Dalai Lama

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Dalai Lama

Postby wadey » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:50 am

What is the view on the Dalai lama? As far as I know, he is from the Tibetan Buddhism (sorry for the lack of technical names :embarassed: ) and this is not a part of Theravada. DOes he have any significance to Theravada followers?
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:59 am

Well, there's no official answer because Theravada is not an organized religion with a central authority.

My personal opinion is that he is a good monk. However I don't think he's Avalokiteshvara's emanation as I think Avalokiteshavara is an invented character.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:12 pm

wadey wrote:What is the view on the Dalai lama? As far as I know, he is from the Tibetan Buddhism (sorry for the lack of technical names :embarassed: ) and this is not a part of Theravada. DOes he have any significance to Theravada followers?

There is a whole spectrum of Theravadin views of the D.L.
What is less well known is that there are a whole spectrum of Tibetan Buddhist views of the D.L.

The oldest school of Tibean Buddhism is the Nyingmapa, some Nyingmapa teachers are less than keen on the D.L.
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:19 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Well, there's no official answer because Theravada is not an organized religion with a central authority.

... and (as far as I know) there is no formal connection between any Theravadin institution and any Vajrayana (Tibetan) institution, so there aren't even semi-official answers.

Modus.Ponens wrote:My personal opinion is that he is a good monk. However I don't think he's Avalokiteshvara's emanation as I think Avalokiteshavara is an invented character.
[/quote]
A lot of Theravada Buddhists have a lot of respect for him. So do a lot of non-Buddhists. He has handled a very difficult public, political, role very well for decades.
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby plwk » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:55 pm

As he is reported to have said, 'I am a simple monk'. That is all I need to know :anjali:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby ground » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:49 pm

wadey wrote:DOes he have any significance to Theravada followers?


Of course. For some as an object for purposeful differentiation and for others as an object for purposeful investigation of common ground.
But I guess the same holds true for many non-Theravadins.

This is my view as a non-Theravadin.

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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby meindzai » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:59 pm

It's hard to be any kind of Buddhist I think without being seen as identified with the Dalai Lama in some way. Most people don't know that there are different types of Buddhism. He ends up serving as a representative of Buddhism, though rather inadvertently.

I think Tibetan Buddhism is a little weird but I think he's a wonderful person. I did get a chance to see him speak a few years back to a general audience. Most of what he said was so basic that it really did not have anything to do with any particular school. When I say basic I don't even mean "four noble truths" basic, I mean like "doing good things is good," "loving kindness is good," etc.

-M
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby wadey » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:27 pm

meindzai wrote:It's hard to be any kind of Buddhist I think without being seen as identified with the Dalai Lama in some way. Most people don't know that there are different types of Buddhism. He ends up serving as a representative of Buddhism, though rather inadvertently.

I think Tibetan Buddhism is a little weird but I think he's a wonderful person. I did get a chance to see him speak a few years back to a general audience. Most of what he said was so basic that it really did not have anything to do with any particular school. When I say basic I don't even mean "four noble truths" basic, I mean like "doing good things is good," "loving kindness is good," etc.

-M


Why is it weird?
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:22 pm

Wadey,
Saying Tibetan Buddhism is 'weird' (not your word, I know) could be seen as disparaging but I doubt that it was intended that way. 'Exotic' or 'different' would have done just as well.
But if you want to get a good understanding of it, a Theravada discussion group is not the best place. You are much better off visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism and following the links as far as you like.
If you really want scraps of opinion and second-hand information instead of real knowledge, try Dharma Wheel (link at bottom of page) which is at least about the right branch of Buddhism.
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby wadey » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:26 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Wadey,
Saying Tibetan Buddhism is 'weird' (not your word, I know) could be seen as disparaging but I doubt that it was intended that way. 'Exotic' or 'different' would have done just as well.
But if you want to get a good understanding of it, a Theravada discussion group is not the best place. You are much better off visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism and following the links as far as you like.
If you really want scraps of opinion and second-hand information instead of real knowledge, try Dharma Wheel (link at bottom of page) which is at least about the right branch of Buddhism.
:namaste:
Kim


Kim

My intention was never to find scraps of opinion or second-hand information. My intention is to learn. I know absolutely nothing about the history or lineages of Buddhism. This is a very long and indepth subject, so will take me quite a while. What I do know is the Dalai Lama is a world reknowned Buddhist. I know he is not any authority to Theravada, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't hold any significance. I simply asked the question to try and learn and thought a good starting point would be in the little knowledge I already have rather than somewhere I know NOTHING about.

As I asked in my other post where is the best place to start to learn, I was told here was a great place to start (http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7397#p117239). Therefore I asked a question. Apologies if this is wrong and I'll stop asking, read books, links and other paraphernalia and see if that will help me learn.

Dan
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:02 pm

wadey wrote:Kim

My intention was never to find scraps of opinion or second-hand information. My intention is to learn. I know absolutely nothing about the history or lineages of Buddhism. This is a very long and indepth subject, so will take me quite a while. What I do know is the Dalai Lama is a world reknowned Buddhist. I know he is not any authority to Theravada, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't hold any significance. I simply asked the question to try and learn and thought a good starting point would be in the little knowledge I already have rather than somewhere I know NOTHING about.

As I asked in my other post where is the best place to start to learn, I was told here was a great place to start (http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7397#p117239). Therefore I asked a question. Apologies if this is wrong and I'll stop asking, read books, links and other paraphernalia and see if that will help me learn.

Dan

Hi, Dan,
All I wanted to do was point you towards a *better* source of information about the schools of Buddhism than a discussion forum - better because it is not affiliated with any one of them, and can be more comprehensive. I think that the first resource for any new subject should be an expert overview, not a random stranger's off-the-cuff thoughts about one tiny part of the subject. Ask questions here, by all means - but do try to get that overview first so you will have some context for the answers.

:namaste:
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby PeterB » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Dan it would be like posting on a liberal protestant forum about the Pope.

There is no " official" Theravada view of the Dalai Lama. Some Theravadin Buddhists admire him, some have no real opinion.

Some Theravadin Buddhists admire him more than SOME Tibetan Buddhists...go figure.

The reason being that Tibetan Buddhism is particularly rife with political machinations...always has been.
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby meindzai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:39 pm

wadey wrote:
meindzai wrote:It's hard to be any kind of Buddhist I think without being seen as identified with the Dalai Lama in some way. Most people don't know that there are different types of Buddhism. He ends up serving as a representative of Buddhism, though rather inadvertently.

I think Tibetan Buddhism is a little weird but I think he's a wonderful person. I did get a chance to see him speak a few years back to a general audience. Most of what he said was so basic that it really did not have anything to do with any particular school. When I say basic I don't even mean "four noble truths" basic, I mean like "doing good things is good," "loving kindness is good," etc.

-M


Why is it weird?


(I have no problem answering Wadey's question here.)

TB has a lot of ritual and mythology associated with it that IMO have more to do with Tibet than with Buddhism. It tends to wind it's way around the dharma in rather complex and ornate ways, sometimes ensnaring it's practitioners into a kind of magical thinking, much of which bears little resemblance to what the Buddha taught, and some that he explicitly warned against (such as fortune telling). A lot of it is representative of pre-Buddhist Shamanism.

Having said that, the practice has produced a very rich body of writings with a lot of food for thought (like Chogyam Trungpa), compassionate monks and meditation masters. Their emphasis on compassion is (to me) pretty inspiring. I really like Shantideva's "The Bodhisattva Way of Life," as it makes some very good points (pretty logically argued) about how to practice compassion. This is not a Tibetan work per se but it is preserved in that tradition with many commentaries by Tibetan masters, including the Dalai Lama himself.

So, to me, a bit weird, but not bad weird. It often strikes me as somewhat experimental in a sense and I kind of see it as the Research and Development branch of Buddhism. They occasionally produce some real gems, but overall the practice is not for me.

-M
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Re: Dalai Lama

Postby Peace » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:59 am

I, for one, am grateful for the Dalai Lama. He is a leading Buddhist figure in the western world. I read most of his books when I was first exploring Buddhism. In an introduction to one of his books he stated that all who are interested in Buddhism should read the Pali Canon first. That's the first I ever heard of the Theravadan text. I often think of him and the Pope. The two are religious leaders, but I'm always impressed with the Dalai Lama, not so much with the Pope. Having said that, I also do not believe he is the Avalokatashvara--I do not follow a tradition of saints/bodhisatvas. But, he always claimed he's just a simple monk. He has done a great job introducing a new way of thinking to the west.
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