Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby flavio81 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:18 pm

Went through the 6 pages and i found the two most useful comments to be:

#1 . "Don't eat cookbooks when you are hungry." - oldbob

and

#2. "Mahamudra is Dzogchen semde in drag" - Namdrol/Malcolm Smith. I don't know if it is correct, but it is a really easy to understand reply for me!
If this is a virtual sangha, do we achieve virtualization instead of realization?
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:41 pm

flavio81 wrote:#2. "Mahamudra is Dzogchen semde in drag" - Namdrol/Malcolm Smith. I don't know if it is correct, but it is a really easy to understand reply for me!


The four yogas implemented in formless/essence mahāmudrā are essentially identical to the four naljors of dzogchen semde:

Mahāmudrā is sometimes divided into four distinct phases known as the four yogas of mahāmudrā (skt. catvāri mahāmudrā yoga, Wylie: phyag rgya chen po'i rnal 'byor bzhi).

They are as follows:

(i) one-pointedness (skt. ekāgra, tib. rtse gcig)
(ii) simplicity (skt. niṣprapāncha, tib. spros bral) "free from complexity" or "not elaborate."
(iii) one taste (skt. samarasa, tib. ro gcig)
(iv) non-meditation (skt. abhāvanā, tib. sgom med) The state of not holding to either an object of meditation nor to a meditator. Nothing further needs to be 'meditated upon' or 'cultivated at this stage.

It's said that Gampopa most likely received semde teachings from Milarepa and put his own spin on them, though I'm sure that is open to debate...

The four naljors are:

(i) shi-nè (zhi gNas)
(ii) lhatong (lhag mThong)
(iii) nyi-mèd (nyis med)
(iv) lhundrüp (lhun grub)
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:59 am

asunthatneversets wrote:
It's said that Gampopa most likely received semde teachings from Milarepa and put his own spin on them, though I'm sure that is open to debate...


No, Gampopa started out as a Nyingmapa, then became a Kadampa monk, then met MIlarepa towards the end of the latter's life.


The four naljors are:

(i) shi-nè (zhi gNas)
(ii) lhatong (lhag mThong)
(iii) nyi-mèd (nyis med)
(iv) lhundrüp (lhun grub)



It is the the four ting 'dzins (samadhis) and the first two are actully gnas pa (calm state) and mi gyo ba (non-movment); the others are fine. This is the system of Khams lugs sems sde.

M
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:19 am

Malcolm wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:
It's said that Gampopa most likely received semde teachings from Milarepa and put his own spin on them, though I'm sure that is open to debate...


No, Gampopa started out as a Nyingmapa, then became a Kadampa monk, then met MIlarepa towards the end of the latter's life.


The four naljors are:

(i) shi-nè (zhi gNas)
(ii) lhatong (lhag mThong)
(iii) nyi-mèd (nyis med)
(iv) lhundrüp (lhun grub)



It is the the four ting 'dzins (samadhis) and the first two are actully gnas pa (calm state) and mi gyo ba (non-movment); the others are fine. This is the system of Khams lugs sems sde.

M


Thanks for clarifying about Gampopa.

So the 'four naljors' is an incorrect title, and 'four ting 'dzins' is the correct title? Or the four listed above are the ting 'dzins and the naljors are something different?

I had always been under the impression that semde had the naljors, longde the da's and mennagde the chozhags.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:28 am

Malcolm wrote:No, Gampopa started out as a Nyingmapa, then became a Kadampa monk, then met MIlarepa towards the end of the latter's life.

Where did you hear he started out as a Nyingmapa? I thought his entry into Dharma was because his dying wife asked him not to marry again, thus his becoming a Kadampa monk.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Greg » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:33 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:
It's said that Gampopa most likely received semde teachings from Milarepa and put his own spin on them, though I'm sure that is open to debate...


No, Gampopa started out as a Nyingmapa, then became a Kadampa monk, then met MIlarepa towards the end of the latter's life.


The four naljors are:

(i) shi-nè (zhi gNas)
(ii) lhatong (lhag mThong)
(iii) nyi-mèd (nyis med)
(iv) lhundrüp (lhun grub)



It is the the four ting 'dzins (samadhis) and the first two are actully gnas pa (calm state) and mi gyo ba (non-movment); the others are fine. This is the system of Khams lugs sems sde.

M


Thanks for clarifying about Gampopa.

So the 'four naljors' is an incorrect title, and 'four ting 'dzins' is the correct title? Or the four listed above are the ting 'dzins and the naljors are something different?

I had always been under the impression that semde had the naljors, longde the da's and mennagde the chozhags.


I am a little confused about this too. In The Crystal and the Way of Light, in Appendix One on pg 176, the four naljor are listed as above (Shine: 'calm state', 2. Lhagthong: 'more vision', or insight, 3. Nyimed: 'non-duality', 4. Lhundrub: 'self-perfection').

However, in Dzogchen Teachings on page 98 (and note 34) he lists the "the four states of contemplation, or the Four Yogas" as: calm state (gnas pa); nonmovement (mi gyo ba); equality or nonduality (mnyam nyid); and self-perfection (lhun grub).

Is one list mistaken, or are these two different things?
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:56 pm

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:No, Gampopa started out as a Nyingmapa, then became a Kadampa monk, then met MIlarepa towards the end of the latter's life.

Where did you hear he started out as a Nyingmapa? I thought his entry into Dharma was because his dying wife asked him not to marry again, thus his becoming a Kadampa monk.



He was a doctor before he was a monk. And most people in Tibet at that time were Nyingmapas.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:00 pm

Greg wrote:
Is one list mistaken, or are these two different things?


The list of the four contemplations (ting nge 'dzin) is the more accurate list. But the other list also is correct, though it is from the point of view of the meaning of gnas pa and mi gyo ba.

M
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http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby In the bone yard » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:53 pm

Different divisions of the same path.
We could add 4 Visions of Togel to this list.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby thigle » Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:43 pm

There's nothing like "Mahamudra" or "Dzogchen". There's only "nonpractice" & the mistake of "practiced nonpractice", ergo "conceptualized nonpractice", which is "grapsing" from and as the illusionary "big brother"-perspective, far away from naturaly obvious immediate transparency/knowledge.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby smcj » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:16 am

Where did you hear he started out as a Nyingmapa? I thought his entry into Dharma was because his dying wife asked him not to marry again, thus his becoming a Kadampa monk.
He was a doctor before he was a monk. And most people in Tibet at that time were Nyingmapas.

Right you are. I just looked it up in his biography.

He showed great interest in many subjects, and because of his enthusiasm, devotion, and openness, he was acknowledged as a great physician and scholar by the time he was sixteen, and had already received many tantric teachings of the Nyingmapa lineage from various gurus.


Well, when you're right you're right. :bow:
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:23 am

Concerning the rainbow body reaching through the practice of trek chöd/thögyal:
Generally, there are three different ways in which this process [realization of rainbow body resp. body of light] may occur:
1. The Rainbow Body ('ja'-lus) is attained at the time of death by means of Thekchod practice. One's physical body is dissolved into its subatomic constituents and becomes pure radiant energy, leaving behind only hair and nails. The process generally takes seven days, during which time the body progressively shrinks in size.
2. The Body of Light ('od-lus) is realized at the time of death by means of the practice of Thodgal, as was the case with Garab Dorje, described above.
3. The Great Transfer ('pho-ba chen-po) is accomplished also by way of Thodgal, but here there is no necessity of going through the process of dying. Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, and the Bonpo master Tapihritsa are all examples, according to tradition, of individual masters who realized the Great Transfer.

Source: John Myrdhyn Reynolds: The Golden Letters. p. 167/168

Obviously, there is a distinction in results depending on the path one has taken. Concerning the precise qualitative difference between the three attainments no further information is given by the author.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:39 am

I am not an expert in this field, but from my understanding there is a very subtle difference in Mahamudra and Dzogchen (leaving out the practice Thögyal here):
  • In (the highest stages of) Mahamudra, mind moments are allowed to arise from the ground, then instantaneously (in the very moment of arising) self liberate and dissolve back into the ground.
  • In Dzogchen, mind moments arise as the expressive aspect of the ground, i.e. not different from it. Therefore there is no need for self-liberation at all.
If this is true (and please correct me if I am mistaken), then there would actually be a very subtle difference in practice between the two systems, namely in terms of the view taken in regard to arising mind moments.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:48 am

Berzin also writes elaborately on the difference between the two Systems: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... gchen.html.
My own teacher uses a teaching style where first students master Mahamudra techniques, and once they have mastered them (maybe not perfectly, but the students have to show a certain level of realization), teaches them the more direct way of Dzogchen. This includes Thögyal, but you will have to show a quite a good level of meditative skills and realization before you get these teachings.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsele Natsok Rangdröl indicates otherwise. The Circle of the Sun:...



Honestly, I think this analysis by this master is a bit misleading -- he is trying to assert that gzhi described by Dzogchen has an equivalent counterpart in the kun gzhi of the Mahāmudra system. However, if you read any straight mahāmudra manual, for example, Dagpo Tashi Namgyal's texts or Sakyapa presentations and so on, for them the basis [gzhi] is the all-basis [kun gzhi], the clear and empty nature of the mind. It is called the all-basis because when it is not recognized, it is the basis for samsara, and when it is recognized, it is the basis for nirvana.

On the other hand, you have Dzogchen texts that systematically differentiate between gzhi and kun gzhi. The reason for this is not arbitrary and have everything to do with the path of Dzogchen. These topics are not mentioned at all in any system of Mahāmudra since they form no part of Mahāmudra practice. The system of differentiating mind and wisdom (sems and ye shes) in Mahāmudra is not the same as differentiating between mind and vidyā in Dzogchen and does not have the same intention.

N

I cautiosly tend to agree with what Malcolm says here, based on what Berzin writes on the two systems. First, Berzin writes:
Whether on the gross, subtle, or subtlest clear light level, the nature of mental activity remains the same. Mahamudra (phyag-chen, great seal) practice, found in the Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug/Kagyu traditions, focuses on this nature. [...]

Rigpa shares the same nature as the three levels [gross, subtle, subtlest clear light] of mental activity analyzed by the non-dzogchen schools. Dzogchen practice, however, is exclusively done on the highest level of tantra and deals only with the subtlest level of mental activity. Moreover, dzogchen does not focus merely on the conventional and deepest natures of rigpa, but also on its various aspects and facets.

So far, so good. We learn that Mahamudra works with all levels of mind up to Clear Light. Dzogchen on the other hand works with Rigpa. This is an important distinction.
The Differences between Rigpa and Clear Light
Further, rigpa is not an exact equivalent of clear light. Rather, it is a subdivision of it.

Now, the logical conclusion is that Mahamudra and Dzogchen can by definition not be the same. One concerns levels of mind (up to) clear light and the other rigpa. As he will point out shortly, Mahamudra practice concerns both a stained or an unstained mind, whereas rigpa always concerns an unstained mind. Berzin goes on, listing three types of differences between Rigpa and Clear Light:
Different Degrees of Being Unstained
  • The clear light level of mind is naturally devoid of grosser levels of mental activity, which are the levels at which conceptual cognition and the fleeting stains of disturbing emotions and attitudes occur. Before enlightenment, however, clear light mental activity is not devoid of the habits of grasping for true existence, which may be imputed or labeled on it. Nevertheless, when clear light is manifest, these habits do not cause clear light activity to make discordant (dual) appearances of true existence (gnyis-snang), nor do they prevent it from cognizing the two truths simultaneously (appearances and voidness), which they do when grosser levels of mind are active.
  • Rigpa, on the other hand, is devoid of even the habits of grasping for true existence. It is the totally unstained natural state of the mind.
Difference in Terms of Recognizability
    Clear light mental activity and rigpa are similar in the sense that when each is operating, grosser levels of mental activity are not functioning simultaneously.

  • To access and recognize clear light mind requires actively stopping the grosser levels of mental activity, through dissolving the energy-winds that support those levels.
  • Rigpa is recognizable without actively stopping the grosser levels of mental activity and of energy-wind as the method to recognize it. When recognized and accessed, however, the grosser levels automatically stop functioning.
Difference in Terms of Reflexive Deep Awareness
  • The non-dzogchen systems, particularly Gelug, differentiate object clear light (yul) from cognitive (yul-can, subject) clear light. Object clear light is the actual void nature (chos-nyid) of clear light, while cognitive clear light is clear light mental activity itself, a phenomenon that has object clear light as its nature (chos-can).

    Clear light mental activity is not necessarily aware of its own void nature, for example the clear light mind experienced at the moment of ordinary death. Even when the fifteenth-century Gelug master Kaydrub Norzang-gyatso (mKhas-grub Nor-bzang rgya-mtsho) explains that clear light mental activity naturally gives rise to a cognitive appearance resembling that which arises in nonconceptual cognition of voidness, still it does not automatically arise with an understanding of voidness, also as in ordinary death. Moreover, even when reflexive deep awareness (rang-rig ye-shes) of its own void nature is presented as a natural quality of clear light, as in the Sakya and Kagyu systems, still it is not always operational, also as in ordinary death. Therefore, anuttarayoga practice aims at achieving, in meditation, cognitive clear light that is fully aware of its own object clear light nature.
  • Rigpa, on the other hand, is innately aware of its own void nature. When we access it, it automatically is fully aware of its own nature. In dzogchen terms, it knows its own face (rang-ngo shes-pa).

Claiming that the two systems are "basically the same" is therefore only true on a superficial level, but not in terms of various aspects of the practice - at least for the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug-Systems. Unfortunately, Berzin does not elaborate on the Bons or the Nyingmas.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:36 pm

Berzin also writes about the difference of Mahamudra and Dzogchen concerning conceptual thoughts:
Both mahamudra and dzogchen deal with the subtlest level of mental activity, mahamudra accesses it by dissolving the energy-winds and the grosser levels of mental activity, whereas dzogchen accesses it by recognizing it within the grosser levels, namely sem.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby fckw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:06 pm

oldbob wrote:My friend has said, one of the experiences of Dzogchen has the quality of all-pervasive-vast-space. This experience does not name itself as anything, but from the viewpoint of words, can be spoken of as having an awareness presence as / in all pervasive vast space. Since it pervades everything, it can be spoken of, from the viewpoint of words, as containing everything, and therefore, as a kind of store-house consciousness.

My friend has said, the base is different, as it has no descriptors whatsoever, and you cannot even say, from the point of view of the base, that there are "no descriptors whatsoever." You cannot say anything, even if you wanted to. Words simply don't apply to the base. - There is nothing to stick to - like writing on air or water.

I have a totally anonymous friend who totally agrees with oldbob's friend. There IS an important difference here. From the base arises cognizant awareness (rigpa) (and possibly alaya and whatever else not). We could state that the base has the potential for rigpa to arise, but since it is only a potential there might be situations/universes where rigpa actually does not arise and only the base remains.
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:50 pm

fckw wrote:
  • In (the highest stages of) Mahamudra, mind moments are allowed to arise from the ground, then instantaneously (in the very moment of arising) self liberate and dissolve back into the ground.
  • In Dzogchen, mind moments arise as the expressive aspect of the ground, i.e. not different from it. Therefore there is no need for self-liberation at all.
If this is true (and please correct me if I am mistaken), then there would actually be a very subtle difference in practice between the two systems, namely in terms of the view taken in regard to arising mind moments.


From the Mahamudra Lineage Prayer:
Whatever arises, is the fresh nature of thought.
and
The essence of thought is dharmakaya, it is taught.

So, there is no substantial difference between appearances and the nature of mind, both are dharmakaya. It is quite an important part in Mahamudra vipasyana meditation to clarify this for oneself.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"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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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:47 pm

fckw wrote:I cautiosly tend to agree with what Malcolm says here, based on what Berzin writes on the two systems. First, Berzin writes:
Whether on the gross, subtle, or subtlest clear light level, the nature of mental activity remains the same. Mahamudra (phyag-chen, great seal) practice, found in the Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug/Kagyu traditions, focuses on this nature. [...]

Rigpa shares the same nature as the three levels [gross, subtle, subtlest clear light] of mental activity analyzed by the non-dzogchen schools. Dzogchen practice, however, is exclusively done on the highest level of tantra and deals only with the subtlest level of mental activity. Moreover, dzogchen does not focus merely on the conventional and deepest natures of rigpa, but also on its various aspects and facets.

So far, so good. We learn that Mahamudra works with all levels of mind up to Clear Light. Dzogchen on the other hand works with Rigpa. This is an important distinction.
He did not make this distinction in the abovementioned quote. You have misinterpreted what he said. Read it again.

He is saying that both work with Rigpa: Dzogchen works exclusively with Rigpa, Mahamudra works with the rest of mind too.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen

Postby In the bone yard » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:16 pm

There is only one path, and it must be "pointed out" to us.
Then we will understand what we cannot understand intellectually and was not meant to be understood intellectually.
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