Author Topic: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing  (Read 4270 times)

WisdomBeing

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Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« on: March 29, 2012, 07:52:50 AM »
I found this interesting article today. It sounds like Beijing is trying to present itself as accepting of religion??
Especially Tibetan Buddhism?? Though i'm curious that Bon is presented here as a branch of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism? I thought that Bon was a shamanistic religion and NOT related to Buddhism.

In any case, i'm happy to see Tibetan Buddhism being accepted in Beijing...

Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/7772673.html

By Zhang Yi, Wang Chunyan (Xinhua)
08:41, March 29, 2012     

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Even in the midst of a maddening crowd in the modern metropolis of Beijing, Yungdrung Tenzin can still find a place of tranquility, at least in his own heart.

The monk from Nagqu, Tibet autonomous region, has lived in the Xihuang Lama Temple for two years, studying an intermediate course on Bon, a religion indigenous to the Himalayan region.

Secluded in Beijing's downtown hutongs, or alleys, the cloistral monastery is only several blocks away from the famous Yonghegong Lama Temple, where thousands of devotees pay homage every day.

The Xihuang Lama Temple, where the 5th Dalai Lama and the 6th Panchen Lama preached, now houses a high-level Tibetan Buddhism academy, which was founded in1987 with the 10th Panchen Lama as its head.

The academy's official name, the China Advanced Institute of Tibetan Buddhism, is written in Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian on a board outside the temple's inconspicuous west gate.

The academy not only offers courses on Buddhist classics for monks from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, but also conducts research on Tibetan Buddhism, operating more like a modern college.

Yungdrung, 34, will secure his status as a Geshe, an honorable high-level academic degree for Tibetan monks, after his graduation in May.

"I dreamed of being a Geshe when I was a kid. After 18 years of learning, I will finally become one," he said.

A desire for knowledge of Buddhism prompted Yungdrung to become a monk when he was 13.

Yungdrung's performance won him a recommendation from a Geshe in his hometown temple, enabling him to go to Lhasa and attend an examination organized by the region's Buddhist association.

The examination included debates on Buddhist doctrines and essay writing. He wrote about religion's positive effects on society.

For Yungdrung, life in the Beijing temple involves a rigid routine.

Every student there is an early riser, usually waking up before 6 a.m. to begin the day by chanting Buddhist classics.

Two sessions of Buddhist teaching -- one in the morning and another in the afternoon -- are arranged on all weekdays, during which Khenpos, or Buddhist teachers, from renowned Tibetan monasteries pass on their knowledge to the young Tibetan Buddhists.

"We listen, discuss and sometimes debate," Yungdrung said.

In addition to Tibetan Buddhism, the students in the Buddhist institute have two sessions of Chinese Mandarin lessons every week.

Yungdrung said he knew a little Mandarin when he first came to the college, but now he speaks fluent Chinese and his interview with Xinhua was conducted in Mandarin.

Though some students still abstain from using computers, modern devices are not uncommon possessions in the academy, Yungdrung said.

Yungdrung has a laptop, and he often uses it in the evening to surf the Internet or do homework for his Chinese class. He also has an iPhone and a Nikon camera.

"I used to resist modern devices. But later I realized that religion, in order to influence the secular world, must be somewhat adapted to social changes," the Bon monk said, adding that Tibetan Buddhism is not contrary to modernization.

The students in the Buddhist college, with an average age of 30, spend their leisure hours engaged in modern activities such as basketball.

"I play basketball, too," Yungdrung said. "We are monks, and we are also young."

Unlike his mentor who spent almost all his life in the small monastery in Nagqu, Yungdrung enjoys traveling. He has visited Shenzhen, Shanghai, Harbin and other Chinese cities during summer and winter vacations.

His camera was a gift from a friend he made in Shanghai.

"My mother said it's better to have closed-door meditation like my mentor did than spend time traveling around. But I think it is worthwhile, because I can learn more and make friends with different people," Yungdrung said.

Some friends come to Yungdrung for help when they feel pressured and frustrated.

"People in cities sometimes fail to find true happiness even if their wealth grows. I don't have the ability to help them find true happiness, but, with my knowledge of Buddhism, I can try to help them find inner peace."

If possible, Yungdrung said, he plans to return to the Xihuang Lama Temple for an advanced course on Bon next year.

"I have no exact plans after finishing the advanced course, but I know I'm duty-bound to carry on my religion," the Tibetan monk said.

Bon religion adherents believe the religion was founded by Tonpa Shenrab 18,000 years ago, and it is often considered a branch of Tibetan Vajrayana extensively linked with Tibetan Buddhism by scholars.

(Wu Qinglan with tibet.cn contributed to the story.)
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Dorje Pakmo

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 04:48:13 AM »
From my understanding the Bon religion was accepted and re-stated by HH the 14th DL in 1987 who forbade discrimination against Bonpos stating that is was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon ritual paraphernalia, emphasizing “the religious equality of Bon faith”.  According to Bonpo Lamas , the main difference between Bon and the Buddhist schools is one of lineage rather than of teaching or doctrine, since the Bonpos look to Tonpa Shenrab as their founder and the Buddhists look to Shakyamuni. Indeed, both of these numinous figures are manifestations of Buddha enlightenment in our world, an epiphany that is technically known as a Nirmanakaya.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, recognizes the Bon tradition as the sixth principal spiritual school of Tibet, along with the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug and Jonang schools of Buddhism, despite the long historical competition between the Bon tradition and Buddhism in Tibet. If HHDL accepts and recognizes the Bon tradition, then it really makes me wonder why is he going all out to ban, and ostracize Dorje Shugden practice and practitioners. Dorje Shugden was recognized by HH the 5th DL and is the uncommon protector of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and the lineage of Dorje Shugden's previous lives includes Buddha Manjushri, Mahasiddha Birwapa or Virupa, Sakya Pandita, Buton Rinchen Drub, Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen, and Panchen Sonam Dragpa?

Very contradicting to HHDL’s own words:

Quote
“We can't say that all religions are the same, different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings. On this level, I think that through different philosophical explanations and approaches, all religions have the same goal and the same potential.”

Anyway, back to Yundrung Tenzin who embraces modernity while continuing to pursue his studies and practice of Bon. I personally think that there is nothing wrong in embracing modernity because to relate to the “modern” secular society and to be able to reach out to instill any amount of goodness to benefit them, one must have the experience and understanding of how the modern society works.  It makes a lot of sense for one to experience different cultural traditions and to keep up with the current technologies in order to share and relate one’s ideas and views. What is important is the individual’s motivation to benefit and help people.

Quote
"People in cities sometimes fail to find true happiness even if their wealth grows. I don't have the ability to help them find true happiness, but, with my knowledge of Buddhism, I can try to help them find inner peace." –Yundrung Tenzin
DORJE PAKMO

Ensapa

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 01:05:42 PM »
From my understanding the Bon religion was accepted and re-stated by HH the 14th DL in 1987 who forbade discrimination against Bonpos stating that is was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon ritual paraphernalia, emphasizing “the religious equality of Bon faith”.  According to Bonpo Lamas , the main difference between Bon and the Buddhist schools is one of lineage rather than of teaching or doctrine, since the Bonpos look to Tonpa Shenrab as their founder and the Buddhists look to Shakyamuni. Indeed, both of these numinous figures are manifestations of Buddha enlightenment in our world, an epiphany that is technically known as a Nirmanakaya.
Unfortunately Bon is not Buddhist. It merely adopted Nyingma teachings and replaced Samantabadra and Guru Rinpoche with Shenrab and Oekar. During the reign of the Buddhist kings, they were heavily prosecuted and were forced to go underground, but they survived because they adopted Buddhist teachings as their own. However this does not make them Buddhist as they lack the basic foundations of Buddhist teachings. Their goal is still the same as any religion centered to a god: to be one with the god.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, recognizes the Bon tradition as the sixth principal spiritual school of Tibet, along with the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug and Jonang schools of Buddhism, despite the long historical competition between the Bon tradition and Buddhism in Tibet. If HHDL accepts and recognizes the Bon tradition, then it really makes me wonder why is he going all out to ban, and ostracize Dorje Shugden practice and practitioners. Dorje Shugden was recognized by HH the 5th DL and is the uncommon protector of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and the lineage of Dorje Shugden's previous lives includes Buddha Manjushri, Mahasiddha Birwapa or Virupa, Sakya Pandita, Buton Rinchen Drub, Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen, and Panchen Sonam Dragpa?
Jonang and Bon were suppressed very badly in the past but they survived and they emerged. And there are still many pockets of these practitioners left that resent the mainstream traditions deeply. Perhaps, HHDL wants to resolve this hate so that it does not eat into the Tibet cause. To me, that is the only reason why he wants to "unite" everyone.
Very contradicting to HHDL’s own words:

Quote
“We can't say that all religions are the same, different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings. On this level, I think that through different philosophical explanations and approaches, all religions have the same goal and the same potential.”

Anyway, back to Yundrung Tenzin who embraces modernity while continuing to pursue his studies and practice of Bon. I personally think that there is nothing wrong in embracing modernity because to relate to the “modern” secular society and to be able to reach out to instill any amount of goodness to benefit them, one must have the experience and understanding of how the modern society works.  It makes a lot of sense for one to experience different cultural traditions and to keep up with the current technologies in order to share and relate one’s ideas and views. What is important is the individual’s motivation to benefit and help people.

Quote
"People in cities sometimes fail to find true happiness even if their wealth grows. I don't have the ability to help them find true happiness, but, with my knowledge of Buddhism, I can try to help them find inner peace." –Yundrung Tenzin

In more ways than one, this article shows very clearly that there is no religious discrimination or oppression that is being faced by the Tibetans who do not break the rules. I rejoice for China's ability to open up and to allow religious freedom to a certain extent.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 02:15:36 PM »
From my understanding the Bon religion was accepted and re-stated by HH the 14th DL in 1987 who forbade discrimination against Bonpos stating that is was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon ritual paraphernalia, emphasizing “the religious equality of Bon faith”.  According to Bonpo Lamas , the main difference between Bon and the Buddhist schools is one of lineage rather than of teaching or doctrine, since the Bonpos look to Tonpa Shenrab as their founder and the Buddhists look to Shakyamuni. Indeed, both of these numinous figures are manifestations of Buddha enlightenment in our world, an epiphany that is technically known as a Nirmanakaya.
Unfortunately Bon is not Buddhist. It merely adopted Nyingma teachings and replaced Samantabadra and Guru Rinpoche with Shenrab and Oekar. During the reign of the Buddhist kings, they were heavily prosecuted and were forced to go underground, but they survived because they adopted Buddhist teachings as their own. However this does not make them Buddhist as they lack the basic foundations of Buddhist teachings. Their goal is still the same as any religion centered to a god: to be one with the god.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, recognizes the Bon tradition as the sixth principal spiritual school of Tibet, along with the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug and Jonang schools of Buddhism, despite the long historical competition between the Bon tradition and Buddhism in Tibet. If HHDL accepts and recognizes the Bon tradition, then it really makes me wonder why is he going all out to ban, and ostracize Dorje Shugden practice and practitioners. Dorje Shugden was recognized by HH the 5th DL and is the uncommon protector of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and the lineage of Dorje Shugden's previous lives includes Buddha Manjushri, Mahasiddha Birwapa or Virupa, Sakya Pandita, Buton Rinchen Drub, Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen, and Panchen Sonam Dragpa?
Jonang and Bon were suppressed very badly in the past but they survived and they emerged. And there are still many pockets of these practitioners left that resent the mainstream traditions deeply. Perhaps, HHDL wants to resolve this hate so that it does not eat into the Tibet cause. To me, that is the only reason why he wants to "unite" everyone.
Very contradicting to HHDL’s own words:

Quote
“We can't say that all religions are the same, different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings. On this level, I think that through different philosophical explanations and approaches, all religions have the same goal and the same potential.”

Anyway, back to Yundrung Tenzin who embraces modernity while continuing to pursue his studies and practice of Bon. I personally think that there is nothing wrong in embracing modernity because to relate to the “modern” secular society and to be able to reach out to instill any amount of goodness to benefit them, one must have the experience and understanding of how the modern society works.  It makes a lot of sense for one to experience different cultural traditions and to keep up with the current technologies in order to share and relate one’s ideas and views. What is important is the individual’s motivation to benefit and help people.

Quote
"People in cities sometimes fail to find true happiness even if their wealth grows. I don't have the ability to help them find true happiness, but, with my knowledge of Buddhism, I can try to help them find inner peace." –Yundrung Tenzin

In more ways than one, this article shows very clearly that there is no religious discrimination or oppression that is being faced by the Tibetans who do not break the rules. I rejoice for China's ability to open up and to allow religious freedom to a certain extent.

It is extremely contradictory of the Dalai Lama to accept Bon as part of Vajrayana Buddhist.  If I remember correctly the Bonpos are spirit worshippers and yet DL accepts.

Why then the discrimination against Shugdenpas.  Unreal!!!!! 

yontenjamyang

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 09:00:12 AM »
Dondrup,

The only logical reason the Dalai Lama "discriminate" Shugdenpas is that the Shugdenpas are the purest practitioners. If a King wants to train his Princes to be a good future king, he will chose the best and send him for the most arduous training at some war front. Training him to take over the throne from bottom up.

Similarly, due to the karma of Tibet and Tibetans, karma that best be purified, otherwise it will only multiply, the Dalai Lama use the best Lineage and created the suffering to purify the karma for all Tibetans and connected beings. This includes China ie Chinese and all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Of course dependent on what we collectively do, there will be a right time when the discrimination will change. Meanwhile, best practice what your Guru tells you to and respect others.

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 12:43:02 PM »
It is rather challenging for Buddhism or Buddhist philosophy to grow, expand or remain in this modern age unless the sangha community change together with the modern age and digital era in order for the lineages to survive and be protected.

Modernity can be used as an advantage too. I have seen sangha embrace the use to smart phones to communicate, use social media platform to raise funds for monasteries or to share dharma or activities or events.



 

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2015, 02:49:36 PM »
Dondrup,

The only logical reason the Dalai Lama "discriminate" Shugdenpas is that the Shugdenpas are the purest practitioners. If a King wants to train his Princes to be a good future king, he will chose the best and send him for the most arduous training at some war front. Training him to take over the throne from bottom up.

Similarly, due to the karma of Tibet and Tibetans, karma that best be purified, otherwise it will only multiply, the Dalai Lama use the best Lineage and created the suffering to purify the karma for all Tibetans and connected beings. This includes China ie Chinese and all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Of course dependent on what we collectively do, there will be a right time when the discrimination will change. Meanwhile, best practice what your Guru tells you to and respect others.

Dear Yontenjamyang,

Thank you, following what my Guru teaches me to practise I definitely will, but being unenlightened it is often that the Ban and the unfairness upsets me.

Of course the only way is to get over my being upset and righteous and be aligned to what my Guru's way to solve this ban.

Once again thank you,

cookie

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2015, 08:53:04 AM »
Dondrup,

<<The only logical reason the Dalai Lama "discriminate" Shugdenpas is that the Shugdenpas are the purest practitioners. If a King wants to train his Princes to be a good future king, he will chose the best and send him for the most arduous training at some war front. Training him to take over the throne from bottom up.

Similarly, due to the karma of Tibet and Tibetans, karma that best be purified, otherwise it will only multiply, the Dalai Lama use the best Lineage and created the suffering to purify the karma for all Tibetans and connected beings. This includes China ie Chinese and all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Of course dependent on what we collectively do, there will be a right time when the discrimination will change. Meanwhile, best practice what your Guru tells you to and respect others. >>

This comment is certainly a good view to adopt. No unenlightened being will ever understand why the DS Ban was created. At the end of the day our main goal is to practice to be an Enlightened Being. Whichever side we stand i.e pro DS or anti DS we should concentrate on our practice to transform given the situation or conditions we have. We should not discriminate the other. After all in the Wisdom of Emptiness all phenomenas are empty of existence.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Tibetan monk pursues studies, embraces modernity in Beijing
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 03:47:33 PM »
Cookie, I agree with you that none of the unenlightened beings can ever understand the DS Ban. And all we can do is just practise and hope for purification of negativities collective or otherwise and then we may see the light to things.