Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:21 pm

andrew108, deepbluehum: thank you! I've been confused by the terminology used in books, but I will let that go.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:37 am

I should also apologize. Much of my questioning could have been answered by carefully re-reading Clarifying The Natural State. For example, in describing lesser one-pointedness, Dakpo Tashi Namgyal has this to say (pp. 80):

During the ensuing perceptions, you perceive them with a sense of delight, but for the most part they are a solid reality.

During the ensuing certainty, whenever you embrace it with a mindful presence, you have an experience of aware emptiness, but it is accompanied by the attitude of thinking, "This is empty! This is a mental experience!"


In other words, it's all part of the process.

On the other hand, some things are still confusing: before receiving the initial pointing out, he says one should have the certainty of experience that thoughts are an aware emptiness (pp. 33) and that appearances are a perceived emptiness (pp. 34); meanwhile, in the description of greater one-pointedness (pp. 81), he says one may have the experience that thoughts are an aware emptiness and appearances are a perceived emptiness.

In any case, no matter. It's clear now what to do until I have a proper teacher.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
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One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby underthetree » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:53 am

Out of interest, did you follow ChNNR's last retreat? If so, you received direct introduction. I would suggest downloading the Guruyoga book here: http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=455. Then you'd have a complete practice to be getting on with. Having spent quite a bit of fruitful time trying to extrapolate methods etc from books for which I didn't have transmission or lung, I can report that the difference is immense.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:27 pm

underthetree wrote:Out of interest, did you follow ChNNR's last retreat? If so, you received direct introduction.


Yes, but it would seem I was too dense to have noticed anything during it :). More obscuration clearing for me! (Also, an admission: I only tuned in for a few of the sessions, including the D.I. I had trouble following a lot of it, and since the timing was very inconvenient, I stopped attending. :oops:)

I would suggest downloading the Guruyoga book here: http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=455. Then you'd have a complete practice to be getting on with. Having spent quite a bit of fruitful time trying to extrapolate methods etc from books for which I didn't have transmission or lung, I can report that the difference is immense.


Thank you, I may do that. Right now it seems I'm more on track to practice Mahamudra, and I may want to avoid mixing up my instructions. Should I practice this anyway?
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby underthetree » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:28 pm

monktastic wrote:Should I practice this anyway?


Well, it works.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:40 pm

monktastic wrote:Rigpa, "ordinary mind," and "the natural state" are all called "non-dual", and are sometimes used interchangeably. But rigpa is legitimately non-dual in the sense that authentic recognition of it precludes the experience of any form of duality. The same cannot be said of "the natural state," where one is simply allowing dualities to subside by not grasping them. That's why I've been so utterly confused. The meaning of "non-dual" in those cases is very different.


In the unlikely event that anyone else was as confused as I was about the above, I'd like to mention that from reading more Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, it's a little more clear. The "nondual" in "nondual awareness" when used for baby rigpa refers primarily to the mode of recognition of awareness itself:

Unless we look into the nature of mind we will never recognize it. But this is true only in the beginning. Once you grow more familiar with it, there is no need to look here or there, or to do anything. Recognition happens spontaneously because of being used to recognizing, to some extent. When there is a subject and object in the recognition, this is none other than dualistic mind.


This is similar to the usage of "self-aware" in Dakpo Tashi Namgyal's "self-aware presence of mind." This phrasing is less difficult for me, since it is distinct from the description of rigpa as non-dual. Gradually, such non-dual awareness does lead to non-dual perception, but that's not until much later (the completion of the yoga of one-pointedness).

Oh, also, there's this amazing little quote from Lama Gendun Rinpoche's "Heart Advice":

The crucial difference between fruitless states of meditation and true meditation is the presence of this awake and relaxed self-awareness of the mind, because only in this state of recollection is it possible for our mind to change over from mere mental calm to intuitive insight into its own true nature.


Indeed it is crucial, and I'm glad I've resolved it for myself. Thanks for all the help! :smile: (And in particular, underthetree, thank you for the "relax" guidance. It has really revamped my practice.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
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One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:19 pm

I don't know if anyone still reads the Mahamudra forum, given that the last posting was in November :)

I have a question which probably needn't be exposed to the whole forum, and I didn't want to make a whole separate thread for it. If anyone here feels knowledgable about the development of rigpa, recognition of thamal gyi shepa, etc., and feels comfortable discussing it, please PM me. It's not exactly practice-related, but it does require me sharing some personal information. In some sense it is more appropriate as a student-teacher question, but not entirely.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:08 pm

monktastic wrote:Appearances seem to be undefinable, transient, self-liberating "happenings" that appear to this awareness, as opposed to being made of it. Because it still feels like awareness is apprehending appearances, this is dualistic, and as such cannot be a recognition of rigpa. I don't conceive of awareness as a characterizable thing, but it feels like a subject of experience. Does this duality need to collapse before it can be said that one is practicing in the natural state? In other words, must one first have a direct experience that phenomena are manifestations of rigpa and thus indistinct from it? In some readings of texts, it seems like the answer is yes, and in others, maybe not.


Having had the good fortune to spend time with teachers and Rinpoches in the mean time, I would go back and answer myself something like this:

There are degrees of recognizing the nature of mind. If the words used to describe the experience in texts (luminous, unborn, empty, cognizant) so clearly ring a bell for you, then that is a good sign. If other words (absence of subject-object duality) do not, perhaps they are describing a deeper recognition that will come with time. It's not that you need this full recognition right from the start. Even the words "rigpa," "thamal gyi shepa," "natural state" are sometimes used in a broad sense. A Rinpoche may describe rigpa as a kind of "knower", making it seem like a subject of experience; or as a "space of awareness" in which experience happens, making it still sound dualistic. These merely indicate various analogies along the path; they are partial descriptions of the nature of mind.

If these words seem foreign to you -- if you have no idea what might be indicated by a luminous, cognizant, indestructible, identity-less, ineffable space of mind -- then perhaps it is not useful to pursue the "proper" Dzogchen or Mahamudra practices yet. Otherwise, maybe it's okay to drop all that fear and carry on with some confidence. Follow the beacon; track down the scent.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:39 pm

Tsoknyi Rinpoche (among other teachers) say that one's mere clarity [cognizance] which registers whether there is stillness or movement [of mind, etc.] is referred to as rig pa. However it isn't rigpa in the sense of rang byung rig pa which arises as knowledge of primordial wisdom [ye shes], that is spoken of in Dzogpa Chenpo.

The former is the mere clarity of mind (encountered in śamatha etc.), Dudjom Lingpa refers to clarity as the 'conventional nature of mind' (as opposed to the true nature of mind i.e. sems nyid). The latter results from recognizing the nature of mind [sems nyid]. The latter rigpa is the true meditation, Tsoknyi Rinpoche goes on to say that we may meditate for an hour and only glimpse our nature (which is the actual meditation) for 3 or 4 seconds. The more we practice the more frequent those flashes or instances will become, the point is to familiarize with that nature and allow those moments to become prolonged.

Jean-Luc Achard says that in this sense, our rigpa is (at first) an impermanent occurrence which fluctuates while on the path. When we no longer fluctuate back and forth between rigpa and mind we are Buddhas.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:02 pm

That reminds me: I would also strongly caution myself not to take too seriously the advice of people who are not teachers.

This is not a dig at you, Kyle; it is probably just my own constitution that makes it such that my practice is typically not helped by such posts -- which is the key thing for me, after all. Whereas a binary model of rigpa (practice) may help some students, my teacher has made it abundantly clear that this is not helpful for others.

Edit: and, likewise, I should have made it more clear that the response I gave in my previous post is meant for the particular situation I was in. I hope nobody else will consider it advice from me to them.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:11 am

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Dudjom Lingpa and Jean-Luc Achard are reputable sources. But your scrutiny is both understandable and warranted so no worries.

For the sake of being clear though, that wasn't advocating for a binary model. The expression of rigpa as mere clarity is simply the mind, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche refers to it as 'rigpa mistaken as illusory mind'. The authentic rigpa that the praxis of Dzogchen is based on is the knowledge of our nature, which is accessed through recognition of the mind's nature. Clarity alone lacks discernment and can't differentiate mind and wisdom, but it's a suitable basis for one's initial practice (and a necessary one for most).
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby alpha » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:27 am

asunthatneversets wrote:Tsoknyi Rinpoche (among other teachers) say that one's mere clarity [cognizance] which registers whether there is stillness or movement [of mind, etc.] is referred to as rig pa. However it isn't rigpa in the sense of rang byung rig pa which arises as knowledge of primordial wisdom [ye shes], that is spoken of in Dzogpa Chenpo.

The former is the mere clarity of mind (encountered in śamatha etc.), Dudjom Lingpa refers to clarity as the 'conventional nature of mind' (as opposed to the true nature of mind i.e. sems nyid). The latter results from recognizing the nature of mind [sems nyid]. The latter rigpa is the true meditation, Tsoknyi Rinpoche goes on to say that we may meditate for an hour and only glimpse our nature (which is the actual meditation) for 3 or 4 seconds. The more we practice the more frequent those flashes or instances will become, the point is to familiarize with that nature and allow those moments to become prolonged.

Jean-Luc Achard says that in this sense, our rigpa is (at first) an impermanent occurrence which fluctuates while on the path. When we no longer fluctuate back and forth between rigpa and mind we are Buddhas.


This confused me a great deal, the fact that various teachers(i.e...the brothers) seemed to talk about different rigpa's from the one introduced say by CNNr.
But once i've discovered that there are courser levels of rigpa as opposed to the authentic state of rigpa everything became a bit more clear.
I think it would be of enormous help for the beginner if all these notions of rigpa would be clarified from the very beginning.Or some kind of beginners guide to the various levels of rigpa.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby Paul » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:03 am

monktastic wrote:That reminds me: I would also strongly caution myself not to take too seriously the advice of people who are not teachers.

This is not a dig at you, Kyle; it is probably just my own constitution that makes it such that my practice is typically not helped by such posts -- which is the key thing for me, after all. Whereas a binary model of rigpa (practice) may help some students, my teacher has made it abundantly clear that this is not helpful for others.

Edit: and, likewise, I should have made it more clear that the response I gave in my previous post is meant for the particular situation I was in. I hope nobody else will consider it advice from me to them.


Personally I have found some kind of instructions very useful and some very confusing. As an example, some that specifically differentiate real and not not-real rigpa only snag my tendency to doubt things, triggers mental checking and worrying and so drags me firmly into dualistic mind. But I have been given instructions that bypass that completely - instructions that might not work at all for someone with a different personality. So I would venture that some instructions are not suitable for everyone - and that's something only a proper teacher can overcome.
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The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:09 am

asunthatneversets wrote:Tsoknyi Rinpoche (among other teachers) say that one's mere clarity [cognizance] which registers whether there is stillness or movement [of mind, etc.] is referred to as rig pa. However it isn't rigpa in the sense of rang byung rig pa which arises as knowledge of primordial wisdom [ye shes], that is spoken of in Dzogpa Chenpo.


As it happens, Tsoknyi Rinpoche is one of the Rinpoches I had the good fortune (i.e., made the strong effort) to meet and do a short retreat with. What you say is clear from TUR and all his sons, I think. A succinct description from TUR:

Being able to notice its thought-occurrence and stillness doesn’t mean one knows the real nature of this mind. It is simply the ability to detect when there are thoughts and when there is not the presence and absence of thought. This is called ‘knowing the character of the mind’. It is not knowing buddha nature. Sometimes your attention keeps still and sometimes it moves around. As long as you merely keep an eye on whether there is thinking or stillness and never go beyond this exercise, you will not reach enlightenment.

The teacher will then give the next instruction, saying, “Now, don’t just notice whether there is stillness or thought occurrence. When there is thinking, look into the thinker. When there is stillness, look into what feels the stillness.”

The disciple will return entirely bewildered and say, “When I look into what feels the stillness, I don’t find anything whatsoever. When the thinking occurs and I look into what thinks, I don’t find any ‘thing’ either. Not only that, but both the thinking and the feeling of stillness disappear. Now what am I supposed to do? Before, I could take charge of something. I could identify the thinking and the stillness. But it’s not like that anymore. When I look into what thinks, the thinker vanishes. When I look into what is still, that’s also gone. I’m at a complete loss. I have lost both the thinker and that which feels still.”

The teacher will reply, “No, you are not at all at a complete loss. Now you have arrived at Mahamudra, at the nature of mind. You need to train in this for months and years. Before, you were only concerned with the manifestation, not with the nature. Now the manifestation has vanished. What is left is the nature itself.” That is the traditional way of pointing out Mahamudra.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
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One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby In the bone yard » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:32 am

The terms we are using here are qualities of the 'Ultimate Sphere' (Rigpa, karma traces, and the wisdoms of Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya).
The 4 Visions of Dzogchen indicate the level of realization of Rigpa on the Path.
The goal being full realization of Rigpa, the fully enlightened state.

It's a major distraction trying to figure out these terms without direct knowledge of the path (having a common frame of reference).
If we are trying to reach the Path we should stick to teachings on how to get there first. :smile:
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby heart » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:38 am

In the bone yard wrote:If we are trying to reach the Path we should stick to teachings on how to get there first. :smile:


A good point, an other is to stick with the teachings you get from the master who's teaching you are actually applying. It actually creates confusion trying to recognise rigpa and at the same time reading a lot of books about it.

I once had a group interview with Drubwang Rinpoche and one of the older practitioners in our group asked the following question: "How do we manage to rest in rigpa during our everyday activities?" Drubwnag Rinpoche answered: "Find a Guru and request these teachings from him. Do anything he ask of you. If you ask many masters a question such as this about the natural state one you will get many different answers, some will say it like this and some will say it is like that and you will just end up more confused then what you were from the beginning."

/magnus
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby alpha » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:50 am

heart wrote:
In the bone yard wrote:If we are trying to reach the Path we should stick to teachings on how to get there first. :smile:


A good point, an other is to stick with the teachings you get from the master who's teaching you are actually applying. It actually creates confusion trying to recognise rigpa and at the same time reading a lot of books about it.

I once had a group interview with Drubwang Rinpoche and one of the older practitioners in our group asked the following question: "How do we manage to rest in rigpa during our everyday activities?" Drubwnag Rinpoche answered: "Find a Guru and request these teachings from him. Do anything he ask of you. If you ask many masters a question such as this about the natural state one you will get many different answers, some will say it like this and some will say it is like that and you will just end up more confused then what you were from the beginning."

/magnus


:good:

I have never heard this being said so clearly as D.R has said it.
If people were exposed to this advice from the very beginning they would've been spared of years of confusion.
This advice is actually acknowledging the fact , very directly , that if one follows the advice of many masters in the same time one can get confused since different masters have different approaches according to their traditions and their own teachers.However this is more common for beginners .
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby In the bone yard » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:52 pm

:smile:
Each student has his own capacity to accept teaching.
A blanket answer for all would negate the wisdom of the teacher.
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:49 am

monktastic wrote:I can differentiate between mind and contents, and do not think of mind as some thing or state, but a difficulty remains:

I don't experience appearances as themselves being awareness (or "manifestations of" it). I do experience that "mind itself" is nothing but an empty cognizance. Appearances seem to be undefinable, transient, self-liberating "happenings" that appear to this awareness, as opposed to being made of it. Because it still feels like awareness is apprehending appearances, this is dualistic, and as such cannot be a recognition of rigpa. I don't conceive of awareness as a characterizable thing, but it feels like a subject of experience. Does this duality need to collapse before it can be said that one is practicing in the natural state? In other words, must one first have a direct experience that phenomena are manifestations of rigpa and thus indistinct from it? In some readings of texts, it seems like the answer is yes, and in others, maybe not.

Maybe I'm just nitpicking details. If this duality will collapse on its own over time, that's fine. It's just that every time I come across the term "nondual awareness" in Mahamudra manuals to describe the natural state, I suspect I'm a long way off from even beginning.


These words from Gyatrul Rinpoche's commentary on Padmasambhava's "Natural Liberation" are relevant:

However, the essential point is that the pupils are not all the same. For us now, appearances and awareness seem to be separate. But in this phase of practice [note: referring to rigpa practice], for some people, appearances and mind merge. No longer does awareness seem to be inside, while appearances are apart, on the outside.


Thanks to others here who have reminded that practice and path are highly individual.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Thamal gyi shepa vs. baby rigpa vs. rigpa (etc.)

Postby monktastic » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:20 pm

Thought I'd share some more about this whole subject-object duality thing that gave me concern about proper recognition of rigpa.

First, some unsurprising words from ChNN:
Knowledge of the state of self-liberation is the founda­tion of the practice of Dzogchen.


As my teacher beautifully puts it: self-liberation is recognition [of rigpa] and recognition expresses itself as self-liberation.

In The Crystal And The Way Of Light, ChNN explains that there are three "levels" of self-liberation: cherdrol, shardrol, and rangdrol. These roughly correspond to the commonly used metaphors of "like meeting an old friend," "like a snowflake meeting the water", etc.

About rangdrol he says:

The most advanced capacity of self-liberation is called Rangdrol ... Here the illusory separation of subject and object collapses of itself, and one's habitual vision, the limited cage, the trap of ego, opens out into the spacious vision of what is.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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