John Tan: He goes on to point out that self-occuring primordial
knowing lacks most of the qualities associated with the Yogacara svasaf!1vedana - its
alleged reality, internality, reflexivity, self-evidence, and accessibility to introspection - but
then cautions that "should one become attached to these [rDzogs chen gnoseological] terms
as denoting something real, you won 't find any difference from the Cittamatra conception of
svasaf!1vedana, that is, the cognition which is devoid of subject-object duality and which is
simply auto-illumination.,,247 In highlighting the many drawbacks of reifying the mental,
Klong chen pa rules out any basis for confusing the gnoseological and mentalist conceptions
of self-awareness : for the idealist, self-awareness is a real entity having real characteristics,
whereas for the rDzogs chen pa, it is simply a vivid auto-manifestation, a process lacking
any reality whatsoever.

Soh: What book is this?

John Tan: The Philosophical Foundations of
Classical rDzogs chen in Tibet
Investigating the Distinction Between Dualistic Mind
(sems) and Primordial knowing (ye shes)
David Higgins

( Soh: )

John Tan:I like this book.  Clarifies most of the dzogchen terms and clear lystates that longchenpa rejects self-reflective awareness distinguishing dzogchen from yogacara.  And in line with anatta insight.  To longchenpa self-awareness "is simply a vivid auto-manifestation, a process lacking any reality whatsoever".
Soh: Oh wow
John Tan:Finally found one book that aligns anatta insight and dzogchen clearly.
Soh: yeah i wonder why all (Correction: most of those I've read) the other books on dzogchen (Except malcolm's) including on longchenpa is always about mirror and reflection 🤣
[12:05 am, 04/10/2021] John Tan: If I din read this chapter, I too would have mistaken it as another awareness teaching.🤣
[12:07 am, 04/10/2021] John Tan: Yeah.  I also agree with what longchenpa said how it is different and y "intellect" is not involved in just vivid manifestation.

Soh: oic..

John Tan: According to the viewpoint of this system, he says, all phenomena
are self-luminous in the state of great primordial knowing like light in the sky, having
always been the very essence of this self-occuring primorial knowing which remains
naturally free from causes and conditions .263

John Tan:

I believe his "Buddha Nature Reconsidered" will be interesting too.👍

found buddha nature reconsidered:


John Tan: Now all the terms and phrases seem so clear to me when they use it.


    • Soh Wei Yu
      Another passage that John Tan quoted is Longchenpa's blanket rejection of Yogacara.
      John Tan: Read it. Longchenpa reject yogacara view in toto and accept prasangika.
      From the book:
      Klong chen pa' s blanket rejection of the Yogacara
      svasaYflvedana . Of course, the main target of his sweeping critique, as he makes clear in his
      Yid bzhin mdzod 'grel, is the Y ogacara proclivity to treat consciousness as a real entity with
      real characteristics and to presuppose it in justifications of idealism: "It is eminently
      reasonable to claim that any objects that appear are unreal, but we refute the claim that mind
      is ultimately real.,,240 Klong chen pa is also patently opposed to allowing self-awareness a
      conventional existence so that it can then be used to buttress representational epistemologies
      that assume we can only know external objects (if indeed such are held to exist) through our
      internal representations of them. Interestingly, his thoroughgoing rejection of Y ogacara
      epistemology and his wholehearted endorsement of the *PrasaIigika stratagems · for
      undermining any and all forms of realism (from substance ontologies to subjective idealism)
      make his stance on svasaf!lvedana appear, for all intents and purposes, quite similar to the
      dGe lugs pa position that Mi pham was criticizing.
      What, then, are we left with when it comes to the rDzogs chen self-awareness? It
      must be acknowledged that the rDzogs chen conception of rang rig does concur with some
      elements of Santarak􀁶ita' s self-awareness, particularily its nondual and luminous character.
       · Reply
       · 2m · Edited



     [8:56 pm, 08/10/2021] John Tan: Read the foundation of dzogchen philosophy
    [9:13 pm, 08/10/2021] John Tan: It is in the book

    The book "foundation" goes in extensively to define what is zhi and kun zhi, their histories and development...etc...both r termed as "ground" which I do not think it as appropriate for a praxis that rest entirely on abolishing "ground" even when talking abt "zhi".  Malcolm is more cautious on this aspect.


    Malcolm translate it as basis

    And this so-called "god" aka basis [gzhi] is just a nonexistent mere appearance, that is, our primordial potentiality also has no real existence, which is stated over and over again in countless Dzogchen tantras.

    For those whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible.
    For those whom emptiness is not possible, nothing is possible.

    -- Nāgārjuna.

    John Tan:

    Although David Higgins used the word "ground", he qualifies it as "insubstantial and unestablished in any sense".



    Also see: Clarifications on Dharmakaya and Basis by Loppön Namdrol/Malcolm




    [9/10/21, 4:35:37 PM] John Tan: I wonder y there is a need for Dzogchen to emphasize so much on gzhi and kun gzhi.  I do not see any real help in actual practice.  In fact seeing through self-nature is sufficient.  Direct and simple and straight forward🤣.  Although there r some important points in the praxis of dzogchen.
    [9/10/21, 4:39:30 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    [9/10/21, 4:48:35 PM] John Tan: Also in early texts of Dzogchen and Nyingma scholars actually do not differentiate between gzhi and kun gzhi.

    [9/10/21, 5:20:19 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I see
    [9/10/21, 7:23:42 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Mahamudra also talk about “ground” but dunno what term they use

    The ground of purification is the mind itself,
    indivisible cognitive clarity and emptiness.
    That which purifies is the great vajra yoga of mahamudra.
    What is to be purified are the adventitious,
    temporary contaminations of confusion,
    May the fruit of purification, the stainless dharmakaya, be manifest.
    Resolving doubts about the ground brings conviction in the view.
    Then keeping one's awareness unwavering in accordance with the view,
    is the subtle pith of meditation.
    Putting all aspects of meditation into practice is the supreme action.
    The view, the meditation, the action--may there be confidence in these.
    All phenomena are illusory displays of mind.
    Mind is no mind--the mind's nature is empty of any entity that is mind
    Being empty, it is unceasing and unimpeded,
    manifesting as everything whatsoever.
    Examining well, may all doubts about the ground be discerned and cut.
    [9/10/21, 7:23:53 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I suppose dzogchen and mahamudra should be the same view
    [9/10/21, 7:57:53 PM] John Tan: Dzogchen is the path that starts from taking the view that anatta is a seal, always and already so.
    [9/10/21, 7:59:38 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. mahamudra is the same?
    [9/10/21, 8:09:09 PM] John Tan: I guessed so but I don't want to comment on this.

    [9/10/21, 9:23:43 PM] John Tan: Original face means to realize that appearances has always been one's radiance clarity, primordially luminous and naturallly free.
    [9/10/21, 9:23:56 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    [9/10/21, 9:31:32 PM] John Tan: Problem is most ppl that engaged in the so called highest teachings r having a dualistic and substantialist view.  If we do not recognize the nature of appearances and kept emphasizing on primordial knowing, taking the non-progressive is imo a great disservice than help.
    [9/10/21, 9:33:28 PM] John Tan: Just like when u r at I M, u already like to talk about spontaneous presence which I caution u don't talk about that until at least mature non-dual.
    [9/10/21, 9:37:43 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. lol yeah
    [10/10/21, 10:26:04 AM] John Tan: ‎
    "It is possible, Klong chen pa suggests, to simply recognize this nondual self­occuring primordial knowing in its pristine nakedness (rjen pa sang nge ba) - both as it
    abides in its naked clarity and as it continuously manifests as myriad objects - without hypostatizing it.273 For so long as "one thinks of the abiding and manifesting of cognition as  two different things and talks about [the experience of] 'settling in the nonconceptual essence' [but also of] 'preserving the expressive energy as being free in its arising' , one's practice goes in two directions and one fails to understand the key point."

    [10/10/21, 10:36:16 AM] Soh Wei Yu: Oh.. nice
    [10/10/21, 10:43:29 AM] John Tan: Reading it second time and still found many phrases that I like.
    [10/10/21, 10:43:43 AM] John Tan: Really a treasure
    ‎[10/10/21, 11:10:56 AM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎That is interesting that it distinguishes what would be anatta and no mind
    I’m going to have to re-read the text

    [10/10/21, 11:16:44 AM] John Tan: Also in the very beginning
    [10/10/21, 11:18:58 AM] Soh Wei Yu: In the beginning it talked about anatta?
    ‎[10/10/21, 11:20:14 AM] John Tan: ""In this sense, primordial knowing is both a vision of things as they are undistorted by reifications and a mode of being and living that is commensurate with this vision.""

    Primodial Knowing is not defined as an entity like an ultimate awareness but rather a vision of things undistorted by reifications and a lived experienced of perfection of anatta insight.
    [10/10/21, 12:07:14 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    ‎[10/10/21, 1:12:07 PM] Soh Wei Yu: ‎‎Kyle Dixon:

    Is primordial knowing a gloss of ye shes?
    I assume so
    Dzogchen will even go as far as to say Buddhas do not even have ye shes
    Some Mahāyāna texts say this too
    Because if they really had jñāna it could be misconstrued as a subjective reference point
    [10/10/21, 1:13:22 PM] Soh Wei Yu: This reminds me of bodhidharma

    [The questioner] continued asking: "What is 'taishang,' the supreme?
    "Tai signifies 'great,' and shang 'lofty.' It is called 'supreme' because it is the highest wondrous principle. Tai also signifies the primordial stage. Though there are longlived ones of Yankang in the heavens of the three realms, their luck runs out, which is why they end up again transmigrating in the six spheres of existence. That 'ultimate' (tai) is not yet sufficient. And the bodhisattvas of the ten stages, though having escaped life-and-death, have not yet plumbed the depths of this wondrous principle. Their ultimate is also not yet [the one I am talking about]. Cultivation of mind in the ten stages gets rid of being in order to enter nonbeing; this is again not yet the ultimate since it does not get rid of both being and nonbeing and sticks to a middle path. But even if one has thoroughly discarded that middle path and the three locations [of inside, outside, and in between], and any place is that of wondrous awakening - and even if a bodhisattva gets rid of these three locations - one remains unable to free oneself of the wondrous. This again is not yet the ultimate.
    Now if one discards the wondrous, then even the very essence of the Buddha Way has no place to abide; since no though is left, no discriminative thinking takes place. Both the deluded mind and wisdom have forever expired, and perceptions and reflections are at an end - calm and without ado. This is called tai; it means the ultimate of the principle. And shang means 'without peer.' Hence it is called taishang, the ultimate. This is simply another designation for Buddha, the Tathagata."
    [End of] Treatise on No-Mind in one fascicle.
    [10/10/21, 1:24:08 PM] John Tan: The point Dzogchen wants to make is "primordial" -- has always been the case before beginning, always and already so. In order words in ATR context, anatta is a seal, always and already so thus differentiating it from effortful and progressive stage or even transformation taking result as the path, familiarizing one's basis rather than seeing it as the result of cause and effect.
    [10/10/21, 1:34:38 PM] John Tan: What I find lacking in the book is pointing out the nature of "appearances".  When the notion of "existence" is being stripped (deconstructed) from phenomena, the nature of what appears.
    [10/10/21, 1:57:14 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    ‎[10/10/21, 1:57:18 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Kyle Dixon: Longchenpa:

    From the [ultimate] perspective the meditative equipoise of the realised (sa thob) and awakened beings (sangs rgyas), there exists neither object of knowledge (shes bya) nor knowing cognitive process (shes byed) and so forth, for there is neither object to apprehend nor the subject that does the apprehending. Even the exalted cognitive process (yeshes) as a subject ceases (zhi ba) to operate.
    [10/10/21, 1:59:33 PM] John Tan: 👍

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