Who or What Is Your Refuge? A Practice View.

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The foundation of the Buddhist spiritual path is refuge. It’s also the start of any Vajrayana practice, and so how we relate to and experience refuge is very important. If we see our refuge as a human being, that refuge is fallible; such a refuge will die, and before then they may disappoint us, may turn out not to be the reliable being we thought they were. Sound familiar?
But refuge in Buddhadharma is supposed to be an infallible refuge. It’s supposed to be a refuge that is always there and always reliable. But it’s very easy, especially when a teacher encourages you to see him as the object of refuge—‘Do you know who I really am?’—to make your refuge the human teacher, so when your faith in the human is shattered, your refuge crumbles as well, and it brings your whole practice down with it.
But that won’t happen if you understand that ultimately your refuge is not and never was a human being that can fail you. Even on the surface level, the lama is only one small part of the whole picture. Let’s look at the practice itself:

In the three jewels and their essence the Sugatas

In the three roots, lama, yidam and Khandro

In the channels, inner air and tickles and their nature the bodhicitta

In this mandala of essence, nature and compassion, I take refuge until enlightenment is fully realised.

Line one refers to the Buddha, the dharma that he taught and the sangha of monks and nuns. Since the Buddha’s day, the noble sangha has grown to include the Bodhisattvas and these days includes the other students who are our companions on the path and do actually follow the Buddhist teachings. And the essence of all of this is the Sugatas—those who have abandoned all flaws and realized all that is to be known.
Then we have the lama, the yidam (meditation deity) and Khandro (for the sake of simplicity and brevity, let’s just call this a female meditation deity) The fourth line refers to our subtle energy body, and the last line refers to the nature of our own mind. Our own enlightened nature whose essence is empty, nature is cognizant and compassion is all pervading.
So our refuge has 12 parts (4 lines with 3 objects of refuge in each), of which the lama, the teacher, is only 1/12. And when we look into what the word ‘lama’ refers to, we can turn to the teaching on the four kinds of teacher and discover that the actual holder of the lineage is only ¼ of the full meaning. The four kinds of teacher/lama are:

  1. the individual teacher who is the holder of the lineage (that’s SR for those who consider themselves his students)
  2. the teacher which is the word of the buddhas (that’s the dharma)
  3. the symbolic teacher of all appearances (that’s how you learn from whatever happens in your life)
  4. the absolute teacher, which is rigpa, the true nature of mind. (The whole point of Buddhist practice)

So SR actually only comprises 1/16 of all our objects of refuge. In light of this you might consider that when a human teacher becomes your whole refuge, some misunderstanding has occurred.
And in the actual practice we visualize Guru Rinpoche as the object of the practice, not SR. Guru Rinpoche embodies all the parts of the refuge in one, and all the buddhas, bodhisattvas and teachers of the lineage. SR is only one very small part of that whole picture. Vajrayana is designed so that you can easily change teachers without disturbing your practice because Guru Rinpoche conveniently embodies them all.
In the light of the actual meaning of refuge and lama, the human being that teaches you is not as important for Vajrayana practice as you may have thought. If you reject that idea, then you’re rejecting the words of the Longchen Nyingtik Ngondro refuge and the teachings on the four teachers. So ask yourself: Do you hang your whole spiritual practice (and possibly part of your identity) on a human being, who no matter how enlightened, is still bound by the law of cause and effect simply because he lives in the conventional world? If you’re defending that human being then the answer is probably yes. So ask yourself if, in light of an examination above, you might have given him too much emphasis and too much power in your spiritual life.
And what is the point of doing 100,000 refuge prayers? To bring you to the point where you have absolute faith in the infallible refuge of the nature of your own mind, in your Buddha nature—not someone else, not even someone else’s Buddha nature.
‘Ah, but,’ you might say, ‘that’s Vajrayana, what about Dzogchen?’
I’m only going to say one thing about Dzogchen, and that’s that when the introduction happens, (which is when samaya is created), it’s a meeting of wisdom minds, not ordinary minds. The teacher cannot be in his ordinary mind and neither can the student. The teacher’s wisdom mind and the student’s wisdom mind meet and merge. My devotion and my samaya is with the wisdom mind of the teacher, not the man who acts contrary to the dharma. That’s how I experience it in my practice and, though some say that separating the man from the teacher is not the right way, that understanding has saved my practice and my faith in Vajrayana itself from crumbling along with my trust in the man. The man has no place in my practice; his wisdom mind, however, is always there whenever I enter the nature of mind, but then, so are all the wisdom minds of all the enlightened beings.
But no matter whether you can separate the man from the teacher or not, make no mistake, the ultimate refuge, the only infallible refuge and the true nature of the lama is this mandala of essence, nature and compassion, the nature of your own mind, your own Buddha nature. Realising this and living from it is the whole point of the dharma, not pandering to a teacher’s every little whim.
But then, who am I to know anything? I’m not a tulku in robes—nor would I want to be. I’m not asking you to agree or believe what I say. I just thought some may find it helpful to consider. This understanding comes from the depths of my practice—where I know the real lama without any doubt—but it is only my perception, my understanding. Every student has to look into their practice and their experience and work out what it means for them on the level of practice. But with this kind of understanding, our practice can remain stable even if we can no longer trust the human being who taught us the practice.

Since pure awareness of Nowness is the real Buddha,

In openness and contentment we find the Lama in our heart.

When we realise that this unending Natural Mind is the nature of the Lama,

There is no need for attached and grasping prayers or artificial complaints.

By relaxing in uncontrived Awareness, the free and open natural state,

We obtain the blessing of aimless self-liberation of whatever arises.

How do you experience refuge and the lama in your practice? Please let us know in the comments. Please use initials rather than full names when referring to teachers and organizations.
 
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27 Replies to “Who or What Is Your Refuge? A Practice View.”

  1. Some of us, unbelievable as it may be, are not on Facebook or other social media, being content on email. It feels like we may be left out of important discussions. Any way to put the Facebook comments on email or this website?

    1. Sorry, no. That facebook group is private and one of the rules we abide by is that nothing in it will be shared without permission of the person who made the comment. I can ask people to comment on this post here rather than there, though. We haven’t actually talked about this kind of thing on Fb (yet).
      This is just the way I’m approaching my practice; it’s not something I’ve discussed with anyone. Now that I’m no longer in a position where I have to represent someone else’s view. I can express my own and practice how I like. It’s painful but also very liberating to have what you normally turn to ripped away. Where have you left to turn when the lama is no longer a refuge? The inner refuge of the nature of my mind. And the dharma and sangha, of course.

  2. I still practice, more so since than when I left a year ago. I’ve said before that I found support for my meditation studies with the vipassana group. So I sit and pursue mindfulness. It fits with the advice from Rinpoche about maintaining ongoing awareness.
    I still usually say “homage oh lama, from the blossoming lotus of devotion at the center of my heart…” although sometimes I play with the words. I think more of guru Rinpoche as the lama now, but SR is too. I’ll always be grateful, though I’m extremely dismayed at his actions.
    Leaving and developing a practice is a process. Staying and looking at everything is a process.
    The thing I want to say is, have patience. Don’t be afraid. The Buddha is still there.
    Everything you feel will change and return and change. But you can really grow now. And it’s not a bad thing. You don’t have to hate the things you dislike.

    1. It so helps to see how you’re continuing with your practice, Laura. I’m inspired too that you appreciate all the goodness you’ve received.

    2. Thank you Laura. It’s so true what you say about patience. It’s a process, a practice in itself. And we should try not to be fearful. If our hearts is pure, your motivation genuine, and you make a genuine effort to openly work with all that stirs, you cannot do it wrong. The Buddha does not leave your site EVER. They will guide you. If you make effort, things will change and open and become different again.

  3. This is a wonderful, Tahlia, and a very helpful reminder about the breadth and heart of Refuge. 🤗

  4. Thank you for the insightful article. I came somewhat to the same conclusion. I myself am not sure what is and what isn’t true. I do not have the information. I am a long term Rigpa student, but I have only experienced SR in teaching situation and I have never been able to go on retreat in LL
    This letter is deeply disturbing. Other publications were that already. But those were also riddled with complete misunderstandings about Vajrayana and suggestions of SR just being a poser with some warmth and wittiness.
    And this I know is absolutely not true. SR teachings have truly transformed my mind, helped me gain deep understanding. The environment of the nature of mind he creates in teachings is absolutely genuine, not a fantasy. It’s quite something else. And it happened even when I thought nothing much of him as a teacher. In very dark times, could always call out for help, and somewhere, somehow, some of the unmovable darkness loosened and opened, even if just a little bit. So I know without a doubt that is true! His Dharma is legit.
    But how can that teachetr also be the person described here? How can a bad, twisted, even cruel person teach a true Dharma?
    I know that in Vayrayana when you work directly with the teacher, their job is to insult, push all the buttons, even the most unbelievably untouchables. To insult you and enrage you so that eventually no matter what is thrown at you, you keep your ground and don’t shoot back into ordinary dualistic mind. That’s definitely a courage I’m far from being able to, and to be honest, it’s hard to believe that there are people who are truly capable of that.
    The only thing that comes to mind is Chogyam Trungpa. I remember reading all the scandal and controversy about him (and his Dharma heir), thinking I would NEVER want to be with a teacher like that. He’s completely insane, crude, perverse, indulgent. But yet, when I read his teachings—and it seems new ones juts keep coming out—they just blow my mind, creating new understandings, deeper and deeper and deeper with every read. It is true teaching, deep teaching, amazing teaching, and it just continues to unfold. And so many of his students are also so amazing, and I don’t think they accredit their understandiing to Chogyam Trungpa out of politeness.
    So I am stuck. What I read is so heart wrenching, so cruel. Why? I don’t get it. It breaks my heart. Yet when I think about my path, SR is still truly the root, the one that brought it all. And I realized that even if I walked away from Rigpa, even if my beloved teacher truly is this, I will still have to remain forever grateful for all the teachings and blessings he gave me. Because that did truly happen and I actually decded that I will not give that up.
    I don’t know if it’s an actual quote but I heard HH Dalai Lama once said when asked why he was not filled with hate and anger at the Chinese: “The Chinese already took everything? So why would I give them my peace as mind as well?” So don’t give up the path, your true experiences and insight, the wisdom: that’s yours, and you still should treasure it.
    And like you said, Talia, if the teacher becomes a problem, I think it is okay to sort of move his human form to the side a bit. What was communicated was between his wisdom mind to your wisdom mind. What you experienced was like that. It does not become false or fake because the teacher turned out to be someone one else than he seemed. It doesn’t matter. No one owns the Dharma, not even your teacher.
    There’s no truly existing pure/impure/real/false. In the end, the only determining factor that determines the result is the purity and genuine motivation within your own mind. If your mind and motivation is pure, Buddhas will use whatever is there to transfer their blessings. Even to a dog’s tooth. And it is not wrong to still be happy that your son brought you a silk-wrapped dog tooth, because that became the medium that blessed you.

    1. Speaking of the absolute is all very well, but on the conventional level there is good and bad. Form IS emptiness. Emptiness IS form. Seeing emptiness IS seeing interdependence. The higher your view, the more obvious that should be, and the greater your respect for the laws of cause and effect.
      As for motivation being what makes an action good or bad, that’s just what we’ve been told and I’m questioning everything I’ve been told that relates to ethical action. After reflectoin, I don’t believe that anymore. Look at the Islamic State. I bet they think what they’re doing is right. The means does not justify the end, especially when the immediate end is terrible suffering as a result of one’s actions. And perhaps that’s a good topic for another blog post.

      1. Pure Dzogchen is beyond good and evil. It just “is,” and everything is perfect and in its right place.
        Not all Dzogchen lama are “crazy wisdom” teachers…a minority in fact. Most want to lead peaceful, drama free and positive lives.

      2. Hi Thalia,
        Of course absolute and relative can never be separated like that! There are negative and unwholesome actions, absolutely. That’s why you always need to keep your eyes wide open while being neither naive nor too blindly convinced that your truth is the only possible truth.
        So I’m not talking about SR actions—I don’t know how all this can be true, I’m struggling, confused, and I have no way of checking for myself, and I still not know how to respond.
        I was talking more about me and everyone personally. Especially for the ones who feel SR has contaminated there Dharma. He can’t. It’s YOUR mind, your heart, your connection with the Buddhas.
        I was just trying to say that we should not be afraid to look and struggle and work with our doubts, without being paralyzed by fear that even just thinking that makes you a samaya breaker.
        I think there is a great need for us to have teachings on that, because there is so much fear around it that it makes people who do have strong doubts feel that they are not heard but told to just toe the party line. And that is not the care they need.
        Students need to be empowered, instructors need to be trained: What does it actually mean? What is working openly with doubt without letting it loose your ground?
        Seeing emptiness is have compassion, because we all harm others and ourselves and are in all sorts of pain, because we are stuck in confusion and can’t free ourselves from it. I’m far from being able to see emptiness, but I have a good view of how incredibly entangled and engaged I am in my own suffering and at the same time unable to stop it.
        But haven taken refuge, I take refuge in the teachings and the Buddha who tell me this life is just one moment in something bigger. It is not to rely on during teachings and on the pillow, but then when ‘real life’ starts it becomes just a nice idea but now you must rely on your ordinary mind as your guide and refuge.
        So as I am wading through this murky dark turbulent uncomfortable confusion where I do not know what and who to trust, what is not real and what is, I need to rely on the basics. It is confusion all around, inside and out. I could do a good thing, and it could all come crashing up against me. I could do a selfishly motivated thing, and receive compliments and praise. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people.
        I can’t see the myriad complexity of all these countless continuously changing causes and condition. I have no control, no true insight. So I need to go back to the basics. Whatever I do, say or think, if I ascertain it is truly done in a pure motivation it will be OK. It does not mean that the results will come… But I’m following the Buddha and trusting this is slowly purifying my obscurations.
        The motivation being the strongest factor that determines the outcome of an action is not just simply what we’ve been told. Maybe you thought that I used that to defend or excuse SR behavior? But how can I know what his motivation was, or that of any one else? The only motivation I can check is my own. Is my intent compassionate? Genuine? Do I have bodhichitta, even if it seems impossible and unfair (these people are so horrible they don’t deserve compassion!)? Because that is what the refuge is.
        Why is motivation essential? Because it turns your mind in a certain way. It itself is a practice. And itself protects you from harming yourself. Be compassionate to everyone. It’s the absolute opposite from the end justify the means. It’s intention.
        And yes, IS people are certain of their rights, so were the nazis, so are many. That’s selfrighteousness, holding on to hurt and pain and anger at those who are considered to be the cause of all that. It’s the ultimate blindness. No one advocates that. Yet we ae asked to have compassion for they too are primordially Buddhas, terribly entangled in gross confusion and emotions.

      3. Hi Tahlia, Maybe I shouldn’t have added that last paragraph, because I was not talking about the absolute before. Just about things looking differently then you might think at first. On the relative level there definitely is beneficial and non-beneficial, skillful and misguided. I was more talking from the other. I was agreeing with the post that ultimately the most important is your mind, your motivation, which do not depend on the teacher.

  5. I agree that we can’t know what anyone’s motivation is but we can see the results of their actions. We have the noble teachings of the Buddha and commentary by HHDL to see that sl’s actions are harmful, this is not conventional wisdom, it’s from HHDL.
    “On the level of our personal spiritual practice, it is important to have faith in and reverence for our guru and to see that person in a positive light in order to make spiritual progress. But on the level of general Buddhism in society, seeing all actions of our teacher as perfect is like poison and can be misused. This attitude spoils our entire teachings by giving teachers a free hand to take undue advantage. If faith were sufficient to gain realizations, there would be no need for qualified teachers. Then the Buddha would not have needed to list the qualifications of a Vinaya, Paramitayana, or tantric guru.”
    Regarding this comment
    “I don’t know how all this can be true, I’m struggling, confused, and I have no way of checking for myself, and I still not know how to respond”.
    I completely understand, but why would 8 people write and send this letter that makes them so very vulnerable? What possible motive could they have other then taking action to stop the harm?
    I am one of the signers, I can assure you this was an extremely difficult thing to do, I will always love sl, which is why it’s so important to me that he stops harming, it’s for his sake as much as for anyone else.

    1. “I will always love sl, which is why it’s so important to me that he stops harming, it’s for his sake as much as for anyone else.” -Hopeful
      I see alot of compassion and wisdom on this blog and I have directed a friend who is a R student here. This sentence above strikes me in the heart. It is up to us, all the sangha and sanghas and beings to speak up and act with all the skilful means and wisdom we have. If people in the know had done this years ago, instead of creating a culture of secrecy, then the community would be in a very different position now. May all beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
      PS on the subject of Trungpa Rinpoche I have had the good fortune of studying with two of his closest students. from what I can tell (and I have read all the biographies) there was no culture of secrecy and I am not sure anyone has ever spoken about coercion. He put 7 women (sangyum) at the very top of the Shambhala hierarchy, like a board of directors. It was a different time, yes with different attitudes to sexuality. I guess I am saying there is no comparison in my mind amongst any of the teachers. I have heard of a student striking CTR but never of him participating in any acts of violence. Women have said they “never felt so loved in their life” (about being sexual with him). I understand what LK was saying about ” I would never want to study with someone like him” but this statement is, I take it, about the writer, not about CTR. And what I know about this “lavish lifestyle” is that one day a student would be serving and the next day a guest. If this is inappropriate for your blog, I apologise. You are welcome to delete it.

      1. Hi Yeshe, I think I was unclear. I meant, from a conventional standpoint I would have thought who wants to be in that group (because there were definitely reports of behavior that crossed lines), but after having been in the Dharma and gained some understanding I now realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I would have been lucky to be a student of CTR! His teaching are so powerful, and whatever he did, it created some amazing teachers. So I was more expressing the hope that SR true teachings would also remain. Because they too are very special.

    2. Dear Hopeful, we are not in disagreement at all. I have no doubt that it took tremendous guts to do it, and I can’t imagine how much of a fight it must have been for so many years! I really think that we as a sangha failed you. I’m so sorry and saddened that this was the only action left to take. And I feel it may have been an action that needed to be taken, for us to mature. I really feel things may change for the better, because there is no other way out but to take responsibility to make sure that such things will never happen again.

  6. The very basis of the Buddha’s teaching, and my core vow, is what is coming through for me here – do no harm. I see the swirling malestrom of causes and conditions and feel immense compassion for everyone affected by this, but no matter how long I sit and let it all rise and fall around me, I see one thing clearly: it must stop. For the sake of SL, for the R sangha, for all those close to him and for the sake of the future of Vajrayana Buddhism. This behaviour must stop. No philosophical discussions, no pleas of ‘I didn’t mean to harm anyone’ change that bottom line.

  7. I can imagine you are all going through a lot of pain right now. And my heart goes out you. Really sending you all as much love and compassion as possible. I hope that as you read my rather blunt response to your post, you will understand that is where I am coming from.
    I don’t see how this sort of post will accomplish anything positive. No doubt the author, who is admirably committed to “do now harm” has good motivation. And yet, this post does do harm. Unexamined it explains a completely idiosyncratic and incorrect understanding of refuge. For example, it seems to adhere to a distinctly non-buddhist view, i.e. that relative and absolute are somehow separable.
    There is a real danger presented to the dharma when intelligent but seemingly uneducated in the Dharma (doesn’t matter how long they claim to practice or study for, the views expressed in the blog are bereft of both scriptural authority and logical reasoning) and yet possessing an unusual ability to express themselves in writing. “I took refuge and received teachings from the dharmakaya guru and not the sambhogakaya nor nirmankaya” is a common mistake that is usually claimed by inexperienced western dharma students. The idea that there is some wisdom mind that is separable and identifiable apart from something else sounds like a teaching of a tirthika (a non-dharmic person).
    As far as the 1/16 of the refuge is the lama is concerned, that conclusion can only be arrived at by misreading books and never clarifying one’s understanding with an actual Buddhist master. All those different kinds of lamas are really different aspects of the same thing, which even the teenage monks that live at my teacher’s gompa in Nepal would tell you.
    So how did you discover this ultimate refuge, you so proudly proclaim to have realized? It came to you from the kindness, compassion and realization of experienced master of the tradition. Denying that is like disowning your mother’s role in your birth. Trying to divide your teacher into several parts is an exercise one would only engage in to justify one’s own comfortable ego position.
    For those of us who have spent a lifetime devoted to practicing the great tradition of Vajrayana and Dzogchen, who may have been convinced by your claims of abuse, we read this and it causes us to doubt that there is any there there. You claim to be interested in saving a tradition that you seemingly know very little about. And that makes us afraid and concerned about how the integrity of the dharma could ever be preserved in the face of such profound ignorance.
    Rather than focusing on videos of His Holiness giving a talk to a mixed audience, perhaps you should carefully weigh the advice of a great master of the tradition who is far more familiar than I am with Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling and at least some of you as individuals. Perhaps you missed the letter from Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche to one of the signers of the letter against Sogyal Rinpoche. Simply stated he says to Ngawang Sangye: “the reality is that to turn against Sogyal Rinpoche, your teacher, after having followed him for years is a samaya breakage.”
    http://all-otr.org/public-talks/44-letter-to-sangye-ngawang
    Personally, I would rather the integrity of the Dharma were protected by people who actually understand the dharma. It has worked pretty well for over 2,000 years. I don’t see how we need your help.

    1. Dear True View,
      Why is it that when some one says ‘not to be offensive’, you know that is exactly what is about to happen… 🙂 We should really try to communicate and understand each other, instead of slapping one another around the ears with our the truth of our perceptions. It just does not make for an open exchange.
      She’s not rewriting the Dharma, she is just trying to help practitioners who’s path is seriously compromised because the very form of the lama is makes it impossible to practice. You are right in saying this is not authenticated by realized masters yet, and that should have been mentioned.
      But I only see a compassionate attempt to try to find solutions for the reality on the ground, to help people to keep their grounding in the path instead of being thrown off the path completely. Dharma is not static, even though we need to be sure it remains authentic.

  8. Here is a response to OTR’s letter from, i think, a R student. It includes the Dalai Lama’s advice on this issue of whether calling out bad behaviour by the guru constitutes a samaya transgression. Hopefully True View will read it. As an outsider to the current expose and the R mandala, i’m blindsided by the attitude of a few learned people who preach seemingly without compassion. https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2017/07/22/on-orgyen-tobgyal-rinpoches-response-to-the-letter-from-eight-former-rigpa-students-has-samaya-been-broken/

  9. I am from the Netherlands and I am not a native English speaker. So please, when you read my post if it sounds to you as if I am arrogant or condescending it may be because my English writing skill isn’t as good as necessary.
    I am surprised by the reaction to True View’s comment. I hear it a very different way. If my three year old child runs into traffic, my reaction is likely to be strong and swift, I might even gently spank the my daughter. Not because I am angry but because I love her and don’t want her to die underneath a car’s tyres. I suspect that True View’s rather blunt expression is actually motivated by love than some seem willing to allow.
    When I read Tahlia’s post, I have say I find it a confused mess. Her understanding of refuge is not in accord with what my teacher’s have taught and does seem to drift into a non-buddhist view. Furthermore, it seems a little lacking in humility. None of the great Dzogchen gurus I have studied with would ever publicly proclaim their view or experience. So I suppose it is a cultural difference, and it shows how what one person perceives as appropriate another hears it differently.
    But aside from whether True View is arrogant or has bad motivation, none the objections are with the content. That kind of response of attacking the messanger and ignoring the message is exactly the cult like behavior I thought this blog was against. I have to say I find myself in sympathy with much of what True View is pointing out. I found this website because it is linked by a dutch site that is leading the charge against Sogyal Rinpoche in the Netherlands behind the scenes. We all know this person is just against Sogyal Rinpoche, but Vajrayana in general. So this is who the people behind this blog have thrown themselves in with.
    Writing a letter publicly and trying to shame your teacher, without mentioning any of their good qualities is not what His Holiness is saying to do. It certainly doesn’t sound like they tried to first handle internally. It is obvious because a few days after writing the letter it is in the newspaper. That is certainly not what His Holiness said to do. And to reiterate the point that was mentioned above already: You have some things His Holiness said in public to a mixed audience about a hypothetical situation vs. what a Dzogchen teacher who seems very familiar with the student in question, the Guru in question and the Rigpa Sangha in particular. In this case I would have to say you would be far better off heading the latter.
    I don’t claim to know the truth in this matter. But based on what I have seen so far, I am even more sympathetic towards Sogyal Rinpoche than before. Ignoring great teachers who know your specific circumstances, hiding behind his Holiness’s general instruction while teaming up with ant-vajrayana groups says it all.

    1. Dear “Love and Compassion”
      With all due respect but HHDL said exactly that about “informing the newspapers”. Have a listen to today’s post and the words from his own mouth on 1 Aug (see Aug 8 posting)!
      Also you “don’t claim to know the truth” of this matter, but you are pretty ready to “drive all blames into one” with this dismissive comment:
      “I found this website because it is linked by a dutch site that is leading the charge against Sogyal Rinpoche in the Netherlands behind the scenes. We all know this person is just against Sogyal Rinpoche, but Vajrayana in general.”
      Check your facts and look again at the list of 8 names on the letter to SR, and I’m assured that it is these people (all long term students and senior people in Rigpa) who have created this blog. It also seems that they tried a lot of things internally but were always dismissed!
      I think it is an incredibly responsible thing to do to create this blog. They are taking a stand against abuse and are acting responsibly to support people who are hurt by the wave that this is creating! Frankly I’ve been really disappointed with the lack of support from my local sangha and I am disgusted with the simple minded platitudes that people are willing to dole out. What happened to critical thinking? I’m glad that I have somewhere to turn to process all this. The articles are amazing and people are really opening up. And thank you for all the wonderful resources that you have put together.
      I think this is something that is very much an act of love and compassion! (Thank you “Hopeful”!)
      As for me I knew nothing of this till the letter from SR to the whole sangha and then went digging. I had heard one or two things several years ago but was satisfied with the explanations and support I got at the time and somehow put it away. But the sheer scale hit me once I started to look and it has been a big shock. I’ve been really horrified and upset and very emotional and feeling betrayed. This seems a good place to process this somehow and work out want’s next so thank you!!!

  10. Dear True View,
    You sound very proud of your years or “lifetime devoted to practicing the great tradition of Vajrayana and Dzogchen,”
    So you want to defend your teacher at all costs, and throw doubt around about the veracity of these claims. However there is plenty of material out there once you start looking! There are so many stories too and enough for this to be taken seriously.
    So how about a little love and compassion for the people he has hurt? And space in your heart for people expressing themselves and how they see their practice affected and a willingness to keep going? (I loved Tahlia’s post!)
    Would that not be a demonstration of how you had integrated these teachings? The “logic and authority” comes from testing them for yourself, just like the Buddha told us to.

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