Empowerment and the Desire to Control
What is the kerfuffle with tantric empowerment? Is it a necessary means of preparing the mind stream of a student for the potentially dangerous practice of highest yoga tantra, or merely another, in a long line, of patriarchy’s techniques intended to control others?
I am a big fan of Dza Patrul Rinpoche Jigme Choky Wangpo. As a very young man I could be rigid, fearful, controlling, elitist, and competitive. Many of us went through that phase, including Dza Patrul Rinpoche as was reflected in his book “The Words of my Perfect Teacher.”
But, like most of us, Dza Patrul Rinpoche was not static but rather prone to change. And after a life time of study, practice, and teaching his world view evolved to be flexible, loving, laid back, egalitarian, and cooperative. This becomes clear when we read his final meditation manual “The Practice of View, Meditation, and Action; a Discourse Virtuous in the Beginning, Middle, and End.”
This text echo’s Karma Chagme Rinpoche’s “The Quintessence of Spiritual Practice: the Direct Instructions of the Great Compassionate One,” and then takes it several steps further. In it Dza Patrul inferred that an individual’s practice of either Tantra Mahamudra, Togal, or Maha Yoga lavishes tantric empowerment upon ALL other beings everywhere, thus rendering the need for others’ empowerments obsolete.
Why has young Patrul’s text proven more popular than his final one? Could it be that there are more Buddhists who are defined by fear, rigidity, and the desire to control others than there are who are quite loving, flexible, and laid back?
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