If someone tells me a Karmapa is a Bodhisattva I’m talking to the wrong person

I just realized earlier that I was speaking here with someone who doesn’t know the difference between the Mahayana and the Vajrayana.

To whom this may concern:

In terms of the Vajrayana, if you are Karma Kagyu, a Karmapa is Vajradhara, a primordial Buddha, and not a Bodhisattva.

Therefore, to refer here to a Karmapa as being a Bodhisattva is inappropriate and as such not appreciated.

The Mahayana is magical thinking.

I don’t do magical thinking.

To quote Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

“Vajradhara is a principle or a state of mind that possesses fearlessness. The fear of death, the fear of pain and misery—all such fears—have been transcended. Having transcended those states, the eternity is not particularly dependent on life situations and whether or not we make them healthier or whether or not we achieve longevity. It is not dependent on anything of that nature.

We are discussing a sense of eternity that could apply to our own lives as well. This attitude of eternity is quite different from the conventional spiritual idea of eternity. The conventional idea is that if you attain a certain level of spiritual one-upmanship, you will be free from birth and death. You will exist forever and be able to watch the world and have power over everything. It is the notion of the superman who cannot be destroyed, the good savior who helps everyone using his Superman out. This general notion of eternity and is somewhat distorted, somewhat cartoonlike: the spiritual superman has power over others, and therefore he can attain longevity, which is a continuity of his power over others. Of course he does also help others at the same time.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

From volume five of the collected works of Chogyam Trungpa

I apologize for the drama.

I assumed that the person I was speaking with here knew the difference between the Mahayana and Vajrayana.

My bad.



Filed under Buddhism

23 responses to “If someone tells me a Karmapa is a Bodhisattva I’m talking to the wrong person

    • This is the person I busted for not knowing the difference between the Vajrayana and the Mahayana.

      Therefore, I want to know who I am talking with here, just as I would in my life elsewhere.

      This person has wasted my time.

      Therefore, it is time for this person to put up or shut up if they wish to continue our conversation.

      I’m not asking for them to identify themselves.

      I simply want to know who I am talking to so that I can decide whether or not it is worth the effort of responding to their comments here.

      Given that my practice is the Vajrayana they are a Mahayanist

  1. James Hitchens

    Hi Japhy,

    Perhaps you could write a longer post explaining the main differences between Mahayana and Vajrayana?

    Trungpa did teach Mahayana as well as Vajrayana (although many of his students have argued he taught it from a Mahamudra view).

    Also would love to know any book recommendations so I can learn more about the distinction.


    • I’d love to expand on this subject is of interest to readers.

      I have a house guest visiting from China this evening.

      Hopefully I will be able to post something before the end of this week.

      Regarding Trungpa having everyone in his sangha on the same page, first we do this, then we do that, which resulted in him teaching both the Mahayana and Vajrayana, it is important to note here that he didn’t mix the Mahayana with the Vajrayana in doing so, you were either studying and practicing the Mahayana or you were studying the practicing the Vajrayana as such.

      And then there were those members of his sangha for whom everything was Mahamudra.

      They could appear to be studying and practicing the Hinayana but they experienced it as Mahamudra.

      Reginald Ray wrote two very thick volumes on the subject, if my memory serves me right, “Indestructible truth” and “Secrets of the Vajra World” respectively.

      • James Hitchens

        By ‘everything was Mahamudra’, are you referring to their state of mind – that their level of attention was such that everything appeared as Mahamudra….or were they just muddling the teachings up?

        And yes, would love to hear more.

        Enjoy your house guest.

        • Once Trungpa pointed out the true nature of the mind with practice they came to see Vajradhara in all they experienced thus realizing Mahamudra in the process while otherwise appearing to be as confused about what they were doing as the next person.

  2. James Hitchens

    For some time I assumed Kek was an alt that you used as a literary device troll yourself with….I guess not!

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