sems and rigpa

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 9942
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

sems and rigpa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:10 am

Is sems "purified" by rigpa in the same way that the alaya-vijnana is purified in the Yogacara system?

Is it purified in any sense, or is it just recognized as intrinsically pure in the first place?
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

User avatar
futerko
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by futerko » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:11 am

hmm.. where to even start with this one? lol

Painting with very broad strokes, I would say that there seems to me to be three various conceptions of infinity, as either; oneness, an infinite time series, or the principle of self-difference.

The first idea of Oneness is the Vedic idea of a true Self or the Christian idea of becoming one with the Absolute in eternity. (As you can see it always involves capitalisation!)

The concept of an infinite time series, under secular capitalism is merely the need for endless growth, but with a non-nihilistic/non-physicalist system there seems to be the idea of working towards purification which may be realised in 7 billion kalpa or whatever - simply a point which appears to be always just over the horizon.

The idea of the cessation of endless cyclic existence is a difficult one because eternalism or nihilism seem to creep in...

The last is perhaps the most difficult to conceive of, but I think it brings the idea of the infinite into the present moment, and somewhat resembles the description given by the Buddha of the three marks - constant flux, no concept of ground/no obvious directionality, and the basic statement of non-identity, that A is not equal to A.

In other words, seeing that things do not come into or go out of existence, we perceive that there is endless flux - what would cessation actually look like in this context?

It could also be expressed as division by zero, which might be argued is not dissimilar to the concept of emptiness in regard to manifest appearances, but here I reach the point where I have to admit it is ungraspable - I have no concept of what division by zero might actually look like.

I believe this is one of the reasons that ChNN would always remind us to work with circumstances and adapt to real world conditions, because quite simply, the idea that "the infinite is now" is quite problematic within the horizon of an infinite time series.
may all beings be free from the delusion of humanism

smcj
Posts: 6422
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:34 am

Malcolm once said it’s like gold. Gold doesn’t suddenly or slowly become gold. It’s already gold.

I can’t cite his post, and I can’t say it would apply to your specific question, but I thought I’d chime in with 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.
2. 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)

User avatar
futerko
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by futerko » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:21 am

The logic would look something like this...

if there were absolute being, it could not tolerate things coming and going - because then there would be change which would disprove it as an absolute

equally with non-being - in both these cases there can be no change, no passage of time - both absolute being and absolute non-being must necessarily manifest as isolated singularities which can have no possible contact with anything else, no possible change

(on that basis alone, we can rule out both of these possibilities simply because no absolute can have things outside of itself which come and go)

then that leaves this, whatever we call it, something in between being and non-being - emptiness or whatever...

here, it appears that things arise and cease even though we can be absolutely sure that in fact no such thing is possible - (because we have already established that there is nowhere else for it to go - it cannot possibly attain absolute being or absolute non-being)

therefore we must reason that the appearance of the finite, of change, and of the passage of time, are in fact simply the effect of whatever "this" is

the characteristics of "this" are that nothing can ever fully attain self-sameness (i.e. absolute being) - and therefore we must reason that what we are experiencing as finitude is in fact the only way that infinity can possibly manifest

on that basis, we cannot possibly have an endless series of nows where we just keep adding and adding one more - what appears to be change is in fact the only possible manifestation that infinity can take - and although it appears as an endless cyclic series, it cannot possibly be such.

As smcj says - it can only be what it already is.
may all beings be free from the delusion of humanism

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 9942
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am

I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

smcj
Posts: 6422
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by smcj » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:00 am

I’m told Malcolm is on Facebook.
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.
2. 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)

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 9942
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:12 am

smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:00 am
I’m told Malcolm is on Facebook.
I don't think he's particularly interested in answering my questions, but thanks, I'll keep it in mind..
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

User avatar
heart
Posts: 4734
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by heart » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

fckw
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:10 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by fckw » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:05 am

heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
That so? Do you have any sources for this?

So, we have 3 possibilities on the table:

1. Sems can exist either in a pure or an impure state. For a buddha, sems is pure. For everyone else, it's impure. This implies that also a buddha has sems.
2. Sems ceases to exist for a buddha. Therefore, sems can only ever exist in an impure form for a non-enlightened being. Talking of such a thing as a pure sems for enlightenend beings makes no sense.
3. Sems has always been pure from the beginning, like gold never having been anything else than gold. Thus, also a buddha has sems, but in contrast to an ordinary being s/he does not cling to the wrong idea of an impure sems.

Now, playing the devil's advocate, which one is true?

Lukeinaz
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:34 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Lukeinaz » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:29 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:12 am
smcj wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:00 am
I’m told Malcolm is on Facebook.
I don't think he's particularly interested in answering my questions, but thanks, I'll keep it in mind..
Thats non-sense. You should join the group.
You are truly astonishing--going to look for yourself when you already are yourself! --Longchen Rabjam

User avatar
heart
Posts: 4734
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by heart » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:47 pm

fckw wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:05 am
heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
That so? Do you have any sources for this?
Yes, it is clear in all Dzogchen teachings.

The Pearl Garland Tantra:

Sem is the ground of all habitual tendencies,
The defilement of beings.
Sem perceives the perceived objects
And is therefore of a samsaric nature.
When free from sem buddhahood is attained
And all the defilements of beings are purified.
Cognizant and aware, clear and illuminating,
It burns away all conceptual thinking.
Empty cognizance is undefiled.


/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

User avatar
futerko
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by futerko » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:28 pm

if you can find the place where all the old candle flames go after they have been snuffed out, in the room next to that is where all the discarded sems are stored.
may all beings be free from the delusion of humanism

TrimePema
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:16 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by TrimePema » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:28 pm

fckw wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:05 am
heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
That so? Do you have any sources for this?

So, we have 3 possibilities on the table:

1. Sems can exist either in a pure or an impure state. For a buddha, sems is pure. For everyone else, it's impure. This implies that also a buddha has sems.
2. Sems ceases to exist for a buddha. Therefore, sems can only ever exist in an impure form for a non-enlightened being. Talking of such a thing as a pure sems for enlightenend beings makes no sense.
3. Sems has always been pure from the beginning, like gold never having been anything else than gold. Thus, also a buddha has sems, but in contrast to an ordinary being s/he does not cling to the wrong idea of an impure sems.

Now, playing the devil's advocate, which one is true?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubtlg17NaE4

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 9942
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:04 pm

heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:47 pm
fckw wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:05 am
heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am


"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
That so? Do you have any sources for this?
Yes, it is clear in all Dzogchen teachings.

The Pearl Garland Tantra:

Sem is the ground of all habitual tendencies,
The defilement of beings.
Sem perceives the perceived objects
And is therefore of a samsaric nature.
When free from sem buddhahood is attained
And all the defilements of beings are purified.
Cognizant and aware, clear and illuminating,
It burns away all conceptual thinking.
Empty cognizance is undefiled.


/magnus
This is great, thanks. It accords with what I remember of the Uttaratantra as well.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

fckw
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:10 am

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by fckw » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:09 pm

heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:47 pm
fckw wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:05 am
heart wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:43 am


"Sems" will self-liberate. Buddhas don't have "sems".

/magnus
That so? Do you have any sources for this?
Yes, it is clear in all Dzogchen teachings.

The Pearl Garland Tantra:

Sem is the ground of all habitual tendencies,
The defilement of beings.
Sem perceives the perceived objects
And is therefore of a samsaric nature.
When free from sem buddhahood is attained
And all the defilements of beings are purified.
Cognizant and aware, clear and illuminating,
It burns away all conceptual thinking.
Empty cognizance is undefiled.


/magnus
Awesome, thanks! :twothumbsup:

User avatar
treehuggingoctopus
Posts: 1812
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:26 pm
Location: Mudhole? Slimy? My home, this is.

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
TUR (and other Dzogchen masters) would talk about the 5 wisdoms in a Dzogchen context. In some Semde texts, sems is said to "become" ( = be "apprehended" as) Dharmakaya when sems nyid gets seen for what it is. Malcolm would know, and I am not sure, but it seems to me that in Upadesha sems is principally used in contradistinction with sems nyid, in the context of rushens/semdzins. Normally the framework would be different and more nuanced, as in there-are-the-three-kinds-of-energy story.
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .

User avatar
Josef
Posts: 2366
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Josef » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:59 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
Sems doesnt become anything. It, along with all phenomena are naturally perfected.
The problem is that we don't recognize this.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

User avatar
Josef
Posts: 2366
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Josef » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:00 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
TUR (and other Dzogchen masters) would talk about the 5 wisdoms in a Dzogchen context. In some Semde texts, sems is said to "become" ( = be "apprehended" as) Dharmakaya when sems nyid gets seen for what it is. Malcolm would know, and I am not sure, but it seems to me that in Upadesha sems is principally used in contradistinction with sems nyid, in the context of rushens/semdzins. Normally the framework would be different and more nuanced, as in there-are-the-three-kinds-of-energy story.
The distinction between sems and sems nyid is only relevant to establishing the recognition of sems nyid. There is no difference between sems and sems nyid.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 9942
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:43 pm

Josef wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:00 pm
treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:51 am
I'm asking what sems "becomes" when there is recognition. It's a Dzogchen specific question. I mean in Tantra we say that the purified aggregates becomes the wisdoms etc., I am wondering if this applies to sems at all, or if the correct answer in Dzogchen terms is that sems is "pure from the beginning".
TUR (and other Dzogchen masters) would talk about the 5 wisdoms in a Dzogchen context. In some Semde texts, sems is said to "become" ( = be "apprehended" as) Dharmakaya when sems nyid gets seen for what it is. Malcolm would know, and I am not sure, but it seems to me that in Upadesha sems is principally used in contradistinction with sems nyid, in the context of rushens/semdzins. Normally the framework would be different and more nuanced, as in there-are-the-three-kinds-of-energy story.
The distinction between sems and sems nyid is only relevant to establishing the recognition of sems nyid. There is no difference between sems and sems nyid.
So then, it's just non-recognition that is the issue, there is nothing to purify.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

User avatar
Josef
Posts: 2366
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: sems and rigpa

Post by Josef » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:20 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:43 pm
Josef wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:00 pm
treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 pm


TUR (and other Dzogchen masters) would talk about the 5 wisdoms in a Dzogchen context. In some Semde texts, sems is said to "become" ( = be "apprehended" as) Dharmakaya when sems nyid gets seen for what it is. Malcolm would know, and I am not sure, but it seems to me that in Upadesha sems is principally used in contradistinction with sems nyid, in the context of rushens/semdzins. Normally the framework would be different and more nuanced, as in there-are-the-three-kinds-of-energy story.
The distinction between sems and sems nyid is only relevant to establishing the recognition of sems nyid. There is no difference between sems and sems nyid.
So then, it's just non-recognition that is the issue, there is nothing to purify.
Correct. Everything is naturally perfected and pure in its true nature.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

Locked

Return to “Dzogchen”

Who is online

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