About Me

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I study, and try to practice, Vajrayana Buddhism. My main areas of interest are Chod, Kagyu and Nyingma traditions as well as Buddhisms interactions with the West, pop-culture and engaged Buddhism.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The most frustrating thing about learning any language is the difficulty in accurately assessing your progress. Various people say I'm improving, but then there will be things like the huge variety of how people say things, and I don't just mean in terms of regional differences or shesa, but much more random variations.

This weekend Pema and I went away and spoke Tibetan for roughly 60% of the time, 100% on one evening and she seems to think I'm doing ok, yet she trolls me about my Tibetan all the time.

No concrete answers on how much longer I'll be able to stay/whether or not I can continue to study, but I'm feeling optimistic, plus the chaotic uncertainty is definitely a good antidote to excessive attachments of all sorts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Received Guru Rinpoche empowerment from HH Sakya Trinzin today. He hit me very hard on the head and later a very clear Buddha head shaped cloud appeared. Good Times.

Going away this weekend. There might also be some interesting news in the next few weeks, but I'll be posting it on facebook as it's something worth sharing with more than two people.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Excluding the issues around studying, there have in the last few days emerged news from home which is putting everything I'm doing here in jeopardy, however the real problem is the way other people are being affected.

This should conventionally make me sad, but it feels like my Lamas blessing as it's given me a bit of a kick and a timely reminder of the actual living hell that cyclic existence is. No matter how much honey there is on the razor blade, the razor blade is still there and will always cut us.

Part of the issues are financial, so I will not have as much internet access as before, thus this might be my last blog for a while.

It's also Shakyamuni day, so let's all try to develop some genuine revulsion with samsara and compassion for all who suffer there, rather than writing big words we have zero actual experience of.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I've blogged about my overall sense of disappointment with the set up here before, so won't bother rehashing it again, sufficing to say I'm having trouble deciding what to do about it all from a samaya perspective as that's really all that matters at this stage.

Despite most aspects of the course being disappointing in how they are set up and varying levels of un-professionalism, I am enjoying most of it despite it being very obvious that there will be no real benefit to completing the course.

Outside school things are the same as ever, I have some awesome friends here, an am seeing someone who isn't excessively needy or high maintenance, but given the choice I'd rather be in retreat.

About twelve years ago I obsessively wanted to be a monk, I still do at times, then when I looked at why I wanted to be one, and why I at one time did take vows, my motivation seemed somewhat mixed and confused.

With retreat it's a similar thing. Retreat is simply doing practice, admittedly in conditions which are in some ways better than those in the 'normal' world, however it's still doing the same thing.

I've gone off on a tangent.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grant your blessing so that my mind may become one with the Dharma.
Grant your blessing so that the Dharma may go along the path.
Grant your blessing so that the Dharma may clarify confusion.
Grant your blessing so that confusion may dawn as wisdom. - Gampopa.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In this life I have never benefited a single living being, however I've benefited myself in a very short term way which will be the cause of my own future torment countless times.

Being deluded, the above doesn't fill me with fear. I am actually convinced being aware of it is a great leap forward.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On the study front I sort of feel I'm going backwards rather than forwards. See my previous post on perseverance for an explanation as to why I don't really give a fuck.

In other news, well nothing much dramatic. One of the nicest human beings I've ever met left this week, but every meeting is the beginning of separation.

After morning practice and breakfast I went to the stupa to do sang offering. After I'd placed the burning stuff into the fire, it "simmered" until I'd consecrated it, said some prayers and dedicated any merit. At this point it burst into a blazing intense fire with white smoke billowing everywhere. I took this as a good omen, following a similar experience a few years ago in India.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Buddha of the Three Times Gyalwa Karmapa, Precious Root and lineage Lamas, hold me and all beings without exception in your compassion.

May the sickness experienced in my head purify the sickness of ego and pride in all beings.

May the sickness experienced in my throat purify the sickness of negative speech in all beings.

May the sickness in my chest purify the sickness of hatred in all beings.

May the sickness in my stomach purify the sickness of greed in all beings.

May the aches in my muscles purify the complacency with samsara in myself and all beings.

May the sickness of ego-clinging, not seeing mind for itself and the false taking of appearances as real, be immediately healed in all beings.

Whatever roots of virtue I may accidentally have generated, may they be the cause of unsurpassed Buddhahood, already inherent, in all beings throughout space.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I am not a Buddhist

One of the things which tends to make me rage hard in relation to Western Buddhists in general, is the idea that you can get stoned and do meditation that has any value whatsoever. You can't, it really is that black and white.

Rather than going off on one of my usual judgemental fundamentalist rants, which are purely based on my own limited intellectual understanding of Dharma, rather than wisdom born in meditation, I'm taking the above issue of contradictory attachment and applying it to myself.

My main obstacle to practice is, and has always been women. Yet I convince myself that it's possible to combine some sort of relationship with genuine practice. In my case, I think this level of self-deceit is pretty astronomical. I could of course try to explain that desire, be it for emotional or physical intimacy is simply a manifestation of mind and thus empty of inherent existence and so on. This however would be an act of stupidity on par with the "monk" I met in a Thamel nightclub who said experiencing what he was there was helping him overcome dualistic attachment, or some other moronic statement based on something read in a book on Dzogchen or similar.

Facts. I gave up being a monk and retreat to enter into a relationship which was more negative than positive. It helped fuel my own clinging and attachments as well as encourage them in others. Nothing positive came from it apart from two women eventually taking refuge in a probably superficial way. In hindsight, there was no other reason for disrobing and leaving retreat than attachment to concepts.

Similarly, when I lived in Dharamsala, lots of practice opportunities were wasted because of my attachment to a woman. At this point there was no negativity generated by disrobing or similar, but there was the usual furthering of delusion and possibly some samaya issues, but those are a permanent fixture.

In summary, when I am in retreat, on vows or otherwise not overwhelmed (over dramatic much?), my practice is steady and some revulsion with samsara arises.

So avoiding women seems like the sensible thing to do?

When I asked Gyalwa Karmapa about taking proper ordination, he said think about it after four years retreat. Think about it, not do it.

When I asked another Lama, whom I consider my main teacher, whether or not I should give up women he said no.

Then more recently various Nyingma Lamas have been similarly unhelpful, in one case trolling me by suggesting I'd achieve rainbow body in this life.

The issue isn't really anything to do with whether or not I put my cock inside someone or not, or whether I wear funny clothes and shave my head. It's about how much I allow myself to become attached to the ideas themselves.

The whole essence of the BuddhaDharma is to watch ones mind, and root out attachments, both coarse and subtle. This is something I entirely fail to do, thus I am not a Buddhist in anything other than name. Names and titles mean nothing other than an extension of ego.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last night I did a quick Dorsem before bed, this was after the aily teachings on "Words of my perfect teacher" which Sonam is teaching at Lama Wangdu's monastery every evening. Before this I'd spent some time practicing colloquial with Pema, although I admit wanting to spent time with her is not entirely motivated by wanting to learn Tibetan.

I had extensive dreams last night, possibly due to the thunderstorms. They were mostly involving various monks I know and the Buddha of the Three Times, Gyalwa Karmapa. During this mornings prostrations and Dorsem it really felt like he and my other Lamas were there.

Monday, September 6, 2010


A combination of living in a country which has been ruined by communist retards, being ignored by my Lama, various samaya issues, my own attachments and feeling bad about having invested my inheritance in a course which doesn't seem to be that effective in terms of actually making me competent at Tibetan, let alone as a translator, has left a somewhat bitter taste in my generally overactive mouth.

Unsolicited advice from well meaning people have added to the overall sense of "things not going as planned" and I'm borderline homesick for the first time in my life. The latter is probably more due to the general sense of isolation I'm feeling rather than wanting to be in Europe. On the flipside, Patrul Rinpoche, and others, always point out that loneliness leads to concentration. This does to some extent seem to be true, however the real benefits for me personally from the current situation is a reminder of the importance of seeing things through. When I was 18 I nearly killed myself just to "serve" in a military unit that was seen as somewhat prestigious. What then of determination when it's vaguely Dharma related?

Practicing Dharma involves some hardships, but these are minimal when compared with what most of the world does daily simply to survive in the destructive capitalist hell we have created, as Shantideva points out. He didn't mention the capitalist part though.

With the right determination there is nothing that is impossible. About ten years ago I was having a hard time with various things and went into retreat. My Lama said I would benefit greatly from the retreat. Upon completion, I felt like I could walk through a mountain. It is all a matter of being certain about ones own motivation. Once that is clear, everything else is secondary.

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. By doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to all things.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So translator training proper has started. It's more fun that the language only stuff, intense, but interesting.

Over the weekend I went out, which is unusual for me these days. The highlight of this was being threatened with having my eyes gouged out and having a bottle of Gurkha beer smashed into my face, this was unfortunate, partly as the aforementioned beer is a shitty chemical fare, rather than anything decent. It was nice to have this opportunity to sit through this whole experience without reaction how I would have done 12 years ago.

Over the last two days the shit has sort of hit the fan on a personal level in relation to my so-called practice and a few other things, combining this with various things not working so well, or at all, in school this has led to me experiencing something approximating stress. After the experiences of pretending to be in retreat, it's nice to have this stuff all coming up.

I don't want to be here and experience this shit, but I am and that's the whole point of practice. Dealing with reality, not some form of escapist fantasy.

The influx of new people hasn't brought with it the high numbers of orientalist weirdoes I had hope would come to irritate me, however I seem to be doing quite well on my own.