A Healing Contemplation for Students of Problematic Teachers. Berzin. Part 2

This is the second installment of our blog posts referencing Dr Alexander Berzin’s  Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2010.  Part one on historical and cultural factors affecting the student teacher relationship in Tibetan Buddhism can be found HERE.
The chapter on Dealing with Problematic Teachers includes a contemplation that could be used in centres to help students balance the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ and focus on the good for the purposes of their spiritual practice, while also acknowledging the ‘bad’.  I think this could help a lot of students to heal.
Though he calls it ‘sutra-level’ guru meditation and it’s from the Gelupka school of Tibetan Buddhism, do not make the assumption that that means it’s not relevant for Rigpa students. It’s extremely relevant.
The contemplation is for all students of problematic teachers, not just those who felt emotionally, physically or sexually abused. This debacle has hurt us all in one way or another.

“For thorough healing, spiritually wounded disciples need eventually to be able to view their mentors’ faults and mistakes clearheadedly, free of naivety, anger, or recrimination. … Guru-meditation does not ask us to deny the accurate conventional appearances of what our mentors’ faults or mistakes may be. … Such an understanding allows us to see how our mentors’ faults and mistakes have arisen dependently on an enormous number of complex factors.”


The topic headings are:

The sections in bold can be used as a contemplation for general students. The last two sections are most relevant to those who have felt the full force of a teachers abusive behaviour and are having trouble seeing the positive aspects of the teacher.

  • Applying Sutra-Level Guru-Meditation to a Faulty or Abusive Teacher
  • Reviewing a Teacher’s Faults and mistakes
  • Creating a Protected Mental Space for Addressing Spiritual Wounds

  • Examining the Appearances That the Mind Creates

  • The Analogy with Contextual Therapy for Victims of Abuse

  • Teachers Involved in Controversy

  • Overcoming Emotional Blocks in Appreciating Kindness

  • Overcoming Emotional Blocks in Showing Respect

A surgical procedure

Berzin likens this proces of reviewing a teacher’s faults to a surgical procedure, and points out that this can’t be done until the student has recovered from the initial trauma – be it the trauma of being abused or the shock of discovering your teacher has behaved badly:

Before discerning and focusing on the good qualities and kindness of their mentors, disciples need to bring to conscious awareness the teachers’ shortcomings and work on their view of them. The process resembles a surgical procedure. Cleaning an infected wound requires cutting it open, even though lancing the abscess and exposing the infection temporarily increases the pain. In the case of a festering spiritual wound, the hidden infection may be denial or suppressed rage. To purge the infection requires reopening the wound and bringing to the surface what festers beneath, even though the procedure temporarily may bring more emotional pain. The operation must wait, of course, until the injured person has sufficiently recovered from the initial trauma and has regained the emotional strength to attack the problem.

Read the full chapter here: https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/lam-rim/student-teacher-relationship/the-dynamics-of-a-healthy-student-teacher-relationship/dealing-with-problematic-teachers
The next post in this series will be looking at the queston, ‘Is the Guru a Buddha?’

Be sure to check out the What Now? Reference Material page for links to a wealth of articles in the topics related to abuse in Buddhist communities. For links to places to assist in healing from abuse see the sangha care resources page.
More personal and private support for current and previous students of Rigpa can be found in the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite. Please use the email address you use on Facebook.


50 Replies to “A Healing Contemplation for Students of Problematic Teachers. Berzin. Part 2”

  1. Thank you for posting this.
    This part of the book of Alex Berzin was also the most important part for me, when I studied the book a few years ago along with the next topic that will be presented here about what it means to see the master as the Buddha.

  2. I read the article and it seems very erudite and superficially compassionate, but there’s a subtext running through it that I found disturbing. It’s long and complex so I’ll just cite the following:
    ‘What the meditation asks us to do instead is to refute and dismiss our confused belief in the deeply deceptive appearances of how our mentors have come to exist with the particular faults that they actually have. We need to understand the logical absurdity and thus the impossibility that our mentors have particular flaws by virtue of some permanent, findable, internal defects that by their own powers, independently of anything else, make them inherently tainted people.
    Such an understanding allows us to see how our mentors’ faults and mistakes have arisen dependently on an enormous number of complex factors. This understanding allows the healing process to occur. It also enables us to ignore, for the moment, the faults that our mentors in fact may have, to focus instead in guru-meditation on their good qualities, and even to derive inspiration from them.’
    The subtext is subtle but one we’re all familiar with now, irrespective whether we think it’s problematic or not. It involves two recurrent themes:
    The first is what might be called moral gymnastics, a technique that tries to somehow balance good and bad: ‘Yes there’s abuse but the abuser has also done good and we must always remember that.’ The implication is that this should be accepted at face value, but it’s really an assumption that raises many obvious questions :
    Such as: Why is this being emphasized ? For whose benefit ? Is it an attempt to relativise and thus diminish the severity of the abuse in the eyes of the victim ? Is the writer a covert apologist ? Will this really benefit the victims or only add to their confusion and emotional distress ?
    Is it even relevant ? Is it actually true ? Given the abusive behavior, why should we automatically believe the abuser’s motivation in other areas was benign ? Was the apparent good intended to create an environment where abuse could take place?
    To use a direct example: If someone who worked tirelessly establishing an orphanage turned out to be a pedophile, would their work diminish the severity of their crime in the eyes of the law and society or compound it ?
    The second assumption is common to abuse in religious contexts and involves insisting that there exists an overarching, philosophically superior viewpoint, an understanding of absolute reality the writer has that must takes precedence and from which the abuse should be considered:
    ‘Refute and dismiss our confused belief in the deeply deceptive appearances……’ ‘the logical absurdity and thus the impossibility that our mentors have particular flaws’….(or)…’internal defects’…(or are)….inherently tainted’…and so on.
    This is basically the old joke about the man giving directions but saying: “Of course if I was you I wouldn’t start from here.”
    As if a victim of abuse would, or should be capable of somehow transcending the immediate pain of their experience and attaining a mystical state beyond duality.
    This is nonsensical, magical thinking at it’s most pernicious and dishonest. This kind of ridiculous imperative puts yet another psychological burden on the victim and comes quite close to saying: “Your perception is wrong, it’s your confusion about the true nature of reality that’s causing your suffering.”
    If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s ‘blaming the victim’ yet again and even explicitly advising the victim to ‘derive inspiration’ from the person that abused them. It all sounds very considered, but it’s actually twisted intellectualisation.
    If true and useful why shouldn’t this perception of non-existence be as rigorously applied to the ‘good’ as well ? Strangely that’s not suggested.
    On a practical human level, it’s also very wrong, since SR’s flaws and internal defects are very real indeed and to all intents and purposes they’re probably permanent too, and to pretend otherwise is naïve and dangerous, because that kind of belief made his abuse possible in the first place.
    Dr. Berzin himself may believe he realizes that he has no permanent findable existence and that bus speeding towards him may indeed be a deeply deceptive appearance, but until he walks in front of it, it’s just posturing.

    1. I agree with Michel DM. It is really absurd to ask from a sufferer of abuse to look at the positive side of the abusing person. Berzins advice is just theory. He probably never suffered himself of abuse. Instead of healing oneself which takes a lot of time, the sufferer has to deny that he is angry and hatred with the person who did this to him/her. Does Berzin really think this is desirable or helpful for the abused. Would not it be better to bring the abusing lama to court? And warn people, especially women, for abusing lamas. He helps the abuser not the abused. I read somewhere that the buddhist scientists are paid by HHDL and his court. (Scientists are not always objective, they need money for research, many times the industry pays. Governments do not have enough money.)

      1. Tiny, that’s silly. To begin with HHDL doesn’t have a “court.” And he certainly doesn’t “pay” scientists– that is such a silly “fact” from the conspiracy people. Of course, it does cost something to put on these conferences and the sponsoring organizations and ticket sales usually take care of that– and there are sponsorships as well. I have been a small sponsor at several of these events myself so I know a little about it.
        Also, regarding survivors, there is never one way for healing to happen. I know this because I’ve worked with survivors. Anger and hatred, particularly for those who want to remain Buddhist, are not helpful– though they are certainly part of the mental landscape. Most Buddhists will want to work with their trauma with a minimum of anger. I think it’s important to view Alex’s technique as just that– one technique that might work for certain students in certain situations of problematic teachers.

        1. Joanne, your are Always suspicious when somebody critizises HHDL. You adore him fully. It is useless to discuss with you. I wrote that earlier with the Trimondis. You Always defend him as if he were a saint.
          For me I have professionally worked with survivors and anger and hatred are really necessary to create a distance from the abuser. Maybe they got abused because they were not assertive enough. In a feudal society it is better when ordinary people become not angry so that they cannot defend themselves. That is exactly how it worked in R. Through buddhism people became afraid that they got to hell and so on.Without agression there is a big chance the abused will become depressive as often happens to abused. Buddhism is about controlling your agression not denying it.
          also read insidethecompany.wordpress.com

          1. There’s no way to say whether “Inside the company” is about Rigpa or not. There is no identifying material in it, nor author bio. So, they rest of what you said is interesting, though I disagree. I think it is possible to heal from abuse without, at the end of the process, being angry and hating the abuser. That may be part of the process. This is my own experience. There are different thoughts about this but anger and hatred are not the only way of distancing oneself.

            1. “Inside the Company” is widely understood to be about Tsem Rimpoche’s Kechara center in Malaysia, a Dorje Shugden group.

  3. I came upon this video of Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche.
    It says this talk was given at Lerab Ling in recent days. Can anyone confirm if this is correct?
    In it, he is unwavering of his support of SL/R.
    He denounces those who have challenged SL/R as “slandering the sangha”. They are, he says, committing “the worst sins of all; the worst crimes of all”.
    He opens his discussion by using the phrase “demonic forces”, and implies that the accusations of abuse should be seen in that light. He says it is the “magical manifestation of non-human entities” and “what we need to do is neutralise this”.
    The speech is enthusiastically applauded by the audience.
    The video is outstanding information to have when forming a judgement on SL/R, Rigpa and Tibetan Buddhism.

    1. Well, it’s certainly outstanding information to have when forming an opinion of Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche. He won’t be getting any applause from me.

    2. It seems duplicitous that Rigpa would allow this medieval statement about demons, with its lack of compassion towards abused people, to come from its stage. Do they not support the three-pronged plan they have on the Lerab Ling website under “statement to the press”?
      What it says about KN is that he wasn’t fully informed. And he gives marching orders to people who are confused, hurt, and grieving to externalizations their pain on the messengers.
      It’s irresponsible.

  4. I can confirm this was given last Sunday in LL, as I was there!
    One thing that I did here in LL, from a reliable non-rigpa person, was that Matteo has said he is finished with this whole business. I heard this before Khen Rinpoche spoke the above words.

  5. Another disappointment about the Tibetans. It is very hypocrite. He abuses buddhism to make people very much afraid of bad karma and negative consequences in this life and the next. He is manipulating the students. Of course they applaud because he says to them that they are good and the 8 who wrote the letter wrong. It reminds of the Catholic Church. Money and power is their business not compassion.
    read this about the organization, then you know how R. and SL are. The whole reminds of a feudal monastery and getting monks to do what you want and not what they want themselves. it is abuse. SL used money from R. for his private bank account.
    www. insidethecompany.wordpress.com

    1. Hi tiny, about the blog you mentioned. Is there some ways to confirm that the testimonials are authentic?
      This is scary:
      “Of course, nobody can question this violence because the chairman always says that this is from great compassion. He will even say that actually, he finds it very difficult to be angry but he has to FORCE HIMSELF to get angry so that he can teach his students a lesson. He says that he has to use these fierce and violent methods because the calm and patient methods didn’t work. He will say that it is to purify the negative things in them and he is doing it because he is so kind and he doesn’t want them to suffer later, so it is “better” to make them suffer now in a controlled place. He will also tell stories about how there are very famous teachers in the main temples and monasteries who will beat their students because they are so compassionate and they want to avoid any other bad things happening to them.”

      1. There is actually no identifying material on that blog, nor does the author reply to contacts. It could very easily be about any extreme group.

        1. If it WERE about Rigpa and Sogyal, one would expect to see some allusion to sexual abuse in it, no? But Tsem Rinpoche, whatever his faults, has not been accused of this. (It may or may not be relevant that he gives the distinct impression of being as gay as a Spring day.) I am not saying that he has necessarily been faithful to his monastic vows–and indeed, there is some reason to doubt this–only that no one has accused him of sexual abuse. (And I have asked.) Other kinds of abuse, hell yeah–even Kechara’s own publications admit this.

  6. Dear commenters,
    If people want to have a discussion about Tibetan Buddhism and aspects of its relevance and problems, we request that you have that conversation elsewhere. It may be an important discussion, but it is outside of the scope of the blog subject, which is the current situation with Rigpa and Sogyal Lakar.

    1. Dear Starshine,
      Even if the “insidethecompany blog” is not about Rigpa, it provides a perspective and explanation for the fact that apparently Sogyal Rinpoche never apologized for his acts of violence.
      I think the question of the use of violence is at the heart of the current situation in Rigpa. Can it be tolerated from a lama according to the dharma? Apparently, not everybody agree on the answer.

  7. It may show how another group’s interactions were, and it might be studied by some in order to compare what they know or suspect, but no inference can be made from it about Rigpa. It can’t show why anything happened in Rigpa. All it is is food for thought.
    It’s interesting because people have wondered for awhile what inside the company is about. At least now there’s an inkling.
    What you said about violence and not everyone agreeing about a lama’s use of it is at the center of the discussion. That’s a big part of the problem.

  8. @MichelDM
    I saw that the thread in which I posted has been closed. What I mean with truth versus proof is that Western society is strongly inclined to disregard “a” truth (subjective) until “the” proof (objective) has been established. One can experience truths that not necessarily can be proven objectively. Does that answer your question?
    Also pertaining to the closed thread: I was excited to meet the Dalai Lama but I didn’t feel any connection with him, nor any special energy. I must add though that at the time, I was not feeling much at all to be honest. This was largely due to being an underdeveloped person who’s focus mainly was in thought and mind rather than feeling and body. With other Rinpoches I have felt much intenser connections. Happy to chat about it in greater detail but best not in public IMO. Hope that helps.
    In general, can someone enlighten me on why the thread on “Issues with the spiritual teacher” was closed? I am new here. Thanks!

    1. @Yasmin,
      Thanks for replying about meeting the Dalai Lama. You answered what I wanted to know, so I’m satisfied. 🙂
      Re: about threads being closed. I think they always close the threads after a certain amount of time. I am not sure if they are just trying to shut down comments that are getting too controversial regarding Tibetan Buddhism, or if it’s just that threads get old and comments are closed when a new thread starts. The mods may (or may not) tell you the truth about it, but I will have to just let them speak for themselves.

      1. Generally the discussion here focuses (we hope) on the situation with Rigpa. When it ranges too much into criticism of Tibetan Buddhism, threads sometimes might get shut down.

  9. @Catlover
    Happy to have answered your question 😊.
    Regarding the closure of threads you might very well be correct when suspecting that threads get shut down for the various reasons you mention, despite there being no telling at this point. When dealing with controversial issues, not necessarily buddhist issues, I have found that the majority of contributors and moderators in forums (be it online or verbal) tend to object to such controversial topics, despite the validity of the point that is being made. Agenda usually takes precedence over the actual debate.
    My question on the other thread unfortunately has remained unanswered and that is ok, I was hoping for an answer but not counting on it. It’s a sign of the times unfortunately, that critical debate often gets stifled before it actually takes off. IMO the governing factors are fear, and the amount pressure one can personally endure. Maybe that is not the case here but reading the last few posts on that thread, I still see many open points and can’t make out a reason for the thread being closed.
    Would you agree that debate over the background of guru devotion forms an essential part of the debate over what happened at Rigpa?
    The video posted by Joseph and the confirmation on the timing posted by Buddy, IMO merely underlines my point in the other thread; when things get very hairy, it is back to the “guru is holy” rhetoric again. Where and why is this specialness? How does it work? I have never understood it after 12-13 years of guru devotion to the best of my abilities, yet this message is being repeated again, and again, and again, and not only in buddhist traditions.
    The video also refers to “doctrine”, as do many books and sutras and so forth. Buddha did not write anything down (so I am told), allegedly he advised to investigate, rather than adopt blindly. One could of course invite to debate together, investigate together where dharma topics are considered. That would surely make for a very beautiful teaching experience, and a lively debate. Hardly ever though, have I witnessed such teachings. And isn’t the mushi mushum debating technique solely relying on ability to recall and recite scripture when in debate? Where’s the direct experience in this? Where’s the logic in this? I just don’t see it, as much as I once wanted to believe it. Oh well, I guess the joke’s on me then… 😇
    If it were truly demonic energies that would have taken possession of the persons that wrote the letter, then compassion and maximum support would be needed, rather than passing judgement as is shown in the video. I don’t know the teacher in the video, and perhaps he is a very kind person, and a very qualified teacher. Nonetheless, I have seen this rhetoric all too often. I have also asked geshes questions that led to an uncomfortable shoulder shrug, followed by a quick departure under the pretence of other urgent matters that needed to be taken care of.
    We are taught to dissolve ego, and relinquish all judgement. I.e. wrong and right cease to be, duality disappears, and essentially all there is left is total acceptance and union, which is blissful. Why is it then that teachers need to condemn certain behaviour of others, and use words like “should” and “must”? In this context, I find the words of the late Marshal Rosenberg so very fitting where he once commented on the 10 Commandments. He spoke of having met a Bible scholar that had discovered that the translation of the Bible was wrong; it is not “you shall/should not steal, lie, kill… etc.”, but rather “when god is with one, one will/does not steal, lie, kill… etc.”
    Amen 🙏🏻 (which has the same meaning as OM by the way).

    1. “The video posted by Joseph and the confirmation on the timing posted by Buddy, IMO merely underlines my point in the other thread; when things get very hairy, it is back to the “guru is holy” rhetoric again. Where and why is this specialness? How does it work? I have never understood it after 12-13 years of guru devotion to the best of my abilities, yet this message is being repeated again, and again, and again, and not only in buddhist traditions.”
      Because in vajrayana the guru kind of borrows you his own realisation for the way, and trains you, at the risk of going down to the lower realms together with you in case you mess up gravely. This is a relationship until liberation, once committed, it can not be undone, by neither side.
      So this is something quite valuable, kind and quite special. Therefore an appropriate amount of gratitude should be the natural reaction. This gratitude is the devotion.
      As I said, you can not quit this if after a honeymoon period you do no longer like it. Devotion in vajrayana is not at all like devotion the way for example Christians have devotion for the mother Mary or Jesus.
      If you don’t understand it, you probably lack the practical experience and you may not be committed that way? Really, only commit to a vajrayana guru if you are absolutely sure that you want it, and you want it with this teacher. Just like I don’t know, most people don’t want to have sex with just anyone but they want it with someone dear and special to them.
      By the way, the question who is attracted to which vajrayana teacher may very well come from having been involved with him or her in other lifetimes. If for example SR doesn’t click that way for you, go try a few different lamas and lineages. It may also very well be that a specific teaching style fits you.
      From how I understand it, SR’s previous incarnation, Terton Sogyal has given initiation to vast numbers of people and held something that could be called terma recovery parties with big audiences. So SR’s predecessor might very well have started the relationships with his students that now come to a rather messy fruition. I don’t think that this muddle of connectedness should be seen as a this lifetime only affair. And for those people who genuinely have received transmission it is definitely not over after this lifetime, no matter what they do now.

    2. “The video also refers to “doctrine”, as do many books and sutras and so forth. Buddha did not write anything down (so I am told), allegedly he advised to investigate, rather than adopt blindly. One could of course invite to debate together, investigate together where dharma topics are considered.”
      Please read the transmission history of vajrayana and dzogchen. These lineages did not at all start by Shakyamuni talking to his disciples. They started as pure mind to mind transmission.
      What you say works for sutra teachings, but not for tantra. Erm, and to some extent you have to commit to the tantra teachings blindly, because before you commit the actual content is secret. It’s not possible to check the actual material and then decide. You can be given an outline what the path is going to be about, and how these teachings work in general, but nothing more concrete.
      Sorry. Just as it is with discussing it. You basically can only discuss your personal vajrayana path with fellow disciples and teachers of appropriate lineage and realisation.
      And once you got involved it’s going to be self evident why this is the case.
      That’s the reason why I always found the dharma chat-fests that are held in Rigpa and the encouragement to talk about experiences beyond pure mahayana with instructors more than slightly bizarre.

  10. “Guru devotion”is something there will be more posts about. Thanks for asking! It is relevant.
    As for avoiding controversy, I don’t think this blog can fairly be accused of that. We just limit the focus. Not to say that there’s not more to discuss.
    Maybe a Facebook group or separate blog would be useful for people who want to discuss issues about religion, belief, and Tibetan Buddhism in general. Those are easy to set up. And obviously there’s some interest in that. So go for it!

    1. @Starshine
      Thanks, I wasn’t trying to suggest that this blog avoids controversy. More of a general observation. Thanks for your work, so far I have found this blog quite useful!

    2. Well, but the understanding is important to judge what did and did not go wrong in Rigpa.
      From a vajrayana pov and as a Tibetan with a traditional Tibetan background Khenpo Namdrol is actually correct in what he said.
      It just doesn’t apply with westerners psychologically not ready for more harsh teaching methods and the type of behaviour that is the basis of the allegations like sexual exploitatio of hapless young girls.

  11. @Starshine,
    Guru devotion is very much intertwined with the religion and the beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism, so how can one avoid getting into a discussion on those things? It’s kind of hard NOT to discuss them. If you are willing to allow a discussion on guru devotion, then you pretty much have to allow a broader discussion on the beliefs, since it’s hard to separate.

  12. @yasmin,
    “The guru is holy” thing is part of Tibetan Buddhism, (at least Tantra). That’s why it always keeps going back there. As with any religion, you have moderates and extremists, who all believe the same thing to varying degrees. It’s just that some believe more fervently and fanatically than others. If you don’t like the extremist, fundamentalist view, then the moderates are more tolerable. It sounds like the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche are more moderate (at least publicly) about the whole guru philosophy, and lamas like Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche are more extremist. That’s really all there is to it.

    1. @Catlover
      You raise an interesting point about acting publicly. My experiences are that everything starts out moderately but becomes more and more extreme as one plots along. I haven’t seen the holy guru argument ever getting explained properly. Dr. Berzin does a good job of pointing out the rights and wrongs about guru/disciple relationships from a Western viewpoint. From the Tibetan side, I have yet to come across a genuine explanation. Mingyur Rinpoche’s words about the disciple benefitting from the guru though, sound very mature to me, others may perhaps disagree.
      Extremism usually extends beyond a single facet of life. This too I have witnessed a lot with Tibetans. Extremely little social interaction with Westerners, no mixed marriages, lots of emphasis on keeping the language and folklore alive. Great if one is into all that, but I find it absurd that one province can claim exclusive ownership of the methods aimed at transcending one’s ego for the benefit of all, while at the same time there are so many variants within Tibetan buddhism and an equal amount of controversies.

      1. @Yasmin,
        Actually, I have seen a lot of mixed marriages Tibetans and Westerners. It happens a lot. I don’t know how some Tibetans might feel about it when it happens, but is does. I know several Westerners who married Tibetans.

    2. This has nothing to do with Tibet or extremism.
      Nobody requires of people to practice vajrayana. It’s totally up to you if you want it or not. If you want to, it does come with that part, you can not have vajrayana light with no commitment to a guru.
      If you don’t want to deal with devotion, then just don’t practice vajrayana. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need any guru devotion for Zen or Theravada or the sutra part of the Tibetan teachings.
      I’m really puzzled that people complain about something they themselves have CHOSEN.

      1. Solenodon, please don’t give advice about the practice of vajrayana if you don’t have the necessary qualifications. Think about the consequences of your words.

      2. Speaking for myself, I wasn’t *complaining* about Vajrayana, but merely pointing out the simple truth. I mentioned that within Vajrayana, it’s interesting that there are extremists and moderates, just like in any religion. The Dalai Lama and Mingyur R. seem to be more moderate regarding the issue of guru devotion, and other Vajrayana views, but then you have some of the more extremist, fundamentalist types that we have also been witnessing recently. If people dislike extremism, there are more moderate views, even in Vajrayana. That was my point.

        1. I don’t know. I don’t believe that HHDL or Mingyur Rinpoche have a non-traditional view of the guru-disciple relationship in vajrayana.
          He and Mingyur Rinpoche will certainly not deny for example the existence of the vajra hell and that disciples who violate samaya will find themselves in this situation.
          Has HHDL given actual vajrayana teachings to public audiences?

    1. Well in this case, my own advice for people wondering about devotion is to learn and get information directly from a vajra master.

      1. @French observer, I would advise getting advice either from the Dalai Lama or Mingyur Rinpoche, if one is looking for Vajra advice, lol! 😀

        1. I also think it’s likely that Lama Zopa’s Vajrayana views would probably be similar to what the Dalai lama would say as well.

          1. I think that teachers who have experience working with westerners know very well that a scare tactic to prevent them from toeing the line is quite contraproductive with westerners.
            Fire and brimstone preaching will simply not work to enhance compliance in the west.

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