Rime movement

Rime movement

Rimé is a Buddhist ecumenical movement founded in Eastern Tibet during the late 19th century largely by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, the latter of whom is often respected as the founder proper. Excluding non-Tibetan traditions, it seeks to unify the Buddhist Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug traditions (along with the Bön religion), attempting to harmonize the common grounds and various views and practices and removing elements considered by the Rime advocates to be divisive while maintaining the authenticities of various practice lineages and saving endangered elements. It is responsible for a large number of scriptural compilations such as the Rinchen Terdzod.

Rimé is defined as an "eclectic movement" [Damien Keown: Oxford "Dictionary of Buddhism", p. 83] Dreyfus, Georges B.J. & Sara L. McClintock (eds). "The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction: What Difference Does a Difference Make?" Wisdom Publications, 2003, p. 320] wherein practitioners "follow multiple lineages of practice" [David N. Kay: "Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation", London and New York, page 60] although this does not imply that a new, syncretistic school has been created. One of the most prominent contemporary Rimé masters, Ringu Tulku, emphasizes the message of the original Rimé founders that is not a new school. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kxd_VOH1aI YouTube - Ri-Mé_Approach ] ] It is simply an approach allowing freedom of choice which was always the majority practice within the history of Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapas, Je Tsongkhapa, Sakya lineage heads and major Nyingma figures took teachings and empowerments from various schools and lineages.

The movement's name is derived from two Tibetan words: "Ris" (bias, side) and "Med" (lack), which combined expresses the idea of openness to other Buddhist traditions, as opposed to sectarianism. The Rimé movement therefore is often mistaken as trying to unite the various sects through their similarities, which was not the case. Rimé was intended to recognize the differences between traditions and appreciate them, while also establishing a dialogue which would create common ground. It is considered important that variety be preserved, and therefore Rimé teachers are generally quite careful to emphasize differences in thought, giving students many options as to how to proceed in their spiritual training.

Ringu Tulku describes these points which are often misrepresented:

:"Ris" or "Phyog-ris" in Tibetan means "one-sided", "partisan" or "sectarian". "Med" means "No". "Ris-med" (Wylie), or "Rimé", therefore means "no sides", "non-partisan" or "non-sectarian". It does not mean "non-conformist" or "non-committal"; nor does it mean forming a new School or system that is different from the existing ones. A person who believes the Rimé way almost certainly follows one lineage as his or her main practice. He or she would not dissociate from the School in which he or she was raised. Kongtrul was raised in the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions; Khentse was reared in a strong Sakyapa tradition. They never failed to acknowledge their affiliation to their own Schools.

:Rimé is not a way of uniting different Schools and lineages by emphasizing their similarities. It is basically an appreciation of their differences and an acknowledgement of the importance of having this variety for the benefit of practitioners with different needs. Therefore the Rimé teachers always take great care that the teachings and practices of the different Schools and lineages and their unique styles do not become confused with one another. To retain the original style and methods of each teaching lineage preserves the power of that lineage experience. Kongtrul and Khentse made great efforts to retain the original flavor of each teaching, while making them available to many. Kongtrul writes about Khyentse in his biography of the latter.... When he (Khyentse Rinpoche) taught, he would give the teachings of each lineage clearly and intelligibly without confusing the terms and concepts of other teachings. [http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/A%20-%20Tibetan%20Buddhism/Authors/Ringu%20Tulku/The%20Rime%20Movement/THE%20RIME%20(%20Ris-med%20)%20MOVEMENT.htm The Rime ( Ris-Med ) Movement ] ]

Rimé's founders

Two of the founding voices of Rimé were Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, both from different schools. Jamgon Kongtrul was from the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions, while Wangpo had been raised within the Sakya order. At the time, Tibetan schools of thought had become very isolated, and both Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul were instrumental in re-initiating dialogue between the sects. [ [http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductExtract.asp?PID=16404 Extract of Ri-me Philosophy Of Jamgon Kongtrul The Great paperback, A Study Of The Buddhist Lineages Of Tibet by Ringu Tulku And Translated By Ann Helm ] ]

The movement began within a large context of increasing domination by the Gelug lineage. Beginning in the 17th century, the Gelug view and politics increasingly dominated in Tibet and the minority lineages were at risk for losing their traditions.Dreyfus (2003) p.320] At its founding, the Rimé movement was primarily non-Gelugpa teachers and at times the movement has appeared critical of Gelug views. Professor Georges Dreyfus suggests this argumentation was less to create further division but was to bolster minority views that had been marginalized by Gelug supremacy. Nonetheless, philosophic commentaries by early Rimé writers tend to criticize Gelugpa tenets.

However, Rimé was in its idealized presentation the re-establishment of a rule or principle that had always been present in Tibetan Buddhism, but that had been de-emphasized or forgotten. That is: to ignorantly criticize other traditions was wrong, and that misunderstandings due to ignorance should be immediately alleviated. Ringu Tulku says:

Rimé seeks to preserve the historic tradition of taking teachings and practice instructions across varying traditions, appreciating their differences and emphasizing the need for variety as well as harmony. Rimé was initially intended to counteract the novel growing suspicion and tension building between the different traditions, which at the time had, in many places, gone so far as to forbid studying one another's scriptures.

Jamgon Kongtrul summed his view: blockquote|The scholars and siddhas of the various schools make their own individual presentations of the dharma. Each one is full of strong points and supported by valid reasoning. If you are well grounded in the presentations of your own tradition, then it is unnecessary to be sectarian. But if you get mixed up about the various tenets and the terminology, then you lack even a foothold in your own tradition. You try to use someone else's system to support your understanding, and then get all tangled up, like a bad weaver, concerning the view, meditation, conduct, and result. Unless you have certainty in your own system, you cannot use reasoning to support your scriptures, and you cannot challenge the assertions of others. You become a laughing stock in the eyes of the learned ones. It would be much better to possess a clear understanding of your own tradition.

In summary, one must see all the teachings as without contradiction, and consider all the scriptures as instructions. This will cause the root of sectarianism and prejudice to dry up, and give you a firm foundation in the Buddhas teachings. At that point, hundreds of doors to the eighty-four thousand teachings of the dharma will simultaneously be open to you. [The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet by Ringu Tulku, ISBN 1-59030-286-9, Shambhala Publications]

Rimé has become an integral part of the Tibetan tradition, and continues to be an important philosophy in Tibetan Buddhism.

Other notable Tibetan Lamas noted for their non-sectarian approach were Patrul Rinpoche and Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa. Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol, Dudjom Lingpa and the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakyab Dorje who was a student of Kongtrul. Other lineage leaders gave their blessing to the movement and its founders who were considered extremely realized.

The Rimé approach

Tibetan Buddhism has a long history of vigorous debate and argumentation between schools and within one's training. This can lead a practitioner to believe that one's school has the best approach or highest philosophic view and that other lineages have a lower or flawed understanding. The Rimé approach cautions against developing that viewpoint, while at the same time appreciating that the debate and discussion is important and that arguing which views are higher and lower is still valid discourse.

The practitioner may take empowerments from the numerous handed down lineages and living masters, though it is not a requirement to do so.

Present-day Rimé movement

The movement's achievements have been very successful in the 20th Century where taking teachings and transmissions from different schools and lineages has become the norm amongst many monastic students, lamas, yogis as well as lay practitioners. This has mainly been due to the proactive support of many lineage holders and various leaders such as the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas, the 15th and 16th Karmapas, Sakya Trizin, Dudjom Rinpoche, following the eclectic approach of the 5th Dalai Lama "who blurred the lines between traditions":

:In the West, where so many different Buddhist traditions exist side by side, one needs to be constantly on one's guard against the danger of sectarianism. Such a divisive attitude is often the result of failing to understand or appreciate anything outside one's own tradition. Teachers from all schools would therefore benefit greatly from studying and gaining some practical experience of the teachings of other traditions. [An Open Letter by The Network for Western Buddhist Teachers, "Tricycle", Fall 1993]

The 14th Dalai Lama has composed a prayer for the movement praising various historic figures and lineages of Vajrayana from India and Tibet, part of which says:

:In short, may all the teachings of the Buddha in the Land of Snows:Flourish long into the future— the ten great pillars of the study lineage,:And the chariots of the practice lineage, such as Shijé (‘Pacifying’) and the rest,:All of them rich with their essential instructions combining sutra and mantra.

:May the lives of the masters who uphold these teachings be secure and harmonious!:May the sangha preserve these teachings through their study, meditation and activity!:May the world be filled with faithful individuals intent on following these teachings!:And long may the non-sectarian teachings of the Buddha continue to flourish! [ [http://www.lotsawahouse.org/harmonious.html Lotsawa House | Dalai Lama | Sage's Harmonious Song of Truth ] ]

Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche are recent Rimé masters, known for their public influence and as being advisers and teachers to the 14th Dalai Lama. Other modern adherents include the late 16th Karmapa and Dudjom Rinpoche, both of whom gave extensive teachings from the works of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro, as well as Akong Rinpoche who, with the late Chogyam Trungpa helped establish Tibetan Buddhism in Britain. The lineage of the late Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, also a venerable master of the Rimé tradition, is represented today in the teachings of Lama Surya Das.

The 14th Dalai Lama supports and encourages a non-sectarian spirit. [ [http://www.tibet.com/dholgyal/hhdl.html His Holiness the Dalai Lama's response to media a question on Shugden at the press conference in Indianapolis on August 16, 1999 ] ] [Dalai Lama and Sogyal Rinpoche (2007) "Mind in Comfort and Ease: The Vision of Enlightenment in the Great Perfection" ISBN 0-86171-493-8 page xiii] Major Gelug figures like Shabkar in the 19th century, and the Panchen Lamas and Reting Rinpoche in the 20th century studied Nyingma teachings along with their Gelug training. [ [http://www.simhas.org/chatral.html Simhanada-The Lord of Refuge Chatral Rinpoche ] ] [ [http://www.shabkar.org/teachers/tibetanbuddhism/chatral_rinpoche.htm Kyabje Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche | Vegetarianism & Saving Lives (Tsethar) ] ] [ [http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductExtract.asp?PID=14813 Extract of Flight Of The Garuda, The Dzogchen Tradition Of Tibetan Buddhism by Dowman, Keith ] ] The personal and hidden lake temple of the lineage of Dalai Lamas behind the Potala called Lukhang is dedicated to Dzogchen teachings. [ [http://www.asianart.com/articles/baker/ Ian A. Baker: The Lukhang: A hidden temple in Tibet ] ] [ [http://www.snowlionpub.com/html/product_4870.html THE LIFE OF SHABKAR: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, trans. by Matthieu Ricard, fore. by H.H. the Dalai Lama ] ] Arjia Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche continues the Rime tradition in the absence of the current reincarnation of his master Panchen Lama who has refused to collaborate after his abduction. [ [http://arjiagegeen.freeyellow.com/ Arjia Rinpoche (Gegeen) of Kumbum Monastery, Khukh Nuur ] ] [ [http://www.geocities.com/RimeFoundation/arjia.htm Arjia Rinpoche ] ]

The Dorje Shugden controversy is cited as a present-day example of sectarian division, though it related to sub-sects in the Gelug lineage. Practictioners of Dorje Shugden claim that veneration of Dorje Shugen has been banned by the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Government in Exile & His Holiness the Dalai Lama refute this allegation though admit to discouraging the worship of this deity. One of the reasons he offers is that the practice encourages sectarianism. Not all Dorje Shugden practitioners interpret it that way and feel persecuted by the Dalai Lama's actions.


* The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet by Ringu Tulku, ISBN 1-59030-286-9, Shambhala Publications
* Dreyfus, Georges B.J. & Sara L. McClintock (eds). The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction: What Difference Does a Difference Make? Wisdom Publications, 2003.

External links

* [http://www.rangjung.com/authors/Jamyang_Khyentse_Wangpo.htm Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, a short introduction by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kxd_VOH1aI Video clip of Ringu Tulku on the Rimé Approach]
* [http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/A%20-%20Tibetan%20Buddhism/Authors/Ringu%20Tulku/The%20Rime%20Movement/THE%20RIME%20(%20Ris-med%20)%20MOVEMENT.htm The Rimé Movement an article by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche]
* [http://www.lotsawahouse.org/harmonious.html "A Prayer for the Flourishing of the Non-Sectarian Teachings of the Buddha" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama]
* [http://quietmountain.org/links/teachings/nonsect.htm Buddhism without Sectarianism by the Venerable Deshung Rinpoche]
* [http://www.rimecenter.org/ Rimé Buddhist Center]
* [http://www.geocities.com/RimeFoundation/ Rimé Foundation Chicago]
* [http://www.lotsawahouse.org/ Lotsawa House]
* [http://www.rimefoundation.org/ Rimé Foundation A non-profit organization specializing in the translation of Tibetan literature, particularly from the Rimé movement.]
* [http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductExtract.asp?PID=16404 Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great]
* [http://ringutulku.wordpress.com/ The Unofficial Ringu Tulku Blog]

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