Posted by: Soh

(On the definition of Turiya: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turiya)


Here is another awesome collection of postings by asunthatneversets (Kyle Dixon) which I and Thusness think are well expressed. Also check out Kyle's other posts: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2012/03/sun-that-never-sets.html


A kind admin of Dharmawheel, Astus, helped me salvage some great posts in an old (closed) topic 'Turiya vs Dzogchen':


Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:56 pm


    mr.marigpa wrote:
    So the TM practitioner with stable witnessing in waking and sleeping just has really good dualistic mindfulness?


The state or position of being firmly established in "the witness" is merely being stabilized in the alaya(kun gzhi). The term "witnessing" in and of itself suggests observing phenomena from a particular standpoint. Stable witnessing is a state of detachment, In being firmly established in the "witness" phenomena appear as they normally do except there's no feeling of it being "me" or "I". The "me"(or 'that' which witnesses) is posited to be something other. So in witnessing, the body and other phenomena appear detached from the "knower". And 'that'(pure knowingness) which is disconnected is then posited to be beyond anything "knowable" because it is that which knows. 'That' which knows(pure knowingness/awareness) is considered to be a substantiated and localized substratum(even though it is considered to be formless) and for that reason it is the alaya. To describe this state, an analogy of a movie patron viewing images on a theater screen is sometimes used.


The witnessing state is equivalent to stabilized œamatha (shiné), once œamatha is stabilized one is essentially proficient in "really good dualistic mindfulness" (as you said). After stabilized shiné, next step is released shiné and once released shiné is achieved and stabilized, one is said to be officially practicing dzogchen.


"When you have achieved released shiné and remain in the continuation of this state, you have finally become a dzogchen practitioner."

- Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

Even those proficient in advaita vedanta downplay the witnessing state as dualistic, as shown in this dialogue between Nisargadatta Maharaj and a questioner.


Q: Well, you told me that I am the Supreme Reality, I believe you. What next is there for me to do?

M: I told you already. Discover all that you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not-being, this or that - nothing concrete or abstract you can point out is you. A mere verbal statement will not do - you may even repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever. You must watch yourself continuously - particularly your mind - moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self.

Q: The witnessing - is it not my real nature?

M: For witnessing, there must be something else to witness. We are still in duality!

Q: What about witnessing the witness? Awareness of awareness?

M: Putting words together will not take you far. Go within and discover what you are not. Nothing else matters.

So yes a TM practitioner with stable witnessing in waking and sleeping essentially has excellent dualistic mindfulness.


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Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:54 pm

I found this description of turiya which is essentially a description of being firmly established in the alaya. It elaborates on how one can solidify witnessing by transcending the position of merely observing sensory phenomena, to firmly witnessing the 3 states of waking, dream and deep sleep (as a whole) in a detached witnessing manner. Turiya seems to be the perfected witnessing state, which is still equivalent to ignorance(avidya) as far as dzogchen is concerned.

The following is an in depth description of being firmly established in the alaya:


"Our fundamental state of true self-knowledge is sometimes described in advaita vedanta as the state of 'wakeful sleep' or 'waking sleep' (jagrat-su?upti in Sanskrit, or nanavu-tuyil in Tamil) because, since it is a state in which we experience no duality, it is a thought-free state like sleep, but since it is at the same time a state in which we experience absolute clarity of self-knowledge, it is also a state of perfect wakefulness.


Since this state of 'wakeful sleep' is beyond our three ordinary states of waking, dream and deep sleep, in advaita vedanta it is also sometimes referred to as the 'fourth state' or turiya avastha. Somewhat confusingly, however, in some texts another term is used to describe it, namely the 'fourth-transcending' or turiyatita, which has given rise to the wrong notion that beyond this 'fourth state' there is some further 'fifth state'. In truth, however, the non-dual state of true self-knowledge is the ultimate and absolute state, beyond which no other state can exist.


Since it is the absolute state that underlies yet transcends all relative states, true self-knowledge is in fact the only state that really exists. Therefore in verse 32 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham Sri Ramana Maharshi says:


For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, [the real state of] 'wakeful sleep', [which is] beyond [these three ordinary states], is named turiya [the 'fourth']. [However] since that turiya alone exists, [and] since the three [states] that appear [and disappear] are [in reality] non-existent, [the one real state that is thus named turiya is in fact] turiya-atita [that which transcends even the relative concept that it is the 'fourth']. Be clear [about this truth].


Our fundamental and natural state of 'wakeful sleep' or true non-dual self-knowledge is described as the 'fourth' only to impress upon us that it is a state that is beyond our three ordinary states of waking, dream and sleep. However, when we actually go beyond our three ordinary states by experiencing our fundamental state of true self-knowledge, we will discover that this fundamental state is the only real state, and that our three ordinary states are merely imaginary appearances, which are seemingly superimposed upon it, but which in reality do not exist at all. Therefore, though it is sometimes called the 'fourth state', the state of true self-knowledge or 'wakeful sleep' is in fact the only state that truly exists.


Hence, since the term turiya or the 'fourth' implies the existence of three other states, it is actually not an appropriate name for the only state that truly exists. Therefore, though the true state of 'wakeful sleep' is named turiya, it could more appropriately be named atita, 'that which transcends'.


In other words, since it is the one absolute reality and is therefore completely devoid of all relativity, it transcends not only the three relative states of waking, dream and sleep but also the equally relative concept that it is the 'fourth' state. This is the reason why it is also described as turiyatita, a term that literally means 'that which transcends the fourth'.


The above verse was composed by Sri Ramana as a summary of the following teachings that he had given orally and that Sri Muruganar had recorded in verses 937 to 939 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:


When all the states [waking, dream and sleep], which are seen as three, disappear in sages, who have destroyed ego [the self-conceited sense of being a separate individual], turiya [the 'fourth'], which is the exalted state, is that which predominates in them excessively as atita [that which transcends all duality and diversity].


Since the states [waking, dream and sleep] that huddle together [enveloping us] as the three components [of our life as an individual consciousness] are mere apparitions [that appear and disappear] in the non-dual atita [the one all-transcending state], [which is] the state of [our real] self, [which is known as] turiya [the 'fourth'], [and] which is pure being-consciousness ['I am'], know that for those [three illusory states] [our real] self is the Adhi??hana [the single base upon which they appear and disappear, and] in which they [must eventually merge and] become one.


If the other three [states] were fit [to be described] as real, [only then would it be appropriate for us to say that] 'wakeful sleep', [which is the state of] pure jnana [knowledge], is the 'fourth', would it not? Since in front of turiya [the so-called 'fourth'] those other [three states] huddle together [that is, they merge together and become one], being [revealed to be] unreal [as three separate states], know that that [so-called 'fourth' state] is [in fact] atita [the transcendent state], which is [the only] one [real state].


Whereas the reality of our fundamental state of true self-knowledge is absolute, the seeming reality of our three ordinary states is merely relative — relative only to our mind, which alone knows them. However, when we experience the absolute state of true non-dual self-knowledge, we will discover that our mind was a mere apparition that never truly existed. Therefore when the phantom appearance of our mind is thus dissolved, all our three relative states of waking, dream and deep sleep, which are mere figments of our imagination, will dissolve along with it. After this dissolution of our mind, all that will remain is our natural state of 'wakeful sleep', the peaceful and non-dual state of absolute true knowledge."


Rigpa(vidya) is of a different flavor, in rigpa the localized substratum(or abiding background) is empty and for this reason it(rigpa) is primordially unstained by any distinctive notions or characteristics. Though rigpa(vidya) can't be accurately described (for purposes of allowing one to get an idea of it's nature) it is sometimes said to be akin to space itself.


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Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:55 am

    mr.marigpa wrote:Would you please define consciousness and its relationship to rigpa?



Consciousness arises from the admixture of the karmic winds with the tsal energy of rigpa.



    So the nature of Dharmakaya is emptiness and rigpa? Does it have any other elements?



The dharmakaya is endowed with light in conformity with it’s essence, emptiness and it’s nature, clarity.


    What happens to consciousness when we are resting in rigpa?



When we are in the state of being in instant presence or rigpa, at that moment consciousness subsides.


    So the TM practitioner with stable witnessing in waking and sleeping just has really good dualistic mindfulness?



So it would seem, since they do not have the knowledge of rigpa.




Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby xabir » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:03 pm


    trevor wrote:If witnessing is alaya, then what does it mean from dzogchen point of view when it collapses? It's said to be unstable and is supposed to collapse automatically over time.

    Greg Goode describes the process in interview:

        NDM: When this witness collapsed was there an energetic component to this at all? Anything unusual occur?


        Greg Goode: It happened suddenly. It happened when I deeply realized that all separation between self and other, all objectivity, was a set-up. Even the witness. It was like a benevolent con job.


        The witness is inherently unstable. Yes, it does allow you to see through the false claims of separation that everything else has. But it accomplishes this by reinscribing in a very subtle way the very same separation.


        When I saw this, the con job was revealed. It was as though the "gaps" between seer and seen became consciousness.


        In a flash, the structure of the witness and its arisings became dismantled. There was an energetic occurrence, like a flow of sparkles or heat flowing up form my fingers through the heart area and out of the top of my head.


        This flow lasted for about 90 minutes and then settled down and vanished. But the separation has never returned. The other dualities that go along with the witness-gestalt have never returned either, such as the feeling of "this ... this ... this" or the sense of coming and going, or the feeling that anything is being seen. None of it ever returned.

        NDM: Didn't Atmananda say that just being stabilized as the witness is enough for moksha? What about residual samskaras? Can one escape samsara with samskaras or still acting on certain types of negative vasanas?

        Greg Goode: Yes, Sri Atmananda has said several times that the witness is enough for moksha. Because of possible copyright considerations, I won't quote Sri Atmananda, but See Atmananda's NOTES, Sections 125, 205, 884, 906, 913, and 1283.


        NDM: Would you say that when the witness collapses, this is the end of the journey or is there more to this?


        Greg Goode: When the witness collapses, one is free from language, reference and the dualistic assumptions required for "pointing." You might experience things as objectless love and radiance. But again, those very words are from a particular vocabulary that might or might not assemble itself for you. You won't have any sense that language hooks on to anything. In this realization there is freedom from the very path itself. I call this freedom "joyful irony" and talk about it a lot in my new book. In this freedom, you will find yourself using language without believing language. Your freedom is non-referential.


        Because of this, you won't be able to find a governing spiritual standard that dictates "you are finished" or "you still have development ahead of you."



Greg Goode describes a path of deconstructing objectivity by subsuming all perceptions to be One Awareness through the direct path pioneered by Advaita teacher Sri Atmananda. Through this investigation subject-object duality is subsumed into Brahman (subsuming objects into perceptions into the Awareness itself). Even though the Witness collapses into non-dual awareness free of subject-object division, it is still substantial non-duality. Whereas Dzogchen is about insubstantial (empty) non-duality. A further step from where Greg comes from would be to deconstruct the subjectivity and "One Awareness" or Brahman itself and that is where Buddhism and the teaching of anatta start to come in.


An article I wrote comparing insubtantial and substantial non-duality: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2011/08/substantial-and-insubstantial-non.html


P.s. Turiya (the fourth state) falls under the category "Self-Realization" in my article. Turiyatita (the state beyond the fourth) is substantial non-dualism after the collapse of the Witness. Turiyatita is the furthest that Advaita Vedanta (traditional and neo) and Kashmir Shaivism brings you.




Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:53 am


    mzaur wrote:

        asunthatneversets wrote:Rigpa(vidya) is of a different flavor, in rigpa the localized substratum(or abiding background) is empty and for this reason it(rigpa) is primordially unstained by any distinctive notions or characteristics. Though rigpa(vidya) can't be accurately described (for purposes of allowing one to get an idea of it's nature) it is sometimes said to be akin to space itself.




    Abiding background is pure awareness separate from phenomena, right? Brahman or Self. Could you clarify what the bold means? Advaita defines Brahman as empty of attributes, but I surmise you are using empty in a different way.

    I think I know what you mean. It's just that I bet some people read these forums and think empty means something different, like how Advaita uses it.



The abiding background can either be (i)awareness separate from phenomena or (ii)awareness merged with phenomena. In either case there is the faculty of awareness which is assumed to be existent. Advaita defines Brahman as being empty of attributes because it is 'that' which knows(the knower). The "knower" is attributeless because through investigation it is unaccounted for in anything perceivable or knowable. In advaita the term neti-neti is implemented (to discover this faculty) which means "not this, not that". So using this negative approach one disavows every conceivable aspect of one's experience until the "knower"(awareness) itself is all that remains. The process is much like; "I am not the body, because I am aware of the body - I am not my thoughts, because I am aware of my thoughts, etc...", so the process retracts into the realm of the formless observer. Since this formless awareness is posited to be unstained by any phenomenal appearance (or designation), it is said to be empty of attributes, unassailable and eternal. Awareness (then still assumed to be embodied) is the atman, and upon actualizing the differentiation between the atman and characteristics which allegedly compose the personal self(jivatman), and external world, the next step is to merge the atman with the brahman(universal self).


Taken from Wikipedia:

"In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena. In order to attain salvation/liberation (moksha) a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana) which is to say realise experientially that one's true self is identical with the transcendent self (paramatman) that is called Brahman."

The merging of the atman and brahman resembles the process involved in buddhism, however the brahman is conceived to be an ultimate suchness. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being. Whereas in buddhism, no such ground nor ultimate suchness exists.


This "ground of all being" is referred to in dzogchen as the alaya. About this Jigme Lingpa states:

"If... when you examine that which abides, the mere reflexive luminosity (rang gsal) of the alaya-vijnana comes up as truly accomplished, then you approach the mistake of the Anekantavada mind-only doctrine."

Jigme Lingpa sets out what he understands the Anekantavada position to be(which mirrors the sentiments of advaita vedanta);

"We hold that the outer object does not exist, and the awareness that apprehends it does not exist either. The awareness that realizes the apprehender and apprehended as nondual is a reflexive awareness and a reflexive luminosity. This is designated as truly existent. This is the alaya-vijnana. Actions and their result are based on it."

The Anekantavada position is criticized for attributing reflexive awareness with true existence. The terms reflexive awareness and reflexive luminosity are often used in the Great Perfection, and figure frequently in the Longchen Nyingtig texts themselves. Jigme Lingpa cannot criticize the use of the terms themselves. He must object to the designation of them as being truly established, that is, existent. As the passage from the Khyentse Melong suggests, this is also a criticism of the position that holds the alaya-vijnana, the basis of consciousness, as the basis of both samsaric and nirvanic awareness. For Jigme Lingpa, and his Seminal Heart sources, the alaya-vijnana is samsaric in nature, a result of delusion and separation from the ground...."


This is why the distinctions between the two types of basis are employed in Dzogchen, the nirvanic basis known as the ground(gzhi) and the samsaric basis of consciousness, the alaya(kun gzhi). One basis, two paths.


So the term "empty" in the context of this statement,


    asunthatneversets wrote:....in rigpa the localized substratum(or abiding background) is empty and for this reason it(rigpa) is primordially unstained by any distinctive notions or characteristics....



is using 'empty' to show that the notion of a localized abiding substratum is erroneous because it is a dependently originated designation. It is an imputed abstraction born of delusion and is solely the product of misconstrued illusory faculties of mind, mistaken as inherent aspects of experience. These faculties do not constitute being nor non-being and certainly do not result in a localized and enduring substratum which is subject-to and/or merged in/with experience. Though the brahman is also considered to be nondual, timeless, spaceless etc... it is still considered an enduring suchness which is identified with and considered eternal. The nondual, timeless and spaceless aspects of brahman are imputed characteristics or attributes of this 'suchness'(brahman) which is posited to reside beyond the pale of one's intellect(and limited scope of understanding) because one is indeed 'that'. A description along the lines of(and I paraphrase); It hears but cannot be heard, it sees but cannot be seen, it knows but cannot be known, is used to point to the brahman which implies that one cannot know it, because one is indeed it, just as teeth cannot bite themselves, nor fire burn itself. So it has a flavor of taking your limited and temporal beingness and transforming it into a limitless and eternal suchness.


Œakyamuni Buddha came along and revised this testament of eternal beingness championed by hindus/advaitins proclaiming it wasn't the final truth. He therefore created the doctrine of anatman(anatta) where he essentially stated that those who attest that the atman is equivalent to brahman are still victims of a subtle clinging which prevents them from accessing the ultimate truth. He taught that the alleged state of 'being one with brahman' is merely a re-packaging of one's present state of being, tantamount to simply labeling it as something else. The claim that one is indeed brahman(vast, eternal, undying) is merely an escape which doesn't remove the fundamental delusion (one is fastened to) because one doesn't want to lose oneself. One hasn't let go.


Dzogchen avoids (the perpetual evolution of) this fundamental delusion through the direct introduction of one's true nature, which is the union of clarity(luminosity) and emptiness. So right from the start, the mistaken ground of brahman is forsaken as a delusion. This is an empty cognizance, unestablished and illusory. The aspect of ones nature which is mistaken as an abiding substratum is the clarity of the natural state.


    Namdrol wrote:

        gad rgyangs wrote:there is the irreducible presence of the here and now where we find ourselves.



    It's reducible, thank goodness.

    In any event, what you are talking about is the famous "clarity" aspect of the mind, the famed Descartes trope, "I can doubt everything but that fact that I am doubting". But this hardly constitutes "the fact of the existent".




Xabir shared this insight from Zen Priest Alex R. Weith in the "No-Self And Rigpa" Thread which also addresses the common error of mistaking clarity as an abiding ground:


    xabir wrote:
(quote from: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2011/10/zen-exploration-of-bahiya-sutta.html) Just for the sake of clarification, I would like to make it clear that I never said that "these luminous self-perceiving phenomena which are craving-free and nondual are the Ultimate", if there could still be any ambiguity about that.

    On the contrary, I said that what I used to take for an eternal, empty, uncreated, nondual, primordial awareness, source and substance of all things, turned out to be nothing more than the luminous nature of phenomena, themselves empty and ungraspable, somehow crystallized in a very subtle witnessing position.The whole topic of this thread is the deconstruction of this Primordial Awareness, One Mind, Cognizing Emptiness, Self, Atman, Luminous Mind, Tathagatagarbha, or whatever we may call it,

    As shocking as it may seem, the Buddha was very clear to say that this pure impersonal objectless nondual awareness (that Vedantists called Atma in Sanskrit, Atta in Pali) is still the aggregate of consciousness and that consciousness, as pure and luminous as it can be, does not stand beyond the aggregates.

    Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.' (Anatta-lakkhana Sutta)."

    "What I realized also is that authoritative self-realized students of direct students of both Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj called me a 'Jnani', inviting me to give satsangs and write books, while I had not yet understood the simplest core principles of Buddhism. I realized also that the vast majority of Buddhist teachers, East and West, never went beyond the same initial insights (that Adhyashanti calls "an abiding awakening"), confusing the Atma with the ego, assuming that transcending the ego or self-center (Aha?kara in Sanskrit) was identical to what the Buddha had called anatta (Non-atma).

    It would seem therefore that the Buddha had realized the Self at a certain stage of his acetic years (it is not that difficult after all) and was not yet satisfied. As paradoxical as it may seem, his "divide and conquer strategy" aimed at a systematic deconstruction of the Self (Atma, Atta), reduced to -and divided into- what he then called the five aggregates of clinging and the six sense-spheres, does lead to further and deeper insights into the nature of reality. As far as I can tell, this makes me a Buddhist, not because I find Buddhism cool and trendy, but because I am unable to find other teachings and traditions that provide a complete set of tools and strategies aimed at unlocking these ultimate mysteries, even if mystics from various traditions did stumble on the same stages and insights often unknowingly. "

    This also means that the first step is to disembed from impermanent phenomena until the only thing that feels real is this all pervading uncreated all pervading awareness that feels like the source and substance of phenomena. Holding on to it after this realization can hower become a subtle form of grasping diguised as letting go.

    The second step is therefore to realize that this brightness, awakeness or luminosity is there very nature of phenomena and then only does the duality between the True Self and the appearences arising and passing within the Self dissolve, revealing the suchness of what is.

    The next step that I found very practical is to push the process of deconstruction a step further, realizing that all that is experienced is one of the six consciousness. In other words, there is neither a super Awareness beyond phenomena, not solid material objects, but only six streams of sensory experiences. The seen, the heard, the sensed, the tasted, the smelled and the cognized (including thoughts, emotions, and subtle thougths like absorbtion states, jhanas).

    At this point it is not difficult to see how relevent the Bahiya Sutta can become.



Bahiya Sutta:
In the seen, there is only the seen,
In the heard, there is only the heard,
In the sensed, there is only the sensed,
In the cognized, there is only the cognized.
Thus you should see that
indeed there is no thing here(subject);
This Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.
Since, Bahiya, there is for you
In the seen, only the seen,
In the heard, only the heard,
In the sensed, only the sensed,
In the cognized, only the cognized,
and you see that there is no thing here,
you will therefore see that
indeed there is no thing there(object),
As you see that there is no thing there,
you will see that you are therefore
located neither in the world of this,
nor in the world of that,
nor in any place betwixt the two.
This alone is the end of suffering.

However this statement could still be misinterpreted as implying that the sensory processes do indeed give way to established objects, which in turn constitute some form of suchness. Such a conclusion would be a grave misunderstanding.

Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:20 am


    anjali wrote:

        Namdrol wrote:Cit is alaya, something relative which is dispensible, from the perspective of Dzogchen.



    Ok. Here is a glossary definition of chit from a book of Ramana Maharshi's teachings: "consciousness; this is not the antonym of unconsciousness, it is unmediated self-awareness." Perhaps this is not a typical definition within the Advaita tradition or the one adopted within Dzogchen.

    I'm not a scholar so I wouldn't be able to seriously debate this, but this definition of chit seems to align with what in Sanskrit might be called svasamvedana, or in Tibetan, rang-rig (rang gi rig pa), which has been translated as awareness of itself or self-reflexive awareness.



rang gis rig pa is not svasa?vedana. rang gi rig pa is rang rig. The latter has the genetive particle gi, where as the former was the instrumental particle gis.


Rang gi rig pa i.e. svasa?vedana means knowlege of itself. This is conditioned and relative because it is a self-knowing consciousness. This is mind, not nature of the mind.


so sor rang gis rig pa i.e. atmyavedana means "personal knowledge" and is the basis for rang rig in Dzogchen texts. We find this in constructions common in Dzogchen texts (as well as others) in the term so sor rang gis rig pa'i ye shes, or as Kapstein translates it "personally intuited gnosis". This nature of mind, not mind.


Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:04 am


    mzaur wrote:

        asunthatneversets wrote:Dzogchen avoids (the perpetual evolution of) this fundamental delusion through the direct introduction of one's true nature, which is the union of clarity(luminosity) and emptiness. So right from the start, the mistaken ground of brahman is forsaken as a delusion. This is an empty cognizance, unestablished and illusory. The aspect of ones nature which is mistaken as an abiding substratum is the clarity of the natural state.



    Are you saying that you do not need right view in Dzogchen? If we look at case study Jax, he received direct introduction numerous times from Rinpoche, yet his experience, as he describes it, is very Brahman.



Right view is imperative for those implementing dzogchen as a gradual path(as opposed to those rare few to immediately actualize realization). Any wrong misconception can throw one off the right path... and even once the natural state has been actualized becoming distracted from the view(or vision/tawa) is a defeating deviation. Even practitioners moving through the four visions are in danger of regression if perfect discipline isn't executed;


"Furthermore, when [the meditator] has emerged from the alaya-vijnana, because of the blazing lamp of the dharmakaya's luminosity, his nature remains free from elaboration. However, if he has not perfected his skill in the wisdom that shines out in vipaœyana(meaning a meditational view employed in tögal in this context), then, being enveloped in the alaya as before, that lamp of luminosity will be extinguished and no longer present".


So to clarify what you found questionable, I was just saying that in dzogchen (and particularly semde) the natural state is presented as the union of clarity and emptiness, and once the view is introduced/discovered it is then reinforced further (by the teacher) as a luminous emptiness implying utter absence(even though these attributes are quite explicitly known upon it's actualization). In Advaita Vedanta the state sought after is presented as an abiding suchness equivalent to one's true nature as the eternal absolute(brahman).


    mzaur wrote:Also, I was wondering about the mirror analogy used in Dzogchen... as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche wrote in Crystal and Way of Light:

    "And by way of an example, this voidness is said to be like the fundamental purity and clarify of a mirror. A master may show the disciple a mirror and explain how the mirror itself does not judge the reflections arising in it to be either beautiful or ugly; the mirror is not changed by whatever kind of reflection may arise; nor its capacity to reflect impaired. It is then explained that the void nature of the mind is like the nature of the mirror, pure, clear, and limpid, and that no matter what arises, the void essence of the mind can never be lost, damaged, or tarnished."


    How is this analogy not talking about an abiding background?


Yeah the mirror can be mistaken as representing an abiding background which has the capacity to reflect. But that is only if one focuses on the mirror as an object beholding reflections (which I'm sure is a common error but isn't what Rinpoche was suggesting). It's important to carefully investigate how the analogy is presented... it's not the mind is like the mirror, but the nature of mind is like the nature of the mirror, in that, the void nature of mind is empty yet luminous. So the essential quality (or nature) of the mirror is that it reflects, but is that essential quality or characteristic a tangible thing or suchness? Can you roll or bounce the mirror's capacity to reflect? Is that essence or capacity located anywhere? Is it blue or green? Or any color or shape? No, it isn't, it cannot be identified as 'this or that' yet it is known clear as day. And much like the mirror this innate, empty, luminous, natural essence and capacity of mind, reflects yet does not hold and remains unscathed. The reflections are not inherently part of the mirror's nature, but are product of it and inseparable from it... and "it"(the nature) is an indistinguishable quality which cannot be pigeonholed.


(And when I say indistinguishable quality I don't mean to imply that it's a qualitative suchness or that the quality belongs to an implied connotative suchness, it's not established or unestablished in any way... being primordially unborn it evades even itself).




Re: Turiya VS. Dzogchen


Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:09 am


    mzaur wrote:

        asunthatneversets wrote:Yeah the mirror can be mistaken as representing an abiding background which has the capacity to reflect. But that is only if one focuses on the mirror as an object beholding reflections (which I'm sure is a common error but isn't what Rinpoche was suggesting). It's important to carefully investigate how the analogy is presented... it's not the mind is like the mirror, but the nature of mind is like the nature of the mirror, in that, the void nature of mind is empty yet luminous. So the essential quality (or nature) of the mirror is that it reflects, but is that essential quality or characteristic a tangible thing or suchness? Can you roll or bounce the mirror's capacity to reflect? Is that essence or capacity located anywhere? Is it blue or green? Or any color or shape? No, it isn't, it cannot be identified as 'this or that' yet it is known clear as day. And much like the mirror this innate, empty, luminous, natural essence and capacity of mind, reflects yet does not hold and remains unscathed. The reflections are not inherently part of the mirror's nature, but are product of it and inseparable from it... and "it"(the nature) is an indistinguishable quality which cannot be pigeonholed.

        (And when I say indistinguishable quality I don't mean to imply that it's a qualitative suchness or that the quality belongs to an implied connotative suchness, it's not established or unestablished in any way... being primordially unborn it evades even itself).



    Thanks for your response.

    Would it be accurate then to say that there is no mirror apart from the arising reflections, that indeed there actually is no mirror at all, only reflections?


"All that arises
is essentially no more real
than a reflection,
transparently pure and clear,
beyond all definition
or logical explanation.
Yet the seeds of past action,
karma, continue to cause further arising.
Even so-
know all that exists
is ultimately void of self-nature
utterly non-dual!"
- Nirmanakaya Buddha

"All dharmas are like reflected images,

clear and pure
without turbulence,
ungraspable, inexpressible,
truly arisen from cause and from action."
- (Different translation of the above quote)

"Now, when you are introduced (to your own intrinsic awareness), the method for entering into it involves three considerations:

Thoughts in the past are clear and empty and leave no traces behind.
Thoughts in the future are fresh and unconditioned by anything.
And in the present moment, when (your mind) remains in its own condition without constructing anything,
awareness, at that moment, in itself is quite ordinary.
And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly (without any discursive thoughts),
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity without anyone being there who is the observer;
only a naked manifest awareness is present.
(This awareness) is empty and immaculately pure, not being created by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity and emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet it is not created by anything.
However, it is not a mere nothingness or something annihilated because it is lucid and present.
It does not exist as a single entity because it is present and clear in terms of being many.
(On the other hand) it is not created as a multiplicity of things because it is inseparable and of a single flavor.
This inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything outside itself.
This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things."
- Padmasambhava

And here are some other quotes which refute turiya and the view of tirthikas:


"Although [tirthikas] have many different beliefs, when condensing the root of all of them, there are two: proponents of eternalism and proponents of nihilism. The proponents of eternalism believe that either the Self, Time, the Almighty, […] is the creator of the entire world. They hold that this creator is permanent. […] The proponents of nihilism claim that the present world originated by itself without causes, such as past karma; that consciousness occurred suddenly from the four elements; and that since it is discontinued at the time of death, it is pointless to exert oneself on the path in order to achieve liberation. All of these […] are, however, proponents of the existence of a self."

- Mipham Rinpoche

"Moreover, as for this diversity of appearances, which represents relative truth,

not even one of these appearances is actually created in reality, and so accordingly they disappear again.
All things, all phenomenal existence, everything within Samsara and Nirvana,
Are merely appearances (or phenomena) which are perceived by the individual's single nature of the mind.
On any particular occasion, when your own (internal) mind-stream undergoes changes,
then there will arise appearances, which you will perceive as external changes.
Therefore, everything that you see is a manifestation of mind.
And, moreover, all of the beings inhabiting the six realms of rebirth perceive everything with their own distinct karmic vision.
The Tirthikas who are outsiders see all this in terms of the dualism of eternalism as against nihilism.
Each of the nine successive vehicles sees things in terms of its own view.
Thus, things are perceived in various different ways and may be elucidated in various different ways.
Because you grasped at these various (appearances that arise), becoming attached to them, errors have come into existence.
Yet with respect to all of these appearances of which you are aware in your mind,
Even though these appearances that you perceive do arise, if you do not grasp at them, then that is Buddhahood."
- Padmasambhava


........


Distinction Between The Buddha-Essence Of Dzogpa Chenpo And Of Yogācāra:


"In Dzogpa Chenpo the Intrinsic Awareness is designated as self-awareness and self-clarity. But it is free from elaborations and non-existence. So it is superior to the thoroughly established self-awareness and self-clarity of consciousness of the Yogācārya school. Longchen Rabjam explains:

In it (Dzogpa Chenpo) the essence (Ngo-Bo) of Intrinsic Awareness, the realization of the non-existence of the apprehended and apprehender, is called spontaneously arisen primordial wisdom. But Dzogpa Chenpo doesn't assert it as self-awareness and self-clarity (Rang-Rig Rang-gSal) as Yogācārya, the Mind Only School, does. Because (according to Dzogpa Chenpo), as there is no existence of internal and external, it (Intrinsic Awareness) is not established as internal mind. As there is no self and others, it isn't established as self-awareness. As the apprehended and apprehender have never existed, freedom from the two is not established. As it is not an object of experiences and awareness, the experience is not established as non-dual.

As there is no mind and mental events, it does not exist as self-mind. As it does not exist as clarity or non-clarity, it is not established as self-clarity. As it transcends awareness and non-awareness, there are not even the imputations of awareness. This is called the Dzogpa Chenpo, free from extremes. Although it is designated as self-arisen primordial wisdom, enlightened mind, ultimate body, the great spontaneously accomplished ultimate sphere, and the naked self-clarity Intrinsic Awareness, these ascriptions are merely in order to signify it. It should be realized that the self-essence (of Dzogpa Chenpo) is inexpressible. Otherwise, if you take the meaning of the words literally, you will never find (in Dzogpa Chenpo) any difference from the cognition of self-awareness, self-clarity, and non-duality of apprehender and apprehended of the Mind Only School."


- Longchen Rabjam (excerpt from "The Practice Of Dzogchen" pg. 103


........


'Cognition of self-awareness' = self-reflexive awareness (or simply 'reflexive awareness'), it certainly isn't foreign to yogācāra and dzogchen, nor is it foreign to buddhism in general.


"There is another aspect of the Yogācāra doctrine, related to the mind-only doctrine, that is criticized in Yeshe Lama and elsewhere in Jigme Lingpa's work: the concepts of reflexive awareness (rang rig) and reflexive luminosity (rang gsal). These terms near-synonyms, are fundamental of the Yogācāra understanding of the way the mind works. They refer to the activity of a mind that does not cognize phenomena as extrinsic: it is cognizant only of itself, and, like a lamp that needs no other light source to be visible, it illuminates itself. Both terms were utilized in this way by Śāntarakṣita in his eighth-century works setting out the Yogācāra Svātantrika Madhyamaka position.

Jigme Lingpa writes in Yeshe Lama, 'If...when you examine that which abides, the mere reflexive luminosity (rang gsal) of the ālāyavijñāna comes up as truly accomplished, then you approach the mistake of the Anākāravāda mind-only doctrine.' We have seen above how the Sākāravāda form of Yogācāra is criticized by Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa, based on the distinction between mere perceptions and the objective basis for perceptions. The Anākāravāda form of Yogācāra, which did not accept the ultimate reality of consciousness as the objective basis for perceptions, is criticized for a different reason. In his Khyenste Melong, Jigme Lingpa sets out what he understands the Anākāravāda position to be:

'We hold that the outer object does not exist, and the awareness that apprehends it does not exist either. The awareness that realizes the apprehender and apprehended as nondual is a reflexive awareness and a reflexive luminosity. This is designated as truly existent. This is the ālāya-vijñāna. Actions and their result are based on it.'

The Anākāravāda position is criticized for attributing reflexive awareness with true existence. The terms reflexive awareness and reflexive luminosity are often used in the Great Perfection, and figure frequently in the Longchen Nyingtig texts themselves. Jigme Lingpa cannot criticize the use of the terms themselves. He must object to the designation of them being truly established, that is, existent. As the passage from Khyenste Melong suggests, this is also a criticism of the position that holds the ālāya-vijñāna, the basis of consciousness, as the basis of both samsaric and nirvanic awareness. For Jigme Lingpa, and his Seminal Heart sources, the ālāya-vijñāna is samsaric in nature, a result of delusion and separation from the ground, as I have shown in chapter 4. Thus these criticisms of the Yogācāra are rooted in the Seminal Heart distinction between two types of basis, the nirvanic basis known as the ground (gzhi) and the samsaric basis of consciousness, the ālaya (kun gzhi). Because the distinction is not made in the Indian Yogācāra texts, the versions of reflexive awareness and reflexive luminosity found there are considered flawed. Yet the Seminal Heart owed a great debt to Yogācāra philosophy in it's treatments of both samsaric and nirvanic awareness, and this is why Jigme Lingpa, like Longchenpa before him, felt the need to strongly distinguish the differences between the models of awareness in Yogācāra and Seminal Heart literature."


- Sam Van Shaik (Approaching The Great Perfection, pg. 84)


........


That's your own thesis? That's all well and good but your thesis is only validating the statement that longchenpa made above. Dzogchen doesn't implement a subject(ive)-object(ive) dichotomy but instead finds the two to be empty from the very beginning. In dzogchen, ignorance is the basis for all phenomena (dharmas), the notion of a personal self (ātman) falls under that umbrella.


And this isn't regarding dzogchen but in reference to your thesis: realizing the emptiness of mind should in theory cause one to realize of the emptiness of all things, like you stated, but this isn't always the case, hence the two-fold emptiness (anattā/anātman & śūnyatā). The realization of anātman should lead to the realization of śūnyatā since both sides of the dichotomy are dependent on one another (and that the notion of a dichotomy is an imputation of mind in the first place), but depending on the amount of karmic traces one is afflicted with there is sometimes a gap in those insights.


In dzogchen, the empty aspect of the nature of mind is meant to cover this two-fold emptiness from the very beginning through recognizing primordial purity. Within that primordial purity nothing has ever been established which is later revoked, so phenomena is not "cut with the razor of emptiness" as Jigme Lingpa says, but is inherently empty.


The difference is that within dzogchen nothing is established, which contrasts the Yogācāra view that everything is mind.


........


I take it you're implying that the absolute nature and dependently arisen nature still inherently exist? And that the imaginary nature is the nature which is absent when ignorance is absent?


How can the absolute nature be inherently existent? Isn't the absolute dependent upon the relative? If the relative is merely a product of ignorance, upon the removal of the relative the absolute would likewise be negated. We can't have a one sided coin. The dependently arisen nature, emptiness, should negate the imaginary and absolute, along with itself.


........


The inherent nature of phenomena is "absolute" and "dependently arisen"? A dichotomous separation of experience into internal and external is certainly a notion which is product of imputation. Where are you finding an internal field of perception? Or an external? Where is the dividing line between these two fields?


........


There are no internal or external fields. The only things that obscure pure perception are all of these notions which are imputed onto experience. Mere appearance (which is simply neutral experience devoid of imputed conceptual overlay) is precisely thusness. Or are you defining 'thusness' as non-dual perception? Again I'm not seeing where you're locating external phenomena, the only thing that makes phenomena seem external is the erroneous identification with the body (which is ultimately an imputation itself) and the notion that there are internal facets of experience which exist within the body. 


........


Perhaps. I would have to read what the differences are in the yogācāra traditions. At any rate, both phenomena and consciousness (and/or the union or separation of the two) are considered empty in dzogchen.


........


The basis in Dzogchen is completely free of affliction, it therefore is not something which ever participates in afflicted dependent origination. Unafflicted causality in Dzogchen is described as lhun grub, natural formation. However, since there is causality in the basis, it also must be empty since the manner in which the basis arises from the basis is described as "when this occurs, this arises" and so on. The only reasons why this can


........


    "So in D, what is the relationship between mind and rigpa"


    Mind is the same as it is in prasanga madhyamaka, completely dependently originated and forming through the same process that everything apparently existent arises from (the 12 nidanas). Mind is called sems in dzogchen and is the driving force behind samsaric (afflicted) proliferation.


    Rigpa is knowledge of the nature of mind, the nature of mind is the nonduality of the mind's essence (emptiness) and nature (clarity). All dependently originated. Rigpa is equivalent to enlightenment in the classical sutras, it's 100% empty and illusory. Everything is illusory in dzogchen.


    "and awareness and emptiness?"


    The term awareness is used alot in d-word translations, and the translations do have the potentiality to convey a very advaita like feel to the teaching when they're merely read at face value. There's also buddhist dzogchen and Bon dzogchen, the bon dzogchen tends to be somewhat more essentialist since it doesn't have a buddhist foundation and it also claims that the dzogchen view of emptiness and the buddhist view of emptiness are different, buddhist dzogchenpas disagree. But overall awareness is also dependently originated and therefore illusory and unestablished.


    Emptiness is the same, everything that appears is empty. There is however afflicted dependent origination and unafflicted dependent origination. Afflicted dependent origination is appearance which is product of ignorance (ma-rigpa) and unafflicted dependent origination is lhun-grub or the natural formation of the basis.


    Malcom wrote:


    " The basis in Dzogchen is completely free of affliction, it therefore is not something which ever participates in afflicted dependent origination. Unafflicted causality in Dzogchen is described as lhun grub, natural formation. However, since there is causality in the basis, it also must be empty since the manner in which the basis arises from the basis is described as "when this occurs, this arises" and so on. The only reasons why this can happen is because the basis is also completely empty and illusory. It is not something real or ultimate, or truly existent in a definitive sense. If it were, Dzogchen would be no different than Advaita, etc. If the basis were truly real, ulimate or existent, there could be no processess in the basis, Samantabhadra would have no opportunity to recognize his own state and wake up and we sentient beings would have never become deluded. So, even though we do not refer to the basis as dependently originated, natural formation can be understood to underlie dependent origination; in other words, whatever is dependently originated forms naturally. Lhun grub after all simply and only means "sus ma byas", not made by anyone.


    Rigpa is not a phenomena, it is not a thing, per se. It is one's knowledge of the basis. Since it is never deluded, it never participates in affliction, therefore, it is excluded from afflicted dependent orgination. However, one can regard it as the beginning of unafflicted dependent origination, and one would not be wrong i.e. the nidanas of samsara begin with avidyā; the nidanas of nirvana begin with vidyā (rigpa)."


 "Is rigpa empty?"


    Completely.


    "Is it a synonym of awareness in those translations?"


    Not at all, the term awareness is just pointing to the fact of present wakefulness.


    "Pragmatically, as Dzogchen is taught on the ground, what aspect does the lion's share of the soteriological work?"


    This is the part that really defines dzogchen, the aspect that does the lion's share of the work is the fact that dzogchen is precisely the knowledge of the natural state (rigpa) and is therefore enlightenment itself. So it's not a causal vehicle that really incorporates 'work' because the basis, path and fruit are all simultaneously accomplished. The teacher points out the natural state, and the student either recognizes it or doesn't. If it's not recognized then there are teachings which aid in discovering that aspect, but the teachings themselves aren't dzogchen, dzogchen is only the experience and is therefore actually indescribable (though much describing happens naturally!)


    "Does Kagyu teach Dzogchen?"


    I'm pretty sure Kagyu focuses on mahamudra, and they actually tend to subordinate dzogchen as just another means no different than mahamudra, when there are big differences.

    Also the Kagyupas (being that they focus on mahamudra) designate thoughts and emotions as the dharmakaya, and dzogchen does not.

    "What is the difference between Dzogchen and Mahamudra?"


    Mahamudra and dzogchen are different methods and therefore end up being different paths. Mahamudra considers the basis (nature of mind) to be the kun-gzhi or alaya, which is the emptiness and clarity of the mind. In dzogchen the kun-gzhi is considered to be the basis of affliction (ignorance) and the basis (gzhi) in dzogchen has nothing to do with the mind. I recently attended a teaching by a guy named Keith Dowman and he was also teaching that the nature of mind was the kun-gzhi, I asked him what the difference is between the kun-gzhi and the gzhi and he said that it has to do with further refinement "purification" and release of subtle traces, but he said for now during that talk there was no need to get into that (being that the crowd in general had some people who were actually just learning of dzogchen for the first time).

........

Update: 27th February 2013

Earlier today Jackson shared an excerpt from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's 'Dzogchen Practice In Everyday Life'...

Jackson's post:
"Dilgo Khyentse wrote:

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity."

Jackson then commented: "Some here I am sure struggle with notions 'ground of being', 'the womb in ... which all things arise and dissolve.' These expressions are foreign to most Theravadins..."

I wanted to comment that this translation (and the way that Jackson is presenting it's context) is apparently proposing a 'ground-of-being' as a source of phenomena. In the context of dzogchen a ground-of-being is indeed posited, however for dzogchen the ground of being (and non-being, both & neither) is only ignorance (avidyā). This idea that phenomena only arise due to our habitual tendencies of grasping and clinging is a very important aspect of Buddhism which separates it from the Vedantic traditions. Traditions such as Advaita Vedanta and the like which posit a transcendental ground-of-being from which phenomena (as expressions of that ground) arise and subside. This is not the model that Buddhism employs, nor is it the model that dzogchen uses. The quote cited by Jackson above certainly does seem to be proposing such a 'ground', however if we look at an alternate translation of this text we will find that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's exposition does indeed accord with the traditional view of dzogchen....

Here is the alternate translation of the same section of DKR's teaching cited above:
"...The ground of samsara and nirvana is the ālaya (ignorance), the beginning and the end of confusion and realization...."

The term ālaya is a Sanskrit term which translates to kun gzhi in Tibetan, meaning 'all-ground' or the 'ground of all', 'universal ground' etc...

The Reverberation of Sound Tantra explains the etymology of 'kun gzhi' (ālaya):
"The etymology of 'kun' (all) lies in it's subsuming everything.
The etymology of 'gzhi' (ground) lies in it's accumulation and hoarding (of karmic imprints and propensities)."

The Reverberation of Sound also goes on to say:
"Here I will explain the kun gzhi (ālaya) to start off:
It is the ground of all phenomena and non-phenomena."

In Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's quotation where he states that the ālaya is "...the beginning and end of confusion and realization..." he is saying this because the ālaya (being synonymous with ignorance [Skt. avidyā, Tib. ma rig pa]) is the basis for delusion and therefore one can say the ālaya is indeed the beginning of confusion. In the very same sentence DKR also states that the ālaya is the beginning of realization, he says this because due to the fact that ignorance (Skt. avidyā, Tib. ma rig pa) is naturally dependent upon knowledge (Skt. vidyā, Tib. rig pa) the ālaya is also the basis for liberation. The ālaya is the beginning, in the sense that ignorance (samsara) is the starting point on one's path towards liberation (nirvana) and that being the case, one can also say it serves as the basis for the end as well. 

"The kun gzhi (ālaya) is the foundation of everything;
It is the foundation of purification as well."
- The Uttara Tantra

So the notion of a 'ground of being' is put in perspective. Dzogchen does not posit a ground of being apart from the discursive elaborations of ignorance and imputation. When one's condition is purified of ignorance it is known that reality is non-arisen and unborn... emptiness. Hence the key term in the first translation Jackson cited: 'unoriginated'. The translation of ālaya (kun gzhi) as 'ground of being' is a viable option for translation, though in truth the ālaya is the ground of all 4 extremes (being, non-being, both and neither), leaving it at 'ground of being' (without context) again appears to be advocating for a Brahman-type source of phenomena which is not the case in the least.


(AEN: with regards to the 'All Creating King' or 'Kunjed Gyalpo', Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm Smith has this to say -

"This person has confused the Trika non-dual view with Dzogchen.


The mind that is the all-creating king, as Norbu Rinpoche makes clear, is the mind that does not recognize itself, and so enters into samsara, creating its own experience of samsara. 

All conditioned phenomena are a product of ignorance, according to Dzogchen view, and so therefore, everything is not real. The basis of that ignorance is the basis, which is also not established as real. 

In Dzogchen, everything is unreal, from top to bottom. The basis, in Dzogchen, is described as being "empty not established in any way at all". If the basis is not real, then whatever arises from that basis is not real. 
In Dzoghen, dependent origination begins from the non-recognition of the state of the basis, when this happens, one enters into grasping self and other, and then the chain of dependent origination begins." ~ http://www.atikosha.org/2010/11/rigpa-ii.html)
30 Responses
  1. Tommy Says:

    Once again, a stunning display of clarity and insight. Thanks guys, much appreciated!


  2. Yes indeed, there is great clarity in this article in differentiating the Buddhist view from that of the Witness or that of substantial non-duality (brahman merged/inseparable from form). I just have one comment on this statement by Kyle for further clarification:

    "And much like the mirror this innate, empty, luminous, natural essence and capacity of mind, reflects yet does not hold and remains unscathed. The reflections are not inherently part of the mirror's nature, but are product of it and inseparable from it... and "it"(the nature) is an indistinguishable quality which cannot be pigeonholed."

    I just want to add, reflections are not inherent in mind, or in anywhere, but neither is the nature of mind inherent apart from reflections. There are two ways of understanding inseparability. The nature of mind may be seen as a source that is inseparable from its expression (thusness stage 4). But to go beyond this kind of brahman-view that Kyle clearly elucidated the difference on, we must see that the nature of mind is just like heat is to fire and wetness is to water or sweetness is to sugar, that kind of inseparability (and not the inseparability of an existing awareness with its reflections). In this way there is not even the slightest referencing or tracing back to a Source, only the nature of mind that is fully exerted in transient sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought.

    There is no nature of mind without mind. Reflections are not exactly "product" of nature, it is the reflections that the nature is spoken in reference to. The notion of a source or reflector is seen through... There is no illuminator, only this flow of self-illuminating reflections that is mirror-like (but not as an existing reflector). The nature of mind is in fact the nature of reflection (mind). There is no mirror whatsoever apart from reflections. (This is quite clearly elucidated in Thusness Stage 5 titled "No Mirror Reflecting") Just like fire is not produced from heat or water produced from wetness... But it can be said that heat is the nature of fire (the manifestation/appearance). The view of nature as some source or substratum becomes quite irrelevant.

    Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm (another student of ChNNR) also made this statement:

    "It was queried whether the nature of the mind could exist whether there was a mind or not -- but such an assertion has obvious flaws, like asserting wetness without water, or heat without fire."

    "If there is no mind, there cannot be a nature of the mind. The one depends on the other."


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  5. Monktastic Says:

    Thanks again for that clip. I received transmission from Norbu Rinpoche and bought his book. Indeed it seems his released shine is basically the same as resting in the natural state.

    BTW, I've been corresponding with Greg Goode. I think you'd be surprised if you heard his view. I don't think he would describe awareness as being a substantial anything, nor there being a truly existing subject, or anything of the sort. He's well-versed in Madhyamaka, and his "awareness" certainly seems to be more similar to rigpa than to any pre-Buddhist Upanishadic Brahman.

    I think what's probably happening is that as views evolve, from Pre-Buddhist Vedanta -> Advaita -> Neo-Advaita -> Direct Path, there's a lot of cross-pollination with Dzogchen and other traditions.

    It's similar to how old Mahamudra masters would claim that Dzogchen is missing X and Dzogchen masters would insist that Mahamudra is wrong on Y, but eventually both camps grudgingly admitted equality. My guess is that in another 100 years, the same will happen with Neo-neo-neo-Advaita and Dzogchen.


  6. Sounds great :) yes indeed, greg goode seems very much into emptiness nowadays.


  7. pnco Says:

    Very interesting read.. i just discovered this site today and i cant say i'm happy about it, but i can say that i see some of my more subtle illusions being brought to light.. and what is worth more?

    So in the end i realize that there is still much to learn and i find this site to contain a lot of information which can shine a light on the subject.

    I was searching for an explanation of the difference between non-duality and buddhism (in this case Dzogchen), and this is pretty much what i was searching for. Now its up to me to do research and discover..

    Thank you!


  8. Anonymous Says:

    A straw argument about Advaita has been created here. 'Brahman' is not a substantial nonduality. Anyone who actually knows Sanskrit and studies the original Advaita texts knows that Brahman is not the source of phenomena; Maya, illusion, is. Maya is equated to Avidya. "When Avidya is removed, there is nothing to be perceived, nothing to be or experience, no subject or object", hence Advaita calls this nonduality. This is the same empty nonduality as Dzogchen teaches. Sankaracharya clearly says that ultimate realisation means "there is no selfness, no brahman-ness". Dzogchen and Advaita practitioners realise this. Please go back to practice and don't create straw arguments about traditions of reality.


  9. Soh Says:

    In Advaita, phenomena are superimposed on Brahman. Sort of like seeing a snake in a rope. In ultimate reality, there is only the rope.

    Even this illusion is the spontaneous sportive creativity of Brahman -- lila.

    This rope is thus the source and substratum of that phenomena insofar that it is the only ultimate reality. One without a second.

    Another analogy often used is the necklace. The necklace can apparently come in different shapes and sizes, and you can impose different names on it. But what's its ultimate reality? Gold. It's all just gold 'modulating' as the that, which the names and shapes are superimposed on. But in reality, it is all just gold.

    There are no phenomena, there is only Brahman. Therefore the famous statement by Shankara -- The world is illusory; Brahman alone is real; Brahman is the world.

    That, above, is the view of Shankara.

    Where did Shankara talk about "no Brahman"?

    Shankara said:

    "Brahman is the Reality, the one Existence. Because of the ignorance of our human minds, the universe seems to be composed of diverse forms, but it is Brahman alone. ...Apart from Brahman, the universe does not exist. There is nothing beside Him. It has no separate existence, apart from its Ground.

    And again:

    The universe is truly Brahman, for that which is superimposed has no separate existence from its substratum. Whatever a deluded person perceives through mistake is Brahman and Brahman alone. The silver imagined in mother-of-pearl is really mother-of-pearl. The name, "universe", is superimposed on Brahman; what we call "the universe" is [really] nothing but Brahman."


  10. Anonymous Says:

    Shankara:

    "When there was darkness in illusion, everything was perceived.
    After the light of knowing has risen, nothing at all is perceived."

    - Svatmanirupanam

    "‘This’ and ‘that’
    appears with regard to all objects everywhere
    and may always be contested.
    ‘Non-this’ is the uncontested reality.
    As it is reality,
    it is not through the eyes of another."

    - Svatmanirupanam


    "By ignorance phenomena are born."

    - Brahmanuchintanam


    "A being does not exist through itself,
    nor is a being from non-existence.
    As it can be refuted, duality does not exist,
    nor does it not exist, as is it immediately apparent.
    It does not exist-and-not-exist, as this is contradictory.
    Hence it is inexpressible."

    - Tattvopadesha


    "This which is like space,
    whose nature is peace,
    the hindmost light,
    empty of form, empty of a beginning and an end,
    the hindmost,
    called 'peace-maker',
    is to be heeded in the heart."

    - Nirvana-Manjari


    "Knowledge is the appearance of an observer and something observed.
    Realisation is the emptiness of something observed."

    - Sadacharanusandhanam


    "Piercing between self and non-self
    the wise call knowing."

    - Sadacharanusandhanam


    "When the world establishes
    that within the hurt of all seen things
    there is nothing at all,
    then this which is thus established to be nothing at all
    is Brahman."

    - Svatmanirupanam


    "They who perceive
    all observed things through the nature of observing,
    realise no binding and no releasing, no Brahman
    and no individual (jiva)."

    - Svatmanirupanam


  11. Soh Says:

    You are giving me quotes about how phenomena are superimposed on Brahman by ignorance. Which I totally agree is the view of Advaita, as I have already stated above.

    Brahman is formless, is attributeless, etc. Therefore the Advaita sages say things like "I am nothing" and "I am everything". Saying that the Self is formless is not the same as saying there is no Self.

    And because in Advaita there is only Self, and the universe is only Self in its ultimate reality, there is no distinction between 'self' and 'not self'.

    The last quote is a little interesting. I'm trying to find what you quote within Svatmanirupanam but couldn't find it. That text is full of quotations about the ultimate Self, e.g.

    "The Self experiences the universe
    But this (Self) is not experienced by the universe.
    The sun fully illumines all else,
    But is itself not illumined, indeed."


  12. Soh Says:

    Here's a translation which I believe is what you're referring to:

    "For the wise that see all objects as the self (drik), there is neither bondage nor liberation, neither the condition of supreme self nor that of individual soul. (102)"

    Basically it is subsuming everything to be the Self, at which point, the distinction between Self, not-Self, individual and so on dissolves into that all-Self. Like a drop of water dissolving into an ocean, the distinction between ocean and drop of water is dissolved. But this all-Self is still seen ultimate, changeless, etc.

    Emptiness is a different insight.


  13. Anonymous Says:

    nikhilam dřśya-viśeşam dřg-rūpatvena paśyatām viduşām
    bandho nā’pi na muktir
    na parātmatvam na cā’pi jīvatvam

    Svatmanirupanam, Verse 102

    I would place the emphasis here on "na parātmatvam na cā’pi jīvatvam"
    "... there is no ultimate self-ness (parātmatva) and no individual-ness (jīvatva)."


    Here is Shankara in the Yogataravali:

    "The lords of poise,
    shaking off ‘I’ and ‘mine’ due to natural non-mind,
    realise beyond-mind
    free of the movements of the wind,
    remaining like space."

    Here the emphasis is on shaking off 'I' and 'mine', so the modern Advaitic obsession with the "I am" is clearly not original Advaita.

    Here are also some quotations from Gaudapada, Shankara's teacher's teacher (please remember that Shankara wrote a well-known commentary on Gaudapada's work, appreciating and elaborating Gaudapada's teachings):

    "The unreal is not the basis of the unreal.
    The unreal is not the basis of the real.
    The real is not the basis of the real.
    How could the real be the basis of the unreal?"

    - Gaudapada-Karika, Alatashanti-Prakarana, Verse 40

    So much for superimposition being original Vedanta. It is not. (incidentally, the Vedantic rope-snake obsession is derived from Nagarjuna). Where Shankara does speak about superimposition, it is for the sake of teaching. Please see below.

    In Agama-Prakarana Verse 17, Gaudapada says:

    vikalpo vinivarteta kalpito yadi kenacit
    upadeśād ayam vādo jñāte dvaitam na vidyate

    "'An imagination can only disappear when it is being imagined by someone.'
    This is only an allegory for the sake of teaching.
    When realised, there is no duality."

    Here I would specifically like to translate from Shankara's commentary for you:

    "Describing the appearance of phenomena as the illusion of the rope and the snake is only for the sake of teaching. When ultimate reality is known, there is no duality."

    So Shankara's and Gaupada's Advaita do not rely on an 'imaginer' or a 'basis' for the unreal.

    It comes down to the question: Can one nonduality be better than the other nonduality?

    There is no denial that some modern teachers of Advaita have a tendency to reify and hence have much to learn from Dzogchen. But original Advaita is very clear.


    "When one does not grasp for causes, whether low, middle or high,
    then consciousness is not born.
    Where the cause does not exist, how could there be the effect?"

    Gaudapada-Karika, Alatashantiprakarana, Verse 76


    Shankara comments clearly and simply:

    "Where the seed is absent, there is no tree."

    So he does not reify 'Brahman'.


    Last but not least:

    alabdhāvaraņā sarve dharmāh prakřti-nirmalāh
    ādau buddhās tathā muktā buddhyanta iti nāyakāh

    "Pure by nature, never have beings received a veil.
    From the outset they are Buddhas, liberated.
    This the wise know."

    Alatashantiprakarana, Verse 98


  14. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Soh, the translation of Svatmanirupana you refer to is very inaccurate.

    Here is a word-by-word one:

    nikhilam dřśya-viśeşam dřg-rūpatvena paśyatām viduşām
    bandho nā’pi na muktir
    na parātmatvam na cā’pi jīvatvam

    Svatmanirupanam, Verse 102

    dřg is not the self. dřg is:

    dRz 2 m. (nom. %{k} , Ved. %{G} Pa1n2. 7-1 , 83) seeing , viewing , looking at ; knowing.

    So dřg-rūpatvena is 'through the nature of knowing'.

    So we have: For those wise (vidush) who see (pashyat) all object-distinction (dřśya-viśeşam, dřśya being that which is seen) through the nature of knowing (dřś), there is neither bondage (bandha) nor liberation (mukti), neither an ultimate selfness (parātmatva) nor jīvatva (individual-ness).


  15. Soh Says:

    Then from anatta as basis, one proceeds to realize Dependent Origination and the Non-Arising of all phenomena. Twofold emptiness.

    Regarding the firstfold emptiness -- is there really a truly existing and independent thing called "the wind" that "is blowing" or is "wind" and "blowing" simply two words referring to a single activity? How about "river" and "flowing" -- is there a river apart from the activity of flowing or are they just two words being imputed on that activity? Is 'river' the 'same essence throughout all flowing' or is that idea of an intrinsically existing essence just an illusion? Is there subject-action-object? Is there in seeing, truly a seer which is seeing the seen or even an intrinsically existing 'seeing'? Just like is there truly a 'wind' which is 'blowing' or a 'river' that is 'flowing'? The same goes for "hearing" and "sound", "consciousness" and "manifestation". It is thought-construct which separates them and gives it distinct characteristics, e.g. consciousness is changeless and manifestation is changing, etc. Truly, consciousness does not have its own, independent, changeless, intrinsic existence besides whatever's manifesting.

    In another analogy, we say that 'weather' is rain, the clouds, the wind, etc... but we know 'weather' is truly just an imputed construct. Yes, we can't deny 'weather', but where is it apart from the everchanging rain, clouds, wind, etc? Is 'weather' a container for those, some changeless source and substratum underlying all, or is it just a label pointing to all the manifestation? So anatta is like seeing through the 'label' or rather the sense that the label actually points to something inherently existing, to realize that basis of imputation is just that conglomerate of manifestation and there is no Pristine Awareness besides that, manifestation is aware or self-luminous but not some 'ultimate awareness'.

    Then, after the insight - as I would put it, the divine has no face of its own, and yet the thousand faces of manifestation are its face. There is no something 'same' or 'changeless' underlying everything and everyone, no inherent existence, but the luminosity, transparent clarity, aliveness and intelligence is still everywhere presenting as transience, manifestation, appearance. The only difference is the substantial view/clinging is gone. There is only the skandhas/dhatus, and that is not a problem, they are all Buddha-nature when the self/Self is seen through.

    (Then one has to proceed to secondfold emptiness)


  16. Soh Says:

    By the way, thanks for sharing your more accurate translation. It does clarify and confirm my intuition of its meaning.


  17. Soh Says:

    You said: "It comes down to the question: Can one nonduality be better than the other nonduality?"

    There are different kinds of non-dualities.

    Malcolm (Lopon Namdrol) wrote:

    "Non-dual" i.e. gnyis med/advaya means the absence of the duality of being and non-being.

    In Yogacara, it can mean absence of subject and object, but the reason for this is that ultimately there is an absence of being and non-being.

    Even when we talk about the inseparability of original purity and natural formation, kadag and lhundrup, this inseparability is actually predicated on the non-duality that I mentioned above. When we talk about freedom from the four extremes, the eight extremes and so on, it is all, in the end predicated on the absence of being and non-being. That absence of being and non-being is the essence of what the term "non-dual" means in Buddhist texts.

    It is not a translation or terminology issue, it is just a basic fact of Buddhist view....


    .............



    Malcolm wrote:
    Emptiness is one of three doors of liberation; non-duality is not. The other two being lack of aspiration and the signless.

    There is no philosophy of non-dualism in Buddhism. This is wholly the invention of western scholars. For example, Madhyamaka rarely uses the term "non-dual".

    When it is used in Yogacara, it is meant to describe lack of a real subject and object in perception (vijñaptimatra), and hence the absence of existence and non-existence in those imagined phenomena as well.

    It does not get used at all in the Nikaya schools.

    I think westerners are over-invested in this word.

    But a word that is frequently brought up, over and over again, is anutpāda, non-origination, non-arising. This word is much more important for we Buddhists.

    .............

    Thusness wrote:

    "The tendency to unify is the cause of reification.

    Consciousness always subsume into Oneness because the idea is so beautiful to the mind and fits so well to the inherent intellect. The very act of unification into oneness prevents the seeing of liberation at spot. Instant liberation at spot is realized by recognizing the very nature of appearances/phenomena and self is non-arising and empty, it is not resting in/as Awareness or space. The former is liberation via wisdom, the later is just Awareness teaching."


  18. Anonymous Says:

    Most of these comments seem to be caught in rigid, almost dogmatic, concepts.

    Nonduality shines forth luminously, in total emptiness, free of existence or non-existence, after all concepts dwindle, not after something is subsumed in something else.

    You haven't studied Advaita, therefore you are criticising it from the outside.

    There is no substratum or underlying oneness or any kind of support or alamba, no merging or dissolving - Gaudapada expresses it in this way: there is neither duality nor nonduality. The Advaitins themselves explain that the verbal approaches (which you are criticising) are "upadeshaad", for the sake of teaching -- perhaps just as Dzogchen speaks of "unbounded wholeness" (not a very Buddhist term) and Nagarjuna speaks of Advaya-tattva (nondual reality, which is an identical Advaita term) for the sake of teaching. But all these teachers agree that these are concepts, verbal approximations, which do not represent nondual reality. Therefore one can fight about how the concepts are expressed forever.

    Look what Shankara says in Prabodhasudhakara Verse 2:

    To directly describe this even the Upanishad remains silent like one who is mute.
    How could this be an object of words?

    So when you like to criticise Advaita terminology or conceptualisations, the Advaitin himself is very much aware that his terminology and conceptualisation is merely a concept, an approximation, a "through-the-eyes-of-another" rather than "not-through-eyes-of-another".

    Only when all concepts dwindle, are deconstructed so to speak, does reality shine forth in its purity -- not as a oneness or twoness, not as existent or non-existent, and not even as empty or non-empty. These are, after all, words. Or will you continue to say "empty empty" when you have realised? There is a difference between a verbalisd concept and realisation at the end of the path.

    You may be looking at these doctrines from a scholarly point of view, comparing them, seeing how they are somewhat different (although Dzogchen is much much closer to Advaita than, say, Theravada doctrine), but how does that ultimately benefit you?

    To the scholar, Shankara says in Yogataravali:

    unmanyavasthādhigamāya vidvan
    upāyam ekam tava nirdiśāmah
    paśyann udāsīnatayā prapañcam
    sankalpam unmūlaya sāvadhānam

    prasahya sankalpa-paramparāņām
    sambhedane santatasāvadhānam
    ālamba-nāśād apacīyamānam
    śanaih śanaih śāntim upeti cetah


    O scholar, to realise beyond-mind,
    we can teach you only one means:
    Looking at appearances with composure,
    uproot concepts with attention.

    *

    Conquer the sequences of concepts
    by splitting them with constant attention.
    When it has nothing to rely on, it dwindles,
    and slowly, slowly the heart reaches peace.


  19. Kyle Dixon Says:

    Anonymous wrote:
    "A straw argument about Advaita has been created here. 'Brahman' is not a substantial nonduality. Anyone who actually knows Sanskrit and studies the original Advaita texts knows that Brahman is not the source of phenomena; Maya, illusion, is. Maya is equated to Avidya. "When Avidya is removed, there is nothing to be perceived, nothing to be or experience, no subject or object", hence Advaita calls this nonduality. This is the same empty nonduality as Dzogchen teaches."

    I'm not sure who told you that the so-called 'nondual' realization of Dzogpachenpo and the 'nonduality' of Advaita Vedanta are synonymous, but they are incorrect. The ultimate nature that Advaita points to is not the same as what Dzogchen is pointing to, in fact, the Dzogchen tantras mention Ādi Śaṅkarācārya by name in their efforts to make it clear that Dzogpachenpo is not commensurate with Advaita Vedanta.

    Anonymous wrote:
    "Sankaracharya clearly says that ultimate realisation means 'there is no selfness, no brahman-ness'. Dzogchen and Advaita practitioners realise this"

    Advaitins may believe that Dzogchen is pointing to the same 'ultimate', and that they both realize the same thing... but Dzogchen disagrees. The two paths are extremely different. In the buddhadharma, view informs realization, and the fundamental view that Buddhism champions is not the same as Advaita Vedanta.

    Anonymous wrote:
    "Please go back to practice and don't create straw arguments about traditions of reality."

    There is no straw man argument. Advaita Vedanta and Sāṃkhya yoga are both mentioned by name in the Dzogchen tantras and presented as incorrect positions. This is not something I or anyone here fabricated.


  20. Soh Says:

    Below are excerpts from Thrangu Rinpoche's teaching.

    http://www.rinpoche.com/q&a.htm

    Q: If the nature of mind is this all-pervading, brilliant union of luminosity and emptiness, ungraspable, how is it that it could be obscured, even for a moment, let alone for lifetime after lifetime?

    {Tibetan translation}

    A: Because it's too brilliant, that's the short answer. {laughter} It's like this. Luminous, brilliant emptiness, is the nature of mind. And it's been there with us inseparably for beginningless time. But the brilliance is a bit too strong. If you take the two, the factor of luminosity and the factor of emptiness, the former one, the factor of luminosity is a bit strong. A bit stronger. And because it's so strong, we don't see the empty factor. We don't see the factor of emptiness. Because of the brilliance of the mind, all these things appear, and they look so real, and we get so fascinated with it. {laughter} We're really stuck. We're really stuck on them, and we're confused, and becoming bewildered and confused by them, then we don't realize the nature of our minds. We become completely intoxicated with the brilliance and the luminosity, and what all of what it displays to us, and we don't see the emptiness.

    Now when Buddhists talk about ignorance, they don't mean some sort of black darkness, just shrouded... they actually mean it's so brilliant. It's so vivid, that we become confused by it. So we have to turn inwards and look, and see the emptiness that we've not been seeing, because we've been following after the luminosity for so long. Good example is a movie, movie comes on, we know it's just a movie, pretty soon {laughter}. We know it's somebody... picture, you know. There's human beings, and there's mountains, and there's rivers, and these wild life and plains, and we're completely drawn to it. And it's just because its brilliance is too strong, that's why we have to turn and look at the emptiness.

    {Questioner: Wow. Laugher}"


  21. Soh Says:

    Or as Thusness pointed out, "This is great insight! Not singing eloquently abt clarity but straight into the quinessence of liberation unraveling the knot that binds oneself to cyclical existence. Clarity is clarity, what binds us to samsara requires us to hv insights into dependent origination and emptiness, they r different realizations. We should not mixed up but we need both." - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/


  22. Anonymous Says:

    The discussion is unfolding beautifully and thank you to you all for the enlightening comments.

    The problem is perhaps that every single aspect that you have put forth has some equivalent in Advaita, too.

    Just one example: "Non-arisen nature" -- Gaudapada talks about "anutpāda" (non-arisen) at great length.

    Perhaps this is why "we" Advaitins consider liberation to be the fruit of “our” "right view" and nondual realisation --- which is equally talked about as "free from dualistic extremes" and is not a subsuming into the "one" or “many”, is not a reifying, is not eternalist and does not contain any remainder of clinging.

    A proper understanding of "our" 'nirguņa' and ‘nihsvabhāva’ shows that nondual reality has no qualities or inherent essence, neither one nor two). After all, "your" 84 Mahasiddhas include a number of "our" Advaitic Mahasiddhas, including Goraksha and Minapa.

    An important aspect to consider is an historical one about refutational practices: The work Sarvadarśana-Sangraha, composed by the Advaita teacher Mādhava, for instance, demonstrates the practice of refuting other's schools by using each system to refute another system.
    Interestingly, he uses Buddhadharma to refute materialism (Cārvāka). The practice of finding some arguments to find a 'loophole' in the other system was very common at the time. The practice was common with both Buddhist and Vedantist scholars, but has nothing to do with experiential reality.

    Imagine someone made Schopenhauer's system into a Dzogchen-like system. Having a sound system says nothing about the liberating power of Schopenhauer's views (they are not, whereas Dzogchen is).

    The Buddhist scholars of the time argued that Vedantins are "eternalists" and "substantialists". That's simply not true. "Our" nondual reality is only described as 'eternal' and 'timeless' as a pointer with reference to Maya, not as its 'inherent nature'. Nondual reality has no inherent nature, is neither timeless nor changeless. That is the beauty of 'nirguņa' and 'neti neti' ("no, no", which is "our" right view) when it is really practised. Anything that reifies constitutes a 'guņa'. 'Inherent nature' is equally a guņa, and therefore 'nirguņa' ('without any guņas') is simply emptiness from a practice point of view (even if not a terminological point of view). Perhaps try for a moment to practise ‘neti neti’?


  23. Anonymous Says:

    Another comparison would be this: When the Kagyu school refutes some of the views of the Nyingma school (and vice versa), then it is the same refutational practice just referred to. Or worse, when today's Theravadins fail to understand the beauty of Dzogchen and say it is 'heretical'.
    All these refutations have nothing to say about the liberation which the practitioner of the other school can attain.

    The Advaitin who realises nirguna nonduality is described as "karuna-sindhu", the ocean of compassion. Does that ring a bell?

    Shankara refuted Yoga but never said Yoga has no liberating power. He attacked Yogacara and Kshanikatva views but never said Buddhadharma doesn't liberate. So all the refuting isn't about experiential reality. And perhaps many modern Buddhist teachers are not aware of this and think the schools refuting each other has something to do with right view on a practice level.

    We can agree to disagree.

    Advaitins are all-embracing. We have no need to say "we have the right view". This is simply because we have a good track record of Advaita Mahasiddhas, many of whom achieved the body disappearing at death, what you call the rainbow body) --- including Shankara himself.

    If you go down the track of arguing that they didn't and that we just made it up, then one has to apply that same strategy to oneself, too.

    On a practical level: How do you explain that the 84 Mahasiddhas include "our" Advaita Mahasiddhas such as Goraksha and Minapa? (of whom there are living lineages in India, and whose known extant works are all Advaita-based)

    Wishing you all the grace of mother Tara, whom we also pray to as the mother and who swiftly crushes all false conceptions and unveils reality as the fruit of the path.


  24. Anonymous Says:

    As a small exercise, I would like to demonstrate below what I mean “on a practice level” vis-á-vis the system-level (i.e. the “vāda”-level). Just two very simple examples of how ‘your’ and ‘our’ traditions overlap on a practice level:

    Aryā Uşņīśa Sitatāpatra is described in the following hymn with the following words:

    sulocanā tathā caiva śvetā ca kamalekṣaṇā|
    vinītā śāntacittā ca ātmaguṇajñā śaśiprabhā||

    Of beautiful eyes, white and her eyes like lotuses,
    gentle, her mind at peace, the knower of the self (ātman) and the guņas,
    like the light of the moon.

    Please note that Aryā Uşņīśa Sitatāpatra, who is regarded as a female counterpart to Avalokiteśvara is described as a knower of the self.

    Buddhist practitioners know that here “knower of the self” doesn’t reify a self, but means knower of reality. In the same way, Advaitic practitioners know that “the self” is not a reifying of some 'one' eternal self, but is simply a pointer: “realising oneself as nondual reality, without inherent essence.”


  25. Anonymous Says:

    Then, another example, in the 21 praises of Aryatārā, which are beloved by all the four Tibetan schools – and which are a most beautiful, beneficial praise for any practitioner – it is of the utmost interest to look at the Sanskrit original (and the Tibetan version plus their translations into English).

    Before we do so, let us look at Verse 21 of the Tibetan version in one English translation:

    "Homage, Lady endowed with the strength of calm
    by the array of the three truths,
    destroying the hosts of evil spirits, the walking dead,
    TURE, most excellent lady!"

    The Tibetan:

    "Cha tsal te nyi sum nam kö pay,
    Shi way tu dang yang dak den ma,
    Dön dang rolang nö jin tso nam,
    Jom pa Ture rap chok nyi ma."

    And now, most interesting, the Sanskrit original:

    "namas tri-tattva-vinyāse śiva-śakti-samanvite
    graha-vetāla-yakşa-nāśini pravare ture"

    If you know Sanskrit, you will immediately (and with great surprise and joy) realise that the praise is calling her, who is the Mother of all Buddhas, as “uniting Śiva and Śakti”.

    So what the English translation of the Tibetan interpreted as “strength of calm” is actually “uniting Śiva and Śakti” in the original Sanskrit. This is your beautiful text, not ours.

    And who was it who said “Only when Śiva is united with Śakti is he capable of anything; otherwise he cannot even move.” That was ‘our’ Śankara.

    Can you begin to understand why ‘we’ have to simply smile with composure when you speak disparagingly about our tradition, when you deny us liberation? The reason is that on the practice level, our traditions are so close that it takes a leap of ignorance to narrow-mindedly deny the other tradition’s liberation fruit.


  26. Anonymous Says:

    Shankara in Praudhanubhuti:

    śānto’dyā’smi vimukta-toya-vimalo
    megho yathā nirmalah

    "Now I am at peace, pure like a cloud which has been freed of water."

    Here the Advaita practitioner must explore for himself: What is a cloud that is free of water?


  27. Anonymous Says:

    Actually the whole verse is even more clear:


    "Where is there to go here
    for unbounded wholeness?
    What is there to do here
    for non-doing nature,
    for me whose simple nature is liberation?
    For the nondual there is nothing to be rejected or to be added.
    Now I am at peace,
    pure like a cloud which has been freed of water."

    - Shankara Bhagavatpada, Praudhanubhuti, Verse 10


  28. Anonymous Says:

    You see, most of the comments here insist on "right view" -- it cannot be denied that "right view" is part of many Buddhist approaches. But look what Nagarjuna says in MMK:

    "śūnyatā sarvadṛṣṭīnāṃ proktā niḥsaraṇaṃ jinaiḥ |
    yeṣāṃ tu śūnyatādṛṣṭis tān asādhyān babhāṣire"

    "The Conquerors taught that emptiness is the forsaking of all views.
    Those who have the view of emptiness are said to be without realisation."

    Therefore, if you take Nagarjuna seriously, you would come away from your insistence on "right view" and go back to sincere practice -- which Advaitins have a good track record of.


  29. Kyle Dixon Says:

    Anonymous wrote:
    You see, most of the comments here insist on "right view" -- it cannot be denied that "right view" is part of many Buddhist approaches. But look what Nagarjuna says in MMK:

    "śūnyatā sarvadṛṣṭīnāṃ proktā niḥsaraṇaṃ jinaiḥ |
    yeṣāṃ tu śūnyatādṛṣṭis tān asādhyān babhāṣire"

    "The Conquerors taught that emptiness is the forsaking of all views.
    Those who have the view of emptiness are said to be without realisation."

    Therefore, if you take Nagarjuna seriously, you would come away from your insistence on "right view" and go back to sincere practice -- which Advaitins have a good track record of.


    No, this is completely misunderstanding what "right view" [samyag-dṛṣṭi] means in relation to what Nāgārjuna is saying. It is imperative to understand that according to Nāgārjuna; a "view" requires an existent or non-existent referent in order to be a valid view. All views therefore require a referent of that nature (an existent or non-existent). The realization of emptiness is a direct, experiential epiphany that the so-called conditioned phenomena [saṃskṛtadharma] that appear to accord with the extremes of existence and non-existence have never arisen in the first place. And so the realization of emptiness by default, denotes the realization that the extremes of existence and non-existence are misconceptions that merely resulted from the influence of [avidyā].

    That is why, for example, Nāgārjuna states in this Yuktiṣāṣṭikakārikā:

    When the perfect gnosis sees
    That things come from ignorance as condition,
    Nothing will then be objectified,
    Either in terms of arising or destruction.


    What this means is that the authentic realization of emptiness is a cessation of views, because it is a cessation of cause for the arising of the misconception of conditioned dharmas that can accord with the four extremes (which are required for a "view" to be viable). Therefore; anyone who is turning emptiness itself into a view, as obviously failed to actualize a cessation of views, and has therefore by default failed to authentically realize emptiness.

    That is all Nāgārjuna is saying.

    And this means that your assertion:

    Therefore, if you take Nagarjuna seriously, you would come away from your insistence on "right view" and go back to sincere practice -- which Advaitins have a good track record of.

    Is a patent fallacy that does not understand the implications of Nāgārjuna's statement. Because conventional "right view" is never, ever contradicted by the valid cognition of emptiness, just as a conventional view that sugar is sweet is not contradicted by the direct, experiential taste of sweetness.

    A crucial bit of insight that Nāgārjuna upholds here in no uncertain terms:

    Without relying on convention
    the ultimate will not be comprehended;
    if the ultimate is not comprehended,
    nirvana will not be obtained.


  30. jackson Says:

    Here at the end he has made a huge error in attempting to retranslate Dilgo's text. In Dzogchen "Zhi" most often refers to the Dharmadhatu or Dharmakaya, not alayavijnana or "Kunzhi Nampar shespa" Zhi in this case does mean the pure basis or ground as kadag, primordially pure. Only mental formations are dependent upon ignorance or marigpa. The total display is the energetic projection or tsal of rigpa including ALL types of shespa and their products.