Conventional Truth in Nyingma

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Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by sangyey » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:19 pm

So, basically the Nyingma's will say that there is a impure appearance making of relative truth and a pure appearance making of relative truth or a mind that is in accordance with the way things are. In terms of a mind that is in accordance with the way things are or pure appearance of relative truth does the impermanent and suffering nature equate with emptiness in this context even though emptiness is a deeper understanding?

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by ngodrup » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:08 am

Not completely sure I understand the question.

But I think that the view you're trying to understand is this:
Since Emptiness is the fact, there is no ultimate suffering nature.
We can choose to establish the habit of what is called pure perception,
What we call conventional is just the habit of heavy material phenomena.

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by sangyey » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:33 am

I know in Mipham's classification in his Lion's Road That Proclaims Zhentong the classification is that of the conventional where there is an impure or incorrect perception and where there is a correct perception or the perception where the subject (meditator) is viewing the object emptiness. However, on the ultimate side, not too sure, but I think the empty nature of mind with its aspects is qualified as ultimate. But my question was that in terms of a correct mode of mind viewing the conventional where there is the subject (person) viewing on the object (emptiness) which is accordance with the way things are but how would the lesser types of wisdom's fit into this such as the impermanent and suffering nature of the conventional as they could also be termed in accordance with the way things are even though they sort of designate a lesser degree of understanding.

Sorry if this makes no sense. If so, please ignore :smile:

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by ngodrup » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:07 pm

I think I follow you.
Generally speaking there is only one wisdom.
Subject-object distinction dissolves. A pure cognizer
recognizes Emptiness as it is -- which includes everything
and every perspective simultaneously. Only conventionally
do we speak of multiple kinds of wisdom.

Mipham was Manjusri in person. You will need a guide to understand
his writing. Or, you can go back to his source texts, Longchenpa and
Rangzompa. Again, you will require a guide. Have you read Kyabje
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche?

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by muni » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:43 am

I am not sure at all this can help, but still regarding the "equate":

Due to see phenomena as solid and permament we have the habit of grasping. Knowing phenomena are impermanent in practice is already investigating in the Buddhas' so called ultimate meaning. Since the two truths are in fact one.

*Appearance and emptiness is inseparable, cannot be divided*.

Emptiness is not absence of phenomena but its very nature.

If this should not be so, things should be solid, existing on themselves and permament.
Then like Ngodrup said, subject-object dissolves, since clinging isn't. Moon in water.

All teachings are to subdue ego clinging, since from that further clinging goes on.

Teachings need practice, merely analitycal talking about is not enough and can even lead to grasping and so solidifying the teachings themselves. Then we are like the dog looking/biting the finger when we show him the moon. We need devotion and practice.
Absolute truth cannot talk about itself. And there is no division in low or high, this or that, so and so...

Buddha said all is empty like my brain.
Let’s make a selfie!
Having meditated on love and compassion, I forgot the difference between myself and others. Yogi Milarepa.

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by pema tsultrim » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:27 am

Hi, Sangyey!

I highly recommend the publication, Establishing Appearances as Divine. It is a short classic treatise by the earliest of the Three Omniscient Ones of the Nyingmapa, Romgzom Mahapandita (the other two being Longchenpa and Mipham). It deals specifically with the Nyingma view and while it is quite dense, it is short, very interesting, and has a very unique approach to the subject matter. The introduction by the translator, Heidi Koppl, is incredibly helpful in providing the cultural context for the work and author as well as clarifying and expanding on the view and methods Rongzom uses to prove his points. Even though it is only about 100 pages long, I strongly advise against trying to read the book in a day or even a few days. I think it's worth sitting with a notepad and pen and hand and working through it section by section over a period of weeks, so it really sinks in.

In short, Rongzom uses a dialectical, philosophical debate model in the style of the Indian logic masters, which was very popular in his time, the 11th century when the Sarma schools were arising and the authenticity of the Nyingma school and its approach was under attack. He uses this model, interestingly, not only to defend the Nyingma view but also to establish the superiority of Mantra over Sutra in general and Madhyamaka in particular, in an outspoken and direct way. The Sarma schools, by contrast, tend to equate the View of Tantra with the Madhyamaka.

In specific relation to your question about the Nyingma view of relative truth, I personally found this the most interesting part of the text: According to my reading of the text (I've discussed this with my teacher who has taught this text in a large Nyingma shedra in India, so while my understanding is very basic I think it's generally correct), Rongzom asserts that the Nyingma view (according to the Mahayoga) of relative truth is that appearances (the relative) are in fact fully divine (hence the title of the book), and that the Nyingma yogi views all ordinary appearances as such. Rongzom distinguishes this from the Sarma schools that tend to understand the visualizations performed in such practices as Generation Stage/Deity Yoga practice as a skillful means to eventually reveal and accomplish the body of the deity. The Nyingma view is to recognize that such visualizations (and as I understand it, ordinary objects of our perceptions throughout waking life) are themselves pure, and are then presumably the actual realization of the deity, even on the relative level. He uses some interesting logical proofs to establish this. If anyone else has studied this text and can either correct me or validate my interpretation, I'd be happy to hear it.

Mipham, Longchenpa and other major Nyingmapa masters stated that they were heavily influenced by Rongzom and indeed shared his viewpoint.

Hope this is a lead that you can follow.

Warm Regards,


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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by heart » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:59 am


Yes, this is an precious translation by Heidi. She told me she wanted to make a yogi version of that book but I guess she is to busy. Highly recommended.
The Mahayoga view is that everything is inseparable purity and equality. Tsele Natsok Rangdrol put it like this:

"The practitioners of mahayoga consider sights and sounds, the mandala of the peaceful and wrathful ones and so forth to be superficial truth. Being beyond arising, dwelling, and ceasing is the ultimate truth. The nonduality [of these two aspects] is the 'indivisible two truths.'

And in Dzogchen, the Pearl Garland Tantra;

"All these variegated appearances,
Like perceiving a rope to be a snake,
By perceiving them to be what they are not
Both the outer world and inner inhabitants were formed.
When examined, it is simply a rope;
The world and beings are primordially empty.
Ultimately, they are superficial forms.
The natures of the two truths
Are samadhi and mere worldly convention.
Ultimately, there is no connection,
A s everything is liberated in its essence --
The space of emptiness."

"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: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:32 am


Lots of good stuff happening in the Nyingma and Dzogchen forums right now.

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Re: Conventional Truth in Nyingma

Post by username » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:43 pm

The Nyingma are much more diverse than other schools & so on many matters you can not say this is their definitive view on so and so. Longchenpa brought Dzogchen closer to Nagarjuna/Chandra terminology as the Sarma schools had achieved a lot of power in Tibet. Then later Jigmed Lingpa brought Nyingma studies closer to Tsong-Khapa though still refuting aspects. However about a century ago Mipham's oppositional stands against the Gelug started to become the dominant texts in many Nyingma monasteries. However Dodrupchen centers still teach the Jigmed Lingpa system as well as his LNN lineage. The so called Seven Big monasteries of Nyingma have their own mix of preferences in their shedras' syllabuses but Mipham is a big influence, among them Dzogchen monastery is still close to the Gelug view though which had become dominant in Nyingma centers in the 19th century.

On the main question Jigmed Lingpa & Mipham each had their own systems. However all Nyingmas agree this is much better explained within Dzogchen view about how subjectivity originated & how it functions. It is very good to contemplate on such matters on one's own too. BTW after Rongzom & Longchenpa the third so called "Omniscient One" was not Mipham but Jigmed Lingpa. If you want to read about Mipham's views, another good book is the one below: Beacon of Certainty. I read quickly, but several years ago it took me a couple of months to get what he was really saying so I would say needs taking time: ... 0861711572" onclick=";return false;
Below is the PhD thesis versions which were polished up later as the above book, original: ... actice.PDF" onclick=";return false;
Cleaned up by him as electronic document: ... -Certainty" onclick=";return false;
The published book has a foreword by Penor Rinpoche too.
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes

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