Thich Nhat Hanh:

Inviting the Bell

Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness
I send my heart along with the sound of the bell
May all who hear it waken from forgetfulness
And transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.

Hearing the Bell

Listen, listen, this wonderful sound
brings me back to my true self.

Thusness wrote in Dharma Connection:

"Sometimes I wonder why must the topic frequently oscillate between emptiness and preserving an indestructible essence.

    Perhaps after experiencing the boundless brilliance, the aliveness, we feel deep down we must somehow exist in a true, solid and substantial way. The more we experience our radiance clarity, the more difficult for us to let go. This I understand. Maybe we should channel some bits of our time and energy towards understanding the relationship between compassion and emptiness.

    When watching Garchen Rinpoche movie that Piotr sent me, it seems that to Garchen Rinpoche, nothing matters more than sentient beings. Whether there “is or isn’t” an essence seems to be a non-issue; if there is, he would joyfully and generously sacrifice for the benefits of sentient beings when needed. This is what I gathered from the movie.

    I am beginning to see why Nagarjuna asserted that emptiness is the womb of compassion.

    I am beginning to understand without the awakening of Bodhichitta, there is no true realization of emptiness.

    I am beginning to see why Bodhichitta and wisdom are the causes of Buddhahood.

    May Bodhichitta be awakened in our authentic mindstreams.

    Homage to Bodhichitta."
    February 16 at 6:31pm · Edited · Unlike · 10


I highly recommend this video:

Viorica Doina Neacsu

Because this documentary it is so deeply touching and is presenting such beautiful glimpses of Milapera's wisdom, i thought to make a post with the link for this movie hoping that you will find the time to enjoy watching "The Extraordinary Life of Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche".

Thank you so much Piotr Ludwiński and Marta Wrona for your precious gift!

Watch Documentaries Online | Promote Documentary Film | FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BEINGS, the...

Discovered by a king as the reincarnation of a great Lama. 
 He fought to save his country, defending the Jewel of Tibet. 
 Imprisoned for

Unlike · · Share · February 12 at 11:44pm

    You, Piotr Ludwiński, John Tan, Tan Jui Horng and 6 others like this.


Spontaneous Teaching on the Ten Perfections

June 11, 2013 at 7:51am

When this body dies, my mind has not died.
I will continue to remain, pervading the five elements.

Apart from giving up self-grasping,
there is no other perfection of generosity.

Apart from giving up deception,
there is no other perfection of morality.

Apart from being fearless of the ultimate truth,
there is no other perfection of patience.

Apart from being inseparable from practice,
there is no other perfection of diligence.

Apart from abiding within the natural state,
there is no other perfection of meditative concentraction.

Apart from realizing the nature of mind,
there is no other perfection of wisdom.

Apart from practicing virtue in whatever you do,
there is no other perfection of skillful means.

Apart from defeating the four maras,
there is no other perfection of power.

Apart from giving up afflictions through the power of awareness,
there is no other perfection of primordial awareness.

Son, rest within non-conceptuality.

In non-conceptual Shamatha meditation, there are no thoughts.
However, an absence of thoughts is not desired.

'Rest within non-conceptuality' means that no phenomenon within samsara and nirvana transcends Mahamudra.

Son, when you meditate on Mahamudra do not exert yourself in virtues of body and speech.

Son, do not grasp at the appearance of great signs and qualities.
This is the source of Mara's prophecy.

Son, rest within a state free of hopes.

Son, rest within a state devoid of grasping at being great.
When you realize the nature of mind, have no desire for clairvoyant powers.

When you actually realize the meaning of Mahamudra, you should not cling to the thought,
"Oh, this is Mahamudra... Now I have realized it!"

You must free this fixation.

I supplicate Lord Milarepa, Laughing Vajra.


This heart teaching was given by His Eminence Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche in response to a request for a teaching on the supreme yogi, Milarepa.  It was given to a group of retreatants at the auspicious site of Milarepa's cave in Lapchi, Nepal, in 2007.  Part of this is recorded on video in "For the Benefit of All Beings."

My final translation for some time.

Original text by 'One Thought Traveler'


Self-Form, Common-Form, No-Form, Mind-Form – Understanding these Four Step Dharmas, from Sentient Beings to Buddha

(2012-06-16 06:47:03)


Question: Why does wood have wood-form, fire has fire-form, water... mountains, rivers, the great earth and the ten thousand phenomena each have its own form? Could it be that Buddha sees the world as only “One”?

木自身没有形象,火自身没有形 象,水也自身没有形象,山河大地,一切万物,自身无相,相是众缘合和而有。譬如红花,我们总认为,不看花时,花仍是红的,花还是那种形象,花还是花。事实 上,这是众生的一种坚固妄想!花呈红色,因光、因明、因眼、因识,因众生无始来妄习业力等众缘和合,才有一“红色”。散掉这些因缘,也无红色也无花,甚至 也无看花的人。

Wood itself does not have form, fire itself does not have form, water itself does not have form, mountains, rivers and the great earth, every ten thousand phenomena, in itself is without form, form/appearance is only present due to the aggregation of conditions. For example (with regards to) a red flower, we all think that when we are not looking at the flower, the flower is still red, the flower is of that shape/form, the flower is still a flower. In reality, this is a kind of firmly held delusional thinking of sentient beings! Flower assumes red colour due to light, due to brightness, due to eye, due to consciousness, due to sentient beings' beginningless habits of delusional thinking and karma, and other various conditions coming together, only then is there a “red colour”. When those causes and conditions have scattered away, there is also no red colour and no flower, so much so that there is not even the person that sees the flower.

我们总以为事物是有属性的,事 物的属性归事物自身所有,并且固定不变,并非如此!诸佛经过深思观察,发现一切事物无相,相是心藉一切缘和合而生!世上并无单独的事物存在,一切事物是个 众缘假合,幻化而体,虚妄不实!一切事物并不是它看上去的样子,若能见到事物并不是它看上去的样子,将能看到真理。

We always think that things have attributes, that the attributes of things belong to the things in themselves, and moreover are solid and changeless, but it is not so! All Buddhas having gone through deep contemplation, discovered that all things are without form, form is arising by means of mind and all conditions coming together! The world actually does not have independently existing things, all things are illusory coming together of various conditions, formed via magical change/transformation, are illusory without reality! All things are actually not what they would appear to be, if (one) can see that things are not as they seem, (one) will then be able to see the truth.

譬如山谷里的风声,我们总是以 为,当风走过山谷,即使我们不倾听,那风声也存在,也有一“风声”这样的东西存在!并非如此:风声,因风、因空、因耳、因听、因识、因业等众缘相合才有一 “风声”存在,倘若去除诸缘中任何一缘,将无“风声”这一物。例如,如果没有我们的听和识别,那么风声仅仅是空气的波动,它没有声也没有音。

For example, we always think that (with regards to) the sound of the wind in the valley, when the wind is passing through the valley, even if we did not listen for it, that sound of wind still exists, there still exists such a thing as “sound of wind”! It is actually not so: sound, is due to wind, due to space, due to ears, due to listening, due to consciousness, due to karma etc, many conditions meeting together, only then is there the presence of “sound of wind”, if we removed any one condition from all of those conditions, there shall not be such a phenomena as “sound of wind”. For example, if there were not our listening and conscious-discernment, then the sound of wind would purely be the fluctuation of wind movement, it would not have tone nor sound.

因此,世间一切事物皆无自相; 其相,是以心为因,以诸法为缘,和合而成!我们以为事物有其自身的形象,并固定不变,是我们的坚固妄想。我们有证据:譬如红花,我们以为红花是红的,即使 我们不看时!为什么呢?理由是,我们下次再看时,它还是“红色”。由此我们推知,花朵一直是红的,红色是某一朵花的固定属性。此是妄见,非花实相!

Therefore, every thing in the world are without self-form; its form, is due to mind as cause, due to various phenomena as conditions, formed through their meeting together (of causes and conditions)! We thought that things have their own image, that is fixed without changing, that is our firmly held delusional thinking. We have proof: for example with regards to red flower, we think that red flower is red, even if we do not see it! Why is that so? The reason is because, the next time we see it, it will still be “red”. Henceforth, we infer that flower has always been red, red color is a certain flower's fixed attribute. This is a delusional view, it is not flower's true nature!


Could Buddha have seen the world as “One”? I lift my eyes to gaze at the world: sees that willow is green, sky is blue, many flowers are multicolored, wind is cool, fire is red, water is soft and flexible... all phenomena, looking from its surface, aren't different from what you have seen! However I do know, all dharmas are not real, all dharmas have its name and form, but are all changing magically/illusorily, and are without real substance!

在我的眼中,既有诸法的自相, 也有诸法的共相,但我知道,彼皆无相,一切相是心相。相相如同梦见,都无自性!一切事物没有自相,也没有共相,一切事物是无相的。一切事物是无相的,为什 么看起来又各有形象呢?此是心相,心所赋予。一切事物的形象,是心造就的;心创造眼前事物之形象,与创造梦中之诸物,同等无异。只是众生忘了心最初是怎样 工作的,并坚执分别梦世界和此世界的不同,久而久之便有了对此世界的这种真实错觉。

In my eyes, there is both the dharmas' self-form, and the dharmas' common-form, however I do know that all of those are without form, all forms are mental appearances. All forms are equivalent to dream visions, they are all without self-nature! All things are without self-form, and without common-form, all things are actually without forms. All things are without forms, then, why does it seem to have various forms and shapes? Such is mental appearance, it is conferred upon by the mind. The form of all things are mental creations; the mind creates the forms of what appears before the eyes, it is similar without difference with the creations of objects in dreams. It is only that sentient beings forgot how the mind initially functions, therefore strongly attaches to discriminating the difference between the dream world and this world, and over time there comes to formation such perceptual delusions with regards to this world.


All practitioners, if we understand “self-form, common-form, no-form, mind-form” – these four-step dharmas, we would then be able to (transform from) sentient beings to Buddha. Departing from self-form, leaping from self-form into common-form, this is the Two Vehicles (Hinayana and Pratyekabuddha)'s viewpoint, departing from common-form and understanding all dharmas are empty of form, such as Bodhisattva's viewpoint; due to no-form, realizing that all forms are mental appearances, that is Great Bodhisattva's viewpoint. Understanding that mind is empty; all empty dharmas, return and flow into Buddha! If practitioners can see common-form, (they) can depart from self-form; if (they) can see no-form, then (they) can depart from common-form; if (they) can understand no-form, (they) can understand mind-appearance! Only understanding the first two, that would be the position of commoners; if we further understand the latter two, we enter into the position of sainthood. All fellow practitioners, understand these four dharmas, from sentient beings arrive at Buddha(hood)!

(Loppön Namdrol/Malcolm Smith)

Note: Acarya Malcolm Smith is now both a translator and teacher of Dzogchen (asked to teach Dzogchen by his late teacher Kunzang Dechen Lingpa) and has a sangha. His website is at, so if you are interested, check out that site for future teachings.

Do watch this video my Acarya Malcolm which shows an overview of Dzogchen teachings and practice:

If you wish to attend his teachings, you can send a message to

  • These recent discussions are taken from the Dharmawheel forum. Thanks to Kyle Dixon for sharing this compilation.

    You mean rig pa. Rig pa is also empty, baseless, and not established in anyway at all. The Dzogchen tantras and Longchenpa declare this univocally.
    Retinue of nonexistent superficial appearances, listen!
    There is no separate object in me, the view of self-originated pristine consciousness. Passing away in the past does not exist. Arising in
    the future does not exist. Appearing in the present does not exist in any way. Karma does not exist. Traces do not exist. Ignorance does not exist. Mind does not exist. Intellect does not exist. Wisdom does not exist. Saṃsāra does not exist. Nirvāṇa does not exist. Not even vidyā (rig pa) itself exists. Not even the appearances of pristine consciousness exist. All those arose from a nonexistent apprehender.
    -- Tantra Without Syllables.
    This "nonexistent apprehender," indicates the union of the two truths. Even rig pa is something relative, that is why it is a path dharma, not a result dharma. It vanishes at the time of the result.
    - Acarya Malcolm Smith,


    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    Since this basic awareness cannot be found to have a cause other than itself, and since it has no defining characteristics of its own, and since it cannot be denied, or separated into any kind of 'non-awareness' parts, I would suggest that it is truly existent, non-specific, non-self, synonymous with the meaning of Dharmakaya and the essence of realization.

    Malcolm wrote:
    As I said before, you have a monistic hindu nondual view. Not even dharmakāya is "truly existent".

    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    Well then, refute awareness. I suggest it is "truly existent" meaning I used that phrase) for the reasons I have stated, the way that space is truly existent. not in the "Monistic Hindu" way that you suggest. Such an entity would still be an object of awareness, something which is experienced and not awareness itself. If a "Monistic Hindu" (if there is such a person) wished to label it Mahatama or something, and claim that it is awareness that is his doing, and perhaps yours but it is beside what I am saying.

    However, you may be right that it is in fact not synonymous with Dharmakaya
    if you are saying that Dharmakaya is a composite,
    produced by other causes.

    Malcolm wrote:
    You already did [refute awareness] by claiming it truly existed. There is no such thing as "truly existent". I am not refuting awareness, I am refuting your claim that awareness truly exists. Individual awarenesses exist, just not "truly", they have no original cause because they are all conditioned entities. No conditioned series has an origin. Such is the logic of the Buddha.

    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    Very interesting.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Space is also not "truly existent". Nirvana is not truly existent.

    Read the Heart Sutra again, in case you forgot.


    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    if you are saying that Dharmakaya is a composite,
    produced by other causes.

    Malcolm wrote:
    No, but as a I just said, even uncompounded phenomena — of which Mahāyāna Buddhism recognizes only four: space, the two cessations and emptiness — are not truly existent.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Not even dharmakāya is "truly existent".

    smcj wrote:
    There is not 100% agreement on that.

    Malcolm wrote:
    People who think dharmakāya is truly existent are simply wrong, and suffer from an eternalist bias.

    In reality the three kāyas are also conventions.

    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    I am talking about even the awareness of these four things [space, the two cessations and emptiness].

    Malcolm wrote:
    Yes, I understand. All awarenesses are conditioned. There is no such thing as a universal undifferentiated ultimate awareness in Buddhadharma. Even the omniscience of a Buddha arises from a cause.

    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    isn't this cause, too, an object of awareness? Isn't there awareness of this cause? If awareness of this cause is awareness itself, then isn't this awareness of awareness? What causes awareness of awareness, if not awareness?

    If awareness is the cause of awareness, isn't it its own cause?

    Malcolm wrote:
    Omniscience is the content of a mind freed of afflictions. Even the continuum of a Buddha has a relative ground, i.e. a the rosary or string of moments of clarity is beginingless.

    Origination from self is axiomatically negated in Buddhadharma,

    Each moment in the continuum of a knowing clarity is neither the same as nor different than the previous moment. Hence the cause of a given instant of a knowing clarity cannot be construed to be itself nor can it be construed to be other than itself. This is the only version of causation which, in the final analysis, Buddhadharma can admit to on a relative level. It is the logical consequence of the Buddha's insight, "When this exists, that exists, with the arising of that, this arose."

    PadmaVonSamba wrote:
    I am not referring to cognition, rather, the causes of that cognition.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Cognitions arise based on previous cognitions. That's all.

    If you suggest anything other than this, you wind up in Hindu La la land.

    Malcolm wrote:
    There is no such thing as a universal undifferentiated ultimate awareness in Buddhadharma.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    "In other words, following Khenpo Jikphun (transcript from JLA) :
    « — You have the Base (gzhi) of the natural state. That state has a knowledge (rig pa) which, owing to the dynamism of the state (which is not static), flashes out of the Base."

    Malcolm wrote:
    This occurs because of latent traces of karma and affliction left over from the previous eon, according to a commentary attributed to Garab Dorje on the Single Son of All the Buddhas Tantras.

    So this neutral awareness that rises out of the basis upon the stirring of vāyu in the basis actually has a cause.

    Mere clear vidyā, this mere intermediate realization,
    it is not a buddha, is not a sentient beings,
    neutral, dependent on both conditions.
    For example, it is like a stainless crystal ball,
    which can produce fire or water through the condition of the sun or the moon.
    Likewise, vidyā, the essence of the mind,
    arises as the suffering of samsara or the bliss of nirvana through conditions."

    The Three Kāyas Tantra from the Ka dag rang shar

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    how could the basis be subject to karma and afflictions?

    Malcolm wrote:
    The basis does not have a cause, just like space does not have a cause. But it is a repository for the build up of traces nevertheless.

    'The way samsara arose at first is, when the trio of vāyu, vidyā and space arose from the undifferentiated basis, since vidyā was unstable because of isolation, and engaged in self-delusion, panicked at sound, frightened of the light, and fainted at the light and was covered by ignorance. After it engages in self-delusion, the duality of outer objects and inner mind arises. The mere thought of self arising from other, and other arising from self, disturbed the karmavāyus. Mind is built up by the vāyu, the analytical mind analyzes objects. The self-deluded awareness demarcated sensation and since it did not recognize it own appearances, apparent objects were apprehended as a duality. Since that accumulated traces of karma, a physical body was appropriated and the suffering of delusion is uninterrupted. For example, sentient being formed out of ignorance are like being stuck pitch dark.'

    The Clear Lamp from the Ka dag rang shar

    The whole process is clearly personal and individual, not transpersonal.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    It could only be a repository if it was reified. The basis is said to have/be "rang byung ye shes", and is equated with rigpa in many texts. are these not cognitive terms?

    Malcolm wrote:
    Space is a repository for all things, one does not have to reify space to understand that.

    "Rang byung ye shes" means "wisdom that arises from oneself". This point is very clearly explained in many places.

    In any event, we can consider that the Vima Nyinthig commentary attributed to Garab Dorje authoritative:

    "From now on, the stirred pit of samsara will not appear as the six kinds of living beings. for twenty thousand eons, sentient beings, having severed the stream of samsara, will not appear with a bodily form. After that, from the arising of the subtle latent defilements of different actions, it will be equivalent with the production of the previous samsara and nirvana"

    Thus we find out that all this business about the basis and so on is really just a way to talk about what happens in the so called dark eons, when everything below the third and fourth rūpadhātu are held to disappear, even though the origin of the basis is often couched in terms to place in an unimaginable primeval beginning.

    Its a Buddhist way to try to talk about origins without talking about origins. "I can't find where it started so I am going to call it 'self-originated'." But if someone thinks it is pointing to some transcendental uber consciousness, well, if that is what someone thinks, I think someone doesn't really understand Dzogchen at all. If someone things the basis is consciousness, or some cognitive or noetic principle, they have understood nothing.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    Then what does it ['Rang byung ye shes' meaning 'wisdom that arises from oneself'] mean as an attribute of the basis?

    The basis is not space.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Nyibum* states:

    As such, because the basis, one’s unfabricated mind, arose as the essence of reality of a single nature, there is no need to search elsewhere for the place etc., i.e. it is called self-originated wisdom.

    The basis is nothing more nor nothing less this.

    *the son of Zhang stong Chobar, the terton of the Vima Nyinthig

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    I'm glad you took out the part where you said the basis is nothing but alaya!

    as to the quote, the basis does not "arise", it is the basis of arising. I'm also not sure I like equating one's mind, unfabricated or not, with the basis: one's mind is clearly an appearance, not the basis.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Sorry but the term ālaya in Dzogchen and term as it is used, for example in Sakya, are completely different.

    The term basis in Dzogchen (sthāna) and the term ālaya in Lamdre for example, have precisely the same meaning, i.e. one’s unfabricated mind (rang sems ma bcos pa).

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    whats an "unfabricated mind" anyway? awareness without the prapanca?

    Malcolm wrote:
    Yes, I believe so. So basically, all that fancy Dzogchen lingo about the basis and so on is really just talking about a mind stream that is proposed to have a primordial start point which is completely free of proliferation.

    We can trust Nyibum about this because his father invented/revealed the Nyinthig tradition and he himself was a great scholar who studied widely.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    I dunno Malcolm, the basis is more like the backdrop against which any appearances appear, including any consciousness. Also, what sense would it make to say "rigpa is one's knowledge of the basis" if that basis was one's own continuum? the basis is pure no-thing as abgrund of all phenomena. Consciousness is always a phenomenon.

    Malcolm wrote:
    I prefer to put my faith in the guy whose father started the whole Nyinthig thing.And what is says is verified in many Dzogchen tantras, both from the bodhcitta texts as well as others.

    The basis is not a backdrop. Everything is not separate from the basis. But that everything just means your own skandhas, dhātus and āyatanas. There is no basis outside your mind, just as there is no Buddhahood outside of your mind.

    [Quoting gad rgyangs: Consciousness is always a phenomenon.] So is the basis. They are both dharmas.

    Or as the Great Garuda has it when refuting Madhyamaka:

    Since phenomena and nonphenomena have always been merged and are inseparable,
    there is no further need to explain an “ultimate phenomenon”.

    An 12th century commentary on this text states (but not this passage):

    Amazing bodhicitta (the identity of everything that becomes the basis of pursuing the meaning that cannot be seen nor realized elsewhere than one’s vidyā) is wholly the wisdom of the mind distinct as the nine consciousnesses that lack a nature.

    In the end, Dzogchen is really just another Buddhist meditative phenomenology of the mind and person and that is all.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    Then why speak of a basis at all? just speak of skandhas, dhātus and āyatanas, and be done with it.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Because these things are regarded as afflictive, whereas Dzogchen is trying to describe the person in his or her originally nonafflictive condition. It really is just that simple. The so called general basis is a universal derived from the particulars of persons. That is why it is often mistaken for a transpersonal entity. But Dzogchen, especially man ngag sde is very grounded in Buddhist Logic, and one should know that by definition universals are considered to be abstractions and non-existents in Buddhism, and Dzogchen is no exception.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    There is no question of the basis being an entity, thats not the point. Rigpa is precisely what it says in the yeshe sangthal: instant presence experienced against/within the "backdrop" (metaphor) of a "vast dimension of emptiness" (metaphor).

    Malcolm wrote:
    It's your own rigpa, not a transpersonal rigpa, being a function of your own mind. That mind is empty.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    When all appearances cease, what are you left with?

    Malcolm wrote:
    They never cease....

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    In the yeshe sangthal you dissolve all appearances into the "vast dimension of emptiness", out of which "instant presence" arises. This is cosmological as well as personal, since the two scales are nondual.

    rigpa is ontological not epistemic: its not about some state of consciousness before dualism vision, it is about the basis/abgrund of all possible appearances, including our consciousness in whatever state its in or could ever be in.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Sorry, I just don't agree with you and think you are just falling in the Hindu brahman trap.

    Sherlock wrote:
    Isn't the difference between transpersonal and personal also a form of dualism?

    Malcolm wrote:
    The distinction is crucial. If this distinction is not made, Dzogchen sounds like Vedanta.

    Malcolm wrote:
    [Quoting gad rgyangs: in the yeshe sangthal you dissolve all appearances into the "vast dimension of emptiness", out of which "instant presence" arises. This is cosmological as well as personal, since the two scales are nondual.]

    'The way that great transference body arises:
    when all appearances have gradually been exhausted,
    when one focuses one’s awareness on the appearances strewn about
    on the luminous maṇḍala of the five fingers of one’s hand,
    the environment and inhabitants of the universe
    returning from that appearance are perceived as like moon in the water.
    One’s body is just a reflection,
    self-apparent as the illusory body of wisdom;
    one obtains a vajra-like body.
    One sees one’s body as transparent inside and out.
    The impure eyes of others cannot see one’s body as transparent,
    but only the body as it was before...'

    Shabkar, Key to One Hundred Doors of Samadhi

    Outer appearances do not disappear even when great transference body is attained. What disappears are the inner visions, that is what is exhausted, not the outer universe with its planets, stars, galaxies, mountains, oceans, cliffs, houses, people and sentient beings.


    gad rgyangs wrote:
    I'm talking about the perception of the relationship between nothing and something. The question of what jargon to use when talking around it is secondary, although not without historical interest.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Rigpa is just knowing, the noetic quality of a mind. That is all it is.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Omniscience is the content of a mind freed of afflictions. Even the continuum of a Buddha has a relative ground, i.e. a the rosary or string of moments of clarity is beginingless.

    Origination from self is axiomatically negated in Buddhadharma,

    Each moment in the continuum of a knowing clarity is neither the same as nor different than the previous moment. Hence the cause of a given instant of a knowing clarity cannot be construed to be itself nor can it be construed to be other than itself. This is the only version of causation which, in the final analysis, Buddhadharma can admit to on a relative level. It is the logical consequence of the Buddha's insight, "When this exists, that exists, with the arising of that, this arose."

    dzogchungpa wrote:
    Honestly, this doesn't make any sense to me.

    Malcolm wrote:
    It is pretty straight forward Madhyamaka. If a cause exists at the same time as the effect, the effect is a non-effect, like a seed and its sprout existing at the same time. On the other hand if causes and effects are temporally separate, i.e. of the cause exists at a different time than the effect, the cause will amount to a non-cause and the effect, a non-effect. If the cause is the same as the effect, the cause will be a non-cause and the effect will be a non-effect. If they are different, then also cause will be a non-cause and the effect will be a non-effect.

    Therefore, what Candrakirti proposes, following Nāgārjuna, is that causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different, and that they are not simultaneous nor are they temporally distinct.

    dzogchungpa wrote:
    This I understand.

    [Quoting Malcolm: Therefore, what Candrakirti proposes, following Nāgārjuna, is that causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different, and that they are not simultaneous nor are they temporally distinct.]

    This I don't.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Sure you do. We have shown that the standard accounts of cause and effect, that they are temporally distinct, or that they are identical of different, are incoherent, from a Madhyamaka point of view. But since effects do appear to arise from causes, given that all of the above is true, this leaves only one option, that causes and their effects are neither the same nor are they different, for example, butter and milk, etc.

    dzogchungpa wrote:
    OK, now it all makes sense.

    dzogchungpa wrote:
    Can you say a little more about what you mean by a primordial start point?

    Malcolm wrote:
    It doesn't really mean anything. The continuum of a mind has no beginning. What is being proposed in (some) Dzogchen texts is that at some idealized point in the most distant past beyond our imagination there was a time when our mind was in a state of non-fabrication. At that time this non-fabricated mind, aka the basis, was not aware of itself or anything else but contains within it all the qualities of buddhahood. Then somehow, and it is never really explained how, our own mind's cognitive potentiality [rtsal] stirs and rises up ['phags] out of itself giving rise to neutral awareness that either becomes prajñā or ignorance depending on whether it recognizes its own potentiality or not. This kicks off the division between samsara and nirvana. It is completely personal and is not transpersonal at all. But unfortunately, because Dzogchen texts are not very clear about this, the account of the basis tends to be interpreted transpersonally, most likely due to the proliferation of Advaita.

    It is my deeply held conviction that this transpersonal account which is favored by many people is a total misunderstanding based on reading these texts in Tibetan for the past 20 years and receiving detailed teachings on them from a variety of very qualified masters .

  • cloudburst wrote: [Quoting Malcolm: As I said the basis is just your own mind.]
    [Quoting Malcolm: The gzhi, in Dzogchen, has nothing to do with the mind.]

    HI Malcolm

    Could you give a brief account of how your view has changed on this matter? It's somewhat striking.

    Thank you.

    Malcolm wrote: It is simple: the basis has nothing to do with afflicted mind, the one we ordinarily experience.The two statements may be reconciled in the following way.

    The basis is simply a way of talking about the components of the universe — earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness — from the point of view their luminous intrinsic purity. A way of saying this in Tibetan in Dzogchen terms would be ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་རང་བཞིན་གྱིས་ཀ་དག་དང་ལྷུན་གྲབ (all phenomena are pure and naturally perfect by nature); a gsar ma equivalent presentation might run ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་རང་བཞིན་གྱིས་དག་པ་དང་འོད་གསལ་བ (all phenomena are pure and luminous by nature).

    The Kalacakra tantra makes a very important point about this, as Tagtshang Lotsawa points out in his survey of the Vimalaprabha:

    Great bliss and empty forms [śunyatābimba, stong gzugs] are shown to exist in the basis with this wisdom element of the basis [gzhi] because Bhagavan Vajsattva Mahāsukha explains that all three realms exist in oneself in the commentary of the third verse of this [adhyātma] chapter, and it is established through the citation of the root text and commentary of “wisdom merged into emptiness”.
    What is this wisdom? He again clarifies:

    Bearing the name “wisdom”, this consciousness that exists pervading the bodies of all sentient beings is merged into that emptiness which pervades all sentient beings, including the sentient beings of the bardo and the formless realm. This is taught in the commentary as existing through a relative mode.

    In Kalacakra, for example, the wisdom element is considered to be the five elements counted as one. Tatshang again:

    As such, from among the ten elements, the first five are enumerated individually, i.e., the elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. Counting the latter five as one, since they are made into one so called “wisdom element”, these six elements form this womb-born body.

    The fact that points towards the same meaning as the basis in Dzogchen is provided by him here:

    This statement of the root text “Wisdom is merged into emptiness, uniform taste, unchanging, and permanent” is intended for the mind of the apprehending subject that apprehends the object of the empty form established through the power of meditating on the main [devatā]. Here, the meaning of uniform taste, unchanging and permanent are though to be “complete in perfection.” Further, the meaning of permanent is said to be freedom from obscurations. That also intends intrinsically lacking obscuration or without the obscurations of movements. Though there is nothing to identify here in inseparable uniform taste, while produced conditionally, the intention is that the apprehended object and the apprehending subject have a single essence, and that a transforming continuum is not possible.

    This is an extremely important point and demonstrates why the body of light is possible through either Dzogchen thögal or the path of the two stages.

    Now, someone might object that it is inappropriate to cite the Kalacakra to clarify points in Dzogchen tantras, but then if this is so, then all great masters from Nubchen on down to Dudjom Rinpoche are at fault for using such tantras as the Mañjuśrīnamasamgiti to clarify Dzogchen.

    Now, I am just a scholar, sharing with those who are interested my research. For many people it is annoying that I change my opinions, but I only have opinions based on what I know. Since I am not an enlightened person I can only understand what is said in the texts along with my own experience. Therefore, when my learning contradicts my earlier opinions, I change the latter immediately as soon as I have confirmed them mistaken. Such is the only honest path of real scholarship. Since I am not a person who can just accept what is told to me, my path is a bit more brutal and hard than most. But I consider that I am like a goldsmith, and it would be remiss of me not to rigorously test these texts that appear to shine like gold to see if they really are gold, merely gold-plated or fool's gold.

    gad rgyangs wrote:you are forgetting that at the level of the basis there is no distinction between personal and universal. If you want to call the basis a quality shared by everything that arises you have merely coopted the term ususally used for the origin/ground of everything that arises and now you need a new term for that. unless of course you want to reify indivduals as independent monads of some sort, which is basically svabhava.

    Malcolm wrote:
    Defining the basis as a sort of fabric out of which appearances arise does not solve the problem of individuated consciousnesses.

    What is the basis in fact? The Dzogchen tantras describe this as "wisdom". This wisdom is said to have three aspects [rnam pa], original purity, its svabhāva; natural perfection, its prakṛiti; and compassion, the inseparability of the first two.

    Even discussing wisdom as a the basis, even a nonsubstantiated basis as in Dzogchen does not make sense if that wisdom is not describing a noetic entity. Simplistic solutions like refusing to define it as one or many simply raise more questions than they answer.

    There are two propositions:

    B1, the basis as a transpersonal field out of which everything in samsara and nirvana is instantiated through its non-recognition.

    B2 the basis is meant only to apply to any given sentient beings. Since this applies to all sentient being, here the basis is like fire, fire as light and heat as a quality, every instantiation of fire has light and heat. Likewise, every sentient beings shares common characteristics because they are sentient, they have consciousness.

    Dante, your position is B1, and while I can understand how people are lead to accept B1 as the message of Dzogchen teachings, it is an exaggeration in my estimation.

    Instead, I think B2 is the more proper understanding, based for example on Nyibum's remark that the basis is one's unfabricated mind. This is an authoritative citation that must be addressed and heeded. For example, the Mind Mirror of Vajrasattva states:

    That is one’s own basis but it was not recognized by oneself. The samsaric three realms are formed through delusion. 
Then, after the afflictions become more coarse, different forms of sentient beings emerge, deluded from the basis in that way.”

    This just means that each and every sentient being is deluded from their own basis; even though the basis is described in generic terms, it is not the case that all sentient beings ultimate share one basis. The basis is uniform in its nature, if you will, among all instantiations of sentient beings but each and every sentient being's basis is unique to that being. Since the Dzogchen tantras do describe wisdom as being a repository for traces, again we can try to explain this through B1 or B2.

    In the B1 scenario, the basis would have to like a bank, where different people placed their traces, kind of like samsara accounts.

    A B2 scenario is much simpler, since it is only means that since sentient beings did not recognize their own unfabricated minds, then they begin to develop the traces of action that produce our common karmic visions of the six realms. This is certainly the intent of Shabkar when he writes:

    Therefore, since appearances are not fixed,
    whatever appears [appears] because of the power of traces.


    Therefore, everything is an appearance of the mind.
    Since everything is created by the concepts of the mind,
    in reality, all of the appearances of the mind are empty.

    More importantly Shabkar states:

    Self-originated primordial wisdom appearing as vidyā is also the mind...
    There are no appearances at all apart from the mind.


    This is the introduction that confirms the basis,
    the natural reality of the mind essence.

    Compare these last two with Nyibum:

    As such, because the basis, one’s unfabricated mind, arose as the essence of the sole reality, there is no need to search elsewhere for the place etc., i.e. it is called self-originated wisdom.
    (Apologies for the last version, which was from an earlier unedited version by mistake)

    My present position therefore, is B2, the basis is just the way a sentient being's consciousness [shes pa rather than rnam par shes pa] or mind [sems, citta] is talked about in Dzogchen texts prior to being afflicted for all the reasons I mentioned earlier.


    gad rgyangs wrote:
    Malcolm wrote:B1, the basis as a transpersonal field out of which everything in samsara and nirvana is instantiated through its non-recognition.

    the basis is not a field. its not an any-thing.

    Malcolm wrote:
    This is a faulty presentation of the basis, one of the six faulty positions about the basis described in the Six Dimensions of Samantabhadra Tantra, as well as others.

    gad rgyangs wrote: thats why it cannot contain traces, it would have to be some kind of existent locus for that.

    asunthatneversets wrote:

    Here are the sixfold faulty definitions of the basis [gzhi] from The Six Dimensions of Samantabhadra in case anyone is interested. Compiled from David Germano's and Tsele Natsok Rangdrol's translations of this section:

    There are two types of understanding in reference to the basis [gzhi]:

    (a) The basis as an object of knowledge held to be absolute.
    (b) The basis as original purity [ka dag].

    (a) The Basis as an Object of Knowledge held to be Absolute:

    It has six aspects (all of which are inaccurate).

    (i) The belief that the basis is spontaneously present.
    (ii) The belief that the basis is indefinite.
    (iii) The belief that it is the definite and determinate foundation.
    (iv) The belief that it is totally changeable.
    (v) The belief that it can be said to be anything whatsoever.
    (vi) The belief that it is multifaceted with various aspects.

    These six aspects are faulty beliefs. They are partial and biased and should not be accepted in this context as the true basis. Through them you would have no more than a partial understanding of the natural state.

    The following is the seventh understanding of the basis which is held to be the single accurate view.

    (b) The basis as original purity [ka dag]:

    (vii) Original purity [ka dag].

    Malcolm wrote:

    Wisdom is suitable as a basis for traces, or so the Dzogchen texts tell us.

    Malcolm wrote: Even discussing wisdom as a the basis, even a nonsubstantiated basis as in Dzogchen does not make sense if that wisdom is not describing a noetic entity.

    gad rgyangs wrote: then what is that wisdom?

    Malcolm wrote:

    A mind lacking fabrications.

    Malcolm wrote: the basis is just the way a sentient being's consciousness [shes pa rather than rnam par shes pa] or mind [sems, citta] is talked about in Dzogchen texts prior to being afflicted for all the reasons I mentioned earlier.

    gad rgyangs wrote: ok, then whats the basis of that consciousness?

    Malcolm wrote:Ka dag or emptiness, the correct description of the basis according the the man ngag sde texts. But as pointed out in these same texts, the basis is not merely emptiness. It also has "wisdom" (ye shes), which is a kind of shes pa or sems, a primordial or pristine consciousness, as opposed to a rnam shes, an aspected consciousness that possesses concepts.

    Basically, even though Dzogchen texts describe such a "beginning time", I personally don't believe that there is a start point ever. The description of such a start point is merely a literary device, much as Samantabhadra is a literary device.

    The five elements are also included in wisdom, etc., so there is no contradiction between saying that the basis is wisdom, and the basis is empty. The problem comes only if one imagines that basis is somehow a unitary entity, a fabric, which provides the basis for the arising of sentient beings and buddhas on an objective level. But if, as I have come to understand, it is not referring to an objective entity or context, then the basis is easily described as a a set of general features which every noetic entity that we call "buddhas" or "sentient being" shares in common as an idealized "initial" set of conditions. The only difference between buddhas and sentient beings then is the extent to which they recognize this set of general features within their own continuums. Hence in this respect the so called original general basis merely describes an abstract set of qualities, but is not itself an instantiation of those qualities in any way. Those qualities are only instantiated in a sattva, a being. In this way the basis is not one, because it is instantiated individually; it is not many because it is a uniform set of qualities that are being instantiated across all beings.

    This way, the general Buddhist dictum which extends all the way down to Vasubandhu's Kośabhaṣ (and clearly the authors of the Dzogchen tantras were familiar with it because they use the Kośa cosmology in such tantras as the Rigpa Rangshar), matter arises from mind/s. I.e. the order of the arising of matter presented in virtually all buddhist texts is:

    Consciousness --> space --> air --> fire --> water --> earth.

    In Dzogchen texts we see an analogous sequence: wisdom --> blue light --> green light --> red light --> white light -- yellow light; which when reified becomes the standard Buddhist sequence above. The only difference between the two sequences is that the former sequence occurs when the latter sequence is not recognized for being what it is, the display of a given being's own noetic capacity.
    ConradTree wrote:
    Malcolm wrote:[Instead, I think B2 is the more proper understanding, based for example on Nyibum's remark that the basis is one's unfabricated mind. This is an authoritative citation that must be addressed and heeded. For example, the Mind Mirror of Vajrasattva states:


    You have previously argued the basis of Dzogchen is not even the unfabricated mind:

    Malcolm wrote:

    Yes, and I was also wrong.

    Malcolm wrote:But as pointed out in these same texts, the basis is not merely emptiness. It also has "wisdom" (ye shes), which is a kind of shes pa or sems, a primordial or pristine consciousness, as opposed to a rnam shes, an aspected consciousness that possesses concepts.

    Yes this is called Advaita Vedanta.

    Malcolm wrote:

    No, since this ye shes is personal, never transpersonal, and at the time of the basis, is merely describing the mind (shes pa, sems) in a pre-afflictive state.

    Malcolm wrote:In Dzogchen texts we see an analogous sequence: wisdom --> blue light --> green light --> red light --> white light -- yellow light; which when reified becomes the standard Buddhist sequence above. The only difference between the two sequences is that the former sequence occurs when the latter sequence is not recognized for being what it is, the display of a given being's own noetic capacity.
    ConradTree wrote:

    If you are defining wisdom as pristine consciousness, then this a slight twist on Advaita Vedanta.
    Malcolm wrote:

    Tibetans translate jñāna as ye shes. That term "ye shes "is frequently translated as "pristine awareness" or "primordial wisdom", etc. I am saying that Dzogchen authors take this term very literally (a literalism criticized by people like Sakya Pandita) because they are taking this mode of shes pa (jñatā, jñānatā, parijñāna, etc.), which they describe as ye shes to mean that the original state (ye nas) of the mind (shes pa) is pre-afflictive, and Dzogchen is the path to recover that primordial state.

    I am not saying that this consciousness is a universal plenum, like brahman, from which all beings arise; that is exactly the mistake I think most people fall into when studying Dzogchen, i.e. they wind up falling into an unintentional brahman trap.

    Thus what I am saying is the basis is personal, not universal. Each's being has their own basis since they each have their own mind, the characteristics of the basis (essence, nature and compassion) are general, and apply to all minds, just as all candles on a table are separate and unique, but all flames on those candles bear the same qualities, heat and light.

    The fault that I suffered from was not seeing the fact that "rnam shes" (vijñāna), "shes rab" (prajñā), "ye shes" (jñāna), "shes pa"(jñatā) are all talking about one thing, different modalities of a single continuum from sentient being hood to Buddhahood, based on language in man ngag sde texts, reinforced very strongly by Longchenpa, which make a very hard distinction between sems (citta) and yeshe (jñāna) without recognizing the distinction is not in substance, but merely in mode i.e. afflicted/non-afflicted.

    Let me add, that the way I see it now is that "rnam shes", consciousness, refers to the afflicted mind, "ye shes" refers to the unafflicted mind; and "shes pa" refers the a mind which is neutral, that can go either way depending on whether it is under the influence of vidyā or avidyā.

    Really, I am not saying anything that is terribly controversial. I am recognizing that I was mislead by a distinction made by Longchenpa and others who, for didactic reasons, make a hard distinction between mind/consciousness and wisdom when what they are really doing is making a hard distinction between utterly afflicted minds and utterly pure minds, and providing a literary mythology (the universe arises out of the basis) to explain the separation of sentient beings and buddhas.

    I have similarly come to the conclusion that the account of the basis arising out of the basis and the separation of samsara and nirvana at some imagined start point unimaginable eons ago is just a literary myth, and it does not need to be taken literally.

    dzogchungpa wrote:
    Malcolm wrote:ka dag = śuddha
    lhun grub =anābhoga/nirābhoga
    thugs rje = karuna.

    OK, then why do 'karuna' and 'abheda' have the same meaning here, if that is what you are saying?
    Malcolm wrote:

    No, thugs rjes is often defined as the inseparability of ka dag and lhun grub.

    Ngo bo/svabhāva, i.e. emptiness is the characteristic of ka dag/śuddha
    Rang bzhin/prakṛtī, i.e. clarity, is the characteristic of lhun grub/ anābhoga
    Thugs rjes/karuna, i.e. compassion, is the characteristic inseparability/abheda of the former pair.

    ConradTree wrote:
    Someone who finishes the dzogchen menngagde practices, sees the 5 lights everywhere they look.

    Not pristine unfabricated mind.
    Malcolm wrote:

    They are the same thing.

    And no, I was slightly mistaken before.

    The reason people see the five lights everywhere they look is that they no longer have traces to reify the five elements as the five elements because their consciousness has become free of all traces of the two obscurations, i.e. with those removed, what remains is wisdom.

    Of course, there is nothing substantial that is ever removed, from such a mind.

    Then we gave this from the Rig pa rang shar:

    Son of a good family, one must recognize the awareness [shes pa] free from grasping as one’s own state.

    Or the Rang grol:

    A vidyā that performs actions does not exist
    in the essence of pure awareness.

    Or the Mind Mirror of Samantabhadra has an interlinear note:

    The nature of one’s vidyā is light. Since kāyas are the gathered in the sphere of wisdom, the meaning of the view of Samantabhadra is realized. Further, there is vidyā and the wisdom that arises from vidyā. Further, vidyā that is free from extremes and beyond multiplicity does not transcend awareness (shes pa) and knowing (rig), endowed with a core of empty wisdom free from the extremes of things.

    The Sun and Moon Tantra states:

    At that time, that fortunate one
    when the appearances are self-evident,
    the non-abiding awareness is called “natural”.

    Anyway, there are too many references in various Dzogchen texts which state quite clearly that the basis is just one's mind. This is consistent with Buddhadharma. Other explanations are not.

    ConradTree wrote:
    Malcolm wrote:The reason people see the five lights everywhere they look

    Stop right there. No need to go further.

    This indicates the basis is the 5 lights.


    Old Malcolm wins over new Malcolm.

    Malcolm wrote:

    The basis is not the five lights. The five lights are expressions of wisdom.

    Those all just exist in one's mind, as Shabkar point out.

    The basis is not something separate from you the person, and it is not some uniform transpersonal field. It is just your own mind and it's essence.

    By the way I never thought the basis was a transpersonal field. But have become aware that many people interpret is as such, and therefore, I writing to correct this misapprehension.

    In other words, Dzogchen teachings about the basis are actually "disappointingly" Buddhist and not so radical after all.

    smcj wrote:the basis" is not simply your own mind (which would be what is usually called a Yogacaran interpretation)

    Malcolm wrote:
    The ālaya cause continuum (Sakya), the fundamental mind of luminosity (Gelug), "ground mahāmudra" (Kagyu) or the "basis" (Nyingma) all refer to the same thing, i.e., one's unfabricated mind. There is no contradiction between these positions and a position that holds that the basis is tathāgatagarbha. All of these are merely different ways of discussing tathāgatagarbha.


    smcj wrote:
    Malcolm wrote:
    smcj wrote:the basis" is not simply your own mind (which would be what is usually called a Yogacaran interpretation)
    It is called Wisdom (Skt.: jnana) and also the dharmata. It is the essential reality of all things. It is said to be truly existent and not self-empty. As such it offends the sensibilities of people that get hysterical when the specter of brahman shows itself.

    Malcolm wrote:

    As I already pointed out, wisdom is a noetic quality. It cannot be a noetic quality separate from our mind. It cannot be a singular noetic quality pervading all minds.

    When the "mind" is completely purified of all taints, it is called "wisdom" (jñāna) When it is with taints it is called consciousness (vijñāna).

    If we follow what you are saying, there is no hope at all of finding Buddhahood within our own minds, since buddhahood and wisdom would be extraneous to our continuums. If we are to find buddhahood within our own minds, as hundreds of texts recommend, then we have to discover that buddhahood in the essence of our own minds. That is not transpersonal.

    Even gzhan stong does not presuppose a brahman like entity. They are merely stating that the three kāyas are the inherent in the nature of the mind. For example, Dolbupa, arguable the founder of gshan stong terms the tathāgatagarbhe the ālaya, the all-basis. He says too, [Hopkins, 2006, pg. 65] "Similarly the Glorious Hevajra Tantra also says that the natural clear light mind that resides in all sentient beings is buddha..." And on page 106 he says "

    ...Bhavya's "Lamp for (Nāgājruna's) Wisdom" if the middle way:
    It consciousness,
    clear light, nirvana,
    All-emptiness, and body of attrubutes.

    [The term] "consciousness" on this occasion is in consideration of the consciousness of the noumenon and pure consciousness because it is used as a synonym for the clearly body of attributes."

    On 120 he says:

    If the matrix-of-the-one-gone-bliss did not exist in fact, it would incur the irreversible fallacy of contradicting the statement in the Descent to Lankā Sūtra that the mind beyond logic, the essence of the ultimate 12 grounds, natural clear light, buddha-matrix, natural virtue, basis free from all positions, final source of refuge, and exalted buddha wisdom is the matrix-of-one-gone-bliss.

    So you can see, the term below "one's unfabricated mind" has exactly the same meaning and for this reason I maintain that the view of the basis proposed in Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, Nyingma and Jonang are the same, even though they describe it differently, from different angles and with different terminology. The meaning and the subject of discussion however is the same.

    As such, because the basis, one’s unfabricated mind, arose as the essence of the sole reality, there is no need to search elsewhere for the place etc., i.e. it is called self-originated wisdom.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    3) the appearances of the basis consist of all phenomena of samsara and nirvana, including "sentient beings" and their "minds":

    Malcolm wrote:

    The tantra is describing the basis in abstract general terms, not as an instantiated entity which has a function. Therefore, the basis is not transpersonal in manner in which you have previously suggested.

    The "Illuminating Lamp" says:

    "From within this indeterminate spontaneous presence
    There is a manifestation-process of varied plurality,
    And its unceasing play accomplishes everything and anything,
    As it shines forth everywhere in any way;
    In its indeterminancy, there is a plurality of appearances"

    so yes, the basis of the mind of a sentient being is the same basis as the basis of all phenomena of samsara and nirvana: the basis beyond all words and categories.

    Nyibum who is an authority on this subject, could not be clearer. The basis is just one's unfabricated mind. That is the basis for all samsara and nirvana. In Sakya it is called the all-basis cause continuum, in Kagyu, ground mahāmudra, in Gelug, the mind of clear light and in Jonang, tathāgatagarbha.

    gad rgyangs wrote:
    3) the appearances of the basis consist of all phenomena of samsara and nirvana, including "sentient beings" and their "minds":

    Malcolm wrote:

    "All phenomena" simply means one skandha, one āyatana and one dhātu e.g. rūpaskandha, mano-āyatana and the dharmadhātu.

    And as I pointed, even the container universe arises from consciousnesses according to Buddhism through their collective activity. Dzogchen is just another way of describing this insight which is found even in Abhidharma (of which Dzogchen is a self-described part).


    "I would not put it this way because it make it seems like the five elements are extraneous to wisdom. They are not. The nature of the five elements is wisdom. It is like the front and back of one's hand. You only have one hand, but it appears differently based on perceiving its front or its back. As Magnus implies, it is when we rectify our perception of the elements that they then appear as wisdom.


    Also the cause of ignorance is the wisdom of the basis itself. So vidyā becomes avidyā, lights become elements, and so forth simply due to our ingrained traces of ignorance built up over countless lifetimes.


    In order to reveal the wisdom light that is the empty substance of the universe and living beings, we have to purify our perception of our personal elements. This is done through togal or klong sde practice."


    "The elements are wisdom, they simply are not recognized as such. There is a Bon logic text, very nice, that proves appearances are dharmakāya. The objection is raised, if appearances are dharmakāya why isn't everyone liberated instantly? The answer is that those who recognize appearances as dharmakāya are liberated instantly since instant liberation is as desiderata. Those who are not liberated instantly are those who have not recognized appearances as dharmakāya.


    Upon what does recognition of appearances as dharmakāya depend? Introduction. Without having been introduced to appearances as dharmakāya, one will not recognize appearances as dharmakāya, just as if one has been sent into a crowd to find a person one has not met, even when one sees them face to face they are not recognized.


    So the elements are wisdom. Vidyā and avidyā is the deciding factor in recognition. That recognition depends on an introduction, just as our recognition of a face in the crowd depends upon whether we have been introduced to that face or not."


    At this point, we are not doing an electronic edition.

    The very short explanation is, according to the upadesha class tantras such as the root tantra of Dzogchen, sgra thal gyur, that there is a neutral awareness [shes pa] that arises out of the basis because of a stirring of vāyu [rlung], sometimes mistranslated as prāṇa (prāṇa is a vāyu). Because there is a movement, accompanied by sound [sgra], lights ['od] and rays [zer]*, there are appearances that arise out of the basis. When these appearances are recognized as one's own state, this recognition is what is called "rig pa", it is also given the name "shes rab" or prājña. When these appearances are not recognized as one's own state, this is called "ma rig pa", avidyā.

    It is for this reason, for example, that the famous Aspiration of Buddha Samantabhadra begins:
    All of the universe and beings, samsara and nirvana
    have one basis. The two paths and two results
    are the enchantments of knowledge [rig pa] and ignorance [ma rig pa].
    The two paths are the path to buddhahood, which is based on rig pa; and the path of the six realms which is based on ma rig pa.

    Futher, we can see that vidyā, rig pa comes from the basis, but it is not the basis:
    Vidyā self-originates from that basis itself
    without bearing the faults of external and internal reification,
    free from the tainted darkness of amnesia,
    therefore, it self-appears unaffected by faults.
    Rig pa self originates from the basis because rig pa is just the recognition of the basis as one's own state itself. It self-originates because you did not receive this knowledge from someone else, you must recognize it in a direct perception called the direct perception of dharmatā, your real nature. The so-called "direct introduction" is mere a method to introduce you to "your own face." This is one reason why the metaphor of the mirror is so important in Dzogchen teachings. This rig pa, this true knowledge of one's own state, is therefore unaffected by subject and object dualism; is free from non-recollection, because once you have this unmistaken knowledge, i.e., vidyā, you will never forget it, and therefore, vidyā is unaffected by any faults whatsoever.

    However western translators may translate these terms, what they mean in Tibetan is very precise, and between Chos and Bon, have exactly the same meaning.

    You can see again in this following passage that shes pa, awareness, and knowledge, rig pa, vidyā, are used in two different ways:
    One’s vidyā [rig pa, knowledge of the basis] abides in a pristine state,
    not terrified by the terrors of the three realms,
    not attached to sensuous qualities.
    Physical form and color do not exist
    in self-originated nonconceptual awareness [shes pa].
    One's vidya, rigpa, knowledge, abides in a pristine state because there are no physical forms and colors in consciousness; rig pa is the knowledge that the appearances of the five lights and so on in one's fundamental unfabricated consciousness are not substantial or real. They are merely the energy of the basis, from which that awareness is inseparable.

    When this knowledge does not arise, then as the Aspiration of Samantbhadra states:
    First, since vidyā/rig pa did not arise in the basis
    deluded sentient beings
    cannot recall anything and are confused.
    The cause of that is the delusion of ignorance.
    Within that is a sudden unconsciousness
    in which a fearful awareness stirs without clarity,
    Within that self and other are perceived as enemies.
    From the gradual buildup of traces,
    entry into the process of samsara happens.
    If vidyā is the basis, then there is no way anyone could ever be deluded, samsara would never have happened. Indeed, there is popular strand of misconception in Dzogchen that claims that samsara never did happen. While this is true from the point of view of Samantabhadra [and hence the rhetoric of the sems sde literature], this is not true from our point of view, since we are continuing in samsara and gather karma and building up traces. If we are in the state of knowledge that is the state of Samantabhadra, then for us samsara will gave never happened. But until we are in that knowledge 24/7/365 and therefore totally beyond time, then we are still in samsara.

    Since vidyā is not the basis, by mistaking the nature of the sounds, lights and rays that come from the basis for being dualistic phenomena, one is trapped by avidyā, ma rig pa and one cycles endlessly in the three realms. Dzogchen practice is the means the reverse this error because the basis of knowledge and ignorance is the same, and knowledge and ignorance arise on the basis of an awareness [shes pa] that exists as part of the basis.

    My book expends a little energy in explaining these critical points in an introduction, but my explanation is not novel nor is it my own. I merely follow an outline that is common in both Chos and Bon Dzogchen teachings, and I use many citations from untranslated commentaries of Vimalamitra on the 17 Dzogchen tantras to illustrate my points. The only novel thing in my explanation is that I show the link between the initial shes pa, awareness or fundamental consciousness that arises from the basis, how that becomes pristine consciousness [ye shes] when in the presence of rig pa or knowledge of its own state; and how it becomes yid kyi rnam shes or "mental consciousness" and mind [sems] when it does not recognize its own state and engages in the dualistic imputations of because of ignorance [ ma rig pa]. But even here, I do so on the basis of citations and reasonings drawn from classic commentaries, and I cannot claim any of these ideas as novel or as being my own.


    * The principle of sounds, lights and rays is more fully explained in the Zhang Zhung sNyan brGyud of Bon; in Chos, it is mainly confined to describing the experience of the bardo of dharmatā.


    There is no universal basis in Dzogchen. The view of Dzogchen is emptiness.


    This translation is incorrect. It is from this passage:
    • Samantabhadri is the unrestricted vast sphere.
      Vast Samantabhadra is displayed to all.
      Samantabhadra father and mother have a non-dual single form.
      The state of Samantabhadri endowed with the meaning of realization
      arises as every diversity since her unchanging bhaga is vast.
      The whole universe is included in her bhaga.
      The bhaga of the mother is the field of great emptiness.
      The non-dual form of the father and mother totally pervade migrating beings.

    The basis of the universe in Trika is Shiva, who really exists, and so everything which comes from Shiva really exists. This point is made very clear by Lakshmanijoo in his critique of Advaita Vedanta.

    When I say there is no universal basis, I mean that there is no basis taught in Dzogchen which is ontologically real, singular, and overarching. The basis [gzhi, sthana] is one's own unfabricated mind which is originally pure, i.e., empty. The all-basis (kun gzhi, ālaya) in Dzogchen refers to the aspect of mind which gathers traces.


    No, it is a different principle altogether.


    • The third area of difference between Kashmir Śaivism and Vedānta concerns the essence, the substance, the basis of this universe. Vedānta holds that this universe is untrue, unreal. It does not really exist. It is only a creation of illusion (māyā). Concerning this point, Kashmir Śaivism argues that if Lord Śiva is real, than how could an unreal substance come out from something that is real? If Lord Śiva is real, then His creation is also real. Why should it be said that Lord Śiva is real and Hs creation is an illusion (māyā)? Kashmir Śaivism explains that the existence of this universe is just as real as the existence of Lord Śiva. As such, it is real, pure, and solid. This is nothing about it at all which is unreal."
    -- pg. 104, Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme; 1st Books, 2000.

    In Dzogchen it is held that the appearance of the universe is caused by the imputing ignorance which is a result of the neutral awareness at the time the basis arises from the basis not recognizing its own appearances as being its own state. Needless, to say, that mind is also empty, and lacks any nature or inherent existence. That mind is also individual, which accounts for why Samantabhadra woke up at the time the basis arose from the basis, and sentient beings did not.

    In short, the foundation of Dzogchen teachings is the Buddha's teaching of the five elements, five aggregates, emptiness, dependent origination,etc.; while the foundation of Kashmir Shaivism is Samkhya, with an added eleven principles on top of Samkhya's original 25, in addition to asserting there is only one universal puruśa, Śiva, as opposed to Samkhya's assertion that there are infinite individual puruśas.


    Because our mind is stirred by wind, it seeks outside its own state, because it seeks outside its own state, it reifies the five elements; because it reifies the five elements, it takes on bodies. Therefore, to control the mind, control the wind, to control the wind, control the body.



    My friend, I can assure you that is indeed the case that rig pa becomes ma rig pa. And why? Because vāyu stirred consciousness and that consciousness that does not recognize its own display is ma rig pa. As it states in my forthcoming translation (Wisdom, 12/16) of one of the most seminal of all Dzogchen commentaries:
    • As such, knowledge (vidyā, rig pa) itself becomes ignorance (ma rig pa, āvidyā) and nondelusion becomes delusion.
    And how does this happen?
    • The trio of the essence, nature, and compassion of the original basis becomes the three ignorances. Since the essence is made the cause of delusion, it is designated “the ignorance of the same identity” and becomes so. Once the nature is made the condition of delusion, since the vāyu of the impelling karma manifests as color, it is designated “the connate ignorance” and becomes so. Compassion is made the result of delusion. Since pristine consciousness manifests as different names, that is designated as “the imputing ignorance” and becomes so. As such, from not recognizing that knowledge and ignorance have the same cause, like the front and back of one’s hand, the ignorance of the same identical cause arises from not arriving at ultimate nonduality. The connate ignorance (arising from the preceding) is a term of duality, meaning as soon as the conceit “this is originally pure” occurs, it is inseparable from that ignorance. Thus, ignorance depends on knowledge and delusion depends on nondelusion.
    And as Vimalamitra states:
    • The vidyā that is moved and stirred by vāyu
      is subtle; its stirring is difficult to understand.

    You might wish to reconsider your point of view in this light.


    Yes, of course I agree with his statement. If you want to understand Dzogchen, than you have to understand that the basis is exactly what Vimalamitra says it is, i.e., pristine consciousness, luminosity, ordinary mind, etc. Otherwise, the basis is just a blank invert voidness. How can emptiness along reify anything?


    Each mind has its own basis [nature].

    There is no such thing as a singular, transpersonal, universal basis in Dzogchen.


    There is no universal basis, as such. There is however a generic basis, which has three characteristics: essence, nature and compassion. Just as all instances of water are generically limpid, clear and moist, likewise the basis for each and every sentient being is the trio of essence, nature and compassion. Put in the simplest terms, all sentient beings possess a consciousness which has the nature being empty and clear. When examined from the point of view of reducing this to the most essential point, the basis is just one's unfabricated mind, nothing more, nothing less.

    The all-basis is of course the imputing ignorance.


    I never said that each individual consciousness was ultimate per se. The point is that the ultimate (inseparable luminosity and emptiness) is a generic attribute they all share, in the same way all fires share the generic attribute of heat, and so on, or that each and every entity is empty. As Candra points, all things have two natures, one relative, one ultimate. In Madhyamaka, the ultimate nature of each and everything is emptiness. This is true also in Dzogchen; but in Dzogchen, not only are all minds ultimately empty, they are also ultimately luminous. This inseparable luminosity and emptiness is given the name "one's unfabricated mind" by Vimalamitra, or as Mipham puts it:
    • That basis is originally pure from the aspect of lacking any proliferation, and since it is not solely empty like space, its impartial clarity is naturally perfect without being delimited or falling into extremes. Since it is the source of the appearances of all samsara and nirvana, compassion is said to pervade everything. In the Dharma terminology of the Great Perfection, the pristine consciousness that is said to be three-fold.

      Likewise, in the sūtras and tantras, it called “the dhātu” and “emptiness” from the aspect of the characteristic freedom from all kinds of proliferation that cannot be perceived at all. [4/a] From the aspect of intrinsically radiant (mdangs) clarity it is called “self-originated pristine consciousness.” Since it does not change in aspect, it is called “original mind (sems),” “original mind (yid),” “naturally luminous mind,” “the vajra of mind,” “the vajra of space that pervades space” and so on. Even though there is an explanation with many different names, all of them are not different in meaning than dharmatā of the mind, the nondual dhātu and vidyā, or bodhicitta, the ultimate reality is like a vajra.

      Therefore, since the so called “dharmadhātu” is not understood to be only empty, it is the emptiness that possesses the supreme of all aspects, whole and indivisible from luminosity. Though it is called “self-originated pristine consciousness,” the subjective mind that realizes the emptiness of the duality, and of subject and object, does not know conditioned signs. It is also necessary to understand that such natural clarity does not have an iota of a sign that can be designated as conditioned.

      The bodhicitta mentioned in the mind series of the Great Perfection, the dharmadhātu mentioned in the space series, the self-originated pristine consciousness mentioned in the intimate instruction series, the dharmadhātu mentioned in the Prajñāpāramitā, the original mind mentioned in most of the mantra tantras and so on may have different names by virtue of their purposes, but since the meaning to understand is the pristine consciousness of that meaning which illustrates the union of knowing and emptiness, the reality of all phenomena, it is the original connate pristine consciousness. Since it is naturally settled dharmatā because it is not generated by the traces of transmigration’s three appearances, it is called the great bliss that is free from all pain of transmigration.

    No, not multiple bases, no more than there are multiple heats.

    The basis, as we saw above, is just the dharmatā of one's own mind, just as heat is the dharmatā of fire. We don't say of emptiness for example, that there multiple emptinesses for multiple entities, we don't need to say that of the basis either when we understand that the basis is a generic set of attributes for all minds, just as emptiness is a generic attribute of phenomena. We speak of emptiness often without distinguishing whether we mean one emptiness or many emptinesses, because it is understood at the outset that there is no entity "emptiness" that needs to spoken of in plural or singular terms. Likewise, we don't need to speak about the basis in plural or singular terms because we can understand at the outset the term "basis" refers to the dharmatā of the mind, and not some entity out of which minds arise, or in which they are somehow located. Likewise, we discuss fire in terms of heat, we don't say that fires have heats, we merely generically declare that all fires are hot.


    The universe does not exist outside the minds that project it, and there is no inseparable clarity and emptiness for us to discover apart from the inseparable clarity and emptiness of our own minds. The fact that we can discover the knowledge of our own state through the three experiences proves that we are discovering the knowledge of the real state of our own minds, and nothing else. As far as the reality of the universe goes, well as Āryadeva put it, when one discovers the emptiness of one thing, one discovers the emptiness of all things, and as the Dzogchen tantras put it, knowing one thing liberates everything (gcig shes kun grol).

    You should should also bear in mind that the experience of clarity, which is connected with lhun grub, is just an example, the same goes with the experience of emptiness, it is merely an example. This is why, for example, we don't attain the first bhumi at direct introduction (99.999 percent of us at any rate) —— that only happens if one happens to be diligent enough to reach the third vision in this life.


    I never said the universe didn't exist. I did not insist that basis inheres anywhere. I said the basis is a set of generic qualities of a given consciousness, the realization of which results in Buddhahood. It is really not hard to understand and is all perfectly consistent with Dzogchen texts and teachings. Shabkar writes:
    • Fortunate children of good families, listen without distraction:
      although the discourses of the eighty-four thousand aggregates of Dharma and so on,
      taught by all the victors of the three times,
      are equal with space and immeasurable,
      in reality, they were taught in order to realize one’s own mind;
      apart from this, nothing else was taught by the victors.

    • All perceived appearances are the appearances of one’s mind.
      The outer world that appears to be inert is the mind.
      The sentient beings inhabiting it appearing in six classes are also the mind.
      The appearance of the happiness of the higher realms of gods and men is the mind.
      The appearance of the suffering of the three lower realms is also the mind.
      Avidyā appearing as the five poisons is also the mind.
      Vidyā appearing as self-originated pristine consciousness is also the mind. [106]
      Negative thoughts appearing as the traces of samsara are also the mind.
      Positive thoughts appearing as buddhafields are also the mind.
      The appearance of obstacles of ghosts and demons is also the mind.
      The appearances of gods and siddhis are also the mind.
      The appearances of the variety of concepts are also the mind.
      Non-conceptuality, appearing as one-pointed meditation, is also the mind.
      The signs and colors of things are also the mind.
      The absence of signs and non-existence of proliferation is also the mind.
      Appearances without the duality of being one or many is also the mind.
      Appearances that are not established as being either existent or non-existent are also the mind.
      There are no appearances at all apart from the mind.

    • This relaxed unfabricated ordinary mind
      is the vast space of the realization of the Jinas free from extremes.
    Frankly, my friend, I think you are a little too hung up on words.

    Dante, the term "basis" describes a state of nonrealization, nothing more.

    We use the term to describe a set of qualities of what is termed "pristine consciousness." The basis is a consciousness, term "pristine consciousness, as the Six Dimensions states:
    • Because pristine consciousness has three aspects,
      the basis is explained in different words.
    The Sgra thal gyur states:
    • The pristine consciousness dwelling in its own essence
      is inseparable in three modalities.
    Further, the Illuminating Lamp commentary on Sgra thal gyur states
    • the pristine consciousness—subsumed by the consciousness which apprehends primordial liberation and the abiding basis as ultimate—is inseparable in all buddhas and sentient beings as a mere consciousness.
    A rock in a garden is just a projection of a mind that does not recognize its own state. This is very explicitly stated of inanimate objects — they are reified out of the five lights from our nonrecognition of the five lights. For example, the Illuminating Lamp states:
    • The luminous aspect of delusion resulting from that is stirred by a subtle vāyu. Also, all the previous lights are stirred and obscured, such that the light’s own appearance grows dimmer and dimmer. After it becomes impure, the latent appearances of earth, water, fire, and air emerge and appear as subtle particles.


    The passage means that if the basis isn't a consciousness, it would be inert, like the four elements.

    What is the basis? Garab Dorje states in a commentary in the Vima Snying thig:
    • "The fundamental basis is the trio of essence, nature and compassion of each individual's vidyā."
    We saw already that essence, nature and compassion are aspects of what is termed "pristine consciousness" aka ye shes or primordial wisdom.

    I also want to point out, that though it may seem to some people that Dzogchen is proposing some temporal beginning to samsara and nirvana, this is really not the case. Dzogchen is not a cosmology. It is a phenomenology of bondage and liberation.


    gad rgyangs wrote:so luminosity is a primary substance?
    Malcolm: If it were, it would not be empty. It is for this reason that it is an error to say that the generic basis is only a naturally perfected (lhun grub, anabhogana) nature (rang bzhin, prakriti). If this were the case, Dzogchen would be Samkhya, basically.


    gad rgyangs wrote:if luminosity is empty then it is a dependent arising. Upon what causes and conditions does it arise?
    Malcolm No, this is not the case. Why are you introducing two truths through back into the conversation?

    Emptiness is unconditioned, so is luminosity. Conditioned/unconditioned, this is just a mental reification.

    In any case, all fires are hot, all water is wet, all minds are empty and luminous. This is not a problem.

    "There is no mind in the mind, but the nature (prakṛiti) of the mind is luminousity."


    gad rgyangs wrote:so luminosity is not the basis, rather emptiness and luminosity are qualities of the basis, which is itself empty of both those qualities, as well as all others, including existence and non existence.
    Malcolm: The basis is just your mind. Not your thoughts, not its content, etc. It has three qualities, essence, nature, and compassion.

    There is no basis apart from your mind, in its unfabricated, unmodified state. If this wasn't the case, your nonrecognition of the five lights would not result in samsara, and your recognition of the five lights would not result in buddhahood. But in any case, it is just your own mind and its characteristics we are discussing. These five lights are just the result of the stirring of vāyu which is the internal movement of your own consciousness prior its self-recognition/nonrecognition.

    Now, you don't have to accept the Dzogchen account of the basis and the arising of the basis, and that is just fine with me. But let's not pretend that Dzogchen has some other kind basis in mind than the one I have just described.

    From the point of view of the potentiality of the basis, your own consciousness, the basis is luminosity; from the point of the essence of the basis, your own consciousness, the basis is emptiness free from extremes. This emptiness and luminosity are inseparable, and are the essence and nature of your own mind. This is all very clearly explained in Dzogchen texts, I am not sure why you have a problem with this.་

    Further, the basis is only called "the basis" because one has not realized this.



    The distinction is basically this: in cittamatra, phenomena are mental events. The way Lonchenpa explains it is like this. Bodhicitta, awakened mind, is like space, it is the basis, but it is not established in anyway. Its potential or energy [rtsal] arises like the face of a mirror. The display of that potentiality is like the eight examples of illusion. Since the basis, its potential and display are not themselves established because they are all empty, they are nondual. These three are conventionally distinguished because of appearances. Thus, bodhicitta, potentiality and the display are neither single nor plural in terms of their essence, nevertheless, just like the reflections in the mirror cannot be said to be either the same nor different than the mirror's power to reflect, it is understood that the imputations which are the display of the potential of bodhicitta also do not exist either inside or outside of, and hence these appearances are called "nonexistent, clear appearances." Indeed, nothing at all is established in anyway.


    No, Dzogchen realization is not a "nondual awareness," since "awareness" is a mistranslation of the term vidyā/rig pa. Vidyā, in Dzogchen texts, refers to knowledge of one's essence (snying po, garbha). For example, the commentary of the Tantra Without Syllables, the main upadesha tantra of the view, states:

    Vidyā (rig pa) is (1) the knowledge of names designated by words; (2) the five sciences (rig pa gnas lnga) such as helpful worldly knowledge like healing, arts and crafts, the treatises, and so on; (3) knowledge (rig pa) as a factor of consciousness, such as sharp and dull worldly knowledge and so on; and (4) the knowledge of the essence (snying po) that permeates all, which is free from ignorance (avidyā), unobscured by the obscurations of ignorance, and so on.

    If you carefully read Longchenpa, you find out that in the view of Dzogchen, nonduality is a description of the state of all things that is free from any ontic extremes such as being, nonbeing, and so on. But it is certainly is not the state of Paramshiva described in Trika texts, which regard everything as an expression of Shiva, and thus existent and real. In Dzogchen, even Samantabhadra possessed ignorance at the time of the basis.

    When one carefully studies Dzogchen teachings under the direction of a qualified person, one discovers that the promiscuous overuse of the term "nondual" anything in Dzogchen is very misleading. I am not denying that the term "nondual" is used in Dzogchen, because of course it is, but it does not mean the same thing as the nondual state discussed in Advaita and Trika. It just isn't. The Dzogchen usage is grounded in Yogacara language, in this respect, and indeed it is the Yogacarins who prove that mindstreams are independent, unique, and differentiated, while at the same time denying external objects.

    On the other hand, Dzogchen does not deny external objects, which is why Longchenpa laughs at the idea that they do not exist, and provides an account in the Treasury of Citations about the relationship and difference between outer objects (rol pa), bodhicitta ()byang chub sems) or the basis (gzhi), and the potential (rtsal) of bodhicitta, which of course is just one's personal state. If you study this carefully, you will understand that calling Dzogchen a nondual system similar to Advaita and Trika is really a huge error. You can understand that again and again, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu explains that the basis, the primordial state is personal, not universal

    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.


    Malcolm: This is completely inconsistent with the view of Dzogchen. The view of Dzogchen is that there is no basis or foundation at all. Also the doctrine of the two truths is absent in Dzogchen. Further, the view of Dzogchen is that everything, including buddhahood is completely equivalent to an illusion and therefore, uniform.


    gad rgyangs wrote:"mind" is an imputation, a conceptual proliferation. the basis is neither since it is beyond all conceptual categories. seeing this directly is called rigpa.

    No, seeing that the display of the mind as your own state is called "rigpa."

    For example, how do "sense organs rise up from the basis" in the following citation from the sgra thal gyur?
    • since the buddhas did not become deluded,
      the sense organs that rose up out of the basis
      recognized the self-appearances as natureless
    For that matter, how would one account for this citation as well?
    • In the basis, totally undifferentiated
      and undefined,
      consciousness is grasped as moving, vanishing,
      and spreading out,
      and holding taints through accumulation.
    Moreover, we here have a citation from the commentary on the sgra thal gyur would adds more understanding:
    • In Ati, the pristine consciousness—subsumed by the consciousness which apprehends primordial liberation and the abiding basis as ultimate—is inseparable in all buddhas and sentient beings as a mere consciousness. Since the ultimate pervades them without any nature at all, it is contained within each individual consciousness.
    Again, the so called generic basis is set of qualities which all consciousnesses share.

    Even when we get to defining sems, what does the sgra thal gyur say?
    • Sems enters the pure and impure
      three realms, and also buddhahood.
    The basis has an aspect of consciousness, as the Six Dimensions clearly states:
    • If that aspect of pristine consciousness did not exist,
      it would not be any different than the physical matter of the four elements.
    If it were the case that the basis was single entity, there could not be separation of samsara and nirvana. How can delusion be accounted for, which is the whole reason for describing the basis? As Vimalamitra further states:
    • [D]elusion arises from the difference between the basis and the conscious aspect of the basis.
    If the basis is some unitary entity, this conscious aspect would have to be unitary, etc., in the sense that it would there could be no diversity. But when it is understood that the basis is generic set of attributes of every consciousness, there are no contradictions which remain.

    In other words, Dzogchen is describing a phenomenology of liberation and delusion, and the language around the so called "basis" is merely a starting point for discussing that which we are deluded about. What we are deluded about is the nature our own states, and apart from a stream of empty consciousness, there is no other state that is under discussion.


    "Rigpa" is just a mind that is undeluded concerning its own state. Apart from that, there is no other "rigpa."

    You can put scare quotes around "mind" and make all kinds of distinctions in English around words you have not defined nor clarified; but the basic reality is this: Dzogchen teachings describe how sentient beings become deluded, and how to remedy that delusion with the path.


    There is no need to remove "mind" from the sentence, since rig pa is knowledge that a mind has, apart from which, no rig pa is possible. This is the reason why prajñā and vidyā are synonymous. For example, Vimalamitra in the Vima sNying thig, among the five definitions of vidyā, which are contextual, states first that vidyā is "a clear nonconceptual consciousness contaminated by many consciousnesses." The second type is the vidyā that appropriates the basis (meaning the body) existing in the body, generates consciousness, existing within its own clarity, also termed, "unripened vidyā." The third type of vidyā is the one that exists in the basis, defined as possessing three pristine consciousness of essence, nature and compassion. The fourth is defined as the vidyā of insight, vipaśyāna, having to do with the visions. The fifth is the vidyā of thögal, here meaning vidyā at the conclusion of the fourth vision.

    In the end, all five of these are just means of talking about one's own mind and it's knowledge of its own state or lack thereof, since all five of these vidyās, Vimalamitra points, are essentially the same.


    A conversation in 2012/2013:

    Jax wrote:

    "You are Being."


    Malcolm wrote:

    "This is not Dzogchen. This is Neo-Advaita."


    Jax wrote:

    "Ok... you are not Being? If Dzogchen is a 'confirming negation', which it is, then there is affirmative existence regarding Rigpa. This is the difference between Madhyamaka and Dzogchen. Madhyamaka is a 'non-confirming negation', leaving us just with emptiness. Hence Madhyamaka is a different result. Vajrasattva means Diamond Being. It is not about neo-advaita or Taoism... its about what we are. We are Aware Emptiness in full integration with our equally empty, yet appearing Luminosity."


    Malcolm wrote:

    "What makes you think Dzogchen is a affirming negation?


    This is not the case. Dzogchen does not have a view to support or promulgate, and that is what affirming negations are for i.e. rejecting one thing in order to prove one's own perspective. By asserting that Dzogchen is asserting an affirming negation you are rendering Dzogchen inferior to Madhyamaka.


    If Dzogchen is an affirming negation, than this statement from the Unwritten Tantra makes no sense:


    'Apparent yet non-existent retinue, listen well! There is no object to distinguish in me, the view of self-originated wisdom; it did not exist before, it will not arise later, and also does not appear in anyway in the present. The path does not exist, action does not exist, traces do not exist, ignorance does not exist, thoughts do not exist, mind does not exist, prajñā does not exist, samsara does not exist, nirvana does not exist, vidyā itself does not even exist, totally not appearing in anyway.'


    Vimalamitra's final paragraph on this passage states:


    'Since neither of those exist [i.e. samsara or nirvana], since one understands that there nothing apart from the originally pure vidyā [rig pa] which apprehends the basis and the vidyā of insight which apprehends the chains, it [vidyā] also does not exist. Since the essence of vidyā does not exist, the vidyā of the perduring basis (the source of both energy [rtsal] and qualities, and also the apprehender of characteristics) does not exist.


    Since the wisdom appearances of people's own vidyā that are seen in personal experience are not established as entities of any kind, it is the appearance of the exhaustion of dharmatā.'


    Further, Vimalamitra states in The Lamp Summarizing Emptiness:


    'Now then, the emptiness of dharmatā: natural dharmatā is the emptiness of the non-existence of a primal substance. Thus, all appearances were never established according to the eight examples of illusion. When appearances spread, that basis of the emptiness of dharmatā does not shift whatsoever, never transcending the emptiness of dharmatā. Furthermore:


    Everything arose from non-arising;

    even arising itself never arose.


    Dharmatā in and of itself is empty without a basis, present at all times as the single nature of the great emptiness of the basis, path, and result. Furthermore, primordial emptiness is empty without beginning. [180] Empty things are empty by nature.

    Since the emptiness of dharmatā is present without being contrived and without being transformed in the basis, yogins are also liberated by remaining naturally without contrivance and without transformations.'




    'That dharmatā emptiness dwells in a fortress and is captured in a fortress: the fortress (that is like a circle of spears in the sky) encircles (without a beginning or an end) dharmatā, i.e., existence is dharmatā, non-existence is dharmatā, both are dharmatā and neither are dharmatā. As such, [dharmatā] is surrounded by the names “clear and unclear”, “empty and not-empty”, “existence and non-existence”, “permanence and annihilation”, and so on. That lack of finding evidence itself is dharmatā. Further, in reality nothing exists apart from dharmatā. That being the case, that emptiness (as a mere representation, baseless, and non-referential, being non-existent like a pretense) is understood with scripture, accepted by reasoning, proven by argument, and captured in a fortress. Be confident that dharmatā is the unmistaken true emptiness.'


    Therefore, to describe Dzogchen as an affirming negation does not make any sense at all."


    [Sorry, I made a translation error -- this is from an old, unedited translation I have not re-examined. The passage should be read:


    "Since neither of those exist [i.e. samsara or nirvana], one understands that the originally pure vidyā [rig pa] which apprehends the basis and the vidyā of insight, the chains, do not exist other than being mere designations...


    (My bad I don't usually trot out unedited translations without checking them to see if they are free of errors)


    The passage is trying to state that all of these discussions are merely nominal. This is why Longchenpa, Jigme Lingpa and others state over and over the intention of Dzogchen and the intention of Madhyamaka are the same.]


    Lopon Malcolm:

    “In the basis (Tibetan: གཞི, Wylie: gzhi) there were neutral awarenesses (sh shes pa lung ma bstan) that did not recognize themselves. (Dzogchen texts actually do not distinguish whether this neutral awareness is one or multiple.) This non-recognition was the innate ignorance. Due to traces of action and affliction from a previous universe, the basis became stirred and the Five Pure Lights shone out. When a neutral awareness recognized the lights as its own display, that was Samantabhadra (immediate liberation without the performance of virtue). Other neutral awarenesses did not recognize the lights as their own display, and thus imputed “other” onto the lights. This imputation of “self” and “other” was the imputing ignorance. This ignorance started sentient beings and samsara (even without non-virtue having been committed). Yet everything is illusory, since the basis never displays as anything other than the five lights.”

    Kyle Dixon:

    “I’m obviously preferable to the Dzogchen system because I started there and although branching out, my primary interest has remained there. But I do appreciate the run-down of avidyā or ignorance in the Dzogchen system because it is tiered and accounts for this disparity I am addressing. 

    There are two or three levels of ignorance which are more like aspects of our delusion regarding the nature of phenomena. The point of interest in that is the separation of what is called “innate” (or “connate”) ignorance, from what is called “imputing ignorance.”

    The imputing ignorance is the designating of various entities, dimension of experience and so on. And one’s identity results from that activity. 

    The connate ignorance is the failure to correctly apprehend the nature of phenomena. The very non-recognition of the way things really are. 

    This is important because you can have the connate ignorance remain in tact without the presence of the imputing ignorance. 

    This separation is not even apparent through the stilling of imputation like in śamatha. But it can be made readily apparent in instances where you awaken from sleep, perhaps in a strange location, on vacation etc., or even just awakening from a deep sleep. There can be a period of moments where you do not realize where you are right yet, and then suddenly it all comes back, where you are, what you have planned for the day, where you need to be, etc., 

    In those initial moments you are still conscious and perceiving appearances, and there is still an innate experience of the room being external and objects being something over-there, separate from oneself. That is because this fundamental error in recognition of the nature of phenomena is a deep conditioning that creates the artificial bifurcation of inner and outer experiential dimensions, even without the activity of imputation.”



    There are two ways be free of grasping: regarding all things as impure and rejecting them as such (Hinayāna and common Mahāyāna), and regarding all things as pure and accepting them as such. The latter method more rapid, but requires special methods, so that it is not merely an intellectual posture.


    In sūtra there is no antidotal method of conceiving the appearance of things as pure which are typically conceived by ordinary sentient being as impure. Emptiness, in sutra, is provided as cure for this, in terms of nature, but not in terms of appearance. Vajrayāna address both nature and appearance; sūtra only addresses nature, not appearance.


    In common Mahāyāna, like Hinayāna schools, relatively speaking, phenomena, other than path dharmas, are still compounded, suffering, and not-self, and hence impure. Their ultimate nature, emptiness, is pure.


    In uncommon Mahāyāna Secret Mantra, phenomena are rendered pure through special methods which change our attitude towards phenomena.


    Malcolm wrote:

    It is pretty straightfoward according to Mipham:


    "In the realization of the Great Perfection that the three times are not time, there are no phenomena of the ten directions and three times that are not perfect. Therefore, this is the dharmakāya at the time of the basis, but because the temporary afflictions have not been purified it has not ripened into the nature of the result.


    While maintaining the position, “This purification of any obscurations is the feature of the time of path. This total purification of obscurations is the feature of the time of the result,” is in accord with the mode of appearance of sentient beings, from the perspective of the mode of existence of dharmatā, it is not possible to move even slightly away from abiding in state of uniformity which lacks any divisions of dualistic phenomena such as division by three times, division into pure and impure, sentient beings and buddhas, and so on."


    Thus, florin and krodha are both correct. Florin is correct from the point of view of mode of reality [gnas tshul], kyle is correct from the point of view of the mode of appearances [snang tshul] for sentient beings.




    Krodha (Kyle Dixon):


    Thanks. Although I suppose my gripe is that I'm willing to (and strive to) account for both sides of the equation (mode of reality and appearances) whereas Florin is solely clinging to the mode of reality and declaring that the mode of appearances is irrelevant and "not Dzogchen", which is essentially nihilism.






    The so called "primordial state" aka the original basis is called "the basis" because it has not been realized. When that is realized, it is given the name, "the result." "The path" is just the method of realizing that, which in the case of the Great Perfection, is the intimate instructions of the direct introduction and their application.


    Florin's point of view is influenced very much by "sems sde", which is primarily about the basis. Your point of view is more influenced by man ngag sde, which is more concerned with the methods of realizing that basis.


    Another useful snippet from Mipham:


    According to that principle, though from the perspective of ultimate reality it is necessary to propose that the universe and beings are primordial buddhahood and meditate in that way, from the perspective of the conventions of the mode of appearances, the differentiation by wisdom into three — the basis, the reasoning that buddhahood is valid; the path, the time of practice; and the result, the culmination of purification — are asserted up to the Great Perfection. Also the treatises of the Great Perfection purpose buddhahood once the fives paths of trekchö and the four visions of thögal are finished, but in terms of the mode of appearances, they never assert the accomplishment of buddhahood without finishing the path. When these two are differentiated, after the darkness of doubt about the topics that any of the vehicles of the cause and result have difficulty realizing, since there arises the appearance of confidence knowledge that cannot be diverted, this differentiation is very important.






    I dont really understand this quote.

    I think it needs some work.




    All Mipham is saying is that there are two perspectives, how things are and how things appear. From the perspective of how things are, "it is necessary to propose that the universe and beings are primordial buddhahood and meditate in that way."


    From the point of view of how things appear, the basis, path and result are divvied up by wisdom according their features: the basis concerns proving the validity of buddhahood. This is why, for example, we have the account of Samantabhadra's buddhahood and the account of the delusion of sentient beings. There is also a practice, and also the culmination of the purification of the delusion which gave rise to sentient beings in the first place. Since only deluded people are concerned with liberation, the path of Dzogchen is very much concerned with correcting the delusion that arises from ignorance [ma rig pa] by remaining in the knowledge [rig pa] of how things actually are, i.e. that the universe and beings are primordial buddhahood.


    We are not approaching practice from the point of view of accepting something that is not true, i.e., that the universe and beings are impure, etc. But we must acquiesce that this is indeed how things appear to us, and that as long as things appear in this way to us, we are under the influence of the two obscurations, which while temporary and not innate, conceal from us our actual state.




    The problem with shentong, which CHNN has addressed many times, is that in Dzogchen the result exists as a potentiality of the basis; but in Shenton it is fully formed at all times. For this reason, in several retreats ChNN has declared that shentong is incompatible with Dzogchen.


    BuddhaFollower wrote:

    Brahman is not pristine consciousness?


    Nope. Pristine consciousness (ye shes, jñāna) is not transpersonal.


    Okay, then this is the same as the Upanishads.

    Remember there is a difference between the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta formulated by Adi Shankara etc.


    It is not the same as the Upanishads, since jñāna in the Upanishads is not empty.


    Malcolm wrote:

    The view is self-originated pristine consciousness, free from the extreme of the dualism of an apprehended object and an apprehending subject.
    — Self-Liberated Vidyā Tantra

    srivijaya wrote:

    Brilliant quote.

    Not unlike Viññanam anidassanam from the Kevatta sutta:
    Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around
    Malcolm wrote:
    It has precisely the same meaning.


    Yes, just as emptiness is a quality: that is what the generic basis is, a set of qualities which inhere to all sentient beings.

    It is not really that complicated. We say that minds are empty and luminous. When we analyze a given mind (for example, our own, since we cannot examine the minds of others), all we can discover is emptiness and luminosity. These are the irreducible facts that pertain to minds. The fact that minds are empty means they are free from extremes and not monadic, or even plural entities. The fact that they are luminous means that they are not inert, like rocks, etc. We don't need to discuss these things in terms of the two truths, because there is no separation between the two truths anyway.
    Well, given that Shankara is one of the 60 teachers identified as promulgating wrong view in the Self-Arisen VIdyā Tantra, it would be very surprising to learn of any so called khenpo of Dzogchen claiming that Atman was just a Hindu name for the mind essence. You yourself admit the idea does not even exist in their system.

    There is no substratum, minds do not "overlap." The reason why Buddhas and high bodhisattvas can know the minds of others, know past lives, etc. is because the nature of everything is emptiness and therefore while there is no universal substratum there is also no impediments because everything is empty. And since everything is empty, Buddha's wisdom is unimpeded in all directions and times.
     The Śrī Maladevi sutra states:
    • In that respect, the dharmakāya of the tathāgatagarbha is definitely released from the sheath of afflictions. Bhagavān, the so called "tathāgatagarbha" is tathāgata's wisdom of emptiness that cannot be seen by śravakas and pratyekabuddhas.
    Dharmakāya is just the total realization of emptiness. Nothing more.

    Further, The Trikāya Sūtra states:
    Kṣitigarbha, tathāgatas are endowed with the three kāyas: the dharmakāya, the sambhogkāya and the nirmanakāya…In that regard, the dharmakāya is visible to the tathagātas. The sambhogakāya is visible to bodhisattvas. The nirmanakāya is visible to ordinary persons on the stage of devotional practice.

    Kṣitigarbha, for example, clouds are produced on the basis of an empty sky; rain is produced on the basis of clouds. Likewise, the sambhogakaȳa appears on the basis of the dharmakāya, and the nirmanakāya appears on the basis of the sambhogakāya.

    Kyle Dixon: Here's a question Soh asked Malcolm awhile ago:
    Soh wrote:
    "Hi Namdrol,
    As you mentioned about Hindu Vedanta... a question came to mind.
    I was just reading someone's post half an hour ago in another forum: ( ).
    He/she ('star') states that according to Dzogchen view, everything is Consciousness, and therefore everything is real.
    What is your comment on this?
    Also, he/she states 'The Supreme Source' as a reference... in which I also personally have some questions regarding this book: in certain parts of the book, Consciousness is described as an all-creating agent, which sounds like God to me. How does Dependent Origination apply here?"
    Malcolm wrote:
    "This person has confused the Trika non-dual view with Dzogchen.
    The mind that is the all-creating king, as Norbu Rinpoche makes clear, is the mind that does not recognize itself, and so enters into samsara, creating its own experience of samsara.
    All conditioned phenomena are a product of ignorance, according to Dzogchen view, and so therefore, everything is not real. The basis of that ignorance is the basis, which is also not established as real.
    In Dzogchen, everything is unreal, from top to bottom. The basis, in Dzogchen, is described as being 'empty not established in any way at all'. If the basis is not real, then whatever arises from that basis is not real.
    In Dzoghen, dependent origination begins from the non-recognition of the state of the basis, when this happens, one enters into grasping self and other, and then the chain of dependent origination begins."
    And here's someone from your yahoo group having this same conversation with Jean-Luc Achard, obviously his answer was ignored...
    ? wrote:
    "That quote above still can be interpreted the same way. The Kunjed Gyalpo says that there is nothing to do, try, search etc... Because everything is from the Supreme Source, thus perfect. There is not two sources, but one. Then what can possibly be 'perfected' ?"
    Jean-Luc Achard wrote:
    "Supreme Source is not a Dzogchen concept. I don’t know (well i suspect) why they choosed this title (way too New Age for me) but the original is 'All Creating' (kun-byed, lit. 'All Doing') refering to the mind. So mind creates everything, that’s the meaning, its not a reference to some cosmic source somewhere as it may sound from the english title. What can be perfected? Well one’s deluded mind can be perfected, certainly not the natural state. Nobody said the natural state has to be perfected, it’s one’s ultimate essence, but our ordinary being is not our essence, it is deluded, full of ignorance, and this is what has to be perfected."
    The 'All-Creating King' is the mind.
    March 20 at 11:50am · Like · 1
    Malcolm, 2016: " In order for one thing to depend on another thing, one thing must arise upon which another must depend. But this does not solve anything. Why? Since the arising of even one thing cannot be established, there is no arising. Everything which appears is merely a unconditioned self-apparent display nondual with an unconditioned self-originated pristine consciousness."

    "Pristine consciousness is not a product of causes and conditions since no causes and conditions can be found at all. If you insist that the only thing that exists are things produced out of causes and conditions, your view is really no better than realism, and betrays an inner attachment to a self of persons and things."

    " Pristine consciousness is not the same consciousness as the deluded consciousness, but you can say that the eight consciousnesses arise from mistaking the nature of self-originated pristine consciousness for being a self. "

    " Consciousness in which there is no delusion is a pristine consciousness, self-originated and unconditioned. "

    " When we see the conventional as the conventional, then we can understand that things like causes and conditions are just erroneous attributions. Since this is the case, conditioned consciousnesses are impossible. Why? Because when the conventional is seen as conventional, it is seen as a delusion.

    Further, the Kāśyapa-parivarta Sūtra states:

        "Permanent," that is one extreme;"impermanent," that is another extreme. Whatever is the middle of those two cannot be investigated.

    Sthiramati's comment on how this is understood is instructive:

        If it is asked what is an extreme, the extreme of the tirthikas is grasping at a self. That is grasped as permanent, reifying the aggregates, sense bases and elements..."'Permanent,' that is the first extreme..." means "self, that is the first extreme."

        The śravakas and pratyekabuddhas grasp the aggregates and so on as impermanent and grasp them as selfless..."'Impermanent,' that is the second extreme..." means "selfless, that is the second extreme."

        "Whatever is the middle of those two, that is..." means that is nonconceptual pristine consciousness. Because that cannot be analyzed, it cannot be investigated.

    Something [nonconceptual pristine consciousness] which is neither permanent nor impermanent can hardly be called conditioned. It also cannot be called something that arises from cause and conditions. Nonconceptual pristine consciousness is by definition beyond the range of conventional analysis and can only be discovered for oneself."

    "Mipham mentions this in the quote I gave you before:

        Therefore, the original mind is dharmatā emptiness which is the luminous mind that does not become solely empty by nature or an inert emptiness and is called self-originated wisdom. Since there isn’t an iota of a characteristic of conditioned or unconditioned apart from being intrinsically clear emptiness, it is beyond the inert composed of particles, clarity which possesses subject and object, and a knowing consciousness. "

    "No, you are imputing causality onto appearances, there is no causality which can be found in appearances themselves. If you assert that appearances operate according to causality, you are falling into realism. "

    "Mañjuśrīmitra states:

        It may be said, “The way all this is produced is dependent origination, arising and ceasing.”
        Like a burnt seed, a nonexistent is not produced from a nonexistent; the cause and the result do not exist.
        The mind that clings to entities and clings to cause and result
        itself appears as cause and condition, but because those are nondual, there is no arising and perishing.
        Because there is no arising and perishing, there is no self and other. Because there is no death and transmigration, there is no permanence and annihilation.
        Therefore, there is no delusion or samsara. In fact, there is also no nirvana."

    " Yes, and this is why we can say that pristine consciousness is unconditioned:

        The mind that clings to entities and clings to cause and result
        itself appears as cause and condition, but because those are nondual, there is no arising and perishing.

    "Pristine consciousness (jñāna) is the dharmatā of the mind or the cittatā of citta, inseparable clarity and emptiness."

    "You have not grasped the point. The notion of conditioned/unconditioned depend on reification. They depend on the notion of time and entities being real.

    When you insist that emptiness is only the emptiness of dependently origination things, this is wrong on two counts. Dependent origination was never taught to explain the nature of things. It was taught only explain the process of delusion and how to reverse it. Second, there are no "things" for which dependent origination is the nature.

    Since the conditioned is not established, it goes without saying that the unconditioned is not established.

    However, since the eight consciousness are strictly deluded, there can be no buddhahood in them. Since pristine consciousness is free from conditions, time, entities, concepts and so on, only in it can buddhahood be found. When it is said that self-originated pristine consciousness is unconditioned and beyond the eight consciousness, this means that one has realized that there is also no basis for dependent origination nor the conditioned, not to mention the unconditioned. The real meaning of dependent origination is nonorigination. There can be no time, conditions, causes, etc., in a real sense. This is why there is no buddhahood in the mind because the mind [citta] is always conceptual, always bound causes, conditions, time, etc."


    Mipham states:
    • Therefore, the original mind is dharmatā emptiness, the luminous mind that does not become solely empty by nature or an inert emptiness and is called self-originated pristine consciousness. Since there isn’t an iota of a characteristic of conditioned or unconditioned apart from being intrinsically clear emptiness, it [original mind] is beyond the inert composed of particles, clarity which possesses subject and object, and a knowing consciousness. It is to be realized with personal knowledge that sees the true state. It has no correlation with the group of eight consciousnesses. Since the apprehending subject and apprehended objects of concepts and signs have never existed in the dharmatā of the union of knowing and emptiness, the signs of dualistic phenomena such as samsara and nirvana, delusion and liberation, self and other, beginning and end, and so on, have never existed in it since it naturally abide in uniform nonconceptuality. 

    The nature of the mind is its clarity and its emptiness; the former is mutable and the latter is not.

    The inseparable clarity and emptiness of the mind is regarded as ultimate. Mipham explains very clearly in Original Mind:
    Beyond the extremes of conditioned and unconditioned, in the true stage of things, an emptiness devoid of luminosity cannot be perceived and a luminous mind devoid of emptiness cannot be perceived. When those two are realized as the objects of a personal knowledge of the realization of the true state, they are realized to be inseparable. If it is not realized, since the theoretical understanding arising in the mind that there is an empty object which is the demarcation of an object of refutation through exclusion and a subjective consciousness that possesses signs does not go beyond grasping signified phenomena that are conceptual objects of dualistic appearances as being real or unreal, it is not the true state. If the true state, original mind, is actualized, there will be personal knowledge of the nondual dharmatā that goes beyond the domain of all dualistic phenomena such as real or unreal, empty or not empty, and so on. [20/a] In that case, the division of emptiness, luminosity, knowing and emptiness, appearance and emptiness into dualities are mere expressions that does not stay in the partial extremes because of subsequent concepts, but there is no duality in the true state. Likewise, it is beyond all dualistic phenomena such as subject, object, and so on...Apart from actualizing this on the basis of the intimate instruction of the liberating method that possesses the yoga, it is not an object of analysis with intellectual knowledge. Therefore, it is valid to have confidence in those who have ascertained their own minds are nonarising. However, only foolish children assert that unconditioned sole emptiness turned into an object with the conditioned mind is the true state. Since not even a semblance of personal knowledge arises, since nothing is able to arising in the mind other than that, since one can be seduced by turning it into a conceptual tenet, give up looking in that direction. It is necessary to hear the instruction of the profound aural lineage from the mouth of the sublime vidyādhara gurus who follow the tenets of the Great Perfection or Mahāmudra.

    Acarya Malcolm Smith:
    "The term bdag nyid, atman, just means, in this case, "nature", i.e. referring to the nature of reality free from extremes as being permanent, blissful, pure and self. The luminosity of the mind is understood to be this.
    There are various ways to interpret the Uttaratantra and tathāgatagarbha doctrine, one way is definitive in meaning, the other is provisional, according to Gorampa Sonam Senge, thus the tathāgatagarbha sutras become definitive or provisional depending on how they are understood. He states:
    In the context of showing the faults of a literal [interpretation] – it's equivalence with the Non-Buddhist Self is that the assertion of unique eternal all pervading cognizing awareness of the Saṃkhya, the unique eternal pristine clarity of the Pashupattis, the unique all pervading intellect of the Vaiśnavas, the impermanent condition, the measure of one’s body, in the permanent self-nature of the Jains, and the white, brilliant, shining pellet the size of an atom, existing in each individual’s heart of the Vedantins are the same.
    The definitive interpretation he renders as follows:
    Therefor, the Sugatagarbha is defined as the union of clarity and emptiness but not simply emptiness without clarity, because that [kind of emptiness] is not suitable to be a basis for bondage and liberation. Also it is not simple clarity without emptiness, that is the conditioned part, because the Sugatagarbha is taught as unconditioned.
    Khyentse Wangpo, often cited as a gzhan stong pa, basically says that the treatises of Maitreya elucidate the luminosity of the mind, i.e. its purity, whereas Nāgarjuna's treatises illustrate the empty nature of the mind, and that these two together, luminosity and emptiness free from extremes are to be understood as noncontradictory, which we can understand from the famous Prajñāpāramita citation "There is no mind in the mind, the nature of the mind is luminosity"."

    Ok, well, you have to understand that everything in Crystal came from an early period in ChNN's career, when he was not teaching in English. At this time, he used various English translators such as John Shane, Barry Simmons, and so on, before ChNN switched over to teaching in English directly around 1988, the same year Crystal came out. So we cannot regard it as a definitive representation of ChNN's intent, since it is an edited transcript of translation from his original Italian. It broadly served as a introduction to his teachings, but was never intended to be a definitive statement of them. But more importantly, there is no such term in Dzogchen as "the fundamental ground of existence." The term "gzhi" refers to your own nature which you have failed to recognize. That's it. It is not a "ground of being" as in Paul Tillich's theology, where the term originates:

    For Tillich, God is being-itself, not a being among other beings. To describe the relationship between being-itself and finite beings, Tillich takes the word, "ground." For Tillich, God is the ground of being, the ground of the structure of being. God as being itself is the ground of the ontological structure of being. In other words, every ontological being has its power to be in being itself, participate in the ground of being. All accounts of God are expressed through what we comprehend. Can we know God? For Tilich, the answer is clear: we can. Adopting the theory of analogia entis (analogy of being), that is, "that which is infinite is being itself and because everything participates in being itself" (239), The theory of analogia entis explains the possibility of knowing and saying anything about God. However, for Tillich, the analogia entis justifies our ways of saying about God only under a fact that "God must be understood as being itself" (240). Thus, existential approach to God through the category of finitude must be described symbolically. God is the ground of being, being-itself; who concerns us ultimately. Thus, God is our ultimate concern.

    There is no such ground of being in the whole length and breadth of buddhadharma, including Dzogchen teachings.

    From a very old post Dzogchen, Rigpa and Dependent Origination
    Update: On 13 February 2013, I added two more posts by Loppon Namdrol below.

    The following recent post by Loppon Namdrol (Malcolm Smith) reminds me of Acharya Mahayogi Shridhar Rana Rinpoche, who said in his article Madhyamika Buddhism Vis-a-vis Hindu Vedanta, "However, the Buddhist Ultimate Truth is the absence of any such satta i.e. ultimately existing thing or ultimate reality. That is the significance of Shunyata - absence of any real, independent, unchanging existence (Skt. svabhava). And that fact is the Ultimate Truth of Buddhism, which is diametrically opposite to the Ultimate Truth of the Hindu Brahma. So Shunyata can never be a negative way of describing the Atman - Brahma of Hinduism as Vinoba Bhave and such scholars would have us believe. The meaning of Shunyata found in Sutra, Tantra, Dzogchen or Mahamudra is the same as the Prasangika emptiness of Chandrakirti i.e. unfindability of any true existence or simply unfindability. Some writers of DzogChen and Mahamudra or Tantra think that the emptiness of Nagarjuna is different from the emptiness found in these systems. But I would like to ask them whether their emptiness is findable or unfindable; whether or not the significance of emptiness in these systems is also not the fact of unfindability."

    (Also see: Rigpa and Aggregates by Daniel M. Ingram)

    Loppon Namdrol (Malcolm Smith):

    There is no teaching in Buddhism higher than dependent origination. Whatever originates in dependence is empty. The view of Dzogchen, according to ChNN (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche) in his rdzogs chen skor dri len is the same as Prasanga Madhyamaka, with one difference only - Madhyamaka view is a result of intellectual analysis, Dzogchen view is not. Philosophically, however, they are the same. The view of Madhyamaka does not go beyond the view of dependent origination, since the Madhyamaka view is dependent origination. He also cites Sakya Pandita "If there were something beyond freedom from extremes, that would be an extreme."

    Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway.

    Dzogchen teachings also describe the process of how sentient being continue in an afflicted state (suffering), what is the cause of that afflicted state (suffering), that fact that afflicted state can cease (the cessation of suffering) and the correct path to end that suffering (the truth of the path). Dzogchen teachings describe the four noble truths in terms of dependent origination also.

    Ergo, Dzogchen also does not go beyond Buddha's teaching of dependent origination which Nagarjuna describes in the following fashion:

    I bow to him, the greatest of the teachers,
    the Sambuddha, by whom dependent origination --
    not ceasing, not arising
    not annihilated, not permanent,
    not going, not coming,
    not diverse, not single,
    was taught as peace
    in order to pacify proliferation.

    Loppon Namdrol:

    First, one has to distinguish the general theory of dependent origination from the specific theory of dependent origination. The general theory, stated by the Buddha runs "w
    here this exists, that exists, with the arising of that,this arose". The specific theory is the afflicted dependent origination of the tweleve nidanas. There is however also a non-afflicted dependent origination of the path. For the most part, Madhyamaka covers the principle general dependent originationi order to show that all dependent phenomena are empty. Since, according to Madhyamaka, there are no phenonomena that are not dependent, the emptiness of non-dependent phenomena is never an issue, like hair on a tortoise or the son of a barren woman, since there are no non-dependent phenomena at all.

    Nagarjuna however does discuss the twelve nidanas, ignorance and so on, in chapter 28 of the MMK.

    The basis in Dzogchen is completely free of affliction, it therefore is not something which ever participates in afflicted dependent origination. Unafflicted causality in Dzogchen is described as lhun grub, natural formation. However, since there is causality in the basis, it also must be empty since the manner in which the basis arises from the basis is described as "when this occurs, this arises" and so on. The only reasons why this can happen is because the basis is also completely empty and illusory. It is not something real or ultimate, or truly existent in a definitive sense. If it were, Dzogchen would be no different than Advaita, etc. If the basis were truly real, ulimate or existent, there could be no processess in the basis, Samantabhadra would have no opportunity to recognize his own state and wake up and we sentient beings would have never become deluded. So, even though we do not refer to the basis as dependently originated, natural formation can be understood to underlie dependent origination; in other words, whatever is dependently originated forms naturally. Lhun grub after all simply and only means "sus ma byas", not made by anyone.

    Rigpa is not a phenomena, it is not a thing, per se. It is one's knowledge of the basis. Since it is never deluded, it never participates in affliction, therefore, it is excluded from afflicted dependent orgination. However, one can regard it as the beginning of unafflicted dependent origination, and one would not be wrong i.e. the nidanas of samsara begin with avidyā; the nidanas of nirvana begin with vidyā (rigpa).



    Emptiness is the same thing in Dzogchen and Madhyamaka. Even rigpa is completely empty. But in Dzogchen we do not say that emptiness is dependent origination because of the way the term dependent orgination is used in Dzogchen. Not because Nāgārjuna is wrong.


    The definition of lhun grub is "not made by anyone". Lhun drub is dependent origination free of afflictive patterning, thus it is pure process and transformation.


    On Madhyamaka:

    [10:51 PM, 10/17/2019] Soh Wei Yu: malcolm (Arcaya Malcolm Smith) wrote:

    There is no typing typer, no learning learner, no digesting digester, thinking tinker, or driving driver.


    No, a falling faller does not make any sense. As Nāgārjuna would put it, apart from snow that has fallen or has not fallen, presently there is no falling.


    It is best if you consult the investigation into movement in the MMK, chapter two. This is where it is shown that agents are mere conventions. If one claims there is agent with agency, one is claiming the agent and the agency are separate. But if you claim that agency is merely a characteristic of an agent, when agent does not exercise agency, it isn't an agent since an agent that is not exercising agency is in fact a non-agent. Therefore, rather than agency being dependent on an agent, an agent is predicated upon exercising agency. For example, take movement. If there is an agent there has to be a moving mover. But there is no mover when there is no moving. Apart from moving, how could there be a mover? But when there is moving, there isn't a mover which is separate from moving. Even movement itself cannot be ascertained until there has been a movement. When there is no movement, there is no agent of movement. When there is moving, there is no agent of moving that can be ascertained to be separate from the moving. And since even moving cannot be ascertained without there either having been movement or not, moving itself cannot be established. Since moving cannot be established, a moving mover cannot be established. If a moving mover cannot be established, an agent cannot be established.


    Hi Wayfarer:

    The key to understanding everything is the term "dependent designation." We don't question the statement "I am going to town." In this there are three appearances, for convenience's sake, a person, a road, and a destination.

    A person is designated on the basis of the aggregates, but there is no person in the aggregates, in one of the aggregates, or separate from the aggregates. Agreed? A road is designated in dependence on its parts, agreed? A town s designated upon its parts. Agreed?

    If you agree to this, then you should have no problem with the following teaching of the Buddha in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra:

    This body arises from various conditions, but lacks a self. This body is like the earth, lacking an agent. This body is like water, lacking a self. This body is like fire, lacking a living being. This body is like the wind, lacking a person. This body is like space, lacking a nature. This body is the place of the four elements, but is not real. This body that is not a self nor pertains to a self is empty.

    In other words, when it comes to the conventional use of language, Buddha never rejected statements like "When I was a so and so in a past life, I did so and so, and served such and such a Buddha." Etc. But when it comes to what one can discern on analysis, if there is no person, no self, etc., that exists as more than a mere designation, the fact that agents cannot be discerned on analysis should cause no one any concern. It is merely a question of distinguishing between conventional use of language versus the insight into the nature of phenomena that results from ultimate analysis.


    [11:36 PM, 10/17/2019] John Tan: Yes should put in blog together with Alan watt article about language causing confusion.


    From other threads:

    There is no "experiencer" since there is no agent. There is merely experience, and all experience is empty.

    Why should there be someone upon whom karma ripens? To paraphrase the Visuddhimagga, there is no agent of karma, nor is there a person to experience its ripening, there is merely a flow of dharmas.


    There are no agents. There are only actions. This is covered in the refutation of moving movers in chapter two of the MMK.


     The point is that there is no point to eternalism if there is no eternal agent or object.


     Things have no natures, conventionally or otherwise. Look, we can say water is wet, but actually, there no water that possesses a wet nature. Water is wet, that is all. There is no wetness apart from water and not water apart from wetness. If you say a given thing has a separate nature, you are making the exact mistaken Nāgārajuna points out in the analysis of movement, i.e., it is senseless to say there is a "moving mover." Your arguments are exactly the same, you are basically saying there is an "existing existence."

    One cannot find the nature of water apart from water. It does not precede or succeed it. Now then, if you are an essentialist [Hindu, etc.], you will argue that all water derives its nature from some hypothetical essence of water. If you are a nominalist [Buddhist], you will argue our notion of a characteristic of water is an abstraction derived from our experiences of water. So, the answer is that your nature of water is merely an abstraction, and does not really exist. See MMK chapter 5:7:
    • Therefor space is not existent, it is not non-existent, is not the characterized,
      is not the characteristic; also any other of the five elements are the same as space.
    And 5:8:
    • Some of small intelligence, see existents in terms of ‘is’ or ‘is not’;
      they do not perceive the pacification of views, or peace.

    This is precisely because of the above point I referenced. Nagārjuna clearly shows that characteristics/natures are untenable.

    Candrakīrti points out that the possessor does not exist at all, but for the mere purpose of discourse, we allow conventionally the idea that there is a possessor of parts even though no possessor of parts exists. This mistake that we indulge in can act as an agent, for example a car, we can use it as such, but it is empty of being a car — an agent is as empty of being an agent as its actions are empty of being actions. 

    Malcolm Smith
    Malcolm Smith Lamps do not illuminate themselves. Candrakirti shows this.

    · Reply · 1w

    Malcolm Smith
    Malcolm Smith Nāgārjuna is addressing the realist proposition, "the six senses perceive their objects because those sense and their objects intrinsically exist ." It is not his unstated premise, that is the purvapakṣa, the premise of the opponent. The opponent, in verse 1 of this chapter asserts the essential existence of the six āyatanas. The opponent is arguing that perception occurs because the objects of perception actually exist.

    · Reply · 1w · Edited

    Malcolm Smith
    Malcolm Smith
    [Participant 1] "The argument from chap 2 depends on natural functions (movement, burning of fire, seeing of the eye, etc.) being predicated on the moment of time which it takes place, and when the non obtaining of time is established it leads to the non happening of the function. This is not justified."


    Nāgārjuna shows two things in chapter two, one, he says that if there is a moving mover, this separates the agent from the action, and either the mover is not necessary or the moving is not necessary. It is redundant.

    In common language we oftren saying things like "There is a burning fire." But since that is what a fire is (burning) there is no separate agent which is doing the burning, fire is burning.

    On the other hand, when an action is not performed, no agent of that action can be said to exist. This is why he says "apart from something which has moved and has not moved, there is no moving mover." There is no mover with moving, etc.

    This can be applied to all present tense gerundial agentive constructions, such as I am walking to town, the fire is burning, etc.

    · Reply · 1w · Edited

    Hide 11 Replies

     [Participant 2] Malcolm Smith these are not agentive constructions, they are unaccusative (cf. "byed med") verbs, so of course no separate agent can be established. So what?

    The example of the fire and the eye are likewise not convincing, because they just happen to describe natural functions, but this is not all that unaccusative verbs do. When you say "the cat falls down", you cannot say that "falling down" is what a cat "is", the same way you can with fire burning.

    · Reply · 1w

    Malcolm Smith
    Malcolm Smith
    [Participant 2] the point is aimed at the notion that there has to be a falling faller, a seeing seer, etc. it is fine to say there is a falling cat, but stupid to say the cat is a falling faller. The argument is aimed at that sort of naive premise.

    For example, if eyes could see forms by nature, they should be able to forms in absence of an object of form, and so on.

    But if the sight of forms cannot be found in the eyes, and not in the object, nor the eye consciousness, then none of them are sufficient to explain the act of seeing. Because of this, statements like the eyes are seers is just a convention, but isn’t really factual.

    And it still applies in this way, apart from what has been seen and not been seen, there is no present seeing.

    · Reply · 1w · Edited


    “People like to believe the ultimate is something, even if that something is inexpressible. Since in Buddhadharma there is no ultimate apart from the relative, emptiness is only hard to understand for those who wish there to be some permanent, ultimate something which is not dependently originated. Awakening in Buddhadharma comes from understanding the ultimate nature (emptiness) of relative phenomena (dependent origination). There is nothing to realize other than this.”

     Rigpa (Sanskrit: vidyā, "knowledge") is a central concept in Dzogchen. According to Ācārya Malcolm Smith
     Ācārya Malcolm Smith:

    A text from the Heart Essence of Vimalamitra called the Lamp Summarizing Vidyā (Rig pa bsdus pa’i sgronma) defines vidyā in the following way: “...vidyā is knowing, clear, and unchanging” In Sanskrit, the term vidyā and all its cognates imply consciousness, knowing, knowledge, science, intelligence, and so on. Simply put, vidyā means unconfused knowledge of the basis that is its own state.[78]




    "One, whoever told you rig pa is not part of the five aggregates? Rig pa is knowledge of your own state. In its impure form one's own state manifests as the five aggregates; in its pure form, it manifests as the five buddha families.

    Nagārjuna resolves this issue through using the eight examples. There is no substantial transmission, but there is serial continuity, like lighting a fire from another fire, impressing a seal on a document and so on. See his verses on dependent origination:

        All migrating beings are causes and results.
        but here there are no sentient beings at all;
        just empty phenomena entirely produced
        from phenomena that are only empty,
        phenomena without a self and what belongs to a self,
        [like] utterances, lamps, mirrors, seals,
        lenses, seeds, sourness and echoes.
        Although the aggregates are serially connected,
        the wise are understand that nothing transfers.
        Also, the one who imputes annihilation
        upon extremely subtle existents,
        is not wise,
        and will not see the meaning of ‘arising from conditions’."


    “The relative is not "reliant" on the ultimate, since they are just different cognitions of the same entity, one false, the other veridical.
    There is no separate entity called "buddhanature" that can be established to exist in a sentient being composed of the five aggregates. If one should assert this is so, this position will be no different than the atman of the nonbuddhists.”


    Again, there is a problem of literalism. For example, ChNN very clearly explains that even through the buddhaqualities are lhun grub, they are lhun grub as a _potential_. Vimalamitra also makes this distinction, as does the Six Dimensions Tantra :
    • Since the cause and result are different,
      [the basis] too is not naturally perfect (lhun grub).
      Likewise, if the cause and result were the same,
      effort would be meaningless.


    Lukeinaz wrote: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:39 pm

        "In non dual contemplation there is neither experience or experiencer. This itself is real experience."



    Yes, and this is just the message of the Prajñapāramitā Sūtras, since of course, the meaning of the Great Perfection is exactly the same as the Prajñapāramitā Sūtras, the only difference is the method of arriving at that meaning.

    Malcolm wrote: ↑Wed Oct 27, 2021 4:09 am
    Well, actually the I-making habit, the basic knowledge obscuration, has no real existence as a self, but it functions as an agent of karma and a recipient of karma, so there is that, even though the "I" it imputes does not exist at all.
    No, it is an imagined, nonexistent self that causes and experiences everything, for example, when a car is in accident, it is the imagined car for which one pays the damages, not the wrong view of the imagined car. But perhaps this is a special point of Candrakīrti's Madhyamaka, unlikely to be found the Visuddhimagga.

    A Brief History of the Dzogchen Teachings by Ācārya Malcolm Smith

    Garab Dorje was a Buddha, therefore he had all three kāyas: Samantabhadra is a name for his mind, just as Vajrasattva is a name for his speech. As for the 6.4 million slokas of Dzogchen tantras, these were written down by Mañjuśṛīmitra and divided into the three series, according to the lo rgyus chen mo, and then divided into the four cycles by Sṛī Simha, which were then given to Jñānasūtra and Vimalamitra, etc. The transmission for these texts however was given in symbols, rather than extensive discourses, hence the symbolic vidyādhara lineage. Finally, Vimalamitra, according the lo rgyus chen mo, translated these texts and gave them to Tingzin Zangpo (who hid them in Zhva Gonpa), initiating the so called aural lineage of esteemed persons. However, this aural lineage was accompanied by texts from the beginning, since according to tradition, Vimalamitra translated many Dzogchen tantras into Tibetan, some where hidden as treasures, and others, like the thirteen later lungs, were part of the bka' ma tradition. Naturally, the historical accounts given in the so called sems sde histories and klong sde histories are represent an earlier tradition of Dzogchen teachings than the lo rgyus chen mo, and are significantly different form the lo rgyus chen mo in terms of the details they present. We have independent confirmation of the existence of Sṛī Simha, etc., in the form of an Indian polemical treatise, which dates from the late 10th century and was authored by Mañjuśṛīkīrti, that refutes the views of Sṛī Simha by name and the movement he presented. So one thing we can be quite confident about is that there was a guy name Sṛī Simha, he was a student of Mañjuśṛīmitra, he taught a radical doctrine whereby he asserted only the completion stage was necessary. Finally, we can also be certain that there was a Tibetan named Bagor Vairocana, who was the first person to translated Dzogchen texts in Tibetan, and we can also be certain that Sṛī Simha was a contemporary of Trisong Detsen. Before this period, it is extremely unlikely there was anything remotely like the teaching of the Great Perfection in Tibet. Dzogchen is wholly an Indian-inspired Vajrayāna movement. There is really no evidence that suggests otherwise.
    — Ācārya Malcolm Smith

    Kyle Dixon:
    User avatar
    level 1

    “Luminosity” [prabhāsvara] in Buddhist teachings means “purity,” as in the undefiled nature of something. The luminosity of mind, is the pure and undefiled nature of the mind. In this context of purity, all phenomena can be luminous, not just the mind, because all phenomena are innately unconditioned by nature, because all phenomena are ultimately empty.

    Luminosity and emptiness are essentially synonyms, the Brahmaviśeṣacintiparipṛcchāsūtra states:

    Therefore, it is said “All phenomena are luminous by nature.” If it is asked what is the nature of all phenomena, all phenomena posses the nature of emptiness, and are free from support.

    Therefore the luminosity of mind, or awareness (even though I don’t use that term), is the emptiness of mind, its lack of an inherent essence.

    In Dzogchen teachings, for example, the basis (often inaccurately translated as “ground”) is the unrecognized luminosity of mind, the mind’s emptiness, explained as non-dual clarity and emptiness, because the aspect of clarity is the factor of cognition that is reified as a discrete mind. Dzogchen is saying the basis for the path, is recognizing that this characteristic of clarity is actually empty.

    As such there is no basis for mind or reality, we are meant to recognize that the mind and reality are empty. And for pedagogical reasons, that empty nature is called the “basis,” but it is just a nominal title for something we have not yet recognized about our own mind, and not an actual basis, or an actual “ground.”



    2006: "Words of Advice by Loppön Namdrol [Acarya Malcolm Smith]

    You need to just sit and relax.

    Take a proper posture. Expell the stale air.

    Do Guru yoga.

    Then relax. As one's mind slowly subsides, a vivid, clear and energetic radiance will emerge. This is not rigpa itself, but is instead the radiance aspect of awareness. Relaxing in this is the essence of tregchod.

    If it does not arise-- it doesn't matter-- it is there anyway. If it arises, it doesn't matter, since there is nothing one can do to cause it to arise, nor will it ever subside. But it is revealed when one is sufficiently relaxed.

    If thoughts occur, it doesn't matter, since thoughts do not exist outside of this state. If there are no thoughts, it doesn't matter, since this radiance is not product of stillness, no more than the lustre of clear water is a product of the settling out of detritus.

    When one can "see" the radiance of awareness even in the midst of the chaos of concepts, then one's tregchod is moving ahead.

    Otherwise, just relax and integrate into your primordial state.

    A few words of advice on tregchod written by a so called "dzogchen pa" named Namdrol."

    Acarya Malcolm Smith:

    "He is not saying śamatha can be attained in a single afternoon, is he?

    And the distinction is this: Rongzom makes the point that if someone is not capable understanding the meaning of the Great Perfection and must resort to a path involving effort, then following the Mañjuśrīmitra's instruction, there are two indirect ways of entering into the knowledge of Dzogchen combined with Dzogchen view: (1) through developing a stable contemplation though standard parāmitāyāna śamatha and vipaśyanā practice, where he identifies six faults and ten obscurations of concentration and three faults related to vipaśyanā, which he explains in detail.

    (2) One can practice his unique system of six limb yoga of Secret Mantra, again, combined with Dzogchen view. For example, following one's vows is considered to be pratyāhara-- one sees all the consciousnesses of the sense as fauts, but one does not abandon them. This is considered to render one a container for concentration. Concentration itself is focusing on the three secrets, the deity, mantra, and wisdom. In this context then, the five mental factor associated with concentration manifest. Once the factors of concentration arise, then one practices prāṇāyama, specifically breath retention, which produces different signs during the day and during the night, etc. It is quite detailed and interesting. He concludes, "In brief, also all these different concentrations will be skillful conduct if done in connection with the meaning of Dzogchen, but will be unskillful conduct if not connected."

    No one can decide for you if you are someone who needs to practice with effort or without, but since the main point is to nakedly expose rig pa from the beginning, then, we try to achieve this from the beginning. If we succeed in this, then we do not need to follow the path of effort described above. All of these concentrations described by Rongom are considered "meditation" by Longchenpa, and mind-based, and distinct from the unique natural concentration that characterizes nakedly exposing vidyā.

    Claiming however that one can only practice trekcho after realizing emptiness however, is totally in the wrong direction."

    Acarya Malcolm Smith:

    "Difference between recognizing rigpa & realizing emptiness?

    Recognizing rigpa means one is a practitioner. Realizing emptiness means one is an awakened person (ārya).

    The recognition of rigpa is not equal to entering the path of seeing on the first bhūmi. The path of seeing is reached the moment one’s understanding of emptiness ceases to be an intellectual construct and becomes a valid direct perception.[1] To put it another way, when a person ceases to reify phenomena in terms of the four extremes, that is the direct perception of emptiness. Until that point, one’s ‘emptiness’ remains an intellectual sequence of negations, accurate perhaps, but conceptual nevertheless. Realizing emptiness here in Dzogchen has the same meaning as realizing emptiness in any other Mahāyāna school.

    The recognition of rigpa is a recognition of clarity. It is simply, the knowledge (rig pa) about one’s state as a working basis for practice. That recognition of rigpa (knowledge of the basis) does not require realization of emptiness as a prerequisite and can’t. If it did, no one who was not an ārya on the bhūmis could practice Dzogchen. So a proper understanding is required, but not the realization of emptiness. So this recognition, not being the same as the realization of emptiness of the path of seeing, is an example-wisdom only.

    The realization of emptiness is also not a requirement for the basic requirement of trekchö, i.e. stable placement in a momentary unfabricated consciousness (ma bcos pa shes pa skad gcig ma). Only a proper understanding of emptiness is required.

    That understanding of emptiness, while necessary, is not at all the same thing as realizing emptiness. The experience of emptiness is experiencing a consciousness (shes pa) free of concepts, often referred to as recognizing the gap between two thoughts. If you follow the teaching of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, terming this experience ‘Dharmakāya’ is a mistake. It is just an impermanent experience.

    In terms of thögal and the four visions, one will not reach the third vision for as long as one continues to reify phenomena. This is the principal reason emphasis is placed on the basis of trekchö rather than the path of thögal in modern Dzogchen practice. If you are a first bhūmi bodhisattva and so on, then the four visions in Dzogchen will be very, very rapid. However, since there is no guarantee that one will realize emptiness merely through practicing trekchö, for this reason, practices such as tummo, etc. are also recommended.

    [1] See the abhisamayālamkara for more details."

    Writings by Arcaya Malcolm Smith:

    The Heart of All Paths
    Dzogchen is the heart of all paths, whether of samsara or nirvana, and is the truth that everyone is trying to discover. What is Dzogchen? We all know the answer to that question -- it is our real condition. 

    Everyone, no matter what religion they belong to, is trying to discover the truth. That truth exists in the heart of every single sentient being. So when you discover that truth, there is no need to remain locked in the limitations of "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist". 

    Limitations are what cause all the suffering in the world. 

    We cannot change the world for others, but we can change the world for ourselves. The only way to do this is to evolve beyond the limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race, and tribe. If we go beyond these limitations through discovering our primordial potentiality, then we are participating in changing the world.

    As we have seen, for example, the six liberations are not just for Buddhists -- you don't have to make someone a Buddhist in order to sing Song of the Vajra for them, for example, or recite the Aspiration of Samantabhadra -- any sentient being who hears these sung or recited will have a seed of future liberation planted in their continuum, thos grol (liberation through hearing). You don't have to make someone a Buddhist to give them some myong grol (liberation through taste), or give them a btags grol (liberation through wearing), or show them some image that is a mthong grol (liberation through sight), or give them some incense which is a specially formulated dri grol (liberation through smell), etc. 

    Of course I am a Buddhist. But where I used to be a Buddhist before I was a Dzogchen practitioner, now it is other way around. This is not because of some intellectual trip. This is based on my practice of Buddhism and Dzogchen for 20+ years now. 

    I can see really clearly that we need to go beyond Buddhist provincialism. We even complain about sectarianism among Buddhists. We also war with each other about such things whose Karmapa is the real one; which is better, gzhan stong or rang stong; is yogacara as high as madhayamaka or not; is Theravada Hinayāna or not; is Mahāyāna or the tantras the real teaching of the Buddha or not. If we do not go beyond these kinds of petty intellectual differences, we will never survive as a species and we will continue to destroy ourselves. 

    In the end it honestly does not matter much whether we put our faith in Jesus, Krishna or Buddha. There is no perfect faith that leads to liberation. The only thing that leads to liberation is knowledge of our true condition. When we know that state, we don't have need of faith since now we have certainty. 

    We do not need to ecumenically pretend that all paths lead to the same place. All we need to understand is that everyone is searching for the same thing, the peace and happiness that springs from freedom. We can overcome all our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe just by maintaining presence and awareness of this fact. 

    When we have overcome our own limitations regarding religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe, then we can work with any circumstances. If one is attached to some limitation, there is no way one can work well with circumstances. One can only work with circumstances by seeing what one's limitations are.

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe then we are more free. We are more free to celebrate life, sorrow at death, wonder at creation, we are more free to enjoy our lives and the lives of others. 

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe we are more free to celebrate the threatening "other", to celebrate the beauty of human diversity and difference, which is the strength of our species. 

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe we are more free to act wisely, to cherish this beautiful planet we live on and all the richness of life, the plants, the animals, the rocks, minerals, oceans, mountains, rivers, and lakes it offers us. 

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe through knowing our own state through personal experience the universe and all the beings in it are revealed as an astonishing panoply of spheres of light and color, sound, lights and rays that has no boundary nor center. 

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe through knowing our own state just as it is, we have no need to ensure any creed, no need to confirm any ideology, no need to control anyone or anything -- we can let the free be free as they have been all along whether they know it or not. 

    When we overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe thorugh direct and perfect knowledge of our own state, then, if we have the capacity, we can introduce others to their own state without regard to religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe. 

    If, for example, Dzogchen teachings are only for Buddhists, how can we ever hope to overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe? How can enforcing limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe ever be useful in the project of overcoming our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe?

    Dzogchen teachings are for all who are interested. Because the ancient peoples of Zhang Zhung and Tibet were interested in Dzogchen, Dzogchen spread there before the formal advent of Buddhism in that country. Originally Dzogchen was not a formal part of Buddhism. It spread through a very small lineage of practitioners. This group of practitioners, beginning with Mañjuśrīmitra, saw that Dzogchen was the essence of what the Buddha was trying to communicate. So they spread it slowly. Later, because Padmasambhava, Vairocana and Vimalamitra brought it to Tibet and some Tibetans too understood it was the essence of the Buddha's teaching, they kept it in secret and it slowly spread among Tibetans. Then, in the 11-12th century, when the Nyingmapas gained self-awareness as an independent school, they adopted Dzogchen as their official "position" in competition with the new translation trends and incorporated it into their school. But by this time, Dzogchen had completely died out in India. But Dzogchen, as is proven by its presence in Bon, is not strictly the provence of Buddhism. Though the Bonpos revised their teachings to bring them into line with Buddhist teachings, Zhang Zhung Nyengyud is an authentic line of Dzogchen intimate instruction that do not depend on Garab Dorje. Therefore, in the same way that early masters of Dzogchen were free from limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe and taught Dzogchen to whoever came to them, we should also endeavor to overcome our limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe. 

    We must not consider the Dzogchen teachings as belonging to any religion, ideology, nation, class, race or tribe. Instead, as practitioners of Dzogchen, we should endeavor to overcome our personal limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe through knowing our real state just as it is. When we know our own state just as it is, we can engage with people wherever they are without ourselves throwing up any barriers of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe. So I suggest it is very important for Dzogchen practitioners, including myself, to overcome any limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe. We already have the means to do this -- we simply need to will to do it. If we ground ourselves in the deep natural transformation that comes from recognizing and integrating with our primordial potentiality, then we can go beyond the limitations of religion, ideology, nation, class, race and tribe. By going beyond these limitations (as well as the limitations of conceptuality, imputation, paths, stages, realizations, attainments, buddhas and sentient beings) through recognizing our own innate state that is originally pure and naturally perfected, we can move freely through the world and meet everyone and everthing from the authentic space of recognition of great original purity of all that is.
    Posted 16th May 2012 by Malcolm

    Malcolm: "KDL went though all four visions to the end. He told me this personally. Not only me, but others. He did realize rainbow body. Rainbow body, in Dzogchen, does not mean that your body disappears. This is a huge is stupidly simple -- once you reach the end of the fourth vision, everything is a display of the five lights, as it is put in the classical text earth, rocks, mountains and cliffs vanish and instead one sees only the five pure lights.....In other words, rainbow body in essence is actually a realization...."


    "No, but I have heard (from ChNN among others) that the disappearance of the body is not necessarily a sign of the body of light.

    Hindus also gain control over the four elements, also Arhats can gain control over the four elements. Gaining control over the four elements is mundane siddhi, it is not excellent siddhi, nor is it reserved for Vajrayana and Dzogchen people. However, if someone has not studied in detail, they might think that many mundane  siddhis are profound. So yes, what I am telling you is that I do not consider the so called rainbow body to much more than a display of mundane siddhi to create faith.

    I am glad you have faith in the teachings, but as I said, I do not derive my faith in the teachings through illusions and phantasmagoria.



    p.s. with regards to KDL (Kunzang Dechen Lingpa), who is also Malcolm's teacher (he passed away in 2006) and Malcolm has said before that KDL is a fully awakened Buddha,

    "Later when Rinpoche was relaxing in a lawn chair, he said to a few students gathered around him: "You don't realize this, but I am actually Guru Rinpoche and you are his twenty-five disciples. I have reached the stage of exhaustion of phenomena (cho nyi zepa). In truth there is for me no form, no sensation, no perception, no karmic formation, no consciousness, no form, no smell, no sense consciousness or object of sense consciousness and so forth; there is no self or other and no distinction of 'Buddhas' and 'sentient beings'; everything remains in the naturally perfect state of pure equality. From the depths of my heart I wish there were some way you could all be made to understand the truth in this, but you do not see it."

    Then Rinpoche went silent and tears fell from his eyes."

    Also, maybe not many of you here knows this - Malcolm (Loppon Namdrol) was asked to teach Dzogchen by KDL (Kunzang Dechen Lingpa) but he refused.

    (Update: The part on malcolm refusing to teach dzogchen is outdated information, as I have learnt that he has recently started teaching and has a sangha now)