xylem wrote:i think we need to put our big boy pants on and recognize and learn to articulate that the DC of CNNR is a unique dharma culture. in truth every sangha is a unique dharma culture as each sangha is the mandala of its guru, but the DC is much like the shambhala of CTR. CNNR and CTR are similar in being supremely realized, but also keenly aware of the psychology and psychopathology of western students, and with that insight, capable of transmitting the teachings while side-stepping a lot of cultural snags. because of this, both the DC and shambhala are hard to contextualize for practitioners in the more traditional mainstream forms of tibetan buddhism. i consider CNNR one of my teachers having received direct introduction and teachings from him by webcast, and while his teachings are spot-on with my other teachers, the DC dharma culture is very different and peculiar for me. i have also attended shambhala teachings and feel similarly about the teachings of CTR, PC (pema chodron) and even the senior most shambhala teachers i have met-- dead on with my other teachers. the culture i don't get. DC is going to contextualize with traditional tibetan buddhism no better than shambhala, so best to not try. DC is DC and that's awesome.
Indeed. And there are very good reasons for that, some of which pass trough not importing a system "as is" to a completely different culture and society.
i don't think it helps anyone to present a continuum of dzogchen practice where DC solely inhabits the pole of "real" "authentic" "unadulterated" "non-institutionalized" dzogchen with everything else inhabiting some part of a continuum that is contaminated by forms of "modified" "nontraditional" "adulterated" "institutionalized" forms of dzogchen practice. these "will the real dzogchen please stand up" threads are really less about what dzogchen orthodoxy might be and more about what DC orthodoxy is. again, DC is DC and that's awesome. the truth is, there are other lamas that teach dzogchen outside the context of the gradual path, ngondro, two stages and so on, just like CNNR-- and their dharma culture is much different than the DC culture. the truth is, even if one receives pointing out instructions and mengagde in the context of "institutional" dzogchen teachings-- it's the same dzogchen and transcends the dualistic practices of the gradual path, ngondro, 2 stages and so on, just like the dzogchen of the "real" "authentic" dzogchen teachers. dzogchen is dzogchen. we only have one natural state.
What seems rather funny is that it took ChNN to present Dzogchen openly to the West. Today many lamas claim to be teaching Dzogchen. Some I am sure are. I'm not a cynic. Others, let's say I'm not so sure.
What I wonder, sometimes, is why all these Dzogchen teachers haven't started earlier. Why ChNN had to be a pioneer, for which he took a lot of heat, and why suddenly "everyone" (using everyone like Magnus does), is now teaching Dzogchen.
In a way this reminds me of the webcast system. First it was cursed, now everyone is using it.
Of course the natural state is the natural state. But if you wait years on end to receive DI or to recognize it, while meanwhile you should be getting rid of doubt and integrating it, when you can do that, it seems rather foolish. My experience, and here I think it is better not to generalize, is that the so called "tantric approach" never really approached me to Dzogchen. Or if it did and I haven't noticed, well, with ChNN methods I made more progress in months than I did till that point. It's my experience. Other may have different experiences.
personally, i don't get any of this. i appreciate the lamas who only see one dharma. those who can take a teaching like the 37 bodhisattva practices and show that it is a mahayana teaching, a mahamudra teaching, a dzogchen teaching. if one sees the dharma as only one dharma, then one has only one practice. all of this talk abut the "real" dzogchen, "institutionalized" dzogchen, dzogchen culture, dzogchen and buddhism is just a distraction.
Yes, it's a distraction.
And do you know what also is a distraction? Making students interested in Dzogchen go through years of Tantric practice instead of working with Dzogchen methods from the start. It's also a distraction creating the idea that Dzogchen is for "advanced practitioners", an idea unmistakably widespread among Vajrayana practitioners. Of course now a lot of people claim such is not done by this, that and the other teacher beyond ChNN. I know a few teachers, I know quite a lot actually. The only place where I can honestly say I haven't seen this being done, was the Dzogchen Community. I'm not saying there aren't others doing it, but if such is the case, I just don't know them by own experience. As I don't know a lot of teachers and others I don't know well, there's a lot of space for me to be wrong. Some claim there are others and I assume good faith on their part.
The fact is that this whole shebang, in my opinion, boils down to two opposing options: 1) you either believe that the tantric approach is the best way to get to Dzogchen, in your personal case or, if you're more extremist, in everyone's case, or 2) you believe that the approach to Dzogchen used by ChNN and a very few others - that is not the traditional tantric approach- works better in your own case - or in everyone's case if you're more extremist. You can't reconcile these. If you believe one is better than the other, you'll have to choose. If you hear ChNN arguments on why the nine yanas system is not necessary, you're not going to follow it unless you think he is mistaken. I'm sorry, but this is not possible, like it is not possible to say that a car is a plane and a plane is a car. You can say both are means of transportation, but you can't ignore the differences. This doesn't mean that if you prefer the car, you can say planes suck or vice versa. Recognizing the natural state is the beginning
of Dzogchen practice, not the end of a long path of accumulations.
So, my only disagreement with your very good points is that you seem to believe that this is a matter of culture in certain communities, like the DC or others. It's at this point that I part ways with you, assuming I'm understanding you properly. It is not simply a matter of a culture inside a community. Sure, these subcultures exist, but in this case and in the matter at hand, it steams directly from the way the teachers present their own ideas.
What also seems more common is that students of ChNN and
other teachers have more difficulty with this issue, perhaps because they need to reconcile two very different approaches to Dzogchen practice. I understand it may be a hard spot to be in.