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Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Here's some links that I find myself using a lot. Many of these are particularly focused on the Tibetan traditions, but there's some other stuff in there too:

84000 - An effort to translate the Tibetan Buddhist canon into modern languages. To illustrate Paramemetic's point about the vastness of the teachings, they're estimating it'll take them 25 years to just get the main sutras and shastras (commentaries) translated.

Sutta Central - A huge collection of texts from all buddhist schools, although it primarily focuses on texts from the Pali Canon.

Access to Insight - A selection of readings from the Pali Canon..

Lotsawa House - A growing collection of translations of texts from the Tibetan tradition.

Lhasey Lotsawa - Another collection of texts from the Tibetan Tradition. This one is overseen by my guru Phakchok Rinpoche, and emphasizes treasure texts revealed by the Terton Chogyur Lingpa and the Seventh Riwoche Jedrung Jampa Trinle Junge.

A Treasury of Lives - An (almost) exhaustive list of Tibetan Buddhist religious figures from Padmasambhava on down. Seriously there are some deep cuts in there.

Himalayan Art Resources - Tibetan Buddhism makes great use of iconography and art as a meditative tool. This is a great resource to identify which heruka you are looking at.

Madyamaka - A website offering an introduction to Madyamaka philosophy (or at least how its traditionally presented in Tibetan traditions). There's a reading list and a 8 week study program easing you into the key text of Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara.

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Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

Who/what created Dharma? Does it just exist prior to everything else? What set it all in motion (as it were)?

EDIT - Other people gave a better answer.

One thing to bear in mind though is the sanskrit word dharma is one of the most hilariously vague words ever. It can mean: Truth, religion, way, law or path. It can also mean "phenomena" which leads to wonderfully impenetrable sentences in the sutras like "This dharma is the dharma that is the dharma to dharma". It's poo poo like this that means the commentaries are fundamental to anyone trying to understand the sutras without a degree in ancient Sanskrit.

Goldreallas XXX fucked around with this message at 23:01 on Feb 16, 2020

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

So if the nature of reality is suffering, could not a goal be to end reality?

The nature of seeming reality is suffering, samsara. Alexander Berzin describes samsara as being "impossible ways of being". When impossible ways of being (craving for phenomena that have no real essence, clinging to a self that doesn't really exist etc.) are destroyed, we see reality for what it truly is, which is great emptiness free of suffering.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

Simply allow heat death to occur. That or die continuously so that you cannot be part of the wheel.

Also I don't like the idea of a universe both having a nature that is inherently hostile to human beings wanting to live, and also possessing a load of things that could improve it. That would imply the universe is not only sentient, but malicious.

You can't die without being born. The wheel spins whether you want it to or not.

Our universe isn't inherently hostile to human beings, as buddhas and bodhisattvas manifest in this world to benefit beings both temporarily and ultimately.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

As I have argued before if one can only perceive of something and no-one can agree on what the other thing is, does the second truly exist? Like if the self cannot be grasped, can reality itself be said to exist?

This is one of the major elements of criticism from classical Hindu sources levelled at the buddhas teaching. That it is a nihilistic doctrine denying the existence of all phenomena. What the buddha very carefully lays out though is that, although all phenomena lack an inherent essence, they do exist on a relative level. The buddha denies the existence of a real, eternal, unchanging self. He does not deny the apparent existence of the world and the creatures within it. This is why the message of his dharma is great compassion to suffering beings. These two truths (relative truth = the world exists, ultimate truth = but it has no essence) must be understood in their unity. This is also why you see a lot of male / female union in tantric texts and images, the male represents relative truth / compassion and the female represents ultimate truth / wisdom.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

Then I exist without my consent, and I wish to return this ticket and tell the universe to shove it where the sun shineth not.

Does the fact that only some become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas not imply that there is a malevolence in the cosmos? Is the fact that only some become this through simply moulding themselves into the wheel not a condemnation of the wheel itself?

By this I mean that, if only certain people through time are able to become Buddhas, does that not mean that the universe only "allows" certain folks to get that way. This is deeply paranoid (and I know not actually representative of Buddhist thought) but how do we know that the Buddha is not just a sticking plaster to the wheel of what is?

(I do apologise if this is insulting! I do not mean it to be, I just really like discussions like this!)

A central difference between Buddhism and other religions is that the buddha is not omnipotent. He has immeasurable power, and he is certainly omniscient, but his power does have limits. This is why we're not all buddhas now. But, buddhism isn't limited by ideas like a final apocalypse or anything. Samsara is infinite, so buddhas have an infinite amount of time to work their magic, which they do ceaselessly. The sutras talk about merit pouring from buddhas pores, and how, through the merit of their aspirations, anyone who even sees an image of, say Amitabha is blessed with the merit to further realization. The mahayana indicates (I forget the sutra I'm sorry, it may be the Diamond sutra but idk...) that the ultimate fate of all sentient beings is to become buddhas eventually.

All beings have the same buddha nature that Paramemetic mentioned. This is pristine and stainless, and untouched by samsara. It remains regardless of the accretions of karma that it's picked up through its voyage through samsara. Nagarjuna likens it to a diamond covered in poo poo. All beings can become buddhas, and every single act of kindness, compassion or basic decency moves one and everyone around one ever so slightly towards clearing that poo poo away and recognizing it for what it is.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Josef bugman posted:

So what if we Crave non-existence.

I don't say this personally but as a thought experiment. If someone truly wished to not be, would that be possible inside of a karmic set up?

This would be the cause of rebirth in the formless realm, specifically the realm of Ākiṃcanyāyatana:

quote:

"Sphere of Nothingness" (literally "lacking anything"). In this sphere formless beings dwell contemplating upon the thought that "there is no thing". This is considered a form of perception, though a very subtle one. This was the sphere reached by Ārāḍa Kālāma (Pāli: Āḷāra Kālāma), the first of the Buddha's original teachers; he considered it to be equivalent to enlightenment. Total life span on this realm in human years ľ 60,000 Maha Kalpa. This realm is placed 5,580,000 yojanas above the Plane of Infinite Consciousness(Vij˝ānānantyāyatana).

It is one of the pinnacles of samsara, but not devoid of birth and death. Tending towards the nihilistic, rather than the eternalist view. The buddhadharma is called "the middle way" becaust it transcends the distinctions of "being" and "not being".

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009



ORPHAN previous life been HORNY SPERM and ABORTION.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Thirteen Orphans posted:

How do Tibetan Buddhists treat dreams? Are dreams containing deities, Buddhas, and other spiritual beings considered sacred or extra important? Also, how ubiquitous is dream yoga in Tibetan Buddhism and who practices it?

Dreams are important in Tibetan buddhism. They are a valuable insight into the mind, and the effects of practice can most often be first identified in dreams. Sometimes a lama will instruct a student to perform a practice until signs of accomplishment will occur. What these signs are will vary depending upon the practice, but sometimes involve dreams of particular things, like holding a ball, climbing a mountain, seeing a fire, etc. (these are examples, I'm not going to get too specific on things bound by samaya). Lamas will often also interpret dreams to identify their significance to a practitioner. Often dreams about dying or being eaten by monsters are really auspicious! The relative significance of dreams will vary depending on the practice and the lama teaching the student.

Some manuals on the Preliminary Practices talk about practices while one is falling asleep. These are quite similar to the WILD technique used in lucid dreaming, however dream yoga itself is a little different. It is one of the six yogas of Naropa, which also includes Tummo (Inner fire) and Phowa (consciousness transference). These are practices of the completion stage of Tantra, and are generally begun when the practitioner has already done quite a lot of the preliminary practices and has a really deep understanding of buddhist tantra. In Karma Kagyu you'd traditionally begin working on this about two and a half years into your three year retreat (did I not mention this was for the hardcore?). These kind of practices necessitate a deep, close connection with a teacher who would first empower you into the appropriate mandala (I think Vajrayogini, that's the case in Taklung Kagyu anyway), direct you to complete the necessary preliminaries for that mandala, instruct you in the main practice, and answer the questions that emerge during the practice. A lot of this instruction will be tailored specifically to the student's circumstances, so books would be of very limited utility.

Basically, Tibetan buddhists practicing dream yoga are generally going to be veterans of multiple long retreats, who have at least completed ngondro and various other generation stage practices. Of course, each lama is different and some may introduce students to dream yoga immediately, but I've never heard of any.

Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Yorkshire Pudding posted:

I'm in the Kansas City area, and there's a few around here I've looked at (but haven't visited).

https://www.rimecenter.org/ Seems to be sort of nondenominational but with general Tibetan focus.

http://www.templebuddhistcenter.com/ claims to be a "Western Buddhist Temple" which kind of puts me off a bit.

https://kansascitybuddhistcenter.wildapricot.org/ Kansas City Buddhist Center also seems to be a mix of backgrounds

https://kansaszencenter.org/ Looks to be the local Zen temple

Rime means "non sectarian". Historically different sects of Tibetan buddhism have been at each others necks, the Rime movement was an effort from Eastern Tibet to integrate different lineages and streams of teachings from different sects into one another. The guy "Lama Chuck" claims to be a ngakpa (lay yogi) and has connections with Ka-Nying (i.e. Kagyu / Nyingma) and Gelug schools, which is classical Rime. Everyone forgets about the Sakya. Apparently they actually have a geshe (kinda like Gelug equivalent of Dr. of divinity) in residence.

I can't really talk meaningfully about the other centers but that one at least doesn't ring any alarm bells. He actually mentions his teachers and lamas which is kind of rare for yt folk running a center, which is always encouraging.

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Goldreallas XXX
Oct 22, 2009


Paramemetic posted:

I will say also that it is a huge, tremendous boost of credibility, to me, that the current spiritual director, in his ngakpa robes, is wearing a red shirt under his zen. There are rules that vary among traditions but when people are pretending at being ngakpas they usually wear a white shirt which has implications in a lot of traditions, more so if it's being done for official portraiture.

I like the place, it looks well organized and well coordinated. I suspect the membership are isolated from seeing how the sausage is made effectively. It seems to be a large enough center to sustain a kid's program, which is great.

I rejoice in the merit of this center.

Yeah I noticed that too. No white-person dreads though!

Ordained Ngakpa often take a vow to never cut their hair again as after empowerment it is regarded as a celestial mansion of the Dakinis. I believe some other traditions have something similar with fingernails (Tibetan Buddhism can get weird about fingernails in places). It's all about transcending your hopes and fears and living in a graveyard and rolling with the wrathful deities. Fortunately very few lamas will seriously expect their western disciples to maintain that vow.

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