meditated for decades and then take
ordination, and due to a short ordination time would then not be
'qualified meditation instructors'. [Although being a qualified
meditator may not necessarily make a person a qualified instructor.])

So the problem is not falsely advertising the qualifications of a
particular nun, but of misleading qualifications generally, if such
occurence was thoroughly established as claimed. (I'm assuming for the
sake of argument that it was so.)

Peace in Dharma,

~ani lozang trinlae

Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
to

P.M. Dierking wrote in message <65dfui$jnk$1...@usenet87.supernews.com>...

Dear P,

Yes, it is very true that such practices are commom fare with the NKT. As
I've mentioned before they frequently give their staff grand titles eg Gen
or Venerable, when these titles are misleading. I gave one example of a
young inexperienced nun barely ordained two years whom they adveritised as
Venerable Kelsang Monlam, a fully-experienced meditation teacher. I don't
know how the law stands vis-a-vis trade-descriptions for meditation
teachers, but this was very obviously deceptive. This is not only my view,
but was also discussed by other NKT students who knew the young woman.
Personally I don't think it helped her having to 'be' something she patently
wasn't. Anyway, last I heard she was no longer at Tharpaland, the NKT
retreat centre.

The NKT justify this sort of 'advertising' by saying that it's Tantric! They
claim that they are bringing the result into the path. If one believes these
claims, they argue, then they will come about - something to do with
'Wishing Faith', much beloved by our theological monk, Kelsang Rabten.

Once again we have to issue those words of great wisdom, "caveat emptor!" -
'let the buyer beware!'

cf...@dircon.co.uk

unread,
Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 06:36:59 -0000, "Bodhisattva Centre"
<bodhi...@clara.net> wrote:

>Avyorth, shall we do this properly?
>
>FORMAL DEBATE:
>Why Do Shugden Practitioners Deserve Persecution?

HH the Dalai Lama has never said
"Shugden Practitioners Deserve Persecution" and afaik
no one on this newsgroup ever has.

[Does Shugden worship induce paranoia or something?]


cf...@dircon.co.uk

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 06:36:59 -0000, "Bodhisattva Centre"
<bodhi...@clara.net> wrote:

>He claims this to be the only viewpoint that leads to enlightenment.
> Nowadays some (all?) Sakyas follow a slightly different view. If asked
> who is right who is wrong? Geshe-la will say Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and
>Je Tsongkhapa are right and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

"The only viewpoint that leads to enlightenment"?

"anyone who disagrees is wrong"?

This is an example of a non-sectarian view???

The so-called Madhyamika-Prasangika* teaching was introduced
into Tibet by Pa-tsab Lo-tsa-ba Nyi-ma grags-pa (b. 1055)
- after the time of Atisha (954-1054). Are you saying that nobody
in Tibet previous to that date had a view which leads to
enlightenment? And since Je Tsong-kha-pa and
Pa-tsab Lo-tsa-ba's views don't always coincide
you will have to eliminate everyone before the latter part of
the 14th C too.

And just whose interpretation of Je Tsong-kha-pa must we
agree with?

- Chris

BTW You say "Nowadays some (all?) Sakyas follow a slightly
different view" - just when did they ever follow Tsong-kha-pa's
view? (Namdrol where are you?)

* a term coined by Tibetans.

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Dear Chris,

The point I was making was that such statements could easily be
misinterpreted as sectarian, which you seem to have done.

As you know there are many different interpretations of emptiness held by
many different schools. Each school naturally posits that their
interpretation is correct. Since there can only be one correct answer to the
question ("what is the ultimate nature of reality?"), this means they all
regard the other schools as wrong.

(please do correct me if you know of a school that claims that their view of
ultimate truth is inaccurate)

All schools can happily co-exist and respect each other knowing that other
schools teach different views. Having such doctrinal differences is not the
least bit sectarian.

HOWEVER forcefully imposing one's own views on others is.

The case in hand is the issue of the worship of Dorje Shugden.
For reasons (as yet unclear) the Dalai Lama has chosen to ban the worship of
Dorje Shugden. This decision and its implementation _is_ sectarian. Perhaps
if I use an example you will realise the difference between this and
agreeing to differ.

As you know, the Dalai Lama removed the Dorje Shugden statue from the main
gompa at Ganden Shartse, despite many protests from the monks there.
He forbade them to practice any public pujas of Dorje Shugden, despite their
protests.
These monks from Ganden Shartse want to carry on practising Dorje Shugden
but are not allowed to. Those who do experience many difficulties.

Not allowing others to practice according to their spiritual beliefs is
religious persecution and a product of sectarian views.

I worship Dorje Shugden. I am very happy for anyone to follow whatever
spiritual beliefs they have. I have no intention ever of imposing my
spiritual views on others. In my Dorje Shugden sadhana I pray for the
welfare of all living beings. But for some reason other Buddhists do not
like my practice and try to interfere with it. Why do they do this? It is
because directly or indirectly the Dalai Lama has asked them to.

So, Chris, why do Shugden practitioners deserve persecution?


cf...@dircon.co.uk wrote in message <347b7637...@news.dircon.co.uk>...


>On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 06:36:59 -0000, "Bodhisattva Centre"
><bodhi...@clara.net> wrote:
>
>>>This is an example of a non-sectarian view???
>

>>- Chris
>


Avyorth Rolinson

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Hi Jeff,
So still involved with the NKT, eh! Here's the reposting as requested. Give
my love to L.

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth

James Belither (NKT) wrote in message <65edcm$gkq$1...@panther.rmplc.co.uk>...

Greetings Jim,
Hope you're all well up at the Priory. Many thanks indeed for speaking with
G Kelsang and clarifying that he and the NKT accept that Dzogchen teachings
and practice are pure buddhadharm.

It's not often that one enjoys issuing an apology for having misunderstood
someone's view, but I assure you that it is with much happiness that I
apologise for saying that G Kelsang believes Dzogchen and the Nyingmapa
tradition weren't pure buddhadharma. I obviously misunderstood what he said,
probably due to what I'd heard from Gen Thubten Gyatso (in Spain) who was G
Kelsang's Heart Disciple at the time.

I know it's only one small point but a journey of a thousand miles begins
with one step ........so I've heard :-)
Perhaps other disagreements that seem to encourage sectarianism and
factionalism will also be eventually resolved by all parties being willing
to discuss and clarify their views and intentions.

I'm sure that there will be several people who are relieved that the
teachings and practice of Dzogchen are now 'kosher' ala NKT. Not least the
car load of NKT disciples from Amitabha NKT Centre who'd surreptitiously
come up to Bristol to take Dzogchen empowerment and teachings at the local
Sakya Centre recently. Now they can openly discuss these teachings and
practices at the NKT Centre. IMO this is a really good step forward.

Yours in the Dh (ark)
Avyorth


Konchog Norbu

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

For some reason my server didn't send me Robin's whole post on
what the NKT teacher said re: karma, but someone sent it to me,
so, a few words...

If the NKT teacher was describing karma, ie past life actions
resulting in present life experiences, as consolation, or dry
explanation, then Robin is right to question it. The Buddha
hardly taught karma in order to make people feel better. He
taught it because in his omniscience, he saw that's how it
was. And for ourselves, it is possible to reason it out--
interdependent origination is the only logically plausible
explanation for the arising of phenomena.

Robin says two things that do not accord with the Buddha's
teachings. The first is that karma is a concept the Buddha
cooked up to be understood allegorically. But let's be
clear. These teachings are not descriptions of ultimate
truth (as though that could be described), but rather
the view of relative truth so that those of us struggling
to awaken from our relative view might awaken and put an
end to karma and the round of suffering. Then, Robin
asserts "suffering is suffering", period. But that
leaves us with just truth one of four. The Buddha
went on to say that suffering is caused, and then
identified the cause as clinging born of ignorance.
Then he described a path by which one might awaken
out of ignorance. This is powerful stuff. The way
I hear this is that, because all phenomena arises
interdependently, I have total creative control
over my life, because in the same way that
suffering is born of causes, so is happiness.
Therefore, the Buddha taught us to be steadfastly
ethical people, and devote time to contemplating
his teachings and meditating, as these are the
causes of happiness.

Moreover, the Buddha taught us to cultivate complete
empathy with others. The net result of this is that
when we see that others, who are no different from
us, wish so much to be happy, but are completely
ignorant of its causes, choosing instead that
which will bring them suffering, we are moved to
change our every thought, word and deed to dispell
ignorance and bring about that larger, total happiness.
So when I understand that others are suffering due
to causes set in motion through ignorance, my only
wish is to do what I can to bring about the end
of ignorance.

An interesting final thought: the Buddha's main
disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, were once
able to visit a hell realm in which they encountered
a teacher who had previously taught his students that
there was no such thing as cause and effect. He asked
the two when they returned to correct his teachings
so that his students would not suffer similar fates.
They tried, telling it like they saw it, with the
result that those students beat Maudgalyayana to
death.

Konchog Norbu
http://www.tara/org

Tyree Hilkert

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Yesterday I mailed Ven. Konchog a copy of Batchelor's "Buddhism
Without Beliefs", which deals with the issues in this post better than
I'll be able to. I think it will be wonderful to hear his review of
it. But in the meanwhile...

On Wed, 26 Nov 1997 11:34:56 -0500, Konchog Norbu <kon...@radix.net>
wrote:

>...The Buddha


>hardly taught karma in order to make people feel better.

After his enlightenment, didn't the Buddha just sit there and keep his
mouth shut, figuring that people couldn't possibly understand him?
Finally, it was his compassion (his intention "to make people feel
better") that motivated him to teach, wasn't it?

Not, "Sorry, I can see exactly how the universe is and you're wrong."

>He
>taught it because in his omniscience, he saw that's how it
>was.

By "it" aren't you saying that Buddha found and described an objective
universe? Does that make sense to you?

- Ty


Don Martin

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
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In article <65gn0i$a...@argon.btinternet.com>,

Avy...@btinternet.com ("Avyorth Rolinson") wrote:

> Many thanks indeed for speaking with
> G Kelsang and clarifying that he and the NKT accept that Dzogchen teachings
> and practice are pure buddhadharm.

> I know it's only one small point but a journey of a thousand miles begins
> with one step ........so I've heard :-)
> Perhaps other disagreements that seem to encourage sectarianism and
> factionalism will also be eventually resolved by all parties being willing
> to discuss and clarify their views and intentions.

****** You seem to be on a roll now Avyorth. Maybe you will be able to
persuade Geshe La to go one stage further...he could perhaps confirm
that H.H. Dalai Lama's teachings are also pure BuddhaDharma.
--

Don, Never go by appearances,
The Born-Again Buddhist. I look intelligent.
(....and again and again)

Konchog Norbu

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Tyree Hilkert wrote:
>
> Yesterday I mailed Ven. Konchog a copy of Batchelor's "Buddhism
> Without Beliefs", which deals with the issues in this post better than
> I'll be able to. I think it will be wonderful to hear his review of
> it. But in the meanwhile...
>
> On Wed, 26 Nov 1997 11:34:56 -0500, Konchog Norbu <kon...@radix.net>
> wrote:
>
> >...The Buddha
> >hardly taught karma in order to make people feel better.
>
> After his enlightenment, didn't the Buddha just sit there and keep his
> mouth shut, figuring that people couldn't possibly understand him?
> Finally, it was his compassion (his intention "to make people feel
> better") that motivated him to teach, wasn't it?
>
> Not, "Sorry, I can see exactly how the universe is and you're wrong."
>
Well, Tyree, maybe you didn't read the rest of my post where I
explained this. But let me be more precise, regarding what I
was responding to. The Buddha did not teach karma in order to
"console" us that our present experiences arise due to prior
causes. The sutras aren't lullabyes--they're wake-up calls.
He taught it so that we might no longer be ignorant
of the causes of suffering and therefore adopt a way of life
that leads to its transcendence. And as for his silence
following his enlightenment--some believe he stayed so,
so that worldly gods would accrue the merit of begging
him to teach. An omniscient mind would by definition be
fully aware that people existed who would be liberated
by his teaching. Let us at least wonder if there were
something else going on there.

> >He
> >taught it because in his omniscience, he saw that's how it
> >was.
>
> By "it" aren't you saying that Buddha found and described an objective
> universe? Does that make sense to you?

Come on, Ty, you don't really want to argue about the limitations
of language, do you? In the rest of my post I was clear we were
discussing the Buddha's teachings on relative view. By "...that's
how it was" I was referring to the Buddha's awareness of sentient
beings' objective view that keeps them in the round of suffering,
as well as its pure nature and the way to recognize and abide
in that nature.

Konchog Norbu
http://www.tara.org
that

Kent Sandvik

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
> How wonderful! Perhaps now at last we can make some progress.
>
> Unfortunately when I sifted through the extensive information available at
> this site I could only find reposts of newspaper articles and statements
> from the Kashag denying any repression of the practice. I assume the Dalai
> Lama's clear reasons are in the section Tibetan Buddhism>Tibetan Government.
> I assume this because this page wouldn't open and I could not find clear
> reasons elsewhere.
>
> Therefore, since you have access to these clear reasons, would you be so
> kind as to post them to this group so that we can discuss them. Hopefully
> through discussion and debate we can clear up this unfortunate situation.

Hi, Please read:
http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/dholgyal3.html HH Dalai Lama - Position on
Protectors

> Since this is a religious issue could you present the reasons according to
> Dharmakirti's Commentary to Valid Cognition: Propandum and reason. This way
> we can easily check whether the reasons are valid. Also please provide
> whatever evidence the Dalai lama offers to show that his reasons are
> established.
I don't know why we need to drag in Dharmakirti into this, maybe because
he's defined as the defeater of bad opponents :-).

I don't see anything good coming out from this debate, rather more and
more suffering for everyone, maybe that's what Dharmakirti would also
have stated.

With metta, Kent

Robin Faichney

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 13:07:44 -0000, "Bodhisattva Centre"
<bodhi...@clara.net> wrote:

>Robin Faichney wrote in message <3479d9d5...@lorne.stir.ac.uk>...
>>Perhaps I should say at this point, that though I consider
>>myself a Buddhist, I am most certainly not a fundamentalist.
>>Fundamentalists, in any religion, are those who take it
>>literally...
>
>
>Robin, I could well be misunderstanding your post but are you telling me
>that you don't believe in rebirth etc, other than metaphorically?
>
>Do you think no one around at the time of Buddha Shakyamuni asked whether he
>was being literal or not when he went on an on about the Hell realms and the
>sufferings of rebirth?
>
>Just curious,
>
>Rabten (probably way too fundamentalist to be worth talking to).

Sorry if the delay seemed to confirm I thought that way, because I
don't.

No, I don't think people went around at that time asking whether the
teachings were literal or metaphorical. They had the advantage (from
some angles) of not having to deal with the aftermath of the
Reformation, and the modernist mind set. But we do have to deal with
these things -- ignoring them won't make them go away.

You know, it's a bit of a bugger, but after giving it some thought, I
really don't think I can do justice to what I see as being the big
issue here. So I'll just give you the ultra-concise version, and if
you have any questions you can come back with them, and with any luck
someone else will come in and help me out.

The big literal/metaphorical split, along with the mind/body split and
the science/religion split (they're all aspects of the
subjective/objective split) happened around the time of Descartes.
Before then, people didn't worry too much about such things. If the
overall benefits of believing something seemed to outway the
drawbacks, they'd believe it. But don't mistake that for
subjectivism, or relativism, or philosophical idealism, according to
which all that's real is what we actually perceive. Subjectivism,
like objectivism, is a modernist phenomenon -- a sort of ideological
essentialism or puritanism that simply would not have meant anything
to pre-modern peoples.

OK, so that wasn't *ultra* concise. Just hope it wasn't
incomprehensible.

The main point here, as I see it, is the attempt by fundamentalists
(of all religions) to try to recapture the innocence of the pre-modern
outlook. It can't be done. We all know how successful science is,
and it is a peculiar form of avoidance, to deny it. We have to be
post-modernists, and so we might as well do it consciously and
thoroughly. That means facing up to the subjective/objective divide,
and sometimes saying "I think it probably best to think, speak and act
generally as if this were true, while facing the fact that it may not
be, or perhaps is neither true nor untrue".

Reincarnation I don't really believe in. Rebirth I do. But I'm not
going to try to explain the difference between them here. I believe
in some things for some purposes, and others for others. I am in some
ways a split personality -- but so are we all, and it's better to face
the fact than deny it. We all tell our own stories, weaving in bits
and pieces from those we hear, and Buddhism has many of the best I've
heard -- perhaps even the ultimate one, that ties them all together.
But that's not about following "individuals" through a succession of
isolated lives, because there ain't no such beasty. The ultimate
story is one in which we all take part -- it's shared to a depth that
neither you nor I can get anywhere near appreciating as yet, but we're
moving towards it. Not sure who's moving fastest at this moment, but
I am sure that we'll get there together.

Robin
PS Non-governmental health warning -- this message was composed under
the influence of a certain amount of alcohol. Could you tell?? :-)

PPS I agree with Mick that what was more important here was the fact
that telling the karma story in that way, in that context, was
avoidance.

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
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Kent Sandvik wrote in message <347BC6...@best.com>...


>Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
>> The case in hand is the issue of the worship of Dorje Shugden.
>> For reasons (as yet unclear) the Dalai Lama has chosen to ban the worship
of
>> Dorje Shugden. This decision and its implementation _is_ sectarian.
Perhaps
>> if I use an example you will realise the difference between this and
>> agreeing to differ.
>

>This is an incorrect statement. You could find informationa about this
>all at http://www.tibet.org, statements from HH Dalai Lama that clearly
>states why this happened.
>

How wonderful! Perhaps now at last we can make some progress.

Unfortunately when I sifted through the extensive information available at
this site I could only find reposts of newspaper articles and statements
from the Kashag denying any repression of the practice. I assume the Dalai
Lama's clear reasons are in the section Tibetan Buddhism>Tibetan Government.
I assume this because this page wouldn't open and I could not find clear
reasons elsewhere.

Therefore, since you have access to these clear reasons, would you be so
kind as to post them to this group so that we can discuss them. Hopefully
through discussion and debate we can clear up this unfortunate situation.

Since this is a religious issue could you present the reasons according to


Dharmakirti's Commentary to Valid Cognition: Propandum and reason. This way
we can easily check whether the reasons are valid. Also please provide
whatever evidence the Dalai lama offers to show that his reasons are
established.

Thank you in advance,

Rabten

Bodhisattva Centre

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Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

>Hi, Please read:
>http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/dholgyal3.html HH Dalai Lama - Position on
>Protectors
>


Thank you, Kent.

In the following section my comments are marking by: <<<<< and >>>>>.

****************************************


His Holiness the Dalai Lama - position of protectors

His Holiness the Dalai Lama made the following remarks clarifying the
position of protectors in the Gelugpa tradition during an explanation of the
Offering to the Spiritual Master at the main temple in Dharamsala to a large
gathering of Tibetan and Western disciples in 1986.
"..Concerning the Gelugpa protectors, there are protectors of the people of
the three scopes, Mahakala, Vaishravana and Kalarupa.

[snip]

These three being fundamentally important there is no need of a protector
other than these for the Gelugpas.

[snip]

It won't do any good to rely on a new deity or any others while customarily
accepting a Dharma protector who Je Rinpoche bound by oath and who was also
specifically bound by Je Sherab Seng-ge.

<<<<<<< All enlightened beings have the same powers from their side but
depending upon their karmic relationship with the practitioner some
practitioners will receive benefit more easily from one than an other. For
example although both Je Tsongkhapa and Guru Padmasambhava are enlightened
beings some people progress more quickly relying on one and some people
progress more quickly relying on the other. It is a question of karmic
connections. So, what reason is there for thinking that Ngatrul Dragpa
Gyaltsen, who even during his life was the protector of the ensa whispered
lineage, should not arise as a Dharma Protector of that lineage and have an
especially close connection with the followers of that lineage? And in such
an event what reasons are there for not relying upon him as a Protector?

Also on this point where is the alledged remark by Je Tsongkhapa about "only
these protectors should be followed"? Odd that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche,
Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche, whose scholarship and knowledge of
the works of Je Tsongkhapa is beyond equal, never found such a
remark.>>>>>>>>

[snip]

Anyway, there have lately been some problems concerning the protector
Gyalchen Shugden, those of you who live in India know well about this and I
don't have to repeat it to you. But, if those of you from Tibet accept him
merely on the basis of his reputation as a great protector of the Gelugpas,
it will not do any good for Tibet, either religiously or politically.

<<<<<<<Please explain why? No reasons are offered here.>>>>>>>

[snip]

Until we reach a point where we understand the most inconceivable secrets,
we must go along with what conventionally appears to us as disciples.
Therefore this is the basis on which I am talking to you now.

<<<<<<<Yes, we want reasons that conform to logic and ordinary
appearances.>>>>>>

When we speak of the origins of the present Gyalchen Shugden, he arose out
of a conflict with the great Fifth Dalai Lama, not out of his closeness with
the Dalai Lama.

<<<<<<< No evidence is offered on this point, which is unusual considering
the different presentation of the origin of Dorje Shugden given by the Dalai
Lama's root guru Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang. Trijang Rinpoche says that Tulku
Dragpa Gyaltsen made special prayers to appear in the form of a protector
(in particular of the ensa whispered lineage). Gyalchen Dorje Shugden arose
from these prayers. Ngatrul Dragpa Gyaltsen took on the form of Dorje
Shugden after his murder by ministers of the 5th Dalai Lama who were worried
by his popularity. Ngagtrul Dragpa Gyaltsen's death, in this sense, arose
from conflict with the fifth Dalai Lama. Gyalchen Dorje Shugden did
not.>>>>>>>>

The Fifth Dalai Lama was the founder of the Ganden Phodrang government and
becuase of that, even today people in Tibet refer to me as Gyalwang
(Powerful Lord) Tenzin Gyatso. Although I am not up to the job, especially
in the present crucial circumstances for Tibet, I am the person who has to
bear the responsibility. Due to my prayers in past lives and due to my
special karmic connections with the Tibetans in general, I was selected as a
small boy in a remote part of Amdo as the reincarnation of the Gyalwa
Rinpoche (The Dalai Lama), and so I came to central Tibet. So, whatever I am
as an individual according to the level of my own personal practice, from
amongst the common mass of Tibetans I have come to sit on this throne of the
Dalai Lamas. By holding the position of the Fifth Dalai Lama I am supposed
to follow what he did, this is the reason I have to interfere.

<<<<<<<< But the fifth Dalai Lama eventually came to realise that Dorje
Shugden was indeed the new form of Ngatrul Dragpa Gyaltsen and was an
enlightened protector. He wrote many praises to Dorje Shugden, in one of
which he says,

HUM
You are never separate from the natural Dharmakaya.
The fearful power of your actions is as quick as thunder,
And you possess great confidence to distinguish good from bad.
With my mind of deep faith I invite you please to come here.

So please do follow what he did.>>>>>>>

Due to the antagonism between the Ganden Phodrang of the Fifth Dalai Lama
and the upper chamber of Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen and because of inner and outer
inauspiciousness this problem arose.

<<<<<<<What precisely does this mean and is there any evidence to establish
it?>>>>>>>

There is no reason why I personally should say "Gyalchen Shugden you have
done good or bad" - for I personally do have some relationship with him, but
after sometime this became inappropriate in my dealing with questions of
Tibet's religion and politics.

<<<<<<<<Why was that?>>>>>>>>

Not only that, but even in terms of merely Gelugpa matter it seems there is
some problem in the context of Damchen Choegyal's position.

<<<<<<<What reasons please.>>>>>>>>

Therefore, we should deal with these things based on an awareness of their
conventional appearance to ordinary disciples. We Gelugpas consider the
validity of conventionality to be very important, don't we? When we speak of
the validity of conventional appearances, the importance lies in the
perception of the initial level of beings. Why? because reasons should
accord with the principles of causality.

<<<<<<<<But where are these reasons that accord with causality? All we have
in this speech are statements that are unsupported by evidence or logic. If
there is evidence and logic to support these statements, please provide
it.>>>>>>>

Rabten


Kent Sandvik

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Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
>
> >Hi, Please read:
> >http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/dholgyal3.html HH Dalai Lama - Position on

I'm no expert on deep Buddha-dharma issues, and ultimately both you and
I have to agree that unless we have realizations, and I don't have such,
then defending or justifying issues is purely based on faith and has not
much to do with logic with the exception of work related to Nagarjuna,
Dharmakirti and others, and in such cases there's a need to agree on the
premises in order to understand and acknowledge the rest. And that's
just fine, as the scriptures say, faith is the basis. But it's just the
basis.

> beings some people progress more quickly relying on one and some people
> progress more quickly relying on the other. It is a question of karmic
> connections. So, what reason is there for thinking that Ngatrul Dragpa
> Gyaltsen, who even during his life was the protector of the ensa whispered
> lineage, should not arise as a Dharma Protector of that lineage and have an
> especially close connection with the followers of that lineage? And in such
> an event what reasons are there for not relying upon him as a Protector?

It's a matter of faith, if some say this is OK, and others say not, it's
a personal decision. Unless you are a Buddha and know exactly how it is.
I tend to be conservative, the dharma protectors that Je Tsongkhapa and
the Indian Mahasiddhas used are fine for me, as I do think Je Tsongkhapa
got enlightened, and if his dharma protectors worked, fine for me.
Ultimately Bodhichitta is the ultimate dharma protector, that works
quite well for any of us.


> Also on this point where is the alledged remark by Je Tsongkhapa about "only
> these protectors should be followed"? Odd that Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche,
> Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche, whose scholarship and knowledge of
> the works of Je Tsongkhapa is beyond equal, never found such a
> remark.>>>>>>>>

It is noted, however, that Je Tsongkhapa never stated that DS was his
dharma protector. I think that's quite enough for me as a Gelug
follower.

> <<<<<<<< But the fifth Dalai Lama eventually came to realise that Dorje
> Shugden was indeed the new form of Ngatrul Dragpa Gyaltsen and was an
> enlightened protector. He wrote many praises to Dorje Shugden, in one of
> which he says,
>
> HUM
> You are never separate from the natural Dharmakaya.
> The fearful power of your actions is as quick as thunder,
> And you possess great confidence to distinguish good from bad.

BTW, HH Dalai Lama 14:th also wrote praises, something that he now
stated was wrong. I don't see any problems myself in changing positions
based on further research. As HH Dalai Lama said in LA this summer,
there's so much in Tibetan Buddhism that requires further study and
investigation, there could easily creep in elements that are not pure
dharma and that's quite understandable based on the now longer lineage
happening all the way from India. If there are other elements that are
not factual, then such elements should not be propagated further.

>
> There is no reason why I personally should say "Gyalchen Shugden you have
> done good or bad" - for I personally do have some relationship with him, but
> after sometime this became inappropriate in my dealing with questions of
> Tibet's religion and politics.
>
> <<<<<<<<Why was that?>>>>>>>>

I don't speak for HH Dalai Lama. I would recommend that you send him a
letter and ask for clarifications. My mere speculation is the issue of
the other traditions not considering DS as an enlightened being, and
this causes frictions between the lineages, and HH Dalai Lama as the
spiritual leader has the responsibility to keep all Tibetan lineages
alive and in harmony with each other -- something that I do think HH
Dalai Lama has done an excellent job of.


>
> <<<<<<<<But where are these reasons that accord with causality? All we have
> in this speech are statements that are unsupported by evidence or logic. If
> there is evidence and logic to support these statements, please provide
> it.>>>>>>>

Again, it's futile to speak og logic and evidence concerning issues such
as dharma protectors. Someone else might use the same weapon asking your
tradition of DS why the other lineages don't consider DS being an
enlightened being, and show you the evidence and logic why this is the
case, and your answer is recitation of various practitioners statements,
even if such dharma practitioners have changed their position over time,
showing that even such a case is not permanent at all.

With hope that we all will become enlightened with the help of our own
chosen dharma protectors, mainly bodhichitta as the main dharma
protector we all should rely on.

Don Martin

unread,
Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

In article <347b7edd...@news.dircon.co.uk>,
cf...@dircon.co.uk (you) wrote:

>
> HH the Dalai Lama has never said
> "Shugden Practitioners Deserve Persecution" and afaik
> no one on this newsgroup ever has.

****** Although a few people on this newsgroup may be
more inclined to follow that view in the light of
shugden practitioners' recent postings.

>
> [Does Shugden worship induce paranoia or something?]

****** Both.

Mark Dunlop

unread,
Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

In article <65eiuc$in5$1...@eros.clara.net>, Bodhisattva Centre
<bodhi...@clara.net> writes

> which is more useful faith or intellectual understanding?
>Of course we need both, but if you had to bet your bottom dollar which would
>you go for? I would choose faith every time because with faith we will
>definitely get good results (faith is a naturally virtuous mind check
>Dignaga Compendium of Valid Cognition), whereas intellectual understanding
>may only get us pride and another samsaric rebirth.

Faith may just as well take you to the hell realms, surely. It seems
less likely that intellectual understanding would. So I would back the
latter.

>If you want one I am quite capable of holding a high-brow discussion on the
>validity of faith. The importance of which, ironically enough, was the
>conclusion of my theology degree principally focussed on Madhyamika
>philosophy.
>Anyway, such a discussion isn't relevent to this thread. If you can explain
>what it is about NKT members you dislike I can try to reassure you, or make
>it worse in the process.
>
>All the best,
>Rabten
>
>

--
Mark Dunlop

Michael McLoughlin

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

Dear James,
Apologies for the delay in replying but I lost your original
email. Apologies also for posting this on an open NG but I am unable to
get my computer (aka The Toaster) to send mail just at the moment. I
managed to pass on your posts to KJ who has read them. He feels
that it would not be fruitful to continue the discussion but is glad that
you have been able to put your side of the story. Posters to the NGs will
have to make up their own minds. He liked the idea of discussing the
points personally but given the great distances between Cumbria and
Aberystwyth has had to admit that it is unlikely happen in the near
future.
AFAIAA he does not believe that he has misrepresented the NKT but
suggests the main reason the NKT are open to misrepresentation is because
they choose to keep themselves to themselves. Both he and I would dearly
like to see NKT become a member of groups such as the Network of Buddhist
Organizations and take fuller part in the wider Buddhist Sangha that
encompasses all the traditions in the British Isles. Is there are any
real reason why this should not be possible?
With regards,
Mick


Mary Finnigan

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

Mick McL writes
> He liked the idea of discussing the
>points personally but given the great distances between Cumbria and
>Aberystwyth has had to admit that it is unlikely happen in the near
>future.
Great distances? Shurely shome mishtake? Our American friends would fall
off their cushions laughing. AFAIK you point your car down the M6 and
turn off south of Manchester. My atlas is in the car which is in the
garage across the road and it's raining, so rest is guesswork..isn't
there a motorway that goes to Shrewsbury? And a reasonable A road after
that? Poss. Journey time max 3 hours? (I do Bristol to Cumbria in 4,
perhaps more if bad timing lands me at spaghetti junction in the rush
hour, but Jim and Ken don't have Birmingham as an excuse.
Yours at 90mph,
Mary

Guhyapati

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

Hi Michael,

I agree that the NBO could be a very useful forum for discussion of many
of these 'controversies'. I hope more people will get actively involved
there. An idea floated recently at the NBO was to facilitate regional
meetings... this could help more people to get into open dialogue. The
British Buddhist world desprately needs it. Even so I can understand
that the NKT may have reservations, given that so many people seem to
exhibit a fair amount of hostility towards them. If we want to encourage
dialogue we all need to take care to avoid polarisation.

Metta - Guhyapati


lita

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to Bodhisattva Centre

Bodhisattva Centre wrote:
>
> Dear Chris,
>
> The point I was making was that such statements could easily be
> misinterpreted as sectarian, which you seem to have done.
>
> As you know there are many different interpretations of emptiness held by
> many different schools. Each school naturally posits that their
> interpretation is correct. Since there can only be one correct answer to the
> question ("what is the ultimate nature of reality?"), this means they all
> regard the other schools as wrong.
>
I admit to having very few opinions on this Shugden Dorje issue but it
seems to me that the above statement is patently false. So what if
different schools have different versions of the "true nature of
reality"? You say that only one version can be "true". Why? Can't the
nature of reality appear/manifest differently for different people? I
think one could say that the lineages may differ in their practices of
and views on, ultimate reality. It does not necessarily mean that there
is only one "true" reality.
Comments?

peace,
lita

Kent Sandvik

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

lita wrote:
> reality"? You say that only one version can be "true". Why? Can't the
> nature of reality appear/manifest differently for different people? I
> think one could say that the lineages may differ in their practices of
> and views on, ultimate reality. It does not necessarily mean that there
> is only one "true" reality.
> Comments?

One interpretation is that Shakyamuni Buddha taught four different
schools/tenets (see Geshe Sopa and Jeffrey Hopkins excellent book
Cutting Through Appearances for more info, or a mini summary of these
tenets are available at