conebeckham wrote: All the Tibetan traditions maintain lineages of practice from the Tantras, Tsongkhapafan. Your own tradition inherited these traditions from us, in fact.
for the most part, yes. We have specific oral instructions of Mahamudra within our own tradition that don't come from other traditions but our main Tantric practice of relying on Heruka Father and Mother does come from the Sakya and Nyingma traditions.
You misunderstand the positions of Mahasiddhas such as Maitripa, Saraha, Shavaripa, and others. Merely because they practiced various systems of Tantric practice does not support your assertion that a system of the two stages is necessary.
Well tell me how you can create an effect without a cause? Since the main cause of the Dharmakaya is meaning clear light and the main cause of the Sambhogakaya is the pure illusory body, and these are completion stage realisations, which in turn depend upon generation stage, how will enlightenment be magically achieved? I don't accept that we already have a Dharmakaya that we just haven't realised just as I don't accept that a sprout exists at the same time as its seed.
You should closely read the quotes from Kongtrul I provided, which address the various possible avenues toward realization. In particular:
Generally, everything up to the mahamudra is termed "mind path."
Common dzogchen is also included in this.
The class of exceptional esoteric instructions (MenNgakDe)
is said to be the "awareness path," and as such,
it is not definite that one must begin with calm abiding.
When the nature of naked awareness itself, without exaggeration or denial is revealed,
it is sufficient just to become accustomed to that.
However, if the true nature is not unerringly revealed,
then even the profound esoteric instructions will be difficult to assimilate.
When he says everything up to the mahamudra, he is not merely referring to the result of completion stage tantric practice. He is also talking about the Path Mahamudra of Gampopa and his followers. His point about Dzogchen, in particular, is used to illustrate his contention that "calm abiding" is not always necessary. Calm abiding, in this case, also refers to the Creation Stage of Yidam practice. He then makes a statement about the revelation of the nature of naked awareness.
I don't accept Kongtrul's assertion that tranquil abiding is not required. Tranquil abiding is required to generate any spontaneous realisation. Without a spontaneous realisation of bodhichitta, one is not even a bodhisattva, let alone a Tantric adept. As you can see, it's needed not just for generation stage meditation. If one doesn't penetrate the central channel with single pointed concentration, the winds cannot enter, abide and dissolve there and so completion stage realisations are impossible, thus it is impossible to create the path bodies that lead to resultant Buddhahood.
This revelation, to be specific, can be the Fourth Empowerment of Highest Yoga Tantra. It can also be NgoTro of the Path or Essence Mahamudra system, or Pointing Out, or Direct Introduction, or the Rigpai Tselwang of some Dzogchen systems. These instructions do not necessarily belong to the Two Stages, per se, though Kongtrul includes methods outside the two stages, even so-called "Hinayana methods," when he refers to avoiding, transforming, or resting....
Therefore, he is saying the Two Stages are not absolutely necessary. Dakpo Tashi Namgyal said the same thing, if you care to read him. Check out the Ganges Mahamudra Doha, as well.
There's a reason why there are four empowerments in HYT - they plant the seeds for the four bodies of a Buddha. Cultivating one seed, i.e., that planted by the fourth empowerment, is not sufficient. It shows a complete misunderstanding about the relationship between the four bodies of a Buddha as there is the union of the conventional and the ultimate - you cannot ignore the conventional, the form body development, or even the wisdom truth body development any more than a bird can fly with one wing. Just meditating on the conventional nature of the mind ('awareness'), as seems to be the case with Dzogchen, is also not going to lead anywhere - it doesn't eliminate the dualistic appearance that keeps us trapped in samsara.
I look forward to what you have to say about Hashang.
You'll have to wait a bit....