Sunday, June 16, 2013

Clarity, Rigpa and Interpretations of Clear Light

Jackson Peterson:
Malcolm Smith wrote: "This aspect that is 'looking' but cannot be found is termed clarity, or in ChNN's case, instant presence discovered through emptiness."

Further on Malcolm clarified: "You cannot call it conditioned in a real sense because it is originally pure..."

I would like to point out that in the example above regarding the "looking" as being what Norbu Rinpoche calls "instant presence". Malcolm equated perfectly : "Looking", Clarity and "instant presence". All of three of these terms are pointing to something beyond the mind (sem). 

Clarity in this case is the Clarity of rigpa itself, "hrig ge ba" - (present, clarity, awake, wide-awake) and "gsal shing rig pa" (cognizant clarity and awareness). 

There is also a kind of "clarity" of the afflicted mind itself, but it is more an intellectual brightness or clarity of mind, and is the not the Clarity of rigpa, known also as the Wisdom Clear Light, 'od gsal ba'i ye shes.
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Stian Gudmundsen Høiland: This post seems like it's trying very hard to put words into someone else's mouth. Here are the full quotes, and some other quotes that happened in context of the discussion:

Malcolm said:

> You cannot call it conditioned in a real sense because it is originally pure; but you cannot call it unconditioned in a real sense because of lhun grub, which has processes, and which serves as the cause of both vidyā and āvidyā.

> the sutrayāna dichotomy of conditioned/unconditioned is irrelevant in Dzogchen

> rig pa is not the looking, rig pa is the discovery.

> looking is still mind, the discovery is beyond mind

> "looking" - gsal ba, which simply means clear or distinct

Notice that the looking talked of by Malcolm is not "hrig ge ba".

For your "looking", Jackson, 'conditioned' doesn't apply. 'Unconditioned' doesn't apply either.
hrig ge ba - Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary
present, wakefulness, acutely awake, vividness, alertly awake, vivid alertness, lucid wakefulness, pellucid, lucid, limpid awakeness [syn. stong gsal, 'dzim med, lhang nge ba, hang nge ba min pa, wa le ba. note. Tp stresses the connotation of sharpness for [[hrig ge and relaxedness for wa le [IW] [Cut off website preview]
8 hours ago · Like · Remove Preview

Jackson Peterson: Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, I sense Malcolm was being very careful in putting his toes in these waters. He certainly doesn't want to be accused of being a "substantialist", certainly a fate worse than be called a "child molestor" in these here parts! However, in private conversations with me he has been more forthright. If you take the first statement OP, his position is sealed. As he equates the "looking" with Norbu's "instant presence", he is declaring that his "looking" is rigpa, because rigpa for Norbu is "instant presence". Likewise Norbu also refers to rigpa as that: 'which "notices" both thoughts and the absence of thought, that pure 'noticing' is called rigpa". So rigpa is an empty noticing presence that is always present. However, if this is not your experience, that means rigpa hasn't dawned yet in your mind stream. No Dzogchen masters today that I have read are being so careful about this. They express it exactly as it is seen here, but not through the verbiage of Madhyamaka, which does not know or speak of rigpa.
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax, the discovery that is a result of looking is instant presence, not the observation itself.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax you are also conflating 'od gsal in Tsongkhapa's system (derived from the Guhyasamaja tantra) with 'od gsal in Dzogchen. In the former, there are no appearances; the latter is endowed with five lights.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: When the Gelugpas talk about the mind of clear light, they really are talking about a subtle relative sems.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: This subtle relative sems takes emptiness [absence of inherent existence] as its object.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: It also serves as the basis for rebirth in samsara. You cannot say that of rigpa.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Hi Malcolm! We should not try to divide the "instant presence" from the "looking", from the discovery. Otherwise we are looking at a "cause and effect" scenario with different parts. The "flash"of Rigpa is all inclusive yeshe. The "looking" IS the "instance presence" that is the "looking".
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, I love you man, but you are clearly wrong. The Dalai Lama, a Gelugpa, by chance, defines the "the Mind of Clear Light" as understood by the Sarma and Gelugpa in particular in his book called "Dzogchen". He says the meaning of the Mind of Clear Light has the same meaning as rigpa in Dzogchen. I even posted that here a few days ago as a direct quote. Sorry my friend, but I am afraid the Dalai Lama trumps your authority on this one. 
5 hours ago via mobile · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: "When the Gelugpas talk about the mind of clear light, they really are talking about a subtle relative sems."
"This subtle relative sems takes emptiness [absence of inherent existence] as its object" <- so what is the exact difference between rig pa and this subtle relative sems? how would you guide someone to realize if he is mistaking subtle relative sems for rig pa?
5 hours ago · Edited · Like

Malcolm Smith: Hi Jax, in HHDL's [His Holiness The Dalai Lama] Gelug Mahamudra he clearly states that clear light mind is momentary.
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Page 89
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: It's object is the absolute clear light
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: which he defines as absence of inherent existence
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: [page] 229
4 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Piotr, this can be like meditators taking a void state of emptiness to be realization. But rigpa is not emptiness. Rigpa is the unity of emptiness and Clarity; Sal-tong. One needs to recognize the vivid "noticing" as "instant presence" that exists in the emptiness, in this case. That's rigpa.
4 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax, i understand that HHDL claims rigpa of Dzogchen and 'od gsal sems are the same. However, Mipham has already refuted this view. Hopkins translated the book in which Mipham does this i.e. Fundamental Mind
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: In fact, Mipham is specifically adressing a Nyingmapa with Gelug influenced views
4 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Perhaps he is discussing a provisional Mahamudra usage. I shared his Dzogchen statement that says rigpa is the same as the Mind of Clear Light. He says the goal in Dzogchen is to enter and remain in the "Mind of Clear Light". The quotes are slightly below this Op.
4 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax, no -- he is discussing the result mahamudra and he compares dzogchen, gzhan stong, etc.
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: in this book
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: it is very interesting yhou should read it
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: he identifies three levels of mind, coarse, subtle and very subtle, and like Gelugpas always do, labels the clear light mind momentary and the basis for rebirth
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: You need to examine Mipham's book
4 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Really, Mipham rejects this POV of HHDL
4 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Sounds good! But I disagree for these reasons: the mind of a Buddha, is a Mind, perhaps Sem Nyid. Clear Light is the luminous Clarity of Rigpa, as rigpa i' yeshe. It is this Clear Light that arises within the kati from the Citta that "shines" out the eyes. Rigpa is the self-recognizing quality of the Clear Light. Therefore the Mind of Clear Light is the ultimate Buddha Mind as the "indestructible drop" at the heart. When in rigpa we experience the edgeless quality of Clear Light clarity as transparency or zangtal. I don't care what Mipham says! The Dalai Lama has far cooler little sun visors and sun glasses! 
4 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: Nowadays, Ja-ba Do-ngak° claims that the basic mind of the Great Completeness that is to be introduced is a subtle mind.'' He does this clutching on to others' claims that the so-called "fundamental mind"-at the point of the clear light when meditatively cultivating mental isolation from among the five stages of Guhyasamaja according to the Ge-luk-ba faction-is a subtle mind. Since that subtle mind is a compounded phenomenon produced from four conditions, the Great Completeness would be compounded. There are also some who, following him, repeat this. This is extremely unsuitable. In general, fundamental mind is the luminous uncompounded nature of the mind, whereby the matrix-of-one-gone-to-bliss also is the same. Holding it to be a compounded mind is indeed a terrible error, but if there is some advantage to describing the clear light of the completion stage of the Guhyasamaja system as compounded, then let those people do as they like. I have no wish to refute them, but there is no sense at all in mixing that with the Great Completeness. The description of the Great Completeness as a compounded subtle mind, far from helping the reaching of the Great Completeness, scars the teaching greatly. It contravenes the introduction and identification of basic mind as the noumenal uncompounded union of luminosity and emptiness, widely renowned down to the present day in all the doctrines of the Great Completeness-tantras, oral transmissions, and quintessential instructions-and in the statements by the great omniscient Long-chen-rap-jam as well as the lineaged series of the lamas of the Word Transmission and the Hidden Treasure Transmission.'

Mi-pam-gya-tso. Fundamental Mind: The Nyingma View of the Great Completeness (Kindle Locations 723-732). Kindle Edition.
4 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: The "very subtle" mind of Clear Light is the correct one. I have gone the through the Gelugpa mind training in a retreat regarding the 3 stages as led by a student teacher of the Dalai Lama. This not the Dalai Lama's view, this is classic Mahamudra.
4 hours ago via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Ah, Mipham may have been confused. The "very subtle mind of Clear Light", is not compounded. It appears as the result of the dissolution of ALL coarse and subtle minds! This is the Mind of Clear Light that appears at death at the end of all dissolutions of all levels of mind. That is the dawning of the authentic Dharmakaya. That is the Mind of Clear Light HHDL is referring to. Dude, I was formally trained in this...
4 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: I don't think Mipham can be accused of confusion.
3 hours ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax:

The mind of clear light that Gelugpas talk about is conditioned and momentary. It is a function of their Madhyamaka view. The nyug ma sems of Dzogchen teachings, is unconditioned. 

Berzin writes: clear light awareness: The subtlest level of mental activity (mind), which continues with no beginning and no end, without any break, even during death and even into Buddhahood. It is individual and constitutes the mental continuum of each being. It is naturally free of conceptual cognition, the appearance-making of true existence, and grasping for true existence, since it is more subtle than the grosser levels of mental activity with which these occur. It has nothing to do with "light."

This is the classic Gelug definition.
3 hours ago via  · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Thanks Malcolm Smith! I still will take the HHDL explanation over Berzin, but I don't see his description as problematic. But I do see Mipham's comment as irrational. Is he talking about some other topic altogether?
3 hours ago via mobile · Like

Malcolm Smith: HHDL: "The mind that is left, devoid of all coarser ones, is the subtlest level of the mind, known as clear light...the all void clear light mind is inseparable from... the subtlest energy-wind. As clear light mind, individual in each being, has neither beginning nor end, it is called primordial, arising simultaneously with each moment of experience of life, death, samsara, nirvana or enlightenment." Now Jax, you may not want to admit the Gelug clear light mind is conditioned, but it is.
50 minutes ago · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: And so we discover, Jax's view is closer to Gelug than to Nyingma/Dzogchen. Interesting
49 minutes ago · Like · 1

Greg Goode: That would be funny!
43 minutes ago · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, am I missing something? The Mind of Clear Light is of course inseparable from its most subtle energy as "tsal". That energy is the Sambhogakaya. Where is the conditioning aspect in what HHDL said?
33 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, this should straighten you out on the HHDL's most excellent view 

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.”

Ok, ready to wave the white surrender flag? 
25 minutes ago · Like

Malcolm Smith: Yes, you are missing something since you mixing up the terminologies if two different systems.
Yesterday at 1:48pm via  · Like

Malcolm Smith: Jax,

Uncompounded clear light and the mind of clear light are not the same thing.
Yesterday at 1:50pm via  · Like

Malcolm Smith: Even here, you can see hhdl adhering to the gelug idea that this clear light mind is merely continuous rather than being unconditioned.
Yesterday at 1:52pm via  · Like · 1

Jackson Peterson: Malcolm Smith, read the HH quotes again, he makes it quite clear as to these points. I think you are way over "thinking" the simplicity. Dzogchen view is simpler than all possible simplicity, its what is, exactly as it is, that's all.
Yesterday at 1:53pm via mobile · Like

Jackson Peterson: Here's my point Malcolm Smith, there is no need to split hairs regarding this. I don't agree with your point or its relevance. There is no need to understand this. If one follows the practice instructions, when rigpa arises the actual wisdom clarifies all that needs clarification. We don't need scholars sitting on the side lines making sure all the t's are crossed and all the i's are dotted. The non-conceptual wisdom reveals itself as the authentic Clear Light. The nature of that Clear Light is awareness-emptiness, all appearances are it spontaneous empty-awareness-radiance. We can call that "Knowingness" a Mind of Clear Light, or Rigpa or "Instant Presence" or "What's Looking (I like Seeing better) or the Dharmakaya, or Self-Arising Wisdom. These are all synonyms that point to a moment of Gnosis, and essentially mystical revelation.

Understanding the subtleties of these philosophical points have no benefit if one's practice is solid and sincere. Any uneducated, illiterate farmer can get this just as well as a highly learned pandit-scholar. I for one would put my money on the farmer, as the pandit will have more trouble giving up his intellectual grasping and the concepts he so treasures. Just my take, from a practitioner's and teacher's slant.
Yesterday at 2:13pm · Like

Malcolm Smith: Its ok Jax, you don't have to agree. But the fact is that the Gelugpa "mind of clear light" is actually conditioned and momentary, as HHDL clarifies in many places, because it is a mind. As I explained, it has to do with the Gelugpa Madhyamaka system. So when HHDL compares Dzogchen to the "mind of clear light" as formulated by Tsongkhapa in his treatises on Guhyasamaja, he is not really representing the tradition of Dzogchen. Instead, what he is doing is trying to make Dzogchen palatable to Gelugpa scholars for whom Dzogchen is a hard nut to swallow.
Yesterday at 4:10pm · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: As far as farmers go Jax, I would put my money on a farmer who receives direct introduction against a Pandita who has not direct introduction every time. Dzogchen is not intellectual at all, it is based on personal experience.
Yesterday at 4:11pm · Like · 1

Malcolm Smith: As far as the rest your post goes, I think you mix up too many different systems -- next you will be telling us that alaya is dharmakāya.
Yesterday at 4:12pm · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński: "Dzogchen is not intellectual at all, it is based on personal experience" same goes with Advaita/Direct Path view.
17 hours ago · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Same goes with "Right view" expressed by Buddha.
17 hours ago · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Dzogchen may indeed lead to 13th Bhumi as one and only path leading to it. Rig pa may be very specific knowledge thus Direct Introduction necessary to practice Dzogchen as it is... but... to quote Dogen: "Therefore, this zazen person without fail drops off body and mind, cuts away previous tainted views and thoughts, awakens genuine buddha-dharma, universally helps the buddha work in each place, as numerous as atoms, where buddha-tathagatas teach and practice, and widely influences practitioners who are going beyond buddha, thereby vigorously exalting the dharma that goes beyond buddha. At this time, because earth, grasses and trees, fences and walls, tiles and pebbles, all things in the dharma realm in ten directions, carry out buddha work, therefore everyone receives the benefit of wind and water movement caused by this functioning, and all are imperceptibly helped by the wondrous and incomprehensible influence of buddha to actualize the enlightenment at hand. (The Wholehearted Way, p. 22)"
17 hours ago · Like · 1

Piotr Ludwiński: That is not much dharmic but can be good example to this "intellectual vs personal experience" utterances. Stanislav Grof conducted large reasearch in clinical settings using LSD. 50', Chechoslovakia. People with complete zero knowledge about all of this we speak about... About advaita, about buddhismetc.. They undergone this experimental therapy. Grof realized that the descriptions of their experience (that certainly did not involve any analysis!) were their attempt by using their language to describe experience/insight corresponding with brahman, interconnectedness, anicca, anatta, dukkha or formless jhanas. Same people acquired insights into biological working of plants, how does biosphere function, OOBE, working of kundalini etc.
16 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2

Jackson Peterson: Yes exactly! The "primordial state" belongs to no group or sect. Its what you are. No guru is necessary to realize it. Just look within, its always right there. It ain't ever going away! The Buddha simply looked within, that's all he did. You can do the exact same without any hocus pocus transmission or channeling from some super-guru.
16 hours ago via mobile · Like

Piotr Ludwiński: Of course I did not brought this up to claim that they "recognized rig pa". Just to show that one-sided hierarchy that experience is always due to analysis/view and Dzogchen's Direct Introduction is only exception cannot be established. Ramana Maharshi did not have any spiritual teachings; he just experienced colapse and then used teachings he found in his country as tool to communicate with people.
16 hours ago · Like · 2

Piotr Ludwiński: Ps it is interesting how even death process can be experienced this way; // what is striking is that Grof in his books that are summary of his research pointed out that people not only experienced what corresponds to atman=brahman teachings, but formless jhanas too and... emptiness too. Bardo perhaps too. Without any familiariity with them via conceptual knowledge beforehand too.

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16 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

Jackson Peterson: Here is a comment from a member of Dzogchen Discussions regarding the above OP:

" when the nyinthig yabshi was being offered by penor, my teacher told his students ( and the public) that they would never "achieve" "enlightenment" without receiving those wangs(empowerments). this caused many a flip-out and tears and heart palpitations amongst some -- those who, because of life, could not participate...i wondered..and what about marpa? dogen? really laughable this inane shit.
16 hours ago · Like

Jackson Peterson: Enza Vita: Namkhai Norbu said at the last retreat in Australia that “everything that we are aware of arises through the senses and when that occurs, the presence of sensation is communicated to the mind and then a mental process ensues which engenders various conceptions and judgments. But when the mind has not yet entered into judgment or conceptualization, this is being without grasping at anything. Without any judgments, we remain in constant “instant presence” without effort”.
15 hours ago · Like

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