Oct 21

Kalu Rinpoche | Vajrayana Buddhism – How relevant is it to this day and age (Q&A3)

Host: with regard to that, one thing, because Rinpoche, I would like to firstly thank on behalf of the audience for giving us such an elaborate history of how the Shangpa lineage came into being, but one question that I wanted to ask Rinpoche, was, with regard to the Vajrayana Conference, and also the fact that this ancient, with love and respect, this ancient wisdom that is Buddhism, how relevant is it to this day and age? Rinpoche did share about, touched upon the fact that Buddhism needs to help people, people who can’t meet their rent, people who are divorced, who are going through depression, and all these situations. So if Rinpoche can share something on that regard.

Kalu Rinpoche: When you have this so called “lineage”, it has a transmission lineage, it has an empowerment lineage, it is very helpful when it comes to few individuals who really want to dedicate fully and not looking back anything in life, and want to practice their whole life. And everything makes sense.

But like you said, you know, in order to bring more in a relative level, to help other people, is, nowadays, you know, people go through depression and myself, I’ve gone through a depression, with a lot of betrayal in my inner circle, in my early age, when I started the responsibility. Because when you have a name, there is a value. When there is a value, there’s a politics. And when there’s politics, there’s a different interest, people surrounding you. And then when you brought up in a monastery, you don’t have a management training, you know? You are told “Be good! Be kind! Be loving! Everything will be fine!” you know?

But when you wake up in the reality, after the, taking the responsibility, doesn’t function like that, you know? You spend lot of time with the lawyer, you spend lot of time individual by individual, by helping them, you know, putting a phumba on their head is not going to fix their problem. But certain individual, you have to sit down and listen to them, you know? And I think that is important.

And talking about how you can bring the teachings of the Buddha, teachings of the Shangpa lineage in a more relevant level, is by introducing the Niguma Yoga itself. Because when she taught the Five Jewels of Niguma teaching: Heat Generating practice, Clear Light practice, Dream Yoga practice, Phowa practice, Bardo practice, you know? When she taught all of the Five Jewels and Six Yogas of Niguma to Khyunpo Naljor she said “do not teach any of these things until the seventh generation of the lineage holder”.

Host: yes, I did come across that, for seven generations, the lineage was supposed to be given to single individual?

Kalu Rinpoche: Exactly. “So after the seventh lineage holder, then you can share public” then that is when the Shangpa lineage became very popular, you know, during that time.

Host: So the popularity of Shangpa, the flourishing of that actually happened after the seventh generation?

Kalu Rinpoche: Yes.

Host: When it was revealed to a bigger audience.

Kalu Rinpoche: Exactly. So there was a time that where Khyungpo Naljor, you know, because he’s a great scholar, meditator, and he was known as a mahasiddha of Tibet, which is not really the common title that you get, you know?

Host: At that point in time for somebody who is Tibetan.

Kalu Rinpoche: Yes.

Host: Because most of the panditas and everybody was Indian.

Kalu Rinpoche: Exactly. So he’s known as pandita and mahasiddha and yogi, enlightened being. And there was a time that, you know, he held, he had 108 stupas and temples and so on, but then there was a, there was a certain generation of decline, in terms of popularity, but in terms of the lineage, it maintained the blessing, the protection and the, from the protector of the Mahakala and the Khandroma as well. And on the seventh lineage holder, it became public.

So, talking about the relevant level, is that, you know, me, myself, I practice Niguma Yoga. When you go travel around the world, and looking after meditation centre, meeting people, and then you go through so many different challenges. And then you have a lot of stress in your mind, you have a lot of, you know, because not every centre, a meditation centre, is a peaceful place. Every meditation centre has a different challenges. Some places are in debt. Some places are in the political turmoil, and some dharma centres, they are in a kind of division state.

So you have to solve that. Being patient. And you have to be passive, you have to be kind, at the same time you have to be decisive. You know? So all that, doesn’t really work together very well unless you have an inner peace. You know? So when you have an inner peace, and search of inner peace actually started even further after the retreat.

And I start doing this Niguma Yoga, and it has been very, very helpful to me, and then I was doing the yoga every day, for almost one year, in preparation for this event as well, on top of that. And it helped my mind to be more clear, to be more calm, and also how I interact with my responsibility and with other individuals, you know? And in terms of the Dharma practice, it helped me a lot.

So if it can help me, it can help other people. I’m a human being, they are human being, you know? So my title is just a name. That doesn’t make anybody enlightenment. But if there’s a quality development that I have, and if I can share, and help other people, and you know, why not?

Because, you know, in Indian culture, you have a hatha yoga. And many people they explore the hatha yoga, and they do all sorts of yoga, and then after that, they seek a spirituality. So if we as a Buddhist, whether I’m a Shangpa lineage, or the, any sort of a lineage, if we can contribute in a physical and a mental wellbeing for the society, and that itself will hold the tradition and the culture of each nation.

Otherwise, having too much concern and being panicking everywhere, and how to modernising it, it doesn’t really help. Unless you give them, to something to experience by themself. Because many people they drink alcohol, they consume many different things to make them feel “alive”, or they want to “switch off”, so they have two extremes, you know?

So when you give them yoga, you are not telling them to “worship me, I’m your guru”, you’re telling them to “experience your own breath”. You’re telling them to “experience your own body”, you’re telling them to “experience their own air, and to be mindful”, you know? So when you have that kind of a, experience to see deeper in oneself, there’s a definitely positive outcome.


H. E Kalu Rinpoche talks to Karma Dendup about Vajrayana Buddhism, Shangpa Kagyu, Niguma Yoga and many more during the Fourth International Conference on Vajrayana Buddhism at The Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies. (24′ 10”)

To be continued …