The purpose of this blog is to give the reader a feel for what Tibetan Buddhism is all about. We in the west have a certain mind set, because of our upbringing, and a mental shift in needed to understand what goes on in Dharma centres. Otherwise we will get stuck with something exotic in our lives, and end up with a very delicate polished ego. Ego is just our consciousness clinging to a set of ideas.
I remember first going to a Dharma centre and seeing students ringing bells and waving Dorjes, “OH, I want some of that!” I thought. Decades later and I still haven’t rung a bell or waved a Dorje. Meaning and intention is everything!
There is nothing wrong with ritual, if we understand the symbolism. Gestures are important – a genuine smile says much! Here we are getting a flavour of the emotions, wisdoms, meditation, compassion, awareness and why we get fed up and suffer. Most important of all is our reactions!
All the best to us,
A PERSONAL VIEW.
I love the topic of the two truths -what is real and what seems real. The Buddha said it all, and so have many others. There is no difference between them and us, except that they have realise the truth.
However, I do have a personal problem, which has caused me to get kicked out of Dharma centres. It’s the dynamics of spiritual set-ups, and the politics surrounding the teacher. The teacher needs the students, as much as the students need the teacher. So an artificiality of does and don’ts gets established, based on formerly held religious ideas, and there is thus a pressure to conform.
At the beginning of our search, we honestly want to find what is true and real, but very quickly we learn how to be pretenders. This is due us merely adhering to the status quo that has been set up: it sometimes feels like neuro-linguistic programming. We start off with “Beginner’s mind, Zen mind”… and then we learn all those fancy words, and sit on fancy cushions, in front of a very fancy shrine. A new life style has just begun – Chogyam Trungpa called this “Spiritual materialism”.
People start acting in a very ‘special’ way, which is quite unnatural.
It’s the wooden stage in our evolution. In the west we are clinging to another’s culture and ignoring our own. The ancient world has wisdom, while the modern world has energy, and they can work well together. The West has to learn to stand on its own two feet.
I once spoke to a Lama, who admitted that one cannot be honest with people…they are still too delicate.
My personal concern is, “Who was the last person to be enlightened?” I trust it is possible, as I’ve seen changes within my own mind, but I do wonder if we have to let go of letting go. This is why we need to engage in personal research, and not merely copy others.
It is possible that the answer is in devotion, and receiving blessings. I’ll let you know when I find out!
Please be yourself, and don’t copy others…you don’t know where they’ve been, or what they may have trodden in!
Reading this was like reading my own mind LOL! I’ve “belonged” to a few groups, and I just never fit in. You summed it up for me when you wrote about people behaving in a “special” way. You know, i swear some people have a “retreat wardrobe” of clothes they only wear on retreat (I’m sure you know what I mean!).
And on silent retreat, I really do struggle when fellow retreatants won’t make eye contact – even when you do something like hold a door open for them. It’s like they have cut themselves off from everything around them – maybe that’s the way they choose to be, but I have to admit that I find that kind of “weird” behaviour unnerving. And people new to retreats copy it cos that’s the way they think they should behave.
I was once on a retreat where people were even refusing to reply when the cafeteria staff asked what they wanted for lunch…the lama had to tell them not to be so rude!
I wonder sometimes in Dharma centres whether there is a feeling that the group is more important than the individuals within that group. I too have been “excommunicated” before now for speaking out about things that were going on (nothing dramatic or sinister by the way LOL)
I apologise for going off on a bit of a rant here, but this is such an important issue that goes far beyond my own personal likes and dislikes. It could be that some reading this just label me as judgemental and intolerant: I get the feeling that you’re not one of those, Tony.
Thanks for listening!
Making a Judgements is a huge important subject, it includes discrimination, discernment, learning, balancing, finding out. It is not negative at all. We all have an inner conflict with the world around us, it’s a matter of finding a way of dealing with our own state of mind, and that of others. His Holiness the Dalai Lama used to say,”Go home and punch a pillow!”
You are not alone, I’ll consider this more, and write in more detail on the main blog.
Thanks for you input,
Hi Daisy. I have been on vipassana retreats where retreatants are asked not to make eye contact, in order to help with the development of concentration. The monk explained at the beginning and asked us not to be offended if it happened that someone averted their gaze. But it sounds like you were on a Tibetan style retreat, and I do not have much experience of those. I personally love silent retreats, because we can let go of any pressure from our “personality” to “fit in”or find our place in “the group”. We have to just get on with the practice. I’ve experienced wonderful peaceful states on silent retreat and have felt a sense of “coming home” – wonderful 🙂
I like your straight, clean and light style. I work towards developing a relation with the whole self or whole body of whom my reality, including my self, is a part, created and placed by the whole body through his or her nervous system. I’m with you on the “two truths” – the whole self is in and of reality, our reality is a projected part. Looking forward to following you.
I entirely agree with you, our warts are our path.
Our path is our confusion.
From Dzogchen view, there is Ground, Path and Fruition.
The Ground is our awakened nature.
The Path is our confusion about that awakened nature.
The Fruition is realising that the confusion never existed,
and we are the Ground all the time.
Exclusive identification with what we experience.
Becoming a part of the whole self of whom we as identity have always been a projected part.
Perhaps, I should research Tibetian Buddhism. It sounds interesting but after denying Christianity due to its spiritual materialism including conditions to be met in order to obtain unconditional clauses; I don’t want to follow into another rabbit hole. Thanks for your insightful words, Tony.
All systems have their rabbit holes, it’s called the exoteric – for the many. They all have however, an exoteric side of pure experience – for the few who practice.
The best advice I’ve heard is from the Buddha – “Don’t take my word for it; test it for yourself.”
Having understood Buddhism one cam appreciate Jesus and all the masters.
All spiritual text are about our true nature – we are walking talking bibles! 😀