Shyam Dodge said
December 28, 2012 at 18:10
In response to Jett (#174):
1. Emotional understanding could be a fair argument in a different
context, except in TNH’s view emotions are something to be transcended
not used to realize non-self. In essence, if you read TNH carefully,
he is arguing that non-self must be realized in isolation–independent of thoughts, emotions, and desires.
I simply used the “independent of intellect” quote as one example.
Jett, if you can point me to a place where TNH describes a process
or methodology in which non-self can be realized via
emotional understanding (or any other quality or faculty of subjective
human experience) I’ll take your points more seriously.
2. You are presuming that nirvana is a thing that exists
in isolation, independent of a particular ideological construct.
The burden of proof for nirvana as a transcendent reality,
independent of a “view”, lies on the shoulders of those who proclaim
nirvana to be such a transcendental truth.
TNH, like you, claims that nirvana is a truth that transcends
views, failing to consider that nirvana might only exist within a particular ideological construct, and without that
ideological basis nirvana ceases to be a relevant idea.
3. You say that you cannot follow my logic.
Let me break it down as concisely as possible: TNH believes that
the only thing that brings freedom is a transcendent truth
(independent of ideology);
secondly, he claims to be able to
contact and transmit such a transcendent truth;
thirdly, he views ideologies as a kind of psychic prison
and that buddhism can liberate the individual from this
interior prison of ideology via realizing nirvana/non-self etc.
Hence my claim that TNH does not, first of all, acknowledge
that his vision of buddhism is a view (or ideology),
that he sees ideology as a prison, and therefore does not
understand the value of ideology as a means of remaking
Instead he wants to pretend that he can, through buddhism,
escape ideology (or views) altogether.
This is why it is intellectually dishonest.
4. First of all, let me reiterate:
I am claiming that TNH’s philosophy (if you can call it that)
is an ideology that promotes so-called “positive emotions”
and views things like anger as “poison.”
Therefore this ideology is attempting to dictate a
very specific model of both behavior and subjective experience.
I don’t claim that TNH is trying to promote an emotionless version
of the dharma, rather I am arguing that he is prosletyzing
a dharma of “positive emotion” to the exclusion of other emotions
This is a kind of prozac buddhism, anesthetizing the buddhist
to the real conditions of suffering in the world. It plasters a
serene face on the potential social-change maker.
Such medicated serenity (meditative) is the opposite of
social engagement, it is dissociation and numbness to reality.
While TNH might do some “good” in the world his lasting legacy
is one of dissociative trance (his version of “mindfulness”)
and not vital passionate social engagement. His emphasis, which
he states very clearly, is on freedom from destructive emotions,
his secondary mission is (as a kind of byproduct)
I wonder, after so much self-medication (meditation) if
these anesthetized serenely smiling buddhists will have
the wherewithal for social revolution… I think not, if only because
they’ve found internal means of numbing themselves to reality
and suffering–and therefore don’t have the emotional gumption
to do anything other than ‘mindfully’ walk through our
crumbling social structures completely numb to the world.
I’d suggest you reread Foucault and investigate how social
structures implement means of self-regulation that reinforce
and calcify the existing order (no matter how insane), and
then contemplate whether or not TNH is reinforcing this structure
with more potent means of self-regulation or if he is indeed offering
a path of “liberation.”
5. Jett, there is more to my quote regarding “the way of seniority.”
TNH also says that “Western” Democracy could learn from his “way of seniority.”
He claims that it works better than a system where all people have
an equal voice.
Really? Often social change is brought about by the youth of the nation
rising up. What would happen, socially, in the US if the socalled “senior” members of society had a vote that weighed more than that of the
Who would determine seniority? Would it not simply reinforce existing
power structures, with little to no social change? How is this addressed
in TNH’s communities? I’d suggest you think about these things a
little more carefully, because these are very strong statements that have significant implications politically and socially.
"The Library of Tibetan Classics is a special series developed by the Institute of Tibetan Classics to make key classical Tibetan texts part of the global literary and intellectual heritages...These texts have been selected in consultation with the preeminent lineage holders of all the schools and other senior Tibetan scholars to represent the Tibetan literary tradition as a whole."
(Quoted from the front end paper covering the volume)Quote
Thubten Jinpa trained as a monastic at the Ganden Shartse monastic university, where he received the Geshe degree and he also holds a Ph.D in religious studies from Cambridge University.
Khendrup Norsang Gyatso (1423 - 1513) was a student of the First Dalai Lama and a principal teacher of the Second Dalai Lama...Because of his dedication to intensive meditation practice for more than four decades as a wandering hermit, Norsang Gyatso came to be revered as a great meditator and teacher,and he is included among the lineage mastersof many important practice traditions, including the lineage of Kalacakra"
"Some scholars (such as the Master Kumara) assert that the subtle and drop yogas as taught here to be both generation state and completion stage meditations.
They maintain that the generation stage involves relying upon an activity mudra
to move the drop to the jewel and then to draw it up by the power of the winds.
This "water wheel" descent and ascent is practiced again and again until the worldly innate bliss becomes stable.
This, they maintain, is the drop yoga of the generation stage, while drop yoga
and subtle yoga using a mahamudra consort are yogas of the completion stage.
They also explain the Root Tantra line, "a qualified consort aged sixteen" as teaching the six - branched yoga. Ornament of Stainless Light, Chapter 24 page 369.
Our own Assertions -
This is under two headings:
1. Correlation with bases of purification
2. An explanation of the practices based upon Root Tantra quotes
Correlations with bases of purification
When a child reaches the age of sixteen, the power of his white element is complete. Seeking the bliss that comes from emission of the drop, he takes a bride and leads her by the hand and so forth.
In correlation with this the vajra master gives a wisdom mudra consort to the student during the initiation.
Yogis meditating on the subtle and drop yogas will relay upon an activity or wisdom mudra consort as appropriate.
In normal existence, from the age of sixteen onward, a man sits in union with a mudra, and the common candali fire blazes from the secret area. The drop melts and gradually descends from the crown to the tip of the organ, thereby increasing the bliss.
In correlation with this, the bodhicitta element descents from the crown to the tip of the vajra through reliancs on one of the two types of mudras and produces the four joys, which are applied to meditation upon emptiness.
This is the drop yoga meditation.
Ornament of Stainless Light, pp. 370-371
The teachings from the tantra and commentary on the meditations of the subtle and drop yogas of the generation stage in this part of the text are intended
for the primary disciples of the tantra.
These are the jewel like persons destined in one life to actualize the state of Vajradhara. They complete the diety yoga of the coarse generation stage and then meditate upon the subtle and drop yogas.
The explanation from the tantra, therefore, is given on this basis.
Such a person enters the practiced of drop yoga by relying upon one of the two types of consort.
If he uses an activity consort, the Root Tantra says,
A qualified consort, aged sixteen
adorned with youth and beauty
teach her well
then initiate and begin the practice.
A mudra consort must be sought.
She should have all the right characteristics of youth and beauty and be between the ages of twelve and twenty, as indicated by the phrase,
She should be taught thoroughly the fundamental points of practice, receive initiation, be given tantric vows, and be instructed in the deity yoga
Then the practice of drop yoga can begin. What is the procedure of this practice?
Body, speech, mind and desire
placed at the brow and so forth,
sva, ha at the secret and crown.
Oneself is clearly visualized as the main deity Kalacakra, and the activity
consort or wisdom consort s Visvamata.