Basic Principles: The Three Statements of Garab Dorje
ChNN on Garab Dorje’s Three Statements
Posted on August 23, 2010 by prdeepak
Website: http://dzogchen.ca/2010/08/23/chnn-on-g ... tatements/
Excerpts from Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche’s recent teachings in London England on Garab Dorje’s famous “Three Statements”. For more, go to the Mirror site (see Links on side).
The Three Statements are:
* Direct Introduction
* Do not remain in doubt
* Integrate into everyday life
On Direct Introduction
This refers to our instant presence, rigpa that we have discovered. Our understanding. Not understanding in an intellectual way but discovering it. Understanding in an intellectual way and discovering are two completely different things. When I went to receive teaching from my teacher, Changchub Dorje, he asked me what I had studied. I told him sutra, tantra and in particular Madhaymika, Yogacarya, this book, that book, logic, and I was also very proud at the time because I thought I knew everything very well.
Then one day I remember that my teacher said to me, “Your mouth is Madhymika and your nose is logic”. He was joking a bit with me, I thought, because although he was a practitioner, he had never studied whereas I had studied everything and that was why he said that. I was proud because I had studied and I believed that I knew everything because that is the mental aspect, mental knowledge. But I did not know that the real sense of the teaching is something we need to discover. I had never heard that before.
I also remember when I was in college. This is a very important example. I was studying the ‘Prajnaparamita Alamkara’ a text originally by Maitreya, a very important text explaining knowledge of Prajnaparamita. The first time I studied it, it didn’t seem to be difficult, but the second time I studied it with the commentary it was much more difficult. The third time I studied it, it was really very difficult and at the end I really didn’t know what the conclusion was. I was very surprised because when I had studied other books once or twice they became really easy.
One day I went to my teacher and asked him why I found this text more and more difficult to understand. He said that first of all this book explains knowledge, qualifications, qualities of Arhats in more of a Hinayana style with levels, secondly it explains Mahayana and then the third level is qualifications of Enlightened Beings, of Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya. My teacher, who was also a Dzogchen practitioner and a student of Shenga Rinpoche (gzhan dga’ rin po che), told me to try to understand it not thinking only of the qualities of Boddhisattvas, Arhats and Buddhas but to turn a little within myself and observe and think and maybe it would help the text become a little easier. I didn’t understand what he meant. I went back home and read the text again but didn’t find anything that I could relate to myself and it didn’t help at all.
Then many years passed and later when I received teaching from my teacher, Changchub Dorje, I found that it is necessary that we discover our real nature. This is the principle of the Dzogchen teaching and I became a Dzogchen practitioner.
Later I arrived in Italy and worked with Prof. Tucci. There were a lot of books in his library and one day I saw that he had this text that I had studied at college and I brought it home. I read it for one or two weeks, but now when I read it, it was very easy and I understood what my teacher at college had meant when he told me to observe within myself. Now I knew how to observe. Before I didn’t. I didn’t even know that we have to discover our real nature. So we do not discover anything in intellectual knowledge, we only study, judge, think, do analysis and we believe that we know. But discovering is something very different. In the Dzogchen Teaching the most important thing is discovering our real nature. This is what it says here.
The Secret Nature of the Teachings
Sometimes people think that Dzogchen is very secret but it is not like that. There is also an explanation of Garab Dorje: if people are interested and are searching for knowledge of Dzogchen, even if there are 100 people, we can talk and give that knowledge. If people are not interested and don’t want to know about it, we should not give [teaching], should not talk about it, we should keep it secret, because there is no reason, it has no benefit. In this case, even if we speak to one person, it is too many. We give Dzogchen teaching to people who participate, who are interested. We do not talk about it in the street with loudspeakers so why should we keep it secret from people who are interested?
We often say that Dzogchen teaching is secret because it is not easy to understand, its nature is secret. If I show you this object [a vajra], it is not secret because you can see it and touch it. I tell you that it is called vajra and you understand that. But when I talk about our real nature, even though I use many words, it is not easy to understand. I cannot explain and we need to do the direct introduction with method, experiences and the teacher hopes that maybe those participating have discovered. This means the nature of the teachings is secret. The nature of the Vajrayana teachings is also secret.
Do Not Remain in Doubt
means we are completely familiar with what we have discovered. This is not so easy. This is the second statement of Garab Dorje. In general it means we can decide something in an intellectual way, we can decide that this is the only way. We can decide everything – today we decide something, but maybe tomorrow we discover it is not real. This is normal in our intellectual way.
For example, in the Buddhist philosophical tradition we have the Yogacarya and the earlier Dodepa (mdo sde pa) Sutra system. When these two schools of thought debated, most scholars were convinced that Yogacarya was superior which meant that Sutra was lacking a lot of knowledge even if they had decided that this was the final goal. But then they discovered. Then the Yogacarya school became very diffused in the Mahayana. Later on they debated with the Madhyamika school and in the end Madhyamika was considered superior to Yogacarya because some understanding was lacking in Yogacarya. That is an example.
We can decide many things intellectually today, but there is no guarantee. With our intellectual mind, we judge, we think this is logic, that things must be in a certain way and then we believe. But that does not mean that we are discovering. Then later we know that something is missing. For that reason when the teacher gives you the introduction, you may think you have understood, have discovered your real nature. Sometimes you can have this in a perfect way. But many times you discover something, but you have a little doubt. Then what should you do? If you are really in your real nature, it must be in a perfect way. If you remain in doubt that is not a perfect base.
Semde, Longde, Upadesa
There are many Dzogchen Teachings of Guru Garab Dorje and when he manifested the Rainbow Body, his most important student, Manjusrimitra, collected all his Dzogchen teachings and divided them into three sections according to the Three Statements of Garab Dorje. All the sections for having precise direct introduction, for discovering our real nature, are called Dzogchen Semde and there are many volumes, many tantras belonging to this Dzogchen Semde. In the Dzogchen Semde we work in a very precise way with experiences and at the end we can have more precise knowledge of our real nature. But sometimes that is not the final goal, something may be lacking, we may have doubts. Then there are many other methods, which are a series of Garab Dorje’s teachings and tantras called the section of the Dzogchen Longde. Long means space, while sem means mind, mind to nature of mind, we discover this and are in that state. De means series of teachings. The Semde is the first group related to the first statement of Garab Dorje.
The second series is called Longde. Long means space. Space is the dimension in which we can have different kinds of manifestations. Different manifestations are very important for integrating in our real nature. In the practice of Dzogchen Longde, there are different kinds of methods and we can have visions. In the teachings there are mainly three kinds of experiences we always use. In general everything in our life is experience but when we relate this to our body, voice and mind there are three experiences. When we do the introduction, for example, we use one experience, the experience of emptiness or clarity or something like that. But in the Dzogchen Longde we use three experiences together in the same moment and unify that state: this is called yerme, without distinctions. We are in that state. When we are in that state our real nature of the state of contemplation is naked. We do these kinds of practices to be 100% sure of our real nature. For that reason, there are many series of practices in the Dzogchen Longde.
Then lastly there is the Dzogchen Upadesa which means the more secret methods. The main practice considers that we already have knowledge, that we have already discovered our real nature and when we have that, how we integrate our body, speech, mind, our life, everything in that state. If we succeed in integrating everything, we are realized. Realization means we are not conditioned by dualistic vision, we are totally in our real nature, that moment our potentiality of sound, light and rays that we have had from the very beginning manifests nakedly, in its real condition.
Realization is not building something that we did not have before. In Sutra teaching and in lower tantra, they have this idea that we are building, developing, and then one day we will have a manifestation of realization. But in the Dzogchen teaching realization means totally manifesting our potentiality without having any obstacles. All obstacles are purified with that potentiality of the state of contemplation. This is the supreme purification. This is the real meaning of ཐག་གཅིག་ཐོག་ཏུ་བཅད་པ་. It doesn’t mean that we decide something with our mind.
When we have bad weather we say today there is no sunshine, but that is not true. The sun is always in the sky but we do not see it because there are thick clouds, just like obstacles. In the same way we accumulate a lot of negative karma, potentiality, emotions, thoughts related to our mind, and they all become obstacles so that we do not see, we do not discover our real nature. But when we purify them, then our real nature manifests. We do not build or produce something new. There is nothing to produce. We know that and we are simply in that state as much as possible and then our real nature manifests.
This is the very essence of the Three Statement of Garab Dorje.