Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

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Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:29 pm

smcj wrote: In the same way the result is present in the path in all the yanas...
If the result is already present, there is no need for the path; this is precisely the place where gzhan stong gets into trouble and Dzogchen does not.

smcj
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by smcj » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote: In the same way the result is present in the path in all the yanas...
If the result is already present, there is no need for the path; this is precisely the place where gzhan stong gets into trouble and Dzogchen does not.
A while back you yourself had as you signature something to the effect that "all practices can be done from the Dzogchen perspective". I have simply restated the same in different language.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Matt J
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Matt J » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:06 pm

On the other hand, the gzhan stongpas have a good explanation for how Buddhahood is both uncreated and "positive." If I'm understanding correctly, the gzhan stongpas would say that once the obscurations are removed, then the virtues of Buddhahood naturally manifest. So from that POV, compassion is natural while greed, hatred, and delusion are distortions based on ignorance. Once the distorting influences are removed, then compassion and so forth would come forth naturally and effortlessly.

How is this handled from in Dzogchen?
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote: In the same way the result is present in the path in all the yanas...
If the result is already present, there is no need for the path; this is precisely the place where gzhan stong gets into trouble and Dzogchen does not.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

MiphamFan
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by MiphamFan » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
incidentally, it may seem like I care deeply about this topic, but I don't. All of this stuff is sūtrayāna. If one is a Vajrayāna practitioner, it does not really matter much what view one holds conceptually, since that is not and never will be the real view. The real view is the view introduced by the guru, either in a formal empowerment or as a intimate instruction, and personally known for oneself.
Malcolm, so how much of all this study is necessary for a practitioner who is not really interested in becoming a teacher?

Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:23 pm

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote: In the same way the result is present in the path in all the yanas...
If the result is already present, there is no need for the path; this is precisely the place where gzhan stong gets into trouble and Dzogchen does not.
A while back you yourself had as you signature something to the effect that "all practices can be done from the Dzogchen perspective". I have simply restated the same in different language.
Yes, all practices can be done from a Dzogchen point of view, but this does not mean that the result is present at the time of the basis.

Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:31 pm

Matt J wrote:On the other hand, the gzhan stongpas have a good explanation for how Buddhahood is both uncreated and "positive." If I'm understanding correctly, the gzhan stongpas would say that once the obscurations are removed, then the virtues of Buddhahood naturally manifest. So from that POV, compassion is natural while greed, hatred, and delusion are distortions based on ignorance. Once the distorting influences are removed, then compassion and so forth would come forth naturally and effortlessly.

How is this handled from in Dzogchen?
gzhan stong pas claim that the qualities of the result are fully manifested in sentient beings, from the beginning.

This is how Mipham characterizes it:
  • From the perspective of the mode of appearance, the basis itself never ripens as the result, and since that non-ripening is not the actual dharmakāya, since this present basis is not the buddhahood that manifest the ten powers from the mere cause of the dharmakāya, it may be considered that “dharmakāya of the basis” is not "the actual one.” Nevertheless, from the perspective of the just the time of the original basis, since the conventions of liberation and nornliberation do not exist, while there are no sentient beings, there are also no buddhas because liberation and delusion are totally impossible [in the basis].

    When the appearance of the basis arises from that, there are two paths, liberation and delusion, that are produced from this appearance of the basis. Liberation arises from realizing the basis just as it is. Delusion arises from not realizing the basis. When the appearance of the basis arise, when one arrives at the liberation of the initial state of original purity, since realization is manifest buddhahood, the ten powers are actualized. Therefore, though the qualities of nirvana such as the ten powers and so on that do not exist in the basis exist as a primordial endowment, other than those who have reached the ultimate realization, buddhas, when even the bodhisattvas of the tenth bhumi cannot see the manifestation of all qualities, what need is there to mention ordinary sentient beings [being able to see them]? That being so, the difference between all the qualities of the basis being manifestly apparent or nonapparent is not from perspective of just the basis. [4/a] It is necessary to make a distinction in dependence on the appearances of a buddha, one who realizes the basis just as it is, and a sentient being, the one who does not realize that.
Hence we can see there is truly a great chasm between the view of gzhan stong and the view of Dzogchen.

M

Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:42 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
incidentally, it may seem like I care deeply about this topic, but I don't. All of this stuff is sūtrayāna. If one is a Vajrayāna practitioner, it does not really matter much what view one holds conceptually, since that is not and never will be the real view. The real view is the view introduced by the guru, either in a formal empowerment or as a intimate instruction, and personally known for oneself.
Malcolm, so how much of all this study is necessary for a practitioner who is not really interested in becoming a teacher?
Not much.

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treehuggingoctopus
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Matt J wrote:On the other hand, the gzhan stongpas have a good explanation for how Buddhahood is both uncreated and "positive." If I'm understanding correctly, the gzhan stongpas would say that once the obscurations are removed, then the virtues of Buddhahood naturally manifest. So from that POV, compassion is natural while greed, hatred, and delusion are distortions based on ignorance. Once the distorting influences are removed, then compassion and so forth would come forth naturally and effortlessly.

How is this handled from in Dzogchen?
gzhan stong pas claim that the qualities of the result are fully manifested in sentient beings, from the beginning.
Not according to Shenpen Hookham... The way she explains the gzhan-stong view on the Buddha qualities is precisely what Matt J wrote above...
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by smcj » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:49 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Matt J wrote:On the other hand, the gzhan stongpas have a good explanation for how Buddhahood is both uncreated and "positive." If I'm understanding correctly, the gzhan stongpas would say that once the obscurations are removed, then the virtues of Buddhahood naturally manifest. So from that POV, compassion is natural while greed, hatred, and delusion are distortions based on ignorance. Once the distorting influences are removed, then compassion and so forth would come forth naturally and effortlessly.

How is this handled from in Dzogchen?
gzhan stong pas claim that the qualities of the result are fully manifested in sentient beings, from the beginning.
Not according to Shenpen Hookham... The way she explains the gzhan-stong view on the Buddha qualities is precisely what Matt J wrote above...
There are different forms of Shentong. Malcolm is using Dolpopa's rather radical version. Malcolm may not be 100% forthcoming with information supporting counter arguments, but he doesn't misrepresent.
Last edited by smcj on Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

smcj
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by smcj » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:11 pm

Matt J wrote:On the other hand, the gzhan stongpas have a good explanation for how Buddhahood is both uncreated and "positive." If I'm understanding correctly, the gzhan stongpas would say that once the obscurations are removed, then the virtues of Buddhahood naturally manifest. So from that POV, compassion is natural while greed, hatred, and delusion are distortions based on ignorance. Once the distorting influences are removed, then compassion and so forth would come forth naturally and effortlessly.
That's why I think it's worth making an issue out of it.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:02 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Not according to Shenpen Hookham...
According to Dolbupa. And it is for this reason that ChNN has explained many times that gzhan stong view is not actually compatible with Dzogchen.

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treehuggingoctopus
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:32 am

Have you read Stearns' book on Dolpopa, Malcolm? If Stearns is correct (i.e., if his translations of Dolpopa are accurate), then Dolpopa's version of gzhan-stong is indeed quite incompatible with Dzogchen -- but for entirely different reasons that the supposed inherent existence of intrinsic Buddha qualities:
Stearns' Dolpopa, in Buddha from Dolpo, 103 wrote:Buddhahood is stated to be the buddha-body of gnosis, and the incidental impurities are stated to be the groups of consciousness. In that way gnosis and consciousness are stated to be extremely different, like light and dark, or nectar and poison. Nevertheless, the differentiation of those two is very rare. These days the majority maintains that this very mind-as-such is the buddha-body of reality, self-arisen gnosis, and the Great Seal, and many maintain that concepts are the buddha-body of reality, the afflicting emotions are gnosis, samsara and nirvana are indivisible, these appearances and sounds are the three buddha-bodies or the four buddha-bodies, and so forth.
Stearns' commentary is as follows:
Stearns, Buddha from Dolpo, 104 wrote:For Dolpopa appearances cannot be the manifestation or self-presencing of gnosis (ye shes rang snang), or the buddha-body of reality, because ordinary appearances are completely fictitious, imaginary (parikalpita) and dependent (paratantra) phenomena, which are both actually nonexistent. The fully established true nature (parinispanna), nondual gnosis, the buddha-body of reality, and so forth, are real and existent.
That would indeed make gzhan-stong starkly different from Dzogchen. But the rest of the passage expresses the same understanding that Hookham champions:
Stearns, Buddha from Dolpo, 104 wrote:Ordinary sentient beings spend their lives occupied with nonexistent phenomena, asleep to the reality of the true nature within each of them. Enlightenment is achieved only when the incidental obscurations are removed through the practice of the spiritual path, and the eternally present ground of emptiness, the Buddha-nature, is allowed to shine forth as the awakened result.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by smcj » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:58 am

....ChNN has explained many times that gzhan stong view is not actually compatible with Dzogchen.
Be that as it may, evidently Karma Kagyupas think Shentong is compatible with Mahamudra.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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BrianG
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by BrianG » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:44 pm

smcj wrote:
....ChNN has explained many times that gzhan stong view is not actually compatible with Dzogchen.
Be that as it may, evidently Karma Kagyupas think Shentong is compatible with Mahamudra.
Karma Kagyupas also think Mahamudra is sutra. They are not that great at scholarship.
Telepaths - I like to kill them

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Anders
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Anders » Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:57 pm

BrianG wrote:
smcj wrote:
....ChNN has explained many times that gzhan stong view is not actually compatible with Dzogchen.
Be that as it may, evidently Karma Kagyupas think Shentong is compatible with Mahamudra.
Karma Kagyupas also think Mahamudra is sutra. They are not that great at scholarship.
I think that's an uncalled for direction to go in. Especially in the kagyu forum.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:31 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:Have you read Stearns' book on Dolpopa, Malcolm? If Stearns is correct (i.e., if his translations of Dolpopa are accurate), then Dolpopa's version of gzhan-stong is indeed quite incompatible with Dzogchen -- but for entirely different reasons that the supposed inherent existence of intrinsic Buddha qualities:
Stearns' Dolpopa, in Buddha from Dolpo, 103 wrote:Buddhahood is stated to be the buddha-body of gnosis, and the incidental impurities are stated to be the groups of consciousness. In that way gnosis and consciousness are stated to be extremely different, like light and dark, or nectar and poison. Nevertheless, the differentiation of those two is very rare. These days the majority maintains that this very mind-as-such is the buddha-body of reality, self-arisen gnosis, and the Great Seal, and many maintain that concepts are the buddha-body of reality, the afflicting emotions are gnosis, samsara and nirvana are indivisible, these appearances and sounds are the three buddha-bodies or the four buddha-bodies, and so forth.
Stearns' commentary is as follows:
Stearns, Buddha from Dolpo, 104 wrote:For Dolpopa appearances cannot be the manifestation or self-presencing of gnosis (ye shes rang snang), or the buddha-body of reality, because ordinary appearances are completely fictitious, imaginary (parikalpita) and dependent (paratantra) phenomena, which are both actually nonexistent. The fully established true nature (parinispanna), nondual gnosis, the buddha-body of reality, and so forth, are real and existent.
That would indeed make gzhan-stong starkly different from Dzogchen. But the rest of the passage expresses the same understanding that Hookham champions:
The point is this:

"The fully established true nature (parinispanna), nondual gnosis, the buddha-body of reality, and so forth, are real and existent."

Which means that the ten powers and so on are fully developed within sentient beings at present.

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Matt J
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Matt J » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:39 pm

I've been going through Mipam on Buddhanature by Duckworth and it is fairly clear that Mipam completely rejects Dolpopa, but the rejections tend to revolve more around Dolpopa's views on emptiness than anything else (along the lines of what Malcolm was saying above). What else is interesting is that Mipam explicitly aligns himself with Prasangika even though he was a student of Kongtrul. However, if I'm reading the citations correctly, this appears to be more due to Mipam's view on the ultimate as non-conceptual, which is more congruent with the non-affirming negation strategy of Prasangika Madhyamaka.

I would bet that Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a gzhan stongpa given that his root teacher is Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamtso Rinpoche and he is a lineage holder in both Dzogchen and Mahamudra, so I'm not convinced that Dzogchen is necessarily inconsistent with gzhan stong in all its formulations.
treehuggingoctopus wrote:Have you read Stearns' book on Dolpopa, Malcolm? If Stearns is correct (i.e., if his translations of Dolpopa are accurate), then Dolpopa's version of gzhan-stong is indeed quite incompatible with Dzogchen -- but for entirely different reasons that the supposed inherent existence of intrinsic Buddha qualities:
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Malcolm
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:42 pm

Matt J wrote:
I would bet that Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a gzhan stongpa given that his root teacher is Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamtso Rinpoche and he is a lineage holder in both Dzogchen and Mahamudra, so I'm not convinced that Dzogchen is necessarily inconsistent with gzhan stong in all its formulations.
In Mantra, it is possible for people have a conceptual sūtrayāna view which is not consistent with how they practice.

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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by smcj » Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:38 pm

Malcolm wrote: In Mantra, it is possible for people have a conceptual sūtrayāna view which is not consistent with how they practice.
That makes this entire subject nothing more than a tempest in a teacup.

For me, Matt J. made the only really important point, which is that Shentong view easily accommodates the idea of the buddha bodies as being something positive, a.k.a. "empty of other". That makes deity practice simpler, easier and less intellectual. From where I stand (sit) that's a good thing.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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treehuggingoctopus
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Re: Yogacara + Tathagatagharba = Shentong

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:The point is this:

"The fully established true nature (parinispanna), nondual gnosis, the buddha-body of reality, and so forth, are real and existent."

Which means that the ten powers and so on are fully developed within sentient beings at present.
You can say that nondual gnosis and its Buddha qualities are fully developed but not fully manifest (in the sense of not fully cognised by those on the path) yet. And yes, I can imagine the contradictions such reasoning implies -- and I think I can also predict what the gzhan-stong reply to such an objection could look like. And so it goes, an endless game.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche

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