Author Topic: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)  (Read 2811 times)

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2010, 12:18:09 pm »
So the rest of us can follow the discussion:
What is FP?
What are GP classes?
I know that:
NKT is New Kadampa Tradition.
HYT is Highest Yoga Tantra.
Any other initials that you guys use can be explained here also.
Thanks for filling me in.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2010, 12:20:09 pm »
Perhapes it would be an idea for the NKT to start a classical Dharma class where we study all the works of the old Kadam/gelug masters, i would be very interested to see what approach this could take i wouldnt mind seeing a few new resources become widley available such as biographys of the great masters, and some more works and original commentarys to vindicate Geshe-la's works.  :pray:

Yes, I have read Je Tsongkhapa's works and Pabongka's .

I think of them not as a replacement for Geshe-la's books, but a good way of  contextualising them.
It is also sometimes important very important when you read the book and in what order.
For example, rerad Clear Light of Bliss before Tantric Mahamudra and read Guide to Dakini Land before Essence of Vajrayana.

Transform Your Life is a simple intro and one can move on to New Meditation Handbook, Universal Compassion and then Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

The NKT has now released some meditation cd's based on different themes.

It is very difficult for the  study programmes like FP to be a bit more thematic as we would need several books as source texts.  I trust geshe-la's judgement in taking it book by book. ;)

P.S.  GP classes are the General Programme as taught to complete beginners.
FP is the Foundation Programme which studies several of the books in huge detail and takes around 4 years to complete.
There is also the TTP which is the Teacher Training Programme. :)

Offline Webgoji

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2010, 01:33:29 pm »
Perhapes it would be an idea for the NKT to start a classical Dharma class where we study all the works of the old Kadam/gelug masters, i would be very interested to see what approach this could take i wouldnt mind seeing a few new resources become widley available such as biographys of the great masters, and some more works and original commentarys to vindicate Geshe-la's works.  :pray:

Mmm . .  I dunno.  The reason Geshe-la wrote his books was to provide commentary to the root texts and present them in a way that was accessible to westerners.  While I agree that there are those of us who would love to study the root texts (myself in particular) most of the students I've met barely study the texts given and would have no interest in the root texts.  As time passes, there may be enough interest for him to provide those root texts, but right now I don't know if the membership would have enough interest to support a program of studying the root texts.

(I wonder how many times I can use "root texts" in a sentence . . .?)
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Offline Caz

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2010, 01:44:11 pm »
Perhapes it would be an idea for the NKT to start a classical Dharma class where we study all the works of the old Kadam/gelug masters, i would be very interested to see what approach this could take i wouldnt mind seeing a few new resources become widley available such as biographys of the great masters, and some more works and original commentarys to vindicate Geshe-la's works.  :pray:

Mmm . .  I dunno.  The reason Geshe-la wrote his books was to provide commentary to the root texts and present them in a way that was accessible to westerners.  While I agree that there are those of us who would love to study the root texts (myself in particular) most of the students I've met barely study the texts given and would have no interest in the root texts.  As time passes, there may be enough interest for him to provide those root texts, but right now I don't know if the membership would have enough interest to support a program of studying the root texts.

(I wonder how many times I can use "root texts" in a sentence . . .?)

As yeshe said it helps him contextualise Geshe-la' books personally i think it would be a great idea to help everyone gain a bit more knowledge and history of the tradition, I would also love to see serval Auto biographies published as i think this would be very good in helping develop deep faith in these precious lineage gurus.  :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline Tsongkhapafan

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2010, 02:40:57 am »
I heard that Trijang Rinpoche said that if he had a hundred students, and ninety nine of them became Buddhas and one became a Teacher, the Teacher would be more valuable.  I think this was to emphasise the importance of Dharma Teachers because we cannot receive teachings from the Dharmakaya, but if there's a human Teacher, we can receive Buddha's teachings and blessings through that person.

To understand the Essence of Wisdom Sutra, for example, requires an oral transmission of the root text and commentary and then intensive study and discussion of the commentary.  We aren't going to 'get it' on our own, no matter how much we practice because we don't know WHAT to practice and whether we're practising the real meaning of the sutra of whether we are practising our own wrong views and misunderstandings about the text.  Therefore, even from this point of view, I think that FP is invaluable.  I fully accept if people don't think they need teachings, though.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 03:06:14 am by Tsongkhapafan »

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2010, 11:16:15 am »
I heard that Trijang Rinpoche said that if he had a hundred students, and ninety nine of them became Buddhas and one became a Teacher, the Teacher would be more valuable.  I think this was to emphasise the importance of Dharma Teachers because we cannot receive teachings from the Dharmakaya, but if there's a human Teacher, we can receive Buddha's teachings and blessings through that person.

To understand the Essence of Wisdom Sutra, for example, requires an oral transmission of the root text and commentary and then intensive study and discussion of the commentary.  We aren't going to 'get it' on our own, no matter how much we practice because we don't know WHAT to practice and whether we're practising the real meaning of the sutra of whether we are practising our own wrong views and misunderstandings about the text.  Therefore, even from this point of view, I think that FP is invaluable.  I fully accept if people don't think they need teachings, though.

Remember, we are often reading the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, as commented upon by Pabongka Rinpoche, as conveyed by Trijang Rinpoche and as conveyed again by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Each time the commentary has become simpler and the language easier for a modern readership. We really don't need the stuff explained in even simpler terms, surely.

An oral commentary on the commentary on the commentary on the teachings based on the root texts.?
LOL :)

The books are exceptionally clear and aside from instructions related to tantric practice I can honestly say that classes I have attended over more than a decade have rarely ever strayed from or added to the books.  The only exception is when the reader needs to cross-reference between books, so it does help to have the whole set.   I would argue that Prajnaparamita practice is tantric and requires empowerment and instruction, as opposed to understanding the root text or commentary.

When teachers ascribe 'blissful' and 'amazing' etc. to  their ability to read aloud very slowly I kinda turn off! LOL :)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 11:18:31 am by Yeshe Zopa »

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2010, 02:30:45 pm »
So the rest of us can follow the discussion:
What is FP?
What are GP classes?
I know that:
NKT is New Kadampa Tradition.
HYT is Highest Yoga Tantra.
Any other initials that you guys use can be explained here also.
Thanks for filling me in.

GP is the General Programme which is intended for beginners to gain some experience of meditation and basic Buddhism.

FP is the Foundation Programme in which students spend time in detailed examination of several books by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and sit exams based on them.

My view is that FP is not necessary if one already understands the books.

I am also perturbed by the techniques of signing contracts, insisting on attendance at other Dharma Centre events and the interrogation of anyone who needs to  miss a class. Missing a class is not 'abandoning the Dharma' as I was told - it is simply missing a class.

Buddhist practice is not restricted to class attendance and reading books aloud, but you would think that to be the case if you heard the way people are berated.  I have witnessed such behaviour and been informed of enough examples to know that it is commonplace.

The NKT ethos needs to accommodate lay life.  Gelugpas were predomonantly monastic and expected total commitment to their events. Lay practitioners may have families and work commitments. The fault lies in teaching that one should cherish our families, be compassionate to our friends etc - but never when class attendance is affected.   Meeting a daughter on an annual trip home from abroad is apparently an 'excuse' and why bother as you will see her next year maybe.  'Dharma' (as in an NKT class)  needs full attention NOW.

Some of this 'persuasion' has a bullying tone, but much more insidious is the emotional blackmail as the teacher and others look pityingly on the person who puts family first and gently drip drip drips the guilt onto them.

Now, I love the NKT books, but I'm also too old to fall for coercion, which is what is sometimes used.

Unless there is a different approach, the NKT runs the risk of having the FP 'exposed' by some cult-watching group as a step towards indoctrination rather than a step to a greater understanding of Buddhism.

I do what I feel will be best in terms of practice, and sometimes may do the unthinkable and visit a sick relative rather than hear someone read aloud from a book I can read for myself. ;)


Offline Caz

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2010, 04:22:02 pm »
Not everyone has the same experience yeshe, you met pushy people and pushy sanghas all over the place, some are more relaxed then others.
You for example are different then others you have many years of study behind you and know what you are doing where as others who are fresh to teachings may have little idea what they are doing and need some help in understanding books, signing contracts for attendence is one thing people who lack appropriate understanding or knowledge of these materials will not get the full benifit out of them if they are not attending regularly, Of course that being said there is always a way of being tactful with people, ive met my fair shair of over zelous buddhists and do not believe they are an exclusivity to the NKT.

Not all places are the same.  :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline Webgoji

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2010, 01:29:45 pm »
Yeshe brings up a few interesting points that our center is actually trying to address.  My wife and I, while not having been at the center the longest, are considered the senior leadership.  I teach classes in the absence of our Resident Teacher (RT), am the FP (Foundation Program) monitor and manage the bookstore.  My wife, bless her heart was filling the Administrative Director and Education Program Coordinator's positions until recently.

When my wife asked to resign from her position it shook things up a little.  We simply were at the center 5 out of 7 days of the week and couldn't go to things like our kids football/soccer/Tae Kwon Do practices, visit with friends or simply help the kids with homework.  There was an initial panick of "What do we do now?  Who's gonna handle this stuff?"  My wife and I stepped to the side to spend more time with our family and things have started to slide at the center.  My teacher, recognizing this, has started to make changes to the way things usually run.  For example, she sets up herself on Thursdays so that I can coach peewee soccer (that's football to anyone outside the U.S.).  When we have things like workshops or retreats, she requests volunteers to help get it set up rather than relying on my wife to coordinate it.  She may even cancel some of the GP (General Program) classes over the summer while she is gone so that I don't have to fill in.  She specifically has met with us to ensure we perform functions at the center because we wish to do them and not out of a feeling that we HAVE to do them.

In addition, we have had two students drop out of FP due to various personal reasons.  No questions were asked and obviously if they wanted to attend GP classes then they are more than welcome (one has become quite the staple for our GP classes, the other has disappeared lately due his issues at home).  The main mantra we use at the center though is "Do not pressure".  If someone can't make it to something, we don't want to pressure them into thinking they have to be there.

That said, I can certainly understand why the NKT would prefer a higher level of committment for the FP students (and thus said contracts).  If someone comes and goes from class, it becomes disruptive to the discussion as they ask questions over material covered in prior weeks so the class is unable to move along.  Secondly, it becomes difficult to rely on the other students as a source of information and discussion.  As I mentioned in another thread, although I myself am NOT intellectually gifted, I do study and have found that there are none of the other students who have studied enough to be someone to rely upon for discussion or just wisdom about daily life.  When the "senior" students can't answer a question like, "Hey, why does that Buddha have 4 arms," it doesn't really help the confidence of the GP students in relying on the Sangha (actually tends to reinforce the opposite, one of my main problems).  I do find it interesting that you mention teachers reading to you from the text.  My teacher will read the section we are covering and then provide commentary for our understanding.  Most of the time is actually spent with her teaching and only referencing the text so I'm curious if this is an anomoly or if you just had an inexperienced teacher.

I do think that Yeshe has been subject to some inappropriate comments, a failure on the part of those he was with.  But overall, my experiences with the NKT have been FAR better than any religious organization I've been a part of.
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Yeshe Zopa

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2010, 02:11:31 pm »
Coercion is very bad for the NKT's image.

It may not be limited to one centre, as the 'survivors' forum asserts.  I never believed any of the stuff posted on that forum, as several of the complainants were obviously disappointed 'saviour seekers'.  Now I am more open to the situation.

There is of course exaggeration by those who wish the NKT ill.

I have only experienced this recently, having in the past 10 years or so been able to resist calls to enter FP with good humour on all sides.

I feel that the RT's are under tremendous pressure to fund both their mortgages on dharma centres and also to satisfy HQ with their recruitment.

This is very sad.

I have never been pressured to join or attend or fund any activity by any other Buddhist organisation.  All is offered freely and nobody ever asks 'why aren't you coming?' or applies any arm-twisiting.

I'm sorry to report this Caz, but please keep an open mind as yet another (3rd?) successor to GKG finds it all too much.

I have samaya with my root guru.  I am loyal to the NKT, but unless these issues are aired the NKT will not be aware of the need for change. ;)

Offline Caz

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2010, 11:10:29 am »
I keep a hopefull mind, Nothing is perfect in samsara, Its only a young Foundation things will get better as time goes on.
I have good faith to continue with what i am doing and so in future will become more extensivly involved in making things a better environment, of course nothing ever changes unless you are committed to doing something to help improve.

 :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: FP General Discussion (Moved from Essence of wisdom sutra thread)
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2010, 02:06:13 pm »
I keep a hopefull mind, Nothing is perfect in samsara, Its only a young Foundation things will get better as time goes on.
I have good faith to continue with what i am doing and so in future will become more extensivly involved in making things a better environment, of course nothing ever changes unless you are committed to doing something to help improve.

 :pray:


Teaching Dharma is a role which is a hugely important opportunity for anyone who has taken the Bodhisattva Vows.

I am sure you will make an excellent teacher. ;)


 


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