Adamantine wrote:Well, that's what I thought was really weird too, especially when Dzogchen triumphalism was used as a rhetorical device to make sweeping generalizations about "Buddhism", how corrupt it is, it is dying, a mere empty shell, and on and on.
Since Buddhism is a label we use to represent a vast array of teachers, Lamas, practitioners, etc.. it was simply not skillful, or correct for some people to make such sweeping claims.. Especially as you point out, many that fall in this category of "Buddhists" are actually quite sincere and authentic Dzogchen masters. Some of which are my teachers, and some of which are yours, and other people's here.
This is where I think you interpreted things in a very extreme way. I never imagined Malcom meant all the Buddhist world. He too has Buddhist teachers, some very important to him. To me it seemed he was pissed at some
movements inside Buddhism that tried to choke Dzogchen. To me it seems he was pissed with all the corruption he saw in Tibetan politics, especially when it is disguised as Dharma. How many threads do we have about these problems? How many more could we have? How many more we don't know? We always see the tip of the iceberg. These abuses are shielded from the public in many different ways. People are devout, people gang those who defy their devotion for the teacher, teachings are misused to blame the ones complaining, the hierarchies do little or nothing in many cases and this is simply maddening... I hope I'm exaggerating, but I suspect when we hear about one case, ten more are hidden. You know Malcom's style and I don't understand why you assume he meant those comments in a sweeping way. He said himself that perhaps he saw one corrupt lama too many.
I know you for some years and I can bet my neck that you hate abuse as much as I do. I have Buddhist teachers I deeply respect. In a way I always think of ChNN as a Buddhist and only after I remember he is not just that. When I read Malcom, I never assumed he was insulting my teachers or good teachers.
Just as being attached to the label of Buddhism can be a type of conditioning, so can an aversion to it
Correct. I think nobody disputes that.
And I feel like a lot of unhealthy and unbalanced aversion has been expressed on this forum lately, for no good reason. To quote ChNN: "If we see something we don't like, we say"Oh, I don't like that, and if you put it in front of me, it makes me nervous" That means we are rejecting and are angry with that object. These are our two main emotions, attachment and anger. In this way we accept and reject over and over again, falling in dualistic vision, and accumulating the negative potentiality of karma. When we produce negative karma, it has the potentiality for producing samsara. Therefore, our obstacles of negative karma become thicker and thicker, and we become more and more ignorant of our condition."
Are you sure you are not just perceiving this aversion, interpreting his words in such way? Are you sure Malcom feels aversion to Buddhism, not only corruption inside Buddhist, that which will lead to its degeneration? You know Malcom for a while now. Do you really think he feels aversion for Buddhism? And he fell in love for all other religions? It seems a little weird and I don't interpret him as you do.
I really have no problem personally with the idea that the state of realization that is pointed towards in "Buddhism" or "Dzogchenism" (I wouldn't normally separate the two) etc. does not need the label, or stamp of "Dzogchen" or "Buddhism" to be the real thing. They are both just words.
Well, but words have meanings and sometimes these meanings cause great impact. If you say that one needs to be a Buddhist to practice Dzogchen, that's a claim with a big impact. So is its opposite.
And to be honest, I don't even particularly know if I believe lineage is absolutely essential, and that people can't simply spontaneously come into contact with their true state. I think it is quite possible this happens all the time, without even direct introduction by a master.
You are always in contact with it. But recognizing it is a different matter. If nobody points it, then you don't recognize it. Lineage is a very simple thing to explain. A teacher who has recognized the natural state will access his students and know they have or haven't recognized it, instead of taking something else for it. These students, whose recognition of the natural state was confirmed by a master who himself had recognized it, become teachers in their own right and will do the same. Of course recognition is only the first step. One doesn't become a Dzogchen master because one has recognized the natural state. Now imagine one of these students decides for himself that he has recognized the natural state, while he hasn't. He doesn't confirm it and self-proclaims himself a Dzogchen Master. This student is very rich and a patron of several institutions that... because they have many mouths to feed... let it slip. So assume nobody said anything, the abbot was old and died, you figured it out But then the guy goes yahoo and takes students. These students have the same experience he did and he "confirms their recognition". And this goes on for generations. How many "Dzogchen teachers" would you have that have no clue about Dzogchen? This happens. It takes a Dzogchen teacher to correct this, to go to these people and say "hey, it's not like that; that is not Dzogchen". If they accept it, there's hope. If they find justifications, they are lost.
However, it has not happened to me like that, and as such I have a great devotion and respect for the various Gurus of mine, and what they have been able to show me. And all of them never hesitated to teach Ati yoga, regardless of their association with the Buddhist tradition, the Nyingma lineage, etc. I do think that for all of the time when we are not fully integrated, (a good deal of the time for most of us, if we are honest) we would be much better off to be sensitive to the laws of karma. Just as Guru Rinpoche recommends.
Of course. That was never disputed.
What is more, if we hold to a religious system that has beliefs contrary to karma (which many do) and may cause us to perform negative actions that accumulate negative karma, --then we will be producing samsara and we will become more and more ignorant of our condition, just as ChNN says in the quote I transcribed above. In my experience, I know spiritual people who meditate and who have quite profound experiences.. but they don't hesitate to grasp after sexual gratification to extremes and to kill insects (or rodents) they feel aversion for at any cost. This is perhaps one example of how subscribing to a Buddhist view can clarify karma, and help stop us from becoming "thicker and thicker, and become more and more ignorant of our condition".
Morality can be built without the notion of karma, around empathy. I find moral built due to fear of consequences rather primitive. But then imagine there are people who believe animals have no soul (but believe humans do). So they kill animals and don't see anything wrong with it. If these people recognize their natural state, this will change them deeply. You don't recognize the natural state and stay the same. It isn't like that and if your teachers shown that to you, you know it. The more they work with this deeply transformative experience, the more compassionate they will become. I believe things will fall in place naturally. I also assume that nobody disputes the transformative power of Dzogchen practice. This doesn't mean it transforms you into a Buddhist. It transforms you, at its greater extent, in a Buddha. For instance, you don't become a Theravadin and they are Buddhists!
In terms of merging Dzogchen practice with Tantric practice, -I think ChNN is also quite clear on this, and it is really no different than the way many traditional Nyingma lineage Lamas teach it:
"Many Westerners feel that the Tantric teaching is very interesting, but they do not like to practice; in their view it is not really meditation, but instead only chanting and ritual. Such people do not really know what contemplation is, and consider meditation to be only sitting in silence without moving. The real meaning of meditation or contemplation, as taught by Buddha Shakyamuni, is to dwell in our real nature. How can we find ourselves in this real nature? Since our real nature is not just emptiness, but also includes clarity and energy, we must find ourselves both in our energy and our clarity. If the nature of our energy is movement, not silence, then how can we be in that nature without moving? Practicing Dzogchen does not mean just remaining in silence, but also involves moving, integrating with clarity, and integrating with the movement of energy. Thus you can easily understand why, in Tantric practice, there is so much chanting, singing, moving about, and so on, because that involves integration with energy in movement. Sometimes you can find explanations of this in Tantric teachings, but generally it is only applied and not explained, though you can discover and understand the principle if you think about it. In the Dzogchen teachings, these are things to be learned directly."
You see, this is very much how other Dzogchen teachers who some seem to accuse as being stuck in the two stages, etc. place their emphasis... To me ChNN does not seem that unusual in his approach. So I am a bit surprised by all these denunciations of the "tantric approach" or "Buddhism" or cause and result, etc.
Well, perhaps because I've seen many different presentations of Dzogchen...many "direct introductions" that lead nowhere or where to supposed to lead but just in the future, many practices that also didn't lead to the recognition of the natural state, let alone learning integration... in fact I never seen a similar presentation, at least that is not built ad hoc, after the fact, after ChNN way of teaching became widely known, and perhaps that's why I have this idea. Maybe I'm wrong. But I suspect reality is quite different from what you are saying, at least not as bright. As ChNN says," many people are now teaching Dzogchen. I don't know if they are..." etc. He doesn't say these things just for fun. There's a warning here, a warning those who trust him need to consider.
Anyway, I don't really care what method teachers use as long as it works.
It's the students who must be honest and see if it is working. It's their ass on the line, not mine. So it's up to each person to access this and see what's better to do, if anything. PS
- I forgot to mention... long ago I read something about those spontaneous recognitions of the natural state. Don't know where or when and I'm not very sure what to make of it. It's seems unlikely in lives as agitated as ours. But even if this very brief experience happens, then what? One needs to work with it after. By itself it has a very solid impact, but if one does nothing it passes and memory fades, to the point of becoming a shade of what it was. This is what happens to people who recognize the natural state briefly but then lack diligence. So I think the same would apply, but I don't know.