[1:06 PM, 9/26/2020] John Tan: Once u clearly see logically how reified constructs from conventions create confusions and mistake conventions as truly real existence, u will also understand how cause and effect based on agency and action cannot b established. However that does not deny vivid appearances and functionalities.  If u see that, then there is nothing to argue about so I cannot understand the y u like to keep engaging in idle talks.  Also what is the taste of these deconstructions in real-time?

Yesterday midnight was raining heavily. Sitting in meditation, hearing the sound of rainfall in anatta, raindrops tapping the window r like heartbeats. The vibration of the windows from the heavy wind vibrates

the body.  The temperature changes, it becomes colder...whether the I disappeared and become the "room" or there is no I and no room, all these become irrelevant.

Then an inner radiance energy embrace the entire body mind as if lighting the whole dark room...still with eyes close feeling the entire changing sensations from the sitting to standing position, the dynamic changing pattern of sensations seem so gradual yet so fast...then the touch of feet on the floor and the deep breath that pulses the palms... another deep breathe....the slowly eyes opens...

To others it is just simply sitting and standing; but how is one to convey the depth of these inner dimensions of anatta from these simple mundane activities -- hearing, sensing, touching, breathing, sitting and standing?
[1:20 PM, 9/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. yeah thats like anatta actualization.. just like boundless presencing manifestation.. completely no sense of self, nor objects, but also no concept about anatta and emptiness.
[1:26 PM, 9/26/2020] John Tan: Question is how much quality time u engaged in practice and how much time u wasted in idle talk? 🤣

Also see: Acarya Malcolm on Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta

Choosing

 

Mr. J isn’t very familiar with the nuances of “rigpa” as a principle
Kyle
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about an hour ago
There are various modalities
Kyle
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about an hour ago
I’m not sure why he thinks Dzogchen is related to gzhan stong
Kyle
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about an hour ago
Madhyamaka is inferior as a methodology but not inferior in terms of view
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Kyle
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about an hour ago
Rigpa kechigma is a mental factor. It is just the knowing faculty of a mind.
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Kyle
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Mind [sems] is not rigpa but rigpa is the fundamental instantiation of a mind and when sems is the dominant condition, the knowing quality of the mind is a modality of rigpa, albeit an unripened and deluded expression, but it is rigpa nevertheless
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Kyle
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about an hour ago
Mr. J thinks rigpa is a monolithic principle like the purusa of Vedanta
Kyle
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about an hour ago
It is much more nuanced than that though
Kyle
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about an hour ago
Köppl’s idea that Dzogchen promotes a positive ontology is really nonsense
Kyle
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about an hour ago
And then Mr. J just spins back into negating imputation alone
Kyle
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about an hour ago
Per usual
Kyle
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about an hour ago
But that is Mr. Jchen for you
Kyle
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about an hour ago
He just reifies awareness as a monolithic unchanging nature and marginalizes everything else

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    rigpa kechigma is the initial unripened vidya or rigpa.
     
     
    krodha = kyle dixon
    level 6
    krodha
    1 point ·
    8 days ago
    · edited 8 days ago
    If the nature of mind is realized
    There is a spectrum of aspects that can be recognized and realized, from vidyā [rig pa] to the nature of mind [sems nyid], the two are not technically synonymous, and so on. Then, within that we must differentiate ngo shes, to recognize; and rtogs pa, to realize, and then liberation [grol ba]. Recognition of sems nyid is not the realization of sems nyid, just as the initial vidyā in the form of a mental factor as rig pa skad cig ma, what Norbu Rinpoche called “instant presence” is not qualitatively the same as the definitive expression of vidyā that knows the essence [snying po] of mind.
    Therefore this topic really is not so cut and dry.
    That's why people translate the first vision the way they do.. "manifest intrinsic reality" -- (from Dzogchen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama) on the first vision. "the direct experience of dharmata" -- (from A Guide to the Practice of Ngöndro) The direct experience of dharmata doesn't exclude emptiness.
    Yes, well, this topic is also quite interesting. The use of chos nyid in the first vision as chos nyid mngon gsum “the direct perception of dharmatā” is actually a different use of dharmatā than sūtrayāna. Here, when we see chos nyid it indicates rig pa mngon sum du gtan la phebs (རིག་པ་མངོན་སུམ་དུ་གཏན་ལ་ཕེབས), "confirming vidyā in a direct perception." Therefore in the case of the first vision, we are not referring to dharmatā as emptiness, but rather dharmatā is a term being used to indicate the appearances of rig pa that are ascertained in a direct perception [pratyaksa].
    The total realization of emptiness does not then occur until the third vision, which is called “the full measure of vidyā” because at that time, upon realizing emptiness and non-arising, our knowledge [vidyā] of phenomena is complete, and has reached its “full measure.”
    level 7
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    8 days ago
    level 8
    krodha
    1 point ·
    8 days ago
    Who is your teacher? You should ask for clarification on this matter.
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    8 days ago
    level 10
    krodha
    2 points ·
    8 days ago
    For example you separate vidya from the nature of mind
    Yes, as did my root teacher, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.
    The issue is that vidyā is subject to affliction, whereas the nature of mind, the basis, is not. If we say the basis and vidyā are one and the same, then we are saying vidyā is always perfected and there would be no reason for the Dzogchen path at all, which as Longchenpa states is the process of purifying vāyu and vidyā.
    It is a subtle but important distinction. Generally vidyā would belong to the lhun grub aspect of the basis, the nature [rang bzhin], but the basis is the trio of essence, nature and compassion.
    Continue this thread
    level 10
    krodha
    1 point ·
    8 days ago
    Maybe good to ask always teachers but I've myself been given permission to teach.
    Then you should absolutely go seek clarification on this issue because you run the risk of confusing others.
    To me, your conclusions have fallacies and terminology isn't lining up.
    This is Khenpo Namdrol’s definition, perhaps reach out to him, Sangye Khandro or Lama Chönam for clarification. This is ABSOLUTELY the correct “conclusion” because they just aided my own teacher in the publication of the Dzogchen tantra, the Yige Medpa which is the definitive explanatory tantra on the first vision.
    Continue this thread
    level 8
    krodha
    0 points ·
    8 days ago
    Also the latter section on the direct perception of dharmatā is quite cut and dry, and if you aren’t clear on this point then you will encounter problems in your practice, so again please seek clarification from your teacher.
    level 2
    krodha
    4 points ·
    9 days ago
    The realization of emptiness takes place at the third vision.
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    zhonnu
    0 points ·
    9 days ago
    The way emptiness is understood in sutra is different from what constitutes emptiness in thogal. As far as i am aware when people talk about the first bhumi like the OP does they talk about the understanding that sutra practitioners have. No questions were asked about thogal.
    level 4
    krodha
    3 points ·
    9 days ago
    The way emptiness is understood in sutra is different from what constitutes emptiness in thogal
    Emptiness as a principle and realization, is identical in either case. They are both referring to the same emptiness [śūnyatā]. There is no difference in sūtra, tantra or Dzogchen on this point, only a difference in methodology.
    level 5
    Comment deleted by user
    8 days ago
    level 6
    krodha
    1 point ·
    8 days ago
    Dzogchen aligns with the Svātantrika view.
    level 7
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    8 days ago
    level 8
    krodha
    2 points ·
    8 days ago
    sutrayana versions of emptiness can be different from dzogchen. That was the point.
    They are the same. This is why the Dzogchen view in terms of kadag trekchö is often compared to Nāgārjuna’s prasanga Madhyamaka.
    For example, Khenchen Rigdzin Dorje [Chatral Rinpoche's heart disciple] states:
    The Madhyamika consider the Prasangik as the perfect Rangtong view. The Dzogchen trekcho view as Kadag (primordially pure view) and the Prasangik view is the same. The emptiness is the same, there is no difference... It is important to understand that the words primordially pure [kadag] is the Dzogchen terminology for the Prasangic Emptiness. [The ancient Nyingmapa Masters like Long Chenpa, Jigme Lingpa, Mipham, were] Prasangikas [Thalgyurpas]... the Prasangika Madhyamika sunyata [tongpanyid] and the Dzogchen sunyata are exactly the same. There is no difference. One hundred percent [the] same.
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    Comment deleted by user
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    level 10
    krodha
    1 point ·
    8 days ago
    The Vaibhasika didn't subscribe to Madhyamaka, they asserted existent things.
    Yes, they are a realist school.
    Khenchen Rigdzin Dorje didn’t mention Vaibhasika though

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    More Kyle postings:
    Comment deleted by user
    7 days ago
    krodha
    2 points ·
    7 days ago
    "We had some confusion over the words recognition and realization but I'm not talking about a full realization of emptiness in the first vision. I'm talking about initial recognition and then familiarizing with empty cognizance. I made plenty of citations by now."
    You still are not understanding what chos nyid means in chos nyid mgon sum it has nothing to do with emptiness. But I’ve explained this and you aren’t interested in listening, and that is okay for you, but your lack of clarity on this topic is concerning for others you may teach.
    "I'm talking about initial recognition and then familiarizing with empty cognizance. I made plenty of citations by now."
    Initial recognition of emptiness, unless the practitioner is very ripe, occurs at the third vision and then the third and fourth visions are the spectrum of integration with emptiness, hence the process of exhausting phenomena. Up until that time “emptiness” is rhetorical, indicating the clear and spacious nature of our knowing clarity [gsal rig].
    Your Tulku Urgyen citations are not talking about the first vision. They are discussing the ma bcos pa'i shes pa skad cig ma or “moment of unfabricated consciousness” that is pointed out, which is the initial form of rig pa we use for practice, and specifically the practice of trekchö.

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    "We don’t have any misunderstanding. Again this is rhetoric versus reality, up until the third vision, “emptiness” is obscured and therefore at the time of direct introduction it is merely rhetorical. The nature of mind, as non-dual clarity and emptiness is not truly known until the third vision, again per Longchenpa, per Khenpo Ngachung, etc., not something I have made up. What do we generally recognize in direct introduction? We recognize clarity [gsal ba], and the aspect of vidyā that is concomitant with that clarity. Vidyā is then what carries our practice, but vidyā is not the citta dharmatā, the nature of mind.
    This is why the first two visions are likened to śamatha, and the last two are likened to vipaśyanā."

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    "I’ve never met anyone who gained any insight into emptiness at direct introduction. Plenty who recognized rigpa kechigma though.
    I don’t presume to know better than luminaries like Longchenpa and Khenpo Ngachung who state emptiness isn’t actually known until third vision and so on. You may presume otherwise and in that case we can agree to disagree."
     
     
     
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    Soh wrote to Mr. J: as John Tan also said before, and also reiterated by many (including Malcolm, Dalai Lama, etc) who went through similar phases... there is distinct phase - realizing Awareness [although Malcolm does not use this term in the same way] or the unfabricated clarity aspect of rigpa, and realizing emptiness are distinct realizations. Even longchenpa and other dzogchen masters would point out that realizing emptiness only happens in thodgal practice at the third vision.

    John Tan's reply on something Malcolm wrote in 2020:

    “This is like what I tell you and essentially emphasizing 明心非见性. 先明心, 后见性. (Soh: Apprehending Mind is not seeing [its] Nature. First apprehend Mind, later realise [its] Nature).

    First is directly authenticating mind/consciousness 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind). There is the direct path like zen sudden enlightenment of one's original mind or mahamudra or dzogchen direct introduction of rigpa or even self enquiry of advaita -- the direct, immediate, perception of "consciousness" without intermediaries. They are the same.

    However that is not realization of emptiness. Realization of emptiness is 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature). Imo there is direct path to 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind) but I have not seen any direct path to 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature) yet. If you go through the depth and nuances of our mental constructs, you will understand how deep and subtle the blind spots are.

    Therefore emptiness or 空性 (Soh: Empty Nature) is the main difference between buddhism and other religions. Although anatta is the direct experiential taste of emptiness, there is still a difference between buddhist's anatta and selflessness of other religions -- whether it is anatta by experiential taste of the dissolution of self alone or the experiential taste is triggered by wisdom of emptiness.

    The former focused on selflessness and whole path of practice is all about doing away with self whereas the latter is about living in the wisdom of emptiness and applying that insight and wisdom of emptiness to all phenomena.

    As for emptiness there is the fine line of seeing through inherentness of Tsongkhapa and there is the emptiness free from extremes by Gorampa. Both are equally profound so do not talk nonsense and engaged in profane speech as in terms of result, ultimately they are the same (imo).”

    Dalai Lama - "Nature - there are many different levels. Conventional level, one nature. There are also, you see, different levels. Then, ultimate level, ultimate reality... so simply realise the Clarity of the Mind, that is the conventional level. That is common with Hindus, like that. So we have to know these different levels...." - Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book

    or as kyle dixon reiterated malcolm with regards to trekchod:

    Kyle Dixon:

    https://www.reddit.com/user/krodha

    Yes, the actual state of trekchö is the nonconceptual equipoise of a yogic direct perception of emptiness. Emptiness cannot be known by unawakened people, but clarity can be known. The nominal trekchö we practice until we realize emptiness works with the clarity aspect [gsal cha]. The nominal “little” trekchö is also called “the yoga of the view.”

    Malcolm:

    “The question is framed incorrectly. Treckhöd is best described in general terms as a practice in which insight into emptiness and śamatha are combined. But below the path of seeing, this insight is conceptual, based on the example wisdom of the direct introduction. However, the emptiness meditated upon in trekchöd is also inferential until one mounts the path of seeing. There really is no difference between perfection of wisdom, mahāmudra, Chan/Zen, etc., and tregchöd. I have heard it said that Tulku Orgyen asserted that trekchöd exists in all yānas, perhaps EPK would be kind enough to confirm this. What separates from trekchöd from these other systems of the method of introduction. Trekchöd, like any secret mantra practice, is based on empowerment/introduction.”

    “Actually, what one is resting is empty clarity. However, below the path of seeing, the emptiness of that clarity is a conceptual inference. However, when meditating, we just rest in the clarity aspect without engaging in concepts like "this is empty." We know already that it is empty since we confirmed this analytically during rushan of the mind or the semzin of gradual and sudden emptiness.” 


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    Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche explains very succinctly what is the state if rigpa: “Whatever arises in the mind, the awareness of that, the presence of that state of whatever arises is itself rigpa. This is not a concept, but it's a direct experience, that kind of presence or awareness. It's beyond any concept. One continues to remain beyond concept and one continuously finds oneself in this knowingness, or presence. This is the essence of all that we speak of in the Upadesha teachings”

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    Op · 2y · edited 2y

    That is the initial form of rigpa yes, not the “definitive” type though. The definitive form is synonymous with prajñā [tib. shes rab].

    To unpack further:

    Norbu Rinpoche, who is my own root teacher, in the quote above is discussing rig pa in the context of gnas gyu rig gsum or the trio of knowing, stillness of thought and movement of thought. Rigpa in that context is defined as gnas gyu shes pa or the “knowing of stillness and movement.” In his own writing Norbu Rinpoche is quite clear that this initial form of rigpa is simply the clarity or cognizance of one’s own mind, thus it is termed “rig pa” because it is a species of shes pa or knowing.

    This species of rigpa is an acceptable form of rigpa that one can recognize and use as a foundation for one's practice, however it is not yet the awakened form of rigpa which is accompanied by ye shes [skt. jñana]. This preliminary expression of rigpa, as the mere clarity of mind is a coarse expression of rigpa appearing as the consciousness [vijñāna] skandha, called by Vimalamitra; ”The vidyā that apprehends characteristics.” Vimalamitra defines this rigpa as ”the vidyā [rig pa] that imputes phenomena as universals and as mere personal names, which is one’s mere non-conceptual self-knowing awareness defiled by many cognitions.” Chögyal Namkhai Norbu calls this modality of rigpa: ”rigpa mistaken as illusory mind”, and also refers to it by the name Vimalamitra gave it, which is again: ”the vidyā that apprehends characteristics.”

    Jean-Luc Achard defines this species of rigpa as “unripened” or “immature” rigpa [tib. ma smin pa'i rig pa].

    Tsoknyi Rinpoche is quite clear that we should not conflate this preliminary form of rigpa for the definitive and awakened expression of rigpa:

    This early stage of knowing or noticing whether there is stillness [of mind] or thought occurrence is also called rigpa. However, it is not the same meaning of rigpa as the Dzogchen sense of self-existing [self-originated] awareness [rang byung rig pa].

    His father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche said the same:

    In the case of stillness [lack of thought], occurrence [thought] and noticing [the knowing], the word rigpa is used for noticing. Self-existing [self-originated] awareness is also called rigpa. The word is the same but the meaning is different. The difference between these two practices is as vast as the distance between sky and earth.

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     https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/4ilyvx/what_is_the_experience_of_rigpa_in_dzogchen/
     
     
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    · 5y · edited 5y

    I do not mean is translation as knowledge; I mean it's deeper meaning as an experience in Dzogchen

    It is a direct and visceral knowledge of the nature of mind [tib. sems nyid]. But it is also something like the fundamental essence of our knowledge, or the mind's capacity to know, and has other implications in that sense.

    From what I gather it is not equivalent to the direct perception of emptiness.

    Emptiness [stong pa nyid] is one aspect of the nature of mind, the other is clarity [gsal ba], which is the cognizant or noetic capacity of mind. So in this sense the nature of mind is defined as the inseparability of clarity and emptiness [stong gsal dbyer med]. When the nature of mind is recognized, and we have a direct, experiential knowledge [rig pa] of that nature, then we are knowing the nature of the mind as non-dual clarity and emptiness.

    But one can have the direct perception of emptiness from the standpoint of rigpa.

    The realization of emptiness which occurs at the first bhumi (the path of seeing in Mahayana) is called the "full measure" or "full culmination" of rigpa [rig pa tshad phebs]. This is when one's knowledge of his/her nature is complete.

    Is rigpa buddhahood in which relative and ultimate realities are seen simultaneously?

    Rig pa has various modalities and expressions, ranging from a relative knowledge to the omniscience that is attained at the time of the result. But it is not equivalent to buddhahood in and of itself. Buddhahood is the result, that occurs once the twin obscurations (afflictive and cognitive) are exhausted. But yes recognition of one's nature is also defined as knowing the union of the two truths.

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    Op · 5ymadhyamaka

    Thank you, krodha. So, rigpa is not necessarily a non-dual experience in that there is a dissolution of self as there is in the direct perception of emptiness? But, there is a union of clarity and emptiness, which i've also heard as luminosity and space.

    How is "full measure" or "full culmination" realized permanently? Or can it be? One has that experience and enters the first bhumi and then works to habituate the mind to what it has seen. But must one repeatedly dissolve the self and continue to have these direct perceptions of emptiness until it has fully imbued the relative mind so to speak?

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    · 5y · edited 5y

    So, rigpa is not necessarily a non-dual experience

    Rigpa does entail knowledge that phenomena are non-dual, which in the context of the buddhadharma means that phenomena are free from the dual extremes of existence and non-existence.

    in that there is a dissolution of self

    Recognition of the nature of mind implies a realization of selflessness. The self is an inferential construct that is imputed onto the clarity of mind when said clarity is mistakenly reified as a substantial, subjective point of reference (abiding in relation to allegedly external objects). Realizing that the clarity of mind is empty means we recognize that there is no foundation for a self, as there never truly has been.

    as there is in the direct perception of emptiness?

    Yes, non-dual emptiness and clarity, or non-dual emptiness and appearance, both are essentially synonymous.

    How is "full measure" or "full culmination" realized permanently?

    By way of a total exhaustion of the ignorance and obscurations that prevent the nature of mind from being apparent at all times.

    One has that experience and enters the first bhumi and then works to habituate the mind to what it has seen.

    In a sense, yes. Although getting to that point is quite rare.

    But must one repeatedly dissolve the self and continue to have these direct perceptions of emptiness until it has fully imbued the relative mind so to speak?

    One continues to fluctuate between equipoise [mnyam bzhag] and post-equipoise [rjes thob] until they are fully merged. It does not involve dissolving the self so much, as there is no self to dissolve in the first place. Rather it simply involves continually resting in a direct knowledge [rig pa] of the nature of mind [sems nyid] as much as possible. Although latent habitual tendencies will make it difficult to maintain that equipoise and will cause one to lapse back into relative dualistic mind. The point of the path [lam] is to exhaust those latent traces that obstruct one's nature, so that eventually one never regresses from that knowledge ever again, which is the result ['bras bu], i.e., buddhahood.

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    Op · 5ymadhyamaka

    Okay. Thank you so much for your time. Very clear explanation for such a difficult topic.

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    ..........

    Acarya Malcolm Smith:

    According to Khenpo Ngachung, the paths and stages don't really map to Dzogchen, but you can explain things that way:

    Visions 1 & 2, below the path of seeing.
    Vision 3; path of seeing and path of cultivation (bhumis 1-7)
    vision 4; end of path of cultivation and path of no more learning (stages 8 to 16).
     
     
     
     
    ...........
     
     
     
    Kyle Dixon:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Dzogchen/comments/ovfx7q/to_dzogchen_is_there_any_difference_between/

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    · 3d · edited 3d

    Back to the question... In some systems and schools of meditation, emptiness is seen as something that is "done": you actively focus on the empty space between thoughts and try to rest there for as long as possible. I was wondering if, in Dzogchen, there is a difference between the described above and "resting in the nature of the mind", or if the latter is a different thing.

    Yes there is a difference. The former, cultivating the space between thoughts is called stillness or nepa in Tibetan, gnas pa in the Wylie transliteration. Cultivating stillness is good practice, it is śamatha meditation, but in Dzogchen we must also integrate movement, and there are methods to accomplish that.

    The knower of stillness and movement of thought is called the characteristic of mind, it is sometimes nominally referred to as the nature of mind, but it is just an “example gnosis” which is used in practice so that the aspirant can realize true gnosis.

    True insight into the nature of mind however occurs in awakening to actual gnosis, the non-arisen luminosity of mind, and is the same as realizing there is no self, or no external objects as well, but it has to do with realizing emptiness [śūnyatā]. That insight is an actual cognitive shift where the inner subjective background collapses and/or external objects are realized to be false.

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John Tan commented "This article is very well written and yogacara never really explicitly said that mind is ultimate.  This idea privileging mind as ultimate over the relative phenomena was a later development."
 
 
Kyle Dixon sent me:














Madhyamaka, Cittamātra, and the true intent of Maitreya and Asaṅga self.Buddhism

Submitted 21 hours ago by nyanasagaramahayana

It is not existent nor nonexistent, not the same nor different;

Not produced nor destroyed, it will not diminish

Nor increase; it cannot be purified

Yet becomes perfectly pure—these are the characteristics of the ultimate.

Ornament of the Scriptures of the Great Vehicle, Maitreya, recited to Asaṅga

Mipham Comments:

According to the Mādhyamikas, it is not that all the phenomena that appear through the power of dependent arising are not existent on the relative, conventional level, nor that they are existent on the ultimate level; nor even that they are both existent and nonexistent. On the ultimate level, nonexistence is the true nature of phenomena that exist conventionally. So, apart from simply being distinguished by name, these two do not, in fact, exist as two distinct entities: they are like fire and its heat, or molasses and its sweetness. Could there, then, be a third possibility—that thatness is something that is neither existent on the relative level nor nonexistent on the ultimate level? No. There is no valid means of cognition that provides a proof for a third alternative that is neither a phenomenon nor an empty true nature. Such a third possibility could never be the intrinsic or true nature of conventional phenomena. The Mādhyamikas thus assert freedom from the four extremes (existence, nonexistence, both, and neither), freedom from all conceptual elaboration, the inseparability of the two truths—the inseparability of phenomena and their true nature—which has to be realized personally. This true nature free from conceptual elaboration is always the same in being devoid of production, destruction, diminution, and expansion. It has not as much as an atom’s worth of the characteristics of dualistic phenomena such as purity and impurity.

Now, the Cittamātra approach speaks of all phenomena being nothing other than simply the appearances of the mind, and it asserts that only the clear and aware consciousness of the dependent reality, the basis of perception, exists substantially. If the Cittamātrins’ final standpoint is the assertion that this consciousness is only a substantially existent entity inasmuch as it is the cause for all conventional phenomena appearing, and that apart from this assertion they are not claiming that it exists substantially as a truly existing entity in ultimate truth, then they are not at all in contradiction with the Mādhyamika tradition. On the other hand, if they were to assert that it is truly existent in ultimate truth, they would be contradicting the Mādhyamika approach. It seems, therefore, that it is just this particular point that needs to be examined as a source of contention (or otherwise) for the Mādhyamikas.

In the cycle of teachings of Maitreya and the writings of the great charioteer Asaṅga, whose thinking is one and the same, it is taught that individuals on the level of earnest aspiration first understand that all phenomena are simply the mind. Subsequently they have the experience that there is no object to be apprehended in the mind. Then, at the stage of the supreme mundane level on the path of joining, they realize that because there is no object, neither is there a subject, and immediately after that, they attain the first level with the direct realization of the truth of ultimate reality devoid of the duality of subject and object. As for things being only the mind, the source of the dualistic perception of things appearing as environment, sense objects, and a body is the consciousness of the ground of all, which is accepted as existing substantially on the conventional level but is taught as being like a magical illusion and so on since it appears in a variety of ways while not existing dualistically. For this reason, because this tradition realizes, perfectly correctly, that the nondual consciousness is devoid of any truly existing entities and of characteristics, the ultimate intentions of the charioteers of Madhyamaka and Cittamātra should be considered as being in agreement.

Why, then, do the Mādhyamika masters refute the Cittamātra tenet system? Because self-styled proponents of the Cittamātra tenets, when speaking of mind-only, say that there are no external objects but that the mind exists substantially—like a rope that is devoid of snakeness, but not devoid of ropeness. Having failed to understand that such statements are asserted from the conventional point of view, they believe the nondual consciousness to be truly existent on the ultimate level. It is this tenet that the Mādhyamikas repudiate. But, they say, we do not refute the thinking of Ārya Asaṅga, who correctly realized the mind-only path taught by the Buddha.

Because of the mind, the phenomena of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa arise; if there were no mind, there would be no saṃsāra and no nirvāṇa. How? It is by the power of the mind that defilements create karma, subsequently producing the process of defilement that is saṃsāra. And it is with the mind that one gives rise to the wisdom of the realization of no-self and to compassion, practices the Mahāyāna path, and thereby achieves buddhahood, whose nature is the five kinds of gnosis, the transformation of the eight consciousnesses, and the ground of all. It is with the mind, too, that the listeners and solitary realizers realize the no-self of the individual and attain nirvāṇa, beyond the suffering of grasping at existence. So the roots of defilement and purity depend on the mind. Anyone who is a Buddhist has to accept this.

So, if this so-called “self-illuminating nondual consciousness” asserted by the Cittamātrins is understood to be a consciousness that is the ultimate of all dualistic consciousnesses, and it is merely that its subject and object are inexpressible, and if such a consciousness is understood to be truly existent and not intrinsically empty, then it is something that has to be refuted. If, on the other hand, that consciousness is understood to be unborn from the very beginning (i.e. empty), to be directly experienced by reflexive awareness, and to be self-illuminating gnosis without subject or object, it is something to be established. Both the Madhyamaka and Mantrayāna have to accept this. If there were no reflexively aware gnosis, or mind of clear light, it would be impossible for there to be a mind that realizes the truth of the ultimate reality on the path of learning; and at the time of the path of no more learning, the nirvāṇa without residue, the Buddha would have no omniscient gnosis. And in that case there would be no difference between the Buddha’s nirvāṇa and the nirvāṇa of the lower vehicles, which is like the extinction of a lamp, so how could one talk about the Buddha’s bodies (kāyas), different kinds of gnosis, and inexhaustible activities?

To sum up, thatness, which is the actual condition of all phenomena, is the completely unbiased union of appearance and emptiness, to be realized personally. If one realizes that it never changes in any situation, whether in the ground, path, or result, one will be saved from the abyss of unwholesome, extremist views.

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