So far, I have seen no proof that Dzogchen isn't a part of the Buddha's Dharma and as some people try to claim it is a foreign teaching inserted in to the Buddha's Dharma. Dzogchen contains special methods just like all yanas contain special methods. Certainly I believe Dzogchen can be a independent path but it is still the Buddha's Dharma since all the twelve Dzogchen Buddha's taught Dzogchen in the conest of Buddha Dharma. Malcolm say that there is no proof Buddha taught Dzogchen but in his comment on the Narag Tongtrug ChNNR say that Buddha Shakyamuni taught the Manjusri Tantra with Dzogchen instructions. The oldest text we have mentioning Dzogchen are Mahayoga texts like the Guhyagharbha Tantra and "Questions and answers on Vajrasattva" from the Duanhang documents. My personal view of this, until any better proofs comes, is that the three inner Tantras are inseparable and have the same source. So while the two stages are not absolutely necessary, since I don't much buy in to to the ladder theory, they are definitely a part of the context of the Dzogchen teachings. As Manjusrimitra writes ""I am Manjushrimitra, who has attained the siddhi of Yamantaka". So there you got it, my hurting tooth is basically that you guys have nothing but blind faith to counter this.
I am starting to think too much emphasis is being placed on these labels from both sides of this dialogue. Since the word Buddha is just a referent for a fully realized being, I wonder if people would still argue with the statement dropping all foreign words (hahaha except Dzogchen, since all of us in the Dzogchen forum are so attached to that one!): "Dzogchen is the truth (dharma) expressed by fully realized beings (Buddhas)".
Ok, let's try it again, without the parenthesis! "Dzogchen is the truth expressed by fully realized beings".
Is it at all controversial? I am sure at least you and I agree that it is not Magnus. Hopefully nobody else finds it such!
Ok, let's take it a step further: "Fully realized beings also expressed things differently when trying to communicate the truth, so that different types of people could relate to the truth based on where their minds were at". Ok.. then we are back to the 9 yana system, or whatever equivalent there may be in the past or future or in other world systems.. it really does seem quite basic.