maanantai 10. helmikuuta 2020

Pemako Buddhism: Western Vajrayana Pioneers

Pemako Buddhism:
Western Vajrayana Pioneers

Q: I again come to expectations and concepts, how a buddha should be and behave. Like it would be an automation that fully realized buddha would be teaching, doing charity and so on.

Kim: We, Pemako buddhists, are pioneers and the West is the ground where we have arrived to our pioneering work. There has been mahasiddhas before but not outside the cultures of the East (not known at least). Honestly, I think that, we are the first ones on this hemisphere getting close to buddhahood and eventually becoming mahasiddhas in this life, the first ones within just few years from now, based on divinations and the present stage of a handful of our practitioners.

Already for couple of years, half of our sangha members have achieved stability of rigpa or knowledge of oneself as a buddha. I've spoken about statistics and details on many occasion before so I won't get into that here but people new to this should read What's Next? On Post-Awakening Practice, which gives you a clear and practical sense of this, what to newcomers and outsiders might seem like an outrageous claim. So anyway, it's a completely new thing what we do here in the modern West. Also, Pemako Buddhism is the only non-Eastern lineage of vajrayana to exist. There simply are no others, as all existing lineages of tantra have come from Tibet, in most cases. So we are doing groundbreaking work, like pioneers who roam to new lands, build roads and villages for others to come. In the wider perspective of history this has been done many times before but in our time and culture, it hasn't been done.

There is not a single person existing who grew up in the West and became a mahasiddha. I think we might have to go back 2000 years to find such a person in Jesus Christ but since then there has been nobody, although there has been many monks, nuns and hermits in the Christian tradition.

Looking at the present Western world, there is no one out there who had life experiences like ours because no mahasiddha ever grew up and practiced in the modern West. All available accounts and biographies of yogis and masters are all Eastern and if you start reading them, I at least, always found something to relate to but mostly something I couldn't relate to. I didn't grow up in buddhist culture riding yaks, cooking food on fire, living in tents. I grew up in a modern secular society, watching Sylvester Stallone movies, getting drunk in bars as a teenager, experienced depression, anxiety attacks, wasn't married (twice) by my parents and so on and so on.

To live in 21st century wealthy Western society is very very little like the past cultures of the East. Pretty much the only similarity to Eastern people of the past, is existential confusion, dukkha. So, we just have to do the work ourselves and trailblaze, come up with our own stories of authentic seeking, practice and attainment. It would be nice and supportive for us to already have accounts from perfectly enlightened Western buddhas - people who look, speak and are like us - but as that is not the case we just have to do it ourselves. It's been done before in history many many times so in one sense we are not actually doing something entirely new, it's just new in our present time.

One thing is for sure: Buddhas are not gods, angels, high beings or saints. Buddhas are fully liberated of all form and types of selfing, in other words, they have the insight of emptiness of all phenomena. All texts say this but to me at least it is not so obvious to understand this because at the same time buddhism comes with a lot of cultural baggage and mushroom effect from previous generations of the East that is not helping us Westerners to understand what exactly it is that changes or is transformed with practice, and what isn't.

Our personalities will not change due to attaining perfect enlightenent or mahasiddhahood. We still remain, in my case for example, a heavy metal and electronic dance music loving goof, who plays the blues on guitar. I never was a shiny happy person, smiling that etheric smile of a buddha, so I doubt I will become one when I achieve mahasiddhahood. Actually, that sounds creepy to me and in fact, it looks like the exact opposite.

When the recent layers of self/bhumis have cleaned up for me, I find that I swear as much as I used to prior to dharma practice, when I was around 20 years of age. That's when I think I had the best sense of humour as well, and it's all coming back... I started changing myself, put a lid on my personality when meeting the dharma, like everyone does. So yeah, in my understanding, already quite close to the full attainment, it looks like I am just becoming me, completely and entirely again, except that most of the self-made bs is gone... I certainly have no problem of remaining a fan of 80's heavy metal or whatever cultural traits I have. In fact, that sounds awesome to me. I can be me, without the slightest imposition of a ”spiritual person”, a teacher, bodhisattva, buddha or whatever. Just me! Yay! And you, and we all.

Q: I love this stuff... I have come to this conclusion, too, that it's just about being myself fully. As it can't be any other way. I hate all the hypocrisy and built up "me's".

Kim: You know all these masters have said it that you, me and everything is already liberated and perfect. That we don't need to alter anything is what they mean. And actually changing oneself or imposing a new whatever spiritual-practitioner-bodhisattva-persona on oneself is not only entirely needless but also makes it worse in terms of increasing self-based confusion. But that's how the samsaric mind works and we all can't help reifying it. Also, it doesn't help that a lot of schools and lineages start by having the beginners become followers by carrying external marks and assuming certain ideas, even though they'd have very little or no authentic experience, i.e. insight into nature of mind. This is where our style of practice is different because the first thing we do is to get awakened and then keep going until all 13 bhumis are open and rigpa is stabilised. It is a very different kind of paradigm that the whole world is used to. I personally feel that to do it in any other way is a disservice but that's what people in most walks of life do. Cults of different shapes and forms are everywhere around us, some good, some bad, some harmless, most samsaric.

Lama Karl Eikrem: Alternative Approach to a Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

Alternative Approach to a
Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

By: Lama Karl Eikrem 

In today's society, there is no shortage of approaches to improve the health of one's mind, body and spirit. Regularly, we are presented with techniques and programs to reach our full potential; special diets, health programs, psychological tools, motivational exercises, the list goes on. Many of these tools have great benefit, but looking at the present condition of our society, the question remains: do they address the core issue of human dis-ease? 

Authentic spiritual practice aims not so much at improving our relative condition, but takes a step back and invites us to study ourselves as we truly are. This is because the root problem of our discontentment is not that we are unhealthy or stressed, that we don't work out enough, or eat a healthy diet, it is not that are unhappy or dissatisfied with our lives. Rather, the reason is that we do not know the nature of ourselves, the nature of being. How can we possibly find true contentment if we do not know ourselves? 

At the centre of this existential confusion lies the belief in a separate sense of self, in an entity cut off from the external world. If you ask somebody where their sense of self is located, they will probably point to their body, more specifically their head. But is there anything solid in there? Is there some unchanging entity within ourselves, to which we can attach the label "me"? 

This question is the starting point on the path to a truly healthy body, mind and spirit. 

If we start looking closely into this matter, we'll soon come to the realisation that there is no such thing as an "I" to be experienced anywhere. Nevertheless, if left uninvestigated, this basic sense of “me” will continue to attach itself to thoughts and emotions, reinforcing itself through a network of self-based beliefs and opinions; political views, occupation, status, wealth, achievements and so on, all labelled as "mine". 

Because the illusory nature of "I" is dependent on more and more things to identify with, merely trying to improve ourselves, without getting to know ourselves, will not lead to lasting contentment. 

Pemako Buddhism offers high-precision meditative tools to investigate both the notion of "me", leading to what is labelled "awakening"; the permanent dropping off of the notion of self, as well for purifying the reaction patterns, emotional traumas and mental filters that hinder us in experiencing the world directly, as it really is. 

By deconstructing the conceptual beliefs about ourselves, others and the world in general, certain qualities start revealing themselves to us. Equanimity, joy, love and compassion start becoming a part of our everyday lives. Indeed, as we progress on the path of releasing mental and physical tensions, we come to realise that these qualities were never separate from us in the first place. Instead of confining ourselves to "I", "me" and "mine", we realise that we are in fact the brilliant clarity of selfless awareness itself. Thus knowing ourselves is indeed the true meaning of a healthy mind, body and spirit. 

May all beings be free! 

Pemako Buddhism Website:

tiistai 14. tammikuuta 2020

16th Karmapa Goes Blue In The Face

16th Karmapa Goes Blue In The Face

Few years ago I read a short story written by someone in the internet about the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. At the time of reading it, I didn't copy the story and since have tried to find the source a couple of times, without luck. However, I remember the gist of the story well so I'll present it, as I remember having read it.

The 16th Karmapa was the head of the Kagyu school during his lifetime and because of his position he was sometimes required to attend meetings of the Kagyu-school that dealt with whatever running matters of the large organisation.

It was written by someone who I recall was physically present at such meetings that as the 16th Karmapa was sitting at his place around a round table or something like that, he would sometimes turn blue in his face. Apparently, some of the things discussed in the meetings were so boring to him so he started doing some yogic practices holding his breath, that made his face turn blue!

I think it is a fantastic little story, which like the above linked story entitled 16th Karmapa's Stage, give a sense of the stage of his practice.

May All Beings Be Free,

-Kim, 14.1.2020

Pemako Buddhism

maanantai 23. joulukuuta 2019

Tertons: Dharma Treasure Revealers by Lama Tashi Tobgyal

Tertons: Dharma Treasure Revealers

by Lama Tashi Tobgyal,
Retreat master from Raktrul Gompa, Bardor Tersar lineage:

"With regard to Guru Rinpoche himself we have to remember that Guru Rinpoche was, in a sense, even kinder, even more beneficial to Tibet, than Buddha Shakyamuni. Really, there is no difference between Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche was the direct emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni. But the difference is, for Tibetans, that Buddha Shakyamuni never visited Tibet, never brought the teachings there; Guru Rinpoche did. So all Tibetan Buddhism really owes its existence to the kindness of Guru Rinpoche and the Kashmiri abbot Shantarakshita.

Especially, Guru Rinpoche insured that he would, and has, produced a ceaseless stream of emanations. For example, his best known disciples, the twenty-five disciples, were each his own emanation to begin with: five emanations of his body, five of speech, five of mind, five of qualities, five of activity. And, each of the five [had five emanations] — body [of] body, body [of] speech, body [of] mind, etc. He gave each of them a different set of instructions, predicted their time of rebirth, who their disciples would be, entrusted their particular teachings to particular dharmapalas or protectors, and prophesied those future events that would indicate the time had come to revive their teachings. He provided the specific teachings that would serve as remedies for those particular events or situations and then concealed all of this — the teachings themselves, the prophesies, and the entrustment — as treasure or terma, so that they would survive until the time came for those future emanations to take birth.

These terma teachings are therefore very different from most dharma. They are not the clever compositions of brilliant scholars. In fact, the tertons, the treasure revealers who had discovered them, have in many cases been utterly illiterate, or functionally illiterate, or is some cases merely poorly educated. Yet they were able through receiving, finding the physical texts, and through their visions, to transcribe sometimes ten or even a hundred volumes of teachings."

"Tertons are always challenging to people because they often act unconventionally. And it’s natural, or not surprising, that during the life of a terton people usually think they’re crazy. After they pass away, of course, we all make statues of them and worship them and so on. Or they say, “Well, this is just too much — too many revelations, too many discoveries; this is not possible.” Actually if you learn what they’re really doing and what’s going on, you start to understand that they are emanations of Guru Rinpoche. They seem like ordinary men and women when you meet them, but they’re doing things that are simply beyond our usually experience. For example, they might lapse into a nap for a few minutes and you think, “Well, what is that? He was asleep for two, three minutes.” But as in the case of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, since dream time can be very different from waking time, he was able to get detailed instruction on feast dance from Guru Rinpoche and a retinue of dakinis in what for us probably would just look like somebody slumping for a few minutes and coming back out of it. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re doing things like this all the time. And it’s not surprising that we don’t recognize because we don’t it."

lauantai 21. joulukuuta 2019

Emptiness - Blossoming of Life Itself

Emptiness - Blossoming of Life Itself

Emptiness is not a tasteless, bland, impersonal void of meaninglessness. Emptiness is me, emptiness is you. Do we not have character? Do we not have personality? Emptiness has character, more than anything else, in fact. It is not the fault of emptiness if those who exercise emptiness and try to understand it, lack character. See, the problem is that samsaric minds of people cannot avoid creating fantasies about emptiness which inevitably always misses the mark. To realise emptiness means to really become the person you already are. You know, buddhist art is abound with ornaments and decorations. Those ornaments symbolise character and creativity, the blossoming of life itself that by nature is empty. 

- Kim Orgyen Pema, 21.12.2019 

Pemako Buddhism,

keskiviikko 18. joulukuuta 2019



By Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Foremost I would like to tell you that an enlightened essence is present in everyone. It is present in every state, both samsara and nirvana, and in all sentient beings; there is no exception. Experience your buddha nature, make it your constant practice, and you will reach enlightenment. In my lifetime I have known many, many people who attained such an enlightened state, both male and female. Awakening to enlightenment is not an ancient fable. It is not mythology. It actually does happen. Bring the oral instructions into your own practical experience and enlightenment is indeed possible; it is not just a fairy tale.

From ”Repeating the Words of The Buddha”

sunnuntai 15. joulukuuta 2019

When One Sun of Dharma Goes Down, Another Comes up

When One Sun of Dharma Goes Down, Another Comes up

"We are in an age when anger, craving, ambition, stupidity, pride, and jealousy are the rule of the day. It is an age when the sun of Dharma is already sinking behind the shoulders of the western mountains, when most of the great teachers have left for other realms, when practitioners go astray in their meditation, and when neither lay people nor the ordained act according to the Dharma." - Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

What Dilgo Rinpoche says in the first paragraph above, is precisely why our method has been brought out. It is alarming, to use the correct word, what the state of vajra dharma is.

Within few short decades the strong flame of Tibetan vajrayana has almost gone out. For example, Dilgo-la himself, did the whole tantric ngondro for 17 times, on top of many other practices and turned into a buddha because of his great efforts, just like many many others in the old Tibet. The moment Tibet was forcefully taken over, it started going downhill incredibly fast. Numerous great yoginis and yogis were killed and died because of the Chinese occupation. It is unimaginable how this stronghold of dharma was destroyed in such a short time, and in such a devastating manner.

Now, just 60 years after the occupation, it is nearly impossible to find a real yogi in the Tibetan vajrayana community. When there used to be hundreds if not thousands of men and women who spent decades in retreat, mastering their practices and becoming mahasiddhas, now there is just one or two who have done and accomplished that. Comparing Tibetan buddhism in Tibet to Tibetan buddhism in the West, is like comparing alive person to a dead corpse. I can't say how sad and heartbroken I am to say this.

It is precisely as Dilgo Rinpoche says it is. For this very reason, we have our terma.

-Kim Orgyen Pema, 15.12.2019