Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

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Astus
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:46 pmThe introduction is not in the analysis.
...
The introduction is not in the verbal instruction.
Right, but the question is if the analysis/instruction used to get to the introduction/insight can also match between Sutrayana and Vajrayana, not just the wisdom/gnosis arrived at? For that I gave the example of looking at the mind/thoughts in terms of the three times, as that is a frame of reference used in both systems.

'The past mind has ceased, is destroyed ; the future mind is not born, has not arisen; the present mind cannot be identified. When you analyze in that way, you will see that all phenomena are like that. Nothing has reality; everything is just a creation of the mind. Therefore, you will understand that arising. remaining. and ceasing have no reality at all.'
(A Record of Mahamudra Instructions by Pema Karpo, in Mahamudra and Related Instructions, p 146-147)

'The past is already past—
Don't try to regain it.
The present does not stay—
Don't try to touch it from moment to moment.
The future is not come—
Don't think about it beforehand.
With the three times non-existent,
Mind is the same as Buddha-mind.'

(Layman Pang, in "A Man of Zen", p 85)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:42 pm
Right, but the question is if the analysis/instruction used to get to the introduction/insight can also match between Sutrayana and Vajrayana, not just the wisdom/gnosis arrived at? For that I gave the example of looking at the mind/thoughts in terms of the three times, as that is a frame of reference used in both systems.
I understand the point you are trying to make, which is the same point you have been trying to make for years: one can learn Dharma from books without a master.

The difference here between sūtra and tantra is again, in the former case it is purely an intellectual analysis, in the later case, based on empowerment.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

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Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:56 pmI understand the point you are trying to make, which is the same point you have been trying to make for years: one can learn Dharma from books without a master.
It isn't, as wrote before, and before. It is something others keep bringing up.
The difference here between sūtra and tantra is again, in the former case it is purely an intellectual analysis, in the later case, based on empowerment.
Do you mean the latter is intellectual analysis based on empowerment?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

PeterC wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:14 am
tobes wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:59 am I've been working my way through this of late:

Mind Seeing Mind: Mahamudra and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) Hardcover – October 29, 2019
by Roger R. Jackson (Author)


One thing that is striking is how many shifts of meaning "Mahamudra' takes, depending on which master is writing etc. I'm a little wary of Malcolm's Sapan inspired view - not that I think it is wrong, but only that it is a very definite position in what is rather an open ended, even eclectic field.
That it rubs against Gampopa is very unsurprisingly, and my point is not x is right and y is wrong, only that there is definitely room for different views on this, and even ones which are contrary with each other.

These are often upaya issues, so context is everything.
I think it's important to distinguish, at a minimum, between "mahamudra" in the context of the two stages and "mahamudra" as a specific Kagyu training curriculum. If I understand Sapan correctly he argued, if you strip away the polemics, for the traditional understanding of the former; and he criticized the idea that there could be the practice/realization of it without empowerment. It's difficult to disagree with that position if you are a practitioner of tantra. To me the key question regarding his criticism of the Kagyu curriculum is - was he correctly representing what he criticized? As I've said a few times above, I don't believe the existence of a "sutra mahamudra" path that involves no empowerment of any kind, since (a) everyone practicing these instructions beyond common preliminaries and shamatha receives empowerment anyway, and (b) I personally view the pointing-out as an extremely unelaborate empowerment. Opinions may differ on (b). If you accept one or both of those points then you conclude that both Sapan can be correct and the Kagyu curriculum can be valid. But what we call "Kagyu" covers a broad spectrum. All the presentations of Kagyu mahamudra I've heard are from lineages with a heavy Nyingma influence who would certainly support my two points above. Indeed in the main tradition I practice you're doing self-visualization as the deity in the preliminaries. But the risk with categorical statements is that there's an exception of which you're not aware, and Kagyu mahamudra literature is vast.
Yes, but the point that Astus seems to be making is that in some contexts "mahamudra" is taken to be synonymous with the fruit of Madhyamaka analysis where the object of negation is mind itself. For this reason, Mahamudra and Madhyamaka are (sometimes) taught to be equivalent not merely in view, but also in technique/method.

It's not just about literature, it's about the particular context of particular disciples and particular masters. My main Karma Kagyu master rarely gave empowerments, and very much taught a sutra style mahamudra. But, of course some students did ngondro, some three year tantric retreats etc.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

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tobes wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:46 am Yes, but the point that Astus seems to be making is that in some contexts "mahamudra" is taken to be synonymous with the fruit of Madhyamaka analysis where the object of negation is mind itself. For this reason, Mahamudra and Madhyamaka are (sometimes) taught to be equivalent not merely in view, but also in technique/method.
I could see how that opinion would arise, given the various famous quotations equating the result of madhyamaka, mahamudra and Dzogchen. Those are very misleading because even if one equates the meaning or the result at some level, you could be talking about very different paths. And there are lineages that teach bits of each in parallel.
It's not just about literature, it's about the particular context of particular disciples and particular masters. My main Karma Kagyu master rarely gave empowerments, and very much taught a sutra style mahamudra. But, of course some students did ngondro, some three year tantric retreats etc.
None of my kagyu teachers were karma kagyu so I’m not familiar with how it’s presented in that school. Would they however do some form of pointing out or introduction in the course of the teachings?
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

PeterC wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:08 am
tobes wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:46 am Yes, but the point that Astus seems to be making is that in some contexts "mahamudra" is taken to be synonymous with the fruit of Madhyamaka analysis where the object of negation is mind itself. For this reason, Mahamudra and Madhyamaka are (sometimes) taught to be equivalent not merely in view, but also in technique/method.
I could see how that opinion would arise, given the various famous quotations equating the result of madhyamaka, mahamudra and Dzogchen. Those are very misleading because even if one equates the meaning or the result at some level, you could be talking about very different paths. And there are lineages that teach bits of each in parallel.
It's not just about literature, it's about the particular context of particular disciples and particular masters. My main Karma Kagyu master rarely gave empowerments, and very much taught a sutra style mahamudra. But, of course some students did ngondro, some three year tantric retreats etc.
None of my kagyu teachers were karma kagyu so I’m not familiar with how it’s presented in that school. Would they however do some form of pointing out or introduction in the course of the teachings?
I can only speak for myself, where everything is rolled into some unholy mess of unrealisation....and to be clear, my practice has been across different traditions.

But I would describe the Karma Kagyu mahamudra process as: after many years of swimming freely in the ocean, you realise that you were a very conceited idiot for not appreciating how this freedom was somehow or other - by stealth, by osmosis - bequeathed to you without you even really noticing.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by PeterC »

tobes wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:46 am I can only speak for myself, where everything is rolled into some unholy mess of unrealisation....and to be clear, my practice has been across different traditions.

But I would describe the Karma Kagyu mahamudra process as: after many years of swimming freely in the ocean, you realise that you were a very conceited idiot for not appreciating how this freedom was somehow or other - by stealth, by osmosis - bequeathed to you without you even really noticing.
I guess there’s an open question around whether the pointing out is pointing out something the student has already realized. But in any case the student isn’t given something exogenous that they previously didn’t possess, so maybe that question doesn’t really matter.

It is vaguely absurd having a discussion about whether empowerment is unnecessary in the lineage of Marpa, milarepa, the karmapas, jamgon Kongtrul and people like that.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

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Matt J wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:35 pm My question is whether anyone knows of any Kagyu lamas who teach complete, unrestricted, sutra Mahamudra to non-initiates (people who have not received any tantric empowerments). Not in theory, but in actual practice.
I can only say: I think it would not be an inappropriate question to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche if somebody, for example this nice user Astus, asked him that.
And because I am convinced of it, I would help with the contact in Berlin if I could and I also would make contact to a Lama, a "lower" Lama belonging to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. If I could do that, maybe make a Skype contact possible. Skype Lung . ( Just at the moment they are stuck in India....)

But I cannot find out if Rinpoche would theoretically accept such a follower. I was considering to do the step, but decided again for tantra practise.
And I know no other person who would be interested in that.
Last edited by White Sakura on Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:24 pm
Well, you need to read what Kongtrul says on the issue. As I pointed out, I have received Mahamudra teachings in the Karma Kagyu tradition.
Great to hear about your Kagyu teachings. Which Kagyu Lineage and which masters please?
But just saying, I have the right to abide by the opinions of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and not of Kongtrul Rinpoche.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Astus wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:37 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:56 pmI understand the point you are trying to make, which is the same point you have been trying to make for years: one can learn Dharma from books without a master.
It isn't, as wrote before, and before. It is something others keep bringing up.
Astus, they think you have no contact to a master, because you do not come up with names. The poor people are totally nervous because of that, and can´t sleep anymore, until you give them names. ;)
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:15 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:24 pm
Well, you need to read what Kongtrul says on the issue. As I pointed out, I have received Mahamudra teachings in the Karma Kagyu tradition.
Great to hear about your Kagyu teachings. Which Kagyu Lineage and which masters please?
But just saying, I have the right to abide by the opinions of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and not of Kongtrul Rinpoche.
That that mentioned above.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:21 am
Astus wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:37 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:56 pmI understand the point you are trying to make, which is the same point you have been trying to make for years: one can learn Dharma from books without a master.
It isn't, as wrote before, and before. It is something others keep bringing up.
Astus, they think you have no contact to a master, because you do not come up with names. The poor people are totally nervous because of that, and can´t sleep anymore, until you give them names. ;)
Astute freely admitted above he has not received any Vajrayana teaching, nor direct introduction.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:53 am
White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:15 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:24 pm
Well, you need to read what Kongtrul says on the issue. As I pointed out, I have received Mahamudra teachings in the Karma Kagyu tradition.
Great to hear about your Kagyu teachings. Which Kagyu Lineage and which masters please?
But just saying, I have the right to abide by the opinions of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and not of Kongtrul Rinpoche.
That that mentioned above.
can´t find. :(
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:55 am
White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:21 am
Astus wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:37 pm

It isn't, as wrote before, and before. It is something others keep bringing up.
Astus, they think you have no contact to a master, because you do not come up with names. The poor people are totally nervous because of that, and can´t sleep anymore, until you give them names. ;)
Astute freely admitted above he has not received any Vajrayana teaching, nor direct introduction.
can´t find either :(
I don´t like your dispute THAT much, thats why I skiped some posts. He helpes me. Maybe, not sure, but maybe I can make Skype contact to Kagyu Lamas possible for you, Astus. If you do not want that, I also will be irritated. But nevertheless I will appreaciate your citations and links. And I can still read what you say to sutra and Mahayana.
Malcom, not everything in Europe is so totally easy. Everything full of Ole Nydahl centers, and often nothing else. Same in the city were my son lives. And some people don´t want that Diamontway. I am lucky, live in Berlin. :D
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:46 pm
'Rest in a state of clarity and naturalness. Rest relaxed, without tightness. Do not examine or analyze good and bad. Do not have doubts about what is or isn't. When thoughts appear, do not follow after their numerous appearances. Rest completely, like a sheaf of hay that has had its string cut. Rest. relaxed, in natural consciousness. Past thoughts have ceased, the future ones have not arisen. In this relaxed in-between state of the present, it's taught:
That mind is no mind ; the mind's nature is luminosity.
Just this mind alone, which is completely empty, clear, aware, and lucid, is what is called the perfection of wisdom, luminosity, mahamudra, dzokchen, and dharmakaya.'

(Thr Unrivaled Instructions of Shang Rinpoche, in Mahamudra and Related Instructions, p 77)
The introduction is not in the verbal instruction.
So difficult. If not examining good or bad then why to deem it "good" to have transmissions by a Guru and deem it "bad" not to have empowerments?
Same thing with this "radical Dzogchen" practioners in Germany. Who "need no master". They argue with that.
And also, you can just do it. Some people can. Nobody can force them to be unrelaxed or run after their thought that come up....
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:32 pm
Astus wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:56 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:47 am Without empowerment, a guru is just a common Mahāyāna guru, there is no guru yoga in common Mahāyāna.. Guru Yoga is method which strictly belongs to Highest Yoga Tantra. So no, it is not an acceptable distinction. Guru Yoga is also connected with the so-called subtle body, and is not merely a practice of devotion, as is commonly misunderstood.
I did not mean the guru yoga as part of sutra but as part of Vajrayana. The distiction I asked about was regarding the difference of methods getting to the point of being capable of performing vipasyana.
There are, within, Vajrayāna, two methods of giving rise to nondual gnosis: the first is the practice of the two stages; the second is guru yoga. Not that it really matters, but Sakya Pandita also endorses these two means.

Vipaśyanā, in Vajrayāna is not a result of intellectual analysis, it is rather a product of integrating the experience of the example gnosis or the genuine gnosis induced during empowerment, depending on the practitioner. For example, Naropa likens the experience of the example gnosis to the first bhumi, and while this experience is not necessarily the first bhumi, it can be a genuine gnosis in some persons of higher capacity. When it comes to "direct introduction" or so-called pointing out, the principle is roughly the same.

The difference between the two stages and guru yoga is that one is using the power of devotion (mos gus gyi rtsal) to recapitulate the experience of the introduction, where as the former uses the more gradual process of working with this experience in the context of the two stages.

For the latter, having recognized what was introduced, the nature of the mind, one rests in that state.

These two methods, thw two stages and guru yoga, are more effective for giving rise to vipaśyanā because there is no intellectual analysis involved. It is based on a direct perception, no matter how fleeting, not inferred through reasoning and analysis.

Virtually all schools use a combination of guru yoga and the two stages combined into a single practice, for example Five-fold Mahāmudra of Drikung, Naro Khacho of Sakya, and so on. Sort of hedging bets.

Guru yoga in all Tibetan Buddhist schools is regarded as the supreme path to awakening, bar none. Because Kagyu Mahāmudra and Dzogchen are both paths of self-liberation (grol lam), rather than paths of transformation (sgyur lam), guru yoga is the principle path, especially in Dzogchen teachings. The principle difference between Kagyu Mahāmudra and Dzogchen, as Ringu Tulku personally confirmed for me, is that the former lacks tögal. But in the Karma Kagyu and Drukpa Kagyu school, it is quite common for practitioners to spend a long time practicing Mahāmudra, and then eventually embark on practicing tögal, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso, Thrangu RInpoche, etc., are all examples of masters who teach students using this progression. As I understand things in Drikung, having long association with Nangchen Drikungpas such as Gyalpo Rinpoche and Ontul Rinpoche, who are both important gurus of mine who specialize in Yangzab, people other than lineage heads usually choose one track or other other.
found that. :jumping:
It makes my live a great deal easier, in case Ringu Tulku is inquiering after my son, as he usually does. And in case this young man manages to come here.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by PeterC »

White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:15 am But just saying, I have the right to abide by the opinions of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and not of Kongtrul Rinpoche.
That’s not something Ringu Tulku would ever say
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:23 am
White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:15 am But just saying, I have the right to abide by the opinions of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and not of Kongtrul Rinpoche.
That’s not something Ringu Tulku would ever say
Yup.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by conebeckham »

I don't think it is out of line to say, in fact, that Ringu Tulku would be horrified (or perhaps just amused) to be told his view was held up above Kongtrul's.


Dzogchen Ponlop Rinopche's quote, earlier, is a very good way to talk about "sutra mahamdura"--there is a "sprinkle of vajra" there. Frankly, most public presentations of Mahamudra align more closely with the "sutra mahamudra pedagogy"--but some teachers will drop "Essence Mahamudra" on you in that context, Again, 99.9% will not "get it."

I've had several masters give NgoTro, direct introduction, pointing out. In many contexts. I can only echo someone's earlier comments about Devotion. Devotion to one's master, uncontrived devotion, is a key. Really good Samatha can also be conducive, and instances of strong "Compassion" are another avenue toward receiving the instructions. Context and setting matter.

Books are nice, but they do not convey the direct experience. there is just no way around it.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:21 amAstus, they think you have no contact to a master, because you do not come up with names.
You're very right that most Karma Kagyü groups are affiliated with Trinley Thaye Dorje in Europe. Actually, of the three groups (one being Diamond Way, obviously) in Hungary, all are. But that's not the reason I don't really visit them (like for instance last September Nydahl gave Mahamudra teachings in Budapest, and while I was a little tempted to go, eventually didn't, because, well, it's him). Although I am quite fond of Thrangu Rinpoche, it was only once, and even that just online, that I heard him teach. The Kagyupa teachers I had met and received teachings from were from the Taklung (Phakchok Rinpoche), the Drikung (Chetsang Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Drupon Konchok Jigmet), and from the Drukpa (a disciple of Adeu Rinpoche) lineages. But all this, in my opinion, is totally irrelevant for the topic.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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