Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:20 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:...so as Tharpachodron says, this isn't really about Sam Harris.
Well, maybe it isn't now, after I dropped that devastating quote from WoMPT, but I think it kind of was at the beginning. :smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by michaelb » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:21 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Near as I can tell, what Harris means by 'practicing Dzogchen' is actually just practicing shamatha without an object, nothing wrong with it, it's probably a great approach from people who are sick of years of "follow your breath", austere attitudes towards meditation, or body scan meditations getting them nowhere...but let's be clear, Dzogchen is not just a set of techniques.
Harris explains dzogchen as being introduced to nondual awareness by a qualified lama then familiarising yourself and getting used to that recognition. He does talk about the way the lama might introduce that in a way that can be reduced to a number of techniques, i suppose, but the practice itself is just getting used to what the lama has introduced. He contrasts this with advaita, who he says treat all glimpses of reality as final enlightenment, and vipassana, who may glimpse reality after many hours of concentration, but only as a coincidence of the practice.

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:18 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:...so as Tharpachodron says, this isn't really about Sam Harris.
Well, maybe it isn't now, after I dropped that devastating quote from WoMPT, but I think it kind of was at the beginning. :smile:
What oneup-manship method is that? The WOMPT silencing technique? :tongue:

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:47 pm

michaelb wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Near as I can tell, what Harris means by 'practicing Dzogchen' is actually just practicing shamatha without an object, nothing wrong with it, it's probably a great approach from people who are sick of years of "follow your breath", austere attitudes towards meditation, or body scan meditations getting them nowhere...but let's be clear, Dzogchen is not just a set of techniques.
Harris explains dzogchen as being introduced to nondual awareness by a qualified lama then familiarising yourself and getting used to that recognition. He does talk about the way the lama might introduce that in a way that can be reduced to a number of techniques, i suppose, but the practice itself is just getting used to what the lama has introduced. He contrasts this with advaita, who he says treat all glimpses of reality as final enlightenment, and vipassana, who may glimpse reality after many hours of concentration, but only as a coincidence of the practice.

Right, the problem is that while he acknowledges all that, he frames it by telling people they will have to "swallow religious garbage" etc. to get there. It's kind of absurd to think that one could gain any confidence in what was transmitted if they thought the very vehicle that transmitted it was nonsense.
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:00 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:...so as Tharpachodron says, this isn't really about Sam Harris.
Well, maybe it isn't now, after I dropped that devastating quote from WoMPT, but I think it kind of was at the beginning. :smile:
What oneup-manship method is that? The WOMPT silencing technique? :tongue:
It's called "WoMPT-upmanship". :smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by michaelb » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:04 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
michaelb wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Right, the problem is that while he acknowledges all that, he frames it by telling people they will have to "swallow religious garbage" etc. to get there. It's kind of absurd to think that one could gain any confidence in what was transmitted if they thought the very vehicle that transmitted it was nonsense.
I disagree. Firstly, he doesn't say "religious garbage" even if he is dismissive of religiosity. (He's more keen on 'spirituality'). Secondly, if, through following Harris' example, someone wants to learn Dzogchen enough to track down one of the lamas he names, I think their interest is as sincere as anyone else wanting to practice dzogchen. Tracking down Mingyur or Tsoknyi Rinpoches is, in my experience, certainly more difficult than listening to a webcast. Or, do you think one should pass a "sincerity test" before being able to stream webcasts? I imagine Tsoknyi and Mingyur Rinpoches are a little discerning regarding who they give what instructions to.

Anyway, as I said previously, I generally believe in the whole, ngondro, two stages, then dzogchen kind of approach and I'm not advocating for Harris' "secular dzogchen." (I find it interesting that most advocates of the "straight to dzogchen" approach have often done ngondro, the two stages, etc. like old rockers appearing in "just say no" anti-drug promotions.) My point regarding Harris is that he is generally not doing anything too far away from what qualified dzogchen teachers have done and it seems to me that people often single him out for criticism because of reasons other than his presentation of dzogchen, as can be seen in the initial posts onto this thread.

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:34 pm

michaelb wrote:I find it interesting that most advocates of the "straight to dzogchen" approach have often done ngondro, the two stages, etc. like old rockers appearing in "just say no" anti-drug promotions.
JUST SAY !
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by jkarlins » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:57 pm

Maybe it's a question of if you're musky in all the right ways, or musky in all the wrong ways.

Musk!

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by Quay » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:57 pm

jkarlins wrote:...My sense of him is that his projects are partly well intentioned attempts to share his version of dharma. Partly a matter of furthering his career and image....
If your sense is an accurate one then in my experience I'd turn and walk away from such a person whatever their name. "His version of dharma" means to me it's not Dharma but rather another attempt to re-invent part of the Wheel of Life, offering many exciting things, concepts, ideas, and likely weekend resort retreats, meals included. Anything but a complete path to liberation.
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by jkarlins » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:52 pm

Quay wrote:
jkarlins wrote:...My sense of him is that his projects are partly well intentioned attempts to share his version of dharma. Partly a matter of furthering his career and image....
If your sense is an accurate one then in my experience I'd turn and walk away from such a person whatever their name. "His version of dharma" means to me it's not Dharma but rather another attempt to re-invent part of the Wheel of Life, offering many exciting things, concepts, ideas, and likely weekend resort retreats, meals included. Anything but a complete path to liberation.
he's just a guy on a podcast sometimes, nothing to walk away from particularly. I have a teacher anyway, so I guess I'm spoken for!

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:49 pm

michaelb wrote:I think their interest is as sincere as anyone else wanting to practice dzogchen. Tracking down Mingyur or Tsoknyi Rinpoches is, in my experience, certainly more difficult than listening to a webcast. Or, do you think one should pass a "sincerity test" before being able to stream webcasts? I imagine Tsoknyi and Mingyur Rinpoches are a little discerning regarding who they give what instructions to.
It's not my business what Tsokyi or Mingyur Rinpoches do, but it is an easy observation to make that the first time a person whose mentality reflects Harris' gets asked to do Ngondro or similar they will reject it out of hand.

Of course I don't believe in purity tests or anything like that, Can you stop with the constant hyperbole? Is there are reason you need to respond with it?
Anyway, as I said previously, I generally believe in the whole, ngondro, two stages, then dzogchen kind of approach and I'm not advocating for Harris' "secular dzogchen." (I find it interesting that most advocates of the "straight to dzogchen" approach have often done ngondro, the two stages, etc. like old rockers appearing in "just say no" anti-drug promotions.) My point regarding Harris is that he is generally not doing anything too far away from what qualified dzogchen teachers have done and it seems to me that people often single him out for criticism because of reasons other than his presentation of dzogchen, as can be seen in the initial posts onto this thread.
That simply seems incorrect to me, I have not seen any reputable Dzogchen teachers, or even advocates; that claim that the bedrock traditions from which Dzogchen springs are nonsense, which Harris has. Can you name another reputable Dzogchen teacher connected to a lineage that teaches a version of Dzogchen entirely stripped of any notion of rebirth, karma, etc. and that actively promotes a worldview of scientific materialism above what it sees as "superstition"? Can you name (other than Harris) a person who is simply a reputable -advocate- of Dzogchen that does the above?

I can't be bothered to dig up the quote, but "religious garbage" is pretty close to what he describes as the past behaviors in Vajrayana circles that he found unacceptable. He finds faith of the kind needed for traditional Buddhist practice to be a negative quality, and he expresses that regularly. You keep talking like I've never read anything by him, i've actually read a fair amount, and know his positions reasonably well.
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:09 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:... actively promotes a worldview of scientific materialism ...
Well, just so you know, I don't think this is actually true of Harris, see https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... 0&#p385210
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:12 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:... actively promotes a worldview of scientific materialism ...
Well, just so you know, I don't think this is actually true of Harris, see https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... 0&#p385210

I've read that thread, it's interesting. Maybe it is not true on some fundamental personal level for him, but it sure is true in practice i.e. how he presents his views publicly, in plain-language, and what he positions them in opposition to.

It's a non-issue here, and is at a WAY higher level of abstraction than we are talking about in this conversation, since you can just scroll back and see where I quoted his statements of distaste with various "religious" concepts. So really, high philosophy is not required.
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by TharpaChodron » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:03 am

Quoting SH from Waking Up: "Unfortunately to begin the practice of Dzogchen it is necessary to meet a qualified teacher...much of what I have written throughout this book represents my own effort to "point out" the nature of awareness..most people need to be in dialogue with a teacher, however one can never be sure how much Buddhist religiosity one will be asked to imbibe along the way."

That's a pretty clear statement of Harris attempting to give the pointing out instructions and how he feels about Dzogchen's relationship with Buddhism.

Why is it unfortunate that meeting a qualified teacher is part of learning Dzogchen? my opinion is that understanding the nature of existence shouldn't be the sole possession of any group of people. But honestly, Vajrayana Buddhism is not just like any other philosophy or religion. There is something special about it, which is why Dzogchen could blossom and develop within it. To find that as an unnecessary inconvenience for truth seekers is a missed opportunity.

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:38 am

:twothumbsup: :good:
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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by dzogchungpa » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:47 am

TharpaChodron wrote:Why is it unfortunate that meeting a qualified teacher is part of learning Dzogchen?
Well, I can't speak for SH, but IMO it's unfortunate because very few people have the good fortune to meet a qualified teacher of Dzogchen.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Sam Harris, Musk Deer Hunter?

Post by climb-up » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:30 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote::twothumbsup: :good:
seconded!

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