Tibetan Buddhism is one of several Buddhist traditions

Dear Friends:

This thread is offered as a place to continue the discussion from another thread:

Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism; Lamas are not Buddhists.

The reason for this new thread is to provide a more appropriate thread title, one that does not promote unnecessary persecution. The topic of the previous thread was Tibetan Buddhism, how it may differ from other Buddhist traditions, criticisms of the tradition and its practitioners, and what the motives are of those who bring such criticisms. It is hoped that our continued discussion will help us move toward mutual understanding and respect, not accusations and discord.

It is respectfully suggested that if you believe that your own religion, sect, tradition, or belief is “right” and some other one is “wrong,” please soften your criticisms with phrases such as, “in my opinion,” “I was told,” etc., in order to promote civilized discourse.

Thank you.

[quote=“usrabbit”]Dear Friends:

This thread is offered as a place to continue the discussion from another thread:

[url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/tibetan-buddhism-is-not-buddhism-lamas-are-not-buddhists/66855/690 Buddhism is not Buddhism; Lamas are not Buddhists.[/url]

The reason for this new thread is to provide a more appropriate thread title, one that does not promote unnecessary persecution. The topic of the previous thread was Tibetan Buddhism, how it may differ from other Buddhist traditions, criticisms of the tradition and its practitioners, and what the motives are of those who bring such criticisms. It is hoped that our continued discussion will help us move toward mutual understanding and respect, not accusations and discord.

It is respectfully suggested that if you believe that your own religion, sect, tradition, or belief is “right” and some other one is “wrong,” please soften your criticisms with phrases such as, “in my opinion,” “I was told,” etc., in order to promote civilized discourse.

Thank you.[/quote]

I dig it!

Uh, I agree with the sentiment, but devoting a thread to this is like asking people to argue in favor of water being wet.

Cue chirping crickets…

. . . and sky burial is a fascinating aspect of that tradition, though it’s a result more of living in Tibet than of being Buddhist, I suppose. Anyway, here’s a terrific video on it.

While it may seem barbaric and perhaps even “un-Christian” what else are you gonna do when you live at that high, rocky altitude?

And here’s a less gruesome topic: Tibetan monks debating at a monastery outside of Lhasa.

I visited that monastery and witnessed that first-hand and found it fascinating. Someone mocked that practice recently in another thread, but I don’t see it as any more mockable than lots of practices in the West, such as a bunch of college students debating logic or philosophy or just about anything else, for example.

They’re just young students, thinking, discussing, exploring, trying to understand, practicing lines of thought, practicing arguments, practicing speaking skills. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Sure, they may have some nutty beliefs (or not – I don’t understand Tibetan, so I don’t know what they’re saying), but can’t one say the same for a bunch of college students in the West engaged in similar debates?

Actually the debate is very formulaic, and follows a set sequence of topics from Dharmakirti. Stuff like “The subject, a pot (or sound), is impermanent because of being a product.” But they really get into it, and compete with each other like sports fans. I know of one case in which a particularly fearsome debater was beaten up by another monastery’s “team” in an attempt to keep him out of the match.

Interestingly, sky burial is also practiced by the Parsees of Bombay (though they are apparently having trouble getting the birds to do their job, garbage being plentiful in that city).

[quote=“Zla’od”]Uh, I agree with the sentiment, but devoting a thread to this is like asking people to argue in favor of water being wet.

Cue chirping crickets…[/quote]
Understood. It will draw less interest than titles like “water is dry.” Case in point, the previous thread got 689 responses.

Strange, that the sound of one hand clapping is louder than the other hand clapping.

According to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche:

"Actually, if all these four seals are found in a path or a philosophy, it doesn’t matter whether you call it Buddhist or not. You can call it what you like; the words “Buddhist” or “Buddhism” are not important. The point is that if this path contains these four seals, it can be considered the path of the Buddha.

Therefore, these four characteristics are called “the Four Seals of Dharma.” They are:

All compounded things are impermanent.

All emotions are painful. (This is something that only Buddhists would talk about. Many religions worship things like love with celebration and songs. Buddhists think, “This is all suffering.”)

All phenomena are empty; they are without inherent existence. (This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism; the other three are grounded on this third seal.)

The fourth seal is that nirvana is beyond extremes.

Without these four seals, the Buddhist path would become theistic, religious dogma, and its whole purpose would be lost. On the other hand, you could have a surfer giving you teachings on how to sit on a beach watching a sunset: if what he says contains all these four seals, it would be Buddhism."

shambhalasun.com/index.php?o … ew&id=1814

If Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is correct, then most self-identified Taiwanese Buddhists (including, sometimes, my parents-in-law) are not really Buddhists. We complain about Zhengjue saying “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism,” but DJKR’s essentialism implies that “Taiwanese folk Buddhism is not Buddhism.” What kind of nonsectarianism is that?

Yes, that’s clearly your interpretation, but unless you can actually quote any passages that unambiguously express the view that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism, we shall just have to assume that neither Trimondi, nor any of the other sources you have cited on this thread holds the views that you immaginatively attribute to them (which given your record for distorting the facts, would hardly be surprising.)[/quote]
Sorry for replying late. I have read ca. 200 pages of the real book Der Schatten des Dalai Lama (The Shadow of the Dalai Lama) (totally 802 pages), and have not found wordly express that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism. Sorry for having cited unprepared and unproper.

The context of the book shows that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism, though. Anyone who is interested in could read it on website (trimondi.de/SDLE/Contents.htm). However, it’s not easy for those to read who support the Tibetan Buddhism.

[quote=“usrabbit”]Hello, I am new to this thread. I would like to offer some comments on this topic. I have already engaged in a discussion in the comments section of the following article (which can be found on the Tantrismuskritik blog, or via Google search):

“Tantrismuskritik: True Heart News: Does Couple-Practice Tantra of Tibetan Buddhism conform the Buddha’s teaching?”

The following is a quote from that discussion, followed by my further response.

In order to respond to the above questions, I would like to say that the topic of discussion is the material that you presented in your blog, and it appears that you were inviting feedback on that material. The quality and usefulness (if any) of my feedback stands on its own, it cannot be made more useful or less useful by adding information about my background. It is simply offered as-is. As my background is a separate topic, I might like to discuss it at some other opportunity.

The purpose of my feedback was to offer information, that is, to point out instances where there may be logical flaws and other mistakes in your material. Although you seem to disagree with some of my feedback, you have not stated specific reasons for disagreeing with any specific assertions. Therefore, I suggest that you consider my feedback more carefully.

Thanks for your attention to the information I have provided to you. I hope it is helpful in some way.[/quote]

Sorry for having no more to time to visit Forumosa and to answer you. There are a lot of constructive posts which were/are written by Buddhism and can make you easier to realize the true color of TB.

[quote=“Buddhism”]Whatever I wrote here regarding the Buddha dharma are based on the Buddhist sutras, and my personal level of realization of the Buddha dharma, apart from the contemporary terms of a zoom lens mind or an airplane to faciliate my explanation.

This subject is not a market place offering or some sorts of pop music, as long as one person is interested and silently keep reading, his prajna knowledge will certainly increase without noticing, which will be stored in his Buddha nature to nourish his wisdom-life of the dharmakaya 法身慧命 in the future lives to come, so he will never be misguided into Tantrism or any other form of fake Buddhism.

If my English writings were as good as yours, I am sure I would have written the posts even longer. Thank you.[/quote]
You are not obligatory to take time to write here, but you did and do. What a Boddhisattva you are! Yes, there are persons who are interested and keep reading your posts silently which express the true Buddhist teachings. I would like to express my respect to you. Keep stepping forward and keep courage. Everything you have done and are doing will not be in vain. 加油!

I think the idea is (and I agree) that it doesn’t really matter what anything is wrapped in, so long as (on or more of?) the Four Dharma Seals are contained in a teaching. The wrappings of culture, language, personality, and even religious label, literally don’t matter. And those wrappings will be on any teaching–there’s no way to have a wrapperless teaching, so it’s silly and unfortunate to get caught up in them. Even those who say we must “strip away the cultural trappings” are really just proposing (perhaps without realizing it) another set of cultural trappings. Having thangkas, or demanding all thangkas be removed to show bare walls–just another culture’s thankga–is all the same.

As long as the dharma seals are reflected in a teaching, and the teaching doesn’t simultaneously work against those seals, it’s “valid Buddhism,” according Buddhism’s definition of itself.

I guess another way to look at it would be that saying someone else’s Buddhism is not Buddhism, is not itself Buddhism.

Buddhism (or a Buddhist teaching) is only something that reflects the Four Dharma Seals. I find that fairly cool–one can apply it to any statement, such as “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism,” and see that that phrase contains no dharma seals. That frees us up from even having to deal with it–it (and many other things people say, including myself) is not dharma, so why bother analyzing it? Instead, analyze Tibetan Buddhism itself–see if there are the Four Dharma Seals reflected in Tibetan Buddhist teachings. See if the seals are reflected in Zhengjue.

That also frees us up from overgeneralizing, “Tibetan Buddhism is this,” “ZJ is that,” and instead forces us to examine individual teaching within those schools. Clearly, many teachings of both schools are Buddhist teachings, by Buddhism’s own definition. What is not a Buddhist teaching is a sign posted outside ZJ, apparently representing all of ZJ, saying “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism.” That indicates to me that there’s something else besides Buddhism being focused on by ZJ. If I were to establish a dharma center, for example, and decided to post some meaningful sign, it would not be one ripping apart some other school of Buddhism; or; might as well just fly the five stars, right?

Wouldn’t it be better to post a banner stating something like, “There is a path out of suffering–come and learn about it!” or something positive? What self-respecting organization uses, as it’s raison d’etre, the trampling of another? It just smacks of politics, and NOT religion. If ZJ wants to be respected as a Buddhist organization, it will have to act like one; otherwise, no one can be blamed for assuming it’s a PRC shill.

That doesn’t mean there is zero dharma in any ZJ teaching, but in order to analyze the organization as a whole, one must add up the activity. What is the sum of activity? For those who never go in, but only drive by, the sum is “Tibetans suck.” I.e., PRC shill.

Yes, that’s clearly your interpretation, but unless you can actually quote any passages that unambiguously express the view that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism, we shall just have to assume that neither Trimondi, nor any of the other sources you have cited on this thread holds the views that you immaginatively attribute to them (which given your record for distorting the facts, would hardly be surprising.)[/quote]
Sorry for replying late. I have read ca. 200 pages of the real book Der Schatten des Dalai Lama (The Shadow of the Dalai Lama) (totally 802 pages), and have not found wordly express that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism. Sorry for having cited unprepared and unproper.

The context of the book shows that Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism, though. Anyone who is interested in could read it on website (trimondi.de/SDLE/Contents.htm). However, it’s not easy for those to read who support the Tibetan Buddhism.[/quote]

@Thao, Schatten is full of lies, as we have already shown in other forums. The Roettgens’ utterly fabricated quotes from Gedun Chopel, for example, are grounds for libel.

Over and over around the internet, Chopel is accused (and therefore Tibetan Buddhism is accused) of saying “12 year old girls” should be offered sweets to induce them into “ritual sex.” This is absolutely, patently, not in Chopel’s book. I have read it. Chopel says clearly that sex is not for people of that age. Chopel’s book is not a dharma book. It is a love manual for householders–tender, forward-leaning, and revolutionary for its time in urging equal rights for women. The “Trimondis” (Roettgens) are guilty of ill-intentioned, slanderous deceit against someone whom, I dare suggest, is a greater humanist by far than they have shown themselves to be.

If one steps back a pace or two and examines this whole sordid mess (including the flurry of Trimondi-promoting online activity), it just screams more of the same–“Tibetans are bad.”

Does anyone really think that message is not transparent? More importantly to China, does anyone really think that message works? I think the end result of all the Internet Commentator damage, inflicted since 2008, shows it does not.

In the fight against the Tibetan/Tibetan Buddhist image, one may be getting a little bump from the Vatican, to be sure–but it’s a cheap fix, and there’s always a hard landing in the end. In 50 years, the CCP will be long gone, and Rome as quietly robust as ever. In exchange for brief, high-octane assistance with trashing Tibetans, you will have paid the price of adding Miracle Grow to Catholicism in China–or, you will have reneged on your end of the deal, and the Vatican will pull the plug, agitate, or both.

Why not just leave the Tibetans alone, and forego all this weird, gwai-lou hand-holding which no one really wants, anyway?

I assure you that most self-identified Buddhists have never heard of the four seals. Anyway, the assumption that doing baibai is a “cultural trapping” in a way that the four seals are not, is hard to justify, and amounts to just another religious belief–a hidden fifth (or zeroth) seal, if you will. The Tibeto-Bhutanese think there’s something wrong with Taiwan folk Buddhism, because it’s apparently not philosophical enough (and incidentally has little interest in monks or nuns, or for that matter, any of the Three Jewels apart from Guanyin devotion). If the Taiwanese were as narrow-minded as DJKR, they might find fault with him for failing to bow with incense, though in fact they would mostly just not care what he does or thinks. A lot of people suppose folk Buddhism to be a corruption of philosophical Buddhism, but it’s as least as old–monks were curing snakebite and propitiating spirits since as far back as we have any records of.

Think about it–when DJKR writes this, he is not expressing a tautology like “All Buddhists are Buddhists.” Rather he is criticizing certain people who call themselves Buddhist, but whom he thinks do not quite qualify (or rather, whose theology he hopes to improve). Who are these people? I suppose they must include the Western and East Asian converts to Tibetan Buddhism, who constitute the main audience for his book, though conceivably he might also mean non-observant Tibetans or Bhutanese. Cross-religiously, creeds are often presented as unifying banners, believed by everybody, when in fact they are designed to exclude people from the in-group (and reinforce the authority of the creed-makers).

[quote=“Tantrismuskritik”][quote=“Buddhism”]
Whatever I wrote here regarding the Buddha dharma are based on the Buddhist sutras, and my personal level of realization of the Buddha dharma…[/quote]
You are not obligatory to take time to write here, but you did and do. What a Boddhisattva you are! …[/quote]
Not a bodhisattva, but a troll.
And the very fact that you chose to continue posting on the “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism” thread, rather than this new thread expressly set up for continuing the discussion is also the provocative act of a troll.

Why aren’t there any rules or even any guidlelines for this sub-forum (such as exist in the other sub-forums within Forumosa)?
Why has it been allowed to become a place for trolls with undeclared (but nevertheless fairly clear) agendas to relentlessly promote sectarianism and intolerance?

Surely it’s high time the “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism” thread was locked.

All due respect, I don’t think the Tibetans or Bhutanese spend much time pondering Taiwanese folk Buddhism. As far as monks and nuns though, doesn’t Taiwanese Buddhism have an incredibly high percentage of nuns? I could be wrong, but I thought that was the case. Or is general Taiwanese Buddhism different than Taiwanese folk Buddhism? By folk Buddhism do you mean the general (mainland/HK/Taiwan etc.) Chinese spirituality, which is a sort of Taoist/Buddhist mix? Either way, I don’t think Tibetans, for example, concern themselves with this much, in my experience. They’re a sort of “live and let live” crowd, as are the Chinese (again, in my experience–others’ experience may be different).

You’re right, they mostly have no idea. Taiwan is known mainly as a source of donations. Yes, Taiwan has a lot of nuns–if memory serves, the ratio is about three nuns to every monk. When I say “folk Buddhism” I don’t mean them, I mean the major religion of Taiwan which scholars call the “Chinese folk religion” (or some variation), and adherents call “Buddhism” or “Daoism” (or possibly “superstition”), when they admit it to be a religion at all.

If this is a bad example, owing to its marginal Buddhist identity (in fact my in-laws have given me a variety of answers when I ask them what their religion is), I bet there are important Japanese Buddhist groups which are apathetic towards to four seals…

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve locked [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/tibetan-buddhism-is-not-buddhism-lamas-are-not-buddhists/66855/1 old thread,[/url] please continue here.

[quote=“Zla’od”]You’re right, they mostly have no idea. Taiwan is known mainly as a source of donations. Yes, Taiwan has a lot of nuns–if memory serves, the ratio is about three nuns to every monk. When I say “folk Buddhism” I don’t mean them, I mean the major religion of Taiwan which scholars call the “Chinese folk religion” (or some variation), and adherents call “Buddhism” or “Daoism” (or possibly “superstition”), when they admit it to be a religion at all.

If this is a bad example, owing to its marginal Buddhist identity (in fact my in-laws have given me a variety of answers when I ask them what their religion is), I bet there are important Japanese Buddhist groups which are apathetic towards to four seals…[/quote]

True enough–people gravitate towards sectarianism. Or, probably safe to say we humans are simply inclined to weigh our own opinion quite heavily, and since everything changes, over time and place opinions, like language, will diverge.

I guess my question would be to @buddhism, then, or anyone debating the finer points of the various schools–isn’t it true that these debates show the differences between schools; however, it is also clear that each of these schools is Buddhist, by Buddhism’s (the religion’s) own definition? So the statement that “Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism” is completely false.

We can debate whether this or that practice is in accordance with this or that principle, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether a particular school is Buddhist or not. There are many different schools of Buddhism, all of which are Buddhist.

The Four Seals are quite brilliant, really–or perhaps quite simple, and as usual we humans completely bury that simple teaching with our arguing. I say brilliant, because by applying the Four Seals test, we find that many, many divergent schools are absolutely, positively Buddhism, with all the many colors and perspectives that brings.

I am reminded of Yangsi Rinpoche’s teaching that in order to understand the position of ones own school on a particular point better, it’s helpful and even vital to work your way through the other schools’ positions. Without clear, long-studied alternative positions to contrast ones own with, it can be harder or even impossible to fully grasp ones own. It’s like having two or more eyes or ears; the very contrast between two positions is what provides the clearest apprehension.

Speaking of other perspectives, then, is there someone here from a different school who knows of other “dharma litmus tests” – something like the Four Dharma Seals which is applied to any particular teaching to see whether it fits the definition of Buddhism?