practicing alone

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Astus
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Astus » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:17 am

Malcolm wrote:Settling mind in what way? In which path is everything included? How is this path introduced, can you just look it up on the internet?
Settling in the correct view, emptiness/prajnaparamita, and in that everything is included. It is introduced, in the Jewel Ornament of Liberation, through analysis of the two no-selves. Otherwise, Mahamudra vipasyana (and this is what the JOoL follows as well) has analysis (pandita) and resting (kusulu), very much like the Bhavanakrama, but, as quoted, teachers of the tradition say that the difference between Mahayana and Mahamudra vipasyana is in what is looked into first, phenomena or the mind.
How is that possible? Have these teachers never heard of Yogacara? And even here, why make a distinction between the tantric Mahāmudra approach and the sūtra Mahāyāna approach if in reality they are both "mahāmudra"?
The difference between the purely sutric method and the Mahamudra method lies in whether there is pointing out the nature of mind or not, as mentioned above.
Drogmi Lotsawa states that the difference between sūtra and tantra is that tantra uses direct perception as the path. This direct perception is the basis of all Secret Mantra meditation and is the experiential view introduced in the very beginning during the empowerment, this is why Secret Mantra is a quick path. But there is no separate means of introducing this experiential view outside of the empowerment, there is no mahāmudra that exists outside of Vajrayāna.
As noted earlier, tantra uses an indirect method with deity yoga and the channels to reach buddha-nature, while Mahamudra goes there directly. Also, the fourth empowerment is generally equated with the pointing out instruction.
It does not in any way shape or form go beyond Prajñāpāramita, and since there is no empowerment, there is no experiential view to be cultivated. As Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso told me, and as you can confirm by reading Kongtrul, sūtra mahāmudra was invented for those Gampopa deemed unready for Secret Mantra.
As above, the specialty of Gampopa's Mahamudra is the direct introduction without empowerment.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: practicing alone

Post by Sherlock » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:51 pm

If you have not received empowerment/direct introduction you cannot even get in the same view as a Vajrayana practitioner.

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:00 pm

Astus wrote:
As noted earlier, tantra uses an indirect method with deity yoga and the channels to reach buddha-nature, while Mahamudra goes there directly. .
This completely false. You really have no idea what you are talking about now. In Vajrayāna, pointing out the nature of the mind, the all-basis (ālaya) and recognizing it, is the foundation for creation and completion stage practice. Mahāmudra is not just the nature of the mind.

If it were as you say, we would have examples of Indian Mahāsiddhas who attained buddhahood on the basis of merely meeting someone and having a discussion, but we don't, training gradually in ṡ́amatha and vipaśyāna.

What we do have are examples of mahāsiddhas, very many in fact, who attained awakening and realized mahāmudra during the process of receiving the four empowerments. We have many other examples of mahāsiddhas who, having received the four empowerments, practiced the two stages and swiftly realized mahāmudra and so attained buddhahood. We have no examples of any Indian mahāsiddhas who did either based on a mere conversation, or through merely practicing śamtha and vipaśyāna, whether sprinkled with pithy saying from the dohas or not.

So I guess, Tibetans must have much higher capacity than Indians, because according to you, these vaunted Tibetans are capable of realizing Mahāmudra based on sutrayāna conversations, sprinkled with dohas, merely practicing śamatha and vipaśyāna. But the reality is, no one realized mahāmudra without practicing the two stages, including Gampopa.
Also, the fourth empowerment is generally equated with the pointing out instruction
Which pointing out instruction? Whose? What precise text? If you intend the means of pointing the "sūtra" mahāmudra system, for example, in Bokar Rinpoche's famous condensation of the 7th Karmapa's long Mahāmudra text, this is in no way shape or form equivalent with the fourth empowerment.

As above, the specialty of Gampopa's Mahamudra is the direct introduction without empowerment.
It is not a direct introduction, it is a gradual introduction, that takes many sessions, like all sutra-based systems. You yourself admitted that Gampopa's "mahāmudra" was "sutra" mahāmudra.

Now, when it comes to essence mahāmudra, there is an empowerment (the descent of the wisdom vajra empowerment) based in Indrabhuti's famous text, the Jñānasiddhi, and this is in fact a direct introduction, just like the fourth empowerment.

All I can conclude from this discussion, Astus, is that you are not really very clear on the difference between "pointing out instructions", which is gradual, and "direct introduction," which is immediate.

Further, what you seem to fail to understand is that in actual practice, in general the Kagyus all practice creation and completion stage, combine the four yogas of mahāmudra with the completion stage, and practice the main practice of essence mahāmudra, Guru Yoga.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:06 pm

Astus wrote:
The difference between the purely sutric method and the Mahamudra method lies in whether there is pointing out the nature of mind or not, as mentioned above.
There are so many problems with this, I do not have time to even go into it. But according to you then, this instruction from Prajñāpāramita is mahāmudra:
  • There is no mind in the mind, but the original nature of the mind is luminous
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:02 pm

sherabpa wrote:Pardon me if I missed it, but I don't think anybody mentioned what Situ Panchen says about the situation.

On the point of whether there is a paramitayana mahamudra, he says there are two positions on it from 'our tradition' and neither one is official. The first is that the sutra system is for those who are not suitable to receive empowerments (for whatever reason) and so, by practicing paramitayana, it would prepare them to receive empowerments later on. This is nevertheless called 'sutra mahamudra'. Apart from the name, this is unobjectionable.

The second view is that the wisdom of paramitayana is itself the same as mahamudra. This is the controversial one since it destroys the distinction of paramitayana and mantrayana. Go Lotsawa is a good example of of someone who asserted the second view, saying that Gampopa was able to produce mahamudra in people who had not attained empowerments and he provides a couple of scriptural citations to defend against Sapan's criticism.

Situ Panchen does not say whether he think Gampopa held either position but allows for both.

Situ Panchen also points out, perhaps more importantly, that 'empowerment' does not simply mean going through a ritual of some kind, but is essentially the guru's blessing of the transference of wisdom (ye shes pho ba'i byin labs). In this respect, the fourth initiation, that of mahamudra, can occur outside of what is normally understand by the term 'empowerment', i.e. a ceremony involving the four initiations, and indeed Tilopa's initiation of Naropa is an example of this kind of empowerment. Equally, one can sit through any number of elaborate ceremonies, but not have received empowerment, e.g. like a cat or dog. Sapan's claims about mahamudra and empowerment seem to overlook this detail.
Of course this ignores the important point that Naropa was already a Vajrayāna practitioner by the time he met Tilopa. As to your second claim, this is only possible if you sit there like a stone, and or refuse to participate at all, having something like a picnic instead, watching the ritual like a baseball game or as a form of entertainment, the way some non-Buddhist Westerners these days attend Kalacakra empowerments.

Go Lotsawa's opinion is noted, but it is just that, an opinion by a scholar who lived many centuries after Gampopa.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: practicing alone

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:14 pm

Malcolm, how does Lamdre correlate with Highest Yoga Tantra?
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:19 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:Malcolm, how does Lamdre correlate with Highest Yoga Tantra?
Lamdre is an intimate instruction on the practice of the Hevajra Tantra.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: practicing alone

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:37 pm

Is that HYT?

Can we classify the result as Mahamudra?
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:29 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:Is that HYT?

Can we classify the result as Mahamudra?
Lamdre speaks about a basis, a path and a result.

The basis is the ālaya cause continuum — this is exactly the same thing Kagyus call "ground mahāmudra." It is nothing more nor less than the nature of the mind.

In Lamdre, when ālaya, aka the inseparability of clarity and emptiness, is approached via sūtra methods in the Triple Vision teachings, one meditates upon it via śamatha and vipaśyāna. In the beginning, in terms of śamatha, one uses an external object, a blue flower, then a blue cloth or the sky and finally, one focuses inwardly on the naked clarity of the mind itself. In terms of the vipaśyāna, one establishes that the appearances are mind, the mind is illusory and dependently arisen, and finally that dependent arising is natureless and free from all extremes. When one is capable of resting in the naked clarity of the mind in conjunction with the insight that this clarity is empty and free from extremes, this is called the union of śamatha and vipaśyāna. However, this is merely a sutrayāna meditation and will not lead to Buddhahood in a single lifetime no matter how good a meditation it may be. As the Nalendra Khenpo, Ngawang Lodo states in his Lamp of the Path of Freedom and Omniscience:
  • In one’s experience, the unceasing stream of mere clarity and mere awareness is empty at the time of being clear and clear at the time being empty — do not grasp clarity or emptiness. Rest wholly, nakedly and freely in the state that is free from extremes, without divisions, inexpressible and beyond thought.
But this is not the state of mahāmudra nor is it the realization of mahāmudra.

The special view of Lamdre is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana. This view can only be meditated upon after one has received the cause Hevajra empowerment. It is meditated upon prior to engaging in the meditations of the creation and completion stage. The way this is meditated is through thirty-two examples which establish phenomena as mind, mind as an illusion and illusion as natureless. Not only this but there is an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path and also an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.

Then there is the path method continuum, which is equivalent to so called "path mahāmudra" in the Kagyu system. This refers to the practice of the creation and completion stages.

Finally, there is the result mahāmudra continuum. This refers to the buddhahood that is the result of the two stages. This is equivalent to the result mahāmudra in the Kagyu system.

Now, it may be wondered, "Are these three continuums the same or are they different?" These three continuums are merely names for phases of a single continuum, much like the way Maitreyanath distinguishes between sentient beings, bodhisattvas and buddhas by labeling them respectively impure, pure/impure and pure. And as Jetsun Rinpoche points, the natural perfection of the qualities of buddhahood in the all-basis cause continuum or so called ground mahāmudra does not contradict transformation.

So you see it is not simply enough to realize the nature of the mind and call that "mahāmudra." In order to achieve a result, a path is called for. The only way to extract the butter of mahāmudra is to take the milk of the nature of the mind and churn it with the two stages. Other than that, there is no way to realize mahāmudra.

M
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: practicing alone

Post by sherabpa » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:59 pm

Thanks for responding.
Malcolm wrote:Of course this ignores the important point that Naropa was already a Vajrayāna practitioner by the time he met Tilopa.
Implying this was a prerequisite for his receiving the wisdom blessing of Tilopa. This transmission was not a practice based on previous initiations, but a wisdom empowerment. All that was needed was his devotion to Tilopa. According to Situ, there are many examples in India and Tibet of such transmissions. However, this method was apparently a specialty of Gampopa.
Malcolm wrote:As to your second claim, this is only possible if you sit there like a stone, and or refuse to participate at all, having something like a picnic instead, watching the ritual like a baseball game or as a form of entertainment, the way some non-Buddhist Westerners these days attend Kalacakra empowerments.
It is not all-or-nothing, but there are shades of gray. I read you yourself recently advising someone to pay close attention during the vase initiation of Vajrakilaya given by HHST, I think it was. But yeah, I agree it is possible to miss the empowerment entirely while being physically present.

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Re: practicing alone

Post by sherabpa » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:The only way to extract the butter of mahāmudra is to take the milk of the nature of the mind and churn it with the two stages. Other than that, there is no way to realize mahāmudra.
What then is the purpose of guru yoga in Sakya? If it is not to enter directly into the wisdom of mahamudra during empowerment, without any need for the two stages, what purpose does it serve? Is it not the case that the two stages are only for those who do not attain mahamudra in the actual empowerment.

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:34 pm

sherabpa wrote:Thanks for responding.
Malcolm wrote:Of course this ignores the important point that Naropa was already a Vajrayāna practitioner by the time he met Tilopa.
Implying this was a prerequisite for his receiving the wisdom blessing of Tilopa. This transmission was not a practice based on previous initiations, but a wisdom empowerment. All that was needed was his devotion to Tilopa. According to Situ, there are many examples in India and Tibet of such transmissions. However, this method was apparently a specialty of Gampopa.
The point is that the cause empowerment tills the field which makes the student a proper basis. The idea all the previous Varjayāna trainingand practice that Naropa had undergone had no bearing on his time with Tilopa is simply ludicrous. For example, Amyezhab records in his history of Cakrasamvara, that following his meeting with the old lady who had eighteen characteristics of ugliness, since Naropa doubted whether she was a dakini or not, he did an accomplishment retreat of seven hundred thousand near essence mantras of Cakrasamvara to confirm this. Thus, the idea that Naropa was not a very advanced Varjayāna practitioner when he met Tilopa really is not correct nor is the idea that his previous practice had not prepared him for his time with Tilopa. Also Tilopa aka Prajñabhadra, realized Mahāmudra through the two stages of Cakrasamvara having received it from his guru, Antarapa.

Yes, I am aware that there is a Kagyu tradition that Tilopa was an emanation which is found in Gampopa's brief bio.
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:39 pm

sherabpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The only way to extract the butter of mahāmudra is to take the milk of the nature of the mind and churn it with the two stages. Other than that, there is no way to realize mahāmudra.
What then is the purpose of guru yoga in Sakya? If it is not to enter directly into the wisdom of mahamudra during empowerment, without any need for the two stages, what purpose does it serve? Is it not the case that the two stages are only for those who do not attain mahamudra in the actual empowerment.
Guru Yoga can produce a wisdom that resembles the wisdom produced by the two stages, indeed, but really, this is only for the people of highest capacity or who have developed their capacity through much practice. And of course, to be qualified to practice guru yoga, one should have received all four empowerments in a proper way.

Sadhana practice is indeed for those who do not manage to attain buddhahood during the empowerment. People misunderstand empowerments, thinking they are merely a method of introducing this or that practice. Actually, empowerments are meant to cause people to attain buddhahood; failing that, they practice sadhanas with the two stages and guru yoga.

The reality of it is however that very few people in history have attained buddhahood during an empowerment, or even the bhumis.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:40 pm

sherabpa wrote: I read you yourself recently advising someone to pay close attention during the vase initiation of Vajrakilaya given by HHST, I think it was. But yeah, I agree it is possible to miss the empowerment entirely while being physically present.
I advised them to pay careful attention through all four empowerments...
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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dzogchungpa
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Re: practicing alone

Post by dzogchungpa » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
sherabpa wrote: I read you yourself recently advising someone to pay close attention during the vase initiation of Vajrakilaya given by HHST, I think it was. But yeah, I agree it is possible to miss the empowerment entirely while being physically present.
I advised them to pay careful attention through all four empowerments...
Yes, starting tomorrow! :woohoo:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:50 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
sherabpa wrote: I read you yourself recently advising someone to pay close attention during the vase initiation of Vajrakilaya given by HHST, I think it was. But yeah, I agree it is possible to miss the empowerment entirely while being physically present.
I advised them to pay careful attention through all four empowerments...
Yes, starting tomorrow! :woohoo:

Vajradhara in person:

Image
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

WeiHan
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Re: practicing alone

Post by WeiHan » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:19 pm

Malcolm wrote: Not only this but there is an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path and also an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.
M
Hi Malcohm,

inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path
inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.

What does the above mean?

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Malcolm
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:30 pm

WeiHan wrote:
Malcolm wrote: Not only this but there is an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path and also an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.
M
Hi Malcohm,

inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path
inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.

What does the above mean?

You need to take Lamdre and find out.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

WeiHan
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: practicing alone

Post by WeiHan » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:03 pm

Malcolm wrote:

The special view of Lamdre is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana. This view can only be meditated upon after one has received the cause Hevajra empowerment. It is meditated upon prior to engaging in the meditations of the creation and completion stage. The way this is meditated is through thirty-two examples which establish phenomena as mind, mind as an illusion and illusion as natureless. Not only this but there is an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path and also an inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result.

M
Hi Malcohm,

I have received Lam Dre but there are just some subtle points which I cannot make the connection and it is not apparent in the teaching. Regarding the above paragraph, do you mean the 32 examples are a method to meditate on the inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the basis. And then there is a method to meditate on this same view when on the path which is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the path. And then the final fruition, realizing the view in actuality is called the inseparability of samsara and nirvana of the result?

I just need the above general clarification. Thanks in advance.

Yuren
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Re: practicing alone

Post by Yuren » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:15 pm

No offense meant but Malcolm's orthodox catechism reminds me why I never want to get involved with Tibetan Buddhism, at least its institutional form.
To answer OP's question, Reginald Ray created an audio course on Mahamudra, he even gives Ground Mahamudra Transmission in it.
I guess it won't get the Seal of Approval of the Holy See in Tibet, but why not check him out and see if something clicks?

It's called Mahamudra for the Modern World, it's like 250 audio files of guided meditation, and you can find it for free if you look...
He claims that in his 30 years of exp. teaching it, there's no difference teaching face to face vs teaching through audio recordings.
The idea that transmission cannot work remotely is of course mere superstition.
Last edited by Yuren on Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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