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Thread: Basics of practice on Tibetan Buddhism

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    Airman's Avatar
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    Default Basics of practice on Tibetan Buddhism

    Here's a short video I recorded tonight about this. I will add more vids on spirituality and many other topics on my youtube channel soon.

    well I feel that this is not a place to share spirituality in videos so I am removing these videos.
    Last edited by Airman; 11-07-2013 at 12:10 PM.

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    try opening your mouth when you speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kill4Me View Post
    try opening your mouth when you speak
    Try not being an asshole.

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    Why is everyone so obsessed with Tibetan Buddhism? they're like the second worst kind. Can you talk about their magic and mysticism instead of their exoteric "beliefs"?

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JadaeRat View Post
    @hkkmr Business as usual. Amirite?
    Is there something to report? Click the report button. I was also asleep when the post was made. I have thread banned Kill4Me since he was trolling.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Tibetan Buddhism is a bit obscure as far as what Buddhism is. I actually see Tibetan Buddhism as becoming a kind of western fetishism(although well intentioned, also there might be some interesting synthesis and fusion because of this) that isn't really a good representation of Eastern Buddhism. Something like Chan, Zen or Theravada Buddhism is a more representative slice of the average eastern Buddhist.

    I think the whole guru, lama aspect of Tibetan Buddhism or Lamaism is a bit off. I hope the offensive poster in this thread did not make you feel uncomfortable about posts related to this topic in the future, there's a lot of people well educated on culture, religion and spirituality here. You will get a critical audience for religion here, as people of many faith and non-faith are here, but don't be afraid to say what matters to you.

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legerdemain View Post
    Why is everyone so obsessed with Tibetan Buddhism? they're like the second worst kind. Can you talk about their magic and mysticism instead of their exoteric "beliefs"?
    What's the worst kind?

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    I am curious. Though less so if the discussion is to be had in youtube comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    What's the worst kind?
    The violent kind.

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    Watch your Bardos, and may 10,000 Bodhisattvas save you.

    Haha, actually seriously, buddhism is amazing. Just need to have a profound realization with emptiness and compassion and you have found the basic practise of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Pharmaceuticals are way faster though, just skip all those decades of mediation and contemplation.

    Lead a good life, keep you mind clean, and treat others well, trying to do no harm.
    "If this to end in fire, then we should all burn together. Watch the flames climb higher into the night."

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    Actually I posted two videos, and there was no interest so it seemed, because there were no replies. And I mean to discuss tibetan buddhism and not teach it, though I could teach the system and much of the practice due to being many years into that.

    Tibetan Buddhism has 4 (dalai lama recognizes 5) official schools or sects, and they differ on some points. So I'll post about the schools first because by exposing this I will also be exposing the views of tibetan buddhism.

    Basically what differs Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana is a more appropriate term since it is practiced widely in other countries such as Buthan, Nepal, Sikkim and India) from other schools is this: Vajrayana is said to be based on the 'Third turning of the wheel of Dharma'. Here Dharma means 'truth' but in sanskrit it can also mean 'thing'. On the 1st turning of the wheel the Buddha spoke about the mind, virtuous and non-virtuous deeds, impermanence, suffering, karma and the emptiness of a self. Self here means some isolated, non-changing, static, 'me', who is somehow commanding the body and endlessly thinking and planning and so on. Therefore in the 1st turning of the wheel the Buddha explained the Hinayana path, which highest realisation is that of the selflessness of both individuals and impermanence of all phenomena or things. Such an individual who has realised that there is actually no self in himself and also in everything else, and has a view which is 'momentary' that means that he doesn't have a sense of any permanency anymore, is a highly developed being; he is liberated from suffering and is called by buddhists an 'Arhat'. Other names are Solitary Conqueror, Silent Buddha (because usually he doesn't teach the path to liberation), Foe Destroyer (foe here means ignorance) and Hearer (because he heard the teachings and applied them and got liberated). So basically here you have the Hinayana ('small path', so called because practitioners enter this path doing only a Pratimoksha vow, which is, to attain liberation for themselves and no one else). The only surviving school of Hinayana is called Theravada which means 'view of the ancients' meaning that it is the oldest Buddhist school that exists to this day. It predates all the other schools that have been active for a long time, so it came to be known as Theravada.

    Then there was the 2nd Turning of the wheel of Dharma, in which Buddha explained basically Emptiness or Voidness and emphasized Compassion for all sentient beings. The emphasis of the schools which developed based on the 2nd turning of the wheel is Emptiness and Compassion. They are called 'Mahayana' schools because 'maha' means great or big, and 'yana' means path or vehicle. These schools became very popular in the West and are still the most known schools, such as Zen, Ch'an, Won, Tendai, Shingon and Nichiren among many others. They're still dominant and have more adepts than Theravada or the Vajrayana schools. So basically the method for these schools is to meditate and gain a spontaneous insight into the emptiness of all phenomena and achieve Buddhahood, or the state of a Bodhisattva. Thus, because such practicioners have entered the path by making the Bodhisattva vow (a vow to remain on samsara being reborn again and again to benefit others) they gain not only liberation but also what is called Enlightenment, because it is said that without the Compassion and understanding of the Heart, together with the sharpness of the mind, there can be no Enlightenment, only Liberation, if the practitioner has no compassion or love for others, as for example a dry, cold logician individual. These schools emphasize very much meditation on emptiness, loving-kindness, compassion, and the 6 Paramitas or Perfections, more than Theravada emphasizes their 10 Paramitas. Theravada has a stronger emphasis on the Noble Eightfold Path.

    You can know more about the Paramitas which are the foundations of the Mahayana practice, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramit....81na_Buddhism .

    You can also know more about the Shamata and Vipashyana meditation methods that are the core of the Theravada school here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theravada#Meditation .

    These are all present in the Vajrayana or Tibetan Schools, but the Vajrayana adds some more to that.

    Because, then, so goes the story, there was the 3rd Turning of the Wheel of Dharma in which Buddha said that "the mind is luminous". This has lead to the emergence of the Vajrayana schools, mainly Tibetan but also some in Japan, China, Bhutan, Mongolia, Russia, etc.

    The Vajrayana literally means "thunderbolt path" or "indestructible path" according to which translation you prefer to the word 'Vajra' which can mean both in Sanskrit. The main difference of the Vajrayana schools is their emphasis on Buddhist Tantra (which has little to do with sexual intercourse), the Nature of Reality or Nature of the Mind, and the working with energy, which is something that other schools do not teach. The work with energy is because in Vajrayana the aim of the practitioner is to become free from suffering in this very lifetime and not wait patiently practicing for thousands of lives. So there is a work with energy, which can be dangerous and even harmful to others if the practitioner doesn't know how to handle the energy. We're talking about subtle energy here, not energy as understood by current science (though in a sense it is, because it is basically psychic energy) and also the working with the balancing of the seven main Chakras in the body, which are reservoirs of energy. So in these schools practice is very much emphasized on these grounds: working with meditational deities, having a qualified Teacher often called 'Guru', working with imagination and visualizations which are sometimes extremely complex, and also working with all the basics of the other 2 main sets of schools. So a Vajrayana practitioner works with Shamata (calm-abiding meditation), Vipashyana (insight meditation) which are both features of Hinayana and Mahayana, and Compassion and meditation on Emptiness which are traits of Mahayana, but he also practises Tantra, which is basically the transformation of everything into the path. Very advanced practice of Vajrayana may, in some schools, entail using the sexual act as a means to attain an insight into the inseparable nature of Emptiness and Bliss, but this is not the goal here. The goal is far more than that. My next post then will tell more about Vajrayana only.
    Last edited by Airman; 11-08-2013 at 05:57 AM.

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    Thank you for your post. I look forward to later developments.
    Reason is a whore.

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    aw I would have loved to see them

    I studied religions in college and I still have a passionate interest in all sorts of faiths and principles

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    The things I don't like about this are:
    Very dubious "Third turning of the teaching of Gautama Buddha". So the Theravada - the old doctrine missed the teaching, but Vajrayana that gets going a thousand years later got they teaching directly from Buddha...
    Mahayana as whole seem to be more accepting of the fact that it is a later shift of attention or even development of the teaching. Compared to that the whole "third turning of teaching of Buddha" appears to be a pathetic religious appeal to authority while trying one up the competition. And what is that they have to show for that third rotation? Yogic chakras, mysticism, pantheon of deities, veneration of the guru? Those things have nothing to do with Buddhism and everything to do with Hinduism which Buddhism was and is supposed to be a step away and forward from.
    Fast liberation because there is a hurry to liberate that which you don't have to join the eternity of not having it, and not because it is a cult advertisement?
    Powers (psychic no less) because that is what a person seeking to loose attachments and ego seeks and needs?
    Fast and dangerous is "the middle way"?
    The powers, energies, deities and so forth are a real thing and not objects and tools of and for senses and mind one is supposed to appreciate while seeing through?

    Esoterism, veneration of gurus and the size of the institution are not a positive factors in avoiding ego tripping or career settlers.

    I am sure there are enlightened people in Tibetan Buddhism. I am sure, some practices are amazing. But what the culture sums up to I see as less enlightened than that of Theravada and Mahayana.
    Having spoken of enlightened(partially) culture I guess I have revealed myself as sympathizer of Mahayana principles.

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    ^Solid.
    "If this to end in fire, then we should all burn together. Watch the flames climb higher into the night."

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    @ Esaman:

    The so-called 2nd and 3rd turnings of the wheel imo are a legend, they did not really happen as in being spoken by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. They are more of a realisation of other practitioners and thus, they have the legend of the 3 turnings of the wheel, but no one can prove or disprove if the 2 latest turnings ever happened. IMO they are more of a story invented to benefit beings.

    Also one important thing you seem to miss. Most Tibetan Buddhists are NOT rejecting or saying that Vajrayana is better. Actually they say that this is their tradition and their teaching, and that you should reflect when you take any initation to see if it is really the best path for you. I do not think Vajrayana is the best path for everyone. For many people Hinayana or Mahayana are better. It can also really be that they are better for most people.

    Your claims against the Vajrayana are based on a misinterpretation of the system and a distortion of what I wrote. I did not say Vajrayana aims at getting psychic powers. It is more a transformation of the normal, 'samsaric', polluted mind in the pure, stainless, buddha-nature mind. Because in Vajrayana and in most of Mahayana the teaching is that we are already all buddhas, enlightened beings, that is to say, we possess already an enlightened nature because the nature of our mind is buddha-nature. The problem is that this nature is obscured by thousands of lives of conditioning, karma and afflictive emotions.

    Continuation about Vajrayana:

    So in Vajrayana the practice is more to take the dirt off the pure essence mind quickly than to sit in front of a wall and stare at it for 24 hours and hope to get enlightenment, or meditate endlessly also to obtain enlightenment. What Vajrayana says is only that it is, usually, for most people, a quicker path, because the empashis is on this very lifetime, and not to practice somewhat lazy because you will have thousands of lives ahead, as many practitioners of other schools do. They just go 'ah ok I will just do 5 minutes of meditation a week and create good karma because I have many lives ahead, so why bother to do some practice everyday?' ... In Vajrayana the empashis is more like to be in a hurry because the suffering of unenlightenment is too hard, it is unbearable.

    The deities are as real as you and me. We do not understand usually that whatever is created by mind is real, and because we and the world around us are created by mind, we consider them to be so real. But talk about a deity and it's hard to believe it is real, because it is not something concrete. Deities are archetypes of the enlightened mind. They symbolise one or other aspect of the pure enlightened mind that is obtained or re-discovered by the enlightened individual. So for example you have Vajrapani which is an aspect of the power of the enlightened mind. You have Manjushri which represents the wisdom of the enlightened mind. Avalokiteshvara represents the compassion and love of the enlightened mind. And to meditate on these deities, having received an empowerment in them, is considered to make the practitioner to make the particular quality of his own inner enlightened mind come to surface. This is the objective of meditational deities.

    Nothing is absolutely real according Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the world and ourselves and every object are considered to a very large extent to be illusions. The world is actually your own karma being displayed as your body, your mind, your environment and the whole Universe and billions of other Universes. Everything is just one's own creation, but not creation of the egoic mind, but on a very subtler level they are creations of the mind of projections of the mind. It is very much like a dream which one takes to be real, not knowing that he is in fact dreaming. The individual mistakenly divides in and out, his own body and mind and those of others, and the so-called external world. According to the highest teachings of Mahayana and Vajrayana schools, ultimately the 'external' is not an external. It is only the unenlightened mind which divides between subject and object. The enlightened mind already present, though not manifest, in all human beings, does not make the division. This division is called 'dualistic view' or 'karmic view' because it is based on previous karma, conditioning. When the enlightened mind emerges, it sees no difference between self and others, inner and outer and all other polarities of experience. Thus, the enlightened mind has perfect wisdom, perfect knowledge and perfect compassion because this compassion is not fabricated, it is based on the actual experience of seeing that 'I' and 'others' are a fake division made inside the Dharmakaya or Dharmadhatu ('body of truth' and 'sphere of phenomena'). Thus there is only this indivisible Dharmadhatu, this single sphere of phenomena, and everything appearing in it is impermanent, lacks an independent self or isolated self, and lacks true existence. I can perhaps go further on this later on.

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    Continuation: About the 4 schools of Vajrayana

    The first school to appear among the Tibetan/Vajrayana tradition was the Nyingma school. This school was founded directly by the Indian buddhist master and mystic Padmasambhava. He came from India to Tibet in the 9th century and established Buddhism in Tibet. In doing so, many buddhist teachings and practices were aggregated with Hindu practices, especially the esoteric ones, as Padmasambhava was a great master of both Hindu and Buddhist tradition but regarded Buddhism as superior to Hinduism. The main religion or practice of spirituality in Tibet at that time was the Bön shamanical tradition. The adepts of Bön were very much into magic and esoteric rituals of all sorts, and they were obviously displeased when Padmasambhava began to establish Buddhist practice there, so it is said that Padmasambhava had to fight many esoteric obstacles in order to prevent Buddhism from being wiped off from Tibet by the Bön practiotioners. And he eventually succeeded, what rendered him the great reputation he has in all Tibetan schools of Buddhism. The Bön continued to practice but also absorbed many Buddhist teachings and practices, to a point where these days, the Bön is considered to be one of the five schools recognised by the Dalai Lama, whereas in the past the Bön was marginalised as just sorcery.

    After that, other schools began to appear, namely the Kagyu, the Sakya and the Gelug schools. These are called the 'new translation schools' because they use a system of classification of the Tantras which is different from that of the Nyingma school. Also, their main highest teaching is called Mahamudra (great seal or great mark) whereas the Nyingma has Dzogchen as its highest teaching. The practical difference between the two is not very much, it has more to do about the methods than the result. In any case, a practitioner the 4 or 5 schools of Tibetan Buddhism aim at the same thing: the realisation of the nature of his or her own mind, which then entails a realisation of truth. This is the realisation that I tried to describe in the previous post.

    There are also other schools of Vajrayana not officialy recognised by the Dalai Lama which doesn't mean that they are not valid paths. Today, these traditional schools of Vajrayana are in a state of degeneration of the meanings and the knowledge, especially some parts of the Gelug school, which is the school of the Dalai Lama. So some have dropped out and decided to establish their own schools in the West mostly, such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a former Gelug Lama with high realisation of theory and practice who founded the New Kadampa Tradition in the UK in 1991. This tradition has been expanding since then and to this day, and has centers in some 40 countries worldwide.

    Here are some web pages of interest about:

    FPMT: Foundation for the preservation of Mahayana Tradition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FPMT

    NKT: New Kadampa Tradition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Kadampa_Tradition

    Following a dispute concerning the indentity of the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa (holder of the Karma Kagyu school), there was a rift in Tibetan Buddhism and there are now two sides claiming to have recognised the true Karmapa: the Dalai Lama and many other senior Lamas support Orgyen Trinley Dorje, and the Shamarpa (head of the Sharma school, not officially recognised because of its links to sorcery in the past) and other Lamas on the other side, supporting Thaye Dorje as the true 17th Karmapa.

    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karmapa_controversy

    for more details on that.

    Also there is a dispute between the Dalai Lama and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, but here the dispute is because of a certain Protector practice which is upheld by Kelsang Gyatso, but which the Dalai Lama thinks is not a good practice. IMO this is more of a power fight because the Dalai Lama and the Gelugpa school lost many adherents to the New Kadampa Tradition from 1991 onwards. So the argument is that this specific Protector is a dangerous malevolent spirit, whereas the NKT widely practices this Protector.

    Other school:

    Diamond Way Buddhism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Way_Buddhism

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    Quote Originally Posted by FREDDIE View Post
    They just go 'ah ok I will just do 5 minutes of meditation a week and create good karma because I have many lives ahead, so why bother to do some practice everyday?' ... In Vajrayana the empashis is more like to be in a hurry because the suffering of unenlightenment is too hard, it is unbearable.
    The argument:
    It is not unbearable if they are bearing it and don't want it to end.
    What kind of non-dual unity with everything is it if the being has to reject parts of life and it's own being whole sale by forgoing them instead of getting to know them as parts of itself by living them and growing to transcend them?
    It is a misdeed to force awakening. The role of Bodhisattva's as I understand it is to be the lucid part of the dreaming mind that alleviates the nightmares and suggest not playing against yourself in the dream.

    Disclaimer: am drunk

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    On the dali llama (may have mispelled). I think llamaism isn't necessarily as bad as it could be, if you say compare to the pope or celebrity worship. The dali llama is basically international at this point, he travels and speaks and is an international figure so this is breaking down the isolated esoteric elitist mentality that may have existed in the past with the institution. In fact its extremely positive I think because many westerner's do not have experience with eastern religion. His PR efforts are helping to bring education to the world about an ancient tradition. If you compare this to the catholic church which has missions or conquests historically to convert people to their religion. It's not nearly as offensive as other instances of religious authority. Plus, in today's era you see something very common with people latching onto public figures. People do this with celebrities in America, whether its a political pundit or radio talk host, an actor, a singer, or anything. People latch unto these famous personas and look to them as role models. Why can't the dali llama be included in this process? In fact he is and allows people another public figure to interact with indirectly. The downside is it makes the entire thing somewhat shallow/pop and superficial because its mixing with a lot of other celebrity and popular culture influence, but ultimately the exposure to different cultures and belief systems is better than nothing even if somewhat shallow.

    Finally the way he wields his authority in the present is pretty much this. Just goes around and makes public appearances much like a celebrity. Trying to learn about the world and trying to educate others on Buddhism. I personally don't see a problem with it. As long as its not a violent or psychologically coercive process. In addition the dali llama constantly reinforces humility in his public persona, saying he is not some divine being but just a person like anyone else.

    While historically I am sure there were controversies in the east over the dali llama as the tibetan society operated with slaves/priest castes and interacted with other cultures and other beliefs. The humility could be considered a manipulative and fake act to win support, and you could claim a hidden agenda of spreading the religion to other cultures, but in modern times I don't see that.

    There is so much noise in terms of media and free speech its hard to see in the modern era anyone being able to convert the entire world to a religion based on rhetoric, so as long as war or conquest isn't a factor its unlikely any kind of manipulation posses a serious problem. Most of the tibetan society has lost its ancient way of life as well, tibet and china have been dealing with each other extensively and now the political climate is more complex. So its hard to see how in modern times the dali llama is really all that bad -- to most westerners he's just like any other public figure with views, and gives them an opportunity to learn about eastern spirituality and tradition.

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