Simon E. wrote:
It is in the mud that the lotus blossoms ..
That we are living in the Kali Yuga is a basic teaching of my teacher and all my previous Vajrayana and Dzogchen teachers. I would hazard a guess that it is basic to the majority of Vajrayana teachers.
It is as basic to the fabric of their teachings as is Guru Yoga or Deity Practice.
Now anyone is free to reject each of those teachings.
But no one is free to say that they do not exist, or that they are not part and parcel of the Vajrayana world view. They come as a package. Albeit one that is capable of shades of interpretation. One is either on or off the bus.
Clearly they are also part of the wider Mahayana view too.
The root of the problem is the view that there is some kind of Pan Buddhism which negates the considerable differences that exist within the group of religions which calls itself Buddhist.
There are commonalities to be sure.
There are also vital differences, and to deny that is a kind of of conceptual Imperialism that seeks to level all views to one that we feel comfortable with.
That we are living in the Kaliyuga is not a matter of personal belief or disbelief in isolation for a Vajrayana practitioner. It is of the essence. The only debate I am aware of of within the Vajrayana is to do with the timing and extent...
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche gives particular emphasis to a group of teachings that he says are essential in this Kaliyuga..
I say this not to convert anyone to this view, but as an example of the fact that in the Vajrayana the fact of the Kaliyuga is a given, and that our response to this is of the essence.
I do not think it is of the essence for all
Vajrayana traditions, and therefore, practitioners.
I agree that for Dzogchen, which has deep roots in Abhidharmika cosmology, it is critical and perhaps inseparable, as you say. Add in Kalachakra practitioners, add in followers of certain terma's....
But there are also Vajrayana traditions in which, even if Kaliyuga is there implicitly as a broader cosmological view, it is hardly central and cannot be called essential in the same way as guru yoga and other methods are.