Archive for the ‘Reginald Ray’ Category

Reginald Ray

January 30, 2009

Subforum: Traditions > Tibetan Buddhism > Tibetan Buddhism General Forum
Thread title: Reginald Ray, Qualified Dharma Teacher?
Date: Oct 4 2008
Page No: 3

Namdrol (Former E-sangha global moderator):

Ok, that’s it for me.

I heard a statement by Ray tonight:

“The whole belief in past lives is something that Buddhism inherited from Indian Tradition. And I think, as with many things in Asian Buddhism, we need to take a critical look at this and see…you know, the Buddha said to his own students “…anything that I teach you, don’t take it at face value, don’t believe it just because even I said it– you have to look at it and evaluate it within your own framework and see if it makes sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, dump it, get rid of it.” And I think that incarnation, ah… reincarnation, as a literal teaching, I don’t find it helpful for anybody because it takes your focus away from this life. But if incarnation is viewed as a sort of metaphor for the fact that we humans are on some kind of extremely long spiritual journey that happened before we were born, and it’s going to keep on going, then I think it’s helpful.”

This person is not a qualified Buddhist teacher.

Forum member:

Do you feel that you are qualified to say who is a qualified teacher? If so, how?

Namdrol (Former E-sangha global moderator):

Yes. How? Because I know what Dharma is and what it is not, and dispensing with rebirth as a metaphor is not Dharma and is harmful to the Dharma.

Forum member:

When you say that you know what Dharma is, do you mean that you have become the Dharma and that it is now how you experience the world, or that you are familiar with what has been taught about the Dharma. If it is how you experience the world, would you be so kind as to look around where you are and from your own experience tell me how objects appear to you.

Namdrol (Former E-sangha global moderator):

I mean that I know the difference between Dharma and Adharma. That is sufficient. Teaching that rebirth outdated, that it is better to focus on this life, is simply wrong.

Forum member:

You mean that you know intellectually between the Dharma and Adharma. That is not sufficient, because what you know intellectually may in fact be far removed from the actual experience of Dharma. Opinions about things are not the things themselves. A realized person knows that realization can be found only now. Could Reggie have been trying to accentuate that point? Could he have been trying to point to the fact that what is here and now is all there is and to spend one’s time on an idea which for most is unproven by experience, such as rebirth, may be an inferior way to spend one’s time? i don’t know and i don’t really care that much; i’m not a knee jerk Buddhist. But what i do care about is smearing a teacher on an international forum. Reggie Ray, who i know personally and who is not my teacher, has devoted his life to the Dharma; he introduced a very close friend of mine to the Dharma while he taught at CU and he has done so with many, many others both at Shambhala Mountain Center and in Crestone. I have read two of his published works on Tibetan Buddhism and found them helpful. Do you really feel comfortable dismissing out of hand a teacher who has made those kind of contributions to the Dharma, because he doesn’t fullfill one intellectual stance that you have chosen to assume.

Namdrol (Former E-sangha global moderator):

You mean that you know intellectually between the Dharma and Adharma.

No. I mean that I know Adharma when I see it.

Do you really feel comfortable dismissing out of hand a teacher because he thinks that rebirth is something that can be discarded?


The very fiber of the Dharma absolutely depends on the Buddha’s teaching of rebirth. If you do not understand this, then you do not understand Buddhism.

This one point is the basic one upon which the entire Dharma hangs, the realizations of stream entrants through Arhats, the realizations of Mahayana bodhisatvas that require three incalculable eons to perfect; or even the profound teachings of Vajrayana which concern how to achieve complete liberation in the bardo, and if not that, then at least within 16 lifetimes.

Basically, as Dzogchen Khyentse Rinpoche recently pointed out, it is quite impossible to have Buddhism without rebirth, and if you are someone who does not believe in literal rebirth, it is much better for you _not_ to be a Buddhist.

So, having said that– I will repeat myself. Reginald Ray is not a qualified Dharma teacher because he teaches that rebirth something which may be dumped out, thrown away.

That one thing is sufficient to render all of the rest of his so called Dharma complete and utter nonsense. He is not a teacher who can lead one to liberation. He is just another one of those Barnes and Noble “Buddhist” teachers like Stephen Batchelor, Kalsang Gyatso and so on who do far more harm to students than good.

Various forum members join in the complaints against Reginald Ray:

there seems to be a blur in Dr. Ray’s thinking between literal acceptance of rebirth and the utility of rebirth as a stimulus to practice.

Namdrol, warming to his theme, continues:

In fact, his comments expose the presence of a form of intellectual racism against a so called “Asian Buddhism”, a constant theme in is his discussions of Buddhist topics.

It is a little strange to insist on such a distinction– as of this writing there isn’t a single highly realized teacher of western origin, not even one.

The so called “American Buddhism” movement is characterized by a deep hubristic immaturity.