Sunday, June 16, 2013

Being/Non-Being And a Freedom From Extremes

Jackson Peterson:
Clarifying the authentic Dzogchen View

I want to share a few quotes from Dzogchen texts that demonstrate the nature of the Mind of Clear Light, which is an indestructible singularity located at the heart, that the Dalai Lama discusses, is not just some “knowledge” or insight. It is our “Knowing” spiritual nature that manifests as “Clear Light”. It is not dependent on conditions as it is the permanent Buddha Mind. This is a view that is quite beyond anything in Buddha’s early teachings or Madhyamaka. 

The Dalai Lama shares in his book, “Dzogchen”:

“Throughout beginningless time, there has always been present, within us all, a pure awareness, that in-dwelling rigpa in which in Atiyoga is evoked in all its nakedness, and which constitutes the practice.”

“In the textual sources of the Dzogchen and Mahmudra traditions, it is referred to as “uncompounded clear light”. The term “uncompounded” or “non-composite” can be understood in various ways. More generally, it means something that does not depend on causes and conditions. But it can also signify “that which is not contrived as something temporary and new”, and so something that is primordially present, a ‘continuous and permanent state’”.

“Similarly, clear light is primordially as it is; it is beginningless and not contrived as something new. It is something that abides continuously, or ‘permanently’.”

“Yet self-arising rigpa is beyond ordinary consciousness altogether.”

“As it is said, if thoughts arise, they arise within the space of rigpa, while they also cease within that space. So as long as you can maintain that natural state of rigpa, none of these thoughts, whatever they may be, can pose any threat.”

“Then even if thoughts do arise they can only do so within the space of rigpa.”

“When a thought is rising, it remains inseparable from the basic space of rigpa.”

“But in Dzogchen, while thoughts are active, rigpa permeates them all, so that even at the very moment when powerful thoughts like attachment and aversion are arising, there remains a pervasive quality of clear light rigpa. That rigpa is what you seek to recognize…”

“On the basis of that key point, the realization of clear light radiates in splendour, becoming clearer and clearer, like a hundred million suns.”

“This unique quality of the fundamental innate mind of clear light has been introduced, you focus on it as the key point, and as a result, there dawns an experience unlike any other. This seems to me to be the extraordinary feature of Dzogchen.”

Practices from the Zhang-Zhung Nyan Gyud
as transmitted orally by
Lopon Tenzin Namdak

Thödgal refers to the nature of the state of Rigpa.

The Natural State (rigpa) pervades our entire physical body, but it is
especially concentrated in the hollow cavity inside of our physical heart.

The Kati nerve is a tube like hollow channel. By means
of the wisdom winds (ye-shes kyi rlung), the Natural State (rig-pa) comes
up through the channel from the heart.

This represents an important method: the Natural State (rig-pa) comes
up out of the heart, moves along the Kati nerve and goes out through the
eyes. This Natural State (rigpa) shines through the eyes, that is, it comes up through the channels and goes out through the eyes, although actually the Natural
State(rigpa) is immovable. Between our internal space and external space beyond,
we have a window or door.

The Natural State (rigpa) resides in the heart and it comes and goes through the
Kati channel and through the doorways of the eyes. Here we can find the
unification of energy and awareness. Unification of these two exists equally
everywhere from the top of the head down to the feet, but normally this
situation is covered over with obscurations, and we do not see it clearly. But
it is clear in the Kati channel and here it is like the sky without clouds. This
is an indestructible gnosis or knowledge.

If we practice consistently, we will realize Ngonshe (mngon-shes) or the
clairvoyant powers. Even if we just practice ordinary śamatha, as the Hindus
and others do, we will realize these powers. But this clairvoyance is limited,
whereas in Tantra and Dzogchen, the clairvoyant powers will be very vast.

“There exist several methods for keeping in the state continuously. We
can go on for years without distraction.”

From the Dzogchen Tantra, The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion:

“In awareness-rigpa, which is forever deathless, I am not obscured by birth and death”.

“Since self-knowing awareness is timelessly unchanging, I am not obscured by either virtue or harm.”

“Since there is no duality of the five emotional poisons versus timeless awareness, I am not obscured by reification or conceptualization.”
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Jackson Peterson: This last one is good... "Since there is no duality of the five emotional poisons versus timeless awareness, I am not obscured by reification or conceptualization.”
Wednesday at 3:09pm · Like

Greg Goode: Interesting - but it doesn't establish that he is saying that 

"I" = timeless awareness
Wednesday at 3:14pm · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Well of course not. The "I" is a mental imputation. Being is not an imputation. Greg Goode
Wednesday at 3:16pm · Like

Greg Goode: Told you I was a Dzogchen ignoramus!
Wednesday at 3:25pm · Like · 3

Jackson Peterson: Greg Goode... ha, ha ha... 
Wednesday at 4:03pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: Yes Jax, Being as well as Non-being are both imputations
Wednesday at 7:25pm · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, where do you get this 'being' notion from? Nowhere does dzogchen uphold 'being', that would be an extreme. 'Being' and the other extremes certainly are imputations, in addition to ignorance according to the dharma as a whole. Such a notion arises as a result of grasping and clinging. Dzogchen strictly maintains a freedom from both eternalism and nihilism (both and neither).
Wednesday at 7:29pm via mobile · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: "The natural state of the basis is free from elaboration:
It is not existent - even the conquerors cannot see it;
It is not nonexistent - it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana;
It is not both or neither - it goes beyond being an object of speech;
May I realize the natural state of the basis of the Great Perfection.

Because its essence is empty, it is free from the limit of eternalism;
Because its nature is luminous, it is free from the extreme of nihilism;
Because its compassion is unobstructed, it is the basis of the manifold manifestations;
Though it can be divided into three, in truth there is no difference.
May I realize the natural state of the basis of the Great Perfection.

[The basis] is inconceivable and free from imputation,
Destroying partiality toward existence and nonexistence;
In expressing this truth even the tongues of the conquerors are thwarted;
It is the expanse of the vast and profound luminosity, without beginning, middle, or end.
May I realize the natural state of the basis of the Great Perfection.

In my own essence, stainless, unborn and ever-pure,
The radiance of unconditioned spontaneous presence rises up;
Realizing this as the union of vidyā and emptiness, without looking for it elsewhere,
And thus arriving at the full realization of the basis,
May I not deviate from the essential points of the path..."
- [excerpt from] An Aspirational Prayer for the Basis, Path and Result by Jigme Lingpa
Wednesday at 7:42pm · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Some that only view these teachings from a conceptual perspective are hamstrung by the notion of "Being". Emptiness is "ok" but not "Being". Being means "is". But "is" is not pointing to an inherently independent and substantialized entity. Its more like "human being", implying an active manifestation, which could in fact be like a mirage or hologram ie "empty" yet appearing. 

In Dzogchen "Kadag"(primordial purity) refers to the empty aspect. "Lhundrub" refers to the luminous aspect. The luminous aspect is the arising "Wisdom Deity" the rigpa state, as the Sambhogakaya. This "being" is often referred to as "Vajra-sattva", "Diamond Being". This is our pure luminous empty-form, Wisdom Body. This is the famous "Body of Light". We "are" this Wisdom Deity, whose qualities are aware emptiness and impermanent luminous form. Its intelligence is the timeless Mind of Clear Light. This is the "Being" aspect, the "Beingness" of an active and functioning Buddha who is unlimited regarding dimensions of appearance and activity. That's the empty luminous Sambhogakaya aspect. The completely empty and insubstantial aspect of that Being is the Dharmakaya, the changeless purity of Clear Light Knowing. The inseparable unity of these two empty aspects is the Nirmanakaya. So we have "Being" and "Non-Being" as the inseparable nature of our True Nature. This is experienced and known directly in the moment of rigpa as an unlimited condition of transparent Clear Light Wisdom Mind, we appear like an empty mirage, even though empty, in that moment of appearance. That moment of energetic appearance is the timeless, dis-joint exertion of emptiness itself appearing as "uji", an empty moment of pure "being", that vanishes into non-being in the same moment: Being/Non-Being.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like

Kyle Dixon: You only assume others view the teachings from a 'conceptual' perspective, however that is a charge which is merely symptomatic of your own conceptualizations. 

Yes, 'being' is an extreme view, 'emptiness' is a freedom from extremes. 'Being' is not a skillful term to associate with these teachings in any sense of the word. 

As for the rest of your response you start off fine detailing ka dag, and then proceed to claim that vidyā is equivalent to lhun grub and fixate on the lhun grub aspect, comparing it to 'being'. Which is impossible since lhun grub is inseparable from ka dag. You then claim that the three kayas are aspects of that 'being' when they are nothing of the sort. This is a gross misinterpretation of the teaching. You can fill your description up with all the safeguard terminology you want to make it appear as if your exposition is in accordance with the authentic view (disjoint exertion and all the rest), all it amounts to is placing a 'simultaneous being and non-being' advertising label on a view which errs too far into eternalism.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

Serge Sönam Zaludkowski: words are so nice when you put them one after another,
it sounds like a symphony which would have had a sens,
kadag, emptiness and lhundrub on the top,
who would have better said, you know, I'm the top,
but if I add ngo-bo, rang-bZhin and then also Thugs-rJe,
be sure no one will doubt, I'm the one who know.
21 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, read the OP again and pay attention to HHDL. You are confusing Dzogchen with emptiness teachings. Realizing our nature as rigpa is much more than emptiness. You have proven that rangtong cannot adequately express the view as "being" is a dirty word. Emptiness is even worse due to its possible misinterpretation as nihilistic. This brings us back to the rangtong vs zhantong debate. Dzogchen goes beyond prasangika because it introduces the living, aware Knowing-Beingness of rigpa. Being/Non-Being is perfectly understood within rigpa experience. Just as self/no-self is the non-dual realization of Mahdyamaka. For further query, please read the Zhantong argument that demolishes the Gelugpa view of rangtong. But ultimately none of these words make any difference. When you recognize the nature of that rigpa clear light effulgence that pours through the eyes, you will know. It has nothing to do with right or wrong concepts and reification is completely irrelevant in that seeing of what is Seeing at the eyes. That Clear Light Rigpa fills all the light channels in the head at which point recognition is unavoidable. All the work of studying Buddhist teachings added nothing to this recognition at all. But you will know this too when your thogal practice begins to develop.
21 hours ago via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Soh, do the descriptions in the OP regarding rigpa rising and appearing through the eyes etc. describe your experience? I wonder the same for Thusness John Tan?
20 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax: The Unwritten Tantra states, "Since my self-originated wisdom originally is pure of delusion, it is beyond the extremes of being and non-being." There is no Being/Non-being in Dzogchen.
17 hours ago · Unlike · 4

Soh: Hi Jackson, first of all, it's best for me not to use words like 'rigpa', as it can have different meanings for different people.

Secondly if you're talking about something like 'luminous awareness/presence' which I think you are, then it can be experienced in all senses and not just visual, also it is without duality and locality so it is not confined or situated in some space behind the eyes. 

Kyle however has experienced a few times what you described, as if clear light is pouring out of one's eyes. I have not really experienced that... but it sounds like an interesting peak experience. 

The whole visual field however can reveal itself as sparkling clarity and aliveness, as if the display 'shimmer'.
17 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Thanks Soh! Yes, here the sense of clear light luminosity associated with the eyes is always present when clear states of rigpa occur here. In such a case my entire field of experience has a quality of transparency, non-duality and total openness, but along with a powerful wisdom clarity that really groks the entire condition as empty presence, luminous and aware without border or center...
16 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, I know the terms "Being/No Being" are not Dzogchen language, they are my translation of a certain quality of experience that defies further reification. Presence is luminously present, yet invisible and empty. However, this empty luminous presence is never absent of a quality of "self-knowing" of its condition in that recognition.
16 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, Kyle Dixon: Herbert Guenther is certainly more respected in Dzogchen scholarship than either of you. He shares this in his book Buddhist Philosophy: "In order, to be consistent, a follower of the
Atiyoga must be silent. To bring this out is the task of the manngag-
gi sde 'guidance section.' Here the individual does not try
to set up extraneous rules, but allows himself to be 'guided' by
the totality of Being. He can do this because he himself is this
Being in embodied form. Inasmuch as Being is dynamic, man
as an embodied being is guided from and in the light of the
future of what he is going to be. This is the process of becoming
enlightened which goes on forever."
10 hours ago · Like

Kyle Dixon: Right, that is Herbert Guenther's interpretation, if you see authority in his words, then that is a reflection of yourself, the words contain no authority themselves.
10 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax:

HG was certainly a trailblazer, but his use of the language of western phenomenology to articulate Dzogchen has lead a lot of people down some very strange rabbit holes.
10 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Ok, Kyle Dixon, then stop quoting Malcolm for the same reason. 
10 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: I have never heard anyone claim that Guenther had less than a full mastery of Dzogchen understanding and scholarship. Malcolm Smith
10 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: HG was not interested in Dzogchen per se. He was interested in applying what he had read by western philosophers such as Merleu-Ponty, Husserl, Heidegger, etc., to Dzogchen texts.
10 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Anyone guys... its now more clear that not everyone sees eye to eye on this topic, and it would be best if we all gave up the "effort" at "correcting" each person's view. Dzogchen is experiential and can't be judged or assessed for accuracy against a scale of literary or academic alignment.
10 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Its better to talk about experience... not words about words... imho
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Since HG, by his own admission, never practiced Dzogchen or had any personal experiences indicated in Dzogchen texts, it makes his work less than interesting for those who are interested in actually penetrating the meaning of their real state.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Kyle Dixon: I never said don't quote Herbert Guenther, I'm saying the authority you see in his exposition is obviously a reflection of yourself. Relationship is a mirror. I never once claimed I was exempt from that being the case in my experience either, that is why we're all sharing opinions.
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Yes, but the whole point of Being as used in the language of Heidegger's phenomenology is that it cannot be experienced at all, yet it informs all beings. This is holdover from Kant's transcendental idealism, imported into Dzogchen language by HG.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, you are mis-informed. I have heard otherwise from his students.
9 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: I heard from one translator that they all considered him deeply realized ala Dzogchen.
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: I am not misinformed. What I am relating comes from his students [Valby, Goodman, etc.]. HG was never a practitioner of Dzogchen. Sorry, he just was not.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Malcolm Smith: Obviously there is a difference of opinion amongst his students.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Anyway... we can see my own languaging was not completely outside of how some also interpret the real meaning of Dzogchen.
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: You language re: Being/Non-being does not even make sense from the point of view of Dzogchen tantras, Jax.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Steve Goodman told you that he thought Guenther was not realized in Dzogchen? I find that really hard to believe. I know Steve... let me track him down.
9 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, you are again referring to texts, not experience. I am representing experience. If you don't get it, as I am sharing than "what can i say?" 
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax:

As you have been told before, language mediates experience on an internet forum. Some language however is better than others. What I am telling you is that your language re Being/non-being that you use to mediate your experience to others has no basis in the texts. There is language that is in the texts that is used to mediate experience. That is the language is Dzogchen language. Of course it is hard with all these translators who have different opinions about this and that. For example, these days Valby as taken to translating rigpa as Intelligence. I understand why, but I find it weird nevertheless. 

But being/non-being is not even on the playing field.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Malcolm Smith: The whole reason why Valby met ChNN was because Goodman told him that at last he had met a teacher who could really explain the meaning of the texts they has been studying under HG.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Yes, Norbu was a professor of Tibetology, I understand. Anyway, I never use "Being/Non-Being", that is new to that quote... But I will use it because it fits the ineffable experience of Being as Luminous Clarity and yet that Luminous Clarity never reaches beyond the condition of emptiness as "Non-Being". The sense of zangthal or transparency is exactly that experience of "empty form". Self as Not Self. I can believe you don't relate to those expressions! 
9 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: No, not because ChNN was a professor, but because ChNN actually was a practitioner unlike HG. 

I relate to the (Tibetan) language in Dzogchen texts themselves. I understand it a bit differently than others seem to.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Yes, I noticed... 
9 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Ok, Malcolm Smith. I just shared with Kyle the question: "How does "freedom from extremes" have anything to do with rigpa as the experience of rigpa, since rigpa doesn't relate to any conceptual view? Your thoughts?
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Since rigpa itself is free from extremes, the experience of rigpa is the true experience of freedom from extremes of proliferation. This is clearly stated by Shri Simha, etc.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: Yes, but rigpa has no such "view"...
9 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Being in that state free from proliferation [tregchö] is the view.
9 hours ago via  · Like

Jackson Peterson: No, no... Malcolm Smith, that is still an intellectual view of the View. You are taking a virtual openness-wisdom- presence and assigning a description that represents only shamatha. One would have such a view of "freedom from extremes" when dissected later. But rigpa doesn't have that as a characteristic because it doesn't have a mind-view regarding extremes. You make rigpa seem that one simply has to come to the position of being in the agreement with the view of "freedom from extremes" and then one has "got it". This is surely an intellectual view imputed upon the viewless... 
8 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Oh, I just remembered: Norbu often uses the term "presence" with discussing "rigpa" in English or "immediate presence". That "presence" is exactly what I mean by "being". You should criticize him as well! 
8 hours ago · Like

Kyle Dixon: Jackson, the fact that vidyā doesn't have a 'mind view' is precisely why it is free from extremes. There is no dualistic grasping [dzin pa] in vidyā, ergo the habit of grasping which is indicative of mind and avidyā, is disarmed, meaning afflictive proliferation is impossible.
8 hours ago via mobile · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: Freedom from extremes is conceptual formula only. Rigpa has no idea of extremes or reification, the whole concept is meaningless except from the viewpoint of Dzogchen scholars that had to prove the "view of rigpa" was kosher. Do you think a yogi in the mountains practicing thogal had to keep "freedom from extremes" in mind? The concept is of no benefit once we get beyond the mind. One should then be fully immersed in non-conceptual experience with no trace of such distractions.
8 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Instant presence is the term he uses, and it fits just fine with what he is trying to communicate. "Presence" is another word for clarity. For example, when you investigate everything according to the four extremes, in the end you are left with the fact that there is looking. This aspect that is looking but cannot be found is termed clarity, or in ChNN's case, instant presence discovered through emptiness. The difference is that in Dzogchen, we use the three experiences to discover that instant presence. But the term "being" is too mucked up with Heidegger and so on.
8 hours ago via  · Unlike · 1

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax:

You are not understanding. When I said being in the state free from extremes is the view, I am not talking about analysis or some contrivance one uses to be in that state. 

One simply rests in the state free of extremes of proliferation, that is rigpa, that is tregchö. It is not complicated at all. 

"The mandala is completed in the nonconceptual path, 
freeing the bonds of proliferation of thoughts and so on,
free from the empty phenomena of intentions and so on,
beyond being and nonbeing, negative and positive objects, and so on,
liberated from phenomena that fall into an extreme."
-- Rigpa Rangshar Tantra
8 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 1

Malcolm Smith: It also has not idea of Being/non-being. The concept of being/non-being is also useless once we go beyond mind.
8 hours ago via  · Like

Kyle Dixon: Freedom from extremes is a conventional designation which effectively conveys the insight of prajñā. You just said it yourself above; vidyā has 'no idea of extremes or reification', thus it is free of extremes. No concept is of benefit once free of mind, and so that goes for your notion of 'being' as well. In attempting to refute my position, you're effectively refuting your own position.
8 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax does that a lot, he is his best opponent. If you just wait long enough, he will refute himself for you.
8 hours ago via  · Unlike · 1

Jackson Peterson: Kyle Dixon, I am not talking about "being" as an imputation, I am talking about "being" as a synonym for "presence" as "clarity" as Malcolm said above: ""Presence" is another word for clarity. For example, when you investigate everything according to the four extremes, in the end you are left with the fact that there is" looking". This aspect that is" looking" but cannot be found is termed clarity, or in ChNN's case, instant presence discovered through emptiness."

Malcolm said it exactly as I see it. We can never find a concept or word to express rigpa, even "emptiness", but there is no room in that concept for Malcolm's "looking". "Being" suffers the same fate due to its leaving no understanding of the empty quality. That's why the Dzogchen masters talk about the union of emptiness and clarity. In this case the "clarity" is this present "lookingness". That's why I don't use the term "being" alone, I pair it with "non-being". This the same as saying "the union of clarity and emptiness" with fewer words. I am not an avid student of "Heidegger", but the term "Dasein" in German has great relevance when paired with "emptiness". If my "Being/Non-Being" doesn't "work" for you, ok... so what? 
17 minutes ago · Like

Kyle Dixon: Pairing 'being' with 'non-being' is simply covering 3 of the 4 extremes. It definitely is not the same as saying 'the union of clarity and emptiness'... it has a much different flavor, and since it's also nothing more than stating the positive and negative side of the same concept, it's also contradictory. 'Being' is reifying an existent, 'non-being' is reifying a non-existent and then you're pairing the two which is yet another extreme. Clarity, luminosity etc., allows for a much more malleable notion, an exertion that isn't necessarily an existent or any other extreme. Emptiness allows for an 'unfindability', where that capacity of clarity isn't being reified. So I still maintain my opinion that 'being' and 'non-being' is a highly unskilled pointer.
Yesterday at 2:02am · Edited · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: And I still maintain that you are a pedantic literalist, Dzogchen is poetry... my friend. 
Yesterday at 2:16am · Like · 1

Chris Kepinski: “There exist several methods for keeping in the state ontinuously. We can go on for years without distraction.” - is there any source describing these methods accessible widely? I found some articles but I need very detailed description of these practices.
Yesterday at 3:46am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Chris Kepinski, the actual key method is the practice or non-practice of "non-meditation". Once the state of rigpa arises you leave it alone, and do not engage in conceptualizing, analyzing, trying to maintain, rejecting, or grasping of any kind. We remain in a thought free state of pure clarity as much as possible. This then becomes stable... at first for minutes then hours and then for days. Here it lasts for days... then fades then arises again usually within a day. When it fades you can also do some tumo yoga or kundalini yoga to open the chakras again, especially the crown chakra. Also one can do "sky gazing" as per the instructions that I have in my book. I have all the main practices for revealing rigpa and then how to stabilize in the appendix with an illustration. If you know thogal, then of course doing daily sessions of thogal is best.
Yesterday at 3:57am · Like · 1

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