What is Dzogchen?

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Vaktar
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What is Dzogchen?

Post by Vaktar » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:18 pm

Discussion split from this thread: viewtopic.php?f=40&t=30183&p=478798#p478798
bhava wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:07 am
What are common points and differences in the way mind essence is introduced (how the recognition is further developed) in tibetan buddhism and in advaita vedanta system? I mean looking at satsangs of Mooji (mooji.org), teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Papaji plus the way this tradition is appreciated by some western dharma teachers (Elio Guarisco, Adriano Clemente), maybe one can learn and take inspiration from it even being a practitioner of tibetan buddhism.
Granted one can take inspiration. Personally I find the efforts of Vedanta teachers charming, similar to the efforts of children to play cowboys and indians, and so on. In the end, Vedanta teachings are heavily reliant on stock formulas (e.g., scriptures, analogous to cap pistols, straw cowboy hats, and feather headdresses).

As "Vedanta", i.e., the final message of the Vedic teachings, Vedanta puts a great deal of faith in the power of scriptural utterance (shruti). Those alone, properly applied to the ears of a disciple, are supposed to be liberating. There is no such dogmatic assumption in Dzogchen. In principle, Dzogchen can be introduced by a teacher to a student without relying on any external indication whatsoever, mind-to-mind, as it were. There's no such notion in Vedanta, as far as I know. To study Vedanta one must study the scriptures. Dzogchen has its abundance of scriptures as well, but they are not absolutely essential to the transmission, or empowerment of Dzogchen. For example, Tilopa used torture and a physical abuse to awaken Naropa to Mahamudra (which is essentially the same). In the final analysis, Vedanta is too conservative, and too disconnected from a thorough appreciation of the malleability of human embodiment, to accept such radical means to enlightenment.

I have never been satisfied that Vedanta has a coherent theory of mind, much less of "mind-essence". That is a Buddhist trend, and one that Vedanta is only slightly affined to. Vedanta is basically "atmavada" or a theory of Self, and the identity of Atman with a quality-less Brahman (nirguna-brahman) doesn't leave much room for discussion of "mind-essence", as you put it.

Instead, Advaita teachings and their contemplation are supposed to remove superimpositions (adhyaropana? can't remember the Vedanta term necessarily). The notion that reality and our superimpositions on it are different, and that the latter must be removed in order to realize the former, is an old one, older than Buddhism. All mystics grasp this basic distinction, and believe they have found a way to do something about it.

Dzogchen requires a teacher (much like Vedanta) to facilitate the process. But unlike Vedanta, there is supposed to be a "Eureka" moment, in one's practice, and/or at the moment of introduction from one's teacher. That notion is relatively absent in Vedanta. There is a profound undercurrent of agnosticism in Vedanta, and not coincidentally, a paucity of "Eureka" moments in the hagiographies of its adherents. It's hard to not suspect, coming from a Dzogchen perspective, that most Vedantic discourse leads into a muddled, if comfortable, morass of subtle confusion where the absence of certainty combines with an abundance of acquiescence, all backed by faith in a wealth of scriptural quotations.

Malcolm
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Re: Mind essence introduced in advaita and TB

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:49 pm

Vaktar wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:18 pm
In principle, Dzogchen can be introduced by a teacher to a student without relying on any external indication whatsoever, mind-to-mind, as it were.
There's no such notion in Vedanta, as far as I know.
There is no such idea in Dzogchen either. The transmission of the transcendent state of the victors (rgyal ba dgongs rgyud) is not some telepathic communication.
To study Vedanta one must study the scriptures. Dzogchen has its abundance of scriptures as well, but they are not absolutely essential to the transmission, or empowerment of Dzogchen.
They are pretty essential to the understanding of Dzogchen.
Dzogchen requires a teacher (much like Vedanta) to facilitate the process. But unlike Vedanta, there is supposed to be a "Eureka" moment, in one's practice, and/or at the moment of introduction from one's teacher.
Well, yes and no. Some people like ChNN report such instances, but he also clarifies that not everyone has this same kind of experience that he had.

Further, Dzogchen is beyond mind, therefore, it cannot be proven with verbal formulas and it cannot be refuted by them. Dzogchen also cannot be confirmed with words.

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Sherab
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Re: Mind essence introduced in advaita and TB

Post by Sherab » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:49 pm
Further, Dzogchen is beyond mind, therefore, it cannot be proven with verbal formulas and it cannot be refuted by them. Dzogchen also cannot be confirmed with words.
Does this mean
(1) that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect?
(2) that Dzogchen is not a phenomenon (where phenomenon is that which exists only in the relative realm of subject and object)?
(3) that Dzogchen is beyond dependent origination?
(4) that Dzogchen is not a noumenon (where a noumenon is something that is independent of the a non-dual mind, a mind that does not have a subject-object mode of perception)?

smcj
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Re: Mind essence introduced in advaita and TB

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:09 am

Sherab wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:49 pm
Further, Dzogchen is beyond mind, therefore, it cannot be proven with verbal formulas and it cannot be refuted by them. Dzogchen also cannot be confirmed with words.
Does this mean
(1) that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect?
(2) that Dzogchen is not a phenomenon (where phenomenon is that which exists only in the relative realm of subject and object)?
(3) that Dzogchen is beyond dependent origination?
(4) that Dzogchen is not a noumenon (where a noumenon is something that is independent of the a non-dual mind, a mind that does not have a subject-object mode of perception)?
While we are waiting for Malcolm’s answer I will entertain readers of the thread with my dilettante’s answers:

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Noumenon? As Malcolm said, it is beyond mind. I don’t think noumenon is appropriate though; reification, dualism, etc.

Okay. Back to waiting.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:04 am

imown words,

is not blah blah blah and not "not blah blah blah", and is not something in the middle either.

i would say it has nothing to do with references like cadinal references, in or out, god(s), the i and others, gravity, and so. mind always grasp something and makes references, principles, and stuff alike... even the non grasping pretension is a thougth grasped, emptiness pretension, etc.

at the light of primordial knowledge, grasping is a matter of laugh; so grasping is something to observe.

tatpurusa
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by tatpurusa » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:35 pm

Vaktar wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:18 pm
As "Vedanta", i.e., the final message of the Vedic teachings, Vedanta puts a great deal of faith in the power of scriptural utterance (shruti). Those alone, properly applied to the ears of a disciple, are supposed to be liberating. There is no such dogmatic assumption in Dzogchen. In principle, Dzogchen can be introduced by a teacher to a student without relying on any external indication whatsoever, mind-to-mind, as it were. There's no such notion in Vedanta, as far as I know. To study Vedanta one must study the scriptures. Dzogchen has its abundance of scriptures as well, but they are not absolutely essential to the transmission, or empowerment of Dzogchen.
Dzogchen requires a teacher (much like Vedanta) to facilitate the process. But unlike Vedanta, there is supposed to be a "Eureka" moment, in one's practice, and/or at the moment of introduction from one's teacher.
If you have ever read Ramana Maharshi's story, he had not studied any scriptures before awakening.
He did not even have a guru in human form.
His guru was the sacred hill Arunachala.
He used vedantic scriptures only many years later in order to be able to communicate his experience with people belonging to a culture
profoundly influenced by those very scriptures.

tp.

Malcolm
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Re: Mind essence introduced in advaita and TB

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:53 pm

Sherab wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:49 pm
Further, Dzogchen is beyond mind, therefore, it cannot be proven with verbal formulas and it cannot be refuted by them. Dzogchen also cannot be confirmed with words.
Does this mean
(1) that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect?
Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause.
(2) that Dzogchen is not a phenomenon (where phenomenon is that which exists only in the relative realm of subject and object)?
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
(3) that Dzogchen is beyond dependent origination?
Refer to item two.
(4) that Dzogchen is not a noumenon (where a noumenon is something that is independent of the a non-dual mind, a mind that does not have a subject-object mode of perception)?
Refer to item two.

smcj
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm

Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

Malcolm
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:16 pm

smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
There would be no correct answer since the notion of relative and ultimate phenomena are considered utterly different in Western Philosophy. And, the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena being referred to here is prajñāpāramita.

smcj
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:16 pm
smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
There would be no correct answer since the notion of relative and ultimate phenomena are considered utterly different in Western Philosophy. And, the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena being referred to here is prajñāpāramita.
The question was asked in the context of a western philosophy 101 class.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

Malcolm
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:10 pm

smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:06 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:16 pm
smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm

If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
There would be no correct answer since the notion of relative and ultimate phenomena are considered utterly different in Western Philosophy. And, the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena being referred to here is prajñāpāramita.
The question was asked in the context of a western philosophy 101 class.
AP students only.

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Sherab
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Re: Mind essence introduced in advaita and TB

Post by Sherab » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:53 pm
Sherab wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:49 pm
Further, Dzogchen is beyond mind, therefore, it cannot be proven with verbal formulas and it cannot be refuted by them. Dzogchen also cannot be confirmed with words.
Does this mean
(1) that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect?
Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause.
What is the difference between stating that "Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause" and "Dzogchen has no cause and therefore is not a result?"

If there is no difference, then since Dzogchen is not a result, then it does not arise. Then since Dzogchen is without a cause and does not arise, isn't the statement "Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause not any different from saying that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect"?

If there is a difference, what then is the difference?
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:53 pm
Sherab wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 pm

(2) that Dzogchen is not a phenomenon (where phenomenon is that which exists only in the relative realm of subject and object)?
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
What is the meaning of ultimate in "ultimate phenomena"?

smcj
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:35 am

What is the difference between stating that "Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause" and "Dzogchen has no cause and therefore is not a result?"

If there is no difference, then since Dzogchen is not a result, then it does not arise. Then since Dzogchen is without a cause and does not arise, isn't the statement "Dzogchen is the result that arose without a cause not any different from saying that Dzogchen is beyond cause and effect"?

If there is a difference, what then is the difference?
I can’t answer this from a DZ perspective per se, but I can relate how this idea is handled in the Uttaratantra in regards to Buddha Nature.

In ch. 4 it talks about the Buddha Nature as being fully present but obscured by defilement in a sentient being. The practices of purification and virtue in no way create the Buddha Nature. What the practice of Dharma does do is create a situation, an “opening” (my term), through which the already present Buddha Nature is able to manifest freely.

With that understanding substitute “Buddha Nature” for DZ in the above and see if your question is answered.
What is the meaning of ultimate in "ultimate phenomena"?
That’s a good Malcolm question.
:popcorn:
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

smcj
Posts: 6320
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:35 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:10 pm
smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:06 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:16 pm


There would be no correct answer since the notion of relative and ultimate phenomena are considered utterly different in Western Philosophy. And, the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena being referred to here is prajñāpāramita.
The question was asked in the context of a wenstern philosophy 101 class.
AP students only.
Just for fun, let’s skip undergraduate & graduate levels and go straight to post grad. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that if you explain DZ view to one of your dad’d coworkers they will conclude that you’re talking about monism. Take as much time as they will give you to do it. I don’t think you’ll be able to convince them otherwise.

Let us know how it goes.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

PeterC
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by PeterC » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:47 am

smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
The student would guess 'das ding an sich', and they would be wrong

Seeker12
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by Seeker12 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:15 pm

smcj wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:35 am
In ch. 4 it talks about the Buddha Nature as being fully present but obscured by defilement in a sentient being. The practices of purification and virtue in no way create the Buddha Nature. What the practice of Dharma does do is create a situation, an “opening” (my term), through which the already present Buddha Nature is able to manifest freely.
Longchenpa uses a similar analogy, in that he says that Buddha Nature is basically like a jewel caked in mud, and this jewel could be cleaned off with a cleaning rag and cleaner. The cleaning rag and cleaner correspond to the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

These accumulations don't 'create' the jewel but rather basically uncover it or make it fully realized/manifest. A Buddha is like the fully cleaned off jewel, and a sentient being is like the jewel covered in mud. In both cases, the jewel is entirely identical, and it is entirely present. So although there is an aspect of 'causality' you might say in cleaning the jewel, that which is realized is not actually caused.

Or something like that.
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

Uttaratantra Shastra

smcj
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:23 pm

PeterC wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:47 am
smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm
Dzogchen is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
y
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
The student would guess 'das ding an sich', and they would be wrong
Stated as such I think the correct answer would be monism. However, given the peculiarities of Dzogchen vis a vie emptiness, I think it should be further amended to:‘monism, but without either the “mon” or the “ism”’.

Just my sense of humor.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

User avatar
Sherab
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by Sherab » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:39 pm

Seeker12 wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:15 pm
smcj wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:35 am
In ch. 4 it talks about the Buddha Nature as being fully present but obscured by defilement in a sentient being. The practices of purification and virtue in no way create the Buddha Nature. What the practice of Dharma does do is create a situation, an “opening” (my term), through which the already present Buddha Nature is able to manifest freely.
Longchenpa uses a similar analogy, in that he says that Buddha Nature is basically like a jewel caked in mud, and this jewel could be cleaned off with a cleaning rag and cleaner. The cleaning rag and cleaner correspond to the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

These accumulations don't 'create' the jewel but rather basically uncover it or make it fully realized/manifest. A Buddha is like the fully cleaned off jewel, and a sentient being is like the jewel covered in mud. In both cases, the jewel is entirely identical, and it is entirely present. So although there is an aspect of 'causality' you might say in cleaning the jewel, that which is realized is not actually caused.

Or something like that.
I think these analogies can be misleading when they are taken beyond what the analogies intended. And there is a tendency for people to do that.

When the nature of the relative phenomena (things in the realm of cause and effects) and the ultimate (things that are not in the realm of cause and effect) phenomena are the same, the actual "purification" cannot be a cleaning process, nor can you say that the ultimate is hidden by the relative like a jewel hidden by mud.

smcj
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Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by smcj » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:43 am

I think these analogies can be misleading when they are taken beyond what the analogies intended. And there is a tendency for people to do that.

When the nature of the relative phenomena (things in the realm of cause and effects) and the ultimate (things that are not in the realm of cause and effect) phenomena are the same, the actual "purification" cannot be a cleaning process, nor can you say that the ultimate is hidden by the relative like a jewel hidden by mud.
Or you could say it’s like a one-way mirror, where you can’t see through it from one side. “Purification” would be likened to stepping around the back to be able to see where you were just standing without impediment.

Maybe.
Or not.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post/by ?)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

PeterC
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: What is Dzogchen?

Post by PeterC » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:57 am

smcj wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:23 pm
PeterC wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:47 am
smcj wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 pm
y
If you were to go to an “Introduction to Western Philosophy 101” class and put on the final exam...
——-
Fill in the blank; _______ is the single state of all relative and ultimate phenomena.
——-
...what would be the correct answer?
The student would guess 'das ding an sich', and they would be wrong
Stated as such I think the correct answer would be monism. However, given the peculiarities of Dzogchen vis a vie emptiness, I think it should be further amended to:‘monism, but without either the “mon” or the “ism”’.

Just my sense of humor.
I would grade the student as wrong if they said 'monism' with either the 'mon' or the 'ism' :)

Monism is a general property of certain philosophical systems. Within this category there are multiple ways in which this property could be asserted - a universal consciousness, a shared primal substance, a supreme being, etc. It therefore can't also be a condition of phenomena.

(They would be wrong if they said it was the ding an sich because that asserts the existence of an ultimate reality (which may or may not be perceptible), it doesn't assert the unity of relative and ultimate phenomena.)

Perhaps this is a fine distinction, but it's an important one...

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