Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Chatral Rinpoche's Admonition

I found this elsewhere, attributed to Chatral Rinpoche in April 2007, and excerpt it here, as follows:

"My consistently expressed guidelines and advice to everyone, whether they are tulkus, yogis, khenpos, or even ordinary monks that I happen to meet from day to day are here quoted --
(1) If you are a serious student of Buddhism and practitioner of Dzogpachenpo, you should spend your life in retreat, with minimum comfort, giving up attachment to all luxuries.
(2) Do not waste your time touring foreign countries, including Taiwan, as this is fruitless.
(3) Do not be tempted to beg for donations using different excuses, such as construction of a big monastery, stupa, Zangdokpalri, Bumtsog or big offerings, or establishing a new Buddhist center, etc.
(4) Do not sell out Dzogpachenpo under different pretexts for your own personal benefit.
(5) Always be humble, and do not try to expose yourself in front of others, even if you have a little knowledge of Buddhism.
(6) Do not cheat others in the name of Dzogpachenpo by giving initiations or teachings that you have never received from high lamas or your Guru, or which you have not practiced yourself.
(7) Finally, I myself have never had the slightest desire to visit any foreign country, nor do I have any specific reason for doing so."

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1 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Chatral Rinpoche is absolutely right and I am chastened and humbled by what he says. However I take exception to his mentioning "Zangdokpalri" in his list of pretexts for raising funds abroad. My teacher built a monastery by that name in Arunachal Pradesh with funds raised in the U.S. (including by giving extensive Dzogchen teachings that I requested, primarily to benefit my own understanding but also with knowledge it would benefit the monastery). Our Rinpoche never shied from saying that he never intended to teach Dharma in America but only came here when it was obvious Zangdokpalri would never be completed otherwise. Building Zangdokpalri was not Rinpoche's personal idea, either. He had several visions of Guru Rinpoche commanding him to build it, also showing what the location should look like, the general area and so on.

While I have no issue with the intention underlying what Chatral Rinpoche says here, I hope that his mention of Zangdokpalri is only to discourage lesser lamas from imitating mine. Our Rinpoche was a humble man with no education, no qualifications, no special entrustment by a human teacher, but nevertheless he had amazing qualities and could transmit those qualities to others, which is why he became a teacher without intending to do so. Some Tertons are like that, as Chatral Rinpoche surely knows.

In any case it felt and still feels strange and vaguely upsetting to hear Dzogchen teachings taught for fundraising purposes. If I could do it over again, there are certain teachings that I would not request or wish to sponsor, now that I have seen how many problems can arise from doing so for large audiences that contain a lot of dilletantes and a few bad apples.

If Chatral Rinpoche has any compassion for Americans he should pray that a teacher as well-qualified as himself is able to provide some relief for people like myself that cannot travel to meet him in person. Otherwise if we wish to receive any personal instructions at all we may have no choice but to risk doing business with travelling fundraisers.