conebeckham wrote: In fact, we feel this is a misunderstanding of the profound nature of generation Stage.
It is a partial and expedient truth to say that Mahamudra and Dzogchen view it as "inferior," IMO. An instruction for specific students.
Would you like to explain the nature and function of generation stage then, if we've got it wrong?
Malcolm has lucidly and concisely done this already. "Creation Stage remedies attachement to impure perception." Creation stage does not "newly create" something that did not exist previously, per se. It rectifies mistaken views, and purifies the stages of life, from various types of birth, to death, etc. One carries on the three aspects of Creation stage: Clarity, Recollection of Purity, and Divine Pride. By meditating with effort, eventually the deity will arise without meditation. This is called the "lesser experience of luminous appearance." The "Middling Experience" occurs when deity, mandala, palace and retinue deities, etc., appear without effort.
As for the necessity of this, Kongtrul writes, in "Creation and Completion:"
The many techniques of creation and completion, both with and without visualization,
such as as rejecting or transforming or resting in decieving appearances,
are purificatory methods, and that is where the value of all practice lies.
Thoughts of past, present, and future are like ripples on water, never ending.
Without pursuing them, whatever the subject of concentration is,
upon that itself, like a master craftsperson spinning yarn,
not too tight or too loose, but just right for the material,
the wise direct their watchguard of mindfulness again and again.
When you establish for certain the true nature of mind,
many things arise, yet they are not other than the one.
That one thing also cannot even be grasped by objective clinging.
Looking at it, it is not seen, being without color or shape.
This is a sign of its being without foundation, free of basis, and beyond intellect.
Its essence is empty, its nature clarity,
and it's dynamic play of compassion arises without inhibition.
You try to block thoughts and yet they are not blocked-
first one unblocked thought arises, then a second-let them arise.
When they arise, send them wherever they go and stand guard.
Since there is no place for them to go, they have returned,
like a crow who has taken off from a ship.
Rest like the movement of swells at sea.
Generally, everything up to the mahamudra is termed "mind path."
Common dzogchen is also included in this.
The class of exceptional esoteric instructions (MenNgakDe)
is said to be the "awareness path," and as such,
it is not definite that one must begin with calm abiding.
When the nature of naked awareness itself, without exaggeration or denial is revealed,
it is sufficient just to become accustomed to that.
However, if the true nature is not unerringly revealed,
then even the profound esoteric instructions will be difficult to assimilate.
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Would you accept that Mahamudra is a completion stage realisation, or is it something else?
Is your understanding of Mahamudra is that it is the union of great bliss and emptiness?
Mahamudra means many things, and can be explained many ways. Malcolm has pointed to the ultimate meaning, in his quote from Virupa. But on the level of pedagogy and training, we can speak of Ground Mahamudra, Path Mahamudra, and Fruitional Mahamudra. In a sense, all practices are Mahamudra when understood in this framework. Yes, it is a "completion stage realization," but it is not only that. Yes, it is the union of great bliss and emptiness, but not only that.
The substantial cause of a Buddha's enjoyment body is the illusory body and this depends upon generation stage. No generation stage, no illusory body, no enjoyment body, no Buddhahood.
Ah, well.....our current experience, leaving aside meditation on Illusory body, is actually the impure illusory body. All compounded phenomena and all sentient beings are mere mirages. So, there is that sort of practice which is actually an important stage, and not connected with the Two Stages, per se. The Pure Illusory Body practice is the meditation on the deity and mandala. The Hidden Illusory Body depends on Completion Stage practice, whether of the methods of Father Tantra or Mother Tantra, but the Ultimate Illusory Body manifests from the conjoined luminous clarity or Pristine Awareness Wisdom and the subtle wind which is it's mount. This Great Vajra Body, Vajradhara itself, is a combination of the mind abiding in Pristine Awareness Wisdom and the body manifesting as the Illusory Body. This is also Kongtrul's explanation, from the Treasury of Knowledge-I'm paraphrasing. These subjects really require extensive explanations from qualified masters, so I am providing these words merely as a rejoinder to your statement.
Kongtrul also says that the Pristine Awareness Wisdom is nonconceptual and it brings about the result. It is chiefly the Dharmakaya which is the result for oneself, and which is primordially inseparable from the Form Kayas, which is the goal--not, per se, the Form Kayas which somehow lead to the Dharmakaya. The practices of Mahamudra in my tradition, and the practices of Dzogchen as well, are concerned with the Pristine Awareness Wisdom, and with actualization or realization of full fruition, of the Dharmakaya.