There are three distinct yet compatible approaches within Buddhism: self-liberation, transformation, and renunciation. The Aro gTér Lineage emphasises self-liberation and transformation, whereas it is more common to prioritise renunciation.
Buddhism—as it is most commonly taught—gives an understanding of enlightenment as attainable only for celibates who undertake a life of intensive training and years of solitary retreat. In contrast the Aro gTér Lineage portrays enlightenment as potentially available to everyone in every moment. Certain Buddhist trends describe involvement with the material world as unclean; seeing secular existence as dangerously delusional – provoking negative emotions such as lust, greed, and anger. The Aro gTér Lineage, and other parallel lineages, depict the material world as a wondrous garden of delights that we should enjoy with utter thoroughness. Many forms of Buddhism forbid, or advise against, drinking alcohol. The Aro gTér Lineage—representing the transformational approach—requires skilful imbibing of alcohol when the ‘feast of appreciation and generosity’ is celebrated.
Despite these apparent contradictions, views and practices of the Aro gTér Lineage derive from—and accord with—ancient Buddhist teachings. Contemporary as they may appear, they are not modern innovations. They do not compromise Asian traditions in favour of Western values – but are based on principles, long held by the adventurous independent minority within Buddhism.
The Drala Jong project seeks to create a home for the Aro gTér Lineage. Please see the Appeal page for more information about the Drala Jong project and how to help.