About

This site is dedicated to providing an impartial and objective view on the Dorje Shugden controversy, based upon the personal experiences from people of both sides of the debate.

This is not an academic website; there are plenty of academics already writing about this subject. Instead, this site is dedicated to articles, discussions and accounts that bring together personal experiences, academia, anecdotes, thoughts and ideas.

This issue has been raging on for two decades now, leaving in its wake a huge amount of anger, confusion, separatism and slander.

May this site act in some small way as a catalyst for reconciliation and may all Buddhists involved start behaving like Buddhists again

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6 thoughts on “About

    1. Hi Michael,

      I have now had a chance to study your paper on the ordination debate. A very thorough investigation and definitely worth getting out there 🙂

      As I said before, I am sure Tenzin Peljor would read it. It might be useful. If you like, I can tell him about it and request him to read it and share his thoughts.

      As to the study itself:

      What you have shown is that there seems to be a correlation between Gelugpa Prasangikas and Vaibhashikas with regards to the nature of vows. You have shown in Geshe-la’s work that he also adheres to this view, which differs from other non-Gelug Prasangikas, Madhyamikas, Yogachara/Chittamatras and Sautantrikas. It was also interesting to read that Ganpopa’s own instructions are being interpreted completely differently by different schools.

      Yet at this point, I must admit that I do not see the connection between your study, which as I said is very thorough, and the NKT ordination vows. It seems that the ‘problem’ critics have with the NKT vows has little to do with whether or not they are subtle form, or whether they can continue after death. What I gather from Tenzin’s posts, is that the NKT are the only tradition claiming to be part of the Gelugpa lineage who do not follow the Mulasarvastivadin lineage derived from the Vinaya. Strictly speaking, this seems to be true. Now, there may be countless reasons for validating a reduction of vows down to a set of ten, this I myself do not dispute (I see no problem with the NKT ordination per se), but what Peljor & co find problematic, is the fact that the NKT has broken the Vinaya lineage by breaking with the Mulasarvastivadin tradition.

      Je Tsongkhapa explains in his Lamrim Chenmo that without the full Vinaya ordination system there is no basis for Buddhism (I wish I could quote it, but I’m at work right now… it is to be found somewhere on Tenzin’s blog as well). I could see this debate embarking on a long journey, one side quoting certain things and the other quoting certain other things – from the same authors!

      Finally, the critics of the NKT see the lack of the full ordination ceremony as simply one of many ‘altered’ or inauthentic aspects. I think if it were the only issue, they wouldn’t give it so much importance. I also wager that there might be some inquiry into your study: clearly you did not get all that information from Geshe-la’s books; and since the NKT openly discourage practitioners from studying works other than Geshe-la’s, you had to (in a sense) leave the NKT platform for the sake of writing your article. Conversely, if you would be a practitioner under a different Gelugpa group, you could have conducted your study with their full blessing.

      Back to your thesis: it is a subject I admittedly have never heard about and I need more time to study it. But I have to admit the prospect seems very strange to me: that the nature of vows are a type of form-image. This would only work within a Prasangika context if indeed all words, thoughts – not to mention sounds, tastes, feelings etc – were also subtle form-images. But if we say only vows are, we leave the realm of testable logic. From the quotes you provided, I am not yet convinced that this was the position of those masters, or perhaps I have myself misunderstood them.

      The discussion of whether or not lower vows can lead to higher ones is interesting but again doesn’t relate to the validity or invalidity of NKT vows.

      On a personal level, I have little interest in vows, commitments and ordination rituals and feel that the emphasis in Buddhism is always mind-based and internal, as Geshe-la often points out. So of course, a person can be a ‘fully ordained’ Bodhisattva if their mind and thus their actions meet the criteria. But for the purpose of this debate and looking at the authenticity of a lineage, we need to look at the externals as well of course.

      Hope to hear back from you,
      Kind regards
      Maik

      Like

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