Author Topic: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?  (Read 12598 times)

Offline BlueSky

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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2013, 04:41:21 pm »
So, who is the head of Gelug school?
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2013, 04:48:20 pm »
So, who is the head of Gelug school?
Back when I was hanging out with the Gelugpas it was Ling Rinpoche, but he died and I haven't kept up with it. I think, but I'm not sure, that the heads of the Sera  and Ganden monasteries trade off the honor between them.

EDIT: The Wiki article on the Gelug school says that it is the head of Ganden Monastery. I do no know who that is currently.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 04:56:30 pm by santamonicacj »
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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2013, 08:32:39 pm »
Takes me forever to write something, bits and pieces on notepad all over the place, edited and re-edited over again. At least for this forum. It's way too long. Oh well. It's also kind of an overview of our sangha.

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santamonicacj
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 10:36:36 pm »

The 6 Yogas are widely available? In the Kagyu tradition they are generally taught only in the context of the 3 year retreat. They are not publicly taught.

I was speaking of the Six Yogas of Naropa that have been translated by a number of translators and are in pdf form available at multiple sites all over the internet for free or in book form at bookstores or internet stores like Amazon. I have 5-6 translations,  pdfs in my book files, all free. Thus yes, those are freely and widely available. One might assume that the Kagu's yogas might bear some resemblance to the ones described in the books because they are called Naropa's yogas. Unless the Kagu have recently disavowed any lineage connection to Naropa. And my suggestion that the Kagyu may have missed a Great Bodhisattva hardly belittles their lineage.

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There is SutraMahamudra and TantricMahamudra. The "look at your mind" style is Sutra. The 6 Yogas are Tantra. The 6 Yogas have a creation phase and completion phase. The Mahamudra aspect comes into play in the completion phase.

Ours are of course tantra also. 3 years! Wow! If i subtract the Bardo teachings from the 'bardo' yoga, and think of the subdivisions of Phowa as being separate, as it was taught, then one lesson for the directions, perhaps one more for review, a couple of hours per yoga to teach. Then it was between lama and disciple so it would depend upon the individual. I had started messing with dreams years before i joined the sangha. I read a few of the books available at the time on lucid dreaming. It was years after i joined the sangha, after the yogas were taught, that he went into dream yoga in any depth. I asked a question about it during the Tantra class and he told me that i was far advanced in dream yoga. This surprised the whole initiate class and  me the most. Perhaps he had never said anything in the years before because he wanted to see how far i would take it on my own. I spent 7-8 years on it. I would like to pick it up again and take it further, in other directions. I bet it's a whole lot different than what the Niguma do. Now i'll read the books on it, though i doubt if will be helpful. But one never knows where i'm going to find something. There are other practices i've run across that have caught my interest also.

The creation and completion stage? I have no idea? I wonder? Naropa's had preliminaries. We had none. I did say ours were stripped down. Perhaps a lot of things others do are might be considered unnecessary.+-


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I think of it more like character traits. Bullies and know-it-alls exist everywhere. These are the minority, i hope. There are probably far more that try to be helpful without being judgmental. The first type can destroy a thread very quickly though.

More widespread is the differences in practices. Or the ideas of what is needed to do a practice, what the prerequisite practices are, if empowerments are needed. That comes up a lot. Obviously different teachers have different ways or there wouldn't be so much argument about it. But given that, then what's all the arguing or debating about? This also destroys threads quickly.

It's that i am very hesitant about asking questions or posting on a Dzogchen forum.

And then there's us, "What's an empowerment?"

Seems an awful lot of them are needed. For almost each and every little thing and there are an awful lot of things. We have/use sutra, tantra, mantra, yantra, yoga, meditation practices. Those are just categories that everyone has except tantra. The sutras are open to the public. If one decides they want to join they request darshons with a lama they knew and are comfortable with dependent upon, of course, if the lama has room in their schedules. After a few darshons to form rapport and to ensure they have some understanding of the trinity they are asked if they want to take refuge. Upon saying yes they become a member of the sangha. It is announced at the next meeting. No ceremony. One other thing they knew about before taking refuge is how the initiations are done. I think to not do so would be using sorcery. Or worse, creating the idea of something like a divinity. Since this was a common topic of sutra, everyone knew that by taking refuge they were also giving consent. Our teacher described it often. No doubt when people would return to listen to the sutras. He said we were taught as the Buddhas were, buddha to buddha. That the transmissions and lessons were not merely oral.

We were told that we differed from the others (lineages, schools) in that their initiations were merely rituals whereas ours were real. Ours are done through phowa in the form of consciousness sharing and usually dreams. I think of it like a process and difficult to describe. It culminates in a vivid dream. He creates the dream rather like a play, the plot, the scenery, characters (thought forms) and he, disguised, interacts with the person within the dream. One goes through the dream as a participant and must react in a very specific way in order to prove they've 'gotten' the insight, realization. A person is not told when this will happen. So people might go through an initiation without knowing about until they are told so at darshon by their lama. Using dreams for darshon was encouraged. Vivid dreams are easier to remember, therefor it was likely that an initiation dream would be told to one's lama. However, since the the process at times caused a lot of intense inner turmoil, one might guess that they were undergoing an initiation. Initiations could be easy or very difficult.  With a hard one we could see how haggard and exhausted a person was. And sometimes during the process a persons behavior would change somewhat, act strange or get edgy, irritable. This is one of the times when the sanghas support is important. There were lots of ways to fail initiations, to which i can attest. But pass or fail we were relieved to have it over with. I wonder, they were called initiations after all, perhaps instead of feeling relief an end of of it we should have been more concerned about what we were getting into next?

The initiates class, Tantra, required the first initiation. You are not considered Dzogchen until you had passed 7 initiations. There are over a hundred total, i'm thinking 120 -130, i forget. It's remarkable to manage 10 in a lifetime, 12 is extraordinary. These carry over lifetime to lifetime, obviously. If they have names or divisions in them i'm not aware of them.

Empowerments were never mentioned. I don't know, perhaps something similar is included in our initiation process?

Sutras, tantra, mantras, use of yantra and symbols, yogas of course, but i have few names for them or what they were for. Either i can't remember them, they didn't have a name or the one's that did, would be exclusive to the sangha. I might recognize the elements of a practice of a school as being similar to ours, assuming i had the time and patience to get through the jargon. A  practice, using visualization of dakinis, yoginis, buddhas, etc. that i'm not sure of what category it falls in, was taught upon becoming an initiate. A meditation, described as an adaptation form of sky gazing used, and some other meditations and practices for various purposes recommended. Yidums. Rigpa, one of the first requirements - to prove one had at least recognition of it. These are some of the things that come to mind now.

Developing tantric sight, clairvoyance, long distance viewing, astral projection, etc. all discussed, encouraged, or taught within group. And something without getting into it - includes Shambhala. Although the Nyingma have Copper Mountain, i've not seen mention as of yet, so I have no idea as to how they view it. And something i dealt with a bit during darshons that which was not taught in tantra class, though it was mentioned, i think i can describe it somewhat, simply, without revealing terma -  moving and seeing within the energy realm. And there are things so esoteric they are probably not taught at all except to the highest level initiate/initiates, chosen to carry on the methods of transmission and initiations. Something like tulkus maybe.

Any of this sound like Nyingma? Or Kagyu?


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The Nyingmas have the least emphasis on academics, the least emphasis on monastic vows (and thus the least restrictions on personal behavior), and the least structured organization. Plus, for those that get REALLY serious about doing 3 year retreat, they are allowed to have beds. The Kagyus have to sit up in their meditation box for 3 years. Ugh! So yeah, the Nyingmas are the liberal, easy ones!

They sure quote a lot of books and authors! And have a lot of 'supplementary' and books required.

As i said, we were told not to read books. He okayed a few Buddhist sutras, specific translations that he recommended, and the Heart Sutra. Not too long after a big old house had been acquired for our Dharma Center the Tibetan Monks came to town to put on a performance to earn money. Always before they had been farmed out amongst the intellectual crowd, like the University professors, or the well to do. Nice little tidbit to drop at social functions, that you had a Tibetan monk as a houseguest. Having loads of room at the Center they were invited to stay and of course they did. The sangha was told they could socialize with with them for a few hours. This allowed the monks to have the place to themselves as only the abbot was in residency. I regretfully did not get to be there as i was out of town. The next meeting our teacher told us emphatically how embarrassed he was because we didn't know anything. Yep, and me laughing. What did he expect? We were told not to read books and he didn't teach us anything.  Apparently the whole sangha had done what he said, maybe far more so than he meant. After that a small library was started and continued to grow. Just available, nothing required. No Dzogchen, of course. He also finally read some of the Buddhist Sutras to us with a beautiful running commentary. We have no texts, nothing was written except a long mantra, which might not have been considered esoteric.The Abbot or our teacher may have written something since, but it wouldn't involve practice.

I don't do vows. Our restrictions on personal behavior i think would be to try to refrain from killing each other. As for the Nyingmas being the liberal, with themselves maybe, not with others? Once again, not all Nyingmas, just some.

Retreat from what? Sorry. As i jokingly said to someone lately, we have retreats too.That's when somone's had enough, overwhelmed, and runs away, retreats from the sangha, the initiations, the teaching, or the teacher. It maybe months or many years, most, i think, come back. I've been away 10 years but through phowa (consciousness sharing) have a form of contact with our teacher. But i quit all practices, except those so much a part of one and constant habit that they are not even thought of as practice. There is a point you can not - not be Dzogchen. It's not a practice, it's what you are. That 7th initiation maybe? Thus one could be born Dzogchen and never have heard of it. I also avoided any concentration and oddly, had to be careful with music. Reading requires focus and can lead to concentration so i pretty much quit that also. All of this was because of something other than Dzogchen.

As far a Kagyu meditation box, i wonder what they get out of it? It sounds more like a form of torture. In which case there's all kinds of devices they could use if torture leads to enlightenment. It seems silly. Now that i think of it, where on earth did they come up with that idea? Some teacher probably had a really irritating disciple.....I've met people i would have liked to put in a box. Lot of people would probably like to put me in one.



Plus, for those that get REALLY serious about doing 3 year retreat,....


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I don't know even know anyone who could afford it. Why go anywhere anyway?

When i first started  googling Dzogchen (and NOT JUST  Dzogchen here, to be fair) I was appalled at what looks like the buying and selling of the Dharma. Price tags on everything. It looks as though a Buddhist will give nothing away if they can make a buck on it. Dzogchen teachers going around the world giving empowerments like traveling salesmen. Retreats advertized everywhere like 'get-away' vacations. Maybe everything is so esoteric because something harder to get brings a higher price? Hard to sell something if it's easily obtainable elsewhere for free and a lot less prestige in having it.

Then i thought to go to the directories and googled over 30 Dzogchen sanghas and also used google images with each one. The vast majority are far from rich or elaborate.They look like they are holding their meetings in borrowed or rented spaces, or in someone's living room, attic or basement. I think the impression the internet gives has more to do with celebrity worship than with actuality.

We have beds too, and refrigerators, houses, cars and jobs to pay for them, including the lamas. I'm in awe of them. Though some may have retired fom their jobs by now, most must still be working full time. There are many days a week they are required to be at the Center, for their classes, the tantras, and other things, besides doing individual darshons weekly with each of their disciples, and still make time for their own practice, families and household chores. Because of the time restraints they can handle only so many disciples. In order for this system to work it would have to produce a lot of lamas.


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santamonicacj

Just out of curiosity, where did you teacher get his training in Dzogchen? What are his qualifications to teach?

Isn't that the equivalent of asking what his lineage is? Which would therefor be the sangha's also. We have none. Where do lineages start? They all had to start somewhere. Where did the practices come from in the first place?


Offline santamonicacj

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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2013, 10:35:07 pm »
Quote
Isn't that the equivalent of asking what his lineage is? Which would therefor be the sangha's also. We have none.
Well, you do now. Lineages are teacher to student instruction and transmission. After time, the student then becomes a teacher, and so on. Sounds like yours is just getting started.

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Where do lineages start? They all had to start somewhere. Where did the practices come from in the first place?
Well, in the case of the 6 Yogas of Naropa, they start with Naropa. He then taught his main disciple Marpa, who brought them from India to Tibet and translated them. His Dharma heirs call themselves "Kagyu". Marpa then taught his main student Milarepa, who taught his main student Gompopa, who then taught his main student, the first Karmapa. The first Karmapa figured out how to predict where and when he would be reborn, and started the system that we now know of as tulkus, or reincarnated lamas. He has reincarnated 17 times so far, each time predicting his rebirth (except once) and receiving instruction from the main student of his previous incarnation, and then transmitting them to his student, who teaches his next incarnation. You can Google his current, 17th incarnation.

But this is the 21st century, and people don't buy into the idea of reincarnate lamas or the idea that there might be a chain of enlightened masters-to-students going back over 1,000 years. It is a very unpopular idea especially here on the internet. They do not believe that lineages have any credibility, and that schools are mostly about money, power and prestige. I do not ask that you, or anybody else, believe anything in particular, but if you read the signature caveat at the bottom of any of my posts you'll see that I find the lineages credible.

In any case, you have your path and your teacher. So, good luck with it!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 11:41:05 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Scotsman56

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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2014, 12:11:53 pm »
The primary basis for dzogchen practice is getting a direct transmission of the nature of mind; until you have that, anything you experience will be theoretical. Chogyal Namhkai Norbu does direct transmission webcasts three times a year. They are an excellent way to begin on the dzogchen path, then connect with a local group, or if there is none local, keep up with his frequent open webcasts.Check out any of the Dzogchen community websites for more information. Google Namkhai Norbu direct transmission.

Offline humanitas

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Re: What is the order of Dzogchen practices?
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2015, 09:19:56 am »
The primary basis for dzogchen practice is getting a direct transmission of the nature of mind; until you have that, anything you experience will be theoretical. Chogyal Namhkai Norbu does direct transmission webcasts three times a year. They are an excellent way to begin on the dzogchen path, then connect with a local group, or if there is none local, keep up with his frequent open webcasts.Check out any of the Dzogchen community websites for more information. Google Namkhai Norbu direct transmission.

Three words: Ati Guru Yoga.

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