Author Topic: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)  (Read 27070 times)

Zhalmed Pawo

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Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« on: July 24, 2009, 03:33:39 PM »
Hello all, fellow Shugdenites


I was yesterday talking with a Nyingmapa friend, and we touched on the subject of Je Phabongkhapa (henceforth JP), and he had a view, that JP was actively acting against Nyingmapas in the Eastern Tibet. This was a bit of a shock, since my friend does not have anything against Gelukpas, or even DS-practice! It seems therefore, that even "DS-friendly" Nyingmapas have a very bad view concerning JP, and that while "JP dissing" is the hobby of anti-geluks and anti-shugdenites, similar view seems to be a general Nyingmapa view, entertained even in friendly quarters who do not go dissing JP publicly.

Now of course, he merely had the view or understanding that JP acted against his lineage, but he didn't mention any real details, as seems to always be the case when JP is talked about. It seems, that people just have a general notion about 'evil actions' of JP in the East, but nobody seems quite capable of spelling anything even close to any facts or details. It seems, that it is all just rumours. Now I ask from you all, is there any real proof of any improper action by JP? Considering how many people nowadays dislike and badmouth JP, surely someone would have presented by now some actual proof. Surely. So, could someone please show me?

Surely something must have happened, because so many Nyingmapas think thatwise. Surely there are some real records about it all. There is hardly any nyingma-conspiracy at work, so "something must have been burned, since there is so much smoke". So, where is the fire?

Now, I of course do not expect that anything can be found, since I do not see how Heruka himself could have acted improperly. Nevertheless, I do have a view about what happened in the East. I present it here, so that you all could comment on whether it seems to be based on facts, or sounds reasonable. Personally I feel, that it has the following four good points about it:
- it shows that there was no fire (meaning that JP did not act improperly, but should be praised instead)
- it explains why there is smoke (meaning that Nyingmapas do have something to rant about)
- it seems reasonable and probable
- it accords with the known facts (that is, with those facts that I personally know)

I would appreciate it, if those of you who know more about history, and do have access to various Tibetan sources, could comment on whether my account accords with the known facts. And whether it seems reasonable and probable to you.

A Reasonable Account

Back in the Good Old Days, before JP arrived, life was good and predictable. The Gelukpas taught the monks in the monasteries, and the Nyingmapas and Kagyupas taught the householders in the villages. If someone wanted to study Geluk, he ordained and moved to a monastery, and if someone wanted to study something else, there were the local Nyingma and Kagyu Lamas in their gompas, near one's home. Everything was in proper order, and everyone knew his place.

But then one day, one Gelukpa monk, JP, started to teach householders as well, instead of just the monks as had been done previously by the Gelukpas. (This is said about JP in many places. Is this true that pre-JP Gelukpas taught only monks?) And furthermore, this JP, was a very charismatic and skillful teacher, who actually touched the hearts of his audience. People who listened to him, actually transformed, and this increased his popularity immensely - this was not the typical Geluk-scholar lecturing in a dry manner, but a real Lama, moving people. (This is reported by many JP's sudents.) This was a new development, and altered almost everything.

Before I mention what was altered, I ask you to read first the quote in the bottom of my post, by a modern day Western Nyingmapa.

I'll suppose, that while reading that quote, you already guessed what I think was altered by JP: The distribution of lay supporters, and therefore the distribution of money and power.

If indeed it is true, that before JP, the Geluks did not teach householders, the "JP-movement" was surely an utter shock to the existing status quo between the lineages. In a sense, he stepped into the turfs of Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, that is, the laity. Suddenly, beacause of JP, much of the monetary support that had previously went to the Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, were now directed to the Gelukpas. This would have put many Lamas and small gompas into financial trouble. For many small lineages, it could have been disasterous. From their point of view, JP was in fact stealing their students and supporters. One could also easily imagine that many small gompas were in effect bankrupted, and even abandoned, if the locals no longer supported them. Or if the supporting laity shifted their allegiance to Gelukpas, many gompas, that served of course the locals, would have naturally been changed into Geluk gompas. So in this sense, it could truly be said, that JP was stealing gompas as well.

All these shifts seem very reasonable, even natural, if the status quo of lineages, in relation to the laity, was altered by an inspiring Geluk teacher. All this "stealing and converting" could have happened, of course, without any intent or alleged oppression, from JP's side. He simply did what a teacher should do - that is, teach the people. But the experienced or perceived outcome of that, since he was a great and popular teacher who had stepped beyond the established boundaries of Geluk activity, of course, could have been seen as "an act of aggression". JP did in fact step into the turfs of others, he did go where many thought he shouldn't have gone - that is, into the hearts, and therefore also the wallets, of the householders. He could be easily seen as "a destroyer of many non-geluk lineages", eventhough he might have never intend anything on those terms. For after all, JP did break the "unwritten code" between the lineages, and stepped into the midst of laity, and stole their hearts. He shouldn't have, felt many.

Now, of the following statements, I believe the first is true. But just see how easily, with small steps, the whole truth becomes twisted as you progress on the later statements.

1 - JP did what no Geluk had done before, and taught the laity, who responded so enthusiastically, as to move their allegiance to Geluk from their previous lineages. Many Nyingma and Kagyu Lamas lost a lot of the support they had previously used to have.

2 - JP started a movement that converted many people who previously had been supporting their local Nyingma and Kagyu gompas. Many Nyingma and Kagyu Lamas and gompas vere impoverished.

3 - JP converted many Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and many gompas were deserted or converted into Geluk.

4 - JP began to convert Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and took their gompas.

5 - JP stole the Nyingma and Kagyu gompas, and converted them to Geluk.

6 - JP acted against the Nyingma and Kagyu, and stole their gompas and converted the people who had previously been Nyingmapas or Kagyupas.

7 - JP started anti-nyingma and anti-kagyu purges, and changed their gompas into Geluk strongholds.

8 - JP hated Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and oppressed them by stealing their gompas forcefully and converting people into Geluk

See how the story changes, bit by bit. I think those small shifts pretty much explain why many Nyingmapas, and others, feel that JP was not the saint we think he is.

But nevertheless, my main point is, that by starting to teach laity, JP did something of which he should be praised of, but sadly is accused of. So there is no fire. Except of course, the fire of Dharma in the hearts of his students and audience. All he did, was to teach. He just was too good a teacher for his own good, so to speak.

The smoke that there is, is that Nyingmapas understandably do have some uneasy feelings against JP, but it has been blown out of proportion. JP did step on their turf, for sure, but really, the Nyingmapas and Kagyupas do not own the laity, so there is no real reason to be agitated against JP. To say that JP stole something from them, is to say that the Tibetan lay people were earmarked permanently for Nyingma and Kagyu!

I do feel that my account of what happened is reasonable, and accords with the known facts. I hope you all comment, and especially if someone has acces to any relevant Tibetan sources, I'd like to hear about what they say.


blessings,
Harri
_________


Quote

According to Nyingma theory, there is no reliable way to determine which termas are valid. As a result, Tibetans have been quarrelling about termas’ validity for a thousand years. The arguments, often vicious, convince no one. They go around in circles, because they have nothing to new to say. The dispute has rarely gone beyond “You faked it yourself!” “No, I got it from a Buddha!” “Did not!” “Did too!” “You are possessed by a demon!” “No, you are!” This level of argument should be left on the children’s playground.

On this page and the next, I suggest a way out of this deadlock. What I have to say is not traditional. However, I think you may find it sensible.

We need to go back and ask: “Why did we want to know which termas were valid in the first place?”

In Tibet, only a tiny religious elite actually practiced any termas. A main religious activity of lay people was to donate money to holy men. That is supposed to produce merit, resulting in better future lives. For most Tibetans, a key practical question is: which are the holiest men? Giving money to an authentic tertön (revealer of termas) would be the most effective use of funds. Giving money to a false tertön might be worse than useless. As a result, questions of terma validation are intimately tied up with money and power in Tibetan culture. These considerations are irrelevant to most Westerners.

For those who actually practice, the question is “which termas work?” For this, the Tibetan debate is framed wrong. It starts from the assumption that a terma is either true, or false. Apparently, if it is true, practicing it is a sure, quick way to enlightenment. If it is false, practicing it is a sure, quick way to hell. This extreme polarization is unhelpful and silly. It leads to scriptures that are full of advertising hype. They get titles like The Innermost Utterly Unsurpassable Ultra-Double-Top-Secret Essence of Life, The Universe, And Everything. It also leads to the demonization and political persecution of religious competitors.

Termas are never either true, or false. Essentially none of Buddhism is. Buddhism is concerned with methods, not truths. Termas are not factual statements that can be objectively tested. They are practices that can only be evaluated experientially, to see what happens.

In the words of Andreas Doctor, a Western expert on termas:

Recognizing that the final authenticating measure for Treasure [terma] revelation lies beyond what can be objectively verified, it appears a less rewarding exercise to perpetuate a debate of the Treasure along a simplified framework of true or false. Instead, looking beyond the traditional saint-charlatan paradigm may allow for other, more rewarding perspectives . . . (The Tibetan Treasure Literature, p. 50.)

On the next page, I suggest that the right question to ask is “which termas, or other practices, will be most useful for me?” The answer may be different for each of us.

(Source http://approachingaro.org/the-wrong-question )


« Last Edit: July 24, 2009, 04:06:34 PM by Zhalmed Pawo »

Alexis

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 04:51:22 PM »
Zhalmed Pawo,

I think you got it quite right!

However, there is no trace, anywhere, of anything like "gelugpas teaching only to monks" in our tradition. If you look at pictures of old tibet of monlam or other ceremonies, you will always find plenty of lay people around. Also, my wife's family received plenty of teachings when they were still in Tibet. If you read biographies and stories from old tibet, you will also notice a close-knit relationship between householders and monks within gelugpa tradition. So that "unwritten code" is somewhat of a fiction like the charges against Je Pabongkha.

If you check Tomo Geshe Rimpoche's bio from the articles section of this website, you will find a similiar story in the events that unfolded in the Tomo valley of Tibet when Rimpoche started teaching there.

Yours,


Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 06:11:54 PM »
Alexis, sorry for my imprecise wording - I do of course know that Gelukpa monks taught laity as well, even from the day one, but what I meant, was that the way and manner the laity was taught, had been different from the way monks were taught. There was no "real Lamrim" for the laity, so to speak. It was for the monks only. Until JP happened.

In most traditional Asian Buddhist societies, even today, the laity is taught (by the monks) mainly about basic ethics and generosity towards the Three Jewels, etc. The laity are not expected to do anything really serious. If they want more, they are expected to ordain as monks. (Nyingmapas and Kagyupas are different here, yes.) This is true in Theravada, and so have I understood, in "pre-JP Geluk monasticism" as well. That was the point. JP was in this sense a non-gelukish teacher, reaching for the common man (if tacky expressions are allowed), and something big happened.

This issue is very interesting, and I would like to know in more detail as to what extent Gelukpas actually gave any "real" teachings to the laity. We know from the accounts of JP's monk students, that he gave generously to the laity, but how about the previous Lineage Gurus? How many "householder gelukpas" do we know by name? All that I know of, are post-JP.

Theravada sources tell how Ananthapindika - the Householder clad in white, who gave the very first monastery in the Jeta Grove for the Sangha - was in his death bed, when for the first time he was "given Dharma in he same way as it is given to monks". The idea that there is something like a Common Dharma to everyone, is very recent, it seems, in the monastic traditions of Buddhism. There has been a gap, between the ordained and householders. That gap JP bridged.

But anyway - this or that - it seems that the sin of JP was in his being a too good a teacher. (Or is there more?  :P )

emptymountains

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 09:22:52 AM »
I went through Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand and collected together Je Phabongkhapa's statements about Nyingma, Dzogchen, etc. and discuss whether he had a sectarian attitude towards them:

http://dharmaprotector.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-je-phabongkhapa-and-sectarianism/

Please let me know what you think about my conclusions. Thanks!

Alexis

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 01:56:22 PM »
Congratulations emptymountains,  :)

You make you point very clearly.

I would suggest to you that you make availlable some of your conclusions early on in your introduction (like a line or two), so that readers can have a quick idea of your destination.

Such as : "We want to demonstrate that despite comments like Dreyfus' on Pabongkha, it will be shown that pabongkha was in fact..." or something similar.

Yours is a very welcome initiative. You should make it available in word format and send it to the administrators to be included in the articles sections of this website (or any other website concerning Dorje shugden).

Yours,

Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 02:57:14 PM »
Good work emptymountains. As to the quote “apart from the doctrine of Manjughosha Tsongkhapa alone, the views of all Sakyas, Kagyus, Nyingmas and so on are erroneous”, I think this is pretty much true!

But interestingly, it does not follow, that Sakyapas et al could not realize emptiness. This is because one does not need to have the correct philosophical understanding of emptiness to realize emptiness. Throughout the history of Buddhism, people of various schools have realized emptiness eventhough their presentation of emptiness has been something else than that of Je Tsongkhapa's - namely Sarvastivadins, Zen, Yogacarins, Yogacara-Madhyamika, Svatantrika-Madhyamika, and even Prasangika-Madhyamika of Sakyas et al. Je Tsongkhapa's presentation of Prasangika is different from all the others, including Atisha himself! If one would need to have the same view as JT, then even Atisha would have been an ordinary being.

In Tibetan philosophical texts, the JT's view is sometimes called a special Gelukpa presentation of the Madhyamika-Prasangika view, because it is not the same Prasangika that others have. The same view can be found only from some Theravada sources, and perhaps from some Nyingma termas, but not from the writings of realized beings like Sakya Pandita, for instance. It is the best way to explain the correct view of emptiness, I think, but interestingly, other views are adequate also, in practice.

Considering this, Pabonkhapa was telling the truth without being sectarian, or being against any other presentations, or denying their validity. I'm quite sure he thought that Asanga, Atisha and Sakya Pandita were realized beings, eventhough they did not share the view of Je Tsongkhapa.

Alexis

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 07:19:18 PM »
"...Maha-realizations are possible even with a mind only view, no doubt.  Yet why settle for a lesser if two choices are presented to you?  To cut the root of samsara why settle for a dull butter knife?  Seek that bleeding edge wisdom, that flaming excalibur brighter than a hundred torches..."

This is so very true...

Also, one has to remember the times have changed. We are at the end of the Kali yuga. At the time of the Buddha, Chuddhapanthaka became an arahat by sweeping the floor with a broom. The first five disciples of the Buddha became arahats just by hearing the Four Noble Truths from the mouth of the Buddha. Today, I doubt anyone can do that. This is because of the times.

Remember also, Tsongkhapa was not achieving any results by relying other (dull butter knife!) teachings. This is why he was adviced by Manjushri to engage in Purification, accumulation, petitionning his lama and also study extensively madhyamaka litterature in order to perceive emptiness, because other methods and teachings were not usefull anymore. They were no longer antidotes to reification and self-grasping!

All this is because our bodies and minds have changed over time. It is not like before, so we need a special method. All the difficulties relating to the times is also what made Manjushri say to Tsongkhapa that anyone who do no have this practice with five unique features (Solitary Hero Yamantaka) will not be successfull in their dharma practice... this is not because Hevajra or Heruka cannot lead to full enlightenment, it is just that, because of the times and Karma, there are so much obstacles (even to Tulkus!) that the obstacle-clearing and wisdom bestowing practice Yamantaka is now absolutely required to achieve full-enlightenment within a single lifetime in a single body.

In brief, the method (the teatment) has to be fitting to the times we live and the types of minds we have (type of illness). This is what the Gelug ear-whispered lineage offer: a quick, undefiled, undiluded method befitting the times we live in. And that's what Pabongkha taught!

« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 07:43:19 PM by Alexis »

emptymountains

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2009, 07:57:15 PM »
Quote
Apart from the doctrine of Manjughosha Tsongkhapa alone, these days the views of all Sakyas, Kagyus, Nyingmas and so on are erroneous. They are not even Svatantra or Cittamatra, let alone the view of Prasanga Madhyamaka—meditating only the nihilist view like tirthikas and Hashang.


I think those two little words put Je Phabongkhapa's thoughts into context. This tells me that he did not believe non-Gelug views had always been erroneous, but that something was happening during his day that was a departure from the views these traditions had taught and practiced in previous generations.

In Clear Light of Bliss (see http://www.dharmaprotector.org/fundamentalwisdom.html), GKG says that the major Gurus of the non-Gelug traditions always taught the Prasangika view.

Alexis

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 09:15:29 PM »
What Je Rimpoche's unique interpretation brings to prasangika view is the union of Dharmakirti's Pramana system with Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka.

In short, Je Rimpoche adds realism to Nagarjuna's philosophy in order for the later not to be interpreted in a nihilistic fashion. Emptiness, Je Rimpoche says, is a feature of real objects. So what is illusory is the object's inherent existence (reification of the objet) rather than the object itself. Others such as Gorampa state that objects are a conventional truth therefore illusory. Je Rimpoche says objects are real, only their intrinsic nature (as posited by us) is illusory. Nagarjuna does not develop this thesis. Nagarjuna however states that samsara is no different than nirvana, so Je Rimpoche interprets this to mean the objects are not illusions, the illusions is the reified identity of the objet.

For an excellent sum-up of all this see Sonam Tackchoe' "The Two Truths Debate" this is a must-read for any serious gelugpa scholar.

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Truths-Debate-Tsongkhapa-Gorampa/dp/0861715012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1248556622&sr=8-1

Notice this is also one of the main point of philosophical contention between Gelug and other schools. Here, we are taxed as "materialists" for upholding the reality of material objects (conventional truths)!  >:(
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 09:47:14 PM by Alexis »

Zhalmed Pawo

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2009, 12:17:59 PM »
Thanks for the book tip, Alexis. Looks very interesting. Have to get it someday soon.

But about the "materialist" thing... hmmm. That actually sounds nice, especially when combined with "a demon worshiper".  From now on, let us all be known as the demon worshiping materialists. Yee-haa!

 :D

yedi

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2009, 11:30:53 AM »
Hello all, fellow Shugdenites


I was yesterday talking with a Nyingmapa friend, and we touched on the subject of Je Phabongkhapa (henceforth JP), and he had a view, that JP was actively acting against Nyingmapas in the Eastern Tibet. This was a bit of a shock, since my friend does not have anything against Gelukpas, or even DS-practice! It seems therefore, that even "DS-friendly" Nyingmapas have a very bad view concerning JP, and that while "JP dissing" is the hobby of anti-geluks and anti-shugdenites, similar view seems to be a general Nyingmapa view, entertained even in friendly quarters who do not go dissing JP publicly.


...

1 - JP did what no Geluk had done before, and taught the laity, who responded so enthusiastically, as to move their allegiance to Geluk from their previous lineages. Many Nyingma and Kagyu Lamas lost a lot of the support they had previously used to have.

2 - JP started a movement that converted many people who previously had been supporting their local Nyingma and Kagyu gompas. Many Nyingma and Kagyu Lamas and gompas vere impoverished.

3 - JP converted many Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and many gompas were deserted or converted into Geluk.

4 - JP began to convert Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and took their gompas.

5 - JP stole the Nyingma and Kagyu gompas, and converted them to Geluk.

6 - JP acted against the Nyingma and Kagyu, and stole their gompas and converted the people who had previously been Nyingmapas or Kagyupas.

7 - JP started anti-nyingma and anti-kagyu purges, and changed their gompas into Geluk strongholds.

8 - JP hated Nyingmapas and Kagyupas, and oppressed them by stealing their gompas forcefully and converting people into Geluk



I heard this idea of Je Phabongka having destroyed a lot of Nyingma monasteries and persecuted and killed many Nyingma followers the first time from a Western Ngagpa student in 2000. I was very surprised about it and while confronting my Gelug Lama with these accusations, I came to know, that there were never incidents happened like this, but because of the great popularity of Je Phabonka in Tibet, there had been a lot of jealousy and wrong rumors towards him spread around.
When I checked these accusations from Nyingma side, I couldn't find any word of persecution of Nyingmapas in the time of Je Phabongka in Dudjom Rinpoche's historical work The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Actually there is one great persecution of Nyingmapas mentioned, but this happened 200 years earlier:

“In 1717 (fire bird year, twelfth cycle) the Dzungsar army severely persecuted the Nyingmapa teaching and monasteries.”
And in its Footnote: “In 1717 the Dzungsars occupied Lhasa and killed Lhazang, the leader of the Qosot Mongols who had previously murdered the regent Sangye Gyamtso and helped the Chinese to remove Dalai Lama VI in 1706. A great persecution of Nyingmapa monasteries followed, resulting in the deaths of Locen Dharmasri, Cangdak Pema Trhinle and others. This is certainly one reason for the shift in Nyingma activity to East Tibet from the eighteenth century onwards. See especially Petech, China and Tibet in the Early XVIIIth Century.”

Regarding the time of Phabongka Rinoche I came to know from diverse sources, that the Nyingma lineage was while this time in Tibet not in its best constitution. The monasteries were described often as out-of-repair with just a few very poor monks inside.
Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912) wrote:
“During the present day the teaching of the Ancient Translation School has almost become like a painted butter lamp (which emits no light), and there are few who even consider and inquire as to just what are the essential points of our tradition's philosophical system ...”

I couldn't find out yet, what had been the reasons for the unpopularity of Nyingma school in Tibet while this time, but it is obvious, that such social discrepancies between the traditions create dissatisfaction and jealousy. In fact I heard myself talks like - even from higher Nyingma Lamas-  Gelugpas would get always the better resources than Nyingmapas. This had been before so in Tibet and also after exile, when the Gelugpa's Dharma first spread into the West and all Western money flow into their centers.

I suppose, that regarding the accusations against Je Phabongka two incidents became mixed: the poverty and less popularity of Nyingmapas while his time and the persecution of the Nyingmapas 200 years before. The rest may have been done by polemics and rumours spread around. Also the money story related with Dorje Shugden might find it's root here.

Whatsoever, for Nyingmapas who like to complain all the time about the never happened persecution and money story, there is a very interesting chapter in Dudjom Rinpoche's The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, S. 938 ff.: “On the 'Bad Luck of the Nyingmapa'”  ;)

Freddy

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 08:41:08 AM »
Please excuse that I didn't read all the posts apart from the first one.

@ Zhalmed Phawo:
As you asked for feedback, here it comes.  :D
Concerning the situation in the East: I am not sure about Kham as this is a region I never delt with. So let's talk about Amdo. A friend of mine is a native Amdowa from Rebgong area. He told me that basically all monestaries (with a few exceptions, I suppose) there are Gelugpa monasteries. But among the laity, there are mainly Nyingmapas and some Bönpos as well. So he seid, his family is a Nyingma-family but if he had wanted to take monastic ordination, he by this would have become a Gelug monk as there simply are no other monasteries. For him this seemed to be quite funny and he doesn't have any problems with these different traditions. And as a really Amdowa of course strongly admires Je Rinpoche  ;) !  He even told me that one of his relatives was a monk at Sera monastery.

Someone lately told me that he was told by a Nyingma lama that even though these problems in Kham appeared when Phabongkha Rinpoche stayed there, Rinpoche himslef did never engage in such things as destroying or converting Nyingmapa monasteries himself. And although I heared a lot of allegations against Rinpoche, I never found any real evidence for his alleged activism against Nyingmapas (I mean, Dalai Lama circle, Dreyfus etc. faked a lot but I don't think these are true).
But there is another thing to be kept in mind: Kham and Amdo (especially Kham) were Nyingma and Kagyud strongholds at the time of the fifth Dalai Lama. And there has also been a strong Bönpo alliance there. And what did the then Dalai Lama do? He asked his Mongol allies to invade these regions and distroy the Kagyud and Bönpo kingdoms there, just as he did in the case of Tsang. So if anyone could be blamed for having engaged in destroying the Nyingma and Kagyud in the East then this is for sure the fifth Dalai Lama himself! (Just remember who destroyed the Jonangpa in Central Tibet.)
Phabongkha Rinpoche at so many occasions said that Nyingma dharma is a proper way to Buddhahood, just refer to Liberation in Our Hands.
And we need to consider that "converting" is not a real matter of religion here. The source of all traditions is Buddha Shakyathuba! It is more likely a matter of material wealth, financial support, and the like. The monasteries ruled the surrounding areas, so converting a Nyingma monastery into a Gelugpa one would mean more influence for Gaden Phodrang. Phabongkha Rinpoche at more than one occasion refused to participate in governmental issues. So what need would be there to "convert" monasteries?

Freddy

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2009, 09:14:36 AM »
I just checked again: It was not a Nyingmapa but the Gelug Dagyab Kyabgön who said, Phabonghkapa never ectivly partcipated in the destruction or converting of a monastery in Eastern Tibet.

yedi

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 05:05:07 PM »

Concerning the situation in the East: I am not sure about Kham as this is a region I never delt with. So let's talk about Amdo. A friend of mine is a native Amdowa from Rebgong area. He told me that basically all monestaries (with a few exceptions, I suppose) there are Gelugpa monasteries. But among the laity, there are mainly Nyingmapas and some Bönpos as well. So he seid, his family is a Nyingma-family but if he had wanted to take monastic ordination, he by this would have become a Gelug monk as there simply are no other monasteries. For him this seemed to be quite funny and he doesn't have any problems with these different traditions. And as a really Amdowa of course strongly admires Je Rinpoche  ;) !  He even told me that one of his relatives was a monk at Sera monastery. (...)

This correspondens to the sources which I found. There were great Nyingma masters at the time of Pabhongka Rinpoche, as f.e. Mipham Rinpoche and Düdjom Lingpa, but there were less resources to keep up the Nyingma monasteries. Without support, there were no good teachers, without good teachers there was no attractiveness for students and without attractiveness there was no support. If a Nyingma wanted to get good studies this time, it was quiet common to go to a Gelug monastery.

And what did the then Dalai Lama do? He asked his Mongol allies to invade these regions and distroy the Kagyud and Bönpo kingdoms there, just as he did in the case of Tsang. So if anyone could be blamed for having engaged in destroying the Nyingma and Kagyud in the East then this is for sure the fifth Dalai Lama himself! (Just remember who destroyed the Jonangpa in Central Tibet.)

As far as I know, the destruction of the Kagyü monasteries happened as a result of some heavy political mistakes of one of the V. Dalai Lama's ministers and not under his own direction. The persecution of the Nyingmapas was another incident and came about 35 years after the V. Dalai Lama's Parinirvana.

I think, we should be very careful in talking about the V. Dalai Lama in a negative way. As he is in the same way part of our transmission lineage like Pabhongka Rinpoche, it doesn't make much sense to me to illuminate the image of the one lineage Guru while throwing mud to the other one. The V. Dalai Lama is also lineage holder of many Nyingma transmissions. And it was him, who wrote a beautiful prayer to Dorje Shugden ...  ;)

Freddy

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Re: Je Pabongkhapa in the East Tibet (what really happened?)
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2009, 08:38:54 AM »
@ Yedi:

Thanks for your reply. No doubt there had been great achievements by the Great Fifth. But yet he lived the life of a politician. Put aside possible involvement in the East (which I still think existed) there is still the problem of the Jonangpa persecution in Ü and the war against the Kagyud in Tsang. These had for sure been supported and some even started by the Great Fifth. If he is Chenrezig, then there will be a benefit even from such actions. But as we can't see his real nature (well, basically I can't, maybe someone else do can) we have to judge by actions. And at least such actions are exactly of the kind the now 14th Dalai Lama alleges us to do.
But I am no expert on the Great Fifth's life. Anyway, Goldstein's "The Snow Lion and the Dragon" is a good compilation on Tibetan politics through the ages.