Pema Rigdzin wrote:I'm not very learned, especially about Mahamudra, but it seems to me that combining Mahamudra and Dzogchen is a matter of practicality and usefulness. Dzogchen Nyingthig seems pretty much direct. Yes, it has preliminaries that are designed to help one distinguish the primordial state, but compared to Mahamudra it still seems like a "you either got it or you don't" situation until one eventually has a breakthrough. For the most part, the way Nyingthig is presented seems to concern itself with continuing in that state and how to go even deeper into one's realization through togal.
Of course Mahamudra also obviously talks plenty about continuing in the primordial state, but it seems to have much more emphasis on the part where one is going about discovering it and gaining certainty about it, so it has many step-by-step methods for leading one to that point. I think most students, whether of Dzogchen or Mahamudra, need such step-by-step guidance in order to gain absolute certainty that they've distinguished rigpa from the many mental states that can really fool one into thinking "ah, this must be it." Distinguishing the primordial state and gaining certainty that one has not gone astray is difficult! Even for people with a clear karmic connection with Dzogchen. And it seems like many Dzogchen masters nowadays - at least in the West - teach in this more gradual way even if the Dzogchen they're ultimately aiming at teaching is Nyingthig.
Also, the other obvious reason for combining Mahamudra and Dzogchen is that in this combo tradition, just as in Nyingthig, the main point is ultimately to progress through the four visions of togal.
I think that is getting us a bit closer. Mahamudra in general of course does not aim for togal's four visions.
I accept ecumenical reasons, or even experimentation, trying to find what works for a particular practitioner. I am however interested in the variety of reasons why this combination is practiced. Why someone would practice two complete, inherently sufficient paths together.
If we accept that the one does not need the other, why practice both? Are there other reasons in addition to these mentioned?