What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

PeterC
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by PeterC » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:41 pm

LoveFromColorado wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:24 pm
PeterC wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:42 pm
I doubt you would find many teachers thinking that this was a prerequisite for practising Dzogchen, and you would indeed find many who believe that it would be counterproductive to do this.
Thanks PeterC - I am not saying Wallace says this is a prerequisite. This is simply his articulation of Shamatha training and approaching the first jhana. Wallace views Shamatha as a useful tool to train the attention and mind that is often disregarded even by many in the various Tibetan traditions not to mention elsewhere outside of Buddhism (Shamatha is not strictly Buddhist). In Wallace's terms, Shamatha is a technology of the mind but not a practice in and of itself to advance along the Buddhist path. In fact, he articulates that many get to Shamatha thinking they have achieved enlightenment whereas they have only trained their mind to focus and not advance along a path at all.

Shamatha and approaching the first jhana is the first step in practicing traditional Vipassana. Trying to do Vipassana without Shamatha is akin to "spinning your wheels" in many respects (at least according to Wallace). That said, Shamatha/Vipassana and Dzogchen (or other practices) can be mutually exclusive to a large degree. Shamatha/Vipassana are found in other spiritual traditions (Hindu, Jain, etc.). That said, I don't think it is counterproductive necessarily to engage in these practices but (in my opinion) is not a prerequisite or a mandatory thing.
No tradition says shamatha isn’t important. But we need to be careful when talking about the jhanas, since there are multiple very different definitions of what they actually are, and their relationship to liberating insight (if we’re in a theravedan framework). Also when we talk about “vipassana” we need to be careful about what that word means - it doesn’t mean the same in the kagyu/nyingma usage as in the theravedan usage (in fact it can mean several things in the latter).

A lot of lamas will counsel against “too much” shamatha for reasons mentioned above in the thread. But how much is “too much”? Generally most people think that less than what they’re used to practising is too little, and more than what they’re used to is too much.

LoveFromColorado
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by LoveFromColorado » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:33 pm
Sorry, but a correction is in order here. Vipaśyāna is strictly Buddhist. And since you are conversing within the Tibetan tradition, you should not mix up Theravada Abhidhamma concepts with their counterparts in Sarvastivāda, which forms the basis of the Indo-Tibetan tradition.
Hi Malcolm, quite correct. Typo on my part - Vipassana is indeed Buddhist (Shamatha is what crosses over into other religious traditions).

I am not trying to cross Theravada with Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, though. My replies are simply in line with what was mentioned regarding Alan Wallace's teachings above on Shamatha (and Vipassana, although I have not taken his courses on the latter).

falcon
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by falcon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:03 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:26 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:15 am
Thank you for the thorough response.

Any contending word to that of Alan Wallace's stance that the Vissudhimagga should be the standard? :jedi:
The Visuddhimagga should not, under any circumstance, be regarded as the standard for defining these things In Dzogchen teachings. Dzogchen is squarely within the Sarvastivada/Sautrantika Abdhidharmakośa tradition. Therefore, it's definitions are the ones salient to Dzogchen practice and concepts.
Since Kamalashila is the tibetan standard for shamatha, should I, or one interested in developing the mental faculty to support the practice of Dzogchen look there for instructional guidance and mile markers of progress?

I say this as one who wants to develop shamatha as well as work in Dzogchen.

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Malcolm
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Malcolm » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:32 pm

falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:03 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:26 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:15 am
Thank you for the thorough response.

Any contending word to that of Alan Wallace's stance that the Vissudhimagga should be the standard? :jedi:
The Visuddhimagga should not, under any circumstance, be regarded as the standard for defining these things In Dzogchen teachings. Dzogchen is squarely within the Sarvastivada/Sautrantika Abdhidharmakośa tradition. Therefore, it's definitions are the ones salient to Dzogchen practice and concepts.
Since Kamalashila is the tibetan standard for shamatha, should I, or one interested in developing the mental faculty to support the practice of Dzogchen look there for instructional guidance and mile markers of progress?

I say this as one who wants to develop shamatha as well as work in Dzogchen.
Yes. Actually, you should learn the four yoga of mahāmudra as a preparation. Learning the four yogas of mahāmudra is a common step people take when learning Dzogchen teachings. It is invaluable.
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.

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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by kirtu » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:32 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:03 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:26 pm


The Visuddhimagga should not, under any circumstance, be regarded as the standard for defining these things In Dzogchen teachings. Dzogchen is squarely within the Sarvastivada/Sautrantika Abdhidharmakośa tradition. Therefore, it's definitions are the ones salient to Dzogchen practice and concepts.
Since Kamalashila is the tibetan standard for shamatha, should I, or one interested in developing the mental faculty to support the practice of Dzogchen look there for instructional guidance and mile markers of progress?

I say this as one who wants to develop shamatha as well as work in Dzogchen.
Yes. Actually, you should learn the four yoga of mahāmudra as a preparation. Learning the four yogas of mahāmudra is a common step people take when learning Dzogchen teachings. It is invaluable.
There we go! And looky, it only took us 24 (!!!!) responses to get to this point. :jumping:
Mirabile Dictu!

Now we can parse out why this or that presentation of mahamudra is unacceptable .....

Kirt
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"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by falcon » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:32 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:03 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:26 pm


The Visuddhimagga should not, under any circumstance, be regarded as the standard for defining these things In Dzogchen teachings. Dzogchen is squarely within the Sarvastivada/Sautrantika Abdhidharmakośa tradition. Therefore, it's definitions are the ones salient to Dzogchen practice and concepts.
Since Kamalashila is the tibetan standard for shamatha, should I, or one interested in developing the mental faculty to support the practice of Dzogchen look there for instructional guidance and mile markers of progress?

I say this as one who wants to develop shamatha as well as work in Dzogchen.
Yes. Actually, you should learn the four yoga of mahāmudra as a preparation. Learning the four yogas of mahāmudra is a common step people take when learning Dzogchen teachings. It is invaluable.

Thank you

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passel
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:05 am

[error fix]
Last edited by passel on Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 am

heart wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:14 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:42 am
Not really necessary to train in shamatha until you meet a Dzogchen master and get accepted as a student. Training to much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state.

/magnus
I would strenuously disagree with this statement. That's no way to conduct a practice, or a life.
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:38 am

Magnus has a point, though: why wait to meet a master? Attuning with a qualified teacher makes meditative stability easier to realize. There's no harm in being introduced before having much cultivated śamatha, then receiving pointing-out instructions periodically interspersed with practice. There are a good number of authorized teachers out there who will offer this to anyone who is interested. And most of them will instruct their students in śamatha and vipaśyanā in a way that is tailored to Dzogchen and/or Mahamudra.
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but stainless wisdom is Buddha.
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I take refuge therein.

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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by PeterC » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 am

passel wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 am
heart wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:14 pm
falcon wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:42 am
Not really necessary to train in shamatha until you meet a Dzogchen master and get accepted as a student. Training to much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state.

/magnus
I would strenuously disagree with this statement. That's no way to conduct a practice, or a life.
Which statement? The second - that training too much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state - is something that a number of reputable teachers will tell you

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passel
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:41 am

PeterC wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 am
passel wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 am
heart wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:14 pm


Not really necessary to train in shamatha until you meet a Dzogchen master and get accepted as a student. Training to much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state.

/magnus
I would strenuously disagree with this statement. That's no way to conduct a practice, or a life.
Which statement? The second - that training too much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state - is something that a number of reputable teachers will tell you
Too much ***of the wrong kind*** of shamatha. Plenty of what passes for shamatha is just dumb practice. For plenty of practitioners and teachers, shamatha is a base dzogchen preliminary and mainstay. Tenzin Palmo told me as much- she said whether you use diety practice or shamatha or a combination of the two as a support and prelim for dzogchen is really down to your karmic affinity. I like this explanation. I’ve mostly done shamatha (did 100 day w A Wallace 2007), am adding ngondro Vajrasattva into the mix. I think T Palmo was right but what do I know.

But no my disagreement was w the statement that you shouldn’t do shamatha before you meet a perfect guru. I wonder what else you shouldn’t do before you meet a perfect guru. Hopefully bathe oneself and hold a job, because it’ll be a damn long wait.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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passel
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:42 am

*support, prelim, enhancement, and expression I should say
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Matt J
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Matt J » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:09 am

How so? What type of shamatha?
PeterC wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 am
Which statement? The second - that training too much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state - is something that a number of reputable teachers will tell you
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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passel
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:12 am

Matt J wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:09 am
How so? What type of shamatha?
PeterC wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 am
Which statement? The second - that training too much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state - is something that a number of reputable teachers will tell you
Any type that fosters unhealthy attachment to the three nyams. Any type w/o renunciation and bodhicitta especially can go askew.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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heart
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by heart » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:23 am

passel wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:41 am
PeterC wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 am
passel wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 am


I would strenuously disagree with this statement. That's no way to conduct a practice, or a life.
Which statement? The second - that training too much in shamatha can make it difficult to recognize the natural state - is something that a number of reputable teachers will tell you
Too much ***of the wrong kind*** of shamatha. Plenty of what passes for shamatha is just dumb practice. For plenty of practitioners and teachers, shamatha is a base dzogchen preliminary and mainstay. Tenzin Palmo told me as much- she said whether you use diety practice or shamatha or a combination of the two as a support and prelim for dzogchen is really down to your karmic affinity. I like this explanation. I’ve mostly done shamatha (did 100 day w A Wallace 2007), am adding ngondro Vajrasattva into the mix. I think T Palmo was right but what do I know.

But no my disagreement was w the statement that you shouldn’t do shamatha before you meet a perfect guru. I wonder what else you shouldn’t do before you meet a perfect guru. Hopefully bathe oneself and hold a job, because it’ll be a damn long wait.
Tulku Urgyen used to say, I been told, that people that developed a strong shamatha practice where the most difficult person to give direct introduction. People like Allan Wallace is putting an unnecessary distance between the student and the natural state in my opinion based on what I been told by people doing his courses.
It is a mistake to try and find a "perfect guru". Our expectations are not the right judge of if master have genuine wisdom or not. Study with the master that make Dharma come alive and put a fire in your heart and maybe turn your expectations upside down instead.

/magnus
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"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: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Dharmaswede » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:21 pm

heart wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:23 am

Tulku Urgyen used to say, I been told, that people that developed a strong shamatha practice where the most difficult person to give direct introduction. People like Allan Wallace is putting an unnecessary distance between the student and the natural state in my opinion based on what I been told by people doing his courses.
I have only followed Wallace's teaching on a cursory level, but my impression is that he very clearly places a lot of emphasis on a strong Shamatha practice as a foundation critical for Dzogchen. For all this qualities, his tendency towards categorical positions on Vajrayana matters is sometimes troubling to me.

I asked one of his senior students, authorised by Wallace by to teach, whether Wallace's position on this issue really was as black and white as I had gotten the impression of. The response was no, but I think the answer might as well have reflected the student's own leanings.

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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Spelare » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:42 pm

heart wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:23 am
Tulku Urgyen used to say, I been told, that people that developed a strong shamatha practice where the most difficult person to give direct introduction. People like Allan Wallace is putting an unnecessary distance between the student and the natural state in my opinion based on what I been told by people doing his courses.
It is a mistake to try and find a "perfect guru". Our expectations are not the right judge of if master have genuine wisdom or not. Study with the master that make Dharma come alive and put a fire in your heart and maybe turn your expectations upside down instead.

/magnus
I attended a Dzogchen retreat with B. Alan Wallace and came away with a similar impression. Taking more or less the opposite stance to that of TUR, he regards the degree to which one has cultivated śamatha as the crucial factor in whether pointing-out instructions have a sustainable effect or not. Wallace noted this in diagnosing how people could have profound experiences when receiving such instructions yet still tend to fall back into dualistic vision afterwards.

Is this just his idiosyncratic view because he is an enthusiastic proponent of śamatha in general? Or is this a more widely-held opinion?
Neither person nor skandhas
but stainless wisdom is Buddha.
In knowing ever serene—
I take refuge therein.

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passel
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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by passel » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Wallace is an outlier. I suspect he has actually abandoned his earlier model but he’s still tied to it.

TU has plenty of positive things to say about shamatha, as does Tsoknyi- neither say it’s wisdom in and of itself; Tsoknyi calls shamatha w/o object “wisdom’s best friend in samsara”- the potential problem w shamatha is that one never puts it down, and builds up unhealthy, withdrawn, even obsessive state experience. But that’s criticism of the misuse of a tool, not criticism of the tool per se.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Re: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by heart » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:21 pm

The natural state of totally naked awareness has the quality of being unimpeded; that is true freedom. Recognize the moment of totally open and unimpeded awareness, which does not hold or dwell on anything whatsoever. This is not the mere absence of thought activity, as in induced serenity. That is one major difference. That is also the main reason that shamatha is not by itself the true path of liberation; it needs to be conjoined with the clear seeing of vipashyana on every level, all the way to complete enlightenment.
http://blazing-splendor.blogspot.com/20 ... tulku.html

/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: What Shamatha tradition best prepares one for Dzogchen?

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:31 pm

falcon wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:40 pm
In other words,

Is the Vissudhimagga standard for attaining Jhana and Shamatha necessary for the attention to one-pointedly focus on the Rigpa? Or Kamalashila's or other Sutta style Jhanas?

Where on the sliding bar standard of light to deep Jhanic abosrption is sufficient to begin being exposed to Rigpa?

Or is there already a standard in Dzogchen preliminaries that indicate the tradition of Shamatha/Jhana that should be cultivated?
Sutra/Ganges Mahamudra of Tilopa, as systematized by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal in his Clarifying the Natural State.

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