An Insider said: Tibetan Buddhism is characterized by the practice of various yogas

“Should a Buddhist university really be doing such things?”
June 6, 2012 4:49 AM    Subscribe

A three-year, three-month, three-day silent Buddhist retreat takes an unusual twist, ending in death in the desert mountains of Arizona.

And, yes: yoga and Buddhism have exactly zero to do with each other

Completely misinformed. Tibetan Buddhism is characterized by the practice of various yogas. It would be more true to say that the Western suburbanite's understanding of yoga has little to do with yoga.

There is a fundamental tension in Tibetan Buddhism, which is a synthesis of tantric and monastic strains of Buddhism. The monastic side insists on sexual abstinence, at the same time as the 'highest' tantric practice involves sexual union (yab yum). Many years ago, I might have defended Geshe Michael Roache's approach as he insisted that his yab yum practice did not violate his monk's vows. From an esoteric perspective, I could accept this distinction. In fact, I might have felt that the monks who explicated the yab yum practice without having engaged in it had been lacking in conviction. I have since experienced the breakup of the Tibetan Buddhism group I was part of, due to the behaviour of teacher - a monk, and a tantric guru, according to his own claims - with prostitutes, including young prostitutes. The letters to and from the board, and the (very well articulated) accusations and (almost pathetic) defences in this episode sounded very familiar to me. 

So many western groups undergo this same process when they try to implement eastern, Buddhist, and especially Tibetan Buddhist teachings that I have come to see it as the rule, not the exception.

posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:36 AM on June 6 [4 favorites] 

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