Author Topic: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?  (Read 6874 times)

Offline SherabZangpo

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2010, 03:25:56 pm »
Yeah, sure. I said "blind faith", not faith. Of course faith is good. Blind faith and dogmatism are not good, or at least, even while they have their positive qualities, they are potentially very dangerous.   

Anyway, I think this kind of illustrates my point -- Nyingmas are often not the most intellectually inclined, and this can lead to some misunderstandings. In this way it could be seen as more conservative. It's an interesting dynamic since also I think Nyingma is also generally more open to different intellectual interpretations and creativity, etc. 

E

Offline SherabZangpo

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2010, 03:29:02 pm »
What I meant is that in this very discussion a few Nyingmapas started to disagree about what wasn't even a disagreement but a confusion over terminology. I think that because of less emphasis on study, it's possibly likely to be more confusion about terminology in Nyingma. And thus arguments that are more or less pointless because noone ever defines their terms. At the same time, Nyingmapas are also probably less fixated on terminology, which can also be a good thing.

Offline humanitas

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2010, 04:26:31 pm »
As a Nyingmapa myself, I can see what you're saying about a different flavor to the approach of different Tibetan schools of thought.  I'm often tremendously intellectual to the point of making other people uncomfortable, something I'm very careful with when I interact with other Buddhists.  So in order to "tone it down" the Nyingma style actually forces me to drop a lot of that hyperthinking and I'm able to be a warmer not-so-pompous-sounding human being.  Perhaps this is a feature of the school's style interacting with my own proclivities.  Nyingma in general from what I've been able to experience has a good deal of openness to difference and different interpretations of the dharma.   I have no idea if more or less so than other Tibetan schools of thought.  The only other school I've been interested in is Kagyu but I have a while before I commit to another lineage... One practice is hard enough to master!

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Offline Pema Dorje

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2010, 06:02:21 pm »
Debating about certain aspects would be finer suited in the Danger Zone.  :namaste:
-Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.-
Gautama Buddha

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2010, 11:50:17 pm »
What I meant is that in this very discussion a few Nyingmapas started to disagree about what wasn't even a disagreement but a confusion over terminology. I think that because of less emphasis on study, it's possibly likely to be more confusion about terminology in Nyingma. And thus arguments that are more or less pointless because noone ever defines their terms. At the same time, Nyingmapas are also probably less fixated on terminology, which can also be a good thing.
For us here in the West you may have a point. I don't think there was much confusion over terms and such in Tibet.
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.

Offline SherabZangpo

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2010, 01:10:27 am »
What I meant is that in this very discussion a few Nyingmapas started to disagree about what wasn't even a disagreement but a confusion over terminology. I think that because of less emphasis on study, it's possibly likely to be more confusion about terminology in Nyingma. And thus arguments that are more or less pointless because noone ever defines their terms. At the same time, Nyingmapas are also probably less fixated on terminology, which can also be a good thing.
For us here in the West you may have a point. I don't think there was much confusion over terms and such in Tibet.

No, there was sometimes. For young/new monks or nuns or lay practitioners especially. Actually in general lay people in Tibetan culture tend to be rather uneducated about Dharma, I would say even if they are devoted and faithful, half the time or more they know rather little about philosophy, not just dialectics but Buddhist philosophy in general. I am talking about people who spend hours a day practicing Dharma for 20-60 years and might know less in many ways than someone in the west who's been studying for a few years . However, the monks and nuns in Tibetan culture are generally quite educated, much more so than Westerneres, and spend long hours memorizing definitions.


Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2010, 02:01:42 am »
Actually in general lay people in Tibetan culture tend to be rather uneducated about Dharma, I would say even if they are devoted and faithful, half the time or more they know rather little about philosophy, not just dialectics but Buddhist philosophy in general.
Most of the lay population was illiterate, so that applies to all the Tibetan traditions.

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I am talking about people who spend hours a day practicing Dharma for 20-60 years and might know less in many ways than someone in the west who's been studying for a few years.
You don't need a huge amount of intellectual preparation for the meditations to work.

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However, the monks and nuns in Tibetan culture are generally quite educated, much more so than Westerneres, and spend long hours memorizing definitions.
The Tibetan literary language is pretty straightforward. If I remember correctly there was no written language before Dharma came to Tibet, so it was designed from the outset to accommodate Dharma. If you know the roots of the words the etymology makes the definitions quite apparent.
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.

Offline SherabZangpo

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2010, 04:28:16 am »
Actually in general lay people in Tibetan culture tend to be rather uneducated about Dharma, I would say even if they are devoted and faithful, half the time or more they know rather little about philosophy, not just dialectics but Buddhist philosophy in general.
Most of the lay population was illiterate, so that applies to all the Tibetan traditions.

Of course. I wasn't talking about the Nyingma tradition in particular.

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I am talking about people who spend hours a day practicing Dharma for 20-60 years and might know less in many ways than someone in the west who's been studying for a few years.
You don't need a huge amount of intellectual preparation for the meditations to work.

Sure. I don't think that was the point I was trying to make here though.

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However, the monks and nuns in Tibetan culture are generally quite educated, much more so than Westerneres, and spend long hours memorizing definitions.
The Tibetan literary language is pretty straightforward. If I remember correctly there was no written language before Dharma came to Tibet, so it was designed from the outset to accommodate Dharma. If you know the roots of the words the etymology makes the definitions quite apparent.

Not so readily apparent or people who can't read the texts!

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2010, 04:58:41 am »
I've just come back from retreat, so rather than try to pick out loads of quotes to respond to individually, I'll just try to comment on some of the themes to struck me most forcefully as I read all the posts. I'll use quote marks to define the point I'm responding to - it may not be a direct quote.

I'm going to try to avoid definitions of 'liberal'.

I'm only a junior student in our tradition, the Longchen Foundation, which is composed of a Nyingma sangha of  non-celibate yogins and householders in the UK and Germany, so can only speak of what I've experienced.

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Nyingma is more liberal because it is mostly non-monastic
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Hold on there! The inference seems to be that the yogic/householder path is somehow less demanding. less rigorous than a monastically-based one. I can't accept that! Right from the first presence of Dharma in Tibet it was recognized that the 'two Sangas' were equal and complimentary. The teaching in our tradition is that monastics actually cannot go as far as others on the Dzogchen path because their vows prevent them from involvement in some necessary practices. We are also told that the image that some might have that monastics, in general, are experts at meditation because they (presumably) have all that free time is not generally the case.

The Bodhisattva vow is the key entry-point to in-depth Dharmic practice in Mahayana - this is taken and followed by all Nyingmas. My understanding is that the monastic vows beyond that are mostly social - concerned with the rules needed to live in an intense, closed community.

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Nyingmas are not intellectual

Let's break this down a bit. I can only talk about the Mahayana Maha Ati (Dzogchen) path, of which I have a little experience.

The whole point of the Ati path is that it is one of experience. You are trained in actually gaining internal experiences which will demonstrate the truth to you. So conceptual models and discussions are avoided in the early stages, as they will simply get in the way; you would be sitting there trying to fit your experiences into some model you read in a book, rather than actually discovering the reality of them. It's these concepts which have to be overcome, so why reinforce them!

If you think this means that no intellectual study is involved just try reading any of Longchen Rabjam Treasuries!

What we don't have is a process of debate as part of the path. That seems to me to just reinforce the conceptualization of the Dharma, and to value debating skills over real, inner experience.

As some kind of side-evidence on this, I might mention that the majority of intermediate / senior students in our Sangha are professionals with higher degrees. Around 50% are in the medical / consulting / therapy areas of, life, another 25% or so are engineers, mathematicians or psychologists. Rigdzin Shikpo, our guru, trained as a mathematical physicist.

If you were to attend one of his teachings on Interpenetration according to the Avatamsaka Sutra you would not think our practice anti-intellectual! Last week we had to discourage him from getting out a white-board to draw graphical illustrations using set theory and Riemann functions to teach the Nyingma view of the creation of the universe.

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Nyingmas depend on faith, not knowledge

Hmmm. The Ati path is one of evolving real, inner experience, which is, surely, superior to abstract concept-based knowledge. You need what I often refer to as short-term faith - enough faith in your teacher and in your own potential to sit down on that cushion and do that practice for a few months. Once the practice has borne fruit you don't need that faith any more - you now know it through direct experience. All right, you now start up another round of faith to take you through the next set of practices, and so on, but the path involves that continual series of progressive steps.

What you don't really need is some kind of long-term faith that years and years of activity without any obvious effect is needed for the sake of eventual benefit when you die, or whenever.




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Offline Matibhadra

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Re: Is Nyingma the Most Liberal?
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2016, 07:20:31 pm »
From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama on, Nyingma masters are known for their enthusiastic rituals aimed at destroying deities of other traditions, such as the Gelugpa protector known as “Dorje Shugden”, which they see as some kind of “devil” or “evil spirit”.

The former Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Dudjom Rinpoche, is even known for having created picturesque amulets aimed at “averting” the influence of the same “evil spirit”, as one can see here http://budda.net.pl/amulety.htm

If hysterical-paranoid fear of “evil spirits”, combined with the obsessive-compulsive drive to “destroy” them, are signs of “liberality”, then we have an incontestable champion.

 


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