Given recent allegations of abuse in Rigpa and other Buddhist communities, are you feeling confused about the teacher-student relationship?
Each of the following articles, written by long-term practitioners, approach the student-teacher relationship from a different angle. The authors explore how the teacher-student relationship can go wrong, how it can go right, and how we as students need to stay awake and trust our true intelligence.
The Teacher-Student Relationship: Liberating or a Trap?
Susan Pivar is a best-selling author, Buddhist teacher, and a 20+ year practitioner in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.
My advice is don’t scare easily, but do scare appropriately. The student-teacher relationship is intimate. It takes place on the most hidden and vulnerable level of one’s being. It is ripe for manipulation, confusion, and aggression on both parts. For us students, we could try not to mistake feeling intimidated for sacred awe or confuse brutishness with true power. We could discover the difference between neurotic doubt and intelligent doubt. We could allow our hearts to be broken open, not crushed. Though it is antithetical to the Western gestalt, we could examine devotion as something other than mute slavishness. (These are all very fine lines. obviously.) Stay awake, let go, and be willing to trust yourself. Rely on your true intelligence. It’s terrifying.
Read: The Teacher-Student Relationship: Liberating or a Trap?
What Went Wrong
An interview with Tibetan psychologist Lobsang Rapgay about student-teacher relationships that turn abusive.
Lobsang Rapgay is a practicing clinical psychologist and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, Rapgay was a Tibetan Buddhist monk for 18 years and served as the Dalai Lama’s deputy secretary and English-language interpreter.
And when a teacher personalizes and interprets the teachings to suit the needs of the Western students in a particular way, he or she then establishes ownership over those teachings, and they become very exclusive and elite. That leads to a differentiation of himself and his teaching from the others’ teachings and even the tradition itself, as being very unique and special. The focus becomes one of perpetuating that teaching at the cost of neglecting the fundamental ethical guidelines between teacher and student. Even if those are referred to, no real attempt is made to create institutionalized clear boundaries between the teacher and the student. Nor is an attempt made to create ethics committees with the power and the authority to carry out its missions, including enforcing consequences when violations occur.
Read: What Went Wrong
Why I Quit Guru Yoga
Does elevating the guru to the same status as the teachings themselves set the stage for teacher-student abuse?
Stephen Batchelor is a Buddhist author, teacher, and scholar and noted proponent of secular Buddhism.
How are we to understand such accounts of guru devotion? Am I to believe that the story of Tilopa and Naropa actually took place? Can I imagine Buddhist societies in India or Tibet that did not object to religious teachers behaving in this way? Or should it be read as an inspiring fable to strengthen one’s faith? Is it any different from the biblical account of Abraham being told by God to sacrifice his son Isaac? Like Naropa, Abraham obeys the command. Yet just as he is about to cut his son’s throat, Isaac too is spared by magic, in this case the intervention of an angel and the appearance of an unlucky ram. Did this event happen in a historical time and place? Or is it too just an allegory?
Read: Why I Quit Guru Yoga
I hope you find these articles helpful, especially if you feel confused or unclear about the teacher-student relationship. After reading them, be sure to come back and let us know:
What stood out for you in these articles? Did you learn something new or see something in a different way? We would love to hear in the comments.
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The article of Stephen Batchelor is interesting
“Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s response to the crisis suggests one way forward. He explains that the only reason for seeing one’s teacher as a buddha is in order to recognize how the same awakened qualities permeate oneself, other human beings, and the very world in which we live. The guru, in this sense, ceases to be exclusively identified with one’s flesh and blood teacher. The teacher’s role becomes that of helping his or her students see every single life situation as their true teacher. Such a perspective, Mingyur argues, is the “life-blood” of the Vajrayana tradition and the “very highest ethical standard” to which practitioners can aspire.
The eight students who wrote to Sogyal concluded their statement with these words: “Our deepest wish is to see Buddhism flourish in the West. We no longer want to indulge in the stupidity of seeing the Guru as perfect at any cost. ”
As far as I have learned, the quality of the state of enlightenment/liberation is, that while the person experiences the primordial purity of everyone and everything, the liberated person perceives at the same time equally what is going on on the samsara level of existance. As I understand and remember the philosophy lessons the Gelug geshe of the local FPMT center gave, liberation is attained when these two come together.
So, a fully liberated human being can, despite having perfect pure perception, still discern between a bank robber and a philanthropist benefactor.
So, pretending the teacher is always perfect in a worldly way while deliberately shutting down the ability to see any worldly samsaric attributes would actually mean dulling the mind’s innate ability of discernment that will be able to discern between the bank robber and the benefactor even when all conceptual thinking has ended. So how exactly is that going to help attain liberation?
I find it interesting what Stephen Batchelor recounts of his own introduction to Tibetan buddhism. The lamas were probably very well meaning, qualified and not behaving unethically in any way, but it’s almost the example of how it should not be done if it’s supposed to work for westerners.
By the way, spreading vajrayana to unsuitable students or in a way that harms the students is a samaya break on the side of the teacher. Making the student lose faith in the teachings is a breakage of the bodhisattva vows.
So teachers pointing at students crying samaya breaker is a bit of a scam, when the skillful teacher probably shouldn’t have introduced that particular student to vajrayana in the first place. Or should have handled the introduction differently.
I mean, it’s the teacher who decides with who he wants to create samaya and how he goes about it.
Why question whether a liberated being is “still able” to discern between a robber and a benefactor? Of course he/she is! The difference between a liberated being and a samsaric being is not in the ability to discern, but in the difference in awareness of the MODE OF EXISTENCE of persons and phenomena that are discerned.
So there is nothing wrong in discerning “I am coerced into sex by my master”, but taking it for real, and seeing it as true, and to see things as existing from it’s own side (instead of arising in dependence on ones own ignorance) is the samsaric problem… for the rigpa sangha… after thirty years of practice…
It is also arising in dependence upon the “master’s” own ignorance too. 😀
Catlover… “The master´s ignorance”… read it 100 times and you will be able to see the contradiction in term.
“It needs to be emphasized that it is OUR PERCEPTION of the guru which enables the guru to function as a manifestation of the dharma. At first we see the guru as an ordinary person, and then as our practice develops we start to see the guru as more of an enlightened being, until finally we learn to recognize the guru as being nothing but an external manifestation of our own awakeness or buddhamind. In a subtle way then, it is almost irrelevant whether or not the teacher is enlightened. The guru-disciple relationship is not about worshipping a guru, but providing THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIBERATE OUR CONFUSED PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY”
My emphasis… WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get
But the nature of this type of relationship can make it incredibly destructive if anything goes wrong, doesn’t matter if the f-up is caused by the teacher’s or the student’s recklessness or ignorance, even if it’s just by pure misunderstanding.
The closer you are to somebody and the more you rely on that person the easier it is to get hurt in the process, for example if a misunderstanding occurs or one of the participants is just plain clumsy. There doesn’t have to be any harmful intention for this to become problematic, particularly when the participants are from totally different cultures where the different cultural and personal backgrounds alone come with tons of potential for misunderstandings and miscommunication.
The question is not whether or not hurt feelings can arise, the question is: should one act (habitually) upon these hurt feelings? If you can’t even see THE ONE YOU HAVE CHOSEN AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION to be your guru with a pure view, how on earth are you going to see “ordinary people” with a pure view?
It is all a missed opportunity by the rigpa sangha to get ahead on the path and make real big step on/towards the path, from my point of view.
Don’t you see Solendon (and the authors of this blog) that this all arises from adopting a “legal” view towards reality, instead of a pure view? “Am I on a spiritual path?” one could ask oneself when one merely looks at reality from a worldly view.
And agian (and again and again): A “f-up” arises primarily from your own mind. So blaming the teacher for the created f-up is absurd. Do your homework, and study lo.rig (the mind and its functions: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-its-Functions-Geshe-Rabten/dp/2970001608).
Why doesn’t it surprise me that all three articles more or less support the position taken by the rigpa sangha… though madhyamika teaching show that whenever a position is taken, it is flawed because it necessarily can be reduced to one of the four extremes.
So the problem here is our habitual grasping for a (real or true or right) position. However Nagarjuna said: “If I had a thesis, I would be at fault. Since I alone have no thesis, I alone am without fault.”
Trying to get support (or criticism for that matter!) FOR YOUR POSITION from your friends, or from scolars or from a long term practitioner is NECESSARILY a form of fooling yourself.
Negating X by taking position Y is called an affirmative negation (i.e. a negation that puts something in place (Y) of the negated X).
Sunyata however is a NON AFFIRMATIVE negation (i.e. a negation that does not put something in place of the negated). It is beyond the four extremes, beyond words, beyond thought, beyond “taking the right position” and “doing the right thing”…
Whoops! Be careful not to make judgements about judgments, or take a position on NOT taking a position. 😀
Haha exactly… nihilistic nonsense defeats itself!
From: The Distortions We Bring To The Study of Buddhism
by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
“What sometimes seems to happen is that people want to practice Vajrayana because they see it as something exotic, when in fact they would be better off with the sanity and simplicity of the Theravada.
In Vajrayana, in order to enable the guru to help us and work on our dualistic ego-centered preoccupations, we are supposed to think that the guru is no different in wisdom than the Buddha. This is the highest form of mind training. We are literally making a hero out of someone who, because he sees our potential, has no qualms about challenging and even abusing our narrow minded and habitual patterns. This is a very radical, difficult and revolutionary method. From a conventional point of view, or from the point of view of ego-cherishing, the whole notion of the guru- disciple relationship is something almost criminal. Yet the point to remember is that the only purpose of the existence of the guru is to function as a skillful means to combat habits of dualistic conceptualizations, and to combat the tricks and tenacity of ego-clinging. In this way the guru is a living manifestation of the teachings.
It needs to be emphasized that it is our perception of the guru which enables the guru to function as a manifestation of the dharma. At first we see the guru as an ordinary person, and then as our practice develops we start to see the guru as more of an enlightened being, until finally we learn to recognize the guru as being nothing but an external manifestation of our own awakeness or buddhamind. In a subtle way then, it is almost irrelevant whether or not the teacher is enlightened. The guru-disciple relationship is not about worshipping a guru, but providing the opportunity to liberate our confused perceptions of reality.”
@EuDawn: “Nihilism” is one of the four extremes. All four extremes (essentialism, nihilism, both, neither) are refuted by a non affirmative negation in Madhyamaka. So it is negating nihilism, but it is not putting something in place of the negated four extremes. So it is NOT putting forth a fifth. Or a third (tertium non datur) from a dualistic point of view.
The middle way is not some path you can grasp (and thát is the whole point: non-grasping). It is not a “position” strictly speaking. It is beyond that. It starts there where dualistic logic stops.
Seeing the middle way (i.e. a non affirmative negation of nihilism) as nihilism, IS in fact nihilism…
Be carefull to not see, that what you see is primarily dependent on your own mind….
“Trying to get support (or criticism for that matter!) FOR YOUR POSITION from your friends, or from scolars or from a long term practitioner is NECESSARILY a form of fooling yourself.”
Exactly, and that might be also valid for a “master” or an authority who seems to possess the sovereignty of interpretation regarding the teachings of the buddha and the way of how to embody them and transform them into practice.
They would not have to “convince” anyone to follow their advise or support their position and they would not dominate, patronise or belittle them in any way.
Because their attitude, beliefs and actions would speak for themselves.
If you FEEL abused, there is nothing wrong with following and honouring that perception and observing it thoroughly and keeping up with your own discernment.
If you continue to feel abused in any way then it might be necessary to make a decision in order to protect yourself against the source of abuse and I would add: because if you do not care for yourself properly, nobody else will!
There is a good article by Pema Chodron on Chogyam Trungpa in this book under the heading “Sex and the teacher”
“Vajrayana male-female symbolism is not about sex. The practice can only exist in the context of a correct view of the unity of compassion and wisdom. Furthermore, as the tantric path works on a personal and non-conceptual level, it is not possible to make judgments about a practitioner. Tantra transcends completely the conventional idea of a man and woman having a sexual relationship. It is about working with phenomena to bring about the extraordinary realization of emptiness and bodhicitta in order to liberate all beings from samsara. To expect a yogin or yogini, who is aspiring to go beyond the chauvinism of the confused mind, to worry about sexual rights issues seems absurd in the context of such a vast view.”
“To expect a yogin or yogini, who is aspiring to go beyond the chauvinism of the confused mind, to worry about sexual rights issues seems absurd in the context of such a vast view”
That’s an advanced level of practice view, for people who have a direct insight into emptiness nature of phenomena. It’s not suited for the average person who gets into with a Tibetan buddhist group and gets involved in study and meditation there.
First of all the “advanced” view is inseparable in nature AND IN FORM from the “beginners” view. Samsara IS nirvana…
And secondly, if you acknowledge that NON DUAL tantric practice is beyond your DUALISTIC view that can only see “good/bad” and “right/wrong” in things, than it follows that you are UNCAPABLE of judging tantra SINCE you cannot go beyond dualism. If you acknowledge that rocket science is beyond your capacity, you cannot judge any action by rocket scientists…
So why is this blog full of narrowminded dualistic judgements about something that is beyond ones dual reference, and of wich one ASSUMES is beyond ones “avarage” capacity??? It is illogical and therefor absurd…
Is is NOT beyond your capacity to be in the natural state (i.e. seeing emptiness directly). Otherwise liberation would be impossible. So it is NOT beyond your capacity to recognize it as such. The thing is… you don’t recognze it! 😉
Don’t fool yourself Solendon by framing yourself as “average”, while your nature is perfection.
And thirdly, “the average person who gets into with a Tibetan buddhist group and gets involved in study and meditation there.” is an euphemism for the authors of this blog, who have practiced for over thirty years and have lived in Lerab Ling for years. It is a false and misguiding argument in this debate on student-teacher realtionship. The fact that one considers oneself a student of a certain teacher implies – from a vajrayana perspective- one has tested that teacher before one get’s involved in any relation, as one would test gold before buying.
So what this blog is showing is the irrational behaviour of Westerners jumping into a tantric student-teacher relation. And when that fails, they try to start a new form of Western Ethical Buddhism… that keeps the go intact after enlightenment!!! :))
It is fact that Sogyal Rinpoche started to teach hapless westerners dzogchen. Most people who get involved with Tibetan buddhism are on the path of aspiration and will spend considerable time in that state. That’s a fact.
Hapless=people who had no opportunity to get the informations needed to make an informed decision if they want to walk that path or not.
If that wasn’t the case they would all have to be tulkus of someone who had done that work earlier and has already attained high realisation in a previous life. Which just isn’t the case, otherwise we would see a lot more qualified western vajrayana teachers and lineage holders, after 40 or so years of westerners practicing vajrayana. But then numbers here are very very low.
And yes, there is a difference of people who are on the path of seeing (have a direct realisation of emptiness nature) and those who are not. Those who are not should conform to the rules for “ordinary” people or they will accumulate bad karma.
There is this saying, a cat should not try to leap where a lion can leap.
Samsara is most definitely not nirvana. Samsara and nirvana are two distinctive ways to see the same world. They are two very much distinct types of existance.
I’m rather certain you don’t have a personal experience of samsara and nirvana being one and the same, unlike for example the Dalai Lama, who shows perfect ethical conduct, despite being a highly realized vajrayana master.
Who is teaching dzogchen? The teacher, the student, both? Can you teach dzogchen to deaf ears?
And again it is necessary for you to “degrade” yourself in order to make your argument: we were not informed, and if we were informed we were too stupid to understand it, so it is the teachers fault who over-estimated us…
So from my point of view this all arises from an inferiority complex and self-pity.
By te way: teachers of the gradual path see the path of seeing as only attainable for bodhisattvas. Teachers of the direct path (i.e. dzogchen) deny this. So you are using a “gradual” argument against a “direct” teacher Solendon…
“rather certain”… I C.
“Samsara is most definitely not nirvana. Samsara and nirvana are two distinctive ways to see the same world. They are two very much distinct types of existance.”
Can (mere nominally existing!!!) distinctive ways of seeing that arise from the same nature, truely be distinct? Anger and compassion/forgiving share the same mirrorlike nature Solendon. Their energy is only superficially different since they feel different, but they are not truely different in nature. Since both are like a dream.
When a yogi “sees reality as it is”, this does NOT refer to seeing the (inherent) qualities of reality, but it refers to directly seeing the dreamlike nature of samsara AND nirvana.
When you investigate “dreaming” and “being awake” from a epistemological point of view, it does not matter if there is some reality or not, since both PRIMARILY arise in dependence on MENTAL PROJECTION…
BTW: the same holds for the “the truth” and “fake news”, both ar mere mental projection! 😉
“Can (mere nominally existing!!!) distinctive ways of seeing that arise from the same nature, truely be distinct? ”
Yes, once comes with suffering, the other without. That’s the dividing line.
Yazz, Solendon you are right. 😉 They are disticnt… mere nonimally. But not truely distinct. That’s the whole point in Madhyamika. Both forms are mere emptiness. The distinction only exists within the realm of samsara, and is thus based on ignorance.
Seeing this blog and most of it’s responses one might ask: Who cares about a pure view?
A pure view is only for yogis, and pigs like mud…
“If you acknowledge that rocket science is beyond your capacity, you cannot judge any action by rocket scientists…”
I’m sorry, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. If we use this line of reasoning, then we can justify anything at all, including nuclear war. If rocket scientists are harming others and the environment, and it’s obvious that their actions are causing destruction and bad effects, we CAN judge that, and rightly so. It doesn’t matter if we have the level of scientific knowledge they have. If they are causing harm, they are causing harm. It is really that simple. Overthinking is where Buddhists really go off the deep end. It’s really very simple and it’s not rocket science. Harm is harm, END of story. If someone was harmed, then they were harmed, END of story. Why does it have to be so complicated? If a tantric master is really so enlightened, then he/she is supposed to know who is ready for crazy wisdom and who is not. If they can’t distinguish who is ready, then what are they doing teaching crazy wisdom in the first place?!?!? END of story! What is so complicated about figuring that out?
I’m not saying that all rocket scientists are causing harm, btw. That wasn’t meant to disparage rocket scientists. it was just to say that if there were rocket scientists who are causing harm, then we could still realize that, even if we don’t have the same level of scientific knowledge. The same goes for tantric masters, or anyone else in any profession.
In short, you don’t have to know all about rocket science to see if an individual rocket scientist is causing harm, and likewise, one does not have to have complete knowledge of tantra, or insight into emptiness, to see whether a tantric master is causing harm. If students are traumatized and people are leaving the Dharma, then it’s clear that the “master” is not teaching properly.
Catlover wrote: “If students are traumatized and people are leaving the Dharma, then it’s clear that the “master” is not teaching properly.”
Maybe it is skillful means of the master to separate the spiritual materialists from the yogis…
Read again Catlover: I am not justifying anything at all. I am saying you cannot judge rocketscientists when unknowledgeable about rocketsccience. That’s trivial, isn’t it???
But that is what is happening on this oprah-winfrey-self-help-blog. It is full of what DKR calls “Western chauvinism”. It is judging the East with Western norms and values. It is 21th century moral imperialism based on quasi moral superiority of the West.
Marc I don’t think HH Dalai Lama would agree with your statement that we are “judging the East with Western norms and values.” He and other Tibetans are busy with reforms of Tibetan culture and politics, reforming what he clearly identifies as “feudal” habits of the past. I personally see much to admire in Tibetan culture, their humor, generosity, compassion, the great Tibetan Buddhist tradition– but they have work to do just as we do in the West. Misogyny is alive and well in the East and the West. And I certainly wouldn’t turn to DKR for leadership in that work! Like any big Western corporate CEO, he has benefitted hugely from the status quo and seems very un-motivated to support any change that will challenge his base.
I agree that there are cultural difficulties in moving forward to eliminate abuses in Tibetan Buddhist centers. Mis-communication is going to be a problem. But by denigrating efforts such as this blog of people coming together to support each other and find solutions that will help the Dharma flourish in the West, you certainly aren’t helping that cause!
What HHDL says is: there is feudalism and there is tantrism, one should not mix these up. Concluding that SR acts are feudalist is a misinterpretation of HHDL words. And you know this very well. Since you cannot come up with any quote of HHDL in which he condems SR’s acts specifically. You are mis-using his position for your own favour Joanne. The Tibetan culture is feudalist, and all monasteries and their lamas have therefor a more or less feudalist relation towards the Tibetan people and practitioners. But this does not hold in the west. You are misinterpreting HHDL words and project his position onto yourselves for your own benefit.
And for the position of HHDL I can come up with the position of many (nyingma) lamas that disagree with his position. Beside that, HHDL does not have the last voice, nor the deciding voice in this matter. He is a gelugpa.
And last but not least you completely ignore the spiritual side of this “controversy” and merely focus on the wordly and legal side of this… after 30 years of practice!!! I think this is very disappointing. Since it shows that your practice is not integrated in your daily activities. Your compassion is not limitless but mere lipservice. In other words: you still get fucked up when you feel hurt (and start a blog about it). Emotions are still controlling you, instead that you control your emotions.
You all thought you were fit for tantra. It clearly shows you all were and are not. See your own faults in this, and acknowledge this, before you start pointing towards others.
And this is the third time you use an ad hominem “argument” (which is not an argument at all) by describing my efforts as denigrating. I am Dutch. We do not get lost in form and formalities like the English and Americans… and thereafter stab that person in the back. Dutch do not offer mere lipservice. We Dutch are direct and do not “pussy foot around it” but call things by there name: ignorant, hypocrite and stupid after having offered (spiritual) arguments for this position, instead of uttering a mere personal and mere wordly opinion, and FALSELY try to back this up with HHDL qoutes. This is spiritual materialism! Great practice Joanne!
Using an ad hominem argument against me is OK (by me) however. But implying that DKR’s position is biased since he has benefitted from this controversy “like any big Western corporate CEO,” is maybe going a bit too far. How more can you show you are a (spiritual) materialist?!!!
You are the one that is divisive here Joanne. All under the misleading flag of modernising Buddhism into a Western ethical Buddhism. You mix up the culture with the teaching Joanne! And the expected result is: enlightenment with keeping the ego intact. It is a laugh.
I would also argue Marc that we in the West are maybe not seeing the best of Tibetan Buddhist culture. Those lamas who chose to come to the West might be those more apt to have some attachments to the eight worldly concerns. Again, DKR is perhaps an example of that. The movie making industry is really the very epitome of Western style consumerism and attachment to the eight worldly concerns (e.g. Fame, name, money).
Practitioner Joanne Clark wrote:
“I would also argue Marc that we in the West are maybe not seeing the best of Tibetan Buddhist culture. Those lamas who chose to come to the West might be those more apt to have some attachments to the eight worldly concerns. Again, DKR is perhaps an example of that. The movie making industry is really the very epitome of Western style consumerism and attachment to the eight worldly concerns (e.g. Fame, name, money).”
Yazz Joanne! Ofkoz! Sure! You have opened my eyes…
PSE define “argue” for me Joanne…
Marc, I think you have to be careful of imposing a narrow, one-size-fits-all Dharma onto others. I remember once a questioner asked HHDL to give one word to summarize his view. I was busy thinking what a silly question that was, but HH was unphased and replied, “complicated.”
This is the Dharma that I find so inspiring. The Buddha did not just teach one approach to addressing suffering. Dzogchen is one of a multitude of approaches. Even SR taught that there are three main ways to transform the mind, the nature of mind being only one of those– one of those being compassion!
And it is even ignorant to claim that Dzogchen is the fastest, most advanced practice– because Dzogchen practiced poorly will set a student back eons.
So for example, when you advise Solendon that you can approach experiences of trauma simply by watching those experiences as a play of the mind, then you are not being skillful imo. I would say that is the very last thing to advise! Some experiences of trauma are so powerful that getting out of bed in the morning is a successful practice. And none of us can judge the level of practice this student getting out of bed might be on.
This is the theme running through many of your comments Marc, from the very beginning when you suggested that people needed to “behave like yogis” and stop whining about SR’s behaviors. Dharma is not a tough love practice.
When I was at Rigpa, a very new student to the Dharma, I expected to become enlightened at any minute. One vision of my mind’s nature and I’d be a Buddha. When I was at the Kagyu monastery, I finished my Ngondro and expected to become an advanced Tantric practitioner and become enlightened quickly. None of those things have transpired and the more I study, the more I realize how much of a beginner I am.
Once a questioner asked HHDL about the “quickest, easiest, cheapest path to enlightenment.” HH wept as he told the story of Milarepa saying good-bye to Gampopa at the bridge. Milarepa said, “I have one last teaching, more precious than all the others,” and showed Gampopa his buttocks, calloused from many years of sitting.
HH then said, “Don’t think cheapest, easiest. Think eons, eons.”
People are fond of using the story of Milarepa and Marpa as a story of how lamas might use rough methods with their students in modern times. But these people leave out the most important parts of Milarepa’s story. He lived in caves with nothing to eat and no clothes to keep warm through frigid winters and meditated through this. For years! Are any of us at that level of practice? Also, Milarepa was nothing but kind and gentle to his own students.
So using stories of crazy wisdom in the context of Westerners who are so very new to the Dharma and living in well-fed comfort is not skillful in my opinion. Meditating through thick and thin is for very very advanced practitioners imo. And even then, there are many practices. Sometimes Milarepa practiced views of emptiness when confronted by demons and sometimes he practiced strong compassion.
Yazz, ofkoz Joanne. Marc is promoting a one size fits all, everybody should be a yogi Buddhism.
Do you have double dutch blood in you Joanne) I no longer recognize myself in your words. Good luck arguing further.
Marc, I have to laugh because my last conversation with a Dutchman had the exact same outcome– I became accused of saying a multitude of things that I never said, with a slew of personal assaults mixed in! Now, I am American and know nothing about the Dutch, so I certainly am not going to be making any cultural slurs, it’s just a little funny that you brought that up…
So. I am happy to discuss any refutations you have with what I have actually said– however, I am not happy to waste time refuting your accusations that I am a spiritual materialist or whether or not I am fit for Tantra or whether or not I have “lip-service” compassion. And when did I ever conclude that “SR’s acts are feudalistic.” ? When did I ever claim that HHDL combined feudalism and tantricism in his comments? I was not addressing tantric practice in my comment. In fact, you don’t even know if I practice tantra!
It’s sad because one thing I know for sure is that it is not appropriate for any of us to be judging the practice of another– particularly if our accusations of others’ practice are in the domain of Vajrayana. And I think that this might underlie the basis of much of what you are saying– you seem to be judging the practice of Rigpa students who are claiming they have been harmed. Is that right? And I don’t think this is something anyone should be doing.
So… You choose to ignore me by commenting to me. And you do not waste time on me by writing this comment. And you claim you know nothing about the Dutch, just after having reffered to an experience with a Dutchman. I wrote “Like the English and American” and you think I think you are American. I wrote that is not so much the position one takes, but the clinging to ones position that makes one a spiritual materialist, and you do not want to waste time refuting my position. Which implies you see a your position as the basis for me calling you a spiritual materialist.
In what world do you live Joanne???
And by the way: I am sure you do not practice tantra. Tantra is the path of transformation of “negative” conditions into “positive” conditions by “taking suffering on the path”. And you must admit that you did not transform the “negative” conditions that were supposedly formed by SR’s “negative” actions into conditions for your personal practice. So you have shown you are not a tantrika sufficiently.
Long term practitioner Joanne Clark wrote:
“It’s sad because one thing I know for sure is that it is not appropriate for any of us to be judging the practice of another– particularly if our accusations of others’ practice are in the domain of Vajrayana. ”
But apparently it is appropriate for “us” to judge the actions of a person who we used to call our precious dzogchen master and holder of the rigpa, and start a blog about it. Why do most of you identify yourselves with your hurt feelings, instead of identifying yourselves with the spacious cognitive un-substantial non-local base (Tib: Kunzi) that we all really are. As “we” were taught by this precious dzogchen master of “ours”.
I am not judging you Joanne. The authors of this blog are clearly making a fool of themselves by starting this blog. I just point at that. I am like a mirror, and mirrors don’t judge and are unconditioned by what is put in front of them.
Who cares about people that agree with ones position? Only the critical can eventually help you further on your spiritual path.
Before requesting empowerment and a tantric relationship with a guru, the student is supposed to observe and test the teacher in order to make sure the teacher is qualified and has the necessary qualities.
If that aspiring student was fundamentally unable to come to some valid insight about the teacher and his qualification, then the advice of doing so would be totally redundant.
“Maybe it is skillful means of the master to separate the spiritual materialists from the yogis…”
So, anyone who is not ready for vajrayana is automatically a spiritual materialist….Wow, that’s really nasty and cynical and with statements like this you disqualify yourself as a buddhist practitioner-
Anyone who clings to his own truth and is blind for (dharma based) arguments is a spiritual materialist. It is in the clinging, and not so much in the postition taken Solenodon. The self proclaimed rightiousness of the authors of this blog is a consequence of this clinging to their own truth and their own narrowminded and misleading interpretation of HHDL’s words.
It is dharma-shopping… windowdressing… lipservice… It is looking outwards instead of inwards. 🙁
At the end we all must must stop clinging to buddhism in order to not fall for the trap of spiritual materialism, and become a true yogi.
Pffff… lucky me that I am not Buddhist but Bön…
🙂 Bönyi Döntog (aka Marc Breukhoven)
Marc, you say, “And for the position of HHDL I can come up with the position of many (nyingma) lamas that disagree with his position. Beside that, HHDL does not have the last voice, nor the deciding voice in this matter. He is a gelugpa.”
I believe that isn’t accurate because HHDL is the last remaining teacher of SR. And HHDL does hold many Dzogchen lineages. While it is true that he is not an authority on how the Nyingma lineage conducts its business, he has considerable authority in terms of SR (who is committed to rime)
And why are you so intent on “disqualifying” people as Buddhist practitioners? Please calm down?
Joanne, please let me handle my own intentions… OK?
My intention is to make people realize they are fooling themselves when they only present 3 “Must Read” articles that support their position, but in the meantime forget to present any critical articles..
And above that start giving ad hominem arguments against lamas (e.g. DKR) who have a critical voice.
Not American practitioner Joanne Clark wrote:
“While it is true that he is not an authority on how the Nyingma lineage conducts its business, he has considerable authority in terms of SR (who is committed to rime)”
… and he did not use this authority to condemn SR’s actions specifically. So qouting him as a support for the condemnation of SR’s actions that is misleading.
Marc, just for the record, I have never been a vajrayana student of SR. I was his student for eighteen months, never received an initiation, never met him. I have not been a practitioner for thirty years either, more like twenty. I have been studying daily from HHDL since I left my last Dharma center twelve years ago. I am only saying this to show you– kindly– that sometimes the assumptions we make about people can be far from the truth. That’s why it’s best to stick to the points of discussion rather than making things too personal.
“I have not been a practitioner for thirty years either, more like twenty.”
You are definately not a newbee Joanne. And that is the whole point.
And is it consistent to call oneself “kind” after several ad hominem attacks and pejorative “pseudo-philosophy” re-marcs?
Catlover ask yourself: “what constitutes the meaning of a certain action?” Is it the intention of the actor, or the perception of a bystander (or both or neither)?
If you choose for one of the latter three, then there is no meaning (and thus no responsability) of the action for the actor, and that is absurd!
If I can read through all of the philosophical rationalizations in your replies to me, I think you’re trying to say that we shouldn’t judge Eastern cultures by Western standards. If that’s what you’re saying, then you are justifying it. Abuse is abuse in any culture. It’s time people stop pussy-footing around it and call a spade a spade and quit with all of the “no right, no wrong” b.s.
Also, what about the quasi moral superiority of the lamas and their attitude toward Westerners. I wouldn’t say they are any more tolerant about our culture. The West embraced lamas and their teachings trustingly and too many of them have abused that trust.
Catlover wrote: “I think you’re trying to say that we shouldn’t judge Eastern cultures by Western standards. If that’s what you’re saying, then you are justifying it.” SIC.
I am saying we should not since we CANNOT. This is not justifying anything at all.
So what I am saying is that judging others’ actions when unaware of the intention of the other, ánd unkowledgeable about the context of the action (a tantric master-student relation), ánd with asymetrical moral values… is for the ignorant, the hypocrites and the stupid.
The “no eye, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind…” bullshit 😉 in the heart sutra is NOT to be taken literally Catlover. Because we all have eyes and ears and noses. What is says is – as Lama Zopa would put it- that there is no eye THAT STANDS ON ITSELF and has the function and capacity of seeing all BY ITSELF. Nothing has a form or function all BY ITSELF. That is: nothing has inherent qualities. Nothing exists per se. Something is not bad, nor wrong per se!
Catlover if you want to call yourself a buddhist, you should adhere to a buddhist view (i.e. the four seals). For example: in Buddhist epistemolgy (Tib: lorig) it is held that: “When a tree falls in a forest and there is no sentient being around, then there is no sound.”
This is NOT denying any CAUSAL physical relation between a falling tree, airwaves and a functional sense organ, but it is explaining that the PRIMAL CAUSE for any cognition/experience is your own mind.
So there is no sound per se because there is a tree falling, and that falling trees have the inherent quality of producing sound ALL BY ITSELF. This would be an essentialist, realist and materialist view. Buddhism denies material realism and essentialism.
Some trivial examples that show this:
– people who live nearby a traintrack do no longer wake up when a train passes by.
– In the southern part of the Netherlands where many pigs are bred you will notice the smell of pigsurine at first, but watch what happens when you are riding your bike for half an hour. You no longer will notice the smell.
That is how the mind works. And it clearly shows that attention and awareness is the primal cause of smell (sound, taste, etc.). And what holds for the cognition of sound, also holds for the cognition of right and wrong actions of a master.
So far on “bullshit” Catlover 😉
DKR’s Legal Disclaimer?
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.
-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche”
Marc, here a succinct quote:
THOUGH THE VIEW SHOULD BE AS VAST AS THE SKY, KEEP YOUR CONDUCT AS FINE AS BARLEY FLOUR. – PADMASAMBHAVA
TNX 4 the compliment Joanne!
I have no idea what your point is. It seems like you want to pull me into some sort of pseudo-philosophical argument and you’re using Buddhist teachings to try and prove that I am an idiot, which is a misuse of Buddhist teachings, imho. Life is too short for me to go round and round in circles. Sorry, but I am not going to play this game.
And there it is: ad hominem “argument” number four by Joanne.
So you do not only misinterpete SR’s intentions behind his (tantric) actions, but also misinterprete my intentions behind my writing. Great Joanne! It implies you can directly see my mind… 😉
It is clear you did not study buddhist teaching on the functioning of mind (lorig) or study mindtraining (lojong), and have never studied Dharmakirtis seven point reasoning. Nor have you ever studied Madhyamakavatara nor Bodhicaryavatara nor Maitreya’s Uttaratantra. My guess is you did not even study pseudo-philosophy, since if you would know pseudo-philosophy (if that is even possible) you would not equal my writings with it.
I think study is the best practice for you Joanne.
Except that I am not Joanne, lol! 🙂 Watch you you are addressing, as well as what you are saying. 🙂 You don’t know me, and you don’t know what I’ve studied, but it’s obvious that you meed to do more of it yourself.
I meant to say you “need” to do more of that yourself, (studying).
Substantiate that it is obvious that I need more study. Were am I in error?
Easy to write a oneliner in which you merely claim that I need more study.
Why the unsubstatiated personal attack, Catlover. The only error I made is in switching your names. Do I need to study your names, or what?
Do the following oneliners show the level of your study in Buddhism?
– It is also arising in dependence upon the “master’s” own ignorance too.
– Be careful not to make judgements about judgments, or take a position on NOT taking a position.
– Harm is harm, END of story
– call a spade a spade and quit with all of the “no right, no wrong” b.s.
– Abuse is abuse in any culture.
I could go further with this list of oneliners, but could you give any sutra, tantra or commentary on which you base these material realist claims Catlover?
I am not going to argue with you, so your attempts to pull me into a Buddhist philosophy debate are fruitless. That is why I give you “one liners” instead of going into a deep philosophical discussion. I don’t care what you think of my level of study, or if you think I am “Buddhist” enough for you. There is nothing wrong with the teachings you quote in of themselves, but it is the way you are twisting them to suit your own agenda which show your own lack of understanding of those teachings. If you studied more, then you would see where you are going wrong. That’s just my opinion, based on how you have presented yourself here. Sorry if I misunderstood any of the things you said, but my impression is that you are sticking up for abusers, based on a misunderstanding of emptiness philosophy, which I am not going to debate with you. If you feel like a debate, you’re going to have to find another debate partner because I am not going to be any fun. It’s no fun to try to debate with someone who is not willing to debate.
Catlover, again and again you imply too much on my words. If I say we cannot judge so we shouldn’t. You only see the “shouldn’t” and use that to imply that I am justifying abuse. And now again you imply I am sticking up with abusers.
Like you said yourself: you might misunderstand me.
One could even argue if communication is possible. For communication the meaning of the terms used by the communicators should be identical. Woun’t they? But are they? For example when a rocketscientists communicates with a layman about his work? And on the other hand: if all terms used had the same meaning for both communicators… there would be nothing to communicate any further. Paradox!
I believe I heard DKR say that only unsuccessful mis-communication (i.e. double negation) is successful communication. 😉
You won’t win points with me by quoting DKR, whom I have lost any and ALL respect for, after his disgusting letter that he wrote in response to the Sogyal issue.
Maybe I misunderstood you, and if so, I apologize, but I am cranky, old lady, so I don’t feel up to trying to explain what I meant or trying to pick apart what you said. So, drop it. I am done.
Actually, the masters that realy shock you, and fuck up your mind the most are the best… but that might be a personal thing.
Try to see DKR’s intentions Catlover. And moreover: try to see your own prejudice towards DKR based on false expectations of yourself of what a real lama should act like. Buddhism is not for happiness… 😉
Since nobody here can read minds because we are not on the upper bodhisattva levels, nobody can determine the true intention, realisation etc of SR.
We can make an educated guess by what we can observe, that’s all. And by the behaviour that is observable people can come to different probable conclusions.
According to my own experience, SR is not the only one of the so called “high lamas” who very clearly has realisation but who has in my experience proven to be not all knowing as a fully enlightened being, which according to the texts, a fully liberated being is supposed to be. And if the teacher is not all knowing he or she is prone to misjudging stuff that is our of his or her own personal experience.
I am a first hand witness of this. Definitely qualified Tibetan teacher I met some years ago, feeling this one is the right one for me, found his teaching style really agreeable etc. Not one of those teachers who have masses of students. Now I told him very truthfully that I had been suffering from bouts of depressiveness in my life, he truthfully told me, that’s not something he has any experience with.
Now he is in no way a violent personality but eventually began to pull the rather typical Tibetan autoritarian thumbscrew number on me, not in a really harsh way but enough to trigger a rather VERY unpleasant reaction with me.
What I didn’t know at that time and only found out later, I not only suffered from “the occasional depressions”, I actually am a full blown case of posttraumatic stress disease. When pressured by anyone in a position of authority over me, where I am the dependent part or feel like the dependent part, I instantly fall into a panic attack and freeze (typical reaction in cases like mine, totally widespread reaction with PTSD, which in our society is not a rare disease btw)
Additionally there is the policy in Tibetan buddhism, to a, not question what the teacher does and b, to not offer a climate that encourages talking about personal problems, experiences etc.
I had to quit this one. I can’t have a person in my life who deliberately triggers my PTSD caused stress response because what triggers it happens to be his personal teaching style, being a more provocative type of person. It just stresses me out, has zero value for my personal and spiritual development and the experience has done some additional damage to my PTSD related already rather brittle feeling of self worth.
Now I am quite convinced that there was no bad intention involved from his side at all. Just a case of not knowing and therefor not handling appropriately.
That much to the “your qualified tantric master is infaliable and will never f– up at your expense ” narrative that is so rampant in some circles.
Especially traumas are excellent for dzogchen practice Solenodon. If you are able to not get carried away when a traumatic experience re-arises, and are able to not identify with your pain, but “sit with it” watching it self-arise, self-manifest and self-dissolve into where it came from: your own mind. Then by doing so you can directly experience the impermanence and fluidity of your traumatic experiences, and experience the self-liberation of your thoughts and feelings directly. And then the triggering of that trauma -by whatever conditions- is extremely functional, and thus form an “excellent teaching” and the “perfect condition for you to practice dzogchen…
If you don’t see it, you don’t get it…
That one teaches dzogchen and vajrayana exclusively to committed long term retreatants. No exceptions. And for that I do not qualify because of my PTSD related symptoms, those would explode in a traditional meditation retreat environment. He doesn’t even teach the preliminaries to the open public.
And he even goes so far as publicly denying he knows anything about dzogchen at all.
So, without teacher no dzogchen practice, so that option is out.
Plus, fixing mental problems with dzogchen meditation/emptiness nature worked for individual cases like Mingyur Rinpoche (who had seriously bad panic attacks as a child), but it’s not something you can throw at anyone with mental illnesses as a cure. It wouldn’t work.
You have a point there Solenodon. Most are not ready for tantra and dzogchen. And that is my whole point on this blog. KNow yourself before you jump into vajrayana. The authors of this blog clearly did not know themselves when they jumped in.
… and they can’t oversee the eventual benificial consequences of a yantric master on the long term. So you realy need to have a grip on yourself before you jump into Vajrayana. Blaming the teacher on the short term… is merely thinking on the short term. 😉 And who cares about short term profits? Only speculative people. Spiritual materialists.
You can not know yourself and if you are qualified for vajrayana “before” you jump into tantra. The student is not qualified to determine when he or she is ready to do that because he or she has no basis to judge if he or she is ready.
The student can request, it’s the job of the teacher to select only those that are ready for vajrayana teachings.
“You can not know yourself ”
Strictly speaking this is correct. It is called agnosticism.
“Since nobody here can read minds because we are not on the upper bodhisattva levels, nobody can determine the true intention, realisation etc of SR.”
People are giving away their power by thinking they are incapable of judging a person’s behavior. So, if we can’t judge anything, then how can one pick a good teacher in the first place? How does one judge a good teacher from a bad teacher, since we can’t see into their heads? Good teachers are the ones who try to get people to USE THEIR BRAINS. Beware of teachers who say we are all helpless and incapable of judging anything. “Crazy wisdom” is not supposed to be the NORM, so it’s not a good example to use in everyday situations.
Of course in general people give away a lot about the state of their mind if you watch them carefully.
In addition you can do the “poking test”, you can try to provoke the person and watch how he or she reacts. That’s in most cases fairly accurate if you do it right.
But these methods are only indirect deduction and in my opinion you can only get to an approximation of what is really going on in that person’s head.
Nohohooooho I would never do that myself…
SR is “mister nice guy” for a large public (though he is also known to degrade his innercircel in front of the public), and SR is “mister wise guy” (in the ordinary pejorative sense) with a lavish lifestyle for his inner circle…
And the funny thing is: this is completely consistent behaviour for a tantric master from a tantric point of view.
“That much to the “your qualified tantric master is infaliable and will never f– up at your expense ” narrative that is so rampant in some circles.”
Let us assume the outer to lama f-up. Who cares about the outer lama to f-up? The point is that the inner lama (your wisdom mind) and the secret lama (clarity and emptiness inseparable) never f-up. Connect with thát! And give some credits to the outer lama for bringinging you there…even beside and despite his supposed f-ups. 😉
Doesn’t work. The trust in the own buddha nature in vajrayana is dependent on the connection to the lama. If the lama is the one making you completely confused with his behaviour and you can no longer trust him (and that’s not something you can decide, if you feel otherwise, on an emotional level), that’s not going to work.
That’s one of the the reasons why in general vajrayana is does not work as a treatment for emotional/mental problems and illnesses of the more severe kind.
Indeed. Tantra nor dzogchen are the path for all.
Who has claimed that? Nobody.
Just a curious question on empowerments for practice/sahdhana: what would you all consider the “most important part” of a highest-yoga-tantra-practice?
a. calling the deity by means of visualisation and receiving its energy
b. identifying yourself with the deity
c. the dissolution of the deity.
I think it is C. the dissolution of the deity into spaciousness/emptiness. Since at that moment the mind is without object, and thus the subject dissolves simulatiously. And this IS a direct experience of the natural state. (i.e. seeing emptiness directly).
Advocate of the Devil
… while many practitioners would probably think after having reached point C. and done the dedication. Well that’s it: finished! I have reached the end of my practice! And stand up from their meditation cushion and start their daily business.
But at point C the self arising “meditation” spontaniously arises.
Look at the dharma centers. How many people stick to their cushion and let their mind rest after a teaching or after a longchen nyingthig group practice? All in a hurry to get back to samsara. Anyone has seen this too? Or is it just me? Or maybe someone recognizes this in him or herself?
Just some curious question. Nothing personal…
I definitely have noticed that, ha, ha! 😀 it is very strange because the whole POINT of practice is to bring it into ones daily life, a point which seems to be lost on most people, including many so-called “spiritual” teachers, who are so lost in their own egos that they forget how to act like decent human beings.
It’s an attempt at direct experience of emptiness, but it may or may NOT be, depending on the realizations of the practitioner. Just because a practitioner THINKS, he/she is experiencing emptiness at the moment of dissolution, that doesn’t mean he/she really IS experiencing emptiness.
By the lorig Sautantrika definition of a “valid cognizer”, it must be free of thought. So cognizing the natural state is necessary free of thought. So the argument that people might THINK they experience the natural state at point C is self-refuting, since it is not free of thought… I am sure you remember that from your lorig study, Catlover…
I am not claiming that anyone will be in the natural state and will recognize it as such. I am saying that because at point C the object is dissolved, this necessarily implies the subject dissolves. So dualistic consciousness dissolves, so all that is left at that point is pure awareness. It is obvious, isn’t it… if and only if you are familiar with buddhist epistemology (Tib: lorig).
You missed my whole point, which is too bad, because I am not going to clarify. I don’t feel up to it. Sorry if that frustrates you.
I can briefly say that often practitioners think they are perceiving emptiness and thinking they have some profound realizations when they are actually just being deluded and egotistical instead. That is what I meant. I wasn’t directing this at you as an insult, but it was a general comment. That is the only clarification I am willing/able to give you, so I hope that clears up what I meant, at least a little.
No I got you perfectly (I think). People might think they recognize the natural state when they don’t. And that would be fooling oneself. A serious obstacle for sure. You are right about that.
But on the other hand recognizing the natural state is so obvious that many overlook it. Just like when we see an object this necessarily implies this object is dependent on the space it takes. Just so, when a mental object arises it necessarily takes mental space. And when the mental object dissolves, all that is left is this mental spaciousness.
Expecting “something special” by many practitioners when experiencing the natural state is therefor much more likely to be an obstacle. The “experiencing emptinesss directly is only for bodhisattvas and not for ordinary people” is a clear example of that.
If you see yourself as ordinary you will only see the abuse-aspect of abuse, and overlook the emptiness-aspect of abuse… But as Solenodon wrote: “There is not form without emptiness nature, and there is no emptiness nature that won’t express as form.” so we need “abuse” to realize it’s emptiness aspect. It is so trivial that it becomes hard to see. 😉
BTW: this how gelugpas see things. I am sure many nyingmapas and bönpos would not agree…
I think that is nice that they disagree… It makes the whole complete 😉
Actually it is quite important to be aware of this difference between gelugpas and nyinmapas. Nyinmapas do NOT see the experience of the naturemind as dependent on cognition (of form), quite the opposte (and that is what makes it interesting! 😉 ) Since cognition is by definition dualistic. And the direct experience of the natural state is non dual and non cenceptual.
The downside of this ongoing debate is that for some it leads to fundamentalism: “what my geshe says is the truth, nothing but the truth and the only truth”. So spiritual materialism in optima forma! :O
Okay, I’m glad you see my point. 🙂
I also see your point too, that we need to realize that we are all capable of seeing the ultimate nature, etc. I get that. But it’s tricky to remain aware of that, yet at the SAME time, not falling into an ego trap of thinking one has such great realizations. In fact, modesty would be a quality that someone with great realizations would have, imo, so they probably wouldn’t focus on their relizations, if they had them.
I mean that if they were modest, they would try to cultivate their realizations, but they wouldn’t think of themselves as being realized.
yazz izziz tricky… we all know that…
….and that is a good thing, when we all acknowledge that in ourselves
“By the lorig Sautantrika definition of a “valid cognizer”, it must be free of thought. So cognizing the natural state is necessary free of thought.”
But not all states free of thought are the natural state. Rather the contrary. Shamata for example can be free of thought. Sinking into alaya is free of thought.
On the other hand, while in the natural state one is quite capable of having thoughts or emotions.
So, did I say that being free of thought is the natural state? Nope. Are you all reading all kinds of things into my words. Yep, over and over.
It was in reply to the statement that people might think “I cognize the natural state right now!” when in the natural state. This is self-refuting.
You post an awful lot of replies to a person you no longer take seriously Solenodon, did you notice that?
“On the other hand, while in the natural state one is quite capable of having thoughts or emotions.”
Indeed. In fact you cannot stop the thinking, and that is not the golal of dzogchen: being free of thought. Thoughts will arise spontaniously. It is mind’s nature. But in that case thoughts no longer distracts one from the natural state, as is the case for beginners. But in the end it is “just” the realization that all is appearance emptiness.
You forgot the “zombies” Solenodon.
I don’t know why my replies are not always going to the right place. They are supposed to appear right under the post I am replying to, but they don’t always appear where they are supposed to. That makes it confusing. Techs, please fix this bug.
That’s kind of self evident if you know the theory of how this actually works. It can even be reasoned from the sutra teachings alone:
There is no more or less important. You can’t have one without the other.
It’s a form and emptiness exercise. There is not form without emptiness nature, and there is no emptiness nature that won’t express as form. They ALWAYS come together (I explicitely asked a Gelug geshe if there is any emptiness nature that won’t express as from because I was curious, he said, no, that’s not possible)
You claim that the emptiness aspect is somehow more important or valuable than the form aspect, which is an erroneous view because they can not be separated and the deity is actually the “automatic” self expression of the pure nature of mind. (that’s for example how the peaceful and wrathful deities manifest at death)
So for this exercise to work you need both aspects equally.
Indeed it is obvious after a little meditation on “dependent arising”. And moreover: if emptiness (of inherent existence of form) would express itself all by itself, it would inherently exist. And claiming the (nature of ) mind inherently exists would be “cursing in church” (as we say in Holland) for gelugpas… 😉
But nyingmapas might not agree with this gelug position. 😉 The spacious and self-illuminating qualities are INHERENT to the naturemind, but that does not imply the naturemind inherently exists.
“And moreover: if emptiness (of inherent existence of form) would express itself all by itself, it would inherently exist.”
Erm, nope, when uncontrived, emptiness nature expresses itself, all by itself as samboghakaya. There is no erroneous view of inherent existence in sambhogakaya. In a case like that there is only emptiness nature and the pure manifestation of sambhogakaya.
Highest Yogatantra practice mimics this so you learn to transform your mind using the result (emptiness nature manifests in it’s pure form as sambhogakaya) as path in addition to cultivating the qualities of the enlightened mind sutra style. It works as a short cut, but has it’s dangers because you play directly with your identity, which can a lot more easily go wrong and cause harm than for example developing compassion for all beings.
– emptiness OF FORM cannot express itself without form trivially (the gelugpa view)
– the enjoyment body or the samboghakaya is primordially pure and self-arising (the nyingmapa view).
Both are “correct” from their point of view. Neither is true.
“Both are “correct” from their point of view. Neither is true.”
Yeah, because you have the insight and realisation to know theeeee ultimate truth.
Sorry, can no longer take you seriously….
Substitute emptiness for baselessness. For truth you need a (permanent) base. So show me the permanent base for your “ultimate truth” or for “conventional truth” for that matter.
Gelugpas teach the TWO truths, nyinmapas don’t. There are no two truths in dzogchen. Since all phenomena are emptiness, even the truth. So truth only exists conventionally. Mere conventionally even….
This is not the first time you come up with “gradual school” argument against a “direct school”. Did you notice that gelugpas have a bit of an inclination to be sectarian and start shouting nihilism. Gelug chauvinism?
For the record: I spent most of my time at a gelug center. I know them very well.
That’s just nonsense from beginning to end.
There ARE two truths, for gelugs, for nyingmapas, for everyone. Or do you deny that there are liberated beings beyond suffering AND that there are deluded beings circling in samsara?
Do you deny that there are beings experiencing liberation and that there are beings that experience reincarnation within samsara? And that there is a difference between these two in what they experience?
If there are no two truths, then the bodhisattvas can stop reincarnating to help all beings to liberation, as it has become totally redundant…..
You do not understand what you are writing about.
You really have one hell of an accumulation of unbuddhist views, be they gelug, nyingma or whatever. As you have left the path of dharma, good luck with your self created teachings. I have my doubts that they lead you to any kind of liberation but that’s up to you to find out.
“There ARE two truths, for gelugs, for nyingmapas, for everyone.”
Smells a bit sectarian and spiritual materialist to me… might be me.
Madhyamaka is a dualism. Dzogpachenpo is a monism: All is “one and the same” emptiness sort of speak: good news, bad news, fake news, true news, old news, no news… all are emptiness. All phenomena have a “single” nature, and are of “one taste” therefor.
The one with the extremely sensitive long nose wrote: “You really have one hell of an accumulation of unbuddhist views, be they gelug, nyingma or whatever.”
So I have un-buddhist-gelug views and un-buddhist-nyingmapa-views.
Actually I am a CEO of a multinational that manufactures cold fire (in ounces) and dry water (in six-packs), Solenodon.
I am just in it for business, just like DKR. DKR even has 33% of the stocks in our company. The other 33% percent are mine, and the last 33% are Trump’s.
Psychology, epistemology and ontology are easily mixed up, Solenodon.
Things can be real, not true, and have an impossible way of existince…
“samsara” is a good example of it.
Indeed, that leaves 1%
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“I think it is C. the dissolution of the deity into spaciousness/emptiness. Since at that moment the mind is without object, and thus the subject dissolves simulatiously. And this IS a direct experience of the natural state. (i.e. seeing emptiness directly).”
Then you mistake formlessness for emptiness nature. You subtly reject form. Which is nihilism.
The exercise of the dissolution of the deity at the end of a practice session is an exercise that will help you at the moment of death to let go of this body and attain liberation.
It’s in itself not the ultimate reality. The ultimate reality is form AND emptiness nature inseperable.
If you consider form as somehow inferior, you can not have a correct experience of emptiness nature and probably (this would need to be checked with a master, it’s my own deduction) you could be reborn in the formless realm if you meditate like this a lot.
It’s nice to see that somebody can agree with somebody here. 😀
Look, sorry. I don’t mean to be cranky, so I’m sorry if I was being rude to you. I have nothing against you personally, and I don’t even know you. I just don’t feel like being dragged into a big discussion, whether I misunderstood you or not. Maybe you need to understand that I don’t feel well, and I am just not up to writing a long thing. Also, my tolerance for abuse, and excuses for abuse has reached an all-time low and I am fed up with b.s. explanations which appear to justify it. Whenever I think someone is making excuses, I see red, but maybe sometimes I jump to the wrong conclusions. I am not sure what point you were trying to make, or who’s side you’re on, but if you’re not sticking up for abusers, then I am sorry if I thought you were. Let’s just leave it at that.
Catlover, if I claim that one should not see merely the abuse aspect of the abuse. And should not judge others because we cannot (when unaware of intent, context and from an a-symetrical valuesystem). Then why assume I will get stuck in the crancky and rude aspects of your replies? No excuses are necessary. It is not in making a fault. The fault lies in not seeing ones own failability. And that is not the case in your case. So I don’t see anything wrong…. and especially not “wrong per se” just because you are formulating a bit rude as you say. That would be ridiculous! 😉
I’m sorry, but I can’t make any sense out of what you just said, lol! I just said that I’m sorry IF I misunderstood you.
But I am still not sure that I misunderstood. It does sound to me like you are saying that we cannot judge Sogyal and his behavior by Western standards. If I am wrong about that, then please correct me. I happen to believe that there is such a thing as HUMAN standards and common decency. Those things are universal, imo. They have nothing to do with culture, but just being considerate toward others. Sogyal has not demonstrated this in his behavior. He didn’t just make a few honest mistakes with a few people. He is a serial abuser and has been that way for MANY years, maybe his whole life.
Btw, you mentioned that you’re a Bonpo, so when you are talking about emptiness and so on, are you sure your view would apply to Nyingma, as they understand it in their tradition? I’m not trying to be offensive. I am just wondering because Nyingma and Bonpo have different understandings and different approaches to those teachings.
Also, another thing I am curious about…you keep saying to Joanne that she is twisting what the Dalai Lama said about feudalism to suit her own agenda. So, what do you think HHDL said? Didn’t he say that it’s wrong for teachers to be abusive, and didn’t he include Vajrayana in that? When he talked about the feudal influence, wasn’t he talking about Vajrayana teachers, as well as the culture in general? He was talking about Sogyal specifically, but also other teachers. He wasn’t excluding Vajrayana, as far as I could see. Can you explain what you think HHDL actually said?
The approach is different, but on the unification of emptiness and clarity they all schools agree, as far as I know. The one says we should unite the two, which takes much effort and many lifetimes. The other says they are inherently inseparable, so there is nothing to unite, so the unification is effortless and can be realized direct.
So they differ in approach and thus in practices and in definitions. But in the end it is obvious that when two yogis from different lineages and schools both see emptiness directly, they are not seeing different emptinesses and have different experiences. Difference is completely dissolved and surpassed on that level. So to think that the one is different from the other is absurd. Since that would imply you can only reach enlightenement via the path of such-and-so-school-of buddhism. It is rididculous to see it that way, isn’t it?
… and the correspondence between nyingmapas and bönpos is striking, and leads to scientific debate about who influenced who. For instance on the practice of chöd.
I didn’t say that the emptiness itself would be different, nor did I say that only one school can get to the realization, but as you stated, the approach to it is different. Nyingma, (although similar is some respects), is not Bonpo and Bonpo is not Nyingma. Also, is Bon actually Buddhism, even if it is influenced by it?
Bön pre-dates Buddhism in Tibet. And modern day Bönpos still sacrifice animals…
Seriously! On retreats also non-vegetarian meals are served! LOL
Marc, you need to leave this blog. Your last comments are unacceptable.
It is a joke Joanne… come on!
BTW: Tenzin “tension” peljor did the same when he no longer could refute the criticism.
What was it again that you wrote to me yesterday? Oh ja: “calm down”
And Joanne do you know what I did after Tenzin “Tension” Peljor blocked me?
I donated 100Euro to the new Berlin centre where he lives.
To encourage dharma there, where it is most needed.
So no, I did not get mad at him. Why should I? What’s the benefit of that?
Joanne, why don’t you get a dog to command?
Okay, I read your comment again and it sounds like you are not offended by what I said, lol! 😀 That part is good. But please try to comment and reply to my other questions, especially on what the Dalai Lama said.
I have commented on that Catlover. It is not so much the action but more the intention behind any action. What HHDL condemns is intentionally being abusive. Intentionally harming others is bad… but we do not need HHDL words to know that one, do we?
So the question then becomes: Why did HHDL not condemn SR’s actions specifically ? Because HHDL is aware of SR’s intentions behind his actions. So when he doesn’t condemn a certain master, why should the students of that master do so?
You need suffering in order to be able to take suffering on the path. It is that trivial Catlover. If you take suffering on your path, then there is nothing “bad” or “wrong” in causes and conditions that create suffering. It is all in ones (pure) view.
…and when you take suffering on your path, then who needs a lama that takes you by the hand and leads you trough the land without suffering? Lamas are not babysitters….
That doesn’t sound like what the Dalai Lama said to me. He made MORE than one statement about Sogyal, and in some of his statements, he mentioned him specifically. Some of his statements were quite firm and clear. He came as close to criticizing as he ever will, and he did not say anything about Sogyal’s intentions either. You are adding that aspect into what HHDL said.
I should I say you are reading into what HHDL said. He DID criticize Sogyal’s behavior in several statements, and even mentioned Sogyal’s lack of experience. Did you hear ALL of HHDL’s statements, because he made several of them quite recently. Whether he is just saying these things to be pc, or whether he would say these same things in secret, I don’t know. But at least publicly, he made some pretty strong statements, several times, and not just once.
No Tibetan master will ever publicly condemn another teacher. HHDL also never condemned any of the Shugden propagators and there is definitely a lot of abuse going on in a certain Gelug cult group. He just spoke out against the practice.
HHDL actually did criticize Sogyal’s actions, not the person. But he did mention Sogyal and Rigpa in his statements. He even said Sogyal was “disgraced” and said Sogyal’s actions showed he “lacked experience.”
Thanks for the link to HHDL’s words Catlover. Now we all can read HHDL’s condemnation of SR’s actions. And we all know: when HHDL says so, it it is so.
Harming someone else through ignorance may not come with the same karma as harming somebody intentionally, but in result they can be pretty similar.
Or does it matter if the person killing you in traffic with his car is doing this intentionally or if he just has an inattentive moment, is tired or is distracted by his sat nav. You are equally dead both ways. So the result will be different for the perpetrator, but not for the victim.
If a spiritual teacher harms through ignorance, then this shows that the teacher lacks the realization to know what is harmful. Also, I don’t think Sogyal is that innocent. He either doesn’t care if he abuses people, or he is too crazy to realize that when he punches someone in the gut, it isn’t always a blessing.
Yazz, Solenodon. Intention has nothing to do with meaning of an action. I was in error, I see now. Excellent example. Great one on one analogy: an unintentional car accident and a masters actions.
Apples and pears Solenodon.
I thank you all for your double standards Catlover, Solenodon and Joanne. It is amazing how your own words only have to meet the standards of an “ordinary practitioner”, while Marc’s words should meet “bodhisattva” standards… hihihi.
What you post about supposed dharma doctrin is just frankly crazy. But it’s your crazy, so you have to live with the consequences, not me.
Get yourself a qualified buddhist teacher and listen to him if you want to write about buddhism.
Alternatively, practice following your qualified teacher until you attain realisation and you can talk from your own valid experience. Which at this time you very clearly can not.
You don’t have to life with the consquences (of your judgement of me, be it true or not)? I guess you will be my ati yoga master in my next life. And I think you are going to fuck me… up.
Are you trying to explain things from a Bon point of view? I don’t know much about Bon, but things you are saying don’t sound quite like Buddhism to me. Maybe Bon is different. In any case maybe us poor, ignorant simpletons lack the proper realizations to understand explanations of emptiness anyway….and according to the tantric and bodhisattva vows, one is not supposed to explain emptiness to simpletons anyway. 😀
The Dalai Lama’s statements are scattered all over, and I don’t have links to them. He made at least four or five recent statements at different talks and teachings. If you care about what he said, you can do some web browsing yourself and try to find them. If you don’t care enough to go searching, that’s fine, but don’t misquote him if you don’t know what he actually said, (or didn’t say). He did mention Sogyal specifically more than once, so you can’t say he wasn’t talking about Sogyal when he talked about abusive lamas. As long as you don’t misquote him, or imagine what he didn’t say, it doesn’t matter if you agree with him or not.
(Well, it actually does matter, but there is no law saying that you *have* to agree with him.)
I wasn’t going to go searching, but I happened to bookmark a link to one of HHDL’s statements, and that page had another link, so as a result, I found a couple of links. While he did not heap on criticisms of Sogyal as an individual, it was clear that he was linking what he was saying about teachers in general with Sogyal’s conduct. But you have to hear what he says in context.
There is more, but I can’t find his other statements now, especially the one where he said Sogyal was inexperienced. (I think that was from a teaching, which could be found on his website.) You may not care what HHDL says, but I think it’s important to know what he actually said.
Why is this not published on this blog as a “must read” article? It would suit the authors nicely wouldn’t it? So all I know is that YOU claim the HHDL has condemned SR. Shoud i blindly follow you on your words Catlover?
I found two items:
– one quote on Tenzin Peljor’s site (a monk that returned his vows two times because he jumped in the NKT without any investigation beforehand): buddhist controversy blog.
litterally the two words quote is “he disgraced” (in bold). The rest of the paragraph that contains the two words quote is Tenzin Peljor’s interpretation based on a supposed conversation with HHDL secretary… that he hides in a footnote, the smartass peljor 😉 So 99% of the paragraph is presented as HHDL words, but are actually Tenzin Peljor’s words.
– And I found one movie on youtube with the misleading title: “DALAI LAMA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT SOGYAL RINPOCHE” in which HHDL spends one oneliner on SR (3:26-3:41=15 secs): “Now recently Sogyal Rinpoche, my very good friend.. he… erm… disgraced… so some of his own photo…erm… student, now publicly… (unhearable)… made public criticism”.
This in the context of the advice to not blindly follow buddhism without investigating the teaching and the teacher. Someting that HHDL reiterates since 1993. (i.e. old news) So nothing special, and not a condemnation or “speaking out” against SR at all! Actually one could interprete this oneliner as: SR students have disgraced SR by criticising him in public.
It resembles the well known gossip magazine format: make a catchy title that does not necessary has to cover the actual content. 😉
So… back to reality and more serious business: how are the cats doing, Catlover?
I am not a native speaker, but what is this appropriate use of “to disgrace”?
– The convicted criminal was disgraced by the judge
– The falsely accused man was disgraced by the gossip magazine
Any native speakers here?
I tired to post a couple of links to a couple of his statements, but my post was not posted. Not my fault, so I don’t know why. You’ll just have to find them because apparently links aren’t allowed here.
You are only going by his first Sogyal-related statement, but HHDL made stronger statements after that.
Yazz Catlover, ignore the gossip magazine format.
Maybe the article you are reffering to was published on academia.edu?
So HHDL first statemanet was at the seminar ‘Buddhism in Ladakh’, in Leh, Ladakh, India, on August 1, 2017…
Bullshit Catlover, and you know it. This is not the first statement by HHDL but the most recent one I guess.
Send them to: pd4u(at)pd4u.nl
Marc, why can’t you make a comment without peppering your remarks with malicious slander and denigrations of others? Tension Peljor never returned his vows. And I was involved in transcribing the tape by His Holiness. And what you describe as “smartass Peljor” hiding his interpretation in a footnote was actually a very conscientious action done by Tenzin and myself. I could not hear exactly what HH said, nor could Tenzin or another person we consulted– so instead of moving ahead with our guesses, Tenzin called HH’s secretary and consulted with him.
And now that you have totally discredited yourself, I will just mention that for a Tibetan high lama to make the remarks HH has made in regards to SR, that is a big deal. You are speaking with no understanding of Tibetan culture.
Aha! The link between this blog and Tenzin Peljor is established. I already saw his rantlings on this blog. But now the innercircle of the self-disgracing-tantrics is round!
I knew it! 😉
The word “conscientious” and the name “Tenzin Peljor” in one sentence. Hahaha! What a laugh! LOL
Tenzin (former East German with tactics that resemble the stasi. Yazz “fake news” and disinformation were not invented by Trump but by the Stasi) is soooo conscientious that he returned his vows two times. And uses many many aliases on diffent blogs, and makes backlinks to his own blog (in order to get more readers and higher google ranking). Need I say more? I rest my case here 😉
“Tension Peljor never returned his vows. ”
Nohoooho ofkoz not. He never was a NKT monk since 1998 and disrobed in 2000, and he never left the NKT with a teacher and disrobed two months later again. This is fake news!!!
DKR’s response on facebook:
“Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
5 november ·
There have been many inquiries about the upcoming Rigdzin Sogdrup and Dorje Nyingpo empowerments at Tashiding in West Sikkim on 16-22 November. Since those are treasure teachings in the Nyingma tradition revealed by Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, they are certainly tantric teachings.
Since these teachings will be conferred by a Tibetan “feudalist” who promotes “rape culture”, whom Loppon Yudron Wangmo considers to be “disrespectful to women”, and whom Lama Tsultrim Allione, founder of Tara Mandala finds “disgusting and disrespectful unfortunately not surprising and definitely not funny,” I strongly urge you, for your own sake, not to come to Sikkim. As one author writes: These “lamaist teachings” are just “an androcentric, misogynistic cult, not a legitimate religion. Lama Dzongsar has just hammered another nail in their own coffins.”
In the words of author Ian Baker: “If enlightenment is arriving at a stranger’s door in a G-string and with a live fish protruding from your mouth, as Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche amusingly implies, maybe we are better off with the 18th century Western ‘Enlightenment’ that overthrew the tyranny of religious institutions and opened a new era of intellectual inquiry and scientific discovery.”
Discoveries which, I might add, have ushered in our present Golden Age of ecological, political and psychological glory in the west.
In sum, as these and many other notable commentators make clear, it is increasingly self-evident that tantric teachings are for backward, misogynist, male chauvinist, narrow-minded Tibetans, and I therefore strongly discourage people from attending the upcoming Sikkim teachings.
Aside from these important considerations, you should also know that west Sikkim is remote, hard to reach, and with minimal facilities, housing or amenities like medical care.”
The links I’m referring to were videos, not articles from magazines. Maybe one of the videos was the one you mentioned. I don’t know. Look, if you can’t see that HHDL is (at least publicly) not supporting Sogyal, then I have nothing more to say.
What does DKR’s tongue and cheek article about not attending empowerments have to do with HHDL and what he said?
I no longer want to go around in circles with you. It seems that you enjoy arguing just to win a point and I am not going to do it anymore.
This blog is not about HHDL’s supposed condemnation of SR, but about the teacher student-teacher ralation. DKR’s funny article on FB is about that subject too, and right on the point… typical for DKR: no pussy fooring by him.
“winning points”, “argueing”… The provokers provoked. Result: three fucked up female minds… disgracing themselves with the f-up-minds…. as long term (20-30 years) practitioners.
Anyway, how are the cats doing, Catlover?
Look at yours and then go to see a psychiatrist. You are bat-shit crazy.
No, this is not an insult, I mean that quite literally.
So this is how Western ETHICAL Buddhist act.
Quod Erat Demonstrandum. 😉
And this is why Sogyal Rinpoche called me “the (dutch) mongoose”.
Mongoose can handle poisonous snakes.
Your reply is not an insult per se Joanne. 😉
It is not an insult since I cannot be insulted.
Thanks Joanne for provding the opportunity to practice,
and take suffering on my path.
If I was a troll, I could understand your extremely vicious reply.
But if you see me as a psychiatric patient, that needs help.
Then why is it impossible for you to act compassionate towards me?
Are you on a spiritual path Joanne? Or are youfooling yourself?
Only you can tell, so I refrain from judging you.
Oops… switched the dakinis name again.
I love you extremely sensitive nose Solenodon.
But maybe better to stick it in your own business.
For me it is obvious that DKR is separating the yogis from the spiritual materialist here in relation to the empowerment.
So what DKR is doing here is called “skillful means”, Catlover. In order to protect the secret teachings… in the open.
On a blog about the condemnation of abuse, the critics are abused.
Suggesting that a person who writes quite unhinged and bizarrely may go and see a psychiatrist is not at all abusive.
Mental illnesses that cause among other symptoms unhinged and “crazy” behaviour are very normal illnesses, like slipped disc, cancer, stomach ulcers etc.
If you had pain in your stomach would you consider it abusive if I suggest you go and see a gastroenterologist?
How more ad hominem can one get?
Ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”, short for argumentum ad hominem, is an argumentative strategy whereby an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself
The fault is not the fault, not seeing your fault as a fault is the fault.
“The fault is not the fault, not seeing your fault as a fault is the fault.”
That’s really very true 😀
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