On the 15th of August, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse wrote an article on his Facebook page about the situation in Rigpa, called “Guru and Student in the Vajrayana.” His approach to the topic was, as expected, the same as what he expressed in The Guru Drinks Bourbon, that you have to be careful in choosing your lama, but once you have received empowerments from him you must see him as a Buddha, do whatever he tells you to and see everything he does as enlightened action.
On my first, rather quick, reading I saw nothing new or particularly helpful there for someone who didn’t know what his or her lama was until after they had taken them as their teacher, and I felt that Dzongsar Khyentse was somewhat confused himself.
On second reading, however, I saw that he was questioning Sogyal Rinpoche’s qualifications as a Vajra master and saying that even if he is a genuine Vajra master that if the student never got the 4th empowerment from him, then he has no samaya with them. That is clearly letting Rigpa students who are critical of their teacher off the samaya-breaking hook, because, correct me if I’m wrong, but Sogyal Rinpoche always got other lamas in to do the formal empowerments with the full traditional structure. Did he ever do a full formal empowerment anywhere? At Myall Lakes they were always essentialised, nothing like the empowerments I had with other lamas where each of the four empowerments were very clear.
I also felt that he was asking us to look at Sogyal Rinpoche’s education and ask ourselves, ‘What training does he have that qualifies him to give tantric empowerments?’
There is a lot in that article to consider, and blaming Westerners for the decline of Buddhism is, I feel, a bit harsh when it’s a Tibetan Lama that is behaving badly—and he’s not the first and likely isn’t the last.
What did you get out of the article, and what is your answer to the questions I raised above? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Read the article here https://www.facebook.com/djkhyentse/posts/2007833325908805
Note: Photo from Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s Facebook Page
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