Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

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Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:13 am

To what extent are śamatha and vipaśyanā considered important in dzogchen and does dzogchen have its own definitions of them?
:namaste:
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:01 pm

wayland wrote:To what extent are śamatha and vipaśyanā considered important in dzogchen and does dzogchen have its own definitions of them?
:namaste:



They are important and yes.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:35 pm

Namdrol wrote:
wayland wrote:To what extent are śamatha and vipaśyanā considered important in dzogchen and does dzogchen have its own definitions of them?
:namaste:



They are important and yes.

Hi Namdrol,
I'd be interested if you could point me in the direction of any information regarding how dzogchen interprets them. I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that they are a natural condition within dzogchen, as opposed to a gradualist presentation?
Thanks
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:41 pm

wayland wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
wayland wrote:To what extent are śamatha and vipaśyanā considered important in dzogchen and does dzogchen have its own definitions of them?
:namaste:



They are important and yes.

Hi Namdrol,
I'd be interested if you could point me in the direction of any information regarding how dzogchen interprets them. I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that they are a natural condition within dzogchen, as opposed to a gradualist presentation?
Thanks



When one loosely rests vidyā in its own state, after coarse and subtle concepts come to calmly rest on their own, vidyā vividly abides in its own state. That śamatha is called “dwelling in the essence of vidyā”. In that state there is no lethargy or agitation in vidyā. Clarity, pristine lucidity, vividness, nakedness, and limpidity respectively cannot be seen with the eye, cannot be described with words, and cannot be established as a thing. The clarity that is like seeing, the pristine lucidity that is like an experience, the vividness that is like description, the nakedness that is like apprehending a thing, and the limpidity that is like a thought occurs in vidyā in and of itself. That alone is the wisdom of vipaśyāna. Though śamatha and vipaśyāna are given two separate names, in essence there is no difference.

-- Explanatory Tantra of Distinguishing Mind and Vidyā
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:46 pm

Thanks Namdrol. I found the following on p194 of The Supreme Source by CNN, in the context of not following a gradual path:
Training to progress along the levels of realization, one practices the methods for stabilizing the state of calm, however, meditation tending towards perfection is far from the equanimity of the state free of concepts.
Seeking to understand the ultimate nature of existence, one practices the methods of meditation for clarity, however, meditation directed to clarifying something is far from the equanimity of the state free of concepts.

Is this contrasting śamatha and vipaśyāna (as practiced by other schools) with that of the dzogchen path you quoted above?
They seem to be portrayed as a gradualist method in this context.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:53 pm

wayland wrote:Thanks Namdrol. I found the following on p194 of The Supreme Source by CNN, in the context of not following a gradual path:
Training to progress along the levels of realization, one practices the methods for stabilizing the state of calm, however, meditation tending towards perfection is far from the equanimity of the state free of concepts.
Seeking to understand the ultimate nature of existence, one practices the methods of meditation for clarity, however, meditation directed to clarifying something is far from the equanimity of the state free of concepts.

Is this contrasting śamatha and vipaśyāna (as practiced by other schools) with that of the dzogchen path you quoted above?
They seem to be portrayed as a gradualist method in this context.
:namaste:


Yes.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
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: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:20 am

Hi Namdrol,
Thanks for confirming that, I had a feeling it was so. Is there more information on how dzogchen make this comparison? I'm very interested in discovering exactly how they define and contrast both.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby pensum » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:15 pm

wayland wrote:Hi Namdrol,
Thanks for confirming that, I had a feeling it was so. Is there more information on how dzogchen make this comparison? I'm very interested in discovering exactly how they define and contrast both.
:namaste:


Namdrol likely has a good suggestion or two, but Adeu Rinpoche has a very clear teaching explaining exactly this. It is entitled Correlating Mahamudra and Dzogchen and can be found in Quintessential Dzogchen (pg 208) or in his recently published autobiography Freedom in Bondage (an amazing and truly inspiring story, with a collection of very practical teachings included); both books are published by Rangjung Yeshe and readily available.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:33 pm

Thanks pensum,
Any chance you could very briefly summarize Adeu's stance? The problem is that without any explanation of how the two differ, it's impossible to put the dzogchen position into any kind of context.
I'm interested in how other schools' presentations are seen as gradual vis-a-vis dzogchen. I equate gradual (in the dzogchen context) to mean somehow fabricated as opposed to an assumed "natural" approach.

I'm keen to contrast the two, as I believe that doing so will illuminate the meaning.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby pensum » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:21 pm

Though i really urge you to read the entire thing, here is an excerpt from Adeu Rinpoche's explanation:

When embarking on meditation practice in the Mahamudra tradition, the meditator is taught three aspects: stillness, occurrence and noticing.

The cultivation of stillness means to train in cutting off involvement in memories; you disengage from entertaining any thought about what has happened in the past. The same with regard to the future: you are not supposed to construct any plans about the next moment. And in the present, right now, simply and completely let go. Drop everything and settle into nowness. In the Mahamudra tradition, stillness refers to not following thoughts about the past, present or future--not churning out any new thoughts.

A beginner will notice that totally letting be without any thought involvement does not last that long. Due to the karmic force of the energy currents, new thoughts are continuously formed--thoughts grasping at subject and object, at the pleasant and unpleasant. The activation of such patterns is known as occurrence.

When the attention is quiet and still, there is a knowing that this is so. When one is involved in thinking about this and that, there is a knowing that this is so. In this context of stillness and thought occurrence, this knowing is called noticing. [...] As you grow more capable, there comes a point when the thought occurrences no longer have such a strong hold on the attention. It becomes easier to arrive back in quietness. Eventually, every time a thought begins to stir, rather than getting caught up in it, you will simply be able to remain, until the force of the thought occurrence weakens and the aware quality grows and strengthens. The dividing line between stillness and occurrence fades away. That is the point at which we can recognize the actual identity of noticing what mind nature really is. In other words, vipashyana can begin. [...]

In the beginning, a thought vanishes; that is called stillness. Next, a new thought arises; that is called thought occurrence. One notices that these are happening. These three--stillness, thought occurrence and noticing--have to do with becoming increasingly aware of the gap between thoguts. This aware quality grows stronger and stronger, which only happens with training. You cannot artificially increase it. The difference between shamatha and vipashyana, in this context, is when you recognize that which notices and what the awake quality is.

According to the Dzogchen system, if your shamatha practice is simply training in being absentminded remaining in a neutral, indifferent state without any thought activity whatsoever, this is known as the all-ground. It is simply a way of being free of thought involvement. Moreover, when attention becomes active within the expanse of the all-ground that activity is known as dualistic mind. But when the dividing line between stillness and thought occurrence fades away, and instead the strength of the aware quality is intensified, the awake quality is known as rigpa. Depending on whether one is using the Mahamudra system or the Dzogchen approach, there are different terminologies, but the actual training is essentially the same in both cases


also:

According to Dzogchen one must identify the ground of liberation, the natural state of rigpa, which is not the same as the ordinary state of mind known as the all-ground. No matter how many thousands of years one trains in the state of the all-ground, there will be absolutely no progress--one will simply arise again in the state of samsara--whereas training in the antural state of mnd of rigpa is nothing other than the ground of liberation. There it is important to distinguish the normal, ordinary mind of the all-ground from the antural, ordinaary mind that is the ground of liberation, and train accordingly. To put it simply, according to Dzogchen the self-knowing original wakefulness is pointed out in our ordinary state of mind.

According to Mahamudra, the essence of the meditation practice is found within the ordinary, natural state of mind; it is pointed out as the original, true wakefulness. Having recognized this, one can then proceed to train in it, and as the training deepens, there are certain stages of progress described as the four yogas, each of which is further divided into the three categories of lesser, medium and higher capacity. These are collectively known as the twelve aspects of the four yogas of the path of Mahamudra. Another approach is to apply the structure of the four yogas to each of the yogas, resulting in sixteen aspects. These are equally valid and merely describe the ever-deepening levels of experience and stability in the natural, ordinary mind.

The Dzogchen path has a similar explanation. According to trekcho, there is a growing sense of becomeing more and more accustomed to the state of rigpa, which is described as the stages of the path known as the four visions. These four can also be applied to the practice of togal.

But whether you follow Dzogchen or Mahamudra, please understand that ultimately there is no real difference. There is not one awakened state called Mahamudra and a separate one known as the Great Perfection. It is all of one taste within the expanse of dharmakaya. What these two words actually refer to is the basic nature of all things. Since all phenomena, all that appears and exists within samsara and nirvana, have the stamp of great bliss, it is called "the Great Seal," which is the literal meaning of Mahamudra. Similarly, since all phenomena are perfected in the expanse of self-existing awareness, it is called Dzogchen, Great Perfection.


also just to clarify the issue of "sudden" versus "gradual" in the context of Dzogchen:
The Dzogchen path begins with the actuality of rigpa being pointed out. This is like being shown the beginning of the road. One should not just stand there and wait, but must move forward. Sometimes people misunderstand and think that having received the pointing-out instruction and recognized rigpa in one's experience is enough and that they have achieved all there is to achieve. It is not sufficient however. Recognizing rigpa is only the beginning of the Dzogchen path. We need to follow through, and it requires a lot of perseverence. Giving the pointing-out instruction is like pointing to the ground and saying, "This is the road to Lhasa." If you just stand there, you will never get to Lhasa. You need to proceed step by step along the road, putting one foot in front of the other. Similarly having recognized rigpa, you need to train and progress along the path. Of course you could say that the perseverance is effortless, however this definitely does not mean that we should ignore the need for practice.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Paul » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:00 pm

Thanks for posting that. It's reminded me of something that Erik Pema Kunsang said recently - that Dzogchen is beyond both a gradual path and an instantaneous path. It's far more complex than those two categories.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:04 pm

Paul wrote:Thanks for posting that. It's reminded me of something that Erik Pema Kunsang said recently - that Dzogchen is beyond both a gradual path and an instantaneous path. It's far more complex than those two categories.



From my point of view, it is far less complicated; Dzogchen in a real sense is not a path, it is one's state.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby wayland » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:45 pm

pensum wrote:Though i really urge you to read the entire thing, here is an excerpt from Adeu Rinpoche's explanation:

Hi pensum,
Many thanks for taking the time to post that up, I am indebted to you for that. I will take my time to read carefully through it. I kind of feel I almost understand where dzogchen is at but it's still a bit ephemeral. This helps me greatly.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby pensum » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:33 pm

wayland wrote:Hi pensum,
Many thanks for taking the time to post that up, I am indebted to you for that. I will take my time to read carefully through it. I kind of feel I almost understand where dzogchen is at but it's still a bit ephemeral. This helps me greatly.
:namaste:


My pleasure Wayland. here's another excerpt that you might find useful:

What is pointed out according to the mahamudra approach is the true state of original wakefulness as your ordinary mind. Once this has been pointed out to you, it is called mind-essence, and the instruction is, "Look into mind-essence. Sustain mind-essence. That is the way." According to the Dzogchen instructions, what is pointed out is called rigpa, which is the intrinsic original wakefulness that is present wihin you. You are then supposed to recognize ripa and sustain it. There is no real difference between these two teachings. Of course, there are some extra instructions in the two systems. It is like approaching Bodhgaya from the south or the north: both orads lead to the same destination.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:34 am

wayland wrote:To what extent are śamatha and vipaśyanā considered important in dzogchen and does dzogchen have its own definitions of them?
:namaste:


The way I was taught Dzogchen samatha was to have 25% attention on the breath, and the remaining attention on "spacious awareness". So I guess the 25% is samatha and the 75% could be described as vipasyana.

Actually I think in the early teachings samatha and vipasyana were not seen as separate activities anyway.

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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:57 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Actually I think in the early teachings samatha and vipasyana were not seen as separate activities anyway.

Spiny



In the early period of Budddhism, there were two yānas, śamatha yāna and vipaśyāna yāna; beginners went to Śariputra to training in vipaśyāna for stream entry; then they would go train in śamatha with Maudgalyana for further progress.

Lance Cousins wrote a very interesting article about this.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Virgo » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:31 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Actually I think in the early teachings samatha and vipasyana were not seen as separate activities anyway.

Spiny



In the early period of Budddhism, there were two yānas, śamatha yāna and vipaśyāna yāna; beginners went to Śariputra to training in vipaśyāna for stream entry; then they would go train in śamatha with Maudgalyana for further progress.

Lance Cousins wrote a very interesting article about this.

This comes from a Sutra and is a very interesting viewpoint, Loppon. It's definitely true that some used samatha as their vehicle, and with a concentrated mind, used vipaśyāna based off of that śamatha for insight and wisdom, cutting through, whereas others others used insight alone, no śamatha at all, or not samatha that issued in dhyanas, such as the Ones who penetrated after hearing a talk or a verse. The reason for the students going and learning samatha after becoming stream entrants is that many in that day could be successful in such endeavors, whereas, as time goes on less merit generally means less concentration. That's my understanding in a nutshell anyway. Attaining via samatha is considered higher and more praiseworthy than without. Though, an arya is an arya.

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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:52 pm

Namdrol wrote:
In the early period of Budddhism, there were two yānas, śamatha yāna and vipaśyāna yāna; beginners went to Śariputra to training in vipaśyāna for stream entry; then they would go train in śamatha with Maudgalyana for further progress.

Lance Cousins wrote a very interesting article about this.


Hi Namdrol,

Do you recall the name of the article, or if the article was published in a book? I just searched on JSTOR and didn't find anything.
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Re: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:23 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
In the early period of Budddhism, there were two yānas, śamatha yāna and vipaśyāna yāna; beginners went to Śariputra to training in vipaśyāna for stream entry; then they would go train in śamatha with Maudgalyana for further progress.

Lance Cousins wrote a very interesting article about this.


Hi Namdrol,

Do you recall the name of the article, or if the article was published in a book? I just searched on JSTOR and didn't find anything.


Cousins, L.S., 1984, ‘Samatha-yāna and vipassanā-yāna’ in Dhammapala D., et al., eds, Buddhist
Studies in Honour of Hammalava Saddhatissa, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, pp. 56-68.
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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: Role of śamatha and vipaśyanā in dzogchen?

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:05 pm

Namdrol wrote:Cousins, L.S., 1984, ‘Samatha-yāna and vipassanā-yāna’ in Dhammapala D., et al., eds, Buddhist
Studies in Honour of Hammalava Saddhatissa, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, pp. 56-68.


Nice! Thank you!
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