Monday, July 1, 2013

Everyday Consciousness And Primordial Wisdom

[Jackson and I can get quite passionate about our points of view when it comes to these topics, so I apologize in advance for the ad hominem polemics in this entry. I figured I'd post it anyways because there is good information in this short thread, enjoy! - Kyle]

Jackson Peterson: uploaded a file.
This text from a Dzogchen Tantra explains the location of Awareness (ripga), being located in the heart. It further explains how our "consciousness" is located in the brain as a small "mustard seed sized" source of luminosity. Anyway, it may prove interesting as it is the key explanation for the processes that lead to the physical body being transformed into to a "Body of pure Light".
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Like ·  · Unfollow Post · April 16 at 3:08am

Jackson Peterson: This is from the "Treasury of Precious Words and Meanings" by Longchenpa." as translated by David Germano.
April 16 at 3:43am · Like

Kyle Dixon: Vidyā/rigpa (which was translated by Germano as 'awareness' in 1992 when that paper was published) is located in the heart, it does not say 'consciousness' is located in the brain, but instead says 'primordial gnosis' (Germano's translation of ye shes i.e. primordial wisdom) which is vastly different than 'consciousness'. None of this anatomy is really relevant unless someone is practicing Thögal. 

Consciousness is always seen as defiled, and so translating yeshes (primordial wisdom) as consciousness would be inaccurate and misleading. In fact the entire first section of that chapter (leading up to the discussion of the aforementioned anatomy) is spend exploring precisely the implications which arise in the face of one's inability to properly discern primordial wisdom from mind (defiled consciousness).
April 16 at 2:44pm · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, I guess you don't know the etymology of the word "yeshe" which means primordial wisdom. "ye na shes pa" shes pa means consciousness or awareness. When I wrote "shes pa" I left it as shes pa, not implying it to be short hand for "nampar shes pa". Shes pa is neutral, not afflicted nor wisdom. 
You may substitue rigpa for David's use of "awareness". Why use "vidya" since no Dzogchen texts were ever written in Sanskrit? 

If you don't understand the theory of thogal as explained in the Reverberation of Sound Tantra and others, one then creates a philosophical and intellectual model that lacks the grounding in generation and completion stage practice and realization. Without that grounding you don't understand the ontological aspects of Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya empty presencing. Rigpa is always embodied and contextualized within a mandala of the Five Lights and Wisdoms and apparent "beings" are Buddha yidams. This IS the Wisdom Display, as our current mandala of experience actually is. Soh's and your models don't see the entire universe as the self arising mandala of the Great Perfection, but rather the mandala of great ignorance. That would only be because of lacking the Wisdom Eye of rigpa yourself. Imo
April 16 at 3:44pm via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: How did you come to the conclusion that i don't understand the etymology of ye shes when i just stated directly above that it translates to primordial wisdom? Did you read my response? I don't see that you've written the term 'shes pa' anywhere except for in your response. Therefore my point still stands, which was that 'consciousness' is not a suitable translation for ye shes. Primordial wisdom is not consciousness, wisdom is jñāna i.e. yeshe which is the basis.

"If one knows [shes] the buddhahood that has always been [ye] naturally formed by nature, 
there will be buddhahood of clear realization. 
That is the definition of wisdom [ye shes]."
- Rigpa Rangshar tantra [per Malcolm]

I'm not substituting 'rig pa' for awareness, Germano translated rigpa as awareness in that paper, ergo, when you read 'awareness' he means rigpa i.e. vidyā.

Why use vidyā since no dzogchen texts were ever written in Sanskrit? I'll ask you the same question; why use dharmakāya (as opposed to chos sku) since no dzogchen texts were ever written in Sanskrit? You use dharmakāya like it's going out of style and it never seems to be an issue, why on earth would using vidyā instead of rigpa matter?! It doesn't.

You obviously don't read anything I write if that's how you frame my 'model'... There's no point in spouting off about how everything is a wisdom mandala if no one can see that, insight like that is only revealed once ignorant cognitive obscurations are purified. Everyone's vidyā is their own, therefore even if you did know vidyā, doesn't mean everyone else has that insight and so it makes no sense to cling to an ultimate perspective and pretend like there's no affliction.
April 16 at 4:53pm via mobile · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, as long as you believe "obscurations need to be purified" you can't know rigpa. You seem to think Rigpa Awareness needs correcting. The Basis as Dharmakaya has no obscurations, and it is fully present as your one and only cognitive presence, the changeless space of Knowingness. The rest is conceptual story making, itself arising as pure display when recognized, but not as "impure" when not recognized. Pure and purified or not purified or defiled are imputations by sem. 

My use of "consciousness" was meant to be easily understood English for the readers. They can understand that "Primordial Wisdom" is not information like wisdom-knowledge, but is rather a "consciousness", aware and perceiving as the "Mirror-like Wisdom Consciousness(yeshe), in which all appearances "gather" in the skull.
April 17 at 2:26am · Like

Kyle Dixon: There is one basis (ye shes), two paths: Non-recognition of the basis, is avidyā (ma rig pa), recognition is vidyā (rig pa). Never once ever have I said vidyā requires correcting. The dharmakāya is only apparent in recognition, the fact that one's condition is in truth empty makes no difference unless recognized. Just as the fact that phenomena is at root the play of rtsal makes no difference, unless it is recognized, therefore it's not wisdom display, it's adulterated. 

I believe the issue stems from the fact that you seem to think the dharmakāya is simply one's basic registering awareness, and so your logic is that when conceptual story making is not occurring (e.g. a suspension of thought etc.), the dharmakāya is fully present. If you maintain that the dharmakāya is simply ones changeless knowing capacity then yes it makes a lot of sense that the movement of sem and conceptualization doesn't effect that capacity. However the dharmakāya isn't simply that knowingness, but is one's condition when defilement (as in the whole of one's conditioning and ignorance, is cleared away via recognition of, and integration with, one's nature).

Your use of 'consciousness' as a means to implement easily understood English for readers is seriously conflating two different capacities. Ye shes is the basis... The three kāyas... absolute bodhicitta etc. Consciousness on the other hand, is always, always, always considered to be defiled... product of grasping and clinging which arises post imputing ignorance. 

Your model and view generally seem to function this way though, so I'm sure this can be chalked up to the same proclivity you have in reifying the 'knowingness'.
April 17 at 2:58am via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, "consciousness" is not considered "defiled" in the English language. It has many inferences depending on what philosophical platform you are coming from. But don't assume everyone here feels the generic word "consciousness" implies a "defiled" state. To get the meaning of sem and marigpa associated with "consciousness" you must add "defiled or afflicted" to consciousness. You can't leave it for someone to assume your platform of nomenclature.
April 17 at 3:14am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Actually, rigpa is a pure "registering" awareness. However not as you suppose or impute. When the egoic complex is presencing in consciousness, it is like a filter. The filtering is part of the way content is added to the karmic mind. This is a kind of registering, the registering within "alaya". However there are two exceptions where "naked registering" is actually rigpa. In the case when the "sem" or afflicted mind is not present, then all experience is being known by the rigpa awareness in the heart directly without any filters. This type of awareness is called "rigpa jencer" or "naked rigpa awareness". The other example is our current mode even with filtering and karmic registering. The perceptual experience, internal or external, still makes it "through" to pure Dharmakaya awareness, especially in the "first moment", but also in all moments. But in this case the registering including the egoic "filtering event", is also registered or known as well. Recognizing this ultimate "registering" (naked knowing free of imputation) at the level of the Dharmakaya, which is rigpa, that is present in every moment IS Dzogchen practice. When clearly authentic, this resting in this ultimate place of open "perceivingness" is called "non-meditation". Only this is can really be called Dzogchen or Mahamudra practice.
April 17 at 4:03am · Like

Jackson Peterson: The "ordinary registering awareness" when its essential empty nature is "recognized" the dullness of its cognitive state dissolves and its luminous clarity shines as self-arising wisdom. It is therefore through our immediate perceivingness that rigpa can be discovered to be no where and no when other than in this recognized "instant presence". Yeshe Zangthal.
April 17 at 5:16am via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: Consciousness is considerd samsaric in nature according to dharma traditions. The 8 consciousnesses arise due to ignorance (being that consciousness itself is the fifth aggregate i.e. skandha which serves to constitute a sentient being), and are recognized as empty in wisdom. Therefore it makes no sense to call ye shes, 'consciousness'. If primordial wisdom (ye shes) is considered to be consciousness, then you've rendered dzogchen and mahāmudrā equivalent to yogācāra (which holds consciousness to be wisdom). If you tell people that primordial wisdom is consciousness, and they then later encounter a description of the 8 consciousnesses, you've just made things confusing for them and they might conflate the afflicted processes of ignorance (Skt. avidyā, Tib. ma rig pa) with primordial wisdom (ye shes). The terms 'defiled' or 'afflicted' certainly do not need to be added as a prefix to 'consciousness' for consciousness to imply sem or marigpa, not in the least. Consciousness is defiled by nature and represents a dualistic condition (as opposed to the defect-free condition of a buddha), though more precisely it is attributed to the various capacities of mind such as the sensory modalities, in addition to the other cognitive capacities (of mind) such as the intellect and memory. Therefore in the context of the dharma, consciousness signifies the faculties which apprehend and apperceive the various objects of experience which are perceived to be external from the organism. The afflictive sensory and cognitive consciousnesses which dualistically fixate and grasp at projected objects must be divested of the ignorance which dominates their perceptual functioning if they are to be expressions of primordial wisdom. 

Thrangu Rinpoche says:
"As long as sentient beings dwell within conditioned existence, known as the impure phase, mind expresses itself in the form of the eight collections of consciousness. As a result of dharma practice and meditative concentration (Skt. samadhi), the eight kinds of consciousness will be purified. At that point they will transform and thus reveal themselves to be the five kinds of primordial awareness."

In that very text by Germano he defines 'consciousness' in the glossary. The key point being pointed out: [In Great Perfection thought, the term rnam shes (consciousness) only applies to the neurotic psychic activity of ordinary living beings, and is understood in contrast to the ye shes (literally 'primordial knowing', and translated herein as 'primordial gnosis') which exclusively characterizes the psychic activity an Enlightened One (this is another way of expressing the distinction between 'ordinary mind' (sems) and primordial gnosis (ye shes).]

Here is the full entry:
"'Consciousness' (rnam shes; shes pa; vijñāna): rnam shes literally reads 'aspect-know', with 'aspect' generally signifying the various facets of objects which we can perceive (ther 'blueness', etc.); it often signifies something along the lines of 'consciousness'.... but in other contexts would perhaps be more precisely rendered as 'cognition', or even 'perceptual process'. In Great Perfection thought, the term rnam shes only applies to the neurotic psychic activity of ordinary living beings, and is understood in contrast to the ye shes (literally 'primordial knowing', and translated herein as 'primordial gnosis') which exclusively characterizes the psychic activity an Enlightened One (this is another way of expressing the distinction between 'ordinary mind' (sems) and primordial gnosis (ye shes)... In ordinary exoteric Buddhism, 'consciousness' is identified as the fifth of the five psychophysical components constituting human existence, and these 'modes of consciousness' or 'perceptual cognitive processes' are further classified into eight types: the five sensory modes (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile); the sixth 'psychic' or 'intellectual' mode (yid shes; mano-vijñāna) which synthesizes that sensory data, conceptualizes it, and deals with abstract images/concepts; the seventh 'emotionally distorted psychic' mode (nyon yid; kliṣṭa-manas) which involves our web of emotional reactions, cathexis, and ego-logical tendencies; and the 'universal ground consciousness' (kun-gzhi rnam-shes; ālaya-vijñāna), which is the 'unconscious' that constitutes a substratum that serves both as a type of psychic memory extending over many lifetimes, as well as ongoing source of all the other psychic modes' operations, which are like 'streams' of psychic energy trickling out from it. ...Longchenpa characterizes the five sensory modes of consciousness as 'cognizing (shes pa) aspects (rnam pa) of objects', which are thus 'cognitive energy' (shes pa) which develop resembling those (aspects), accounting for the term 'perceptual consciousness' (rnam shes, literally 'aspect-cognize').

In the Great Perfection (dzogchen), this 'universal ground consciousness' is understood as deriving from the 'brightness' (dangs) of the luminous channels, and is viewed as 'clouds' which obscure the heart's pristine awareness [Skt. vidyā, Tib. rig pa], which thus must be cleared away via contemplation in order to attain enlightenment. In addition, the Great Perfection tradition usually distinguishes between the terms 'universal ground' (kun gzhi; ālaya) and the 'universal ground consciousness' (kun-gzhi rnam-shes; ālaya-vijñāna)... It should be noted that this distinction between the 'universal ground' and the 'universal ground consciousness' has its precedents in Indian Buddhist literature on the subject, such as the Bodhisattvabhūmi passage which relates the 'universal ground' to 'non-conceptuality uninvolved with objects' (i.e. a total non-differentiation of any distinct objects), and the 'universal ground consciousness' to 'non-conceptuality involved with objects' (i.e. that which clearly sees presences, but doesn't conceptualize them); also see Sthiramati's commentary to the Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra... where he characterizes the 'universal ground' as the overall support or basis for the accumulation of karma (and thus resembling their 'house'), while the 'universal ground consciousness' is that which 'opens up the space' for these karmic energies (which Longchenpa explains as 'for the increase, amassing, decline, and so on of these karmic forces')." 

Primordial wisdom (ye shes) is free from the defects of ignorance which produce consciousness, this entry from the Unwritten Tantra details how primordial wisdom is innately free from such affliction:

"There is no object to investigate within the view of self-originated wisdom: nothing went before, nothing happens later, nothing is present now at all. Action does not exist. Traces do not exist. Ignorance does not exist. Mind does not exist. Discriminating wisdom does not exist. Samsara does not exist. Nirvana does not exist. Even vidyā itself does not exist i.e. nothing at all appears in wisdom. That arose from not grasping anything."
- from The Unwritten Tantra [per Malcolm]
April 17 at 12:37pm · Like

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