I was just listening to a Dharma Ocean podcast (130: Pure Awareness) and Reggie Ray said some things which he said may be a bit heretical to some but actually are historically accurate. To me it sounds very odd, and I haven't heard these things before. I was hoping someone with more experience can comment about the points he makes? I typed up the relevant stuff. Is any of it true? Is there any evidence of Chan influence on Mahamudra?
What we call Mahamudra tradition is result of profound interaction of Daoism, Chan Buddhism, and Dzogchen. Mahamudra came out of that. There’s a lot of Daoism in Mahamudra, and a lot of Chan Buddhism in Mahamudra.
In the 8th century in Tibet, there was a very famous conversation about what is the best Buddhism for Tibet, and an edict which has been found in the Dun Huang documents buried and survived. The edict says the most important tradition for Tibet and the meditative tradition everyone should practice is Chan Buddhism. What happened later was the Indian crew showed up and they took over the power in Tibet. This was like in the 11th/12th century and they made it illegal to practice anything that was from China. So all of the records were rewritten to show that everything that was good in Tibet came from India but actually this was a complete fabrication. There is extensive evidence that Mahamudra is the result of the confluence of Chan Buddhism, Daoism, and Dzogchen. They were part of the same tradition. Well you can say what is that tradition? It’s the practice of pure awareness. They were all doing it, and they were talking to each other.
There’s a tradition called Sutra Mahamudra taught by Gampopa which has now been more or less proved was a Chan lineage in Tibet but because of the politics they could not acknowledge their source.
I called up my friends and academic friends, and they said, yeah that’s how it is. The history of Tibetan Buddhism promoted in Tibet is a complete fabrication.
It’s often said that Chan Buddhism is Daoism in a Buddhist form . . . What happened was, the Buddhists saved Daoism in China. Because Daoism after the Han Dynasty began to become very conventional religion. The Buddhists showed up from India and realized like holy shit, these people understand more about awareness than we do. And they incorporate the depths of Daoism, and they gave Daoism the container and practice and gave Daoism a way to survive.