conebeckham wrote:I am sure that someone is reading my posts, and thinking that I am "defending" the precious Kagyu ngondro, the profound Two Stages, or whatever.
Really, I'm doing no such thing. I'm merely pointing out that, even for those who have experiental "knowledge" of the Natural State, it is possible that prior practices from more "gradualist" systems than the Ati system may have contributed to the blossoming of that "knowledge," even if the practitioner sees no clear and apparent link to such practices.
You feel me?
I've commented the first part and now I'll comment the second.
But you can defend those practices! They are wonderful practices and lead to enlightenment.
I also don't think they are being attacked, so obviously you wouldn't need to defend them, but if the time comes, you can count on me to help!
I think it is beyond question that the 9 yanas system works. We have many examples of that. But it is not the only way of doing things and this is what some have explained.
My personal take on this, so also has my own opinion that might be mistaken, is that tantra needs a shitload of dedication and real immersion in the practice- pardon my french. I am very convinced, it needs long and closed retreat conditions. I know, because I've been at it for some years. I was already thinking formal 3 years retreat because I knew that's what it takes. My problem was having enough money and I was struggling to spare it. So years were passing but I was very determinate. Then, some interesting circumstances, some of which I commented privately with Malcom years ago, lead me to ChNN. Never regretted it. I'm still trying to do retreats, as long as possible, because, as you know, we also practice tantra in the DC. Personal retreats are very beneficial even for Dzogchen practice, especially if one is a beginner, like me.
The above doesn't mean there's no work if you practice ChNN methods. Not at all! You aim to practice 24/7, something I can't do. Usually I try to do 20 small sessions a day. Guru Yoga mostly, with one or two longer, other times much less and much longer (depending on what I'm doing) and if I have time. Years back I reduced the activities in my life a lot to be able to practice. Perhaps more than I should, so now and then money is not as much as I would like, at least to be able to see my teacher as often as I would like. I have no problems to get by, but when it comes to having some in the bank- especially with the Portuguese economic situation- it's complicated. I digress...
What I was saying is that Dzogchen practice as ChNN teaches it means hard work too, let there be no mistake! In fact, I'm doing more than I did when I was using the tantric approach. Perhaps because I also feel it's more fruitful. Maybe I'm to blame for being a lousy tantra practitioner. Now I'm considering the SMS program.
The thing is, we only work what we realistically can. We need to work with circumstances and practice can be done when having a busy life. We go to the essence. Some people have very busy lives and are very good practitioners. For a very good practitioner, busy or not busy is the same because he integrates all activities. But as I am not that good and have some time, I try to do my best. Which I never do, but alas... bad dechen!
What I feel is that if we compare the benefits of the practice, considering the time available for the great majority of people having busy lives, that comes from performing it like ChNN advises or practicing the 9 yanas system as I used to do, the latter pales. It's not because it sucks, because it surely doesn't. Tantra is a fantastic system! But it takes time, knowledge and a lot of dedication. It needs real immersion, extended retreat conditions. Especially if you have little time, seems to me that by using ChNN methods you can travel much faster in terms of progress. Of course people may feel different and they are in their own right. this is just my opinion and may not apply to all. But I'm still to be convinced otherwise because nothing replaces our own experience and mine taught me that much, so in my case that's how I see it.