Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Sherlock » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:20 pm

There's an article written by Kate Crosby called "Tantric Theravada" which covers some of the historical background behind yogavacara in Thai Theravada which has been vastly reduced due to influence from Sri Lanka in recent times. Not Dzogchen though.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:25 pm

What I talk about is the practical side of both Theravada and Dzogchen (or any other vehicle for that matter). There are lot of theories about stages of progress, small and big future goals, and so on. However, when it comes down to the essential wisdom to be realised and practised, it's the same all over. This is prajnaparamita, to use a common Mahayana expression. The mind people have works in the same way, either there is attachment or there isn't, either it is the conditioned or the unconditioned. There is a large variety in conditioned phenomena, but the unconditioned is equal everywhere and for everyone. Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana all aim for realising the unconditioned and functioning from the unconditioned.

In terms of meditation, this is seeing that thoughts come and go. When grasped, thoughts proliferate. When left alone, they are unhindered. In this there is no difference whether it's Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana. It is just how mind works.

And as an extra, here's a nice teaching from Manjusri,

The Elder Subhuti asked Manjusri, "Do you not explain the Dharma of the Sravaka-vehicle to the Sravakas?"
"I follow the Dharmas of all the vehicles."
Subhuti asked, "Are you a Sravaka, a Pratyekabuddha, or a Worthy One, a Supremely Enlightened ONe?"
"I am a Sravaka, but my understanding does not come through the speech of others. I am a Pratyekabuddha, but I do not abandon great compassion or fear anything. I am a Worthy One, a Supremely Enlightened ONe, but I still do not give up my original vows."
Subhuti asked, "Why are you a Sravaka?"
"Because I cause sentient beings to hear the Dharma they have not heard."
"Why are you a Pratyekabuddha?"
"Because I thoroughly comprehend the dependent origination of all dharmas."
"Why are you a Worthy One, a Supremely Enlightened One?"
"Because I realize that all things are equal in the dharmadhatu."
Subhuti asked, "Manjusri, in what stage do you really abide?"
"I abide in every stage."
Subhuti asked, "Could it be that you also abide in the stage of ordinary people?"
Manjusri said, "I definitely abide in the stage or ordinary people."
Subhuti asked, "With what esoteric implication do you say so?"
"I say so because all dharmas are equal by nature."
Subhuti asked, "If all dharmas are equal, where are such dharmas as the stages of Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas established?"
Manjusri answered, "As an illustration, consider the empty space in the ten directions. People speak of the eastern space, the southern space, the western space, the northern space, the four intermediate spaces, the space above, the space below, and so forth. Such distinctions are spoken of, although the empty space itself is devoid of distinctions. In like manner, virtuous one, the various stages are established in the ultimate emptiness of all things, although the emptiness itself is devoid of distinctions."

(The Inconceivable State of Buddhahood in "A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras", p. 30-31)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:28 pm

Hm I wonder if some very ancient (Dravidian) Buddhas had brought Tantra to South-East Asia long ago, and if some of it was or is practiced in secret within some Theraveda traditions?

For example there are many Buddha carvings and statues in South-East Asia that have definite "Negroid" or Afro-Asiatic features.

And it's also not impossible that some Theraveda practitioners could have received "Mind Termas" or "Dream Termas" of sorts as well.


Does anyone know which Sutra I'm referring to here?


Lhug-Pa wrote:I've read that the Dzogchen view can be found in at least one Pali Sutra.

Something along the lines of mentioning the Clear Light Nature of Mind.

Don't remember where I read it though....


If not, then I'll try to find time to look it up....
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:35 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Does anyone know which Sutra I'm referring to here?


Perhaps these suttas: Pabhassara Sutta: Luminous
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby oldbob » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:44 am

catlady2112 wrote:I am curious if the Theravadin tradition has anything equivalent to dzogchen view/practices? Is there even a translation of the word "Dzogchen" into pali (via sanskrit)? Thx!

-----------------------------------------
Greetings to all and ALL,

I obtained these books when I spent three months in a Burmese temple in Penang Malaysia, where I had some interesting discussions with the monks and practiced a little Burmese meditation. I learned a little about Theravada and I highly recommend the experience to any Vajrayana / Dzogchen types who like world class Dim Sum. Penang has more than 450 Buddhist temples, of all sorts, and also a very active Vajrayana community.

vajrayana_penang@yahoogroups.com (more than 15,000 members)

I would refer you to three books that helped me to understand the Theravada view in relation to Vajrayana / Dzogchen. Though you won’t find the word Dzogchen used, you will find references to contemplation / awareness, which seem similar. I find these three books fascinating and very useful and helpful in bridging the gap between Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra and Dzogchen.

The first two (long and short version) are Jhanas in Theravada Buddhism. B.H. Gunaratana

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el351.html

[From the last paragraph in the chapter on the Two Vehicles; note: there are no page numbers in the download. Note: the highlighting is mine.]

Whereas the sequence of training undertaken by the samathayanika meditator is unproblematic, the vipassanayanika's approach presents the difficulty of accounting for the concentration he uses to provide a basis for insight. Concentration is needed in order to see and know things as they are, but without access concentration or jhana, what concentration can he use? The solution to this problem is found in a type of concentration distinct from the access and absorption concentrations pertaining to the vehicle of serenity, called "momentary concentration" (khanika samadhi). Despite its name, momentary concentration does not signify a single moment of concentration amidst a current of distracted thoughts, but a dynamic concentration which flows from object to object in the ever-changing flux of phenomena, retaining a constant degree of intensity and collectedness sufficient to purify the mind of the hindrances. Momentary concentration arises in the samathayanika simultaneously with his post-jhanic attainment of insight, but for the vipassanayanika it develops naturally and spontaneously in the course of his insight practice without his having to fix the mind upon a single exclusive object. Thus the follower of the vehicle of insight does not omit concentration altogether from his training, but develops it in a different manner from the practitioner of serenity. Without gaining jhana he goes directly into contemplation on the five aggregates and by observing them constantly from moment to moment acquires momentary concentration as an accompaniment of his investigations. This momentary concentration fulfills the same function as the basic jhana of the serenity vehicle, providing the foundation of mental clarity needed for insight to emerge.

This is also presented in the longer free e-book of the same name, which you can download from here:

http://www.holybooks.com/jhanas-therava ... editation/

In the end of the last paragraph at the top of P21, he again mentions this non-momentary, momentary concentration. Since I have little experience in Dzogchen and less in Theravada meditation, I cannot say if this momentary concentration is similar to non-dual Rigpa but maybe someone who is an expert in both systems can comment.

The third book is: The Twilight Language, Bucknell and Stuart-Fox.

http://books.google.com/books?id=hKd3ox ... &q&f=false

http://www.amazon.com/The-Twilight-Lang ... 0700702342

I list both sources because they have different “look insides”.

P33 Authorities on the Vajrayana have consistently maintained that the Twilight Language of the tantras was a code used in a secret meditative transmission, whereby the means for attaining enlightenment were revealed to initiated disciples. This view is in keeping with our earlier conclusion that information on the most advanced meditation practices was not recorded in the Tipitika but was transmitted through a secretive, elite tradition. It suggests that that tradition may have continued unbroken during the millennium between Gotama’s death and the composing of the tantras: while the mainstream monastic communities were occupied with memorizing and openly transmitting the teachings contained in the Tipitika, small numbers of monks in the elite tradition were practicing and secretly transmitting the advanced techniques of meditation. Viewed in this way, the Vajrayana would represent a surfacing of the hitherto hidden elite transmission which Gotama had initiated.
------------------------------------------------------------
This is a VERY interesting and thought provoking book and also a good read. They build a good case for a hidden tradition within Theravada. It also includes several Theravada meditation techniques which I have not found elsewhere. It is expensive so maybe it is available on an inter-library loan.

Long life to the Masters, in good health and with success in all things.

ob
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:09 am

Astus wrote:What I talk about is the practical side of both Theravada and Dzogchen (or any other vehicle for that matter). There are lot of theories about stages of progress, small and big future goals, and so on. However, when it comes down to the essential wisdom to be realised and practised, it's the same all over.

I think it's prudent to acknowledge a few specifics. With the Theravāda & Sarvāstivāda śrāvakamārga, experience is reducible to momentary minds, mental factors, and forms, all of which are to be recognized as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and selfless. The purpose of these recognitions is to sequentially terminate the ten fetters and attain liberation.

With the dzogchen rang grol lam, experience is reducible to rigpa and the display of rigpa, which is to be recognized as alpha pure and spontaneously perfect. Thus whatever arises is naturally liberated without being established or recognized as "this" or "that" phenomenon, and there's nothing whatsoever to accept or reject.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:30 am

Jnana wrote:I think it's prudent to acknowledge specifics. With the Theravāda & Sarvāstivāda śrāvakamārga, experience is reducible to momentary minds, mental factors, and forms, all of which are to be recognized as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and selfless. The purpose of these recognitions is to sequentially terminate the ten fetters and attain liberation.

With the dzogchen rang grol lam, experience is reducible to rigpa and the display of rigpa, which is to be recognized as alpha pure and spontaneously perfect. Thus whatever arises is naturally liberated without being established or recognized as "this" or "that" phenomenon, and there's nothing whatsoever to accept or reject.


What you describe is difference in theory, in explanation of what goes on. Insight into the three attributes is non-conceptual even in Theravada, and that is when they are the three doors of liberation. That's why I see little difference in practice.

From Mahasi Sayadaw's (quoting from him since he relies more on classical works than Ajahn Mun's lineage) "Fundamentals of Vipassana Meditation" (PDF):

"But the present phenomenon is what comes up at the six doors right now. It has not yet been defiled. It is like an unsoiled piece of cloth or paper. If you are quick enough to meditate on it just as it comes up, it will not be defiled. You fail to note it and it get defiled. Once defiled, it cannot be undefiled. If you fail to note the mind-and matter as it rises, grasping intervenes."

"If you meditate, you find that what you see passes away, what you hear passes away. They pass away in no time at all. Once you see them as they really are, there is nothing to love, nothing to hate, nothing to cling to. If there is nothing to cling to, there can be no clinging or grasping."

"When one is well-practised in insight meditation, after the arising of life-continuum following the seeing process, insight consciousness that reviews “seeing” takes place. You must try to be able to thus meditate immediately. If you are able to do so, it appears in your intellect as though you were meditating on things as they are seen, as they just arise. This kind of meditation is termed in the Suttas as “meditation on the present.”"

"If you fail to meditate even at the apprehending, you get to form process and name process. Then graspings come in. If you meditate after the emergence of grasping, they will not disappear. That is why we instruct you to meditate immediately, before the concepts arise."

"You note it the moment it arises. You note it and it ends right there. Sometimes as wandering of the mind is about to arise. You note it and it quiets down."

"So, if you note the moment you see, hear, touch, or perceive, no subsequent consciousness will arise to bring about graspings.
“ ......... you will simply have the sight of the things seen, the sound of the things hears, the sense of the things sensed, and the idea of the thing cognized.”
As this extract from Mælukyaputta Sutta shows, the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is there. Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will appear. No graspings. The meditator who meditates on what ever arises as it arises sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear to him how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self. He knows this for himself- not because a teacher has explained it to him. This only is the real knowledge."
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:40 am

Astus wrote:What you describe is difference in theory, in explanation of what goes on. Insight into the three attributes is non-conceptual even in Theravada, and that is when they are the three doors of liberation. That's why I see little difference in practice.

What the classical theras consider to be non-conceptual is still considered conceptual for mādhyamikas, and hence, for dzogchen as well.

Astus wrote:"But the present phenomenon is what comes up at the six doors right now. It has not yet been defiled. It is like an unsoiled piece of cloth or paper. If you are quick enough to meditate on it just as it comes up, it will not be defiled. You fail to note it and it get defiled. Once defiled, it cannot be undefiled. If you fail to note the mind-and matter as it rises, grasping intervenes."

"If you meditate, you find that what you see passes away, what you hear passes away. They pass away in no time at all. Once you see them as they really are, there is nothing to love, nothing to hate, nothing to cling to. If there is nothing to cling to, there can be no clinging or grasping."

"When one is well-practised in insight meditation, after the arising of life-continuum following the seeing process, insight consciousness that reviews “seeing” takes place. You must try to be able to thus meditate immediately. If you are able to do so, it appears in your intellect as though you were meditating on things as they are seen, as they just arise. This kind of meditation is termed in the Suttas as “meditation on the present.”"

"If you fail to meditate even at the apprehending, you get to form process and name process. Then graspings come in. If you meditate after the emergence of grasping, they will not disappear. That is why we instruct you to meditate immediately, before the concepts arise."

"You note it the moment it arises. You note it and it ends right there. Sometimes as wandering of the mind is about to arise. You note it and it quiets down."

"So, if you note the moment you see, hear, touch, or perceive, no subsequent consciousness will arise to bring about graspings.
“ ......... you will simply have the sight of the things seen, the sound of the things hears, the sense of the things sensed, and the idea of the thing cognized.”
As this extract from Mælukyaputta Sutta shows, the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is there. Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will appear. No graspings. The meditator who meditates on what ever arises as it arises sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear to him how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self. He knows this for himself- not because a teacher has explained it to him. This only is the real knowledge."

This is not even the same as mādhyamika vipaśyanā, let alone chagchen or dzogchen.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Anders » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:16 pm

This is contrived practise though, because it gives you something to meditate upon. Dzogchen, Mahamudra, and for that matter the most direct Chan and Zen teachings as well, are all characterised by non-contrivance. There is nothing to note there nor anything to meditate upon.

And 'theory' does impact method. to a certain extent. Mahasi Sadyaw works within a framework of freeing oneself from affliction. In the aforementioned ones, there is nothing to attain and Klesha and Bodhi are considered nondual. These kind of assumptions (or lack of same) embedded into the method ('theory') are quite relevant in terms of contrivance and effort. This is how sudden Chan distinguishes itself from gradual practise and how Dzogchen and Mahamudra distinguishes itself from the lower vehicles.

Don't get me wrong - I am not interested in setting up superior and inferior practices here and I don't mean this as a critique of Mahasi Sadyaw either. But it's over-simplifying to say 'if they are all non-conceptual they are all the same'. Even though they can all produce liberation doesn't mean the method is all the same either.

Astus wrote:What you describe is difference in theory, in explanation of what goes on. Insight into the three attributes is non-conceptual even in Theravada, and that is when they are the three doors of liberation. That's why I see little difference in practice.

From Mahasi Sayadaw's (quoting from him since he relies more on classical works than Ajahn Mun's lineage) "Fundamentals of Vipassana Meditation" (PDF):

"But the present phenomenon is what comes up at the six doors right now. It has not yet been defiled. It is like an unsoiled piece of cloth or paper. If you are quick enough to meditate on it just as it comes up, it will not be defiled. You fail to note it and it get defiled. Once defiled, it cannot be undefiled. If you fail to note the mind-and matter as it rises, grasping intervenes."

"If you meditate, you find that what you see passes away, what you hear passes away. They pass away in no time at all. Once you see them as they really are, there is nothing to love, nothing to hate, nothing to cling to. If there is nothing to cling to, there can be no clinging or grasping."

"When one is well-practised in insight meditation, after the arising of life-continuum following the seeing process, insight consciousness that reviews “seeing” takes place. You must try to be able to thus meditate immediately. If you are able to do so, it appears in your intellect as though you were meditating on things as they are seen, as they just arise. This kind of meditation is termed in the Suttas as “meditation on the present.”"

"If you fail to meditate even at the apprehending, you get to form process and name process. Then graspings come in. If you meditate after the emergence of grasping, they will not disappear. That is why we instruct you to meditate immediately, before the concepts arise."

"You note it the moment it arises. You note it and it ends right there. Sometimes as wandering of the mind is about to arise. You note it and it quiets down."

"So, if you note the moment you see, hear, touch, or perceive, no subsequent consciousness will arise to bring about graspings.
“ ......... you will simply have the sight of the things seen, the sound of the things hears, the sense of the things sensed, and the idea of the thing cognized.”
As this extract from Mælukyaputta Sutta shows, the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is there. Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will appear. No graspings. The meditator who meditates on what ever arises as it arises sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear to him how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self. He knows this for himself- not because a teacher has explained it to him. This only is the real knowledge."
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:50 pm

A Theravāda yogi observes the rise and fall of mind and matter. Through this observation s/he recognizes the universal characteristics (sāmāṅyalakṣaṇa) of impermanence, etc., which are common to all conditioned phenomena.

A Madhyamaka yogi removes the vikalpas of "mind" and "matter" and observes unestablished suchness. Here, all phenomena are unestablished (sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhāna), and there are no "things" to observe, neither the unique particulars (svalakṣaṇa) of objects nor the universals such as impermanence, etc.

This latter Madhyamaka insight is axiomatic for chan, chagchen, and dzogchen.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm

OK, I can be wrong about Mahasi Sayadaw's vipassana, although it seems to me that since he talks about immediately noting whatever arises, it's not the same kind of mental noting as when one actually says the word in one's head. IIRC, in another book he explained that such pronounced noting is eventually dropped, which makes sense to me. If needed, I can try to find that work, but can't remember the title now. He follows the description of the Visuddhimagga about the steps of vipassana, so I assume he is a proper representative of traditional Theravada.

Jnana wrote:What the classical theras consider to be non-conceptual is still considered conceptual for mādhyamikas, and hence, for dzogchen as well.


Do you say that because they use the term dharmas appearing and disappearing?

"As this extract from Mælukyaputta Sutta shows, the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is there. Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will appear. No graspings. The meditator who meditates on what ever arises as it arises sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear to him how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self."

How is this different from the simple coming and going of phenomena as given in Madhyamaka, Chan or Vajrayana?

Anders wrote:There is nothing to note there nor anything to meditate upon.


What is it then here where there is just being aware of experience immediately?

Anders wrote:And 'theory' does impact method. to a certain extent. Mahasi Sadyaw works within a framework of freeing oneself from affliction. In the aforementioned ones, there is nothing to attain and Klesha and Bodhi are considered nondual. These kind of assumptions (or lack of same) embedded into the method ('theory') are quite relevant in terms of contrivance and effort. This is how sudden Chan distinguishes itself from gradual practise and how Dzogchen and Mahamudra distinguishes itself from the lower vehicles.


Oh, I don't mean to say that they are totally the same. Obviously they are not. However, my point is that, like in this case Mahasi's method, while goes through several steps, which makes it a gradual instruction, the most advanced method in it matches Chan and Dzogchen. This is similar to the relationship between Tiantai and Chan, or Madhyamaka and Mahamudra.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:13 pm

Jnana wrote:A Theravāda yogi observes the rise and fall of mind and matter. Through this observation s/he recognizes the universal characteristics (sāmāṅyalakṣaṇa) of impermanence, etc., which are common to all conditioned phenomena.

A Madhyamaka yogi removes the vikalpas of "mind" and "matter" and observes unestablished suchness. Here, all phenomena are unestablished (sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhāna), and there are no "things" to observe, neither the unique particulars (svalakṣaṇa) of objects nor the universals such as impermanence, etc.

This latter Madhyamaka insight is axiomatic for chan, chagchen, and dzogchen.


Do you mean that in case of Theravada concepts remain, and the yogi identifies those concepts as the ultimate reality? Don't they realise suchness?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:51 pm

Astus wrote:OK, I can be wrong about Mahasi Sayadaw's vipassana, although it seems to me that since he talks about immediately noting whatever arises, it's not the same kind of mental noting as when one actually says the word in one's head.

Right, mental noting is an act of attention (manaskāra) accompanied by recognition (saṃjñā). In this case it is mind and matter which are being recognized. The recognition of impermanence (i.e. sāmāṅyalakṣaṇa: universal characteristic) requires the recognition of these objects (i.e. svalakṣaṇa: unique particulars).

Astus wrote:
Jnana wrote:What the classical theras consider to be non-conceptual is still considered conceptual for mādhyamikas, and hence, for dzogchen as well.


Do you say that because they use the term dharmas appearing and disappearing?

Yes. For Madhyamaka "dharmas" as well as "appearing" and "disappearing" are merely designations with no ultimately established referent. The purpose of Madhyamaka vipaśyanā is to remove these conceptual designations as well.

Astus wrote:"As this extract from Mælukyaputta Sutta shows, the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is there. Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will appear. No graspings. The meditator who meditates on what ever arises as it arises sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear to him how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self."

How is this different from the simple coming and going of phenomena as given in Madhyamaka, Chan or Vajrayana?

The "real nature" that is being referred to in the quote isn't considered real for Madhyamaka, et al.

Astus wrote:
Jnana wrote:A Theravāda yogi observes the rise and fall of mind and matter. Through this observation s/he recognizes the universal characteristics (sāmāṅyalakṣaṇa) of impermanence, etc., which are common to all conditioned phenomena.

A Madhyamaka yogi removes the vikalpas of "mind" and "matter" and observes unestablished suchness. Here, all phenomena are unestablished (sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhāna), and there are no "things" to observe, neither the unique particulars (svalakṣaṇa) of objects nor the universals such as impermanence, etc.

This latter Madhyamaka insight is axiomatic for chan, chagchen, and dzogchen.


Do you mean that in case of Theravada concepts remain, and the yogi identifies those concepts as the ultimate reality? Don't they realise suchness?

Right, what the classical Theravāda & Sarvāstivāda consider to be ultimates (mind, mental factors, and matter) are not considered ultimates from a Madhyamaka perspective. They are merely conceptually designated and the basis of these designations are mere appearances.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:15 pm

Jnana wrote:Right, what the classical Theravāda & Sarvāstivāda consider to be ultimates (mind, mental factors, and matter) are not considered ultimates from a Madhyamaka perspective. They are merely conceptually designated and the basis of these designations are mere appearances.


I know they have a different view of paramattha dhamma, and so there is difference. Although I find that since mind, mental factors and matter are conditioned even in Theravada, it agrees somewhat with Madhyamaka. But OK, if it goes down to practice in the way you just pointed out that one has to create these cognitions about the specific dhamma and their impermanence, etc., it does not match Dzogchen, and I have misinterpreted what Mahasi says.
What is left then is the lineage of Ajahn Mun where they don't apply abhidhamma but a different way. What do you say of that?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:28 pm

Astus wrote:What is left then is the lineage of Ajahn Mun where they don't apply abhidhamma but a different way. What do you say of that?

Well, the Thai forest lineage is a bit more diverse and idiosyncratic with regard to view. But the purpose of insight meditation here too (for a yogi following the śrāvaka path of liberation) is to recognize impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness, and thereby induce dispassion and the cessation of the fetters.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Sherlock » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:33 pm

I think that comes up to the first stage of semde but isn't vidya, which is in the end the main point of Dzogchen and requires direct introduction.
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:38 pm

Jnana wrote:Well, the Thai forest lineage is a bit more diverse and idiosyncratic with regard to view. But the purpose of insight meditation here too (for a yogi following the śrāvaka path of liberation) is to recognize impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness, and thereby induce dispassion and the cessation of the fetters.


Well, OK then. Classic Theravada is unlike Dzogchen. Thanks for the correction. :anjali:
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:04 pm

Thanks for the references Astus and Suttametta.

Somewhat related to my previous post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana_ ... heast_Asia

Sherlock, I looked up that book or paper by Kate Crosby and it looks like it has some interesting correlations and information on Cambodian Buddhism.

Which reminds me, I've always wanted to read a book like this:


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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby Anders » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:42 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Tashi delek,

Thanks for your reply.

When i did understood your statement well, then the view is like Trekcho, like practiced inside Dzogchen.


Some questions:

- What is the "Pali" name for Trekcho?
- How is the practice related to the Trekcho view ?
- How is the Trekcho view in Theravada explained ? Sorry i know only the Bon Tradition and i realy don' t know about Trekcho in other Buddhist - ---------Traditions then only Nyingma.

Know only that essence Mahamudra and Trekcho would be equal.

Trekcho is more an experience and if the practice of Trekcho, would be identical to Bon / or other Dzogchen Traditions/, then indeed Theravada would partly be Dzogchen.

But i did understood also that here on this actual sub-forum, is written that the Highest aim in Theravada is the Arhat ideal.
Because i don' t know much about Theravada, is for me not clear if an Arhat is the same as Buddha and if an Arhat would be without stains.


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It depends on what tradition you ask. Theravadins will approach such a question differently than dzogchenpas because they don't share the same premises.

But from the POV of your own tradition, Arhats are not the same as Buddha and there are no such thing as trekcho found in the pali canon. I am guessing they agree that the arhat is nevertheless pure, though there are some different takes on this in various Mahayana strains (and, tbf, in som shravaka schools as well. Only those schools are now extinct, so most don't dwell on that). He is free from afflictive obscurations and is thus liberated from all suffering. Unlike the Buddhas, he still has knowledge obscurations and is thus not as capable of aiding sentient beings.

Theravadins will probably see this answer as somewhat nonsensical, since they don't recognise most of the arguments Vajrayana makes about all this stuff. They don't have distinctions like 'knowledge obscurations' and 'afflictive obscurations', so saying this sets Buddhas apart from arhats on such grounds makes little sense to a Theravadin. In their view, the arhat is as free of obscuration as a Buddha. The additional powers a Buddha has aren't really linked to an absence of obscuration in Theravada. Such siddhis are probably more closely linked to the accumulation of merit, whereas in Mahayana it is seen moreso as being an aspect of wisdom.

An open-minded Theravadin studying descriptions of trekcho would probably equate it with the opening of the Dhamma Eye experienced by stream-entrants. At least those whose depictions of Nirvana are similar such as much of the thai forest tradition and such. Abidhammikas would probably consider treckcho descriptions to be eternalist adharma the same way they do Hinduism.

That's the nutshell scholastic take on it, afaik.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Do Theravadins have anything similar to Dzogchen?

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:28 pm

Anyone read this? I haven't read this personally, but there's a book called
"Small Boat, Great Mountain: Theravādan Reflections On The Natural Great Perfection"
by Amaro Bhikkhu.

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