Dzogchen and ngöndro

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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Josef » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:30 am

Virgo wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:- Is ChNN then the only exception who is convinced about the non necessity of the preliminaries within Dzogchen?
- Are there then maybe more Dzogchen Masters (anno 2012), who share ChNN's point of view?


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The great Kunzang Dechen Lingpa did.

Kevin

His son and heir Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche as well.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:39 am

Yudron wrote:
We don't chat about Dzogchen in our tradition, so you will see me sidestep that again and again.

May I ask why?

But I can talk about the nine yana system as a system. The nine yana system has been around at least since Nubchen Sangyey Yeshe (b. 832 or 844), who lived after Guru Rinpoche. I highly recommend Jake Dalton's doctoral dissertation on the dgongs pa dus pa'i du -- the Sutra that Gathers all intentions. It appears the original purpose of the Sutra was as a comprehensive system for organizing all the Buddhist teachings: tantric myths, doxographical schemes, rituals, and doctrines into an single elaborate structure-- a giant nine-storied mandala. In the mandala’s nine stories were places for the deities of all the tantric systems flowing into Tibet during the early period. The dissertation is a fascinating one, about the author's own adventures getting the rarely given empowerment for the Sutra, and about Nubchen's life and travels to other regions to gather the raw material for his masterwork.

Anyway, this structure is very very old.

I'm sure it is a very interesting work.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:43 am

Bhusuku wrote:I think there are two ways of approaching this whole topic: One is the more practice-orientated approach which leads to the question if one actually can engage successfully in the practice of Dzogchen without doing Ngöndro, and the second one would be a more academic approch which leads to the question if Ngöndro was actually part of the way how Dzogchen was originally taught. Both approaches are equally problematic in their own way, since as long as we're no Buddhas, we can't possibly say if it's useful, better or even necessary for someone to do Ngöndro in order to practice Dzogchen successfully. Hence, all we can do is find a teacher we have faith in and follow his or her advice. If we do this, all discussion on this topic becomes rather useless and meaningless.

So if we want to engage in this discussion, we actually can do that only in a more academic style, although this approach is problematic too, since we can't establish the actual historical origin of Dzogchen. But what's rather interesting in this respect is the fact that the formal Ngöndro practice as we know it today seems to be a tibetan invention originating around the 11th CE. So if we accept that Dzogchen dates back to Garab Dorje and/or Taphiritsa, the conclusion should be that Ngöndro wasn't part of the way in which Dzogchen was originally taught (even if we accept that Garab Dorje lived around the 5th century, as people like Hanson-Barber suggest). In fact, if Ngöndro really was a invention from the 11th CE, it wasn't even part of how tantric practices were originally taught in ancient India. So if we say (for the sake of discussion) that Garab Dorje lived around 50 CE, then we have a 1000 year long tradition of Dzogchen without Ngöndro, followed by a 1000 year long tradition of Dzogchen with Ngöndro. Now if that's really the case, then the "traditional" way of approaching Dzogchen underwent at least one radical change. So the million dollar question is: which tradition is more traditional? Maybe those Dzogchenpas in the 11the CE were as happy about those guys who came up with the idea that people should do Ngöndro before engaging in Dzogchen as most Lamas in the 1970s were happy about certain teachers who started to teach us Injees Dzogchen more and more openly...

Good points.
The possible reasons for such radical change were addressed a few posts back. Since the circumstances that might have lead to such change are no longer present, I can't help but wonder if we aren't still "tying the cat to the tree" when we approach Dzogchen as if they were.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Bhusuku » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:46 am

Adamantine wrote:So on the one hand, we have people claiming that ngondro was invented in the 11th century based on their academic presumptions.

As I said, I think it's rather useless to discuss this whole issue from a practical POV - you can't practice Dzogchen without a Guru, and if you have a Guru, you try your best to follow his advice. And that's it. Nothing more to say. Nothing more to do. If someone says his Guru is WX and that he's teaching this and that, it's quite irrelevant to me if my Guru is YZ. Period.

So the only (more or less useful) way to engage in a discussion like this is a academic approach, which means to go and check the scriptual sources we have to see how and when this Ngöndro thing has been developed. Of course, it still would be nothing else than presumptions, but I'd be very interested in it anyway. For instance, there are Newari who practice according to buddhist tantras and they say they have an unbroken lineage dating back to the Mahasiddhas. It would be really interesting to know if they do Ngöndro the way Tibetans do. Unfortunately, I didn't come acorss any information about that yet.

Adamantine wrote:On the other, we have the traditional accounts which are that these were teachings hidden in various forms and styles by Guru Rinpoche or Yeshe Tsogyal among others in roughly the 8th century. And ngondro is a part of many terma cycles.

Ok. Padmasambhava hid termas containing Ngöndro practices. But still, this doesn't answer the question if Dzogchen was originally taught in the context of the gradual Ngöndro, Kyerim & Dzogrim approach or not. That is, if we accept that Dzogchen dates back to Garab Dorje/Taphiritsa.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Virgo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:48 am

Malcolm wrote:Yes, as one of his heart sons, I can say this is absolutely true.


I wasn't fortunate enough to be his student, but I did stay at a house in Bristol where apparently he stayed many times when he visited Vermont. :)

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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:51 am

Virgo wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Yes, as one of his heart sons, I can say this is absolutely true.


I wasn't fortunate enough to be his student, but I did stay at a house in Bristol where apparently he stayed many times when he visited Vermont. :)

Kevin



He never stayed in Bristol, but he stayed in Lincoln at Osa's house (mostly) and also David Arndt's house.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:53 am

I don't find strange at all that during some periods of Tibetan history Dzogchen had to go "underground", being cloaked in Tantric robes.
There were some factions inside the schools of the new translation very hostile to Dzogchen teachings, as you know.
The present days are the first time in a very long time that Dzogchen is again completely free from religious and political powers. Changes were bound to happen. Changes that may lead us in the direction of the practice as it was before the historical oppression of Dzogchen.
Changes always cause resistance.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Virgo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:57 am

Malcolm wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Yes, as one of his heart sons, I can say this is absolutely true.


I wasn't fortunate enough to be his student, but I did stay at a house in Bristol where apparently he stayed many times when he visited Vermont. :)

Kevin



He never stayed in Bristol, but he stayed in Lincoln at Osa's house (mostly) and also David Arndt's house.

I am sorry I meant Lincoln (it shows I am from out of town). It was a big old farm house owned by a female judge where some practitoners would stay when there was/is overflow at DDCV events. I think she said he would stay there and go swiming in the pool?
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:49 am

Malcolm wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Yes, as one of his heart sons, I can say this is absolutely true.


I wasn't fortunate enough to be his student, but I did stay at a house in Bristol where apparently he stayed many times when he visited Vermont. :)

Kevin



He never stayed in Bristol, but he stayed in Lincoln at Osa's house (mostly) and also David Arndt's house.


Malcolm, were you by chance at an elaborate Drollo wang he gave in Lincoln, that John Petit translated? If so, would you have been wearing a striped zen? I have a vague memory, wondering if that was you. . .

BTW, I got a copy of a translation you did for the short practice of his Drollo terma from Khenpo Sonam in LA, and the lung from his son Rigdzen Dorje Rinpoche. Thank you for your work on that. :thanks:
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:53 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:I don't find strange at all that during some periods of Tibetan history Dzogchen had to go "underground", being cloaked in Tantric robes.
There were some factions inside the schools of the new translation very hostile to Dzogchen teachings, as you know.


These are just theories, and not corresponding to the way the Nyingmapas tell their own history. I think it is just a tad disrespectful to imply that they were so influenced by sectarian anxieties that they forgot their own history and their reasons for making important decisions.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Bhusuku » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:55 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:The possible reasons for such radical change were addressed a few posts back. Since the circumstances that might have lead to such change are no longer present, I can't help but wonder if we aren't still "tying the cat to the tree" when we approach Dzogchen as if they were.

I guess you mean this post from you. Somehow I missed that one, but I completely agree with what you wrote there. But there is one thing I'm really curious about and I really hope that my ability to read tibetan will soon improve 'cause I really would like to study old Bön scriptures to see how much they had to "cloak Dzogchen in tantric robes" as you put it. From the little I know of Bön scriptures, it really seems to me that most of them are interspersed with Dzogchen teachings, and I figure that they didn't had to cloak their Dzogchen teachings in the way Nyingmapas had to, since they were facing persecution anyway, regardless of their Dzogchen teachings. However, may be they were cloaking them voluntarily...
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:55 am

Adamantine wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:I don't find strange at all that during some periods of Tibetan history Dzogchen had to go "underground", being cloaked in Tantric robes.
There were some factions inside the schools of the new translation very hostile to Dzogchen teachings, as you know.


These are just theories, and not corresponding to the way the Nyingmapas tell their own history. I think it is just a tad disrespectful to imply that they were so influenced by sectarian anxieties that they forgot their own history and their reasons for making important decisions.



Actually, Dechen is merely repeating what ChNN has said many times.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:59 am

Adamantine wrote:
Malcolm wrote:

He never stayed in Bristol, but he stayed in Lincoln at Osa's house (mostly) and also David Arndt's house.


Malcolm, were you by chance at an elaborate Drollo wang he gave in Lincoln, that John Petit translated? If so, would you have been wearing a striped zen? I have a vague memory, wondering if that was you. . .

BTW, I got a copy of a translation you did for the short practice of his Drollo terma from Khenpo Sonam in LA, and the lung from his son Rigdzen Dorje Rinpoche. Thank you for your work on that. :thanks:


Hi Adamantine:

I was there. I don't think I brought a Zen to that wang. But it is a fact that I am the only western person who received the skra dbang (hair empowerment) from KDL who kept it (I was the one who requested for it, so it would have been gauche for me not to be keep it). Everyone else, for whatever reason, has cut there hair one time or another.

You are welcome. BTW. The "short" practice is actually the practice. There is another Drollo cycle in his gter kha, but it is elaborate, and is mainly used fo drubchens.

M
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Bhusuku » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:01 am

Adamantine wrote:These are just theories, and not corresponding to the way the Nyingmapas tell their own history.

Well, if you read about tibetan history and not only about the "way the Nyingmapas tell their own history" you'll get another picture... Yudron suggested Dalton's "Uses of the Dgong Pa ‘Dus Pa’i Mdo in the Development of the Rnying-Ma School of Tibetan Buddhism" earlier in this thread, and if I remember correctly, that text is a good start in this regard.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:23 am

Bhusuku wrote:
Adamantine wrote:These are just theories, and not corresponding to the way the Nyingmapas tell their own history.

Well, if you read about tibetan history and not only about the "way the Nyingmapas tell their own history" you'll get another picture... Yudron suggested Dalton's "Uses of the Dgong Pa ‘Dus Pa’i Mdo in the Development of the Rnying-Ma School of Tibetan Buddhism" earlier in this thread, and if I remember correctly, that text is a good start in this regard.



It's kind of funny to cite Dalton in defense of Nyingma orthopraxy since the conclusion of his PhD thesis is that Nubchen basically composed the anuyoga tantras with Chetsun Kye's help.

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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:31 am

Bhusuku wrote: It would be really interesting to know if they do Ngöndro the way Tibetans do. Unfortunately, I didn't come acorss any information about that yet.



They don't.


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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:33 am

Bhusuku wrote:From the little I know of Bön scriptures, it really seems to me that most of them are interspersed with Dzogchen teachings...


Yes, the commentary on the Bon "abhidharma" attributed to Drenpa Namkhai mentions tregchö, for example.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:50 am

Malcolm wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Malcolm wrote:

He never stayed in Bristol, but he stayed in Lincoln at Osa's house (mostly) and also David Arndt's house.


Malcolm, were you by chance at an elaborate Drollo wang he gave in Lincoln, that John Petit translated? If so, would you have been wearing a striped zen? I have a vague memory, wondering if that was you. . .

BTW, I got a copy of a translation you did for the short practice of his Drollo terma from Khenpo Sonam in LA, and the lung from his son Rigdzen Dorje Rinpoche. Thank you for your work on that. :thanks:


Hi Adamantine:

I was there. I don't think I brought a Zen to that wang. But it is a fact that I am the only western person who received the skra dbang (hair empowerment) from KDL who kept it (I was the one who requested for it, so it would have been gauche for me not to be keep it). Everyone else, for whatever reason, has cut there hair one time or another.

You are welcome. BTW. The "short" practice is actually the practice. There is another Drollo cycle in his gter kha, but it is elaborate, and is mainly used fo drubchens.

M


Oh cool. Nice to know we shared that wang. It was quite special! I didn't know KDL is the one who gave you the hair wang! :twothumbsup: If the others who took the hair wang cut their hair, I hope they asked permission from KDL or his son beforehand. .

Huh-- about the drollo practice.. at the wang in Lincoln they gave out a very long elaborate one that is really a tsok practice.. I think maybe that is the one you are talking about for drupchens? I missed the teaching that preceded the wang the day prior, (it was an epic journey to get there) but bought the DVD of it, which had technical problems.. despite many attempts to get a replacement, there seemed to be endless obstacles and bureaucracy. I was able to listen to some, thankfully. But finally from Rigdzen Dorje many years later I got your translation of the daily practice and some pith advice, as well as the lung. I guess some things take time!

Anyway, thanks again for your translation efforts. I hope they continue, despite your claimed disinterest in Buddhadharma.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Fa Dao » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:55 am

BTW, I got a copy of a translation you did for the short practice of his Drollo terma


And how could one get a copy of this? :D
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:03 am

Fa Dao wrote:
BTW, I got a copy of a translation you did for the short practice of his Drollo terma


And how could one get a copy of this? :D


I don't think you're going to get it without getting the wang first. Or at least the lung and permission. And sadly, AFAIK, Rigdzen Dorje Rinpoche has not been back to the US in a while because of visa issues. -At least, I know the nuns that regularly traveled with him and did the healing cho sessions with him have not been able to get visas, because of the USA's stricter stance lately.
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