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Objection to recent Mingyur Rinpoche article
by Erric Hopf Solomon, The Buddhist Channel, Oct 4, 2011
I am sorely diappointed by the recent decision of the editorial staff to publish the article about Mingyur Rinpoche (Mingyur Rinpoche, the millionaire monk who renounced it all).
As a student of both Mingyur Rinpoche and his father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (also mentioned in the article), his retreat is an incredible inspiration for my own practice of Buddhism
On the face of it, the article seems to be going in the right direction, but more careful analysius reveals that the author of the article used MIngyur Rinpoche 's retreat to further their own personal agenda.
I am deeply saddened by the author’s mischaracterization of his retreat as an example of a reformation of modern Tibetan Buddhism.And in particular as somehow standing in opposition to great masters like Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche.In fact to summarize Trungpa Rinpoche's life in such a
superficial way as if his major contribution to Buddhism was to drink, or to reduce Sogyal Rinpoche's work to ugly never proven allegations about about Sogyal Rinpoche is an utter disgrace. In fact, if you look carefully the main perpetrator of these saliacious stories about Sogyal Rinpoche is the article author.
Trungpa Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche were brave pioneers, working to secure the survival of Tibetan Buddhism with what at the time seemed like little chance for success and, perhaps more importantly, help 100,000s of people (millions if you count their books) live healthier, happier lives.
The author also makes bogus claims about group retreat as if that is some kind of modern invention. Tulku Urgyen used to regal us with awe, inspiringly respectful tales of group retreats he knew about in Tibet. He put his own monks, nuns and Mingyur Rinpoche into group retreat.
The author of this article paints a picture of Mingyur Rinpoche that I can’t argue with. His motivation is pure and he is a remarkable teacher with extraordinary understanding of the heart of the tradition. He also holds Trungpa Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche in the highest regard. In fact, Sogyal Rinpoche is someone he is quite close to and has expressed his absolute devotion and respect for him many times. The author can’t have it both ways:
Implicitly claiming that Mingyur Rinpoche is impeccable and yet these older lamas who Mingyur Rinpoche holds in utmost regard are not. That is a logical contradiction.
In fact, this entire article is based on an utterly false premise: That
Tibetan Lamas have become corrupt and Mingyur Rinpoche stands as a reformation of the corruption. He would most certainly cringe at such an assertion. His retreat simply has nothing whatsoever to do with the author's agenda.
What is true is that Tibetan buddhism looks like it will survive, thanks to lamas in both the west and the east who have tirelessly worked to reestablish the tradition both inside and outside of Tibet. And because of that, younger lamas, such as Mingyur Rinpoche, can go into retreat knowing that their students will be able to continue in their absence by studying with lamas such as Sogyal Rinpoche.
Sadly we are at a turning point, but not the one the author mentions: Certain western journalists, having realized that stories about how great the Tibetan masters are have all been done, now succumb to the dubious tradition of yellow journalism.
The editors at the Biuddhist Channel TV should be ashamed that they allowed such shallow and misinformed analysis. And the author should be reprimanded for using a truly extraordinary modern example of a great buddhist practionner as a thinly veiled attempt to further what is a notoriously personal agenda.
I hope that the inclusion of this article is mere oversight and that it will be removed immediately.