What makes one a Buddhist?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:25 am

Can't verify the accuracy of this story, however reading it is a sad tale for Trungpa and his followers in his final days.

Extract from here - http://www.american-buddha.com/cult.oth ... _Hell_Bent

Two months later, Rinpoche finally died of acute late stage alcoholism. I saw a picture of him taken a few days before his death. He was bone-thin; his eyes had the haunted look of a madman. "I will never have another teacher in this lifetime," I swore to the silent red rocks at sunset. The ravens circled the valley, and I felt as though I had wasted every ounce of my practice and training with this maniacal Tibetan.

Anger erupted in both of us toward Rinpoche's henchmen, whom we felt had killed him. In their Emperor's-New-Clothes mentality, his guards had refused to face the reality of Rinpoche's addictions. It wasn't just alcohol. The truth leaked out about his $40,000-a- year coke habit and, the ultimate irony, an addiction to Seconal. Sleeping pills for the guru who advertised himself as a wake-up call to enlightenment. John and I felt duped, cheated, and outraged, especially toward the yes-men, who remained unaccountable for the deception inflicted upon our community. Rinpoche's enablers claimed that supplying him with drugs and alcohol was a measure of their devotion, while sneering at those of us who objected. In their sick denial, they couldn't see he was suiciding right before our eyes. John and I had fantasies about kidnapping Rinpoche and detoxing him ourselves, imagining what thirty days of sobriety would have done to his warped perceptions. In his last year, he'd become so deluded, he would summon his attendants and tell them he wanted to visit the Queen of Bhutan. They would put him in his Mercedes and drive around the block several times. As they led him back to the house, they laughingly asked how his visit went.

"Wonderful," he'd reply. "She was delightful."

And they called that magic. "He's so powerful," they'd whisper. It was pathetic.


:candle:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:30 am

You do seem to have thing about poor dead Trungpa.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:51 am

Dan74 wrote:
I think if we all took the medicine, we would not be here.
Perhaps there is more subtlety to the human condition that you seem to be seeing, Gazelle. A person can be a sage in some respects and deluded in others. He could be capable of sublime acts of selfless compassion and yet wallow in the cesspit of self-destruction. Sometimes the most extreme contradictions coexist. Uncomfortable to conceive of, yes. Hard to get a grasp on, yes. But then again, reality rarely fits neatly into any conceptual straight-jacket.

I agree with what you're saying Dan74. I guess my experiences as an Anagarika at Bodhinyana monastary made following the Buddha's teachings so much easier and clearer. There wasn't the extremes of behavior there. It was all pretty calm and boring, yet that's where you can still the mind and practice meditation in a conducive environment. Well that's my understanding of these matters anyway.

:twothumbsup:

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:You do seem to have thing about poor dead Trungpa.
Yeah he certainly is entertaining to read about. :shock:

And plus I've had the pleasure of having conversations with pro Trungpa students where I was heavily outnumbered and gunned down. :guns:

:anjali:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:21 am

Gazelle wrote: And plus I've had the pleasure of having conversations with pro Trungpa students where I was heavily outnumbered and gunned down.
That's good for you.

Trungpa was a complicated, very brilliant, and most assuredly a seriously flawed man who could teach good Dhamma despite his failings.

Image
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:That's good for you.
Ha ha...you're no doubt correct! :clap:

User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 3012
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Dan74 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:22 pm

Gazelle, is that Bodhinyana in Warburton? Another Victorian!? :thumbsup:

LY, I recall feeling very dismayed when I first heard about Trungpa. How can a supposedly outstanding Dhamma teacher behave like this? I mean, even a deluded slob like me doesn't womanize or drink himself to death. So what kind of a teacher was he?

I have no interest in defending or excusing Trungpa's behaviour nor can I offer you any logically compelling reasons why he shouldn't just be chucked into the bin as another false guru. But from reading his teachings, from some contact with his students, I can say that my view is no longer so black and white.

For myself I do prefer teachers who are perhaps less brilliant but are morally upright and thankfully there are teachers like this in all major traditions. But perhaps the discomfort we experience with the story of Chogyam Trungpa is at least partly due to the notion we hold on to as to how the Dhamma ought to make us better, neater, cleaner and purer human beings. I've come to the conclusion that this fantasy is not particularly helpful for practice.
_/|\_

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:28 pm

Hi Dan74,

No that's 'Bodhivana' Monastery in Warburton.... the name is close... I was living at Bodhinyana in Serpentine with Ajahn Brahm. :smile:

As to Trungpa, it doesn't bother me if he considered himself a Buddhist or not, it's just words....however what was frustrating was when I had a conversation with a good friend a while ago about Trungpa, I couldn't seem to communicate with her that some of Trungpa's actions were in direct contrast with what many people would agree is the closest we have to the Buddha's words in the Pali Canon. Because of teachers like him, I feel many get a warped idea of what the Buddha taught. I got the feeling that my friend thinks that I've become some sort of Buddhist conservative freak because I say, heavens forbid, drinking yourself to an early grave and having sex with married women is against the precepts. Trungpa supporters will say it's some sort of Dhamma teaching.... I find it all a bit of a copout. :shrug:

But whatever.... I can't control others.... I'm off to sleep.... :zzz:

:anjali:
Last edited by Gazelle on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11776
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by DNS » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:21 pm

Trungpa was a brilliant teacher, very knowledgeable and versed in the Dharma (knowledge and skill at teaching) and probably very intelligent. He was a Buddhist (Vajrayana-Shambhala).

Knowledge and intelligence is no guarantee of sanity.

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Post by Buckwheat » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:51 am

Gazelle wrote:
Your smily thingy suggests that the question is crazy, and I agree. No guessing from me on that.
Ha ha... are you serious? From what we know of the historical Buddha (even though I can't verify 100%) it would be fair to assume that the Buddha would find Trungpa's conduct less than ideal I would think. :shrug:
I don't know about Trungpa's conduct, but if the Buddha took the time to teach Angulimala, I don't think we should consider other people less Buddhist just because we fault with their bahavior or views.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Buckwheat » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:08 am

Gazelle,
My first "teacher" (I never formally took him as a teacher, but was getting there) was Genpo Roshi, who was disgraced by his drinking and gross sexual misconduct. It was a tough time when the stories broke, and I had many thoughts such as "he should not be a Buddhist teacher" and "he should get some help". But I never, not for a moment, thought he was "not a Buddhist". Then I found out about Brad Warner, a monk who seems to spend a great deal of time ridiculing Genpo Roshi. His obsession seems to me to be a waste of a monk's focus, and I wonder if he is contributing positive energy to the Buddhist discussion. But I have never, not for a moment, thought he was "not a Buddhist".
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:48 am

:goodpost:
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:05 am

Buckwheat wrote: I don't know about Trungpa's conduct, but if the Buddha took the time to teach Angulimala,
Angulimala was not a Buddhist when he was making his necklace. The complaint about Trungpa was that he was a monk, then a lay teacher of Buddhism, all the while acting at times very badly. As I said Trunpa was a complicated, brilliant but seriously flawed man who could be a very skilfull, insightful Dhamma teacher.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 3012
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:32 am

Gazelle wrote:Hi Dan74,

No that's 'Bodhivana' Monastery in Warburton.... the name is close... I was living at Bodhinyana in Serpentine with Ajahn Brahm. :smile:
Ooops, I always get those two confused. :embarassed:

I have heard both Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Kalyano multiple times, so I should know better.
Gazelle wrote: As to Trungpa, it doesn't bother me if he considered himself a Buddhist or not, it's just words....however what was frustrating was when I had a conversation with a good friend a while ago about Trungpa, I couldn't seem to communicate with her that some of Trungpa's actions were in direct contrast with what many people would agree is the closest we have to the Buddha's words in the Pali Canon. That's not Trungpa's fault obviously, however because of people like him, I feel many get a warped idea of what the Buddha taught. I got the feeling that my friend thinks that I've become some sort of Buddhist conservative freak because I say, heavens forbid, drinking yourself to an early grave and having sex with married women is against the precepts. Trungpa supporters will say it's some sort of Dhamma teaching.... I find it all a bit of a copout. :shrug:

But whatever.... I can't control others.... I'm off to sleep.... :zzz:

:anjali:
The thing with Trungpa was that he never advocated the sort of thing he himself was guilty of, and in one instance when he was asked whether it was OK for his students to behave as he did, he said definitely not.

As for whether it was a teaching, well, it kind of makes it easier to deal with it, if you see it that way. Plus everything can be a teaching if one is so disposed. But it does require quite a big leap to conclude that it was all a deliberate act by Trungpa. No, I don't think so, although it was probably a combination of his karmic dispositions, his sensitivity, his compassion as a teacher and the environment he found himself teaching in. "Do what I say not what I do" kind of thing. Which of course doesn't make it alright.

I agree with tilt's summary. The main thing for me was to let go of some cherished notions about teachers, practice, purity and realization. It is not so black and white as I had at first supposed.
_/|\_

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Post by Gazelle » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:05 pm

:anjali:

Thank you Dan74

:smile:

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 49 guests