Open Discussion on Tibetan Buddhism

Generally speaking, China inherited the Mahāyāna Buddhism that existed in India before the Tang Dynasty in its entirety, whereas, following this time period, Tibet took over the non-Buddhist form that Indian Buddhism evolved into. After it flourished in India, Mahāyāna Buddhism gradually assimilated a large number of cultural elements from Hinduism, and, through this phenomenon of transculturation, it evolved into Tantric Buddhism, which became the prevalent philosophy of the Indian Buddha Dharma. These facts are attested by the archeological records uncovered at the ruins of the Nalanda Monastery and are also well evidenced by the bibliographies of Masters Xuanzang and Yiching.

At the time of Emperor Songtsän Gampo (around early Tang Dynasty), Tibet officially entered the era of writing and publication and profusely imported new cultural elements from India and China. The most impactful measure was certainly the installment of Buddhism as its state religion. After the Dark Age, Tibet adopted Tantric Buddhism from India almost in its entirety and incorporated some aspects of the local Bonpa religion therein. The dissemination of this practice by translation masters, such as Rinchen Bzangpo, during the period of the second propagation of Buddhism in Tibet helped establish the main structures of Tibetan Lamaism, which feature, in sequential order, Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna (Secret Mantra), and finally the attainment of Buddhahood in one single lifetime as its principal stages of cultivation.

The Tibetan Lamaist traditions that have existed since ancient times can be subsumed into two main systems based on their philosophical background: Tathāgatagarbha-Mādhyamaka and Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamaka. The former system encompasses the following lineages: Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Jonang, etc. It preaches about the Tathāgatagarbha, Svātantrika-Mādhyamaka, the Consciousness-Only view, the view of the non-duality of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, the Great Middle Way, the view of other-emptiness, and so forth. Although these teachings are all based on the principle of “the non-existence of the conventional truth vs. the existence of the ultimate truth,” each school delineates the ultimate truth in a drastically different way. Separately, the doctrine of Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamaka was popularized by Tsongkhapa, founder of the later-established Gelug tradition, as well as by his disciples over many generations. Boosted by its newly-acquired political predominance, the Gelug tradition’s endeavors thwarted the propagation of the thought pertaining to the class of the Tathāgatagarbha and led to a loss of talents in the related lineages. Up to present day, Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamaka remains the prevalent thought within the Tibetan Lamaist philosophy. (Part 2)

Note: the quotation marks are removed for easier posting and reading.

Really? Who were the final mahayana masters India?

Since Vajrayana Buddhism relies entirely on mahayana masters like dignaga, kamalashila, dharmakirti, asanga, chandrakirti, aryadeva, etcetc, it will be funny to see what you say.

And why has chinese buddhism been dead for the past 500yrs whereas Tibet has preserved and teaches the teachings of all these indian mahayana masters?

And why has chinese buddhism been dead for the past 500yrs whereas Tibet has preserved and teaches the teachings of all these indian mahayana masters?[/quote]

Really? Prove your statement then!
The Bodhi Way thread that you’re reading is precisely the essence of Chinese Buddhism.
Thank you.

Within the thought of Tibetan Secret Mantra, Highest Yoga (Mahāyoga) is regarded as the most supreme and difficult path - the only one that allows practitioners to instantaneously bypass all intermediary grounds (even the intermediate states) and attain Buddhahood in one single lifetime. Secret Mantra proponents believe that those who are endowed with both merits and wisdom can rely on this path to attain the three exalted bodies and achieve Buddhahood. With respect to the cultivation of this path, the first and second initiations serve as the foundation for the latter third and fourth initiations. After fulfilling the merits of activities obtained from the third initiation, practitioners can proceed to the fourth initiation and thereby attain Buddhahood. In some instances, practitioners can directly cultivate name initiation by skipping over wisdom initiation, as long as they do not violate the principle of the three initiations.

I started to practice Secret Mantra in 1984 and spent an extensive amount of time absorbing the complete set of initiations and instructions. Thereafter, I set aside all worldly affairs and made my religious practice a full-time occupation. For eleven years, I read and reflected upon the scriptures by day - I managed to peruse more than half of the books found in the Buddhist library during that period - and practiced Secret Mantra at night. In those days, it was hard to get a hold of Secret Mantra information, and anyone who came upon such material treated it as a treasure. I remember that in order to obtain fragmentary pieces of tantric literature, I journeyed everywhere throughout the country to visit gurus and friends. In order to receive Secret Mantra instructions, I traveled back and forth between India and Nepal and met with elders and meritorious practitioners from various traditions. Over the years, I have been able to witness firsthand the broad expansion of Secret Mantra in Taiwan.

While I was able to personally experience most of the contents realized by my predecessors with respect to the various practice trails, I felt increasingly doubtful about this religion. Although the Secret Mantra doctrines are known to truly consist of specific instructions outside the scriptures, they contradict the World-Honored One’s teachings in the sūtras in all respects. The discrepancies are so significant that they cannot be negligently accounted for with designations such as “expedient or temporary teachings.” Worse yet, whenever I raised the ambiguities that I could not wrap my arms around to the renowned vajra gurus “endowed with knowledge and attainments,” they simply obfuscated the issue by talking nonsense. (Part 3)

After the fading of the dzi bead hype in Taiwan came the obsession for the Iron Meteorite. Once, the owner of a Buddhist craft shop near the Bouddhanath stupa in Nepal unintentionally put an iron pestle at his doorway. As the pestle became heated by the sun, a Taiwanese traveler burnt his hand upon grabbing it and immediately declared that the iron rod was blessed by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He eventually paid a huge sum of money to purchase that “blessed” pestle. Thereafter, every owner of any type of Buddhist craft store in Nepal displayed iron products under the sun in the shop window at the doorway in order to attract Taiwanese pilgrims.

The generous donations from Taiwanese Buddhist disciples largely contributed to the construction and spiritual equipment of “Buddhist monasteries” in Tibet, India, and Nepal. In those foreign lands, I often came across pious Buddhists who had given up their family and career in order to follow a Secret Mantra guru. It is truly pitiful to see that, despite their devout minds and assiduous practice, all they are able to gain is deluded thoughts, which are nothing but arising and ceasing phenomena.

The cultivation of the four initiations pertaining to the class of Highest Yoga is entirely based on imaginative thinking and perceptive sensations carried out on the plane of one’s mental consciousness. Such practices require self-hypnosis and self-numbness, and sometimes even a psychic connection with ghosts and deities. As such, they are all of a deluded nature. As stated by Guru Norlha, “Being able to talk to a deity is only the first step of practice.” Secret Mantra practitioners are unaware that their supernatural powers have been conferred by external parties such as ghosts and deities, who in the worse cases will turn these followers into their subordinates. Moreover, no matter how solid the deity yoga accomplishments of those practitioners are, all it takes is one dose of anesthesia in the surgery room to obliterate their attainments. How could such a practice be called the yoga that permits the attainment of the deity’s form body?

The contents of the second and third initiations are in fact drawn from Hindu Tantrism and consist of the repeated cultivation of the wind-energies, channels, and drops pertaining to the subtle body. The so-called “accomplishment of the subtle body” has actually nothing to do with the Buddha Dharma, as it is based on a Hindu practice prescribed with the Buddhist term samādhi. Hindu followers also cultivate channels, wind-energies, drops, and sexual union, and many of them are also rumored to have attained the rainbow body.

Moreover, numerous renowned masters in the history of Secret Mantra have acted as lineage heirs of Hinduism. After the emergence of the hippy movement in the West, many books about the Hindu philosophy on the subtle body were translated into English, thus allowing us to easily verify that both the Tibetan and Hindu methods of the subtle body originate from the same source and feature identical steps of practice. The only difference is that the Tibetan version contains Buddhist jargon. However, most Secret Mantra practitioners are either ignorant of this fact or unwilling to admit it, given their reluctance to extensively learn about the Buddhist sūtras or even the worldly doctrines. Similarly, the five essential sets of tenets of the Bonpa religion, such as “Great Perfection,” “Ritual Dagger,” and so forth, are basically identical to the Secret Mantra teachings. Historically, Bonpa devotees and the excavators of the hidden Nyingma Treasure (terma) have always maintained intimate contacts and shared the same aspirations. Indeed, many “renowned gurus” hold the position of venerable master in both Buddhism and Bonpa. These facts make one wonder: What then sets the Buddha Dharma apart from those non-Buddhist beliefs? (Part 4) … 40553.html
Feb. 25, 2016

Buddhism: Deception of Sogyal Rinpoche

You cannot judge a book by its cover… this is especially true for Buddhists! Although reputed to propagate “peace and love,” this religion occasionally leads to serious cases of abuse and passes under silently with benevolence from the West due to an inadequate grasp of spirituality. This week in Marianne we are coming back to a telling example of Sogyal Rinpoche.

In 2011, Marianne published a report about the Buddhist retreat center Lérab Ling located in Hérault, which is an hour’s drive from Montpellier. On that occasion, we had observed that the principal owner of the house, a Tibetan Lama named Sogyal Rinpoche, has been carrying out strange practices repeatedly. Public humiliations of his fellow practitioners, sometimes accompanied by slaps or blows with his back-scratcher, were common.

Sogyal Rinpoche is also adept with racists humor and chant willingly “Heil Hitler” when he is speaking to a German disciple. This individual who stands alongside the Dalai Lama in several occasions was seen photographed with Carla Bruni, Alain Juppé, Rama Yade and also Bernard Kouchner (see picture below) in 2008 remained a key figure in Buddhism.

Five years after the first article in Marianne, two voices came out to denounce this deceiving fraudster. Marion Dapsance, a Ph. D. in anthropology of religions, published a book with Max Milo titled Les dévots du bouddhisme (Devotees of Buddhism). His eye-opening work summarizes a multi-year investigation of the behind-the-scene operations of Buddhism in France.

Olivier Raurich was a privileged witness of numerous instances described in Dapsance’s book. He was the translator for Sogyal Rinpoche and the ex-director of Rigpa France, an organization founded by “the master” whom Raurich had worked for twenty-eight years before walking out last summer. In the issue of this week’s Marianne, Raurich speaks for the first time about the shocking details.

“There have always been allegations about him abusing young women…”

Referring specifically to Sogyal Rinpoche, Raurich says that the most distinguishing characteristic of the master is the “huge gap” between “what he says and what he does”: “He loves luxury, fashion, violent American movies; ecological and social issues do not interest him at all. Besides, he is not in the least ‘embarrassed’ to praise himself immoderately in front of everybody. He stays in extravagant hotels, and uses the most expensive electronic devices. […]There have always been allegations about him abusing young women, not physical abuse, but through powerful psychological influence. Everything, however, was officially justified by the concept of ‘crazy wisdom’ according to which the masters can commit acts that are beyond the understanding for common mortal people.”

Moreover, Raurich explains his inability to comprehend the lack of concern on the part of the Dalai Lama, even though the Dalai Lama has made it clear that “abusive behavior of the masters must be publicly and explicitly exposed.” “My hypothesis is that he cannot discredit Sogyal Rinpoche publicly because it will undermine and have a negative effect on Tibetan Buddhism,” Raurich adds.

Related report by Marianne in 2011 … 11593.html … r-raurich/
Sogyal Rinpoche & Rigpa – An interview with the former director of Rigpa France Olivier Raurich

"Many people left. Rigpa paid a very expensive professional agency in Paris, specialising in crisis communication, to train a few spokesmen, including myself, to respond to the allegations of sexual harassment and financial abuse. [color=#0000FF]We were advised not to answer questions, but rather to endlessly repeat certain key phrases – and to quote the Dalai Lama as much as possible for moral support[/color].

“In the summer of 2014, during a retreat for the older students I made my decision to leave because I saw through him clearly — I saw his falsity. He demanded abundant offerings, specifically in cash, in front of 800 students. Each had to write their name on the envelope, so that he could check the amount.” … cracked-up
Michael Parenti -Old Tibet / Dalai Lama is not all he’s cracked up to be?

“His holiness would tell you that he must return to power for the good of his people. In this case ‘good’ may translate to his people living in squaller and his government condoning slavery.”

“As this State Department internal memo reveals, the Dalai Lama at one time took $180,000 a year from the CIA for his living expenses. and $1.5 million a year from the spy agency to finance Tibetan guerrilla operations against the Chinese, which included, running a covert guerrilla training center in Colorado.”

Just do some intensive research yourself:
Parenti received his PhD in political science from Yale University. He is the author of 23 books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least eighteen languages. Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad.

I truly adore Prof. Lopez’s writing skill, enjoying his sense of humor. … Lopez.html
Tibetan Buddhism in the West

The Scientific Buddha
Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
University of Michigan

"Over the past two decades—at least before “mindfulness” came into vogue—the Buddhism in dialogue with science has largely been Tibetan Buddhism, a form of Buddhism that just a century ago was regarded as a form of superstition so degenerate that it did not deserve the name Buddhism, but was referred to instead as lamaism. A century later, the figure once known to Europeans as the Grand Lama of Lhasa, shrouded in mystery for so long, holds annual seminars with some of the leading scientists in the world.

"For this buddha was stripped of his many magical elements and his dharma was deracinated. The meditation that he taught was only something called “mindfulness,” and even then, a pale form of that practice. That is, he taught something that no other buddha in the past had taught: stress reduction.

“Previous buddhas had increased stress, explaining, “Monks, all is burning,” in the Fire Sermon; that we are trapped in a house on fire, in the Lotus Sutra; that we should regard the world as a prisoner regards his prison on the night before his execution. Previous buddhas sought to create stress, to destroy complacency, in order to lead us to a state of eternal stress reduction, that state of extinction called nirvana.”

There are many Tibetan lamas that attract controversy but some are very quiet and no one knows about them. Hard to discern the veracity of the allegations on this blog, but some allegations have been proven in the past. Tibetan lamas behave in sometimes unconventional ways and it is called “crazy wisdom” to cut through confusion - explained in this website

Indeed, as the term is called “crazy wisdom” to cut through confusion, it speaks for itself that this crazy something is insane and lunatic!
So no more confusion for the outsiders, we all know what is going on, right?
For your info, a blog of an ex-lamaist who was once a direct student of Trungpa some thirty years ago.
Crazy Wisdom

"Trungpa was the head abbot at Samye Ling, [color=#0000FF]the first tantric center of “crazy wisdom” in the West[/color], where David Bowie found Trungpa.
But Trungpa isn’t mentioned. How strange.

"Perhaps it’s because of what the lamas know about Trungpa, and his chaotic tantric storm cloud that gathered and poured down so much confusion on the West, from which it has never recovered.

"The drug and rock and roll scene that Trungpa gathered at Samye Ling when Westerners were being first programmed to hate their own civilization, was the perfect vehicle to introduce, by stealth, the playground for his “enlightened dictatorship.”

" In 1993 the Dalai Lama came to a meeting with Western Buddhist teachers to talk about a handful of teachers who are ignoring the basic precept of the faith. In the open letter, they wrote that students should confront those teachers and if necessary speak out. Stephen Batchelor was present at the meeting."Stephen Batchelor: "“The Dalai Lama in the end refused to endorse the open letter, so, in a way I think, it didn’t serve a great deal.”

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Rediscovering Lamaism — The Western Relationship with Tibetan Buddhism

By Marion Dapsance
Buddhistdoor Global | 2017-03-31

"In fact, many scholars nowadays study dimensions of Tibetan Buddhism that could fit the ‘Lamaist’ definition better than they do the conventional, modernist Dalai Lama’s view of Tibetan Buddhism as a ‘science of the mind.’

“Nowadays, the word “Lamaism” seems to have disappeared from scholarly discourse. “Tibetan Buddhism,” a positive term that highlights and legitimates Tibetans’ identification as followers of the Buddha, is the common expression used to describe the Tibetan religion. The centrality of the Tibetan priest, the lama, has become secondary in the understanding of what this religion is all about. But has “Lamaism” completely died out? Does that notion definitively belong to the past—a past populated by nasty European colonialists and their derogatory, paternalist, or polemic views on the religions of other cultures? That is not the case at all, as recent developments in the history of Buddhism in the West have demonstrated.”

“This is the not the tale of Buddhism but the long forgotten Hindu Tantric Sex cult the philosopher Hegel called Lamaism. It is not just about the abuse of women, but has consort sex at its core. It has a political order of a feudal type and it always manages to present itself as a unique way of life.”

An interesting related perspective

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A most up-to-date info, thank you, Tempogain!!
"But what too commonly occurs in communities with these ideals is abuse which, once uncovered, is seen to have gone on for years, even decades. It is simply kept in the dark.”

The answer to this fact can be found in one of Dr. Marion Dapsance’s article,

When fraud is part of a spiritual path: A Tibetan lama’s plays on reality and illusion
Minority Religions and Fraud, Ashgate Social Sciences,
London, October 2014, pp.171-186

“However, all attempts to discredit the lama failed, and his organization is more influential than ever. This can be explained by sociological, legal and cultural reasons. First, it is certainly the case that Sogyal Rinpoche’s supporters have significantly more material and symbolic resources than their opponents, in terms of public relations, advocates, finances and prestige. Second, legally, it is very difficult for these young women to prove that abuse was committed by Sogyal Rinpoche. They often realize months or years later that they had been ‘abused’, it is materially nearly impossible to establish that a physical or moral violence was actually inflicted on them and that they were thrown into a relationship based on unequal and unclear premises. Thus the defendant can – and does – argue that their relationship was, at the time, based on consent.”

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"Enthralled: The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism exposes the many levels of deception, used by Tibetan Lamas and their western inner circles, to present themselves as beneficial and wise. They collect billions of tax-exempt dollars in donations, recruit wealthy sponsors to their causes, and ensnare new student-recruits into a web of free labor, eventual unquestioning devotion and for many, sexual exploitation by these Tibetan guru-priests.

“Chandler had a front row seat to the Tibetan Lama hierarchy, and how it operates, having taken care of the son of Chogyam Trungpa, the notorious ‘crazy wisdom guru.’ This gave Chandler exposure to not only Trungpa’s Vajradhatu/Shambhala inner workings, but also to the dozens of celebrity Tibetan lamas, who have been infiltrating our western institutions with their occult Tantra and with their western devotees, for the last forty years.”

It is no surprise that Soygal lama and many other lamas’ scandalous sexual abuses are so often heard, as sexual practice is Lamaism’s core tenet to attain 'enlightenment"; so sexual abuses are not isolated cases, but are bound to happen in Lamaism’s world.

“A sexual practice with female partners, being an essential component of their Tantric teachings, created a double-bind of its own for the tulkus; trained in this androcentric and misogynistic system since childhood. Once they reach the advanced Tantric practices, now they were expected to have real females as their serial sexual partners, to journey toward their bizarre ideas about ‘enlightenment.’

“The repetitive iconic images of copulation, seen depicted in Tibetan imagery, told to a naïve public and early recruits to be merely symbolic—the merging of wisdom and emptiness—reflects the Tibetan lamas’ very real obsession with sexual intercourse as the only way to experience, and then sustain, a ‘state’ of enlightenment for themselves, as they obsess over their own semen, mixed with female biological fluids, and their belief that they can make this ‘elixir’ travel backwards, to the top of their heads; a belief based on medieval fantasies of a Hindu Tantric alchemy that tells them to ’absorb’ the essence of female energy, coming to possess it as their own. This is so these tulkus can become a transcendent, androgynous-empowered cosmic ruler of the phenomenal world: A Lord Chakravartin.”
Enthralled - The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism, p. 60

“Chogyam Trungpa, my first Tibetan lama, was a serial sexual addict, kept a harem of favorite women, and drank himself to death. His constant seeking of women was justified, in his Western Buddhist, sangha, and still is, by his ‘crazy wisdom’ Vajrayana ‘spiritual practices.’”
Enthralled - The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism, p.66