Skillful means and Dzogchen

makewhisper
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Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by makewhisper » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:19 pm

Hello vajra friends,

I'm wondering what role the concept of "skillful means" would play in Dzogchen after one has discovered rigpa and learned to rest in view. Is there some way that resting in view benefits beings aside from conveying us towards samyaksambodhi?

Dharma blessings,

Eric
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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Josef
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Josef » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:58 pm

If one is really in rigpa, upaya manifests naturally.
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.

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by dzogchungpa » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:26 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:19 pm
Is there some way that resting in view benefits beings aside from conveying us towards samyaksambodhi?

It seems to me that it's not so much the resting in the view but the arguing about it on the internet that constitutes the main form of skillful means associated with Dzogchen.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

makewhisper
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by makewhisper » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:36 pm

Thanks for the responses so far. To refine my question, I guess I'm thinking about the bodhisattva activity of bringing relative benefit to beings through our practice of things like riwo sangcho. Norbu Rinpoche talks about working with circumstances and such, and sometimes it seems like we think of secondary practices as being "for us" (securing long life, prosperity, etc.) Of course, we ought to help ourselves, but it seems like within rigpa we can still work to benefit beings with various practices. What do y'all think?
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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Fa Dao
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Fa Dao » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:43 pm

It is only within rigpa that true compassion can manifest...in other words skillful means happens naturally as an effortless function of rigpa as opposed to applying effort towards that end...or so Im told..
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Josef
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Josef » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:46 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:36 pm
Thanks for the responses so far. To refine my question, I guess I'm thinking about the bodhisattva activity of bringing relative benefit to beings through our practice of things like riwo sangcho. Norbu Rinpoche talks about working with circumstances and such, and sometimes it seems like we think of secondary practices as being "for us" (securing long life, prosperity, etc.) Of course, we ought to help ourselves, but it seems like within rigpa we can still work to benefit beings with various practices. What do y'all think?
Of course we work for the relative and ultimate benefit of others.
Look at the history of the Longchen Nyingthig and you will see a vast number of stories of great Dzogchen masters working as bodhisattvas to benefit others. Jigme Lingpa, Patrul, Khyentse Wangpo, Shabkar, and many more.

Bodhicitta Aspiration
by Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpé Nyima
Namo! Foremost, sublime, and most venerable root and lineage masters, pray inspire me to become just like you!

Oceanic hosts of the three jewels, three roots, buddhas, and bodhisattvas, inspire me to become just like you!

The profound meaning of the definitive sūtras, tantras and pith instructions, the subject at hand, is precious bodhicitta, relative and ultimate. In their common aspect the two bodhicittas are the six perfect actions; in the uncommon the extraordinary method and wisdom of the outer and inner tantras. In particular, they are the supreme vehicle of the highest and most secret Great Perfection, a unity of primordial purity and spontaneous presence, the precious and most blissful mind of enlightenment – the wisdom of compassionate awareness.

This Great Perfection is the naturally uncontrived; the singular, most sublime, and ultimate path traversed by the vidyādharas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas of the three times. Pray bless both myself and all beings, my very own parents, that it might arise perfectly within us.

Bless us such that when rich and in good circumstance, or down and out; when strong or weak, happy or sad, sick, dying or taking birth, in fact, at all times and in all circumstances, we may recall and actualize two-fold bodhicitta.

Whatever difficult circumstances befall us and cause us obstacles, be they arising from inside, outside, or in some secret way, may this profound dharma be our friend and help us on our way; may all negative conditions be taken as the practice and, more to the point, pray bless us that when we come into contact with them they may prove to be the catalyst for a deep and meaningful enhancement of our practice and path toward awakening.

This is the fine supplication of the old monk, Lungtok. May it prove to be auspicious!

Translated by Sean Price, 2015
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.

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Vasana
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Vasana » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:31 pm

Skillfull means can be divided into view, meditation and conduct. Recognizing the correct view leads to the correct meditation. Skillfull means is anything that helps keep the correct view fresh in one's mind. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche speaks of two kinds of mindfulness ; deliberate mindfulness and effortless mindfulness. Until we have mastered the latter, the former is still needed.

Skillfull means in the context of meditation is something you really have to refer to the instructions of your teacher as there are more gross and subtle ways of speaking about it.

In the context of conduct, skillfull means is essentially conduct that supports the correct view and meditation. Conversely, unskillfull conduct can be seen as any actions of body speech and mind that do not support the correct view or meditation.

From “Rechungpa: A Biography of Milarepa’s Disciple” by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche,

'When we are meditating, we need to have mindfulness and awareness to free us from attachment and clinging. But be warned that there is the danger of falling into undisciplined behavior. So our conduct should support the view of meditation. We therefore need to have mindfulness, awareness, and self-control at all times. Our conduct should be free of any attachment and this will result in stainless, unsurpassable conduct.'
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Vasana
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Vasana » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:05 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:36 pm
To refine my question, I guess I'm thinking about the bodhisattva activity of bringing relative benefit to beings through our practice of things like riwo sangcho.
Relative benefit is obviously very good but the ultimate benefit is helping beings reach total realization. Relative benefits are always only temporary but dedicating with bodhichitta ensures their eventual ultimate benefit.

Trying to bring ultimate benefit to beings before we have some realization is like offering water to someone without actually having any water in our own vessel. It just becomes a hollow gesture and benefits no one. With that being said, Practicing sang helps gather the accumulations, purify obstacles and so on so it adds to the stockpile of merit that eventually leads to beings' ultimate benefit.
Of course, we ought to help ourselves, but it seems like within rigpa we can still work to benefit beings with various practices. What do y'all think?
I would agree. If Norbu Rinpoche is your teacher, just read more of his books and follow his teachings and you'll continually learn new things and clarify the things you're not sure about ☺
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by TharpaChodron » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:10 am

makewhisper wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:36 pm
Thanks for the responses so far. To refine my question, I guess I'm thinking about the bodhisattva activity of bringing relative benefit to beings through our practice of things like riwo sangcho. Norbu Rinpoche talks about working with circumstances and such, and sometimes it seems like we think of secondary practices as being "for us" (securing long life, prosperity, etc.) Of course, we ought to help ourselves, but it seems like within rigpa we can still work to benefit beings with various practices. What do y'all think?
I am no expert, but it seems the answer to me is of course we can still work to benefit beings. All of our practice is not to merely benefit ourselves. Even long life practices are to be able to help others and the Dharma. Bodhisattva activity doesn't stop once you practice Dzogchen. Mo' wisdom is mo' better as Spike Lee might say.

My comment is so obvious that I wonder if I totally missed the OP's point?

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Erik Pema Kunsang » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:04 am

As far as I have heard, compassion and devotion are the skillful means in the context of rigpa. This is true for learning how to recognize and also for re-recognizing when forgetting.

In retreat and otherwise, the eight vehicles with concepts are all skillful means as stepping-stones and are used for enhancement.

makewhisper
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by makewhisper » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:56 pm

Erik Pema Kunsang wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:04 am
As far as I have heard, compassion and devotion are the skillful means in the context of rigpa. This is true for learning how to recognize and also for re-recognizing when forgetting.

In retreat and otherwise, the eight vehicles with concepts are all skillful means as stepping-stones and are used for enhancement.
This is very informative! Thank you. I think the gist of my poorly phrased question(s) was whether the intention to benefit beings is "necessary" following the encounter with one's own state. It seems like spontaneous compassion is part of the basis, and I was wondering how that relates to intentional action. Is intentional action always mind (sems), or can an intention to "do something" (e.g. a secondary practice) arise in rigpa? Your response helps me to understand.
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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Malcolm
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:00 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:56 pm
Is intentional action always mind (sems)...
Intentional action is always a product of the sems 'byung or caitta, called "cetana" or volition; a mental factor always which accompanies the mind (citta, sems).
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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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by makewhisper » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:10 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:00 pm
makewhisper wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:56 pm
Is intentional action always mind (sems)...
Intentional action is always a product of the sems 'byung or caitta, called "cetana" or volition; a mental factor always which accompanies the mind (citta, sems).
Thank you for your response Malcolm. Does the spontaneous compassion of the basis produce action in the same way that mind produces action? Is the difference simply that cetana-motivated action produces karma while the spontaneous expression of rigpa in behavior does not? It seems like cetana is almost like a "middle man" in the compassion > volition > action chain. Is rigpa more like compassion > action? I think I'm trying to wrap my head around how the continuity of one's character traits and behaviors is maintained following a direct encounter with one's own nature. Why don't those with direct knowledge of rigpa engage in precisely the same actions when dwelling in their own state? I've seen on this forum where you've posted that minds are individual yet possessing the same qualities. This makes sense to me. In the state of rigpa, are we all simply acting precisely the way Samantabhadra would act in the presence of someone without knowledge of their own state?
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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Malcolm
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:17 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:00 pm
makewhisper wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:56 pm
Is intentional action always mind (sems)...
Intentional action is always a product of the sems 'byung or caitta, called "cetana" or volition; a mental factor always which accompanies the mind (citta, sems).
Thank you for your response Malcolm. Does the spontaneous compassion of the basis produce action in the same way that mind produces action? Is the difference simply that cetana-motivated action produces karma while the spontaneous expression of rigpa in behavior does not? It seems like cetana is almost like a "middle man" in the compassion > volition > action chain. Is rigpa more like compassion > action? I think I'm trying to wrap my head around how the continuity of one's character traits and behaviors is maintained following a direct encounter with one's own nature. Why don't those with direct knowledge of rigpa engage in precisely the same actions when dwelling in their own state? I've seen on this forum where you've posted that minds are individual yet possessing the same qualities. This makes sense to me. In the state of rigpa, are we all simply acting precisely the way Samantabhadra would act in the presence of someone without knowledge of their own state?
When one has direct knowledge of one's own state, and sees that it is the solution to the existential problem for suffering, one automatically feels compassion for those that do not have this knowledge. It is just like someone who has fire seeing how the lives of those who do not know how to make fire will be immeasurably improved if they learned how to make fire.

The compassion of the basis however, is something else entirely. It is related to the nirmanakāya. Samantabhadra does not have a mind, per se. The activity of the buddhas is beyond thought, karma, etc. It is like the action of a wishfulfilling gem.
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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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by CedarTree » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:46 pm

"does not have a mind per say" please expand on this as I think this was a missing bridge I was trying to fill between Zen and Dzogchen understanding which seems there is no difference.

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:17 pm
makewhisper wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:00 pm


Intentional action is always a product of the sems 'byung or caitta, called "cetana" or volition; a mental factor always which accompanies the mind (citta, sems).
Thank you for your response Malcolm. Does the spontaneous compassion of the basis produce action in the same way that mind produces action? Is the difference simply that cetana-motivated action produces karma while the spontaneous expression of rigpa in behavior does not? It seems like cetana is almost like a "middle man" in the compassion > volition > action chain. Is rigpa more like compassion > action? I think I'm trying to wrap my head around how the continuity of one's character traits and behaviors is maintained following a direct encounter with one's own nature. Why don't those with direct knowledge of rigpa engage in precisely the same actions when dwelling in their own state? I've seen on this forum where you've posted that minds are individual yet possessing the same qualities. This makes sense to me. In the state of rigpa, are we all simply acting precisely the way Samantabhadra would act in the presence of someone without knowledge of their own state?
When one has direct knowledge of one's own state, and sees that it is the solution to the existential problem for suffering, one automatically feels compassion for those that do not have this knowledge. It is just like someone who has fire seeing how the lives of those who do not know how to make fire will be immeasurably improved if they learned how to make fire.

The compassion of the basis however, is something else entirely. It is related to the nirmanakāya. Samantabhadra does not have a mind, per se. The activity of the buddhas is beyond thought, karma, etc. It is like the action of a wishfulfilling gem.

Practice, Practice, Practice

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:50 pm

Erik Pema Kunsang wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:04 am
As far as I have heard, compassion and devotion are the skillful means in the context of rigpa. This is true for learning how to recognize and also for re-recognizing when forgetting.

In retreat and otherwise, the eight vehicles with concepts are all skillful means as stepping-stones and are used for enhancement.
It certainly corresponds with what I been thought. Erik, perhaps you could expand a little on how the "eight vehicles with concepts" could be enhancements for the practice of Ati yoga?

/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)

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Virgo » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:56 am

CedarTree wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:46 pm
"does not have a mind per say" please expand on this as I think this was a missing bridge I was trying to fill between Zen and Dzogchen understanding which seems there is no difference.
In that case there is Dharmakaya but not mind, like we have. The Body, Speech, and Mind of Buddhas is in a different state from our own.

Kevin
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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Karma Dorje » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:00 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:26 pm
It seems to me that it's not so much the resting in the view but the arguing about it on the internet that constitutes the main form of skillful means associated with Dzogchen.
Oh snap!
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by CedarTree » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:55 pm

Virgo wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:56 am
CedarTree wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:46 pm
"does not have a mind per say" please expand on this as I think this was a missing bridge I was trying to fill between Zen and Dzogchen understanding which seems there is no difference.
In that case there is Dharmakaya but not mind, like we have. The Body, Speech, and Mind of Buddhas is in a different state from our own.

Kevin
Please elaborate :)

Practice, Practice, Practice

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Re: Skillful means and Dzogchen

Post by Virgo » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:46 am

CedarTree wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:55 pm

Please elaborate :)
Namkhai Norbu might teach on this in the next couple of days.

Kevin
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ཐག་གཅིག་ཐོག་ཏུ་བཅད། །
གདེང་གྲོལ་ཐོག་ཏུ་བཅའ། །


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