Author Topic: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution  (Read 8588 times)

Offline Bodhicandra

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Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« on: August 27, 2010, 04:29:55 am »
I've been asked to post some samples of Mahayana Maha Ati , a.k.a. Dzogchen, teachings and views. I'll gladly do that, but first I'd like to issue some cautions:

1) The first Dzogchen teachings I want to introduce you include lists of all the Buddhist vehicles - the Nine Yanas - and proceed to point out, in very abbreviated form, the inadequacies of the other eight, and also how long it will take one to become awakened by following them. So, if you are a committed follower of another Yana, you have been warned!

2) Dzogchen practice can only be started after receiving a transmission from an authentic, authorized teacher, and much of it is secret. The samples I will put here are from published books and are intended to let you see if you 'connect' with them and are thus motivated to find a Dzogchen group you can go and visit.

3) Again I say, Dzogchen practice needs an authentic transmission - otherwise it just won't work. Don't try to 'do' any of the practices here, just try to get the 'feel' of them.

4) If you want to know what meditation in our 'Formless' style is like, try my Guru's public advice here:
http://www.longchenfoundation.org/resourcesDownloadMedi-General.html.

5) If you want to read more of the specific tradition I follow, the two books referenced here are essential:
http://www.longchenfoundation.org/resourcesDownloadMedi-Sources.html

6) I am not a teacher. My selections, and any associated notes, are just the results my ignorant attempts to be helpful.

"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline Caz

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2010, 03:35:06 pm »
I'll set this topic as a sticky just so people dont grab the wrong end of the stick.  :pray:
Well...at least try not to anyway.  :pray:
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Offline Stan

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 07:10:26 pm »
Bodhicandra
Well... #4 sounds reasonable.... :)
Is that some dzogchen centers or teachers around Vero Beach FL?

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 08:11:06 pm »


6) I am not a teacher. My selections, and any associated notes, are just the results my ignorant attempts to be helpful.



Then considering that, why are you offering anything on the subject at all?

Do you have the permission of your guru to sharing this stuff online.

We should be extremely careful when dicussing Mahamudra or Dzogchen, even at a cursory level.

My guru, is a Dzogchen lineage holder and a tulku in a great line of Dzogchen masters.  Although he's a written an introductory book on Mahamudra and Dzogchen, he almost never teaches on the subject and never discusses it casually.  The subject of Dzogchen in our Sangha is such that I couldn't even begin to say who I suspect might be a Dzogchen student.

I think if people are interested in Dzogchen or feel drawn to the practice they should be talking to someone empowered to teach it and and not looking around on the internet for information they may not understand or may take wrong.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 08:35:30 pm »

I think if people are interested in Dzogchen or feel drawn to the practice they should be talking to someone empowered to teach it and and not looking around on the internet for information they may not understand or may take wrong.

True, but there is a Catch 22 here. You can't learn about the teachings until you commit to them, but you can't commit to them without knowing something about them. How is the poor beginner to decide whether or not to pursue the secret teachings?
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 09:10:12 pm »
DzogChen is secret? There may be details and specifics that are, but there are plenty of published materials on it. The same goes for MahaMudra. The caveat of needing an authentic lineage lama to actually practice it of course is always appropriate to mention in any public discussion.

So if you know of details and specifics that are to be kept secret, then do so. But as to the general gist of it, let 'er rip!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 09:28:27 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.

GoGet

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2010, 09:14:12 pm »

I think if people are interested in Dzogchen or feel drawn to the practice they should be talking to someone empowered to teach it and and not looking around on the internet for information they may not understand or may take wrong.

True, but there is a Catch 22 here. You can't learn about the teachings until you commit to them, but you can't commit to them without knowing something about them. How is the poor beginner to decide whether or not to pursue the secret teachings?

No doubt about it, entering into practices like Dzogchen isn't easily done, nor should it be.

There are plenty of texts out there, written by qualified teachers to give a student enough of a taste of the practice to allow for discerning whether or not a personal connection to the practice may exist.  In the Vajrayana traditions I'm aware of, there are practices a student may do that while not Mahamudra or Dzogchen  per se, do approach those practices in a way.  I'm referring to generation stage practices such as Tara, Medicine Buddha and the like.  These practice can be done by anyone, often without lung or other empowerment and are often employed to introduce students to the character of more esoteric practices.

It is also within the purview of the guru to advise the student on what practice to undertake.  Even if the guru does not make a recomendation, he/she still pretty much has a final say as to whether or not the student will be allowed to do a given practice. So, if you want to take up Dzogchen practice and your guru says no, you are bound by your samaya to the guru to abide by his/her decision.

And you don't have to know a thing about a practice to undertake it.  I doubt very much that Milarepa knew anything about Mahamudra before he met Marpa.  If your guru instructs you to undertake a certain practice, you do it.  There's no question about that, really.  If you don't know anything about the practice, usually everything you need to know is contained within the practice and what isn't can be addressed by your teacher.

When dealing with the esoteric aspects of Vajrayana, I think proper guidance is of the upmost importance and the role of the guru can't be overstated.  Dzogchen  is all well and good for those who have a disposition for it, but it's not something you simply take up.....like golf.  The same applies to Mahamudra and Vajrayana in general.  It isn't for everyone.  If you have a connection to such practice, follow your bliss as Joseph was fond of saying.  Doors will open for you where none seemed to exist before.  When the student is ready the guru will appear as guide and spiritual friend.  You'll learn what you need to know from your guru.  You need nothing more.

Offline DennisE

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 04:21:28 pm »
Can anyone answer Stan's question?  Thanks, Dennis

Offline Pema Dorje

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 04:29:00 pm »
Thats interesting, I'm from Vero Beach. My teachers currently teach Dzogchen. Center is in West Palm.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 04:32:04 pm by Matt »
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Offline DennisE

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 08:23:52 am »
Thanks Matt!  Dennis

GoGet

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 03:34:39 pm »

I think if people are interested in Dzogchen or feel drawn to the practice they should be talking to someone empowered to teach it and and not looking around on the internet for information they may not understand or may take wrong.

True, but there is a Catch 22 here. You can't learn about the teachings until you commit to them, but you can't commit to them without knowing something about them. How is the poor beginner to decide whether or not to pursue the secret teachings?

No doubt about it, entering into practices like Dzogchen isn't easily done, nor should it be.

There are plenty of texts out there, written by qualified teachers to give a student enough of a taste of the practice to allow for discerning whether or not a personal connection to the practice may exist.  In the Vajrayana traditions I'm aware of, there are practices a student may do that while not Mahamudra or Dzogchen  per se, do approach those practices in a way.  I'm referring to generation stage practices such as Tara, Medicine Buddha and the like.  These practice can be done by anyone, often without lung or other empowerment and are often employed to introduce students to the character of more esoteric practices.

It is also within the purview of the guru to advise the student on what practice to undertake.  Even if the guru does not make a recomendation, he/she still pretty much has a final say as to whether or not the student will be allowed to do a given practice. So, if you want to take up Dzogchen practice and your guru says no, you are bound by your samaya to the guru to abide by his/her decision.

And you don't have to know a thing about a practice to undertake it.  I doubt very much that Milarepa knew anything about Mahamudra before he met Marpa.  If your guru instructs you to undertake a certain practice, you do it.  There's no question about that, really.  If you don't know anything about the practice, usually everything you need to know is contained within the practice and what isn't can be addressed by your teacher.

When dealing with the esoteric aspects of Vajrayana, I think proper guidance is of the upmost importance and the role of the guru can't be overstated.  Dzogchen  is all well and good for those who have a disposition for it, but it's not something you simply take up.....like golf.  The same applies to Mahamudra and Vajrayana in general.  It isn't for everyone.  If you have a connection to such practice, follow your bliss as Joseph was fond of saying.  Doors will open for you where none seemed to exist before.  When the student is ready the guru will appear as guide and spiritual friend.  You'll learn what you need to know from your guru.  You need nothing more.

Christ!  Sometimes I come back to a thread and read my stuff a few days after posting it and think.......

"Was I on drugs when I wrote that?"

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 06:09:35 pm »

Christ!  Sometimes I come back to a thread and read my stuff a few days after posting it and think.......

"Was I on drugs when I wrote that?"

Nevertheless, your words of caution were, I'm sure, sincerely meant at the time, and certainly reflect attitudes that would have been held by most teachers maybe 10 years ago.

But, as  I understand it, the realities of the Tibetan Diaspora, plus some sincerely-held, positive views from teachers have changed many attitudes.

HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (who were my Guru's main teachers) had the view that Dzogchen's time and place to 'come out' and to flourish has come here in the West in this 'dark age'. This is why they established my Guru's organization in the UK, the Longchen Foundation, in which the initial meditation training (the Lion's Roar) leads directly to Dzogchen and is open about that right from the outset.

Naturally, the content of what is taught becomes more sensitive and more highly protected as one progresses, but knowledge of the existence and overall approach of training such as this is such that people over a wide area and demographic have the opportunity to 'connect' - if not via our Guru then by one elsewhere.

In selecting what to post here I have used only material from published books authored or authorised by authentic Dzogchen masters and published by mainstream publishers, on the assumption that if they are now prepared for this material to go into such unrestricted wide-circulation it would be OK to post it here.

Even so, there are many parts of these published texts which I would not draw people's attention to; I've restricted myself to what appear to me to be 'come and see' introductory and motivational parts of the texts - inviting connection  - rather than the detailed 'core' teachings.

I totally agree with your point about there being something mysterious about the initial connection to Dzogchen - a event of potency which feels much more then a 'strongly-significant coincidence'. Maybe for some people it will be discovering this forum which contributes to that moment of magic.  :pray:
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 01:32:35 am »
HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (who were my Guru's main teachers) had the view that Dzogchen's time and place to 'come out' and to flourish has come here in the West in this 'dark age'. This is why they established my Guru's organization in the UK, the Longchen Foundation, in which the initial meditation training (the Lion's Roar) leads directly to Dzogchen and is open about that right from the outset.
Actually according to my Refuge Lama (a Kagyu Rinpoche) one of the main differences between DzogChen and MahaMudrea is that with DzogChen it is possible to do that but with MahaMudra it is not.
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 Bodhicandra

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 02:42:40 am »
HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (who were my Guru's main teachers) had the view that Dzogchen's time and place to 'come out' and to flourish has come here in the West in this 'dark age'. This is why they established my Guru's organization in the UK, the Longchen Foundation, in which the initial meditation training (the Lion's Roar) leads directly to Dzogchen and is open about that right from the outset.
Actually according to my Refuge Lama (a Kagyu Rinpoche) one of the main differences between DzogChen and MahaMudrea is that with DzogChen it is possible to do that but with MahaMudra it is not.

I can see how that could be.

In our Longchen Foundation path the training sequence starts with the three-year Lion's Roar meditation course, which eventually introduces the Dzogchen divisions of Mind and Space. The Lion's Roar is open to people of any faith, or none, and the liturgy the Student must participate in does not require any personal commitment to any of the Three Jewels, only to one's own Mind.

Abbreviated versions of the meditation training have been given to Christian nuns in a convent.

Most, but by no means all, students take Refuge at some time during the Lion's Roar.

To progress further one must have taken the Bodhisattva vow (having undertaken a parallel programme of preparation - the Path of Freedom) and one first receives the Bodhicitta empowerment from the Guru.

The subsequent extensive studies and practices are drawn from the other eight yanas, according to each individual's need for further maturation as a Bodhisattva. These further practices appear to be of the same nature as those included in what others here refer to as HYT - we can't tell because none of us can discuss them.

Eventually the Dzogchen 'Direct Introduction' to the nature of Mind may be offered by the Guru. Of this nothing more can be said.

It appears to me that MahaMudra is approached in a different sequence, being seen as the pinnacle practice of HTY -  the culmination of the eighth yana, according to the Nyingma method of classification.
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2010, 09:10:42 am »
It appears to me that MahaMudra is approached in a different sequence, being seen as the pinnacle practice of HTY -  the culmination of the eighth yana, according to the Nyingma method of classification.
HYT has a MahaMudra aspect to it, but the path to the stand-alone/Sutrayana Mahamudra is zhinay and lhatong (shamatha and vipassana). Evidently in the stand-alone DzogChen you don't need to do that, although it is usually taught that way too.

But don't take that as gospel. I'm not sure about it.
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.

 


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