The Nyingma Dzogchen doesn't posit a two-truth dichotomy either.
Again, the two-truth itself is not dichotomy. Because there is only one body within the two-truth.
The body is the ultimate truth, whereas the means of this body manifest as conventional truth.
Conventional truth is none other than the dependent arising nature, the dependent arising nature is
none other than object of the 7 consciousnesses.
just because (as a teaching) it has survived within the systems of the Nyingma or Bön doesn't mean it
in itself has been adulterated in any way, shape or form. That would be impossible.
The teaching has been adulterated, partly due to translation to Tibetan, and it will get worse when
translated into other languages, and partly due to incorporating into the gradual vehicles, as the
definitive meaning contradict the provisional meaning. That's why we need capable scholars like
Mipham who can make commentaries that has a significance with respect to main stream buddhism.
That's also the reason why it need to be compared against scriptures of definitive meaning especially
from the chinese tripitaka as well as yogacara of chinese buddhism. It may choose to be isolated from
the rest of buddhism, and being subject to further corruption due to the work of human nature, where
the means to rectify will be completely absence. Or it can choose to be part of the main stream
buddhism, able to criticize others, as well as being criticized if something goes wrong. The later
approach is recommended, being able withstand criticism through the intellectual writings will help
the teaching to stay on the right track, as well as helping others who have wrong in their tradition
and teaching. If one is on the right track, there should be no fear being able to defend what is right,
and opposed to what is wrong.
Dzogchen is the actualization of the natural state within one's experience, you either experience
dzogchen or you don't, talking about dzogchen isn't dzogchen, the texts about dzogchen aren't
dzogchen, these things point to it... and if you can recognize it within your own experience, then that
Since everything is consciousness (nature state or experience), saying about the actualization of
consciousness is not making sense. This is one example of what would be corrupting the teaching
when relying on specific words as ultimate rather than relying on the meaning.
'Awakened mind' is just another way of saying prajñā, yeshe, sherab etc...
Prajna is not subject to awakening (bodhi), it belong to the category of the body, which is existence,
permanent, non-arising, uncreated, etc. Bodhi belongs to the category of the means, which is
existence and non-existence, permanent and impermanent, non-arising and arising, uncreated and
created, etc. As is the association of mind with 'awakened', mind as stated previously belongs to the
category of the means.
The delusory appearances of conventional truth are a great lie, means that the seeming persons,
places, things etc... that appear to exist as a result of conceptual projection are illusory
These (persons, places, things etc.) are not the result of conceptual projection. If you rendered persons
as conceptual projection for example, you basically rendered the person's body is not due to the
dependent arising nature, and you also rendered the person's consciousness as non-existence. Then you
suffered the consequence of having to rationalize your own consciousness as a singular reality, viz. the
alaya-vijnana in others are false.
Unwittingly believing the illusion to be truly authentic is delusion (avidyā). When delusion is
recognized to be delusion, then ignorance is neutralized and wisdom remains.
In the absence of illusion (imaginary nature), one merely remained authentic with the dependent
arising nature (consciousness), this is not any different than one who practice the formless and
cessation meditation, since in both cases, one absorped into what remains, i.e. consciousness itself
(absolute nature). Then how come the arahat and the worldly meditators who attained this is said to
be not the awakening (bodhi) of buddhahood? The answer is the intellect is absence.
This is referring to ignorance (avidyā).
One can visualize deity (mental image) and perceive what is not, as long as one view the deity with
the intellect, it is not consider a view of delusion. Therefore, delusion has nothing to do with vision,
whether of imagery or of dependent arising nature, but has to do with the absence of the intellect.
It is certainly referring to the basis of external and internal as imaginary, because that basis is avidyā.
External and internal are also of vision, as stated above avidyā is not determine by the vision. Avidya
as it literally translated as the absence of knowledge, even in the absence of external and internal
vision through force of conceptual construction or in formless meditative condition, if the knowledge
is absence, these formless/nondual conditions or states are not free of avidyā.
This is stating that the appearance of environments (external world) and life forms (sentient beings
endowed with internality) only seem real due to the deceiving nature of the conceptual superstructure
amassed by the intellect.
You don't called it 'intellect' in the absence of knowledge, the right word is 'delusion'. On the other
hand, in the presence of intellect, what seem 'real' (deceptive) is considered the dependent arising
nature, and what seems unreal (non-deceptive mental image) is considered imaginary nature, there is
no confusion between the two and the latter is not considered as the conventional truth. Again what
seems real and unreal, has nothing to do with the knowledge of the ultimate meaning that
constitutes the ultimate truth.
The rampant habitual proclivity to presuppose conventional imputation is accurately framing the
nature of experience, dissimulates reality and makes it appear as that which it is not, just like
misperceiving a rope to be a snake.
Like the visualization of deity, it is of imaginery nature (fake), but there is no binding if the intellect
is present, viz. even affliction is bodhi in the presence of the intellect. But identify what is imaginery
nature is to separate it from the dependent arising nature, because it is due to the truth of dependent
arising nature, that true bodhicitta can arise, to negate it in favour of the formless ultimate truth
therefore strayed from the point of mahayana, thus the middle path.
Metaphorically, the snake is a figment of the imagination, the rope is the nature of mind (or
'thusness' as you like to say).
The imaginery nature is also thusness, as everything is mere consciousness, the body of consciousness
is the thusness. But thusness does not negate the imaginary nature, as there is no requirement since
the negation is not the cause of thusness. Similarly thusness has no requirement to negate the
dependent arising nature, and consequently the conventional truth, since the negation is not the
cause of thusness. Hence, there are the three natures, but only two inherently exist, whereas the other
So the nature of the two-truths is that the delusional appearances of avidyā have no reality
whatsoever apart from delusion, they are birthed and sustained by conventional dissimulation and the
authentic condition has nothing to do with these delusional appearances, nor is it truly ever effected
by them (even the notion of an authentic condition is a conventional dissimulation, though the
notion is warranted since it requires distinction from delusion).
Imaginary nature exist even in the state of vidya, for example in deity meditation while holding the
view (vidya), and in the case of buddha, is expressed as the state of sambogakaya. Basically the buddha
has no fear with regards to the three natures, as these are none other than the trikaya.
The conventional truth wasn't outright negated, but it wasn't reaffirmed either, it was considered
comparable to delusion, which it is.
You compare the knowledge of the conventional truth as delusion, but conventional truth is none
other than the truth of the dependent arising nature, it is the potency (means) of the body (nirvana)
that manifest as the nirmanakaya.
So if the intellect is the party responsible for distinguishing objects, and also responsible for the
'imaginary nature' attributed to these alleged objects... why is it not also responsible for their
inception? And why is it not responsible for the notion of sensory consciousness and perception as
This is due to the six sensory consciousnesses are the support of the desire realm (corresponds to
nirmanakaya), in their absence, the 7th consciousness can indeed function on its own, and in that
case, it manifests the form realm (both internal and external). This corresponds to the sambogakaya.
Are there really objects? Objects 'out there' which are gathered by sensory consciousness? Aren't these
objects in fact the presence of the senses themselves? Can you truly separate an object from the
modalities of tactile and visual sensation? And aren't these senses in fact the presence of
consciousness itself? Can you truly separate consciousness from sensation? Sensation from objects?
Mere appearance of object both exist and non-exist, it exists as mere appearance with dependent
arising nature, it non-exists as permanent appearance with essence of such characteristics. Knowledge
of what exist and non-exist in term of mere appearance is the conventional truth. All objects are
mere perceptions (consciousness). Sensation is also perception (consciousness). Thus everything is
consciousness and consciousness is none other than thusness. Knowledge of the conventional object in
term of the body of consciousness is the ultimate truth. Thus the two truths exist, being different, yet
inseparate from within the same conventional object.
Objects seem to exist because one is ignorant of their true condition, if that condition is known then
it is also known that no objects have ever existed (or not existed).
As stated above, conventional truth has its object exists in the mode of mere appearance and
dependent arising, whereas the knowledge of the ultimate truth of object does not cause mere
appearance to cease to appear, nor for dependent origination to cease while in the presence of
condition, this is the reason that both truths exist without one capable of negating the other. The
ultimate truth only negate the essence exists for the characteristics of appearance to be permanent,
whereas conventional truth negate the ultimate truth possessing the characteristics of dependent
origination, thus none of them capable of negating the truth that established each of them
you're right that initial moment of contact is free of conceptual activity... so therefore it's also free of
'objects' and likewise free of the 'senses' is it not?
There is existence of space and time that can clearly distinguished the existence of subject and object
distinctions. In term of space and time, it is best by observing a supersonic aircraft, when one see the
aircraft with the eye consciousness, one cannot hear with the ear consciousness the sound of the
aircraft approaching, until a moment later, the reason is that the existence of space and time between
the subject (consciousness) and object (consciousness) is the cause of the delay of the arriving of the
sound. The differences of object (light) and the object (sound) point to a causality factor which is the
dependent arising nature, the differences also point to the dependent arising nature has two division
of internal and external field of experience.
Or perhaps you don't see that your habitual tendency to employ conceptual activity has become a
deeply engrained perception that governs your experience. After years and years of this vicious little
cycle you have formed (what are now 'subconscious') presuppositions regarding these divisions and
conceptual activities. You actually believe that some of these activities are somehow inherent, or
left-over when conceptualization has ceased, and you don't question them but instead try to convince
others that this is true so you can feel safe and warm in your little bubble of delusion. If you would
question these presuppositions, you would find that, "such is the moment where the dependent
arising nature of object is established as" COMPLETELY dependent on conceptual construction.
You have not taken your investigation of dependent arising all the way to the ground.
Our relative dimension of existence that correspond to nirmanakaya, possessses dependent arising
nature, time and space relativity, all these are not base on conceptual construction. Whereas the
blissful dimension of existence that correspond to the sambogakaya, is all about subject and object
images that are pure, objects here can be imaginary and mind-only, but in the presence of intellect,
there is no binding, and due to permanence in appearances as opposed to the dependent-arising
appearances, there is bliss. Thus, even by leaving dependent arising nature and engaged in conceptual
construction in the presence of intellect does not bind. This is what the tantra of
generation/transformation all about, what is generated is the internal and external appearance, the
means of transformation is the mind (imaginary construction).
In buddhism 'emptiness' is another word for dependent origination, and just as Nāgārjuna points out
in his 60 Stanzas: "The supreme knower of reality, said that dependent production is not production."
"The wonder of it! This marvelous, astounding event/reality (Dharma):
From that which involves no origination, everything originates;
and in that very origination, there is no origination!
The wonder of it!
In it's very enduring, there is no enduring!
The wonder of it!
In it's very cessation, there is no cessation!"
- Guhyagarbha Tantra
This is not contradictory, in the mahayana, the dependent origination is the means to communicate
the dharma of permanence which is about the absolute - buddha nature. Whenever there is cessation
and no cessation, or enduring and no enduring coming in pairs, it is pointing to the means, by
pointing to the means, the means point to the body which has only non-cessation and enduring.
Since only by the existence of the truth of non-cessation and enduring as a basis, can there be the
truth in the manifestation of cessation and no cessation, or enduring and no enduring.
I can agree with the former half of this (regarding the dependent arising nature), although I'm not
sure if I'd derive permanence from it's ceaselessness. Also, since the phenomena in question are
merely deceptive appearances they can only appear to be simultaneously impermanent/permanent,
they (being empty) cannot truly posses such traits.
Phenomena or appearance is manifestation, it is not the basis or body. Only the manifestation can
have the characteristic of arising and ceasing, or permanent and impermanent coming in pairs. The
basis or body has to be permanent, and non-arising in order to maintain such dynamic and creative
If Mipham did deviate from the traditional view in an attempt to create some form of coalescence
between Dzogchen and Mādhyamaka
Dzogchen is actually the greater Mādhyamaka (refer to 'Self-liberation by Nakedly Awareness' by
Padmasambhava). Padmasambhava is also the one who continously maintained the two truths in his
dzogchen discourses to Yeshe Thogyal. So Mipham is certainly not the first to maintain the two
truths and Madhyamaka in dzogchen. So by corruption it referred specifically the recent effort to
dismiss the two truths and Madhyamaka (including the common mahayana) in dzogchen. Bear in
mind that without these two, your tradition will be no different from the 2 yanas which also realises
the same emptiness.
Mainly the two-fold division of the "ultimate" into "non-deluded subject and non-delusory object",
this is an incorrigible notion in the eyes of ati-yoga. Therefore to associate concepts such as these with
the teachings of dzogchen, is to contaminate those teachings.
However, to think that the mere identification of internal and external is a concept, and such concept
contaminate the teaching, then such a person already have a concept as to what to accept and reject,
irrespective of the underlying truth and reason. Then such a concept is not in concordance with the
way things are. The same with the means and body, without knowing the different, one misses the
key point of practice as well as in analysis. For instant, thought is of the external and of the means,
whereas original wisdom is of the internal and of the body, by knowing the site of the internal, by
remaining in that, the nature is seen, this is the equavalent of direct introduction of the original face.
Similarly, by knowing the external means, the internal state can be reflected externally as an object
like a reflection is exactly the same as the original, an analogy of using mirror, to be generated at
anytime once becoming familiar, and utilize as the reason for the function of the non-analytical
The intellect being connected to the bodhi, the integration of the intellect with the exernal basis (7
consciousnesses), is the function of perfuming the seeds of bodhi, which directly lead to the progress
in the bhumi. Whereas the body itself, by absorbing into that, a function is lost, like a boat being
driven by the torrent, being passive it become one with the torrent. The body beyond progress and
degeneration, will remain the same whether one pretend to be with it or not, thus one does not
intentionally trying to become the body, nor bother with it, but one rely only on the reflected reason
that is the capacity of intellect. But without knowing the difference of internal and external, the
knowledge of means and body, even to progress and bhumi in the bodhi would be absence, such a
person only know the body, the wisdom, without knowing the means, a progress can't be made.
Again, Dzogchen does not uphold that an inherent division exists. Dzogchen also doesn't create a
distinction between one consciousness and other consciousnesses nor does it ultimately give credence
to the notion of other beings (being that it considers the duality of sentient and non-sentient to be
delusory, and therefore does not purport such notions).
Dzogchen does distinguish the means and the body, example is the use of mirror's reflection to
symbolize the means (vidya) of the primordial state (body). Then there is the use of deity or symbol
for visualization to generate the primordial state (object), and then rely on the mental impression
which is the reflected image of the original object, this mental impression is on the side of means and
can be generated after becoming familiar, and so can be brought into function of the intellect.
If you read Longchenpa's work, he does make commentary regarding the individual 8
consciousnesses. It is really impossible for a mahayana doctrine, especially for one claiming to be the
summit of all vehicles not being equipped with such basic knowledge of buddhism It is commonly
accepted knowledge that the higher vehicle cover the knowledge of the lower, but not the lower the
higher. In this case, it is expected that dzogchen cover the basis of buddhism, regardless of what
others say due to their motive of isolating dzogchen from the common mahayana.
Dzogchen share the same view with the common mahayana regarding the existence of beings with
their own individual mind stream, regardless of the notion of Samantabadra as unique, as
Samantabadra is only regarding the individual's consciousness. Example is dzogchen accept the
destruction of the world at the end of the great kalpa, where beings only left with their alaya-vijnana,
with all other consciousnesses annihilated, this is clearly showing dzogchen accept individual
possessing separate mind-streams (not just illusion). The notion of there being no separate mind-
streams, hence no separate alaya-vijnana in beings is not acceptable in buddhism or dzogchen is due
to the requirement of maintaining individual seeds of karma, if beings has no separate alaya-vijnana,
then each of them has no persistent within dependent-origination.
The two-fold division is itself a product of conceptual construction. Mere appearances only appear to
establish themselves in such a (two-fold) manner due to conforming with the initial imputed
designation of two-fold division.
Unless you are saying the 8 consciousnesses are product of conceptual construction, they are not.
Otherwise the four wisdoms and trikaya would be conceptual construction as well.
Dzogchen doesn't stray into ultimate truth or relative truth, neither of these notions can contain it.
There is no buddhist teaching outside the two truths, as these are termed the truth, they are not of
notion, nor can notion establish either of them.
It's actually another thought which determines whether a prior thought is good or bad, and that
whole process is dependent on thought (memory) itself and is therefore completely illusory.
Of course the previous is only a brief description, fuller meaning is whether the content of thought is
determine by the intellect or delusion. For the former, what is beneficial for self and others is
considered good, what is otherwise is considered bad. For the latter, all determination of what is good
or bad would be non-definitive, and of individual opinion only.
Only in Yogācāra does awakened wisdom refer to consciousness, awakened wisdom in dzogchen has
nothing to do with consciousness. Thus the meanings are worlds apart.
Nothing is outside consciousness, positing an element outside consciousnesses is no longer a teaching
of buddhism, some dzogchenpa even proposes an alaya separate from consciousness, there cannot be
such alaya, thus there is only alaya-vijnana but no such thing as alaya. Sometime we use simplified
term like body or basis to refer to the ground consciousness, in that case, alaya sometime used, but it
does not imply there is such element as a body, basis or alaya without the consciousness.