Picture of the sky yesterday, looking west-ward cloud formation of perfectly shaped phurba the size of a Mt Meru.
Binghamton NY sky, is the artist, most days near sunset….
Picture of the sky yesterday, looking west-ward cloud formation of perfectly shaped phurba the size of a Mt Meru.
Binghamton NY sky, is the artist, most days near sunset….
Recent email forward:
Dear friends, what a wonderful and hot and sticky summer it is in the Upstate NY!
Now and then it seems there are people that are not on facebook but are possible to reach through e-mail and are on this list.
Here is a shameless self promotion in a way of website:
http://www.choying.org – Please stay in touch.
Here is a contents / navigation of a few topics on there.
http://www.choying.org/tag/authors-book-whats-what – All about the recently (June 26th) published book “What’s What”. The hope here is to rely on tradition 100% however see through possibly older language and present something for today’s audience and possibly in the West.
http://www.choying.org/tag/fundraiser – The Begging bowl. Several things are on my mind that I would attempt to raise funds for. Retreat. Offering to Temples. More complex things like anchoring of a community of practitioners. Or writing of another book.
http://www.choying.org/tag/choying – The ideas on anchoring of a spiritual community. If one to read these posts, there are several ideas, a slight range. The goal is to move to semi-rural setting, not far from an existing temple and have low bills to be able not to work but concentrate into the study and practice of Dharma.
Read, comment, share, participate by moving, contributing, buying the book or contemplating on these.
With best regards,
I have a fundraiser on gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/ngakmang) – because it is easiest to send your contribution there.
But in all honesty. If you are able to donate support it does not have to be my fundraiser.
Although it could help me to stay in my imaginary “cave” and devote a bit more time to meditation and write another book rather then do some other things to get by. This is not the point.
If you are a fan of Buddhism, a student of Buddhism a follower of Buddhism it is important to see your own role on this local level where you do not treat things seriously only if they are in Asia or are a translation project of something good and ancient.
The whole reason why Buddhism is effective and we have realized masters take rainbow body generation after generation up to today is because it is not “ancient” but very much living system of spirituality.
So, please look around you with careless abandon, see if there is some positivity there that you can support in none – judgmental way, here and now, drop your guard and go to the temple, use your pay pal account to become a member somewhere, pass the word, contribute or the best of them all, quit your job and break down in the middle of the living room floor. Possibly even throw your TV out the window (if you are not using it as a computer monitor) because it keeps talking about jobs, and employment rates and jobs and then something called politics of the this total madness and we all know that there is a lot more to life then just this GDP or the job or the presidential candidates of like or dislike.
We all deserve a shot at getting our own mind settled down, calm, clear, observing the movements recognizing it’s self to be free, persisting in that.
What do I myself want?
I want to be on the map as some one that encourages a spiritual community of simple, modest means around the area with access to a temple or several temples.
My area of choice currently is upstate NY.
How do I promote these ideas? -I write on my blog and write longer articles and send it to others with the hope they will like it. Blog: http://www.choying.org
I have published a book titled “what’s what”
And I am working on a next one.
All with the hope of establishment of an idea of normalcy of spiritual pursuits and support of such, of an actual wider network coming around.
Ways to help, share, comment, contribute – https://www.gofundme.com/2bnfz38 , think, turn your head and listen or relax in the moment, resolve to be open minded….
Thank you for reading, especially if my random rumblings kept you as far as this point.
PS. Yes it is a motivational speech. Yes it encourages you to do nothing. Yes, I know that most people will do nothing. And as before, I am happy even if you just read it to the end. Thank you. May positivity of every kind increase without bounds!
While recently in Palyul Retreat Center I was able to distribute a whole bunch of free copies of my book What’s What, asking people for the reviews. Many took a copy and I am very happy with this, if later on any of you forget to make a review or dislike making a review, this is still just perfectly fine.
A Lama who I bow to the feet of, a master of appearances and realizations when I asked them if it is alright to leave a copy asked me if I have an extra copy to spare…
-Simplicity beyond any idea of simplicity. I just pray to be even a little bit like that and because I seem to have seen a master like this, maybe my life is not completely wasted.
Now several people had surprizing rejection towards taking a fee copy or a copy at all.
Some one said they do not read books.
Some one said they do not know English.
And some one said they object to the idea of a fee copy.
Some other person expressed that was very hard for them to reach an understanding in regards to who wrote the book and why. –I kept saying that I wrote it but do not like the idea of saying that I did “write” it. Rather that I “made” it because it came about in somewhat organic way, is based on talking to people online and in person and does not establish my understanding as anything special, but rather shows off my willingness to write, comment, think out loud and to think of these as serious and not serious in same time, but possibly worthy of a book.
As example of a conversation that I heard, It is based on a quotation passed online. It goes something like this.
In order to understand what this is about one has to know definitions of:
Theism and Atheism, these can be summed up as “Belief in a solid, substantial god or entity “above” reality of this life” and conversely in the case of Atheism rejection of belief in any such entity. So, for example to say “Buddhism is atheist” is fine because it is possible to term Buddhism as religion, philosophy, spirituality, discipline of meditation, anything along these lines. But within this “Buddhist doctrine” (Buddhist as in awakening) we do not teach or learn of any entity like that, it is simply not there in no way similar to the idea of a “god” or creator.
Then to the discussion:
Some one said “Can you imagine, I heard that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said that if an Act of Buddhist Refuge is uninformed it is a theistic action!”
-My thoughts on this, within Buddhism we have a very important idea of learning and getting used to new information and new points of view on already available information.
It can be done in a complex way of memorization of whole books or in a simple way of meditating on a single point.
So, it is very likely a possibility that “Act of Buddhist Refuge” is not really explained all that clearly in common, every day language beyond offering of water bowls to the images of awakening or bowing down.
And that is my selfish “claim to fame” I somehow would like to not be a bridge builder but that very bridge that will bring people that are moving towards learning contemplation and meditation on what other much greater scholars and practitioners have already made available in many languages, all conveniently available everywhere, all you need is an interest and an open mind.
So, please support the book by getting a copy, recommending it, reviewing it, and obviously supporting your coffee mug with, as I said earlier, it is of that perfect size to do the job.
Then there is an attempt to write at least one more book, that speaks to the today and here is the fundraiser for that:
A while back I undertook to work non-stop hours, In fact there was a time when I had two jobs that I worked 7 days a week and I think it went on for a stretch of six months at one time, before I took a single day off.
In one job I had to cook a hot steam table of Food Emporium Supermarket that used to be on 68th street and Broadway. That I did two days a week. In my effort to enter into the supermarket experience from my recent cooking experience I also took a deli counter job in Gourmet Garage of West Village and that I did the other five days a week. Coming off five years of cooking in a full service restaurant and having run a kitchen, none of the duties were hard to perform and I actually took these jobs in order to have an easier career.
In the West Village I have often had customers that were regulars and I got to know their names, what they do at work and were they go on vacation, or what books do they read and what TV shows they watch. Crucially, some of the regulars had special requests, as in my sandwich should be made like this and like that, not too much mayo and a one and a half pieces of provolone cheese only. None of these requests ever bothered me and my goal was to in fact try and remember the specifications so that the customers would not have to repeat them selves.
One of the customers, Steve had an interesting personality, he was pretty paranoid about the sandwich that was very exacting and never changed that it was very easy to memorize, but had to just be really made the way he wanted and I was able to win his sandwich trust completely to the point when he waited for me to make while standing aside. Having taken off the list the “sandwich issue” Steve turned out to be very courteous and intelligent person who is a theater actor with interest in Buddhism, art and literature.
After making Steve’s sandwich for a good number of months we connected on facebook and later on when I moved to run cheese department and moved stores completely I would see that he seems to follow my posts sometimes and that went on for about five years. In 016 he reached out to me and said he really wants to come to the Palyul Retreat Center and as I have written many times that I would be only too happy to help anyone make it there, I just had to do it.
Steve took a lot of pictures, appeared to be extremely happy and for sure had to accumulate a ton of jump-start material on Buddhism.
As back in the day of the deli talk we talked about journey that takes place after death and I suggested to him to get a book popularly known as “Tibetan Book of the Dead” and most commonly available one is a slim volume made available by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through the Shambhala: https://www.amazon.com/Tibetan-Book-Dead-Liberation-Through/dp/039473064X
-Copies on amazon for a 0.01 and you only really need to pay the shipping..
Then after Steve came through the Upstate Retreat, I had to set him up with my favorite “manual” type of book that does include nearly anything for many interested people to contemplate for years…
Much like choice above copies of this unique book can be had for a penny, and I have obtained a few to give away.
Then there is loose rambling of your’s truly, the misleader of wrong views, no matter how well intentioned, not available for a penny too, but I am happy that I was able to articulate some sort of a book, so it is out there:
So, this is quite a journey that at the outline is pretty magic, to be able to fish out a picky sandwich customer out of a hundreds of customers and put him through facebook posts and with no direct effort into the Tibetan Buddhist Temple to receive teachings and liberating empowerments to rest in the sun on the lawn. To set him up with a bunch of books to take home.
Well, I had very little to do with all this, thanks for coming through on this Steve, I wish that complete non judgmental positivity increases in you life without bounds.
What can happen, a job, family, vacation. You end up expanding a lot of energy at the job, get used to that the most. Family comes along and say there is a vacation. A week-long vacation in so many ways for so many people have to confirm to their “process” of what the nine to five is all about. Schedule, advance booking, expectations met, almost met, dashed. Upon your return to “normal” to the routine of every day, there is a chance to formulate the complaints and compliments of the choices made for that brief one week period of time away, designated as time for rest but all too often spent as time attempting to rest because familiar routines are not in place.
Now imagine some one with an interest viewed by society as not normal, crazy in fact. Some one wishing to stay in a cave, seriously. All this spiritual pursuits of the area of life designated as “not-for-profit” as in the type of a corporation with the tax exempt status. If one were to look these matters online the loudest chores of voices heard: “You must run your not-for-profit as a business, it is business and must become one, to be a success”.
At the above one shakes head and thinks, oh geat time to get my business going, or this is unfortunate because I am lousy at business and now looks like this is just another business type where I will fail.
At the outset though it is important to consider that this cycle of life, what we call the Samsara is sustained by constant actions of like and dislike, all the time going for one extreme or the other, in fact this is what in worldly terms is thought of to be healthy, the like of pleasure and dislike of pain, it is just ever-so-pervasive that Buddhist ideas of them to be sustained by causes and conditions and possibility of freedom from pleasure and pain through knowledge about causes and conditions and of freedom become hard to understand.
Myself living in proximity of great Buddhist center, the Palyul Retreat Center of upstate NY I am able to now and then get away and stop by in there. There are many thousands of people that call it home, or home-away-from-home. To come through during Summer one month retreat, which is possible in one week study blocks or as a visitor during the weekends is sure to put you in touch with the spirituality of no goal, of sitting down and minding your speech, mind, body, surprisingly in an organized way, but that part is up to you.. –There maybe a few hundred people around you and quite a few very busy walking back and forth. It’s a very unique place.
Dear friends, I was able to figure out how to get much higher resolution image onto the front cover, how to fix some typos and even how to manipulate the page numbering, so that page numbers do not appear on the title page and are smaller. I am much happier with the appearance of this finalized design. Please do not hesitate, just as before to buy a copy in paper or e-book form, read it, review it, support your coffee mug with it(as it was stated before and it did not change, it is good size for that). Or ignore this whole thing altogether.
Fundraiser for further writing:
So, if you think of reincarnating in non-Buddhist West, think twice. You maybe very soundly criticized hehe
Because your eyes and nose are of none exotic variety?
In the flow of the social media today we have this fickle nature of fits and starts, coming to a holt and then suddenly galloping forward.
And it is totally up to us to pick a point to go into a post, some one’s time line or an existing thread to start making comments, take stands.
The basic question begs, why this issue, post, discussion and not some other?
Now, narrowing it down to the topic at hand.
Over the years I have encountered quite a bit of hostility from a range of people that just heard about this, to people that claim to be close students of Buddhism. And somehow very few people are actually speaking up. And I somehow always maintained that it not really any of my business, to which many like to object by stating their quite extreme opinion.
So, is it the best to just “sweep it under the rug”?
Recently I have seen this long post shared on the facebook and I re-shared it and had no comment.
Some one came in and said: I see phony all over this.
I responded: That is what you see.
Then that person told me they are posting on my thread because they wanted to know more about something and surprisingly it turned into a “by-comment” that they made in a way of a “hello” landing on my page.
From that there is clearly an understanding arises that social media communications are not treated seriously by way too many people. Yet these people manage to spend hours upon hours of any given day on “social media”.
Then a person that I have not met in person to a level of conversation, but have sat in the same temple with but recently got to know on social media and for a long time too, they enter into a communication and say “Why could you not post on the process of recognition of reincarnations without mention of this controversial case?” To that I reply: “Perhaps because I do not feel it is controversial?” and “Have you actually read the article?”
That person unfrended me and told me something along the lines that this issue stirred up a negative reaction on many blogs. To that I could not resist but plan a blog post, thinking “I should have written on this years earlier!”
Now, these things do not just come about because some high lama wants a controversy started. Even better, some observers always want to pin it to the money! Look the Money! If all these issues were managed in western understanding of likes of a PR campaign and a business of likes of a “mega church” that could hold true. But to your disappointment they are not. I have seen it first hand there is no tangible money in this process. All these donations go to food for countless monks and erection and upkeep of temples for any and all visitors. No one in person really profits, there are not bank accounts, personal wealth, fleet of limos. There is international travel and often eaten restaurant meals sure, but one has to eat, even when no home meal is available.
So, years ago I was editing page on wiki dedicated to 3rd Drubwang Pema Norbu, in the comment section there was two people asking why Stephen Seagal recognition something… No one feels like answering, maybe it is too complex? Here is my answer published there:
Why does this article not mention Penor Rimpoche’s annointing of Steven Seagal as a tulku? It has had a serious effect on his reputation among some westerners, and (so I understand) among many tibetans.
I notice that the Seagal article also lacks any mention of this startling decision (although the article is tagged ‘Tulku’).
Has there been a policy decision to sweep this event under the wikicarpet? MrDemeanour (talk) 17:24, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I was about to ask the same question. –22.214.171.124 (talk) 16:58, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
And here comes the long and windy, my incoherent comments to the above:
Well, Hello there.
I was in attendance in the Upstate NY retreat temple when Kyabje Penor Rinpoche told us that he himself has no doubt that his disciples are following him and his advice. In other words it is an issue of common sense and goes along these lines. If you are a Westerner or not a follower of Late Penor Rinpoche your esteem of this Lama is up to you. If you are a follower of this Lama, then it is highly likely that everything is just fine, in your understanding. So, yes everyone is entitled to their opinion. And my personal opinion is that recognition of Stephen Seagal as an incarnation may have benefited Stephen Seagal and in the same time unlikely changed anything, it is not like it actually changes anything. As it is said, it is not important what you did, did not do, might have done in a previous life. It is however very important what you do in this life. One of the obvious things that many know is that Stephen Seagal is a famous actor who made many entertaining movies to a tune of a few million dollars, out of which he supported a lot of Dharma activities and it is great. There are so many people that never get to make a few million dollars and then also so many that did and never spend a dime on any Dharma activity. So, not even sure why so many people like to point in direction of this, then have nothing to say. If you think something is wrong with this, it is just fine to think that. Is it a big deal for followers of Late Penor Rinpoche, what some one may think? no. All that this recognition did on some level is it welcomed Stephen Seagal into the Palyul Tradition in this life, and no one was responsible for the Palyul Tradition at that time but Penor Rinpoche. Kyabje Penor Rinpoche had to find and recognize hundreds of incarnations. -With a wish for benefit of every one and best wishes, may our connection through wiki be auspicious! Sherabgyatso (talk) 05:25, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
And then recently on the facebook page it looks like I was drawn into a conversation so here was one of my reply comments:
Sherab Gyatso Alex Hundreds of incarnations recognized in the Asia, no problem. A handful is recognized in the west, big talk, huge confusion. All I can do is share the facebook message on this one and go offline for a bit. My personal reaction is as important as how much water I drunk and how much I pee out. In other words, pretty much irrelevant..
Now instead of educating ourselves, practicing Dharma of study, contemplation and meditation. To inform our life’s view, meditation and conduct. We can easily become paranoid judges of what others are and are not. So, the choice is ours, be a human being with idea of application of the Dharma within the space of this fleeting life experience. Or become a relentless judge of things that we often do not know or understand that have to do with others….
Here is the statement issued in time before social media and cell phones, so please read as much as possible, back then writing was more explanatory and detailed.
Statement by H.H. Penor Rinpoche Regarding the Recognition of Steven Seagal as a Reincarnation of the Treasure Revealer Chungdrag Dorje of Palyul Monastery
In February of 1997 I recognized my student, Steven Seagal, as a reincarnation (tulku) of the treasure revealer Chungdrag Dorje. Since there has been some confusion and uncertainty as to what this means, I am writing to clarify this situation.
Traditionally a tulku is considered to be a reincarnation of a Buddhist master who, out of his or her compassion for the suffering of sentient beings, has vowed to take rebirth to help all beings attain enlightenment. To fulfill this aspiration, a tulku will generally need to go through the complete process of recognition, enthronement and training.
Formal recognition generally occurs soon after a tulku has been identified, but only after other important lineage masters have been consulted. The newly identified tulku does not take on any formal responsibilities at the time of recognition.
The next step of enthronement may or may not occur for a tulku, depending on the circumstances. Enthronement formally invests the tulku with the responsibility of furthering the activities associated with their particular tulku lineage. Thus, if there are specific teachings and practice traditions associated with their lineage, and if there are perhaps monks, nuns, monasteries, retreat centers, lay communities and so forth for which the tulku traditionally takes responsibility, then the tulku is formally vested with those responsibilities at the time of enthronement. In the event that an enthronement ceremony is conducted, it may take place soon after recognition or some years later. If the tulku is too young to assume their responsibilities upon enthronement, others may be entrusted to take on those responsibilities until the tulku is ready.
Finally, a tulku needs to complete a formal course of training which includes years of study and meditation. This training reawakens the tulku’s powers of insight and compassion and develops their skillful means for helping others. It is only after such training that a tulku is ready to take on the role of a teacher.
In the case of Steven Seagal, he has been formally recognized as a tulku, but has not been officially enthroned. He has also not undergone the lengthy process of study and practice necessary to fully realize what I view as his potential for helping others. When I first met him, I felt he had the special qualities of a tulku within him. According to the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) of the Buddhist tradition, all beings have within them the potential for becoming Buddhas. With Steven Seagal I perceived this potential to be particularly strong as accords with being a tulku. In the past, whenever I have met someone that I feel is a tulku, I have always consulted with other masters of the Nyingma lineage such as Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and other senior lineage holders. Similarly, after my experience of meeting Steven Seagal, I consulted with another important Nyingma master and with his concurrence, recognized Steven Seagal as a tulku.
With regard to the particular circumstances of Steven Seagal’s recognition, while it is generally the case that tulkus are recognized young in life, this is not always so. For example, the great master Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö remained unrecognized for many years while he was an ordained monk at Kathok Monastery. He was over 30 years old, perhaps 35, and had completed his monastic education when he was recognized and enthroned as the first reincarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Wangpo. In his case, he had devoted his life to study and practice and was thus prepared for taking on the full responsibilities of being a tulku at the time of his recognition.
Prior to my recognition of Steven Seagal I myself recognized another tulku late in his life. Kalsang Yeshe Rinpoche, a monk originally from the Palyul branch monastery of Shibo in Tibet and later at Namdroling Monastery in India, was recognized and enthroned in 1983 at the age of 51. He too had spent his life studying Buddhism and meditating before he was recognized as a tulku. Because he had cultivated his potential through many years of diligent study and meditation, he was able to become a teacher and is currently the head of our Palyul Center in Singapore. So, in short, in the Tibetan tradition there is nothing unusual about recognizing a tulku late in their life. In fact, the recognition of a tulku who has been born in the West is especially likely to occur later in their lifetime because it will generally take much longer for all the conditions that are necessary for such a recognition to come together.
Steven Seagal has been recognized as a reincarnation of the 17th century hidden treasure revealer (tertön) Chungdrag Dorje (khyung brag rdo rje) of Palyul Monastery. Chungdrag Dorje founded a small monastery called Gegön Gompa near his native village of Phene in the Kutse area of Derge in Eastern Tibet. Though there are no monks there now, the small monastery building still exists and is well known in the area for its beautiful religious wall paintings.
As a tertön, Chungdrag Dorje rediscovered teachings and sacred objects hidden by Padmasambhava in the eighth century. Such treasures (terma) were concealed with the intention that they would be discovered and revealed at a later date when the circumstances were such that they would be of particular benefit to sentient beings. Texts of the teachings discovered by Chungdrag Dorje have apparently not survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Sacred objects discovered by Chungdrag Dorje include an unusually shaped bell, a phurba (ritual dagger), the syllable ‘A’ carved in stone and pigments used to create the sacred wall paintings in his monastery mentioned above. Several of these objects have been preserved and are still kept at Palyul Monastery today.
In the Nyingma tradition it is said that there are a hundred main treasure revealers and an even greater number of secondary treasure revealers. Among the latter it is not uncommon for the line of their teachings to eventually lapse. Though they were beneficial during the time they flourished, for various reasons some tertön teaching lineages have ceased. This would seem to be the case with Chungdrag Dorje.
Now with regard to Steven Seagal, he was born centuries after the death of Chungdrag Dorje. It is not uncommon for there to be a lengthy span of time between the death of a master and the appearance of his or her subsequent reincarnation. My own tulku lineage is an example of this. There was a 130 years hiatus between the death of the First Pema Norbu in 1757 and the birth of the Second Pema Norbu in 1887. This is common in all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. As for how these gaps come about, while tulkus are understood to have vowed to be continually reborn to help beings, it is not necessary for them to take rebirth in a continuous sequence of lives in this world. It is believed that they can be reborn in other world systems where they continue their compassionate activities, returning only later to this world system. This is how such lapses in tulku lineages are understood in Tibet.
As for Steven Seagal’s movie career, my concern is with the qualities I experienced within him which relate to his potential for benefiting others and not with the conventional details of his life which are wholly secondary. Some people think that because Steven Seagal is always acting in violent movies, how can he be a true Buddhist? Such movies are for temporary entertainment and do not relate to what is real and important. It is the view of the Great Vehicle of Buddhism that compassionate beings take rebirth in all walks of life to help others. Any life condition can be used to serve beings and thus, from this point of view, it is possible to be both a popular movie star and a tulku. There is no inherent contradiction in this possibility.
As the head of the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma School and more recently as the Head of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, I have had the responsibility of recognizing numerous tulkus. The first time I recognized a tulku, I was ten years old. This tulku was the incarnation of the great Khenpo Ngaga. He is still living in Eastern Tibet and continues to strive, to this day, to promote the welfare of others. Since that time until now I have recognized over one hundred tulkus. In addition I have overseen the training and enthronement of over thirty khenpos (learned scholars) and I am responsible for the welfare of the many thousands of monks belonging to the Palyul tradition. My concern in seeking to nurture these tulkus, khenpos, monks, as well as sincere lay people, has been to benefit all sentient beings. It is out of this intention that I have recognized tulkus in the past and will continue to recognize them in the future as appropriate.
In the case of my student Steven Seagal, I initiated the decision to recognize him as a tulku based on my own feelings about him. Neither I nor any of my monasteries have received or sought any sort of substantial donation from him. What is important to me are the qualities I have seen in my student. For this reason I feel confident that recognizing him as a tulku will be of benefit to others as well as to the Buddha dharma.
Whenever there is a new incarnation born or recognized, I personally feel very happy because it is like you have one more brother or sister. I take delight in such occasions as they seek to further compassionate activity for others. Being recognized as a tulku is an acknowledgment of one’s potential to help others. Such recognition does not mean that one is already a realized teacher. The degree to which tulkus have been able to actualize and utilize their potential depends upon how they have been able to use their past circumstances and how they currently use their present circumstances to develop their potential. Each tulku must work to develop themselves to the best of their ability. The essential point is that a tulku should strive to help others in whatever life situation they find themselves. It is out of such an aspiration to help all sentient beings that I have recognized many tulkus in my life and it is with this motivation that I recognized Steven Seagal as a tulku. If all beings seek to have this motivation, what need will there be for controversies and confusion over the motivations of others?