The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby mutsuk » Fri May 24, 2013 9:09 pm

pemachophel wrote:The way my Teacher explained this was not simply karmic connections but broken samaya.

Yes, exactly.
mutsuk
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby mutsuk » Fri May 24, 2013 9:47 pm

and even insects will dissolve into lights.

Note that in Khenpo Ngagchung's Ye-shes bla ma spyi-don, he reads that as "the bacterias of your body will dissolve into lights" (lus kyi srin bu rnams kyang 'od du dengs pa'o), etc. which also makes perfect sense, since according to him, there need be a connection between the one who reaches the Rainbow Body and those he takes with him. However, somewhere else, Longchenpa said (sorry I can't find the exact quote right now, maybe Lama Yangtik, I don't have it at hand) that even sentient beings from lower rebirths such as insects can be referred to here. This is consistent with the notes on the oral transmission of the Thekchok Dzö that JL has compiled. I guess the two interpretations are ok.
mutsuk
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby Pero » Fri May 24, 2013 10:06 pm

mutsuk wrote:He had quite a number of students during his lifetime. He did Rainbow Body at the time of death, having after that a lot of students does not make any sense. He had a lot of students in the later part of his life and did Rainbow Body at the time of death.

I meant it in a sarcastic way, you know like when someone's poor he's got no friends but if he gets rich suddenly everyone's his friend. Anyway, I must be remembering it poorly, I think it's been years since I heard this.

This is a "forceful" liberation.
...

Thank you Mutsuk. But if this can be done why are we still here? How come you can liberate up to 3000? Why not 5000 or more? Why not 1000 or less? This is what doesn't make sense to me. I was thinking maybe it's just that you have to have a really close connection with the 'ja' lus pa (?) for this to be able to work but according to what you say it seems connection doesn't matter, it can be anyone/anything. Is there any more explanation about this?
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1849
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby mutsuk » Fri May 24, 2013 10:37 pm

Pero wrote:I meant it in a sarcastic way, you know like when someone's poor he's got no friends but if he gets rich suddenly everyone's his friend. Anyway, I must be remembering it poorly, I think it's been years since I heard this.

Oh I see what you mean now!

Thank you Mutsuk. But if this can be done why are we still here?

1. Lack of good fortune (or good fortune enough to share ultimate, close spiritual connections with someone reaching Rainbow Body...), 2. this is said to occur during the Bardo of these beings. There are inconsistencies in the texts on this subject. The biography of Kunzang Namkhai Nyingpo says that he "took the sheep" with him during his Rainbow Body, which certainly implies these were still alive before that happened and this implies some kind of forceful Phowa. Yongdzin Rinpoche had explained it like this a few times. Other sources (Khenpo Ngagchung, etc.) state that it occurs during the bardo of these beings. The difference is pertinent, no?

How come you can liberate up to 3000? Why not 5000 or more? Why not 1000 or less?

Because contemplating the full scale of Thogel visions means to develop within oneself a level of realization that equals that of 3000 Buddhas. This is in particular true if, keeping as long as possible your body in the 3 main postures of Thogel, you practice until the end of the visionary displays (this of course takes years). At that time, you manifest Rainbow Body and your spiritual fortune (equalling that of 3000 Buddhas) enables you to forcefully cause up to 3000 sentient beings reach Buddhahood at the same time during their Bardo. Since they thus become Buddhas at that time, this is the proof that your spiritual fortune is equal to that of 3000 Buddhas. I am not sure I can convey the logic of the process in english in a mode clear enough to ensure understanding, but I'm convinced you see what I mean.

This is what doesn't make sense to me.

Does that make sense now?
I was thinking maybe it's just that you have to have a really close connection with the 'ja' lus pa (?) for this to be able to work but according to what you say it seems connection doesn't matter,

No, I said that explanations in various sources are not consistent with one another. Some say that you need special connections (particularly close ones in terms of practice, etc.), other say that one can enlarge that scope ("beyond limitations") and deliver beings even during their lifetime. However, in both cases, this is more that scarce. Yongdzin Rinpoche said that one should not put to much hope in that, since people likely to reach Rainbow Body are quite rare... They themselves know if that is going to happen, since there are indubitable signs that start to occur at a certain, precise stage of the visions. But even these do not garantee a Great Transfer or even a Great Rainbow Body, it may "just" be a small transfer or a small Rainbow Body and these do not offer that capacity, despite having travelled the whole path of Thogel.
mutsuk
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat May 25, 2013 3:29 am

mutsuk wrote:
How come you can liberate up to 3000? Why not 5000 or more? Why not 1000 or less?

Because contemplating the full scale of Thogel visions means to develop within oneself a level of realization that equals that of 3000 Buddhas.

OK, but that still doesn't really answer the question, "Why 3000?", does it? Even if it was 1000 for each posture, then why 1000 per posture?
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby oldbob » Sat May 25, 2013 5:33 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
mutsuk wrote:
How come you can liberate up to 3000? Why not 5000 or more? Why not 1000 or less?

Because contemplating the full scale of Thogel visions means to develop within oneself a level of realization that equals that of 3000 Buddhas.

OK, but that still doesn't really answer the question, "Why 3000?", does it? Even if it was 1000 for each posture, then why 1000 per posture?


I think it just means a lot of. AND why would this number be of any useful importance to anyone. I would be completely happy if I can get to the level of even one half a Buddha. :smile:

The key point is that practitioners should not be afraid to practice Togal and Yangtig. Maybe it won't bring results, and maybe it will. Maybe it will be easy, and maybe it will be impossible. You don't know unless you try. In my case, for Togal, I asked for "permission" from three accomplished Masters and then figured that since all three said that it was Ok to try, that I should do my best and see what happened. I had originally tried it in Yeshe Lama retreats in 1980 and 1981 and not so much happened. Then I took it up again in 2001 and 2002 when I was working in India. I used my Christmas vacation those years to go up to Tso Pema and see if I could stay in one of the caves above the lake. Lama Wangdor was like my Dharma grandpa, and helped me find a room near the Gompa above the lake. I set 2 alarm clocks, and every morning, at 5:30 AM, I would put on my ski gear against the cold, and, using a flash-light to find my way, went up on top of the little hill, to where the prayer flags were, and sat in the quiet waiting for the light. I found a place to sit where I am absolutely sure many had practiced before, because there was a kind of a chair back in the rock. This time it worked a little and I was happy with the results. My sense was that it would take a several month retreat to get more results, but I found that the results were cumulative, that you could pick up where you left off, and this was heartening.

Because I am lazy, I chose to concentrate on Yangtig and had the great food fortune to be part of the "Yangtig Club" at Tseygyalgar, which existed for a few years in the late 80s, early 90s. Each year we would get a new level and then practice that for a year. The dark retreat cabin near Tseygyalgar is really very comfortable and cushy. It makes it easy to do the retreat. The whole environment is designed to help you be ok staying in the dark. There is a big refrigerator and you can stock up on your favorite munchies, including fruit, veggies and ice cream. There is a big push-the-top thermos that the attendant keeps full of hot water and so you can make instant ramen and misu soup, as well as tea, whenever you want. It is VERY comfortable.

I highly recommend Yangtig, with the caveat that it is not for everyone. If you are uncomfortable doing any practice, then you stop it and do something else. A very accomplished practitioner came out of the Yangtig after an hour because he wasn't comfortable and this was completely correct.

So, don't be discouraged by reports that something is difficult until you try it yourself. You never know what you may find. So think of the 4 thoughts that change the mind and the unique qualities of leisure and opportunity that you have, and with this in mind, make the effort to arrange to get the Togal and Yangtig teachings from a Master and practice a little. It's up to you. Make the wish and see what happens.

Don't be put off by someone else's story of difficulties. This is their story, and not necessarily your story.

Do your best to realize in this life. This is the purpose of Thogal and Yangtig (and all) practice.

:heart:
oldbob
 
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby mutsuk » Sat May 25, 2013 7:08 am

dzogchungpa wrote:OK, but that still doesn't really answer the question, "Why 3000?", does it?

Yes it does. Don't use the key points and you won't have a fortune that equals that of 3000 Buddhas. These key points are very special things. You reach a level of good fortune that enables you to have 3000 beings become Buddhas during their Bardo. Who gets a good fortune that enables one to liberate even only one being in the bardo?
mutsuk
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby mutsuk » Sat May 25, 2013 7:20 am

oldbob wrote:I think it just means a lot of.

No, it is a very precise number, there are other things linked to it that I can't detail here. It is not just "a big number". It has an hermeneutic meaning which is why all texts dealing with that subject say 3000 and not 9000 or 200. They could also use another way of wording their lines if they wanted it to be a big number. It would be very easy.

AND why would this number be of any useful importance to anyone.

There are reasons why such a number is mentioned in texts. THere are reasons for everything in Thogel.

The key point is that practitioners should not be afraid to practice Togal and Yangtig.

True, it is of utmost importance to go beyond the "fears" built up in some books like Dowman's works in which you can read that Thogel is dangerous, etc. This is nonsense. Once you've entered that Path correctly with guidance, there is nothing more natural. However, it is not as easy as some people would describe it. There is a difference in between seeing a couple of thigles and some color and reaching the 3rd vision. This a Path with effort ('bad-bcas) which demands a lot of skills. Reaching the first visions is quite easy, but you can be stuck for years and years in the second one. This is why there are booster teachings (bog 'don) in Thogel which are of crucial importance.

I highly recommend Yangtig, with the caveat that it is not for everyone.

I know there is this tendency in the DC to use Yangti/Yangtig as meaning "dark retreat" but this is way deluding. Yangti is a doxographical category. It covers standard preliminaries, extraordinary preliminaries, special preliminaries, trekchö, thögel and dark retreat, as well as bardo teachings, zhi khro, etc. Not exclusively dark retreats. Moreover, you have dark retreats in Ati and Chiti (sPyi-ti), not only Yangti. The usage of Yangti=dark retreat does not appear in Yangti texts themselves. It's a simplification, it can be OK, but then many people tend to say Yangti is dark retreat only and that there are no dark retreat in other Dzogchen categories. There are even dark retreats in Longdé and it's not Yangti at all...
mutsuk
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby oldbob » Sat May 25, 2013 2:50 pm

:good: :twothumbsup: :bow: :bow: :bow:

I stand corrected. Yes, I am using "Yangti" in its commonly held meaning, as dark retreat, in the DC. Of course it is a body of work as you mention.

As to the 3000 becoming Buddhas, we differ in our interpretation and understanding. I think it means many, but perhaps limited to around 3000.

Of course there are many different dark retreats and I am referring specifically to that taught in the DC. I've read some translations of the Bon version, and I am content that although the techniques are different, that the results are similar. When I researched the Bon system, many years ago, I found that they do not have such a comfortable place to practice, as Tsegyalgar. I am lazy and like my comforts, and was very happy to do my 49 days in the dark retreat "Hilton," with a trusted attendant, flush toilet, good air circulation, a well stocked refrigerator, clean, and plentyful water and a place to prepare food.

Yes, the first vision is easier than the others in Togal, and that is why I was very happy when I discovered how easy it is to make progress in the dark retreat, in comparison. Maybe I will get back to Togal someday, but I don't feel any pressure to do so. I am content.

The key point is don't be afraid to try, and of course - go for all the boosters you can get. What you are calling "Boosters", I am calling the "ney," or the keys that unlock the practice. These are what are given by your Teacher in oral tradition, and are not necessarily the same for everyone. I am content with what I have received both for Togal and Yangti. Sure you can research ALL the sources in the Tibetan corpus, or go around collecting all the "boosters," but in the end it only takes one practice to relax your mind into Awareness. Awareness has no grasping, rejection, or dimension, and is content in itself. Even bliss, clarity, vastness, and luminosity are imputations from the intellect and have no sticking point in Awareness.

Being able to "Transmit," to help the 3000, now that is something else. :smile:

Actually, maybe it is an important number because that could help explain why the DC webcasts, and the DI via webcasts, have stuck around this number, despite ChNNR teaching in the West for over 40 years.

Perhaps the key point is to practice a little after gathering the information.

The happy idiot,

ob
oldbob
 
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:19 am

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby Pero » Sat May 25, 2013 3:41 pm

Thanks for the explanation Mutsuk, it's clearer now.

mutsuk wrote:True, it is of utmost importance to go beyond the "fears" built up in some books like Dowman's works in which you can read that Thogel is dangerous, etc. This is nonsense. Once you've entered that Path correctly with guidance, there is nothing more natural.

I don't know what Dowman says but that "correctly" seems to be the key word here. :smile:
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar
Pero
 
Posts: 1849
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:54 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat May 25, 2013 4:12 pm

mutsuk wrote:
oldbob wrote:I think it just means a lot of.

No, it is a very precise number, there are other things linked to it that I can't detail here. It is not just "a big number". It has an hermeneutic meaning which is why all texts dealing with that subject say 3000 and not 9000 or 200. They could also use another way of wording their lines if they wanted it to be a big number. It would be very easy.

AND why would this number be of any useful importance to anyone.

There are reasons why such a number is mentioned in texts. THere are reasons for everything in Thogel.

Well, that is interesting. Maybe I don't understand what you mean by 'hermeneutic'. Are you saying that the number 3000 has some special meaning here or is symbolic in some way?
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: The Purpose of Thogal Practice

Postby Dronma » Thu May 30, 2013 10:44 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, that is interesting. Maybe I don't understand what you mean by 'hermeneutic'. Are you saying that the number 3000 has some special meaning here or is symbolic in some way?


Hermeneutic means interpretative in Greek.
As far as I know about Thogal and Yangti, they always come with samaya of silence! :namaste:
"My view is as vast as the sky, but my actions are finer than flour"
~ Padmasambhava ~
User avatar
Dronma
 
Posts: 715
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:29 pm
Location: Athens - GR

Previous

Return to Dzogchen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 8 guests

>