Thread: "What I do know is we’ve got this life."

  1. #1

    "What I do know is we’ve got this life."

    Bernat Font of the Secular buddhist network had an interesting interview with western Tibetan Buddhist monk Lama Karma Yeshe Rabgye:

    https://secularbuddhistnetwork.org/b...-yeshe-rabgye/


    Excerpt:


    BF: You’ve mentioned the Pali canon and you cite it in your book. Why did you go to it, what attracted you to it?


    KYR: When I finished my formal studies I spent time, as I said, looking back at points that resonated with me and points that didn’t. I kept coming up with discrepancies in the commentaries, and I saw that most of what I learnt was not actually from the Buddha himself. So I started reading through the Pali canon, which is the nearest we’re ever gonna get to the Buddha’s words. Some parts didn’t make a lot of sense but others were excellent. Things started dropping into place for me. I’d suggest to everybody that they spend some time reading the Pali canon.

    The Mahayana sutras are a little bit flowery – there’s a hundred thousand bodhisattvas to the left, and a million trillion dakinis to the right, and petals falling from the sky… For me, it’s a little bit over the top. So I tend to quote from the Pali canon. A lot of the quotes from my first book and all of the quotes of the second are from the Pali canon.


    Continues at the link above.



  2. #2
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    Well worth a read to get a secular Buddhist slant on things.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    Well worth a read to get a secular Buddhist slant on things.
    I don't think Ven. Karma Yeshe actually identifies as "a secular Buddhist" though,... and he lives and teaches in India, not in the west.

    https://buddhismguide.org/the-author/

    https://insighttimer.com/lamayesherabgye



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    "When is a secular Buddhist not a secular Buddhist?" is an interesting question. I get that he doesn't identify with the Secular Buddhist Movement, and that he doesn't want to rule anything out by just taking part of Buddhist, putting the rest to one side, but on the other hand he disagrees when Buddhists are expected to arrive at a 'certain conclusion'. Maybe he doesn't want to identify too much with any particular aspect of Buddhism, but with what he sees as the core of Buddhism. He started off in the Triratna Buddhist group which has a big following in India, mainly with the 'untouchables' who don't want to identify with that particular sect any more, so that may be why he went there even if he is not with them now.

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    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Hello Aloka and Philg,

    I appreciated Ven. Karma Yeshe's perspective. One of the statements he made really resonated with me.

    "Whatever practice we follow, if we’re ever gonna get to enlightenment… who knows. I don’t see it, and I’ve never come across anybody who has become enlightened. But it doesn’t really matter because the point is to make yourself a responsible person, which will reduce the suffering in your life and in everybody’s life that you come in contact with".

    Cheers,

    Gene

  6. #6
    Hi Gene,

    Yes I really like Karma Yeshe's perspective - and I often read his blog, partly because of my own connections with Tibetan Buddhism and partly because of the fact that some of his teachers were also my own teachers, and I took Refuge with one of the Karmapas. I also like the fact that he reads the teachings of the historical Buddha in the Pali Canon.



  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    He started off in the Triratna Buddhist group which has a big following in India, mainly with the 'untouchables' who don't want to identify with that particular sect any more, so that may be why he went there even if he is not with them now.
    No, he started off with "Friends of the Western Buddhist Order" in the UK. However, that organisation got a really bad reputation because of their leader's sexual misconduct and at some point they changed their name to "Triratna".

    Anyway, it seems that Karma Yeshe soon moved on from FWBO and became involved with Tibetan Buddhism. His main Tibetan teachers lived in India and he went there to become a monk and to study Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Later on, when these studies were completed, he began teaching others.



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    I was there at the centre of things when it changed. The order was rapidly expanding in India through its work in the slums where there were a lot of untouchables who wanted to no longer be untouchables. We are talking tens of thousands of people wanting a better life. It was thought that the term 'Western' was dysfunctional in such a place so it was changed to 'Triratna' to become more accepted outside the West. I no longer attend the centre, but in the fifteen years or so I was there everyone was treated with respect and you couldn't have wished for a friendlier place to practice and learn. The only reason I left was because they still considered ordination to be the main objective over time.

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    Global Moderator KathyLauren's Avatar
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    The Mahayana sutras are a little bit flowery – there’s a hundred thousand bodhisattvas to the left, and a million trillion dakinis to the right, and petals falling from the sky… For me, it’s a little bit over the top.
    That is one of the things I like about the Mahayana sutras: the over-the-top-ness. It is so over the top that any reader has to understand that it is not intended to be taken literally. What it does do, in poetic hyperbole, is paint a picture of vastness

    My main hobby is astrophotography, and I am used to taking pictures of objects that are hundreds of millions or even billions of light years away. So I have a pretty good intellectual understanding of the vastness of the universe. Yet the Mahayana sutras bring home that vastness much more clearly. If the enlightened number in the uncountable billions and trillions of bodhisattvas, how much more numerous are the unenlightened?

    Austerity has its place, I suppose, but the Mahayana sutras illustrate that extravagance in the service of the Dharma does also.

    Now I have the urge to re-read some of those sutras and get a taste of extravagance again! :)

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post

    I no longer attend the centre, but in the fifteen years or so I was there everyone was treated with respect and you couldn't have wished for a friendlier place to practice and learn. The only reason I left was because they still considered ordination to be the main objective over time.
    Hi Phil,

    This is an article from the UK Guardian newspaper a couple of years ago (July 2019) which I think is worth mentioning, but its not intended to be anything personal regarding your own past connections with the group:


    Buddhist, teacher, predator: dark secrets of the Triratna guru

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...t-dark-secrets

    More here in the FWBO files:

    http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/fwbofiles.htm

    and also there's this: http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/



    I really don't think scandals and abuse connected to Buddhist teachers and organisations past or present should be hidden from people who are newcomers and are genuinely interested in Buddhism . There have been quite a few in different kinds of Buddhist centres over a period of time and that was just one of them.


    With metta,

    Aloka

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