What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Simon E.
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What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:13 am

The Dzogchen Tradition says that it’s origin in this world system lies not with Shakyamuni Buddha, Gautama Siddharta, but with the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra who revealed it to the human teacher Garab Dorje. Some accounts then square the circle by describing Garab Dorje as an Emanation of Shakyamuni.
I mention this not because I advocate the literal interpretation of creation myths, but because conflation of the various myths held by the different traditions inevitably leads to confusion in actual practise. Those narratives have a function beyond the historical.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

Simon E.
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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:51 am

It’s almost always the conflation between narrative as an Upaya and claims of historicity that leads to triumphalism.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Vasana » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:44 am

Shakyamuni is also listed as one of 12 Twelve teachers of Dzogchen (Tib. སྟོན་པ་བཅུ་གཉིས་, tönpa chunyi, Wyl. ston pa

“When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo.”

'A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage' from Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche is worth a look for this topic.

Here Vajradhara sends forth various emanations according to needs of beings. Considering all forms of Buddha-dharma arise according to the needs of beings the source is always the fully realized Dharmakaya mindstream/'network' of Buddhas of equal realization, regardless of their rupa-kaya appearances. I've even heard there are emanations of individual various attributes of a Buddha's body speech, mind or qualities and then further emanations arising from these. It gets pretty complex and I'm not sure I've seen a place with clear explanations on the nature of it all.

But isn't this really just more papañca, Simon? :mrgreen:
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

Simon E.
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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 pm

The very fact there are several versions points to the need to be clear that we are not talking historicity. So no it’s not prapanca. Prapanca (the Sanskrit form, papanca is Pali) would be to take one of those narratives and speculate at length about it.
My point is that as soon as we conflate upaya with history we end up with rival myths of origin. That applies to other schools of Buddhadharma too.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:06 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:13 am
The Dzogchen Tradition says that it’s origin in this world system lies not with Shakyamuni Buddha, Gautama Siddharta, but with the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra who revealed it to the human teacher Garab Dorje. Some accounts then square the circle by describing Garab Dorje as an Emanation of Shakyamuni.
I mention this not because I advocate the literal interpretation of creation myths, but because conflation of the various myths held by the different traditions inevitably leads to confusion in actual practise. Those narratives have a function beyond the historical.
If I'm intruding just say so and I'll show myself the door.

In Buddhist context, is history different than pedagogical device? The former impresses me as a particular example of the latter.

People seem to need their totems to identify and unite their cults, define themselves in opposition to others.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:35 pm

Well they certainly perform that function. However If that need for totems replaces the skillful means then perhaps it stops being skillful?
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Sādhaka » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:45 pm

.
Last edited by Sādhaka on Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:51 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:35 pm
Well they certainly perform that function. However If that need for totems replaces the skillful means then perhaps it stops being skillful?
I tend to agree, but people wiser than me have seen fit to relate these various stories, and I'd suspect that they'd foreseen how their teachings might be turned into totems. Its not a terrible thing - a totem, especially a Buddha, serves as a device to keep devotees oriented, in this particular case to Buddha, regardless of capacity. I believe this is the whole point in Buddhanusmrti.

The way I read these stories about "this Buddha being more primordial than that Buddha" is really a claim about the teachings associated with this buddha or that being more refined or less refined.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

Simon E.
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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:23 pm

Yes, to quote Chime Rinpoche again “ the difference between Tara (insert the name of Buddha/Deity of choice here) and us is that SHE knows she doesn’t exist”.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by TrimePema » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:24 pm

Malcolm talks about this during his appearance on Wisdom Podcast (I think it's the episode on Buddhahood in this Life)

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by heart » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 pm
The very fact there are several versions points to the need to be clear that we are not talking historicity. So no it’s not prapanca. Prapanca (the Sanskrit form, papanca is Pali) would be to take one of those narratives and speculate at length about it.
My point is that as soon as we conflate upaya with history we end up with rival myths of origin. That applies to other schools of Buddhadharma too.
There are no "rival myths of origin", the twelve Buddhas of Dzogchen is the standard story. There is no conflict that Samanthabadra taught Vajrasattva that taught Garab Dorje. It all happened during the reign of influence of Shakyamuni.

/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 Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by yeshegyaltsen » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:31 pm

Actually yes there are. Magnus you are making claims about something you clearly have not studied. There are numerous cosmologies presented in early Dzogchen literature like the 17 Tantras and in later treasures that tell very different stories of how the world was formed and Samantabhadra came into being, none of which have been translated. As for Garab Dorje, you can read in translation that the version found in Vairocana's biography and the one related in the history from the Vima Nyingtik are completely different. For instance, it's Vajrapani that transmits Dzogchen to Adhicitta who is then reborn as Garab Dorje, so clearly there is conflict in the notion that Samantabhadra taught Vajrasattva that taught Garab Dorje. The truth is there is quite a bit of diversity in the source texts, which is what the OP is correctly referencing

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:52 pm

heart wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:34 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 pm
The very fact there are several versions points to the need to be clear that we are not talking historicity. So no it’s not prapanca. Prapanca (the Sanskrit form, papanca is Pali) would be to take one of those narratives and speculate at length about it.
My point is that as soon as we conflate upaya with history we end up with rival myths of origin. That applies to other schools of Buddhadharma too.
There are no "rival myths of origin", the twelve Buddhas of Dzogchen is the standard story. There is no conflict that Samanthabadra taught Vajrasattva that taught Garab Dorje. It all happened during the reign of influence of Shakyamuni.

/magnus
How sweet...
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:04 pm

Tantras and whatnot are revelatory texts, they shouldn't be interpreted in a historico-literal sense, and indeed doing so IMO misses the point entirely, so I think I am mostly agreeing with the OP.

I would say that actually this is true of the Mahayana generally.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by heart » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:58 am

yeshegyaltsen wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:31 pm
Actually yes there are. Magnus you are making claims about something you clearly have not studied. There are numerous cosmologies presented in early Dzogchen literature like the 17 Tantras and in later treasures that tell very different stories of how the world was formed and Samantabhadra came into being, none of which have been translated. As for Garab Dorje, you can read in translation that the version found in Vairocana's biography and the one related in the history from the Vima Nyingtik are completely different. For instance, it's Vajrapani that transmits Dzogchen to Adhicitta who is then reborn as Garab Dorje, so clearly there is conflict in the notion that Samantabhadra taught Vajrasattva that taught Garab Dorje. The truth is there is quite a bit of diversity in the source texts, which is what the OP is correctly referencing
In the lineage prayer from Lama Yangtik it mentions Samanthabadra, peaceful and wrathful deities, Vajradhara, Vajrasattva, Vajrapani then Garab Dorje and so on. Clearly Longchenpa didn't consider them "rival myths of origin".

/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 Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by heart » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:58 am

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:52 pm
heart wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:34 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:53 pm
The very fact there are several versions points to the need to be clear that we are not talking historicity. So no it’s not prapanca. Prapanca (the Sanskrit form, papanca is Pali) would be to take one of those narratives and speculate at length about it.
My point is that as soon as we conflate upaya with history we end up with rival myths of origin. That applies to other schools of Buddhadharma too.
There are no "rival myths of origin", the twelve Buddhas of Dzogchen is the standard story. There is no conflict that Samanthabadra taught Vajrasattva that taught Garab Dorje. It all happened during the reign of influence of Shakyamuni.

/magnus
How sweet...
Nevertheless, true.

/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 Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:18 am

Then it’s an upaya for you. That’s good.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by weitsicht » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:13 am

My impression is - correct me if I'm wrong -
that the Dzogchen tries to work with a view
that has no boss.
There is Emptiness and there is plentitude and the mediation between these to,
the aids to make us intertwined / unionized
are the buddhas. Each has a function, each has another facet and each has a seed syllable of one of the Buddha families.

Vajrasattva, Kuntuzangpo, these are - again my POV - imagery representations o the beyond of the beyond, the ultimate.

But yes, all of that is upaya. That is what the buddhdharma is there for, nothing else.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by weitsicht » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:19 am

... and yet you need to make effort to faithfully let go, offer to, dissolve into - whatever the practise
to make the magic work

Logic is needed to a certain point
in order to then be abandoned

(like the kullu which you use to cross the river and then you leave it behind, you won't drag it along with you further, I guess you all know this analogy)
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Re: What Does Dzogchen Say About It’s Origins?

Post by Sennin » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:47 pm

Kadak Lhundrup

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