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Short Vajrassatva Retreat - Doubts around Tibetan Buddhism

Short Vajrassatva Retreat - Doubts around Tibetan Buddhism

RE: Short Vajrassatva Retreat - Doubts around Tibetan Buddhism
7/23/19 3:05 AM as a reply to Fabian Storer.
do tell!

in my early searching phase i fiddled with all kinds of practices and traditions.  many of those traditions were attractive but obscure either due to cultural baggage or intentional witholding of pertinent information.  some traditions were cult-like, some obviously claiming ownership of general information for their own greedy ends and some were more open.

i fell in love with tibetan buddhism and read and practised and bowed and scraped and kissed the lama's ass.  for a very long time i listened to the secret teachings and took the advice not to share the secret knowledge or to look elsewhere for the secret answers. doing this would send me to hell, much like the catholic priests who scared the youth out of me.

i got over that phase after a wonderful teacher, Shamar Rinpoche, told me that there is no harm in looking to other contemplative methods because the real ones are all pointing at the same no-thing.

after that (very beneficial btw) phase, i stumbled upon the theravada teachings and eventually to this fantastic source and community.  through books like bill hamilton's "saints and psychopaths" and of course daniel's book as well as culadasa etc. the smoke and mirrors were seen for what they are, external hinderances to investigation and insight.

i love my tibetan past but am happy to have found this place to put that in perspective.


ps: i still recite my 100 syllable mantra, almost automatically, when driving or just because.  i loved the Vajrasaatva meditation.

RE: Short Vajrassatva Retreat - Doubts around Tibetan Buddhism
7/23/19 6:04 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
Thank you so much for your reply. 

Apologies for the original post, I was suppossed to post more apart from the heading but my computer kind of jacked itself. Turns out I didn't really need to post much because you were on point anyway. 

I have done a few Tibetan retreats now, and yes there is so much that I love about it (I really enjoyed working with Vajrasattva and the mantra). I just found myself with a lot more doubt on this retreat, since the teacher seemed to be repeating a lot of what I'd already heard, in quite a dogmatic fashion, plus all the cultural bells of whistles which I sometimes just feel embarrassed taking part in. 

I love the teachings, but even the emphasis on reincarnation, beggingless lives, karma etc. somehow doesn't serve me day to day. So I am in a phase of trying to reconcile all that. How to take what really works for me, and use it, whilst maintaing respect for the tradition and all it has done for me. I haven't got around to reading MCTB yet or Bill Hamilton, but it's on my to-do list. 

Thanks again. 

RE: Short Vajrassatva Retreat - Doubts around Tibetan Buddhism
7/24/19 3:47 AM as a reply to Fabian Storer.
Excellent!  You are just showing discernment, not doubt.  You are still finding out what works for you as a person who is capable of sifting and sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Most people do not realize that the Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners go through a long training in basic shamatha and vipassana.  Never doubt what brings you forward.  The traditions which are so rich in symbolism and pomp were established in cultures where basic reason were not generally available to lay people and so the guru worship ( a path of grace ) was encouraged over the relatively more complex study and introspection based paths.

You can continue to love the loveable parts and trying to understand the deeper teachings on emptiness and pointing out instructions is very very valuable.

I do reccomend you read MCTB and or The Mind Illuminated with a mind that acknowledges that these are all ways to decode this thing we call human life.  Take some retreats in other traditions or do self retreats to hone your basic vipassana and shamatha skills as they are all complemantary and aid the development in any tradition.