12-04-09 - On the Chronicals Project a classy class discussion. Look down this page for:

The quote of the Buddha concerning blind faith you asked for in your first talk is from the Tattva-sangraha vs.3587, 3588:

It looks to me like it might not stay on that page so I've put it here on cuke real quick like.

Dear Peter,

The quote of the Buddha concerning blind faith you asked for in your first talk is from the Tattva-sangraha vs.3587, 3588:

“Just as a wise man tests (ostensible) gold, by burning, cutting and rubbing (on a touchstone), my statements, o monks, should be accepted after examination and not out of respect for me”

In the Anugattara Nikaya (I 189 and II 191-3) the Buddha lists 10 traditional reasons a person follows a teaching or a teacher and why they could all be questionable. They should not be accepted blindly just because of their reputation, prestige, lineage, because they are cited in the scriptures, are appealing to your personal opinions, are retold for many generations and become traditional, agree with common logic, or are well known, etc. Here are different translations of the sutra from the Pali:

The Buddha was also skeptical about divine revelation or anyone claiming omniscience and discouraged his students from considering him that way. “Those who say that the Recluse Gotama is omniscient and all-seeing and professes to have an infinite knowledge and insight, which is constantly and at all times present to him, when he walks or stands, sleeps or keeps awake are not reporting him properly and misrepresent him (as claiming) what is false and untrue”. Asked how he should be correctly reported the answer was “in proclaiming that the Recluse Gotama has a three-fold knowledge, one would report him properly and not misrepresent him” (Majjhima Nikaya I 482). Also “When a fellow monk claims the highest knowledge, one should neither accept nor reject it but without acceptance or rejection should question him” (MN III 29)

In the same sutra (I 319) he suggests that a new student should examine if the teacher and Sangha have proper intentions and if their actions are consistent with what they preach. As the student gradually progresses “..he understands with his own higher knowledge some of the teachings, concluding they are true and then reposes faith in the teacher, trusting the Tathagata is actually awake, his Dharma well taught and the Sangha engaged in good conduct… and the faith of him, which is thus fixed, rooted and established on these reasons, grounds and features is said to be a rational faith, rooted in insight, firm and irremovable by recluse or Brahmin, a god, Mara or Brahma or anyone in the world”.

Elsewhere (I 36) in the sutra the Buddha says that when klesas have been controlled the monk is said to be endowed with faith based on understanding and that “…the Dharma when put into practice gives results in this life itself … and is to be personally verified by the wise”.

Gradually the rational faith is substituted by actual knowledge and finally dropped completely by the realized Arhat described as a person “devoid of faith” (assaddho, Dhammapada 97) and someone who has knowledge without having to depend on a belief. (Samyutta Nikaya, IV 138).

Thus have I heard.

Thank you very much for the genuineness and heart coming out of your talks,

Ravinder Rai


Thank you Clarke for the refreshing talk and anecdotes about the VCTR.

As you said spiritual materialism accompanies us throughout the journey, consequently understanding it is still relevant now. More specifically 33 years ago VCTR pleaded his senior students not to succumb to 3 pitfalls, all directly linked to spiritual materialism, that might occur in the future. These seem to be an accurate description of what is spreading now. I was therefore rather disappointed there was no discussion at all about the current forms of distortion we are involved with. Here are the VCTR’s words:

“We have three problems…as far as the future student’s sanity is concerned. One is that you get carried away by the culture of Tibetan-ness or the Sanskritness or the Buddhistness of India, of the East. You can get completely carried away. You would like to become Tibetifiers in the future. That’s the biggest problem. The second problem is that quite possibly you will feel you have done enough tantric practice, that you don’t have to work with Hinayana and Mahayana anymore. And the third problem is that when meditation students come to you and want to receive instruction, you give purely cryptic answers to them and don’t want to work with them from the bottom up completely. Those could possibly be problems, since most of you are teachers, or if not, you are teachers on the spot, you are would-be teachers in any case. So (avoid those) for the sake of the lineage and also for the sake of my effort I have put on you” (Collected Vajra Assemblies, Vol I pp.83. August 1976).

Since he considered this so vital for the continuity of the lineage, perhaps the topic should be addressed with more attention and urgency.

-Ravi (Ravinder Rai)



Thankyou so much for your presentations about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's teachings. This is a great service to enable a wide audience to benefit from these teachings.

I am not a Buddhist but was drawn to these teachings through Ani Pema Chodron during my search for the true nature of reality. I have for a long time believed that the answers lie in the field of physics and Buddhism seems the most closely related to the possibilities I encountered there. I really don't know what I'm trying to say - but thank you for the opportunity to listen and learn. I am looking forward to the next presentation on the 28th!

Warmest Regards

Julie Koehler


Thank you for your presentation. I have just finished listening to Class 1 and have a response to the question that was asked at the end about where or what is Chogyam Trungpa now that he has passed on. I was reminded of a line from a poem by Rick Fields that said, if my memory serves me here, "you left us holding the diamond space of your heart." As far as I can tell, that is where is he is. It comes through quite clearly in his students. I never actually met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche but I was in his presence twice. For that I am grateful. Thanks again. -Cheryl Foltos, 20 Oct 09


Thank you Cheryl. Does anyone have this poem by Rick Fields? Maybe we could post it here. -Chroniclers


CTR, April 4, 1987

for Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

April rain,
Cold April rain.
Tibetan fog horns thunder
in Halifax harbor.

The Buddha said,
The Buddha says,
"Everything that's put together
Falls apart."

You caused more trouble
And did more good
Than anyone I'll ever know.

And now you've gone across
And left us holding
The diamond space of your heart
In our folded hands.

-- Rick Fields
from "Fuck You, Cancer"

Sent in by Chris Keyser. -Thank you Chris.