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Peeing!!! in My Own Pool: The Problem of Tibetanism

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posted on Dec, 26 2018 @ 11:34 AM

Teachers of Tibetan Buddhism will be a little dismayed by this thread because it may put them in the position of having to answer awkward questions put to them by their students. To them I say, do not despair. The story turns out well. I'm still with my guru. The nun has become like a sister to me and we get along well (she's always chortling and burbling about something and I'm always saying "umhumm", "right" and that sort of thing).

As a teaser, my guru, told by the lineage head to get out of India or he would die, took up residence in Toronto, far from the magic and machinations of "old school" feudal Tibet, far from his powerful oligarchical family. He cut a mildly interesting figure and involved himself with a small group of the sort of people who bore me to death. We started our center and among Toronto Tibetan Buddhists of the Western type, he was regarded as a curious non-entity and his students as "different".

None of us knew that what had actually arrived in our city was a masterfully disguised "great lama". One thinks of the battleship, USS Missouri, being tied up at the yacht club, trying to look inconspicuous among the other boats, in Toronto Dharma circles, a doable thing.

He had me fooled.

His strongest students were completely devoted to him, but it was like ducks who follow the first thing, usually mother, that they see after popping out of the egg.
edit on 26-12-2018 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 5 2019 @ 06:54 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

I have found this thread to be absolutely fascinating; a very honest, rugged & no-holds-barred grudging critique of what has apparently been a remarkable adventure of personality warfare, a complex array of spiritual hurdles, agitators, battles & insight into the darker side of the spiritual path you have embarked upon (and quite admirably stuck with despite these deep misgivings regarding the fuller nature of Vajrayana practice & theory..)

My overriding question at this stage is thus: Would you consider yourself as being on a path which is gradually leading away from the wider community & theological construct which your faith practice has generated as you walked through your learnings? The Dharma Centre clearly has been a full & constant focal point within your life, and having myself also been part of a hugely beneficial yet sometimes rigid & domineering spiritual 'household' (of a charismatic Christian church which has a large number of such households networked throughout the UK) - I understand some of the feelings you have described, and I wonder whether you want to break away, or whether you perhaps feel that you went 'all in' many years ago, and thus you are in some sense obligated to ride out the storms no matter what?

I get the sense that you are a repressed leader - clearly you are deeply thoughtful & able to discern the finer strands of personality & the actions which shape us & give form to our inner selves, though naturally warped somewhat by the constraints of the world.. Do you foster ambition to one day take over as one of the leaders, or even the principle leadership role in the centre? I believe, based on what you have discussed so candidly in this thread, that you would cut a quiet revolutionary figure, tracing an arc which reshapes, in some aspects, certain practices & practicalities of the Dharma Centre & its teachings, I expect in a wholly positive manner.

Would you say that these suggestions find root in your inner self? Otherwise, I suppose my question remains, as to whether you may instead choose to walk away & seek elsewhere for the necessary bedrock upon which to build your house.

Although my beliefs diverge from yours in several places, I can see aspects of my experience peppered around the tales you have shared here. I am confident that Buddhism scholars & practitioners have a clearer insight into the 'mechanics' of general spirituality. Despite having a solid theological grasp on my belief system & the generally accepted wisdom & spiritual giftings which arise from committed practice, quite often I find myself exposed to dark opposition which I can't quite get a handle on at a base level. And it is common that churches don't quite know what to do when they see/ hear of events of the 'spiritual warfare' nature. In this respect I'm glad to have been weaned in a solid household church which sought to practice 'First Century Christian Fellowship & Outreach', living in structured households, all of us having an informal vow of poverty, sharing all things in common according to the basic needs we had at any time (clothing, toiletries, tools for work, transport, foodstuffs bought in bulk & shared out equally, with the occasional treats thrown in here & there (a sneaky McDonald's on the way back from an outreach event, for example!) Truly a beautiful thing, as the scripture says: "Behold how good & pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!"

Despite my fairly solid personal convictions & theological understanding, doctrine, dogma etc - frequently I find myself stumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out which type of elephant I just ran into, throwing together ad hoc psychic defences, and ultimately standing in faith like a child, unable to fully comprehend what it is which is facing me down, although confident in the outworkings of faith to overcome. In this sense I am somewhat envious of the pragmatic understandings & records, techniques & practices for the basic self-defence of one's attendant spiritual realms which are found in several strands of Buddhism & Yoga (though as noted, my faith heritage & personal experience shows me that even when I cannot comprehend what I'm up against, there is a general layer of protection & ongoing support which enables modest advancements in knowledge & action. All for the purposes of love, grace, justice, mercy, humility to become boundless & freely present in the hearts of men & women around the world.

It is easy for common temptation to corrupt the unwary Christian, but it seems that the temptations of Buddhist pathways are somewhat more subtle, perhaps revolving around pride in oneself, ambition to overthrow & dominate others, as you have described at length herein - seeking fame & glory (like your Indian yogi upstart, playing with Siddhis for personal glory & so on). It is my opinion that all such gifts were intended for the human race, but that our environment has been corrupted by those who were charged with our nurture & care - and as a result there is a very complex & sinister web woven around & about our collective consciousness, with darkness seeking our destruction at every turn, once we attain to a certain state of 'aesthetic siddhi manifestation'. As a result, in my own understanding, such things are off-limits, at least until our spiritual atmosphere has been cleansed & refreshed!

Anyway, wonderful thread, thank you for its continuance..

I wish you all the good health, strength, clarity, insight, fellowship & intimacy you need & should hope for. Blessings.

edit on JanuarySaturday1901CST06America/Chicago-060055 by FlyInTheOintment because: general editing..

posted on Jan, 5 2019 @ 07:39 PM
Thanks for the contribution. At this moment I don't have time to give a detailed response to your very thoughtful post.

Let me just say that on the "leadership" question, when my guru's former chief student, the university professor, left our center to pursue his wife (to Boulder, Colorado), my guru, in corporate terms the president of our charitable corporation, said to me, in a private conversation, that he needed a new vice president, but that that person would have to do exactly as he said, and could I suggest anybody like that?

I thought about it, realized that I wasn't that sort of person (for a number of reasons), so I suggested someone else, who has been the center's VP for many years, and, to be fair, has been a very stabilizing influence.

I am more suited to be a "resource person", not so central to the group. There are numerous reasons for this, some of which will become obvious as the story unfolds.

posted on Jan, 5 2019 @ 09:55 PM
This is important background to what lies ahead in the story.

After I had been meditating at the Center for a number of years, and as a result of a blessing received from Rinpoche during a small retreat done with him and two of his other close students, I began to have a degree of mental "power".

I laugh about the use of the word "power", now, to describe my "situation" back then, many years ago, at least two decades ago. I was amazed by the blessing, my experience of it, and pleased in a low key way with the result.

I didn't go off on an ego trip of self aggrandisement. I'm not that sort of person. I won't say I didn't indulge at all in posturing (with my GF), but I didn't assume a new persona, the "holy man".

One day, after I had moved out of the center in response to the general tenor of developments there, what I saw as "stooge rule", my sister had a couple of her friends over to my mother's apartment. To amuse them, and to demonstrate the reality of mental telepathy, I told them to choose an object in the room, something small, and when they had made the choice, my sister was to concentrate on it. I went out of the room to allow her guests to make the choice. I couldn't see them.

When they told me that they had made the choice and that my sister was concentrating on it, I tried to "read her mind" and name the object. I stayed out of the room and could not see them.

After a minute or two, I told them I was seeing something that looked like a cactus. It looked prickly. I went back into the room and they showed me the object. It was an old fashioned hair curler, the kind made of a mesh covered wire coil with a cylindrical brush in the middle of it.

Obviously I wasn't spot on, but I was close enough to make an impression. Of course this kind of thing is fairly well attested, anecdotally, and was probably put down to familial "familiality" and noted, and then forgotten.

However, in the context of the story, this incident serves to place me on the spectrum of "spiritual wise guys", just so the readers will know what they are dealing with.

I was becoming quite sexually indulgent at this time as well. One day my guru remarked that "some people" know how to refresh their bodies, to recover from excessive use, through meditation. He didn't use those exact words, but as I was the only one present, I knew that the "some people" he was referring to, were me.

I was still haunting the strip clubs, peep shows, sex cinemas of Yonge St. in Toronto and similar venues across the city. One night, after a protracted period of such indulgence, I was coming home on the subway from some point on the Yonge St. line, downtown, the seedy section, and had just come down to the platform, very late at night, and Rinpoche was on the platform.

I was gutted.

He loved a student that much. Being a guru is a heavy, heavy responsibility for a Tibetan lama of the old school. The great ones would ride into Hell to save a close student and my guru is a great one.

One notes that it is quite a trick to precisely locate which part of which neighborhood of Hell one needs to visit, and at precisely what moment, to make an extraction.
edit on 5-1-2019 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 5 2019 @ 11:04 PM
I just noticed this thread and I wanted to add my 2 cents too.
I was heart and soul into tibetan buddhism , specifically Vajrayana for about ten years. At some point I also felt it to be a bit too much for me and gradually stopped being an active practitioner. I must admit it was a huge heartbreak because I truly found meaning and purpose in it; but as painful as it was I knew that I have to be, first and foremost, honest to myself. I still hold enormous respect to the teachings and to the lamas, and I believe them to be of paramount importance for everyone searching for the truth but personally I cannot be there anymore.

Among the reasons I gave up tibetan buddhism, and you mentioned many of them:
I found sexuality to be the kriptonite of buddhist masters, except (maybe) for the monk ones, and this in itself is a huge drawback for me.

Next the whole controversy around tulkus, and this Karmapa or that Karmapa, all the politics and money involved left a foul taste in my mouth. I understand that money is necessary to run a center, and lectures, and bring in teachers but it was more than that, enough to raise some suspicions in me.
Then the whole thing of complete devotion to the lama. "With us guru is everything" never quite worked for me. I have respect and devotion, and trust to some point, but I'll never give total control to anyone. I just don't have it in me.

And also the whole "cult" like atmosphere at centers, and internal politics, and sometimes useless hierarchy among the practitioners, all the "lama's favorite" games scared the hell out of me. The bigger a center got the more weird it was to be there. In some centers people were even living together on the premises and the road to liberation was many times confounded with promiscuity and self indulgence. I never felt like this is what I am aspiring for.

One more thing to add would be the fact that the more I progressed with the practice the more complicated it became. All the different aspects of the same buddha, all the buddhas, and yidams and lamas and protectors and weapons and postures, all the different initiations and empowerments and vows and retreats you had to have...just felt too much after some point. I felt like I'm missing the point; I just wanted something simpler, more focused and more effective. Maybe is just me not being "evolved" enough, but again I had to follow my heart, and my heart told me I don't need all the buddhist pantheon to get to the truth.

Of course there are more reasons I left but those would be the main ones.
Fortunately for me I found the hindus Advaita of the Ramana Maharshi kind to be a great follow up. Crystal clear teachings, simple practice, selfless modest teachers, everything fell in place amazingly well. And to my greatest surprise the buddhist background I have only makes Advaita teachings so much more clear; there's not the slightest contradiction, only a different approach.
If only some of the western followers would stop behaving like weirdos with their fake hindus mumbo-jumbo I would be perfectly happy lol, but I learned to ignore them and concentrate on the essential.

So yes, I agree that tibetan buddhism is not for everyone, I believe it has something to do with our western individualist/critical mind set.
Good look to you in whatever roads you will choose to go on.

edit on 5-1-2019 by WhiteHat because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 6 2019 @ 09:09 AM
a reply to: WhiteHat

I can relate very well to what you said. I think your response to Vajrayana practice and practice situations is completely reasonable. One of the problems with being completely reasonable in the Vajrayana context is that, like virtually all religions, and Vajrayana is a religion unlike the Buddhism of the Tripitaka, Vajrayana requires practitioners to suspend reason in favor of faith. This is particularly accentuated when what I call Tibetanism is part of the picture.

Buddhism as taught by the Buddha, is entirely rational and requires no input of faith at all. In fact one is enjoined not to have faith, but rather to observe the effect of a practice or teaching and to adhere to it if it is found to be beneficial.

There are certainly alternatives to Vajrayana, or Tibetan Buddhism, like Theravadin Buddhism, that do not require one to have faith, but simply to be aware and observant. As you point out, there are alternatives available outside of the Buddhist ambit, Ramana Maharshi, Patanjali and the like.

Having said all of this, Tibetan Buddhism or Vajrayana Buddhism is a formidable body of learning and practice. I don't underrate it at all, but it is a dangerous practice. It is very easy to get into a lot of trouble practicing Tibetan Buddhism. My own guru said once that students should not get too close to the guru and that the ones who did, generally do not do as well as students who keep at a respectful distance. He also said that one of his own characteristics was to hold his close students too close. You can see from that, the sort of problems that could potentially arise.

Success in the practice of Vajrayana depends upon the accommodation of the student to the demolition of the "ego" (personal habits, very simply put). If one is resistant to that happening, the trouble one encounters is proportional to one's resistance and inversely proportional to the guru's skill in handling one's resistance.

Vajrayana is a social practice and so is subject to all the characteristics, good and bad, of social activity. It is not an easy practice. It leads to a very naked place, no matter how cunningly one follows the path. One eventually converges with other practitioners, even if one loathes them. It's not easy.

I think the biggest inducement to practice Vajrayana comes when one finally appreciates just how hard it is to become "enlightened" and how hard it is to stabilize in that state. When that happens, one begins to feel a personal inadequacy. One cannot support the weight of the task. One collapses with relief into the lap of the Sangha. One really takes refuge, and appreciates its availability. One gratefully "goes with the flow". One reconciles oneself to the facts of life.

The Dalai Lama once made an amusing remark about enlightenment. He said words to the effect of, "It is hard to get enlightened, and I should know."
edit on 6-1-2019 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 6 2019 @ 10:51 AM
a reply to: ipsedixit

Yes, you put it very well from the social aspect of the practice. And this I guess was the thing I resisted the most. Simply put my refuge in Sangha was not totally sincere; I'm not a social person and probably will never be. I was prepared to tolerate it but it became invasive. When I got to the point that I was spending more energy trying to justify this or that behavior than with the practice itself I knew it was time to leave. This is not the kind of practice you can do with resentment in your heart, and especially I didn't want to eat away at the great respect and love I had for the lama with my petty judgements.

Like I said it was heartbreaking, I felt like I was abandoning the only light in my life and I would forever wander in darkness. Right now I am just immensely grateful for everything I received from this experience and I know I will never lose the light again. Funny how your story stirred all those feelings again and made it all so clear to understand now.

edit on 6-1-2019 by WhiteHat because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 6 2019 @ 11:16 AM
a reply to: WhiteHat

I'm something of a "solitary" myself, so I really understand what you are saying. One must also remember that there is a long term and a big picture. Sometimes taking a break and looking around a little is the right thing to do.

posted on Jan, 6 2019 @ 12:49 PM
a reply to: FlyInTheOintment

My overriding question at this stage is thus: Would you consider yourself as being on a path which is gradually leading away from the wider community & theological construct which your faith practice has generated as you walked through your learnings?

For the time being I am sticking with life in our Dharma center. My awareness is getting more pervasive and deeper, so that is to the good. My attitude to others is less aversive, much less. I am more accepting of them. One tries to see the glass as half full, even as a beginner in this practice.

One can practice for many years and make good progress emancipating oneself from one's own personal deformities. One aligns more with a purified state of mind, but in Vajrayana one is dismayed, eventually, to realize that one is not distant from the personal deformities of others. The impulse to bolt is strongest when that happens.

This happens also when one becomes tranquil enough to realize that one's deceased parents have taken up residence in one's brain, and that after years of striving to shuck them and their deformities off, one is still saddled with them, and their interference.

I concluded that I will never get out from under and that I am now practicing for everyone I ever knew, not just myself. Theravadinism is a strong temptation, but I am shouldering my obligation to fulfill my "Bodhisattva Vow" and to deliver everyone from suffering, at as near to my own pace as I can manage. I'm not a fanatic.

I am confident that Buddhism scholars & practitioners have a clearer insight into the 'mechanics' of general spirituality.

I think this is true. It's a turn of mind. It doesn't imply that other religions are not valid. My guru said that all the major religions are valid and exist for a reason. They appeal to different sorts of people, different sorts of minds.

Of course this is true in life generally, no matter what human activity. Different things appeal to different people for reasons valid for the individual.

Tolerance is important. My guru once said that we must even be tolerant of the intolerant.

In this sense I am somewhat envious of the pragmatic understandings & records, techniques & practices for the basic self-defence of one's attendant spiritual realms which are found in several strands of Buddhism & Yoga. . .

I think Vajrayana developed out of an earlier form of Buddhism in a defensive response to a pervasive environment of "magical mischief".

The affinities between it and various spiritist cults indicate to me similar evolutionary tendencies in some respects. A lot of spiritual interference goes on in the world.

I think that some Christians feel that God is too remote from any individual's problems, while others are completely confident that he has their undivided attention when they pray.

One does have recourse to Saints and Angels for defense, at least in the Catholic Church. This is very close, in practice, to a form of spiritism. It is close to the spiritual martial arts found in Afro originated cults in the Caribbean region and undoubtedly was an opportunity for the creation of syncretistic groups.

One can pray in general terms to the spirits of all those who cherish and defend the rights of the bullied and downtrodden. The results of doing this can be astonishing.

We do live in a thoroughly tainted world, but one must not give in to the dominance of people of ill will. One must try to remove one's own taints. As a result of doing so, pathways to the company and protection of the like minded will appear.

Thanks for you good wishes. I do return them.
edit on 6-1-2019 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 14 2019 @ 07:52 PM
a reply to: ipsedixit

Vajra yana is a yoked vehicle as all yanas are to know one's position stay in body and pay speech no mind, this returns all things returnable to one... as a direct reality.

However long that heaven lasts? Who knows who knows... Devachan that's who. Christians call theirs St. Peter. however Bud Ho is still repeated.

Those who have never been Christian, and even forced, and or tricked to be to be such a thing... know the missionary stance well like any old braying ass trying to make yet another donkey into a horse.

The question to ask in such a vehicle is how does the Griffin make a Buddha? Takes all three Yanas or vehicles to answer... or cross over out out those realms.

A wish takes a monkeys paw and places it into a dish a dish paws one out to pass around not fitting anyone in the room... who fell in?

posted on Jan, 14 2019 @ 08:09 PM
The problem with Tibetans was know by Chairman Mao(Cat)... Dogs. Tibetan terriers, Tibetan Mastiffs, etc but no Tibetan cats... so China basically said all you dogs off the mountain.

One yak on top of the world and no one there to herd it and yet it's milk still smacks at the lips... as if it were tea.

lol it's a sure sign that hungry ghost is going to start foxing in every church and monastery it can, since you are then no longer a dwelling for it.

Hanging out in Thailand too many sattas to know the difference between actor and being... if Adam gets stuck in one's throat who is to thump a Christian? Hell no, they have belts they pass around to heirs too.

Separation of church and state is good on all levels, not just in snow monkey saunas wondering where that hot ass baboon went... lol not in the Nile says the Ganges as it cannot any longer be in denial after it didn't fall in and instead was yanked down.

Not a real lol as there are too many trees in the world curious as to what flowers smell like when those flying fish don't speak clam.

Having been made a monkey out of by many a deva? Asura is an asura but a sore tail lasts awhile.

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