Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby alpha » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:55 am

Malcolm wrote:Also Astus, the four yogas are sūtra mahāmudra. If you do not practice the completion stage, mahāmudra according to the upadeṥas is a slow path, or so it is asserted by the Sakyapas. This is the reason why vase breath is used extensively even in so called sems sde.


I'm curious...
So in your opinion,Malcolm, a method which contains vase breathing -i.e Mandarava- would be much faster than treckcho ?
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:56 am

Malcolm wrote:... This is the reason why vase breath is used extensively even in so called sems sde.

Why "so-called" ?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:48 am

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Its not only those two systems, it is merely articulated most clearly in those two systems.


You mean you know some teachings from other schools too that give similar methods?


Yes, the ṣaḍaṇgayoga system is actually rather widespread and not confined to Kalacakra, though it is mostly clearly articulated in that system.


Yes, the criticism of the White Self-Sufficient Remedy.


No, dkar po gcig thub is not the same as the system of the four yogas of mahāmudra, they are actually critiqued by Sapan seperately and for entirely different reasons. The former is a sudden awakening scheme (which Sapan calls "Chinese Dzogchen"), and Sapan criticizes the latter as a misapplication of Ratnakaraśanti's presentation of of four "yogas" in his Madhyamakālaṃkara.


I'd rather like to understand the reason behind considering the appearance of drops and buddhas - that result in their return to the natural state anyway - is the necessary next step.


I don't know the Kalacakra system well enough to opine about this; but in thogal the four visions appear not because the "natural" state is somehow lacking; they appear in their sequence because persons possess affliction and afflictions attenuate the visions as as they naturally unravel the visions first increase and then vanish. However, the idea that at the end of the four visions there are no appearances is a complete misconception. I will merely quote the beginning of Shabkar's discussion of the fourth vision on this point:

    It so happens that in the past some Dzogchenpas
    have asserted that the kāyas [visible forms] and wisdoms [expressed as the five lights]
    do not exist within the state of original purity, but this is a great error.

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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:58 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:... This is the reason why vase breath is used extensively even in so called sems sde.

Why "so-called" ?



Because the term sems sde only begins to be used in the Vima sNying thig, and the later criticisms of sems sde from the point of sNying thig are more political than anything else. After all, Longchenpa's Chos dbying mdzod is pretty much a commentary on the view of the bodhicitta texts, but it is praised as being the dharmakāya in book form.

In some respects, I am sympathetic to Astus's statement that man ngag sde is a return to "tantrism", but he has it slightly wrong. man ngag sde represents a desire to ground Dzogchen in its own completely independent system of empowerments, and one can see that it takes a page out of the Kalacakra system of the common four empowerments and then a system of the "higher four empowerments". Please do recall that famed Three Words of Garab Dorje did not even exist until the 1120's when the Vima Nyingthig was revealed by Zhangton Tashi Dorje. Prior to this was the seventeen tantra system of the four empowerments [elaborated, unelaborated, etc.]
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:12 am

Malcolm wrote:... man ngag sde represents a desire to ground Dzogchen in its own completely independent system of empowerments ...

Was it previously grounded in some other way? I don't know much about this, so I hope that's not a stupid question.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:50 am

Astus wrote: And even in thogal the fourth vision is the total dissolution, like going through creation and completion stages again.

Could you explain that line ? I mean, you certainly know that in the two stages one works with the mind (sems) and does visualizations (dmigs pa, and other technical words for "visualize") while in Thögel one works with Rigpa (and its dynamsim, rtsal) and has visions (snang ba) which are a completely different thing.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Astus » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:07 am

Malcolm wrote:in thogal the four visions appear not because the "natural" state is somehow lacking; they appear in their sequence because persons possess affliction and afflictions attenuate the visions as as they naturally unravel the visions first increase and then vanish. However, the idea that at the end of the four visions there are no appearances is a complete misconception.


The process is a removal of afflictions, and the visions are a sign of that, so they don't appear simply because of the natural state, and thus their disappearance is the final accomplishment. I didn't think dissolution here means total nothing, otherwise it wouldn't be the achievement of buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. Just as in mahamudra non-meditation is not about absolute non-activity. However, it seems to me that thogal and its visions is only one possible method of purification, and not the culmination of everything else, therefore other paths don't need it.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Astus » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:15 am

mutsuk wrote:I mean, you certainly know that in the two stages one works with the mind (sems) and does visualizations (dmigs pa, and other technical words for "visualize") while in Thögel one works with Rigpa (and its dynamsim, rtsal) and has visions (snang ba) which are a completely different thing.


Working with rigpa means what? The view that appearances are only illusory phenomena, "the play of the nature of mind". Doesn't Vajrayana in general have the same understanding that deities are to be viewed as mental appearances without substance, and the understanding of the twofold emptiness? Doesn't thogal include instructions about how to induce such visions, using postures and other techniques? Dzogchen may have its own form of explanation that is different from anuttarayogatantra, but that doesn't mean that they don't follow the same process of the build up of a vision and then the vision's dissolution. That's why I said it is like creation and completion.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:26 am

Astus wrote:Working with rigpa means what?

It means being in the state of Rigpa.

The view that appearances are only illusory phenomena, "the play of the nature of mind".

This is not enough. There are two sides to the experience of Rigpa from the Thogel point of view. The sapiential side (shes-cha) is incomplete and it's that of Trekchö (which is limited by 7 or 10 types of inferiorities compared to Thögel). Then there is the visionary side (snang-cha) which is what Thögel works with. In the perspective of the practice of Thögel, Rigpa remains conceptual at the level of Trekchö because its dynamism has not be "activated".

Doesn't Vajrayana in general have the same understanding that deities are to be viewed as mental appearances without substance, and the understanding of the twofold emptiness?

Yes, but the process of practice is totally different. With the two stages you do something with your mind , you visualize. With Thögel you don't visualize, you contemplate the arising of the dynamism of your natural state. These are two different things.

Doesn't thogal include instructions about how to induce such visions, using postures and other techniques?

Yes it does but you don't find them in vajrayana (not even in Kalacakra).

Dzogchen may have its own form of explanation that is different from anuttarayogatantra,

It is. Anuttarayogatantras are not practiced within the experience of Rigpa. This is crucial.

but that doesn't mean that they don't follow the same process of the build up of a vision and then the vision's dissolution.

You don't understand the differences between visualizations and visions. The first are caused by the mind and are a working of the mind. The visions of Rigpa which arise come from the natural arising of the wisdom wind. They are natural visions not visualizations imagined by the mind.

That's why I said it is like creation and completion.

If you knew how Thogel works and how it is practiced, you would clearly see how it has nothing to do at all with creation and completion (even with Kalacakra).
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby thigle » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:23 pm

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
heart wrote:So, thögal in tantric mahamudra?

Yes, so it seems.


Interesting. I have always had this impression that thögal with its channels and visions is a "step back" to tantra from the direct simplicity of trekchö and mahamudra.


It can't be a "step" back" to some"thing" like tantra, because at some point one has no choice. For example, if transparency/knowledge is obvious because of "treckchö", and you looking "during treckchö" at the sky (..like you looking at the sky, therefore neither distracted nor focused), visions appear. Therefore "treckchö" and "thögal" goes hand in hand. Visions also appear, when transparency/knowledge is "hidden" because of an artificial focus, like I suspect for this "tantric-sky-gazing". But in "treckchö/thögal", visions are not to distinct from knowledge/transparency. They are the "expression" of knowledge/transparency and appear the senses in exact that way, maybe unlike to "tantric-sky-gazing". And if knowledge/transparency is "stabilised" while you looking at the sky like you looking at the sky, typical thögal-"developments" appear, because there's no grasping.


Yongdzin Rinpoche wrote:Essentially, all the Masters teach in the same way to explain the
Natural State which is spontaneously integrated with Trekcho and
ThOgal. In the Zhang Zhung Nyengyud the names 'trekchO ' and
'thogal ' are not used but the meaning comes together with the Clear
Light.

The Teaching of Clear Light is that Trekcho and Thogal are
practised together. Thogal is the capacity of this Nature, the essence
of Nature, so when you have experience of the Natural State you have
the essence of visions - many or few - because when you open your
eyes some visions are always coming and going. That is the base of
Thogal visions and as your practice develops, colours, shapes and so
on appear. The Thogal visions develop as your practice develops; the
two go together. This is sometimes explained with the example of
water which always has the power or capacity to reflect; just as you
cannot separate this capacity from water, so you cannot separate
these visions from Nature.

There is also a special method to develop
practise Thogal visions using a little bit of body posture or gazes, but
this is not practised separately. The important thing is that when you
gaze into space and abide in the Natural State something is always
moving, but all these movements of visions arise spontaneously from
the Nature. You can 't show them to another person, they are your own
experience which spontaneously appears from Empty Nature. This is
evidence that forms can appear in Empty Nature.

There are two ways to deal with this phenomenon: if you
follow visions with your own consciousness they become more and
more solid, like water becoming ice; ice is hard like a rock, and we
think it is a real object, we don 't think about water. It is the same
when we always follow visions as objects; everything becomes sort of
solid and that is our life. The other way to deal with this phenomenon
is to go back to the source which is Empty Nature. That is Dzogchen.
Once you go back to the source, don 't try to jump out again. You need
to trust and stay there. That is all.

(masters of the zhang zhung nyan gyud: pith Instructions from the
experiential transmission of bonpo dzogchen )
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:52 pm

Astus wrote:
mutsuk wrote:...but that doesn't mean that they don't follow the same process of the build up of a vision and then the vision's dissolution. That's why I said it is like creation and completion.



The visions in dzogchen are not conceptual constructs like visualizations of the creation and completion stage.

The vanishing of the visions is likened to bands of light returning into a prism, i.e, the colors are inherent in the crystal, but there are no more conditions which cause the potentiality (rtsal) of the crystal to manifest externally.

Thus the buddhaforms and so on that one sees always exist in oneself as the potentiality of the threefold wisdom of the basis, original purity, natural perfection, and compassion. Of these three what actually appears to be an external vision is the compassion aspect.

The Sakyapa explanation of the cause of the appearance of the visions of the first stage of the six branch yoga resembles the explanation of the genesis of the thogal vision of dharmatā. The similarities seem to end there.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:09 pm

Astus wrote:The process is a removal of afflictions, and the visions are a sign of that, so they don't appear simply because of the natural state, and thus their disappearance is the final accomplishment. I didn't think dissolution here means total nothing, otherwise it wouldn't be the achievement of buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. Just as in mahamudra non-meditation is not about absolute non-activity. However, it seems to me that thogal and its visions is only one possible method of purification, and not the culmination of everything else, therefore other paths don't need it.


It is not really a process of removing afflictions, it is more of a process of afflictions becoming undone on their own.

Some people assert that the increase of the visions occurs separately from the karmic winds, using this as an example of why for example thogal is superior to other completion stage practices, but too is also not precisely correct. The movement of karmic vāyus in the body is a result of affliction, and it is precisely these that hinder the development of the thogal visions. The postures are meant to still these vāyus which is why you have to remain in them for long periods.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Astus wrote:
mutsuk wrote:...but that doesn't mean that they don't follow the same process of the build up of a vision and then the vision's dissolution. That's why I said it is like creation and completion.


For the record, this was what Astus wrote, not me.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:54 pm

mutsuk wrote:[

For the record, this was what Astus wrote, not me.



My bad, I did not notice your name in there, I wrote the first post on my Ipad...
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby anjali » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:44 pm

mutsuk wrote:With Thögel you don't visualize, you contemplate the arising of the dynamism of your natural state.

The dynamism of the natural state could also be contemplated through sound. An approach that seems not much discussed, even by way of theory. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on this.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby asunthatneversets » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:28 pm

anjali wrote:
mutsuk wrote:With Thögel you don't visualize, you contemplate the arising of the dynamism of your natural state.

The dynamism of the natural state could also be contemplated through sound. An approach that seems not much discussed, even by way of theory. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on this.


You may be referring to the practice of the sound of the elements. It seems that your sentiments regarding the overlooking of this practice is generally true, even historically, The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche writes:

"In the Heart Essence of Vimalimitra yet another approach is taken. To the preliminaries mentioned above, a practice involving the sounds of the four elements is added. In some systems stemming from this lineage, the practice of the four elements and the outer and inner separation practices [khor 'das ru shan] are not addressed, or are mentioned only in passing. In his Background Teachings on the Direct Leap [thögal] from the Guru's Quintessence, Longchenpa clearly emphasizes the importance of the preliminaries of the three gates relative to these other practices. In this text, he explains the preliminaries of the three gates as the main preliminary practices, while concerning the yogas of the four elements and the separation practices, he states, 'It is permissible to precede the preliminaries of the three gates by training in the sounds and nature of the four elements and the conduct of the separation of samsara and nirvana, or to simply skip these steps.' Some instruction manuals omit these practices altogether."

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche mentions the practice of the sounds of the elements in his twenty one sems 'dzins text and states that the practice is discussed in the sgra thal 'gyur tantra.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby thigle » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:57 am

It seems in every way, that some people confuse "tantric preliminaries" with "dzogchen" and the "natural state" with an "artificial state".
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:51 am

thigle wrote:It seems in every way, that some people confuse "tantric preliminaries" with "dzogchen" and the "natural state" with an "artificial state".


The Dzogchen teachings also have preliminaries available for practitioners who need them, which is mostly everyone. Khor 'das ru shan is training which aids in distinguishing samsara and nirvana, meaning; distinguishing mind [sems] from the nature of mind [sems nyid]. Inner rushan is called the purification of the six lokas, and is a valuable practice which is considered to be a vital preliminary for man ngag sde practices.

It has nothing to do with tantric preliminaries and everything to do with the system of Atiyoga. If one is unable to recognize the nature of their mind then there is no way the natural state can be known. Any practice associated with Dzogchen which helps the aspirant to recognize their nature (initially or continually) can be called a 'preliminary'.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Intenselight » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:14 am

anjali wrote:
mutsuk wrote:With Thögel you don't visualize, you contemplate the arising of the dynamism of your natural state.

The dynamism of the natural state could also be contemplated through sound. An approach that seems not much discussed, even by way of theory. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on this.



In the book Tibetan Yogas Of Body Speech And Mind by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, at the page 128 you will find this chapter: "The Practice of Pure Inner Sound from Kundrol Dakpa". I wonder if this is what you are referring to.. I am also very curious how exactly could the dynamism of the natural state be contemplated through sound.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby muni » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:34 am

thigle wrote:It seems in every way, that some people confuse "tantric preliminaries" with "dzogchen" and the "natural state" with an "artificial state".


Discussions so to speak comes out of nature or better said are an expression of nature. This makes clear that nature comes not out of discussions. Like a fish is in the ocean, the ocean is not in the fish.

Since all is compassion, there is spontaneous help by awaken nature and no thing is too much in order to help us to recognize.
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