Intellectualism and Dzogchen

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Mantrik
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Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Mantrik » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm

I gave away over 1,000 books in the last year, to charity shops, or other practitioners if they were 'restricted' in some way. I have retained a few hundred which are pithy, and some out of pure indulgence as pleasurable reading.

Almost everything of value in my life has been derived from experience, practice. A little theory helps, of course, but I cannot really say I value memorising lists of this or that, or reading rambling 'commentaries' of thousands of pages on short teachings of the bleedin' obvious.

I still love the histories and legends, and some study does help keep the mind alert, but I tried paths like Lam Rim and Tsongkhapa's Great Treatise and found that a few hours with ChNN was more valuable than many years of the former. Maybe Tsongkhapa really practised the 'essence' and wrote the rest to keep monks busy, but I doubt it, as some find huge pleasure in the intellectual debating. So do some here on DW ;)

So, am I really missing out by refusing to engage with detailed analysis of Buddhism any longer?

How about you?

Here's a quote from ChNN which I hope is relevant:

“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. In the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy's validity. Because of this, any intellectual way of seeing whatever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to seek or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism.

Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as 'enlightenment', 'the nature of the mind', and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.”


― Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, in 'Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State' .
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Josef
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Josef » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:33 pm

I went that direction for a while but tend to fall more in the middle of the road.
Reading Longchenpa, Jigme Lingpa, Patrul, ChNN, and Shantideva support my practice in a well-rounded way.
It really depends on the individual.
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.

Motova
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Motova » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:35 pm

I like ChNN's approach, because my childhood was largely MMOs (Star Wars Galaxies and Guild Wars). And his practices remind me of Guild Wars a lot because they are short and to the point - kind of like buttons.

Image

My favourite class was the ritualist, and this was my armor.

His approach is what I expected Vajrayana to be like, probably because I was really into TWR's books at the start.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

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Vasana
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Vasana » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:50 pm

I think whether or not study is useful is how much confidence a person has in recognition and how well the person remembers the appropriate teaching/ pith instruction most relevant for any given moment. If there are still doubts, then books and metaphors can still be useful. If there are no more doubts about what was introduced then extensive philosophical debates and knowing the nuances of every tennet is maybe not so important.

But then we are also fickle beings and often don't bring to mind the teachings or instructions in all experiences so I think heart advice and pith instructions are always worth re-reading to counteract that forgetfulness.

I wonder if there is a risk of abandoning books too soon? Even for those with confidence in recognition there is still the issue of familiarizing with it and integrating with that state in daily life and allowing the continuity to sustain it's self. Some books may still have some useful experiential pointers that can help there but the more philosophical stuff, maybe not.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Motova » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:01 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
but I cannot really say I value memorising lists of this or that
I am beginning to memorize ChNN's books, beginning with Guru Yoga and some others. I'm almost done the last two sections of the view section, and it has helped a lot. And it is kind of fun. :ugeek:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

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Mantrik
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Mantrik » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:24 pm

Motova wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:01 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
but I cannot really say I value memorising lists of this or that
I am beginning to memorize ChNN's books, beginning with Guru Yoga and some others. I'm almost done the last two sections of the view section, and it has helped a lot. And it is kind of fun. :ugeek:
I have not abandoned all books, just the long and turgid commentaries etc.

ChNN's practice 'books' are actually more booklets, very pithy and focused. Precious Vase, however, is a manual of book length, but not to be read like a novel. Not sure if memorising it is useful. An awful comparison, but it would be a bit like memorising a sex manual.

I commit sadhanas to memory simply through use, and find it works best if I make no effort. Then books support that.

We must also remember that most of the books relate to Secondary Practices, and not to get bogged down in them - so your choice of Guruyoga is a great one. :)

When there is an effect from practice, it increasingly validates that path for me, and leads me even more to 'essence' than analysis.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Malcolm
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:36 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm

So, am I really missing out by refusing to engage with detailed analysis of Buddhism any longer?

The purpose of studying is to remove concepts that block one's practice.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Tolya M
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Tolya M » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:39 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
I gave away over 1,000 books in the last year


“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings.
NNR is not about buddhist teaching.

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Malcolm
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:42 pm

Tolya M wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:39 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
I gave away over 1,000 books in the last year


“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings.
NNR is not about buddhist teaching.
Sure he is, it is all he teaches. He generally begins with the 4NT, the five indriyas, etc. Please revise your comment.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Mantrik
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Mantrik » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:36 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm

So, am I really missing out by refusing to engage with detailed analysis of Buddhism any longer?

The purpose of studying is to remove concepts that block one's practice.
Ultimately, do all concepts impede?
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:46 pm

It's all about balance, imo. The analytic approach is necessary at some point, lest we turn into the anti-intellectual, dogmatic types of religions I see out there...where a charismatic person with no knowledge can become a cult-like leader of lost souls. It can be taken to the extreme and be a hindrance, of course.

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Malcolm
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:50 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:45 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:36 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm

So, am I really missing out by refusing to engage with detailed analysis of Buddhism any longer?

The purpose of studying is to remove concepts that block one's practice.
Ultimately, do all concepts impede?

No, some concepts help one's practice.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:57 pm

For me study is a means to an ends, though it's been very important to me at times in resolving confusion over certain things.
I also have a really good memory, so in some ways it makes me more judicious with what to study
..gets crowded.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Motova
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Motova » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:12 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:57 pm

I also have a really good memory, so in some ways it makes me more judicious with what to study
..gets crowded.
That is a common misconception; our memories are virtually unlimited.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

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Mantrik
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Mantrik » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:50 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:45 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:36 pm



The purpose of studying is to remove concepts that block one's practice.
Ultimately, do all concepts impede?

No, some concepts help one's practice.
So I am leaning towards a continuum, where each individual has differing needs for detail and support.
I can't say if it is better for others to start with an approach which is analytical and pare it away, or begin with a very simple approach and develop understanding of concepts, or the third way, which I think is perhaps most true.....that it is an iterative process.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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florin
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by florin » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:25 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
I gave away over 1,000 books in the last year, to charity shops, or other practitioners if they were 'restricted' in some way. I have retained a few hundred which are pithy, and some out of pure indulgence as pleasurable reading.

Almost everything of value in my life has been derived from experience, practice. A little theory helps, of course, but I cannot really say I value memorising lists of this or that, or reading rambling 'commentaries' of thousands of pages on short teachings of the bleedin' obvious.

I still love the histories and legends, and some study does help keep the mind alert, but I tried paths like Lam Rim and Tsongkhapa's Great Treatise and found that a few hours with ChNN was more valuable than many years of the former. Maybe Tsongkhapa really practised the 'essence' and wrote the rest to keep monks busy, but I doubt it, as some find huge pleasure in the intellectual debating. So do some here on DW ;)

So, am I really missing out by refusing to engage with detailed analysis of Buddhism any longer?

How about you?

Here's a quote from ChNN which I hope is relevant:

“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. In the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy's validity. Because of this, any intellectual way of seeing whatever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to seek or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism.

Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as 'enlightenment', 'the nature of the mind', and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.”


― Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, in 'Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State' .
In dzogchen, in the beginning concepts are quite important. And this beginning in dzogchen can span over many years until we achieve total familiarity and stability.
Part of what we work with in GY is a concept isn't it?

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Malcolm
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:31 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:20 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:50 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:45 pm


Ultimately, do all concepts impede?

No, some concepts help one's practice.
So I am leaning towards a continuum, where each individual has differing needs for detail and support.
I can't say if it is better for others to start with an approach which is analytical and pare it away, or begin with a very simple approach and develop understanding of concepts, or the third way, which I think is perhaps most true.....that it is an iterative process.

For example, many people have errors in understanding which render their take on Dzogchen to be like Vedanta, or like Samkhya, etc. If you study these things and learn to identify these views, you can identify such misconceptions in your own thinking and weed them out. This is the purpose of reviewing both nonBuddhist as well as Buddhist tenets in such books as the Precious Vase.

For example, if someone asserts the basis is just lhun grub (self-perfected, spontaneously accomplished, and so on, pick your favorite term), this is a deviation into the Samkhya view and has many faults.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Mantrik
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Mantrik » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:47 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:31 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:20 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:50 pm



No, some concepts help one's practice.
So I am leaning towards a continuum, where each individual has differing needs for detail and support.
I can't say if it is better for others to start with an approach which is analytical and pare it away, or begin with a very simple approach and develop understanding of concepts, or the third way, which I think is perhaps most true.....that it is an iterative process.

For example, many people have errors in understanding which render their take on Dzogchen to be like Vedanta, or like Samkhya, etc. If you study these things and learn to identify these views, you can identify such misconceptions in your own thinking and weed them out. This is the purpose of reviewing both nonBuddhist as well as Buddhist tenets in such books as the Precious Vase.

For example, if someone asserts the basis is just lhun grub (self-perfected, spontaneously accomplished, and so on, pick your favorite term), this is a deviation into the Samkhya view and has many faults.
I wonder if it is better never to have encountered, for example, Madhyamaka Prasangika in the first place rather than subsequently needing to negate it. I am a fan of explaining concepts as is done in Precious Vase but can happily do without thousands of words of commentarial explanation, elaboration etc which delights intellectuals but may not actually advance practice.
I guess Dzogchen is mostly encountered, though, after other studies, and so there is a need to understand what limitations we live with in order to abandon them.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Malcolm
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Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:56 am

Mantrik wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:47 am


I wonder if it is better never to have encountered, for example, Madhyamaka Prasangika in the first place rather than subsequently needing to negate it.
MAdhyamaka Prasanga and Dzogchen are very compatible, actually.

I am a fan of explaining concepts as is done in Precious Vase but can happily do without thousands of words of commentarial explanation, elaboration etc which delights intellectuals but may not actually advance practice.

I guess Dzogchen is mostly encountered, though, after other studies, and so there is a need to understand what limitations we live with in order to abandon them.
Mostly, we just need to careful not to import non-buddhist concepts into Dharma, or lower tenets into higher ones.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Tolya M
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:26 pm

Re: Intellectualism and Dzogchen

Post by Tolya M » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:08 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:42 pm
Tolya M wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:39 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:18 pm
I gave away over 1,000 books in the last year


“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings.
NNR is not about buddhist teaching.
Sure he is, it is all he teaches. He generally begins with the 4NT, the five indriyas, etc. Please revise your comment.
I don't think so. Buddha teaching was not created by "mistaken dualistic mind of human beings". It is not "the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts". If it is true then the next topics on three ways is meaningless.
Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
Bhava, jneya, sila, citta, prajnapti\prapanca\vyavahara. Part of the philosophy topics are considered in the Dharma, so the NNR's quote is not about it.

1) If dzogchen recognizes the absence of bhava\abhava categories postulated by prapanca, karma, 12PS, skandhas etc. does NNR objects against himself?
2) If all dharmas may be categorised as body\speech\mind then would the teaching about body\speech\mind be "the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts" as the teaching about dharmas?
3) Does dzogchen go beyond stages of hearing\thinking\applying? I don't think so for it is logically incorrect. What one can apply if he had previously thought mistaken dualistic concepts and heard mistaken dualistic concepts? Rather It was prajnapti but not mistaken.

So NNR is not about buddhist teaching as I read this article. On one of the last webcasts he said that "of couse it (dzogchen) is buddhism".

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