Visualisations and Dzogchen

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heart
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Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm

Here is an interesting article on deity yoga written by the amazing translator and wonderful person Heidi Köppel:
https://www.lionsroar.com/visualizing-a ... ect-world/
I find it particular interesting for all us aspiring Dzogchen practitioner.

/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)

Simon E.
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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:39 pm

Excellent.. Thank you Magnus.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:07 pm

Thanks, Heart :anjali:

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Matt J
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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Matt J » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm

I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
"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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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:13 pm

I found visualisation very difficult for a long time. We are talking years here. Then there came a time when it got easier, probably when I learned to stop striving.
So as with many things in life, I think a kind of relaxed persistence is key.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:27 pm

Matt J wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
Somehow, I don't. But I think I have a few vajra brothers that do. So, I think you're not alone.

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Miroku » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:02 pm

Matt J wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
Hm, that's interesting. It really seems like different strokes for different folks eh? I suck at analytic meditations, not to say I am any better at visualizations... I suck at them too, but I do enjoy rituals. They make things easier for me. It makes me feel like a kid in a toy shop looking at all those boxes of legos imagining what can be done with them. :D
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.
~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

Even non-buddhists have many virtuous accomplishments
~ Jigten Sumgon

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by makewhisper » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:44 pm

Matt J wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
Yes, I feel this way too. With sadhanas, I've sometimes found the most potent practice for me is reading the text slowly and isolating my (physical) affective reaction to each word. This shakes the mindset of needing to "complete" the practice as quickly as possible. Sometimes I can discern somatic sensations in the head or in my torso connected with movement of thoughts and breath in reaction to words, and I found these uncharacterizable "stirrings" to be potent entries into the composite and interdependent nature of momentary samsaric experience. I also find the limits of my own samsaric imagination when I go into my reactions, as if running up against some wall of potential that is strongly discordant with my own wish to be unlimited. This reinforces my renunciation and preference for supramundane accomplishment over this human life. My mind is more abstracted, linguistic, tactile and auditory, and I find that the effort that goes into attempting to hold a visualization of a traditionally depicted deity with whom I feel no affective connection clashes with the effortlessness and openness that characterizes instances of resting in view. That is my own samsaric limitation rather than any fault with the teachings. That said, in moments of open clarity an image or inkling might arise in the mind spontaneously. I tend to believe that there is a practice or teaching perfectly adapted to my needs in keeping with the skillful means of ariyas, and I've learned I ought not to double down on those practices into which I end up putting a lot of contrived, angsty effort that leave me feeling unskillfully like I don't "fit in" to the Dharma. However, I do think the merit that accompanied my erstwhile efforts at visualization-based practices bore fruit or will ripen at some point in ways I don't foresee right now. I also think that aesthetic vocabularies are important to samsaric folks in a provisional way, and someone could explain to me each meaning of each symbolic detail in a thangka, and I would still be likely to feel no real affective connection to those meanings because there's no sense of responsiveness from the image as one might experience in a vision of the sambhogakaya, for example. Another might be stirred by the phantasmagoria, but I tend to drift away from adornment even though I wish deeply to be impressed by art and ritual and such, but not all of us are moved by images. When I do feel connections to Buddhas, there's always some sense of having my condition known as it is rather than as it ought to be for me to feel like a "real" or "talented" adept. I'm inspired by Dzogchen teachings that sort of invert my logic about accomplishment and present the "degree" of afflictedness as the basis for exceptional accomplishment. There are, if memory serves me, some indications that the most afflicted are positioned to realize accomplishment more "directly" or "simply" or with "less elaboration" - for lack of better words - in Nida Chenagtsang's Mirror of Light: A Commentary on Yuthok's Ati Yoga, though I don't have the book at present to quote directly. But he correlates various categories of adaptedness or talent or suitability to various pathways, and I remember feeling as if the text implies that disciples with the least talent are more readily positioned for this or that path. There's a table in the back of the book that illustrates the suitability of (5?) different levels of disciples to different paths. So ya, I firmly believe that upaya imply a path for each that does not require suitability for whatever path may work for another person.

Above all, I just try to take the Mahayana at its word: there's something for everyone owing to the unbridled potentials of enlightenment, and bodhisattvas and Buddhas want to adapt to how we find ourselves at present instead of focusing on what we might be if we were perfect tantrikas with exceptional imaginative ability. I also don't really feel like divine confidence depends on visualization, but I don't know anything so . . . I'm just inclined to practicing in order to naturalize the sense that the world really is the dynamic play of deity, guru, etc.
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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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:07 am

Matt J wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
i wondered if i would share this, and found that's ok, it's only my opinion: in my experience, regarding "visualization" in general, and particularly regarding yidam, i discovered that shyness is useless.

don't be shy.

my capacity improoved a lot by recognzing this. perhaps we had the same obstacle.

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:41 pm

I can identify somewhat. For me the answer was to focus on one deity/practice and not confuse myself with others. Additionally, I do not “get” Kriya Tantra practices at all.

I think this disposition is probably ok, it’s one thing if it’s some neurotic pulling away, but if it’s more like “not my thing”, then you just work with it.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:14 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:07 am
Matt J wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:45 pm
I have never gotten the visualization part of practice. I don't know if others feel the same way, but for me, growing up in the West, a lot of the symbols and so on lack the feeling of sacredness and/or power they would have had I been raised in a Buddhist culture. While I was raised Catholic, I have been a practicing Buddhist for so long that those symbols also now seem foreign to me. Plus, my visualization skills are not top notch. For me, I have found more usefulness in a Madhyamaka and Yogacara analytic meditations, dream yoga, and nature of mind practices and less in the visualization/mantra practices. Actually, a lot of this hard core Tibetan ritual makes me feel like a bored kid in church again. I will bring this up with my teacher this summer, but I am curious if others have had this difficulty and how you have approached this.
i wondered if i would share this, and found that's ok, it's only my opinion: in my experience, regarding "visualization" in general, and particularly regarding yidam, i discovered that shyness is useless.

don't be shy.

my capacity improoved a lot by recognzing this. perhaps we had the same obstacle.
This is actually a very good suggestion Javier!

/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: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:27 pm

Visualisations or rather the capacity to create images in your mind are natural. A big part of our conceptual mind deals with images. If you think about someone you know there will immediately be an image in your mind.
Visualisations are 3D, you are not supposed visualise a flat deity.
Visualisations are very free. Even if the deity is supposed to look in a particular way those "fixed" parts still leaves a lot of freedom how the deity look. Deity's don't need to be Asian or have Nepali style jewellery.
Visualisations can have a kind of "presence". Meaning that you don't need to fix your mind on the visual appearance all the time you can glimpse the deity and feel its presence.

And as Javier say, don't be shy or maybe don't hold back :smile:

/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: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by philji » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:23 pm

:good:
heart wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:27 pm
Visualisations or rather the capacity to create images in your mind are natural. A big part of our conceptual mind deals with images. If you think about someone you know there will immediately be an image in your mind.
Visualisations are 3D, you are not supposed visualise a flat deity.
Visualisations are very free. Even if the deity is supposed to look in a particular way those "fixed" parts still leaves a lot of freedom how the deity look. Deity's don't need to be Asian or have Nepali style jewellery.
Visualisations can have a kind of "presence". Meaning that you don't need to fix your mind on the visual appearance all the time you can glimpse the deity and feel its presence.

And as Javier say, don't be shy or maybe don't hold back :smile:

/magnus

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:21 pm

heart wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Here is an interesting article on deity yoga written by the amazing translator and wonderful person Heidi Köppel:
https://www.lionsroar.com/visualizing-a ... ect-world/
I find it particular interesting for all us aspiring Dzogchen practitioner.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

As far as i know are there in Dzogchen no visualizations possible, it is mainly practised in Tantra.
The only visualization, i know in Dzogchen is before the Dzogchen "meditation", here we do the Guru Yoga where visualization is done like we know it in Tantra. Subject and object is here the case.

Because Dzogchen is abiding in the non dual State / Natural State, visualisations are here impossible.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:42 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:21 pm
heart wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Here is an interesting article on deity yoga written by the amazing translator and wonderful person Heidi Köppel:
https://www.lionsroar.com/visualizing-a ... ect-world/
I find it particular interesting for all us aspiring Dzogchen practitioner.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

As far as i know are there in Dzogchen no visualizations possible, it is mainly practised in Tantra.
The only visualization, i know in Dzogchen is before the Dzogchen "meditation", here we do the Guru Yoga where visualization is done like we know it in Tantra. Subject and object is here the case.

Because Dzogchen is abiding in the non dual State / Natural State, visualisations are here impossible.
It certainly depends on what you mean with Dzogchen, a lot of Dzogchen cycles (mainly Mengakde and Longde) contain parts with visualisations, nevertheless Guru yoga is an excellent example of visualisation that can be applied to the article I posted.

/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: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by heart » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:53 pm

I also would like to say, visualisations have power. If you think of your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend an image will appear in your mind. It will capture your emotions better than your thoughts. In the same way the wisdom of the deity/master you visualise will capture your knowledge better than your thoughts.

/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: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:09 pm

heart wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:42 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:21 pm
heart wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:51 pm
Here is an interesting article on deity yoga written by the amazing translator and wonderful person Heidi Köppel:
https://www.lionsroar.com/visualizing-a ... ect-world/
I find it particular interesting for all us aspiring Dzogchen practitioner.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

As far as i know are there in Dzogchen no visualizations possible, it is mainly practised in Tantra.
The only visualization, i know in Dzogchen is before the Dzogchen "meditation", here we do the Guru Yoga where visualization is done like we know it in Tantra. Subject and object is here the case.

Because Dzogchen is abiding in the non dual State / Natural State, visualisations are here impossible.
It certainly depends on what you mean with Dzogchen, a lot of Dzogchen cycles (mainly Mengakde and Longde) contain parts with visualisations, nevertheless Guru yoga is an excellent example of visualisation that can be applied to the article I posted.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

With Dzogchen is meant abiding in the non dual State.
if one is thinking , making visualisations etc.one is out of this Natural State.

BEFORE this abiding there is dualism possible like done with Guru Yoga. Here we have object and subject, which never can happen in the Dzogchen practise.
And if this happens etc, then this is not and never seen as Dzogchen, we call it Tantra.

Why do we Guru Yoga before the Dzogchen practise / Meditation which is non meditation?
To get blessings for abiding in this non dual State which is empty of thoughts.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Miroku
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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Miroku » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:29 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:09 pm
heart wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:42 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:21 pm


Tashi delek,

As far as i know are there in Dzogchen no visualizations possible, it is mainly practised in Tantra.
The only visualization, i know in Dzogchen is before the Dzogchen "meditation", here we do the Guru Yoga where visualization is done like we know it in Tantra. Subject and object is here the case.

Because Dzogchen is abiding in the non dual State / Natural State, visualisations are here impossible.
It certainly depends on what you mean with Dzogchen, a lot of Dzogchen cycles (mainly Mengakde and Longde) contain parts with visualisations, nevertheless Guru yoga is an excellent example of visualisation that can be applied to the article I posted.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

With Dzogchen is meant abiding in the non dual State.
if one is thinking , making visualisations etc.one is out of this Natural State.

BEFORE this abiding there is dualism possible like done with Guru Yoga. Here we have object and subject, which never can happen in the Dzogchen practise.
And if this happens etc, then this is not and never seen as Dzogchen, we call it Tantra.

Why do we Guru Yoga before the Dzogchen practise / Meditation which is non meditation?
To get blessings for abiding in this non dual State which is empty of thoughts.
Although you are correct you are not completely correct. By dzogchen other things can be meant too and that is for example the "dzogchen practices" such as rushens and semdzin, which can use visualisations. Although by dzogchen our true nature can be meant it can also mean the teachings for abiding in it and also practices to get to the state. Pragmatics are important not just semantics.
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.
~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

Even non-buddhists have many virtuous accomplishments
~ Jigten Sumgon

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:14 pm

Miroku wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:29 pm
kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:09 pm
heart wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:42 pm


It certainly depends on what you mean with Dzogchen, a lot of Dzogchen cycles (mainly Mengakde and Longde) contain parts with visualisations, nevertheless Guru yoga is an excellent example of visualisation that can be applied to the article I posted.

/magnus
Tashi delek,

With Dzogchen is meant abiding in the non dual State.
if one is thinking , making visualisations etc.one is out of this Natural State.

BEFORE this abiding there is dualism possible like done with Guru Yoga. Here we have object and subject, which never can happen in the Dzogchen practise.
And if this happens etc, then this is not and never seen as Dzogchen, we call it Tantra.

Why do we Guru Yoga before the Dzogchen practise / Meditation which is non meditation?
To get blessings for abiding in this non dual State which is empty of thoughts.
Although you are correct you are not completely correct. By dzogchen other things can be meant too and that is for example the "dzogchen practices" such as rushens and semdzin, which can use visualisations. Although by dzogchen our true nature can be meant it can also mean the teachings for abiding in it and also practices to get to the state. Pragmatics are important not just semantics.
Semdzins and Kordo Rushens are meant as preliminaries. Then follows non dual awareness.
So that nondual awareness that is the core of Dzogchen meditation which is non meditation.
That State goes beyond other states, so it was teached and so it was clearly understood and realised by myself
That means i am not partly correct but fully correct.

One can also obtain the non dual State without the practise of the Kordo Rushens and Semdzin, is for the highest level of Understanding Students.

All in all i see clear difference in the Abidng of the Natural State and the non abiding,
As non abiding i see Tantra and that was here finally meant and not the Kordo Rushens and Semdzin as your example.
The best meditation is no meditation

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Re: Visualisations and Dzogchen

Post by Miroku » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:06 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:14 pm

Semdzins and Kordo Rushens are meant as preliminaries. Then follows non dual awareness.
So that nondual awareness that is the core of Dzogchen meditation which is non meditation.
That State goes beyond other states, so it was teached and so it was clearly understood and realised by myself
That means i am not partly correct but fully correct.

One can also obtain the non dual State without the practise of the Kordo Rushens and Semdzin, is for the highest level of Understanding Students.

All in all i see clear difference in the Abidng of the Natural State and the non abiding,
As non abiding i see Tantra and that was here finally meant and not the Kordo Rushens and Semdzin as your example.
Yes, however you are not getting the pragmatics of this situation (from linguistical point of view). We are talking about visualisation and its connection to/usage in dzogchen teachings. That means that either it is about visualisation from the point of view of it or visualisation as in anuyoga practices with dzogchen as the completion stage.

So although your answer is correct and very appreciated, it is out of the bowl.

Anyway I am going off topic, so sorry for this. :focus:
A boat delivers you to the other riverbank.
A needle stitches up your clothes.
A horse takes you where you want to go.
Bodhicitta will bring you to Buddhahood.
~ Khunu Lama Rinpoche

Even non-buddhists have many virtuous accomplishments
~ Jigten Sumgon

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