Author Topic: Tantric Ethics  (Read 4406 times)

Chokyi Wangpo

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2010, 12:37:00 pm »
that was kinda my impetus for starting this thread.

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2010, 03:17:26 pm »
Here is another question relating more to practice in the west. How many people in the west who have been given permission to practice in cemetaries (cause I don't know of any charnel grounds) have actually done/do so? There is a totally different set of expectations in the west than from India/Tibet/Nepal etc. So how do these types of practices translate?

So to clarify what I am getting at Pema, which I have really been unable to do so far, is that this topic has many facets: From the misinterpretation of what it means to be a Tantrika, Sadhaka, etc (this includes those controversial issues) to traditional practices that we don't really see often in the west. For many the initial sight of tradition Chod instruments (i.e. authentic kangling) make people go  :eek: so there is much to be done as far as laying a ground work for understanding. We don't have itinerant yogis and sadhus (at least as far as I am aware) wandering around in the west (yet?). Hell as far as I understand there are still some extremely negative connotations of the Tantra in India. The thought of Dakinis (what we'd call mundane dakinis) freaks Indians out.

Does a ground work actually need to be laid for people to understand the what practitioners of the Secret Mantrayana are actually doing? I don't know, there is a tension here between keeping certain levels secret from the uninitiated until they are ready/ have recieved actual teachings (and maintaining the power of the transmission and samayas) and quelling people's unease. It might help when the inevitable loon with no lineage reads some traditionally secret text that some scholar made available to everyone and begins practicing the literal interpretation. I am really just pondering aloud, about how it will all translate to the west in the future.

Chokyi,
I know plenty of very dedicated Dudjom Tröma Chöd practitioners and they just practice at home in private, at the gompa in a restricted setting, and in traditional solitary retreats in retreat cabins on our gompa's land or on another nearby center's land. Both of the latter are out in the boonies. I have never met a Chodpa who was given permission to practice in an American cemetary. In general, the ritual implements of a Chodpa are to be kept private because although they represent having subjugated things like the "demon" of believing in the existence of the aggregates and the "demon" of the fear of losing them (death), to outsiders they would likely just be interpreted as "demonic" themselves. Also, one has to be a bit advanced to be prepared to practice Chod in truly scary places anyway. That's basically a test of one's realization of the Prajnaparamita and, at least in Dudjom's Tröma, of the Dzogchen view. To test oneself prematurely is said to be able to bring on obstacles because one still believes in the supposed reality of the scary projections too much. For most people, the scariness of bears and coyotes roaming around one's retreat area is scary enough!  :cheesy:

About the dakinis: yeah, the word dakini for many Indians has a connotation of witch or mischievous spirit. In Vajrayana, different types of mundane and wisdom dakinis are recognized. Often times, but not always, mundane dakinis are described to be just like what freaks those Indians out. Sometimes mundane dakinis are oath-bound protectors or holders of the teachings. Generally though, in Vajrayana we focus on wisdom dakinis which are female buddhas or bodhisattvas.

As far as the rest of your concerns, I really don't know. Most people not drawn to Vajrayana will never hear about this stuff or be interested to look at it (if they happen across it when it's openly displayed on the net, for instance). The small amount of people that come across things they should never have been informally introduced to may be disturbed by what they see or read, and others may be drawn to try to follow it in some self-created, half-baked way. We can't really stop these western scholars from publishing their interpretive dissertations on the tantras. We can't do anything about genuine Tibetan lamas' decisions to support the unrestricted sale of authentic translations of this class of texts, which they obviously feel the benefit outweighs the risks. At the same time, we also can't go around blabbing about mantra topics we swore to keep discreet. I've seen some lamas express the opinion that an exception to that rule, though, is to break the code of secrecy to the extent that it's necessary to correct someone's harmful misunderstanding of secret mantra topics. One has to have wisdom here, though, and I'm not convinced I have what it takes. Instead, since Alexander Berzin has an excellent understanding of Tibetan Vajrayana and his root guru (HH the Dalai Lama) gave him permission to speak on these matters for the very purpose we're discussing, I feel more comfortable turning people to that site.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 03:22:08 pm by Pema Rigdzin »

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2010, 04:00:38 pm »
Quote
I've seen some lamas express the opinion that an exception to that rule, though, is to break the code of secrecy to the extent that it's necessary to correct someone's harmful misunderstanding of secret mantra topics.

I didn't know that.  I best not try that option though   :wink1:

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2010, 04:49:52 pm »
Quote
I've seen some lamas express the opinion that an exception to that rule, though, is to break the code of secrecy to the extent that it's necessary to correct someone's harmful misunderstanding of secret mantra topics.

I didn't know that.  I best not try that option though   :wink1:

Haha, I best not either, Laura.

I think it's best left to people with realization and wisdom, not people like me with some book knowledge and good intentions. Or at least people with very thorough learning and permission from their lamas, like Berzin. (Of course, Berzin himself may be realized for all I know.)

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2010, 05:07:31 pm »
Yes, well it's okay of course with a vajra sibling though, right?

 :pray:

Chokyi Wangpo

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2010, 10:41:34 pm »
Dear Pema,

1. I am not really that concerned.
2. my discussion isn't about if and when, but how we respond to people who mistake the teachings, as undoubtedly questions will be leveled at those who do know.
3. I know people who have been given permission to practice in cemetaries, I was in the room with them during the empowerment (in other words I was but I haven't), but it wasn't specified by location, i don't think mattered to the empowering lama and actually it wasn't Chod related.
4. about keeping chod instruments secret Is this a new convention because i don't think it was in tibet
5. I know the stuff about wisdom and mundane dakinis I wasn't and there are several contexts there so I understand why you clarified for me. Btw mundane in different contexts referring to dakinis can mean several things, i meant with respect to the Indian view.
6. Stuff about where Chodpas do typically practice, I agree. I also agree about test of realization of emptiness etc. This is what i have been taught in my practice as well.
7. I have no idea why i enumerated but i am sticking with it
8. Is my favorite number. And Berzin is awesome.
9. I don't know why what I have written regarding my purpose of this thread has been unclear to you, I deeply suspect I type in a mumbley fashion, and with a lisp (no really I am sure the fault is mine, but I don't know how to say it better so), but I restate: I am not going to, nor am I advocating talking about specific aspects that one should not talk about without permission/empowerment etc. Also if I do say anything that may be considered even borderline please censor me. This is, in my mind, kind of a Tantric Ethics/practice in the west kind of a discussion, please feel free to discuss any other issues relevant  in this thread, I never intended to be a question and answer format between myself and others.
10. I mean no disrespect and hold you in high regard. Also ten is a good number to end on.


Offline humanitas

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2010, 11:04:56 pm »
Oh, well, shoot, if you wanted to know the deepest darkest vajra truths, you could just talk to me - Dharma Lasagna!  I am all knowing.  Didn't they send you the memo?  I'm an emanation of his holiness Prajna Roll.
 :headbow:
Ogyen.


heybai knows what I'm saying...
This post was made with 100% recycled karma

Chokyi Wangpo

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2010, 11:11:05 pm »
nah, I am not interested in the darkest truths, not even remotely, and that is not what i am posting about. Now the deepest thats an entirely different story. Nah not interested in those either. The highest ones. They are not available in electronic format though, and if they were, I'd mistake them just like I do my Buddha nature.

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2010, 01:02:28 am »
Yes, well it's okay of course with a vajra sibling though, right?

 :pray:

Yes, of course.  :cheesy:

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2010, 01:06:50 am »
Yes, well it's okay of course with a vajra sibling though, right?

 :pray:

Yes, of course.  :cheesy:

Thanks   :wacky:

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2010, 01:20:29 am »
Haha, Chokyi, I enjoyed the lightheartedness of your enumeration.

As for how we respond in the situation you're talking about... hopefully (for me) with some mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom (the mundane kind when it comes to me lol). It's a sticky situation, to be sure. We can only do our best and then there's the four opponent powers and Vajrasattva if we make mistakes. Also, I didn't mean to sound like I was advising you what to do or say, or warning you not to say x,y,or z here, just giving my approach. I choose to defer to sites like Berzin's or to realized lamas, when possible to do so without being discompassionate or irresponsible, since there's no guarantee I'll respond sufficiently skillfully or keep from blocking my own progress by sharing too much unnecessarily.

About the Chod instruments... I don't know what to say about them sometimes openly displaying them in Tibet (and even in the West when they do public Chod ceremonies, etc). Keeping vajra implements private is the normal samaya in Vajrayana, but my guess is they were open about them with their lama's permission and with the greater good in mind. Also, Tibetans were much more comfortable and familiar with these implements than most Westerners are. I'm not a Chodpa, but I'd keep my vajra implements private unless ok'd by my lama.

The cemetery thing: I didn't mean to suggest that no one had received such instruction or permission, just that most Western Vajrayana practitioners (Chodpas or otherwise) are probably practicing how I described, so for most it's not an issue.

Yeshe

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2010, 01:21:19 am »
The darker side of Tibetan history and the nature of theocracy could fill several threads.

There are stories of murder  (the Shugden one was never proven btw, but the spreading of the rumour was very successful).
There are stories of young boys being used (abused) as tantric sexual consorts.
There are plenty of recent stories of exploitation by senior figures in TB, not all of them Tibetan.
There are recent stories of repression and persecution as purges are performed.

None of the above means that the teachings themselves are in any way faulty.

As to ethics in the performance of Vajrayana, as it is 'secret mantra' we may never find out who is doing what, with whom and to whom.

However, Tantric Vows do not contradict Pratimoksha or Bodhisattva vows, so they are not a charter to get stuck into the alcohol, sex etc., nor to break any other vows we hold.  As a matter of interest, Tantric vows in my case were taken as part of HYT empowerment. I assume that with Action Tantra etc. it is our other vows which provide the ethical framework.

Now for the part which really interests me:

Once we are self-generated as the deity, we are no longer the monk or lay practitioner to whom the vows applied.  So if as the deity we drink alcohol and have sex with a consort, some may assume that of course we are permitted to do so.  Is that the 'getout clause' in the vows which the unscrupulous may exploit?



« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 01:39:53 am by Yeshe »

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2010, 01:33:50 am »
Now for the part which really interests me:
Once we are self-generated as the deity, we are no longer the monk or lay practitioner to whom the vows applied.  So if as the deity we drink alcohol and have sex with a consort, presumably we are permitted to do so.  Is that the 'getout clause' in the vows which the unscrupulous may exploit?

I have no idea   :blank:

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2010, 01:49:38 am »
Once we are self-generated as the deity, we are no longer the monk or lay practitioner to whom the vows applied.  So if as the deity we drink alcohol and have sex with a consort, presumably we are permitted to do so.  Is that the 'getout clause' in the vows which the unscrupulous may exploit?

Deluded actions are deluded no matter how one visualizes or considers oneself. If someone is unscrupulous, their motivations and view will be unscrupulous, so their actions will be unscrupulous, and the fruit will resemble the cause. But to answer your question more specifically, no, that is not a valid loophole. Celibate practitioners are to be celibate, Vajrayana or not. The text I mainly follow for the three levels of vows, "Ascertaining the Three Vows" by Ngari Panchen, with contemporary commentary by the late Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, spells out very specifically the level of realization and accomplishment necessary for sex to no longer be considered "sex" by a monk. Let's just say it's quite an extraordinary level. However, Tibetan custom is typically that despite having the requisite realization, a monastic lama who feels it would be beneficial for him to practice in a non-celibate way would respectfully offer back his monastic vows and become a ngakpa. I know this custom has not universally been followed, but it is the general custom nonetheless.

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Tantric Ethics
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2010, 02:01:33 am »
Thanks Pema   :om:

 


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