Dzogchen and other traditions

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Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:02 pm

Hello,

I just joined this forum a couple of days ago. I am not a Buddhist, but I am greatly drawn to the teachings of Buddha. Before I embark on this particular path, I would like to inform myself as thoroughly as possble examining each issue from as many angles as possible. Currently, I am reading through various literature on the philosophy, history and iconography of Buddhism as well as talking with knowledgeable practitioners.

Now, let me come straight to the point. In Buddhism the view itself is immensely important and the inspiration for this post actually came from the following blog entry:

http://www.atikosha.org/2011/01/dzogche ... dhism.html

I came very brielfy in touch with an Indian gentleman, who was born in a traditional Indian family of Smarta Brahmins. He is a formidable Sanskrit scholar and a great upasaka of the Hindu Tantras. There is no indication that he has or would adopt Buddhadharma and yet he took instructions in thogal and trekchod from some very reputable Tibetan lamas.

Now, this is very confusing to me. How can somebody, who is adhering to the traditional Hindu notion of Atman practise Dzogchen at all? On the other hand this gentleman remains deeply comitted to his traditional Hindu Tantric upasana.

Why am I bringing this up? Because of the following central questions:

a.) Where does Dzogchen practised by a person who is neither Buddhist, nor accepts the doctrine of anatman or pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) lead to according to traditional textual sources and living oral tradition? Do such people simply get stuck in formless blissful realms or are they simply wasting their time or do they go to Vajra hells....?

Further I know of a Tibetologist who is a devout Catholic and nevertheless received teachings from Choegyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He is still remaining a Christian.

I mean, this all does not make sense. If the view is not correct from the beginning, then how can Dzogchen practices established on Buddhist principles lead anywhere meaningful?

b.) What becomes of such a person after death?

c.) On the other hand we also have Bonpo practitioners of Dzogchen, who achieved the highest results. Even the Rainbow Body itself - like for instance the great Bonpo Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen.

Now, do the Bonpos have the notions of anatman, pratityasamutpada (dependent origination), etc.? I mean the core notions, without which Buddhadharma is not Buddhadharma. If so, then there is no contradiction.

If not, then theoretically even the utmost theistic Christian could successfully practise Dzogchen and achieve the Rainbow Body, since a Bonpo who also does not subscribe to the notion of anatman or dependent origination can do it.

The thing is that I do not believe that "all paths lead to the same goal, only in a different manner".

I think that the situation is much more complex and simply picking the methods of one tradition and grafting it onto one's own in the vein that "everything is anyway the same" is not perhaps the wisest thing to do.

A. Fulgens
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:07 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:
Why am I bringing this up? Because of the following central questions:

a.) Where does Dzogchen practised by a person who is neither Buddhist, nor accepts the doctrine of anatman or pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) lead to according to traditional textual sources and living oral tradition? Do such people simply get stuck in formless blissful realms or are they simply wasting their time or do they go to Vajra hells....?



At best, rebirth in a nirmanakāya buddhafield.

Now, do the Bonpos have the notions of anatman, pratityasamutpada (dependent origination), etc.? I mean the core notions, without which Buddhadharma is not Buddhadharma. If so, then there is no contradiction.


The Bonpos have Madhyamaka, a version of dependent origination and so on.

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

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:43 pm

Namdrol wrote:
AilurusFulgens wrote:
Why am I bringing this up? Because of the following central questions:

a.) Where does Dzogchen practised by a person who is neither Buddhist, nor accepts the doctrine of anatman or pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) lead to according to traditional textual sources and living oral tradition? Do such people simply get stuck in formless blissful realms or are they simply wasting their time or do they go to Vajra hells....?



At best, rebirth in a nirmanakāya buddhafield.

Now, do the Bonpos have the notions of anatman, pratityasamutpada (dependent origination), etc.? I mean the core notions, without which Buddhadharma is not Buddhadharma. If so, then there is no contradiction.


The Bonpos have Madhyamaka, a version of dependent origination and so on.

N


Please forgive me my ignorance, but is a nirmanakaya buddhafield something like a terrestrial pure land i.e. Shambhala, Copper Mountain, etc.? How is a nirmanakaya buddhafield defined?

I would have a further question and this time the situation is reversed. What would happen to a Buddhist who would study Hindu Tantric teachings? Would this even be possible?

Providing of course that he stays Buddhist (this is the situation I am speaking about), how would the practice of Hindu Tantric teachings influence his meditation, inner practice, samayas, etc.?

A. Fulgens
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:52 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:
Please forgive me my ignorance, but is a nirmanakaya buddhafield something like a terrestrial pure land i.e. Shambhala, Copper Mountain, etc.? How is a nirmanakaya buddhafield defined?



More like Amitabha's Sukhavati.


I would have a further question and this time the situation is reversed. What would happen to a Buddhist who would study Hindu Tantric teachings? Would this even be possible?

Providing of course that he stays Buddhist (this is the situation I am speaking about), how would the practice of Hindu Tantric teachings influence his meditation, inner practice, samayas, etc.?

A. Fulgens


Buddhist can study and practice Hindu tantra (or vedas, etc., as long as it is not at expense of Buddhist training). They may not take refuge on Hindu deities however. In other words there is nothing wrong with chanting Namo Shivaya at a kirtan as long as you are not going for refuge. On the other hand, Shiva was converted to Dharma by Avalokiteshvara.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:07 pm

Namdrol wrote:
AilurusFulgens wrote:
Please forgive me my ignorance, but is a nirmanakaya buddhafield something like a terrestrial pure land i.e. Shambhala, Copper Mountain, etc.? How is a nirmanakaya buddhafield defined?



More like Amitabha's Sukhavati.


I would have a further question and this time the situation is reversed. What would happen to a Buddhist who would study Hindu Tantric teachings? Would this even be possible?

Providing of course that he stays Buddhist (this is the situation I am speaking about), how would the practice of Hindu Tantric teachings influence his meditation, inner practice, samayas, etc.?

A. Fulgens


Buddhist can study and practice Hindu tantra (or vedas, etc., as long as it is not at expense of Buddhist training). They may not take refuge on Hindu deities however. In other words there is nothing wrong with chanting Namo Shivaya at a kirtan as long as you are not going for refuge. On the other hand, Shiva was converted to Dharma by Avalokiteshvara.


This is highly interesting. Could you please tell me more about Shiva being converted to Dharma by Avalokiteshvara? By coincidence I read yesterday something similar in the context of the Cakrasamvara Tantra. I though would like to know the whole story.

What would Shiva now be from the viewpoint of Vajrayana? A Boddhisattva? Or something like the converted Tibetan deities turned dharmapalas by Padmasambhava?

I do not want to appear as obnoxious or pedantic, but if a Vajrayana practitioner (sic!) decides to receive a formal initation or diksha (including bahiryaga in the form of worshipping a yantra, reciting a mantra, etc. as well as antaryaga in the form of inner kriyas involving breath, chakras, visualizations, etc.) into a complex of Tantric teachings such as the Sri Vidya cult from an orthodox Brahmin Guru from south India, while adhering strictly to the notions of anatman, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, etc., then this would be perfectly O.K.?

Would this be valid even in the case of a Dzogchenpa (given that he belongs to the highest yana)?

A. Fulgens
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:10 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:
This is highly interesting. Could you please tell me more about Shiva being converted to Dharma by Avalokiteshvara?



The account is given in the Karandavyuha sūtra.


What would Shiva now be from the viewpoint of Vajrayana? A Boddhisattva? Or something like the converted Tibetan deities turned dharmapalas by Padmasambhava?



Shiva is a Nyingma dharmapāla.

I do not want to appear as obnoxious or pedantic, but if a Vajrayana practitioner (sic!) decides to receive a formal initation or diksha (including bahiryaga in the form of worshipping a yantra, reciting a mantra, etc. as well as antaryaga in the form of inner kriyas involving breath, chakras, visualizations, etc.) into a complex of Tantric teachings such as the Sri Vidya cult from an orthodox Brahmin Guru from south India, while adhering strictly to the notions of anatman, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, etc., then this would be perfectly O.K.?


Yes, IMO. Don't much see the point, but on the other hand, I am very interested to learn Yoga from a guy named Shrivatsa Ramaswami, and part of his program involves vedic chanting, etc. Don't know if I will ever have time or money, but he is someone I have a lot of natural confidence in.

Would this be valid even in the case of a Dzogchenpa (given that he belongs to the highest yana)?


Yes, IMO.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:22 pm

Very interesting.

I am asking all this, because of a particular interest in some Shaiva tantric teachings connected with kayasadhana.

Still in one of these Tantras it is mentioned that without having bhakti towards Shiva his Grace cannot descend and grant the siddhi in these particular sadhanas.

Is bhakti towards Shiva incompatible with simultaneously taking refuge in the Buddha as a practitioner of Vajrayana? Keeping again in my mind the adherence also to all other elements of Buddhadharma i.e. the anatman-doctrine, dependent origination, etc.

A. Fulgens
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:26 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:Very interesting.

I am asking all this, because of a particular interest in some Shaiva tantric teachings connected with kayasadhana.

Still in one of these Tantras it is mentioned that without having bhakti towards Shiva his Grace cannot descend and grant the siddhi in these particular sadhanas.

Is bhakti towards Shiva incompatible with simultaneously taking refuge in the Buddha as a practitioner of Vajrayana? Keeping again in my mind the adherence also to all other elements of Buddhadharma i.e. the anatman-doctrine, dependent origination, etc.

A. Fulgens


It is all about refuge. If your refuge is Buddha Dharma and SAngha, worldy deities like Shiva can assist one, but they cannot be refuges.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby White Lotus » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:01 pm

i have studed advaita vedanta, it was a stage. passing beyond non dual brahaman atman was part of my process. the hindu vedanta and sanyassa diksa for example can be very helpful on the path... however one must go beyond them. the snake has become a rope and then the rope is used by brahaman atman to hang any last vestiges of self/atman. all this however becomes unnecessary when one comes to dzogchen. all attainments and realisations are found to be nothing but beads on the necklace of the natural state.

a broad understanding of philosophy and knowledge can be helpful, in the beginning, finaly the wise one appears to be more like a fool. and the end of the road is the beginning.

there is a dzogpo chenpa teaching about awarness or consciousness... that we have this awareness in every experience and realization of our lives. your awarenss is spontaneously complete. for now, if you can understand this it becomes an important attainment, spontaneously complete... but then go beyond awareness and consciousness. i wont talk about that here, because you probably arnt ready for it! sorry.

for now, just try to understand the significance of awarness. you are already a master.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:18 pm

Thank you, White Lotus, for you perspective.

You really hit the nail on the head as far as my inner dilemma is concerned, namely: the doctrine of anatman and dependent origination.

The doctrine of anatman is not easy to accept automatically for someone like me so used to theistic concepts. It is something very attractive and seductive, but takes time to come to terms with.

Initially I was not drawn to Buddhism at all. But what draws me to Buddhism now?

The whole reasoning of Buddhadharma, but especially Tibetan Vajrayana has something greatly seductive about it. I mean, the whole subtleties of teaching.

The next reason is compassion. Or should I rather say the first reason. To not just become a siddha and then say to everyone: "OK, I am now saved and for you others all the best. See you around." The active way how Tibetan Vajrayana emphasizes compassion is excellent.

I must say that the texts having the biggest influence on me were Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's books and a translation of Shantideva's Bodhisattvacaryavatara.

To put it simply: the great possibility and promise of attaining a "Rainbow Body" and then do good things to sentient beings and relieve them from their suffering. This is really an extraordinary ideal.

A. Fulgens
Last edited by AilurusFulgens on Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:24 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:
Initially I was not drawn to Buddhism at all. But what draws me to Buddhism now?



From our point of view, the ripening of merit.

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

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:09 pm

I do not know about my merit and given the fact that I am far from being a person of virtue,...

Nevertheless, let me tell my story in brief. A year ago I received a dharani from a Vietnamese person. It contained among other the supplication to Avalokiteshvara. I did it a couple of thousand times, but then fell short of the 10,000 mark for various reasons. Now, I accomplished the 10,000 recitations in 10 days. And then all these things with Buddhism started.

Then I practiced some metta meditation according to instructions from a book written by a certain Venerable Sujiva. It had some fascinating effects.

I have a tremendously bad temper (and so do most in my immediate family). But when doing this simple metta meditation I became more calm and slept much better. Exactly as stated in the suttas of the Pali Canon.

The teaching I am most drawn to are the 4 brahmaviharas and vipassana and from Vajrayana Tonglen, disciplines related to Trulkhor, the Six Yogas of Naropa, Mahamudra and above all Dzogchen. Especially Dzogchen.

What fascinates me is also Tibetan Medicine and it was really remarkable to see that Choegyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is presenting it through the lens of Dzogchen.

I do not want to come off as arrogant. These are the highest teachings and nowadays people perhaps overestimate their capacity. I certainly do not want to be a person to overestimate my capacity, but then if it is possible the achieve something, then one must try and do it.

I did study Sanskrit and Chinese (including Classical Chinese). My Sanskrit though is not so good, therefore I will try to improve it with a pandit in Varanasi. I would also really like to learn Tibetan.

I mean, I am a linguist (or whatever ;-) and my interest in languages is almost part of a professional illness.

A. Fulgens
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:58 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:What fascinates me is also Tibetan Medicine and it was really remarkable to see that Choegyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is presenting it through the lens of Dzogchen.



Tibetan Medicine is a Nyingma system, so it is not suprising that it is related to Dzogchen since it contains Dzogchen.

Tibetan Medicine is the only medical system integrated with Vajrayāna.

Now, I accomplished the 10,000 recitations in 10 days. And then all these things with Buddhism started


As I said, your merit ripened.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby goldenlotus » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:17 pm

I do not want to appear as obnoxious or pedantic, but if a Vajrayana practitioner (sic!) decides to receive a formal initation or diksha (including bahiryaga in the form of worshipping a yantra, reciting a mantra, etc. as well as antaryaga in the form of inner kriyas involving breath, chakras, visualizations, etc.) into a complex of Tantric teachings such as the Sri Vidya cult from an orthodox Brahmin Guru from south India, while adhering strictly to the notions of anatman, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, etc., then this would be perfectly O.K.?



How would this be okay? i guess seeing the essential shakti as empty?

but how is that possible to practice SriVidya sadhana seeing shiva and shakti as empty?
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Sönam » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:39 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Now, I accomplished the 10,000 recitations in 10 days. And then all these things with Buddhism started


As I said, your merit ripened.


I'm surprize that peoples are surprized that merit accumulation works ...

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.
- Longchen Rabjam -
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:51 pm

How would this be okay? i guess seeing the essential shakti as empty?

but how is that possible to practice SriVidya sadhana seeing shiva and shakti as empty?


This was exactly my point. The questions you raised are exactly those that I have. You took the words out of my mouth. You see, I am trying to put myself in the shoes of a Buddhist and then switch the view and put myself in the shoes of a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma (commonly known in the West as Hinduism).

I want to examine things from all possible angles - or at least as many of them as possible - in order to reach deeper understanding.

Of course, this has its limits. You cannot go on examining till you are old and on the verge of dying. My aim is to do things correctly. I would not like to become some confused, half-baked New Age Buddhist, if I do fully commit to Buddhadharma. Things simply have to fit.

I am still of the opinion that Compassion (Metta in Theravada and Boddhicitta in Vajrayana) are the biggest plus, when it comes to Buddhism. Compare this to some other teachings i.e. "we are fine, having a jolly good time in Heaven and those poor bastards in hell are being cut to pieces by demons. What a shame, Poppy. Ah, by the way call Charles if he will go to the races with us. I need to buy a new cilinder and tuxedo."

Assuming of course that Poppy and Charles are two British celestials with a penchant for horse races in Ascot.
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby goldenlotus » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:02 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:
How would this be okay? i guess seeing the essential shakti as empty?

but how is that possible to practice SriVidya sadhana seeing shiva and shakti as empty?


This was exactly my point. The questions you raised are exactly those that I have. You took the words out of my mouth. You see, I am trying to put myself in the shoes of a Buddhist and then switch the view and put myself in the shoes of a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma (commonly known in the West as Hinduism).

I want to examine things from all possible angles - or at least as many of them as possible - in order to reach deeper understanding.

Of course, this has its limits. You cannot go on examining till you are old and on the verge of dying. My aim is to do things correctly. I would not like to become some confused, half-baked New Age Buddhist, if I do fully commit to Buddhadharma. Things simply have to fit.


There is something about buddhadharma meditation that attracts me to, i used to practice khadgamala stotram with all the visualisations, nysas, mudras etc. it's a beautiful tradition( with good visions too :tongue: ) but something about buddhist yoga im interested in.

good luck
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Malcolm » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:07 pm

goldenlotus wrote:
AilurusFulgens wrote:
How would this be okay? i guess seeing the essential shakti as empty?

but how is that possible to practice SriVidya sadhana seeing shiva and shakti as empty?


This was exactly my point. The questions you raised are exactly those that I have. You took the words out of my mouth. You see, I am trying to put myself in the shoes of a Buddhist and then switch the view and put myself in the shoes of a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma (commonly known in the West as Hinduism).

I want to examine things from all possible angles - or at least as many of them as possible - in order to reach deeper understanding.

Of course, this has its limits. You cannot go on examining till you are old and on the verge of dying. My aim is to do things correctly. I would not like to become some confused, half-baked New Age Buddhist, if I do fully commit to Buddhadharma. Things simply have to fit.


There is something about buddhadharma meditation that attracts me to, i used to practice khadgamala stotram with all the visualisations, nysas, mudras etc. it's a beautiful tradition( with good visions too :tongue: ) but something about buddhist yoga im interested in.

good luck


The Buddha never told brahmins to cease practicing vedic rituals. In fact he encouraged it. But what he said was that vedic ritual was not liberative. he never denied however that is was a mundane benefit.

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

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
Malcolm
 
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby AilurusFulgens » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:12 pm

Namdrol wrote:The Buddha never told brahmins to cease practicing vedic rituals. In fact he encouraged it. But what he said was that vedic ritual was not liberative. he never denied however that is was a mundane benefit.

N


Another point in favour of the Buddhadharma. If you think of it, the Buddha was extremely skillful.

Then there is always the point of Compassion.

Ailurus Fulgens wrote:I am still of the opinion that Compassion (Metta in Theravada and Boddhicitta in Vajrayana) are the biggest plus, when it comes to Buddhism. Compare this to some other teachings i.e. "we are fine, having a jolly good time in Heaven and those poor bastards in hell are being cut to pieces by demons. What a shame, Poppy. Ah, by the way call Charles if he will go to the races with us. I need to buy a new cilinder and tuxedo."

Assuming of course that Poppy and Charles are two British celestials with a penchant for horse races in Ascot.
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Re: Dzogchen and other traditions

Postby Virgo » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:50 pm

AilurusFulgens wrote:=
Then there is always the point of Compassion.

That's what it is all about.

kevin
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