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Red Caps and Padmasambhava

Jan 13, 1999 06:25 PM
by Darren Porter

Yet another quote from Alexandra David-Neels 'Initiations and Initiates in
Tibet". Perhaps this time someone may like to deal with what she says
rather than ignoring it.

"Tsong kharpa was simply a religious master. Continuing the work tentaively
begun by Atisa and his disciple Domton, he did his best to reform the very
lax monastic disciples of the Tibetan Clergy. For this reason, his disciple
were called gelugspas (dgelugspa), "those who have virtuous habits". The
name of the yellow caps was given to them because Tsong Khapa, doubtless to
distinguish them from the other monks who wore red, imposed on them a
yellow headress. Still this simple reason did not appear satisfactory to
people enamoured of the marvellous" (p115)

"We are wrong if we imagine that Tsong Khapa aimed at bringing lamaism back
to the doctrine of the original Buddhism by eliminating accretions of
Hindu-Tantric and Bon-Shamanist origin.
He was quite as ritualistic as the former "red caps", and adhered to the
greater part of their superstitions. The essential points - one might
almost say the only ones - of his reforms dealt with monastic disciple.
Whereas the "red caps" allow the drinking of fermented liquor and exact
celibacy only from monks who have received the major ordination (that of
gelong - virtuos mendicant), Tsong Khapa forbade marriage and the use of
fermented drink to all members of the clergy without distinction"(p116)

"Nevertheless, Tsong Khapas reform, though introducing a stricter
discipline in some of the Lama clergy, had by no means quenched within them
the thirst after worldly possessions and dignities. The power exercised by
the Grand Lama of Sakya excited the jealousy of the abbots of Gahlden.
Lobzany Gyatso, the fifth of them in order of succession, achieved his ends
by obtaining the supprt of a Mongol prince who had seized Tibet. The prince
destroyed the power of the red sects. Large numbers of their monasteries
were razed to the ground and others confiscated on behalf of the "yellow
caps", their members being forcibly incorporated with these latter. The
temperal sovereignty of Tibet was given to Lobzang Gyatso by his Mongol
protector, as it had been given about four centuries earlier by another
Mongol, Kublai Khan, to the Grand Lama of Sakya."p118-119.

Dordje Jigsyed was the Grand Yidam of the Sect of the Yellow caps - one of
his teachings is his dubthabs of which there are 4 - shiwa, gyaispa, wangwa
and tagpo. All of these rites are for obtaining personal benefit. So by
HPB, Leon et al's defintion Dordje was a red cap.

Now I'm even more confused. It sounds like Dordje should take his red and
yellow cap and try and get some work at McDonalds !

Now for my next point:

the Bardo Thodrol: (or The Tibetan Book of the Dead)...

What linage is this book considered to belong to?
Why does HPB not reference it?
 This is what Sogyal Rinpoche has to say:

" The actual name (of the Tibetan book of the Dead) is Bardo Todrol Chenmo,
which means "the great liberation through hearing in the Bardo". Bardo
teachings are exremely ancient, and found in what are called the Dzogchen
Tantras. These teachings have a lineage stretching back beyond human
masters to the Primordial Buddha (Samantabhadra or Kuntuzangpo), who
represents the absolute, naked, sky-like primordial purity of the nature of
our mind. But the Bardo Todrol Chenmo itself is part of one large cycle of
teachings handed down by the master Padmasambhana and revealed in the
fourteenth century by the Tibetan visionary Karma Lingpa".

Having read both the SD and the BTC I know which is supposedly esoteric and
which is in fact the exoteric.When we read HPB we cannot escape the
influence of Victorian Attitudes in her writings. And it is these that must
be removed - a lot of so-called Theosophists aren't going to like it - but
"There is no religion higher than truth"

Namaste to All

"There is No Religion Higher than Truth"

Motto of the Theosophical Society

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