Showing posts with label Jean-Luc Achard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jean-Luc Achard. Show all posts

 11 Shared by Kyle Dixon

Jean-Luc Achard on the Role and Importance of Study and Conceptual Understanding in one’s Relationship with the Dzogchen Teachings

There is never enough reading. All the main masters of the past and recent times that one venerates from Longchenpa to Jigme Lingpa, from Dru Gyelwa to Kundrol Rinpoche, from Khyentse Wangpo to Shardza, from Khenpo Gangshar to Sakya Tridzin, from HH the Dalai Lama to Yongdzin Rinpoche (too many names to list), all of them have spent a gazillion sessions of their practice in formal study. I don't think this has caused them any obscurations. I don't buy a single minute the legends of brainless yogis reaching Rainbow Body as a paradigm to follow for westerners without a proper buddhist/bon complete education. The Dharma is one of the three Jewels, it does not cause obscurations. I would add to this that ignorance comes from not recognizing one's state but it is maintained, developed and intensified by the absence of study. It is only among lay people in the West that there is this fancy that one will reach anywhere on the path of Dharma while despising texts and teachings.

There are other forums where people are proud of their ignorance. I am not. I am ashamed of it when I compare it to the knowledge of my masters. I try every single day to spend my time 50/50 in between practice and study. Study never let me down. I can tell you, for having met people who reject study in the past 35 years, that not a single of them has a clue about what Rigpa is. You can spend a gazillion years on your cushion, if the correct understanding is not there, you simply waste your time. You never waste your time reading the teachings the masters so kindly composed for the past 2,000 years. So reading texts after texts is a correct way to chase ignorance away. I don't think anybody here claims to be a great vidyadhara. However, I have met countless people with a dramatically superficial "knowledge" of the teachings who claim to be advanced on the path and who actually ignore the stages of that path. Lopon [Tenzin Namdak] said this once:

"I prefer someone who has clearly understood the state of Dzogchen, even intellectually, as opposed to a brainless yogi able to stand upside-down on the tip of a grass with one single finger. I know which of the two can have a chance at recognizing the state in the Bardo."

Throwing the books [marginalizing study] is throwing one of the 3 Jewels in the river. This is a totally nihilistic approach which has nothing whatsoever to do with Dzogchen. When Shakyamuni was there, we were in a period associated with his Body (i.e. the Buddha was there physically), then he passed away and we were still more or less in a period associated with his Body through those who had met him personally and received his teachings. Then when these died, we entered a period associated with his Speech only, because that was all was left of him: his teachings transmitted as best as masters could do at the time. Then when things started to be written down, we entered a period associated with his Mind, i.e. a period where all that was left of him was what he had taught according to his realization and this was now in written form for us. We should consider ourselves as lucky to even have access to that because these are teachings of an enlightened being, not an ordinary one, not nihilism. And Shakyamuni’s basic message beside the 4 Noble Truths is: stay away from the two extremes, nihilism and eternalism. Enter the middle Path. Dzogchen is in perfect accord with this view.

Again, nobody said that what we read IS rigpa. This is stupid to even think of it. However, words are pointers, they are indicators of a deeper meaning and they have symbolic semantic fields which help understand a key-idea of Dzogchen in the proper terms of Dzogchen. And again, we were not, at least I was not, discussing how to enter Rigpa but what Rigpa is. Contrary to what you think, Rigpa can be enunciated in words. This is what all the Tantras of Dzogchen do. It is not because the state is beyond words and speech that speech and words cannot convey a deeper meaning at a subtler level than they are outwardly. Denying this is denying the function of the Sambhogakaya in us.

To make things clear for the forum — this may be my mistake because I haven't been very active on it in the past months: we believe in study and practice. We don't welcome opinions negating the value of study to promote a so-called practice which may be flawed because of a lack of understanding (resulting from an absence of study). This is in particular true with the dramatic proliferations that are affecting so many Nyingma students in the West about Rigpa. Understanding Rigpa is simpler than they think but these people are fantasizing about a magical state, etc. Rigpa is knowledge. It is not difficult to experience it.

This is important because, when one says Rigpa is beyond consciousness and thoughts, some people identify it with non-discursiveness. This is wrong: Rigpa can be with or without thoughts. But when it is with thoughts, these are only altruistic ones that one uses for the "activities of the wise" (mkhas pa'i bya ba), namely explanations, debates and compositions. Now, to enter these activities and take part in the Dharma, one needs the selfless knoweldge of the Buddha which is acquired through studies, otherwise one risks to spread one's own deluded "dharma" which will certainly be a cause to lower rebirths. This is where canonicity enters the game: it is very important if one intends to teach that the teachings are within the confines of canonicity. There have for instance been heterodox Dzogchen systems in the past in Tibet, propounded by unrealized masters such as the Dzogchen De'uma system. I think this is one of the main reasons so few westerners are actually authorized to teach from texts, but are rather authorized to discourse a little on Dzogchen, as introductory lectures.

Traditionally, Lamas would train you in both study and practice because they both enrich each other. Studies help you understand the subtleties of your mind, and practice helps you understand what’s written in texts by enlightened masters, an understanding which in turn helps you realizing what “occurs” or not in your contemplation, and so on endlessly.

If i have something personal to say here it would be to repeat (it has become my personal opinion since years, so i share this one as a treasure for me) what Lopon [Tenzin Namdak] Rinpoche told me:

"Study and practice. Practice and Study. You studies will clear out what you experience in practice. Your experience in practice will make you understand the teachings of the Buddhas that you read. Then what you read will totally clarify what you meditate on." It's the Wheel of Wisdom. All is there.


    Kyle dixon shared on reddit:
    Jean-Luc Achard on Integration of the View and the Role of Diligence in Relation to the Key Points of Trekcho
    is actually pretty easy to enter the experience of rigpa but more
    difficult to cultivate it without artifice, outside of a retreat
    context. Most of the westerners I know do not do any retreat. They go to
    teachings when a lama is there and they call it a retreat. I’ve
    received a lot of teachings in Tibet and none of the masters ever said a
    word about integration into daily working life. This is something that a
    few Tibetan masters have made for the west. Traditionally, when you
    receive a Dzogchen teaching, you then go into retreat and generate some
    experience. This takes months at best. Then you come back to the master
    and relate your experience. Then you get further details on more
    advanced practice, etc., and you go into another retreat. So not doing
    any “real” retreat is probably a drawback that affects most people. For
    instance, the retreat of trekchö in the Kunzang Nyinthik (its the same
    for those who follow the Yeshe Lama for instance) does not last less
    than 18 continuous months in a traditional context.
    point that is related is misunderstanding some key points in trekchö.
    For instance, all our masters repeat that once you have entered the
    state of trekchö, then you must not do anything. And you consequently
    have people not doing anything for years! They just remain like that,
    glued in a state of total blankness, using vague words like “presence”
    to describe the actual fogginess of their experience. Actually, what
    texts say is that you don’t do anything at first, not continually. “At
    first” means that it’s simply the threshold of trekchö practice. What
    you actually have to do is once you don’t doubt anymore regarding the
    actual “flavor” of this state, then you have to cultivate it with
    artifice during specific sessions (that’s the purpose of the 18 months
    mentioned above) after which you are quasi-certain to reach a
    non-regressive stability in this state. Most of the time, this stability
    is reached quite earlier during the retreat. It’s actually easier to
    succeed in this during a retreat than during the daily working life when
    you have all the distractions of your ordinary social life. So during
    the retreat, at a certain stage, you train in integration. There are
    four things to integrate: (i) the activities of the three doors, (ii)
    the activities of the six associations of consciousness, (iii) specific
    intellectual activities of the mind, and (iv) the variety of
    circumstances that life puts on your path. So the “doing nothing” is
    really something for beginners in trekchö. Most people I know mistake it
    for the real practice. That’s the worst mistake to make because one is
    never going to make any progress if one goes on like this.
    are plenty of things to do. Rushen for instance in order to clearly
    deepen this knowledge and have a direct experience that is not produced
    by our discursiveness. Then, the training of the 3 doors. Then specific
    techniques such as the four natural accesses to properly access the
    state of trekchö. [One should not think] there is nothing to do: there
    are things to do to enter this state, and once you’re in it you
    cultivate it by integrating other things (after having become
    familiarized with it). This appears to be not understood by all. When
    you are in this state, you just have to stabilize it. This takes the
    whole path to do so! Don’t bypass it because you don’t like it, it’s
    precisely like this, one has to practice, period. You may state
    otherwise but this is not Dzogchen anymore. Once you are stable in the
    experience of the natural state, you realize that this experience is
    uncompounded, unaltered, etc., and you don’t have to do anything to
    correct it. But in general, everyone (including our masters at a stage
    in their life) regresses from it. So one has to become familiar with it,
    through contemplation practice. But this contemplation practice is
    aimless if it just means sitting and doing nothing. That means each time
    you quit your sitting meditation, you are regressing from that state.
    But, if you want to integrate the natural state in a non-regressive way,
    you have to do something. Trekchö has to be done for very long sessions
    during specific retreats in total silence and isolation. The longer the
    sessions, the deeper the experience grows until, like a sheet which
    constantly put into water never dries, one does not regress anymore from
    the experience of the natural state.
    — Jean-Luc Achard


  • May be an image of ‎text that says '‎2:20 John Tan 4G L vC uv ש1 VCI U Cรccดo during specific retreats in total silence and isolation. The longer the sessions, deeper the experience grows until, like sheet which constantly put into water never dries, one does not regress anymore from the experience the natural state. -Jean-Luc Achard 1:56PM 1:56 1UNREAD MESSAGE shared on reddit Jean- Achard the View and.. Reply W Thanks R Y U S D F G H J K z c B N 123 M space return‎'‎

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  • Owen Richards
    Wow. All that efforting and endless path sounds very Theravada, not at all direct path...

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    Soh Wei Yu
    Direct path is just for realisation. It is not Buddhahood.
    Even Dzogchen and Mahamudra stresses strict discipline and retreats. It is generally understood in Dzogchen that full Buddhahood requires around 12 years of practice in a retreat setting for someone of a mediocre capacity. Zen patriarch Bodhidharma sat 9 years even after being awakened, and so on.
    Buddhists do quite unanimously think that neo advaita people are deluded with the no practice thing.
    From AtR guide:
    On the duration it takes to attain Buddhahood:
    [1:21 AM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: Have you listened to the Dan brown? [Soh: this is referring to another video -- ]
    [1:21 AM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: havent yet.. is it good?
    [1:21 AM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: From I AM to non-dual to one mind to no mind
    [1:22 AM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. but not anatta?
    [1:22 AM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: To dzogchen, the view is the practice or view includes practice. You listen tomorrow, you will understand. Hale must be thinking that it is quite similar with the phases of insights But I deleted that away in the comment
    [1:25 AM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. why delete
    [1:27 AM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: I dunno about dzogchen much, so I will stay with what I know and Instead of saying phases of insights are similar, will cause unnecessary issues...and I am not trying to come out some version of jaxchen or soh-chen...
    [9:23 AM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. you said it talks about no mind but it didnt mention about anatta realization?
    [9:29 AM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: Yeah
    [2:09 PM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: Frankly I like Dan brown video but the timeline is unrealistic.
    [2:11 PM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: The steps are however clear.
    Nauli for example. Even doing the centre extrusion will take few months of practice and to really churn the will take about 2 years. To churn and have sufficient control will take much more time. Even if you practice diligently as an exercise will take you probably 4-5 years to master.
    [2:13 PM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: As for insights, it is not a matter of pointing out, the stability will take probably 10-25 years post anatta to even have stability and that is practicing quite diligently. Resting in appearances without observer and observed will take probably more time. Into 3 states IMO and experiences require another understanding and that is important. The key is in the message I told andre and asked you what are the other ways beside anatta and do for active mode of no-agency.
    [2:16 PM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. but buddha said you can attain arahant between 7 days to 7 years just by practicing four foundations of mindfulness.. but i guess that timeline is for monks and often in retreat
    [2:17 PM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: That is not Buddhahood
    [2:17 PM, 10/8/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. but should have cleared the ten fetters right
    [2:17 PM, 10/8/2020] John Tan: Yes. That is why I told you to ponder on the no agency part. You need to have that insight, otherwise it is just half done. In other words it is no self in active mode. Why is it half done? Because it is normally in passive mode. So your dreams will normally remain karmic.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Furthermore see what John Tan said in 2020 about direct path here:
    “This is like what I tell you and essentially emphasizing 明心非见性. 先明心, 后见性. (Soh: Apprehending Mind is not seeing [its] Nature. First apprehend Mind, later realise [its] Nature).
    First is directly authenticating mind/consciousness 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind). There is the direct path like zen sudden enlightenment of one's original mind or mahamudra or dzogchen direct introduction of rigpa or even self enquiry of advaita -- the direct, immediate, perception of "consciousness" without intermediaries. They are the same.
    However that is not realization of emptiness. Realization of emptiness is 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature). Imo there is direct path to 明心 (Soh: Apprehending Mind) but I have not seen any direct path to 见性 (Soh: Seeing Nature) yet. If you go through the depth and nuances of our mental constructs, you will understand how deep and subtle the blind spots are.
    Therefore emptiness or 空性 (Soh: Empty Nature) is the main difference between buddhism and other religions. Although anatta is the direct experiential taste of emptiness, there is still a difference between buddhist's anatta and selflessness of other religions -- whether it is anatta by experiential taste of the dissolution of self alone or the experiential taste is triggered by wisdom of emptiness.
    The former focused on selflessness and whole path of practice is all about doing away with self whereas the later is aboutt living in the wisdom of emptiness and applying that insight and wisdom of emptiness to all phenomena.
    As for emptiness there is the fine line of seeing through inherentness of Tsongkhapa and there is the emptiness free from extremes by Gorampa. Both are equally profound so do not talk nonsense and engaged in profane speech as in terms of result, ultimately they are the same (imo).”
    Dalai Lama - "Nature - there are many different levels. Conventional level, one nature. There are also, you see, different levels. Then, ultimate level, ultimate reality... so simply realise the Clarity of the Mind, that is the conventional level. That is common with Hindus, like that. So we have to know these different levels...." - Dalai Lama on Anatta and Emptiness of Buddha Nature in New Book

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    Owen Richards
    Soh Wei Yu oh I see. Is it because delusion is deeply hard wired?

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Shamata and vipassana ~ Thrangu Rinpoche
    If one practices śamatha meditation without vipaśyanā, one will not be able to understand the true nature of phenomena; one will just be able to rest the mind on something. It is like being on a vacation; one experiences peace on a vacation, but one does not get any lasting results from it.
    If you practice vipaśyanā without śamatha, you will not be able to eliminate whatever negativity needs to be eliminated, because vipaśayanā without śamatha is unstable. So even if you have the understanding of vipaśyanā, your mind will be agitated. Therefore you need to have both śamatha and vipaśyanā.
    – Thrangu Rinpoche
    from the book "The Practice of Tranquillity & Insight: A Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation"
    ISBN: 978-1559391061 -
    John tan wrote a decade ago:
    “"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. Many wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do and nothing to practice. This is precisely using "self view" to understand "anatta" despite having the insight.
    It does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice; rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about wisdom, vipassana, mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the invaluable insight of anatta. That said, there is the passive mode of practice of choiceless awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."
    In 2013, Thusness said, "Anapanasati is good. After your insight [into anatta], master a form of technique that can bring you to that the state of anatta without going through a thought process." and on choiceless awareness Thusness further commented, "Nothing wrong with choice. Only problem is choice + awareness. It is that subtle thought, the thought that misapprehend (Soh: falsely imputes/fabricates) the additional "agent"."
    “A state of freedom is always a natural state, that is a state of mind free from self/Self. You should familiarize yourself with the taste first. Like doing breathing meditation until there is no-self and left with the inhaling and exhaling... then understand what is meant by releasing.””
    Shamata and vipassana ~ Thrangu Rinpoche
    Shamata and vipassana ~ Thrangu Rinpoche
    Shamata and vipassana ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

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    • Soh Wei Yu
      Here's another thread, this one has quotes by the Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith:
      Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
      "To reject practice by saying, ‘it is conceptual!’ is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided.”
      — Longchenpa
      Also see: Right Samadhi
      Many people have a very warped understanding of the so called "highest teachings" such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra, thinking that these teachings allow us to bypass or skip meditation training, or that it does not require "practice" and "meditation". This cannot be further from the truth.
      Here are the words from Lopon Malcolm, a qualified dharma teacher who was asked by his Dzogchen master, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa to teach Dzogchen -
      Malcolm (Loppon Namdrol) wrote:
      Rongzom makes the point very clearly that Dzogchen practitioners must develop the mental factors that characterize the first dhyana, vitarka, vicara, pritvi, sukha and ekagraha, i.e. applied attention, sustained attention, physical ease, mental ease and one-pointedness. If you do not have a stable samatha practice, you can't really call yourself a Dzogchen practitioner at all. At best, you can call yourself someone who would like to be a Dzogchen practitioner a ma rdzogs chen pa. People who think that Dzogchen frees one from the need to meditate seriously are seriously deluded. The sgra thal 'gyur clearly says:
      The faults of not meditating are:
      the characteristics of samsara appear to one,
      there is self and other, object and consciousness,
      the view is verbal,
      the field is perceptual,
      one is bound by afflictions,
      also one throws away the path of the buddhahood,
      one does not understand the nature of the result,
      a basis for the sameness of all phenomena does not exist,
      one's vidya is bound by the three realms,
      and one will fall into conceptuality
      He also added:
      Dhyanas are defined by the presence or absence of specific mental factors.
      The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening, rather he coursed through them in order to remove traces of rebirth associated with the form and formless realms associated with the dhyanas.
      Whether you are following Dzogchen or Mahamudra, and regardless of your intellectual understanding, your meditation should have, at base, the following characteristics:
      Prthvi -- physical ease Sukha -- mental joy Ekagraha -- one-pointedness Vitarka -- initial engagement Vicara -- sustained engagement
      If any of these is missing, you have not even achieved perfect samatha regardless of whether or not you are using an external object, the breath or even the nature of the mind.
      Even in Dzogchen, the five mental factors I mentioned are key without which you are really not going to make any progress.
      Samadhi/dhyāna is a natural mental factor, we all have it. The problem is that we naturally allow this mental factor to rest on afflictive objects such as HBO, books, video games, etc.
      Śamatha practice is the discipline of harnessing our natural predisposition for concentration, and shifting it from afflictive conditioned phenomena to nonafflictive conditioned phenomena, i.e., the phenomena of the path. We do this in order to create a well tilled field for the growth of vipaśyāna. Śamatha ultimately allows us to have mental stability and suppresses afflictive mental factors so that we may eventually give rise to authentic insight into the nature of reality. While it is possible to have vipaśyāna without cultivating śamatha, it is typically quite unstable and lacks the power to effectively eradicate afflictive patterning from our minds. Therefore, the basis of all practice in Buddhadharma, from Abhidharma to the Great Perfection, is the cultivation of śamatha as a preliminary practice for germination of vipaśyāna.
      A perfect śamatha is nothing more than the first dhyāna, attended by five mental factors: vitarka, vicara, prithi, sukha and ekagraha. This is a universal definition.
      The idea that it takes a year to develop this experience is ridiculous. If you understand what you are doing, you can develop this experience in as little as a single afternoon.
      Since the mental factors of vitarka and vicara drop off above the first dhyāna, when one 's motivation is to engage in vipaśyāna, it is not appropriate to cultivate anything more than this.
      Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
      Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana
      Dzogchen, Meditation and Jhana

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    • Soh Wei Yu
      A crucial difference between Dzogchen and Theravada approach to samatha AFAIK is that Dzogchen emphasizes recognition of rigpa, at least preliminarily the unfabricated clarity aspect (realizing emptiness comes later). With that base one cultivates samatha.

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