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.