We often hear now with a very good, very healthy dose of dark sarcasm something along these lines:
“Education is not necessary, one can just become youtube student, scholar, Guru”
There is some truth to it, youtube is popular and if it is pivoted around spoken word one can listen to it in a way of audio, riding in a car, or the iconing going out for a healthy jog (in the park, maybe?).
Let’s tackle this is traditional social media, youtube, world wide web’s type of way. This post is going to outline things that are easily cross referenced and are almost “known” but in the past would require a number of books to be gone through, for hours.
While I can not promise that you will understand, or even like what I am about to put together, alas there will be also no degree or a certificate of any kind here.
However, who knows maybe something here will be of help to some one.
Let’s start, per-requisites are:
As a start one will need to absorb this framework, this formula rather well.
It’s sole purpose is to make any interested spiritual seeker derive benefit in most direct way possible, without solidification of various points of in-between as make believe final destination.
The four reliances:
- Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality (gang zag la mi rton/ chos la rton);
- Rely on the meaning, not just on the words (tshig la mi rton/ don la rton);
- Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one (drang don la mi rton/ nges don la rton);
- Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind (rnam shes la mi rton/ ye shes la rton).
This is copied from:
-There is more material available on the page linked above, it is strongly recommended for one to visit the link mentioned and read through.
Now we move onto the next stage where it is important to have a slight framework in place in regards who these names represent, it does not have to be very extensively formed idea, but some knowledge is good. These are the examples that will be used and while their “role” in this article is to give an example, to just mention these greats of Vajrayana Buddhism in it’s self is a good thing.
Padampa Sangye an Indian Mahasiddha that has visited Tibet and Bhutan, is believed to have lived for well over 300 years and is usually associated with the system of meditation called Chod, in Tibetan that stands for the idea of cutting the ego grasping through offering. Padampa Sangya has met Machik Labdron and Milarepa. https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Padampa_Sangye
Kamalaśīla is famously associated with Samye Monastery, it’s original abbot Khenpo Shantarakshita, teaching on stages of meditation and so called “Great Debate” (at Samye). https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Kamalashila
Milarepa is likely the most famous Tibetan yogi that has ever lived. Life story of Milarepa written by Tsang Nyon Heruka is the “popular culture” of Tibet for many centuries through it’s appeal of overcoming adversity on the spiritual path and use of poetic songs rich with metaphor. https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Milarepa
Bodhidharma is traditionally thought of as traveling Indian Sage, who was born in South India as a prince and who transmitted a number of Indian Buddhist texts in Northern China. Also giving local monks a system of yogic exercise to strengthen them for longer meditation sessions. He himself is said to have cut off his eye lids to stop himself from ever falling asleep in meditation.
Now this above introduces these historical figures that populate imagination of most Himalayan Buddhists as major landmarks.
For the sake of this larger picture that is attempted to be introduced into view here it is good to picture that Buddhist ideas, texts and even systems of Yoga are moving from southern (possibly Tamil Nadu) part of India, with perfect lay-over in Tibet (on the other side of world’s most imposing mountains. And reaches Northern China.
Unlike our current age of the youtube scholarship back then such a far reaching transmission could only happen if at every step of the way there was some one of really high realization, level of embodiment of these teachings. And there are multiple stories that reach us today about this idea Padampa Sangye, Kamalaśīla and Bodhidharma were not three important students, patriarchs, yogis, but in fact were one realized practitioner that has achieved a degree of control over his own life span.
Here is an excerpt from the article that should be very well considered with the view of opening up to the potential of application of the four reliances through the view of Upaya, skillful means of manifesting anything, life, teaching, records of life stories.
About the Translation Below
The translation that I have prepared to accompany this essay is an excerpt from hagiography of the 11/12th C. Lord of Siddhas, Padampa Sangye. This excerpt states Padampa Sangye was none other than the great 8th C. Buddhist master Kamalasila. If this were the case, then by the time Dampa Rinpoche displayed his passing into parinirvana (death) in the early 12th century, he would have been over four hundred years old.
Above comes from here:
To illustrate how and why we are told to really zero in at the meaning rather then words. There is another story that tells us how Padampa Sangye came to be known as some one that has dark and unattractive looking body. The former prince now Mahasiddha Padampa Sangye was traveling with his friend who originally possessed the body we came to know about. At some point two yogis came upon a whole village that seemed sick and upon investigation of the local river they found that an elephant has died and fallen into the stream contaminating sole source of water, from which the village was drinking everyday. The yogis agreed that they have to move the elephant and that the best way to do so is to leave one’s body, re-animate the body of the elephant and walk it off. The other yogi said that Padampa Sangye should do it as his skill is unrivaled. After leaving his attractive body “empty” he started to work on moving the elephant out of the river. While out companion who was haunted a bit by his own appearance thought that here it is, his chance to never be looked down upon and take over an attractive body of his friend. Which he did, leaving Padmpa Sangye with no choice by to accept the “trade”.
There is also a well known story sited in the Padampa Sangye public wiki page that Kamalaśīla was the one that got the unattractive body off the Padampa Sangye to took over his body while Kamalaśīla was moving a dead animal out as it was contaminating a local stream.
The bottom line that we think to believe is that Kamalaśīla and Padampa Sangye, both have visited Tibet and Kamalaśīla has also gone on to the North China to become known as Bodhidharma.
And so: There is also a story told that one was incarnation of the other. Many stories that do not need to be taken as factual or non-factual, contradictory or coherent. There is no reason to prove anything to anyone, there is no reason to very much look for factual proves outside of the real of wisdom mind. -If you are on the path that is. If this all is a spectator sport to you, where you would not mind to gain recognition but nothing else much. Then at the end of the day you will feel that no you are not drunk but rather ground is moving right under you feet. As endless inconsistencies abound, all over the place, for all of us, all the time.
As Jetsun Milarepa is mentioned above as a practitioner, perfect embodiment of Vajrayana Buddhism with in one life time we can easily remember that there were many stories from his lifetime that put a lot of “stress” onto his contemporaries and us to day understanding of what is real and how things are really “set”.
A well known story is of Milarepa walking around during the rain and taking shelter inside the large, hollow end of a yak’s horn that was on the ground and then singing that horn did not become bigger, or his body smaller. And how this is all related to one’s perception and how him entering into the horn demonstrated achievement of freedom from self imposed limitations.
Rechungpa got lost totally after the showers of hails and rains, when he came to his senses he looked around but did not find his Guru Milarepa. He went searching for his Guru. After some time, he sat down and waited to see his Guru. He saw the yak-horn lying nearby. He also sensed that his Guru’s voice was coming out of it. He went closer to it, and tried to pick it up but it became so heavy that he could hardly move it. He bent down to look through the yak-horn. He saw his Guru sitting comfortably in it. The yak-horn did not grow large but he saw the life-sized Guru in it.
Milarepa from the yak-horn said to Rechungpa, “if you match me at this skill, come in right now.” Rechungpa could not do anything even though he saw there was plenty of room for him, too.
Then, Milarepa sang for Rechungpa, “The pleasure-yearning human body is an ungrateful creditor. Whatever good you do to it, it always plants the seeds of pain. This human body is a bag of filth and dirt; never be proud of it. Rechungpa, but listen to my song! When I look back at my body, I see it as a mirage-city; though I may sustain it for a while, it is doomed to extinction.”
Listening to the mind-touching song of Milarepa, Rechungpa realized that he became proud of his learning, and even attempted to minimize the wisdom of his great Guru. Thus, Milarepa cleared up the ego from the mind of Rechungpa”.
Above is text of this story found online.
Now for the real substance of our so called “course” The main material should be listening to these Talks on Vajrayana in several European cities by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Here is the link to a playlist. If taking into account above as frameworks for going directly towards wisdom one should listen to the “Cinderella teachings” as it is mentioned by the Rinpoche and it should be easy to understand.
And when one has listened to all 5 videos here, one is ready to graduate, not sure what, but something for sure. Rejoice !
I could have just posted the above list and say: “I like it”
But many have done this already as it is. Also the temptation of writing and writing around something to do with brilliance of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is hard to resist. And in my subjective opinion these talks should be listened to.
Also, recently in social media there was talk of Padampa Sangye, Kamalaśīla and Bodhidharma, from that I saw that all these stories that I mention above are not all that well known and could use a boost.
Happy graduating to all of us, youtube gurus and keyboard warriors.
-May it be auspicious, for all, always.