Robin

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  1. Dzogchen requires guru yoga, from what I've been taught, and the direct transmission of the enlightened state. Other Buddhist traditions simply give a method which we can follow. I'm confused. I have received Dzogchen teachings and am generally impressed with the teacher, although they make some pretty outlandish claims, viewed from a western viewpoint (transmutation of beans left in the back of a cave for a year from one type to another as an experiment in loosening a retreatant's fixed beliefs, for example. Or references to dragons.) So Dzogchen is this "high" teaching, very much steeped in Tibetan cultural beliefs. It's often glorified as the ultimate or best teaching by its practitioners. What am I to make of other traditions where there is no guru yoga, and no telepathic transmission? Are they inferior? Do they offer a lesser kind of enlightenment? Is the Tibetan tradition somehow elitist ("mahayana" implies assumed superiority, perhaps?) Do we need to hold our teachers in the kind of regard required by guru yoga? I've heard it said that these higher teachings were somehow given by Guatama Buddha as a kind of "silent aside" to those ready to receive them. I'm torn. On the one hand I've been "sold" dzogchen by a couple of people I kinda sorta trust on these matters. On the other, there are a great many people practicing outside of this tradition with methods which require less "suspension of disbelief" or which I can more easily empirically validate, while at the same time recognizing that things beyond my current ability to comprehend or perceive may require a certain amount of faith to remain open to. Does anyone here "feel me" on all this?
  2. I've been involved with mediation for many years. Initially I was involved with Buddhist meditation but then I got involved with Taoist meditation through the teachings of Bruce Frantzis. Bruce often mentioned Dzogchen with high regard, so when Lama Lena (a highly esteemed Dzogchen teacher) came to teach for several years in a row very near to my home, I went along. I also came across Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (a Bon Dzogchen teacher) mainly through his online content, although I did travel to see him once. I have some curiosity concerning two apparently different categories of meditation practice. With Inner Dissolving (Taoist meditation from Bruce Frantzis), and Dzogchen both from Lama Lena and Tenzin Rinpoche, there is a notion of "progression" in the sense that we have obscurations/blockages/"pagchas"(like neuroses in Tibetan), and that through practice over time we can resolve these to move closer towards "enlightenment"/clarity/healing etc... In all these traditions, there is the possibility of using an agenda to work with specific issues in our lives, with a view to dissolving/resolving them at some root energetic level. This makes sense to me, and gives some kind of sense of structure/progression to my practice. I am aware that there are certain paradoxes that come from the idea/reality that we are "already there" (non-duality teachings etc.), and yet there is a firm understanding from the teachers I follow that we do actually need to meditate to attain(?) the fruits of meditation. Like the last lesson of Marpa to Milrepa - to show the callouses on his arse to emphasize the need for practice! In other traditions I've come across, such as the teachings of the FWBO (whatever they are now know as), Zen, Mindfulness etc. there seems to be a conspicuously different attitude towards "progress". You do the practice, whether it's mindfulness of breathing or body scanning or even working with emotions by "simply being" with them - but there is no sense in the practices I have come across of working with specific issues/blockages and resolving them at a root or energetic(?) level. It's more like "here we are again looking at our minds and sensations...." with no particular sense of direction or need to attain/achieve anything. I know that the need to achieve anything is seen as a hindrance in both categories of practice, but this is in some ways something of a contradiction. While of course grasping will not lead to freedom, nonetheless there is an implicit intention to get somewhere/something, in the very decision to become involved in meditation in the first place. So these are some of the observations and thoughts I'm having around my practice at the moment. Partly wondering which practices to emphasize to help me navigate a chronic illness, and also wondering about the notion of progress and achievement in relation to meditation. Very curious to hear your thoughts on all this.
  3. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    Thanks for this., and good to be reminded of the classic song. I think sometimes it's useful to focus on the reasons for leaving ( a teacher/marriage/cult etc.) to get the clarity we need to stop deliberating and make the cut. However, that is often not the whole story, and from the outside people can't always see the complexity. Like a marriage which was genuinely wonderful but grew to no longer serve either partner. Once the clarity is there that we need to end things, and maybe with some water under the bridge, we can grieve and honour the good stuff that had to end. Regarding my practice with Bruce, I'm clear that for the time being I don't want to pursue his spiritual work. However, the health stuff is great, and is deeply embodied in my system. It would probably be silly to go to the effort of trying to replace all the stuff I've learned from him with similar material from other sources. Nonetheless I am conflicted, and I can't pretend otherwise or sweep it under the rug, however simple the situation may seem from the outside. I value what has come to me via Bruce. I have a lot of respect for him and he has had a big positive impact on my life in many ways. However I can't deny that with my current perspective I find what appears to me as a lack of humility and warmth to be a source of genuine distress and confusion. I guess also there is some unease about the fact that I have criticized my teacher publicly. It is probably a complete non-issue but I haven't got to that point yet. From some of the messages I have receive it is as if I have committed some kind of sacrilege. So even if Bruce has no desire to be a cult leader (which I don't think he does), it looks like some people have given him that level of status in their own internal worlds. ON the other hand I've received many messages thanking and supporting me in speaking up about something which has bothered them. So overall it's probably for the best or at least of no consequence that I did what I did. However there is still a fire burning around it inside me, which won't be extinguished until it is extinguished. I'm very happy to hear any further thoughts and reflections on this, particularity with people who can empathize/sympathize with the non-polarized nature of the situation.
  4. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I found this article to be pertinent and interesting: https://earthbalance-taichi.com/2020/02/the-anti-guru/
  5. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    Thank you for sharing this. I will give it some thought.
  6. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I think I've been quite clear about this. I want clarity around what to practice and who to learn from moving forward, and to help me achieve this I'm interested in other peoples' experience. I'm not going to just imitate the answer I like best, but different perspectives can help to inform the totality of my process. I'm not looking for someone to give me the answer. There is no obligation to contribute, but personally I don't find questioning the premise of my request very helpful. In terms of reaching out to other students of Bruce's, that is partly what I am doing here. I shared a link on the Energy Arts forum to this thread. Some people have contacted me personally as a result.
  7. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    While I do appreciate the advice some people have shared, I think it's important to remember that no one from the outside can know all the variables at play. I think it would be even more helpful to hear about others' experience of similar situations, key moments and deciding factors, and how they resolved them. I know of several people who moved on from Bruce after many years, and some who stayed in spite of difficulties. I imagine for all of them the process was not simple or clear cut, but that there were twists and turns before clarity was reached. Hearing about these would be helpful so I can compare and contrast and hopefully get some insight into my own unique situation. With hindsight, I expect the path forward will have been obvious, but until then, not so much. I hear what some people have said about over thinking and/or listening to my higher self who might already know the answer. This is certainly worth considering, but clarity cannot always be forced, and I may have to sit with the confusion a little longer until it emerges. In the meantime other people's insights are valuable to hear about.
  8. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I don't think they can necessarily be separated, and I'm not confident they should be, entirely.
  9. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    While I certainly can overcome the "triggeredness", the question for me is whether I want to, as it may be entirely reasonable. It seems some people are OK with taking what serves them and ignoring the rest, which is fine, but for some, including me, it's not quite that simple. I guess for me there is something about harmony within the totality of my experience. I don't mean in a naive way, expecting no issues ever to arise, but a sense that overall there is harmony and balance.
  10. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I mean it doesn't really make sense and seems quite unnecessary. Sharing loads of life-enhancing material but coming across provocative and abrasive (in my perception), and alienating lots of one's students. That's what I mean by silly. Doesn't have to be like that and no perceivable benefit with apparent cost.
  11. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I'm not quite seeing any contradiction. Things have not got weird, but I know with deep mediation work they can. Another teacher I have guarantees she will respond to all emails, and strongly encourages you to write if things do in fact get weird.To be fair her following is probably smaller, as she's all about (Tibetan) mediation. My sense is that Bruce may or may not help if needed, and he can be very unapproachable in my experience. Sometimes warm and welcoming, sometimes seemingly downright hostile.
  12. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    Hi saxgentleman67. I have and I do. He's great, and agreed, you don't get what really looks like the unnecessary baggage, from my current perspective. There's a couple of things though. One is that for meditation, the buck stops with Bruce - there's no one as "senior" to ask or get help from if things get weird, which they can. So even though Paul is a great teacher, I'm not currently convinced that I want to continue down this particular meditation path. As for health practices, I've learned a lot both from Bruce and his senior instructors. Generally I've been fine with practicing these and found them very helpful. But there is something about how a dissonance with the founder of the system can colour the experience of the practice. It certainly makes me more open to practicing stuff I've learned from other systems when I'm having one of my "triggered by Bruce" periods... Maybe eventually I will gravitate mostly towards other sources, or I'll get over my triggeredness. It seems like a silly situation. I imagine a lot of teachers have a smaller proportion of learners who find their teaching style and personality significantly challenging.
  13. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I can relate to the other issues you expressed, but this one not so much. It seems like a sound teaching method to me - get some core principles working in a first movement, then they can be transferred to the other movements. Learning more than a minimum amount of movement while learning the core principles could dilute both aspects, IMO.
  14. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    One thing which makes the situation difficult to get a true read on is that 3rd parties often aren't aware of what it is that keeps his students loyal, up to whatever point they are. From my perspective this is to do with the genuine high quality of the material. Bruce makes a big deal about how good it is, which is unnecessary as it speaks for itself. There is an impressive depth of detail in the physical mechanics alone, such as the precise alignments, the use of the kwa (which is absent from many other Tai Chi instructors' knowledge from what I've seen), joint pulsing and tissue stretching to name a few. It comes at a cost though....
  15. Learning with Master Bruce Frantzis

    I'm curious to know how you see this applying to my situation. I can maybe guess, but would enjoy a little elaboration.