Lobsang P. wrote:
I am not and have never been an Aro student.
Yes, that is in complete accord with my understanding. The concept of Karma is sprats for mackerels. A crude and conventional way to interest the subject in finding the real essence.
Er, okay, but are you a Dzogchen practioner? My main question is whether this view is a correct representation of the traditional Dzogchen viewpoint or not.
I do not yet practice Dzogchen so I can't comment on this myself.
Salutations to all and ALL,
Tasty sprats - got me on the hook to write this. I don't know if my "mackerels for sharks" will answer the question - but hopefully this is food for thought / instant presence.
The simple answer to Luke's excellent question is, yes and no. The explanation is long, and I apologize for covering a lot of necessary bases that may seem to be off the topic, but hopefully it will all make sense. Please let me know if something does not make sense.
One mans opinion.
This opinion is in no way to explain the view of Buddhism, Dzogchen, or the precious Aro Ter teachings, but I can speak from my small personal understanding and hopefully this will help someone. There is a temptation to parse the quote from the Aro Ter blog, but I don’t know anything much about the Aro Ter (or Buddhism or Dzogchen), so I sincerely pray my personal simple view may be of help to someone. I don’t claim any spiritual high ground but I have heard some Masters speak the truth, and so, like a parrot, want to repeat what I have heard: to make believe I am like them, but I am too old to get it right.
So I begin by stating that all views are just fine in the context of each view. Chuan Tzu spoke of the view of the frog at the bottom of the well as being different from that of an eagle flying over the well, not to mention that of an eclectically educated New York bozo compared to a fully realized Dzogchen Master.
Homage to the Buddha Seed in frogs and eagles (and everyone else.) When you take into account the context from which someone speaks, then you can understand where they are coming from. Hence the variety of Dharma Wheel posts, and Dharma politics. Everything is exactly as it should be, and in that view we all do our best!
Isn’t it amazing!!!
Homage to the Masters!
Into the sharks mouth!
If you don’t believe in karma – gently touch a hot stove. If you are not burned, then
let’s talk about “if karma exists.”
What did your face look like a hundred years ago, or what will it look like a hundred years in the future? (Similar to the Tibetan ‘non-logical-reasoning, image-tool’ of a “barren woman’s child” or a “sky flower.”) This is a much more practical question that you could attend to.
When you can describe your face exactly – from both viewpoints (simultaneously?) then (maybe) you can talk about emptiness and karma. MU! is a correct answer, but difficult to grasp. The point is that no one ever died falling off a zafu. Dzogchen is said to include all views (including Zen) so please forgive my pretensions if you are a true follower of the sacred path of Zen. The key point is that if you practice real Dharma (of any sort) under the guidance of a realized Master you will safely get some practical benefit and ALL your questions will be answered.
Yes, the “official” Dzogchen view states there is no karma. The 10 or 12 “Vajra Laughs or the 8 or 9 “Amazing Things” state the position, and its implications simply, eloquently and truthfully, but this is written to, and from, the viewpoint of Samantabhadra, the primal Buddha. We are not (yet) (from the relative viewpoint) the same as Samantabhadra, so for us this simply DOES NOT APPLY. A flash, or flashes, of Rigpa is not enlightenment.
There is no bullet to bite: ‘relative’ functions in the dimension of the relative and the ‘absolute’ functions in the dimension of the absolute. From the viewpoint of the absolute, the moment you postulate any position you are going beyond the pure undefined (but you can’t even say undefined) potentiality of Samantabhadra and reifying emptiness. Samantabhadra does not go beyond awareness as “instant presence” into the four postulation extremes of it is, it isn’t, neither or both. The moment you speak of emptiness you have reified it and it is no longer emptiness. You have labled it as Mr. Empty, or Ms. no-name. Samantabhadra with a name, is no longer Samantabhadra. The Zen folks speak of “If you meet the Buddha in the street, you must kill him,” meaning that the concept of the Buddha is NOT the Buddha. Applying the “big gun” of the Heart Sutra to the emptiness of karma is valid from the point of view of the absolute, but not from the point of the relative.
Yes, Jetsun Milarepa rapped his knuckles on the space in front of him and put his arm through the stone wall behind him, when the scholars asked him to declare whether things exist or do not exist. When you can rap on space or put your arm through stone, then, maybe, it is correct to question if karma exists (still a lot of assumptions).
Yes, the Mahasiddha Saraha was seen to be killing fish, but then he could snap his fingers and bring them back to life. When you can snap your fingers and restore life, then maybe you can talk about karma and emptiness, otherwise all of this has the appearance of an intellectual side track/ side show: like shouting theater in a crowded fire. How does it help anyone?
Sadly there are poor souls who, when reading the "Vajra Laughs" or "Amazing Things" feel that they can go out and act in any old way, and excuse themselves by saying they are “Dzogchenpas”, and practicing empty karma. Sadly: Google the “Darwin Awards.”
Crazies sometime try to find a way to harm themselves and others. Perhaps this is why most enlightened Masters wait until they know their students for a while before they give advanced teachings. Making believe you are a bird, and flying around, is safe with the good advice of “from the ground up.” Then you can (after exhaustion) observe the observer. Partaking of the outer, inner and secret Tsog is harmless if you have good advice and respect the limits of self and others. Then you enjoy the “same taste” of all offerings without any harmful side effects. Integrating with sensation is beyond wonderful, if you have good advice and don’t become addicted. Then the warmth of the “Great Seal” is always with you. With good advice, the seven stages of the dark retreat are comfortable rambles near to home, with no fear or attachment to what arises. Then the inner dimension and the outer dimension dissolve and you rest in the great expanse without hope or fear. Looking at rays of light in certain ways, with good advice, means the stages of the 4 (or 6) lamps occur and the practitioner does not go blind looking into the sun. Then the inner dimension and the outer dimension dissolve and you rest in the great expanse without hope or fear. The key point is that without good advice, the special teachings of Dzogchen can be the road to real suffering, and you will very quickly find out if karma exits.
The secret teachings need to be secret so the pitiful “Darwin Award” crazies don’t use Dharma as an excuse to harm themselves or others.
Crazy wisdom, with good advice is wisdom. Without good advice it can be a disaster. Everything depends on the realization of the Master.
To claim that karma is empty without explaining the “two truths” of the relative and the absolute is WRONG VIEW, in any system, and may be the cause of great harm. The key point is that until Rigpa is stabilized 24/7, karma is functioning, not because of some outer imposed judgment system, but because that is the way we are wired.
To reference “freedom from the four extremes of postulation of: it is; it isn’t; neither; and both, may be a very subtle philosophical truth that will be helpful to some folks, when explained through the views of relative and absolute, but for me it is more comfortable to rest in the simple minded, “you do good – you get good; you do bad you get bad”, and to rest in the vast expanse of “view wide as the sky and actions as small as a mustard seed.” Through self observation I have seen over and over that if I have good motivation and express (24/7) the 4 immeasurables in my continuum, then I am the one who benefits, both in worldly life, and in, moment to moment, Dharma practice (maintaining instant presence through integration with what arises.) If I do bad things, I observe that I get bad results: rigpa is lost and the torrent of thoughts carries me away. This is how I am wired. Others may be wired differently. Perhaps when we are fully enlightened the viewpoint of the Vajra Laughs and Amazing Things will apply, and my activities will arise spontaneously from compassion, but for now I am very happy to respect karma, because that is what works in the relative world.
Rigpa, from the point of view of Rigpa, by definition, is beyond cause and effect, beyond karma. My good actions in the relative world earn the relative merit sprats which are useful to catch the merit mackerel of the absolute, Rigpa.
Crazy Wisdom teachers assume a great responsibility when going beyond conventional norms. Aku Tenba, Drukpa Kunley and the great Mahasiddhas could make spiritual progress by behaving outside the conventional norms. Are you the same?
Even the Monkey King with all his magical powers could not fly beyond Lord Buddha’s hand!
Dzogchen Masters include “The 10 Golden Actions”, “The 10 Bad Actions, and “The Four Thoughts That Change the Mind”, (which specifically includes the functioning of karma), as part of Dzogchen 101. These concepts are given the same reality, truth and weight as “pure from the beginning” and “spontaneously arising”. There is no conflict between the relative and the absolute. Each functions perfectly as (in) its own dimension.http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... harma.htmlhttp://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/201 ... ments.html
Now you understand the answer of "Yes and no" as it relates to Dzogchen and karma.
Now for a nice blueberry gelato! (Please see other posts for the Dzogchen meaning of blueberry gelato, and a posting of the hard to find, 8 Amazing Things.)
May it be of benefit.
May the Dzogchen Masters live long, in good health and with success in all things.