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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:33 am 
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futerko wrote:
The failure to establish the local/relative narrative (the unsatisfactory nature of samsara) in relation to the failure to establish the absolute meta-narrative (the emptiness of emptiness) is what defines the success of the unestablished union of relative and absolute.


Samsara is also just a story?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:58 am 
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futerko wrote:
The "crisis" of modernity which results in post-modernity is seen as a failure whereby progress is revealed to be nothing but an endless cycle of repetition - chasing after rainbows and finding nothing new, only a regurgitation of the old. What is revealed as a failure of teleology is exactly its success when viewed slightly differently - it means we realise we are chasing our own tail and can stop striving after something other.

As you put it, "we are compelled to return and fully engage in the conditioned", with the understanding that it is all we have, we are no longer "distracted" by searching for something else, which cultivates compassion and gratitude on that basis.


Gratitude may come from easing the stress of striving, but the compassion comes from the realization of true equality, i.e., we are all stuck helpless in the endless cycle with no savior (whomever or whatever you may think that to be) in sight. If we want help, we must obtain it from each other.

futerko wrote:
(A caveat to this may be that, despite Absolute Being (i.e. God) no longer proving to be adequate to orient our goal driven activity, science as Absolute non-Being still believes it has an aim.)


For the more idealistic scientists, that aim still may be some absolute "truth", for some it may be the amelioration of the "human condition" through endless modifications of "nature". For the less idealistic, it's an endowed chair, a notable science award or prize, and big bucks.

shel wrote:
Samsara is also just a story?


Given all the above, my understanding is samsāra and nirvāṇa are conventionally "real", but nirvāṇa is conditional and no longer leads to escape from the cycle.

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:58 am 
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viniketa wrote:
futerko wrote:
The "crisis" of modernity which results in post-modernity is seen as a failure whereby progress is revealed to be nothing but an endless cycle of repetition - chasing after rainbows and finding nothing new, only a regurgitation of the old. What is revealed as a failure of teleology is exactly its success when viewed slightly differently - it means we realise we are chasing our own tail and can stop striving after something other.

As you put it, "we are compelled to return and fully engage in the conditioned", with the understanding that it is all we have, we are no longer "distracted" by searching for something else, which cultivates compassion and gratitude on that basis.


Gratitude may come from easing the stress of striving, but the compassion comes from the realization of true equality, i.e., we are all stuck helpless in the endless cycle with no savior (whomever or whatever you may think that to be) in sight. If we want help, we must obtain it from each other.

Certainly the idea that we are all in the same boat would seem to lessen competitiveness and aid co-operation, but I'm not really sure that the idea of being helplessly stuck is really the ultimate lesson to take from this. Just like the teachings on karma, the idea that no one else is responsible entails that we are able to (and must) start taking responsibility for ourselves.

viniketa wrote:
futerko wrote:
(A caveat to this may be that, despite Absolute Being (i.e. God) no longer proving to be adequate to orient our goal driven activity, science as Absolute non-Being still believes it has an aim.)


For the more idealistic scientists, that aim still may be some absolute "truth", for some it may be the amelioration of the "human condition" through endless modifications of "nature". For the less idealistic, it's an endowed chair, a notable science award or prize, and big bucks.

In terms of cultural currency the idea that there is no god no longer carries the same weight that it once did, but believers cling just as tightly to their beliefs. Equally with science, the activity will continue, but it would seem inevitable that at some point the idea of placing our faith in it as an explanation of the meaning of existence will at some point be seen as just as dogmatic.

viniketa wrote:
shel wrote:
Samsara is also just a story?


Given all the above, my understanding is samsāra and nirvāṇa are conventionally "real", but nirvāṇa is conditional and no longer leads to escape from the cycle.

:namaste:

Constructing narratives may be seen as (possibly futile?) attempts to define ourselves, our place in the universe, and the direction we are headed.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:05 am 
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Viniketa wrote:
Given all the above, my understanding is samsāra and nirvāṇa are conventionally "real", but nirvāṇa is conditional and no longer leads to escape from the cycle.


This doesn't gel for me actually. I think such ideas are symptomatic of 'modernity'. :thinking: Not that I can say 'what nirvāṇa is', or anything of the kind, but I think we can really only grasp the equivalence of the realms, from the viewpoint of higher truth. As a kind of 'working assumption' it is pretty important to see them as radically separate whilst we are still in samsāra.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:09 pm 
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futerko wrote:
viniketa wrote:
shel wrote:
Samsara is also just a story?


Given all the above, my understanding is samsāra and nirvāṇa are conventionally "real", but nirvāṇa is conditional and no longer leads to escape from the cycle.

Constructing narratives may be seen as (possibly futile?) attempts to define ourselves, our place in the universe, and the direction we are headed.


While part of a larger narrative, I don't think samsāra and nirvāṇa can be seen as narratives in & of themselves. At the very least, samsāra is the name given to a description of a "syndrome" or "complex" of mental afflictions; nirvāṇa is the name used to describe the absence of those afflictions.

jeeprs wrote:
Viniketa wrote:
Given all the above, my understanding is samsāra and nirvāṇa are conventionally "real", but nirvāṇa is conditional and no longer leads to escape from the cycle.


This doesn't gel for me actually. I think such ideas are symptomatic of 'modernity'. :thinking: Not that I can say 'what nirvāṇa is', or anything of the kind, but I think we can really only grasp the equivalence of the realms, from the viewpoint of higher truth. As a kind of 'working assumption' it is pretty important to see them as radically separate whilst we are still in samsāra.


Told you I didn't have any "proof". :tongue:

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:32 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
That's your perception of my statements, not mine. To paint a rosy optimistic picture of the future might be initially comforting, but it would be unrealistic and because it is unrealistic it will be all the more painful when that reality fails to emerge.

This is saṃsāra. Things will inevitably always go wrong sooner or later. By understanding this there will be increased compassion and concern given that you see your own falsely imputed happiness for what it is (suffering) followed hopefully by a realization that this extends to all beings and a desire to help them.

This is not an idea you give immediately to newcomers, but if they read the literature of past masters they'll quickly see this has been the case and still is. There is no real happiness in saṃsāra. There is no utopia to be had. There is just suffering and suffering disguised as happiness. There is fortunately a cure for this which is why there is hope. There is cause for faith in this cure because of past and present individuals who have overcome suffering.


Hi Huseng

I am not trying to paint a rosy picture: I am saying that the doom and gloom aspect you are presenting as fact is also not helpful. Refer your answer to kirt - refer your presentation.

This age may be so called degenerate but it does not mean that there is no hope and that is why all is never lost - good practice can still come of it, it is just that it would be rarer and harder given the multiple distractions (of which the internet is a PRIMARY one if you want to talk about problems). But the message within is already also of hope and clarity, whilst recognising the challenges of this age. And yet when has any age not had its challenges? Just read history to see how bloody and sad the world has been, and remains in many parts "today" (what is perceived as time).

You talk about samsara as if it is an ultimate place or destination - even a cursory reading of the literarture shows it is not a place, it is not a fixated reality. Remember the most premise is samsara is also the birthplace for nibbana. Refer teachings: Sheng-Yen, Ajahn Chah, Dogen, etc

It is fine if that is what motivates you but the presentation is a bit innocuous, although I can understand that some people like this type of mindset, and whatever floats your boat really :popcorn:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:39 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Huseng wrote:
We go from the caves to the stars, and no matter whatever bumps along the way, progress will inevitably triumph. Unfortunately history doesn't really work like this and those who forget this always pay dearly.


Is that true, Huseng? Please back this with historical examples etc. It seems that people who you might call have paid dearly, example the current populace of war, torture, rape and famine are not "paying dearly" as a reasult of any belief or non-belief - but because of the workings of the world and samsara.


I don't understand your point.

I'm saying progress and stability are not eternal. Despite people thinking WWI was the "war to end all wars" a few years later WWII broke out and claimed more human lives than any other conflict to date. The Romans were rather confident in their system, but it eventually collapsed and the dark ages followed.


My point, my friend, is that it is not optimism, or lack of, that failed people - it is the world happens. You seem to think that by having a holocaust mindset this might make it easier on someone, well let me say that I have met people with positive dispositions and they are also sturdy and strong in times of turmoil, offering peace and hope to those around them. And whether things are easier or not has a lot to do with the fate (karma) of the person as well as their own mindset/disposition. Whilst I appreciate that Buddhism is more of a gloomy religion (probably based on that word suffering) these are just your viewpoints, just like mine.

You choose selective examples to make your cases, but like the farming example, I am not sure if they are thoroughly correct. For example, are you saying that all the pessimists (because believe me they always exist) had a much better time during WW2, and are you saying that everyone thought WW1 was the end and so this is the reason for the outbreak of WW2? Of course not! The seed is the world - the world is the people, the animals, the environment, actions, thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, deeds, consciousness - THIS is the world and you are making it up and contributing to it as we speak. It has nothing to do with anyone's optimisim or confidence -- you obviously have very dark views of the world and perhaps a clinging to the darkness brings a sense of security, but I do not think this is representative of the world or of how to present the teachings of the Kaliguya.


Huseng wrote:
Quote:
Sure, that's a personal choice: akin to half full or half empty. But to pass on negativity and pessimism may not inspire people to their potentials and seeing the opportunities available even in so called dark times.


You call it negativity, I call it being realistic.


Well that was exactly my point, wasn't it?

Take care,

Abu

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:48 pm 
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Simon E. wrote:
floating_abu wrote:
It is in the mud that the lotus blossoms ..

:namaste:

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.


Uh...OK I never said that there was no such thing. Please feel free to read my posts.

But interesting that you say that Kaliyuga is "of the essence" of your teachings. Perhaps you mean to say that it is relevant to do certain practices in an environment of pure distraction (such as the internet and silly conversations like this one), but that is just skilful means - the Buddha adopted many different techniques for different audiences and contexts.

My point, FWIW, is that it doesn't matter what age we are in - everyone here has the tools, the suffering, and now! thrown in the doomsday flare for those who want it - so the only way forward is to practice, and the encouragement is towards practice with more urgency if that is what one desires.

Abu

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:50 pm 
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tobes wrote:
Simon E. wrote:
floating_abu wrote:
It is in the mud that the lotus blossoms ..

:namaste:

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.

:anjali:


Thankyou, that would have been my assumption: practice is of the essence and that goes without saying for all genuine Buddhist traditions. The age can spur people on if it helps..certainly

:anjali:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Queequeg wrote:
"Wahhhhh. :tantrum: Samsara is overwhelming!"

Duh.

If we surrender to the obstacles of "modernity", stick a fork in the Dharma. Its done. Papiyas has won.

Buck up. Mara does not surrender just because you chant a few sutras or invoke some protective dharani. He must be met with commensurate effort.

Get to work. Do something about these problems you see instead of worrying about how you wish you could retreat to your cave with no electricity and running water to escape the distractions of our present world. There are billions with little dust in the eyes. If they can't understand Pali, or Sanskrit, or Ancient Chinese, or Tibetan, or archaic mythology, those of us who understand these languages need to translate it and break it down into language the average "modern" can understand. It means you'll have to put off settling into your samadhi this life time and instead get down and dirty with the ignorant folk. If you don't understand that this is the vow you took as a bodhisattva, then let me remind you of the immense merit you will accumulate for your efforts.

How's that for a half-time pep talk?


:smile:

Pretty cool IMO ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:57 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
While part of a larger narrative, I don't think samsāra and nirvāṇa can be seen as narratives in & of themselves. At the very least, samsāra is the name given to a description of a "syndrome" or "complex" of mental afflictions; nirvāṇa is the name used to describe the absence of those afflictions.

Absolutely. The word "narrative" here is more about explanations, how we join the dots, rather than a story as such, and whether we attempt to do that at the level of the particular or the universal. I think your comment highlights that we need to understand both in their dynamic relationship to each other if we are to avoid deterministic or absolutist naivete.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:38 am 
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So what's it like to have an absence of afflictions? :tongue:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:46 am 
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shel wrote:
So what's it like to have an absence of afflictions? :tongue:

Indescribable? :rolling:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:25 am 
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Here are some nice word from Keizan Jokin,

Quote:
Monks these days are not stable in their conduct and do not thoroughly learn the major and minor forms of deportment and the internal and external mental arts, so it looks as if there is no monastic deportment. Even if mental states and physical deportment are like those of antiquity, if you have not clarified the realm of Mind, these are no more than the defiled state of humans and celestials. How much more do people who do not clarify the realm of Mind or control physical deportment receive the offerings of the faithful in vain and fall into the hells!
Thus, a former worthy said, "The world has deteriorated and people are lax. Even if one's mental states and physical deportment are not like those of the ancient holy ones, if one is able to clarify the one great matter thoroughly and intimately, perhaps one will not differ from all the Buddhas of the three times. He will become a brother of all the patriarchs and ancient worthies in history. From the beginning, there has been no triple world to escape, much less six paths to be traveled." Therefore, investigate thoroughly and study meticulously. Clarify the business beneath the patch robe. This one great matter has nothing to do with the three periods of the Dharma or differences between India, China, and Japan. Do not be sad about living in the evil time of the last days of the Dharma or hate being a resident of a peripheral land far away [from India and China].
Of course, even if any number of Buddhas came and tried to offer this one great matter, even their power would not suffice in the end. Therefore, this is not a path you can pass on to your children or a path you can receive from your father. You have to do it yourself, awaken to it yourself and acquire it yourself. Even though you practice for infinite eons, self-authentication and self-awakening happen in an instant. Once you rouse yourself, not so much as a hair in all of heaven and earth will get in the way. Once you reach this realm, nothing is hidden in the whole of eternity. How can there be anything to receive from Buddhas?
If you want to reach this realm completely, you must first abandon everything. You must not even seek the realm of Buddhas and patriarchs. Much less can there be any love or loathing of self or others. Just look directly within, without a hair of intellectualizing. There is without doubt something that has no skin or flesh. Its body is like space, without any specific form. It is like pure water, which is clear to the bottom. Completely clear and bright, you just have to know it thoroughly.

Now, how can I reveal this principle?

The water is clear to the very bottom;
The pearly gleams naturally, without need of cutting and polishing.

(Keizan Jokin: The Record of Transmitting the Light, on "Liangshan Yanguan", p. 215-216, tr. Francis Cook)

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"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Very very nice, thankyou very much for bringing it, Astus.

Quote:
Luang Pu Dune Atulo --

"When a person has shaved his hair and beard and put on the ochre robe, that's the symbol of his state as a monk. But it counts only on the external level. Only when he has shaved off the mental tangle — all lower preoccupations — from his heart can you call him a monk on the internal level.

"When a head has been shaved, little creeping insects like lice can't take up residence there. In the same way, when a mind has gained release from its preoccupations and is freed from fabrication, suffering can't take up residence at all. When this becomes your normal state, you can be called a genuine monk."


:anjali:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:21 pm 
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floating_abu wrote:
Simon E. wrote:
floating_abu wrote:
It is in the mud that the lotus blossoms ..

:namaste:

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.


Uh...OK I never said that there was no such thing. Please feel free to read my posts.

But interesting that you say that Kaliyuga is "of the essence" of your teachings. Perhaps you mean to say that it is relevant to do certain practices in an environment of pure distraction (such as the internet and silly conversations like this one), but that is just skilful means - the Buddha adopted many different techniques for different audiences and contexts.

My point, FWIW, is that it doesn't matter what age we are in - everyone here has the tools, the suffering, and now! thrown in the doomsday flare for those who want it - so the only way forward is to practice, and the encouragement is towards practice with more urgency if that is what one desires.

Abu

No...I meant to say what I did say...that my present teacher ChNN Rinpoche sees the teachings around the Kaliyuga as of the essence, and as such predicates practices which are tailored to the fact of the Kaliyuga. As did my previous teachers. Practice is plural. ( incidentally I am sure what you mean by " FWIW " . Do you mean that this is simply your subjective opinion ? )
I am not quoting my opinion..I am quoting my teacher verbatim..a fact which can easily be checked out.
You are of course free to disagree with him and them.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Simon E. wrote:
my present teacher ChNN Rinpoche sees the teachings around the Kaliyuga as of the essence, and as such predicates practices which are tailored to the fact of the Kaliyuga.


Abu before: 'Perhaps you mean to say that it is relevant to do certain practices in an environment of pure distraction'

FWIW = for what it's worth

Best wishes,
Abu

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:28 pm 
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You are correct Tobes..I should have been more specific. In Dzogchen the group of teachings that are seen as as of the essence have as their context the objective fact of the Kaliyuga. They cannot indeed be separated from the essence of practice.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:46 pm 
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floating_abu wrote:
Simon E. wrote:
my present teacher ChNN Rinpoche sees the teachings around the Kaliyuga as of the essence, and as such predicates practices which are tailored to the fact of the Kaliyuga.


Abu before: 'Perhaps you mean to say that it is relevant to do certain practices in an environment of pure distraction'

FWIW = for what it's worth

Best wishes,
Abu

I have no idea what you are saying here...
Its quite simple.
Many Dzogchen masters including Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche teach that we have entered the Kaliyuga..literally.
Not as a symbol of a general state but as an objective fact.
In view of that we are given a series of practices without which the practice of Dzogchen is impossible.
The teachings around the fact of the Kaliyuga are of the absolute essence in the scheme of Dzogchen teachings according to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and according to my previous teachers..This is easily verified. In fact the very existence of Dzogchen teachings is a response to the Kaliyuga.
Anyone is free to accept or reject those teachings.
Simply deciding to interpret them according to one 's preexisting models is lacking and will never lead to an understanding of those teachings..


Last edited by Simon E. on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:11 pm 
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1. I understood what you said in the first place, Simon
2. I have never disputed the Kaliyuga age or whatever it is called - and have no reason to
3. I mean no disrespect to your views or the teachings of your very good teachers: may they succeed

Abu

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