Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby adinatha » Mon May 09, 2011 11:11 pm

Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote:
Well, the counter of this among high Kagyu lamas is that the realization of Dzogchen masters is rather small compared to the realization and activities of the great Kagyu masters. There's always another side, and it's not universally accepted that Dzogchen is the highest or the equal of Mahamudra. Not so much because the teachings are better or worse, but because the samayas and the power of Kagyu lineages are supreme.


Yes, and the Sakyapas say that both the Kagyus and the Nyingmapas exaggerate their masters realizations, blah blah blah, and that the Samaya of Sakya lineages is the purest, blah blah blah...

I base my understanding on what these teachings actually say. Not on gossip and competition.

So, having received the Mahāmudra teachings of both Kagyu (Karma and Drikung) and Sakya (Lamdre/Yogini) and also many Dzogchen teachings, I decided for myself that Dzogchen was best, not because someone told me it was best, but because there are too many special features of Dzogchen that are unique and cannot be found elsewhere.

Nevertheless, all of these Vajrayāna teachings are profound.


I hear what you are saying and I agree with you. I have found that the "features" dissolve into the recognition of reality. And when I look at the realizations and careers of individual masters, no one lineage rules the planet. Methods and whiz bang aside, this is something to take very seriously and examine why this is so. Tsongkhapa, Sakya Pandita and Longchenpa are said to be equals in realization. Each had an astonishing career. Look at what Gampopa and his students accomplished. And with regard to clean lineages, Tilopa, Naropa....Gampopa and on is very clear with no confusions. I think this makes that particular lineage kind of special. It is said this is the source of their power in realization. I think the Sakya lineage also has a clean Indian root like this, but I'm not well versed in Sakya. But I have an intuitive feeling that their blessing power is not received by many.

One point that I appreciate very very much in Nyingma practice is the direct connection to a rainbow body guru who will appear in your dreams. This is one "feature" that is truly amazing. Because direct contact with a true nirmanakaya is said to be a necessary condition to enlightenment pre-death. The Nyingthig rainbow body gurus are so so special. Their samaya to us and the power of their presence during our sadhana is everything.

In Kagyu circles, not all masters are created equally. Not only do you have to have the pure lineage of the Kagyu, but you have to find a very special master who can transfer the blessings. Such lineages within Kagyu are quite rare. It's not like you can go to any Kagyu teacher and get blessings. This, in my opinion, is why people who have not found an especially potent transmitter of blessings will resort to Dzogchen and with good reason feel that it is better. Those whose lineage is connected to a master like Garchen Rinpoche, Gelong Yeshe Rinpoche or Thrangu Rinpoche will have their minds blown in an initiation and never look back. In Kagyu ranks, it is taught that the preservation of blessings is of utmost importance and extreme care goes into not upsetting the perfect balance of interdependent conditions that keeps the blessing energy fresh and alive. In such a special lineage of blessings, the lineage is the nirmanakaya.

For me whether it is Nyingma or Kagyu, lineage and guru are all-important. I don't recognize a path of teachings or practice that can possibly go beyond this. The limit of accomplishment of the teacher is the limit of accomplishment of the student. There is no getting around that. Despite what tantras and sutras say, if the master has not actualized it, they don't mean much. When the master has accomplished them all, all the meanings of the tantras and sutras are known naturally without studying anything. This is the special feature of Vajrayana in general. Deep knowledge and scholarship is not a prerequisite.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Mon May 09, 2011 11:18 pm

adinatha wrote:For me whether it is Nyingma or Kagyu, lineage and guru are all-important. I don't recognize a path of teachings or practice that can possibly go beyond this. The limit of accomplishment of the teacher is the limit of accomplishment of the student. There is no getting around that. Despite what tantras and sutras say, if the master has not actualized it, they don't mean much.

That's not true, one can achieve Buddhahood even if one's teacher hasn't. Milarepa says hi. :)
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Dhondrub » Mon May 09, 2011 11:37 pm

I cant believe you guys are having this conversation. This teaching is better... no, my teaching is better... i came to the conclusion my teaching is the best.

And who said Marpa wasnt enlightend?
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Mon May 09, 2011 11:46 pm

Dhondrub wrote:I cant believe you guys are having this conversation. This teaching is better... no, my teaching is better... i came to the conclusion my teaching is the best.

And who said Marpa wasnt enlightend?

Hmm, from my (admittedly poor) memory, Milarepa became enlightened before Marpa. Am I remembering wrong?
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby adinatha » Tue May 10, 2011 12:02 am

Pero wrote:
adinatha wrote:For me whether it is Nyingma or Kagyu, lineage and guru are all-important. I don't recognize a path of teachings or practice that can possibly go beyond this. The limit of accomplishment of the teacher is the limit of accomplishment of the student. There is no getting around that. Despite what tantras and sutras say, if the master has not actualized it, they don't mean much.

That's not true, one can achieve Buddhahood even if one's teacher hasn't. Milarepa says hi. :)


You think Marpa didn't achieve buddhahood? That's funny.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby username » Tue May 10, 2011 12:19 am

Different levels of teachings for different levels of capacity, stage and circumstances from Hinayana up.

Second point. If one does not follow Dzogchen teachings and masters, then you are entitled to disagree with Dzogchen tantras which are unambiguous and very clear. But it's best to either research deeply for some years, preferably at khenpo level or post-doctorate for non buddhists, or at least ask your teacher, most probably with Dzogchen samayas, before you attack Dzogchen tantras' positions in public. Asking people not to state Dzogchen's main self positioning and hierarchy as supreme and as regularly stated in various tantras, termas and various deities' and Buddhas' teachings is pushing it too far, specially in the Dzogchen sub-forum.

Cutting through the sophistry on the third question, the essence of the issue is whether a student can outgrow the level of realization or stages or bhumis of her teacher? The lion's cubs can outshine their parent. Shakyamuni who also had teachers he well outshone, said in response to mainly Hindu ritualist obsessives "first test my teachings' veracity for yourself as you test for gold" and "I only show you the way, ONLY you can save yourself". As said the rare loops are lowered onto samaric ocean's surface to save beings but are usually useless as rarer still does someone grab them. No voodoo here.
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 10, 2011 12:28 am

Dhondrub wrote:I cant believe you guys are having this conversation. This teaching is better... no, my teaching is better... i came to the conclusion my teaching is the best.

And who said Marpa wasnt enlightend?


This is normal. Used to happen on e-Sangha all the time. This is one reason we shut the Dzogchen forum down.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Tue May 10, 2011 12:37 am

adinatha wrote:
Pero wrote:
adinatha wrote:For me whether it is Nyingma or Kagyu, lineage and guru are all-important. I don't recognize a path of teachings or practice that can possibly go beyond this. The limit of accomplishment of the teacher is the limit of accomplishment of the student. There is no getting around that. Despite what tantras and sutras say, if the master has not actualized it, they don't mean much.

That's not true, one can achieve Buddhahood even if one's teacher hasn't. Milarepa says hi. :)


You think Marpa didn't achieve buddhahood? That's funny.

That's not what I meant or thought I was saying. What I meant was that as far as I remember Milarepa achieved Buddhahood before Marpa did. However according to you that shouldn't be possible since you think that a student cannot surpass his teacher. In other words, Milarepa would only have been able to achieve Buddhahood only after Marpa had already achieved it.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 10, 2011 12:57 am

Pero wrote:That's not what I meant or thought I was saying. What I meant was that as far as I remember Milarepa achieved Buddhahood before Marpa did. However according to you that shouldn't be possible since you think that a student cannot surpass his teacher. In other words, Milarepa would only have been able to achieve Buddhahood only after Marpa had already achieved it.



Impossible, Marpa died before Milarepa attained realization.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Tue May 10, 2011 1:14 am

Namdrol wrote:
Pero wrote:That's not what I meant or thought I was saying. What I meant was that as far as I remember Milarepa achieved Buddhahood before Marpa did. However according to you that shouldn't be possible since you think that a student cannot surpass his teacher. In other words, Milarepa would only have been able to achieve Buddhahood only after Marpa had already achieved it.



Impossible, Marpa died before Milarepa attained realization.

Hmm, I don't remember that (or perhaps never knew). In any case it's not really clear to me what you're saying. Marpa died and achieved Buddhahood while Milarepa was still alive and he hasn't achieved it?
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Jinzang » Tue May 10, 2011 1:16 am

I try to stay out of these arguments over which teaching is highest, though not always successfully, as in this case. I know the "book answer" on which is higher and have no wish to argue with it. But, in practical terms, I don't think it makes any difference to most practitioners. In my opinion, you should study with whichever teacher inspires you the most, as long as they are a qualified Mahayana teacher. The biggest danger in practice is a lack of sincerity, which means subtly distorting the teachings so they don't threaten your ego. And I think a strong relationship with a teacher is they best way to prevent that.

I view the teachings through a very personal lens, meaning that I judge them by how helpful they've been to me. And my experience has been that I haven't gotten anything out of Dzogchen that I haven't also found in Mahamudra. The preliminary practices are obviously different. But once you get to the main body of khregs.chod, the practical instructions are similar. So one or the other might be more to your taste, I couldn't see a great difference. Quite possibly this reflects my limitations as a practitioner. It similar to the rang.stong gzhan.stong controversy. One some days the one seems more appealing, on other days, the other. And so I find myself coming down somewhere in the middle.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 10, 2011 1:18 am

Pero wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Pero wrote:That's not what I meant or thought I was saying. What I meant was that as far as I remember Milarepa achieved Buddhahood before Marpa did. However according to you that shouldn't be possible since you think that a student cannot surpass his teacher. In other words, Milarepa would only have been able to achieve Buddhahood only after Marpa had already achieved it.



Impossible, Marpa died before Milarepa attained realization.

Hmm, I don't remember that (or perhaps never knew). In any case it's not really clear to me what you're saying. Marpa died and achieved Buddhahood while Milarepa was still alive and he hasn't achieved it?


Just that Marpa died while Mila was shortly into his 12 years of retreat.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 10, 2011 1:20 am

Jinzang wrote:And my experience has been that I haven't gotten anything out of Dzogchen that I haven't also found in Mahamudra.


From the POV of meditation, there is very little difference in meditating tregchö, inseparability of samsara and nirvana and mahāmudra.

There are differences in explanation and emphasis, but main point is more or less the same: equipoise in tha mal gi shes pa.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Tue May 10, 2011 1:41 am

Namdrol wrote:Just that Marpa died while Mila was shortly into his 12 years of retreat.

Ok. In any case, it was just an example I thought of, even if incorrect, it wasn't the point.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Pero » Tue May 10, 2011 1:48 am

I just realized Adinatha is correct in a way. From the POV of the student the teacher must be a Buddha, otherwise the student cannot achieve Buddhahood. If from the POV of the student the teacher is less than a Buddha then the student can only become less than a Buddha too. However, from the POV of the teacher it doesn't matter whether he himself is a Buddha or not, his student can achieve Buddhahood regardless.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby tamdrin » Tue May 10, 2011 2:09 am

the idea that dzogchen is an "easier path" than Mahamudra is complete and utter hype!... The nyingmapa's do more ngondro's by far than any other sect to begin with.. Even in drikung the yangzab is traditionally done 400,000 times for each exercise, as opposed to 100,000 of each in the Mahamudra, then there are tons of Mantras for the 3 roots and everything that goes with it.. etc. just making a point
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 10, 2011 2:24 am

tamdrin wrote:the idea that dzogchen is an "easier path" than Mahamudra is complete and utter hype!... The nyingmapa's do more ngondro's by far than any other sect to begin with.. Even in drikung the yangzab is traditionally done 400,000 times for each exercise, as opposed to 100,000 of each in the Mahamudra, then there are tons of Mantras for the 3 roots and everything that goes with it.. etc. just making a point


That is in Drikung.

In dgongs pa zang thal the original texts state one week of refuge, twenty one days of vajrasattva, etc.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Heruka » Tue May 10, 2011 2:33 am

Namdrol wrote:In dgongs pa zang thal the original texts state one week of refuge, twenty one days of vajrasattva, etc.



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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby adinatha » Tue May 10, 2011 6:10 am

Namdrol wrote:
tamdrin wrote:the idea that dzogchen is an "easier path" than Mahamudra is complete and utter hype!... The nyingmapa's do more ngondro's by far than any other sect to begin with.. Even in drikung the yangzab is traditionally done 400,000 times for each exercise, as opposed to 100,000 of each in the Mahamudra, then there are tons of Mantras for the 3 roots and everything that goes with it.. etc. just making a point


That is in Drikung.

In dgongs pa zang thal the original texts state one week of refuge, twenty one days of vajrasattva, etc.


The whole 100,000 thing is pretty new. In Dakpo Tashi Namgyal's teaching of Mahamudra in "Crystal Clear," the only preliminary that's really talked about is Vajrasattva, and then it was suggested only to do 21 days, and the empowerment of "blessings" can replace a four part initiation into a mandala. This indicates that Milarepa and Gampopa did not emphasize preliminaries. Milarepa used to get people on tummo after pointing out instructions right away. For tummo was the preliminary. In the Six Yogas of Niguma a visualization using the syllable "A" in the channels was used in lieu of Vajrasattva. When things got really standardized and monastic was sometime deep into the new translation period. Now that things are spreading in the west, teachers are modifying or finding the most streamlined versions of practices for professional type folks with jobs. Some are still pretty traditional.
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Re: Dzogchen with or without ngondro?

Postby Sönam » Tue May 10, 2011 9:36 am

The highest teachings are "always" the one that fits the best to a specific individual, and it cannot be otherwise, so such a discussion on "the better" is a total nonsense ... and certainly in a Dzogchen threat where "of course" Dzogchen is the best teaching.

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