Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

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gad rgyangs
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Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by gad rgyangs » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:11 am

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche writes, in "Dzogchen The Self Perfected State":

"Every kind of teaching is transmitted through the culture and knowledge of human beings. But it is important not to confuse any culture or tradition with the teachings themselves, because the essence of the teachings is knowledge of the nature of the individual. Any given culture can be of great value because it is the means which enables people to receive the message of a teaching, but it is not the teaching itself...If one doesn't know how to understand the true meaning of a teaching through one's own culture, one can create confusion between the external form of a religious tradition and the essence of its message...it is of fundamental importance for him to know how to integrate that teaching with his own culture in order to be able to communicate it, in its essential form, to other Westerners...For example, those who already have a certain familiarity with Tibetan culture might think that to practice Dzogchen you have to convert to either Buddhism or Bon, because Dzogchen has been spread through these two religious traditions. This shows how limited our way of thinking is. If we decide to follow a spiritual teaching, we are convinced that it is necessary for us to change something, such as our way of dressing, of eating, of behaving, and so on. But Dzogchen does not ask one to adhere to any religious doctrine or to enter a monastic order, or to blindly accept the teachings and become a "Dzogchenist." All of these things can, in fact, create serious obstacles to true knowledge...A person who is really interested in the teachings has to understand their fundamental principle without letting him or herself become conditioned by the limits of a tradition. The organizations, institutions, and hierarchies that exist in the various schools often become factors that condition us, but this is something that it is difficult for us to notice. The true value of the teachings is beyond all the superstructures people create, and to discover if the teachings are really a living thing for us we just need to observe to what extent we have freed ourselves from all the factors that condition us. Sometimes we might believe we have understood the teachings, and that we know how to apply them, but in practice we still remain conditioned by attitudes and doctrinal principles that are far from true knowledge of our own actual condition."
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.

"I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind."
- Descartes, 2nd Meditation 25

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Rick
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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Rick » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:22 am

gad rgyangs wrote:A person who is really interested in the teachings has to understand their fundamental principle without letting him or herself become conditioned by the limits of a tradition. The organizations, institutions, and hierarchies that exist in the various schools often become factors that condition us, but this is something that it is difficult for us to notice."
What he said. :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Virgo » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:28 am

Buddhism is full of various levels of views, Dzogchen being ultimate.

Dzogchen, also, can be taught free of those other frameworks.

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by gad rgyangs » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:06 am

there was an interesting post here for a few minutes that then got erased that was saying that it was not accidental, because of all the religions of this planet, only Buddhism had a basic perspective that was a fertile ground for Dzogchen to appear in. It is a very interesting question if that is the case or if other religions or philosophies could have birthed the Dzogchen view, or did in fact give rise to similar understanding? For example, is Heidegger's seinsfrage a step towards Dzogchen in a western tradition? Are some of Meister Eckhart's late sermons expressing what amounts to a Dzogchen view? I don't think these are easy "yes" or "no" questions (although I expect an avalanche of "no"s any minute... :tongue: )

In any case, the quotes from Namkahi Norbu are pretty clearly saying that one does not even have to be a "Buddhist" to practice Dzogchen, in which case the cultural phenomena called "Buddhism" becomes a kind of chrysalis from which Dzogchen emerges but is perhaps not needed once it does so. That is not to say that those still attached to the cultural forms have not fought, and do not fight, tooth and nail to stop the butterfly from emerging and leaving behind the casing...
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.

"I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind."
- Descartes, 2nd Meditation 25

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:42 am

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There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by krodha » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:39 am

gad rgyangs wrote:For example, is Heidegger's seinsfrage a step towards Dzogchen in a western tradition? Are some of Meister Eckhart's late sermons expressing what amounts to a Dzogchen view? I don't think these are easy "yes" or "no" questions (although I expect an avalanche of "no"s any minute...
Avalanche of no's.

In general though, those who struggle with tradition tend to be very literal-minded due to having a intense poverty in any ability to comprehend (i) conventional devices, (ii) skillful means, and (iii) provisional, supplementary support structures. 

For example; there are some out there who push the idea of a "radical Dzogchen" that defies tradition etc., it is such a ridiculous notion. One's nature is always one's nature, originally pure and naturally perfected; the relative structures that aid the aspirant in realizing that nature are simply provisional methods. There's absolutely no reason to swat them away in the name of a "more pure" relative structure... whatever new approach one would abandon the structures of old for would be nothing more than another relative structure - only the newfound structures would not have the time-tested and proven efficacy of refined systems and unbroken lineages.

One's nature is innately pure and free of relative structures, and when one has a direct, experiential knowledge of that nature its primordial purity is overtly evident... this means that fixating on rejecting relative structures because one's nature is originally pure is nothing more than the mind accepting and rejecting. One should be able to use traditions and structured systems as useful tools that can be implemented and set down when the job is done. 

Not directing this at anyone here, just making a broad observation; but worrying about traditions, structures and systems is simply the relative mind clinging to an idea of original purity - because authentic wisdom is originally pure by nature and needn't accept or reject. The ultimate view is simply free (innately), and no tradition, structure or system can bind it... but traditions, structures and systems surely aid one in realizing that nature. It all comes back to upāya.

Lashing out at tradition, structure and system is akin to cutting off leaves and branches - rather than severing the issue at the root (which is avidyā). Traditions, structures and systems do not bind, only ignorance binds. So why not use the traditions, structures and systems to one's benefit, relate to them skillfully, sever delusion, and realize that it has all been originally pure and naturally perfected since time without beginning?

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by mutsuk » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:46 am

Very :good: :bow: :bow: :bow:

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by mutsuk » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:27 am

Two remarks :

1. I agree with Norbu Rinpoche that Dzogchen is not conditioned according to traditions, but this does not mean that you can just take it out of these traditions and re-conditioned it back into your own western ideas, limitations and current spiritual level. This would not be Dzogchen anymore. This is being done by several “masters” in the West and “this is not Dzogchen anymore” (dixit Yongdzin Rinpoche).

2. Lineages are crucial in Dzogchen. Why are Dzogchen teachings only in Bon and Buddhsim ? Because Dzogchen does not contradict the 10 vows and the last of the ten vows demands that one avoids wrong views. Except for Bon and Buddhism, all other religious traditions advocate wrong views according to Bonpo and Buddhist standards.

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:33 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:there was an interesting post here for a few minutes that then got erased that was saying that it was not accidental, because of all the religions of this planet, only Buddhism had a basic perspective that was a fertile ground for Dzogchen to appear in. It is a very interesting question if that is the case or if other religions or philosophies could have birthed the Dzogchen view, or did in fact give rise to similar understanding? For example, is Heidegger's seinsfrage a step towards Dzogchen in a western tradition? Are some of Meister Eckhart's late sermons expressing what amounts to a Dzogchen view? I don't think these are easy "yes" or "no" questions (although I expect an avalanche of "no"s any minute... :tongue: )

In any case, the quotes from Namkahi Norbu are pretty clearly saying that one does not even have to be a "Buddhist" to practice Dzogchen, in which case the cultural phenomena called "Buddhism" becomes a kind of chrysalis from which Dzogchen emerges but is perhaps not needed once it does so. That is not to say that those still attached to the cultural forms have not fought, and do not fight, tooth and nail to stop the butterfly from emerging and leaving behind the casing...
The Dzogchen teachings are not something found outside of Buddhadharma for the simple reason that they are a Dharma that was taught by the Buddhas no amount of intellectual posturing can change this fact. Does this mean that someone has to sign up with a card that says "Registered Buddhist" like it is a political party? No, of course not.

These days a sort of intellectual "Dzogchen" is very fashionable — but it generally arises from a misconstrual of the Dzogchen tradition divorced from the matrix in which it emerged, the religious culture of Tibet from the 9th to the 12th century. During this four centuries, Dzogchen teachings were gradually promulgated in the context of Secret Mantra. One thing that ChNN also says is that there is no such a thing as "pure Dzogchen." What he means by this is that there is no practice of Dzogchen divorced from the rest of the Buddhist path (Bonpos are just Buddhists with a differing historical narrartive regarding the origins of their teachings). He also states in very plain language that the result of Sūtra, Tantra and Dzogchen are the same — the same buddhahood. He never makes this claim with regard to Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and so on. Of course another intellectual fashion of the current day is that imagine that somehow there are teachings equivalent to Dzogchen in schools outside of Buddhadharma. This assertion is laughable. Beyond this, Dzogchen texts themselves take great pains to site their own teachings within the horizon of Buddhadharma, and outside the horizon of the teachings of this and that tīrthika school.

The only thing radical about Dzogchen in the end is that a few people might have the capacity recognize their own stated and live in that knowledge 24/7 obviating the need for any further path — but those of us who did not recognize that state and entered into delusion must labor away at our two obscurations, even though, as it is clearly stated in the Prajñāpāramita that when we reach the final result we will realize that there was nothing to accomplish and nothing to remove all along. In the meantime however, we soldier on because while we are under the the power of karma and afflictions there is a basis of purification and a reason for purification. This is recognized also in Dzogchen teachings, thus the reason there are so many purifications practices, purification practices for body, speech, mind and so on. The entire first chapter of the Dimension of Sound (sgra thal 'gyur) tantra consists of nothing but purification practices, including creation stage and completion stage practices, and the entire first volume of Vimalamitra's commentary to this text consists of nothing more than elaborating all these practices in detail.

As to the notion that direct introduction is sufficient, this is a gross error of understanding. As the famed Semde master Zhigpo Dudtsi points out, the only chigcharwas (instantaneous realizers) he knew of were Saraha and Lingje Repa (neither of them even Dzogchen practitioners), but that while he had sought out some other examples, he did not know of any while not ruling out the possibility that they existed. But it seems these days everyone is a chigcharwas. Further, if you are not practicing the profound teaching of thögal, one has no way of working with pure vision apart from the two stages. It is for this reason then that Tregchö is always combined with deity yoga in Dzogchen practice. As such, the practice of most so called Dzogchen practice is no different than what the Sakyapas, Gelugpas and Kagyus do, even though Nyingma sadhanas are gussied up with many fancy high sounding words. The plain reality is that most people do not have the capacity or time to practice Dzogchen in a serious way. This being the case, for example, ChNN strongly advises everyone to practice the short thun, which is a anuyoga sadhana combined with ati guruyoga. He explicitly says no one can remain in samadhi (contemplation) all the time, and so therefore, in order to do something useful, we have all these secondary practices which support samadhi, which create a container for it.

As to the the importance of tradition. There is no Dzogchen without lineage. A Dzogchen book without a live transmission is like a cellphone without a battery, it won't receive any calls. Dzogchen, as ChNN says again and again, does not live in a book, it lives in the transmission between teacher and student. That transmission is oral, symbolic and experiential. All of the different methods of empowerment, elaborate and so, are all methods of communicating that knowledge orally, symbolically and experientially. That knowledge is no different than what is communicated through the four empowerments of the Sarma schools. While the four Dzogchen empowerments may be more detailed, and in some sense they may be a bit more profound in details, a beginner cannot comprehend this. Without a great deal of understanding of Vajrayāna, the teaching of Dzogchen is completely opaque.

The teaching of Dzogchen is not confined to paeans of praise about our natural state. It consists of detailed instructions about the human body, it's channels, functions and so on, all of which require ripening through empowerment. If Dzogchen were only about our natural state, it would not go beyond the Prajñāpāramita sūtras.

As one of the Dzogchen tantras puts it — Mahāyoga is the ground, Anuyoga is the sky, and Atiyoga is the sun and moon which illuminates both. Dzogchen is called the pinnacle not because Mahāyoga and Anuyoga are unnecessary, but because, as Rongzom points out, it is needed for making other practices fruitful. This is not different than the Lamdre contention that the experiential view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana that comes from empowerment must be meditated prior to engaging in the two stages.

In the end, I am afraid that the Sakya master, Dezhung Ajam ( a disciple of Adzom Drugpa) was right, many people who claim to be Dzogchen practitioners are like people whose bodies are separated from their heads — in other words, their "Dzogchen" is just intellectual theory. Sadly, we see many such discussions in the internet in various forums by various people that are completely ungrounded. These people, sadly, merely block their own realization. What a pity.

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Arnoud » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:13 pm

Malcolm wrote: In the end, I am afraid that the Sakya master, Dezhung Ajam ( a disciple of Adzom Drugpa) was right, many people who claim to be Dzogchen practitioners are like people whose bodies are separated from their heads — in other words, their "Dzogchen" is just intellectual theory. Sadly, we see many such discussions in the internet in various forums by various people that are completely ungrounded. These people, sadly, merely block their own realization. What a pity.
Apologies for ignoring the rest of your excellent post at the moment but I would like to focus on this for now. Based on the above, what would you recommend people do then? Of course, do what their Lamas tell them to do but besides that? Focus on Tantric practice and forget about Dzogchen?
I am genuinely curious as your opinion holds a lot of weight to a lot of people here.
As usual, many thanks,

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Astus » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:26 pm

Malcolm wrote:The teaching of Dzogchen is not confined to paeans of praise about our natural state. It consists of detailed instructions about the human body, it's channels, functions and so on, all of which require ripening through empowerment. If Dzogchen were only about our natural state, it would not go beyond the Prajñāpāramita sūtras.
1. If Dzogchen necessarily includes teachings on the channels and such, does it mean that (a) public books on Dzogchen are actually sutra level teachings on emptiness and mindfulness, (b) whoever teaches/practises Dzogchen without deity yoga and/or togal only uses the name Great Perfection but not the real transmission, and (c) semde and longde, since they don't have togal as far as I'm aware, are not really Dzogchen or just preliminaries?

2. It is my impression that teachings where Dzogchen (and Mahamudra) is reduced to abiding in the natural state is practically no different from what is popularly understood as mindfulness, and similar or even identical instructions are given in modern Zen and Theravada. That is, all three of them matches the taste of similar Western practitioners who want a simple and practical technique and not a complete tradition/religion. Consequently the very question of this topic is so much like what can be seen in Theravada and Zen forums labelling Buddhism a cultural baggage, while the meditation practice is called the essence of the Buddha's teaching.

3. If the teaching on the natural state is no different from the Prajnaparamita sutras - that is, you seem to agree to the unity of Dzogchen, Mahamudra and Madhyamaka in terms of the ultimate view - is it your understanding that Dzogchen is a unique way because of its togal instructions and nothing else?
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"

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Rick » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:37 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:In general though, those who struggle with tradition tend to be very literal-minded due to having a intense poverty in any ability to comprehend (i) conventional devices, (ii) skillful means, and (iii) provisional, supplementary support structures.
And just as generally, those who embrace tradition tend to be intensely needful of the safety and certification of groupthink. Reality is always more nuanced than easy generalizations, right?
For example; there are some out there who push the idea of a "radical Dzogchen" that defies tradition etc., it is such a ridiculous notion. One's nature is always one's nature, originally pure and naturally perfected; the relative structures that aid the aspirant in realizing that nature are simply provisional methods. There's absolutely no reason to swat them away in the name of a "more pure" relative structure... whatever new approach one would abandon the structures of old for would be nothing more than another relative structure - only the newfound structures would not have the time-tested and proven efficacy of refined systems and unbroken lineages.
I don't know about the radical Dzogchen you mention, but I see lots of reason why a teaching methodology would change over centuries. You can't just plop one set of cultural/historical traditions into a radically different culture/time. This understanding led my teacher, Anam Thubten, to depart quite a bit from his Nyingma tradition ... in order to more effectively reach his American and European students.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Jesse » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:39 pm

as it is clearly stated in the Prajñāpāramita that when we reach the final result we will realize that there was nothing to accomplish and nothing to remove all along.

He explicitly says no one can remain in samadhi (contemplation) all the time, and so therefore, in order to do something useful, we have all these secondary practices which support samadhi, which create a container for it.
So which practices best support samadhi, then?
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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by gad rgyangs » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:there was an interesting post here for a few minutes that then got erased that was saying that it was not accidental, because of all the religions of this planet, only Buddhism had a basic perspective that was a fertile ground for Dzogchen to appear in. It is a very interesting question if that is the case or if other religions or philosophies could have birthed the Dzogchen view, or did in fact give rise to similar understanding? For example, is Heidegger's seinsfrage a step towards Dzogchen in a western tradition? Are some of Meister Eckhart's late sermons expressing what amounts to a Dzogchen view? I don't think these are easy "yes" or "no" questions (although I expect an avalanche of "no"s any minute... :tongue: )

In any case, the quotes from Namkahi Norbu are pretty clearly saying that one does not even have to be a "Buddhist" to practice Dzogchen, in which case the cultural phenomena called "Buddhism" becomes a kind of chrysalis from which Dzogchen emerges but is perhaps not needed once it does so. That is not to say that those still attached to the cultural forms have not fought, and do not fight, tooth and nail to stop the butterfly from emerging and leaving behind the casing...
The Dzogchen teachings are not something found outside of Buddhadharma for the simple reason that they are a Dharma that was taught by the Buddhas no amount of intellectual posturing can change this fact. Does this mean that someone has to sign up with a card that says "Registered Buddhist" like it is a political party? No, of course not.

These days a sort of intellectual "Dzogchen" is very fashionable — but it generally arises from a misconstrual of the Dzogchen tradition divorced from the matrix in which it emerged, the religious culture of Tibet from the 9th to the 12th century. During this four centuries, Dzogchen teachings were gradually promulgated in the context of Secret Mantra. One thing that ChNN also says is that there is no such a thing as "pure Dzogchen." What he means by this is that there is no practice of Dzogchen divorced from the rest of the Buddhist path (Bonpos are just Buddhists with a differing historical narrartive regarding the origins of their teachings). He also states in very plain language that the result of Sūtra, Tantra and Dzogchen are the same — the same buddhahood. He never makes this claim with regard to Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and so on. Of course another intellectual fashion of the current day is that imagine that somehow there are teachings equivalent to Dzogchen in schools outside of Buddhadharma. This assertion is laughable. Beyond this, Dzogchen texts themselves take great pains to site their own teachings within the horizon of Buddhadharma, and outside the horizon of the teachings of this and that tīrthika school.

The only thing radical about Dzogchen in the end is that a few people might have the capacity recognize their own stated and live in that knowledge 24/7 obviating the need for any further path — but those of us who did not recognize that state and entered into delusion must labor away at our two obscurations, even though, as it is clearly stated in the Prajñāpāramita that when we reach the final result we will realize that there was nothing to accomplish and nothing to remove all along. In the meantime however, we soldier on because while we are under the the power of karma and afflictions there is a basis of purification and a reason for purification. This is recognized also in Dzogchen teachings, thus the reason there are so many purifications practices, purification practices for body, speech, mind and so on. The entire first chapter of the Dimension of Sound (sgra thal 'gyur) tantra consists of nothing but purification practices, including creation stage and completion stage practices, and the entire first volume of Vimalamitra's commentary to this text consists of nothing more than elaborating all these practices in detail.

As to the notion that direct introduction is sufficient, this is a gross error of understanding. As the famed Semde master Zhigpo Dudtsi points out, the only chigcharwas (instantaneous realizers) he knew of were Saraha and Lingje Repa (neither of them even Dzogchen practitioners), but that while he had sought out some other examples, he did not know of any while not ruling out the possibility that they existed. But it seems these days everyone is a chigcharwas. Further, if you are not practicing the profound teaching of thögal, one has no way of working with pure vision apart from the two stages. It is for this reason then that Tregchö is always combined with deity yoga in Dzogchen practice. As such, the practice of most so called Dzogchen practice is no different than what the Sakyapas, Gelugpas and Kagyus do, even though Nyingma sadhanas are gussied up with many fancy high sounding words. The plain reality is that most people do not have the capacity or time to practice Dzogchen in a serious way. This being the case, for example, ChNN strongly advises everyone to practice the short thun, which is a anuyoga sadhana combined with ati guruyoga. He explicitly says no one can remain in samadhi (contemplation) all the time, and so therefore, in order to do something useful, we have all these secondary practices which support samadhi, which create a container for it.

As to the the importance of tradition. There is no Dzogchen without lineage. A Dzogchen book without a live transmission is like a cellphone without a battery, it won't receive any calls. Dzogchen, as ChNN says again and again, does not live in a book, it lives in the transmission between teacher and student. That transmission is oral, symbolic and experiential. All of the different methods of empowerment, elaborate and so, are all methods of communicating that knowledge orally, symbolically and experientially. That knowledge is no different than what is communicated through the four empowerments of the Sarma schools. While the four Dzogchen empowerments may be more detailed, and in some sense they may be a bit more profound in details, a beginner cannot comprehend this. Without a great deal of understanding of Vajrayāna, the teaching of Dzogchen is completely opaque.

The teaching of Dzogchen is not confined to paeans of praise about our natural state. It consists of detailed instructions about the human body, it's channels, functions and so on, all of which require ripening through empowerment. If Dzogchen were only about our natural state, it would not go beyond the Prajñāpāramita sūtras.

As one of the Dzogchen tantras puts it — Mahāyoga is the ground, Anuyoga is the sky, and Atiyoga is the sun and moon which illuminates both. Dzogchen is called the pinnacle not because Mahāyoga and Anuyoga are unnecessary, but because, as Rongzom points out, it is needed for making other practices fruitful. This is not different than the Lamdre contention that the experiential view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana that comes from empowerment must be meditated prior to engaging in the two stages.

In the end, I am afraid that the Sakya master, Dezhung Ajam ( a disciple of Adzom Drugpa) was right, many people who claim to be Dzogchen practitioners are like people whose bodies are separated from their heads — in other words, their "Dzogchen" is just intellectual theory. Sadly, we see many such discussions in the internet in various forums by various people that are completely ungrounded. These people, sadly, merely block their own realization. What a pity.
cue the avalanche :tongue:

really, the original quotes I posted of ChNNR answer this better than I could, so I mostly refer you back to them in case you did not read them carefully, or at all. Let me just add a couple of things:

I don't see ChNNR denying in those quotes, or anywhere else, that Dzogchen first appeared within Buddhism, so I'm not sure why you are arguing as if he did?

On the other hand he does say: "If one doesn't know how to understand the true meaning of a teaching through one's own culture (emphasis mine), one can create confusion between the external form of a religious tradition and the essence of its message."

and even more importantly, he clearly says "it is of fundamental importance for him to know how to integrate that teaching with his own culture in order to be able to communicate it, in its essential form, to other Westerners."

this is the key issue. As I mentioned in the Tony Duff FB thread, there is a generation that must immerse in the source culture to explore it on its own terms, but as the above shows, ChNNR does not believe you can simply expect everyone in the west who could benefit from Dzogchen to do the same, nor is there any need for them to do so. What is required is for those who want to benefit beings here in the west is for them to "know how to integrate that teaching with his own culture in order to be able to communicate it, in its essential form, to other Westerners.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.

"I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind."
- Descartes, 2nd Meditation 25

Malcolm
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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:48 pm

Astus wrote:
1. If Dzogchen necessarily includes teachings on the channels and such, does it mean that (a) public books on Dzogchen are actually sutra level teachings on emptiness and mindfulness, (b) whoever teaches/practises Dzogchen without deity yoga and/or togal only uses the name Great Perfection but not the real transmission, and (c) semde and longde, since they don't have togal as far as I'm aware, are not really Dzogchen or just preliminaries?
Some public books with the name Dzogchen in the title are just sutra level teachings on emptiness and mindfulness, but politeness restrains me from naming which ones.

Sems sde at minimum requires introduction through the so called empowerment of the potentiality of vidyā (of which there are 18 connected with the dohas of 18 ancient masters), and is part of the completion stage of Mahāyoga and Anuyoga — the bodhicitta texts do not actually give much detail on the method of practice, being mainly concerned with theory and view. So called sems sde is primarily about the basis. Because the basic texts of sems sde provide little information on how it is to be practiced, there are three different systems of Sems sde practice in Tibet, each with its own preliminaries. For example, the Nyan lugs systems of Sems sde requires the regular four uncommon foundations and so on.

Longde requires initiation into the system of Ngondzog Gyalpo, and is connected with that yidam.

3. If the teaching on the natural state is no different from the Prajnaparamita sutras - that is, you seem to agree to the unity of Dzogchen, Mahamudra and Madhyamaka in terms of the ultimate view - is it your understanding that Dzogchen is a unique way because of its togal instructions and nothing else?
There are a number of things which make Dzogchen distinct, thögal is one, but there are others, the explanation of the generic basis is another, the specific preliminary practices related to thögal such as 'khor 'das ru shan and so on are others, and the general requirement for some kind of introduction either through the fourth empowerment of Mahāyoga, the ati yoga empowerment found in Anuyoga or the empowerment of the potentiality of vidyā.

As far as tregchö goes, there is really no difference between tregchö, Kagyu Mahāmudra and the meditation the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana — all three have the same point and all three depend on the experiential view imparted during empowerment.

I also want to point out that like the rest of Vajrayāna, Dzogchen practice, path and realization completely depends on the Guru. Guru Yoga is absolutely central to Dzogchen. Without guru yoga and devotion to a realized master, no progress at all is possible in Dzogchen, none whatsoever.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Malcolm
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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:51 pm

gad rgyangs wrote: I don't see ChNNR denying in those quotes, or anywhere else, that Dzogchen first appeared within Buddhism, so I'm not sure why you are arguing as if he did?
I am not arguing with CHNN. I am pointing out that people often use ChNN citations to reinforce their own intellectual trips, taking them out of context, removing them from the thousands of other things he has said over the years.

Also ChNN's own views have changed over the years, he was much less conservative when those books were edited out of talks he gave in Italian.

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:53 pm

Clarence wrote:
Malcolm wrote: In the end, I am afraid that the Sakya master, Dezhung Ajam ( a disciple of Adzom Drugpa) was right, many people who claim to be Dzogchen practitioners are like people whose bodies are separated from their heads — in other words, their "Dzogchen" is just intellectual theory. Sadly, we see many such discussions in the internet in various forums by various people that are completely ungrounded. These people, sadly, merely block their own realization. What a pity.
Apologies for ignoring the rest of your excellent post at the moment but I would like to focus on this for now. Based on the above, what would you recommend people do then? Of course, do what their Lamas tell them to do but besides that? Focus on Tantric practice and forget about Dzogchen?
I am genuinely curious as your opinion holds a lot of weight to a lot of people here.
As usual, many thanks,
If you are a person in the DC, you should go through the precious vase, step by step and practice everything in it, even if you have no intention of pursuing SMS — then you will have a solid basis for understanding the rest of the teachings.

If you are someone following another master, do your ngondro and whatever else he or she tells you to do.

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:48 pm

Malcolm wrote:Also ChNN's own views have changed over the years, he was much less conservative when those books were edited out of talks he gave in Italian.
Can you be more specific about how his views have changed?
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Astus » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:19 pm

Malcolm wrote:As far as tregchö goes, there is really no difference between tregchö, Kagyu Mahāmudra and the meditation the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana — all three have the same point and all three depend on the experiential view imparted during empowerment.
Thank you for your answers. You did not mention anything about the view reached in Madhyamaka, as I take the unity of samsara and nirvana here means Lamdre. Is that because you take it to be a purely intellectual thing, or for some other reasons?
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"

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Re: Is Dzogchen only accidentally Buddhist?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:25 pm

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:As far as tregchö goes, there is really no difference between tregchö, Kagyu Mahāmudra and the meditation the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana — all three have the same point and all three depend on the experiential view imparted during empowerment.
Thank you for your answers. You did not mention anything about the view reached in Madhyamaka, as I take the unity of samsara and nirvana here means Lamdre. Is that because you take it to be a purely intellectual thing, or for some other reasons?
Madhyamaka is philosophically the same as the view of Mahāmudra and Dzogchen, but because it is an intellectual based on analysis, it is not experientially equivalent with Mahāmudra and Dzogchen.

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