Friday, August 8, 2014

Rejecting Practice

Zijazo Smith
June 21 · Edited

Saraha says, "When all that needs to be done is to rest in yourself, it is amazing that you are deluded by seeking elsewhere!"

Longchenpa says, "To reject practice by saying 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced & something to be avoided."

My advice is, don't take the words of "revolutionary," no-name zeitgeist fools over those of these masters. They are still there to protect and support us against all the perverted Dharma out there.
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    You, Kyle Dixon, John Ahn, Joel Agee and 7 others like this.
    Ben Capka This is the biggest problem I have with many modern groups today, though it seems more common in Satsang circles than in Buddhist ones. Well said.
    June 21 at 2:58am · Unlike · 3
    Robert Dominik Wonder how many likes will this OP have... hahaha we will find out who would rather reject the practice mwahahahahahaha XD XD Ok, ok I'm just kidding, being silly and stuff
    June 21 at 5:59pm · Edited · Like
    Robert Dominik What do I need practice for? What do I need view for? What do I need morality for? I AM A GREAT YOGI
    Robert Dominik's photo.
    June 21 at 6:43pm · Like · 2
    Goose Saver All the passions arise out of misperception. By passion this world is bound, and by passion it is released. But many cosmic eggs crack. When prajna is lost, dangerous grasping and non-grasping arise. Does clarity have a face?
    June 22 at 2:03am · Like
    Robert Dominik Goose Saver I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to get across.
    June 22 at 7:05am · Like · 1
    Goose Saver We get caught up in so much nonsense.
    June 22 at 8:01am · Like
    Robert Dominik Agree. But how does this relate to the OP?
    June 22 at 8:01am · Like · 1
    Goose Saver We can caught up in words like this OP. Narrow-minded people are unable to digest and embrace profound prajna as they are caught up in moral conditioning, and extremists get attached to their crazy philosophical-wisdom views. Both are unsuitable. When the mind is open with open-heart and Buddha-nature reveals itself, there is pure clarity. This does not imply that there is nothing to do, or anything not to do. This is pure recognition of what is. There is no grasping at this or that as realization has no contrived agendas.
    June 22 at 8:25am · Like · 1
    John Tan Pure clarity has a strict no-face - the face of non-conceptuality. Empty clarity has a thousand faces, every face is brilliance and new.
    June 22 at 8:51am · Unlike · 5
    Robert Dominik But what does this have to do with anything Goose Saver? All yogins of the past dedicated much work and spent lots of time in retreat. People like Longchenpa or Milarepa have many quotes about the Ultimate View, but we ought to remember the simple fact that Longchenpa and Milarepa spent most of their time in retreat. Let's be honest - the most accomplished practitioners were hard working and they simply advise us the same. We can use their other quotes for the purpose of being evasive and avoiding hard work but of what use will be parroting brilliant quotes when the Death arrives?
    June 22 at 9:03am · Unlike · 4
    Kyle Dixon Moral conditioning in what way? Anything can become a distraction if approached and related to in a adverse manner. I can't see either of those (morals or philosophy) being obstacles to the definitive view if the individual is receiving proper instruction and practicing correctly.

    Also many Loppöns, Khenpos and scholars of various stripes are able to be profound practitioners while simultaneously engaging in philosophy and so on.

    The biggest danger in my eyes is mistaking an inferential or provisional view/insight for the definitive view. But in most cases those who have experience of their nature surely know that relative pursuits are simply relative pursuits, and they don't mistake those pursuits for the real deal.

    If anything a genuine practitioner can be even more effective in their personal relationships with aspects of their life such as morals or philosophy, for there is less fixation and rigidity in a fundamental sense. Morals can be morals and philosophy can be philosophy and they aren't mistaken for anything apart from the conventional functions they serve. For in addition to those relative parts of life, there is a genuine knowledge of one's nature, which puts the relative into perspective in a truly unparalleled way.

    Where there may have been afflictive grasping and identification with morals or philosophies prior to recognition, in the wake of recognition there is an ease and wisdom which serves to create a suitable balance between the relative and ultimate. The relative is never again mistaken for the ultimate.

    Yet at the same time it is explicitly known that the relative in its natural state is precisely the ultimate, and more importantly; a valid cognition of the ultimate is known to be a direct experiential quality, like the taste of an apple. From then on, enumerated philosophies about the apple's taste and intellectual views regarding that taste, never again have the possibility of being mistaken for the direct and unenumerated experience of the taste itself.
    June 22 at 9:04am · Like · 3
    Goose Saver Robert, when we take quotes out of context we give them meanings with agendas. That's my point, and hope you get it.
    June 22 at 9:56am · Like · 1
    Kyle Dixon What quote is misrepresented out of its context?
    June 22 at 10:14am · Like
    Goose Saver So reality is primordial purity
    Yet the babes who are careless of that
    Stay attached to their various ideas and opinions.
    What mania to believe in concrete ideas…

    Bt practicing meditation to attain awakening
    We miss the involuntary awareness within;
    By cultivating conventional virtue
    We miss our intrinsic thoughtless presence;
    By belief in words and letters
    We miss the unspoken sovereign secret spell;
    By belief in birth and death—a crucial point—
    We miss our unborn and undying nature.
    --From Longchenpa's Natural Perfection
    June 22 at 10:28am · Edited · Like · 1
    Goose Saver There needs to be NO Position to defend. We need to look at what we are doing, Kyle. Positions are all born from attachment.
    June 22 at 10:33am · Like
    Goose Saver My position of no position is of course, a position and I will be happy to point that out--so I'm not attached to it.
    June 22 at 10:35am · Like
    Zijazo Smith Who was it said something about getting caught up in words? I'm not starting anything here, but it's a little funny all of this happening after the fact... just pointing that out. (Not that some of it isn't helpful.)
    June 22 at 10:39am · Edited · Like · 1
    Goose Saver You did! LOL
    June 22 at 10:39am · Like
    Zijazo Smith ?? - I'm sorry, but that's not what I'm referring to...

    Goose Saver: "We can caught up in words like this OP... [paragraph]." [Posts]. [Further commentary]." 21 June 2014 18:25

    I myself am not defending anything, just that this seemed inconsistent. Appreciate everything that's been posted one way or another though.
    June 22 at 10:44am · Edited · Like
    Kyle Dixon Right, which is speaking from the standpoint of the highest wisdom. Texts like the gnas lugs mdzod are expositions on the view of primordial wisdom and from the standpoint of wisdom the things Longchenpa is saying are accurate. However as practitioners, the praxis of Atiyoga is (i) introduction, (ii) familiarization, and (iii) continuation, or basis, path and result. One must recognize that wisdom and become familiar with it.

    It's important to understand that Dzogpa Chenpo usually has two points of view from which it's expositions are given. There is the view of wisdom, and the view of the aspirant. The view of wisdom is always very triumphalist in its explication, for the very reason that one's nature is originally pure and naturally perfected. So on the side of wisdom there is nothing to do, wisdom is complete and is neither improved upon by the path or result, nor is it compromised by affliction. As emptiness free from extremes it is like space, completely pure, without time, dimension, cause, effect, conditioning etc., and Longchenpa's exposition reflects that view.

    On the side of the practitioner though there is a process and a path. The Dzogchenpa works directly with their knowledge of wisdom and at the time of the result there is no difference between the practitioner and wisdom. But while on the path there is. Even though the entire process is illusory from start to finish, there is still a conventional process and path to traverse.

    One cannot merely read a few Longchenpa texts where he is speaking from the standpoint of buddhahood and decide that it applies to us. And you can read other texts by Longchenpa where he gives detailed expositions on the path and process, which accords with the two aforementioned vantage points.
    June 22 at 10:52am · Unlike · 6
    Goose Saver Zijazo, it is indeed inconsistent when taken out of context. Sometimes when you take one piece out of a puzzle, you cannot recognize the whole puzzle by this only one piece.
    June 22 at 10:54am · Like
    Kyle Dixon Goose, you don't seem to have a very good grasp on how the ultimate relates to the conventional... and this causes you to grasp at the ultimate at the expense of the relative and conventional.
    June 22 at 10:56am · Like · 1
    Goose Saver Kyle, you are not reading what I have written.
    June 22 at 10:58am · Like
    Goose Saver Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche explained it in Pointing Out the Dharmakaya:

    "We cannot get rid of suffering by saying, "I will not suffer." We cannot eliminate attachment by saying, "I will not be attached to anything," nor eliminate aggression by saying, "I will never become angry." Yet, we do want to get rid of suffering and the disturbing emotions that are the immediate cause of suffering.
    The Buddha taught that to eliminate these states, which are really the results of the primary confusion of our belief in a personal self, we must get rid of the fundamental cause.
    But we cannot simply say, "I will not believe in the personal self." The only way to eliminate suffering is to actually recognize the experience of a self as a misconception, which we do by proving directly to ourselves that there is no such personal self. We must actually realise this. Once we do, then automatically the misconception of a self and our fixation on that "self" will disappear.
    Only by directly experiencing selflessness can we end the process of confused projection. This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or agelessness (emptiness)."
    The problem, Kyle, is you are stuck in the conventional verbiage.
    June 22 at 11:06am · Like
    Zijazo Smith Goose, what's with all this accusation and generation of conflict as to where other people are at (or aren't)? Do you really believe that's compassionate? Righteousness is no good at the expense of other, greater values, IMO. No need to be contrary if you're pointing out something true (with relevant evidence, etc.), as truth speaks for itself. In my insperience, that's the nature of Dharma-- we don't have to believe in it, as it defends itself. (This is the thrust of Madhyamaka, too, when engaging in philosophical debate. Unfortunately some us get stuck even in our present conception or understanding of what Madhyamaka and suchlike is, and what such systems (or no-systems) are meant for; their real purpose.)

    It's not as if I'm the most knowledgable on that ground, anyway.
    June 22 at 11:20am · Edited · Like
    Kyle Dixon Goose, I'm not sure how I'm apparently stuck in conventional verbiage? And I don't see how Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's statement contradicts anything I've said?
    June 22 at 11:41am · Like
    Kyle Dixon Goose, also I have read what you wrote, I just have no idea what you're trying to say to be completely honest.
    June 22 at 11:43am · Like
    Zijazo Smith Me neither. But, I welcome it if it comes through more clearly at some point. Also, in my experience, if someone misunderstands you, it's at least partially your own fault. Folks like Neem Karoli Baba and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (and many other greats) don't leave much room for confusion or misinterpretation I find; and in any case any follow-up questions are dealt with gracefully. Such good examples of the nature of realization they were.
    June 22 at 11:46am · Like
    Albert Hong it's the limitation of this medium.

    assuming subtext for content, vice versa.

    this medium was never supposed to work.

    And yet here we are:

    trying. compassion's response called appearance.
    June 22 at 11:55am · Like · 1
    Goose Saver A debate between different Buddhist schools over what is conventionally real and what is ultimately real has transpired for ages, and it still goes on and on. The arguments in these philosophical debates get very sophisticated and abstract, with finer and finer points being made. However the great Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna cut through it all with the deconstruction of such arguments in his Mulamadhyamakakarika. He doesn’t propose his own arguments about the nature of reality, he instead aimed to “ease fixations” on any arguments that don’t recognize the dependent origination and emptiness of all things. Emptiness is not to be understood as a description of reality as it is independent of human conceptual conventions, as its main purpose is to combat the wrong ascription of svabhava (“own being” or “essential nature”) to things. The absence of svabhava or emptiness is nothing phenomena have within themselves, but only something which is projected onto them from the outside in an attempt to rectify a mistaken cognition. The Buddha left many questions unanswered, but in this forum as usual, there is an intent upon summarizing everything.
    June 22 at 12:09pm · Like · 1
    Zijazo Smith Ah... that helps, Goose. Many thanks.
    June 22 at 12:18pm · Like · 1
    Kyle Dixon Goose, I still do not understand how that is relevant to the topic or the point you're trying to make.

    I also am failing to see how Nagarjuna's treatises contradict anything which is being said.

    Also your assertions regarding emptiness being a mere conventional projection do not make sense. You state that svabhava is a mistaken notion which is not found in phenomena, yet you also state that a lack of svabhava is also not found in phenomena but is merely 'projected onto them from the outside in an attempt to rectify a mistaken cognition [svabhava]'.

    If svabhava is a mistaken cognition, which it is, then by default nisvabhava is the nature of phenomena and recognition of that fact is a valid cognition.
    June 22 at 12:51pm · Like · 2
    Goose Saver "We get caught up in so much nonsense."
    June 22 at 1:54pm · Like
    Soh Goose, that's a nice quote from Thrangu Rinpoche.

    I think there is some spelling mistakes there - "This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or agelessness (emptiness)."

    Agelessness sounds strange, so I checked the internet, the actual quotation is:

    "...This is why the Buddha emphasized meditation on selflessness or egolessness. However, to meditate on egolessness, we must undertake a process that begins with a conceptual understanding of egolessness; then, based on that understanding, there can be meditation, and finally realization."
    June 22 at 2:00pm · Like · 1
    Goose Saver Thank you!
    June 22 at 2:18pm · Like
    Kyle Dixon Granted you are quoting yourself from earlier in this thread, but apart from being overtly condescending; referring to my question as "nonsense" is hardly productive, nor does it remotely resemble anything which would constitute an acceptable level of human decency in communication.

    Not sure why you carry the chip on your shoulder but it really shines in instances like this.
    June 22 at 2:24pm · Unlike · 2
    Goose Saver Kyle, I stopped doing conceptual philosophy a long time ago--it is a waste of time and full of nonsense. Very sorry you take this so personally. There isn't anything I can say on this thread that you don't want to go off on, and my apologies if I sound "condescending." That was never my intent. When we get caught up in Dharma combat unless it is to help awaken us, it serves no purpose.
    June 22 at 2:39pm · Like
    Kyle Dixon I can assure you I don't take it personally, I would just never reply to someone like that.
    June 22 at 2:41pm · Like
    Kyle Dixon Conceptual philosophy being a waste of time and nonsense is not a notion which is found in any Buddhist path, Dzogchen included. No idea why you would reject it.
    June 22 at 2:44pm · Like
    Soh Also, Kyle has direct realization, but at the same time concepts are quite useful to express it. Conceptuality isn't the key issue when it comes to liberation but the deluded view of inherent existence. Non-conceptual realization of clarity is just beginning... if we get stuck with non-conceptuality thinking that is all that matters, we will not realize what is the key to liberation.
    June 22 at 2:53pm · Like
    Goose Saver
    June 22 at 3:01pm · Like
    Zijazo Smith Alright, that is enough for everyone to learn from. Please, nobody elaborate any further... it will more than likely serve little purpose.

    Just refresh.
    June 22 at 3:04pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Kyle Dixon Too late for no more elaboration, I already assembled this beast from some older posts on the vital role of concepts and philosophy:

    While it is true that conceptual knowledge is no substitute for non-conceptual wisdom, the teachings do not necessarily reject 'conceptual philosophy' and so on. For most practitioners it goes without saying that an intellectual understanding is ultimately extraneous to non-conceptual wisdom, because after-all our nature is prajñaparamita, and so the two accumulations are naturally perfected through direct recognition. However for those who have yet to recognize their nature there is no issue with embracing upaya, which includes both inferential and definitive forms of right view [samyag-d???i] acquired from the qualified guru and familiarization with associated philosophical systems.

    Dudjom Lingpa actually explores this point in his gnas lugs rang byung. Specifically the claim that studying or learning the correct view (in a provisional sense) is a hindrance. He attests that it is not, and uses the analogy of an ear which has water trapped in it (a nuisance we can all relate to), citing that one of the most effective ways of removing that trapped water is actually pouring more water into the ear, which will successfully wash out the water which is initially trapped leaving the ear free of water. He says that in the same way, the use of concepts and learning (within the context of the buddhadharma and Dzogpa Chenpo), serves the same purpose.

    In Bönpo Dzogchen, the studying of the teachings and the wisdom gained from doing so is held to be one of the many modalities of rig pa [skt. vidya], called bsam rig. It is said the more refined one's bsam rig is, the clearer one's view becomes.

    My Kagyu lama also contends that a refined intellectual knowledge of the teachings is very important (though practice is more important), and states that one's intellectual knowledge of the teachings is directly related to prajña, for it actually is a form of prajña.

    There are three types of prajña in the buddhadharma: (i) prajña of hearing, (ii) prajña of reflection, (iii) prajña of meditation. They are found in every yana, Dzogchen included. The definitive prajña is the third type (prajña of meditation), however all three are complementary and each serve to sever reification in different ways.

    The great Dzogchenpa Vimalamitra states:

    "The characteristics of prajña:
    The characteristic of the prajña of hearing is a great quantity listening and understanding words without interpolation.
    The characteristic of reflection is investigating the words and meanings of the mind, and giving explanations.
    The characteristic of meditation is distancing oneself from afflictions through meditation."

    The first two inferential prajñas are a direct expression of the latter which is definitive, and so while intellectual knowledge should not be treated as a substitute for non-conceptual wisdom, it also should not be rejected either. Just because a refined conceptual understanding is not a suitable replacement for the view non-conceptual dharmata, there is no reason why it cannot act as a supplement, and in that sense a refined conceptual understanding can be a helpful and effective practice when applied skillfully.

    The fact that we all have varying capacities means we are all different, for some individuals studying and learning the tenets of the system may be advantageous, so there is no reason to limit oneself. As long as that intellectual knowledge isn't confused for he experiential wisdom of uncontrived dharmata there really is no issues. Some even say the clearer your knowledge is conceptually, the easier it will be to recognize non-conceptual wisdom (as these varying modalities of vidya and prajña are all different facets and expressions of the same wisdom).

    "In addition, a so called 'pandita' is described as 'A scholar in the foundation of outer and inner objects of knowledge.' A so called 'kusali' is described as 'One who has the most dedication inwardly after severing all outer distractions.'
    In terms of actual perfect Buddhahood: the first, having become knowledgeable about all objects of knowledge, has severed doubt through hearing, reflection and meditation. Then, because of severing doubt through meditating which makes samadhi essential, the pandita gradually attains Buddhahood after actualizing the Dharma of realization. A kusali necessarily has the same basis, but when considered alone, a pandita is closer to Buddhahood."
    -- Sakya Pandita
    June 22 at 3:36pm · Unlike · 3
    Robert Dominik "Robert, when we take quotes out of context we give them meanings with agendas. That's my point, and hope you get it." <- I was just pointing to the simple fact that we can quote fine statements from Longchenpa all day and that won't get us anywhere. The actions of the individuals also speak (sometimes more than words). And the simple fact is that Longchenpa left monastery, lived in retreat and practised a lot. Milarepa was also a hardcore hermit for - and we can also quote him saying beatiful things about his insight I have no problem with agreeing with the quote from Longchenpa you posted and also with agreeing the quote in the OP Dualistic language and logic would suggest that either we should agree with the position that there is a lot of work to do or with the position that there is no work to do. But it isn't like that. Natural Perfection is unproduced but we strive to uncover it As Kyle said - there are three staments from Garab Dorje. Not one statement: "don't bother yourself because everything is already in the state of self-liberation" xD
    June 22 at 9:21pm · Edited · Like
    Goose Saver I appreciate, you taking the time Kyle to post that information. Thank you. Actually, Dudjom Lingpa’s anaology is quite useful. In my Zen training, the eradication of conceptualization and the cultivation of a dispassionate, impersonal observation have been found to be the key to realization leading to Enlightenment. Conceptualization arises from perception, one of the five aggregates. In Zen, most of us struggle in meditation with koans to silence the chatter of the mind and exhaust the ego into retreat. Same type of strategy Dudjom Lingpa is using with water in the ear—drowning itself out. Koans drown out conceptualization. The process of conceptualization is indicative of the insidious nature of the ego whereby it takes the original subjective experience and “objectivizes” it. The concepts (vitakka) that arise through perception tend toward proliferation, and thus the ego becomes attached to them.
    In the Kalakarama-sutta, transcendent experience is characterized quite systematically: “Thus, O monks, the Tathagata, having seen whatever is to be seen, does not conceive of what is seen; he does not conceive of what has not been seen; he does not conceive of that which must yet be seen; he does not conceive of anyone who sees. Having heard whatever is to be heard, he does not conceive of what is heard; he does not conceive of what has not been heard; he does not conceive of that which must yet be heard; he does not conceive of anyone who hears. Having felt whatever is to be felt, he does not conceive of what is felt; he does not conceive of what has not been felt; he does not conceive of that which must yet be felt; he does not conceive of anyone who feels. Having understood whatever is to be understood, he does not conceive of what is understood; he does not conceive of what has not been understood; he does not conceive of that which must yet be understood; he does not conceive of anyone who understands.”
    Perhaps the main difference in our view can be seen in the Great Lump of Foam analogy from the Buddha. You are intent on inspecting it, I am intent on discarding it. Mindfulness calls for neither, and that is the Great Way.
    June 22 at 9:58pm · Like

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