Perhaps some facets of the Nyingma school uphold the concept of conventional truth, but we aren't
discussing The Nyingma. There is another board available for that if you'd like to discuss the
Nyingma's view of conventional truth.
There is no dzogchen without the discussing the nyingma's perspective of dzogchen, to posit
otherwise is ignorance of the history of dzogchen, or to posit there is a pure form of dzogchen would
be a mistake, because we didn't live in the time of Hevajra. The very fact of the requirement of
dzogchen for direct transmission instead of preserving the teaching in the authenticity of the original
scriptures, make dzogchen impossible to not be contaminated through the passing of the lineage by
the opinions of different teachers. The effort of nyingma scholars like Mipham who make the
dzogchen teaching stand out in writing among other Tibetan buddhist traditions contribute much to
the authenticity of dzogchen as a buddhist teaching in the main stream buddhism throughout the
world. However, later effort of some who attempt to isolate dzogchen from main stream buddhism
will have negative impact on any such previous effort.
Dzogchen does not uphold the duality of conventional and ultimate truth but instead sees this
distinction as a fallacious projection of conceptualization.
To assert conventional and ultimate truth as a duality is not having understand the meaning of the
inseparability of the conventional and ultimate.
The Dzogchen treasure text Experiencing The Enlightened Mind Of Samantabhadra states, "In the
awakened mind there is no relative or ultimate truth", and this is because Dzogchen is precisely the
experience of awakened mind, and not dualistic conceptual elaboration about awakened mind.
Though the Great Perfection is considered to be the quintessence and heart of all paths, it does
consider all other approaches apart from itself to involve supposition, which is not an authentic
apprehension of wisdom.
Thusness has no different with regard to relative or ultimate, knowledge of this nondifferentiation is
the 'intellect of nondifferentiation', or the 'intellect of the origin' which is non-analystical in nature,
this is what the text referred to as the awakened mind. 'Awakened' correspond to bodhi, whereas
mind correspond to the 6th and 7th consciousnesses, these are the sites for the function of the
"The delusory appearances of conventional truth are a great lie.
When everything is brought into the condition of gnosis in the vast expanse,
The subject and object in flickering awareness, like a child's dance,
Are neutralized in the state of awareness transcending intellect."
- Longchen Rabjam
'Lie' is sometime translated as deception, appearance is deceptive in the sense that it is the cause of
mistaken perception. Again thusness itself has no different in terms of the all (12 entrances).
"Like mistakenly seeing a rope as a snake,
with these varied appearances
we perceive them as what they are not,
This is refering to the imaginary nature
giving rise to the duality of externality and internality,
i.e. the material environments and life forms therein.
This is refering to the imaginary nature within the internal and external field of perception, for
example, the imaginary self and the imaginary self of others as well as the imaginary object as real
Without reading the full context exist above regarding the rope analogy. This part of the sentence can
easily confused as refering purely to the basis of external and internal as imaginary, the term
'externality' refer to external contents rather than merely the 'external' field of perception itself.
However, upon scrutiny only the rope itself is found -
These environments and life forms are primordially empty,
The statement is fine as it refer to the thusness, since in term of thusness, even the dependent arising
nature is thusness, and the term emptiness is refering to thusness, not an absolute emptiness in the
as the ultimate only seems to have such concrete form
within the dissimulating process of the conventional.
This is description for mere appearance and conventional truth, thus if the emptiness in previous
passage were taken as absolute in the conventional sense, then the word 'seems to have such concrete
form' (equavalent to 'mere appearance') and 'conventional' (conventional truth of the dependent
arising nature) would have no place.
The perception of a snake is phenomenologically true in terms of our seeing it as so,
but seeing the rope instead is authentically true;
The snake is the imaginary nature, the rope is of the dependent arising nature, thus only the
dependent arising nature is true.
analogically, it is like the appearance of a bird on a promontory:
The nature of these two truths is that
this transitory world is merely conventional dissimulation,
which the authentic reality has no relationship to -
In the expanse of emptiness
everything is free within it's essence."
- Garland of Precious Pearls Tantra
The analogy is refering to the truth of the imaginary nature (bird) and the truth of the dependent
arising nature (promontory). The 'nature of the two truths' refer to the truth of the dependent
arising nature and the truth of the absolute nature. 'Conventional dissimulation' refering to the
impermanence of the apparent phenomena contain the truth of dependent origination. 'Authentic
reality has no relationship to' refer to the truth of the absolute nature has no relationship to the truth
of dependent origination.
In no place did this quote of Longchenpa negate the conventional truth in favour of the ultimate
truth, he is just describing the thusness. While the thusness may be describe from the position of the
ultimate meaning, it causes more confusion (in the absence of right interpretation) than it does to
Within this schematic you're speaking of there is no sensory consciousness which exists apart from
No, the conceptual imputation is the function of the 7th consciousness. The 6 sensory consciousnesses
have no such capacity. The 6 sensory consciousnesses are merely responsible for the gathering of the
object of perceptions, they are able to distinguish objects but have no capacity of arising the
imaginary nature based upon such object.
Your notion that "the former 6 sensory consciousnesses are free of conceptual imputation" is a
presupposition that is held in place due to a failure to effectively apperceive the authentic condition.
A simple method is to know why this is not a notion but a fact is to know that it take time for
conceptual activity to occur after the senses having contact with the object, so the intiatial moment of
sense contact is free of conceptual activity, such is the moment where the dependent arising nature of
object is established as not depended on conceptual construction. That's why I have suggest you read
Mipham's or other buddhist material on valid cognition before asserting what you apparently have no
You say the 'body' is the absolute (a.k.a. emptiness), I don't see how emptiness can be said to be
permanent, since emptiness is not a quality which can be said to retain characteristics such as
permanence or impermanence. In what way does this 'body' abide? And in what way is it permanent?
As I said, in buddhism emptiness is another word for the absolute, anything of absolute exists, and
such existence is permanent, viz. permanence has to do with existence, and existence with
Conversely the dependent arising nature has to do with the false/deceptive appearance, such
false/deceptive appearance is impermanent and permanent, it is impermanence because appearance
changes, it is permanent because of its capacity for ceaseless/permanent arising due to conditions.
The body abides permanently in nirvana (ceasing/non-arising aspect).
So in a cryptic way, you're stating that the intellect and emptiness are inseparable?
Emptiness is the thusness, the reason of thusness is the intellect, so thusness (emptiness) is not
separated from the intellect.
From the text that Sönam was kind enough to share, it seems that relying on Mipham for an
accurate account of the dzogchen view in some of his writings may prove to be problematic...
So you rather believe in the opinion Jean-Luc Achard, someone who has no known authority in the
dzogchen nor having produce any philosophical commentary on dzogchen, than in the wisdom of
Mipham's philosophical thesis?
Yes vidyā is the knowledge of the natural state (or 'thusness', as you choose to define it, though that
term isn't employed in dzogchen), and the natural state has no division. Dependent arising is the way
in which apparent phenomena seemingly exist, and there is no division of subject and object within
dependent origination since the subject/object dichotomy is itself a rather bold example of dependent
Conventional appearances always have two-fold divisions, as it is inherent division of consciousness
itself, thus this inherent distinction allow one to know instinctively what is external and internal.
What is external also have reality not share on the internal, such reality as the consciousnesses (mind
stream) of other beings which may only be perceive by the external senses (including divine sight of
the gods), whereas the internal senses can only perceive the mind stream of one's own. This is due to
the fact that the internal division is of the 8th consciousness, the rest of the sensory consciousnesses
are based on the external division. The 8th consciousness is also considered as the body of other
consciousnesses, the other consciousnesses act as the means, thus all of the 7 consciousnesses are
permanent and impermanent (the dynamic and creativity of the means).
The fact that conventional appearances is conventional, there is no need to try to eliminate the
characteristics of the two-division by shear negation, since mere appearances still continue to
appeared in two-fold division regardless of the conceptual construction that attempt to modify it. As
conventional truth is conventional truth, ultimate truth is ultimate truth, attempting to convert the
appearance of conventional truth to match the description of the ultimate truth is all proliferation.
I believe the issue here is again the issue of the two-truths. According to the two-truths, yes,
relatively there is division, though within that apparent division, no actual division is ever created.
Ultimately there is no division, and within dzogchen not even the division of relative and ultimate is
established, so any division posited to exist relatively is given no credence at all.
Again what is not establish as two divisions is only when speaking of the thusness. If dzogchen
strayed to the ultimate truth to the exclusion of relative truth, then it strayed from the middle path,
when it talks of attaining nirvana, liberation from samsara or of suffering, then it disqualified itself as
a teaching of definitive meaning and consequently downgrade itself to the view of the 2 yanas.
A thought is none other than thought, a notion is a thought which is seemingly directed towards (or
is about) something. In it's most basic state, yes, a notion is none other than thought, but if we're
going to say that then why not say that about everything? The point was to address the notion of a
'notion', in a relative sense.
Even in a relative sense, a thought itself is neutral to the position of good or bad, rather it is the
content of the thought that determined whether such a thought is good or bad. Otherwise, thought
would have an essence that determine it as good, and an essence that determine is as bad, etc. Since
there is no such individual essence, thought itself attached to the content (matter and reason) of
dhamadhatu, and according to such content, determine itself as good or bad thought.
I didn't say it existed inherently, I was pointing out that, that which is dependently arisen is not
inherent, and since everything is dependently arisen, nothing exists inherently.
Only the imaginary nature can be said to be not inherently exist as it is artificial constructed by mind,
but those of dependently arisen nature is inherent aspect of existence. The term 'nothing exists
inherently' is a gross generalisation which is only true in the ultimate sense in contrast to thusness
but not in the relative sence, since mere appearance and dependent origination still continue to arise
without ceasing and these are not based on imagination.
You actually were making sense up until you brought up the body and means again. I'm not sure
what you're suggesting the basis of the similarity between the two is, they certainly don't share the
same basis. The basis in yogācāra is mind (or consciousness) as you choose to see it, while the basis in
dzogchen is awakened wisdom.
The basis in yogacara refered to the body (consciousness), whereas awakened wisdom, primordial
wisdom, self-existing gnosis or whatever, in dzogchen these all refer to the body (consciousness), thus
it is not different in meaning to the yogacara. Yogacara will not rely on the body, neither is
dzogchen, as dzogchen rely on the means which is vidya, but it seems some dzogchenpa only know
the body and miss the crucial point of the means.