Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

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Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby beautiful breath » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:52 am

Hi,

I shifted somewhat from a formal practice in Vajrayana to the more minimilistic practices of the Theravada and more recently those of the Soto/Chan school. The practice I settled into over the last couple of years is Silent Illumination as taught by Master Sheng Yen.

I know little about Dzogchen, but it might be a conduit for me to continue to practice 'just sitting' but also feel that I am within the Tibetan genre that I miss and was weaned on.

Why the need to return? Well no other tradition seems to offer a clarity of teachings on Emptiness like the Tibetan schools do and I cannot find it in myself to mix traditions. I am either in or out. Never on the fence.

Thanks,

BB...
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Sönam » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:12 am

I do not want to spread propaganda for a specific master and others may make interesting propositions ... but did you had a look on Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's teachings? you can follow most of them via webcast. If any interest, with some searches you will sort out what's about.

Sönam
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Matylda » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:30 pm

beautiful breath wrote:Hi,

I shifted somewhat from a formal practice in Vajrayana to the more minimilistic practices of the Theravada and more recently those of the Soto/Chan school. The practice I settled into over the last couple of years is Silent Illumination as taught by Master Sheng Yen.

I know little about Dzogchen, but it might be a conduit for me to continue to practice 'just sitting' but also feel that I am within the Tibetan genre that I miss and was weaned on.

Why the need to return? Well no other tradition seems to offer a clarity of teachings on Emptiness like the Tibetan schools do and I cannot find it in myself to mix traditions. I am either in or out. Never on the fence.

Thanks,

BB...


I have no idea about SI of Sheng Yen.. but his teachings did not sound exactly like shikan taza. anyway you may find somehow very interesed if you go to the core of dzogchen like trekcho.. you may feel at home if you did really shikan taza. as for the teacher, there are some advisable teachers... as for ChNN he had mostly very strange ideas about zen..
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:07 pm

Matylda wrote:as for ChNN he had mostly very strange ideas about zen..


Dear Matylda,

Firstly, the past tense is inaccurate: ChNN is very much alive.
Secondly, his 'ideas aboout Zen' are hardly strange, in the Tibetan world at least: Dzogchen teachers seem to be in more or less perfect agreement that Chan/Zen simply isn't Dzogchen. The views of the two traditions aren't the same, their meditations differ from one another and the types of behaviour they prescribe are quite distinct as well.

@OP: Do give Dzogchen a go. Being a DV guy, I can only echo Sonam's advice, but of course there's more fantastic Dzogchen teachers out there.
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Matylda » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:59 pm

well I heard him alive talking about zen, just sitting I guess 3 meters away from him. And that was in Japan.. and what I heard was strange. At least he was ill informed. that is enough, i do not have to elaborate on this subject. Since it was 24 years ago, I think it is better to say 'he had', since I do not know what does he say now about it.
Moreover I do not say: zen is dzogchen... neither I say that they are different. I simply have no opinion about it and I am very surprised if anyone has... unless one did not go in depth for decades in zen and in dzogchen under proper and enlightend guidence :)
Last edited by Matylda on Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:03 pm

beautiful breath wrote:Well no other tradition seems to offer a clarity of teachings on Emptiness like the Tibetan schools do and I cannot find it in myself to mix traditions.


It is true that there are many great teachings from the Tibetan tradition on emptiness. However, emptiness is a general Buddhist doctrine, so there is no need to feel bound to any tradition just because you like this or that teaching. Ven. Shengyan, following Ven. Yinshun, taught in a Madhyamaka style, so you might want to look deeper into their works.

As mentioned before, there are a number of differences between the path of Dzogchen and the path of Zen. It is mostly about Dzogchen being integrated into Vajrayana and carries with it methods like guru-yoga, empowerments, energy channels, etc., while Zen is not bound to any method.
"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: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Matylda » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:13 pm

Astus wrote:
beautiful breath wrote:Well no other tradition seems to offer a clarity of teachings on Emptiness like the Tibetan schools do and I cannot find it in myself to mix traditions.


It is true that there are many great teachings from the Tibetan tradition on emptiness. However, emptiness is a general Buddhist doctrine, so there is no need to feel bound to any tradition just because you like this or that teaching. Ven. Shengyan, following Ven. Yinshun, taught in a Madhyamaka style, so you might want to look deeper into their works.

As mentioned before, there are a number of differences between the path of Dzogchen and the path of Zen. It is mostly about Dzogchen being integrated into Vajrayana and carries with it methods like guru-yoga, empowerments, energy channels, etc., while Zen is not bound to any method.


Well, kanjo=abhisheka is present in zen. At least in soto or shikan taza tradition.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby flavio81 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:01 am

Sönam wrote:I do not want to spread propaganda for a specific master and others may make interesting propositions ... but did you had a look on Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's teachings? you can follow most of them via webcast. If any interest, with some searches you will sort out what's about.

Sönam


I second this advice.

Astus wrote:As mentioned before, there are a number of differences between the path of Dzogchen and the path of Zen. It is mostly about Dzogchen being integrated into Vajrayana and carries with it methods like guru-yoga, empowerments, energy channels, etc., while Zen is not bound to any method.


Would you please elaborate on what do you mean with "Zen is not bound to any method"? This is puzzling me.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Sönam » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:37 am

Astus wrote:...

As mentioned before, there are a number of differences between the path of Dzogchen and the path of Zen. It is mostly about Dzogchen being integrated into Vajrayana and carries with it methods like guru-yoga, empowerments, energy channels, etc., while Zen is not bound to any method.


This is a total misconception (outsider view) about Dzogchen ... Dzogchen is not integrated into Vajrayana. Dzogchen is not integrating in anything, for it integrates anything ... even hinayana or any sutra teachings.
Method like GY exist, because the student has been introduced by the master to his real nature, Buddha nature. Therefore Dzogchen GY reactivates that process (being in the state of the master). It is based on the 3 statements of Garab Dorje: 1) Diret Introduction (to Buddha state) 2) elliminate doubt (it is Buddha state) 3) keep on going. It is called Great Perfection because it goes directely in essence ... because of the blessing of the master. Nothing else can be compared to Great Perfection ... and certainly not sutra teachings of anykind.
Zen, of course, is bound to a method. It is for exemple called zazen which is a mind (or no mind, which is the same) oriented method (sutra style) ...

But this debate will certainly be, like always, empty of real debate ...

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby flavio81 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:50 am

Sönam wrote:Method like GY exist, because the student has been introduced by the master to his real nature, Buddha nature. Therefore Dzogchen GY reactivates that process (being in the state of the master).

:good:

Sönam wrote:Zen, of course, is bound to a method. It is for exemple called zazen which is a mind (or no mind, which is the same) oriented method (sutra style) ...


Exactly, that's what i understood. Hence why a claim such as "Zen is not bound to any method" puzzles me.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Meido » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:34 am

Sönam wrote:Zen, of course, is bound to a method. It is for exemple called zazen which is a mind (or no mind, which is the same) oriented method (sutra style) ...


I wouldn't presume to talk about Dzogchen since my experience is little. But this statement, with respect, is "a total misconception (outsider view)" of Zen.

flavio81 wrote:Would you please elaborate on what do you mean with "Zen is not bound to any method"? This is puzzling me.


Not to speak for Astus, but this is commonly used language in Zen.

The point is that because Zen takes recognition of one's nature (kensho) as its gate, and ongoing recognition as the lifelong practice after initial awakening, there are no fixed methods. Any method, text or teaching could be taken up if it fulfills the purposes of all Zen practices, i.e. to remove obstructions to seeing one's nature, and/or to directly point it out, and/or to embody/actualize it.

Of course most Zen students will indeed practice zazen (understanding that "zazen" can be a general term referring to many practices in various teaching lines that happen to be done in the 7-point posture). But not all. Since the capacity and conditions of students obviously differ (as well as the traditions of each line) there is no fixed Zen curriculum of practice, and plenty of things besides zazen to take up. Actually, I'm reminded that a koan within one of the most important series used in Rinzai lines deals with the usefulness of teachings of even non-Buddhist traditions, when approached from the standpoint of the essential realization of Zen.

Aside from this general approach, there is the bringing of the student to awakening within the ba (field) and by means of the kiai (energy) of the teacher; this has no fixed method. Another koan, case #16 in the Hekiganroku, deals specifically with aspects of this "direct pointing to the mind". And finally there is the barrier of advanced practice which is not fixed at all in terms of method, and so is called the practice which even the Patriarchs can't transmit.

All of the above is a classically Rinzai way of describing things. Other Zen folks may have different ways of saying it.

Sönam wrote:Nothing else can be compared to Great Perfection ... and certainly not sutra teachings of anykind.


I respect this statement, coming from within a sublime tradition. As most folks are aware Zen has plenty of triumphalism as well: long texts explaining how it is outside the "teaching schools" (traditions depending on sutra/tantra) because it is a direct awakening to one's own Dharmakaya wisdom and takes that awakening as its practice...how it simultaneously integrates and transcends all the teachings and methods of the Three Vehicles as the supreme One Vehicle...how other paths are slower, less direct, etc. etc. At the end of the day I find such statements useful because they serve to clarify the essential points of the tradition making them, and to increase the faith of their intended audience.

That being said, I do think it wonderful and correct when practitioners view the tradition they've inherited from their teachers to be the best, supreme, highest and most excellent.

~ Meido
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Matylda » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:36 am

So both you and Sonam are deeply mistaken about zen and in particular about zazen... but it is rather common mistake.
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:43 am

flavio81 wrote:Would you please elaborate on what do you mean with "Zen is not bound to any method"? This is puzzling me.


Zen is simply "seeing nature", i.e. realising buddha-mind. Because it teaches sudden enlightenment, it is not bound to this or that method, while at the same time there are no restrictions about what technique one could use.

Huangbo says, "The practice of the six paramitas and various other disciplines is known as the gradual method of becoming a Buddha. This gradual method, however, is a secondary idea, and it does not represent the complete path to Perfect Awakening. If one does not understand that one's mind is Buddha, no Dharma can ever be attained."
Also, "We are enlightened only by Mind, no matter whether we follow the Six Paramitas or other methods. All such methods and teaching are used only as expedients to help save all sentient beings. ... Since, in reality, the Mind is Buddha, the first and only teaching necessary for saving sentient beings is 'The Mind is Buddha'."

It is summed up in Bodhidharma's four-line definition of Zen:

A special transmission outside the scriptures,
Not dependent upon words and speech;
Directly pointing at the mind,
See into one’s true nature and become a Buddha.

(source)

You call it "sutra school", but it's not based on sutras. You call it something, but it's not in words. You say there is a method, but it goes directly. You say it goes gradually, but this very mind is the buddha.

Linji says, "Outside mind there’s no dharma, nor is there anything to be gained within it. What are you seeking? Everywhere you say, ‘There’s something to practice, something to obtain.’ Make no mistake! Even if there were something to be gained by practice, it would be nothing but birth-and-death karma." (Record of Linji, p 17, tr. Sasaki)

Regarding sitting meditation, Huineng says, "In this teaching of seated meditation, one fundamentally does not concentrate on mind, nor does one concentrate on purity, nor is it motionlessness. ... In this teaching, there is no impediment and no hindrance. Externally, for the mind to refrain from activating thoughts with regard to all the good and bad realms is called ‘seated’ (za). Internally, to see the motionlessness of the self-nature is called ‘meditation’ (zen). ... The fundamental nature is naturally pure and naturally concentrated; it is only by seeing the realms and thinking of the realms that one is disturbed." (Platform Sutra, p 45, tr. McRae)

Dogen writes, "Zazen is not a meditation technique. It is simply the Dharma gate of joyful ease, it is practicing the realization of the boundless Dharma way."

Keizan writes, "Zazen is far beyond the form of sitting or lying down. ... Now, zazen is entering directly into the ocean of buddha-nature and manifesting the body of the Buddha. The pure and clear mind is actualized in the present moment; the original light shines everywhere."
"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: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:00 am

Sönam wrote:This is a total misconception (outsider view) about Dzogchen ... Dzogchen is not integrated into Vajrayana. Dzogchen is not integrating in anything, for it integrates anything ... even hinayana or any sutra teachings.
Method like GY exist, because the student has been introduced by the master to his real nature, Buddha nature. Therefore Dzogchen GY reactivates that process (being in the state of the master).
... because of the blessing of the master.


I don't know of any Buddhist tradition outside of Vajrayana that has guru-yoga, or the idea that a teacher is required to introduce the nature of mind, or that there are such things as blessings. You say all of that exist in Dzogchen, and that's what I meant by being part of Vajrayana.

As for claiming superiority (that anyone can do and has little meaning), Yogi Chen says about Zen, "It is really beyond doctrine at all. Just realization to realization, I use my realization to touch your realization. This means that at the same time the Guru and disciple are in Truth. It is very important, this is the real Chan. Beyond Mahamudra which uses four Yogas and the Great Perfection, which uses initiation too."

He also has an essay: On Chan and Dzogchen.
"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: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby Fa Dao » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:46 pm

Ok everyone..keep your hands where I can see them...slowly back away from the debate.....this has been done numerous times and always ends up ugly :rolling:
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby oldbob » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:29 pm

:namaste:

No hands here! :smile:

A special transmission outside the scriptures,
Not dependent upon words and speech;
Directly pointing at the mind,
See into one’s true nature and become a Buddha.
(source)

Maybe the name is not so important. There is absolutely no difference between sudden and gradual.

"Legend has it that Bodhidharma wished to return to India and called together his disciples and the following exchange took place:[note 5]

Bodhidharma asked, “Can each of you say something to demonstrate your understanding?”

Dao Fu stepped forward and said, “It is not bound by words and phrases, nor is it separate from words and phrases. This is the function of the Tao.”
Bodhidharma: “You have attained my skin.”
The nun Zong Chi[note 6][note 7] stepped up and said, “It is like a glorious glimpse of the realm of Akshobhya Buddha. Seen once, it need not be seen again.”
Bodhidharma; “You have attained my flesh.”
Dao Yu said, “The four elements are all empty. The five skandhas are without actual existence.
Not a single dharma can be grasped." Bodhidharma: “You have attained my bones.”
Finally, Huike came forth, bowed deeply in silence and stood up straight.
Bodhidharma said, “You have attained my marrow.” [33]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma

https://www.google.com/search?q=bodhidh ... 80&bih=916


Maybe all the names / views REALLY have nothing to say and are just imputations from outside.

So you can look at the wall for 9 years, or take a pointing out instruction and practice tsa lung.

There is ABSOLUTELY no difference.

Some people like raspberry chocolate chip gelatto and some like plain vanilla.

I like all flavors, but I can't tell you what ANY tastes like.

MU! :smile:
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby flavio81 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:40 pm

Nice posts people -- all of you. I learn something more every day :namaste:
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:26 pm

There are a few commonly held misconceptions about Zen and Chán in Tibet it seems. Hashang Mahāyāna is often used as an example for Zen/Chán, and the view of Hashang's teaching is generally implemented as a cautionary tale to warn against attachment to formless states. I believe there were certain debates which took place which resulted in Hashang's teaching being perceived as advocating for a blanked out formless absorption, and then Zen and Chán were subsequently lumped in with that idea as well. But that isn't really the case, even for Hashang's Mahāyāna, I think some key figures such as Jigme Lingpa noticed this and even expressed doubt about that commonly held perception of Zen, Chán and Hashang Mahāyāna. Longchenpa also did a fairly in depth comparison between Dzogchen and Hashang's teaching (which can be found in Tulku Thondup's 'The Practice Of Dzogchen'), he made it clear that he wasn't speaking of Zen or Chán, and even referenced Jigme Lingpa's doubt about the Tibetan idea of these schools. Also, Dzogchen master Vairotsana (disciple of Padmasambhava and Shri Singha) spent some time in China receiving teachings from Hashang. So no way to know where the commonly held views came from exactly.

The general view of Hashang's exposition and teaching is taught to prevent attachment to the experience of emptiness (meaning the space between thoughts and not the realization of emptiness). It's taught that attachment to that capacity causes the practitioner to delve into deep unclear states of absorption (referencing deep samadhi states) which can last for lengthy amounts of time. Stories are even told of yogis who have come upon caves where practitioners are found frozen in these mindless states of absorption to the point that their respective lifeforces have been rendered dormant for years on end, and they need to be revived. It's unfortunate that Hashang is mistakenly associated with that, and that Zen gets wrapped up in the mix. I'm not saying Zen and Dzogchen are the same by any means, but the perception of Zen, Chán and Hashang is inaccurate it seems.

The Great Perfection and the Chinese Monk: Nyingmapa Defenses of Hashang Mahāyāna:

http://earlytibet.com/about/hashang-mahayana/
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:21 am

Fa Dao wrote:Ok everyone..keep your hands where I can see them...slowly back away from the debate.....this has been done numerous times and always ends up ugly :rolling:


:rolling:

All is conceptual until one is enlightened.

Take care now
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Dzogchen and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza

Postby oldbob » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:54 pm

"---not even the Buddha can express its perfection."

From "Minor Buddhist Texts," Giuseppe Tucci, P182.

Conclusion of the discussion of the attainment of the 10th Bhumi from the First Bhavanakrama: the arguments of Kamalasila.

So, going back to the OP's question, from the view of the gradualist, sudden style or Dzogchen, since it is agreed that the result is beyond words, perhaps the path doesn't REALLY matter so much.

Perhaps because the Buddha seed is, in essence, the same as the Buddha, and the essence is beyond time, perhaps whatever path you are on, is just fine for you, NOW and NOW.

So it remains for each of us to work out our path with diligence!

Not to mention working off all that gelatto! :smile:

:bow: :bow: :bow: :buddha1:
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