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The Practice Of Dzogchen: Longchen Rabjam's Writings on the Great Perfection


John Tan:

Exactly what I am searching"


The External Apprehended Objects Are Non-Existent Emptiness

(i) The appearances are unreal reflections like the eight examples of illusion. Every aspect of the five objects, such as form, included in the phenomena of the world and beings, are mere appearances with no true existence. All the appearances which have appeared to both the pure perceptions of the Buddhas and the impure perceptions of deluded beings are the percepts of wisdom and the mind. While the appearances are appearing to both perceptions, they are appearing with no inherent existence (Rang-bZhin), like a reflection in a mirror and rainbow rays in the sky. To the pure perception of wisdom the (appearances) transcend the extremes of existing and non-existing as there are no stains of apprehender and apprehended. As there is no creating, ceasing, and changing, all are free from the characteristics of compounded phenomena, the appearances of uncompounded emptiness-form, and are totally free from conceptualizations. To the perception of the deluded mind, (the appearances) merely appear as the object of apprehension of self (bDag-'Dzin), which have fallen into the extreme (concepts) of existing or non-existing, are detached from the characteristics of uncompounded (nature), and have strengthened the habituations of adventitious and circumstantial self-perceptions. So, here, one will understand that the objects, the delusory appearances of the mind, are unreal. Various external appearances, such as white and red, are merely the percepts of rigid habits, like a dream created by the drunkenness of ignorant sleep. There is not the slightest existence (in them) as the object in the (true) meaning. Also, those appearances are not mind from the very point of their arising, because their substantial characteristics, such as color, size, and distinctions, negate the character of the mind. At the same time, they are not other than the mind, because, in addition to their being merely the delusory perceptions (of the mind), no other object has ever been established as such. The appearances to the mind are just types of experience of rigid habits continuing from beginningless time. It is like dreaming last night about a magic show one has seen yesterday. Therefore, one should think that whatever appears are appearances of non existence, and are without foundation, abiding place, natural existence, and recognizable (entity). They are merely a clear appearance of the empty nature like a dream, magical display, mirage, echo, shadowy view (Mig-Yor), water-moon (reflection), miracle, and the city of smell-eaters (a spirit world). Whatever appears, self or others, enemies or friends, countries or towns, places or houses, food or drink or wealth, and whatever one does, eating or sleeping, walking or sitting, one should train in seeing them as unreal. One should devote oneself to this training in all its aspects: the preliminary, actual, and concluding practices.

(ii) The objects, if analyzed, are emptiness. If the appearances are examined from gross to subtle down to atoms, they are partless and non-existent. So form is emptiness. (Likewise,) by examining color and recognition of sound, it (will be found to be) emptiness. By examining the form and essence of smell, it (will be found to be) emptiness. By examining the aspects of taste, they (will be found to be) emptiness. Especially, by examining the sources (sense-objects), the emptiness of touch will be reached. Although they are different in appearance, they are the same in their nature in being emptiness, so the emptiness of various objects are not separate categories. Their nature, like pure space, transcends being either separate or the same. So the nature of objective appearances is emptiness in its essence.

The Apprehender Has No Foundation and No Root

(i) The consciousnesses are self-clarity without foundation.

(There are eight consciousnesses.) The five sense-consciousnesses; arise as the five objects such as form, the mind-consciousness cognizes the general impression (of the appearing objects) and designates them as the objects, the defiled mind-consciousness is the sense of negating, accepting, hating and disliking (etc.), the mind-consciousness arises after the six consciousnesses (five senses and universal ground consciousness), ...and the consciousness of universal ground is self-clarity (Rang-gSal) and no thought and is unrelated to the objects: these are the eight or six consciousnesses. At the (very) time of (functioning of any of) those consciousnesses themselves, whatever consciousness it is, it is clear, vivid, and self-clarity with no foundations. Although they appear clear, there is no substantial entity. They are appearing without existence, like clear space and a breeze with no dust. Their clarity is present naturally like the sky without clouds. Their movements are like wind, not in distinguishable substances. From the (very) time of appearing, (the consciousnesses) as the apprehenders are self-clarity and unrecognizable. Watch them when they are arising and when they are abiding. Relax naturally and watch the manner of appearing of the apprehender. Thereby one will realize the apprehenders as having the nature of merely an appearance of clarity with no existence, emptiness with no bias, and self-clarity with no foundation.

(ii) (The subject), if analyzed, is emptiness without root.

By analyzing (whether) the self-clear, baseless mind (exists) in the external appearances, inner physical body, or intermediate movements, or if the entity of the self-dwelling mind itself (can be) recognized in (its) design, color, birth, cessation, and abiding, one will realize that its nature is non-existence, baseless and free from the extremes of either existence or non-existence. In this training the devotion to the Lama is the only important thing.


    Owen Richards
    Is this another one of those dzogchen books that promises the world only to say yOu neEd tRanSmisSiOn?

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  • Alan Smith
    Owen Richards - If you are looking for transmission: Look up Lama Lena online. You can sign up for transmission, and then when there is a large enough group she will schedule one. Like said above, there is some debate whether this can be done over l…
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    Owen Richards
    Alan Smith I'm not looking for transmission. It's religious hocus.

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      Soh Wei Yu
      Tinh Phan realized I AM (the initial unripened rigpa) during Malcolm's direct introduction, had a doubtless recognition of rigpa, while attending Malcolm's Dzogchen teachings on my recommendation. Plenty of others have had similar experiences.
      So transmission, direct introduction, all these things are a crucial and essential part of the Dzogchen teachings and methodology, meant to induce awakening in the student. They are certainly not "religious hocus".

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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Also when I say Tinh Panh realized the I AM during introduction, this does not mean Malcolm only pointed out I AM in his teachings. He described all the phases including and up to anatta and emptiness as per the seven stages, in AtR lingo. But it is unlikely that someone totally new will get all 7 stages initially.
      As Kyle Dixon (who Malcolm told me at a dinner 2 years ago in San Francisco was his first student to totally understand his teachings) said,
      "I’ve never met anyone who gained any insight into emptiness at direct introduction. Plenty who recognized rigpa kechigma though.
      I don’t presume to know better than luminaries like Longchenpa and Khenpo Ngachung who state emptiness isn’t actually known until third vision and so on. You may presume otherwise and in that case we can agree to disagree." page not found
      REDDIT.COM page not found page not found

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    • Acarya Malcolm, 2015:

      "If one has received direct introduction, it is possible that you may understand something more clearly with such a text, but since direct introduction works with experiences, there is no way one can substitute this conceptual understanding for working with the transmission by means of working with various experiences until one discovers the basis, aka primordial state, for oneself and has stabilizes that knowledge [rig pa].

      The reason? Direct introduction works with experiences to show what the foundation that lies below experiences, thoughts and concepts, i.e. the mind essence. This is extremely subtle and cannot be discovered merely through reading books, no matter how holy or profound. The error, quite frankly, is mistaking the fact that we are aware with that awareness being the mind essence itself. The awareness that we experience moment to moment is quite coarse, and is dominated by our "energy," our rlung or vāyu. The mind essence is much more subtle than any awareness we can experience.

      Direct introduction, received from a master who knows what it is he is introducing, is indispensable — it sets up the foundation for our later discovery of our own state even if at the time the experience was too subtle for us to register it clearly. Anytime anyone participates in a direct introduction with a realized master in a whole hearted openly collaborative way [rather than passively expecting something to happen], they will in fact experience that moment of knowledge [rig pa] the master intends to introduce. Even if they do not "grasp" it at the time, they will have that experience to carry with them. In the beginning, our concepts are very strong, and our ability to see the mind essence is very weak. Therefore, our moment of rig pa we experience in the direct introduction is something like a small branch caught up in a torrent of a river of concepts — it is very easily swept away. But if we are patient, and we are diligent, we can again have that experience of the mind essence, upon which all future practice depends. Why? Because it was introduced and we had it once. There is nothing at all mystical about the process, it is straightforward and nonmagical.

      The process of reading is too conceptual, the mind involved is too coarse, and therefore, it is impossible that we can experience the mind essence from reading a text. However, if we have experienced the mind essence reading books such as the Chos dbying mdzod and so on can reinforce our confidence which we can bring to our practice.

      In order to experience the mind essence we have to cut through coarse concepts with various methods to re-experience the mind essence that we were exposed to during the introduction. This is why we have practices such as rushen and semszin, and supremely, Song of the Vajra."
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