Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

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Spelare
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Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by Spelare » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:18 am

Is it possible to receive both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings without any major difficulties arising? My primary concern is the implications for my practice; secondarily, I am unsure of the proper etiquette and social implications around this.

My sense so far is that, at the level of Dzogchen, the essential meaning is the same. Some aspects of the presentation certainly differ, and I'm hoping that hearing the same topics discussed from different angles will be helpful rather than confusing. Tögal seems to be discussed comparatively openly, which was not really what drew me to Bön teachings; I'm sure that's part of the appeal for some. Frankly, I don't expect to be ready to integrate that aspect of Dzogchen for some years yet. My main intent has been to avoid narrowness and sectarianism in my perspective.

I am not aware of anyone who has a dual belonging in both communities. It seems that one is either a Buddhist who receives Bön teachings or a Bönpo who receives Buddhist teachings. I don't know whether that is as important for those of us who didn't grow up in the Tibetan cultural context. It is surely the case that some nowadays identify primarily as Dzogchen practitioners, including members of this forum, so perhaps that should make the Buddhist-Bönpo distinction less of a concern for such people. It is not clear to me to what extent I need to maintain a particular lineage affiliation at all (e.g. Nyingma, Kagyu). It is clear that Bön and Buddhism are not neatly divisible either, such that Bönpo are often considered to be merely a distinctive variety of Tibetan Buddhist anyway.

Please let me know if you have any personal experience navigating these parallel communities, and whether you have found it helpful. It seems to me that the main challenge will be familiarizing with the alternative lineage masters, devas, and dakinis. At least there's Kuntuzangpo to make me feel a bit more at home!
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by chimechodra » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:43 am

Spelare wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:18 am
Is it possible to receive both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings without any major difficulties arising?
Seems to be totally fine for the Dalai Lama, so I'm sure it will be fine for you too.

I remember asking this to one of my teachers' son once, Tulku Namgyal Dawa Rinpoche (grandson of Dudjom Rinpoche) and he was more than encouraging and positive about it. He joked that "we stole half these things from them anyways," and clearly felt that there was zero conflict.

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passel
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by passel » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:56 am

Anyen Rinpoche says, “Bon has view.” Heard it from the horse’s mouth.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Malcolm
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by Malcolm » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:08 am

The main problem you will have is reconciling the mutually exclusive historical viewpoints of Bon and Buddhadharma. Otherwise, there is no conflict.
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by Marc » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:53 am

Hi Spelare,  

There are plenty of practitioners that do follow Bön & Buddhists teachings.  
I am one them, and as far as I can tell, am doing just fine :tongue: since, as Malcom just pointed, contradictory historical claims are a complete non-issue for me...

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Lingpupa
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by Lingpupa » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:08 am

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:08 am
The main problem you will have is reconciling the mutually exclusive historical viewpoints of Bon and Buddhadharma. Otherwise, there is no conflict.
Agreed. My background is primarily Kagyu/Nyingma, but I did take several teachings from a Bon lama. I liked and respected him, and his community, but I it did have problems with the history. He seemed to be pretty uncompromising about a "Bon came first, and everything else is derived from it" point of view, and the history presented was one that I could at best describe as fabulous (as in, "that's a fable").

On a liturgical level I also found things difficult. After all those years of "Om Ah Hung" it's very hard to start saying "A Om Hum" and swapping the colours around. Funnily enough, a year ago I met a Brazilian Bon student, and as we swapped stories she told me with a giggle that she'd had exactly the same problem when she had considered moving over to non-Bon Buddhism: after all that "A Om Hum", she found it impossible to say "Om Ah Hung" with the same feeling.

So in the end I had to go and see this teacher and explained that while I thought that his horse was a good one, I couldn't manage to change in midstream.

The point of this is to say that, to the limited extent that I got involved in his teaching, I didn't find any conflicts of principle.
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by kirtu » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:16 pm

Lingpupa wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:08 am
On a liturgical level I also found things difficult. After all those years of "Om Ah Hung" it's very hard to start saying "A Om Hum" and swapping the colours around.
I've had this issue just within Buddhism. We kind of have to get over it (if possible for an individual).

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Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by fckw » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:41 pm

Spelare wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:18 am
Is it possible to receive both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings without any major difficulties arising?
From what I've heard the previous HH Menri Trizin was selected by the Dalai Lama to be one of his meditation teachers. Apparently the Dalai Lama thought that this shouldn't constitute a problem. If you happen to be a Dorje Shugden practitioner though, then most probably you'll have a different view.

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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:23 am

Spelare wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:18 am
Is it possible to receive both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings without any major difficulties arising? My primary concern is the implications for my practice; secondarily, I am unsure of the proper etiquette and social implications around this.
Yes you can follow both Tibetan Traditions without any difficulty. In Bön we have Bön Sarma also, a very respected Kunfrul Lineage who has both Bön and Buddhism inside. So in Bön we are not skeptical against Buddhism but we have scepsis against the fanatics and dummies in Buddhism who have so their wrong opinions about Bön, like the Bön Buddha would be a mythological being.


My sense so far is that, at the level of Dzogchen, the essential meaning is the same. Some aspects of the presentation certainly differ, and I'm hoping that hearing the same topics discussed from different angles will be helpful rather than confusing. Tögal seems to be discussed comparatively openly, which was not really what drew me to Bön teachings; I'm sure that's part of the appeal for some. Frankly, I don't expect to be ready to integrate that aspect of Dzogchen for some years yet. My main intent has been to avoid narrowness and sectarianism in my perspective.
Sure the fruit of Dzogchen is the same because mind has similarities to other minds, but the Lineages differ as well
the Adi Buddha and Yidams etc. Thögal is not such a secret because it is our own mind , but the secrecy around it that makes it "special". Sectarianism you would not meet in Bön Sarma viewtopic.php?f=78&t=20867 and Rime of course. The non acceptace of Bön as such, places mostly Bön in a box and then it is seen as sectarian.
I am not aware of anyone who has a dual belonging in both communities. It seems that one is either a Buddhist who receives Bön teachings or a Bönpo who receives Buddhist teachings. I don't know whether that is as important for those of us who didn't grow up in the Tibetan cultural context. It is surely the case that some nowadays identify primarily as Dzogchen practitioners, including members of this forum, so perhaps that should make the Buddhist-Bönpo distinction less of a concern for such people. It is not clear to me to what extent I need to maintain a particular lineage affiliation at all (e.g. Nyingma, Kagyu). It is clear that Bön and Buddhism are not neatly divisible either, such that Bönpo are often considered to be merely a distinctive variety of Tibetan Buddhist anyway.
One cannot belong to both communities in Bön, exceptional is the position of Bön Sarma within Bön. But regarding Dzogchen, one can follow sure as a Bönpo other Dzogchen teachings out of other Lineages like Nyingma. One can then taste that these Dzogchen teachings have no difference in the View. Bön is not so different in the fruit only distinctive qua history.
Please let me know if you have any personal experience navigating these parallel communities, and whether you have found it helpful. It seems to me that the main challenge will be familiarizing with the alternative lineage masters, devas, and dakinis. At least there's Kuntuzangpo to make me feel a bit more at home!
Have some experience in both the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions and the Bön Tradition. Both Traditions are mainly based on the Monks / Geshes / Khenpos / Rigdzins / Ngakpas etc. who guarantee the quality and Lineage of the Teachings. Therefore for every Tibetan Tradition is the Lineage of the utmost importance and is kept in high esteem. If there is something interesting to learn, which you cannot find in your own Tradition, then a visit to the neighbor is always allowed.

Or if you say eating spinach is delicious, but everyday spinach, that is boring, then potatoes are the solution.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Well, IME Dzogchen is Dzogchen, but if you take Tantric teachings etc. they have a different...tone to them, and of course different deities (with plenty of overlap), different mantra etc. I found that while I feel i've benefitted greatly from the Bon teachings I've taken (and will continue to), it was best to limit things like mantra and Tantric practices as it they are just different enough to confuse me. Conversations on historical stuff will get weird, my advice is just avoid them. Like Passel, I don't much care about them, so that makes it easy for me, ymmv.

There is a noticeable bit of tension between the communities in my limited experience, I mean it's not overt a lot of the time, but it's there. I practice regularly with a Bonpo friend, and have practiced semi-regularly with a small Bon sangha. No issue with my friend, but with the larger group there is definitely a dynamic of dedicated Bon practitioners vs. Buddhist or less formally affiliated folks, but it's the kind of thing that exists in any group, this is samsara after all.

Ultimately you can do whatever you want, and it's up to you to decide whether taking Bon teachings fits within your refuge vows, practice etc. People will come up with all the justifications for or against, but nobody but you gets to make the decision.
spelare wrote:It is not clear to me to what extent I need to maintain a particular lineage affiliation at all (e.g. Nyingma, Kagyu).
Similarly, that is up to you as well. IME Some teachers and lineage will approach that question much more conservatively, and affirm that you should basically stick to one lineage; others will basically say you should do what benefits you, as long as you are not confused and "chasing" new experiences. The only people who can vet your experiences are you and teachers with whom you have a connection, so (again just in my experience), take other advice when given but consider who has the final say in what is "right" for your practice.
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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by SkyDragon3 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:52 am

My experience has been in Buddhist traditions first, through Gelugpa, then Nyingma, then Dzogchen and Namkhai Norbu. By then I realised the rime (rimay) tradition appealed to me most.

With my exposure to Bon teachings, I found the different deities, lineages and whatever all served to add confusion, rather than clarity to my understanding.

When exploring new ways of understanding, these are the criteria I seek.
a) does it inspire me?
b) does it add to my appreciation of my current teachers?
c) does it clarify what I already understand and build on that?

I am quite old, so I look for efficiency in my practice. Distraction is the great enemy of presence, so I have been taught.

Maybe this will be helpful for others here.

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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by tingdzin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:41 am

If you haven't yet chosen a principal lama, no problem. If you have, ask him or her.

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Re: Receiving both Buddhist & Bön Dzogchen teachings?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:30 pm

SkyDragon3 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:52 am

With my exposure to Bön teachings, I found the different deities, lineages and whatever all served to add confusion, rather than clarity to my understanding.
Yes agree, it was for me also confusing to look at other Lineages and Deities etc. I went for Dzogchen to the Bön Lineage and found complete answers to my questions regarding Dzogchen and the Dzogchen Emptiness.
When exploring new ways of understanding, these are the criteria I seek.
a) does it inspire me?
b) does it add to my appreciation of my current teachers?
c) does it clarify what I already understand and build on that?
If you have a professional Dzogchen Lineage and Master out of that Lineage, then you do not need a change.Changes are mostly undertaken in case the Master and his / her Sangha are not anymore satisfying for some students. Yes there are Masters in Dzogchen and masters in Dzogchen..............
I am quite old, so I look for efficiency in my practice. Distraction is the great enemy of presence, so I have been taught.
At your age you need to be fast and not spoil your time to useless talks, bad Masters and spoiled Sangha members.
Know the problems from western Sanghas and they can cause huge problems in the beginning for serious seekers, but after some years of running around in many international Sanghas, you know these Sangha problems by heart.
No Sangha is the best Sangha and in case of a Sangha of Refuge, the Sangha of Enlightened Beings, the rest is mostly like told before, big illusion and can hinder many other unrealized Sangha members towards their Path of (developing relative) Bodhicitta.
A bad Master can cause the same problems as the unrealized Sangha members namely confusion and the related emotions.
The best meditation is no meditation

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