Authority in dzogchen

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Authority in dzogchen

Postby sherabpa » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:10 am

I know this matter annoys a lot of people, but I'm not sure why its so annoying, yet, so here goes.

The source of authority in dzogchen and vajrayana is one's guru, I am told. If one's guru presents the teachings in one way, and another guru presents it in another, contradictory, way, how should one regard this situation? I'm thinking here of the ngondro, of course, and the different views on its importance among dzogchen lineages. But it also applies generally to, say, Sakya Pandita's views on Mahamudra and Vajravarahi.

You can see how this is essential to understand if one has received teachings of both lineages, or if one wishes to do so.

Is it that one teaching is definitive and the other is provisional, and in fact all the teachings are in agreement? If so, how do we determine which one is definitive? (We cannot simply ask our teacher if we have two teachers.) What does it mean for a teaching to be definitive or provisional in this sense, as opposed to being simply correct or incorrect?

Or there an actual problem here, a disagreement that needs to be resolved, in the traditional style, such as that demonstrated in Sakya Pandita's sdom gsum. Which is to say, it is not a matter of provisional and definitive, but of correct or incorrect.

Notice please this is not an attack on anyone.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Caz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:45 am

Im not sure about anyone else but my it has been advised to me by some that if one is going to have multiple teachers they should be within the same tradition and hold the same view as ones primary teacher to avoid this sort of confusion. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:10 am

Wouldn't it be surprising to find a group of people where everybody agrees on everything? Sounds unnatural, isn't it? Or like brainwashed cultists. There are teachers, groups, lineages, traditions so different people can follow the idea they prefer. One might believe that "ultimately everything is one" but relatively there is an obvious diversity. However, once there is authority, orthodoxy, then there are heretics and enemies of the true faith.
"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)

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Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Caz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:28 am

Astus wrote:Wouldn't it be surprising to find a group of people where everybody agrees on everything? Sounds unnatural, isn't it? Or like brainwashed cultists. There are teachers, groups, lineages, traditions so different people can follow the idea they prefer. One might believe that "ultimately everything is one" but relatively there is an obvious diversity. However, once there is authority, orthodoxy, then there are heretics and enemies of the true faith.


Its not unatural to find groups of people who agree on practically everything there may be a few little things they dont agree on but its the nature of samsara and SELF to find others whom are pleasently appearing and agree with you. There certainly is obvious diversity and I rejoice in such its wonderful to have so many versions of Buddha Dharma to help people as not everyone is suited to the same thing they all eventually do lead to the same place but the methods they employ may be unique to them if one is following a multitude of traditions its best to be cautious and find teachers whom hold the same view as your root teacher to make things easier to implement and so one will not become confused as to which view to follow or with specific version of a practise to do if one receives something incredibly similar but profoundly different from another teacher. Authority and orthodoxy do not necessarily lead to conflict and sectarianism if one is taught to view all traditions as precious then there is no to engage in behaviour that creates suffering and conflict, Besides what does holding hatred in our hearts for others do but cause suffering even disliking them is the begining of delusion. :popcorn:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby muni » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:56 am

State of ones' own mind, the opportunities in which we get teachings and so on. Too easely we think everyone is in the same way approaching Buddhism like in centers. this is not. Broad minded for all teaching whether one sees clarity in it or not again depend not on the teaching on itself. Too easely teaching is seen as solid like a rolex watch, it is also interdependent.
One can easy have teachings from all traditions and then meet a Rime master, mastering Dzogchen, Vajrayana....
One precious master said: "go and learn from wathever which tradition"!

Then finally one can learn from all, all is teaching, so is there said.

When one is hungry, one eats what is offered, still ask a master. :anjali:
Last edited by muni on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby padma norbu » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:32 pm

I think if you're in doubt, do traditional ngondro. Problem solved. For me, if my first teacher who introduced me to ngondro said I didn't need to, but my second teacher said I did, then I would go to the first teacher and ask him again, explaining the second teacher said I had to do it. If that first teacher was Namkhai Norbu, that first teacher would probably say something like, "if he says you need to do it, then you should do it if you have that possibility. I am not saying it is not good to do. I myself completed the ngondro X number of times. But, the most important thing is guru yoga. Main point is guru yoga. If you feel you have no possibility to do ngondro, then it is better you do guru yoga."

Now, doesn't that about answer all your questions pertaining to this matter?
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:08 pm

sherabpa wrote:I know this matter annoys a lot of people, but I'm not sure why its so annoying, yet, so here goes.

The source of authority in dzogchen and vajrayana is one's guru, I am told. If one's guru presents the teachings in one way, and another guru presents it in another, contradictory, way, how should one regard this situation?



One should follow the advice of one's root guru.



I'm thinking here of the ngondro, of course, and the different views on its importance among dzogchen lineages. But it also applies generally to, say, Sakya Pandita's views on Mahamudra and Vajravarahi.

You can see how this is essential to understand if one has received teachings of both lineages, or if one wishes to do so.



I am someone who has done a three year Sakya Lamdre retreat, has translated many Sakya texts, I am also a Dzogchen practitioner, and have translated many Dzogchen texts.

In Lamdre there is a teaching called the four authorities. The principle authority which is the root of the other three is the authority of the Guru i.e. "Since all previous and subsequent authorities depend on this, the authority of the Guru is supreme."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:17 pm

Caz wrote:Im not sure about anyone else but my it has been advised to me by some that if one is going to have multiple teachers they should be within the same tradition and hold the same view as ones primary teacher to avoid this sort of confusion. :namaste:



In my opinion this approach leads to narrow-mindedness. For example, this was not Sakya Pandita's approach, nor Longchenpa's, nor even Lama Tsongkhapa's approach.

In the end, Sakya Pandita, Longchenpa and Tsongkhapa each had to make up their own mind about what to accept and what to reject. I recommend everyone follow this approach.

Even if we accept that the Guru is the supreme authority, in the end, oneself is the final authority.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Caz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:58 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Caz wrote:Im not sure about anyone else but my it has been advised to me by some that if one is going to have multiple teachers they should be within the same tradition and hold the same view as ones primary teacher to avoid this sort of confusion. :namaste:



In my opinion this approach leads to narrow-mindedness. For example, this was not Sakya Pandita's approach, nor Longchenpa's, nor even Lama Tsongkhapa's approach.

In the end, Sakya Pandita, Longchenpa and Tsongkhapa each had to make up their own mind about what to accept and what to reject. I recommend everyone follow this approach.

Even if we accept that the Guru is the supreme authority, in the end, oneself is the final authority.

N


The same can be said of people who practice a multitude of traditions Namdrol, narrow mindness doesn't just come from following a singular method of Dharma or multitudes of Dharma teachings from different traditions but rather comes from the self-cherishing mind that rejects the Dharma of others as inferior to ones own. There are many paths formulated for our benefit personally I am not of the capacity to practice more then one variety not out of a destain for others Dharma but because I am limited and lack the ability to be able to discern the intricacies of multiple versions of the same or similar teachings. If we follow these great teachers view we can also see that there was no single conclusion as to what was the best but rather what is suitable for peoples capacity and karma. Therefore to avoid confusion I personally find it is easier (if one so chooses) to have multiple teachers whom all hold non conflicting views with regards to Dharma.
Everyone is entitled to practise the way they see fit and according to who evers view they want all that is need is for people to respect one and other and rejoice in their training the mind and then issues of sectarianism or authority driven sectarianism will not arise.
:cheers:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:04 pm

Caz wrote:
Everyone is entitled to practise the way they see fit and according to who evers view they want...



Yes. In the end, even if one states the Guru is the supreme authority, in the end it all boils down to oneself.

N
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Caz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:09 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Caz wrote:
Everyone is entitled to practise the way they see fit and according to who evers view they want...



Yes. In the end, even if one states the Guru is the supreme authority, in the end it all boils down to oneself.

N



:good:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby muni » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:48 pm

Hello Caz, :namaste:
You can also see like this:

Some sit nicely on a meditation cushion or carpet recieving many teachings, other sit on a piece of paper or old plastic bag to get few words of teachings for which they deeply bow, and bow....
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:29 pm

For me, being half Indian and half German, I have this love-hate relationship with both East and West. I've managed to find happy mediums where I could. I have never left behind either Eastern spirituality or Western scientific skepticism. It's clear to me that what's happening now days is so these two things could be brought together. Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen, translator of Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation, told me to "Scrutinize!" It is an old Buddhist tradition to scrutinize the teacher and he or she will scrutinize you. Also in the West we have a nice tradition of "try before you buy." But also experiment and observation. Granted this mix often puts both the Lamas and us in uncomfortable situations of having to negotiate our traditions. But it's a good thing. The Lamas are in a position of having to compromise and so are we. Good things come of this. Basically, don't take anything anyone says at face value and scrutinize it. So what if the lama gets twitchy. If he or she is harboring nonsense, they should face it. If he or she tells you something that sounds bullshitty, it probably is. Take what you can that's valuable and move on. But also give them a chance to show you what's not bullshit and can actually help you get through some of your own bullshit. The bottom line is that Buddhism can totally change your life for the better, and lamas with 20 plus years of know-how, despite their bullshit, can teach you plenty of useful good stuff. Also consider that we as Westerners, especially Americans (especially the Bay Area), have uber-good karma in the sense that all these lamas have come here and are requesting us to attend their teachings. And then their teachings are Mahamudra or Dzogchen. This is totally unprecedented. I've had numerous lamas tell me that they are shocked how much variety of food we have, and how, just like the grocery store, we can attend so many high lamas over the weekends. In Tibet, people would have to walk for weeks and carry so many offerings and then the lama might not come out of the cave. We just have to turn on the computer or cross the Bay Bridge or something trivial. So we Westerners have a unique historical opportunity to carry the mantle. Clearly we are ripe for it.
CAW!
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Re: Authority in dzogchen

Postby Fa Dao » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:38 pm

Adinatha,
nice take on the situation...sounds like you have done a good job of merging east and west :twothumbsup:
"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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