Adamantine wrote:I don't really see a contradiction
Well, I think it is false assessment.
Why? Because we have evidence from Mañjuśrīkīrti's Ornamenting the Essence of General Rites of All Secrets
that there was a movement in India, led by Śṛī Siṅgha (mentioned by name, along with Bhikṣuni Nanda, Padmasambhava's teacher as well, and other masters), who argued that creation stage practices was taught only to reject annihilationism, and for those who believed a dependent originated result was accomplished through dependent origination, and for those worldly people who were terrified of the profound meaning. However they argued that such practice was incapable of producing the result because a result cannot arise from a dissimilar cause.
Indeed, Tsongkhapa cites this argument in his sNgags rim chen mo
in an implicit refutation of Dzogchen.
The basic argument is that creation stage practices were unnecessary, and that it was sufficient to rely solely on completion stage practices.
The counter position to the above is that the natural purity of all phenomena was incapable of stopping false conceptuality and that buddhahood was necessarily predicated on the accumulation of merit, that the creation stage was needed to abandon ordinary vision, and that it was necessary for accomplished the rūpakāyas in order to benefit sentient beings.
The passage is interesting because it is just about the only passage in all the gsar ma period translations from Sanskrit which address the Great Perfection movement in India (albeit through the names of its promulgators rather than specific texts) and its positions, and contrasts this with what we now take to be the more conventional Vajrayāna approach.
In other words, I don't see much evidence that Vairocana, for example, was collecting lots of deity practices in Indian and spreading them among Tibetans. While it is certainly true there is a Vimalamitra tradition of Vajrakilaya, and while it is certainly true that Dzogchen can be practiced by people engaged in the creation stage and other kinds of rites, it is also the case that we have examples such as Pang Mipham Gonpo who appear to have practiced only Dzogchen.
In short, despite SVS's lengthy, interesting and erudite articles, I do not think it is accurate to conclude that Dzogchen was necessarily an adjunct to the practice of the two stages, and I think there is ample evidence to the contrary.
I think the more accurate position to take (based for example, on Mañjuśrīmitra's Meditation of Bodhicitta
) is that buddhahood could also be accomplished indirectly as well, through mantra practice, as he says:
Further, because the teacher has declared that awakening can be correctly grasped with a symbol,
in that case, this is the basis of the meditation that generates awakened mind.
After the three samadhis are stable, and after binding three symbolic mudras,
generate the mind as the great dharmamudra and meditate the recitation of the essence [mantra].
Mipham, summarizing Mañjuśrīmitra's autocommentary, adds:
If it is asked, “What is the method of realizing the definitive meaning through the indirect method?,” since nonactivity is illustrated with the activity of fabricated efforts, like pointing to the moon with the finger, also awakened mind correctly grasped through a symbol will accomplish awakening, because the Bhagavan Buddha, the teacher of devas and humans, has declared that it is “great awakening.” Any unfortunate one who conceptualizes entities should make efforts in the indirect method of realization.
Thus, I argue that "early" Dzogchen had nothing to do with sadhana practice at all, and this is proven quite handily by looking at the the bodhicitta texts (should one assume they represent "early" Dzogchen). Does this mean that Dzogchen masters ruled out an indirect path for unfortunates? No. But it does mean the premise "early dzogchen...was originally inseparable from sadhana practice" is false.