Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

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Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:08 am

We all like attending teachings and planning for courses. We also like it when our teachers plan something 'advanced' for us to learn. I guess we like the idea of progress.
I'm wondering in a sincere way if we are not actually fooling ourselves?
If we accept the base as the path then who actually progresses? Isn't there a point when the lineage 'methods' get collected and conceptually held on to?
I'm not doubting the profundity of the methods, but could the wish to 'get' Dzogchen or to 'be' in Dzogchen not be something that obscures? Isn't the idea of 'progress' within Dzogchen or even the idea of a 'continuation' of realization falsely drawn? And in that sense an obscuration?
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri May 11, 2012 1:32 am

Andrew108 wrote:We all like attending teachings and planning for courses. We also like it when our teachers plan something 'advanced' for us to learn. I guess we like the idea of progress.
I'm wondering in a sincere way if we are not actually fooling ourselves?
If we accept the base as the path then who actually progresses? Isn't there a point when the lineage 'methods' get collected and conceptually held on to?
I'm not doubting the profundity of the methods, but could the wish to 'get' Dzogchen or to 'be' in Dzogchen not be something that obscures? Isn't the idea of 'progress' within Dzogchen or even the idea of a 'continuation' of realization falsely drawn? And in that sense an obscuration?


Notion of progression can be an obscuration, but literally doing nothing and not going down the path at all is guaranteed obscuration. The union of the base and the path is actually supposed to be a trifecta: base, path and fruit. The teacher introduces you to your innate natural state which is the basis, path and fruit. There is always the danger of conceptually grasping at methods, teachings, transmissions etc...

In the dharmakāya, Samantabhadra,
There is nobody called lama
And no scholar who teaches the doctrine of initiation.
In realizing your own mind as dharmakāya,
you obtain the initiations and oral transmissions of all the conquerors.
Grasping at transmission is just discursive thought.


But that is the nature of the beast. Some will get caught up, some will know how to traverse through these obstacles. The best advice I ever got was "don't get caught up in the bullshit", see the essence of the teaching and use the methods as methods, but stay the course.

In the end the wish to 'get it' does indeed obscure it, but that drive has to be present, there has to be the intention, the want and the desire. Dzogchen is unique because it is supposed to directly show you the goal right off the bat, so there is no doubt. Seeing the 'goal' and seeing that the goal indeed IS the base, path and fruit simultaneously is a practitioners greatest ally. But for some it isn't as apparent, or isn't recognized at all which makes it a hard path to follow.

Meditation is not foremost, realization is foremost;
If realization is not entered with confidence,
The meditator is merely meditating on a conceptual state,
The seeker is seeking with an afflicted clinging.
- kun tu bzang po che ba la rang gnas pa


Progress is a fallacy, but progress happens. You've seen the famous quote:

Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.
- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90


The buddha used to even play off of this truth in his didactic teachings with aspiring students: he would say suffering is caused by desire, go away and meditate and rid yourself of desire. If the students weren't quick witted they may spend days, months, years without realizing that they were indeed desiring not to desire. But for some... BOOM right then it would click and the futility of the path was seen, because they saw that there was no one to walk the path in the first place. Some however need to walk the path, and that is absolutely appropriate. Some get the futility of it but it hasn't fully clicked so there is work to do, and that is absolutely appropriate. Some will strive for years and may actualize it, or may not, and that too is absolutely appropriate.

It becomes an obscuration when it isn't understood that the very self who desires to achieve the goal, is an illusion. The experiential realization that the self is indeed an illusion(and therefore the goal is illusory) is the goal itself. So in striving to 'get there' the process just continually unfolds, that is why the relative condition is depicted as the cycle of samsara, circular, without beginning or end. Or why it is the "shoreless ocean" of samsara... one cannot get to 'there' from 'here'. The very act of pursuing the goal is actually creating the goal, and one is essentially chasing their own tail. The more one struggles the tighter the noose becomes around their throat.

What has to happen; is the direct apperception that the entire process is predicated on misnomers and illusions. That the "I" or "me" who could achieve anything is merely an idea or a concept which is being related to another concept called liberation. So the pseudo-subject then objectifies liberation into time and believes that it can access this liberation if it performs the right way or learns the right things. Some get caught up in the objectifying and don't see the fundamental delusion taking place, and thus they search and search, and some even feel they have achieved something, collected ornaments of the teaching etc. It is pure delusion. There is no "I" and there is no liberation, and the direct knowledge of this truth IS liberation. Liberation is the discovery that there never was anyone in bondage to begin with.

However! That being said, this is often misconstrued as advocating complete non-action. And many misinterpret this as meaning that they are 'already liberated' in their present state of ignorance. That is not the case. As long as there is a feeling of being an individual, afflicted perception is present. There is no subject or object in the exalted state, and that isn't a conceptual absence of self, if you feel you know there is no self, that is the self which knows. The realization will be an innate discovery, 100% self-evident and beyond the need for any clarification or confirmation. It is this present wakefulness and it needs no cultivation, but it is not the fragmented manner this present wakefulness appears in due to afflicted dualistic grasping.

Apart from this there is nothing whatsoever to clarify;
There is nothing whatsoever to establish;
Correctly view correctness itself.
By correctly seeing, you will be liberated.
- rten 'brel snying po

If you understand one dharma, you will not be ignorant of any dharma.
- chos kyi rgyal po

If you analyze the selflessness of dharmas,
And meditate after that analysis,
This is the cause which results in the attainment of nirvāṇa.
No other cause will be a basis (i.e. you will not attain buddhahood).
- gting nge 'dzin rgyal po'i mdo
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 11, 2012 3:42 am

asunthatneversets wrote:Dzogchen is unique because...



Buddhahood is an innate quality:

“Oh Vajradhara you must listen! Since buddhahood is unconditioned, there is no buddhahood through fabricated dharmas. The three kāyas of buddhahood are present as the kāya of prajñā. Since there are no material signs in the the kāya of prajñā, it is unaffected by the consequences of karma. Since this impure deluded appearance arises as buddhahood, there is no need to purify karma and traces.”
-- The Tantra of Buddhahood as an Intrinsic Attribute
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby tomamundsen » Fri May 11, 2012 3:49 am

Namdrol wrote:Buddhahood is an innate quality:

“Oh Vajradhara you must listen! Since buddhahood is unconditioned, there is no buddhahood through fabricated dharmas. The three kāyas of buddhahood are present as the kāya of prajñā. Since there are no material signs in the the kāya of prajñā, it is unaffected by the consequences of karma. Since this impure deluded appearance arises as buddhahood, there is no need to purify karma and traces.”
-- The Tantra of Buddhahood as an Intrinsic Attribute

:guns:
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri May 11, 2012 4:17 am

Namdrol wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:Dzogchen is unique because...



Buddhahood is an innate quality:

“Oh Vajradhara you must listen! Since buddhahood is unconditioned, there is no buddhahood through fabricated dharmas. The three kāyas of buddhahood are present as the kāya of prajñā. Since there are no material signs in the the kāya of prajñā, it is unaffected by the consequences of karma. Since this impure deluded appearance arises as buddhahood, there is no need to purify karma and traces.”
-- The Tantra of Buddhahood as an Intrinsic Attribute


True. Apologies if I made it sound otherwise, I wanted to portray it's immediate and direct nature without neglecting the seeming process that may unfold in some cases. But I guess that raises the question; If it isn't ascertained right away (so that one recognizes rig pa and remains in that knowledge) would the resultant path be considered dzogchen? Or does it automatically default to a different practice at that point, say mahayoga or anuyoga? Is ati fairly black and white in that respect? Because the progression would certainly be nullified in that case. That's an awesome quote by the way.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri May 11, 2012 5:29 am

Well Rushen practices are Menngagde, right?

Is Menngagde, and its various divisions (excepting the highest division of Menngagde perhaps), considered part of Atiyoga as the Ninth Vehicle of Buddhism? And then the Dzogchen (which is still Buddhism) that is outside of the Nine Yanas does not even consider Semde, Longde, or even Menngagde (or does not consider the Outer, Inner, and Secret divisions of the latter)?

Excellent posts here, by the way (including Magnus' post below). :applause:
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Fri May 11, 2012 5:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby heart » Fri May 11, 2012 5:42 am

Andrew108 wrote:We all like attending teachings and planning for courses. We also like it when our teachers plan something 'advanced' for us to learn. I guess we like the idea of progress.
I'm wondering in a sincere way if we are not actually fooling ourselves?
If we accept the base as the path then who actually progresses? Isn't there a point when the lineage 'methods' get collected and conceptually held on to?
I'm not doubting the profundity of the methods, but could the wish to 'get' Dzogchen or to 'be' in Dzogchen not be something that obscures? Isn't the idea of 'progress' within Dzogchen or even the idea of a 'continuation' of realization falsely drawn? And in that sense an obscuration?


How long can you rest in the natural state? This should be our measure of progress in Dzogchen. So whatever methods we learn they do have to have some clear impact on our capacity to rest in the natural state or else it is just delusion. Togden Urgyen Tendzin is a great inspiration as it seems he spent a whole three-year retreat just doing Longchen Nyingthik Ngondro.

http://www.amazon.com/Rainbow-Body-Real ... 8878341061

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 11, 2012 5:51 am

Asunthatneversets - thank you for your brilliant post.

heart wrote: ''How long can you rest in the natural state? This should be our measure of progress in Dzogchen. So whatever methods we learn they do have to have some clear impact on our capacity to rest in the natural state or else it is just delusion.''


Is this really the case?
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby heart » Fri May 11, 2012 8:42 am

Andrew108 wrote:
heart wrote: ''How long can you rest in the natural state? This should be our measure of progress in Dzogchen. So whatever methods we learn they do have to have some clear impact on our capacity to rest in the natural state or else it is just delusion.''


Is this really the case?


What?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby muni » Fri May 11, 2012 8:56 am

Our nature cannot be improved, that is idea. We get it or we get it not. For me lacking confidence in that simple nature and returning to the idea that MY thoughts are having the method to prove/improve, or find it, is a big mistake, since in thoughts we fall back in dual. Confidence to let thoughts just be nature, arising and subsiding by themselves. Chasing behind thoughts is like a dog chasing behind its' tail, that is what I am doing here.

Devotion in Latin isn't better.
Since in devotion the solid subject-solid object, solid me and solid master is melting and no thoughts are chased.
So is there said, anyway.
This post by Phantom59: Self Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness by Padma

:namaste:
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 11, 2012 9:10 am

For Magnus -
I see it more in terms of 'collapse' than 'continuation'. So in that sense I don't really see the progress but deal with the consequences of a collapse.
When the structure of a form is no longer seen or needed or established - then there is a collapse - a falling into itself. So often dualistic mind is assuming that within every form there is a structure - an essence or foundation. Maybe this is what dualistic mind is actually - this willingness to reify form by giving it a structural foundation where none exists.
Even if we see forms as 'mere appearance' we can still impute a structure to the 'mere appearance (this self looking at non-self as asunneversets pointed out). There is still an assumption that something (energy for example) is happening - that rainbows however illusory still have a 'something'. An assumption that meditation continues or the natural state continues and needs to continue.
So yeah collapse rather than progress and dealing with the consequences of all the bones being taken out of the body so to speak.

For Muni -
Devotion is love meeting love.
Academic study is like loving someone who doesn't love you back.
Contrived meditation is like someone loves you but you feel uncomfortable with it.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby muni » Fri May 11, 2012 9:20 am

:hug: not compounded.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby heart » Fri May 11, 2012 2:54 pm

Andrew108 wrote:For Magnus -
I see it more in terms of 'collapse' than 'continuation'. So in that sense I don't really see the progress but deal with the consequences of a collapse.
When the structure of a form is no longer seen or needed or established - then there is a collapse - a falling into itself. So often dualistic mind is assuming that within every form there is a structure - an essence or foundation. Maybe this is what dualistic mind is actually - this willingness to reify form by giving it a structural foundation where none exists.
Even if we see forms as 'mere appearance' we can still impute a structure to the 'mere appearance (this self looking at non-self as asunneversets pointed out). There is still an assumption that something (energy for example) is happening - that rainbows however illusory still have a 'something'. An assumption that meditation continues or the natural state continues and needs to continue.
So yeah collapse rather than progress and dealing with the consequences of all the bones being taken out of the body so to speak.


The collapse of mind (sem) is more obvious initially but while "not remaining in doubt" or "deciding on one point" there is more a sense of habituation with the natural state and actually mind (sem) feels more illusory, so no collapse.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri May 11, 2012 4:46 pm

Andrew108 wrote:For Magnus -
I see it more in terms of 'collapse' than 'continuation'. So in that sense I don't really see the progress but deal with the consequences of a collapse.
When the structure of a form is no longer seen or needed or established - then there is a collapse - a falling into itself. So often dualistic mind is assuming that within every form there is a structure - an essence or foundation. Maybe this is what dualistic mind is actually - this willingness to reify form by giving it a structural foundation where none exists.
Even if we see forms as 'mere appearance' we can still impute a structure to the 'mere appearance (this self looking at non-self as asunneversets pointed out). There is still an assumption that something (energy for example) is happening - that rainbows however illusory still have a 'something'. An assumption that meditation continues or the natural state continues and needs to continue.
So yeah collapse rather than progress and dealing with the consequences of all the bones being taken out of the body so to speak.


Also that the issue isn't whether or not form indeed has a structural foundation, because to say form lacks structure still subtly presupposes an initial form to lack structure. So the imputation of form having no structure creates form by default. This is why it is said that in the supreme view form is not cut with the razor of emptiness. From the very beginning form is empty and vice versa. Which essentially means, directly see that form is a product of conceptual imputation, there never was form to begin with. Likewise there are no appearances because appearances must appear to something, also suggesting rising and falling before a subject. So it ends up not even being that the metaphorical bones are taken out of the body, but that the body never was the body, it was the natural state all along since beginningless time. Upon that realization progression is seen as inapplicable because it was predicated on a misconception.

Like building a beautiful house for oneself in a dream, laboring intensively pouring ones blood, sweat and tears into the project, finally finishing the house and being elated, living in it creating memories, maybe losing it to a fire and feeling that pain and disappointment, and you start to rebuild.... and then you wake up and discover you'd been fast asleep and dreaming the whole time.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 11, 2012 5:22 pm

Yes we have to stay with the consequence of the collapse. That forms don't disappear. That Dzogchen vision has no structure. That this 'no-structure' is all-inclusive.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Yontan » Mon May 14, 2012 4:58 am

It's kind of a self-correcting problem assuming you're working with a qualified lineage holder.
If you catch yourself thinking you are improving upon your nature - before your teacher corrects you - kudos.
If you see the qualities of compassion and broader view increasing and those of self-concern and efforts at hope and fear decreasing, wonderful.
Increase good, decrease bad, know all appearances to be like an illusion. That's not dzogchen but it's damn fine Dharma.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby heart » Mon May 14, 2012 5:29 am

Yontan wrote:It's kind of a self-correcting problem assuming you're working with a qualified lineage holder.
If you catch yourself thinking you are improving upon your nature - before your teacher corrects you - kudos.
If you see the qualities of compassion and broader view increasing and those of self-concern and efforts at hope and fear decreasing, wonderful.
Increase good, decrease bad, know all appearances to be like an illusion. That's not dzogchen but it's damn fine Dharma.


This is actually a very important point that my Guru made many times, it is a shame I can demonstrate so little actual progress of this kind.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby muni » Mon May 14, 2012 7:24 am

Yontan wrote:It's kind of a self-correcting problem assuming you're working with a qualified lineage holder.
If you catch yourself thinking you are improving upon your nature - before your teacher corrects you - kudos.
If you see the qualities of compassion and broader view increasing and those of self-concern and efforts at hope and fear decreasing, wonderful.
Increase good, decrease bad, know all appearances to be like an illusion. That's not dzogchen but it's damn fine Dharma.


:bow: :bow: :bow:
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Mon May 14, 2012 10:30 am

Extract from Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche's Dzogchen in Everyday Life:

''All phenomena are completely new and fresh and absolutely unique,
entirely free from all concepts of past, present, and future- as if
experienced in another dimension of time; this is absolute
spontaneity.

The continual stream of new discovery and fresh revelation and
inspiration that arises at every moment is the manifestation of the
eternal youth of the living dharma and its wonders; splendor and
spontaneity is the play or dance aspect of the universe as guru.

One should learn to see everyday life as a mandala in which one is at
the center, and be free of the bias and prejudice of past conditioning,
present desires, and hopes and expectations about the future.

The figures of the mandala are the day-to-day objects of one's life
experiences moving in the great dance of the play of the universe, the
symbolism by which the guru reveals profound and ultimate meaning and
significance. Therefore, be natural and spontaneous; accept and learn
from everything.

See the comical, amusing side of initiating situations. In meditation,
see through the illusion of past, present, and future. The past is but a
present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and
the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.

One should put an end to conceptions about meditation and free oneself
from memories of the past. Each moment of meditation is completely
unique and full of potentiality of new discovery so one is incapable of
judging meditation by past experience or by theory.''

SO if you get this then that's that.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Dzogchen and the concept of progress....

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 25, 2012 7:17 am

I've been reviewing this thread in light of the huge Dzogchen and Buddhism thread. During the Dzogchen and Buddhism thread I came round to the view that contrivance is really important. Contrived practice and the notion of progress plays really well with the Dzogchen view. Just to have Dzogchen by itself with no progress to be made or just to be interested in 'my primordial potentiality' seems impoverished and more like an obstacle. We need these conceptual practices and ideas of progress because otherwise we might get 'lost' in Dzogchen. It's not right to only want the essence of the teachings.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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