Is modernity bad for practice?

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:20 pm

At the risk of laboring the point...The Dzocgchen corpus of teachings are ultimately a response to the Kaliyuga.
To reduce them to mere " skillful means" is in fact to deny their very raison d'etre.

As I said before, one is either on or off the bus.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:33 pm

Hi Simon

Please provide a quote of your teacher/s saying that Kaliguya is very 'reason' (raison d'etre) for the Dzogchen teachings as you claim. And that Dzogchen is 'ultimately a response to the Kaliguya'. I thought it was a response to Buddhism/suffering actually but maybe I am wrong on its birthplace.

Nevertheless you are now making the claims so please back them up, with quotes/literature, in context.

As I said before, one is either on or off the bus.


How exclusive: I hope that those are just your preliminary practices and there is more to come for the sake of all sentient beings.

I have seen Dzogchen teachings - they are very good but they do not strike me as you present them.

Abu
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:49 pm

Well I am pleased that Dzogchen teachings meet with your approval..
However I have neither the time nor inclination to swap quotes and counter quotes.
However if you are actually interested in Dzogchen you could try googling "Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and the Kaliyuga."
Where you will find more material than you could possibly need..
Even better, try dropping in to vajracakra.com where there is a community of Dzogchen practitioners who will happily
tell you if my account is or is not accurate.

:namaste:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:57 pm

Well that is quite the arrogance, you make your claims and expect people to follow up on them to test their veracity. Claiming that the very reason for Dzogchen is the Dharma ending age and the very birthmark of Dzogchen is just the Kaliyuga.

Kind of makes one feel sorry for all those pre Kaliyuga teachers/students who busted their gut for its realisation, doesn't it? But maybe they were just the preview to you.

FYI It is forum protocol to be able to back up your claims, else you will not be taken seriously, and no, I would not bother with what you claim actually: it's high browed, exclusive and slanted. If you bring your quotes, then perhaps I would entertain that what you say is even mildly accurate.

If you cannot bring the quotes to back it up, don't expect that you will be taken on what you interpret.

And yes, Dzogchen teachings can be very good, but as always the actual value of them is in the capacity of the student to realise and actualise them, like in all traditions.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:02 pm

Please feel free to disregard my views and to not take them seriously.

:namaste:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:21 pm

Of course.

If you have any specific quotes or references in future please feel free to bring them here. I am always happy to explore alternative views, if they are genuine, credible and backed by Buddhist canon.

Here is a description of Dzogchen:

"Dzogchen (rdzogs chen), or “Total Perfection” or “Total Completeness”, is a Teaching which reveals the original state of every individual, a condition which is presented as “perfect” because of its infinite potentiality to manifest in the variety of all phenomena of existence. Once directly awakened by the master, this perfection is experienced as one‟s innermost nature, the Nature of Mind. Continuous awareness of this nature, then, is the fundamental practice that leads to the unveiling or manifestation of one‟s primordial potentiality..

The Mind‟s Essential Nature is said in the Dzogchen Teachings to be like the nature of a mirror. A mirror‟s essential nature is clear, pure, and limpid; if this was not the case no reflections could arise in it. In the same way the mind's natural condition is one of clarity, purity and limpidity. A mirror will reflect whatever is placed in front of it, but the nature of the mirror is not stained by any reflection, no matter how ugly or terrible. In the same way, if an individual remains continually present in the contemplative state that is the inherent nature of the mind, no thought however beautiful or ugly, attractive or repulsive, can stain the mind‟s fundamental purity, or distract or disturb the practitioner, who remains integrated in a state beyond the limits of the ego and the judging mind, experiencing the world as the play of his or her own energies. This is the effortless state of “Dzogchen”, the “Great Perfection”, complete in itself, and lacking nothing."


Link

These are accurate statements for example, and it is also the same premise and result of all genuine Buddhist practices but of course Dzogchen has its own context and methods, which are very respected.

Kaliguya is the Dharma ending age, it is when times are tougher for the Dharma to birth, take hold perhaps but it is nevertheless just an age in a cycle which is merely that of change, origination, cessation and the like. Some practices might be more relevant and essential for the context if the teacher deems to make it so, but that is their prerogative and means. If they wish to highlight it more, that is also OK - every tradition uses different tools.

The quotes above though on the teaching/method/result are ultimately not different from many other traditions actually, so to say Kaliyuga is the whole reason for the existence and teaching of Dzogchen seems, quite frankly, unreliable to say the least as what Dzogchen is teaching is Buddhism.

Here is an actual quote from the Rinpoche, and I do hope for his success very much:

"All the teachers of Dzogchen from Garab Dorje to the present day have preserved the traditions of the Transmission in a very pure way, and I feel that it is very, very important that we continue in the same way. I have always been very concerned with ensuring that the transmission of the Dzogchen teachings is maintained correctly. To teach the Dzogchen teachings means to give Transmission of Dzogchen. If I teach to people who do not keep the Transmission in a pure way, but who instead create problems with the transmission, that is very negative for me personally as well as for the person who distorts the transmission, because I am the one who taught them and I have thus entered into a relationship with them based on Transmission. If I am not sure of the situation in relation to how people will be respond to my trust in teaching them, it is much better that I keep quiet. That was the idea that was behind my not teaching. But then, at the same time, I know that some people are capable of keeping the Transmission in a pure way. If I were to keep quiet I would hinder those people who are really ready to work in a genuine manner with the teachings. That is why I now teach.”

-- Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche


Abu
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:22 pm

Sorry Huseng for going :offtopic:

Best,

Abu
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Jikan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:43 pm

Simon E. wrote:At the risk of laboring the point...The Dzocgchen corpus of teachings are ultimately a response to the Kaliyuga.
To reduce them to mere " skillful means" is in fact to deny their very raison d'etre.


I agree with the thrust of your arguments in this thread Simon, but I'm not sure how to read this post. In the Lotus Sutra, for instance, Buddha Shakyamuni basically claims that all he does is produce different kinds of teachings for different times and places in order to reach people where they are. This is how skillful means or upaya is described in this context (and I think this may be where abu is coming from).

I suppose I don't see how it is reductive to regard the Dzogchen approach to the Dharma as skillful means if it prescribes an effective practice (and by "effective" I mean "leads beings to Buddhahood," another point of contact with the LS). And as someone who is getting ready to tune in to a webcast from Tenerife in about an hour, I'm of the opinion that it is such.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Jikan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:47 pm

floating_abu wrote:Kaliguya is the Dharma ending age, it is when times are tougher for the Dharma to birth, take hold perhaps but it is nevertheless just an age in a cycle which is merely that of change, origination, cessation and the like. Some practices might be more relevant and essential for the context if the teacher deems to make it so, but that is their prerogative and means. If they wish to highlight it more, that is also OK - every tradition uses different tools.

The quotes above though on the teaching/method/result are ultimately not different from many other traditions actually, so to say Kaliyuga is the whole reason for the existence and teaching of Dzogchen seems, quite frankly, unreliable to say the least as what Dzogchen is teaching is Buddhism.


How about if we rephrase the claim: Dzogchen is a teaching that is particularly suited to Kaliyuga, the needs of beings in this situation we call kaliyuga. Because there is a need to reach beings in this way, the teaching is presented.

Would you object to this position, Abu?

How about you, Simon?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:02 pm

I would accept that broadly Jikan..I would want to qualify it by referencing the fact that Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche has introduced whole new cycles of Terma * teachings that are a response to the difficulties experienced by practising in the Kaliyuga..
There is also the rather more tricky matter of Dzogchen and its relationship to Buddhism.
As you will know from recent discussions while many Dzogchen students see it as a school of Buddhism, there are many who do not.
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche has among his students adherents of other religions..including Christian monks and nuns. He does not require them to change their religion.



* Termas are hidden teachings most frequently emanating From Padmasambhava, which are rediscovered by Tertons..such as ChNNR..they take several forms, including actual documents.
There are also Mind Termas which appear fully formed in the mind of the Terton when the circumstances are right for their arising.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:04 pm

Dear Jikan,

I thought you were going to point out that I went off topic :group:

Dearest friend, perhaps if Namdrol or someone learned in Dzogchen as here, it might be more effective. I don't believe that any tradition is any more effective in any age, but if Dzogchen teachings say that is true: I would not dispute it. Each school has a right to how they present and guide/teach their students, and that is a fine thing IMO.

I feel that any tradition which is genuine and in the hands of a realised person has the capacity to bring the student to fruition, if the student also has the capacity and the willingness to do so also.

I respect any genuine tradition and any genuine teacher and student...but I don't believe that Dzogchen (which is one of the Buddhist schools) was born because of the Kaliyuga age, or that its content is driven for the Kaliyuga age only.

As the Buddha taught, his teachings are timeless, and are for all ages (within the sphere of time and space).
That there is this Dharma ending age was predicated early on - like all things the revelation and practice of Buddhist practices might wax and wane...but the way things really are is unchanged - and that is Dharma/Truth. The Buddha of the age is apparently the one that rediscovers the truths of Dharma, and is then in a capacity to teach others - but there are always countless Buddhas in any age, and this one is not different, although there may be fewer, I don't know. Anyway I feel it is just one of those things that happens, and if that is true, then practice is urged of course, and if there are more effective practices for this, then by all means go for it. But all traditions have good potentialities if the teacher is themself realised, and true, and the student able also.

This statement:
Because there is a need to reach beings in this way, the teaching is presented.


I fully agree with by the way ;)

Namaste,
Abu
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:08 pm

Simon E. wrote:I would accept that broadly Jikan..I would want to qualify it by referencing the fact that Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche has introduced whole new cycles of Terma * teachings that are a response to the difficulties experienced by practising in the Kaliyuga.


Makes perfect sense.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:10 pm

It is I think no secret or matter of controversy per se that Namdrol....or Malcom as he now prefers to be known is not here because he no longer considers himself a Buddhist. He describes himself only as a Dzogchen practitoner. Which is why he no longer calls himself by his Buddhist name.
Dzogchen is the means by which we see our primordial nature...within its corpus are teachings specific to achieving the Dzogchen view in the context of the Kaliyuga.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:18 pm

Jikan wrote:
Simon E. wrote:At the risk of laboring the point...The Dzocgchen corpus of teachings are ultimately a response to the Kaliyuga.
To reduce them to mere " skillful means" is in fact to deny their very raison d'etre.


I agree with the thrust of your arguments in this thread Simon, but I'm not sure how to read this post. In the Lotus Sutra, for instance, Buddha Shakyamuni basically claims that all he does is produce different kinds of teachings for different times and places in order to reach people where they are. This is how skillful means or upaya is described in this context (and I think this may be where abu is coming from).

I suppose I don't see how it is reductive to regard the Dzogchen approach to the Dharma as skillful means if it prescribes an effective practice (and by "effective" I mean "leads beings to Buddhahood," another point of contact with the LS). And as someone who is getting ready to tune in to a webcast from Tenerife in about an hour, I'm of the opinion that it is such.


I was ( probably in an unclear way ) making the point... that "skillful means "certainly exist...but that the whole concept of the Kali Yuga is not simply an upaya..but refers to an objective reality according to many Dzogchen teachers.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:24 pm

Right, which is what was being said from the start. Actually you were very clear on what you said, but please feel free to keep clarifying, as long as it is in line with what-is, and feel free to bring back up your claims, especially as they are not so credible to date..
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:31 pm

The views I have expressed either do or do not comply with the teachings of the Dzogchen Community of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. Of which I am an active member.
If they do not then please disregard them and put that down to my incomplete understanding.

.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:49 pm

I don't believe that any tradition is any more effective in any age, but if Dzogchen teachings say that is true: I would not dispute it. Each school has a right to how they present and guide/teach their students, and that is a fine thing IMO.


For me this is a real tough one. Because almost every Buddhist practice tradition I have encountered (and I have encountered many) seems to make this claim. In one of the Chinese Monasteries I stayed the people were absolutely convinced that during Kali Yuga of all the teachings that could be practiced in the Saha world Pure Land was the most effective and practical - as it was easy to practice and the power of Amitabha's vows were strong.

Another Chinese monastery where I did retreat made similar claims for the Shurangama mantra and Sutra.

Several Karma Kamtsang Lamas have said this to me about Mahamudra.

In the Gelug tradition, the lamas I have met make claims for the completeness of their lineage in general, but not in the context of Kali Yuga. You find that in the various systems of tantra that are practiced. For example, Solitary Hero Yamantaka, 13 Deity Yamantaka, Guyasamaja, Ghantapa Chakrasamvara, Luipa Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini- the literature of each of those tantras contains satements as to why that system is superior to other tantras and should be one's main practice.

So where does that leave me... Well, I have to believe that those holy beings make such statements because they are true- for their followers. But so much of what makes a path successful, effective and beneficial for a certain person has to do with that person's individual situation, karma, past life connections, which teachers they meet in this life etc....

So my point it, considering the diversity of beings, I don't think one method can be said to be supreme for all. It can be supreme for those with a connection with and affinity to that method.

BTW I like the discussions over on Vajracakra but since they are Dzogchen dominated and I have very little knowledge of that tradition, I read rather than post.

I am totally open to Dzogchen as well- when I meet a teacher who resonates with me and who I can have the time to check out and build a relationship with, I'd be very open to receiving some transmissions/teachings.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Jikan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:54 pm

<em>Simon E.</em> wrote:
I was ( probably in an unclear way ) making the point... that "skillful means "certainly exist...but that the whole concept of the Kali Yuga is not simply an upaya..but refers to an objective reality according to many Dzogchen teachers.


This seems perfectly sensible to me. thank you for helping me understand your point of view.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Jikan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:55 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
I don't believe that any tradition is any more effective in any age, but if Dzogchen teachings say that is true: I would not dispute it. Each school has a right to how they present and guide/teach their students, and that is a fine thing IMO.


For me this is a real tough one. Because almost every Buddhist practice tradition I have encountered (and I have encountered many) seems to make this claim. In one of the Chinese Monasteries I stayed the people were absolutely convinced that during Kali Yuga of all the teachings that could be practiced in the Saha world Pure Land was the most effective and practical - as it was easy to practice and the power of Amitabha's vows were strong.

Another Chinese monastery where I did retreat made similar claims for the Shurangama mantra and Sutra.

Several Karma Kamtsang Lamas have said this to me about Mahamudra.

In the Gelug tradition, the lamas I have met make claims for the completeness of their lineage in general, but not in the context of Kali Yuga. You find that in the various systems of tantra that are practiced. For example, Solitary Hero Yamantaka, 13 Deity Yamantaka, Guyasamaja, Ghantapa Chakrasamvara, Luipa Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini- the literature of each of those tantras contains satements as to why that system is superior to other tantras and should be one's main practice.

So where does that leave me... Well, I have to believe that those holy beings make such statements because they are true- for their followers. But so much of what makes a path successful, effective and beneficial for a certain person has to do with that person's individual situation, karma, past life connections, which teachers they meet in this life etc....

So my point it, considering the diversity of beings, I don't think one method can be said to be supreme for all. It can be supreme for those with a connection with and affinity to that method.

BTW I like the discussions over on Vajracakra but since they are Dzogchen dominated and I have very little knowledge of that tradition, I read rather than post.

I am totally open to Dzogchen as well- when I meet a teacher who resonates with me and who I can have the time to check out and build a relationship with, I'd be very open to receiving some transmissions/teachings.


:good:

I can't remember the source of this teaching but I think it's extremely helpful:

What is the best practice one can do?

The practice you can and will do. Do that.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:00 pm

A final word to Floating Abu...of course Malcolm Smith's ( formerly Namdrol ) knowledge in these matters is vastly greater than mine..if you want to discuss them with him you will find him at Vajracakra.com.

best wishes. :namaste:
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