Dzogchen cosmogeny

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Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:41 pm

Namdrol wrote:As I have stated elsewhere, Dzogchen cosmology is just a minor variation on the standard abhidharma cosmology. In Abhidharmakośa, at the end of the eon, all sentient beings are reborn in the two upper form realms, where their minds are in a state of dharmatā. After twenty anatarakalpas, intermediate eons, because of traces of latent afflictions, the air mandala forms and so on, resulting in a container universe which is repopulated by sentient beings who take birth in it from top to bottom.

In Dzogchen, at the end of the previous mahākalpa, all sentient beings attain "buddhahood" after taking birth in the Kalavinkaloka. Then after twenty thousand eons while samsara and nirvana does not appear (this is called the bardo (antara) of samsara and nirvana in dzogchen texts), because of the lingering traces of affliction and action left over from the last eon, the basis becomes stirred, the five lights shine out and there is a chance for recognition or non-recognition by the neutral awareness(es) that is/are obscured by the innate ignorance of mere non-recognition while the basis is in a latent state. Depending on the fact of recognition or non-recognition, there is Samantabhadra and sentient beings.

Thus, we understand that the basis has two phases, active and latent. During the bardo of samsara and nirvana, it is in a latent phase.


gad rgyangs wrote:sounds good, but im not sure how this is really different from Vishnu dreaming the universe or other creation myths. this "basis" seems like a possesor of substance svabhava. if you say no, its empty, then that means its dependently originated, in which case, the question becomes, what kind of "basis" is it that would be dependent on causes and conditions, and what would these causes and conditions be in this case?


Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:sounds good, but im not sure how this is really different from Vishnu dreaming the universe or other creation myths. this "basis" seems like a possesor of substance svabhava.


No, since it is originally pure.

if you say no, its empty, then that means its dependently originated, in which case, the question becomes, what kind of "basis" is it that would be dependent on causes and conditions, and what would these causes and conditions be in this case?


No, since it is naturally formed [lhun grub] i.e. it is not made by anyone [sus ma byas, (the actual definition of lhun grub)] but it is also not conditioned by afflictions.

However, since it is naturally formed, it can appear as dependently originated phenomena, for example, the five lights being reified as the five elements, etc.



gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
No, since it is naturally formed [lhun grub] i.e. it is not made by anyone [sus ma byas, (the actual definition of lhun grub)]


this is the actual definition of svabhava.


Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
No, since it is naturally formed [lhun grub] i.e. it is not made by anyone [sus ma byas, (the actual definition of lhun grub)]


this is the actual definition of svabhava.


There is no diversity in a svābhāva. There is diversity in lhun grub. This is the reason why ka dag is termed ngo bo, or svabhāva; while lhun grub is termed prakriti or rang bzhin.
N
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:51 pm

is the basis a dependent arising or not? if it is, its not a basis. if it is not, it is not empty, which is impossible.
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:05 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:is the basis a dependent arising or not? if it is, its not a basis. if it is not, it is not empty, which is impossible.



The basis is not dependently originated. It is self-originated.

The Blazing Lamp Tantra:

Within initial original purity
the nature is like so:
not made by anyone, intrinsically clear
the nature is already just so.
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:14 pm

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:is the basis a dependent arising or not? if it is, its not a basis. if it is not, it is not empty, which is impossible.



The basis is not dependently originated. It is self-originated.

The Blazing Lamp Tantra:

Within initial original purity
the nature is like so:
not made by anyone, intrinsically clear
the nature is already just so.


how is this reconcilable with the standard Dzogchen trope that Dzogchen follows the view of Pransangika Madhayamaka and the MMK? or is this where the so-called "great madhyamaka" of the Big Red Book comes from?
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:18 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:is the basis a dependent arising or not? if it is, its not a basis. if it is not, it is not empty, which is impossible.



The basis is not dependently originated. It is self-originated.

The Blazing Lamp Tantra:

Within initial original purity
the nature is like so:
not made by anyone, intrinsically clear
the nature is already just so.


how is this reconcilable with the standard Dzogchen trope that Dzogchen follows the view of Pransangika Madhayamaka and the MMK?



The basis is original purity. The Unwritten Tantra states:

“There is no object to investigate within the view of self-originated wisdom: nothing went before, nothing happens later, nothing is present now at all. Action does not exist. Traces do not exist. Ignorance does not exist. Mind does not exist. Prajñā does not exist. Samsara does not exist. Nirvana does not exist. Even vidyā itself does not exist i.e. nothing at all appears in wisdom. That arose from not grasping anything.”

However, Prasaga is an intellectual view. Dzogchen is not and that is the main difference between the two.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:26 pm

Namdrol wrote:The basis is original purity. The Unwritten Tantra states:

“There is no object to investigate within the view of self-originated wisdom: nothing went before, nothing happens later, nothing is present now at all. Action does not exist. Traces do not exist. Ignorance does not exist. Mind does not exist. Prajñā does not exist. Samsara does not exist. Nirvana does not exist. Even vidyā itself does not exist i.e. nothing at all appears in wisdom. That arose from not grasping anything.”

However, Prasaga is an intellectual view. Dzogchen is not and that is the main difference between the two.


so wisdom (ye shes) is prior to vidya (rig pa), and is actually a synonym for the basis? when ye shes takes an object it becomes rig pa (or rather ye shes stirs and becomes a duality of rigpa and object)? what then is "resting in rig pa", what is the object then?
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:42 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The basis is original purity. The Unwritten Tantra states:

“There is no object to investigate within the view of self-originated wisdom: nothing went before, nothing happens later, nothing is present now at all. Action does not exist. Traces do not exist. Ignorance does not exist. Mind does not exist. Prajñā does not exist. Samsara does not exist. Nirvana does not exist. Even vidyā itself does not exist i.e. nothing at all appears in wisdom. That arose from not grasping anything.”

However, Prasaga is an intellectual view. Dzogchen is not and that is the main difference between the two.


so wisdom (ye shes) is prior to vidya (rig pa), and is actually a synonym for the basis?


Yes.


when ye shes takes an object it becomes rig pa (or rather ye shes stirs and becomes a duality of rigpa and object)? what then is "resting in rig pa", what is the object then?


Awarenesses [shes pa rnams] in the basis are neutral, meaning they are not afflicted, but they possess innate ignorance since they not know themselves. When there is a stirring in the basis and the light of wisdom shines out, then these awarenesses either recognize it, in which case their shes pa becomes a shes rab and they know [vidyā] the basis as their own state; or they reify appearance of the five lights as an object through the imputing ignorance and this sets into motion I-making, dependent origination and all the rest of it, and their shes pa becomes rnam shes.

BTW, the texts themselves do not speak of the shes pas in the plural. They just use the the term shes pa lung ma bstan.

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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:48 pm

a "basis" that is "self originated" and possesses some kind of rudimentary "awarenesses". it sounds like some kind of primordial blob or something.
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:51 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:a "basis" that is "self originated" and possesses some kind of rudimentary "awarenesses". it sounds like some kind of primordial blob or something.



I guess you are not very interested in understanding Dzogchne. It is probably better for you to study Lamdre or Mahamudra.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:59 pm

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:a "basis" that is "self originated" and possesses some kind of rudimentary "awarenesses". it sounds like some kind of primordial blob or something.



I guess you are not very interested in understanding Dzogchne. It is probably better for you to study Lamdre or Mahamudra.

N


thats not fair. i am asking honest questions and expressing my perplexity with some aspects of this creation story. i don't see how anyone could not experience some perplexity with this story. your explanations are very clear and appreciated, but that doesn't mean its something to be just swallowed hook line and sinker without question.
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:05 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:a "basis" that is "self originated" and possesses some kind of rudimentary "awarenesses". it sounds like some kind of primordial blob or something.



I guess you are not very interested in understanding Dzogchne. It is probably better for you to study Lamdre or Mahamudra.

N


thats not fair. i am asking honest questions and expressing my perplexity with some aspects of this creation story. i don't see how anyone could not experience some perplexity with this story. your explanations are very clear and appreciated, but that doesn't mean its something to be just swallowed hook line and sinker without question.



You should examine the tone of your questions. BTW, it is not a creation story. The basis refers to a time between universes. Also, as I have mentioned before, if you are not practicing thögal, this explanation is not relevant to your practice. This explanation is directly tied to tögal teachings and provides the basis for understanding the Nyinthig model of liberation. It is actually not really good that there is so much out there about this "cosmology" since people misunderstand its intent badly.

N
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:08 pm

gad rgyangs wrote: i don't see how anyone could not experience some perplexity with this story.

It's actually the clearest explanation of things I've come across.

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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:22 pm

Virgo wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote: i don't see how anyone could not experience some perplexity with this story.

It's actually the clearest explanation of things I've come across.

Kevin


i didnt say it wasnt clear, i said it was bizarre.
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:31 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:
Virgo wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote: i don't see how anyone could not experience some perplexity with this story.

It's actually the clearest explanation of things I've come across.

Kevin


i didnt say it wasnt clear, i said it was bizarre.


No more bizarre that Kalacakra space atoms.
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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.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Kai wrote:Therefore KaDag ChenPo = basis = yeshe?


indeed.
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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.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:36 am

gad rgyangs wrote: the dzogchen presentation of the basis, what exactly it is or isnt, and how things arise from it, is intimately related to questions of just what a sentient being is, just what we are, what our awareness is, where it comes from, etc. none of this stuff is trivial.


Things dont rise from the basis. They arise from non-recognition of the basis, i.e. the parikalpita- avidyā.

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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: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:33 am

Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote: the dzogchen presentation of the basis, what exactly it is or isnt, and how things arise from it, is intimately related to questions of just what a sentient being is, just what we are, what our awareness is, where it comes from, etc. none of this stuff is trivial.


Things dont rise from the basis. They arise from non-recognition of the basis, i.e. the parikalpita- avidyā.

N


what is it that fails to recognize the basis? have sentient beings existed since beginningless time alongside the basis, but not arising from it? do the basis and sentient beings have a common origin?
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:30 am

gad rgyangs wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote: the dzogchen presentation of the basis, what exactly it is or isnt, and how things arise from it, is intimately related to questions of just what a sentient being is, just what we are, what our awareness is, where it comes from, etc. none of this stuff is trivial.


Things dont rise from the basis. They arise from non-recognition of the basis, i.e. the parikalpita- avidyā.

N


what is it that fails to recognize the basis?



I have explained this now several ways. So, I'll try again: there are no sentient beings at the time of the latent basis, because all sentient beings, theoretically, acheived some kind of buddhahood in the last eon. The notion of the basis in Dzogchen man ngag sde is very similar to the Hindu idea of Pralaya. [In fact, in the term kun gzhi, ālaya, kun = ā, gzhi = laya. The term kun gzhi is distinguished from the term gzhi in Dzogchen, as you can easily find out, but the fact that gzhi is desceribed as the bardo of samara and nirvana is nothing if not telling. If someone is taking a text critical approach, they will note that there is a movement in Buddhist tantric texts in India in the late 9th through the 10th century in such texts as the Samputa tantra and the Kalacakra to borrow and repurpose some Samkhya concepts. Hence Dzogchen use of the term prakriti, etc.]

After the collapse of the previous universe, there are no buddhas and sentient beings -- and this is called the bardo of samsara and nirvana. Present in the latent basis however is a neutral awareness which does not know itself.

Because of traces of action and affliction remain from previous universe, the basis is stirred, lights shine out, and they are either recognized or not, resulting in samasara and nirvana.

This neutral awareness is what happens when someone acheives an incomplete full awakening, for example an arhat or some other form of lesser iberation that can "return to the cause". This is why Dzogchen makes such a big deal about Dzogchen Buddhahood being one that "does not return to the cause".

have sentient beings existed since beginningless time alongside the basis, but not arising from it?


The Dzogchen answer is no. Sentient beings newly arise at the end of each bardo of samsara and nirvana.

How do they arise? They arise when neutral awarenesss in the basis makes the error of not recognizing the display of the a basis as its own display. The imputing ignorance results in self and other, the ālaya forms, the twelve links start up, samsara and nirvana divide. Etc.

As I mentioned above, Dzoghchen texts do not distinguish whether this neutral awareness in the basis is multiple or singular.

So this question is left for us to solve on our own: either the neutral awareness of basis is multiple, not entirely satisfying for a number of reasons, but this explains how there are individual mind streams from the start; or it is singular (not entirely satisfying for a number of reasons), but gets warped by the presence of trace afflictions into individuated sentient beings; or is it neither singular or multiple (not entirely satisfying for a number of reasons) and gets warped by the presence of trace afflictions into individuated sentient beings. In the last two scenarios, the inability of awakened people to completely eradicate all traces of afflictions leaves traces of affliction left over, where they act as seeds for new sentient beings. There is a passage in the Gongpa Zangthal that describes wisdom as "the accumulator of traces".

do the basis and sentient beings have a common origin?


No, the basis is self-originated wisdom; sentient beings arise from the condition of ignorance. The cause of their arising is the non-recognition of wisdom. Hence the term "buddhahood that returns the cause".

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: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:41 am

Malcolm, this is super-fascinating. thanks for taking the time to explain this stuff.

I have a question here:

Because of traces of action and affliction remain from previous universe, the basis is stirred, lights shine out, and they are either recognized or not, resulting in samasara and nirvana.


where are these traces during the basis-bardo, in the basis itself? that doesn't sound plausible. we would then have a basis with latent awareness(es) and latent afflicted traces???
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Re: Dzogchen cosmogeny

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:46 am

gad rgyangs wrote:Malcolm, this is super-fascinating. thanks for taking the time to explain this stuff.

I have a question here:

Because of traces of action and affliction remain from previous universe, the basis is stirred, lights shine out, and they are either recognized or not, resulting in samasara and nirvana.


where are these traces during the basis-bardo, in the basis itself? that doesn't sound plausible. we would then have a basis with latent awareness(es) and latent afflicted traces???


In the basis itself, which is why I cited the passage "Wisdom is the accumulator of traces". And yes, that is exactly what Dzogchen "cosmology" is saying i.e. that there are latent awareness [shes pa bag la nyal] in the basis.
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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.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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