Tibetan Zen

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Urgyen Dorje
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Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:35 pm

Just got Tibetan Zen, Discovering a Lost Tradition by Sam van Schaik-- quite accidentally.

I haven't really started it beyond the beginning of the introduction. I'm intrigued. I'm particularly intrigued to learn that van Schaik worked with Drikung Kyabgon on these texts, and by His Holiness' comment on the cover:
After the Tibetan Emperor Tride Tsutsen (Me Agtsom, 704–55 CE) invited the Zen teacher Moheyan from Dunhuang to Tibet, the Zen teaching was widely spread in Tibet. Jingjue, the student of Xuanze, wrote Record of the Masters and Students of the Laṅka. Although this text, based on a gradual approach to the Zen teachings, was translated into the Tibetan language, the sudden enlightenment teachings of Zen were already widespread in Tibet, and they were the subject of the Samye debate. The Chinese character Zen (禪) has two parts that mean ‘symbolize the single’ or ‘inseparable meaning,’ while the great Kagyu master Phagmodrupa says nonduality is Mahamudra. Therefore, there is no essential difference between Zen, Mahamudra, and Dzogchen teachings.

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Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Malcolm » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:37 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote: Therefore, there is no essential difference between Zen, Mahamudra, and Dzogchen teachings.
Of course there is an essential difference. It is described in detail by Nubchen.
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

fckw
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by fckw » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:44 pm

Dzogchen and Zen

To give just one very important difference: There is no Tögel practice in Zen.

Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:50 pm

Not only is shikantaza different from the four yogas of semde and mahamudra it's also different from just Mahayana union of shamatha and vipashyana.

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Astus
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Astus » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:04 pm

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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Dan74
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:43 pm

The trouble with this question is that only someone who is trained in both Dzogchen and Zen can even begin to properly address it. And then the rest of us will still be none the wiser really.

Sure I believe that Zen training can lead to complete liberation and so can Dzogchen, but this is just a belief. Those who believe that one can and the other one can't will similarly hold beliefs. Basically they are of no value outside supporting one's practice, ie of no objective value.

Or so it seems to me.

_/|\_

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by kalden yungdrung » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:02 pm

Dan74 wrote:The trouble with this question is that only someone who is trained in both Dzogchen and Zen can even begin to properly address it. And then the rest of us will still be none the wiser really.

Sure I believe that Zen training can lead to complete liberation and so can Dzogchen, but this is just a belief. Those who believe that one can and the other one can't will similarly hold beliefs. Basically they are of no value outside supporting one's practice, ie of no objective value.

Or so it seems to me.

_/|\_

Tashi delek D,

Guess that it is all based on practice , the understanding of the knowledge out of the books etc.
Extreme, to dwell only in knowledge without taken that knowledge into practice.

Believing is one step more in the direction of the non-practice.

Whereas sure a certain basic is needed before one can do the practice.
But i have so the feeling that many get stuck in the theory only.
Without practice this could result in assumptions and believes.

Mutsug Marro
KY
The best meditation is no meditation

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Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Malcolm » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:11 pm

Dan74 wrote:The trouble with this question is that only someone who is trained in both Dzogchen and Zen can even begin to properly address it. And then the rest of us will still be none the wiser really.

Sure I believe that Zen training can lead to complete liberation and so can Dzogchen, but this is just a belief. Those who believe that one can and the other one can't will similarly hold beliefs. Basically they are of no value outside supporting one's practice, ie of no objective value.

Or so it seems to me.

_/|\_
The the question of the similarities and differences between Chan and Dzogchen arose because some early Tibetologists erroneously asserted that Dzogchen derived from what we call Early Northern Chan.

There is a book by a 9th century Tibetan master, Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, which extensively examines the differences in the positions of Kamalashila and Hashang Mahāyāna, favors Hashang in terms of sūtrayāna presentations, but nevertheless asserts that Mahāyoga, even though gradual, is more efficacious than EN Chan because Mahāyoga has direct introduction, something lacking in EN Chan as it was practiced in 8th century in Tibet. Needless to say, it presents Atiyoga, Dzogchen as the pinnacle of vehicles.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu stresses that the Chan examined by Nubchen is not the same as Zen. He asserts that modern Zen has been deeply influenced by Esoteric Buddhism.

The upshot is that when we have discussions of the relationship between Chan and Dzogchen, this has virtually no bearing on what people now a days practice as Zen, Chan or Son. For example, the Koan system did not even exist during this period of time, there was no Rinzai, no Soto, etc. The Chan under question is Early Northern Chan, and its sources and influence in Tibetan Buddhism all but ended in the 790's when the Tibetans chose Indian Buddhism as the gold standard.
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

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:15 pm

For me, I just have faith in the one who holds the throne of Jigten Sumgon, in particular, the present Drikung Kyabgon, who is an ocean of teachings, transmissions, and qualities. Obviously His Holiness is aware and well educated on all the points discussed here, given that he is a scholar and researcher in early Tibetan history, as well as a holder of mahamudra and dzogchen lineages.

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:28 pm

Malcolm...

Are Nubchen's relevant texts available in translation, such as the Samten Migdron?

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Dan74
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:41 pm

Thank you for that, Malcolm.

I wonder how much we really know of 8th Century Chan. One thing that I recall from little study that I've done is that monks generally didn't stick to one school in those days but spent significant time in different temples and traditions.

I don't know what Drikung Kyabgon's learning or motivation in this instance is. Perhaps he just wants to build bridges, initiate a dialogue?

_/|\_

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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by DGA » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu stresses that the Chan examined by Nubchen is not the same as Zen. He asserts that modern Zen has been deeply influenced by Esoteric Buddhism.
This is interesting, but potentially complicated. What does ChNN mean by "esoteric Buddhism" in this context? Different writers mean different things by the term. It can mean, for instance, the mantrayana lineages transmitted through China to Japan that are Indic in origin. Or it can mean something else...

Some might argue that the "transmission outside the scriptures" upheld by contemporary Zen schools may correspond to a kind of direct introduction and transmission. I'm to ignorant to make a claim on this, or to rule it out categorically. Here is one description of what I'm alluding to:

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 40#p298602

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Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Malcolm » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:54 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:For me, I just have faith in the one who holds the throne of Jigten Sumgon, in particular, the present Drikung Kyabgon, who is an ocean of teachings, transmissions, and qualities. Obviously His Holiness is aware and well educated on all the points discussed here, given that he is a scholar and researcher in early Tibetan history, as well as a holder of mahamudra and dzogchen lineages.
Once the holiness of one's authority is invoked, conversation over. :shrug:
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

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:54 pm

Dan74 wrote:I don't know what Drikung Kyabgon's learning or motivation in this instance is. Perhaps he just wants to build bridges, initiate a dialogue?
I really don't know. I was hoping somebody here could red pill me on His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche's role in van Schaik's work. All I have is the quote from the back cover that I shared in my post, and a note in the acknowledgements section on van Schaik working with His Holiness in creating online editions of all the Tibetan Zen texts for the International Dunhuang Project.

I do know that His Holiness is a scholar of early Tibetan history, and years ago when I met him and heard him teach, he gave an "update" on his activities, something he seems to do every time. I find that very impressive as it is as if he feels accountable to all of us, his Drikungpa students. Anyway, at the time he had mentioned studying and working with the Dunhuang manuscripts, and made some comments that they revealed a good deal about early Tibetan history.

I do know that asserting similarities or unity is not the same as denying differences. There is a vajra statement from the Gong Chig that if one grasps or holds the "great three"-- madhyamaka, mahamudra, and dzogchen-- then one misses the profound view. I can only speculate that was the spirit of his comment. Add "zen" to the "great three" in that vajra statement, and it would equally apply.

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Malcolm
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Malcolm » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:56 pm

DGA wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu stresses that the Chan examined by Nubchen is not the same as Zen. He asserts that modern Zen has been deeply influenced by Esoteric Buddhism.
This is interesting, but potentially complicated. What does ChNN mean by "esoteric Buddhism" in this context? Different writers mean different things by the term. It can mean, for instance, the mantrayana lineages transmitted through China to Japan that are Indic in origin. Or it can mean something else...

Some might argue that the "transmission outside the scriptures" upheld by contemporary Zen schools may correspond to a kind of direct introduction and transmission. I'm to ignorant to make a claim on this, or to rule it out categorically. Here is one description of what I'm alluding to:

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 40#p298602
He means Vajrayāna, Shingon/Tendai. I have even heard him claim that Dzogchen influenced Chan, not the other way around. Certainly, Chinese monks received teachings from Vairocana, Vimalamitra and so on, they did not all clear out in one day.

Of course, I don't on what authority he is making that claim, just that he has made it on occasion.

Also, China is not so far from Tibet, and there were a number of Chan masters who in fact were Tibetans from far-eastern Tibet, or so I read in some academic book somewhere.
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

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:00 pm

One of the interesting things I'm getting of Sam van Schaik's book is that these Tibetan zen traditions were a minority, but lasted much long and later than I had ever realized. He places them as existing as late as the 13th century, and dying out really only with the new wave of sarma traslators and translations. Basically just because they were so aggressive in connecting dharma to Indic roots.

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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by DGA » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
He means Vajrayāna, Shingon/Tendai. I have even heard him claim that Dzogchen influenced Chan, not the other way around. Certainly, Chinese monks received teachings from Vairocana, Vimalamitra and so on, they did not all clear out in one day.

Of course, I don't on what authority he is making that claim, just that he has made it on occasion.

Also, China is not so far from Tibet, and there were a number of Chan masters who in fact were Tibetans from far-eastern Tibet, or so I read in some academic book somewhere.
This is super helpful, thanks.

I find the idea of Dzogchen influencing Ch'an to be much more plausible than the reverse.

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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:08 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:I do know that asserting similarities or unity is not the same as denying differences. There is a vajra statement from the Gong Chig that if one grasps or holds the "great three"-- madhyamaka, mahamudra, and dzogchen-- then one misses the profound view. I can only speculate that was the spirit of his comment. Add "zen" to the "great three" in that vajra statement, and it would equally apply.
Well the Chetsang did say "essential difference...". Only Nyingmapas assert differences in the view of the 9 yanas, the rest say there's only differences between Sravakayana, Pratyekabuddhayana, and Mahayana, with all of the Mahayana variants' ultimate view being synonymous with Prajnaparamita or freedom from extremes.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Astus
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Astus » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:15 pm

Khenpo Sodargye, in the video posted here, around the 44th minute compares Chan's view of the nature of mind to Semde. He is probably the closest among Tibetan teachers to make any comparisons between current Chan and Dzogchen, as he actually lectures on the Platform Sutra. But probably the most well known practitioner of both Chan and Dzogchen is (was) Yogi Chen.

Further on Khenpo Sodargye's presentation, it is quite clear he approaches Chan from a very Tibetan interpretation, like saying that Chan is based on the Platform and the Surangama sutras, plus it transmits an oral tradition of upadesa based on those two scriptures. An interesting view, but hardly representative of anyone. Nevertheless, it shows how difficult it is to make any comparisons when the fundamental elements are not clarified. But in order to do that, the person should be aware of not only some Chan and Dzogchen teaching, but the larger history of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism. Alas, Khenpo Sodargye is explicitly against any scholarly study of Dzogchen, claiming that it should not be subject to critical investigation and logic.
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"

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Tibetan Zen

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Urgyen Dorje wrote:For me, I just have faith in the one who holds the throne of Jigten Sumgon, in particular, the present Drikung Kyabgon, who is an ocean of teachings, transmissions, and qualities. Obviously His Holiness is aware and well educated on all the points discussed here, given that he is a scholar and researcher in early Tibetan history, as well as a holder of mahamudra and dzogchen lineages.
Once the holiness of one's authority is invoked, conversation over. :shrug:
That actually wasn't my point.

Since the man knows all the differences between these traditions and approaches and views, his statement, which reflects a larger unity, is not made out of ignorance. He's giving an instruction and I'm wanting to learn.

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