pensum wrote:here's another excerpt that you might find useful:
Thanks pensum. What comes across in these passages - and what I've read elsewhere - is the similarity (if not union) of dzogchen & mahamudra. On the other hand, I have oft heard it said that the dzogchen teachings are unique and actually differ from mahamudra.
What's your take on that, have you ever found evidence that this is the case?
Buddha nature is unchanging so essentially mahamudra and dzogchen are the same as synonyms of the natural state, yet as is often repeated there are innumerable entranceways to the Dharma which are unique, hence each path has its own set of practices to follow. So they are the same yet different.
In regard to your original question regarding shamatha and vipashyana specifically, it is quite simple. Dzogchen describes the trio of the empty essence, cognizant or luminous nature and their unity that manifests known as thukje which is translated literally as "compassion" but also as capacity, potentiality, responsiveness, etc. It is imperative to remember however that these three are not separate, but an indivisible unity, just as we can delineate the various directions yet space remains undivided.
Shamatha is focusing on the empty quality, vipashyana on the cognizant luminous quality. In regard to their unity Tulku Urgyen said, "The extraordinary shamatha, resting in the stillness free from conceptual thinking should be combined with the extraordinary vipashyana, which is recognizing the nature of that stillness. In that way, shamatha and vipashyana are unified. This is also called the unity of awareness and emptiness."
and furthermore "Shamatha and vipashyana are ultimately indivisible. Both are naturally included and practiced in Ati Yoga."
Of course, by "extraordinary" he is referring to the nonconceptual experience of these two in actuality, not the conceptual practices which are typically required in order to lead one back to this realization.
One other point that you might find helpful is that bliss, clarity and nonthought are also related, in that nonthought is simply the result of clinging to the empty quality, hence the tendency toward an absent emptyheaded state when practicing shamatha; clarity the result of clinging to the cognizant quality, hence the sense of vividness and presence that can arise from vipashyana; and bliss the result of clinging to the manifest quality, hence the pleasurable joyful sensation that arises from the unity of the two. All three of which indicate a lingering notion of subject-object duality as they demand a subtle (or not so subtle as the case may be) sense of "I" to experience these various moods and experiences.
Hope that helps clarify things for you.