Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
pemachophel
Posts: 1204
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Post by pemachophel » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:48 pm

Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche :
"Dzogchen Misunderstanding

I must correct one thing about Dzogchen. Most of you in the West think that by reading dharma books, you will develop understanding of the dharma. While it is natural to read, you will only develop an intellectual understanding. Wisdom, however, must come from meditation. For example, you cannot understand the teachings of the Great Perfection, Dzogpa Chenpo or any of the secret mantrayana teachings through reading. In fact, if you read Dzogchen books, you are likely to harm your understanding when the real teachings are given to you. You will have a preset idea in your mind of what it is, but, I am sorry to say, that most likely it will not be accurate. Why? Why is reading not sufficient? It lacks several things. First, reading secret teachings which you have not been authorized to read is not appropriate regardless of your motivation. Many of you are concerned about privacy in the letters you write, feeling hurt when someone reads them. This is mundane nonsense. What about these texts that are forbidden, rare and have protectors guarding and protecting them? Do you think you can easily read these teachings? Do you think the writers of these Great Perfection commentaries will write it in such a simple way that you will be able to understand what is there? No, you will not be able to do so. These writings hide the real meaning deeply between lines, words and letters. The sentence that you read is not the sentence of the meaning. No, it is not. It is a sentence that is grammatically correct, makes sense and seems to be clear, but it is not. There are secret codes. These codes and keys must be revealed to you in order to read and understand these books and teachings. The codes are not available to everyone. The masters will not give the code to you because what is in that book is their life thread. Nobody is going to put their life in your hands and say “Here is my life thread, do what you want with it.” Also the personal and face-to-face contact of the lama with the student or disciple is missing. First of all, you have a mind-to-mind contact. With that you receive the mind empowerment. Second, when you receive a teaching from a lama or the lama authorizes you to read a book, you receive the speech empowerment. Third, by the lama’s authorization, you have the blessing of the five wisdoms and the blessing of the spontaneous activity. Secretly, the lama empowers you so that your veil of obscurations is removed directly by his presence in front of you. Otherwise, when you read such books without authorization, you damage and do harm to yourself. This harm refers to the inverted or distorted understanding of the Great Perfection luminosities when perceived by the intellect, rather than experiencing the luminosity of primordial wisdom. You will understand these luminosities as a colorful painting that is visually present to your eyes. When books elaborate the various depths of emptiness and the subtle clarifications of the wisdom aspect, you will understand nothing of it. You won’t even understand the first basic emptiness, let alone the other depths of emptiness that are present. My advice to you, if you want this knowledge, is to connect with a teacher. “Connecting with a teacher” means surrendering your ego to the teacher which may not be very easy for you to do. Nonetheless, you won’t burn yourself. I have received the Great Perfection teachings from my father many times. I have met many students who describe to me the visions they have had about the Great Perfection. They think they have realization and a true vision. To me, it looks like they are preparing to go to lower realms because anything that looks bright and beautiful is not necessarily the experience of luminosity or realization. Within that bright and beautiful appearance darkness can also be present. I say “Be careful.” Many things are fine to understand intellectually, but anything dealing with wisdom and secret practices such as Dzogchen is not worth reading about. What about the person who translated what you are reading? Is the translator a realized bodhisattva? Does the translation carry the depth of the meaning toward enlightenment? Just because the translator has an extensive vocabulary and can write very fluently and poetically, do you then think that is realization? No. Realization and the teaching of Great Perfection is so simple that you can miss it because of your complex mind. The Great Perfection teachings are not complex. They are in simplicity. So simple that you will not believe it. You won’t take it to heart because you will say “That can’t be what it is!” But that IS what that is".
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:48 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:48 pm
Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche :
"Dzogchen Misunderstanding

I must correct one thing about Dzogchen. Most of you in the West think that by reading dharma books, you will develop understanding of the dharma. While it is natural to read, you will only develop an intellectual understanding. Wisdom, however, must come from meditation. For example, you cannot understand the teachings of the Great Perfection, Dzogpa Chenpo or any of the secret mantrayana teachings through reading. In fact, if you read Dzogchen books, you are likely to harm your understanding when the real teachings are given to you. You will have a preset idea in your mind of what it is, but, I am sorry to say, that most likely it will not be accurate. Why? Why is reading not sufficient? It lacks several things. First, reading secret teachings which you have not been authorized to read is not appropriate regardless of your motivation. Many of you are concerned about privacy in the letters you write, feeling hurt when someone reads them. This is mundane nonsense. What about these texts that are forbidden, rare and have protectors guarding and protecting them? Do you think you can easily read these teachings? Do you think the writers of these Great Perfection commentaries will write it in such a simple way that you will be able to understand what is there? No, you will not be able to do so. These writings hide the real meaning deeply between lines, words and letters. The sentence that you read is not the sentence of the meaning. No, it is not. It is a sentence that is grammatically correct, makes sense and seems to be clear, but it is not. There are secret codes. These codes and keys must be revealed to you in order to read and understand these books and teachings. The codes are not available to everyone. The masters will not give the code to you because what is in that book is their life thread. Nobody is going to put their life in your hands and say “Here is my life thread, do what you want with it.” Also the personal and face-to-face contact of the lama with the student or disciple is missing. First of all, you have a mind-to-mind contact. With that you receive the mind empowerment. Second, when you receive a teaching from a lama or the lama authorizes you to read a book, you receive the speech empowerment. Third, by the lama’s authorization, you have the blessing of the five wisdoms and the blessing of the spontaneous activity. Secretly, the lama empowers you so that your veil of obscurations is removed directly by his presence in front of you. Otherwise, when you read such books without authorization, you damage and do harm to yourself. This harm refers to the inverted or distorted understanding of the Great Perfection luminosities when perceived by the intellect, rather than experiencing the luminosity of primordial wisdom. You will understand these luminosities as a colorful painting that is visually present to your eyes. When books elaborate the various depths of emptiness and the subtle clarifications of the wisdom aspect, you will understand nothing of it. You won’t even understand the first basic emptiness, let alone the other depths of emptiness that are present. My advice to you, if you want this knowledge, is to connect with a teacher. “Connecting with a teacher” means surrendering your ego to the teacher which may not be very easy for you to do. Nonetheless, you won’t burn yourself. I have received the Great Perfection teachings from my father many times. I have met many students who describe to me the visions they have had about the Great Perfection. They think they have realization and a true vision. To me, it looks like they are preparing to go to lower realms because anything that looks bright and beautiful is not necessarily the experience of luminosity or realization. Within that bright and beautiful appearance darkness can also be present. I say “Be careful.” Many things are fine to understand intellectually, but anything dealing with wisdom and secret practices such as Dzogchen is not worth reading about. What about the person who translated what you are reading? Is the translator a realized bodhisattva? Does the translation carry the depth of the meaning toward enlightenment? Just because the translator has an extensive vocabulary and can write very fluently and poetically, do you then think that is realization? No. Realization and the teaching of Great Perfection is so simple that you can miss it because of your complex mind. The Great Perfection teachings are not complex. They are in simplicity. So simple that you will not believe it. You won’t take it to heart because you will say “That can’t be what it is!” But that IS what that is".
I totally agree that sealed texts are a support and not a meaning, but i deeply negate the infereable statement that only a teacher can give the meaning.

meaning can be found in primordial experience mainly, so knowing this -experiences- the sealed texts can act as a support.

is this against the TB paradigma?

i know very well that believing that one had a primordial experience and pretending to interpretate sealed texts leads to a very distorted new age stuff, but ¿wouldn't it better o receive from a teacher a way to distinguish this instead of a sealed material, or the meaning of this missive is pointing to this very question?¿is that the function of the teacher?
Identities are false and not true

Sherab Rigdrol
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Post by Sherab Rigdrol » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:24 pm

This is great advice for Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche's students......

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7033
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Post by Astus » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:33 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:48 pm
Most of you in the West think that by reading dharma books, you will develop understanding of the dharma. While it is natural to read, you will only develop an intellectual understanding. Wisdom, however, must come from meditation. For example, you cannot understand the teachings of the Great Perfection, Dzogpa Chenpo or any of the secret mantrayana teachings through reading. In fact, if you read Dzogchen books, you are likely to harm your understanding when the real teachings are given to you.
On the other hand, reading the sutras not only teaches one the very words of the Buddha, but also grants one incalculable amount of merit. Also, reading the various treatises gives one correct intellectual understanding, that can shed light on the genuine meaning in a reasonable fashion, thus give it into the reader's hand to use the view for authentic insight and ultimate enlightenment.
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"

User avatar
Sonam Wangchug
Posts: 234
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Shenphen Rinpoche on Reading Dzogchen Texts

Post by Sonam Wangchug » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:16 am

Shenpen Dawa Rinpoche is a Buddha.

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], philji and 69 guests