Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:43 am

karma dorje-la...

as i've said, both sides of the thread are representative of different aspects of my own personal view, that of my own teachers, and i believe are contained within the vast spectrum of the nine yanas. i'm not of the view to flip one over the other, especially as i've teachers that tend towards each extreme, either in temperament or the foundational views of their traditions.

it may stretch back to the samye debates and the polemic associated with that. i'll take your point for the sake of argument. that said, doctrinal debates seem to have a different flavor amongst western converts than they did in the old country. the old school way was to burn books, assassinate lamas, forcibly convert monasteries-- and their monks. here, in the west we have the freedom to practice any dharma we want, and in larger urban areas we can receive teachings on everything from theravada to ch'an to gelug to dzogchen to bon in the same community. yet, if somebody suggests we do (or not do) ngondro, read (or not read) some texts, that the dharma is really this (or that) and so on-- we feel violated and bullied. the ideas surrounding the samye debate get plugged into all sorts of damage about freedom, egalitarianism, biases about education and class, damage with religious authority going back to the reformation, and so on.

i still assert that it's all one dharma. different dharmas are presented from the vantage point of ground, path or fruition, or from the vantage point of beings in samsara or those that are enlightened.

-xy

Karma Dorje wrote:
xylem wrote:it's just how a mandala of a teacher articulates and orients itself to the guru. i wish all this can be simply articulated as such and these confused threads can come to an end.
-xy


These confused threads stretch back to at least the Samye debate and the so-called defeat of Hvashang and have continued through almost 1200 years of polemical attack by gradualists on the dzogchen teaching and spirited responses from the greatest luminaries of the tradition. If you expect we can hash this all out on an Internet forum in a few hundred or thousand posts, you are more of an optimist than I am.

I think the crux of this comes down to different dispositions rather than any one position being right. In any case, it has been enormously edifying for me.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:57 am

xylem wrote:karma dorje-la...

as i've said, both sides of the thread are representative of different aspects of my own personal view, that of my own teachers, and i believe are contained within the vast spectrum of the nine yanas. i'm not of the view to flip one over the other, especially as i've teachers that tend towards each extreme, either in temperament or the foundational views of their traditions.

it may stretch back to the samye debates and the polemic associated with that. i'll take your point for the sake of argument. that said, doctrinal debates seem to have a different flavor amongst western converts than they did in the old country. the old school way was to burn books, assassinate lamas, forcibly convert monasteries-- and their monks. here, in the west we have the freedom to practice any dharma we want, and in larger urban areas we can receive teachings on everything from theravada to ch'an to gelug to dzogchen to bon in the same community. yet, if somebody suggests we do (or not do) ngondro, read (or not read) some texts, that the dharma is really this (or that) and so on-- we feel violated and bullied. the ideas surrounding the samye debate get plugged into all sorts of damage about freedom, egalitarianism, biases about education and class, damage with religious authority going back to the reformation, and so on.

i still assert that it's all one dharma. different dharmas are presented from the vantage point of ground, path or fruition, or from the vantage point of beings in samsara or those that are enlightened.

-xy


I am in violent and non-violent agreement with you on all of these points. I think with some of these issues, as with the Rangtong-Shentong Wars that one thing often overlooked is that the interplay between the two viewpoints is tremendously clarifying. We can use one viewpoint to remove the arrogance of the opposing view. Insofar as this is understood I think that the dialogue is entirely healthy and helpful.

I dearly love all of the aspects of Vajrayana from lowest to highest. I wouldn't give up any of it. Nor would I or could I give up my Hindu practice or my love and appreciation for English literature or continental philosophy. There is great value in being able to take on opposing viewpoints without turmoil. There is little benefit to the straight and narrow.

Walt Whitman wrote:Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:59 am

karma dorje-la...

be as violent as you like. if you think i'm following a straight and narrow, you're not paying attention.

i've studied shentong and rangtong in shedra under my late teacher. like you, i appreciate how the intellectual tension between the two is edifying, challenging, rewarding and in the end very clarifying. i still assert it is all one dharma. if one understands the shentong-rangtong distinction that is clear.
i still assert that westerners pick up tibetan religious politics and use their own intellectual tradition to transform it, like alchemy, into their own special strife.

put samye down. the (truly) great masters did long ago. it's not our politics. in the west we have the opportunity to practice in ways that were never possible before. debate and analysis are great if they help us refine our view and loosen our grasping. if our view becomes more muddled and entrenched, and if we grasp, it's poison.

malcolm's OP was very clear, well thought out, reasonable and relevant. i'm not sure which of my positions you violently disagree with.

-- xy

Karma Dorje wrote:
xylem wrote:karma dorje-la...

as i've said, both sides of the thread are representative of different aspects of my own personal view, that of my own teachers, and i believe are contained within the vast spectrum of the nine yanas. i'm not of the view to flip one over the other, especially as i've teachers that tend towards each extreme, either in temperament or the foundational views of their traditions.

it may stretch back to the samye debates and the polemic associated with that. i'll take your point for the sake of argument. that said, doctrinal debates seem to have a different flavor amongst western converts than they did in the old country. the old school way was to burn books, assassinate lamas, forcibly convert monasteries-- and their monks. here, in the west we have the freedom to practice any dharma we want, and in larger urban areas we can receive teachings on everything from theravada to ch'an to gelug to dzogchen to bon in the same community. yet, if somebody suggests we do (or not do) ngondro, read (or not read) some texts, that the dharma is really this (or that) and so on-- we feel violated and bullied. the ideas surrounding the samye debate get plugged into all sorts of damage about freedom, egalitarianism, biases about education and class, damage with religious authority going back to the reformation, and so on.

i still assert that it's all one dharma. different dharmas are presented from the vantage point of ground, path or fruition, or from the vantage point of beings in samsara or those that are enlightened.

-xy


I am in violent and non-violent agreement with you on all of these points. I think with some of these issues, as with the Rangtong-Shentong Wars that one thing often overlooked is that the interplay between the two viewpoints is tremendously clarifying. We can use one viewpoint to remove the arrogance of the opposing view. Insofar as this is understood I think that the dialogue is entirely healthy and helpful.

I dearly love all of the aspects of Vajrayana from lowest to highest. I wouldn't give up any of it. Nor would I or could I give up my Hindu practice or my love and appreciation for English literature or continental philosophy. There is great value in being able to take on opposing viewpoints without turmoil. There is little benefit to the straight and narrow.

Walt Whitman wrote:Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:09 am

xylem wrote:karma dorje-la...
be as violent as you like. if you think i'm following a straight and narrow, you're not paying attention.


This was not directed at you. This was directed to those that were denying that there could be any approach to Dzogchen from other religions which occurred mostly early on in the thread.

xylem wrote:malcolm's OP was very clear, well thought out, reasonable and relevant. i'm not sure which of my positions you violently disagree with.


That might be because I said I was "violently...in agreement with you on all these points".

Malcolm's many posts in this thread are some of the most wonderful expressions of heartfelt understanding I have read on any buddhist forum ever. It boggles me that they are considered in the least contentious.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:17 am

karma dorje-la...

my apologies. i never had anyone agree with me on a buddhist forum before so i misread you as "violently disagree".

-xy

Karma Dorje wrote:
xylem wrote:karma dorje-la...
be as violent as you like. if you think i'm following a straight and narrow, you're not paying attention.


This was not directed at you. This was directed to those that were denying that there could be any approach to Dzogchen from other religions which occurred mostly early on in the thread.

xylem wrote:malcolm's OP was very clear, well thought out, reasonable and relevant. i'm not sure which of my positions you violently disagree with.


That might be because I said I was "violently...in agreement with you on all these points".

Malcolm's many posts in this thread are some of the most wonderful expressions of heartfelt understanding I have read on any buddhist forum ever. It boggles me that they are considered in the least contentious.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:40 am

once upon a time i had a sufi friend. her teacher was a student of a great sufi sheikh. we were involved in an extended interfaith dialog. i asked her if she was muslim-- she said no. when i asked why, she said her teacher wasn't a muslim. of course, my head exploded. i asked her to explain. she said sufism was a non-dual wisdom tradition much like dzogchen or mahamudra. as such it was beyond all organized religion as it's endpoint was something of a non-dual gnosis. this great sufi sheikh didn't make all of his western students convert. why? it wasn't necessarily good for them. most of them he did ask to because the discipline of the external aspects of the muslim faith were beneficial, as was the conventional wisdom of the tradition. her teacher was one of the few who was not commanded to convert when he formally took his sheikh's hand. why? because of his qualities of character and discipline. at the same time my friend, following her (non-muslim) teacher, studied islam, adopted some of the practices, but understood them from a different more internal vantage point. the purpose? mostly to relate to others, to have a certain spiritual context, and to have a tool-box of conventional wisdom and practices to fall back on when the road got tough.

true story.

i always come back to that when i wonder WTF i'm doing as a buddhist.

the dharma is like a seed. what makes that seed precious and alive isn't the seed-parts-- it's the "life" that's inside of it... the pith essence. some of us can meditate on that to different degrees. some don't get it at all. it's all the same dharma never-the-less.

-xy
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:45 am

Spot on.
And as I have said on another thread at least one well known Sufi teacher is a Dzogchen student.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Fruitzilla » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:50 am

Simon E. wrote:Spot on.
And as I have said on another thread at least one well known Sufi teacher is a Dzogchen student.


Maybe the key question for the flurry of Dzogchen threads lately would be: Can a Dzogchen teacher be a sufi student?
As far as I can see this seems to be the elephant in the room. Am I right in any way?
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:10 am

Can ? I dont know.
This stuff isnt theoretical. Its experiential.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:36 am

xylem wrote:karma dorje-la...

my apologies. i never had anyone agree with me on a buddhist forum before so i misread you as "violently disagree".

-xy



:jumping:
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Sönam » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:43 am

Fruitzilla wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Spot on.
And as I have said on another thread at least one well known Sufi teacher is a Dzogchen student.


Maybe the key question for the flurry of Dzogchen threads lately would be: Can a Dzogchen teacher be a sufi student?
As far as I can see this seems to be the elephant in the room. Am I right in any way?


and the answer is yes, "because we have to learn other traditions, to know how to go to Sambhogakaya with that tradition, but we have to go in essence ..."

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Fruitzilla » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:59 am

Sönam wrote:
Fruitzilla wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Spot on.
And as I have said on another thread at least one well known Sufi teacher is a Dzogchen student.


Maybe the key question for the flurry of Dzogchen threads lately would be: Can a Dzogchen teacher be a sufi student?
As far as I can see this seems to be the elephant in the room. Am I right in any way?


and the answer is yes, "because we have to learn other traditions, to know how to go to Sambhogakaya with that tradition, but we have to go in essence ..."

Sönam


Thanks. Looking at your answer I think I didn't compose my question clearly enough.
Maybe if I question a bit more it might be more clear....

Could it be that the Sufi teacher is studying Dzogchen to learn other traditions, so he can know <insert Sufi term for realization here> with Dzogchgen?
Or is it that the Sufi teacher is studying Dzogchen because he can learn/experience something that cannot be found in Sufism?
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:40 am

I guess that you would need to ask him. His name is Pir Shabda Khan.
The Sufi term for for realization btw is " Fana". It means to " blow out " as in " Nirvana".
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Fruitzilla » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:19 pm

Simon E. wrote:I guess that you would need to ask him. His name is Pir Shabda Khan.
The Sufi term for for realization btw is " Fana". It means to " blow out " as in " Nirvana".


Got it! Thanks for the answers.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby MalaBeads » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:08 pm

xylem wrote:once upon a time i had a sufi friend. her teacher was a student of a great sufi sheikh. we were involved in an extended interfaith dialog. i asked her if she was muslim-- she said no. when i asked why, she said her teacher wasn't a muslim. of course, my head exploded. i asked her to explain. she said sufism was a non-dual wisdom tradition much like dzogchen or mahamudra. as such it was beyond all organized religion as it's endpoint was something of a non-dual gnosis. this great sufi sheikh didn't make all of his western students convert. why? it wasn't necessarily good for them. most of them he did ask to because the discipline of the external aspects of the muslim faith were beneficial, as was the conventional wisdom of the tradition. her teacher was one of the few who was not commanded to convert when he formally took his sheikh's hand. why? because of his qualities of character and discipline. at the same time my friend, following her (non-muslim) teacher, studied islam, adopted some of the practices, but understood them from a different more internal vantage point. the purpose? mostly to relate to others, to have a certain spiritual context, and to have a tool-box of conventional wisdom and practices to fall back on when the road got tough.

true story.

i always come back to that when i wonder WTF i'm doing as a Buddhist.

the dharma is like a seed. what makes that seed precious and alive isn't the seed-parts-- it's the "life" that's inside of it... the pith essence. some of us can meditate on that to different degrees. some don't get it at all. it's all the same dharma never-the-less.

-xy


Wonderful post.

Oh, the true stories that are dancing around in my head.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby MalaBeads » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:18 pm

I would also add that it's a big world out there. And a small planet.
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:25 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Well, that's what I thought was really weird too, especially when Dzogchen triumphalism was used as a rhetorical device to make sweeping generalizations about "Buddhism", how corrupt it is, it is dying, a mere empty shell, and on and on.
Since Buddhism is a label we use to represent a vast array of teachers, Lamas, practitioners, etc.. it was simply not skillful, or correct for some people to make such sweeping claims.. Especially as you point out, many that fall in this category of "Buddhists" are actually quite sincere and authentic Dzogchen masters. Some of which are my teachers, and some of which are yours, and other people's here.


This is where I think you interpreted things in a very extreme way.


Dechen, I said I would reply to the rest of this, and although some good dialogue has happened since then I will try to stick to my word.. I got quite busy under deadline so haven't really had any time to think about these things or participate until now, and even now I barely do!

I never imagined Malcom meant all the Buddhist world.

Maybe he didn't but, then why would he say things that are clearly directed at the whole Buddhist world? Because from his own words, which is all we have to go on in an internet forum he says these generalizations which are clearly directed at all the Buddhist world:
Buddhism has become in many respects an ossified missionary religion primarily concerned with gaining converts and worshipping in nice houses.

whereas Buddhism is heavily invested in the cause/result paradigm and has an entire intellectual and institutional edifice dedicated to preserving it at any cost.

Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, is an oligarchy.


There are more quotes like this, but you get the idea. I don't feel like debating these points here and now, but you can see they generalize the entire group of people under the same broad brush.. and if they didn't, I may agree with the statements.. as they stand, I do not.



He too has Buddhist teachers, some very important to him.
It is hard to know what is now important to him unless he tells us, in light of his statements. He has made some clarifying statements about his personal teachers or views in the 100 pages or so of threads... but he also still stubbornly stands by his generalizations..

To me it seemed he was pissed at some movements inside Buddhism that tried to choke Dzogchen. To me it seems he was pissed with all the corruption he saw in Tibetan politics, especially when it is disguised as Dharma. How many threads do we have about these problems? How many more could we have? How many more we don't know? We always see the tip of the iceberg. These abuses are shielded from the public in many different ways. People are devout, people gang those who defy their devotion for the teacher, teachings are misused to blame the ones complaining, the hierarchies do little or nothing in many cases and this is simply maddening... I hope I'm exaggerating, but I suspect when we hear about one case, ten more are hidden. You know Malcom's style and I don't understand why you assume he meant those comments in a sweeping way. He said himself that perhaps he saw one corrupt lama too many.

I do know Malcolm's style, and this is a perfect example: he makes authoritarian absolute statements that are incredibly sweeping and generalized, and then stands by them when they upset people. Any statements like these are provocative, because they clearly are not true, and are a cause for divisionism when they are knowingly made like this. Of course, I do agree, yes, there are scandals among some sanghas and teachers who are Buddhist. Some perpetrating the scandals are Tibetans, some are Westerners, some are Vajrayanists, some Mahyanists, some are Zen and don't even like the title Buddhist just like Malcolm, and some are Theravadans. They are all human. Just like anyone practicing Dzogchen. Until we are "Fully Integrated Dzogchenpas, or Buddhas, or Ascended Light Masters or whatever your label of choice-- we are ill, in a hospital, (call it samsara or state-of-dualism- or distraction what have you) and we shouldn't get too freaked out when we see other sick people in the hospital with us! Compassion is the best reaction, not a diatribe against the names of different hospitals, and saying all doctors are no good because there's been some malpractice with the one exception Dr. _____________ who is my favorite doctor because they help me but all other doctors are corrupt because of the few that have been guilty of malpractice! This is what I see, because of the form of generalization being done. I only joined in these threads to counterbalance the incredibly unbalanced generalizations I started seeing. In many ways, as I've said before, I find a lot of what Malcolm expressed in some of his long posts to be refreshing, heart warming, and totally in line with aspects of my own views that I have had for some time (and which "Namdrol" may have argued against in the past).

I know you for some years and I can bet my neck that you hate abuse as much as I do
. Yes, but I also hate obfuscation and clumsy communication by making gross exaggerated statements that slop everything with the same broad brush.
I have Buddhist teachers I deeply respect. In a way I always think of ChNN as a Buddhist and only after I remember he is not just that.


Me too, I don't think of any of my own teachers -including ChNN as "just Buddhists" either, because if they were, that would mean they had no genuine realization, and I know better.

When I read Malcom, I never assumed he was insulting my teachers or good teachers.

I never took any of it personally, I am just interested in encouraging him and others not to make these invalid erroneous and didactic statements to
support their points, or personal epiphanies, what have you.

http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Sweeping_Generalization "For example, "birds can [normally] fly" is a general rule, and doesn't imply that all birds (such as emus or penguins) can fly. To take this general rule and apply it to all birds would be committing a sweeping generalization."

If he altogether avoided this type of speech, and instead tried to communicate more along the lines of:

In my personal experience, a lot what I have witnessed masquerade as Buddhism seems ossified, and missionary, and not effectively transmitting the pure Buddhadharma. It also seems to me that many Buddhists are sadly overly concerned with material things these days, like gaining more followers or worshiping in fancy temples


as opposed to the original:
Buddhism has become in many respects an ossified missionary religion primarily concerned with gaining converts and worshipping in nice houses.


I won't keep giving examples, one should be enough, but you get the idea? I truly think, despite maybe some retroactive context afterwards, that misunderstandings would be much less without this bombastic statements made as if they are ultimate truth. Give a personal aspect, and a conditional aspect.. please, no more absolute objective authoritarian statements. It doesn't work in this type of dialogue. Especially in this forum, where many people such as myself have teachers that truly do not fit into the "Buddhist" mold Malcolm has created, despite sincerely thinking of themselves as followers of Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Garab Dorje, and others..And who offer refuge as a profound thing, intertwined with pointing-out, with great sincerity and not fitting into the absolute all-encompassing statements like
The whole refuge thing has been turned into a game of religious politics.


these days, refuge has been turned into a badge, a tool for conversion.


Dechen Norbu wrote:
Just as being attached to the label of Buddhism can be a type of conditioning, so can an aversion to it

Correct. I think nobody disputes that.


Well, see above.. the sweepingly generalized statements certainly read as a form of aversion, and could easily influence new fledgling Buddhists who have come to this forum with a lot of despair and cynicism.. when perhaps they even already have a great teacher and Sangha that does not fit with these accusations!
Dechen Norbu wrote:
Adamantine wrote:And I feel like a lot of unhealthy and unbalanced aversion has been expressed on this forum lately, for no good reason. To quote ChNN: "If we see something we don't like, we say"Oh, I don't like that, and if you put it in front of me, it makes me nervous" That means we are rejecting and are angry with that object. These are our two main emotions, attachment and anger. In this way we accept and reject over and over again, falling in dualistic vision, and accumulating the negative potentiality of karma. When we produce negative karma, it has the potentiality for producing samsara. Therefore, our obstacles of negative karma become thicker and thicker, and we become more and more ignorant of our condition."

Are you sure you are not just perceiving this aversion, interpreting his words in such way? Are you sure Malcom feels aversion to Buddhism, not only corruption inside Buddhist, that which will lead to its degeneration? You know Malcom for a while now. Do you really think he feels aversion for Buddhism? And he fell in love for all other religions? It seems a little weird and I don't interpret him as you do.


I wish that he could communicate with more clarity so that people don't have to interpret him or spend all this time defending what he may have really meant. Only he knows what he meant, and has the power to choose the proper words and sentence structures to properly communicate it without undue muddied waters. If all he was upset about was "corruption inside of Buddhism" as opposed to "all of Buddhism" he simply made a lot of statements that were completely opposite of his intent. I tend to think he is more intelligent than that, but I hope you are right about his intent.

I really have no problem personally with the idea that the state of realization that is pointed towards in "Buddhism" or "Dzogchenism" (I wouldn't normally separate the two) etc. does not need the label, or stamp of "Dzogchen" or "Buddhism" to be the real thing. They are both just words.
dechen norbu wrote:Well, but words have meanings and sometimes these meanings cause great impact. If you say that one needs to be a Buddhist to practice Dzogchen, that's a claim with a big impact. So is its opposite. [/b]
I never said one needs to be Buddhist to practice Dzogchen, although many have attributed that view to me based on my questioning approach to the sweeping claims being made. For the record, I do not believe one has to be Buddhist to practice Dzogchen. However, I do think there are a whole bunch of views and beliefs or behaviors based on those which may completely contradict Dzogchen view and practice (including what ChNN quotes regarding karma above and what many other great masters teach re: this), and as such either cause conflict or derail the said practice. So maybe there are some people practicing under ChNN who don't consider themselves Buddhist.. Maybe they don't identify with the Nirmanakaya Buddha Shakyamuni as Malcolm says they don't take refuge in him, and reply that they are taking refuge in Guru Yidam Dakini or whatever.. Does this really make them NOT Buddhist? (I am not talking about the external label here). Anyway, if they are conducting themselves with sense of interdependence, compassion, altruistic intent, devotion to their teacher and his advice (who is a Buddhist), and not also following the advice of another religious teacher that is instructing them to suicide-bomb for the will of God and they will go to heaven as a result-- then clearly, there is not much of a contradiction and probably they will develop through experience. But, sometimes views are impossible to reconcile, when they are opposing... and to get to a place where one's practice and personal experience of it takes over and wipes away all views that lead to actions is quite advanced, and usually all along the way teachers including ChNN are teaching from many POV that are "Buddhist", not just "stand-alone" Dzogchen.. why? Because it is incredibly important to practice holistically, while we are still "practitioners" and not fully realized Buddhas.




However, it has not happened to me like that, and as such I have a great devotion and respect for the various Gurus of mine, and what they have been able to show me. And all of them never hesitated to teach Ati yoga, regardless of their association with the Buddhist tradition, the Nyingma lineage, etc. I do think that for all of the time when we are not fully integrated, (a good deal of the time for most of us, if we are honest) we would be much better off to be sensitive to the laws of karma. Just as Guru Rinpoche recommends.

Of course. That was never disputed.
Well, it certainly is disputed if we are proposing that someone with a belief that does not accord with karma can fully follow the path without error or problems.

What is more, if we hold to a religious system that has beliefs contrary to karma (which many do) and may cause us to perform negative actions that accumulate negative karma, --then we will be producing samsara and we will become more and more ignorant of our condition, just as ChNN says in the quote I transcribed above. In my experience, I know spiritual people who meditate and who have quite profound experiences.. but they don't hesitate to grasp after sexual gratification to extremes and to kill insects (or rodents) they feel aversion for at any cost. This is perhaps one example of how subscribing to a Buddhist view can clarify karma, and help stop us from becoming "thicker and thicker, and become more and more ignorant of our condition".

Morality can be built without the notion of karma, around empathy. I find moral built due to fear of consequences rather primitive.


Yes, but this is a straw man, in my view. I don't, and have never thought of karma as a reflexive reward-punishment scheme. This is an incredible dense way to view karma, and maybe it is spoon fed to simple minded people this way as a skillful means, but it is certainly not how I or most practitioners I know view it. To me it is a deep understanding of the interdependence of relative-reality.. understanding how interrelated and inseparable all sentient beings are, and thus, the infinite power each individual has in the larger sense, for help or for harm. It is also related to cultivating positive and beneficial patterns of thought and action, for the sake of others and for one's own sake. Of course, even this is illusory but while we are "in the dream" it is important to know it and not pretend we are already awake, and as such to proficiently relate to the dream-circumstances.

But then imagine there are people who believe animals have no soul (but believe humans do). So they kill animals and don't see anything wrong with it. If these people recognize their natural state, this will change them deeply. You don't recognize the natural state and stay the same. It isn't like that and if your teachers shown that to you, you know it. The more they work with this deeply transformative experience, the more compassionate they will become. I believe things will fall in place naturally. I also assume that nobody disputes the transformative power of Dzogchen practice. This doesn't mean it transforms you into a Buddhist. It transforms you, at its greater extent, in a Buddha. For instance, you don't become a Theravadin and they are Buddhists! :lol
Dechen, the hypothesis that one can start as a Dzogchen yogi while following a belief system that denies karma, and/or promotes harmful activities towards oneself and others.. and still transform naturally and become realized.. this is a great idea but it is just an idea, a belief-- you could say faith based, even blind-faith based, until there are some examples historically or in the present moment to look at and say, --see, this is how it happened for this person, who became a Buddha without giving up whatever extreme belief or harmful action. At least, with examples we know such as Angulimala or Milarepa, there was remorse and a drastic change of heart before they started really practicing authentically. You see, I believe ChNN and other great Dzogchen masters teach Karma, because it is an essential ingredient, even if it is ultimately irrelevant once one is abiding 24-7 in Rigpa. If one was already abiding like this, no need for practice, for labels such as "Dzogchen" even, especially "Buddhism"! I don't think any of the labels are important.. but they are just referents for containers that hold the teachings. The liquid in the cup is essential. Many people reading some of the generalizations may just throw the cup away with the liquid too! I do not find this skillful! But yes, sure we can call attention to a chip in the cup, or a greasy finger-print. . . but don't tell them to throw the cup away altogether, just encourage them to sip from the other side. You get me?

In terms of merging Dzogchen practice with Tantric practice, -I think ChNN is also quite clear on this, and it is really no different than the way many traditional Nyingma lineage Lamas teach it:
"Many Westerners feel that the Tantric teaching is very interesting, but they do not like to practice; in their view it is not really meditation, but instead only chanting and ritual. Such people do not really know what contemplation is, and consider meditation to be only sitting in silence without moving. The real meaning of meditation or contemplation, as taught by Buddha Shakyamuni, is to dwell in our real nature. How can we find ourselves in this real nature? Since our real nature is not just emptiness, but also includes clarity and energy, we must find ourselves both in our energy and our clarity. If the nature of our energy is movement, not silence, then how can we be in that nature without moving? Practicing Dzogchen does not mean just remaining in silence, but also involves moving, integrating with clarity, and integrating with the movement of energy. Thus you can easily understand why, in Tantric practice, there is so much chanting, singing, moving about, and so on, because that involves integration with energy in movement. Sometimes you can find explanations of this in Tantric teachings, but generally it is only applied and not explained, though you can discover and understand the principle if you think about it. In the Dzogchen teachings, these are things to be learned directly."

You see, this is very much how other Dzogchen teachers who some seem to accuse as being stuck in the two stages, etc. place their emphasis... To me ChNN does not seem that unusual in his approach. So I am a bit surprised by all these denunciations of the "tantric approach" or "Buddhism" or cause and result, etc.

Well, perhaps because I've seen many different presentations of Dzogchen...many "direct introductions" that lead nowhere or where to supposed to lead but just in the future, many practices that also didn't lead to the recognition of the natural state, let alone learning integration... in fact I never seen a similar presentation, at least that is not built ad hoc, after the fact, after ChNN way of teaching became widely known, and perhaps that's why I have this idea. Maybe I'm wrong. But I suspect reality is quite different from what you are saying, at least not as bright. As ChNN says," many people are now teaching Dzogchen. I don't know if they are..." etc. He doesn't say these things just for fun. There's a warning here, a warning those who trust him need to consider.
Anyway, I don't really care what method teachers use as long as it works.
It's the students who must be honest and see if it is working. It's their ass on the line, not mine. So it's up to each person to access this and see what's better to do, if anything. :smile:


Well, DN, that may be your own experience. . but I know of many Lamas who teach Dzogchen openly. At the very least, many many give pointing out-
and instruction on Trekchod view meditation and action. Generally, instructions on more esoteric practices such as Togal are more kept for those who have been discerned as serious disciples, and not just "spiritual" dilettantes of which we know there are many! Why? Because it could become harmful for them and also degenerate the lineage. I believe ChNN is cautious about teaching some things like this too openly, or am I wrong?

[
u]PS[/u]- I forgot to mention... long ago I read something about those spontaneous recognitions of the natural state. Don't know where or when and I'm not very sure what to make of it. It's seems unlikely in lives as agitated as ours. But even if this very brief experience happens, then what? One needs to work with it after. By itself it has a very solid impact, but if one does nothing it passes and memory fades, to the point of becoming a shade of what it was. This is what happens to people who recognize the natural state briefly but then lack diligence. So I think the same would apply, but I don't know.
[/quote] I know of a number of examples of this, although of course they don't use Dzogchen lingo to describe their realization, although it sure sounds quite parallel. Since we can't truly know the experience or realization of another, and since most of us have are not fully realized Dzogchenpas, it is worth not discounting entirely. All we have telling us that lineage and masters are absolutely essential, are lineage and masters! Of course, we'll only know if it happens to us that way, and if it doesn't we should look to lineage and masters, where else? Catch 22.
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:06 am

Adamantine wrote:Well, see above.. the sweepingly generalized statements certainly read as a form of aversion, and could easily influence new fledgling Buddhists who have come to this forum with a lot of despair and cynicism.. when perhaps they even already have a great teacher and Sangha that does not fit with these accusations!


Not to reopen the larger can of worms or to address the other points in your thoughtful posting I more or less agree with, I do feel that the flip of this particular observation has to be communicated. For people like my wife that has seen the insane behaviour of the Trungpa's and Ahkon Lhamo's of the world, the almost unquestioning apologism for this behaviour on the part of Western students, the nepotism in the tulku institution and indeed its inherent capacity for corruption-- Malcolm's critique does quite the opposite. These criticisms show that as Buddhists, we can critique our own leaders and institutions and hold them to the standards that they themselves profess we should follow.

It is critically important for her, coming from the corruption of the Catholic Church she was raised in to see that Buddhists are free of hypocrisy, if their institutions are sometimes not. I agree strongly with her on this after nearly 25 years of practice during some of which I gave a blank check to various Tibetan teachers who upon serious reflection were more interested in pussy than pratityasamutpada. However, in admitting the shortcomings of many teachers my devotion for the truly awakened masters of the tradition has only grown. The blameless conduct of Penor Rinpoche, HHDL, Karmapa XVI, etc. is even more special when we can see the depravity that sometimes masquerades as Dharma.

I don't think we are in disagreement about this, but I do think it should be said that these sorts of comments from Malcolm are talking points that can actually increase the faith of thoughtful beginners.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby xylem » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:46 pm

western converts are really neurotic about this. it is possible to examine your teacher critically, develop reasoned faith in them, see them as a buddha in one's devotions... yet if they commit a heinous crime, be responsible and functional at the relative level and call 911 and have them locked up... and still train in pure perception, focusing in their good qualities in gratitude for the purposes of one's own practice. we don't have to cultivate blind faith like lemmings and risk going off a cliff because we're too scared to be critical and responsible at the relative level as it might undermine one's faith... and we don't have to be so compulsively skeptical that we have to throw devotion and faith into the port-o-potty.

people think i'm nuts for saying this. "you can't have your cake and eat it to". you only have this blind vajrayana bhakti or you have a western analytical skepticism?. i think that's fairly limited. real practitioners manage this all the time. anyone close to the gelug lineage has learned to juggle faith and devotion through a conventional minefield with all of the dhogyal politics. i know a drikung lama with sakya teachers. he's evidently gotten over the fact that the sakya burnt drikung thil to the ground. and so on.

i once post a question to some dharma friends: "ok, so the lama is a buddha, and the buddha is omniscient, right? so if i ask my lama how many species of otters there are in the world, he or she will know?" it was interesting watching dharma friends scramble to cement up any uncomfortable logical implications. that type of attitude isn't helpful.

i think the same goes for any aspect of the path. we can have faith in the tulku system and be mindful that it has a potential to be abused politically and that a young tulku is largely useless to anyone without training. we really should have this flexibility of faith and pragmatism with every aspect of the path. that's our job as practitioners.

-xy
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Re: Dzogchen "without Buddhism"

Postby Adamantine » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:17 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
I don't think we are in disagreement about this,
No we do agree, for the most part. HH the DL is also very clear about this. I hope some of the institutions can actually break some of these cultural taboos and actually step up and denounce teachers that have obviously strayed from teaching pure dharma or behave in harmful ways. Until then, we should certainly not hesitate to engage in critical discernment. Or even discerning-awareness-wisdom if we are capable.

but I do think it should be said that these sorts of comments from Malcolm are talking points that can actually increase the faith of thoughtful beginners.


This is where we don't agree. As I pointed out, he can make his points in a much different way and much more effectively, without them being so misleading and absolute. And he is not the only one on the forum, --just the most vocal and with a big following... so much so that others begin to parrot the same stye.. and then after a while these extreme statements get taken as fact, not as "talking points".
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