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Contemporary Buddhism

Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?

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Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/6/19 11:31 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/6/19 12:57 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? neko 11/11/19 11:33 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Dustin 11/6/19 1:42 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Matthew 11/6/19 4:14 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Noah D 11/6/19 9:20 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/6/19 11:23 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/6/19 11:49 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Kim Katami 11/7/19 7:58 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/7/19 8:20 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/8/19 9:56 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Matthew 11/7/19 12:05 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Dustin 11/7/19 9:37 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Daniel M. Ingram 11/7/19 11:41 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Kim Katami 11/7/19 12:54 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/7/19 1:46 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Daniel M. Ingram 11/7/19 4:36 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/8/19 5:15 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/8/19 5:18 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Daniel M. Ingram 11/9/19 6:11 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 2:21 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 3:43 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 3:49 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 3:57 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Matthew 11/10/19 9:18 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 10:02 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 11:02 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 11:29 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 11:48 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/11/19 10:35 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/11/19 10:47 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/11/19 11:33 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 11:10 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/10/19 11:32 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Kim Katami 11/10/19 12:53 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/11/19 10:46 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/11/19 10:56 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Kim Katami 11/11/19 2:29 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/11/19 9:12 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Kim Katami 11/12/19 7:35 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/13/19 12:41 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/14/19 6:20 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? biodecus 1/5/20 9:53 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Chris Marti 1/5/20 11:03 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? biodecus 1/5/20 12:51 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/10/19 1:37 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/13/19 12:43 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/14/19 6:29 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? mrdust 11/15/19 12:57 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/15/19 11:02 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/15/19 11:15 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? Matthew 1/6/20 10:48 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? This very moment 11/8/19 10:59 AM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? This very moment 11/8/19 8:33 PM
RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra? An Eternal Now 11/8/19 10:34 PM
Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 11:31 AM
After some insight progress via noting practices I'm feeling a pull towards more Vajrayanan / NonDual teachings, but I'm not sure where to start.

How interchangeable / compatible are Dzogchen and Mahamudra? How do I know which is for me?

Any modern resources / takes on this material with less religious / ceremonial cruft?

Any pragmatic-friendly teachers out there with live classes or individual coaching?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 12:57 PM as a reply to mrdust.
Michael Taft perhaps? He’s expensive, but there are guided meditations available on youtube to start with.

Ligmincha International is another youtube channel that might be helpful. The Rinpoche also has online classes.

This is not my speciality, though.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 1:42 PM as a reply to mrdust.
I know a really good teacher that charges $75 to $135 a session if you don't mind paying. I know a few people are against it but it has helped me a lot. Let me know if you want her info and I'll pm you. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 4:14 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
How interchangeable / compatible are Dzogchen and Mahamudra? How do I know which is for me?

Any modern resources / takes on this material with less religious / ceremonial cruft?
Welcome, this is a rewarding and subtle path that can act as a beautiful foil to the very effortful, map-heavy Theravadan approach.

Dzogchen and Mahamudra are very compatible. Their essential points are identical, to the point where there are Tibetan traditions which are "The union of Dzogchen and Mahamudra." The difference is in method, and reflects the broad differences in approach between the schools they come from, the Nyingma and Kagyu, respectively. Dzogchen tends to be as direct as possible. It, like Nyingma in general, emphasizes bringing view into practice. One learns how to relate to phenomena and then practices doing so. Mahamudra, on the other hand, is a bit more step-by-step. It, like Kagyu in general, emphasizes bringing practice into view. One does certain practices and then develops the view from those experiences. Ultimately you can harmonize both, but which one is your primary focus depends on which of those approaches you like more.

Some modern, less-religious resources are:
Our Pristine Mind by Orgyen Chowang (about Dzogchen)
A Trackless Path by Ken McLeod (translation and commentary about the union of Dzogchen and Mahamudra)
Loch Kelly's material (about his personal expression of Dzogchen, which he originally learned from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche)
Keith Dowman's translations (take these a little gently; his mission is partly to teach Dzogchen in a way that removes it from Buddhism)

Some more traditional but still great ones are:
Erik Pema Kunsang's translations (also associated with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche)
Elizabeth Callahan's translations (no experience with these but have heard great things)

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 9:20 PM as a reply to mrdust.
Loch Kelly youtube & books
Ken Mcleod recordings on his webiste & books
Mahamudra meditation center - http://www.mahamudracenter.org/MMCMemberManualIndex.htm
P
ointingoutway foundation webiste has subscription service with videos that discuss mahamudra & dzogchen including some techniques
Non buddhist you can look at things like Rupert Spira or whatever Advaita Vedanta things inspire you
Also kashmir shaivism - christopher wallce & Swami Khecharanath (heart of consciousness)
dreamwalker framework of awakening on this forum

dzogchen is generally from nyingma or bon lineages
mahamudra is generally from kagyu although also sakya & maybe every school of tibetan buddhism has an occurence of this term
dzogchen is only vajrayana & divides completion stage practice into 3 levels & the top level of atiyoga has 2 parts, trekcho & thogal - there are also mind, space & formless series (another division scheme)
mahamudra can be divided into sutra, tantra & essence, so technically it is not necessarily vajrayana
I dont know of many sweeping generalizations beyond those listed above that can be accurately made about these traditions

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 11:23 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
After some insight progress via noting practices I'm feeling a pull towards more Vajrayanan / NonDual teachings, but I'm not sure where to start.

How interchangeable / compatible are Dzogchen and Mahamudra? How do I know which is for me?

Any modern resources / takes on this material with less religious / ceremonial cruft?

Any pragmatic-friendly teachers out there with live classes or individual coaching?
My recommendations:

Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (clarifying the natural state) and Thrangu Rinpoche for Mahamudra (see essentials of mahamudra). Thrangu rinpoche holds clarifying the natural state teaching retreat in nepal last year, this year and next. If intetested check it out

Yogi Prabodha jnana and yogini abhaya devi for dzogchen, arcaya malcolm smith for dzogchen translation materials and dzogchen teachings. All of them are qualified authorized teachers from dzogchen lineage

they dont do online live classes. But you can find prabodha, abhaya devi, malcolm smith online and ask questions

kyle dixon is also very clear about dzogchen. Can find him on facebook. I have known him for years and can ascertain he clearly attained mctb 4th path, just like myself. (An article about his realisation can be found in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2014/10/advise-from-kyle_10.html and he had even further breakthroughs since). Kyle is a dzogchen practitioner and a student of Malcolm Smith. Malcolm told us in a private dinner that by fortunate karma/circircumstances and coincidence i was able to attend at san francisco (i come from singapore while malcolm came from masachussets- we dont live in san franscisco) that kyle is the first person to fully get his view, so kind of affirming his understanding. So if you have questions on dzogchen you can talk with him

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/6/19 11:49 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 7:58 AM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
After some insight progress via noting practices I'm feeling a pull towards more Vajrayanan / NonDual teachings, but I'm not sure where to start.

How interchangeable / compatible are Dzogchen and Mahamudra? How do I know which is for me?

Any modern resources / takes on this material with less religious / ceremonial cruft?

Any pragmatic-friendly teachers out there with live classes or individual coaching?

Hi.

Essentially, both dz and mm point out to knowing awareness or rigpa. Methodologically there are small differences.

There's number of teachers and million books that discuss both paths. Maybe you like one of them and become a student. Personally, I find that despite of good intentions and authorisations, many of these teachers simply aren't mature enough in their practice to teach essence mm or dz. If you don't know rigpa, you can't possibly communicate to others but nevertheless they try. A lot of materials out there are motivational stories, history, theory, etc. everything else except pointing out or transmitting the actual experience of buddhanature which is what is most important. Other common pitfalls are poor pedagogy, mushroom dharma and too much talk, too little practice. Nevertheless, maybe you find someone you like.

From Open Heart.fi-YouTube you can find hundreds of guided practices that try to avoid the common problems found in this field of dharma.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 8:20 AM as a reply to mrdust.
Thanks for all the great replies everyone. 

@Linda - Huge fan of Michal Taft + his NonDual series, good point about coaching, may follow up on that. Thanks also much for the Ligmincha mention, will dig in.

@Dustin - If you can share via PM that'd be great.

@Matthew - I greatly appreciate the detailed explanation. Balancing the effort / mapping is exactly what I'm after. From your explanation the directness of Dzogchen feels like it suits my temperament. Do you think there's a benefit to the more step-wise Mahamudra approach?

@Noah D - Thanks much for all the options. I've considered (Neo-)Advaita but find their metaphysics don't resonate so well. Just re-read Dreamwalker's guide and find it super compelling, though I may need some time / experimentation to understand what applies to me. Pointing Out Way is definitely on my radar - I've gotten great mileage recently applying some of his pointing instructions (from the end of his Sacred Sunday interview). As for the Dzogchen levels / parts / divisions - is it important that I start in the right place? My mind has a tendency to dive in to whatever appeals rather than making methodical progress.

@An Eternal Now - thanks also, digging in now emoticon

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 11:41 AM as a reply to mrdust.
It is easy to make this complicated, but the essence is very simple: this immediate moment, properly comprehended, is always it, every single time. Thus, if you want to play various games regarding traditions and teachers and language and all of that, ok, do that until you get bored with it, but at some point you realize, "Wait, there are just these sensations, just this moment, again and gain and again, occuring various ways, and this must be both the basis of the path and of realization!" Yay!

So, straightforwardly and directly, take flowing, transient, natural experience however it is as the path and result. Somehow, through various hindrances, it will try to convince you that the moment isn't it, and you will be tempted to spend money, read about some reality that is not right there, right then, and you can pay people thousands of dollars to tell you to focus on that moment as it is, or you can just learn it the cheap way now. Up to you, really.

If you need more reading about how this moment is it, then read if you must, and I would second the recommendations for Clarifying the Natural State and Shift into Freedom, but, if you have hindrances that keep you from realizing these immediate experiences are actually it, then pick up Mindfulness in Plain English, and read its section on the Hindrances, as well as just paying ordinary attention to experience, which is the true essence of Dzogchen and Mahamudra, however fancily dressed.

Best wishes!

Daniel

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 12:05 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
@Matthew - I greatly appreciate the detailed explanation. Balancing the effort / mapping is exactly what I'm after. From your explanation the directness of Dzogchen feels like it suits my temperament. Do you think there's a benefit to the more step-wise Mahamudra approach?

Glad you found it helpful! The benefit to the step-wise approach is that some people like that better, haha. If you find Dzogchen suits your temperament, go for it. The result is the same.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 12:54 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
It is easy to make this complicated, but the essence is very simple: this immediate moment, properly comprehended, is always it, every single time. Thus, if you want to play various games regarding traditions and teachers and language and all of that, ok, do that until you get bored with it, but at some point you realize, "Wait, there are just these sensations, just this moment, again and gain and again, occuring various ways, and this must be both the basis of the path and of realization!" Yay!

So, straightforwardly and directly, take flowing, transient, natural experience however it is as the path and result. Somehow, through various hindrances, it will try to convince you that the moment isn't it, and you will be tempted to spend money, read about some reality that is not right there, right then, and you can pay people thousands of dollars to tell you to focus on that moment as it is, or you can just learn it the cheap way now. Up to you, really.

If you need more reading about how this moment is it, then read if you must, and I would second the recommendations for Clarifying the Natural State and Shift into Freedom, but, if you have hindrances that keep you from realizing these immediate experiences are actually it, then pick up Mindfulness in Plain English, and read its section on the Hindrances, as well as just paying ordinary attention to experience, which is the true essence of Dzogchen and Mahamudra, however fancily dressed.

Best wishes!

Daniel
Hi Dan. How many people you know who did it or got it or kept gotting it this, or the "cheap" way? I know none.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 1:46 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
My interpretation of the cheap way was just doing the practice, any of them or a combination, regardless of what one calls it instead of changing direction all the time to find The Proper Method that will be The Perfect Fit. I'm basically doing it and it works just fine. It doesn't have to happen right away. With enough curiosity and investigation, it will happen sooner or later. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 4:36 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
@KK: "Hi Dan. How many people you know who did it or got it or kept gotting it this, or the "cheap" way? I know none."

We clearly run in somewhat different social circles then.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/7/19 9:37 PM as a reply to mrdust.
Just pm'd you the info. Good luck on the journey. Learn all you can and have fun. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/8/19 5:15 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
It is easy to make this complicated, but the essence is very simple: this immediate moment, properly comprehended, is always it, every single time. [...]

Risk of overcomplicating noted. Thanks much for the reminder, I know that lesson can't be learned often enough.

For what it's worth, I don't actually think there's anything wrong with Theravadan techniques or the DIY approach. Together they'v been very effective for me. Things just went farther / faster than expected on a recent retreat, so I've decided to catch my breath, play with my new toys, and broaden my horizons a bit.

Shift into Freedom was already on the list. Sounds like an good place to kick off.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/8/19 5:18 AM as a reply to mrdust.
Sounds like you are enjoying this and ask from genuine curiosity and joy about learning. That's an excellent starting point for any practice. I wish you all the best. And thankyou for posting this thread! The recommendations here will probably be helpful for many others as well. Personally I'm curious to learn some basics about the different lines of practice just because it's interesting, so for me this was great.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/8/19 10:59 AM as a reply to mrdust.
Nice shiny new dharma toys for consciouness to enjoy.  Thanks. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/8/19 8:33 PM as a reply to mrdust.
https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/amaro_small_boat_great_mountain.pdf
I have meant to read this book as it looks at the Dzogchen from a Theravadan perspective.
Theravadan Reflections on
the Natural Great Perfection
AMARO BHIKKHU

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/8/19 10:34 PM as a reply to This very moment.
This very moment:
https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/amaro_small_boat_great_mountain.pdf
I have meant to read this book as it looks at the Dzogchen from a Theravadan perspective.
Theravadan Reflections on
the Natural Great Perfection
AMARO BHIKKHU
His new book is also good, I think even better, though not about Dzogchen, more on mindfulness practice and insight: https://forestsangha.org/teachings/books/the-breakthrough?language=English

Posted an excerpt to my blog https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-breakthrough.html

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/9/19 6:11 PM as a reply to mrdust.
Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 2:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Also, many dzogchen masters IMO haven't gotten to the depth of insight as MCTB 4th path. A common place to get stuck in is in 3rd path-ish territory. This leads to the reification of ground of being, luminosity and the like. But this is an issue not specific to dzogchen but in all traditions. Getting to the depth of mctb 4th path is rare anywhere. Therefore one should not think that dzogchen is really advanced as if way beyond theravada yet ironically miss out some of the very fundamental insights found in theravada and mctb.

I think teachers like prabodha jnana and abhaya devi should be 4th path, and that kyle dixon friend of mine tho he isnt a teacher

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 3:43 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Also my comment about many dzogchen teachers not having reached fourth path is not just my observation but is an understanding shared by many people i know

When i asked kyle in san francisco whether he attends talks by various dzogchen teachers in his town, he told me no, because like me he was unimpressed with the depth of insights of many dzogchen teachers that comes to town

this confirms my observation that the mctb 4th path depth of insight is rare in dzogchen (and elsewhere)

but this doesnt mean we should be very picky on teachers and that theres nothing to be learnt from those who havent reached fourth path. That would obviously make no sense

even for myself i have learnt things from teachers of various traditions even when i find that their depth of realisation to be not as clear as myself. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 3:49 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
When i talk straightforwardly like this people may find it offensive and someone even complained i have an enlightenment superiority complex lol. But clearly it is an understanding shared by many in the know, but i just say it out loud.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 3:57 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
The way of directness and immediacy opens only when the realisation of bahiya sutta/4th path dawns. 

otherwise it is not direct and immediate even if a teaching is labelled "dzogchen"

but if the theravada insights are thoroughly realized and actualized, the path becomes direct path

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 9:18 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Hm, I would contest that the insights from Dzogchen are less penetrating than those of MCTB 4th path. The first thing you learn in Dzogchen is that the essence of the ground is emptiness/shunyata, which is the Mahayana word for not-self/anatta. In other words, the ground is nothing definable at all, and is known by its appearing as various forms.

It is true that the aspect of luminosity is more important in Dzogchen than in the Theravada, whereas the Theravada is more interested in cessation. Some phrase this as, sutra is a way into emptiness, tantra and Dzogchen are ways out from emptiness. But in any case this is a difference in method rather than depth of insight.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 1:37 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
When i talk straightforwardly like this people may find it offensive and someone even complained i have an enlightenment superiority complex lol. But clearly it is an understanding shared by many in the know, but i just say it out loud.
I can relate to parts of it although I'm not even third path. I appreciate the straightforwardness. 

Edited to clarify: What I mean is that I have been confused from time to time because some teachings and/or explanations about both nonduality and other stuff (in different traditions - not singling out any specific tradition) seem to mix up different levels of insight. I'm not qualified to tell for certain, but now and then, straightforward comments from people who are qualified confirm what I suspected. Without those straightforward comments I would not dare to trust those hunches but be left in the dark with a growing confusion. I think it is important to critically examine our views and point out limitations. How else could we grow? I work as a researcher, and I have seen examples of seminar cultures where nobody dared to give critical feedback because maybe someone would get hurt and maybe it would be awkward. Those cultures held people back, and some doctoral students encountered severe difficulties because nobody had pointed out the limitations of their work in time. I am grateful that the professor whom I have been working closest to has always nurtured critical discussions. The feedback provided in that kind of climate is extremely helpful. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 10:02 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Not less penetrating as in less depth. In our last lesson, Michael Taft talked about it as vipassana being more about drilling whereas nonduality such as Mahamudra is more about letting things reveal themselves. Maybe it is less penetrating in the sense of drilling, but still reaches the same depth, just using already existing pathways or something like that? I know that Michael does not think any less of not drilling.

I asked him about this because I had a hard time understanding the difference between the traditions. To me they seemed to be pretty much the same thing, only in different wordings, but I'm starting to see differences in methods although not always very clearcut. My approach is rather eclectic. Sometimes I use teachings from one traditions in order to understand something from another tradition. If it works, it works. It doesn't matter what tradition a teacher belongs to if I can't understand them. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 11:02 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:
Hm, I would contest that the insights from Dzogchen are less penetrating than those of MCTB 4th path. The first thing you learn in Dzogchen is that the essence of the ground is emptiness/shunyata, which is the Mahayana word for not-self/anatta. In other words, the ground is nothing definable at all, and is known by its appearing as various forms.

It is true that the aspect of luminosity is more important in Dzogchen than in the Theravada, whereas the Theravada is more interested in cessation. Some phrase this as, sutra is a way into emptiness, tantra and Dzogchen are ways out from emptiness. But in any case this is a difference in method rather than depth of insight.
I'm not saying insights from Dzogchen are less penetrating than those of MCTB 4th path, in fact the self-liberation from seeing with naked awareness by padmasambhava is clearly a text that contains insights that are certainly not lower than 4th path. Especially when read in the Chinese translation, it is much better. I have also seen excerpts of Dzogchen texts translated by Arcaya Malcolm that clearly show insights that are clearly 4th-path and post-4th-path-development.

However, like any other tradition, many of the practitioners and teachers and even well known masters of those traditions did not go all the way. This is normal and understandable. Even if they talk about anatta and shunyata, that does not mean they have thoroughly or fully realised it. Like Daniel say, even when he was at MCTB 3rd path he was able to express dharma, anatta, nonduality, etc pretty well and most of MCTB was written when he was 3rd path, and yet that doesn't mean the dharma has been fully comprehended all the way. There are still areas that needs to be clarified. Even at 1st path, pre-first path, one can also have certain understandings of anatta, shunyata, but that doesn't mean it is directly or thoroughly realised. There are different depths of understanding.

By the way, as Arcaya Malcolm pointed out, it is often misunderstood, even by rinpoches and lama, that Dzogchen requires realization of shunyata to begin practice or that realization of emptiness is rigpa. It is not. As Arcaya Malcolm pointed out, the initial rigpa is simply the recognition of unfabricated clarity. At this point, there is no direct realization of shunyata/emptiness yet. And as Malcolm pointed out and I fully agree based on experience, this unfabricated clarity not properly comprehended can and tends to be reified in ways that makes it into an atman-brahman, an eternalist views. But with that initial rigpa one can begin practicing Dzogchen, otherwise one must practice rushan or semdzins to self-recognise rigpa. However the direct realization of emptiness only comes later on at the third vision of thodgal, which is the maturation and ripening of rigpa.

Also, have you read this 7 stages from my teacher Thusness http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

I have seen many Dzogchen teachers and well known masters, not just one or two, that are stuck at Thusness stage 4. They describe an unchanging awareness as unchanging and all the phenomena and contents are empty. But they are holding substantialist view of that awareness. This does not go beyond MCTB 3rd path and falls into what Daniel calls the 'golden chains of anagami'. Just yesterday I was showing various excerpts of a Chinese book by a Dzogchen master, he teaches in Chinese so you will not know who he is. It is a pity because Thusness and I thinks that his description of emptiness (like Stage 6) while commenting on the eight analogies of illusion/emptiness by Longchenpa is pretty good, but his understanding of awareness is still of mirror-reflecting-yet-inseparable (Stage 4). So it is not fully 'anatta' realisation. As Thusness/John Tan told me, "Still substantialist view. Using essence view to understand empty clarity..."

Also many years ago, someone posted a quote by a dzogchen master,


"To clarify the Dzogchen view: "We are just what we are, the Natural State
which is like a mirror. It is clear and empty, and yet it reflects
everything, all possible existences and all possible lifetimes. But it
never changes and it does not depend on anything else." 



Thusness commented online about that dzogchen master,

And definitely very different from anatta, the Anatta State is like
reflections turn alive when the mirror disappears. Reflections are
vividly clear yet empty. Everything, all possible existences and all
possible lifetimes are simply reflections, they appear but are nothing
real, ungraspable, un-originated, unborn.
April 24 at 3:24pm · Unlike · 7



Of course I'm not saying all Dzogchen masters fall into that fault/mistake although it is common.

Clearly, Prabodha and Abhaya Devi of the Dzogchen lineage are clear about the no-mirror-reflecting insight and do not fall into substantializing awareness.

Also my friend Kyle Dixon's insight is clearly no-mirror and empty clarity.

Prabodha wrote:

“It is not only about recognizing the reflections as reflections, but also recognizing that there is no mirror (no mind)!” - Yogi Prabodha Jnana - https://www.wayofbodhi.org/knowing-one-thing-liberates-all/

Other fourth-path-ish excerpts by Yogi Prabodha Jnana and Yogini Abhaya Devi:

"Though purifying mind is the essence of practicing the Way, it is not
done by clinging at the mind as a glorified and absolute entity. It is
not that one simply goes inward by rejecting the external world. It is
not that the mind is pure and the world is impure. When mind is clear,
the world is a pure-field. When mind is deluded, the world is Samsara.
Bodhidharma said,
Seeing with insight, form is not simply form, because
form depends on mind. And, mind is not simply mind, because mind depends
on form. Mind and form create and negate each other.  …  Mind and the
world are opposites, appearances arise where they meet. When your mind
does not stir inside, the world does not arise outside. When the world
and the mind are both transparent, this is the true insight.” (from the
Wakeup Discourse)
Just like the masters of Madhyamaka, Bodhidharma too pointed out that
mind and form are interdependently arising. Mind and form create each
other. Yet, when you cling to form, you negate mind. And, when you cling
to mind, you negate form. Only when such dualistic notions are
dissolved, and only when both mind and the world are transparent (not
turning to obstructing concepts) the true insight arises.In this regard, Bodhidharma said,
Using the mind to look for reality is delusion.

Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness.

(from the Wakeup Discourse)
So, to effectively enter the Way, one has to go beyond the dualities
(conceptual constructs) of mind and form. As far as one looks for
reality as an object of mind, one is still trapped in the net of
delusion (of seeing mind and form as independent realities), never
breaking free from it. In that way, one holds reality as something other
than oneself, and even worse, one holds oneself as a spectator to a
separate reality!When the mind does not stir anymore and settles into its pristine
clarity, the world does not stir outside. The reality is revealed beyond
the divisions of Self and others, and mind and form.  Thus, as you
learn not to use the mind to look for reality and simply rests in the
natural state of mind as it is, there is the dawn of pristine awareness
–  knowing reality as it is, non-dually and non-conceptually." - https://www.wayofbodhi.org/bodhidharma-teachings/#Dissolving_the_Mind

"As Dogen says in another verse, when we travel in a boat, it looks
like the shore is moving. Only when we bring the attention closer to the
boat and observe the movement underneath between boat and water, do we
realize that the boat is moving. Likewise, we hold an image of a Self
that is unmoving and solid because we always look out to the world from
the perspective of that Self. Turn slightly inward, and watch what
happens. Then, we can see how the body and mind are all in movement and
constantly changing. Knowing this, one let go of the Self. 
To let go of self is to be awakened by myriad things of the universe.
And, what happens when you let go of that idea of Self? The idea of
Self – a mere conceptual image – was obscuring real seeing. You had been
going out to the world holding that image, looking through it, and
experiencing myriad things from that perspective. You have been dividing
the world based on me, mine and others’. As you let go of that Self,
myriad things of the universe directly awaken you, as you. You begin to
experience phenomenal appearances in their own place. There is no more a
need to look out for them through an image of Self. As Dogen
illustrates, the reflection of the moon in the lake does not divide the
lake. Likewise, these myriad things do not divide you or the world. When we dream, there are so many appearances. Yet, we hold on to a
central character as ‘Me’. Then, the dream is divided into me, others
and the world. Looking at the dreamworld through the perspective of the
character ‘Me’, we get worked up even in the dream. Isn’t the whole
dream merely a play of one’s own awareness? We don’t realize that. Then,
the dream is experienced through ‘Me’, just a character in the dream. Let go of the grasping at that ‘Me’. Then, you begin to experience
the dream as one continuum. You experience every character of the dream
as they arise in your awareness. You are no more looking out in despair
and anxiety to various characters of the dream. The very rising and
falling of the myriad appearances come directly as your experiences. You
are that, and there is no other you. This is the meaning of being
awakened by myriad things of the universe." - https://www.wayofbodhi.org/traceless-awakening-zen-dogen-quote/

Also when I posted this article on Facebook, he 'liked' my post:


"Hakuun Yasutani, "Flowers Fall"

The
actual experience of enlightenment comes springing forth in the realm
of true oneness. And with that, one sometimes cries out in astonishment.
One becomes aware that the whole universe is just the single seamless
stupa. It's not some simplistic kind of thing like a reflection in a
mirror.

"Mountains and rivers are not seen in a
mirror." It's not that mountains, rivers, and the earth are reflected in
one's mind-mirror. That's okay when we are using metaphors for thoughts
and consciousness. But what we are speaking of now is the realm of the
actual experience of enlightenment. The self is the mountains, rivers,
and earth; the self is the sun and moon and the stars.

The great earth has not
A single lick of soil;
New Year's first smile.

"Not
another person in the whole universe." One side is all there is,
without a second or third to be found anywhere. If one calls this
subject, everything is subject and that's all. There is no object
anywhere. It's the true mind-only. It's snatching away away the
objective world but not the person. If one calls this object, everything
is object and that's all. There is no subject anywhere. It's snatching
away the person but not the objective world. It's the true matter-only.
Whichever one you say, only the label changes and it is the same thing.
While Dogen Zenji calls this completely self, he also calls it
completely other. It's all self. It's all other. This is the meaning of
"when one side is realized the other side is dark." This is also called
"one side exhausts everything." It's the whole thing, being complete with one, exhausting everything with one."

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 11:10 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:
In other words, the ground is nothing definable at all, and is known by its appearing as various forms.


This part needs clarification. Because what you said can be Level 2 of the three levels of nondual by my teacher Thusness/John Tan, and MCTB 4th path is actually Level 3:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/01/three-levels-of-understanding-of-non.html

The Three Levels of "Understanding" of Non-dual Awareness

Thusness/Passerby's reply to me (slightly edited based on references to another post):


Originally posted by An Eternal Now:What I said here, is not really correct. Thought is, but no thinker. Sound is, but no hearer. Awareness cannot be separated from thoughts and manifestation.
Yes but what said can still have the following scenario:1. There is an Awareness reflecting thoughts and manifestation. ("I AM")
Mirror bright is experienced but distorted. Dualistic and Inherent seeing.
2. Thoughts and manifestation are required for the mirror to see itself. Non-Dualistic but Inherent seeing. Beginning of non-dual insight.
3. Thoughts and manifestation have always been the mirror (The mirror here is seen as a whole)
Non-Dualistic and non-inherent insight.
In 3 not even a quantum line can be drawn from whatever arises;
whatever that appears to come and goes is the
Awareness itself. There is no Awareness other
than that. We should use the teachings of Anatta (no-self), DO (dependent origination) and Emptiness to see the 'forms' of awareness.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 11:29 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:


However, like any other tradition, many of the practitioners and teachers and even well known masters of those traditions did not go all the way.
This 'being stuck at Thusness Stage 4' is common not only in Dzogchen, but even in Zen, and even in Theravada Thai Forest tradition.

Basically every tradition that teaches luminosity has a tendency to produce practitioners that get stuck at 'the golden chains of anagami-land'. Which is the various places to get stuck in Thusness Stage 1 to 4. These practitioners will be prone to eternalism due to reifying the luminosity or Awareness aspect, including and not limited to Thai Forest tradition of Theravada. I think not so much in Mahasi Sayadaw and other non-Thai traditions, but the non-Thai traditions of Theravada also has a pitfall of not emphasizing luminosity at all, so the danger of those traditions is not so much eternalism but rather nihilism. One should thread the middle way that is the union of clarity and emptiness. By not emphasizing luminosity at all, this makes it difficult to get to MCTB 3rd path or 4th path or post-4th (like AF sort of development, and total exertion, and empty clarity) due to the lack of direct taste and realisation of non-dual luminosity and then its anatta and empty nature. I think Dogen's Soto Zen has more people realising 4th path due to heavy emphasis on anatta and total exertion by Dogen, but then of course not all Zen masters of that tradition has similar depth of understanding as Dogen. But there are many Zen masters of the olden/ancient times and modern times that are clearly substantialist and stuck at the golden chains of anagamiland, having read many Zen texts myself.

Even Ajahn Amaro of the Thai forest tradition has a tendency of being stuck at Thusness Stage 4 unchanging mirror understanding in his older book "Small Boat, Great Mountain" is that Ajahn Amaro, even though nondual insight has arisen, it is clearly still Stage 4. I think his newer book 'The Breakthrough' does not have nearly as much of such reifying tendency tendency and maybe he moved to Stage 5, can't be sure and haven't finished reading his book. I enjoyed his description of Bahiya Sutta very much and consider him to be one of the clearer teachers of the Thai forest tradition.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 11:32 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:

It is true that the aspect of luminosity is more important in Dzogchen than in the Theravada, whereas the Theravada is more interested in cessation.


Therefore, this is only partially true as explained above, because Thai Forest tradition has as much emphasis of luminosity as Dzogchen, it is only the non-Thai traditions of Theravada that does not emphasize at all.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 11:48 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now, wow, when I get confused about matters such as this, could I approach you to ask you to explain it? I would of course not take it for granted that you would reply. I would only want you to answer if you felt like it and had the time and energy and resources to do so. But would it be okay to ask?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/10/19 12:53 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Hi Soh. Gotta give props to you. Your tireless posts have been helpful and interesting to me and many others over the years, I'm sure. Thumbs up!

So, you say that there is basically only handful of people who understand/have realised anatta. In that case, how do you suggest people should correct or change their practice. What can be done?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
An Eternal Now, wow, when I get confused about matters such as this, could I approach you to ask you to explain it? I would of course not take it for granted that you would reply. I would only want you to answer if you felt like it and had the time and energy and resources to do so. But would it be okay to ask?

Sure, but do be aware that I am very busy these days - I just came back from work at 11.30pm and will have to wake up to go to work at 9am again. Life of a software developer. So may take some time to reply.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 10:46 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Hi Soh. Gotta give props to you. Your tireless posts have been helpful and interesting to me and many others over the years, I'm sure. Thumbs up!

So, you say that there is basically only handful of people who understand/have realised anatta. In that case, how do you suggest people should correct or change their practice. What can be done?

My advise on how a person should practice depends on where the person is at. If a person has no realization but is interested in Awareness teachings, I can advise on some advaitic self-enquiry books (ala ramana mahrshi), or self-enquiry in zen/ch'an (ala ch'an master hsu yun) and the self-introduction to rigpa method in Dzogchen called Rushan which is actually self-enquiry (also it is a component in guru yoga taught by ChNN), or my AtR guide and my own journal, that is for I AM realization, a direct realization of Awareness. Then once they reached that point of complete certainty of Being, I point out the four aspects of I AM, and then gradually they should be led to nondual and anatta through the two contemplations of nondual described in my AtR guide https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xCaHV3T7LMNvuLew3eg-Vgjc_Q2tm6vnw7Yuy_Pv67Y/edit?usp=sharing&fbclid=IwAR1t-p0YpRxX8DkgiZCSSmvflMuLVwb_FVKDES_ep_7JhsgBrXFP99uBQSg

These are also useful for anatta realization:

1) Daniel Ingram's talk on Vipassana in Vimeo https://vimeo.com/250616410

2) Two stanzas of anatta by Thusness http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

3) Bahiya Sutta, my favourite sutta because contemplating it led to my attainment of MCTB 4th path (related articles: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2008/01/ajahn-amaro-on-non-duality-and.html )

4) Read my article The Wind is Blowing, Blowing is the Wind https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-wind-is-blowing.html

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 10:47 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
An Eternal Now, wow, when I get confused about matters such as this, could I approach you to ask you to explain it? I would of course not take it for granted that you would reply. I would only want you to answer if you felt like it and had the time and energy and resources to do so. But would it be okay to ask?

Sure, but do be aware that I am very busy these days - I just came back from work at 11.30pm and will have to wake up to go to work at 9am again. Life of a software developer. So may take some time to reply.

I understand. Thanks! It may not happen at all. I usually search the forum and other resources first as I wouldn't want to bother someone when it isn't necessary. 

Hm, should I worry? Do take care of your mammalian body! I hope you'll get some time to rest soon. That sounds like it could be a bit too much. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 10:56 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
I also often tell people that realizing anatta as a dharma seal is very important, it is about a quantum shift of paradigm and perception and a realization of what is always already the case. Like seeing a picture puzzle and suddenly seeing it "Oh", and that can never be unseen. Rather than thinking of anatta as a stage or state of meditation to be attained. Experience is different from realization.

PasserBy
Feb 6, 2009, 11:16:00 AM
Indeed Buddha Bra,

At first 'effort' to focus on experiencing
on the vividness of 'sensation' in the most immediate and direct way
will remain. It will be 'concentrative' for some time before it turns
effortless.

There are a few points I would like to share:

1.
Insight that 'anatta' is a seal and not a stage must arise to further
progress into the 'effortless' mode. That is, anatta is the ground of
all experiences and has always been so, no I. In seeing, always only seen, in hearing always only sound and in thinking, always only thoughts. No effort required and never was there an 'I'.

2.
It is better not to treat sensation as 'real' as the word 'real' in
Buddhism carries a different meaning. It is rather a moment of vivid,
luminous presence but nothing 'real'. It may be difficult to realise
why is this important but it will become clearer in later phase of our
progress.

3. Do go further into the aspect of dependent
origination and emptiness to further 'purify' the experience of anatta.
Not only is there no who, there is no where and when in all
manifestation.

Whatever said are nothing authentic. Just a sharing and happy Journey!

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 11:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Michael Taft perhaps? He’s expensive

Oh, my sweet summer child...

Last I heard, Michael was charging less than 50% of what some other big and not-so-big names out there charge.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 11:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
An Eternal Now:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
An Eternal Now, wow, when I get confused about matters such as this, could I approach you to ask you to explain it? I would of course not take it for granted that you would reply. I would only want you to answer if you felt like it and had the time and energy and resources to do so. But would it be okay to ask?

Sure, but do be aware that I am very busy these days - I just came back from work at 11.30pm and will have to wake up to go to work at 9am again. Life of a software developer. So may take some time to reply.

I understand. Thanks! It may not happen at all. I usually search the forum and other resources first as I wouldn't want to bother someone when it isn't necessary. 

Hm, should I worry? Do take care of your mammalian body! I hope you'll get some time to rest soon. That sounds like it could be a bit too much. 

Don't worry about asking questions, just that I might take a little longer to reply. I have a couple of people who I haven't replied online as well.. may reply over the weekends.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 2:29 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Kim Katami:
Hi Soh. Gotta give props to you. Your tireless posts have been helpful and interesting to me and many others over the years, I'm sure. Thumbs up!

So, you say that there is basically only handful of people who understand/have realised anatta. In that case, how do you suggest people should correct or change their practice. What can be done?

My advise on how a person should practice depends on where the person is at. If a person has no realization but is interested in Awareness teachings, I can advise on some advaitic self-enquiry books (ala ramana mahrshi), or self-enquiry in zen/ch'an (ala ch'an master hsu yun) and the self-introduction to rigpa method in Dzogchen called Rushan which is actually self-enquiry (also it is a component in guru yoga taught by ChNN), or my AtR guide and my own journal, that is for I AM realization, a direct realization of Awareness. Then once they reached that point of complete certainty of Being, I point out the four aspects of I AM, and then gradually they should be led to nondual and anatta through the two contemplations of nondual described in my AtR guide https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xCaHV3T7LMNvuLew3eg-Vgjc_Q2tm6vnw7Yuy_Pv67Y/edit?usp=sharing&fbclid=IwAR1t-p0YpRxX8DkgiZCSSmvflMuLVwb_FVKDES_ep_7JhsgBrXFP99uBQSg

These are also useful for anatta realization:

1) Daniel Ingram's talk on Vipassana in Vimeo https://vimeo.com/250616410

2) Two stanzas of anatta by Thusness http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

3) Bahiya Sutta, my favourite sutta because contemplating it led to my attainment of MCTB 4th path (related articles: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2008/01/ajahn-amaro-on-non-duality-and.html )

4) Read my article The Wind is Blowing, Blowing is the Wind https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-wind-is-blowing.html
The reason why I was asking is because, despite of your materials being precious and useful, they are spread out, usually unedited and there is just too much text (imo). Despite of your good efforts, I'm afraid in this form it isn't really available to many. If the books were 200-300 pages at tops and hence were accessible to people with time constraints and included practice instructions within the same covers, your work would reach more people. My two cents. Thanks again and bows.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/11/19 9:12 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Thanks, yes its too long and i will need time to shorten and structure it. Will also advise on how to focus on the parts more relevant to one's practice rather than be overwhelmed with all the information

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/12/19 7:35 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Cheers and good luck emoticon

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/13/19 12:41 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:

My advise on how a person should practice depends on where the person is at.
...

Thanks for the excellent info. Any idea if pragmatic dharma 3rd path maps into this, and where a good starting point would be, or is it not that simple?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/13/19 12:43 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.

Wow, never thought of this. The jhana <--> nyana maps were confusing at first but made sense with experience. Now that you say it I can see how holding whatever non-dual view I can muster resembles 4th jhana. Perhaps it wasn’t a total coincidence that a guided non-dual meditation took me into equanimity proper the first time around...

My biggest motivations are to dial back on grasping / efforting, gain some stability with what I think is pragmatic 3rd path, and prepare for 4th when it comes knocking.

From others who were further along than me I got the impression that abiding in "the view" was more or less akin to keeping the "wisdom eye" open (with sufficient insight to move things along, perhaps). Did I misread that completely?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/14/19 6:20 AM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
An Eternal Now:

My advise on how a person should practice depends on where the person is at.
...

Thanks for the excellent info. Any idea if pragmatic dharma 3rd path maps into this, and where a good starting point would be, or is it not that simple?


I'm not sure what do you mean by "and where a good starting point would be"

Are you at the pragmatic dharma 3rd path?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/14/19 6:29 AM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:

My biggest motivations are to dial back on grasping / efforting, gain some stability with what I think is pragmatic 3rd path, and prepare for 4th when it comes knocking.

What is your insight and experience with regards to pragmatic 3rd path? What is it like in your day to day experience, is it largely free of the sense of subject-object duality, and what triggered the shift? How long has the shift been and how has it progressed?

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/15/19 12:57 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:

What is your insight and experience with regards to pragmatic 3rd path? What is it like in your day to day experience, is it largely free of the sense of subject-object duality, and what triggered the shift? How long has the shift been and how has it progressed?

I have limited experience with non-dual lingo, so will describe as I can. I've gone through 4 major insight cycles with review phases in between. They clustered very closely together; 3 of them on a recent retreat.

Stream Entry was a bit more complex / drawn out. Insights since then:
  • The way things unfold is out of my control (2nd cycle)
  • Things exist only insofar as "I" pay them attention + space/location seems to exist purely or primarily as a consequence of vision / eyes. (3rd cycle) Vision feels more high-definition, broad, immediate after.
  • Physical body / proprioception seem to have decoupled from vision. E.g. individual body parts now feels much larger / broader than before, and as though it either surrounds the face or "I’m" in the belly instead of in my head when I focus there. (4th cycle) The best sensory description I can muster is that, compared to before, I now feel like I'm floating, or perhaps I'm now somehow in the subtle body by default. Body boundaries feel like they have dissolved and any remaining sense of self seems to remain primarily around the head / face.
After SE I thought “wouldn’t it be neat to make all these sense doors into one all-encompassing thing eventually”. When attempting non-dual practices that actually feels within reach now, rather than a purely intellectual exercise.

Using other people's words -- this description from Daniel’s Simple model resonates a lot:
“When we begin to appreciate the emptiness, luminosity, centerlessness, agentlessness, etc. of phenomena in real time and this becomes the focus of practice rather than Fruition.“
 https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-simple-model/

And in case it's any use, going by Dream Walker’s 3rd path framework. I suspect physical body and (most likely) vision have “opened up”. Less sure about sounds / thoughts.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908

Hope that helps. Please note that this is all quite recent, tricky to describe, and subject to change.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/15/19 11:02 PM as a reply to mrdust.
mrdust:
An Eternal Now:

What is your insight and experience with regards to pragmatic 3rd path? What is it like in your day to day experience, is it largely free of the sense of subject-object duality, and what triggered the shift? How long has the shift been and how has it progressed?

I have limited experience with non-dual lingo, so will describe as I can. I've gone through 4 major insight cycles with review phases in between. They clustered very closely together; 3 of them on a recent retreat.

Stream Entry was a bit more complex / drawn out. Insights since then:
  • The way things unfold is out of my control (2nd cycle)
  • Things exist only insofar as "I" pay them attention + space/location seems to exist purely or primarily as a consequence of vision / eyes. (3rd cycle) Vision feels more high-definition, broad, immediate after.
  • Physical body / proprioception seem to have decoupled from vision. E.g. individual body parts now feels much larger / broader than before, and as though it either surrounds the face or "I’m" in the belly instead of in my head when I focus there. (4th cycle) The best sensory description I can muster is that, compared to before, I now feel like I'm floating, or perhaps I'm now somehow in the subtle body by default. Body boundaries feel like they have dissolved and any remaining sense of self seems to remain primarily around the head / face.
After SE I thought “wouldn’t it be neat to make all these sense doors into one all-encompassing thing eventually”. When attempting non-dual practices that actually feels within reach now, rather than a purely intellectual exercise.

Using other people's words -- this description from Daniel’s Simple model resonates a lot:
“When we begin to appreciate the emptiness, luminosity, centerlessness, agentlessness, etc. of phenomena in real time and this becomes the focus of practice rather than Fruition.“
 https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-simple-model/

And in case it's any use, going by Dream Walker’s 3rd path framework. I suspect physical body and (most likely) vision have “opened up”. Less sure about sounds / thoughts.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908

Hope that helps. Please note that this is all quite recent, tricky to describe, and subject to change.
your 2nd cycle insight is what I call "non-doership", but not yet nondual
your 3rd cycle insight is a kind of insight into causality + intensification of luminosity but doesn't seem to be nondual yet - is vision and 'things' and perceiver dual?
your 4th cycle insight is related to what i call mind-body drop*

Contemplating along the lines of those 4 links - daniel's vipassana video, 2 stanzas, etc... might help


*From the AtR guidebook:

Mind-Body Drop

Mind-Body Drop arise as a result of deconstructing the construct of a ‘body’. For some, this may arise even at the One Mind phase in John Stage 4 realization (e.g. Rupert Spira wrote about mind-body drop even in the One Mind phase in Transparency of Things), for others (such as Soh) as a further progression after John Stage 5 realization. If you have realised anatta but have not yet undergone a distinct phase of mind-body drop, investigating the body-mind construct according to this chapter might help. I (Soh) remember having a realization and penetration of the body construct - that it is merely a construct extrapolated out of a bunch of disjointed bodily sensations, and thus the ‘body’ along with its shape, contour and boundaries never truly existed as the entity that was conceived, one week after my realization of anatta through Bahiya Sutta that led to mind-body drop. My experience of anatta was deepened and further purified as a result.

Gary wrote in Dharma Overground in 2009, "In walking meditation the "I" appears to place or make sense of the sensory perception. This involves a body image for example foot sensations are perceived to be at the foot, movement is perceived in relation to the previous position. Once in walking meditation I had the body disappear so there was just the feet touch sensations belonging and going nowhere. Does this describe direct without intermediary?”

John Tan replied, "Yes Gary, what you said is correct. It is only a matter of depth and intensity, ie, how clear, how vivid, how real, how pristine the arising and passing sensations are when compared to the “I AM”. In the case of “I AM”, it is so clear, so real and so pristine that it burns away all traces of doubts. Absolutely certain, still and thoughtless that even Buddha is unable to shake the practitioner from this direct Realization of “I-ness”.

By the way, there should not be any ‘image’ in whatever experienced, thus, direct.

With regards to the “body's disappearance” that you mentioned, it relates to an experience called the “mind-body drop”. There are few more important points that you may want to take note:

1. It is not just due to “concentration on the sensations, the body image had no opportunity to arise”, the insight that mind and body are mere constructs must also arise and the disappearance is also the result of dissolving of these constructs.
2. Mind-body drop must also come with a sense of lightness. In the first few glimpses, you will also feel weightless and when the experience becomes clearer, you will also realize the “weight” of these constructs.

3. From the constructs, you may also want to explore further what happen when the constructs of “in/out” disappears.

Lastly the practice of self enquiry is not without danger. A practitioner can also be led into a state of utter confusions when exploring the ‘I’ through mere analytical process. So practice with care.”

Do note however that the dissolution of the sense of body can also occur as a peak experience in deep meditation or samadhi. This is not the same as the mind-body drop that occurs as a result of penetrative wisdom and insights that deconstructs all artificial and constructed boundaries, shapes, and solidity of a body and mind. The mind-body drop of wisdom can be a 24/7 experience, whereas dissolution of body-sense from a peak experience or a state of samadhi is short-lived and temporary.

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
11/15/19 11:15 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Post 3rd path, you should start to be familiar with luminosity

Daniel Ingram wrote:

DhO questioner: What is Luminosity?
Daniel M. Ingram:Luminosity is both a useful and possibly very misleading term.
Here's what it is doesn't mean: that a person will suddenly see things more brightly, that there will be more light in things than the standard amount, or anything like that.
Here's what it points to, said a number of equivalent ways:
1) In the seeing, just the seen. In the hearing, just the heard. In cognition, just the cognized. In feeling, just the felt... This standard line from the Bahiya of the Bark Cloth Sutta in the Udana is one of the most profound there is in the whole of the Pali Canon. It means that sensations are just sensations, simply that, with no knower, doer, be-er (not beer, as that is a beverage), or self in them to be found at all.2) Point one, taken in its logical inverse, means that the "light" of awareness is in things where they are, including all of the space between/around/through them equally.3) Said another way, things just are aware/manifest/occurring where they are just as they are, extremely straightforwardly.
Helpful?
Daniel

Also, I wrote:

The Transient Universe has a Heart

Also see: What All Religions Have in Common: Light
Vipassana Must Go With Luminous Manifestation
The Unbounded Field of Awareness
Fully Experience All-Is-Mind by Realizing No-Mind and Conditionality
Exertion that is neither self-imposed nor imposed by others
Actual Freedom and the Immediate Radiance in the Transience

Dogen on the Heart of Tiles: If we belittle tiles as being lumps of clay, we will also belittle people as being lumps of clay. If people have a Heart, then tiles too will have a Heart.Shobogenzo, Kokyo, Hubert Nearman

I mentioned earlier that I will write something about dull nondual experience and realising the Presence or the Heart.

There is something tremendously alive, intelligent, a quality of pure Presence and that is nothing inert but intensely luminous (not in the sutric definition of purity and emptiness) but in the sense that the intensity of our cognizant mind evokes the sense of powerful radiance and illumination but without any separation between an illuminator and the illuminated, with absolutely no agent/perceiver/doer involved. It can evoke the sense of a radiance that is so intense that it completely outshines all visual darkness of night and brightness of the sun. This Presence is mystically alive, wondrous and magnificent, “more real than real”, and the complete opposite of an inert or merely some dull state of non conceptuality and absorption.

This outshining of Presence-Awareness is not about some hidden invisible background existing behind manifestation (which will be perceived this way at the I AM stage) but is vividly manifest or “Presencing” (Presencing is a better word than Presence as it is not a static background or entity and none other than the dynamic stuff of transience) as the very “realness” or “vividness” of any appearance/display, color, sound, scent, touch, taste, thought, as if everything comes alive and there is something very wonderful and beautiful about it. The brilliant light of Presence-Awareness is none other than the body-mind-universe which when deconstructed and freed from self/Self/physicality is experienced as spheres of vivid light, colors, sounds, and sensations.

This luminosity is also not merely a heightened state of clarity as I explained:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/…/luminosity-vs-clar…

“Someone asked me about luminosity. I said it is not simply a state of heightened clarity or mindfulness, but like touching the very heart of your being, your reality, your very essence without a shadow of doubt. It is a radiant, shining core of Presence-Awareness, or Existence itself. It is the More Real than Real. It can be from a question of "Who am I?" followed by a sudden realization. And then with further insights you touch the very life, the very heart, of everything. Everything comes alive. First as the innermost 'You', then later when the centerpoint is dropped (seen through -- there is no 'The Center') every 'point' is equally so, every point is A 'center', in every encounter, form, sound and activity.”

There is a wide variety of methods to bring oneself to an abrupt stoppage of concepts and a face to face encounter of Pure Presence. All sorts of ways actually, some are safer and some are a bit more risky. For example Thusness, I, Ramana Maharshi, Ch'an Master Hsu Yun and many others have awakened through self-enquiry and we are exponents of the method of self-enquiry. Sim Pern Chong awakened to the I AM through breath meditation. Some get awakened through a mere pointing out by a teacher. Some awakened through yogic, tantric, kundalini paths. Ram Dass, David Carse and others have had their initial realization of the Heart-essence through the use of psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, 5-MEO-DMT, LSD, and so on. (I am not advocating the use of drugs here, just stating that some people have used them with such results) There are many other methods and koans I did not mention.

And yet, many have awakened through a simple shout by a Zen Master or a Dzogchen Master. A sudden unexpected KATZ! or a PHAT! of a Zen and Dzogchen master brings one into the immediate thoughtless face-to-face encounter of the luminous heart-essence. At that moment, you just shift out from all that nonsense and garbage in your head into just that instance of being blanked out into Presence. It is not an inert trance but an alert, alive and yet thoughtless state of Presence. Try it!
But whatever method one uses to introduce that initial glimpse and taste of Presence, it is always through the deepening of insight into non-dual anatta that brings that taste to effortless uncontrivance and full-blown maturity in all encounters and manifestations.

So when one has access to a state of nondual, one should ask whether it is dull and inert or suffused with a powerful sense of Presence. After anatta this Presence is no longer seen as a background but vividly shining forth as the manifold dynamic and seamlessly interconnected display, and the play of dharma and dependent origination is something which is alive, not just inert and mechanistic as someone wrote. All the qualities of I AM - infinite like space, powerful Presence, Luminosity, Clarity, Vitality and Intelligence are effortlessly experienced without contrivance, and furthermore no longer seen as something hidden behind but fully manifested from moment to moment activity and the sense of cosmic Impersonality which was once experienced as being lived through a reified cosmic intelligence is now experienced as the total exertion where a single activity is the exertion of the Whole - an activity that is seamlessly connected and coordinated with the entire Whole, a spontaneous exertion of the Whole of seamless dependencies. In other words all the taste of Presence similar to the I AM, including all the four aspects of I AM and the experience of anatta as requisites are fully present in the experience of Maha suchness, which is an experience of greatness beyond measure, where even a single breath feels cosmic and limitless.

"The purpose of anatta is to have full blown experience of the heart -- boundlessly, completely, non-dually and non-locally. Re-read what I wrote to Jax.

In every situations, in all conditions, in all events. It is to eliminate unnecessary contrivity so that our essence can be expressed without obscuration.

Jax wants to point to the heart but is unable to express in a non-dual way... for in duality, the essence cannot be realized. All dualistic interpretation are mind made. You know the smile of Mahākāśyapa? Can you touch the heart of that smile even 2500 yrs later?

One must lose all mind and body by feeling with entire mind and body this essence which is 心 (Mind). Yet 心 (Mind) too is 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable).. The purpose is not to deny 心 (Mind) but rather not to place any limitations or duality so that 心 (Mind) can fully manifest.

Therefore without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to limit 心 (Mind). without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to place limitation in its manifestations. You must fully experience 心 (Mind) by realizing 无心 (No-Mind) and fully embrace the wisdom of 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable)." - John Tan/Thusness, 2014 Labels: Anatta, Luminosity

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
1/5/20 9:53 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
The way of directness and immediacy opens only when the realisation of bahiya sutta/4th path dawns. 

otherwise it is not direct and immediate even if a teaching is labelled "dzogchen"

but if the theravada insights are thoroughly realized and actualized, the path becomes direct path
Interesting posts in this thread, I'm finding them very valuable. I'm wondering though, have you shared your understanding of Dzogchen with any of the Dzogchen teachers/practioners you've mentioned - Malcolm, Kyle, Yogi Prabodha jnana and Yogini Abhaya Dev. What I'm curious about is if there are experienced practioners in that tradition who would share this perspective. 

I'm no expert personally, but I'm familiar with the people you mentioned, and to an extent with Dzogchen generally. I agree that it seems that plenty of practioners and quite possibly even many teachers get 'stuck', and that being a Dzogchen practioner doesn't mean one is more advanced than a Theravadan practioner etc. 

The part I'm wondering about in particular is how the Dzogchen path and insights are equated to that of Theravada of MCTB. From my experience of Dzogchen teachers (including those you mentioned) it seems to me like they could potentially have a problem with the above quote, and potentially even more so with this one from Daniel:
Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.
I'm lacking in knowledge of Theravada or MCTB, but it seems to me that Dzogchen teachers are generally fimiliar with the jhanas as emphased in these models. However not only don't put them forward as goals, but actually encourage a degree of caution in this type of training. Not that they're not useful, but they are training in more and more refined states of mind, and developing more and more refined insights about mind. If one hasn't had the experience of going beyond mind, as is taught in Dzogchen, then this type of training can make it even harder to have that recognition. I don't think Dzogchen teachers would dispute that these methods can lead to the realisation of emptiness, but I don't think they would consider practicing this realisation equivalent to the realization of a practioner who progressed through the Dzogchen teachings up to the 3rd vision and realised emptiness via that route. 

I not saying this to dispuate your or Daniels presentation, I don't have the personal experience to do so. I'm mostly interested to know if there are practioners in traditional lineages who share this understanding, or if it's confined to more ecumenical style practioners.  

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
1/5/20 11:03 AM as a reply to biodecus.
I not saying this to dispuate your or Daniels presentation, I don't have the personal experience to do so. I'm mostly interested to know if there are practioners in traditional lineages who share this understanding, or if it's confined to more ecumenical style practioners.  

This made me chuckle. "I'm not disputing what you say, but I'm disputing what you say."  emoticon

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
1/5/20 12:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I not saying this to dispuate your or Daniels presentation, I don't have the personal experience to do so. I'm mostly interested to know if there are practioners in traditional lineages who share this understanding, or if it's confined to more ecumenical style practioners.  

This made me chuckle. "I'm not disputing what you say, but I'm disputing what you say."  emoticon

emoticon It wasn't supposed to come across like that. I don't have a position personally. As I mentioned, I don't have the experience to do so. In fact if anything I'm biased towards what AEN and Daniel are saying in some regards, as a kind of Buddhist pluralism where different paths are roughly equivalent is much simpler, so I'd prefer it if that was the case. My point was that from what I've heard of Dzogchen teachers it seems to me like they'd dispute it. So I'm interested to know if that's actually true, or if some, like the ones AEN mentioned, would be onboard. 

RE: Theravada to Dzogchen / Mahamudra?
Answer
1/6/20 10:48 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Also, if you still have any interest in Theravadan tech, consider reading about Equanimity, Formations, and the fourth vipassana jhana in MCTB2 and realizing it is basically Dzogchen/Mahamudra straight up.
When Daniel first posted this comment I opened a new tab, hopped over to the description of Equanimity, and reread. It's been slowly sitting and digesting in the background since then in various ways. I've come to the conclusion that this assertion is completely correct, and actually reveals a lot of very interesting things about how the dynamics of attention work in both Theravada and Dzogchen.

Dzogchen distinguishes between grasping mind and fundamental mind, saying that grasping is a limited manifestation of a more fundamental, pervasive awareness. We can conceptualize this as a point within a field - it is as if there is a neutral field of potential where all phenomena simply take place (or don't), and a point of attentional emphasis within that field that zooms around to delineate, grasp, and assess various objects within it. The field is never deluded because it's just whatever-it-is-at-all-times, and the point can be deluded or not depending on whether we recognize it. Culadasa makes this distinction in TMI as attention vs awareness.

Theravada and Dzogchen/Mahamudra approach this situation from opposite directions. The goal in both cases is to see through the illusion that the attention-point is persistent, satisfying, a self, etc etc.

In Theravada practice, especially the Mahasi version that most informs MCTB, the MO is to watch the point zip around in more and more detail until you become disillusioned with this process and it falls apart. When it flits into seeing, you notice "seeing," when hearing, "hearing," and so on. At the beginning stages of its falling apart, it dissolves into the field, which is naturally equanimous, so you experience equanimity.

Dzogchen approaches from the opposite direction. It says, here is the point, here is the field, now dissolve the point. In this sense it's a shortcut to the EQ nana. It's also easy to screw up, though, because the purpose of the attention-point is to grasp objects, so it's very easy to fabricate a concept about open space and then grasp it from attention rather than relaxing into awareness. Different strokes for different folks.

This gets even more interesting when you consider Dzogchen as the endpoint of the Vajrayana, as the conclusion of its lengthy and complex visualization practices, but that's outside the scope of this thread. Maybe another time.

Traditionally there is a lot of sectarianism in the Maha- and Vajrayana, especially within Tibetan Buddhism where Dzogchen comes from, so this type of cross-cultural mapping is very interesting and not often done outside MCTB the book. I hope it can be a first step to having functional pragmatic communication between traditions about what is actually happening from a first-person perspective in different practices.