lauantai 23. marraskuuta 2019

How I Had Sex with Hookers, Broke My Vows and Hurt Everyone's Feelings

How I Had Sex with Hookers,
Broke My Vows and
Hurt Everyone's Feelings

Related reading published previously in this blog:
Culadasa John Yates: Sutrayana ”doesn't go far enough”.
The following piece of dialogue is copied from DharmaOverground-forum.
*
Kim: Recently, I've been wondering how this case is developing. I have wondered how Culadasa is holding up, whether anyone is still studying with him and whether anyone is reading his book anymore. His book was like the Bible in these circles until the allegations came out but now no one mentions it anymore.
Linda: He has started to do youtube videos again, at least, and he has viewers and people asking him questions.
Kim: He makes an interesting comment, at 12:18, here about recent events, particularly, having been very disappointed to his long term students recently.

https://youtu.be/YfRp9cMPSNk?t=662
Him saying that his long term students were immature + what we know of the whole thing, have given me the impression that this case doesn't fall under the category of "misconduct". It might be the case that he is still preparing a statement, possibly with a lawyer, or that he won't make public comments beyond that. I hope he would for cleaning the air but as I said it never seemed to me that it was such a big deal and that firing him seemed hasty of the group/board. I guess Culadasa refers to the immaturity of his old students because they weren't able to accept and see the events plainly. Also, having seen almost no enthusiasm about The Mind Illuminated in the internet since the news broke out, to me, seems another sign of immaturity of the larger community. Also, he seems to have lost weight and in overall doesn't look too healthy. These must have been very stressful times for him and those closely associated, incl. Nancy Yates.

It's a lot of guesses, impressions and if's but despite of everything I wish everyone involved much peace and clarity.
Linda: Oh, that's an entirely different interpretation. Interesting.

Personally I wouldn't want to work closely to someone who is completely unwilling to be compassionate about other people's perspectives. It doesn't matter how accomplished they are and how helpful their teachings are. I mean, I can still read their work and listen to their teachings selectively, but I wouldn't want them as my personal teacher. Obviously he is not the only one who is disappointed. He didn't mention that other side of the coin with one single word, but positioned himself as the victim. I don't know the exact circumstances about what happened, and sure, some reactions from some people who weren't directly concerned were probably over the top, but if he is concerned about seeing things plainly it might be a good idea for him to just accept that actions have consequences even for advanced meditators. And maybe, just maybe, people aren't immaturely losing faith in the dharma, but are in fact realizing that they just don't like dealing closely with people who lie to their close ones and then feel sorry for themselves and go all martyr about it when shit hits the fan. 
Kim: Culadasa has apologized for the harm so he is not without compassion or unable to understand other's feelings. He barely mentioned the topic very briefly in passing. This is not a comprehensive statement in any way, so I don't find it problematic at all that he didn't mention others more than he did. You know Linda, we still don't know the specs and we may never will but from what we know, I don't see erratic, abusive behaviour anywhere. Yet, he was kicked out from his position etc etc. I don't know any of these people and even if Daniel Ingram vouched (or something like that) for the board or some key memebers of the community, maybe they interpreted the situation in black and white fashion, lost larger perspective and crushed him. Considering what he has done for them, I can understand why he would feel like a victim.

I am a teacher myself and head teacher of the sangha that I have founded. I talk openly about sex, sexuality, sexual desire, porn, addiction and related things because they are part of everyone's life. I even make erotic art (among calligraphy and abstract expressionistic painting) and display it in the internet. By doing so I hope to disperse some really stubborn and harmful taboos that exist in dharma. I also teach tantric deity-related practices to transform sexual desire and possible addicitons (of any kind). I do not know if Culadasa has spoken about sexuality related matters as openly as I have. If he hasn't, like most dharma teachers, all this sex-stuff explodes on everyone's face in uncomfortable manner. Talking about "desire" and overcoming them in overall manner is not good enough.

(Imagined prospect starts)

If I put myself in Culadasa's place, how I
imagine what might have happened, I find myself sexually very frustrated due to lack of sexual activity in marriage. Also, I've had much hardship due to long lasting illness which takes away joy in life. For people who have never been properly ill, they can't understand how it is to live without joy. Also, I am still virile enough to have and enjoy sex (possibly without opportunity to do it with my wife). In that case, like him, I would seek the company of professionals. I understand that it might hurt my spouse but what can I do? I am not celibate, nor wish to abstain from sex for the years I have left. Am I going to watch porn and masturbate until I keel over? No, after this long illness and long life lived, that doesn't seem like an option that would make me feel good about my life. So, I find prostitutes, pay for their services and get at least some sexual satisfaction, even if it isn't intimate and emotionally connected.

Some time after I've gone to prostitutes, even made friends with them and gave money to support them, my students and wife finds out I've been doing this. Maybe they can't see my actions from my perspective and are unable to see my actions from the human perspective. I am accused of adultery, suspicious use of money and having broken my buddhist vows. I am seen as immoral and immature as a practitioner. People who I have helped, supported and guided, even provided, now condemn and excommunicate me. OK... I just wanted to enjoy life and have sex, and now this has happened. I understand people feel hurt and cheated but I am a human being, with human biology, needs and desires, that despite of life long practice I have not been able to overcome. People who I know well and who I have loved, reject me, and I am left alone by people close to me.

(Imagined prospect ends)

Now, if I really did that and was condemded for these actions, being the person and teacher who I am, knowing how much I have done for my students, I would tear them new assholes. If my humanity as a teacher was ignored due to spiritual fantasies and ideals, I would let my critisizers know exactly where they belong. From this point of view, based on my imagination, I can appreciate Culadasa's moderate comment how he has been treated. His demeanor reveals as much as his words do. I can assure you, my comment wouldn't have been as moderate.

However, as I said, I've talked about these things openly and because of this I doubt my students would treat me the way Culadasa's students have treated him. I have made it perfectly clear that despite of spiritual advancement, I am still a samsaric being and me, like all samsaric beings, make mistakes and are not perfect. Also, in Open Heart-style of dharma practice, we don't have vows other than Bodhisattva Vows. We are tantrics, not sutrics, and view and do things differently.

*

Open Heart Sangha,






torstai 21. marraskuuta 2019

Kadag - Immaculate Purity - and Advanced Guru Yoga

Kadag - Immaculate Purity -
and Advanced Guru Yoga

At an advanced stage of tantric guru yoga, there is no guru, no receiver and no blessing. Only immaculate radiance of pureness (skt. suddha, tib. kadag) is there. This pureness is selfless, there is no agent of any kind. For practitioners of guru yoga, it is not hard to get to see the selflessness of both the guru and oneself but when the blessing drops off as well, then the immaculate purity of buddhahood shows up in the open, as if a secret that has been kept for so long becomes suddenly utterly obvious. There are many gifts genuine gurus can give us, namely, growing in emptiness meditation and transmission through blessings, but accompanying the student to reveal her immaculate purity, is something that only mahasiddha gurus do and can do.

Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava

keskiviikko 20. marraskuuta 2019

Generosity of Benefactors in Buddhism

Generosity of Benefactors
in Buddhism

Throughout the history of buddhism, dharma-teachings have spread to new countries. Many times locals, often rulers and kings, invited dharma-teachers and masters to their lands to ask them to teach the dharma to people to establish better existential understanding among people and bring peace to the world. In return, kings, emperors and locals offered funds and resources for the dharma masters who in turn offered them to the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In other words, these masters, assisted and supported by the community, built and established temples and training sites where monastics and laypeople could practice the teachings. The history of buddhism gives a strong account of this at every location it has spread.

One particular benefactor and possibly the most important figure in bringing buddhism to Tibet was King Trisong Detsen. He invited many masters to Tibet, from India, China and Korea, incl. Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava who brought tantric teachings to Tibet from India. Without Trisong Detsen's vision, fortitude and immeasurable generosity, Guru Rinpoche and other masters could not have built the foundations of what was to become a dharma kingdom where buddhism and especially vajrayana buddhist teachings survived and flourished for over thousand years. Consequentially, innumerable amount of practitioners, both female and male, attained the state of buddhahood and bodhisattvahood. The amount of merit and benefit to all sentient beings, due to King Trisong Detsen's understanding of priorities, is beyond measure. Trisong Detsen himself attained buddhahood as a direct disciple of Guru Padmasambhava. He was one of the original 25 disciples.

Today I wish to bow deeply and express my gratitude to all benefactors of dharma throughout the history of buddhism. Your kindness has helped countless beings in the past, in present and will continue to benefit countless beings in the future. I bow to you deeply and venerate your vision as an embodiment of activity of perfect enlightenment.

Namo Guru Rinpoche

Kim 

20.11.2019 

King Trisong Detsen

maanantai 4. marraskuuta 2019

God - Selfless Brillance

God - Selfless Brilliance



Angie: >I seem to be picking up that you perceive monistic nondual consciousness to be a higher state than unitive consciousness. To my knowledge, this idea of “ascent” is not held by the Christian contemplative tradition in the sense that one does not “ascend” in relationship but rather grows closer and more open to the Beloved. (Note the unitive rather than monistically nondual flavor of that last statement.)

Kim: -To be honest, I don't know who or what God is, although I pray and enjoy Him everyday. In my exp there is no God and there is no me either and yet it is not a state of suffering and confusion. Technically, I could describe God as: Buddhanature* + Love = God. I use the term buddhanature as described by tantric buddhists, namely mahamudra and dzogchen. I couldn't help myself but blurted out implying that my view is higher. No matter what I do, I cannot help making myself an ass... Anyhow, what I try to convey is that in terms of nonduality which basically means less of me, there is great depth and potential to be set free. As I said, I am not enlightened but in my exp God is not an experience who someone or even God her- or himself experiences. In my exp God is simplicity of being, clarity imbued with love without conceptual labels or interpretations. Everyone of us is free to have our own truths and interpretations, perhaps how I feel my life to be at the moment in day to day life could be termed, not as union or connection, but as selfless (nondual) brilliance.


lauantai 26. lokakuuta 2019

16th Karmapa's Stage

16th Karmapa's Stage

From Mingyur Rinpoche's In Love with the World, about 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje:

The Karmapa reported that he could maintain his awareness throughout the entire day, and track the dissolutions [of the senses] right up to almost falling asleep. Once he was asleep, he would again recognize his awareness. But there were a few moments each night, just before slipping into sleep, when he lost his recognition of awareness, and he sought help on how to eliminate this interruption.”


torstai 24. lokakuuta 2019

Happy fool! About Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche

Happy fool!

I first heard of Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche from the documentary Yogis of Tibet. I felt in an instant that this would someone I would like to follow but unfortunately by then he had left his body. Here is someone's brief account of this magnificient yogi. Copied from here.

I met him and have an old friend that was his student. His style of teaching in public was very simple, unsophistacted. The one I was present at he was talking about the benefits of reciting the Mani mantra. Then suddenly he sung a song going something like "I rather have a mani than a cow" and so on. I heard that when he was in Nepal up in the mountains people had a lot of faith in him a offered him big stacks of money. When it got cold in the evening he just throw them on the fire. My friend say that he talked with the protectors and asked them questions like they where present in the room. It was quite difficult to get proper teachings from him I remembered my friend said.

I also participated in a group interview that I thought was quite interesting. We presented ourself and he asked if we had any questions.
Long time practitioner: "Rinpoche, could you explain how to rest in the natural state during everyday activity?"
Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche: "I can't tell you that. First you have to find a genuine master. Then you have to apply the teaching he give you step by step. If you go around asking teachers this kind of questions, one will tell you "do like this" and an other will tell you something else and you will just get really confused and have no idea what to do." 

 


sunnuntai 20. lokakuuta 2019

No Reifications of a Metaphysical God by John Tan

No Reifications of a Metaphysical God
by John Tan, Buddhist philosopher and practitioner.

What is presence now? Everything... Taste saliva, smell, think, what is that? Snap of a finger, sing. All ordinary activity, zero effort therefore nothing attained. Yet is full accomplishment. In esoteric terms, eat God, taste God, see God, hear God...lol. That is the first thing I told Mr. Jax few years back when he first messaged me If a mirror is there, this is not possible. If clarity isn't empty, this isn't possible. Not even slightest effort is needed. Do you feel it? Grabbing of my legs as if I am grabbing presence! Do you have this experience already? When there is no mirror, then entire existence is just lights-sounds-sensations as single presence. Presence is grabbing presence. The movement to grab legs is Presence.. the sensation of grabbing legs is Presence.. For me even typing or blinking my eyes. For fear that it is misunderstood, don't talk about it. Right understanding is no presence, for every single sense of knowingness is different. Otherwise Mr. Jax will say nonsense... lol. When there is a mirror, this is not possible. Think I wrote to Longchen (Sim Pern Chong) about 10 years ago.”

“After realization… Just eat God, breathe God, smell God and see God… Lastly be fully unestablished and liberate God.”


Soh Wei Yu: "Lest readers misinterpret that John is affirming a substantialist notion of a ‘God’, it should be noted that by the phase of Anatta realization, there is simply no more reifications or conceivings of a metaphysical ‘God’ or ‘Creator’ of any kind, and John was simply using the lingo of Mr. Jax to convey the complete absence of a background substratum of Presence and the total luminosity of Presencing-as-manifestation to Mr. Jax using his ‘esoteric lingo’. Even the word ‘Presence’ is not referring to some static entity here - ‘Presencing’ is perhaps a better term, for as James M. Corrigan wrote, “...Awareness is not something other than the “presencing” (i.e. naturing) of appearances. It is not a thing. It is not part of a thing. It is not an “aspect” of a process… ...it is the process—not some aspect of it”

lauantai 19. lokakuuta 2019

God Took Him With The Body by Lama Ivo Kalushev

God Took Him With The Body

by Lama Ivo Kalushev



Nobody "verify" this kind of result in christian mystical tradition. When after death, they discover that the body is missing from the tomb after just couple of days, they just consider that "God took him with the body also", and they consider this as a sign of his great spiritual realization. That's it. You can find a lot of recordings of facts like this in some texts called "teachings of the olders". I remember a story which impressed me, from such a texts of "desert fathers", about a monk, who came suddenly at a monastery in Sinai, become a monk, practiced the contemplative hesychast tradition very seriously in his cell, without talking almost with anybody, and after some years died suddenly, and his body disappeared from the tomb after couple of days. Even the authors if this old texts asked themselves who was this man, what was his real name, what was his history before coming to the monastery.. But they all praised his high spiritual realization, his great humbleness... At the highest stage; the practitioner will experience "the Uncreated Light" continuously, without any break, even in sleep, and here they acquire all kinds of extraordinary power: levitation, extraordinary knowledge, etc. But the essential characteristics of this advanced practitioners/saints is the overwhelming love, and the extraordinary capacity to sacrifice themselves for anybody, (with great joy!), a deep humility, and (the essential aspect) the continuous experience of "Uncreated Light". There are hundreds of example like this in the history of orthodox Christianity. But what impressed me the most is the fact that in the texts which records this facts, there are also a lot of references at a strange phenomenon: sometimes when a great saint like this one died, his body was impossible to be found in the next days. This is a very known phenomenon, and it is considered a clear sign that the realization of that individual was so complete, that "God took him with the body" also.

Tibetan buddhist nun who attained small rainbow body in 2016.

Tibetan buddhist nun who attained small rainbow body in 2016.


In Bulgaria, where I come from, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition there are numerous instances of what appears to be the lesser rainbow body among the early isihast mystics. The body shrinking to the size of an infant is considered a very common sign of spiritual accomplishment and these remains are preserved in many, many monasteries throughout the land to this day. Anyone can go to the Rila Monastery to see one of the most famous remains of St. Ivan Rilski, but the same goes for many other places and for Greece too where many such remains are also kept. On Mt. Athos presumably the isihast practices are even still preserved and practiced, although generally not in the monasteries but only by the hermit community in the caves. The knowledge of these shrunken bodies was very common when I grew up. It was even taught in school as a normal part of the Orthodox tradition and everyone was very comfortable with the idea as everyone had seen these relics as they are all over our monasteries. I have seen them numerous times when I was a kid. Almost every major monastery has one - either a full body or a limb, or fingers, etc. They are all the size of an infant. The isihast tradition was very deep, they practiced only in caves, the teacher-disciple connection was of paramount importance and it was all oral transmission. From what I heard during my childhood they definitely had some thogal-like practices using postures and light."

perjantai 18. lokakuuta 2019

Bits Missing in Christian Tradition By Reijo Oksanen


Bits Missing in
Christian Tradition

By Reijo Oksanen

However, as an Orthodox Christian I did find myself in quite a strange situation for exactly 50 years (1961 - 2011). The tradition of the Prayer of the Heart is part of the Orthodox tradition. Who is teaching it? I thought that one should find someone among the priests, but, and this is in spite of meeting many spiritually advanced people, I I did not come across any such priest. Where were those people who could teach me how to pray continuously?

Jesus Christ
From the time I started my 'search for truth' there has been a popular tendency in the western world to look for spiritual teachers (and also teachings) from among the many 'gurus' from the East; earlier more from the Far East (Buddhism, Yoga, Vedanta), and now also from the Middle East (Sufism and Kabbalah). No doubt this tendency is also fully justified as the spiritual teachers in our time in the West have been few and far between. Moreover, is Christianity not also a teaching from the Middle East?

In our time teachers of all sorts can be found also in the West. For example within the Catholic Church there is a strong 'movement' to fetch knowledge and practice from Zen Buddhism, and this seems to continue. It is quite common that instead of a priest, we have a Zen Master whose prior education is Christian theology. Why does a priest not learn what he should learn - like how to pray, and also to teach others in how to pray? This is a confirmation of a sad state of affairs: Christian practice is not taught in the Universities! What are taught are morality, psychology and theory; what are not given and taught are the tools and the ability to be able to apply them into practice.

As the education of the average Christian priests does not include the learning of the 'art of arts' (although Orthodoxy is an exception) it is not possible by any even superhuman efforts for a priest to teach others how to pray; both the knowledge and the ability are lacking. This is why those who are in the position of 'educators' (priests) in the churches need to go to other religions and find their 'gurus' to learn the basics of spiritual practice. In other words they have a need to fetch the 'know how of spiritual life' from outside Christianity.

This search for the 'know how' is highly necessary.”




sunnuntai 13. lokakuuta 2019

Daniel Brown: Developing Positive Qualities of Mind

 
Daniel Brown:
Developing Positive Qualities of Mind

In the essence traditions (tantra, mahamudra and dzogchen) the theory is that this is all about buddhanature and awakening to your true nature. Another thing that came out in essence traditions that is really strong is the appreciation that it's not all about suffering, that the positive qualities of mind are much better to facilitate meditation practice, and much better for mental health than just eradicating suffering. Eradication of suffering doesn't lead to the positive qualities of mind, you have to develop them and it's important. There is a lot of positivity in this Third Turning of the Wheel.” 

lauantai 12. lokakuuta 2019

Longchenpa: Accumulation of Merit

Longchenpa: Accumulation of Merit

This message which really opens up one's primordial condition,
Is beyond all foundations or bases; it is the core reality of pure and total presence.
It should be transmitted by those who have fathomed it,
To those who are very trusting, vigorous and committed;
Who are sympathetically compassionate and do not change their minds;
And who would offer their body, offspring, spouse and wealth
Trustingly and joyfully, yet without desire.
Such students are characterized by their trust and commitment.

Thus, being mentally unattached, all wealth should be offered to the teacher. The teacher, to complete the accumulation of merit, accepts without desire what was offered and offers it to the Three Jewels.

-Longchenpa, You Are the Eyes of the World

Longchen Rabjam




Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo: First Breakthrough

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo:
First Breakthrough


”The initial realization of the nature of the mind is the first breakthrough. It’s a very important point in all Buddhist schools. At that moment, you cease to be an ordinary person. You become in Buddhist parlance an arya, a noble one. It doesn’t mean you are finished. It doesn’t mean you are a high level bodhisattva. We can fall back from this. But still, this is a big breakthrough. We now understand what is true and what is not true. We don’t have to take it all on faith any more. It is a direct nondual experience. The point is that it is very easy. It’s not difficult, and it’s not something that can only be attained after years and years of practice.”*

It would be nice if someone would come along and find a method by which people could awaken. Even the Buddha couldn't do that.”**


I rejoice that Kim is enabling so many practitioners to get awakened in such an approachable manner. May the Dharma flourish for the benefit of all beings!”***



*Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Reflections on a Mountain Lake, p. 191
**Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (source)
**Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (source)

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

torstai 10. lokakuuta 2019

Lama Glenn Mullin: Ordinary People Cannot Practice Dzogchen

Lama Glenn Mullin: Ordinary People Cannot Practice Dzogchen



Mahamudra I think is easier for the West. Just sitting in meditation and noticing the natural flow of the body and how it has natural joyful quality, play of the universe. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form, sitting between those two, can be a way of generating great bliss and so forth. These four mudras (samayamudra, karmamudra, mahamudra, and dharmamudra) often are put in reverse order in terms of who is qualified to practice successfully. In other words, ordinary people don't get much success from, much benefit from mahamudra or dzogchen practice because they're not wangpo rab (have maturity from previous lives). They can't sit between form is emptiness, emptiness is form in a way in a very stable way or conscious way. Once they go into very deep meditation everything just sort of flows into nothingness... like a sleeping marmot. So it's very difficult I think for ordinary people, meaning those who don't come with full trunk of good karmic forces from previous lives to have much success in mahamudra or dzogchen, in my opinion.” 
- Lama Glenn Mullin, Guru Viking Interview, Ep 19, 56:00.

I agree with Lama Glenn that people who might have sincerity, devotion and effort in trying to remain in the natural state, are unable to do that. I've seen it so many times how practitioners and lamas who try to practice dzogchen meditation, are actually unable to remain in the natural flow. Karma plays a part in this but as Open Heart teacher, my view of this is also different to Lama Glenn's. Eleven shifts in perception or bhumi openings, as we call them, enable anyone not only to have a brief recognition of the natural state but to rest in it without time restriction. We accomplish this mainly through Two-Part Formula and Dynamic Concentration, combined with tantra. 30-40% of our sangha has reached this stage. On some retreats where the majority of participants have reached this stage, group practice is like being in Pure Land of buddhas. I have not seen anything like this in any other sangha that I have trained with or visited. I would be curious to see a traditional lama witness our group meditations.



-Kim, 10.10.2019

maanantai 30. syyskuuta 2019

About Lower Belly - Hara

About Lower Belly - Hara

I started to watch a video presentation about buddhist meditation given by a well known American teacher. The presentation was introduced by an American lady who as she described felt very fortunate and quite emotional to have the teacher give the talk. She gave the introduction with a voice that I could describe as weak and windy, rather than clear and settled. Also the composure of her spine wavy and her breathing was up in the shoulders. Watching this I was reminded of the lower belly which is known by the names of hara or tanden in Japanese arts.

Hara is all over Japanese arts from meditation to martial and fine arts. In popular language there are many terms that use the word hara which means belly, such as hara guroi, lit. dirty/black belly, which means dishonesty. That one's posture and inner composure is built on the belly is something very important in Japanese culture.


Living in Japan many years ago I saw how Westerners would share something emotional with Japanese but there was this cultural gap between the two and the latter seemed to feel awkward about emotional sharing. It seemed like they just didn't feel it was right. When one's breath is settled on the belly, one simply doesn't go off the rails emotionally. When one is emotional on the other hand, vital energy (prana/ki) is up in the shoulders and head. We all know about the headache after a big argument.

I didn't spend that long in Japan but it seemed to me that Japanese people couldn't trust or take seriously those who had their vital energy up, even if they were sincere in Western terms. When I think about it, it makes sense too because it is difficult to know and trust people who are over-emotional, whose mind flutters like a leaf in the wind.

There are downsides to lower belly cultivation too. It develops inner power so those who have charisma can end up on ego trips as leaders. I've seen this a lot in zen buddhism and martial arts. For meditators, too much emphasis on the belly can be a cause of spiritual bypassing.

Tibetan or Indian systems of yoga and meditation do not talk about the hara, only Chinese and it's derivatives do. The only lama I've heard talk about it is Tsoknyi Rinpoche who said he learned it from his Chinese qigong teacher. Nevertheless, being physically well composed and being settled is very much part of all systematic paths, and this, even without knowing about the theory of the hara, is what hara means.

In Open Heart and dzogchen-teachings in general, groundedness, which is one of the three characteristics of the natural state, is what refers to "hara".





keskiviikko 25. syyskuuta 2019

Mahayana Buddhism Includes Psychology and Doesn't Lack Anything

Mahayana Buddhism Includes Psychology and Doesn't Lack Anything



Santiago: Approaching the understanding of mind from these two sides that humanity has developed: The ancient teachings of awakening (the Wake up line of development) and the modern western discoveries that the ancient masters didn't have access to (the Grow up line of the development), understanding how they support and compliment each other, can help solve sooo many problems, giving us a better framework for understanding why "awakened people" are such a mess sometimes, and possibly help us move counsciousness towards a more inclusive, compassionate and integrated space.



Kim: So how did ancient master become masters if they didn't have access to the modern Western discoveries of psychology? Nothing personal Santiago but this whole idea is utterly ridiculous. I'm going to offend a lot of people but I'm going to say it anyway. It is a misconception of those who are 1. poor practitioners and 2. practitioners of sutrayana. Combine the two and you end up saying stoopid shit like that.

Chris: So, Kim, do you mean to say that medicine hasn't advanced beyond the ancient Buddhist understanding of the physiology of the brain, it's chemistry and the like? Why does the Dalai Lama favor studying that same "stoopid shit?" Is he stoopid, too?

Kim: What does my comment have to do with criticising the development of medicine? Can't speak for Dalai Lama or his interest towards science but you ever heard him mention his psychotherapist?

Chris: So you aren't opposed to combining the practices of Buddhism and the discoveries and practices of modern psychiatry, neuroscience and medicine, Kim?

Kim: No. Did you get that impression?

Chris: Yes, I got that impression from the above exchange.

Kim: Things can always be improved but the mahayana/vajrayana path doesn't lack anything as it has delivered innumerable sentient beings to the other shore. I got no problem with folks combining psychology and buddhist practice but it seems to me that their 1. understanding of buddhism and 2. practice of it has severe shortcomings. That this is their understanding and that they come to this conclusion that buddhism can be bettered with the findings of Western psychology, is not the fault of buddhism and what it has to offer.

Chris: Then I'm a "stoopid" one because I firmly believe that the combination of Buddhism and psychiatry/psychology/etc. is more powerful than either one by itself.

Kim: Suit yourself. I'm just saying that even though combination of the two, sutrayana and psychology, go farther together than they go alone, it is an unproved hypothesis when it comes to anuttara samyak sambodhi.

I haven't seen a tantric lama speak of combining vajrayana and psychology but if anyone has references, please let me know. I'll then be happy to tell what is wrong with them and their bhumis, just kidding.

To be clear, I was/am looking for tantric lamas who speak in favour for combining tantra and Western psy and consider that the tantric path is doesn't go far enough.

Chris: Kim, I don't think anyone is saying quite this - that the path doesn't go far enough. What I'm asserting is that Buddhism and the science of the mind are congruent. They support and enhance each other.
Have you seen:
https://www.mindandlife.org/mission/
And:
https://www.dalailama.com/…/buddh…/science-at-the-crossroads

Kim: Yes, I understood what you're saying. I have never had much interest in scientific or psychological findings in relation to dharma practice but I am not against it, either. Each to her or his own but I just don't agree with a lot of folks who say that the buddhist system as a whole lacks anything in terms of comprehensive development. I am however highly critical about a lot of things in buddhism, buddhist paths and buddhists, and admit that for a lot of buddhists, therapy along the noble 8-fold path or paramitas, is a very smart choice. A lot of buddhist practice leaves so much untapped and rather enforces samsaric habits than releases them. A lot depends on the teacher too.

Among teachers who have turned out to be mess, there are tantrics as well but as far as I am aware none of these bad apples were practitioners which is what I mentioned in some of my prev posts. There is no way anyone, incl. a tantric lama will be able to do her or his work well, without hassles and scandals, without making sure of one's personal practice. So, I don't know of tantric lamas who were practitioners, who screwed up. All of them were nonpractitioners and therefore not actual examples or embodiments of vajrayana buddhism.

I am yet to finish the vajrayana path but maybe, when I finish the cleaning process in some distant future, I come to agree that the path of vajrayana lacks something. However, so far, I do not see the slightest indication that this would be the case.

Shargrol: It's interesting to me that I've mostly agreed with some of your statements about many of the scandal teachers not being very advanced as practioners and I've also mostly agree with statements like people who still have emotional/psychological baggage haven't gone far enough... but I've held of agreeing because I couldn't quite figure something out...

But this last post made me realize what it is: it really is more about the practioner's attitude than the practice.

If someone is honest with themselves and continues to see their blind spots, the ways they are not finished, and owns that fact and works on it --- well, then there isn't going to be much of a problem and the practice won't matter much either. If someone is doing mindfulness meditation, tantra, therapy, or centering prayer... if they stay humble and honest, they will keep seeing their imperfections. And if they stay motivated and aware of their imperfections, they will improve.

In fact, I would put my money on a dedicated non-meditator (in therapy or doing religious centering prayer, for example) over a half-motivated vajrayana practioner -- you know what I mean?

I have no idea to inspire people to have high-ideals for themeselves and their practice. It's really the only way to live, but there is no external reward. No one will give you a reward for your practice. And what having high-ideals really means, if you are doing it right, is that almost every moment and every day and every week and every year will feel like a failure. You mostly see and feel the imperfections. But every moment, day, week, year, you continue to refine yourself because you can see and feel your imperfections. That's what it means to really pursue excellence.

Unfortunately, it's clear that these scandal teachers would much rather rest on their past successes and create a mental framework where they are at a kind of pinnacle that can't be surpassed (or they might humble brag and say they are near the top) and then project any remaining shadow sides on the people around them - distancing themselves from awareness of their imperfections... until the whole thing comes crashing down.

Anyway, ultimately I don't think people can rely on any particular framework for waking up and growing up. But the path is obvious and right under our nose.

Kim: I think that attitude is very much part of the practice. It is spoken very widely about by masters of the past. Obviously, "practice" is not only sitting practice.

You hit the nail on the head with, "what having high-ideals really means, if you are doing it right, is that almost every moment and every day and every week and every year will feel like a failure. You mostly see and feel the imperfections. But every moment, day, week, year, you continue to refine yourself because you can see and feel your imperfections.".

I can identify with that. It is not "fun", if you do it right.

Remaining vulnerable and open to have one's faults pointed out is an absolute necessity. It is easy to plateau and become self-confident in a dualistic fashion without it. I'm sorry if I get on people's nerves but still, I agree with Culadasa when soon before his case broke out said that the path (sutrayana) he has followed "doesn't go far enough" and that, "As you progress on the paths of awakening, the changes of you recognising them (parts of our pscyhe) as something that needs to be purified, diminishes." It is a striking statement coming from him. From what I have seen, sincerity or bad attitude never seemed Culadasa's weak point. Actually, to me he seemed to have an admirable character which obviously had a lot to do with what he accomplished/s in his life.

A tantric would never say what Culadasa did for the simple fact that if you practice deities, archetypes of enlightened mind, there is no way for becoming blind to one's own blindspots. It is impossible because the deity doesn't allow it. One simply keeps feeling bad as long as there is something wrong with one's view or attitude.

http://openheartopenheart.blogspot.com/…/culadasa-john…

Santiago: No offense on my part Kim, I'm grateful that we live in times where anyone has a right to express their opinion (although that's also a pain in the ass sometimes :grin. I just wonder, what is your expertice on modern Western psychological discoveries? Is it big enough to make the claim that the ancient Masters understood what this science has discovered? Did they also know about quantum physics, or even general newtonian physics? I'd just say that whenever someone thinks they have the Dharma all figured out (or figured out enough to deny new approaches that they themselves don't understand well), then THAT'S an utterly ridiculous, ignorant, shitty idea.

Kim: Hi Santiago.

I am not an expert of Western psychology or sciences but if I may, perhaps a bit of an expert of meditative yoga. Yogis, such as Shakyamuni Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and numerous others sought to find a solution to remove dualistic suffering through the doctrine of emptiness and practice of various yogas. They succeeded and that's how the whole thing got started, which is why there are people who attain the same what the ancient masters did, to this date. I do not know quantum physics but I doubt anyone has ever diminished or removed their self-based confusion (dukkha) through it. Reg. healing through psychology, I am sure it happens but whether this outcome is valid as buddhist practice, is a good question. Actually, it probably is an entirely irrelevant question to a lot of people who just wish to remove their knots in one way or the other.

Dharma doesn't seek to explain all possible things, just those of our mind. It adresses a very specific problem, that of self-delusion, and I know that through these means full enlightenment can be attained. Tantric guru yoga, in which one tunes in with some enlightened master such as those mentioned above or some other, reveals this. When one spends sufficient time in guru yoga it explains a lot of the tantric path in comparison to other paths, of one's own buddhanature and about the concerned mahasiddha guru. I can agree with what the tantric tradition says that this is an extremely valuable and unique experience that cannot be acquired by any other means. From that experience I can testify that perfect enlightenment is possible and that real masters do not have shadows or unresolved psychological issues, and that they do not behave in ways like samsaric beings do. If you wish to see one in person, Amma the hugging saint is one, though not a buddhist. I'd say Rana Rinpoche is another one, though I haven't yet met him in person. Their energetic radiation is completely different from others, incl. very experienced meditators.

Sutric buddhism doesn't have tantric guru yoga, so consequentially practitioners of those paths generally do not gain this experience. It is actually possible to get the same "transmission", if you will, from chanting of the Refuge of the Three Jewels or Bodhisattva Vows, but then it is very common for sutrics to not realise that there is an element of transmission or energetic charge related to these prayers. I have actually never seen this being pointed out by any teacher of sutra but nevertheless, the same potential is there. This is a common problem in established tantric buddhism as well, although the probability is higher since the energetic charges from lineage masters, deities and prayers are more.

lauantai 21. syyskuuta 2019

Pitfall of Being Alone by Ken McLeod

Pitfall of Being Alone by Ken McLeod

From Ken McLeod’s Waking up to your Life, pp. 87-88:

“Finally, there is one pitfall in meditation practice that you must avoid. Meditation practice raises the level of energy in your system in the form of active attention. The higher level of energy inevitably brings you into contact with reactive emotional patterns. If you now become selective and repress certain emotions, pushing them out of attention, two things happen. The higher level of energy in your system flows into the reactive pattern, making it stronger. The higher energy also flows into the repressing pattern, making that stronger. Both the reactive patterns of the emotion and the repression are reinforced.
You end up splitting in two. One part of you is capable of attention and response. The other part becomes increasingly rigid and inflexible. It takes over unpredictably whenever the repressed emotion is triggered by events or situations. Typically, a person becomes more arrogant and self-indulgent, obsessed with power, money, sex, security, or other fixations, and acts in ways to control or amass the object of the obsession. Long-term practitioners and teachers who protect areas of their lives from their practice frequently run into this problem with unfortunate and sometimes tragic results. We run the risk of a similar fate if we protect any area of our personality or our lives from the increased awareness that develops in meditation.

To guard against this problem, always have at least one person, a teacher, colleague, or friend, with whom you discuss all aspects of your practice and your life. The person needs to be someone you trust and to whom you will listen regardless of the state of mind you are in or what he or she says. The
only way to be sure that you will not protect an area of your habituated personality from the effects of practice is to have such a person in your life.”

sunnuntai 15. syyskuuta 2019

Ethics in Relation to the Depth of Awakening

Ethics in Relation
to the Depth of Awakening

Q: That's exactly what I mean. In the original Buddhist training there's a notion of morality, but the approach is ridiculosly primitive compared to the advances that humanity has made regarding human development, specially in the modern west. So, the possibility of putting together the super sophisticated training of Buddhism (WAKING UP) with the super sophisticated training of western psychology (and other approaches) that's available today (GROWING UP) is an unprecedented opportunity for humanity.
If you look at it this way, then all this debate about Awakening vs Morality gets pretty clear, then we can transcend the apparent confusion, and understand why so many "awakened" beings screw up so much.

Kim: I have no problem with combining dharma practice and psychology but I think that most "masters" of any branch of buddhism are actually more or less far from being fully enlightened, even if they were masters of their particular training systems/meditation techniques. The percentage of buddhists who attain any type of buddhahood per generation is ridiculously low. Hence, all the problems and confusions, f. ex. about attainments and morality.
I personally do not think buddhist dharma lacks anything else except a new understanding and methods in how to effect deeper waking up. Folks just aren't waking up quickly and deeply enough. The rest; growing up, cleaning up and showing up, that Wilber discusses, follows from there.

Q: Awakening is one dimension and maturity (ethics and morality) is another. People can be developed and/or not developed on either spectrum. They are not necessarily related.

Kim: Ethics in dharma are not merely preliminaries or something on the side. For a confused mind, they are pointers and direct means to access and recognise the enlightened mind. From enlightened mind itself, ethical actions come into being. They are one and the same thing, not separate things. This is exactly what I mean with shallowness of awakening.

Q: Kim, how do you explain unawakened people who are ethically and morally advanced? I know some. They are beyond reproach. True, highly evolved human adults. How do they get there without being enlightened?

Kim: They haven't had emptiness insight and aren't enlightened as defined in dharma but nevertheless they are better aligned with their nature of mind than people with poor morals. There is no chance for success in practice if one's inner values aren't made of uncorrupt steel. You can see from the faces of all those bad boys and girls that there is some dirt, dirtyness, in their eyes and general demeanor.

I've met a bunch of people who are as you describe "beyond reproach". Some of them who are not practitioners, don't quite understand the point of practice because by having clear values they don't have as much need for it, as they already rest in true being a lot but they live in a dualistic state nonetheless. I've also guided a people like this to the first shift and even when they experience a shift that changes the way their mind works and increases clarity, it isn't as much of a surprise as it can be for others.

keskiviikko 11. syyskuuta 2019

Sex and Sexual Art

Sex and Sexual Art

Q: I write this partly as a response to your recent sexual art works but also it’s been something that’s been on my mind for ages and actually something I have been meaning to write to you about.
When you posted about your sexual art I read it at work and only the night before I had been very consumed by sexual desire. Hence sex was strongly on my mind when I read your email. Basically my sexual desire has nowhere to go. I know understand how frustrated and blocked this aspect of myself is.
Any advice in this area would be appreciated as I have experienced first hand the pain of cutting off the sex drive. I want to be a normal human being and not some spiritual seeker who cuts off the sex drive in an attempt to be holy.

Kim: Do what you can to help yourself. Suppression and ignoring sexuality makes people strange, if not batshit crazy. Once Babaji told me, ”Be yourself. Find your own way”. You got to find your own way. It is important not to pretend saintliness. Besides, saints are often psychopaths. Tantrics don’t play with fire, we use it as wisely as we can. 
 
Close up from one of Kim's works.

Q: That was a lovely reply thank you I really needed to hear that. Yes there is no post office form for how it should work out. I hadn’t really clocked how important sexual relationships are because it’s just not really spoken about in the Buddhist circles. My previous teacher didn’t go there that’s for sure. People don’t talk about it openly and I didn’t get any advice from my parents at all which I think is neglectful parenting, but that’s just my opinion.

Kim: Few traditions speak openly about sex and sexuality. I have the impression that Taoists from China, at least some lineages, have been most openminded about it. In buddhism and hinduism that I am most familiar with, it's like people had an empty hole in the place of their sexual organs. They don't exist and they never go there. Even the chakra, subtle energy center close to the genitals is called ”secret center”.
Looking at the record of sexual harrassment and abuse in buddhism tells me that whatever the tradition says or doesn't say about sexuality, needs to change because it is such a big part of being a human. If you ignore it or don't understand it, how could you ever truly know yourself?
People should not feel more uncomfortable about their genitals and sex than they are about their hands and feet. Shame and guilt that religions have connected with sexuality is completely unnatural, crazy really, and we see constantly how it affects people's lives in negative manner. If I can do something about it through my art and simply by talking about it openly, I feel I should.
I have received only few positive feedbacks about my art works but much more clicks than any of my other posts. Thanks.



keskiviikko 4. syyskuuta 2019

Infinite Love and Perfection of Wisdom

Infinite Love and Perfection of Wisdom

In opening and openness of heart there are typical signs. Some people get so high on love and bliss that they stop caring about everything else and stop using their mental discrimination. In terms of the three basic characteristics this means overdoing aliveness/love with the expense of knowing quality. Then there is a subtler form of this which I have a story of.

Couple of years back we had a special guest at our center in Finland. He was American lama who had really extensive training in vajrayana and hinduism but in the last 15 years had really diven deep into heart through teachings of Irmansyah Effendi. He spoke much the same way like Alex, "Top and bottom collapsed together, and exploded with infinite love in the heart.". 

I was really impressed by our lama friend's energetic skills. He had been a direct stdent of Dudjom Rinpoche and was trained since the age of 7 by him, so he got his skills down... but he was impossible to talk to. He would go on and on and on for hours on end, until people literally walked away. He was completely convinced that the heart path he followed was significantly better than any buddhist path he knew, and he knew all of them, though had not perfected his vajrayana practice. Listening him, I was like, "Oh really? And how many buddhas and rainbow bodies this path has produced...".

The problem was that he kept bypassing his emotions, always going back to his safe place in the heart when his own emotions started coming up. He had gotten really good at that, like the moment some dirt started showing up he had already shifted back to his safe place of immense and infinite love. It was nice and cute but completely pretentious, an ego trip. We had planned a course that he would teach at our place but the situation was so bad that I had to cancel it. He had mahasiddha bhumis open too.

I understand from my own experience of many years of professional kriya yoga practice which had really strong flavour of love, how great love feels for someone whose heart has been kicked in by the world and people who were supposed to love you. It is amazing and useful to a degree... but that's not the whole story of our mind/psyche and neither it is the whole story of practices.

The three characteristics are excellent guideposts.

It is curious that buddhist dharma describes perfection of wisdom or prajna paramita as a mark of buddhahood. Perfection of wisdom is born out of completing the whole vipashyana process, that is, realising emptiness of all phenomena. This is the first stage of buddhahood, perfection of the first 10 bhumis, hence arriving or abiding on the 11th bhumi, if you will.

Vajrayana buddhism is very particular about different bodies, like nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya and dharmakaya. In hinduism they never really made such divisions even if they discuss Shiva (dharmakaya) and Shakti (sambhogakaya) principles. Buddhism is very insistent on this point and it has both pros and cons. The con is that because most practitioners are unable to stabilise knowing awareness (rigpa), they misunderstand the meaning of emptiness. You know, mosts buddhists don't look like they enjoyd life very much. Ha. I think the constant discussion about the empty nature of this and that, and me and other makes buddhists go a bit lifeless and boring. But, emptiness itself is far from lifeless and boring. Good side of separating bodies is that at least theoretically it brings much more clarity than without the separation. I think that it is because of this very emphasis why buddhist practitioners are much more succesful in their practice than hindus are, at least based on what I know. And having said that the division between bodies from the point of view of big picture or dzogchen is completely artificial. I see it as a pedagogical tool because it helps with the learning of it but purity of emptiness is not all there is to buddhanature. There is also light and colours, like there is in all life. This is something that only dzogchen teachings talk about.

So, again speaking of three basic characteristics of the natural state, there is a good reason why clarity or knowingness of given more emphasis in the beginning until rigpa become stable with the opening of the 11th bhumi. Looking at our lama friend's and Alex's cases, even such advanced practitioners who have all bhumis open can apparently be mislead by the samsaric experience of infinite love. It is precisely because of this why buddhism is so much more successful in yoga. I base my statements about success and failure of paths on bhumi analyses (OHBM).

Heart and it's ability to feel love is very meaningful but without clarity it leads astray. Again, buddhahood comes through perfection of wisdom, not through perfection of emotion, such as love.

-Kim Katami, 4.9.2019
Open Heart Sangha,


maanantai 2. syyskuuta 2019

Dharma Porn

Dharma Porn

For those who don't practice or who practice too little, views and ideas can turn into porn. Buddhists like to roll over in the thought of emptiness. Emptiness this, emptiness that, emptiness, emptiness, emptiness... people go on and on talking and thinking about emptiness, as if they had fever. It is even more pleasurable when one's favourite teacher or lama talks about emptiness. It is like our fantasies becoming true. People associated with dzogchen, find pleasure and delight in words such as rigpa and dzogchen. That's their favourite thing, so they keep repeating these terms. Advaita folks get goose bumps and shiver in pleasurable delight through all those catchy phrases like I am That, I am That, I am That and oohh... how it turns them on. 
 

This kind of thing is very common. People mistake the finger that points to the moon, for the moon. Instead of practicing and finding the moon of buddhahood within themselves, they start sniffing the finger and develop a liking for it. It is OK for someone who is new but sometimes you see people who have practiced for a long time who still look at teachings very superficially like it was porn. Zen porn, dzogchen porn, advaita porn, emptiness porn, lama porn, rigpa porn, stream entry porn, kensho porn, guru porn, secular buddhist porn, wearing robes porn, being a monastic porn, compassion porn, enlightenment porn, purity of mind porn, nonduality porn, Dalai Lama porn, Karmapa porn, my favourite lama porn, being a servant of all beings porn, being awakened porn, taking refuge porn, getting a dharma name porn and so on.

There is a big difference between those who talk and those who walk. In my view, most people associated with spirituality talk much more than they walk. Some even want to remain as fans of dharma and never become practitioners of it.

Getting enchanted by ideas is a sign of immaturity. Getting enchanted by ideas is samsara. 

- Kim Katami
Open Heart Sangha,