Moge Uwe Heiligheid een Lang Leven genieten tot heil van de mensheid.
By Craig Lewis Buddhistdoor Global | The authorities in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province are reportedly planning a major reduction of the burgeoning monastic population at the famed Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in the Larung Valley near the town of Sertar, Garze Prefecture. The reported decision follows similar moves in 2001, when state authorities organized a mass eviction of residents from the institute, and late last year, when further evictions were accompanied by an order to reduce admissions to curb the rapid growth of the monastic population.
Situated in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham, Larung Gar Buddhist Academy was founded in 1980 by the highly respected teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933–2004), a lama of the Nyingma tradition, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. With some estimates putting the population at as many as 40,000 monks and nuns, the institute is widely considered to be the largest center of Buddhist learning in the world.
“Last year, 600 members of this center were ordered to leave, and they returned to their hometowns. About 400 members aged 60 and older were also asked to leave, and they left as well,” an anonymous source told Radio Free Asia, a private, non-profit international broadcaster created by the US government. “This year, the authorities are talking about 1,200 members who will have to leave, and it is said that China has now issued a document saying that only 5,000 monks and nuns will be allowed to remain [at Larung Gar].”
Government officials were marking houses that obstructed the passage of firefighting vehicles or the construction of roads, according to the source, who added that dwellings targeted for demolition would be torn down by force if necessary. “About 60 to 70 per cent of the houses of monks and nuns are being marked for demolition,” the source said, noting that the order to reduce the number of residents at Larung Gar did not originate at the county level, “but comes from higher authorities,” with China’s president Xi Jinping taking a personal interest in the matter. (Radio Free Asia)
In 2001, government authorities had become unsettled by the rapid population growth at the institute. Alarmed by what they termed “splittist” activities, and particularly unnerved by its growing popularity among ordinary Han Chinese—at the time, Han Chinese at the academy numbered more than 1,000—the authorities sent in thousands of security personnel and laborers, who evicted all but 1,400 of the monastery’s 9,000 inhabitants and razed 2,400 dwellings. Many of the nuns and monks turned out from Larung Gar made their way southwest to the more remote Yarchen Gar monastic community, still largely hidden from the outside world by its geographical remoteness and political restrictions put in place by the government. Because of these restrictions, most of the monks and nuns at Yarchen Gar are not officially recognized and live in fear of eviction.
The site of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy was chosen by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok because of its historical connection to the Vajrayana tradition. It is said that His Holiness the first Dudjom Rinpoche, Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904), stayed here with his 13 disciples. The institute was conceived as an independent center of study that would help revitalize the Dharma and revive the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism following the devastating impact of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–76), during which Tibetan Buddhism was suppressed and thousands of monasteries were destroyed. While the academy initially had fewer than 100 students, the monastic population grew rapidly in the years that followed.
The institute has played a key role in revitalizing the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism since China eased restrictions on religious practice in 1980, and has become renowned for the quality of both its religious and secular education. English, Chinese, and Tibetan languages and modern computer studies are taught alongside a traditional non-sectarian Buddhist curriculum. About 500 khenpos—holders of doctoral degrees in divinity—have studied at Larung Gar Buddhist Academy.
My fellow Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet, all those who follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and everyone who has a connection to Tibet and Tibetans: due to the foresight of our ancient kings, ministers and scholar-adepts, the complete teaching of the Buddha, comprising the scriptural and experiential teachings of the Three Vehicles and the Four Sets of Tantra and their related subjects and disciplines flourished widely in the Land of Snow. Tibet has served as a source of Buddhist and related cultural traditions for the world. In particular, it has contributed significantly to the happiness of countless beings in Asia, including those in China, Tibet and Mongolia.
In the course of upholding the Buddhist tradition in Tibet, we evolved a unique Tibetan tradition of recognizing the reincarnations of scholar-adepts that has been of immense help to both the Dharma and sentient beings, particularly to the monastic community.
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Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from their new book Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, the Dalai Lama and Thubten Chodron explore the qualities of the Tathāgata. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Tathāgata as “one of the titles of a buddha and the one most frequently employed by the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, when referring to himself. The exact meaning of the word is uncertain; Buddhist commentaries present as many as eight explanations. The most generally adopted interpretation is ‘one who has thus (tatha) gone (gata)’ or ‘one who has thus (tatha) arrived (agata),’ implying that the historical Buddha was only one of many who have in the past and will in the future experience enlightenment and teach others how to achieve it. In later Mahayana Buddhism, Tathagata came to convey the essential buddha nature hidden in everyone.”
Learning about the qualities of the Three Jewels and especially of the Buddha increases our confidence in his ability to guide us from the dangers of saṃsāra. Both the Pāli and the Sanskrit traditions extensively praise the Tathāgata’s qualities by expressing his four types of fearlessness, ten powers, and eighteen unshared qualities.
Candrakīrti quotes (Madhyamakāvatāra 6.210cd) a passage, also found in the Pāli canon (MN 12:22–26), describing the four kinds of self-confidence or fearlessness of the Tathāgata that enable him to “roar his lion’s roar in the assemblies.” The Buddha sees no ground on which any recluse, brahman, god, or anyone else could accuse him of (1) claiming to be fully awakened although he is not fully awakened to certain things, (2) claiming to have destroyed pollutants (āsava, āśrava) that he has not destroyed, (3) calling things obstructions that are not obstructions, and (4) teaching a Dharma that does not lead someone who practices it to complete destruction of duḥkha. These four enable the Tathāgata to teach the Dhamma with perfect self-confidence free from all self-doubt because he is fully awakened regarding all aspects, has destroyed all pollutants, correctly identifies obstructions on the path, and gives teachings that lead those who practice them to nirvāṇa.
The ten powers are a set of exceptional knowledges exclusive to the Tathāgata. They enable him to do a Buddha’s unique activities, establish his doctrine in the world, skillfully teach sentient beings, and lead them to awakening. Spoken of in both the Pāli (MN 12) and Sanskrit sūtras (Daśabhūmika Sūtra), these ten are exalted wisdoms that have abandoned all obscurations and know the infinite objects of knowledge. Unless otherwise noted, the explanations below are shared by both traditions.
With direct, unmistaken perception the Tathāgata knows the tenable and the untenable, the relations between actions and their results as well as the implications of actions done by āryas and ordinary beings.
Only the Tathāgata fully and accurately knows the intricacies of past, present, and future karma and their results, including subtle causes leading to a particular experience in the beginningless lives of each sentient being.
The Tathāgata knows the various destinations of ordinary beings—the saṃsāric realms—and the paths leading to rebirth there. He also knows the destination of the āryas of the three vehicles—nirvāṇa—and the paths leading to that.
He fully understands the world and the various elements (dhātu) that compose it—the eighteen constituents (dhātu), six elements, external and internal sources (āyatana), twelve links (nidāna) of dependent arising, twenty-two faculties (indriya), and so on—with wisdom seeing them as impermanent, conditioned, and dependent processes.
He knows the different inclinations of beings (adhimutti, adhimokṣa)—their spiritual aims and the vehicles they are attracted to. This enables him to teach them the Dharma according to their individual faculties, abilities, and aspirations.
He knows the strength of each being’s faculties (indriya) of faith (saddhā, śraddhā), effort (viriya, vīrya), mindfulness (sati, smṛti), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā, prajñā) and teaches each being accordingly.
Because the Buddha has mastered the jhānas, the eight meditative liberations (vimokkha, vimokṣa), and the nine meditative absorptions (samāpatti), he knows the defilements, cleansing, and emergence (Pāli: sankilesa, vodāna, vuṭṭhāna) regarding them. Defilements are impediments hindering a meditator from entering a meditative absorption or, having entered, make it deteriorate. Cleansing is the method for removing the impediment. Emergence is the way to come out of a state of meditative absorption after having entered it. He is able to guide others to attain these meditative states without their becoming attached to the bliss of concentration and urge them to continue practicing the path to nirvāṇa.
The Tathāgata recollects in detail his manifold past lives with their aspects and particulars. This and the next power are the last two of the five superknowledges (abhiññā, abhijñā). Thus he knows his previous relationships with each sentient being and what types of relationship would be most beneficial to have with them now and in the future.
With the divine eye, he sees beings dying and being born according to their karma. Knowing this, he does whatever is most beneficial to guide each being on the path to awakening.
Realizing with direct knowledge, the Tathāgata here and now enters upon and abides in the unpolluted deliverance of mind (cetovimutti, cittavimukti) and deliverance by wisdom (paññāvimutti, prajñāvimukti) and knows that all defilements have been eradicated. He also knows the level of realization and attainment of each being of the three vehicles. The last three powers are the three higher knowledges that the Buddha gained while meditating during the night prior to his awakening.
Both the Pāli tradition (in later commentaries) and the Sanskrit tradition (in the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras) describe eighteen qualities of a buddha not shared by other arhats (aṭṭhārasāveṇikabuddhadhammā, aṣṭādaśāveṇikabuddhadharma):
Six unshared behaviors
Due to mindfulness and conscientiousness, a buddha has no mistaken physical actions, whether he is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. He acts in accordance with what he says, and his speech satisfies what each sentient being who is listening needs to understand in that moment.
Always speaking appropriately, truthfully, and kindly, he is free from mistaken speech and idle chatter. A buddha does not dispute with the world, nor does he complain about what others have done.
He is free from any kind of forgetfulness interfering with the jhānas and exalted wisdom, or with viewing all sentient beings and teaching them appropriately.
His mind always abides in meditative equipoise on emptiness, and simultaneously he teaches sentient beings the Dharma.
He does not perceive any discordant appearances of inherent existence and thus recognizes all phenomena as sharing the one taste of emptiness. He also does not treat sentient beings with bias.
He abides in perfect equanimity, knowing the individual characteristics of each phenomenon.
Six unshared realizations
Due to his all-encompassing love and compassion, a buddha never experiences any decline of his aspiration and intention to benefit all sentient beings and to increase their virtuous qualities.
He never loses joyous effort to lead others to awakening. A buddha experiences no physical, verbal, or mental fatigue and continuously cares for the welfare of sentient beings without getting tired, lazy, or despondent.
A buddha’s mindfulness effortlessly remains constant and uninterrupted. He is mindful also of the situations each sentient being encounters in the past, present, and future and the methods to subdue and help them.
He continuously remains in samādhi free from all obscurations and focused on the ultimate reality.
His wisdom is inexhaustible and never declines. He perfectly knows the 84,000 Dharma teachings and the doctrines of the three vehicles, as well as how and when to express them to sentient beings.
It is impossible for him to lose the state of full awakening free from all obscurations. He knows the mind to be naturally luminous, and he lacks any dualistic appearance or grasping at duality.
Three unshared awakening activities
Imbued with exalted wisdom, a buddha’s physical actions are always done for the benefit of others. He emanates many bodies that appear wherever sentient beings have the karma to be led on the path to awakening. Whatever a buddha does has a positive effect on sentient beings, subduing their minds.
Knowing the dispositions and interests of each sentient being, he teaches the Dharma in a manner appropriate for that person. His speech flows smoothly, is accurate and lovely to listen to. It does not deceive or lead others astray but is clear, knowledgeable, and kind.
Filled with undeclining love and compassion, his mind encompasses all beings with the intention to do only what is of the highest benefit. He is effortlessly and continuously cognizant of all phenomena.
Three unshared exalted wisdoms
A buddha’s exalted wisdom knows everything in the three times—(1) past, (2) present, and (3) future—without any obscuration or error. His knowledge of the future does not mean that things are predetermined. Rather, a buddha knows that if a sentient being does a particular action, this particular result will follow, and if another course of action is taken, a different result will come. He knows all buddhafields and realms of sentient beings as well as all the beings and their activities there.
Reading such passages from the sūtras gives us an idea of a buddha’s exceptional qualities. Contemplating them brings joy and expands our mental horizons. These passages also give us an idea of the qualities we will attain if we practice the Dharma as the Buddha instructed.
While the descriptions of the four fearlessnesses and ten powers in the Pāli and Sanskrit traditions do not differ considerably, the Sanskrit tradition emphasizes how these abilities benefit sentient beings.
Mediteren is je gedachten observeren en er je niet aan hechten.
Zo van : hé daar komt weer een gedachte en hé, daar gaat ie weer.
Wees een waarnemer van je eigen gedachten.
Wijs je opkomende gedachten niet af en omhels ze ook niet.
Laat ze gewoon opkomen en weer uitdoven.
Meditatie is uitdoven van je gedachten.
Wat is er voor het opkomen van een gedachte en wat is er nadat een gedachte weer verdwenen is ?
De ruimte tussen twee gedachten.
Deze ruimte is oneindig licht, het is het non-duale gewaarzijn , de ware natuur van je geest.
De boeddha’s bewandelen de Middenweg.
Lig, wanneer de droomstaat daagt, niet als een lijk in onwetendheid terneer.
Betreedt de natuurlijke sfeer van de onwankelbare aandacht.
Herken je dromen en zet illusie om in lichtgevendheid.
Beoefening van droomyoga vindt plaats in sommige tradities binnen het Tibetaans boeddhisme of Vajrayana boeddhisme. In de visie die ten grondslag ligt aan droomyoga, wordt een parallel getrokken tussen het proces van slapen en dromen enerzijds en de verschillende stadia van het stervensproces anderzijds.
Volgens het Tibetaans dodenboek (of Bardo Thodrol) lossen tijdens het stervensproces de vijf elementen waaruit het lichaam is samengesteld zich in elkaar op. Wanneer het laatste element, ruimte, zich heeft opgelost, gaat ons gebruikelijke bewustzijn dat gekoppeld is aan het materiele lichaam, op in wat wordt genoemd het ‘heldere licht’. Dit heldere licht wordt door de Dalai Lama omschreven als een niet-conceptuele staat van zijn, waarin er geen sprake meer is van een ervaren van het zelf. Voor mensen die geen of weinig meditatie beoefening hebben gedaan, duurt de staat van het heldere licht niet langer dan een ‘klik met de vingers’. Voor ervaren mediteerders kan het zo lang duren als ‘het eten van een maaltijd’. Deze fase in het stervensproces wordt vergeleken met het eerste slaapstadium direct na het inslapen.
En net zoals dit heldere licht slechts met grote moeite door de stervende kan worden herkend, is ook de slaper zich vrijwel nooit bewust van deze staat. Het Tibetaans dodenboek over sterven In het volgende stadium van het stervensproces doen zich, zo stelt het Tibetaans dodenboek visioenachtige beelden voor van verschillende boeddhavormen. Dit kan gepaard gaan met waarneming van zeer intensieve kleuren. Dit stadium wordt vergeleken met de droomstaat. En ook in deze fase geldt weer dat het voor de meeste mensen moeilijk is om het als zodanig te herkennen, om te weten dat ze dromen en dat de droombeelden voortkomen uit hun eigen geest.
Maar wanneer we in staat zijn om tijdens onze dromen droombeelden te herkennen als projecties van onze eigen geest is de kans groter dat we dat ook kunnen gedurende de periode die op ons sterven volgt. Deze helderheid van geest tijdens het dromen, wordt tegenwoordig in Europa en de Verenigde Staten lucide dromen genoemd. Binnen het Vajrayana boeddhisme zijn er beoefeningen die vertrouwd maken met de verschillende fasen van het stervensproces. Daarnaast kan er droomyoga worden beoefend. Juist tijdens het dromen is het mogelijk om de subtiele energie-geest te oefenen. Droomyoga is een uitstekende methode om vaste conditioneringen te doorbreken.
De concrete beoefening van droomyoga vindt plaats voor het slapengaan. Binnen de verschillende tradities van het Tibetaans boeddhisme zijn er verschillende meditatie-oefeningen om de heldere droomstaat op te wekken. De beoefeningen bestaan vaak uit visualisatie, soms in combinatie met ademhalingsoefeningen. Tijdens de droom kan iemand helpen door de dromer in het oor te fluisteren ‘Je bent nu aan het dromen’. Ook overdag kan droomyoga worden beoefend. De beoefenaar traint zich dan om alle verschijnselen als een droom te zien. Wanneer hij dat consequent doet, is de kans groter dat zijn zijn dromen zich als minder substantieel voordoen.
Bob Thurman brengt in zijn podcasts veel boeddhistische onderwerpen voor het voetlicht.