The cultivation of the Dharma requires a gradual progression through the teachings, and when they are presented in a haphazard manner, they tend to generate confusion. My Root Teacher always said that when someone does not understand the Dharma, the fault lies with the teacher, and not with the student, as the Dharma is reasonable and experiential.
In the Jonang lineage, we explore the teachings of the Three Wheels of Dharma in sequence, slowly building on accumulated, stable realizations before attempting to approach ‘higher’ teachings.
Exploring ‘higher’ teachings without following the proper sequence is a disease that has corrupted many lineages, leading untold sincere seekers to the unfortunate conclusion that the Dharma is a hopeless maze of confusing and often contradictory views.
This sad state of affairs is not new. In the 14th century, our Principal Teacher, Kunchen Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, noted and remedied this unfortunate tendency. In this blog, you can find The Supplication, an early text by Kunchen Dolpopa in which he states repeatedly the need to present the Dharma in proper sequence. https://greatmiddleway.wordpress.com/the-supplication/
The Supplication can be an excellent point of departure for the study of the Dharma. You may read it through a few times, and then begin to study it in detail. If you have previously become acquainted with Buddhist doctrine, this text can help you organize the concepts in proper sequence. If you are unfamiliar with the teachings, this text will introduce them in the required order. We will be offering a one-month teaching on The Supplication at the Dallas Meditation Center, beginning March 1st, 2012. If interested, please contact me to register.
The Supplication is written in the form of a prayer, to facilitate its recitation. It was the core practice in Jonang monasteries for over 400 years, and my Root Teacher, Kyabje Tashi Norbu Rinpoche, was a bold proponent of reinstating its recitation as a daily practice, with the intention of clarifying the progressive nature of the teachings.
The Jonang suffered many centuries of persecution, and we are grateful for the opportunity that it afforded us to streamline our practices and understand the value of simple, straightforward spiritual cultivation. The Supplication provides a wonderful and systematic approach out of confusion.