Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

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Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:33 pm

Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

A complete beginner being somebody with no formal religious experience, no knowledge of Buddhism, etc.

In short, can a person make the transition from being spiritually aloof to practicing Dzogchen and achieve the benefit of realization?
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Paul » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:38 pm

mint wrote:Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

A complete beginner being somebody with no formal religious experience, no knowledge of Buddhism, etc.

In short, can a person make the transition from being spiritually aloof to practicing Dzogchen and achieve the benefit of realization?


Provided that you follow your teacher's words carefully, then yes - absolutely.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Virgo » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:40 pm

mint wrote:Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

A complete beginner being somebody with no formal religious experience, no knowledge of Buddhism, etc.

In short, can a person make the transition from being spiritually aloof to practicing Dzogchen and achieve the benefit of realization?

Of course.

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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:03 pm

Hayagriva wrote:Provided that you follow your teacher's words carefully, then yes - absolutely.


Would you say, then, that the process of learning Dzogchen can be separate from learning Buddhism? Or, would learning Dzogchen involve a coincidental learning of Buddhism, or vice versa?

Say, if I were to read only books about my Dzogchen practice, would I attain a clear understanding of Buddhism, as well?
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Paul » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:30 pm

mint wrote:
Hayagriva wrote:Provided that you follow your teacher's words carefully, then yes - absolutely.


Would you say, then, that the process of learning Dzogchen can be separate from learning Buddhism? Or, would learning Dzogchen involve a coincidental learning of Buddhism, or vice versa?

Say, if I were to read only books about my Dzogchen practice, would I attain a clear understanding of Buddhism, as well?


All my teachers who have taught Dzogchen do so in a Buddhist framework. Dzogchen is Buddhist, after all.

If you are a beginner, then it is very good to be methodical and build good foundations - but don't get the idea you can't start at Dzogchen. For what it's worth I've noticed that it seems to be the Nyingma way of teaching to have a very obvious Dzogchen flavour to teachings regardless of subject.
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby heart » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:38 pm

Hayagriva wrote:
mint wrote:
Hayagriva wrote:Provided that you follow your teacher's words carefully, then yes - absolutely.


Would you say, then, that the process of learning Dzogchen can be separate from learning Buddhism? Or, would learning Dzogchen involve a coincidental learning of Buddhism, or vice versa?

Say, if I were to read only books about my Dzogchen practice, would I attain a clear understanding of Buddhism, as well?


All my teachers who have taught Dzogchen do so in a Buddhist framework. Dzogchen is Buddhist, after all.

If you are a beginner, then it is very good to be methodical and build good foundations - but don't get the idea you can't start at Dzogchen. For what it's worth I've noticed that it seems to be the Nyingma way of teaching to have a very obvious Dzogchen flavour to teachings regardless of subject.


Oh, yes.

/magnus
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:14 pm

Hayagriva wrote:Dzogchen is Buddhist, after all.


Well, yes - but some masters seem to try to distance Dzogchen from any temporal or local placement, saying that Dzogchen is no more Buddhist than it is Tibetan or 31st century BCE. It is Dzogchen and Dzogchen only. That's the impression I've gotten.

If you are a beginner, then it is very good to be methodical and build good foundations - but don't get the idea you can't start at Dzogchen. For what it's worth I've noticed that it seems to be the Nyingma way of teaching to have a very obvious Dzogchen flavour to teachings regardless of subject.


What do you mean by "build good foundations"? Do you mean progressing through all the other yanas?

Why is it "good" to be methodical and build these foundations? If one can start at Dzogchen from prior being spiritually aloof and still attain the same realization as a master like ChNNR, such foundations seem superfluous.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Paul » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:08 pm

mint wrote:
Hayagriva wrote:Dzogchen is Buddhist, after all.


Well, yes - but some masters seem to try to distance Dzogchen from any temporal or local placement, saying that Dzogchen is no more Buddhist than it is Tibetan or 31st century BCE. It is Dzogchen and Dzogchen only. That's the impression I've gotten.


Dzogchen is reality itself. It's how the universe is. That's not a thing copyrighted by some Tibetan bloke in a cave - it's utterly beyond anything like ownership in that sense. But the completed knowing of how reality is is approached by Buddhist methods.
mint wrote:
If you are a beginner, then it is very good to be methodical and build good foundations - but don't get the idea you can't start at Dzogchen. For what it's worth I've noticed that it seems to be the Nyingma way of teaching to have a very obvious Dzogchen flavour to teachings regardless of subject.


What do you mean by "build good foundations"? Do you mean progressing through all the other yanas?

Why is it "good" to be methodical and build these foundations? If one can start at Dzogchen from prior being spiritually aloof and still attain the same realization as a master like ChNNR, such foundations seem superfluous.


I mean things like some intellectual/factual things like learning terminology, who major lineage masters are, important texts, famous quotes etc. Then there are practical things like posture and so on. "Relative" practices such as contemplating death etc. will get you in the right frame of mind, which is important. But the absolute Number One in my opinion is following the teacher's meditation instructions. The other things are foundations because they help you 1) understand the instructions and their context and 2) make you especially receptive to them.
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:24 pm

IMHO Dzogchen is 110% Buddhist.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:48 am

Hayagriva wrote:I mean things like some intellectual/factual things like learning terminology, who major lineage masters are, important texts, famous quotes etc. Then there are practical things like posture and so on. "Relative" practices such as contemplating death etc. will get you in the right frame of mind, which is important. But the absolute Number One in my opinion is following the teacher's meditation instructions. The other things are foundations because they help you 1) understand the instructions and their context and 2) make you especially receptive to them.


So, getting back to my question, a complete beginner wouldn't benefit from taking immediate Dzogchen instruction without prior formation?

By formation, I mean a thorough knowledge of Buddhist principles. If that's the case, I would think one have to graduate through the nine yanas before taking immediate instruction from a master.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Pero » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:03 am

mint wrote:So, getting back to my question, a complete beginner wouldn't benefit from taking immediate Dzogchen instruction without prior formation?


He/she could benefit. I think it's important to study after that however. Perhaps not necessarily delving deeply into sutra or something, but Dzogchen teachings for sure. And for that some study of Buddhism in general might be necessary too.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Paul » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:49 am

mint wrote:So, getting back to my question, a complete beginner wouldn't benefit from taking immediate Dzogchen instruction without prior formation?


A complete beginner will definitely, 100% benefit from Dzogchen teachings. You would learn the things I mentioned on a teaching retreat, but knowing them beforehand simply makes for an easier learning curve. For the most part, they're the kind of thing you can get in books or ask senior student for.

I've met people at Dzogchen retreats who have never had Buddhist teachings before and they've had an amazing time.

By formation, I mean a thorough knowledge of Buddhist principles. If that's the case, I would think one have to graduate through the nine yanas before taking immediate instruction from a master.


No need at all to start with the other eight yanas first. The traditional way of teaching in the Nyingma lineage is to begin with direct introduction to the nature of mind as the first thing on the curriculum. Before ngondro or anything.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby White Lotus » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:25 pm

if you could just rest in your natural state that would be fine... but, ego is going to take you on a rollercoaster ride. it is for that reason that empowerments, meditation and other superficial things are taught. people need something more to hang onto... but in the end it is just resting as you are in this plain old natural state.

best wishes, Tom.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Sönam » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:47 pm

mint wrote:Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

A complete beginner being somebody with no formal religious experience, no knowledge of Buddhism, etc.

In short, can a person make the transition from being spiritually aloof to practicing Dzogchen and achieve the benefit of realization?


As ChNN repeated it in current webcast, Dzogchen is a complete path ... therefore anyone can benefit from Dzogchen

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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.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:29 pm

Pero wrote:
He/she could benefit. I think it's important to study after that however. Perhaps not necessarily delving deeply into sutra or something, but Dzogchen teachings for sure. And for that some study of Buddhism in general might be necessary too.


Why would any other study aside from Dzogchen study be necessary? If Dzogchen is the ultimate teaching, nothing aside from Dzogchen study should be necessary, in my opinion. Studying anything else would seem like studying something lesser and could lead to confusion.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:34 pm

Unless you are a real prodigy, you will need to perform secondary practices according to your circumstances. To do them, having a good knowledge about what they are and why they are the way they are, is beneficial. This is why you can and should study other subjects.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:39 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Unless you are a real prodigy, you will need to perform secondary practices according to your circumstances. To do them, having a good knowledge about what they are and why they are the way they are, is beneficial. This is why you can and should study other subjects.


Would these secondary practices be things like Ngondro?

Is Guruyoga not sufficient for practice?
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Paul » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:42 pm

mint wrote:
Pero wrote:
He/she could benefit. I think it's important to study after that however. Perhaps not necessarily delving deeply into sutra or something, but Dzogchen teachings for sure. And for that some study of Buddhism in general might be necessary too.


Why would any other study aside from Dzogchen study be necessary? If Dzogchen is the ultimate teaching, nothing aside from Dzogchen study should be necessary, in my opinion. Studying anything else would seem like studying something lesser and could lead to confusion.


Personally, I think that the contemplation of death and impermanance, only the second of the ordinary ngondro practices, is probably the most profound of all Buddhist teachings. It's not 'lesser' in any fashion. That's just my opinion though.
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby Pero » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:53 pm

mint wrote:
Pero wrote:
He/she could benefit. I think it's important to study after that however. Perhaps not necessarily delving deeply into sutra or something, but Dzogchen teachings for sure. And for that some study of Buddhism in general might be necessary too.


Why would any other study aside from Dzogchen study be necessary? If Dzogchen is the ultimate teaching, nothing aside from Dzogchen study should be necessary, in my opinion. Studying anything else would seem like studying something lesser and could lead to confusion.

For one thing Dzogchen texts can refer to other Buddhist vehicles and teachings, if for nothing else to refute them haha. If you don't know anything at all of the lower vehicles you might not be able to understand what the text is saying. And also if you don't know the lower vehicles you might be actually practicing according to them without you knowing it, confusing Dzogchen with one of the other eight. And I said "might" not "is". In my case trying to learn a bit about lower vehicles came naturally with trying to learn about Dzogchen, with much much more interest on the latter.

But perhaps those things aren't so important and/or you can get around them without much problems. But what is important IMO is that you study lower vehicles because most of us can't always remain in the state of Dzogchen. And even if we could we can still encounter a bunch of problems. Knowing the lower vehicles can become a very useful tool to deal with them.

edit: oops, I see I'm more or less repeating what has already been posted. :emb:
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Can a complete beginner benefit from Dzogchen practice?

Postby mint » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:08 pm

Pero wrote:edit: oops, I see I'm more or less repeating what has already been posted. :emb:


No, your elucidation is appreciated.

Is this what Longchenpa meant when he said a person should be like a bee?
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