Jax wrote:Wow! What amazing sharings of profound erudition! However, perhaps being a bit of a contrarian, I might suggest that there is no need for a Dzogchenpa to accurately understand in a precise way any of these philosophical details. The common ground for Dzogchen and Madhyamaka is the experiential wisdom of nirvikalpam samadhi. Through applying the Madhyamaka dialectic a non-analytical "samadhi" results, nirvikalpa samadhi. This is a non-dual state, the realization of "kadag". It's a condition of utter transparency. It's vividness is lhundrup. The "vividness" is an alert Knowingess of it's condition. If you realize kadag, lhundrup is automatically there, no further study or practice is necessary as they are inseparable from the beginning. Lhundrup is not some unique quality that only Dzogchenpas can know. The "luminosity" is fully mentioned in Hinayana and Mahayana sutra. We should perhaps discuss methods to come to nirvikalpam samadhi, or concept-free Knowingness. It is only in nirvikalpa samadhi that we may access the fully liberating non-conceptual yeshe or Wisdom. There is no need to know anything about all these conceptual details for realization. Liberation is not an "understanding", but rather is non-dual samadhi or ting'e dzin. Newbies maybe overwhelmed by all of these discussions "about" rigpa, but one is only ever introduced to one's natural state, through samadhi, no matter how it's "triggered". I very much appreciated Xabir's experiential sharing. Knowing the origins or definitions of the base intellectually brings one no closer to samadhi or ting'e dzin. However, as a personal note, I do enjoy the scholarly discussions greatly, yet I know a precise intellectual understanding regarding Dzogchen has nothing to do with non-conceptual self-knowing or yeshe. The one doesn't lead to the other...
Good to see you back Jax, things seem to be going better this time around, you seem to be choosing your words better which isn't giving off such an advaita-esque feel to your insight. I agree that there isn't an essential need "to know anything about all these conceptual details for realization" as you said, but for some it may be helpful and necessary. It's easy to get lost in wrong view and misunderstanding which can veil and obscure Dzogchen. For instance(as stated earlier in this thread) it is important to know the difference between the natural state and kun gzhi, failure to make this distinction is suicide in this teaching.
I'd also argue that non-conceptual knowingness isn't an essential prerequisite to accessing the natural state, it can be helpful, but one does need to understand that in becoming attached to the actual experience of non-conceptual knowingness (or hope for non-conceptual knowingness) that very non-conceptual knowingness becomes an object in and of itself, and thus dualistic view(mistaken as wisdom) supersedes and obstructs the natural state if one lacks discrimination. Nirvikalpa samādhi is also a temporary state, one reaches this "summit" of nirvikalpa samādhi and then "regresses", it's actually a pseudo attainment(in the face of the natural state) and can be dangerous if one over-identifies with it instead of using it as a tool to access the natural state.
Even the Advaitin Shri Atmananda Krishna Menon downplayed nirvikalpa samadhi: "Some yogins hold that you can experience the Absolute only by going into the nirvikalpa state. If this is so, it is not the highest; since it limits the Absolute to a state, however broad.
Therefore, in order to reach the natural state, which is the highest, you have also to transcend this last taint, namely the misunderstanding that you can experience the Absolute only through nirvikalpa samādhi."
And then he even goes as far as to claim that the nirvikalpa state is artificial:"The pioneers of the traditional (cosmological) jnyāna path understood and interpreted the spontaneous state of deep sleep as the seat of causal ignorance. It was with a view to avoid or remove this ignorance by human effort that the nirvikalpa samādhi was invented. They succeeded in their goal only partially; because when they came out of the samādhi state, the shroud of ignorance engrossed them once again. So a permanent solution had to be sought again."
And mind you this is a teacher of Advaita... so I'd say that in Dzogchen this temporary state of nirvikalpa samādhi is even less appropriate. In Dzogchen the non-conceptual knowingness can tragically become an 'object' just like the nirvikalpa state(as said above), this is why the duality of stillness and movement must be seen as a fallacy, otherwise it can become a block,
Mipham elucidates this predicament;"When you rest your attention in naturalness without thinking anything whatsoever and maintain constant mindfulness in that state, you may experience a vacant and blank state of mind which is neutral and indifferent. If no vipashyana of decisive knowing is present, this is exactly what the masters call 'ignorance'. It is also called 'undecided' from the point of being unable to express any means of identification, such as 'It is like this!' or 'This is it!' Being unable to say what you are remaining in or thinking of, this state is labelled 'ordinary indifference'. But actually, it is just an ordinary and nonspecific abiding in the state of the all-ground.
Although nonconceptual wakefulness has to be developed through this method of resting meditation, to lack the wisdom that sees your own nature is not the main part of meditation practice. This is what the 'Aspiration of Samantabhadra' says:
'The vacant state of not thinking anything
Is itself the cause of ignorance and confusion.' ......."
- Mipham Rinpoche