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Schools of Buddhism => Vajrayana => Dzogchen => Topic started by: Bodhicandra on August 27, 2010, 04:29:55 am

Title: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra 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 (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 (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.

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Caz 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:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Stan on September 12, 2010, 07:10:26 pm
Bodhicandra
Well... #4 sounds reasonable.... :)
Is that some dzogchen centers or teachers around Vero Beach FL?
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: catmoon 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?
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj 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!
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: DennisE on September 13, 2010, 04:21:28 pm
Can anyone answer Stan's question?  Thanks, Dennis
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Pema Dorje 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: DennisE on September 16, 2010, 08:23:52 am
Thanks Matt!  Dennis
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet 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?"
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra 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:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj 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.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on September 18, 2010, 10:25:59 am

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,

If I may lay claim to sincerity, the yes.  My frustration comes from a percieved lack of skillful means on my part.


Quote
and certainly reflect attitudes that would have been held by most teachers maybe 10 years ago.


I hadn't thought of it that way, but I suppose you are right.

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

yes, many things have changed since the TD since 1959.

Quote
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'.


My own guru, Ponlop Rinpoche, was also a student of Dilgo Khyentse and was well-aquainted with the Vidyadhara and although DPR has written an introductory overview to Dzogchen (Wild Awakening) and our Sahngha, Nalandabodhi, does have a Dzogchen component by way of DPR's practice and teaching lineage.  Just the same Dzogchen doesn't get talked about much.  Niether does Mahamudra for that matter.  Where DPR's practice and study curriculum leads for a given student is only spoken of in generalities.  DPR's students, as I understand it, can focus on one or the other (possibly both), but the direction doesn't seem to be until the student is both qualified and ready to make that choice.

I don't thinks that's a bad way to approach "higher practice".  It's better, I think, to focus on the task at hand - deepening practice though meditation and study though a set curriculum - than to concern a student with things they're not really ready for and quite frankly, don't need to know until the time comes to take up that practice.  Better to keep the student focused on establishing a firm foundation of essentials of the path - Shamatha, Vispassyana and so on and not to distract with stuff that isn't condusive those practices.

So, I guess where I'm coming from, knowledge of things like Dzogchen and Mahamudra being treated esoterically is the more skillful approach relative to the needs of sentient beings.  If a student is exposed to things like Dzogchen in a less than appropriate time, place and method the result may be less than beneficial to the student and by extension all sentient beings.  Knowing the time, place and method is something my own level of skill will not provide.  My personal preference is to leave such matters to those who teach it and best left alone by those who are taught.

Quote
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.

Even in my lineage, Dzogchen is no big secret - after all, he's not called "Dzogchen" Ponlop without meaning.  It would be abvious that Dzogchen is a part of what DPR can teach us, but just because he can teach doesn't mean that he will teach Dzogchen to any given student.  I think that decision is based more on a students capacity rather than desire to take up the practice.  No sense in introducing  a student to practices they will not take up.  Encourage them to focus on those things that will be of the greatest benefit on the path.

Quote
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.

I know.  Nothing you've posted violates any samaya that I can see, but I think I might be a bit more circumspect in diseminating such information, even if previously published elsewhere.  I wouldn't post anything about such practices, especially what my guru teaches without consulting him first and I wouldn't even bother asking DPR about it because I already know what he'd say.

Quote
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.

And that is wise on your part.

Quote
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:

Perhaps that is so, and I sincerely hope that is how it will work.  I guess I'm enough of a conservative to want to err on the side of caution, though.  You mileage, of course, may differ.

May beings benefit.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: humanitas on September 20, 2010, 07:59:00 pm
Is the LionsRoar the same thing as Shamata?

Pardon de l'ignorance! :)
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra on September 21, 2010, 01:17:11 am
Is the LionsRoar the same thing as Shamata?

Pardon de l'ignorance! :)

Ignorance here too - I've not been taught anything that has been called 'shamata', so I don't know if it is the same.

From what I can read of shamata and vipashyana, the Lion's Roar 'formless' meditation seems to incorporate components of both at the outset.

However, our formless meditation has what I understand to be unique features in terms of posture, hand-position, eyes, relationship to breath and so on and each gate in the nine-gate course involves a closely-linked View-Meditation-Action set of instructions.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: humanitas on October 04, 2010, 09:31:06 pm
Do you need to receive the empowerment for this meditation practice?

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra on October 05, 2010, 12:46:51 am
Do you need to receive the empowerment for this meditation practice?
You need to receive the 'lung', the verbal instructions, in person for each of the 9 gates (spaced roughly 4 months apart).
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: humanitas on October 05, 2010, 09:51:59 am
Ah, ok, that's why I remember I hadn't even attempted it.

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: heart on October 05, 2010, 09:39:06 pm

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.


I heard good things about your teacher but his approach seems a bit unusual. Most of the Dzogchen cycles practiced widely today have a Ngondro, like most Mahamudra teachings. These contain the four mind-turnings and the four or five 100.000 that I assume you are familiar with. After that the Mahamudra teachings have a very detailed path through shamtha training with vipashayna being introduced through a series of pointing-out instructions. A very pedagogic approach. In Dzogchen the approach is much more direct. The natural state can and will be introduced at any point during the training. There is according to Jigme Lingpa two ways of doing this. However I participated in the "path of liberation 1" with Mingyur Rinpoche recently. He introduced the nature of mind in both Dzogchen ways and added to that the possibility to approach the nature of mind in a more Mahamudra style. At the same time he gave transmission for the Karma Kagyu Ngondro. So things don't need to be so separate.
In the Mahamudra approach there is a strong connection with Yidam practice and the six yogas of Naropa/Niguma. The Dzogchen approach is more formless with it's Trechö and Tögal but still Dzogchen practioners do practice  development and completion stages of one or many Yidams. At least that is what I do. Lot more to say about this of course.

/magnus

   
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Bodhicandra on October 06, 2010, 02:10:02 am
I heard good things about your teacher but his approach seems a bit unusual.


Quite!

Rigdzin Shikpo Rinpoche was tasked by Chögyam Trunpa Rinpoche and HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche with developing a 'new tradition', directly applicable in the West.  He has been supported in this specific task by Dudjom Rinpoche, the Ngakpa  Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche (http://www.drgrotte.com/NgagpaYesheDorjeRinpoche.shtml) and now (the only one of his teachers still alive) by Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.

He spend 20 or so years preparing the ground with his long-term students until the new structure became clear to him. I was among the first batch of new students to enter this structured approach, I'm still only half-way through, so can't say exactly what happens in the latter stages.


Perhaps controversially he has dispensed with the 100,000s and so on as an entry requirement, and has substituted a commitment to completing 1000 hours of the Lions' Roar meditation practice, together with mandatory attendance at one-week retreats (mandatory for progress to subsequent stages, that is).

Most of the teaching material is being written by him as we proceed, which, for those of us at the 'leading edge' of the unfolding of this new tradition, can make life 'exciting'; new practices sometimes come off the printer as we are sitting in the shrine room waiting to receive them, and 'fine tuning' is being done as a result of our experiences with the practices (adjusting, for example, the instructions relating to gongs, meditation interludes, changes in mudra and so on to make sure they are unambiguous yet succinct).

The fact that he is blind makes the whole process even more remarkable and one can really appreciate the wonderful way the Dharma manifests and the real meaning of the epithet 'Rinpoche'!
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on October 06, 2010, 02:30:44 am
Perhaps controversially he has dispensed with the 100,000s and so on as an entry requirement, and has substituted a commitment to completing 1000 hours of the Lions' Roar meditation practice, together with mandatory attendance at one-week retreats (mandatory for progress to subsequent stages, that is).
That should be popular!

Quote
Most of the teaching material is being written by him as we proceed, which, for those of us at the 'leading edge' of the unfolding of this new tradition, can make life 'exciting'...
Good luck with it!
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: heart on October 06, 2010, 06:28:02 am
I heard good things about your teacher but his approach seems a bit unusual.


Quite!

Rigdzin Shikpo Rinpoche was tasked by Chögyam Trunpa Rinpoche and HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche with developing a 'new tradition', directly applicable in the West.  He has been supported in this specific task by Dudjom Rinpoche, the Ngakpa  Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche ([url]http://www.drgrotte.com/NgagpaYesheDorjeRinpoche.shtml[/url]) and now (the only one of his teachers still alive) by Khempo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche.

He spend 20 or so years preparing the ground with his long-term students until the new structure became clear to him. I was among the first batch of new students to enter this structured approach, I'm still only half-way through, so can't say exactly what happens in the latter stages.


Perhaps controversially he has dispensed with the 100,000s and so on as an entry requirement, and has substituted a commitment to completing 1000 hours of the Lions' Roar meditation practice, together with mandatory attendance at one-week retreats (mandatory for progress to subsequent stages, that is).

Most of the teaching material is being written by him as we proceed, which, for those of us at the 'leading edge' of the unfolding of this new tradition, can make life 'exciting'; new practices sometimes come off the printer as we are sitting in the shrine room waiting to receive them, and 'fine tuning' is being done as a result of our experiences with the practices (adjusting, for example, the instructions relating to gongs, meditation interludes, changes in mudra and so on to make sure they are unambiguous yet succinct).

The fact that he is blind makes the whole process even more remarkable and one can really appreciate the wonderful way the Dharma manifests and the real meaning of the epithet 'Rinpoche'!


Well, it sounds quite nice. However the Ngondro is normally not a entry requirement in the way Dzogchen is practiced in my tradition. There is no other requirement then to come to the teachings actually. Not only with my teacher but also for example with Mingyur Rinpoche. My teachers will try to introduce anyone to the natural state. Then if you recognize and also if you don't recognize the Ngondro is suggested as a practice, then yidam and rushan and so on.

/magnus   
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on October 06, 2010, 07:37:32 am
Well, it sounds quite nice. However the Ngondro is normally not a entry requirement in the way Dzogchen is practiced in my tradition. There is no other requirement then to come to the teachings actually. Not only with my teacher but also for example with Mingyur Rinpoche. My teachers will try to introduce anyone to the natural state. Then if you recognize and also if you don't recognize the Ngondro is suggested as a practice, then yidam and rushan and so on.
Sounds like Namkai Norbu's approach. Is he your teacher or is there someone else that does it that way too?
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: heart on October 06, 2010, 08:02:25 am
Well, it sounds quite nice. However the Ngondro is normally not a entry requirement in the way Dzogchen is practiced in my tradition. There is no other requirement then to come to the teachings actually. Not only with my teacher but also for example with Mingyur Rinpoche. My teachers will try to introduce anyone to the natural state. Then if you recognize and also if you don't recognize the Ngondro is suggested as a practice, then yidam and rushan and so on.
Sounds like Namkai Norbu's approach. Is he your teacher or is there someone else that does it that way too?

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is my Guru. All of Tulku Urgyens son seems to, more or less, use this approach. When you are an old student, like me, it is easy to see how often they try to introduce people to the natural state. I would say that they are a bit different than ChNN in they way that they are actually quite traditional. They all insist their students do Ngondro and Yidam and so on, only the direct introduction don't come in end, it comes in the beginning. Still, many students don't get it for a long time, sometimes a very long time.

/magnus
 

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Lobster on January 29, 2012, 07:02:48 am
Now let us take it the other way around.
There you are in a state of open awareness. What is there to transmit or for others to observe? If you are skillful, there will be nothing obvious or untoward.

There is a big difference between example, which most of us have been party to and the ability to prepare the ground for potential opening.

The capacity to perceive a persons interior state and awareness and the ability to move them onward is always the function and natural inclination of those engaged in more open mind states.

The situation is not a lack of teaching or knowledge (esoteric or available in a fortune cookie), it is a lack of capacity and inclination in most of us.
We would rather play. 
Let me give you an example . . .  oh no I can't it's 'secret'  :teehee:

Dharma like Bodhictitta is always open.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 01, 2012, 10:59:38 am
Statements #2 and #3 are not accurate. This type of thinking is a symptom of the appropriation by the ecclesiastical establishment of authentic spiritual practice over centuries. An appropriation, moreover, which for various reasons is now ending. In any case, more accurate information on this may be found at the following website, consisting of an article by Dr. Alex Berzin. For those who are not familiar with this archive, it is supported by HH the Dalai Lama and is a highly authoritative source.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/dzogchen/basic_points/introduction_dzogchen.html (http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/dzogchen/basic_points/introduction_dzogchen.html)

Two points that are crucial here are the statement that (1) Dzogchen may be practised by anyone, although of course without prior spiritual realization one will not achieve the highest level of realization of Dzogchen (a statement with which I have no quarrel), and (2) such experience may have been achieved in prior lives! The last statement is crucial because it means that the statement commonly made that one is "required" (required by whom?) to complete 100,000 recitations of the Vajra Guru mantra or some such thing which in turns requires other prerequisites, etc., all conveniently overseen by one or another ecclesiastical authority, and so on and so on, is really just a scholastic formalization, not necessarily true at all. If that were the case, then how could it have arisen in the first place? It’s a great racket for the ecclesiastics and their woeful followers, however, one to which not only Tibetan Buddhism has succumbed. To say that without these prerequisties “it simply won’t work” is rank superstition, nothing else.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 01, 2012, 08:31:36 pm
Two points that are crucial here are the statement that (1) Dzogchen may be practised by anyone, although of course without prior spiritual realization one will not achieve the highest level of realization of Dzogchen (a statement with which I have no quarrel), and (2) such experience may have been achieved in prior lives! The last statement is crucial because it means that the statement commonly made that one is "required" (required by whom?) to complete 100,000 recitations of the Vajra Guru mantra or some such thing which in turns requires other prerequisites, etc., all conveniently overseen by one or another ecclesiastical authority, and so on and so on, is really just a scholastic formalization, not necessarily true at all. If that were the case, then how could it have arisen in the first place? It’s a great racket for the ecclesiastics and their woeful followers, however, one to which not only Tibetan Buddhism has succumbed. To say that without these prerequisties “it simply won’t work” is rank superstition, nothing else.

See Heart's post #27 in this thread for examples of teachers that do not follow that model, including his own.

Hopefully the people that follow the NgonDro model find it karmically appropriate to them. I do know of at least one example where the requirement was waived because of the person's prior accomplishments. So it seems exceptional cases can be accommodated.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 07:19:41 am
Further to the above, no less an authority than Dudjom Rinpoche writes:

Quote
As for the direct introduction to one's own nature: This fresh immediate awareness of the present moment, transcending all thoughts related to the three times, is itself that primordial awareness or Knowledge (ye-shes) that is self-originated intrinsic Awareness (Rig-pa). This is the direct introduction to one's own nature.

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Yeshe on June 21, 2012, 10:14:01 am
Sometimes I feel there is a confusion, which may partly explain a particularly acrimonious recent thread on DW, now locked.

For example, a Nyingma lama may recommend Ngondro, but is he recommending it as a precursor to HYT practice, or stating that it must be done before Dzogchen practice?

The 3 Statements of Garab Dorje are clear in that Direct Introduction is the starting point for Dzogchen. If some Gurus delay giving it, perhaps they haven't received it themselves or perhaps they feel Garab Dorje was wrong and people should wait for some form of readiness (in itself a contradiction of an innate state which is already present).

I am sceptical of most Gurus and most organisations. Is it a con to offer the sexy carrot of instant transmission and fun activities like singing and dancing, or is it a con to ask people to pay you for decades before revealing to them what they already had.

My guess is that both are possible and it is up to us to decide on the sincerity of Gurus, and also whether they seem to be right for us and right in their advice in general - AND to remember that our choice is not one to foist on others.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 21, 2012, 10:24:13 am
The Berzin link is quite good, but I still detect a little Gelug perspective. Anyway an important point often missed from that link:

There are two types of dzogchen practitioners: those who progress in stages (lam-rim-pa) and those for whom it happens all at once (cig-car-ba). This differentiation regards the manner of proceeding to enlightenment for practitioners once they have realized essence rigpa. In other words, it regards those who have become aryas (‘ phags-pa, highly realized beings) with the attainment of a seeing pathway mind (mthong-lam, path of seeing) and the true stopping of the emotional obscurations.

Those who progress in stages proceed through the arya bodhisattva ten bhumi levels of minds (sa, Skt. bhumi), one by one, gradually removing the cognitive obscurations.

Those for whom it happens all at once achieve a true stopping of both sets of obscuration all at once with the first realization of essence rigpa. Thus, they become aryas and Buddhas simultaneously.


I know for sure I'm not the all-at-once kind, but it's nice to know that there are people that are!
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 10:24:39 am
Leaving aside the whole question of whether ecclesiasticism is a gimmick or a scam, the paradox of practice is intimately interinvolved with the paradox of the enlightened/unenlightened state of the transdual itself, which the Cabalists referred to as Tetragrammaton and which Padmasambhava was clearly very interested in. This is, indeed, the essential paradox of dharma!
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 21, 2012, 10:32:28 am
This is, indeed, the essential paradox of dharma!
If I may I'd like to offer a totally unsupported idea in this regard:

Dharma is not paradoxical. Samsara is paradoxical. (Interdependent Origination, Cyclic existence, et al) But when we use the language and ideas of samsara to talk about Dharma the paradoxical limits of language and imagination seem to indicate it is a paradox.

A buddy of mine came up with the phrase of "radical simplicity" for a description of Dharma. I kinda like that.

But again, THAT JUST MY INFORMAL IDEA.   :wacky:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 10:35:22 am
I agree with that, except that dharma creates samsara ultimately, so it also creates paradox. It is simple and paradoxical, just as it is real and illusory at the same time. The ultimate paradox is the non-paradoxicality of paradoxicality, and the paradoxicality of simplicity. The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment really gets at this.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 10:39:19 am
What is the link to the locked, acrimonious thread? Sounds like great reading. :)
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Yeshe on June 21, 2012, 10:51:30 am
What is the link to the locked, acrimonious thread? Sounds like great reading. :)


It makes for sad reading:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8879 (http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8879)
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 11:01:51 am
Ugh! Animated icons.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 21, 2012, 12:46:46 pm
I agree with that, except that dharma creates samsara ultimately, so it also creates paradox.
That's not necessarily a paradox. From the perspective of a realized being it's simply "what is". Nothing else need be--or even can be--said about it.

However to ME it' a paradox...
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 12:49:13 pm
What is, is transdual. The transdual creates the dual.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 21, 2012, 01:30:54 pm
What is the link to the locked, acrimonious thread? Sounds like great reading. :)


It makes for sad reading:

[url]http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8879[/url] ([url]http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8879[/url])


It would be funny were it not so pathetic.

While there's nothing wrong with discussing Dzogchen publicly, it's been my experience that real Dzogchen practitioners usually don't talk about it much.  Hell, most teachers of Dzogchen don't talk about it much - at least not to those who they deem unready for it.  My own Guru is a Dzogchen lineage holder and he taught Dzogchen to his students for the first time in ten years only a few months ago.

Discussing the "necessity" of Ngondro is utterly pointless.  Ngondro is essentially guru yoga.  For a bunch of 'Net Buddhists to discuss Ngondro in the context of necessity is beyond stupid.  Only the guru decides the necessity of Ngondro practice. You can't begin Ngondro without the guru's permission and you can't stop unless the guru says so.

That thread should have been closed after the first page.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 01:35:06 pm
I don't disagree that Dzogchen is beyond the ken of most people but on the other hand I would point to the necessity of the time from the perspective of mappo and Kalachakra and observe the state of total emergency in which the human race is currently embroiled. The old rules don't apply anymore. As we approach the year 2100, give or take, you will see everything change qualitatively, Go.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 21, 2012, 01:50:02 pm
I don't disagree that Dzogchen is beyond the ken of most people but on the other hand I would point to the necessity of the time from the perspective of mappo and Kalachakra and observe the state of total emergency in which the human race is currently embroiled. The old rules don't apply anymore. As we approach the year 2100, give or take, you will see everything change qualitatively, Go.

well, I for one, don't have any plans on being here in the year 2100, so I won't "see" anything around that time.

In the meantime I have no interest in speculating what may or may not be in that year.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: Mahasiddha Bodhisattva on June 21, 2012, 02:01:18 pm
The time is now. :)
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 21, 2012, 10:30:59 pm
What is, is transdual. The transdual creates the dual.
Check out the quote from the L.A. Times about the Higgs Mechanism in the thread called "Higgs Boson".
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 27, 2012, 10:12:12 am
What is, is transdual. The transdual creates the dual.
a.k.a. panentheism.    :wink1:

My thesis is that Buddha Dharma can be said to be non-theistic from the Pali up through the Sutrayana, including Sutrayana Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Since the Sutrayana is a complete path to enlightenment this would seem to be the best choice for those that are still traumatized by the monotheism of the West.

But when it gets to deity yoga and such, it becomes polytheistic in approach and technique. Finally, with realization those deities are dissolved into emptiness and it becomes panentheistic in effect and result (unless you're Gelug or Sakya).

So you can't say it is just one way. It changes, depending on what you are practicing. That's why it can seem so complicated!

But that's just my opinion...    :twocents:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 27, 2012, 12:02:09 pm
But when it gets to deity yoga and such, it becomes polytheistic in approach and technique.

I'm not sure I follow .....

I do diety yoga practices and they don't strike me at polytheistic in either approach or technique - at least not in practice.  In fact I don't see it as theistic at all.

Could you expand on that a bit perhaps?


Quote
Finally, with realization those deities are dissolved into emptiness and it becomes panentheistic in effect and result (unless you're Gelug or Sakya).

What if you're a Gelug or Sakya?
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 27, 2012, 12:48:25 pm
But when it gets to deity yoga and such, it becomes polytheistic in approach and technique.
I'm not sure I follow .....

I do diety yoga practices and they don't strike me at polytheistic in either approach or technique - at least not in practice.  In fact I don't see it as theistic at all.

Could you expand on that a bit perhaps?
Specifically I'm talking here about the creation phase of practice. When you visualize the deity you are creating a "damstig-sempa". That is just your mind imagining the deity. They you invoke the "yeshe-sempa" which is the actual transcendent deity and merge it with your visualization. And since there are multiple deities you can do this with that sounds pretty polytheistic to me.

But basically if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck--it's a duck!

In the completion phase of practice the deity is dissolved into emptiness with everything else. With a consummate practice this leaves the meditator with the ability to see the phenomenal world as being the manifestation of that perfect emptiness. The deity is gone, but has left behind enlightenment.

So if your teacher told you it wasn't a duck this is probably what he was referring to and you should listen to him. I qualified what I said before as being "just my opinion."

Quote
Quote
Finally, with realization those deities are dissolved into emptiness and it becomes panentheistic in effect and result (unless you're Gelug or Sakya).

What if you're a Gelug or Sakya?
I don't know. It doesn't make sense to me. :shrug:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 27, 2012, 01:15:10 pm

Specifically I'm talking here about the creation phase of practice. When you visualize the deity you are creating a "damstig-sempa". That is just your mind imagining the deity.

I've been taught that in the d=creation stage of practice you visualize yourself as diety.

Quote
They you invoke the "yeshe-sempa" which is the actual transcendent deity and merge it with your visualization. And since there are multiple deities you can do this with that sounds pretty polytheistic to me.

Well, if you are viewing these "deities" as real, live beings external to yourself, then yes, it could be viewed as polytheism.  I've been taught to view these so-called deities as representative of the qualities of enlightened being and not something external to myself.  They become mnemonic devices - a tool to recall important aspects of the practice.

So with that in mind, the assertion of polytheism doesn't appear to hold up - at least not in the case of how I was taught my deity practices.


Quote
In the completion phase of practice the deity is dissolved into emptiness with everything else.


yes, and this means the visualization is as illusory and self-liberating as any other phenomena, thus it cannot be viewed as ultimately real.

Quote
With a consummate practice this leaves the meditator with the ability to see the phenomenal world as being the manifestation of that perfect emptiness. The deity is gone, but has left behind enlightenment.

The deity, as something external, was never there to begin with.

Quote
So if your teacher told you it wasn't a duck this is probably what he was referring to and you should listen to him. I qualified what I said before as being "just my opinion."

Of course.  I understand that.  I'm just pointing out (albeit rather feebly) that my experience and the instruction I've recieved doesn't support your opinion.

Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 27, 2012, 02:17:31 pm
...my experience and the instruction I've recieved doesn't support your opinion.
Yeah, there are very few people that see this the way I do--and those that do know better than to talk about it!  :smack:
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: francis on June 27, 2012, 02:33:28 pm
What is, is transdual. The transdual creates the dual.
a.k.a. panentheism.    :wink1:

My thesis is that Buddha Dharma can be said to be non-theistic from the Pali up through the Sutrayana, including Sutrayana Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Since the Sutrayana is a complete path to enlightenment this would seem to be the best choice for those that are still traumatized by the monotheism of the West.

But when it gets to deity yoga and such, it becomes polytheistic in approach and technique. Finally, with realization those deities are dissolved into emptiness and it becomes panentheistic in effect and result (unless you're Gelug or Sakya).

So you can't say it is just one way. It changes, depending on what you are practicing. That's why it can seem so complicated!

But that's just my opinion...    :twocents:


Great post santamonicacj.  Thanks for the explanation on the differences and sameness of panentheism and non-theistic forms of Buddhism.

With Metta :)
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 27, 2012, 03:45:22 pm
...my experience and the instruction I've recieved doesn't support your opinion.
Yeah, there are very few people that see this the way I do--and those that do know better than to talk about it!  :smack:

So, how did you come by this opinion?

It seems like you've taken a position based on appearances - how these diety practices appear to those who don't have a great deal of experience with them or are approaching them without the benefit of a guide/teacher.

I'm not saying that's the case with you, but I've heard that same sort of thing coming from people quite outside the practice community.

Do to practice deity yoga?  Which?

I've taken lung for Tara, Chenrizig and Medicine Buddha.  My most regular practice is a short Vajrasatva practice that doesn't require permission or lung to perform.  In fact, none those practices actually "requires" a lung.  They're all Kriya Yoga practices and can be taken up by the student at any time without permission, empowerment or transmission.  Lung was available and I took it.

You?
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 27, 2012, 05:37:39 pm
Quote
So, how did you come by this opinion?
I'll give a couple examples: A certain lama had the only center in a large town. Other lamas from other lineages had centers in smaller towns on the outskirts of the big town. When asked about why that was so, he said, "I have a Mahakala on each of the two main bridges into town that keeps them away." He did puja to them every night.

That doesn't sound like he sees the deities as Jungian archetypes to me.

It has been my experience that when ethnically Tibetan lamas find out that we think the deities are fiction they usually are horrified. When we Westerners find out they are supposed to be real we are the ones that are usually horrified.

The issue of faith is quickly passed over in the texts. They don't make a big deal out of it like in Christianity. Why? Because it is assumed that everyone has faith. The lama that was the meditation instructor for my center said his parents told him that the deities would never fail him from the time he was in the cradle.

He told the story that he had been on retreat for 11 years when the Chinese attacked his monastery. Since he was on retreat the other monks didn't tell him that there were any problems. All had been quiet when he started the retreat. So when the explosions, gunfire and screams came he broke down the door to his retreat hut and started running, not even knowing what he was running from, but he had in his mind, "the 3 Jewels will protect me." He ended up in California.

Sounds polytheistic to me. But again, the Pali up through the Paramitayana can be practiced without any belief in deities. And even deity practice can be done successfully with a minimum of an open mind (imho). So there's plenty of room for skeptics in the Dharma tent. And ultimately the deities are all dissolved into emptiness anyway and the true Dharma is what remains in your own mind. So ultimately maybe you shouldn't say Vajrayana is polytheistic, but that it at a certain point it utilizes polytheism. That it's just one of the means to the ends. After all, if in the far distant future you become a Buddha, the deities will all prostrate to you.
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: GoGet on June 27, 2012, 07:46:02 pm
Sounds polytheistic to me.

In the case of the monk and the Dharma Protector keeping his rivals at bay, that's superstition and not polytheism.

It's like cross your fingers for luck or not stepping on a spider for fear of rain, tomorrow.

You're also taking the conduct of people as the universally accepted meaning of the teaching.  If that works for you, that's fine.

But if I was to tell you that a green -colored car is Bad Luck and that if you owned one it could burst into flames with you in it and that a belief in the bad luck associated with green cars is common among car racers, would you let that prevent you from buying a green car?


The Dalai Lama believes that Dorje Shugden is harmful him personally.  Does that change your mind about his teaching
Think about that.

Is it polytheism you object to or is it merely superstition expressed by individuals?

The people who teach the Dharma are not the Dharma.

Food for thought or something to disregard ....  :D
Title: Re: Dzogchen Samplers - a caution
Post by: santamonicacj on June 27, 2012, 08:40:41 pm
Quote
You're also taking the conduct of people as the universally accepted meaning of the teaching.  If that works for you, that's fine.
I prefaced this digression (the thread is about Dzogchen) with "this is my opinion". I still hold to that. However if I may I'll quote an authority on the subject.

I was at a teaching where the previous Kalu R. was asked if the deities were real. At that time Rinpoche was the senior meditation master for my school, and what he said was always totally by the book. I don't have the tape recording so I can't say that this is an exact quote, but it is pretty close so I'll put it in quotation marks:

"Well they are of the nature of emptiness, but you are also of the nature of emptiness. The difference is that you are an expression of defiled emptiness and they are an expression of undefiled emptiness."

At the time it sounded to me like Rinpoche was saying that they were more real than we are!
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