Accumulating merit or using conceptual methods is like making a candle, while the Dzogchen pointing-out instruction is like lighting the candle. You must have both - the candle and a match - to illuminate the darkness. With inadequate merit, you can pehraps recognize mind essence, but the recognition quickly disappears. Like a match in the darkness, the recognition flickers and dies. You need a stable basis to carry and nourish the flame, and accumulating merit forms that basis - Tsoknyi Rinpoche "Fearless simplicity"
isn't that what happens to many students, besides those like me who did not get anything at all?
hi, i'll attempt to share some info regarding this context. this may be a bit excessive in terms of terminology and scope since this thread is specific to dzogchen and the two stages, generation and completion, not the two accumulations of merit and provisions.
Someone may ask: "You have already spoken of vitality and energy, but what about the methods and circumstances of refining the spirit? How does this match up with the four dhyanas and the eight samadhis?" The answer is as following : Vitality (ching), energy (chi), and spirit (shen) are categories of Chinese Taoism. These three are one single entity. Now, there is one point you must pay attention to. The Taoists after T'ang and Sung (dynasties) put special emphasis on the experience of cultivating realization, like the Esoteric Buddhist. Hence, they really experienced such things as ch'i channels and bright points.
However, in later generations those who study Taoism and Esoteric Buddhism have committed the mistake of inverting cause and effect. Why so? Because the special meridians and the eight channels, the three channels and the seven chakras, are spontaneous transformations that occur after meditative concentration is perfected. The Taoist adepts and Esoteric Buddhist masters recorded the course of these transformations which they had actually experienced, and these became the classics of spiritual alchemy and the other Taoist books and the esoteric teachings of Buddhism. But people in later generations subsequently took these accounts as messages from higher authorities without really understanding them. They therefore made every effort to fabricate some semblance of vitality, energy and spirit to match the records others left and fooled around with the special meridians and the eight channels. Thus in terms of genuine realization, they were finished. Therefore, the ancestral teachings were not wrong: the error lies in us. In the same way, when the Zen masters spoke of illuminating mind and seeing true nature, everyone was there seeking mind and seeking true nature, but they got it all wrong. This all happens for the same reason.
(a few paragraphs later)
In studying Buddhism and cultivating practice, you must cultivate to the point that you perfect all three buddha bodies. This is the objective of this course of lectures. It is not the average person's lip service Zen that you can find in the popular books and lecture halls. I've told you many times that Zen is not the solution of some "koan" or meditation saying. To learn Buddhism and learn the Path is a matter of genuine realization, experiential proof. You may be able to talk theory well enough, but this is useless.
(two paragraphs later)
As for the question of how to match up the four dhyanas and the eight samadhis to vitality (ching), energy (ch'i) and spirit (shen): The four dhyanas are a sequence of four states of meditative concentration. The eight samadhis are not necessarily a sequence of steps that come after the four dhyanas. In the first dhyana you can also reach "the samadhi of boundless space" (traditionally counted as the fifth samadhi and said to come after the fourth dhyana). For example, Zen master Ling Yun was enlightened when he suddenly looked at a peach blossom, and Zen master Tung-Shan described his enlightenment as "Far away, separate from me," and had forgotten his self. These are both instances of the realm of boundless space.
Everyone has had a taste of this experience to some extent: Sometimes the blind cat bumps into the dead rat and collides with it. At this moment you want to take this realm and stabilize it, but you cannot stabilize. You have the experiential realm of empty space, but you do not yet have the stabilizing power of the first dhyana, so you cannot stabilize it."
from To Realize Enlightenment: Practice of the cultivation path by Master Nan Huai-chin Translated by J.C. Cleary isbn 087728802X pages 92, 93, 96.
if this post is off, feel free to strike it from the record.