Author Topic: The NKT Believed In Oracles  (Read 1175 times)

vajratruth

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The NKT Believed In Oracles
« on: April 13, 2017, 08:38:24 PM »
I have always respected the Ven.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso although I do not quite comprehend some of The New Kadampa Tradition's (NKT) sudden switches in beliefs. For instance, today the NKT does not hesitate to tell you that the entire oracle tradition is bunkum just like the believe the Lama Tradition to be. And yet we see that Geshe la did in fact consult the oracle of Dorje Shugden in the past.

The following is extracted from an older post submitted by a prolific writer and contributor to DorjeShugden.com/forum, 'TK Rinpoche' who has written informedly about a number of Buddhist subjects.   

From TK:

Geshe-la did give special treatment to his oracle uncle. Geshe-la invited his uncle the oracle several times to UK. In fact his oracle uncle took trance of Dulzin for over three hours and GAVE INITIATION OF AVALOKITESVARA to the students there (NKT) one one occasion. That is how much the power of the oracle was revered before in NKT. Many trances were taken and Geshe-la privately consulted Dorje Shugden on many issues re himself, his deceased mother, the organization on the whole. So there is nothing weird about the whole oracle practice. Some of the greats like Pabongka, Trijang and Zong Rinpoches consulted oracles their whole lives and taught lojong/realized lojong also in their mindstreams. So part of what they do is great and part is weird? I don’t think so. We accept what we don’t understand about our lamas and refrain from labelling would be better conduct.

It was a rare occasion, when Dulzin took trance and gave initiation in Geshe-la’s centre. The Oracle Uncle was very respected, was given a seat of honour in the pujas there, many students came to receive his blessings when he was not in trance also. This all stopped when Geshe-la and his uncle has a huge fall out and NEVER SPOKE AGAIN UNTIL THE ORACLE’S DEATH A FEW YEARS BACK. So Geshe-la had a personal fall out with his Oracle Uncle and it all came to an end. Yes policies change and Geshe-la changes his mind. But it also means he can make mistakes (sorry). Geshe-la’s policies are GOOD FOR NKT AND THEIR MEMBERS, but his policies should not be seen as overview rule of thumb for all Tibetan Traditions around the world and their centres for example tulkus and oracles. NKT doesn’t ‘accept’ does not mean it is weird, wrong, or not applicable in thousands of other places. I have had EXCELLET EXPERIENCES WITH ORACLES AND TULKUS IN MY LIFETIME AS SCORES OF MY FRIENDS also. And we love lojong, lam rim, and it’s practices as these are our main practices always.

Geshe-la very much agreed with oracles and their usage, until his personal fallout with his uncle. That is a fact. Then his policies with oracles in NKT changed. But we don’t have to change our ‘policies’ regarding them and no one should berate us for it also. No one has the right.

Geshe-la / NKT received huge negative media and backlash because of the ‘1st wave’ of protests organized by Geshe-la against the Dalai Lama. Some of his key supporters felt the backlash, spoke up and some left. Geshe-la realized it was a mistake to protest so openly saying it is from him. He made a mistake. His policies changed. Next time around, it was the WSS with him supporting them from behind and ‘not’ NKT that organized the huge wave of protests. Don’t get me wrong, I feel Geshe-la is courageous. I prayed for him and his long life. I still do. My point is policies he makes can be changed according to student’s aptitude, place, time and also mistakes. THAT IS OK. But just because NKT’s policies do not give a ’special bus seat’ to oracles and tulkus does not mean their policies are correct for everyone.  Or these institutions should be ‘disparaged’, ‘ridiculed’ or spoken against in the thousands of other places they have positive effects and benefits. Also for hundreds of years in some cases. Geshe-la can make mistakes, but it does not mean he is not a authentic practitioner of sutra/tantra and very qualified to teach. He is very qualified. But his personal disagreemants with oracles does not set the plateau for everyone. Nor should his students comment negatively to non-NKT students who accept oracles and tulkus.

The backlash against Geshe-la/NKT was huge, but the protests brought attention to our cause onto the world stage. It gave a voice to where none would be heard. How compassionate of Geshe-la and courageous. How devoted and strong of his students that participated. I respect them very much on the whole as well as many dorje shugden lamas, centres and students around the world. With folded hands to Geshe-la and NKT deeply.

Dromo Geshes ( a great tulku on his ‘3rd’ incarnation hasn’t ‘messed’ up yet) always had great oracles in his monasteries. His last oracle Lhakpa Dondrub) passed away a few years back. Dromo Geshe had special chapel, thrones and places in his monasteries for his dorje shugden oracles. The last one was a layman also!

Trijang Rinpoche blessed, consecrated, oversaw the training of Choyang Dulzin Kuten (Geshe-la’s Uncle) and then authorized him as genuine when training completed. Zong Rinpoche consulted the oracle for most important issues until his last days and lived next door to the oracle in Gaden. Zong Rinpoche had a special oracle house and temple (Trokhang Dechen Chok) built for Dorje Shugden in Gaden. It has a special throne for the oracle to sit on in order to take trance right at the centre of the main shrine. This place exists today still. All of Gaden Shartse’s abbots, ex abbots, tulkus, Geshes, and sangha would have yearly audience on the Tibetan 1st month and 3rd day of New Year’s (losar). The whole sangha would be blessed by both Shugden and then Setrap entering Choyang Dulzin Kuten in the main prayer hall of Shartse. Yes the whole sangha. Also countless lamas, representatives from  Gaden Jangtze, Drepung and laity would jam the prayer hall yearly in Shartse for their blessings and pronouncements. Gaden Jangtse’s administrators would ask questions of Shugden during trance for the welfare of the whole Gaden Jangtze institution. The same in Sera boompra khangtsen with their Shugden oracle, where Kache Marpo takes trance. All has stopped because of the ban.

Both Gaden and Sera oracles were put into retreat for more than five years intense, examined, blessed and authorized by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang in the end. The current oracle of Gaden is a student of  the previoius Zong Rinpoche, and Zong Rinpoche mentioned years ago that he would be an oracle. So if Geshe-la does not find them fitting for NKT, or his students find it weird, Gaden, Sera and Drepung did not. To each his own.

Many Geshes, teachers, Lamas consult the Gameng Choyang Kuten in US and Sera Oracle (authorized by Trijang Rinpoche, and this oracle’s father was also an oracle of Shugden) residing in Taiwan. They derive many benefits again and again. All of Shar Gaden Monastery invited the Gameng Choyang Kuten for their grand opening and had Dulzin peaceful/wrathful both take trance, bless the premises, answer questions and give prophecies to their successful survival.

When Geshe-la passes away (very sorry to mention this), what happens to his incarnation? If recognized? Not recognized is fine also. But Geshe-la recognized his own mother’s incarnation and makes sure she grows up to practice dharma again. No special seats, but why recognize her at all then. Just recognizing her is saying alot already.

Thai bus company will not give a special seat to the oracle on their buses but will give to monks, and that is true. But only to their monks. They do not recognize monks of the Tibetan Tradition. They do not feel it is a valid monkhood. So in Thailand, monks of the Tibetan tradition gets no discounts, no special seating (airplanes, taxis,etc), no religious priviledges their own monks receive. So their example is not applicable here at all.

Believing, propitiating or trusting oracles and tulkus DOES NOT MEAN THAT IS THE MAIN FOCUS OR PRACTICE EVER. The main practice would be all the teachings on MIND TRANSFORMATION coupled with annurtara tantra of generation and completion stages for sure. That is the real protection from everything in samsara. But along the way, why not alittle help from our friends via the oracle.


TK

(no offence/disrespect intended to Geshe-la in anyway or the vast institution of NKT-may they last thousands of years. If it was another situation, I could take refuge in Geshe-la as my guru also.)

Harold Musetescu

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 11:15:51 PM »
Hello Vajratruth

What I heard about four years ago was that Geshe la feared his students would see "Tulkus" as higher beings then himself.

He also feared that his students would see "Oracles" trances in some ways as coming from a "higher authority" then himself.

I also have nothing against the Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso nor the NKT.

I received my Dorje Shugden initiation from the NKT.

I do not hold it against Geshe la for wanting to be in total control of his students and organization.

It is in fact his teachings, his temples, his organization and his students after all.

But I must say that I do hold in general "Tulkus" as higher beings.

That why they are called "Tulku" and not "Geshe".

I heard that he "was" in total control of everyone and everything in the NKT.

That all their teachings became his teachings only and no one else's.

Have you ever heard of any Tulku or even non NKT Lama as guest speakers at the NKT today?

"NO".

Not even H.H. Trijang Rinpoche.

This is why I did not join the NKT.

I got some bad vibes but if his students want Geshe la as their Lama that's their business not mine.

Hope this helps Vajratruth



Matibhadra

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 11:46:20 PM »
Clearly something very dirty is happening within the NKT.

Their “International Shugden Community” suddenly and unexpectedly stopped protesting against the crimes of the evil dalie and was dissolved, and shortly thereafter they created an “International Shugden Buddhist Community”, specialized in smearing Shugden lamas other than Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

Probably rotten NKT bureaucrats are desperately looking for their own corporate survival in a world without Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and are in a rush to do so as publicly as possible while Geshe-la is still alive, in order to give a semblance of Geshe-la's authority to their own crooked behavior.

Matibhadra

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 01:15:14 AM »
Quote
But I must say that I do hold in general "Tulkus" as higher beings.
That why they are called "Tulku" and not "Geshe".

This argument is ridiculous. Je Tsongkhapa and his main disciples including Gyeltsapje, Khedrupje, and Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen were all “geshes” (Sansk. kalyanamitra, “beneficial friends”), but none of them was what is socially known as a “tulku”.

The idea that such a social “tulku” is in any way superior to a beneficial friend who gives correct teachings flies in the face of Buddha's teachings, according to which one should rely on the teaching rather than on the personality of the teacher.

Buddhism, including Mahayana and Vajrayana, reached its peak in India with great teachers such as Nagarjuna, Buddhapalita, Chandrakirti, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Shantideva, and so forth, none of whom were social “tulkus”, but all of whom were erudite geshes, or beneficial friends.

The Tibetan social idea of “tulku” has often more to do with feudal Tibetan society and the need to preserve the integrity of the rich estates of prosperous lamas, than with the accomplishments on the Buddhist path of their proclaimed reincarnations.

For instance, now corporate NKT is in a conundrum, because they will not be able to justify a reincarnation for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and they lack an equally gifted successor, which is why they pin their survival hopes on smearing other Shugden teachers they see as competitors.

Matibhadra

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 04:10:19 PM »
In a nutshell, Buddhism is not about who is the “higher being”, but about which teachings are more beneficial.

Concern with who is the “higher being” is only and strictly the concern of criminals who want to justify their crimes, which are seen as “justified” just because they were perpetrated in the name of such “higher being”.

That's where the idea of “higher being” comes from. That's where the idea of the Abrahamic “God” comes from. That's where the idea of the evil dalie as “Chenrezig” comes from. The dirty concoction of power greedy criminals.

Ringo Starr

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2017, 12:45:32 PM »
To add to this discussion:

According to a paragraph entry in Wikiwand on Tulkus, in the 2009 documentary film "Tulku",  Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche states the tulku system may not work in present day:

"And now, I personally think that to hold that culture, institutionalized Tulku. That culture is dying; it’s not going to work anymore. And even if it… And if it doesn’t work, I think it’s almost for the better because this tulku, it’s going to… If the Tibetans are not careful, this Tulku system is going to ruin Buddhism. At the end of the day Buddhism is more important [than] Tulku system, who cares about Tulku... [and] what happens to them."

As with all things, it cuts many ways. Many people develop (initial) faith because of the Tulku system. On the flip side, as Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche says, paying too much attention to the Tulku system and disregarding the Dharma would ruin Buddhism.

Ice cream comes in many flavors so I suppose it is up to the karma of the believers and the skill of the Tulkus who will determine if the time is right to do away with it. For the serious Vajrayana practitioner, nothing beats checking out your guru first.


Harold Musetescu

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2017, 04:41:00 PM »
Dorje Shugden followers can be found in two groups.

The first camp is the one lead by His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche and his Tulkus, Geshes and Lamas.

They believe in Tulkus and Oracles (Kutens).

The second camp is the one lead by the New Kadampa Tradition.

They do not believe in Oracles and Tulkus.

They believe in their leader and his teachings alone.

These two groups operate at an arms distance from each other.

 

Ringo Starr

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2017, 05:47:54 PM »
I wouldn't discount that there's a lesson in every "odd" move by highly attained teachers. In this case, we need to ponder this fact:

The head of the Gelug tradition is the Ganden Tripa which is a a position that any monk can attain through a process of meritocracy. The position alternates between the senior-most retired abbots of Gyume and Gyuto or the Upper and Lower Tantric Colleges.

This is in contrast with the heads of other traditions are basically either specific Tulkus or, in the case of Sakya, members of a specific clan.

How do you explain this in the context of NKT vs. Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche? Must we pick one vs. the other?

Harold Musetescu

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2017, 06:33:42 PM »
Hi Ringo Starr

The Trijang Rinpoche group are along the traditional Tibetan Buddhist lineage.

The NKT now appear to be polar opposite sides to Trijang Rinpoche.

The thought that Trijang Rinpoche, Gangchen Rinpoche, Gonsar Rinpoche, Zasep Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche are all not welcome to teach at the NKT is disturbing.

This is why I was told not to chose the NKT but I should go with Zasep Rinpoche.

I have numerous books by Geshe Kelsang and find his teaching to be wonderful.

I also understand that he is teaching "Guru Devotion" by the manner of his relationship to his students.

He is the head of the NKT which he has built up into a world wide organization.

He is their Lama and the founder of the NKT.

Geshe Kelsang has the right to chose the study program for his student's.

That program is the Geshe Kelsang program with no outside teaching by any other Lama.

Geshe Kelsang has taken his students in a new organizational direction away from "Traditional" Tibetan
Buddhist structure.

He has that right and I feel it is not my place to judge Geshe Kelsang.

I have taken teachings and empowerments from the NKT and will continue to do so if I wish to in the future.

The NKT have their style of Vajrayana and His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche and his followers have their style.

If you don't like the NKT style of Vajrayana then you are free not to practice it.

If you don't like the Trijang Rinpoche style of Vajrayana then you are also free not to practice it.




Lineageholder

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2017, 01:20:28 PM »
I have a question for you. Where in the Sutras and Tantras does it encourage students to rely upon Tulkus and Oracles and does it say they are objects of refuge?

I'm just interested to know if there's any scriptural basis for these practices or are they just Tibetan cultural additions?

Thanks.

Brian Little

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2017, 03:27:39 PM »
Does it really matter if one is a Geshe or Tulku? All are teachers of Buddha's lineage and aim is for enlightenment. Tell me if this is wrong. If what is being said about NKT is true, then I will have to say it's very political and it is nothing different from what happened when Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen got killed by 5th Dalai Lama's followers. Tulkus or Geshes, it doesn't really matter as long as the teachings are of Buddha's teachings for the benefit of sentient beings.

JD

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 03:36:48 PM »
Some tulkus are said to zoom through their geshe studies unnaturally rapidly with the ease of remembering the knowledge from prior realisations and scholarship in previous lives.

Some geshes are exemplary and occasionally their merit leads to their recognition in their next life?

kris

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 03:48:06 PM »
Thank you TK for sharing your thoughts. There are a lot of disagreement in the Tibetan Buddhists lately, with NKT's open letter and all. I think one of the most important message from TK is that NKT does change policies during the years, and what they disagree does not mean EVERYONE must comply with what they say.

There was a recent incident that one of the NKT students openly called others as liar because the other believed in the current Trijang Rinpoche. It is very arrogant to call others as liar just because others do not conform to their own views.


JD

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2017, 04:57:31 PM »
1) Is NKT being racist by attacking high Tibetan rinpoches, Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayana? Many NKT/NKT teachers are not Asian...why are they afraid?

2) Sweetened, diluted and sanitised for the sensitive Western masses: the NKT have no more scary yidams, no more oracle trances, start to use juice and dried fruit instead of alcohol and meat...

3) Ignorance is bliss: NKT laypersons, monks, nuns are headed to enlightenment directly...do not mix or you might get confused...the world is confusing and the path is not supposed to be a cakewalk...not is the earth flat.

4) Sometimes NKT call Geshe Kelsang a Rinpoche... that confuses me, and I ask where is the monastery? The origins of the Manjusri centre lie with Lama Yeshe (incarnated and recognised as Lama Osel Hita), Lama Zopa and there were links with Geshe Rabten and many other highest Gelugpa lamas, both sides of the ban on Dorje Shugden.

These are all just superficial statements that sum up the things that in ignorance I have noticed lately. I am compelled to share this with your discussion in the hope that the NKT may cherish all sentient beings better, regardless of Guru, yidams, lineage, oracle, race, language, cultural difference etc. May NKT teachers in the fullness of time also seek more teachings from the masters of the lineage and succeed in their geshe studies at the monastic universities - I am not joking, I really mean it for the immense good that it could do, just imagine how good it could be. Let's pray for the NKT to work out how to efficiently get the teachings/scholarship/integrated.

Particularly, may we all come to realise wisdom in our lives and always stay in refuge with the Bodhisattva vows. Love and peace.

vajratruth

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Re: The NKT Believed In Oracles
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2017, 06:07:16 PM »
Thank you TK for sharing your thoughts. There are a lot of disagreement in the Tibetan Buddhists lately, with NKT's open letter and all. I think one of the most important message from TK is that NKT does change policies during the years, and what they disagree does not mean EVERYONE must comply with what they say.

There was a recent incident that one of the NKT students openly called others as liar because the other believed in the current Trijang Rinpoche. It is very arrogant to call others as liar just because others do not conform to their own views.

Kris,

NKT is not the authority on what is authentic and what is not and therefore there is no basis or authority for NKT to declare what works and what doesn't. The Gelugpa tradition with its 'lama policies' and 'oracles' that the NKT denounce today is 600 years old. In fact the tradition goes back even further. The NKT however only began in the 70's and is only approximately 40 years old. In fact the advent of what is today known as the 'NKT' was not without some conflict.

The NKT may be big but since when is size of a centre a measure of spirituality and attainment? The NKT is still a fledgling by comparison to the Gelugpa lineage and system and therefore has no business condemning an established institution. If members of the NKT accuses the Lama system to be vulnerable to abuse and corruption, I will be interested to see how free of fault the NKT is after Geshe-la enters clear light which I hope is not soon at all.

What is even more juvenile and idiotic is the way the likes of Pagpa wades into the controversy and sees it fit to comment on Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche. Trijang Rinpoche at least has never been accused of having committed any immoral act. Whether he is falsely accused or not, Pagpa is the subject of some unsavoury accusations online. Same with some senior NKT teachers. This does not make the NKT bad as a whole. What makes the NKT look bad are people like Pagpa and Rabten undermining the reputation of someone else's teacher who has nothing to do with the NKT whatsoever. 

Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche taking on a consort and having child does not mean he is automatically disqualified as a high practitioner of the dharma. It is one thing to be strict on precepts (assuming the Kelsangs all keep theirs perfectly) and it is another matter if a high practitioner engages in what seems like an act that breaks the precept but he or she has in fact eradicated all afflictions of the mind and there is no desire in his actions. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche is by no means an ordinary practitioner and we already know that if a Bodhisattva can practice having accomplished Bodhicitta, then he may employ skilful means to achieve certain objectives although his actions may appear to those who see with mundane eyes as unwholesome actions. By the NKT's reasoning, we can write off the 10th Panchen Lama, Serkong Dorjechang, Padmasambhava and many others because these illustrious lamas also had consorts and children. But look at their results.

Compare this to some others who are celibate either by choice or circumstance and the only thing we see them do is criticise others. Unless Kelsang Pagpa and Kelsang Rabten can show proof that they have achieved Bodhisattva levels of practice, then it would be better for them if they just shut up about something which is not their business.


« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 11:31:56 PM by vajratruth »