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Csillag

When a Lama breakes his vows/samayas......

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Tashi delek

 

Lamas should possess certain qualities which are described within the sutras/tantras.

In Vajrayana we can have "one root guru" and aditionally to that some lamas who are transmitting to us the teachings, helping us on the the path.

 

Now if we discover that one of our lamas ( not the root guru ) seems to break one of his/her samayas vows very obviously, lets say by being sectarian, fighting with his vajrabrothers/sisters etc. and lets say it is really a breaking in its full sence, how much does this influence me as a practitioner who has build up a karmic connection with such a lama ?

 

As I can almost never know for 100% that someone was breaking ones samays or not, unless I have developed cleasighted abilities, how much can pure view help me in such the case a lama was really breaking ones samayas?

 

Personally my view is that even if I discover some faults in a particular lineage lama, I have the attitude, that this lama has still some qualities, so I can learn from him/her.

If a particular fault is something I can cope with , I feel being able to continue listening to his/her teachings.Especially if I remember the fact that nowadays it is very rare to find a lama with all qualities complete., and that maybe what I consider as a fault is not really a fault.

What do you think about this ?

 

Furthermore I was contemplating about that there must be for sure some dharma teachers who think they do right, but in fact they do not, not even recognizing, that they are breaking their samayas or giving wrong informations about dharma.

And let`s say those teachers are very much keeping on working on themselves, they are very cincere, making efforts on the path, so they perform everyday as well their confession practice.

Having commited out of IGNORANCE a breaking of their samayas, and even if others would tell them: "Hey, are you sure that what you are doing is alright ? "they would continue to think out of IGNORANCE, "No I am not at fault", whereas they are.

So they would be the victim of their own ignorance, and in such a case how much does a purification practice work for them ?

This interests me very much, as it is said that to have contact with people who are breaking their samayas is the same as oneself would break them.

 

Best wishes

Csillag

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Tashi delek,

 

and aditionally to that some lamas who are transmitting to us the teachings, helping us on the the path.
We shall define who you are calling “lama”, as different people or tradition have different views about this. The Gelug School is more strict as who is considered as a Lama or not. But some other lineages are giving such title to people who have done one or two retreats of three years… as if any retreat would automatically give the wisdom required to lead other people on their spiritual Path!

 

As I can almost never know for 100% that someone was breaking ones samays or not, unless I have developed cleasighted abilities, how much can pure view help me in such the case a lama was really breaking ones samayas?
Indeed, it is difficult to judge the others in general, and a Lama specially, who can use a “skillful mean” to help the others on their Path. Yet, if a person is a monk and/or as specific responsibilities, he is due to respect them according to the Vinaya and other Texts.

I would say, specifically nowadays. There are many stories of past Yogis who were behaving quite strangely, and when challenged, they proved to be advanced practitioners. But we are living now in time and society where ethic is decreasing, and ethical path difficult to follow correctly. Therefore, those who are supposed to be an example on the path, due to their titles or functions, have to be very cautious not to mislead the others.

 

Especially if I remember the fact that nowadays it is very rare to find a lama with all qualities complete., and that maybe what I consider as a fault is not really a fault.
If he is really a Lama, yes. But nowadays we find also a lot of “fake” spiritual guide, lead by their pride and greed for fame (and other things) rather than spiritually evolved and concerned by the spiritual development of their disciples. We have to be very careful.

 

some dharma teachers who think they do right, but in fact they do not, not even recognizing, that they are breaking their samayas or giving wrong informations about dharma.
Then they might not qualified to be “lama”. In such cases, who are their own Teachers? What are they saying about all this? After all, if you have any serious doubts, you can/shall always inquire to their monastery, Abbot, teachers…

Nowadays, we are living in a difficult time, and this might not get better. Namely, since Tibetan Buddhism is spreading out of its original framework, it is a bit “out of control”.

In earlier time, monks, nuns, were living in a monastery, or under the responsibility of a monastic order, with qualified practitioners and an Abbot. This “hierarchy” could, and had the responsibility, to supervise and monitor the progress and qualities of their fellows.

It is not anymore the case, and things are getting a bit “wild” sometime. You have for example some simple Geshes who let people to call them “Lama” or even “Rinpoche”! It flatters their ego, bring them several benefits, but it induces their followers in mistake, as regarding their level of capacity. Or some common people who believe they can “teach” some high Tantra such as Kalachakra!

Relying on a fake Lama or teacher is an obstacle on the Path, and might lead the followers on wrong Path, no being able to develop any spiritual realization. Disciples have also the responsibility over who they follow and choose as teachers. They should check carefully, inquire, and observe teachers and their teachings at the Light of the Texts.

 

This interests me very much, as it is said that to have contact with people who are breaking their samayas is the same as oneself would break them.
I wouldn’t say it is the same, as long as the follower is not involved in the misdeeds of his teacher, and doesn’t see clearly the mistakes of the so called teacher.

 

All the best, Gelong T. Shenphen

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I would add that, of course, this “checking” shall be well motivated. As you know, Rinpoche encourages always to perform this thorough checking, and to take time before to choose one as teacher, especially Root Lama. Though, we had a peculiar experience once of a person who said he was checking over Rinpoche, yet all he was trying to do was finding proves that Rinpoche was a misleading person, a fake Lama, a fake Tulku!

That person, helped even by one of his Tibetan Geshe friend, claimed they’ve contacted one of his own Teacher (Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Tegchok, who has been twice Abbot of the largest monastic university of Sera-Jhe) and this Teacher would have said that Shenphen Rinpoche isn’t a good person!

These two persons spread emails (that are still kept in Dharmaling central office) to other people about this, and even organize a meeting (in Slovenia) on this matter.

Yet, as some of us went to India, it was possible to counter-check such information by requesting directly an appointment with Khensur Rinpoche. And it turned out that this was all invented for the clear intention to harm, surely on the basis of jealousy! Khensur Rinpoche - who has been in the meantime informed about the matter - was even eager to tell us that He never said such things! We even got informed that the Geshe who did such misdeed has been blamed directly by Khensur Rinpoche, and by his own teacher in Sera.mey!

Do you think these people would have felt ashamed after we discovered they have been lying in such horrible way against Lama Shenphen Rinpoche? Not at all. No word of excuses, but a continuous flow of gossip. When we know that this simple Geshe let some people to call him “Lama Geshe … Rinpoche” (sick!) we can wonder about the quality of his own spiritual path, as for a monk to let people believe that one has a rank that he doesn’t have is a serious breach of his vows according to the Vinaya! Relating to the original post of this topic, we could say that followers of such fake Lama take high risk to be misled on their spiritual Path!

And that this Geshe has any political rank nowadays, due to some inner Tibetan politic, doesn’t give any reliance over his spiritual level.

 

So, indeed, we have to be always very careful about who we choose to take as spiritual guide!

 

Thank you.

 

NB: when you want to check over a teacher, you can start by the following web site (run by Tibetans, in Delhi):

http://www.tibetanlama.com

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Tashi delek dear Lama Shenphen Rinpoche,

 

Thank you very much for your answer.

We shall define who you are calling “lama”, as different people or tradition have different views about this. .
Oh, I was not writing clear enough: at the beginning I was talking about lama in its real sence and at the end about just dharma teachers, who have the permission to teach dharma ", like khenpos, geshes, people who did 3 years retreat etc.;-( sorry.

Yes, I know that the title lama can be hold by people with different qualifications, not necessary being a lama in its real sence

 

Talking about what a real Lama is, as I know a real lama by definition is someone who has some degree of realisation of emptiness as well of bodhicitta, it is someone who is capable to lead beings towards enlightenment. Idially that person should possess all qualifications mentioned in the tantras/sutras . A lama can be someone who is even not recognized as such by a paper, main thing is that he has the inner qualities.Would you define as a lama someone who needs to abide at least at the first bhumi ?

 

The Gelug School is more strict as who is considered as a Lama or not. But some other lineages are giving such title to people who have done one or two retreats of three years… as if any retreat would automatically give the wisdom required to lead other people on their spiritual Path!.
Concerning different tradition, I can just say something about kagyu tradition :As I know within kagyu lineage not everybody becomes a lama who did 3 years reatreat. One needs a special letter for this, given by ones own teacher. Such people with letter are called then "Drup Pe Lama" ( Lama of practice )Not everybody who does 3 years retreat becomes such a paper.

 

some dharma teachers who think they do right, but in fact they do not, not even recognizing, that they are breaking their samayas or giving wrong informations about dharma.
Then they might not qualified to be “lama”. .
Yes but, as you know there are very high Lamas, lineageholder who had at the beginning the qualifications to be a lama in real sence and then it happened to them they broke their samayas. I do not want to mention here names in a forum, but that such people would break their samayas was even predicted centuries in before....

So according this even if someone is a lama, the lama can still break his/her samaya when mara catches him. What do you think ? I mean as long someone is not 100% enlightened like the Buddha , mara has still a chance or not ?

 

Relying on a fake Lama or teacher is an obstacle on the Path, and might lead the followers on wrong Path, no being able to develop any spiritual realization. Disciples have also the responsibility over who they follow and choose as teachers. They should check carefully, inquire, and observe teachers and their teachings at the Light of the Texts..
What would you advice to the following situation: Over a time one met several lamas, dharmateachers establishing with them a spiritual bound. Then someone found his root guru. Would it be then advisable to check up the already established spiritual connections with ones root guru ? But with this there could be one problem: maybe the root guru doesn`t know the other lamas one has connection with ......

Could you please also write something about pure view, concerning receiving teaching, personal advices from lamas who are not ones root guru?

 

With best wishes

Csillag

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