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In general, I try never to interfere in other people’s business – it’s not my nature.

However, at this time I feel a responsibility to reply to several letters-to-the-editor printed in the Winter 1998 issue of Tricycle Magazine. My motivation in writing this letter is to dispel serious misunderstanding of Dungsé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’s interview featured in the Fall 1998 Tricycle. Without clarification, this kind of negativity causes divisiveness among different spiritual and Buddhist paths, particularly in this country, and creates an obstacle for transmission of pure Dharma. Having agreed to an interview, Rinpoche very generously and clearly answered Ms. Tworkov’s questions regarding a current movement among many Buddhist groups in America aimed at ‘diminishing the role of the teacher’ and reliance on the ‘collective wisdom of the sangha’. The interview was only partially published and heavily edited, demonstrating the weakness of our collective karma. I believe this caused confusion for many people. Through only having selected passages presented, many readers wrongly interpreted Rinpoche’s words and motivation, stirring strong reactions of judgment, confusion, and doubt. Rinpoche’s words of clarification were for the benefit of all beings and particularly for Western Buddhists and new practitioners unfamiliar with the deeper meanings of Buddhist tradition. While several of the letters imply that Rinpoche is merely insulting Americans, it is the duty of a teacher to point out our ignorance in order for us to recognize it and develop wisdom. The complete interview clearly displays Rinpoche’s love for Westerners and his wish that they develop their wisdom qualities. Without wisdom, compassion can be very stupid, not beneficial to anyone. Rinpoche clearly sees our particular propensity for confusion in the West, especially our strong, sometimes almost imperceptible nihilistic habits and aversion to guru yoga which are often difficult for us to recognize. He can show us what is actually Dharma and what is just worldly culture. There are also many comments defending the philosophical and political legacies of Western culture, and suggestions that Rinpoche is opposed to these. Clearly Rinpoche states that he is not opposed to these aspects, but rather that they should not be confused with the essence of Dharma. For instance, the idea of relying on the ‘collective wisdom of the sangha’ is dangerous because while sangha members are on the path, purifying their own minds, they are still rooted in dualistic thinking and confusion. So this Western idea of democracy – which relies on collective consensus from partial, worldly knowledge and opinion – is not the same as the wisdom mind of a teacher holding lineage and realization. We can see that this worldly approach never leads to unchanging consensus and happiness. Collecting the opinions of confused beings only leads to a larger pile of confusion. For example, Buddhas manifest throughout the six realms according to the needs of beings. We cannot vote for the Buddha who will follow our agenda. On election day in the hell realms, the winner of the popular vote could only be a supreme hell being, not a sublime Buddha. Naropa325.jpg While it is true that the appearance of Buddhism naturally changes from country to country, its essence should not change. It is this essence which is so important to transmit by wisdom teachers who are not acting from confusion mind. It seems that people in this country are so eager to dispense with what they view as Asian culture and develop their own form of Buddhism that they do not recognize that they are holding strongly to their own culture. Reliance on a spiritual teacher is not cultural. It is essential. Rinpoche’s essential nectar or advice comes from his inexhaustible wisdom and compassion for everyone. Reading these negative letters about Rinpoche, I am reminded of someone trying to shoot an arrow at a target in a starless night. There is no aim, only confusion. I would like to take this opportunity to share my limited Dharma view and experience. In general, sentient beings’ afflictive emotions and karma are inconceivable. In the same way, Buddha’s wisdom and compassion are inconceivable. Due to the connection between these two, Buddhas and bodhisattvas emanate unobstructedly, impartially, and unceasingly for beings’ benefit. Buddhas appear in inconceivable forms according to sentient beings’ varying energies and mental proclivities. It is beyond the capacity of our limited minds to grasp the entire picture. In a famous Buddhist teaching, Buddhas were shown to appear as mountains, trees, water, a bridge, a boat, as the most revered sublime teachers, and as the most disdained butchers or prostitutes, emanating in whatever form is beneficial for beings in order to lead them to liberation. When I was a child studying Buddhism in Tibet, I could understand that many things could be an emanation of

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"Sweetie. showed me that while for those with faith.jpg Likewise. they could remain in their paranoia and defensiveness. ‘Tell the Lama to wait a little. Our own confusion mind never ends. such as Thinley Norbu Rinpoche. When it was time for the Lama to die. this teacher can be male or female. It is critical that the teacher holds pure. however. or they could follow their curiosity and decide to develop their own courageous sound of wisdom. We often say that from samsara’s point of view. Holding this view will remove a lot of confusion and disturbance in our own practice. teachers appear. As soon as he killed her. and has realization of wisdom and compassion for all beings impartially. Samsaric ego always tries to protect itself. it is impossible to use intellectual dualistic mind to realize non-dual wisdom mind. many people did not recognize Milarépa’s qualities and wanted to control him. even if we ourselves cannot.txt[12/13/2013 8:21:39 AM] . At this point. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is certainly a fully realized wisdom teacher. When the messenger returned. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche always says we should have positive view. I’m expecting a special guest. This butcher was the emanation of an enlightened being with the power to liberate each being as it was killed. It is like when a small child is about to fall from a cliff and one parent says gently. Naropa33. although now we all claim to appreciate a teacher such as Milarépa. It was through karmic connection and developing their own spiritual view that practitioners could recognize the qualities of a teacher such as Milarépa. Their life forces were connected in this way. while we do have the same Buddha nature. We must rely on a wisdom teacher because. they are only for our benefit. they are only beneficial and never harmful. The butcher replied. We should appreciate and respect that this kind of rare teacher.vajrayana. Since I’ve spent my entire life practicing Dharma and surrounded by sublime teachers. Likewise. they quake in fear unable to cope. the answer would probably have been no. Before judging. "Stop! Don’t go!". but I could not imagine that this could be true of a butcher. I will come immediately. so we criticize them. actually it was the same – to liberate beings from samsara. exists for those who can make a connection.Buddha. we must know the appropriate qualities of a teacher and examine our own motivation as students. most people do not like to hear the truth about their ignorance and egos as it can feel painful. like those uneducated in jewels don’t have the ability to distinguish between diamond and glass. For example. never for his own. entranced by their own culture. he asked his attendant to send a message to the town butcher to hurry up. When they suddenly hear the wisdom liberation sound of a lion’s roar." while the other yells sharply. it is like churning water to get butter – it won’t happen. If people had been allowed to vote on whether or not Milarépa should be allowed to teach. however. Asian or Western or from any country because realization is not related to culture. someone who has himself gone beyond limited dualistic mind and can show us the path. http://www. one a Lama and one a butcher. a man brought a female yak to be killed. ultimate wisdom does not exist in our dualistic minds. whatever words Rinpoche uses and in whatever style he expresses them. if he actually came to the West. since our own practice belongs to our own karma and our own capacity. samsara is crazy. that the Lama was waiting for him. don’t go. I understood then that it is impossible from a limited point of view to determine what is enlightened Buddha activity. the Lama had also died. However smart we are. not criticize others on their spiritual path and particularly other Buddhists. so we must rely on a teacher. These types of wisdom teachers often do not fit in our confused culture. Please keep this kind of wise view without partiality toward accepted custom and culture. He told me a story about one of his teachers. for those who have no faith in Buddha. There is a Tibetan story about a pack of self-centered. we would quickly have him admitted to a mental institution! Even in Tibet. Milarépa is crazy. a Lama who emanated two tulkus. As soon as I meet her. Of course. without a teacher. and will trick us into thinking that we have gone beyond dualistic mind when we have not. Whatever techniques he uses to awaken us. This is still the case with many wisdom teachers when people with worldly habit view them. not through ordinary consensus. we file:///C|/Users/VTao/Desktop/AAAAA/000. I do have the capacity to recognize and choose a sublime teacher. the butcher himself died. and from Milarépa’s point of view.org 8fa2. Of course. other emanations appear. the point is the same. Although we intrinsically have Buddha nature.’ As the messenger was leaving.jpg Ordinary sentient beings do not have the innate capacity to choose enlightened teachers. My father. confused foxes full of afflictive emotions. While the Lama and the butcher’s activity appeared to be opposite. although we have Buddha nature. unbroken lineage.

must make a firm decision to develop it. Countless practitioners in India and Tibet have achieved rainbow body. all of whom were from India. you can only perceive them at the level of your own mind. Wherever Buddhism has spread. and display them for everyone to see and talk about. which are like the size of a sesame seed. This proves that lineage has great import and meaning. This is possible because they hold wisdom lineage. The qualities and faults that we see in another person fully depend upon our own mental capacity. Of course. Padmasambhava who established Buddhism in Tibet. Still today we think with appreciation of this lineage. One who is ‘fully realized’ is not like someone who merely has good intention. which is alive and unbroken. Without this. and so on. Although good or bad teachers may appear to you. Since Dharma is relatively new to the West. which can be good. The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Paltrül Rinpoche. it is more difficult for Westerners to distinguish between these. If our minds are negative. it has not blossomed due to always relying on our own dualistic mind. This can be shown by how the gross elemental body is exhausted into the rainbow body. Their dualistic. This is not only myth or ancient history.000 people have attained rainbow body up until now. Its value is demonstrated again and again by those who hold pure lineage and do pure practice. we should find that one quality and emulate it. Although Buddha nature is inherent in all of us. and Vimalamitra. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is one who holds this pure lineage and can lead us from our confused dualistic minds to wisdom mind. the great scholar Shantarakshita. to sambhogakaya Dorje Sempa. which teach us how to examine teachers before making a commitment to them. and whatever appears is only a gauge of our own mind. Dharma originated historically in India and appeared in countless other realms. the Five Hundred Panditas and Mahasiddhas. to non-dualistic wisdom mind. not negative. This file:///C|/Users/VTao/Desktop/AAAAA/000. and one day become Buddha ourselves. which will lead us to greater purity. They will lead us on the path beyond dualistic mind. in Asia or elsewhere. or neutral. and how to examine ourselves as students. to full liberation. It means that they do not only teach us about the mind. There are many guides in Tibetan literature. Sri Singha. However. You can find false teachers everywhere.txt[12/13/2013 8:21:39 AM] . For example. bad. it is important to rely on a good teacher who has the ability to open our own wisdom and compassion. includes such a teaching and is excellently translated into English. our phenomena belong only to us. to the Dharma king Trisong Détsen. praying and receiving blessings. there are teachers of varying qualities and many different types of teachers. from sublime wisdom teachers to spiritual friends. for example. and the lineage was passed through the Six Ornaments of the Universe. over 100. they teach beyond mind. we cannot achieve this state. Instead. then it is like someone with jaundice who will perceive a pure white snow mountain as yellow. Practice turns our usual focus on others around to focus on ourselves. not only in America. it was transmitted through unbroken oral and written lineage from teacher to student. but is carried on through lineages that are vital today. at Kathog Monastery in Tibet. Instead of judging the hundred faults. Usually we take our own faults. As Rinpoche points out in the interview. afflictive emotional minds are exhausted into non-dualistic inexhaustible wisdom. and it does not arise from stupid faith. who are not teaching out of confusion or for their own fame or gain. Dud’jom Lingpa had thirteen students who attained rainbow body by following his lineage. and on in an unbroken line of wisdom beings down to our own root lama. Even though one person may have a hundred different faults. and try to hide them. however culturally developed we are. instead staying always embroiled in the confusion of our limited dualistic minds. So we must develop the ability to choose teachers with wisdom and compassion. following a wisdom teacher. On a relative level. we should try to practice from a Buddhist point of view. which are like the size of a mountain. Vajrayana Buddhism originated from dharmakaya Kuntuzangpo. still they have at least one quality. Then we will be connected only with positive phenomena. Tibetans had to respect and rely upon Indian lineage holders in order for Dharma to take root with Tibetan lineage holders. In this century too. If we practice pure Dharma to purify our own minds. or Vajrayana. This is the Buddhist way. the twenty-five main disciples of Padmasambhava. even beyond samsara and nirvana. Our respect for this lineage is not partial to any country or worldly tradition. the absolutely crucial point is to examine our own minds. Mahayana. to nirmanakaya Garab Dorje. Manjushrimitra. whether Hinayana. Then we find others’ faults. however smart we are. It is never necessary to reject or condemn others since we may later appreciate them with a different view. then we will recognize the qualities of pure teachers and not need to reject impure ones. Practice actually means to purify one’s own mind until all phenomena are perceived as pure. the Two Supreme Ones.

file:///C|/Users/VTao/Desktop/AAAAA/000. I am old now.wisdom was given to me from my root lama Dungsé Thinley Norbu Rinpoche. We only wish to give advice which will actually benefit beings and release them from their suffering and confusion. and neither Rinpoche nor I have any need to collect more students or fame.txt[12/13/2013 8:21:39 AM] . Please take this heart advice and put it into sincere practice without thought of worldly gain or politics.