Apech

Non dual Buddhism

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This is a vajrayana thread - so leave your sandals at the door.

 

True nature is Buddha-nature or Dharmakaya - the reason you practise is because you have buddha-nature, the goal of practise is to realise buddha-nature, the path is ways to express buddha-nature.

 

The path can be to 'directly rest in buddha-nature' (although technically there is nothing to rest in it but it is a good way of speaking) - this could be direct approach like Mahamudra or Dzogchen for example.  The path can be to identify with tantric deity (yidam) and dissolve this identity into emptiness/buddha-nature this is tantric sadhanas.  The path can be mind training - for instance sending and receiving which relies on the basis of buddha-nature.  The path can be sutra analysis of the nature of things - their emptiness - which resolves to buddha-nature.  All these rely on buddha-nature as the basis, path and goal.

 

So the different paths - sutra, mahayana, tantric, mahamudra/dzogchen build like a stupa on the same core which is buddha-nature.  The only difference is level of dualistic thinking which remains.  So sutra analysis is still quite dualistic, mind training less so ... and so on.  Thus there is no contradictions between these paths.

 

 

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Koan:      Who left the sandals at the door?

 

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

If you still didn't attain the first kensho or satori upon opening the first spoiler, then close the both spoilers boxes and try solving the koan again.

 

 

This is why I like Vajrayana and tantric methods. In particular, Guruyoga has always felt very direct and enchanting to me.

 

It's collective karma that determines which Dharma doors and methodologies become popular or available at all. We are very lucky to have relatively liberal access to once secret methods.

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2 hours ago, virtue said:

Koan:      Who left the sandals at the door?

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

  Reveal hidden contents

If you still didn't attain the first kensho or satori upon opening the first spoiler, then close the both spoilers boxes and try solving the koan again.

 

 

This is why I like Vajrayana and tantric methods. In particular, Guruyoga has always felt very direct and enchanting to me.

 

It's collective karma that determines which Dharma doors and methodologies become popular or available at all. We are very lucky to have relatively liberal access to once secret methods.

 

Do you practise vajrayana Virtue?

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I'm mulling these ideas over so bear with me.

 

Buddhists usually talk about the three kayas - or bodies of the Buddha - but in tantra they are more seen as aspects of reality.  I kind of assume people know what they are but anyway:

 

dharmakaya - the absolute nature of reality (?)

sambhoghakaya - the enjoyment or communicative aspect of reality

nirmanakaya - the manifestation of buddha-nature e.g. the appearance of Shakyamuni himself as a historical being.

 

The way I see this is that when examining the nature of reality you can either look deeply into the essential nature of 'things' = dharmakaya ... this is also called pure perception and particularly in guruyoga sees buddha-nature in the lama but also all reality as a pure buddha-field.

 

Sambhogakaya is to do with the unceasing play of form and inter-relation of form/function - like a kalaidoscopic display of the dynamic in the buddha-field, you could say rather like an unstoppable vibrational field of energy or something like that (although this begins to sound a little non-buddhist.

 

The Nirmanakaya is the uncountable emanations of 'things' , thoughts and so on which emerge from this dynamic field.  What in Daoism would be called the ten thousand things.

 

So you look at the nature of reality - and see its essence =dharmakaya, see its display of inter-relating possibilities = sambhogakaya and the infinte complexity of manifest forms = nirmanakaya.

 

Now, a mistake I think is sometimes made is to think all I am interested in is the absolute nature, the dharmakaya itself, but actually this is a kind of abstract way of thinking - as if you can separate out one kaya without the others.  This is why they sometimes talk about the Svabhavakaya - which is the sum of all three.

 

More later when I've thought this through a bit more.  Please critique what I am saying if you so choose :)

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Essentially, the three kayas are a unified whole, but in practical terms, they can manifest individually and embodied according to each specific manifestation. This is why, for example, Guru Padmasambhava emanate different 'bodies' (aspects of enlightening qualities) at different times for different reasons. 

 

I dont think its a mistake to be 'interested' in the absolute nature of Dharmakaya, although for me, I would replace the term 'interest' with resonance. That hunger for spiritual release, I would assume, always begins at the level of intuiting that we can be much more than what we are, and in that, we get a sense that emancipatory freedom is possible - otherwise, why would we seek a path and practice it? So, this intuitive awareness is the voice of Dharmakaya whispering its reality, and for those that hear the faintest clarion call, make the connection and thus begin the arduous journey. After all, when the complexities are stripped away, Dharmakaya nature is but the nature of Mind, which, known (hopefully) to all Vajrayana practitioners, has both the qualities of empty-ness, and cognizance in a unified display. 

 

Making that connection, however, is only the beginning of the path. Those who receive the Guru's blessing of seeing into Mind nature discovers the knowledge of the absolute certainty of the indivisible, inseparable nature of mind essence which is undifferentiated from Dharmakaya essence - they do not, at that point, 'see' the speech (as you said, the communicative) aspect (Sambhoga), nor the manifestly integrated aspect (Nirmana). These two aspects are latter results that arise thru the practice of perfecting the various paramitas, of which the entire body of Vajrayana practices are subsets of. This would begin with ngondro, and evolved gradually to lead the practitioner onwards to the higher Maha Ati tantric cultivations. 

 

In the lower yanas, cultivation begins by contemplative exercises that involve understanding the discipline of mind and body to achieve integration, so it can be said that at this level, the practice's main focus is on Nirmanakaya and takes Buddha Shakyamuni as the inspiration; the middling, but supposedly slightly superior yanas are where self-effort is given some sort of respite - here, practitioners access not only inspiration from Buddha Shakyamuni, but also that of tutelary beings. Here, some traditions focus on metta bhavana, and practitioners of metta attune themselves with the energetic aspects of Chenrezig and her various subtle manifestations, while some others may also attune themselves and find resonance with the Pure Land path of Amitabha. In a sense, these are the 'enjoyment' yanas - thusly said because the practitioner realizes he or she is no longer left alone to fend off Maya - there is now some assurance that the practitioner is somehow being 'watched over' by the faith they have generated in Amitabha or Chenrezig, and therefore, can fearlessly make progress while 'enjoying' their protective gaze and intercessions. Recognizing the possibility of the interplay of enlightened beings with mortals is said to bring forth the realm of Sambhogakaya. 

 

Some random beginner's thoughts :) 

Edited by C T
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I wrote a long reply and deleted it...

While this is a great topic for discussion, I get uneasy whenever addressing these things with words and concepts.

It's so easy for the intellect to objectify, reify, and grasp.

None of that helps us to connect and truly "understand" through direct, naked observation and manifestation.

My teacher always emphasizes relating to the 3 kayas in a deeply personal and practical way rather than in a conceptual way.

Got to get back to work for now...

 

 

 

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Generally for me it is much simpler than all this.

 

Dharmakaya is the base where "one taste" is the experience. From this base Sambhogakaya "emanates" as skillful action. They aren't quite so differentiated as this appears in words, but words are what we have here.

 

When I don't connect with Dharmakaya (in an aware fashion) there is still action, although it tends towards a more ego centric manifestation, and can be decidedly less skillful and more stumbling.

 

My practice has not been towards a goal of self liberation or to become something "more" for the sake of either this liberation or this more, but to be better able to "skillfully" respond to the suffering which arises around me. 

 

Any ideas of Nirmanakaya I generally leave be - unexpressed, and best left this way for me.

 

And now I'll bow out of this interesting discussion, but will continue to read. Warm regards and best wishes. 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, C T said:

Mind nature discovers the knowledge of the absolute certainty of the indivisible, inseparable nature of mind essence which is undifferentiated from Dharmakaya essence - they do not, at that point, 'see' the speech (as you said, the communicative) aspect (Sambhoga), nor the manifestly integrated aspect (Nirmana). These two aspects are latter results that arise thru the practice of perfecting the various paramitas, of which the entire body of Vajrayana practices are subsets of. This would begin with ngondro, and evolved gradually to lead the practitioner onwards to the higher Maha Ati tantric cultivations. 

 

I'll differ a bit with this CT. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding your comments. From the dzogchen perspective, at least from the teachings I've received, if one connects to the Nature of Mind one is connected to all 3 kayas. There is never any separation, no connecting with one but then needing somehow to develop others. We can approach them through different doors - body, speech, and mind, but once we rest into our fundamental essence there is no distinction or differentiation. There is no practice of perfecting paramitas as they are already spontaneously perfected in the Natural State. This is the major difference between tantra and dzogchen. In tantra, one continues to practice generating bodicitta. In dzogchen, one simply rests in the Nature with the certainty that bodhicitta is already perfected and will manifest when needed. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, steve said:

 

I'll differ a bit with this CT. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding your comments. From the dzogchen perspective, at least from the teachings I've received, if one connects to the Nature of Mind one is connected to all 3 kayas. There is never any separation, no connecting with one but then needing somehow to develop others. We can approach them through different doors - body, speech, and mind, but once we rest into our fundamental essence there is no distinction or differentiation. There is no practice of perfecting paramitas as they are already spontaneously perfected in the Natural State. This is the major difference between tantra and dzogchen. In tantra, one continues to practice generating bodicitta. In dzogchen, one simply rests in the Nature with the certainty that bodhicitta is already perfected and will manifest when needed. 

Thanks, Steve. 

 

In some regards, the view presented is acceptable, and I would agree with the general premise, but taking into consideration that Lamrim is the recommended approach by all the main Tibetan Buddhist traditions for developing a wholesome practice and practitioner, it makes sense to avoid potential confusion by delineating all the yanas and Kayas as an expedient step to allow for understanding and clarity. The Lamrim path is an exhaustive system that offers exhaustive and meticulous guidance to any serious practitioner on the path to buddhahood. 

 

One who resonates with this graduated path can avoid certain pitfalls that tend to beset those who choose to throw caution to the wind and dive head first into this proverbial deep end, which is actually not deep and not really shallow either - a certain degree of affinity determines where one finds oneself once the commitment is made to burn the bridges. This bridge-burning is a common enough occurrence with those fairly new to tantra who then get enthused & charmed by the allures of Dzogchen. Finding oneself in such a precarious, heavily invested position is not entirely without merit as there is a sort of default assumption that whomsoever takes up Vajrayana will have already been informed of the perilous nature of this theoretically swifter path; therefore, Dzogchen as a follow-on naturally presents its own unique set of challenges which affect individual practitioners differently, depending on various karmic factors.

 

To reiterate, while the eventual practice of Dzogchen may indeed be simple, to grasp its essence without first understanding the priors may prove tricky, which is the reason why some of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters understood the impracticality of leaving the preliminaries out, and for that reason, Lamrim was introduced. Perhaps Bon Dzogchen feel this to be an unnecessary burden to lay on students and practitioners. This is quite possible, as some Tibetan Dzogchen masters have that same attitude too. 

 

One of the better links for anyone keen to understand Lamrim and its benefits. 

http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/LAM_RIM_book.pdf

 

 

 

 

Edited by C T
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4 hours ago, steve said:

I wrote a long reply and deleted it...

While this is a great topic for discussion, I get uneasy whenever addressing these things with words and concepts.

It's so easy for the intellect to objectify, reify, and grasp.

None of that helps us to connect and truly "understand" through direct, naked observation and manifestation.

My teacher always emphasizes relating to the 3 kayas in a deeply personal and practical way rather than in a conceptual way.

Got to get back to work for now...

 

 

 

 

Fair enough.  Naked observation sounds a bit kinky tho' :)

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3 hours ago, ilumairen said:

Generally for me it is much simpler than all this.

 

Dharmakaya is the base where "one taste" is the experience. From this base Sambhogakaya "emanates" as skillful action. They aren't quite so differentiated as this appears in words, but words are what we have here.

 

When I don't connect with Dharmakaya (in an aware fashion) there is still action, although it tends towards a more ego centric manifestation, and can be decidedly less skillful and more stumbling.

 

My practice has not been towards a goal of self liberation or to become something "more" for the sake of either this liberation or this more, but to be better able to "skillfully" respond to the suffering which arises around me. 

 

Any ideas of Nirmanakaya I generally leave be - unexpressed, and best left this way for me.

 

And now I'll bow out of this interesting discussion, but will continue to read. Warm regards and best wishes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Simpler is better.  Actually I wasn't trying to complicate - just making notes of what I was thinking about - but of course as you make notes it tends to get more wordy.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Apech said:

 

Fair enough.  Naked observation sounds a bit kinky tho' :)

 

Now we're Dharma shaming?

:P

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3 hours ago, C T said:

Thanks, Steve. 

 

In some regards, the view presented is acceptable, and I would agree with the general premise, but taking into consideration that Lamrim is the recommended approach by all the main Tibetan Buddhist traditions for developing a wholesome practice and practitioner, it makes sense to avoid potential confusion by delineating all the yanas and Kayas as an expedient step to allow for understanding and clarity. The Lamrim path is an exhaustive system that offers exhaustive and meticulous guidance to any serious practitioner on the path to buddhahood. 

 

One who resonates with this graduated path can avoid certain pitfalls that tend to beset those who choose to throw caution to the wind and dive head first into this proverbial deep end, which is actually not deep and not really shallow either - a certain degree of affinity determines where one finds oneself once the commitment is made to burn the bridges. This bridge-burning is a common enough occurrence with those fairly new to tantra who then get enthused & charmed by the allures of Dzogchen. Finding oneself in such a precarious, heavily invested position is not entirely without merit as there is a sort of default assumption that whomsoever takes up Vajrayana will have already been informed of the perilous nature of this theoretically swifter path; therefore, Dzogchen as a follow-on naturally presents its own unique set of challenges which affect individual practitioners differently, depending on various karmic factors.

 

To reiterate, while the eventual practice of Dzogchen may indeed be simple, to grasp its essence without first understanding the priors may prove tricky, which is the reason why some of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters understood the impracticality of leaving the preliminaries out, and for that reason, Lamrim was introduced. Perhaps Bon Dzogchen feel this to be an unnecessary burden to lay on students and practitioners. This is quite possible, as some Tibetan Dzogchen masters have that same attitude too. 

 

One of the better links for anyone keen to understand Lamrim and its benefits. 

http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/LAM_RIM_book.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

I appreciate the response.

I'm not very familiar with the traditional Buddhist path

I don't question or criticize the gradual, progressive path at all.

My comment was more meant to point out the inseparability of the kayas which I believe is an important point, regardless of which path we take.

I highly recommend the preliminaries to everyone, as do the Bön teachers I know. 

That said, I suspect that the preliminaries are less effective for Westerners due largely to cultural differences and due to the way most engage with them compared to the traditional approaches in the East.

And a relatively small number of Westerners actually complete them, from what I understand.

I think some of the Bön lamas are a bit more flexible now than in the "old days" for this reason.

Many of us in the West are in desperate need of practices that can help with our challenges.

Few have the patience, commitment, or access to work through the entirety of the sutric path, even fewer the tantric path.

Dzogchen is an ideal practice for the Western lifestyle in many ways but, as you accurately point out, there are many pitfalls.

I believe the decision to open up such teachings comes from a place of compassion and I also think it has been relatively successful when you look at the number of people engaged in the practices and the feedback they provide. 

These practitioners may never reach the level of accomplishment that might be possible had they moved through the formal and traditional process. At the end of the day, they will never be lineage holders or monastics, nor do they need or want to be.

But if their lives benefit from access to the teachings, it's probably a good thing.

In the Bön community there are differences of opinion on all of this.

 

 

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1 hour ago, steve said:

 

I appreciate the response.

I'm not very familiar with the traditional Buddhist path

I don't question or criticize the gradual, progressive path at all.

My comment was more meant to point out the inseparability of the kayas which I believe is an important point, regardless of which path we take.

I highly recommend the preliminaries to everyone, as do the Bön teachers I know. 

That said, I suspect that the preliminaries are less effective for Westerners due largely to cultural differences and due to the way most engage with them compared to the traditional approaches in the East.

And a relatively small number of Westerners actually complete them, from what I understand.

I think some of the Bön lamas are a bit more flexible now than in the "old days" for this reason.

Many of us in the West are in desperate need of practices that can help with our challenges.

Few have the patience, commitment, or access to work through the entirety of the sutric path, even fewer the tantric path.

Dzogchen is an ideal practice for the Western lifestyle in many ways but, as you accurately point out, there are many pitfalls.

I believe the decision to open up such teachings comes from a place of compassion and I also think it has been relatively successful when you look at the number of people engaged in the practices and the feedback they provide. 

These practitioners may never reach the level of accomplishment that might be possible had they moved through the formal and traditional process. At the end of the day, they will never be lineage holders or monastics, nor do they need or want to be.

But if their lives benefit from access to the teachings, it's probably a good thing.

In the Bön community there are differences of opinion on all of this.

 

 

 

Hi Steve and others,

 

I have spent the last 20 years on the Kagyu Ngondro and I am only about 60% through them!!!!  But I do know others who do them quite quickly - especially if they start when young (as a student for example).  But I think completion or otherwise of 100,000 this or that is - well not quite irrelevant but maybe not crucial.  

 

If you start this or any other practice from a kind of bottom up approach then you might perceive progress as like climbing some stairs - where the goal is at the top and you measure yourself accordingly.  But on the other hand if you start with a mahamudra approach then its more like affirming buddha-nature in a number of ways - a very simple practise might awaken you immediately.  If you see what I mean.

 

 

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I really don't think any Buddhist path is dual. Mahayana especially, with its focus on emptiness--- by definition, in an empty universe, there is no basis upon which to erect any dualities. Some folks think that Shravaka is dual, because they discover the emptiness of self but not phenomenon, but I tend to agree with Ju Mipham Rinpoche that this is a bunch of pish-posh--- how could you discover the emptiness of self without also discovering the emptiness of phenomenon?

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3 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

...how could you discover the emptiness of self without also discovering the emptiness of phenomenon?

 

Its possible depending on the way in that the mind made the discovery.

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7 hours ago, idiot_stimpy said:

 

Its possible depending on the way in that the mind made the discovery.

 

Why do you say that? And we're talking arhats here, not mere stream enterers or once returners. :lol:

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Sandals at the door, guys, this is a vajrayana thread.

 

Here is a quote from (I think) the Hevajra Tantra:

 

"If a superior practitioner only needs to say a mantra once to be awakened, and a middling practitioner takes 100,000 repetitions to awaken, and an inferior person 1,000,000 - then how many mantras must a complete idiot say?"

 

Your answers please :)

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Just to add another conceptual stick on the log--- some teachers offer the formless view first. A sort of reverse Lam Rim. They offer the formless teachings first, and go down progressively so each student can meet the teaching according to their own capabilities. 

 

I used to have fierce opinions on this, but holding to thoughts a little more loosely, it seems to me that any approach is going to depend on each student. For some, the quick path is not quick at all, and they will muddle around conceptually when they could have been cultivating meritorious conduct. Others may not have the capacity for more formalized Tibetan practices, and some teachers may require decades of preliminary training before they even think about anything else. Mahamudra was (per Prof Reggie Ray) initially a householders path, and even Gampopa taught it apart from Tantra IIRC. 

 

I agree with @steve that there are cultural differences. Ngondro to a teenage Tibetan raised in a monastery may be a different experience that Ngondro to a 35 year Western householder who may have raised a family, progressed through formal education, and/or started a business. I am told there are often key psychological differences between the two cultures. Personally, I needed to spend some time drinking, smoking, and chasing samsara before I was fit for any dharma. And having one's life falling apart can be a good reminder of impermanence and the defects of samsara. I guess it depends on how broadly one wishes to use the words "preliminary" and "path." 

 

It seems to me that when you're on the path, there is a "higher power" that sort of directs you where you need to go if you are listening (and that can be a big if). 

Edited by forestofemptiness
Edited for precision.
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It’s like sweet rain falling after a long drought;

            Like encountering an old friend in a faraway,

                               foreign land.

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If you need reasons to get there you will never arrive.

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This is starting to smell like zen slippers. 

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On 5/26/2020 at 12:38 PM, C T said:

Making that connection, however, is only the beginning of the path. Those who receive the Guru's blessing of seeing into Mind nature discovers the knowledge of the absolute certainty of the indivisible, inseparable nature of mind essence which is undifferentiated from Dharmakaya essence - they do not, at that point, 'see' the speech (as you said, the communicative) aspect (Sambhoga), nor the manifestly integrated aspect (Nirmana). These two aspects are latter results that arise thru the practice of perfecting the various paramitas, of which the entire body of Vajrayana practices are subsets of. This would begin with ngondro, and evolved gradually to lead the practitioner onwards to the higher Maha Ati tantric cultivations. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, C T said:

This is starting to smell like zen slippers. 

 

 

Indulge me , I wanted to talk about non-dual Buddhism and everyone is bringing their arhats to the table.

 

Sandals, cloaks and hats at the door please!

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