The Vajrayana Today-Not What You Think It Is

It pains Japhy to revisit this moment in his life, but he once asked Khenpo Khenpo Karthar about fishing.

“The moment I went there, I regretted wasting my face time with Rinpoche on such a stupid question.”

Japhy’s cohorts, the couple that had for years hosted Khenpo Karthar’s visits to Chicago, had just separated.

“Rinpoche ended up in the condo of the cohort that caused the separation when he slept with his cohort’s wife.”

Japhy was also unfamiliar with Khenpo Karthar’s translator for this visit, Chojor Radha, which only made an already awkward moment worse for him.

“I was accustomed to having Nodup Tsering Burkhar translating for me. It was an end of a chapter in my relationship with Rinpoche.”

Japhy was ready to cut bait on his encampment. As far as he was concerned, it was over.

“No disrespect to Chojor, but I had a relationship with Nodup. I felt he got me.”

Japhy’s real issue was that a cohort he once respected had cheated on her husband with another cohort.

“What made matters even worse for me was that Rinpoche appeared to have no issue with an obvious instance of sexual misconduct.”

Japhy has never had anything but absolute confidence in Khenpo Karthar, so this represented a rough patch in his relationship with Rinpoche.

“Thus my stupid question about fishing. I just wasn’t feeling it, given what I was going through at that point with my cohorts.”

Japhy had been with Khenpo Karthar long enough not to tell tales about his cohorts to Rinpoche.

“What my cohorts do is none of my business as far as Rinpoche is concerned.”

In retrospect, Japhy gets why Khenpo Karthar didn’t take issue with an obvious instance of sexual misconduct.”

“In the Vajrayana, you can’t violate a vow you haven’t taken, which makes perfect sense if you think about it.”

Simply put, marriage vows notwithstanding, Japhy’s cohorts had not violated any commitment they had made to Khenpo Karthar.

“It sucked what they had done to our encampment. But otherwise, it was none of my business.”

Of the original cohorts that constituted the encampment, other than Japhy, only one other cohort is still a cohort in Japhy’s present encampment.

“Ironically, this cohort was the husband betrayed by his wife when she hooked up another cohort.”

This isn’t a subject that Japhy likes to talk about, but a recent discussion here has reminded him of this low point in his relationship with Khenpo Karthar.

“A reader tried to argue the applicability of vows which I have never taken, nor anyone I know of has ever, in fact, actually taken.”

The reader could cite things he had read, and comments he has heard on the subject, but he had no personal knowledge of that which he spoke.

“He had never received an empowerment from a Vajra master who invoked these so-called Tantric vows.”

In Japhy’s Vajrayana, hearsay and gossip, things read in books, is no substitute for actual personal experience with a Vajra master.

“Even among initiates, there is a lot of confusion about what they have signed up for when they receive an empowerment.”

Given that so much of the Vajrayana comes down to authority, recognizing it, and obeying it, Japhy wanted to clarify this here.

“There are no implied vows in the Vajrayana. Before an empowerment, unless the Vajra master states otherwise, no vows are required.”

This comes directly from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the head of Japhy’s Karma Kagyu lineage.

“If you show up at an empowerment, unless you have been told otherwise beforehand by the Vajra master, the empowerment obligates you to nothing.”

Japhy cites the example of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa when he performed the Chenrezig Empowerment in Seattle in 2008.

“Of all the empowerments I have never had a Vajra master swear me to some undisclosed vow of secrecy.”

If anyone has, of course, they obviously can’t speak of it, but that is besides the point as far as Japhy is concerned.

Anyway, Japhy is done for today. He has sufficiently embarrassed himself enough for one day. Karmapa Chenno!

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4 Comments

Filed under Buddhism

4 responses to “The Vajrayana Today-Not What You Think It Is

  1. You have multiple points going here. First, Rinpoche has spoken about ethics and like sexual misconduct in my presence. These vows are for lay people to take. Also, not taking the vows also represent an accumulation of negative karma. So, what actually did Rinpoche tell you? Rinpoche functions–what I can tell–in a nondualistic manner these days. And he isn’t going to place one “sin” above another, so to speak.

    Also, Rinpoche gave me Chenrezik and Medicine Buddha empowerment in Dallas. He directly told us to chant the Chenrezik mantra at least 1000 times per day and the Medicine Buddha Mantra at least one mala round per day. Is that samaya? I have followed his advice. If I miss a day, I do more.

    • Khenpo Karthar teaches dharma. In the dharma it is said that sexual misconduct will have negative consequences.

      In terms of the Vajrayana, there are no implied vows.

      The purpose of a vow is to accumulate merit.

      Take for instance, when you vow to not commit sexual misconduct.

      Every day you do not commit sexual misconduct, you accumulate the merit and dedicate it to the benefit of sentient beings.

      Whatever vow you take, it works the same.

      If by chance you violate a vow, you confess it, regret it, purify it, and return to keeping it.

      Regarding an empowerment, afterwards the Vajra master will, as they see fit, will state their expectations.

      If they are not clearly specified beforehand, although strongly recommended, you are obviously not committed to do as advised.

      Regarding the fulfillment of such instructions, unless you are instructed otherwise of course, doing a mala of Chenrezig’s mantra will suffice.

      This has been my experience, and nothing more.

      The alternative is burdening yourself with mantra recitations that do not benefit your practice.

      If something doesn’t benefit your practice, you won’t keep it up.

      If you don’t keep it up, you would have been better off to have never taken the empowerment in the first place.

      The important point here, is basing your practice on what Rinpoche has instructed you personally to do, and not what you think he wants you to do, based on what he has said for the benefit of others, such as teachings you have received.

  2. Jon

    I see your points clearly now. I misunderstood.

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