Ethics in Tibetan Buddhism: Controversies Surrounding the Student-Teacher Relationship
Added on -2019-09-16
This article explores the controversies surrounding the student-teacher relationship in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly in the context of sexual misconduct. It discusses the need for a code of ethics for Buddhist teachers and the importance of mutual respect and intelligence in the student-teacher relationship. The article also examines the history and practices of Tibetan Buddhism, including its strong artistic tradition and the prominence of supernatural beliefs. Course code: Reli 362 2/A.
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ETHICS IN TIBETAN BUDDHISM[Document subtitle]December 6th, 2016Timothy Brassard26940897Reli 362 2/AMarc des JardinsTibetan Buddhism is a religion which was forced from its homeland when Tibet wasconquered by the Chinese. Anciently it was believed that out of 1 in 6 Tibetan men wereconsidered to be Buddhist monk. The teachings of Tibetan Buddhism is combined with theteachings of Mahayana Buddhism along with Shamanic and Tantric and material having its
Brassard 1existence from Bon, an ancient Tibetan religion. Various believe that the Vajrayana Buddhism tobe similar as Tibetan Buddhism, but it is Vajrayana and other vehicles are taught in TibetanBuddhism. Towards the end of 8th century, Buddhism felt a dynamic presence in Tibet andTrisong Detsen, a Tibetan King brought the religion from India by inviting two Buddhist mastersdirectly to Tibet who translated the Buddhist text into Tibetan (Powers, J., 2007).A plethora of features are practiced by Tibetan Buddhist featuring the spiritual practicesand rituals like yogic techniques and mantras. The religion is seen to take the supernatural beliefsat their prominence. The concept of gods, spirits, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, are taken in Tibetanreligions. In the Tibetan Buddhism, the Bodhisattvas are portrayed as wrathful deities andgodlike figures (Snellgrove, D. L., 1957). Therefore a strong artistic tradition, graphics andpaintings has been developed in Tibetan Buddhism as per the metaphysical context that are usedas a beneficial tool for understand the society at all the necessary levels. The public prayerwheels, structures of various sorts, flags and pictures are considered as a visual aids forunderstanding the Tibetan Buddhism which acts as a reminder for spiritual domain in thisphysical world. Tibetan Buddhism has a strong presence amongst the lay people and themonastic communities. The lay people rather than concerning over the inner spiritual life focus on the outwardlyreligious activities like pilgrimage, repeated prayers, ritual practice at temples, prostrations witha strong use of public flags and wheels. They celebrate various festivals and funerals amongvarious ceremonies. The sexuality is one of the major debating issues in the ethics of Tibetan Buddhism. Inthis ethics of the Tibetan Buddhism, the most controversial issue seen is the cross cultural
Brassard 2encounters in the North American and Tibetan Buddhism among the student and teachers(Buffalodharma.org., 2016). The relationship between the teachers and students of the TibetanBuddhism are seen to have sexual relationships and the question on their appropriateness will bequestioned in this paper. The most controversial issue in the general principles of the power structures andhierarchy have been questioned owning to the relationship between teacher and student. Although the popularity of the Tibetan Buddhism is seen to be growing but the relationshipbetween the student and teacher is highly misunderstood among people and has even generatedintense controversial views. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in order to achieve full understanding of theconcept, the students must have full faith and trust in their teachers. Therefore, it becomes utmostresponsibility of the teacher to uphold integrity of this pious tradition and transmit knowledgeappropriately. Similarly, it is the responsibility of the student to encounter the burden of carryinglineage of the teachings. When both the teachers and the student accept the burden and essenceof protecting the knowledge and teachings, they practice it faultlessly by transmitting themwithout any omission. The bad sexual behavior among the Buddhist teachers is highlyencountered and is examination timely. Various scandals have been seen over the years dealingwith sexual exploitation of the students by their teachers. The Buddhist monks and teacherspledges towards abstaining from any type of sexual misconduct (Buddhism-controversy-blog.com, 2016).The Buddhist practitioner’s vows to refrain from all types of sexual behavior in theBuddhist monastic community and the nuns and monks are considered to be equal. But both of
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