A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Pero » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:11 pm

That isn't Semde instruction as far as I know and it isn't the same as the second yoga. Certainly I haven't heard/read about doing the 4 yogas in the dark as a beginner and I don't think it would be beneficial. If you want Dzogchen Semde instructions you can read books like Precious Ship (Longchenpa's system), Introduction To The Practice of Contemplation (4 yogas, Khams system?) and Semde teachings of Sogdogpa Lodro Gyaltsen (Nyang system). But I'm not sure how it is with transmission in this case, if you need something particular or if direct introduction is sufficient. Before Rinpoche often explained the 4 yogas but recently not so much it seems to me. And in 5 years I think I only heard once a teaching like that of SLG (perhaps it was even his, not sure).
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:45 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Any ideas on a more cost-effective way than this to block all sunlight out of a room?

http://www.blackoutez.com/

I guess one could tape black garbage bags over the windows with blue painter's tape, but it would be a pain to everyday, and would have to buy blue tape all the time. Although I guess one could just leave the bags up, and then close the blinds over them in hopes that the blinds would cover the ghettoness of them when one is not doing this kind of meditation.


Typically Dzogchen practice in the dark is done as a retreat during which one stays in the dark from start to finish. There are also specific instructions for the practices done in dark retreat - one doesn't just block out the light and wing it. Also, when doing this practice according to the proper instructions, having a qualified teacher physically there to guide and advise one is indispensible as proper dark retreat has the potential to either really screw one up mentally or cause one's practice to go astray, so a qualified lama is indispensible for guiding one out of psychosis if it happens, or making sure one's practice is hitting the mark.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:40 pm

Thanks for the suggestions Pero and Pema Rigdzin; however I don't know if you clicked on the link to the Berzinarchives webpage I quoted, but what I bolded in that quote is in the context of Dzogchen, but not Dark Retreat. And I have read Introduction to Contemplation by Rinpoche, yet couldn't remember if anything was written there about any stage of Dzogchen practice, aside from Dark Retreat, where we should practice in total darkness in order to avoid visual distractions (that is until we become more familiar with the separation of Samsara and Nirvana as to be able to Integrate visual perceptions as well). So I should study that book more. Well, we do have the Practice of Night/Dream Yoga which serves as a total darkness/eyes-closed Contemplation.... Anyhow, if you go back and visit the mentioned Berzinarchives link I posted about three posts back, that is if you haven't already, and peruse it a bit, it would provide more context for this discussion.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Pero » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:36 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Thanks for the suggestions Pero and Pema Rigdzin; however I don't know if you clicked on the link to the Berzinarchives webpage I quoted, but what I bolded in that quote is in the context of Dzogchen, but not Dark Retreat. And I have read Introduction to Contemplation by Rinpoche, yet couldn't remember if anything was written there about any stage of Dzogchen practice, aside from Dark Retreat, where we should practice in total darkness in order to avoid visual distractions (that is until we become more familiar with the separation of Samsara and Nirvana as to be able to Integrate visual perceptions as well). So I should study that book more. Well, we do have the Practice of Night/Dream Yoga which serves as a total darkness/eyes-closed Contemplation.... Anyhow, if you go back and visit the mentioned Berzinarchives link I posted about three posts back, that is if you haven't already, and peruse it a bit, it would provide more context for this discussion.

Lhug-pa I'm sorry but I'm confused, what exactly is it that you want to know?
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:47 pm

In short, Alexander Berzin got the idea from somewhere, that on some level of non-dark-retreat Dzogchen meditation, it is best to avoid external visual perceptions by meditating in total darkness (i.e. before being able Integrate all 'external' visual perception in Rigpa). Either he came up with this on his own, or most likely learned it from a Dzogchen Guru such as the Dalai Lama.

Has Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, or any other Dzogchen Lama that anyone is aware of, taught anything like this?


To reiterate:



Lhug-Pa wrote:
Berzinarchives wrote:
Method of Meditating

To avoid distraction from sensory cognition, we meditate in total darkness and total silence with three immovables (mi-g.yo-ba gsum):

immovable body - with body straight, hands either in the meditation pose in our laps or lightly resting on the knees,
immovable senses - with eyes neither closed nor wide open, but gazing naturally in front,
immovable mind - not actively thinking, with no thoughts of the past or future, and with no analysis. We just rest in the present moment of awareness, fresh and uncontrived, without being self-conscious about what we are doing. In other words, even if a thought arises, we do not follow it out.


Is the above-mentioned mi-g.yo-ba gsum related to the Migyurwa (non-movement) which is the Second Naljor of Semde described in The Crystal by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche?

For beginners, is sitting in total darkness best for formal Four-Naljors-of-Semde sessions?
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Pero » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:57 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:In short, Alexander Berzin got the idea from somewhere, that on some level of non-dark-retreat Dzogchen meditation, it is best to avoid external visual perceptions by meditating in total darkness. Either he came up with this on his own, or most likely learned it from a Dzogchen Guru such as the Dalai Lama.

Has Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, or any other Dzogchen Lamas, taught anything like this?

I've never heard this from Rinpoche in the teachings I've attended. And to your questions, again, IMO this is not miyowa of the 4 yogas of semde and no, I don't think it's best to do them in the dark since you won't find this instruction in any of the above mentioned books. That is not to say that this is wrong instruction or something. It's just not related to the 4 yogas and I don't think it's a good idea to mix them.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:04 pm

Okay thanks Pero.

Unless or until anyone knows where Alexander Berzin is coming from with this, I'll just have to read the entire two-part essay, and research from there. Because like I said, even though he is talking about Dzogchen meditation in total darkness, I'm quite sure that it is NOT in the context of Dark Retreat. That's why it caught my attention.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Adamantine » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:33 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Okay thanks Pero.

Unless or until anyone knows where Alexander Berzin is coming from with this, I'll just have to read the entire two-part essay, and research from there. Because like I said, even though he is talking about Dzogchen meditation in total darkness, I'm quite sure that it is NOT in the context of Dark Retreat. That's why it caught my attention.


Maybe it's best to look to Dzogchen masters for Dzogchen instruction.... I don't believe this is Alexander Berzin's primary expertise.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:00 pm

True. Although from what I've read, Alexander Berzin doesn't seem to be the type to make stuff up as he goes along. Although maybe he's somehow mistaken about this, I don't know.

I haven't read the cited entire two-part essay yet (it doesn't look like it's very long); but once I do, there will be more context to compare his said essay to what the Masters have taught.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Adamantine » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:49 am

Lhug-Pa wrote:True. Although from what I've read, Alexander Berzin doesn't seem to be the type to make stuff up as he goes along. Although maybe he's somehow mistaken about this, I don't know.

.


Well, even reading the first section which your link goes to with it's historical breakdown of Nyingma/Dzogchen is laughable when you compare it to the history Dudjom Rinpoche elaborates in the big red book "The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism". It just makes Berzin appear like a dunce. Probably, this just isn't his expertise... who knows what sources he's drawing from, he certainly doesn't cite them.
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Sönam » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:27 am

Alexander Berzin has more a Gelugpa cursus ... as far as I remember.

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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:29 pm

Laughable because it is incorrect?

Or laughable simply because it has a lot of holes in it (i.e. is very incomplete)?

In any case, is it the consensus—despite the Gelugpa Alexander Berzin's recommendation to—that it is totally unnecessary for a Dzogchenpa (or aspiring Dzogchenpa), who has not yet recognized Nyimed, to meditate in the dark, that is outside the context of Dark Retreat and Dream Yoga?
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Adamantine » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:36 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Laughable because it is incorrect?

Or laughable simply because it has a lot of holes in it (i.e. is very incomplete)?



Well, it's incomplete and also appears to be inaccurate. For one example: he mentions the reason for Shantarakshita's obstacles and exile as singularly being an outbreak of smallpox that was blamed on him. And then Guru Rinpoche was invited, and "drove out the demons who had caused the smallpox".

This when compared with Dudjom Rinpoche's account seems reductionist and inaccurate. To quote from the translation of his text:
[Shantarakshita] granted the eight vows to some, but when he taught the doctrines of the ten virtues and of the eighteen psychophysical bases, the savage demons and deities of Tibet became angry. Lightening struck Marpori [the "Red Mountain", site of the present Potala Palace] and the palace at Phangtang was swept away by a flood. The harvest was destroyed and great calamities befell the country. Evil ministers said, "This is due to the practice of the doctrine. The master should be banished to his own country."


It is too much to ask me to transcribe the whole chapter, but let's just say there are plenty more details that elaborate a history that Berzin completely ignores.. By saying there was simply a smallpox epidemic and that's the thing Guru Rinpoche came to stop is absurd.

That's one example, but it appears that Berzin's sense of history and basic information are highly questionable -- at least when it comes to the Nyingma / Ancient Tradition. Perhaps his accounts of Gelug history are more accurate, I wouldn't know.

In any case, is it the consensus—despite the Gelugpa Alexander Berzin's recommendation to—that it is totally unnecessary for a Dzogchenpa (or aspiring Dzogchenpa), who has not yet recognized Nyimed, to meditate in the dark, that is outside the context of Dark Retreat and Dream Yoga?


I simple don't know. For a confident answer you would need to actually ask a Dzogchen master who has extensive knowledge of the breadth of the tradition-- since it is possible at least that in one or two Dzogchen lineage streams there may be some practice like the one he describes. Regardless, this seems like a scholastic question for you and not one relevant for your practice -- for the simple reason that we should really only be practicing that which we have transmission and instruction for-- not getting an idea from a website and trying to accomplish it on our lonesome!
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Re: A. Berzin's Dzogchen Archive

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:08 pm

Thanks Adamantine.

I'll try to reply again soon. :anjali:
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