I hear what you are saying and I agree with you. I have found that the "features" dissolve into the recognition of reality. And when I look at the realizations and careers of individual masters, no one lineage rules the planet. Methods and whiz bang aside, this is something to take very seriously and examine why this is so. Tsongkhapa, Sakya Pandita and Longchenpa are said to be equals in realization. Each had an astonishing career. Look at what Gampopa and his students accomplished. And with regard to clean lineages, Tilopa, Naropa....Gampopa and on is very clear with no confusions. I think this makes that particular lineage kind of special. It is said this is the source of their power in realization. I think the Sakya lineage also has a clean Indian root like this, but I'm not well versed in Sakya. But I have an intuitive feeling that their blessing power is not received by many.Namdrol wrote:Yes, and the Sakyapas say that both the Kagyus and the Nyingmapas exaggerate their masters realizations, blah blah blah, and that the Samaya of Sakya lineages is the purest, blah blah blah...adinatha wrote:
Well, the counter of this among high Kagyu lamas is that the realization of Dzogchen masters is rather small compared to the realization and activities of the great Kagyu masters. There's always another side, and it's not universally accepted that Dzogchen is the highest or the equal of Mahamudra. Not so much because the teachings are better or worse, but because the samayas and the power of Kagyu lineages are supreme.
I base my understanding on what these teachings actually say. Not on gossip and competition.
So, having received the Mahāmudra teachings of both Kagyu (Karma and Drikung) and Sakya (Lamdre/Yogini) and also many Dzogchen teachings, I decided for myself that Dzogchen was best, not because someone told me it was best, but because there are too many special features of Dzogchen that are unique and cannot be found elsewhere.
Nevertheless, all of these Vajrayāna teachings are profound.
One point that I appreciate very very much in Nyingma practice is the direct connection to a rainbow body guru who will appear in your dreams. This is one "feature" that is truly amazing. Because direct contact with a true nirmanakaya is said to be a necessary condition to enlightenment pre-death. The Nyingthig rainbow body gurus are so so special. Their samaya to us and the power of their presence during our sadhana is everything.
In Kagyu circles, not all masters are created equally. Not only do you have to have the pure lineage of the Kagyu, but you have to find a very special master who can transfer the blessings. Such lineages within Kagyu are quite rare. It's not like you can go to any Kagyu teacher and get blessings. This, in my opinion, is why people who have not found an especially potent transmitter of blessings will resort to Dzogchen and with good reason feel that it is better. Those whose lineage is connected to a master like Garchen Rinpoche, Gelong Yeshe Rinpoche or Thrangu Rinpoche will have their minds blown in an initiation and never look back. In Kagyu ranks, it is taught that the preservation of blessings is of utmost importance and extreme care goes into not upsetting the perfect balance of interdependent conditions that keeps the blessing energy fresh and alive. In such a special lineage of blessings, the lineage is the nirmanakaya.
For me whether it is Nyingma or Kagyu, lineage and guru are all-important. I don't recognize a path of teachings or practice that can possibly go beyond this. The limit of accomplishment of the teacher is the limit of accomplishment of the student. There is no getting around that. Despite what tantras and sutras say, if the master has not actualized it, they don't mean much. When the master has accomplished them all, all the meanings of the tantras and sutras are known naturally without studying anything. This is the special feature of Vajrayana in general. Deep knowledge and scholarship is not a prerequisite.