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