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Namgyal Rinpoche/Leslie Dawson

SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
edited June 2011 in Modern Buddhism
Anyone heard of this teacher? Is he part of legitimate lineage?

Thanks.

Comments

  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    @Takuan - thanks.

    Anyone with personal experience of that lineage?
  • @Takuan - thanks.

    Anyone with personal experience of that lineage?
    Good of you to ask. Let's see what comments come up.

  • Looking at the Wikipedia article, his credentials look really great (in context) to me. Being recognized by a sitting Karmapa as an accomplished master is no small thing. The Kagyu and the subschool Karma Kagyu have been around for a long long time (sixteen lifetime Karmapas worth) and have no problems with their credibility that I know of.
  • Sorry, can't edit:

    Karma Kagyu
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma_Kagyu
  • edited June 2011
    Except for the little problem of Trungpa and associated scandals, his "Regent" who passed AIDS on to students, Kalu Rinpoche and the June Campbell brouhaha....personally, I'm wary of the Kagyu, though there are also good, ethical teachers in that tradition. But one should always ask and investigate.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    edited June 2011
    Thanks @SherabDorje. I'm aware of KK lineage.

    When it comes to Western tulkus (any school), I tend to be a bit suspect. I wonder why that is. I've seen some not too good comments about him on one forum, but judging by the discussions there, I'd take what people say there with a grain of salt.
  • Except for the little problem of Trungpa and associated scandals, his "Regent" who passed AIDS on to students, Kalu Rinpoche and the June Campbell brouhaha....personally, I'm wary of the Kagyu, though there are also good, ethical teachers in that tradition. But one should always ask and investigate.
    A few small fish in a very big and historically significant sea. If Karma Kagyu has only those incidents to darken their reputation in the entire history of the lineage, well, it sort of speaks for itself. What you mention is confined to a few people in the 20th Century. Across the world, the lineage seems to be holding its own rather well.

  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    Except for the little problem of Trungpa and associated scandals, his "Regent" who passed AIDS on to students, Kalu Rinpoche and the June Campbell brouhaha....personally, I'm wary of the Kagyu, though there are also good, ethical teachers in that tradition. But one should always ask and investigate.
    I can't get my head around the Karmapa "controversy", but I've decided to follow what HHDL says and leave it at that.

  • edited June 2011

    A few small fish in a very big and historically significant sea. If Karma Kagyu has only those incidents to darken their reputation in the entire history of the lineage, well, it sort of speaks for itself. What you mention is confined to a few people in the 20th Century. Across the world, the lineage seems to be holding its own rather well.
    SherabDorje, I tried to be fair. There have been scandals, as there probably have in all the lineages. I did say there are good teachers in that tradition. And it's been discussed on this forum repeatedly that one should always do research on a teacher before signing up, even HHDL says that. My personal feeling is that of caution with the Kagyu, but they don't by any means have a corner on the scandal market, so one should be cautious no matter what the lineage. HHDL recommended in the meeting on abuse with Western Dharma leaders, not only to spend 12 years researching one's teacher, but to "spy on your teacher". By which, I think he meant, keep a good ear to the ground and see if there's any gossip to be found, talk to former students of the teacher, etc.

    P.S. Paul--the Karmapa controversy isn't relevant to the question you're asking. You're asking about student-teacher relations. Anyway, yeah, the Karmapa issue is sad.


  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran

    P.S. Paul--the Karmapa controversy isn't relevant to the question you're asking. You're asking about student-teacher relations. Anyway, yeah, the Karmapa issue is sad.
    Yes, it was just my comment about KK. I hope it won't derail the thread...


  • personperson Veteran
    Never heard of him but his credentials look solid. Looks like he died in 2003 though so I guess I wonder why are you asking? Do you want to read a book of his? Are you thinking about attending a center he founded? If its a book, I can't imagine any harm. If its a center, you need to investigate whoever is teaching now. I'm naturally wary of a student successor to a lama, not that they're automatically bad, but in a power vacuum its often the power hungry that grab for the ring.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    edited June 2011
    @person,

    The reason I'm asking is that there is an event near me led by one of his students. Also there is a meditation group, and I like to research the groups that are around.
  • You can always attend the event while you're researching. That way you can get a feel for the vibe and the people.
  • personperson Veteran
    If its just a one off event no big deal. You just listen to what the teacher says and take it or leave it, it doesn't sound like there's any commitment involved. But I guess if you have to pay for it its nice to know if its worth the dollars.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    Actually I'm not really planning to attend, but info about that event was circulated to members of my group (actually my ex-group but I'm still connected to them in a way) and I wanted to see if there's anything dodgy about it to warn others. But then everyone can do their own research.
  • It's also been discussed on this forum, FYI, sattvapaul, that one should not only choose one's teacher carefully, but choose the sangha carefully. If the sangha members are gaga over the teacher and behave like groupies--that's not a good sign. It means if problems arise, they will likely deny their existence or deny the idea that the teacher could do any wrong. Anyway, you can check out the vibe, get a feel for the sangha, and you can always leave if it doesn't feel right at any point. Hopefully, it's all on the up-and-up.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    It might be a long shot, but you could try emailing the Shamarpa, who has spoken out on sexual misconduct in the Kagyu Lineage, and asking him if he knows of the teacher you mention, and his successors. He probably knows or knows of the person you mention, and might know if there have been any problems in his sangha and its successor. See www.shamarpa.org
  • @person,

    The reason I'm asking is that there is an event near me led by one of his students. Also there is a meditation group, and I like to research the groups that are around.
    I've said before, judge a Teacher by his own actions and words, not the actions of his own Teacher or that man's Teacher. A student might surpass the Teacher, or might fail miserably to live up to the Teacher's reputation. You won't know until you sit down and start listening to him.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    edited June 2011
    @Cinorjer,

    I think that's excellent advice, but I also think lineage is important. There doesn't seem to be a problem here, but there have been teachers who completely made up their own "lineage".
  • Well, yes, you're right about that also. What are they teaching? Is it a huge departure from the Dharma as taught by other Masters? Does the Teacher actually have transmission--teaching authority?

  • sattvapaul, there are other Buddhist forums. You could try posting on them to see if anyone knows of this lineage and the current teachers.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    I was researching this out of interest. I'd try to do some more research if I was planning to get involved, but I'm not really so I think I'll leave it at that.
  • namgyal rinpoche was my first serious teacher. his teaching although sometimes unorthodox were free of any scandal that i know of. he was identified as a tuklu of mipham namgyal by the last karmapa, and enthroned as such. his training was with burmese forest monks under u tula wanta sadayw.he then recieved teaching from a number of tibetan lamas. he did identify a number of teachers he authorized before he died and if you contact the dhamra centre of canada, they have the list. there are a few who claim authorization who were not named by namgyal rinpoche hinself. i am very suspicious of them and the couple i know have a lot of disturbing history. my advice is find out if this teacher was authorized to teach by namgyal rinpoche and what he authorized them to teach. only a few were authorized to teach vajrayanna. there are now some who are authorized by teachers who were them selves authorized by namgyal rinpoche, so there is a living lineage.

    find out if this teacher is authorized to teach by namgyal rinpoche from the dhamra centre of canada and then make up your own mind.
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul Europe Veteran
    This thread is a year old but thanks @ollaimh for replying.

    My suspicions about this teacher were raised after reading these allegations, however I am not sure how reliable that forum is and there seems to be a lot of negative speech there.
  • well those are disturbing allegations, but i did not see any of that sort of thing around him. he was reputedly gay, but when i knew him he was still a strict monk most of the time. he did give up the robes at the end and i heard the odd rumour of his tehn having a relationship. i never paid mush attention because it didn't affect the teaching. he certainly had no following of "groupies" like trungpa or sogyal. moreover he did not go to the himilayias seeking young monks, that's a wierd and twisted allegation. his buddhist training was as a burmese forest monk. he spent six years as a forest monk, under the taining of u tula wanta. he then went to the uk at the requesxt of the english therevadans and startedjohnstone house, the facility that became samye ling. he taught as a full samanara for years. he then met the karmapa and was recognozed as a tulku. then he went to the himilayas, not arly in his career and when he went he took dozens of students. it would have been very hard to hide transgressions then. he did take many students on long sea voyages. a dozen or more at a time. they were legendary. he thought that this replicated much of the monastic experience--isloation broken by new stimiluations at new ports. again it would have been almost imposible to hide trangressions there. i say this with the sad awareness that many of his tudents were some of the worst gossips i have ever known. little or nothing was hiden.

    i do not believe the allegations as stated. it is possible he had relationships after he gave up the robes in the eighties and that some of those relationships violated the teacher student obligations but i did not hear of that. i only heard he had a relationship or two later in life . so i think the cult forum allegations are wild exagerations. however the teaching speak for themselves. he left many good teachers, so try one and see for yourself.

    he did have temper when teaching. he didn't ever show it to me but i heard rumours. keep in mind most of his students were english or canadian english middle class or upper class people. in my personal expeerience that's a group with a very high sense of entitlement and i did find that with his students. very very hard cases who essentially thought they were already enlightened, or very near so, even when they were behaving badly.. a teacher really does have to give such people some reality therapy. he was not afraid to do so. some leave angry and tell tales--and i met some of those and they were zingers. the tale teller rejects were a grab bag of rich entitled occultists and new agers. decades later those i know are essentially unelolved. whilst the steady practicing namgyal students mostly showed real sighn of practice.

    nangyal rimpoche did use unorthodox methods. he was a teacher for bright and dedicated students. lazy students or dull students were mostly wasting their time. he was ecclectic and creative but not systematic. keeping up was demanding and challenging. he was a penetrating teacher of insight, however.he could engender insight anywhere and any time and destablize ones world view and show the emnlightened mind in many or any situation. this did scare the hell out of some people.it also brought a lot back. i really didn't like the circus around him at times, but any good teacher has that to some extent. to campare him to trungpa or soygal is totally in accurate.there was noting like the circus around them. i do wish he had taught in a more systematic manner and provided more instruction, but maybe he was right. he taught practices and expected you to go away and do them for months or years and come back and find him latter.wierdly he didn't explain much untill after you did the practice for quite a while and showed results.

    as i said check with the dharma centre. if a teacher is not on that list then he is breaking samaya to claim to be authorized by namgyal rinpoche. i know a few and they are egotists and trouble(and the ones i knw were actually kicked out by namgyal rinpoche several times--that might tell you something).

    if i may name names, avoid rodney devenish, aka kunzang palden like the plague.he has never done the education or practice alhtouhg he was rich and had lots of time. instead he spent decades going from teacher to teacher trying to get tulku identification. completely silly behavior. he was supposed to be an adminstrator and suport person but wanted to be a guru. there were quite a few hangers on like that.most went back to the lives of privledge they were born to, but a few pretend to be teachers.

    i have found it really is a dharma disadvantage to be born to privledge. few ever get over it. i don't think its an accident that most good teachers had to scrambble and work hard to even get the time to study, and so when they did they really valued to opportunity.

    so although i wasn't at many of the eras, and just learned a few great techniques from namgyal rinpoche. i do not belive the allegations. there was no sign of such when i was around. and some of the facts are completely mixed up. most importantly namgyal rinpoche didn't demand money or control. he encouraged people to read other teachers and take other teacings. he encouraged many senior students to leave him and go with other teachers permantly if he thought it was good for them. very few teachers do that.
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