Tibetans translate jñāna as ye shes. That term "ye shes "is frequently translated as "pristine awareness" or "primordial wisdom", etc. I am saying that Dzogchen authors take this term very literally (a literalism criticized by people like Sakya Pandita) because they are taking this mode of shes pa (jñatā, jñānatā, parijñāna, etc.), which they describe as ye shes to mean that the original state (ye nas) of the mind (shes pa) is pre-afflictive, and Dzogchen is the path to recover that primordial state.
I am not saying that this consciousness is a universal plenum, like brahman, from which all beings arise; that is exactly the mistake I think most people fall into when studying Dzogchen, i.e. they wind up falling into an unintentional brahman trap.
Thus what I am saying is the basis is personal, not universal. Each's being has their own basis since they each have their own mind, the characteristics of the basis (essence, nature and compassion) are general, and apply to all minds, just as all candles on a table are separate and unique, but all flames on those candles bear the same qualities, heat and light.
The fault that I suffered from was not seeing the fact that "rnam shes" (vijñāna), "shes rab" (prajñā), "ye shes" (jñāna), "shes pa"(jñatā) are all talking about one thing, different modalities of a single continuum from sentient being hood to Buddhahood, based on language in man ngag sde texts, reinforced very strongly by Longchenpa, which make a very hard distinction between sems (citta) and yeshe (jñāna) without recognizing the distinction is not in substance, but merely in mode i.e. afflicted/non-afflicted.
Let me add, that the way I see it now is that "rnam shes", consciousness, refers to the afflicted mind, "ye shes" refers to the unafflicted mind; and "shes pa" refers the a mind which is neutral, that can go either way depending on whether it is under the influence of vidyā or avidyā.
Really, I am not saying anything that is terribly controversial. I am recognizing that I was mislead by a distinction made by Longchenpa and others who, for didactic reasons, make a hard distinction between mind/consciousness and wisdom when what they are really doing is making a hard distinction between utterly afflicted minds and utterly pure minds, and providing a literary mythology (the universe arises out of the basis) to explain the separation of sentient beings and buddhas.
I have similarly come to the conclusion that the account of the basis arising out of the basis and the separation of samsara and nirvana at some imagined start point unimaginable eons ago is just a literary myth, and it does not need to be taken literally.
They are the same thing.
And no, I was slightly mistaken before.
The reason people see the five lights everywhere they look is that they no longer have traces to reify the five elements as the five elements because their consciousness has become free of all traces of the two obscurations, i.e. with those removed, what remains is wisdom.
Of course, there is nothing substantial that is ever removed, from such a mind.
Then we gave this from the Rig pa rang shar:
Son of a good family, one must recognize the awareness [shes pa] free from grasping as one’s own state.
Or the Rang grol:
A vidyā that performs actions does not exist
in the essence of pure awareness.
Or the Mind Mirror of Samantabhadra has an interlinear note:
The nature of one’s vidyā is light. Since kāyas are the gathered in the sphere of wisdom, the meaning of the view of Samantabhadra is realized. Further, there is vidyā and the wisdom that arises from vidyā. Further, vidyā that is free from extremes and beyond multiplicity does not transcend awareness (shes pa) and knowing (rig), endowed with a core of empty wisdom free from the extremes of things.
The Sun and Moon Tantra states:
At that time, that fortunate one
when the appearances are self-evident,
the non-abiding awareness is called “natural”.
Anyway, there are too many references in various Dzogchen texts which state quite clearly that the basis is just one's mind. This is consistent with Buddhadharma. Other explanations are not.
The ālaya cause continuum (Sakya), the fundamental mind of luminosity (Gelug), "ground mahāmudra" (Kagyu) or the "basis" (Nyingma) all refer to the same thing, i.e., one's unfabricated mind. There is no contradiction between these positions and a position that holds that the basis is tathāgatagarbha. All of these are merely different ways of discussing tathāgatagarbha.
As I already pointed out, wisdom is a noetic quality. It cannot be a noetic quality separate from our mind. It cannot be a singular noetic quality pervading all minds.
When the "mind" is completely purified of all taints, it is called "wisdom" (jñāna) When it is with taints it is called consciousness (vijñāna).
If we follow what you are saying, there is no hope at all of finding Buddhahood within our own minds, since buddhahood and wisdom would be extraneous to our continuums. If we are to find buddhahood within our own minds, as hundreds of texts recommend, then we have to discover that buddhahood in the essence of our own minds. That is not transpersonal.
Even gzhan stong does not presuppose a brahman like entity. They are merely stating that the three kāyas are the inherent in the nature of the mind. For example, Dolbupa, arguable the founder of gshan stong terms the tathāgatagarbhe the ālaya, the all-basis. He says too, [Hopkins, 2006, pg. 65] "Similarly the Glorious Hevajra Tantra also says that the natural clear light mind that resides in all sentient beings is buddha..." And on page 106 he says "
...Bhavya's "Lamp for (Nāgājruna's) Wisdom" if the middle way:
clear light, nirvana,
All-emptiness, and body of attrubutes.
[The term] "consciousness" on this occasion is in consideration of the consciousness of the noumenon and pure consciousness because it is used as a synonym for the clearly body of attributes."
On 120 he says:
If the matrix-of-the-one-gone-bliss did not exist in fact, it would incur the irreversible fallacy of contradicting the statement in the Descent to Lankā Sūtra that the mind beyond logic, the essence of the ultimate 12 grounds, natural clear light, buddha-matrix, natural virtue, basis free from all positions, final source of refuge, and exalted buddha wisdom is the matrix-of-one-gone-bliss.
So you can see, the term below "one's unfabricated mind" has exactly the same meaning and for this reason I maintain that the view of the basis proposed in Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, Nyingma and Jonang are the same, even though they describe it differently, from different angles and with different terminology. The meaning and the subject of discussion however is the same.
As such, because the basis, one’s unfabricated mind, arose as the essence of the sole reality, there is no need to search elsewhere for the place etc., i.e. it is called self-originated wisdom.
smcj wrote:dzogchungpa wrote:smcj wrote:…and it is unacceptable for the basis to be like brahman.
That is the gist of the entire argument.
What are you, some kind of tirthika?
I'm a Shentongpa, which accepts that "the basis" is not simply your own mind (which would be what is usually called a Yogacaran interpretation) and is remarkably similar to the idea of brahman. So some people actually do think that I'm a tirthika since they reject that idea out of hand in whatever guise it appears.
I was reading a description of Samkhya in The Precious Vase and found it difficult to distinguish the idea of a transpersonal Basis from the Samkhya idea of an uncaused Nature underlying all phenomena. If one accepts the idea that the masters who commented on this tradition and distinguished it from Buddhadharma knew what they were talking about, then there is no way this could be the actual view of Dzogchen (or Mahamudra etc). So yes, it is problematic to say that the Dzogchen view is the same as Samkhya, because it implies the masters were being contradictory.
(Here it is maintained that) what is called 'nature' does not depend on primary and secondary causes, has no form, is not produced by the mind, cannot be decomposed into sundry aspects and particularities, but is (instead) deemed immutable and eternal. This does not mean that nature is a kind of cause whence other things derive as effect: in fact they believe that all animate and inanimate phenomena are this very nature itself. They define everything that we experience as impermanent, being tied to cause and effect, growth and decay etc., as the 'provisional property' (of this nature), but no separation exists between nature and its provisional property. In this regard they cite the example of gold, that when covered with mercury changes its colour but not its nature.
The view that Malcolm described, if his translations are accurate, resolves this problem: the basis is not a universal nature underlying all phenomena like in Samkhya. Maybe there is some way to resolve 'the universe arising out of the basis' idea with the basis being one's unfabricated mind, I don't know but I would find that interesting, but at least for now, it is enough for me that it distinguishes the Dzogchen view from Samkhya.