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About monktastic

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  1. Tension Behind Eyes

    You correctly describe it as the sensation of being an observer. The mind then infers that it's a subject of some kind. What I've found useful is instead of trying to dissolve it, recognize it for what it is: just another object with no special significance. Over time, perhaps the search for an observer will stop turning it up as a viable candidate....
  2. Resting the mind in its natural state

    Alwayson, With respect to the question of shamatha in Dzogchen, here's a very explicit explanation from Malcolm (from a private communication of several months ago, which I have no reason to believe is secret):
  3. Resting the mind in its natural state

    You can see here how Alan distinguishes the "attainment of shamatha" from the "attainment of the first dhyana" (i.e., samadhi). He considers the first to be equivalent to the Theravadin access concentration: AFAIR, he considers only the former necessary.
  4. Resting the mind in its natural state

    I see I have started a sidetrack regarding Tsongkhapa and Dzogchen. That was not my intention, though I will note that Loppon-la says this in the same thread: So Vajrapani told Tsongkhapa that Dzogchen is authentic, but his own view tended to align more with the Sarma schools. Okay. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
  5. Resting the mind in its natural state

    Let me not put any words into Alan's mouth. I should separate the issues: (1) Per Alan, Tsongkhapa says that attainment of shamatha is necessary for realization of vipashyana. (2) There's some indication that Tsongkhapa received Dzogchen teachings and affirmed their validity (though I can only find tentative sources online backing this up). I apologize for mistakenly saying that he was "said to have realized Dzogchen".
  6. Resting the mind in its natural state

    Sorry, I mean the more technical "access concentration" (Pali upacara-samadhi). IIRC, Alan says that ideally one should attain full absorption (appana-samadhi), but if not, then at the very least, access concentration is required. See, e.g.:
  7. Resting the mind in its natural state

    I attended a one week shamatha retreat with Alan in 2006. At the time, he was insistent that the attainment of the first dhyana (or at least access to it, at the level described in the visuddhimagga) was essential for all higher practices, Dzogchen included. In the Fall 2012 Dzogchen (I think) retreat he made a point regarding a question I had long been curious about: why do Tsoknyi Rinpoche and other masters not emphasize this attainment? His answer was simply that he doesn't really know why, and thinks it's strange that they would deviate from the teachings of Tsongkhapa (who, though a Gelugpa, was said to have realized Dzogchen), Dudjom Lingpa, etc. He basically said: let time be the test regarding which of these methods works (first attaining full shamatha, versus having a pointing out and/or practicing vipashyana per Mahamudra or trekcho before having attained it). And if it's not clear, the use of the word "shamatha" is quite different in general Mahayana vs Dzogchen (in the latter, it refers to the stability aspect of the natural state -- and again, not the "natural state" which Alan talks about in this method, which is of course prior to the view of Dzogchen).
  8. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    Thank you. It was an overreach on my part to call them "an obstacle." It is not my place to say what value certain teachings will have for certain people, even after recognition. All I can safely do is quote masters and my teachers, who say that after recognition, the only essential point is to achieve stability in the nature of mind, free from conceptual elaboration. If more intellectual views help some people accomplish this, that's great. If others find it simpler to just rest, wonderful. I didn't come here to bicker.
  9. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    BTW, the last two sentences quoted are particularly relevant to why I entered the thread. Belief in D.O. is great and all, but it's a relative view, and is ultimately irrelevant to liberation itself, just like belief in karma, god, self, etc. It is certainly not a reason to think that one religion is better than another. Edit: and alwayson, I have no beef with you. You have your path, I have mine. My understanding is that intellectual views are less important, or even an obstacle, after recognition, and I have tried to give supporting evidence. If your understanding is different, it is no business of mine.
  10. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    Then perhaps you're interested in what he says later in the thread, to those who misinterpret what he said: (emphasis mine) Okay, what about for liberation?
  11. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    And you understand him to mean that one should seek for more views after learning to rest in rigpa? I read the opposite. Try to find a scriptural reference that says that you should seek more concepts after recognizing the natural state. Jim Valby, one of ChNN's senior teachers, sent me an article of his yesterday which begins: Saraha says: You can find dozens of similar quotes in any Mahamudra compilation. I realize such views will not be popular on an internet site whose primary purpose is to proliferate concepts. Having recognized this, I humbly bow out of further conversation for fear of further degrading my practice. I urge anyone else reading to take these quotes to heart and do the same. Be well.
  12. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    No citations? You're sure that someone has advised seeking more concepts after the nature of mind has been recognized? From all I have read, allowing nature of mind to rest evenly after its discovery is the key. Lama Gendun Rinpoche -- himself considered a full Buddha -- repeatedly advises in his book Heart Advice that the only flaw thereafter is to seek for a higher or better practice or view to pursue. This is the last stronghold of the conceptual mind. Gyatrul Rinpoche: Saraha: For me, this is enough. Best wishes.
  13. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    Are you saying that after one has learned to stop reifying concepts, one can only make further progress by picking up more concepts, instead of simply letting the existing ones continue to subside? Do you have any evidence or scriptural support for that assertion? I ask honestly. As far as I've learned, this is picking the boat back up after crossing the river. It seems to me that after the recognition of rigpa, it would be a regression to seek for the answer anywhere else. That sounds like a very subtle trick of the conceptual mind -- always seeking for something more. Speaking of which: I myself will benefit from thinking less and practicing more. I will be interested in hearing your reply, but -- Buddha willing -- will not return to post more.
  14. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    Okay, well uh... Thanks for listening, I guess I'll catch y'all later. Best of luck.
  15. Advaita Vedanta vs Buddhism

    It's an interesting question (to me, anyway) just how much someone's realization has to do with a specific "system." Let's take Greg Goode as an example. His primary source is (Neo-)Advaita, but his own system is something more like Mahamudra. One sees that objects are empty, that they are inseparable from mind, and that mind itself is empty. He admits that even his teaching that "you are awareness" is only provisional -- there is no you, and awareness is not a thing at all. In the end, there's nothing that can be said about it. Some will argue that Greg's realization comes from a wrong view (Advaita), and so can never be as pure as the Buddhist one. That he therefore must somehow fall into eternalism and substantialism etc. But nowhere will you see signs of this from his writing (or rather, if you do see it, you find that it is replaced by something subtler and subtler until nothing is left). He only suggests ways of inquiring, and shedding layers, not holding to anything. So does he have the realization of Advaita? Or Mahamudra? Or Greg-Goode-Ra? Or is there only one "natural state"? Only one way to "do nothing" (and everything is done)? So, I will happily agree that not all views are the same. All written views are verbal descriptions of something decidedly non-verbal. But as to the realization that one finally attains by way of those words, which were always meant to be discarded (a crucial fact which any able student will understand)? Yes, I still have trouble believing that people here have definitive, experiential, answers about those.