Studying Nyingma

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Studying Nyingma

Postby sangyey » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:46 pm

Hi,

I am looking for some good texts/books to study in the Nyingma Lineage. I have been following a Nyingma teacher but as far as study goes it has been mainly based on Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim, Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, and webcasts by HH Dalai Lama. If anyone has any ideas please post as others and myself can use this post in the future for reference on Nyingma study and learning.

Thank you.

~Sangyey
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Paul » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:58 pm

This is THE Nyingma book.

http://www.amazon.com/Nyingma-School-Ti ... 0861711998

Image

Any of the books by Dudjom Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche are worth reading. These three teachers were actually buddhas.

Brilliant Moon (by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche) and Blazing Splendor (by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche) are very useful autobiographies that will give you a good idea of the main people involved in the Nyingma lineage in recent years.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby gnegirl » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:08 pm

Hayagriva wrote:This is THE Nyingma book.

http://www.amazon.com/Nyingma-School-Ti ... 0861711998

Image

Any of the books by Dudjom Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche are worth reading. These three teachers were actually buddhas.

Brilliant Moon (by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche) and Blazing Splendor (by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche) are very useful autobiographies that will give you a good idea of the main people involved in the Nyingma lineage in recent years.


Yep...its a bit long tho
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." --Surangama Sutra

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:36 pm

Tulku Thondup's "Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet" - not actually Nyingma per se but presenting the lives of 36 or so great masters in the Longchen Nyingthig lineage.

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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby sangyey » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:45 pm

:anjali:

Does Nyingma utilize Atisha's lam rim system? Is there a specific commentator on it?
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby orgyen jigmed » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:14 pm

According to the Nyingma Tradition, first you must become a disciple of an 'authentic master' - who according to Patrul Rinpoche in his Kunzang lama'i Shelung, is not so easy to find during this degenerate age! Then, it is up to you to become an authentic recipient, by focusing single pointedly on his instructions.

Should you want to read more on the Nyingma path, you may also want to consult Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa's 'Entering the City of Omniscience: An aspiration prayer for actualizing the words of Truth'.

Some consider this prayer to be like a proven Nyingma road map, that guarantees the re-discovery of authentic freedom.

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/city.htm
"If the aspiration for enlightenment is your motivation in coming to see me, there is no remedy except meditative practice. I, too, will only practice." - Zurpoche Sakya Jungne
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby ngodrup » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:20 pm

In the Nyingma tradition we use what I like to call
"reverse lam rim" in other words, the lama will try to
introduce you to Dzogchen view, if that fails, there's
Tantric view, or ngondro, or lastly Sutra studies. ;)
Joking just a little here, but it oftentimes works that way.

Anyway, Atisha's Lam Rim is mainly studied by the
Sarma. It was believed that after the supression
of Buddhism in TIbet, that original Buddhism
had become corrupted, and that therefore it was
necessary for Atisha at come and clarify how
Sutra and Tantra are compatible. Well, he met
a great yogi-scholar named Rangzom Chokyi Zangpo.
They debated and Atisha did not win! In fact he said
that had he known there were such masters in Tibet
his (Atisha's) coming would have been unnecessary.

Now, do we study sutra? Yes, definitely. But we study
our own commentarial literature such as the writings
of Longchenpa, Rangzompa, Mipham, Lochen Dharmashri,
etc. The wrote many great commentaries on Classical
Indian texts like the Madhyamakavatara as well as their
own books on tenets, etc.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Josef » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:22 pm

sangyey wrote::anjali:

Does Nyingma utilize Atisha's lam rim system? Is there a specific commentator on it?

There is a really good "lam rim" text by Jigme Lingpa.
Here is the link:
http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/i ... -711-3.cfm
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Jinzang » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:16 am

Well regarded introductory Nyingma texts are "Words of my Perfect Teacher" and "Treasury of Precious Qualities." Beyond that, Tulku Thonup's "The Practice of Dzogchen" is the best introduction to dzogchen, though a bit hard to read on your own, For the philosophical view of Nyingma, anything by Mipham Rinpoche.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby sangyey » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:54 am

Is the study of Dzogchen something recommended for any level of experience? To me it seems like something that would be nice to study and learn about but I don't even practice tantra right now. Not sure if studying it from the beginning would be a good idea or is recommened as it may help establish a view about practice or if it's better just to study and practice sutra and tantra (perhaps) until one is at that level?
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Josef » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:26 am

sangyey wrote:Is the study of Dzogchen something recommended for any level of experience? To me it seems like something that would be nice to study and learn about but I don't even practice tantra right now. Not sure if studying it from the beginning would be a good idea or is recommened as it may help establish a view about practice or if it's better just to study and practice sutra and tantra (perhaps) until one is at that level?


Dzogchen is a complete path.
If you are interested in it, you should look into it and check out a Dzogchen Community webcast.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Pero » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:32 am

sangyey wrote:Is the study of Dzogchen something recommended for any level of experience?

If you're interested, why not.
I don't think "The Practice of Dzogchen" is a good introductory book at all though.

To me it seems like something that would be nice to study and learn about

Perhaps it's nice, but it's pointless, waste of time. Probably many much more fun things to waste time on.

Not sure if studying it from the beginning would be a good idea or is recommened as it may help establish a view about practice or if it's better just to study and practice sutra and tantra (perhaps) until one is at that level?

Unless you receive Dzogchen teachings you will never be "at that level".
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.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby ngodrup » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:38 am

sangyey wrote:Is the study of Dzogchen something recommended for any level of experience? To me it seems like something that would be nice to study and learn about but I don't even practice tantra right now. Not sure if studying it from the beginning would be a good idea or is recommened as it may help establish a view about practice or if it's better just to study and practice sutra and tantra (perhaps) until one is at that level?


It is not generally recommended to study Dzogchen prior to having been introduced by one's Lama.
The reason is on might develop views "about" it that will prove to be an obstacle to actual knowledge.
Since Dzogchen is related with Tantra, a typical prerequisite would be to have taken an empowerment
such as for Guru Rinpoche or Vajrakilaya. So, as a preparation, normally we do some ngondro if not complete,
and study various views of emptiness as well as have some familiarity with Nyingma theory and practice of tantra--
which is distinctive.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby username » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:34 pm

Longchenpa wrote texts that made Dzogchen's lower analytical view sort of closer and more palatable to Sarma. Much later Jigmed Lingpa's introductory analytical view system is close to Gelugs (though his main teaching is his Dzogchen terma) and Dodrubchen lineage (+ Nyushols etc.) who are historically close still very much follow that. Longchenpa & Jigmed Lingpa & Rongzom are "the three all omniscient" ones of Nyingma and Jigmed Lingpa's Longchen Nyingthic and cycles of Dudjom Lingpa/Dudjom Rinpoche tersar are the big Dzogchen tantras recently but hundreds of other terma cycles exist(ed) and more to come yet as these terma were hidden mainly by Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal for different times. A true Nyingma is actually blind to schools and looks at the master, for example HHDL is a great master as was Reting or Sakya's Chokyi Lodro Khyentse and the first Great Khyentse was also one of the all time greats as was Karmapa 16 as a practitioner and master yogi and all Kagyus are close to Nyingma from Karma to Drukpa to Drikung etc. who also have terma from Lotus Born as did Sakya Khyentses. This is not just propaganda but even great historic masters and tertons like Kongtrul and Chogyur Lingpa were looking up at Buddhas like the great Khyentse and Dudjom Lingpa. So it depens on the person. The book Nangwa recommended is sort of close to a Lam Rim version of Nyingma. However Patrul's Words of My Perfect Teacher is a bigger hit for a century now though, specially after Mipham brought a lot of ideas into Nyingma that was different to the pervious ideas of the 19th/18th century (closer to Gelug system) after earlier Jigmed Lingpa. Jigmed Lingpa & Dudjoms Dzogchen terma practice cycles are still producing rainbow bodies. Ironically I'd say the 3 books by KaNying (Kagyu+Nying) masters Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (Rainbow painting, As It Is vol.s 1 & 2) and his son Tsoknyi Rinpoche (Carefree Dignity) are the best entry to Dzogchen for the beginner as well as seasoned yogi which is the pinnacle and heart of Nyingma views and practices. They gave/give Dzogchen teaching and even Direct Introduction to all sorts of people without ngondro as does Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and as did other great masters before depending on the people they encountered. Dudjom Rinpoche & specially his son Thinley Norbu also have that ineffable truly magic touch in their books to follow on from.
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: Studying Nyingma

Postby sangyey » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:42 pm

:anjali:

Username you stated in your above post that Nyingma's look toward the master. Is this a thing Nyingma's generally like to do perhaps a little more specifically than others school might emphasis?

Also, why is the term 'cycle' used?

and

What is Nyingma's philosophical view on emptiness or what school of Madhyamaka do they follow?
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Zenda » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:01 pm

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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Josef » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:12 pm

sangyey wrote:What is Nyingma's philosophical view on emptiness or what school of Madhyamaka do they follow?

Nyingmapa's in general arent very rigid when it comes to this.
You can study and come to your own conclusions about this topic.
Personally, I look to Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, and Gorampa for Madhyamaka study.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby Paul » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:47 pm

sangyey wrote::anjali:

Username you stated in your above post that Nyingma's look toward the master. Is this a thing Nyingma's generally like to do perhaps a little more specifically than others school might emphasis?

Also, why is the term 'cycle' used?

and

What is Nyingma's philosophical view on emptiness or what school of Madhyamaka do they follow?


http://www.nyingma.com/dzogchen2.htm
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby ngodrup » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:55 pm

sangyey wrote::anjali:
What is Nyingma's philosophical view on emptiness or what school of Madhyamaka do they follow?


Nyingmapas are Madhyamikas-- but consider this-- our our epistemology and
dialectic antedates the Sarma generally and Tsongkhapa spcifically. You won't
typically find us debating Shentong, Rangtong or Prasangika. We generally like
the more intuitive view of Svatantrika. From a practice point of view this is useful.
We don't generally emphasize debate.

Realistically, modern Nyingmapas are Prasangikas, but historically these distinctions
didn't really exist. And, Mipham argues that Je Tsongkhapa is himself a Svatantrika!
Sakyapas, following from Rongtön and Gorampa hold the position that the distinction
between these two schools is merely of pedagogical nature. With regard to the view
of the ultimate truth both have no difference. Dzogchen view would emphasize this
as well.

So, to understand these things we really need to understand that Gelug view is not
necessarily normative, and temper Je Tsongkhapa with views from scholars of other
schools. Read Omniscient Rangzompa if you have access to his writing. Otherwise
"Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara with Commentary"
by Ju Mipham will be really helpful.
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Re: Studying Nyingma

Postby username » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:44 am

Hi Sangyey, few points before I answer your questions. Firstly nyingma.com is an incognito site of aro which is a western guy claiming to be a terton without any lama supporting that claim. Nyingmas know very well the grave dangers of false tertons as detailed by Padmasambhava. However the famous beautiful letter of late Nyushol posted with good intentions of Hayagriva is well known. As I said before there are different views on the necessity of ngondro before taking Dzogchen teachings or even Direct Introduction. Frankly masters incorporate Dzogchen into their every moment and make it the dominant POV in their various teachings implicitly or explicitly. Ngondro depends on the dzogchen path of a guru and what he advises, some ask for it aome don't and they all respect each others' various ways and lineages. Also you can have more than one Dzogchen guru and follow their varying advice on their teachings simultaneously. You can either have one guru or more, the choice is yours and the latter is unavoidable for almost all of great practitioners and masters in history till now.

I have to say only asking a guru's permission or even advice about what one can study as advised above to you in the name of being 'safest', has nothing to do with TB or Nyingma. A master would not say in Tibet to his students, if you come across a a teaching being given, travel back to me and ask if it's 'safest' to take that teaching or read a text. This is just against TB & Nyingma tradition of taking teachings from different masters like a bee visiting different flowers. Even more illogical to give you a list of what to study after saying following a lama on what to read is safest.

Username you stated in your above post that Nyingma's look toward the master. Is this a thing Nyingma's generally like to do perhaps a little more specifically than others school might emphasis?

Dzogchen is the pinnacle of the view and practices. Different levels, Mahayana & Vajrayana yogas & Mahamudra/Dzogchen, were revealed after Shakyamuni in stages. Garab Dorje brought Dzogchen back to this lucky rare planet. Padmasambhava manifested to finish this process and he left termas for a long time after himself. Then things go down in Kaliyuga and Maitreya the fifth Buddha, comes and the process is repeated though in different ways, and then so on for different future Buddhas. So as Nyingmas we look at tertons (of different schools) and masters such as the Karmapa who is the the sixth Buddha, Lion's Roar, or HHDL or any other great master regardless of schools. Great beings reincarnate in different schools. Also the source of emanations, from various Buddhas to Padma and his consorts to Vima& Vairo & Trsiong etc., manifest in all schools and even in secret normal people either as whole or in part or in combination. Buddhas' intention might manifest as a strategic bridge that saves many lives during centuries or a certain hospital or certain works of art etc. Also we highly value great practitioners who becme great masters/mistresses by their own efforts regardless of lineage/school or a practitioner who makes great progress in a single lifetime. In a way this is the best. You can sense the great masters/mistresses of varying schools/lineages in their presence and also by what they say and do.
Also, why is the term 'cycle' used?

Here is what I meant. A terton's terma practice can be of many types. Some are secret or not to be revealed for others or a wide circle. Some do not get revealed or are delayed due to circumstances. Some are very small target specific practices, but some are medium or large 'cycles'. This means that cycle has different levels and stages. So a major large cycle might have an ngondro to generation/completion stages to trekcho/thogal, ie: a complete cycle from A-to-Z. A major terton might have many small to medium to even several large terma cycles. See link 1 below.

What is Nyingma's philosophical view on emptiness or what school of Madhyamaka do they follow?


Two things to keep in mind. Nyingmas are not centralized. They are a diverse set of lineages historically, anything from a village/family terma or practice lineage to a minor/major mega multi-complex monastery tradtion to diverse followers of a majotr terton (Jigmed Lingpa/Dudjom/etc.) to a mix of above (usual). So there are different emphasis in different monasteries where Madhyamaka is taught. Dodrubchen's is different to Kathok is different Mindrolling to Dzogchen Monastery etc. Great masters studied most as well as other schools. There are many historical debates, Nagarjuna/Chandra vs. Asangha/Vasu or Rangtong vs. Shentong or Prasangika vs. Citamttra vs. Yogacara etc. In his big red book Dudjom praises all traditions and even corrects Yogacara into a proper context he calls greater Madhyamaka's Yogacara based on a firm grounding of Prasangika. A lot of these were historic swings of the pendulum to avoid extremes. So we accept them all for a reason, to moderate.

The ultimate truth can not be stated like a concept, though concepts are necessary to make progress initially till enlightenment. Generally on philosophy, I would say Mipham changed things by bringing in more clarity into the philosophical tradition taught to monks at a time when it was much needed, though Jigmed Lingpa's tradition also thrives as I said. Though most of what Mipham said was stated before, but his context and compilation and mastery was novel, very powerful, apt and still influential. I think every Ningma should read Mipham's Beacon of Certainty (links below) even if they don't fully understand it. We also believe in diversity and freedom of debate and think the revival of suppressed Jonangs as well as Shentongs by Tsultrim/Kalu etc. or any other cultural heirtage is good. But one must not dwell too much on conceptual stages/debates and use them as tools and means not the end. Same with Mipham whose philosophy, like all Buddhist ideas/philosphy, is ultimately a stepping stone towards the ultimate realization which is possible by the practice of Vajrayana/Mahamudra/Dzogchen.

Frankly one could spend many lifetimes on all these and never finish. So we have to look at our circumstances and make a plan. Ultimately Dzogchen view, simply same as Buddha's or Prasangika as Longchenpa showed, incorporates all. However a firm grounding in Buddha's basic teachings (4 truths, 8fold noble path), 4 thoughts which turn the mind from samsara, etc. and a baisc understanding of emptiness and Madhyamaka is necessary for all. But one can also develop these more with further study in time and practicing Vajrayana and specially Dzogchen to make things clearer and see how many paths are there to help different people and types of beings in this world and time as well as others. So it's best to relax and take things slowly one day at a time and mix study with practice as well as personal contemplation on how things really are from day to day in our lives. Probably lots of mistakes in what I said as a typical ignorant so do ask various vajra sisters/brothers (as is our tradition) and teachers you connect to even if they say diverse things, which is ultimately great. Good luck.
Links:
1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigdral_Ye ... jom_Tersar
Miphms Beacon of Certainty:
2: http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... _Certainty
3: Pettit's book: http://www.wisdompubs.org/pages/display ... n=&image=1
4: His PhD thesis which was polished to be printed as the book above. First link for download as PDF: http://vajrayana.faithweb.com/rich_text_6.html
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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