Tibetan Buddhism - Dr Alexander Berzin

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)

Postby Dan Rowden » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:58 am

Well, after reading that pap I can say I have no intererst in the Dalai Lama's views on anything at all. But then, Tibetan Buddhism is the most religious and therefore least interesting of all the Buddhist traditions anyway...
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Postby Unidian » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:20 am

Dan,

What struck you as "pap?"

I'm curious, because while I share your lack of interest in the religious side of Tibetan Buddhism, I've always been a fan of the Dalai Lama's distinctly humanistic approach. I'm aware that the Dalai Lama is traditionally a highly religious figure in a highly religious culture, but the current Dalai Lama in particular has taken a very inclusive, anti-dogmatic view on many issues.
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Postby Dan Rowden » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:40 am

Unidian wrote:Dan,

What struck you as "pap?"


Every single sentence. However, everything he said can be differently interpreted if one sees these rebirths as taking place within this life itself. In which case I would cease to have a problem with it. But he obviously doesn't mean that because it's not what the tradition holds.

I'm curious, because while I share your lack of interest in the religious side of Tibetan Buddhism, I've always been a fan of the Dalai Lama's distinctly humanistic approach.


Well, sure, but this is true of most Buddhists, isn't it? Buddhism is a distinctly humanist tradition.

I'm aware that the Dalai Lama is traditionally a highly religious figure in a highly religious culture, but the current Dalai Lama in particular has taken a very inclusive, anti-dogmatic view on many issues.


Yes, I agree he has distanced hismelf from his cultural identity to some degree, which is commendable. I would argue that he needs to take it further for it to be really meaningful. Let's say, hypothetically, that the Chinese Government changes and with it their views on Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama - will he return to that country and take up that role and all the trappings involved holus bolus? I would say he would. I think his isolation from Tibet is one of the best things that has happened to Tibetan Buddhism in a long time, but time will tell if it's a real and lasting benefit.
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Postby Unidian » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:58 am

Every single sentence. However, everything he said can be differently interpreted if one sees these rebirths as taking place within this life itself. In which case I would cease to have a problem with it. But he obviously doesn't mean that because it's not what the tradition holds.


True, but I don't think he'd oppose the interpretation. I don't see him as likely to argue with it. I suspect he would tell you to go ahead and use that interpretation if it appeals to you.

Well, sure, but this is true of most Buddhists, isn't it? Buddhism is a distinctly humanist tradition.


Very much so, but I'm kind of surprised to hear you admit it. David and Kevin don't seem too keen on associating anything with humanism, which they see in highly negative terms. You might be raising eyebrows by associating Buddhism with humanism without including something derogatory about either or both. But you already know that.

Yes, I agree he has distanced hismelf from his cultural identity to some degree, which is commendable. I would argue that he needs to take it further for it to be really meaningful. Let's say, hypothetically, that the Chinese Government changes and with it their views on Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama - will he return to that country and take up that role and all the trappings involved holus bolus?


The current Dalai Lama probably would not, as far as I can tell. But yeah, you raise a valid point. The next DL might very well do that.

I would say he would. I think his isolation from Tibet is one of the best things that has happened to Tibetan Buddhism in a long time, but time will tell if it's a real and lasting benefit.


Agreed.
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Postby Kevin Solway » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:08 am

clyde wrote:You wrote that you do not know the Dalia Lama’s views, now you write that you do know his views. Which is it?


Nobody can know for certain what another person is thinking. It makes it even more difficult if the other person is being evasive - as I have every reason to think the Dalai Lama is being.

Here is a link to excerpts from the teachings of the Buddha regarding Right Speech: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html .


The definition on that page was actually wrong.

Any form of speech that is evasive is wrong speech, and that page conveniently ignored this fact.
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Postby Kevin Solway » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:15 am

Jason wrote:The way he answers some of the questions here gives me the impression that he believes he is the actual reincarnation of past Dalai Lamas


I get the opposite impression.

For example, he speaks of the "Dalai Lama" as being "an institution" rather than a truth. . . . and not only that, but an institution that may not continue.

And the best reason he gives for his being the rebirth of previous Dalai Lamas is that he thinks he was born with his eyes open!

That's simply appalling.

Towards the bottom of the article he says that he simply doesn't know what kind of reincarnation he is.
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:08 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:
clyde wrote:In the body of the paragraph you argue that “a soul’s continuity is longer” than a single human life. On what basis do you make this statement?


It is going to take me awhile to compile adequate evidence for all that (and I'd rather not compile it as a marathon endeavor), so the short answer is personal knowledge and observed evidence. That sucks as an argument, so please be patient while I compile a response that truly points.


Although the strongest evidence for me is direct contact with the spirit realm, I will not use that in my argument because it is too easily dismissed by those intent on believing that would be my imagination. Other evidence that is strong to me is anecdotal evidence from people who I knew before and after their first contact with ghosts, which I will also not use for the same reason. The only thing that I can submit that would be plain enough for the reader is logic. I do have to draw some pieces from science in order to base the logic on something, but the science needed to actually prove a soul is inadequate to present full proof to my satisfaction. There are many books and other resources that have attempted to prove a soul, and the math in the explanations is beyond the level of math that I have learned - but I believe I can sufficiently show the possibility of a cluster of energy remaining coherent yet separate from the body using logic and basic scientific principles.

Unfortunately, without the inclusion of direct understanding, all I can prove is the possibility. Logically, bodily death not always resulting in reincarnation could not be proven as something that does happen because it does not always happen – so proving the could is as far as logic will go. The rest of it can only be “seen” directly – which can be done through a meditative state, and which some of the experiences can be verified or disproven by another person with enough awareness to access the spirit realm without being deluded by desire to see something. People who can not “see” will not, just as those who are physically blind can not see the physical realm. Some who can see the spirit realm will deny to themselves as well as others – most often out of fear. In even trying to explain this, I feel like I am trying to explain color to a person without eyes who is in denial that there even is such a thing as color. Similarly, one could only go so far as to logically explain how color could occur.

The scientifically based reasoning:

Here is a 30 minute children's show on how neurology works. Although it is probably not worth it for most here to watch, I include it as supporting evidence of the role of electricity in thought.

An electromagnetic field, which is the more complete term for an electric field as an electric field is not an entirely separate phenomenon from a magnetic field (reference electric field link), has been shown to only exist between conductors. The fact of the electrical impulse of thought only being evident in the cell itself seems to support this as being the case with thought as well. In an electrical storm, the energy that makes lightning is formed within the cloud which forms from the water which ultimately provides the charge that is displayed as lightning. The electromagnetic field grows to include not only the cloud, but the earth itself, and the lightning bold streams down.

The law of conservation of matter and energy states that matter and energy can not be destroyed, they can only change forms. The obvious question becomes the asking of where this thought-energy goes. Like you mentioned with the response of the Buddha saying that it is the same as asking where the fire went when it went out, similarly the life energy can go out of the body. The heat that the fire produced radiated near where the fire was for awhile – if a fire is doused on a cold still night, the heat remains clustered together in the area awhile before it dissipates and the area becomes cold again. I do not have the science that states what happens to the heat once it dissipates, but on the science that energy is not destroyed but only changes forms, neither the heat nor the thought energy is destroyed. Since even the heat of the fire does not dissipate instantly, and lingers longer without a cold wind to blow it away, there is no reason to suppose that the thought energy could not similarly cluster together.

Now if rather than the fire merely burning on its fuel, it also had rocks inside it, the heat from the fire would go into the rocks. If the rocks were removed and then the fire doused, the heat energy of the fire would be reincarnated in the rocks. In this way it would stay clustered together longer than if it were merely released into the air, but again the heat energy would still eventually change forms.

The rock in that example, the cloud, and then the space between the cloud and earth in the example above, show that there are many different potentials for the electromagnetic field. Just as I do not have the science to say where the heat from the rocks dissipates to and what it becomes, I do not have the science to support what constitutes the electromagnetic field that could hold thought energy together. Nevertheless, I can remind the reader of the potentials of directed force, which could occur from the final thoughts of the human being, or the potentials in quantum mechanics, such as quantum tunneling. Other experiments, such as the successful quantum teleportation, suggest that a thing can be “destroyed” in one location while simultaneously be recreated in another location – which would be essentially the same thing as reincarnation. Once, however, the energy is removed from the brain of a previous host, one can logically see how the biochemistry of the brain of a subsequent host would remold the energy into new experiences and new memories. If, instead of going straight from one brain to the next, consciousness energy held together in a different kind of electromagnetic field from a brain – one that did not have the overriding biochemical properties of a brain – there is no reason to suppose that the electromagnetic field couldn’t be supportive of the energy bouncing in similar patterns to how it moved through brain cells that stored memory.

As I said, reasoning based on current scientific observations is limited as far as showing us what could be, and direct experience of the spirit realm can only be experienced directly, I can not prove it to you, and I mention only to be truthfully inclusive despite the likelihood that it will subtract from my credibility due to the popular disbelief of such things. This, though, is the evidence I submit for your consideration of what is possible.
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:13 pm

Kevin Solway wrote:
clyde wrote:Are you expecting the Dalai Lama to contact you?


He would do, if he had a conscience.


Kevin, your arrogance is truly spectacular. You make it sound as if you feel that your time is too valuable to "waste" on reading books to seek the evidence of the Dalai Lama's position, but that you are significant enough that the Dalai Lama should contact you for a personal tutorial on his views. Indeed all creatures have significance, and every action down to the beating of a gnat's wings has a domino effect on the rest of existence, but those with enough worldly power and influence (even if they try to use that worldly power and influence to spiritually guide, like the Dalai Lama does) will select their interactions in such a manner as to have the most impact on the most people who are most likely to be receptive to their words. His time could be filled to overflowing with people who are in positions to influence millions of people, and people who have not only read his works but studied them and are willing to dedicate their lives to spreading his words. He is only one man with a finite amount of time, and I expect that he believes he is right as firmly as you believe that you are right. If you were the Dalai Lama, I suspect that you would find your time too limited to waste on some message board owner who did not have the capacity to spread your message as far as your message could be spread through other use of that time.

Please do not think I underestimate your true influence, and I do believe that you have had a substantial positive effect of spreading wisdom. Also, you appear to be at least one of the most patient men I know, if not the most patient one. You have been educational to me by being an example of patience. Your most significant impact on the cause of wisdom is the gathering of people interested in wisdom and providing an accessible place for seekers to go. You have, and continue to, address a need that wisdom had that was not being sufficiently addressed in the specific way it needed. You have touched many lives and produced a ripple effect in that way, but please be cognizant of when your position is only to be touched by the ripple effect of another rather than by the stone itself.. You have the ripples of the Dalai Lama through Alex, Clyde, Jason, and the books. You are simply not as big of a stone as the Dalai Lama, but there is nothing wrong with that. A big stone can not fit into smaller, deeper crevices. You, from your position, have reached people that the Dalai Lama, from his position, could not. That makes you as significant as he is, but acting as though you think you are as big of a stone as he is just makes you look silly.
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Postby Jason » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:20 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote: No Jason, I don't think so. It looks to me as though he clearly states that he does not know. I will quote from the link you provided, but add bold to what I am referring to:


You could be right, he does say a few things that could be read as disagreeing with literal reincarnation, but overall I'm still seeing him agreeing with it.

Kevin Solway wrote:I get the opposite impression.

For example, he speaks of the "Dalai Lama" as being "an institution" rather than a truth. . . . and not only that, but an institution that may not continue.


Here are the passages I found that give me the impression he believes he is a reincarnation of a previous Dalai Lama:

"Questions & Answers" from dalailama.com

If the present situation regarding Tibet remains the same, I will be born outside Tibet away from the control of the Chinese authorities. This is logical. The very purpose of a reincarnation is to continue the unfinished work of the previous incarnation. Thus if the Tibetan situation still remains unsolved it is logical I will be born in exile to continue my unfinished work.

--

Question: What were your first feelings on being recognized as the Dalai Lama? What did you think had happened to you?

Answer: I was very happy. I liked it a lot. Even before I was recognized, I often told my mother that I was going to Lhasa. I used to straddle a window sill in our house pretending that I was riding a horse to Lhasa. I was a very small child at the time, but I remember this clearly. I had a strong desire to go there. Another thing I didn’t mention in my autobiography is that after my birth, a pair of crows came to roost on the roof of our house. They would arrive each morning, stay for while and then leave. This is of particular interest as similar incidents occurred at the birth of the First, Seventh, Eighth and Twelfth Dalai Lamas. After their births, a pair of crows came and remained. In my own case, in the beginning, nobody paid attention to this. Recently, however, perhaps three years ago, I was talking with my mother, and she recalled it. She had noticed them come in the morning; depart after a time, and then the next morning, come again. Now, the evening the after the birth of the First Dalai Lama, bandits broke into the family’s house. The parents ran away and left the child. The next day when they returned and wondered what had happened to their son, they found the baby in a corner of the house. A crow stood before him, protecting him. Later on, when the First Dalai Lama grew up and developed in his spiritual practice, he made direct contact during meditation with the protective deity, Mahakala. At this time, Mahakala said to him, “Somebody like you who is upholding the Buddhist teaching needs a protector like me. Right on the day of your birth, I helped you. So we can see, there is definitely a connection between Mahakala, the crows, and the Dalai Lamas.

Another thing that happened, which my mother remembers very clearly, is that soon after I arrived in Lhasa, I said that my teeth were in a box in a certain house in the Norbulinka. When they opened the box, they found a set of dentures which had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. I pointed to the box, and said that my teeth were in there, but right now I don’t recall this at all. The new memories associated with this body are stronger. The past has become smaller, vaguer. Unless I made a specific attempt to develop such a memory, I don’t recall it.

--

Question: Do you remember your birth or the womb state before?

Answer: At this moment, I don’t remember. Also, I can’t recall if at that time when I was a small child, I could remember it. However, there was one slight external sign perhaps. Children are usually born with their eyes closed. I was born with my eyes open. This may be some slight indication of a clear state of mind in the womb.
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Postby clyde » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:49 pm

Kevin Solway wrote:Towards the bottom of the article he [the Dalai Lama] says that he simply doesn't know what kind of reincarnation he is.

Oh my! Does this not meet your expectations?
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:49 pm

If the present situation regarding Tibet remains the same, I will be born outside Tibet away from the control of the Chinese authorities.


This indicates to me that he is not in his final incarnation. It does not indicate anything about his beliefs of his previous incarnations.

Question: What were your first feelings on being recognized as the Dalai Lama? What did you think had happened to you?

Answer: I was very happy. I liked it a lot. Even before I was recognized, I often told my mother that I was going to Lhasa.


He believes he knew his future.

after my birth, a pair of crows came to roost on the roof of our house. They would arrive each morning, stay for while and then leave. This is of particular interest as similar incidents occurred at the birth of the First, Seventh, Eighth and Twelfth Dalai Lamas.


He is noting a similarity that he may take as a sign of affirmation that he was destined to take position as the Dalai Lama. Again, not exactly a reference to a specific reincarnation.

Another thing that happened, which my mother remembers very clearly, is that soon after I arrived in Lhasa, I said that my teeth were in a box in a certain house in the Norbulinka. When they opened the box, they found a set of dentures which had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. I pointed to the box, and said that my teeth were in there, but right now I don’t recall this at all. The new memories associated with this body are stronger. The past has become smaller, vaguer. Unless I made a specific attempt to develop such a memory, I don’t recall it.


This is more indicative, and seems to indicate that he believes that he is the literal reincarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, but does not indicate that he believes he was all of the Dalai Lamas. Since he does not know if his rebirth is the result of a choice from being in an enlightened state, he clearly does not know if he was the Buddha. He also can not be fully enlightened, or he would know that.
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Postby Unidian » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:09 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:He also can not be fully enlightened, or he would know that.


Dogen Zenji wrote:Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.
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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:16 pm

What is coming through in all these quotes is that the Dalai Lama either has no idea what he fundamentally believes in or he is trying to be all things to all people - or probably both. He is giving different, conflicting answers to different people in different circumstances, which effectively renders his views null and void. They have become meaningless.

This is the problem with serving two masters, which I touched on during the show. On the one hand, he represents the religion of Tibet and therefore has to put on the hat of a hardcore Tibetan Buddhist and adopt the pie-in-the-sky religious belief-system espoused by traditional Tibetan Buddhism. On the other hand, he also represents the political state of Tibet, which means that, under the current circumstances, he has to curry favour with the West and adopt the "humanistic" values that Western people favour.

So what does he really believe in? He can't afford to fully commit himself to either thought-system. He has to keep himself distant from both of them and put up a different front at different times for different people. But in doing so, he becomes fake all the way through.


Nat: Here's one thing I think the Dalai Lama would agree with:

If nothing else, everyone should go read these pages and begin making an effort to practice harmlessness.

His fakeness, changeability and inability to commit to truth is causing harm to the dharma and the promotion of wisdom.


I don’t believe that the views and actions of the Dalai Lama are critical to the survival of wisdom and humanity. Do you believe that the Dalai Lama’s views and actions are critical to the survival of wisdom and humanity?

He has become the representative face of Buddhism in the eyes of the West. If he is not fully committing himself to the truth and the promotion of the dharma, and is instead distracting himself with political issues and currying favour with the West, then he is presenting a false face of Buddhism and misleading everyone accordingly.

It has even reached the stage where intelligent people in the West now regard the Dalia Lama as a joke and are being turned off from exploring Buddhism altogether. It has become too easy for them to dismiss Buddhism as a joke religion run by buffoons.


Dan: Well, sure, but this is true of most Buddhists, isn't it? Buddhism is a distinctly humanist tradition.

Nat: Very much so, but I'm kind of surprised to hear you admit it. David and Kevin don't seem too keen on associating anything with humanism, which they see in highly negative terms. You might be raising eyebrows by associating Buddhism with humanism without including something derogatory about either or both. But you already know that.

To be honest, I don't really know what "humanism" means. If it means an atheistic, pro-science, pro-human attitude towards the Universe, then the Dalai Lama hardly qualifies since he has deliberately enscapsulated himself within an absurd, pie-in-the-sky religious framework. But if it means being meek and changeable and all things to all people, then yes, he would qualify. But that is hardly an attainment worth aspiring to.

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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:21 pm

Dogen said:

Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.

Translation: "Do not think that you will necessarily be conscious that you are fully conscious."

More joke Buddhism.

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Postby Jason » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:41 pm

David and Kevin, you spoke about going to Tibetan Buddhism centres, and how there was a practice of everyone standing when someone far up the hierarchy entered the room, or other worshipful-type things. What did you guys do at these times? Did you go along with it?
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Postby clyde » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:50 pm

David Quinn wrote:What is coming through in all these quotes is that the Dalai Lama either has no idea what he fundamentally believes in or he is trying to be all things to all people - or probably both. He is giving different, conflicting answers to different people in different circumstances, which effectively renders his views null and void. They have become meaningless.


I don’t know enough about the Dalai Lama, even having read a few of his books and some interviews, to know if or why “he is giving different, conflicting answers to different people in different circumstances,”; that said, it has been the case since spiritual teachings have been recorded, that if a sufficient body of a teacher’s words has been recorded, one can find (seemingly, if not explicitly) contradictory statements therein. It is my understanding that spiritual teachers address the student(s) before them and that the answer is specific to the student(s) and the moment and meant for their benefit. One sees this clearly when reading the recorded exchanges between Zen Masters and students. Of course one should be able to see the truth expressed, but the same truth may be expressed in contradictory ways in order to meet the various abilities and needs of the students. This is called expedient or “skillful means”.

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Postby clyde » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:15 pm

David Quinn wrote:This is the problem with serving two masters

The only problem I see is yours. Accept that the Dalai Lama is a human being living in the world and he, like each of us, plays many roles; and there is no problem.

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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:22 pm

Clyde,

There is a world of difference between giving skillful teachings to different people who are on different stages on the path, and that of giving contradictory answers to a basic issue like reincarnation.

The "paradoxes" contained within wise teachings are generated by the profound and subtle nature of the subject matter, such as the nature of Reality. The Dalia Lama's contradictory remarks about reincarnation, on the other hand, simply show a desire not to upset people.

The very first step towards awakening wisdom in people is unsettling their egos and getting them to think about cause and effect. You don't do that by feeding them a fantastical belief in reincarnation which promises ego security and endless lifetimes. That only serves to close people's minds from the outset and helps put them to sleep. There isn't any good reason to feed that kind of delusion at all, other than not wanting to upset your Tibetan constituency.

In other words, literalist reincarnation is a very unskilful teaching given purely for political reasons and shoring up one's own power.

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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:31 pm

Clyde,

DQ: This is the problem with serving two masters

C: The only problem I see is yours. Accept that the Dalai Lama is a human being living in the world and he, like each of us, plays many roles; and there is no problem.

That might be good enough for ordinary human beings, but not for spiritual teachers of truth.

Jesus also said, "If your right hand is causing you to sin, cut it off."

The Dalai Lama needs to decide whether he is actually a spiritual teacher of truth and do it properly, or renounce his position as a spiritual teacher and focus purely on the political side of things. I realize that it is expedient for him to present a front of being a spiritual teacher for the sake of his political purposes, but it is that lack of authenticity which is harming the dharma.

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Postby clyde » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:41 pm

David Quinn wrote:It has become too easy for them [“intelligent people in the West”] to dismiss Buddhism as a joke religion run by buffoons.

Speaking for myself, based on my experience, you are one of the very few people I have heard utter this accusation, I have not heard anyone actually “dismiss Buddhism as a joke religion run by buffoons”, I don’t dismiss Buddhism and you don’t dismiss Buddhism.

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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:43 pm

Jason,

David and Kevin, you spoke about going to Tibetan Buddhism centres, and how there was a practice of everyone standing when someone far up the hierarchy entered the room, or other worshipful-type things. What did you guys do at these times? Did you go along with it?

No, we never went along with it. The whole room would stand up except for us two, which would invariably attract questioning looks and sometimes anger. Similarly, when I was alone there, without Kevin or whoever.

Another rule was that you weren't allowed to sit down inside the temple and point your legs towards the alter. You had to keep them pointed away, such as sitting cross-legged or in the lotus position. So we would deliberately sit with our legs pointed forwards, or sometimes lie down with our legs pointed forwards. They weren't happy with it, but since they were trying to practice patience and tolerance, they usually managed to restrain themselves from berating us.

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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:47 pm

clyde wrote:Speaking for myself, based on my experience, you are one of the very few people I have heard utter this accusation


Before Richard Gere announced that he was Buddhist, I never heard anyone speak anything positive about Buddhism. The general theme I heard was "brain-washing cult."
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Postby David Quinn » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:55 pm

Clyde wrote:

DQ: It has become too easy for them [“intelligent people in the West”] to dismiss Buddhism as a joke religion run by buffoons.

C: Speaking for myself, based on my experience, you are one of the very few people I have heard utter this accusation, I have not heard anyone actually “dismiss Buddhism as a joke religion run by buffoons”, I don’t dismiss Buddhism and you don’t dismiss Buddhism.

I've heard it quite a bit. People were openly laughing at the Dalai Lama when he was last here in Australia, mainly because he was grinning and bowing all the time, and making inane remarks, such as "Be happy!".

The only reason why I don't dismiss Buddhism altogether is because of a handful of wise sages within the Buddhist tradition, who are as rare as hen's teeth and far beyond the quality of the Dalai Lama. If it wasn't for them, I would have nothing whatsoever to do with it. And if I had been sufficiently exposed to the Dalai Lama and his ilk before I had discovered these rare gems, then I too would have been turned off Buddhism for good.

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Postby Kevin Solway » Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:08 pm

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:You make it sound as if you feel that your time is too valuable to "waste" on reading books to seek the evidence of the Dalai Lama's position


I've read books by the Dalai Lama, studied many interviews with the Dalai Lama, and I've personally attended teachings with him. My conclusion is that his teachings are, for the most part, rubbish.

I expect that he believes he is right as firmly as you believe that you are right.


I doubt it. I think he knows fully well that he is fairly clueless. But he feels he has to play along with the expectations people have of him.
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Postby Jason » Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:08 pm

David Quinn wrote:No, we never went along with it. The whole room would stand up except for us two, which would invariably attract questioning looks and sometimes anger. Similarly, when I was alone there, without Kevin or whoever.

Another rule was that you weren't allowed to sit down inside the temple and point your legs towards the alter. You had to keep them pointed away, such as sitting cross-legged or in the lotus position. So we would deliberately sit with our legs pointed forwards, or sometimes lie down with our legs pointed forwards. They weren't happy with it, but since they were trying to practice patience and tolerance, they usually managed to restrain themselves from berating us.

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Oh god, I love it! Hahaha. Reminds me of the time I learnt that the rug with the picture of Mecca on it, which was hanging on my muslim friend's wall in his house, was supposedly not to have feet go higher than it. High-kicks (and maybe handstands, it was years ago I can't remember for sure) ensued.
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