Yidam and Dzogchen

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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:37 am

wisdomfire wrote:thanks all for your replies... i had the apparently wrong idea that this forum was inactive due to some repeated posts at the time when i posted this question initially, so did not check back until recently... so many posts! Thanks!

My conclusion is that yidam practice does not interfere with Dzogchen and you can either do yidam practice or not, but there are certain other benefits from yidam practice besides the ultimate goal of liberation...also Dzogchen is considered the accumulation of wisdom and there is also a need to accumulate conceptual merit in order to actualise the form-kayas to benefit beings... in other words, need both conceptual and non-conceptual practice to actualise complete Buddhahood and accomplish both self-benefit and benefitting others.

Hope i'm not wrong in my understanding... i will try to consult a genuine teacher ... thanks !!!


Since the 3 kayas and the accumulations of merit and wisdom are complete within rigpa primordially, Dzogchen practice lacks nothing and leaves no fundamental need for any other practice. However, what we have is a question of individual capacity and practicality. Only very rare individuals "get" Dzogchen right off - and by "get" I mean having actual non-conceptual, uncontrived knowledge of their true nature - so it is simply more practical to continue benefiting oneself and others by gathering the two accumulations in the conventional way as one receives Dzogchen transmission, instructions and training and one comes to eventually know the natural state in actuality, unmistakably, and gain stability and strength in that.
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Silent Bob » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:51 pm

"These days...many people want to skip everything and go directly to the completion stage. There are also those who, without having done any yidam practice or preliminaries, immediately want to do the yogic practices involving the subtle channels and energies. I, however, have great doubts about the effectiveness of such an approach--whether any actual understanding is developed and whether this type of method is authentic and correct. Still, many people would like to jump ahead, skipping all the steps in between."

Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche--"Skillful Grace"
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:22 pm

Silent Bob wrote:"These days...many people want to skip everything and go directly to the completion stage. There are also those who, without having done any yidam practice or preliminaries, immediately want to do the yogic practices involving the subtle channels and energies. I, however, have great doubts about the effectiveness of such an approach--whether any actual understanding is developed and whether this type of method is authentic and correct. Still, many people would like to jump ahead, skipping all the steps in between."

Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche--"Skillful Grace"


I think this is really, really true.

:namaste:
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby justsit » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Silent Bob wrote:"These days...many people want to skip everything and go directly to the completion stage. There are also those who, without having done any yidam practice or preliminaries, immediately want to do the yogic practices involving the subtle channels and energies. I, however, have great doubts about the effectiveness of such an approach--whether any actual understanding is developed and whether this type of method is authentic and correct. Still, many people would like to jump ahead, skipping all the steps in between."

Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche--"Skillful Grace"


:thumbsup:

Good to see you, Bob!
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Silent Bob » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:06 pm

justsit wrote: :thumbsup:
Good to see you, Bob!


Thanks--I'm checking it out.

ChrisBob
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:48 pm

justsit wrote:
Silent Bob wrote:"These days...many people want to skip everything and go directly to the completion stage. There are also those who, without having done any yidam practice or preliminaries, immediately want to do the yogic practices involving the subtle channels and energies. I, however, have great doubts about the effectiveness of such an approach--whether any actual understanding is developed and whether this type of method is authentic and correct. Still, many people would like to jump ahead, skipping all the steps in between."

Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche--"Skillful Grace"


:thumbsup:

Good to see you, Bob!


I second that :D

/magnus
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Sönam » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:34 pm

heart wrote:
justsit wrote:
Silent Bob wrote:"These days...many people want to skip everything and go directly to the completion stage. There are also those who, without having done any yidam practice or preliminaries, immediately want to do the yogic practices involving the subtle channels and energies. I, however, have great doubts about the effectiveness of such an approach--whether any actual understanding is developed and whether this type of method is authentic and correct. Still, many people would like to jump ahead, skipping all the steps in between."

Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche--"Skillful Grace"


:thumbsup:

Good to see you, Bob!


I second that :D

/magnus


:thumbsup:
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:43 pm

Great thread, thanks to all.

Somewhat off topic, but perhaps not....I recall a student of my Guru asking when we were going to "get to the Mahamudra practice" --this was in the context of a closed "druppa/Jinsek" yidam retreat. I'm not even going to give you the Guru's answer, I think you all know it. This has some bearing on Dzokchen as I understand it....
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:00 am

conebeckham wrote:Great thread, thanks to all.

Somewhat off topic, but perhaps not....I recall a student of my Guru asking when we were going to "get to the Mahamudra practice" --this was in the context of a closed "druppa/Jinsek" yidam retreat. I'm not even going to give you the Guru's answer, I think you all know it. This has some bearing on Dzokchen as I understand it....


Hi Cone, great to see you here to. I am guessing you referring to the inseparable development and completion stage. In the Nyingma, in particular in the terma tradition, where the three inner yanas are combined within one cycle of teachings, this does very much have to do with Dzogchen to my understanding.

/magnus
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby conebeckham » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:57 pm

Magnus-
well, sorta.

Mahamudra is both a view and a "practice," or variety of practices.

There are some who "practice" Mahamudra in an "uncontrived" way, as they say, focusing on Samatha And Vipassana as they are explained in Mahamudra teachings, and who dispense with Yidam practice entirely. This is fine, but it does point to the potential to mistake Yidam practice for something other than Mahamudra.

Though, in our tradition, it is sometimes taught that way...i.e., yidam practice, focusing first on development stage, and then when some familiarity is gained, explanation of unelaborate completion stage. These days, this is rare, or at least some explanation of completion and Nature of Mind, etc., is known while one is engaged in Development stage, due mainly to the Rime influence of Kongtrul on the Kagyu lineage--though we can really go back to Rangjung Dorje, who brought Dzokchen and Chagchen together. That's my take on it, at least...
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:29 am

Cone,

Since I been practicing Yidam only in the Nyingma context I am unsure about what the normal Kagyu approach is. But in the Nyingma, at least in many terma texts, the whole development stage arise from the three samadhis where the first, the samadhi of suchness, more or less is the natural state. This suggest to me that in the Nyingma it isn't unusual with some knowledge of the natural state among practitioners doing Yidam.
I can also feel that without some knowledge of emptiness it will be easy to cling to much to the development stage.

/magnus
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby conebeckham » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:44 pm

Agreed, Magnus.
I practice a bit of Nyingma-style development stage, as do most "Kagyupas," I'd bet. We're all influenced by Dzokchen I think, and thus, the Three Samadhis, etc. The "View" carries over into any Yidam practice one does, I think.

Sarma lineages do stress emptiness, and all general Mahayana study, prior to engaging in Yidam practice. Lojong, as well as Shinay and Lhatong, are all elements from general Mahayana that carry over into Yidam practice. And most Sarma sadhanas will contain the "Om Sobhava" mantra somewhere prior to development. Styles of developement differ. The point I was making is that, in Nyingma, at Mahayoga and above, I think Yidam and Mandala are seen as "arising from something" (not actually the most accurate way to say this..but...) which is spelled out differently than the emptiness from which Sarma development stages arise. Or, rather, it was the case, as I understand it, that in Sarma the nature of this was not explicitly spelled out until after the practitioner had engaged in the Creation Phase for some time, while in Nyingma creation phase this is spelled out explicitly, to a greater or lesser degree. I may be way off base, here.....or I may just be dreaming about a "difference" which doesn't really exist anymore.
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:26 am

Not exactly "from something" Cone. The three samadhis correspond to the three kayas so the samadhi of suchness is actually realization of dharmakaya, the empty nature. Here are some intersting notes on this subject.

http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/ting ... 7dzin_gsum

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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:42 am

I've been reading some Bardo Thodol texts lately and it has a Padmasambhava treasure text about introducing the true nature of mind. It is quite positive about stating that such a realisation is the highest, all inclusive method, so no need for anything else. But that's just something I wanted to mention.

The other thing is that it was brought up how the nature of mind is introduced even before the development stage beings. In the Vairocanabhisambodhi Sutra (in Tibetan tradition: a text of the outer carya tantras) in the first chapter the nature of mind is introduced and then all the mantra-mandala-ritual stuff begins from chapter two. So if Mahamudra/Atiyoga is a special practice on its own right, I guess it can be practised without other practices.

The Buddha said, “Lord of Mysteries, it is in one’s own mind that one seeks bodhi and omniscience. Why? Because its original nature is pure. The mind is neither within nor without, nor can the mind be apprehended between the two. Lord of Mysteries, the Tathāgata, worthy [of worship] and perfectly and fully awakened, is neither blue nor yellow nor red nor white nor crimson nor the color of crystal, neither long nor short nor round nor square, neither bright nor dark, and neither male nor female nor neuter. Lord of Mysteries, the mind is not of the same nature as the realm of desire, nor is it of the same nature as the realm of form, nor is it of the same nature as the realm of non-form, nor is it of the same nature as the destinies of gods, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, humans, or non-humans. Lord of Mysteries, the mind does not reside in the realm of the eyes, nor does it reside in the realms of the ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind, and neither is it visible, nor does it manifest itself.
“Why? [Because] the mind, which has the characteristic of empty space, is free from all differentiation and nondifferentiation. Why is that? That whose nature is the same as empty space is identical to the mind, and that whose nature is the same as the mind is identical to bodhi. In this manner, Lord of Mysteries, the three entities of mind, the realm of empty space, and bodhi are without duality. They have compassion as their root and are fulfilled by the pāramitā of expedient means. For this reason, Lord of Mysteries, I teach the dharmas in this manner so as to make the multitudes of bodhisattvas purify the bodhi-mind and know their mind.
“Lord of Mysteries, if a man of [good] family or a woman of [good] family wishes to know bodhi, they should know their own mind in this manner. Lord of Mysteries, how is one to know one’s own mind? It cannot, namely, be apprehended by seeking it in distinctions, or colors, or shapes, or external objects; or in form or sensation, ideation, volition, or consciousness; or in ‘I’ or ‘mine’; or in the grasper (i.e., subject) or the grasped (i.e., object); or in the pure; or in the [eighteen] elements [of existence] or [the twelve] sense fields; or in any other distinctions.

(Vairocanabhisambodhi Sutra, ch. 1, tr. RW Giebel)
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:54 am

Astus wrote:I've been reading some Bardo Thodol texts lately and it has a Padmasambhava treasure text about introducing the true nature of mind. It is quite positive about stating that such a realisation is the highest, all inclusive method, so no need for anything else. But that's just something I wanted to mention.

The other thing is that it was brought up how the nature of mind is introduced even before the development stage beings. In the Vairocanabhisambodhi Sutra (in Tibetan tradition: a text of the outer carya tantras) in the first chapter the nature of mind is introduced and then all the mantra-mandala-ritual stuff begins from chapter two. So if Mahamudra/Atiyoga is a special practice on its own right, I guess it can be practised without other practices.


It can for sure, but seems to me that very few people acknowledge how difficult that is. All Dzogchen masters normally say that "if you can rest in the natural state (rigpa) for as long as it takes an ant to walk from the top of your nose to the tip of your nose you are actually doing quite well in your practice. In that perspective you have to understand that Yidam practice is actually something very helpful, not something to make things more difficult. In the Nyingma tradition there is the possibility to combine development stage and completion stage in many ways where one will enhance the other. On top of that most Dzogchen masters said that accumulation of merit and purification is something essential for everyone, no matter how clever you think you are.

Anyway the natural state is introduced at every highest yoga empowerment so that is the tradition.

/magnus
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:22 pm

Thanks Magnus, you're very informative.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby narraboth » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:56 pm

heart wrote:
It can for sure, but seems to me that very few people acknowledge how difficult that is. All Dzogchen masters normally say that "if you can rest in the natural state (rigpa) for as long as it takes an ant to walk from the top of your nose to the tip of your nose you are actually doing quite well in your practice. In that perspective you have to understand that Yidam practice is actually something very helpful, not something to make things more difficult. In the Nyingma tradition there is the possibility to combine development stage and completion stage in many ways where one will enhance the other. On top of that most Dzogchen masters said that accumulation of merit and purification is something essential for everyone, no matter how clever you think you are.

Anyway the natural state is introduced at every highest yoga empowerment so that is the tradition.

/magnus


hi magnus, basically i agree what you said, just to add what I have heard.

From what I have heard, the ant story is:
if you can rest in the nature of mind of short while, like the time an ant walk from your front head to your nose tip, the benefit and merit is greater than offering gold as big as threefold thousands world.

anyway, it's not easy to stay in the state of nature of mind. I am not sure how easy to recognise it, many people told me that they recognised it. I think they didn't lie, just there might be different degrees of recognition.

To really recognise nature of mind, khenpo Ngaga and many many masters all say you need to at least have one-mind sharmata. Only when the water is calm and clear, you could see the image of moon from it. If you have that ability, maybe diety yoga is not necessary.
Without basic sharmata ability, even you 'saw' the nature of mind with your lama's blessing, you can't keep it, thus you still won't have full confidence when you die.
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:23 am

narraboth wrote:
heart wrote:
It can for sure, but seems to me that very few people acknowledge how difficult that is. All Dzogchen masters normally say that "if you can rest in the natural state (rigpa) for as long as it takes an ant to walk from the top of your nose to the tip of your nose you are actually doing quite well in your practice. In that perspective you have to understand that Yidam practice is actually something very helpful, not something to make things more difficult. In the Nyingma tradition there is the possibility to combine development stage and completion stage in many ways where one will enhance the other. On top of that most Dzogchen masters said that accumulation of merit and purification is something essential for everyone, no matter how clever you think you are.

Anyway the natural state is introduced at every highest yoga empowerment so that is the tradition.

/magnus


hi magnus, basically i agree what you said, just to add what I have heard.

From what I have heard, the ant story is:
if you can rest in the nature of mind of short while, like the time an ant walk from your front head to your nose tip, the benefit and merit is greater than offering gold as big as threefold thousands world.

anyway, it's not easy to stay in the state of nature of mind. I am not sure how easy to recognise it, many people told me that they recognised it. I think they didn't lie, just there might be different degrees of recognition.

To really recognise nature of mind, khenpo Ngaga and many many masters all say you need to at least have one-mind sharmata. Only when the water is calm and clear, you could see the image of moon from it. If you have that ability, maybe diety yoga is not necessary.
Without basic sharmata ability, even you 'saw' the nature of mind with your lama's blessing, you can't keep it, thus you still won't have full confidence when you die.


Yes, narraboth, you are right that is the normal "ant story". What I tell you here is personal instructions from my teacher.
If you have to cultivate shamatha first, then the path is more like Mahamudra. My teacher actually say that Mahamudra is easier than Dzogchen for this reason. There is a more step-by-step approach to the natural state. In Dzogchen the natural state is supposed to be introduced directly. Anyway many great masters such as Khenpo Ngaga, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol and Shakya Shri think it is important to cultivate shamtha first. One might also note that a special kind of shamatha is supposed to be cultivated in the preliminaries to Dzogchen. However, from the writing of Jigme Lingpa it is clear that the traditional Dzogchen approach is direct introduction. The path is actually defined by Garab Dorje, first you recognize the natural state (at this point it is just a glimpse now and then), then you decide on that (which means some confidence) and then by getting some stability in resting in the natural state you gain confidence in the self-liberation of everything. At least this is my understanding after receiving the three words many times.

/magnus
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby narraboth » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:23 pm

heart wrote: Yes, narraboth, you are right that is the normal "ant story". What I tell you here is personal instructions from my teacher.
If you have to cultivate shamatha first, then the path is more like Mahamudra. My teacher actually say that Mahamudra is easier than Dzogchen for this reason. There is a more step-by-step approach to the natural state. In Dzogchen the natural state is supposed to be introduced directly. Anyway many great masters such as Khenpo Ngaga, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol and Shakya Shri think it is important to cultivate shamtha first. One might also note that a special kind of shamatha is supposed to be cultivated in the preliminaries to Dzogchen. However, from the writing of Jigme Lingpa it is clear that the traditional Dzogchen approach is direct introduction. The path is actually defined by Garab Dorje, first you recognize the natural state (at this point it is just a glimpse now and then), then you decide on that (which means some confidence) and then by getting some stability in resting in the natural state you gain confidence in the self-liberation of everything. At least this is my understanding after receiving the three words many times.

/magnus


hi magnus

the main point here is not about if you can 'see' it, it's about if you can 'meaningfully see' it.
everyone experienced pure light in their countless death, but never recognised it AND KEPT IN THAT STATE.
Also, there are many wrong paths could be there before you correctly recognise rigpa: the problem here is, people are the same, it won't be better when you change path from mahamudra to dzogchen. When people misunderstand, they just do, no matter it's dzogchen or mahamudra.
For REAL DZOGCHEN STUDENTS, maybe they don't need to practice sharmata. As a dzogchen master said: it's not important that if the teaching is dzogchen, it's important that if you are a dzogchen student. But I doubt how many people nowadays can recognise rigpa correctly and keep it and expand the recognition without basic meditation ability.

Finally, even when dzogchen also requires sharmata in advance, dzogchen still has many differences with mahamudra, you know that :)

p.s. could you pls qoute what Jigmed lingpa said about recognising rigpa doesn't need sharmata base. I would like to see the whole paragraph and I would be quite surprised that Khenpo Ngaga said something against Jigmed Lingpa in meaning.
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Re: Yidam and Dzogchen

Postby heart » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:40 pm

narraboth wrote:
heart wrote: Yes, narraboth, you are right that is the normal "ant story". What I tell you here is personal instructions from my teacher.
If you have to cultivate shamatha first, then the path is more like Mahamudra. My teacher actually say that Mahamudra is easier than Dzogchen for this reason. There is a more step-by-step approach to the natural state. In Dzogchen the natural state is supposed to be introduced directly. Anyway many great masters such as Khenpo Ngaga, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol and Shakya Shri think it is important to cultivate shamtha first. One might also note that a special kind of shamatha is supposed to be cultivated in the preliminaries to Dzogchen. However, from the writing of Jigme Lingpa it is clear that the traditional Dzogchen approach is direct introduction. The path is actually defined by Garab Dorje, first you recognize the natural state (at this point it is just a glimpse now and then), then you decide on that (which means some confidence) and then by getting some stability in resting in the natural state you gain confidence in the self-liberation of everything. At least this is my understanding after receiving the three words many times.

/magnus


hi magnus

the main point here is not about if you can 'see' it, it's about if you can 'meaningfully see' it.
everyone experienced pure light in their countless death, but never recognised it AND KEPT IN THAT STATE.
Also, there are many wrong paths could be there before you correctly recognise rigpa: the problem here is, people are the same, it won't be better when you change path from mahamudra to dzogchen. When people misunderstand, they just do, no matter it's dzogchen or mahamudra.
For REAL DZOGCHEN STUDENTS, maybe they don't need to practice sharmata. As a dzogchen master said: it's not important that if the teaching is dzogchen, it's important that if you are a dzogchen student. But I doubt how many people nowadays can recognise rigpa correctly and keep it and expand the recognition without basic meditation ability.

Finally, even when dzogchen also requires sharmata in advance, dzogchen still has many differences with mahamudra, you know that :)

p.s. could you pls qoute what Jigmed lingpa said about recognising rigpa doesn't need sharmata base. I would like to see the whole paragraph and I would be quite surprised that Khenpo Ngaga said something against Jigmed Lingpa in meaning.


Dear narraboth,

There is nothing wrong with Shamatha and like I said Shakya Shri, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol makes the same point as Khenpo Ngaga. I recently reread Sam van Schaiks "Approaching the Great Perfection" and there are a few very good texts he translated by Jigme Lingpa. In those texts he makes it very clear that there is a gradual way to practice Dzogchen and the truly direct approach (for example the text starting on page 208).
I have no idea who recognized the natural state and who didn't, I just try to follow my teachers instruction.

/magnus
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