Monday, July 1, 2013

Recognition, Integration And The Conventional Self

Piotr Ludwiński:
Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
Kaccayanagotta Sutta: To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View)
Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"
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You, Albert Hong, Glenda Gill and Ville Räisänen like this.

Albert Hong: Om ah hummmm
April 20 at 6:44pm via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: I would argue the "right view"is a way of self-knowing as gnosis, not familiarity with a chain of causation.
April 21 at 12:38pm via mobile · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Even the greatest masters know that right view requires familiarity with the chain of causation. Nothing can grow in infertile soil.
April 21 at 2:23pm via mobile · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Right view is taught in Dzogchen and Mahamudra as Rigpa itself. Why"? Because when rigpa is recognized the chain of dependent origination is resolved, because the first link was ignorance. Ignorance is absent in rigpa. Rigpa does not have any recognition of dependent origination, which itself is an illusion like karma.
April 21 at 2:38pm · Edited · Like

Kyle Dixon: Karmic propensities and habitual tendencies are not resolved upon recognition of vidyā, that is why integration is required. Vidyā is free of ignorance, but vidyā is not stable right off the bat, it is a process of integration. That is why practices such as training in the doors, contemplation, achieving stability through the naljors, deepening insight with rushan and semdzins etc., are required. If one doesn't understand how the chain of causation is taking formation moment to moment then one's practice is prone to difficulty or failure.
April 21 at 2:58pm via mobile · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: Karmic propensities do not require a special "resolution". They are simply a stream of arisings that arise and release on their own for no one. There is no one to benefit or be harmed by such arisings. Seeing this is the wisdom of rigpa.
April 22 at 4:30pm · Edited · Like

Kyle Dixon: The 'special resolution' is recognition of (and integration with), one's nature. Without recognition and without integration, karmic propensities and habitual tendencies run rampant in one's condition. Only in recognition is it realized that the propensities are based upon a misconception. Prior to recognition, coming to the conclusion that there is no one benefitted nor harmed by such arisings is nothing more than more karmic propensity.
April 22 at 4:42pm · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Kyle the notion of integration implies a "subject" who integrates with an "object". Rigpa can't be integrated with something, because rigpa is already non-dual by nature.
April 22 at 4:45pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: Conventionally yes, a term like 'integration' implies a subject integrating with an object, but only because we are conditioned to believe that verbs require nouns. In the context of the teachings, when a term like 'integration' used, it simply denotes resting in the natural state and allowing coarse tendencies of habit (which once dominated one's experience) to exhaust themselves. Stabilization is always required.
April 22 at 4:55pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Glenda [apparently deleted her post], Here's a bunch of stuff I compiled from previous writings on dependent origination, hopefully this is helpful... You're correct that the 'chain' being discussed is the Twelve Nidānas, which is the specific theory of dependent origination [ānas]. Dependent origination and emptiness [Śūnyatā] are synonymous in most traditions. The chain of dependent origination [12 nidānas] arises due to ignorance [avidyā], which is the first 'link' in the chain. Once ignorance arises the chain of causation then perpetually builds upon itself. The idea is that the chain of dependent origination doesn't actually create anything at all, but we mistakenly perceive it as valid, and so we are beguiled into taking our own ignorance as inherent aspects of experience. The theory of dependent origination is a tool which can help 'undo' or 'see through' the chain (though there's nothing to truly 'undo', it's simply a matter of understanding the nature of our habitual tendencies and propensities which reify these aspects of experience). 

"The wonder of it! This marvelous, astounding event/reality (Dharma):
From that which involves no origination, everything originates;
and in that very origination, there is no origination!
The wonder of it!
In it's very enduring, there is no enduring!
The wonder of it!
In it's very cessation, there is no cessation!"
- Guhyagarbha Tantra

When we are ignorant of emptiness and dependent origination, conceptual imputation and conventional language are mistaken as pointing towards authentic persons, places, things, etc. When ignorance is undone, there is freedom to use conventional language, however it no longer creates confusion because wisdom directly knows ignorance for what it is. 

In emptiness teachings conventionality is allowed to be a tool implemented for communication, so there's freedom to be John Doe or Mary Smith, and trees, rocks, cars etc., are allowed to be the useful conceptual designations they are. Conventionality is treated as a useful tool which doesn't point to anything outside of itself. The conventional truth is relative... words, concepts, ideas, persons, places, things etc., and is contrasted by ultimate truth, which is the emptiness of those conventions. As Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche shares: "By examining relative truth, establish absolute truth; Within absolute truth, see how relative truth arises. Where the two truths are inseparable, beyond intellect, is the state of simplicity."

Here the Garland of Precious Pearls Tantra discusses how conventional imputation gives rise to misconceptions when governed by delusion:
"Like mistakenly seeing a rope as a snake,
with these varied appearances
we perceive them as what they are not,
giving rise to the duality of externality and internality,
i.e. the material environments and life forms therein.
However, upon scrutiny only the rope itself is found - 
These environments and life forms are primordially empty,
as the ultimate only seems to have such concrete form 
within the dissimulating process of the conventional.
The perception of a snake is phenomenologically true in terms of our seeing it as so,
but seeing the rope instead is authentically true;
analogically, it is like the appearance of a bird on a promontory:
The nature of these two truths is that
this transitory world is merely conventional dissimulation,
which the authentic reality has no relationship to - 
In the expanse of emptiness
everything is free within it's essence."

All apparent phenomena which fall under the category of 'conditioned' - meaning they seemingly accord with one or more of the four extremes [existence, nonexistence, both, neither] - originate dependently. We know this is so because there is no such thing as phenomena which is independent of causes and conditions, per Nagarjuna:

"Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way.
Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist.
Therefore a non-empty thing
Does not exist."

If we look at the very first link in the chain of dependent origination, we find ignorance (avidyā), and as Nagarjuna states: 

"When the perfect vidyā [discerning wisdom knowledge] sees,
That things come from ignorance as condition,
Nothing will then be objectified,
Either in terms of arising or destruction."

So 'things' arise due to confusion and ignorance, once emptiness is realized, confusion and ignorance are undone, and 'things' are understood to be non-arisen. Non-arising isn't suggesting to non-existence, because for the non-arisen, existence hasn't been suggested to begin with. Just as when you mistakenly view a rope to be a snake; the snake is a misconception, it's delusion, ignorance. Recognize the snake for what it is (a rope) and the snake falls, the snake is understood to have always been delusion, therefore the snake is non-arisen. Likewise, the aggregates (constituent aspects of experience) are a misconception, delusion, ignorance. Recognize the aggregates for what they are (the empty display of primordial wisdom) and the aggregates fall. The aggregates are understood to have always been delusion, therefore the aggregates are empty and non-arisen.

Phenomena which appear to be conditioned (and appear to accord with one or more of the four extremes), are in truth dependently originated and are therefore empty, unborn, non-arisen, free from extremes etc. When we mistakenly perceive something which we attribute substantiality (or insubstantiality) to (meaning it has originated and/or ceased), all that is occurring is a misapprehension within the confines of ignorance. Ignorance itself isn't an entity which is anymore established or valid than the apparent structuring it gives rise to... however ignorance is precisely the proclivity to habitually relate to experience in a way that reifies a subject-object dichotomy and all the subsequent arisings which depend on that dichotomy. It is that tendency to objectify phenomena and grasp which is one of the main issues. 

Dependent origination is not truly origination, which is pointed out by Nāgārjuna in his 60 Stanzas:
"The supreme knower of reality, said that dependent production is not production."

Once ignorance falls, wisdom [prajñā] remains. Unafflicted dependent origination can unfold in wisdom (though it's usually called lhun grub; 'self-origination', 'natural formation' etc.), but wisdom is no longer fooled. So those projections aren't being reified. In wisdom, unafflicted dependent origination becomes freedom of expression, in delusion, afflicted dependent origination becomes the cause for delusion's own self-perpetuation.

Twelve Nidānas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Kyle Dixon: Glenda, here's some info on consciousness and how fabrication comes prior to consciousness:

In most Buddhist traditions consciousness isn't held to be absolute, but is considerd samsaric in nature (meaning it arises from ignorance). Consciousness is usually attributed to the collection of 'consciousnesses' which correlate with each sensory modality. In the conventional model, consciousness and the organ cannot function without each other i.e. they are dependently originated.

In some traditions there are 6 consciousnesses: [eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness]

and in others there are 8 [eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness, emotional distortion consciousness, all-basis consciousness]

Consciousness itself is the fifth aggregate i.e. skandha which serves to constitute a sentient being (which is the opposite of a buddha), and are recognized as empty in wisdom. 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. 

David Germano on consciousness:
"'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')."
April 22 at 5:03pm · Like · 3

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, Vidyā (rigpa) is one's knowledge of the basis (gzhi). The basis is primordially pure in essence and is therefore neither dualistic nor non-dualistic (free from extremes). When we are confused we do not recognize the basis, and the karmic propensities which form out of that confusion perpetuate themselves endlessly. 

When the basis is recognized, the discerning knowledge which results is vidyā, and the point is to then familiarize oneself with that knowledge. Because one's karmic propensities are tendencies which are habitual in nature, they require exhaustion. The teaching is to maintain the view, rest in the view. The more efficient one is in doing so, the quicker perfect buddhahood is attained. For most, integration requires some time. 

“Thus, since vidyā which as flashed out of the
basis is not (yet entirely) ripened, one errs in the
six destinies of the three realms because of (our)
individual karma, and this (means being) first deluded
because of the twelve link of interdependency…”
- Longchenpa | tshig don rin po che’i mdzod

Jean-Luc Achard discussing the above quote:
"At the level at which this description of Rigpa takes place, Rigpa is defined as unripened, or immature on non-entirely sublimated (ma smin pa) because it remains a potential for discerning our real nature, not a de facto data. Its liberating qualities are not YET entirely expressed and will be so more or less until Buddhahood is reached. Rigpa is the knowledge of the natural state, as long as we are not Buddhas, it's important to make the distinction. Actually, more precisely, Rigpa is the Discernment that enables us to distinguish mind (sems, as a discursive ego-centered grasping) from Mind itself (sems-nyid, as the pure nature of mind). Without this fundamental Dis-cernment, we are certain to remain in the identification with sems (not with sems-nyid)."
April 22 at 5:45pm · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, nice posts. But you fail to make clear is: "who" is this one that you always refer to that must "do this" and "that" in order to become free or realize? Is that entity you refer to as "we" as in "we must", the imaginary entity of the Five Skandhas or an actual entity-consciousness? Or is this "we" the Beingness of the Dharmakaya? Please clarify what you are referring to when you say otherwise "we" remain in samsara. Who or what ontological entity are you describing with "we"?
April 23 at 2:50am via mobile · Like

Albert Hong: It seems clear what Kyle is saying.

If there is authentic realization then there is no more who, just activity. We mistakenly believe verbs require nouns, etc.

If there is no authentic realization there is an apparent who, and samsara, suffering, etc.

There are no ontological entities. Just the belief there is or isn't. 

Jax you should realize that we are all speaking in conventions. To be on facebook and type words is to speak in conventions.

No one is affirming or negating anything other than our projections/interpretations of words. Which would be duality vision, which we are all fond of negating and affirming non-dual vision.

And always from the pov of realization this is all the activity of realization.

If one doesn't recognize that then that is samsara because it mistaking "this" as a "THIS".

Its the same goddamn point everyone is making.
April 23 at 5:45am · Unlike · 1

Jackson Peterson: No Albert Hong, I actually want Kyle to name what it is that is this "who that is seeking" as defined in Dzogchen and Tibetan. I am curious what he is referring to as a subjective "who". Is it sem? Is it shes pa?
April 23 at 6:22am via mobile · Like

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: > By utilizing an ontological scheme instead of an epistemological approach, you are disabling the release of realizing global process. Process, not substance; Verb, not noun; Emptiness, not Brahman.

> Alive without self/Self a.k.a. autopoiesis a.k.a. lhun grub a.k.a. spontaneous natural formation a.k.a. auto-luminous (as Stian coined).

Jackson, I asked in another thread: Why make the point that anyone is already a Buddha? I'm interested to know if it serves a purpose.

Jackson, do you think that in your two last comments in this thread you are asking questions which you have not asked here before or that you have not gotten satisfactory answers to them?

To me it seems, as Albert said, to be the same point again.

Kyle: there's no 'self', no who.
Jackson: what's this self you talk so much about?
Kyle: it's mere convention. There is no such self.
Jackson: there it is again. Who is this "self"?
Kyle: it's no one.
Jackson: WHO is this "one"??

April 23 at 9:30am · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, that is not a satisfactory answer. When he says for only conventional purposes, he still says "we" must.... My question is not rhetorical. I am not trying to instruct some deeper point. I actually want to know what this "we" is in the Tibetan language of Dzogchen. This "we" is pointing to some kind of subjective element in experience that somehow is in need of some kind of insight or transformation. Maybe you would answer "vijnana" as a dependently arising self-consciousness?
April 23 at 9:34am via mobile · Like · 1

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: "We" as used here, as far as I understand, is the sum collective involved in suffering [v.]. The sufferer who suffers suffering – whatever it's ontological/non-ontological status, wherever we draw the line of distinction – that is what "we" is in this context; a blob of either, nor, neither, both. Haha 
April 23 at 9:42am · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: Its is that very obscurity that when clarified is revealed to be wisdom. In Dzogchen that is done by a radical differentiation between rigpa and ordinary mind (sem).
April 23 at 10:46am via mobile · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Jax, Here's some of a conversation you had with Jean-Luc which very much resembles this current discussion:

> Jax: That Awareness is fully present in EACH moment.

Jean-Luc: Not a single second true. This is eternalism. The Natural State is present every single moment (it is permanent because it does not know fluctuations, in other words it's always perfect). Awareness (rig-pa) is an impermanent dharma, it fluctuates (because we are now in ignorance or not fully enlightened). Awareness (rig-pa) is the contrary of ignorance (ma-rig-pa). Awareness is the experiential knowledge of the Natural State. We are not in this knowledge constantly. Rather, since we are still in Samsara, our Awareness is fluctuating from being experienced to being hindered by our dualistic grasping. It is then ignorance.

> Jax: One does not have to develop it.

Jean-Luc: Oh yes ones does. There is the natural state and there is its knowledge or its ignorance.

> Jax: One does not have to maintain it.

Jean-Luc: Yes one has to maintain Awareness (rig-pa) in every moment of one's life. This is what integration is all about. Integration means : 1. integrating the actions of the 3 doors, 2. integrating the six senses, 3. integrating thoughts, and 4. integrating diversity to the Path. So what one actually does in Dzogchn practice is to do one's best to maintain it.

> Jax: One does not have to eliminate or purify obstacles in order to experience it.

Jean-Luc: The natural state is beyong purification, we are not.

> Jax: There is no regression from this state after it is re-recognized.

Jean-Luc: Well, rhetorically, if you had direct introduction, are you still in that state every nano-second passing? If yes, then you're a Buddha, you can display Bodies and Wisdoms.

> Jax: You can't lose this state.

Jean-Luc: No you certainly can't. But you can loose the recognition of being in that state.

> Jax: As the mentally projected self transmigrates through all possible dimensions of existence, one's Awareness is right there all along.

Jean-Luc: No, you are deifying Awareness here. This is an heretic view too. Let say thing clearly : The Base of the natural state is Empty and Clarity. This state is endowed with a natural dynamism (rang-rtsal) which arises as sounds, lights and rays. Now Buddhas recognize this arising as being their own manifestations (rang-snang). This recognition is Awareness (rig-pa). Now, since we are sentient beings, this means: we have not recognized this arising as our own manifestations but we have grasped these sounds, rays and lights as outer objects and as manifestations coming from another source than oneself (gzhan-snang). This is ignorance (ma-rig-pa). So our present condition, even that at striving on this forum list, is proof that Awareness is not here all along. It depends on the recognition or non-recogntion of the manifestations of the Base. So Awareness (rig-pa) is not a sensation, a presence, whatever what one want to style it (and certainly not a Self with a cap or not or a true Self, etc., this views are heretical according to Dzogchen). Awareness means knowing that the manifestations of the Base are one's manifestations. Now the question should come : What the heck are these manifestations of the Base? There we would go somewhere into real Dzogchen.

> Jax: It can't be obscured and has never been obscured.

Jean-Luc: The natural state no, but Awareness yes, we are obscured by passions, karmic traces, etc.

> Jax: There are no obstacles to remove. This transmigrating self is a reflection in the mirror and the mirror is the context and basis of the arising reflections.

Jean-Luc: All this is true from the POV of the natural state, not the individual incarnated in Samsaric conditions right now. Ok i'm giving it up here, there is a problem at the start of the discussion as to what means what. There are no two approaches in Dzogchen, one in which one does nothing and one in which one practices. This does not correspond to any reality, be it practical, historical, literary, etc. Here is what Dampa Dampa Deshek an early Nyingma master of Sems-sde says (in The General Outline of the Great Perfection, rDzogs
chen spyi chings, p. 718-719) says:

“-- There are some who show they are weary (or fatigued) about practicing something profound (like Dzogchen); they say that all phenomena are primordially liberated; they argument that they (themselves) are naturally liberated, and being carried away by these numerous reasons (or quotes), they do not practice (formally) and thus signs of success do not arise, nor (liberating) experiences. They say they are (already) Buddhas and don’t practice virtues; they are those who don’t give up vices. These are people (advocating) a nihilist view (chad par lta ba rnams). Such a View (saying) there is not a single (difference) whatsoever between virtuous actions and vices is explained in Agamas as leading to a rebirth in hot hells”.

Now let Lopon Rinpoche [Lopon Tenzin Namdak] clarify all the problem:
"In the practice of Dzogchen, we do not find it necessary to do visualizations of deities or to do recitations like the Refuge and Bodhichitta. Some would say that these are not necessary to do at all, but this is speaking from the side of the Natural State only. They say in the Natural State, everything is present there already in potential, and so there is nothing lacking and nothing more to do to add or acquire anything. This is fine. But on the side of the practitioner, there is much to do and practices such as Refuge and Bodhichitta are very necessary. In its own terms, Dzogchen has no rules; it is open to everything. But does this mean we can do just what we feel like at the moment? On the side of the Natural State, this is true and there are no restrictions or limitations. All appearances are manifestations of mind (sems kyi snang-ba), like reflections seen in a mirror, and there is no inherent negativity or impurity in them. Everything is perfectly all right just as it is, as the energy (rtsal) of the Nature of Mind in manifestation. It is like white and black clouds passing overhead in the sky; they equally obscure the face of the sun. When they depart, there are no traces left behind. "However, that is speaking only on the side of the Natural State, which is like the clear, open sky, unaffected by the presence or absence of these clouds. For the sky, it is all the same. But on the side of the practitioner, it is quite different because we mistakenly believe these clouds are solid, opaque, and quite real and substantial. As practitioners we must first come to an understanding of the insubstantiality and unreality of all these clouds which obscure the sky of our own Nature of Mind (sems-nyid). It is our Tawa (lta-ba), or view, our way of looking at things, which is basic and fundamental, and we must begin here. Then we must practice and attain realization. So on the side of the practitioner, practice and commitment are most certainly required. The Natural State in itself is totally open and clear and spacious like the sky but we, as individuals, are not totally open and unobstructed.”

And elsewhere :
“When we begin as practitioners on the path of Dzogchen, we first need a direct introduction to the Natural State from someone who has directly experienced the Natural State personally. But just meeting it for one time, like meeting a new acquaintance, is not enough. We must discover the Natural State within ourselves over and over again, so that we have no doubt about it. For this reason we do practice…”

Hoping these last quotes clarify what is understood by real Dzogchenpas such as Lopon Rinpoche as the authentic approach of pure Dzogchen,

April 23 at 1:50pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: And some more:

Jean-Luc Achard: Hi Jax,

Well i’d say it is an estimable try but there are many misconceptions in this post that are likely to lead people astray, outside the path of Dzogchen. Again i am deeply sorry for my lack of nuances with the english language and with the obscurities of my answers. I hope the apparent rudeness of the answer stays apparent. Everything is written after an hour long formal bodhicitta practice. It would be easier for me in french. But let's try.

So this is an estimable try but this approach is one of the very mistakes that are plaguing discussions on Dzogchen: re-formulating what one reads into what one believes it is. It is not because one wants early Dzogchen (even that idea is a mistake, Dzogchen was perfect from the beginning, even in its literary form) to look like Chan that it corresponds to any historical reality. This is not like this.

If i were to qualify this small “piece” i would style it as total nihilism because it is ruining everything and not making sense of the levels described (without much care for precision). As again, the mistake regarding Dzogchen and Dzogchenpas is very deeply rooted here. Read again what Lopon said in the two abstracts i posted earlier. This is authentic Dzogchen. The real root mistake is mixing the relative truth with the absolute truth in the understanding of what “ego” is. This mistakes first leads us outside Dzogchen because Dzogchen does not depend on the two truths. But let’s turn to the various heretical ideas in this post:

> Jax: Who is it that is failing to recognize the lights,
> rays and sounds that are it's own energy? Who is it
> that makes the mistake of thinking that those
> energies are external objects?

Jean-Luc: It’s the individual. I mean you (rhetorically) are different from, say , your neighbor or Shakyamuni. So the latter got Buddhahood, you don’t. This problem should have been resolved already at the level of Madhyamaka. Lopon says : “…But, although this inherent Buddha nature exists in all sentient beings, it is necessary to practice the Path in order to realize its nature which, at the moment, goes unrecognized by the individual.” By the individual ! Saying there is no indiviual is not explaining your own very existence right now on the relative level. Check back what it all means in Madhyamaka or Sutra, this question should already have been resolved when we come to the level of Dzogchen teachings.

> Jax: There is an error in that argument of the belief
> that there is some entity that was doing fine until
> they became confused by their own energies

Jean-Luc: Not a single Dzogchen text would say “was doing fine until they became confused”. This is again a re-reading and re-formulation of what the texts say. They don’t say before it was ok and then suddenly when manifestations (texts never say “energies”, we have to stick to what they say if we want to understand each other) arose there was delusion. They say “in a primordial time” (which some would describe as t-zero (time zero), then our natural state let its own epiphany (gzhi snang) arise. Dzogchen never says we were Buddhas all the time BEFORE that. It says it’s primordial time BEFORE there was any Buddha or sentient beings. This refers to the real abiding mode of our real nature. Nobody said there were entities at that time: you’re mixing what is said of one’s nature as if the cosmological approach (which you call mythology below) was a referring to a temporal reality. It may, but there the texts talk about ourselves, not about the origins of Kalpas, universe, etc. In such a case, if you understand precisely what it means, it means that this time can apply to any time, right now for instance. If you understand this arising in the morning, you get Buddhahood in the morning. If you understand it in the evening, you get Buddhahood in the evening, as the saying goes. Again this does not advocate the "no practice" subitist approach : this mean "if you understand AND DON'T REGRESS FROM IT", understanding once is not enough. We have layers and layers of karmic traces...

> Jax: and failed to recognize those energies to be their own
> display. Now that same entity continued to be a
> Buddha if simply recognizing those energies to be
> their own display.

Jean-Luc: Again you are reading the teachings with your own projections: “Now that same entity continued to be a Buddha…”. No there were no Buddhas nor sentient beings BEFORE the arising of the Base. You have to understand this very clearly: this is referring to our nature, to a state were nothing has arisen yet. Just like when our mind is plain quiet and there is nothing, no self grasping, no idea that it does not exist or exist, etc. Then at our gross level, the arising of the three manifestations (sounds, rays and lights) appears in very gross appearances and in ego-centered thoughts. But we can still penetrate a state that is “prior” to that. This is the state of the Base. Then when mental events arise, we can grasp them or not. Grasping means ego centered life. Not grasping means Buddha-ized approach. So the “cosmology” applies to primordial times (this explains how we went astray), and to every moment passing (explaining why we are still astray).

> Jax: Who is that entity? What is
> that entity? This is crucial to understand!

Jean-Luc: Again, your mind is creating a question that is problematic. There are of course Buddhas and sentient beings. Saying we are all Buddhas right now is a word of mouth, it has no meaning at all because we do suffer. Telling someone who is skinned alive that his “self” does not exist is not going to liberate him from suffering. Furthermore we don’t use the word entity in Dzogchen context. Be careful not to bring hinduistic ideas in the context of Dzogchen, i'm sensing this underlying idea that we are all the same, and return to an “ocean” of consciousness when rid of the grasping, this has nothing to do with Dzogchen. This is not the crucial point to understand, what is crucial is why do we get deluded. That’s the main thing. Well right now you can rhetorically say that we are not deluded and are Buddhas since the beginning. So go on, show the display of Bodies and Wisdoms…

> Jax: I feel this whole mythological scenario is very
> misleading.

Jean-Luc: As stated above this is not a mythological scenario. The misleading is when one does not understand what it really means. There is nothing like this in Chan and approaches of the 3rd turning of the Dharma Wheel nor in Prajnaparamita Sutra. Check again the last chapter of Myriad Worlds, this is real Dzogchen, you may not accept it but this does not change the fact that this is the teachings of the Buddhas.

> Jax: The entity that does not recognize
> itself or the energy display is a consciousness that
> arises as an aspect of the Base itself.

Jean-Luc: No, it is in no way consciousness. It is the potential that our mind has to become enlightened (through recognition) or deluded (through non-recognition). Recognition or non-recognition of what? Of its true nature abiding as the Base (the natural state) and its arising mode (the manifestations inherent to the Base). Consciousnesses belong to a much grosser level. Abhidharma studies may help clarify why it’s important to use proper words here. Consciousnesses are compounded, they depend on several things : objects, sense faculty, sense organ, winds that lead the data to the mental consciousness, etc. This last one only is discursive-oriented, the other ones are non-discursive. We’re at a much subtler level when discussing the arising of the Base.
April 23 at 2:01pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: 
> Jax: It is not a "being".
> It's a phantom consciousness that is
> itself part of the energies of light and sound.

Jean-Luc Achard: There is not a single thing like this in Dzogchen texts. You cannot (well you can but you lead others astray) bring innovations to this teachings (taught by Buddhas) otherwise you contextualize it according to your own ignorance. Only Buddhas can “affect” or “alterate” the teachings in one way or the others. We are Buddhas right, but on a potential level only. We have not reached the Fruit. You’re bringing Chan conceptions into a Path that is beyond the dualistic approach of Chan (i just wrote that to make you react here, but it's true).

> Jax: It is itself a projection...

Jean-Luc: The self that grasp at the arising is not a projection. It is an illusion. The distinction is subtle but decisive here.

> Jax: but appears at the center of the mandala instead of the fringe or periphery.

Jean-Luc: Nothing said like this in the texts, sounds rather self-centered.

> Jax: This entity is actually the energy of the Base known as
> rolpa, an interior appearing "dynamism" of the Base.

Jean-Luc: Here i’m sorry to say that this is wrong in terms of understanding what the proper Dzogchen words mean: dynamism is for Tsel (rtsal) which is a kind of potential liable to arise. What arises outwardly (so not an interior appearing whatever) is the Display (rol-pa). These two usually go with a third element : Radiance (gdangs) or Ornament (rgyan). The qualities of water may illustrate the relation between Tsel and Rolpa : Dynamism is like the potential or capacity that water has to reflect things on its surface (when a rock will not have this “power”); Display refers to all that is liable to appear on the surface of water (like reflections of the sun, moon, clouds, etc.). All visible reflections belong to this Display. The Radiance refers to the inherent quality of water that is liable to let the reflections arise. Sometime the reflections are clear, sometimes not. These three modalities play a key-role in some secondary “effects” that are liable to appear when one reaches the Rainbow Body.

> Jax: It is this projection of the Base that we call a
> "sentient being" or semcan.

Jean-Luc: This would mean: there is a Base somewhere producing Buddhas and sentient beings. Are you sure this is really what you want to say ? If so, oh boy, we have to go back to Sutras first, cosmology, etc… The Base is not projecting anything. Projections or elaborations (prapanca, spros-pa) are produced by mind. The Base is not like that, it is endowed with a natural potential, this has nothing to do with projections. Caramba, i thought this was clear from the previous posts.

> Jax: This entity cannot realize it's true nature as it is only a thought
> form as ego consciousness... itself just a
> projection.

Jean-Luc: Rhetoric will not lead you to Buddhahood. There is no ego-consciousness yet at that stage. Our potential gets tainted into a Buddha-ized approach if we recognize the nature of the manifestations arising or it’s tainted in a deluded approach if we fail to do so. Ego-consciousness comes after. At the time of the arising of the Base, there is no mental consciousness affected by kleshas (yet), this mental consciousness comes after!

> Jax: It is this entity as an impermanent
> continuum of conscious energy that transmigrates.

Jean-Luc: Well first you said there was no entity, now you say it transmigrates. I’m lost here.

> Jax: It is not who we are... yet it has arisen within our
> sphere of Awareness.

Jean-Luc: Sphere of Awareness is not a Dzogchen concept. As clearly stated in a previous post, awareness is impermanent. Whatever the “it” is, it does not arise within a sphere of Awareness. Jax, the base is empty. But empty never goes without Clarity. So this means that whenever you have emptiness you have clarity. This clarity is endowed with a dynamism that arises as manifestations. If we recognize these manifestations as our own display, then we are in the state of Awareness (rig-pa). If we don’t we are in the state of ignorance. Period. Sphere of Awareness does not exist.
April 23 at 2:18pm · Edited · Like · 2

Albert Hong: Kyle Dixon

Very clear and illuminating. 

Thank you!
April 23 at 2:09pm · Unlike · 3

Kyle Dixon: 
> Jax: Our sphere of Awareness
> experiences the sensations, feelings and thoughts
> of this "thought form" that's all.

Jean-Luc: Here i guess what you mean by Sphere of Awareness might be better rendered in correct Buddhist terms as a continuum (rgyud, tantra) in the sense of a continuum of consciousness. Fortunately there’s more than this “that’s all”. Nihilism does not lead very far and does not explain what occurs in visionary practice. There is really much more than this. This is really why Chan/Zen in Dzogchen is considered as an heretical nihilistic approach. The two traditions are irremediably irreconcilable. This is explained at length in Bonpo Dzogchen Teachings. Please Jax, read this book again and again. It has nearly all the answers…

> Jax: No one actually suffers... it's just the harmless experience of
> death and suffering etc. It's the ego that freaks
> out... this "I" identity, a product of mind, and
> more fundamentally a projection of the Base.

Jean-Luc: Here again the Base does not project anything. The Base is our real nature. Whether we understand it or not is not affecting it in any way whatsoever. It does not project anything; only deluded mind projects ideas such as there is no Buddha, no suffering, etc. What were the four noble truths by the way…let me see… Rhetoric is a lure.

> Jax: You see the Base not only projects the lights and
> sounds of it's own energy display but it also
> projects the phantom subject that is witness of the
> display.

Jean-Luc: There is no phantom subject. This is not a Dzogchen conception. Again the Base does not project anything. The arising of manifestations is a natural arising (rang-shar). Projections are delusions. The arising of the Base is not a delusion. It becomes so if we grasp at it by thinking these are outer manifestations (not coming from oneself) and if we think that this does not exist and is only projections. Deluded mind is speaking there and promoting nihilism.

> Jax: It is this phantom subject that we call ego or self.

Jean-Luc: Not at all! Ego is produced by a reification of the mental consciousness that needs to position itself in regard to the objects it grasps. Before that there is no ego… Jax, you’re mixing everything together in an non digestible soup here. Re-read Bonpo Dzogchen Teachings please. Carefully. Please do not re-formulate into non-canonical vocabulary.

> Jax: You can tell when it is present in
> your mind as it always calls itself by it's favorite
> names: "I" and "me". Our sphere of Awareness is who
> we actually are, like an orb of Being, without form,
> boundary or center.

Jean-Luc: This is not Dzogchen either. If you want to refer to Dzogchen as a state, you have to give up the vocabulary Being and similar things. Because then when people read that this state is beyond Being and Non-being, they don’t understand anymore. This is where re-formulation is a delusion and mistake in itself.

> Jax: It is perfect. This ego-consciousness arises within this sphere of
> Awareness, as the play of energy as rolpa.

Jean-Luc: Nope again, Rolpa is concerned with the reflections that arise given the potential (Tsel) of the Base, this is at the level of the manifestations arising not the consciousness that grasps them: Ego consciousness comes “after”, when there is grasping.
April 23 at 2:28pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon:
> Jax: Sitting in stillness, if done while
> brightly Aware, not activating thoughts, will cause
> the ego-consciousness to settle down and become
> unnoticeable...

Jean-Luc: This leads to a state of quietness that is replete with defects such as drowsiness, dullness, opacity, agitation, etc. because you cannot stay in this state for ever. It's a construct ofthe mind and it's therefore impermanent. It may say it's beyond mind, but it depends on intention and since it does nothing, it results in nothing. Nihilism is not accepted as a Dzogchen idea, nor as a Buddhist idea either.

> Jax: at that exact moment the flash of
> yeshe or self-knowing occurs... the sphere of
> Awareness no longer experiencing the dominating
> energies of ego-consciousness now experiences Itself
> as it is.

Jean-Luc: Does it last? Is it always present ? What do you do when a thought arises then, because a thought is necessarily going to arise sooner or later? Since you have these 5 agregates, you have the five poisons, what do you do when they arise? If you do nothing, then they just are quite active. If you reject them (in Sutras), it takes time but it works. If you transform them (in Tantras), it works too but demands a lot of efforts. If you let them self-liberate (in Dzogchen), they arise, they abide and they disappear. But this is not enough, we have to look a who's experiencing this arising, abiding, etc. This is the Path of Trekcho and it's quite different from doing nothing. Here's what Lopon says of the "doing nothing approach":

"...we may practice and have an experience of emptiness and no thought, and then we may conclude that ultimately nothing exists. All mind, all bliss, all karma, and so on, simply vanish. If we pursue this experience, it is possible that we may fall into a nihilistic view This is not correct. "

> Jax: At that point of self-recognition of
> one's Buddha-Nature by one's Buddha-Nature, the need
> for practice is finished. Now the best practice is
> "no practice" for a very technical reason: any
> action done or intention generated is the activation
> of ego-consciousness itself!

Jean-Luc: This is what you say, this is not what Dzogchen texts say. You are judging practice according to the View, just like it would be silly to judge the View according to Practice. The View is what you tend towards. Like going to Lhasa. You can’t just be in Lhasa because you just decide that’s it, i’m in Lhasa. You have to fly or take your pilgrim staff to go there. You are mistaking Buddhahood of the Base, Buddhahood of the Path and Buddhahood of the Fruit. We could go forever on and off about all this.

> Jax: It is the ego-consciousness that is attempting to achieve some
> result that will give it ultimate pleasure through
> grasping for this concept of enlightenment.

Jean-Luc: It is certainly not so, precisely because the direct introduction shows you that Buddhahood and the taste of Rigpa are precisely beyond the scope of consciousness, ego, mind, etc. Rigpa is not an object of the mind. You have to become familiar with it; If you don’t want to practice, it’s up to you. I follow the advice of the Dzogchen texts and oral transmissions saying it takes the Path to reach the Fruit.

> Jax: So any active practice or using one's mind for any reason
> in an effort to achieve something spiritual or
> meritorious is actually the obstacle blocking this
> arising of the Knowingness of one's own self-nature
> as the Buddha-Nature.

Jean-Luc: It’s just like black and white clouds covering the sun in a similar way. Lopon says : « On the side of the Natural State, this is true and there are no restrictions or limitations. All appearances are manifestations of mind (sems kyi snang-ba), like reflections seen in a mirror, and there is no inherent negativity or impurity in them. Everything is perfectly all right just as it is, as the energy (rtsal) of the Nature of Mind in manifestation. It is like white and black clouds passing overhead in the sky; they equally obscure the face of the sun. When they depart, there are no traces left behind. However, that is speaking only on the side of the Natural State, which is like the clear, open sky, unaffected by the presence or absence of these clouds. For the sky, it is all the same. But on the side of the practitioner, it is quite different because we mistakenly believe these clouds are solid, opaque, and quite real…” Take this advice to heart please !

> Jax: That is real technical meaning of the teaching in
> the Semde Kunje Gyalpo.

Jean-Luc: Ok. So what are the practice texts associated with the Kunje Gyelpo saying? If you don’t want to practice it’s really up to you. If you don’t regress a single nano-second from the state of Rigpa discerning the true nature of everything, then it’s perfectly ok. Are you at that stage? My masters personally told me they are not, yet. So they practice the best they can… There is a difference between theory and its application. Remaining at the level of theory does not bring any result.

> Jax: In Dzogchen we don't correct the Dzogchenpa,

Jean-Luc: Oh yes we do, that’s the purpose of all Dzogchen practice texts. Each and every of them. That is precisely their purpose. I will be adamant with that. You lead people astray. It is the very object of Dzogchen literature and the misunderstanding regarding its purposes is precisely why Dzogchen was kept secret, because the View is so high that unqualified recipients think there is nothing to do (just like Milarepa who went to sleep). The secrecy about Dzogchen has thus nothing to do with highly strange yogic techniques (you’ll find stranger things in Tantras) but it has to do with ignorance.

> Jax: We don't need to correct the Dzogchenpa, as
> the practitioner is really the ego-consciousness
> just trying to find eternal bliss through the
> promise of Dzogchen... it's all spiritual
> materialism as Trungpa Rinpoche so accurately
> pointed out!

Jean-Luc: This has nothing to do with spiritual materialism. This is how the Dzogchen Path is, whether you like it or not. I don’t want to offend anybody here but Trungpa is not considered an authority in Dzogchen. See for instance how Penor Rinpoche is training his students. This is real Dzogchen. See how Lopon Rinpoche is doing, this is also real Dzogchen. If there is nothing to do, then we don’t need this Dzogchen courses, because all we have to do is to simply sit and do nothing. This is greatly going to help others! I betcha!
April 23 at 2:37pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon:
> Jax: So what do we do? Nothing... but we must be very,
> very diligent in our doing "nothing". We really
> must do "absolutly" nothing... just be, brightly
> aware of the arisings of your mind as they come and
> go. Notice the spaces between thoughts... relax
> into that space. But that space is not yet Rigpa.
> Rigpa is the Awareness that notices the presence of
> thought as well as the spaces between thoughts and
> Awareness never changes.

Jean-Luc: Nope, not a single second true. Rigpa is beyond thoughts and space between thoughts. When texts speak about the space between thoughts, it’s just a way to make you understand that mind does work ok even if there are no thoughts. We are so used to have our mind operates with thoughts that we need to have this experience of no-thoughts or space between thoughts. Rigpa is far more than noticing this. Maybe Luca could post here the exchanges we had about the three forms of Rigpa on the Yungdrungbon Yahoo group list. I have not saved it.

> Jax: Observe the arising of ego-consciousness with its hallmark nameplate of "I"
> or "me". Just observe this... doing nothing but
> being present to everything that arises. Eventually
> if you sit in this "doing nothing" stillness, yet
> fully alert, the mind will vanish along with this
> ego-consciousness... and the flash of yeshe or
> self-knowing will arise suddenly and spontaneously
> as soon as you have come to absolute stillness in
> clear and present Awareness.

Jean-Luc: So what happens when you stand up? What happens when you have to go buy food? This Samatha-like approach is typical of Chan not Dzogchen. This is a means not an end in itself. If you need these fixations of doing nothing, this is going really far away from integration. The purpose of the practice of Dzogchen is not this at all. It is to become more and more familiar with the state one has been introduced to by a qualified master. Then we train to integrate 1. the 3 doors, 2. the six senses, 3. the thoughts and 4. a wide variety of things. This is extremely precise. If you need the fixation of “sitting doing nothing” you are in a cul-de-sac that leads only to further dependency. You can't act in the world in any altruistic way. Dzogchen teaches something else. Completely.

> Jax: That's when you know who and what you really are. This will deepen...
> infinitely, as you continue to not practice anything
> other than "stillness" practices like sky-gazing or
> shikentaza.

Jean-Luc: I sensed there was going to be some trans-tradition things. I’m giving it up here… Dzogchen is a self-referential Path. Its experience is deeply associated with the Guru-Yoga and the blessings of the lineage. This is extremely strict. It is hopeless without this connection. This is the fundamentals of the Dzogchen approach. No connection? nothing develops but mind projections…

> Jax: There is no need to read or study
> anything. That would be engaging the
> ego-consciousness again as there is nothing to learn
> discursively at this point... you are beyond that.
> You can now throw all your books in the river! (or
> give them to me!)

Jean-Luc: I’m sorry i’m not following this approach here. This is Chan, this is not Dzogchen. Throwing the books is throwing one of the 3 Jewels in the river. This is a totally nihilistic approach which has nothing whatsoever to do with Dzogchen. When Shakyamuni was there, we were in a period associated with his Body (i.e. the Buddha was there physically), then he passed away and we were still more or less in a period associated with his Body through those who had met him personally and received his teachings. Then when these died, we entered a period associated with his Speech only, because that was all was left of him : his teachings transmitted as best as masters could do at the time. Then when things started to be written down, we entered a period associated with his Mind, i.e. a period where all that was left of him was what he had taught according to his realization and this was now in written form for us. We should consider ourselves as lucky to even have access to that because these are teachings of an enlightened being, not an ordinary one, not nihilism. And Shakyamuni’s basic message beside the 4 Noble Truths is : stay away from the two extremes, nihilism and eternalism. Enter the middle Path. Dzogchen is in perfect accord with this view. Chan is certainly not. See next paragraph.

> Jax: Like my Chan teacher taught me when I studied with
> him in China: No matter how simple your intention,
> you have already made it hopelessly complex!
> Nothing to do... no calculated approach and don't
> make this "nothing" into something!

Jean-Luc: Please read very carefully what Lopon says here :
“In early Tibetan texts, we also find these contradictions between Dzogchen and Shamatha. The Dzogchen texts insist that clarity and awareness must be inseparably present with the empty state; Shunyata alone is not Dzogchen. Not understanding this is a cause of confusing the two, Dzogchen and Shamatha. This is a key difference between Dzogchen and Ch'an Buddhism, which is usually expounded in accordance with the Sutra system. In the empty state, there is nothing special there in terms of focusing, but with Dzogchen, clarity must be present. Shamatha maintains that it is sufficient just to stop the arising of discursive thoughts and to refrain from creating new thoughts. We simply remain in that gap between thoughts and expand the gap. What is the characteristic of this gap? It is just an empty space where no thoughts are present Shamatha has stopped the past thought and impeded the arising of the next thought. The mind then grasps that empty space and dwells in it. So there is a perception here, the result of grasping.”

Chan is entirely sutra-based : it’s approach is dualistic because what it only does is constantly play paradoxes according to the interpretation of the two truths. Its focalization on Emptiness is a result of its being based on Prajnaparamita Sutras like your last mantra shows. Dzogchen is not sutra-based, it transcends the two truths (due to its view being that of the Thigle Nyakchik) and is not dependent on Prajnaparamita Sutras.

We really have to progress here, not be sent back again to where we started from, because there are a zillion more things to describe. Re-formulation is a mistake, it’s a reductionist approach which brings into Dzogchen things that it has nothing to do with. It is only based on one’s ignorance and limitations or projections of what we think Dzogchen is. Again no rudeness intended here, just my limitations. And again what i stated above is not my subjective personal opinion, although i agree with it 100 %.

April 23 at 2:37pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Ok I'm done, there's a lot of good information in those discussions.
April 23 at 2:37pm · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Thanks Kyle Dixon, my views have remained identical since those discussions of over five years ago, but more clear in expression. Many people have major problems with Jean Luc's version of Dzogchen. I disagree with many of his points, and when I would disagree with using Norbu quotes he said there things about Norbu's Dzogchen teachings that he felt were wrong. That should tell you something. Jean Luc is a neurotic literalist, he has not himself realized the Natural State. I should have used the word "Natural State" instead of "awareness" in the beginning. Everything I was describing was about the "Natural State" which is the Dharmakaya itself. It doesn't arise or not, but all appearance arise as its spontaneous display. Norbu always said the inner luminosity of subjectivity was rolpa and the outward display as the "Youthful Vase Body" could no longer contain the Light, the outward display was "tsal". I am not making it up, I just quoted what Norbu always taught. I don't know which is which except for what Norbu taught me and what many teachers have also written in their texts. Jean Luc is using different definitions.

Jean Luc is wrong about the arising "consciousness" that I kept describing. Malcolm used the word "shes pa" for that initial arising on the subject side. I meant exactly that. It is that initial neutral "shes pa" that can recognize or not. If it "recognizes" then it is "ye gnas kyi shes pa". If it doesnt recognize then it is nampar shes pa. (Skt. vijñāna; Tib. རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་, nampar shepa; Wyl. rnam par shes pa).

When it doesn't "recognize", then it morphs into sem and appears as a "sem can" with a "yid lus" or mental body. The progression as described is: Samantabhadra self-manifests as Vairocana in the central positiion of the Mandala of the Five Buddha Families (and Five Wisdoms), Vairocana is the "mirror-like wisdom" (Melong Yeshe). Through a deleterious symmetry transformation Vairocana appears as "vijnana" of the Fifth Skandha. We reverse this downward evolution in "rulog" in Dzogchen. Recognizing the true nature of "vijnana" to be the "mirror-like wisdom". This "mirror-like wisdom" is our "Clarity" that when in a benighted state appears as "anger". This entire mandala just as described occurs in the skull or Dhung Khan Palace as the mandala of "Wrathful Deites". Our "Clarity" awareness resides in the skull, otherwise known as the "Child Light", whereas the Mother Light resides in the Heart or Citta Palace, the seat of the Peaceful Deities". They are unified as the central channel. 

I never recommended "blank" shamatha, how droll. The "do nothing practice" I was describing is called "Non-Meditation", which the highest stage of Mahamudra practice as well as the correct practice of Trekchod, once recognition has occurred. The best practice after "direct introduction" is the "do nothing" "Non-Meditation" (look up non-meditation, its quite precise). If one can't succeed with that, THEN one has lots of other supports as you know such as sem dzin, rushen etc. etc. 

I would be glad to debate every point the Jean Luc mentioned as he completely misrepresented my intent and meaning. He and I were having a "falling out" at that time and is quite evident. I could post many posts where he agreed with my "view". But that was early on before he started telling the several hundered people on my Dzogchen Practice group that "Dzogchen can"t be practiced by people in ordinary life as it must be confined to a retreat setting." I told him he should not tell people such crap as it only discouraged people who can't manage that type of life. Eventually I had to ban him. He came back again and I kicked him out again for his bizarre emotionalism. He has also been kicked out of other groups for his same behavior. More than one person told me they knew him from at retreats and that he always positioned himself as being some great scholar with a certain type of arrogance. Malcolm has also told me that Jean Luc is not a respected source as far as he was concerned, maybe because of his anti-Norbu rants. 

Now, back to my question: Kyle, what word in Tibetan would you use to mean the "person" that you refer to that needs to practice and realize, that gets "lost in samsara" etc.? Is it "shes pa" or ??? Its an honest question.
April 23 at 4:17pm · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Yes I'm well aware that your views haven't changed. That's ok if many people have problems with Jean-Luc's version of Dzogchen, I've never met one. There are likewise many people who have problems with your version of Dzogchen, so it goes both ways. 

Malcolm used 'shes pa' to signify the neutral awareness or noetic capacity which is innate to the basis (gzhi). The term 'consciousness' was never once used, because consciousness arises later down the line, post non-recognition. Most every dharmic model states that consciousness is afflicted, except for yogācāra. That was precisely Jean-Luc's point in that discussion as well, that consciousness is afflicted, and mixing the terms only leads to confusion. 

Malcolm wrote:
"There can only be ignorance if there is awareness (shes pa). Prior to the movement of wind in the basis, there is only wisdom."

Malcolm wrote:
"The problem arises because of the fact that at the time of the basis there is a neutral awareness [shes pa lung ma bstan] which arises at the same time the basis stirs. But it is difficult to describe this as belonging to the four conditions as classically described in Sarvastivada. Shakya Chogden's attempt to solve this problem are reflective of gsar ma myopia. In Dzogchen specifically, however consciousness, the aggregate of consciousness is held to be generated by a vāyu/rlung functioning in the body of a sentient being. This is fairly clearly explained in the rig pa rang shar tantra."

Non-meditation takes a certain degree of integration and stabilization, it is the ability to successfully remain in effortless abiding, once the majority of karmic propensities have been pacified or extinguished. Prescribing non-meditation to a beginner as something s/he should practice is impossible, there's no foundation for comprehension or any way they could perform with such efficiency. 

As for the retreats, Jean-Luc's comments were:
"If Rigpa was not impermanent, we would be in its state constantly. This is not the case since we are in ignorance and dualistic grasping most of the time. This sad situation is essentially due to distraction. Rig pa fluctuates: until we are sufficiently familiarized with it (through retreats for instance with hours longs contemplation sessions), we are in a state defined as unripened Awareness (ma smin pa'i rig pa). Others would translated this as "immature intrinsic awareness."


Jean-Luc wrote:
"the key word here is integration, ie making so that the experience of Awareness pervades everything. However, texts also say this is done in retreat and in retreat only. Otherwise you'll integrate experiences to your ordinary mind, not to your Awareness (because in Trekcho being in the state of Awareness [rig pa] means being there in a non-regressive mode which is only accessible in retreats, at least up to a certain level when one has become able to integrate more or less everything). So this means you need to have received the direct introduction first and then you do a retreat in order to experience by yourself what you've been introduced to by the master. Then you need to stabilize this experience before moving to Thogel. The best way to test your stabilization is to try to integrate the practice of virtues such as your daily prostrations, recitations, mantras and visualizations. If you succeed, then you try to integrate neutral things such as moving your body (running, walking, sitting and standing up, etc.), saying ordinary discourses and talks, and thinking ordinary neutral things. Then you try with non-virtues (wrath and physical violence, although never harming other beings nor yourself, so it's just a matter of creating or remembering a situation where your wrath might just explode, IRS for instance), bad language and thoughts filled with the five poisons. That's the basic work of integration."

Jean-Luc wrote:
"Trekcho context is very important for the next steps of contemplation. It has to be done for very long sessions during specific retreats in total silence and isolation. The longest the sessions, the deepest the experience grows until, like a sheet which constantly put into water never dries, one does not regress anymore from the experience of the natural state."

As for the banning, I'm unconcerned with all that, there's two sides to every story. According to Jean-Luc, Lopon Tenzin Namdak advised him to avoid discussing anything related to dzogchen which might be of use to you. 

Regarding this 'person', since a person is a product of ignorance, it is ignorance. Not one dharma tradition states that there is a homogenous 'person' or entity which performs actions or does anything. Only the web of affliction, propensities, habitual tendencies, karma. We are products of habit, just as the soldier who returns from war is afflicted with PTSD, through constant familiarization with certain circumstances and environments, adaptation, habituation, expectation, occur... even addiction. Affliction is not resolved in the first moment of recognition.
April 23 at 6:07pm · Edited · Like · 2

Stephen Metcalf: "According to Jean-Luc, Lopon Tenzin Namdak advised him to avoid discussing anything related to dzogchen which might be of use to you [Jax]."

Really ? Why would a teacher say that ?
April 23 at 11:46pm · Edited · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: To protect the Lama, the teachings, and Jean-Luc himself is what was said. It's seen as karmically detrimental for teachings to be misconstrued and then relayed to others in a way that contradicts or adulterates the original exposition. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche once said that gurus who want to achieve perfect buddhahood for the benefit of beings, should not have very many students because they actually incur the samaya breakage of their students etc. He said for example, that with the volume of students he has, it wouldn't be easy for him to achieve rainbow body etc. (not that rainbow body is ultimately important, but his point was that he incurs his students karma which is related to the teachings). Jean-Luc said that Tibetan Lamas (at least those he is frequently in contact with) are starting to notice that some westerners are misappropriating the teachings and using them for self-promotion... so keeping the authentic teachings away from 'unqualified vessels', as he put it, is the issue.
April 23 at 11:13pm · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Malcolm on Dzogchen samaya (old post addressing Jax from another forum):

Malcolm wrote:
This is not strictly true, Jax. In terms of samaya, the Rigpa Rangshar's interlinear notes clarifies the samaya of the view to realized i.e. non-conceptual prajñā. 

It lists general samaya as the famous four samayas of Dzogchen -- non-existence, singleness, ubuiquity, and natural formation. 

Beyond that however, it also clarifies items constituting the body, speech and mind samayas of a Dzogchen practitioner:

The samaya of the body is abandoning taking life. 
The samaya of speech is abandoning lying, calumny and harsh words. 
The samaya of mind is not troubling concentration or disturbing the guru’s mind. 

However, the Rangshar also makes it very clear that the Guru is obliged to follow these samayas listed here, and others as well. 

It makes it very clear that that the worst samaya to break is the samaya of the body i.e. not to take life. In other words, like all other Buddhist systems, Dzogchen establishes ahimsa as the most basic standard of conduct for a Dzogchen practitioner. 

But the system of samaya in Dzogchen is not the system of samaya of maha and anu. On the other hand, it does not mean we completley ignore these samayas too. 

April 23 at 11:28pm · Like

Stephen Metcalf: Ok Kyle, the answer is now understandable although of course that brings up the much bigger subject of who should teach and what westernizing does...none of which I am qualified to comment on. 

Also, if the wording was different such as: "to avoid discussing anything related to dzogchen which might be mis-used by you [Jax] ", that sounds clearer.

Anyway, I so appreciate what you both share. Amazing!! And I know the debate between you to will continue. 

It might be good if 5 year old conversations were not brought up. And you both reference others a lot in attempts to support your position and view.

I would love it if you both would just share directly from your own exact experience without so much referencing.

I will stop now as I don't bring anything to the party like what you both do. Thanks again !!!!!
April 23 at 11:56pm · Edited · Like · 2

Kyle Dixon: Yeah, I can see that... I just took it word for word from what Jean-Luc wrote: 
"I have just been advised by my master to avoid discussing anything related to Dzogchen that might be of use to Jax."

Usually qualified teachers are those who have at least realized two-fold emptiness (3rd vision of Thögal), as for the other requirements I'm not sure, it might vary from lineage to lineage, I can't make any definitive statements on that. But the general consensus is that unless the individual has realized two-fold emptiness, and are stable in that realization, they have no business teaching. In truth, most individuals will stay away from a teaching position, most practitioners who are serious will usually just focus on their practice and benefitting beings that way. For someone to take a teaching position they usually have to be very stable in their view, because positions of 'power' as you might call it, can potentially give rise to pride etc., which is dangerous for one's practice. 

As for westernizing, I think the teachings being prevalent in the west is wonderful, it's just the 'izing' part that is the issue... changing the teachings, reconfiguring them etc., that is seen as an adulteration which renders the teachings null and void. Just as was stated above, only a Buddha i.e. fully realized individual is capable of making changes (usually no one in their right mind would want to make changes) or additions to the teachings. And even then, additions usually come in the form of terma teachings which are unique to that Lama... termas are teachings that are either received in pure vision, dreams for example, or they are discovered. For example, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's terma teachings are called Longsal, so when he gives Longsal teachings and transmissions, those are teachings he received in pure vision dreams. 

As for the debating with Jax, I rather enjoy the debate, keeps things lively around here and let's others decide what they like or don't like, what makes sense to them or what doesn't. I'm not trying to be right, nor say Jax is wrong, we each have our own opinions and I think that's great. 

Your input is always appreciated and welcome in any conversation or debate, so feel free to join in whenever.
April 24 at 12:25am · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Perhaps I should clarify my views regarding Dzogchen. I am not interested in proselytizing the lineage traditions of Dzogchen as is. Those traditions are in a process of becoming not Westernized but rather" genericized". I am interested in isolating and extracting the workable elements of the teachings and practices and utilizing them in a generic teaching context outside the lineage tradition. Only in this way will Dzogchen ultimately survive: by virtue of its functionality. When in the years following the age of Padmasambhava, several Lamas invented or authored the tantras and texts of Dzogchen and created a story about their antiquity and Indian origin. Many of the treasure texts or termas have been proven spurious. I myself found the terma cycle called known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, could not be authentic as "revealed" by Karma Lingpa. He said Padmasambhava authored them. However he more than once mentions the "9 Vehicles or yanas" of the entire path, having 
Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Ati yoga as number 7,8,9, respectively. The problem is a major anachronism: the nine yana system didn't appear until long after Padmasambhava. Ati Yoga at that time was just a "method" not a yana or vehicle. There were only 6 "yanas" then. Malcolm told me others have recognized this as well. So what we have as Dzogchen today are a body of teachings that have been created, modified and added to evolutionarily for at Ieast a thousand years. Some teachings contradict others as well ( per Malcolm to me). The Nying Thig is obviously heavily influenced by Samkhya as its placement of rigpa and Dharmakaya anatomically in the heart as a "light" and "variegated light like a peacocks egg". This is right out of the Upanishads, not known in Buddhism at all. 

Is there a single "orthodox" Dzogchen lineage? No, take your pick. Dzogchen exists timelessly as basic principles of how reality is structured and how beings can find their "way home". The same core is found in Sufism, Kabbalah, and Orthodox Christianity. I say core because all of these teachings have the realization of the physical body being transformed into Light as their ultimate actualization. I am trying to discover and extract the key principles from each of these traditions in order to present a completely generic model of theory and practice that anyone from any culture can apply easily and successfully. My first book presents the core. I teach that core (integrated with Mahamudra and Zen) here in Vienna and at retreats. My second book, in progress, is about each tradition as presented separately and in detail as well as showing common denominators. I have no unique allegiance to any system, I am only interested in what works consistently for people's benefit. Dzogchen contains a large body of theory and practice, although perhaps too much theory! The intellectuals eat it up like they do Dogen's texts as well. This often puts "practice" in a competing position. Westerners would prefer "reading and intellectualizing" their way to enlightenment rather than practice. 
I am perfectly happy with each tradition continuing also with their own rich liturgies, beliefs, teachings, practices and mythologies as well as cosmologies. For those so suited, the experiences can be very profound and meaningful.
April 24 at 4:13am via mobile · Like · 1

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