Wesley1982 wrote:2) Does correct Dzogchen practice produce a visible buddha?..
Dear Wesley, all and ALL,
Onto the Lion's screens,
Wesley, please forgive me for a long wordy answer that may appear to wander off the point, but it all will make sense eventually. My 2 cent advice is not to let anything go by which you do not understand. Get a dollar store spiral notebook and write down any questions or words that you do not understand, as they arise.
Your question is one of those questions that as soon as you say anything, someone is going to, quite correctly, say something else with an argument that challenges whatever you have said, because what you have said is not true from their point of view. The other side of this, is that what they are claiming may not be true from your point of view and so you have these wonderful view mash-ups on Dharma Wheel. Everyone is saying that the blind man's elephant of Dzogchen is the trunk or foot or side or tail, that they have experience with. You could frame it differently and also say that Dzogchen is an evolving form with no fixed "sum of parts" but a totality defined by the living experiences of all who practice it. In the end, each of us has to work out what is true, and what works, according to our own individual, doing our best, experience and get through the night (and the day).
So with the understanding that I am giving only one man's small and narrow answer: this is what is true and workable from my personal experience.
First. there is no absolute as to what is correct or incorrect Dzogchen practice. Whatever turns the wheel - whatever furthers your realization, is correct Dzogchen practice. For you, at one point in your life, having a practice that produces a visible Buddha may be correct and at another point it may be not correct, and the same for anyone. If you have a root Teacher then that Teacher might tell you what to practice. When you report back to that teacher, the results of your practice, then that root teacher may tell you that what you are seeing, and doing is correct or not. So from this point of view, in the context of advice from your Teacher, an experience of seeing a visible Buddha could be thought of as being correct or not correct for your practice at that time.
Then,--- if you are asking whether there are practices in Dzogchen that can produce the subjective experience of seeing a Buddha, then the answer is yes. My view of the elephant is that as a Dzogchen practitioner, I am free to make use of, and apply, any practice, from any level or tradition, (hopefully with the advice of my root Teacher) that I feel will further my realization. This means that if I want to use creative visualization and absorption practice from the view of Dzogchen, then I can do this on the subject of a Buddha; Shakyamuni, Medicine, Maitraiya, Dhyani or other, and I will see that Buddha in my practice. At first, seeing this Buddha may be supported by looking at a Thanka or picture, but then I may see that same Buddha in practice, without a support.
Visualization is like when you close your eyes for a moment and then open them and repeat. When you close your eyes, whatever you were looking at stays in your mind, as a visual representation, for an instant, and then starts to fade. Learning how to maintain that kind of visual image is visualization. There is a sudden system where the image you want to visualize comes into your presence all at once, and then there is a gradual system where you build up the image from a lotus, sun and moon disc with a seed syllable on it, which then turns into the Buddha, and then you add all the details, one by one. Your root Teacher will tell you of this, and what is right for you. Will this visualization seem real to you? It might. There is one urban legend about a literal minded practitioner who was found, very hungry, in his cave by his Teacher. When asked why he did not go out and get food, the practitioner replied that he had been doing Yamantaka practice and could not get his large horns through the door. So maybe you might see a Buddha in front of you which appears as real, or you might see yourself as a Buddha that appears as real. Are they really real, well maybe in a certain way. If you do the practice, you will see for yourself.
Then --- there are the practices of sky gazing, Togal and dark retreat in which seeing a Buddha may occur spontaneously. Your Dzogchen root Teacher will tell you about these practices at the right time.
Then there is also the question as to whether a Buddha, that you see in your practice, could be seen by somebody else or by everybody else: maybe yes in a certain way.
It should also be noted that you can have the Dzogchen principle practice of integrating with your "instant presence, 24/7 - resting in your "natural" state, without ever seeing a Buddha.
Hope this is of use to you and / or someone. Suggest you keep your questions coming until you have answers you are happy with.
Good fortune to all and All.