Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

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smcj
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Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Fri May 17, 2019 3:19 pm

Inspired by Nicholas Weeks' "Dharma Gems" thread I've decided to start a Karma Kagyu quotes thread with texts that relate to Shentong. Hopefully by quarantining myself I'll stop annoying DW Prasangika adherents.
----------
Shentong and Mahamudra:
Thrangu R. quoted in "When Clouds Part" p.131:
In that vein, Mathes (2008a, 375) reports Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's oral explanation of the difference between Shentong and Mahamudra as follows. During analysis, the adventitious stains and buddha nature are necessarily differentiated since buddha nature is empty of what does not belong to it (that is, it is shunting--"empty of other"). But when buddha nature is directly realized in Mahamudra, there is no longer any difference between it and the adventitious stains of seeming reality.
Brunnhölzl continues on his own:
Thus, in this context, one needs to keep in mind that since all phenomena of seeming reality are not really existent in the first place (and Dölpopa and Mahamudra agree on this), there is always only one ultimately real phenomenon to begin with, which is buddha nature or mind's natural luminosity. Consequently, in fact, there is only a single actual reality, and therefore any presentation or separation of two realities is necessarily of expedient meaning.
Last edited by smcj on Fri May 17, 2019 4:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Fri May 17, 2019 3:21 pm

HHK Mikyo Dorje in "When Clouds Part" p. 817:
Karmapa VIII wrote:Though the body, speech, and mind of buddhas are beyond the adventitious stains, the profound miracles of the body, speech, and mind of buddhas are displayed for sentient being, whose mind streams posses these adventitious stains. That certain [beings] to be guided see these miracles of the body, speech, and mind of the [buddhas] is by virtue of the power of both the tathagatas' compassion of blessing, emanating, and transforming the adventitious seeming [reality of sentient beings] through their having attained mastery over powerful ultimate reality,* and the tathagata hearts of those to be guided, whose mind streams are endowed with the tathagata heart. [Through this,] even ordinary beings are able to realize the miracles of the bhagavans, the indestructible vajra points.
I think this kind of stuff is fun.

*I added this comma. It seemed to help with the sentence.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Fri May 17, 2019 6:46 pm

Karmapa XIII
"In Praise of Dharmadhatu" p.171:
Karmapa XIII wrote:[Shentong] is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind,
Holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord.
As for its necessity, it is asserted that it is taught in order to
Relinquish any arising of fear of emptiness and to awaken those with indefinite disposition.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

smcj
Posts: 6406
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Fri May 17, 2019 7:06 pm

Karmapa VIII (The Lamp that Excellently Elucidates)
"When Clouds Part" p. 807:
Karmapa VIII wrote:Therefore, the dharmakaya is undefferentiable from all tathagatas who abide in the ten directions and three times. This undifferentiable wisdom together with its qualities, just as it is, is also present in those who are not free from the cocoon of the afflictions. Hence, all phenomena of samsara and nirvana abide as equality. You may wonder here, "What is equality?" It is an expression for ultimate reality--the tathagata heart, but it is the actualization of the state of personally experienced wisdom within the unsurpassable expanse of the tathagata heart that represents the meaning [saying,] "Unsurpassable completely perfect buddhas have gone to the heart of awakening in worldly realms."
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

smcj
Posts: 6406
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Fri May 17, 2019 8:49 pm

Shentong utilizes the vocabulary of 3 Natures just like Mind Only.

Imaginary Nature
Dependent Nature
Perfect Nature

However it utilizes them in a somewhat different way. The following is Khenpo Tsultrim discussing Perfect Nature in Shentong.

Khenpo Tsultrim "Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness" p.74:
The perfectly existent nature truly exists because it exists in a non-conceptual way. In the Cittamatra the perfectly existent nature is said to be mere emptiness, in the sense of freedom from the conceptual process of distinguishing outer perceived objects as different in substance to the inner perceiving mind. In the Shentong it is said to be the non-conceptual Wisdom mind itself. It is indeed empty of the conceptual process of distinguishing outer perceived objects as different in substance to the inner perceiving minds. It is also empty of the conceptualizing process that creates the appearance of a divided consciousness i.e. a stream of discrete moments of consciousness with perceiving and perceived aspects. It is free from any conceptualizing process and knows in a way that is completely foreign to the conceptual mind. It is completely unimaginable in fact. That is why it can be said to truly exist.
(underlining mine)
ibid p.75:
The perfectly existent nature is the ultimate absolute emptiness. It is the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind, non-arising, non-abiding, and non-perishing. It is primordially existent and endowed with qualities. It is empty in the sense that it is free from all the obscurations created by the conceptual mind. Therefore when the conceptual mind tries to grasp it, it finds nothing and so it experiences it as emptiness. Thus, it is empty to the conceptual mind, from its own point of view it is the Clear Light Nature of Mind together with al its qualities.
(underlining mine)
ibid p.78:
In Jamgon Kongtrul's Encyclopedia of Knowledge, he says that Rangtong is the view for when one is establishing certainty through listening, studying and reflecting. Shentong is the view for meditation practice.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 17, 2019 11:24 pm

I've never seen a point in being strictly rangtong or shentong, but these are good quotes. That Kongtrul quote is particularly interesting.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 18, 2019 12:32 am

There's something that always concerns me in such translations, which is the way the word 'exists' or 'truly exists' is used. 'Exist' means 'to be apart' - to be separate, to be 'this' as distinct from 'that'. Practically speaking 'what exists' refers to what in Chinese Buddhism is called 'the ten thousand things', and what can be generally designated 'the phenomenal realm'. What can be distinguished from 'what exists' is 'what is real'. And what is real in spiritual texts, is not 'something that exists', as it is not amongst phenomena, it is not 'this thing' as distinct from 'that thing'. It is transcendent, and 'existence' is what it is transcendent in respect of. (Although in Buddhism it is also never other to the the phenomenal domain, either, as form and emptiness are always conjoined, but the point remains.)

So in many of these quotations, 'truly exists' might be written as 'real' or 'actual', i.e. it might be expressed as 'perfectly real' or 'perfectly realised' - not as 'perfectly existent'. So 'perfectly real nature', not 'perfectly existent nature'. Nothing is 'perfectly existent' as 'what exists' is always a combination of existence and non-existence and always arises on the basis of dependent origination.

The issue might not be apparent in Sanskrit or Tibetan (and I know a little Sanskrit, but no Tibetan) as it's specific to current English, where there is equivocation between 'exists', 'reality' and 'being', all of which have overlapping meanings, but which aren't necessarily synonyms. So I'm not for one minute implying any criticism of the original texts or ideas, but the way they have been translated into current idiomatic English.

A note from western philosophical theology:
"Existence" refers to what is finite and fallen and cut of from its true being. Within the finite realm, issues of conflict between, for example, autonomy (Greek: 'autos' - self, 'nomos' - law) and heteronomy (Greek: 'heteros' - other, 'nomos' - law) abound (there are also conflicts between the formal/emotional and static/dynamic). Resolution of these conflicts lies in the essential realm (the Ground of Meaning/the Ground of Being) which humans are cut off from yet also dependent upon. Therefore existence is estrangement."
Take this as a footnote.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Sat May 18, 2019 2:34 am

Wayfarer wrote:So in many of these quotations, 'truly exists' might be written as 'real' or 'actual', i.e. it might be expressed as 'perfectly real' or 'perfectly realised' - not as 'perfectly existent'.
I offered the translator & teacher Shenpen Hookham "true", "authentic", "actual", and "non-fiction" as synonyms. She seemed to be ok with it.
So 'perfectly real nature', not 'perfectly existent nature'.
I'm of the opinion that what Nagarjuna was looking for was the core of a neutron star. It's solid quarks.
Nothing is 'perfectly existent' as 'what exists' is always a combination of existence and non-existence and always arises on the basis of dependent origination.
In the 3 Natures paradigm apparent phenomena is called the Dependent Nature. The Perfect Nature is nothing other than the Buddha Qualities (other-empty)/Shentong).
Resolution of these conflicts lies in the essential realm (the Ground of Meaning/the Ground of Being) which humans are cut off from yet also dependent upon."
My understanding of "The Precious Human Rebirth" teaching is that we are put on notice that we are not cut off from Ground of Being. We can experience it directly while in this human body.
Therefore existence is estrangement.
The Dependent Nature (appearances) fall short of Perfected Nature. Once the Perfected Nature is directly experienced, retroactively appearances can be seen as expressions of the Perfected Nature. See the Thrangu R. quote above regarding Mahamudra vs. Shentong views.
Take this as a footnote.
Will do.
******
Hey, I hope people that read this thread enjoy it. I'm not invested in how people choose to see things. But I do think that this option should be available to people that have the karmic propensity for it. And besides, I think it's fun sharing this stuff!
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 18, 2019 2:56 am

Hey I’m totally on board with it. I’ve got Shenpen’s book (although must admit it’s in my ‘to-read’ pile), but I’m definitely oriented towards the shengtong end of the spectrum. Those notes about ‘being/existence’ are a theme Ive been contemplating ever since I joined forums (9 years ago now).
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Sat May 18, 2019 3:05 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 2:56 am
Hey I’m totally on board with it. I’ve got Shenpen’s book (although must admit it’s in my ‘to-read’ pile), but I’m definitely oriented towards the shengtong end of the spectrum. Those notes about ‘being/existence’ are a theme Ive been contemplating ever since I joined forums (9 years ago now).
I told her I had a hard time reading it. In fact I never got through it all. It's above my reading level. She told me people were going to try to shoot down what she had to say, so she had to be thorough about it. That made me feel better.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 18, 2019 3:53 am

I think it was her PhD thesis. I got given a copy by my thesis supervisor when he cleared out his bookshelf before going overseas. I spent a little while thumbing through it but it's very technical, as PhD's usually are.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Sat May 18, 2019 10:42 am

While the cat’s away....
:tongue:
**********
But actually I originally intended this thread to be like the “Dharma Gems” thread, where Nicholas Weeks is effectively the only poster. But it’s totally cool that people want to respond.

It would be even better if they contributed more quotes from Karma Kagyu masters regarding Shentong. But please remember that it was Karmapa III, Rangjung Dorje, that formally established Shentong as the view. Earlier citations won’t have that vocabulary.

But looking back, I see I should have started this thread a long time ago...
:tongue:
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by dechenpa » Sun May 19, 2019 3:29 pm

smcj wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:42 am
While the cat’s away....
:tongue:
**********
It would be even better if they contributed more quotes from Karma Kagyu masters regarding Shentong. But please remember that it was Karmapa III, Rangjung Dorje, that formally established Shentong as the view. Earlier citations won’t have that vocabulary.
Rangjung Dorje never uses the term 'shentong', though most Kagyupas consider his works to express the shentong view. The term 'shentong' was popularized in the Karma Kagyu only later, by the 7th Karmapa and Karma Thrinleypa.

smcj
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Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by smcj » Sun May 19, 2019 5:51 pm

dechenpa wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 3:29 pm
smcj wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:42 am
While the cat’s away....
:tongue:
**********
It would be even better if they contributed more quotes from Karma Kagyu masters regarding Shentong. But please remember that it was Karmapa III, Rangjung Dorje, that formally established Shentong as the view. Earlier citations won’t have that vocabulary.
Rangjung Dorje never uses the term 'shentong', though most Kagyupas consider his works to express the shentong view.
Correct.
The term 'shentong' was popularized in the Karma Kagyu only later, by the 7th Karmapa and Karma Thrinleypa.
Evidently you know more about this than I do. Please feel free to post relevant quotes from Karma Kagyu masters. I’m not possessive of the thread.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

dechenpa
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:40 pm

Re: Karma Kagyu Shentong quotes

Post by dechenpa » Tue May 21, 2019 3:18 pm

From the Uttaratantra:
Nothing whatsoever to be removed,
Not the slightest thing to be added.
Truly look at truth, and truth is seen.
When seen, it is complete liberation.

The element is empty of adventitious stains
Which are characterized by their total emptiness,
But it is not empty of supreme qualities
Which are characterized by their inseparability.
It is the understanding of these verses as definitive meaning that constitutes the essence of the shentong view.

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