For many unknown, the Dzogchen Damchigs.
Here gives our Lopon Lak, Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, some elucidations about these Samayas.
Question: What are the Dzogchen Damchigs?
Answer: by Lopon Lak
Detailed Explanation of the 4 Damtsig of Dzogchen
What we explain for these Samayas or Damtsig is first of all the Natural State, and then the mistaken view (misinterpretation) for each point, and it is this (misinterpretation) which is breaking the vow. -
Mepa means that the Natural State has no causes, that it doesn't produce anything - nothing. It is a completely indescribable state; it has no cause, no result, no Substance, nothing which can be explained. There is a presence, so you cannot say nothing exists, yet you cannot show anything to your consciousness and say that it is this or that; that is not possible. The Natural State has already been largely explained (in the Teachings before). The State has no causes, it doesn't produce anything, it has no form, no body, speech no mind, no wisdom, no sin - nothing. That means that Nature itself has nothing.
That is Nature.
Dzogchen says many things and negates many things; this is often explained when we read the texts. In fact, they explain that Nature itself has no cause, doesn't produce any fruit and so on, but they do not negate causes, fruit and so on; it isn't explained this way. So that is a mistake. When Dzogchen says there is no karmic cause, no result and so on, it is merely explaining that the Natural State has nothing. You must realize this. When Dzogchen says that nothing exists, it means that Nature itself has no cause, no fruit, nothing, but in fact it does not negate anything else. Dzogchen accepts cause, fruit - whatever - but on Nature's side, nothing exists; there is a clear distinction. If you are not able to distinguish between these 2 clearly then you have broken Mepa, and that means you have the mistaken, wrong View of Nature.
Hopefully that is clear. It is very important to know this, you see. Usually in Dzogchen texts they negate many things, but really that means Dzogchen has nothing which can be explained yet it doesn't negate anything. There are these two aspects. There are still more things to say! Usually there are many things to say. In early times, people would come to me and say that other Dzogchen Masters were open and said that Dzogchen is free, whereas I said that you have to do this or that, and so they told me my Dzogchen was not correct as other lamas said Dzogchen was completely free. But maybe they had misunderstood 'free' means that nothing is confirmed and nothing is negated, but the practitioner is not Dzogchen. You (the practitioner) have to be careful and do everything in the proper way, otherwise your attendance at the Dzogchen Teachings will be wasted and maybe you will even go the wrong way and collect negative things for no reason.
This refers to the Natural State itself - we have already said that. Emptiness, clarity and unification are all qualities or characteristics of Nature, but if you look there, you cannot see them separately. It is impossible to distinguish what is empty, what is clear and what is unified. While you remain in the State, everything is there.
'Clarity' means self-aware of itself. When thoughts and everything disappear and are liberated, your presence is still quite clear - there is nothing you can explain or think about, yet this clarity is Awareness, Awareness is Nature and Nature is clarity.
Everything is in there. If you don't trust this then Nature itself (still) pervades the whole of phenomenal existence and then it explains in the text that this Nature equally encompasses everything from Dharmakaya right down to the hells. This means that the qualities or characteristics of Nature are the same, but the Nature itself is not the same at all. (So the misinterpretation is that) without knowing and distinguishing between these two, (you think that) there is one thing which pervades everything from Dharmakaya down to the hells. That is mistaken. It says many things here. Vedanta has this idea, too. It is the characteristics which are the same. How are they the same? For example, a cow has consciousness and perception, and so does a human, but these are not permanent; they appear spontaneously and then the thoughts liberate back into Nature. You may not know very clearly or remember, but a cow also has perceptions, and these change; a cow is not always thinking one thing permanently. We can see this. Sometimes a cow is bitten by a mosquito, and its mind
changes quickly. We can see this. Or if the cow is thirsty it quickly goes to search for water, and when it is hungry it quickly goes to some grass. So we can see that the cow's perception changes quickly Oust as ours does). Hence (we can see that) the Natural State pervades everything without distinction. And whatever is pervaded by Nature, emptiness, clarity and unification are there in a similar way. These do not only pervade one place; they are similar everywhere, the characteristics (of Nature) are the same. For example, (simultaneously) one person has one concept, one person is happy and one person is suffering, so that means that consciousnesses change (and are different). But Nature never changes; it is the concept or perception which changes. Each concept or consciousness is encompassed by Nature. That is what we mean when we say the characteristics are the same. If you don't understand this clearly but think that one mind pervades everything, then that is what is kept and learnt in Vedanta; that is their very strong view. If you believe this then your Damtsig is broken and you go against the meaning of Dzogchen.
Is that clear? You must make sure (of this point). If you think that (Nature) is one without individual partitions, that this 'one'
pervades everything, then that is breaking your Dzogchen Damtsig and goes against the Dzogchen View. Hopefully you have understood clearly.
One part of (Chalwa) is that the Natural State is pure, and one part is that Nature pervades the whole of phenomenal existence - external, internal, everything is pervaded by the Natural State. But if you understand this to mean that this Nature is only one, without partition, which pervades the whole of existence, then that is breaking your faith of Chalwa. The characteristics of the Natural State are the same but each individual's Nature is connected with their own consciousness. That is one part of how Chalwa can be misunderstood. Another part of Chalwa is like common Shamatha practitioners.
There are 4 categories of Shamatha:
all of which do not follow agitation or drowsiness very much; they have purified all these; if they hadn't, then it couldn't be pure Shamatha. However, with this, they are mainly focusing with their contemplation and Samadhi, and for them, their Samadhi pervades everything and is unlimited, like space. It pervades everything equally, but they grasp this with their thoughts, so they are not away from thoughts. Thoughts are integrated (in their Samadhi); they are always watching or thinking something.
That is included and integrated within Nature (for them). If you do this while practising with Dzogchen Nature, then that is the wrong way and you have broken your Samaya of Chalwa. Nature is not integrated with any concept or perception, nothing. But here, the misunderstanding is that it is like Samadhi, i.e., something is integrated with thinking; you think that Nature has no end, no limit, or you are looking at something.
That is breaking the Dzogchen Damtsig of Chalwa.
You cannot see Nature itself. I have already explained this. Nature itself is empty, clear, unified and perfect - everything is in there, but you don't recognize these qualities individually in Nature. Nevertheless, this Nature is the Base of all. How is it the Base of all? You can see this.
If you keep in the Natural State for a while then a thought will soon rise up. You didn't plan or create anything, it appeared by itself Spontaneously. That shows that Nature is perfected.
Anything can appear, but there is no planning. Nature doesn’t have any causes, nothing. So things appear spontaneously, and that is Nature. If you don't think that Nature has created something, then whatever appears must exist spontaneously in the Base.
Vedanta usually says that everything can appear because everything is the result or the product of (an already existing) cause and that everything must exist as a fruit produced by a cause otherwise nothing could appear. If, for example, you squeeze sand, oil will not come, but if you squeeze mustard seeds, they are spontaneously perfected with oil, so if you do some work, the oil is allowed to appear. This is evidence; whatever exists must come from a cause, and therefore the cause of this result already exists. That is the thinking and the view of Vedanta. In a similar way, (some people think that) whatever phenomena exist are all within the Basic Nature of Dzogchen. If you think in this way then that is breaking your Dzogchen Samaya of Lhundrub. (This mistaken interpretation) explains that the Base has wisdom, images, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya - that everything is already there in the Base of Nature. I have already explained (with an example): if you put images in a vessel or pot and then break the vessel, the images appear. But if you think (this is how things appear from and are perfected in the Natural State), then this is not the right view of 'perfected', and so you will have broken your Samaya of Lhundrub, perfected. 'Perfected' simply means that things are allowed to come, so if you think that everything already exists there, then you have broken (your Damtsig of Lhundrub).
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
WHO WITH A LAMP IN THE HAND CANNOT SEE THE ROAD