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Thread: Dzogchen and Shikantaza

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  1. #1

    Dzogchen and Shikantaza

    Hi,

    I'm Martin, a non-sectarian "Dzochenpa" with strong Soto roots in my past and I am firmly convinced that there is ultimately no difference between (unfortunately secret) Dzogchen mengagde teachings and Shikantaza. It is important for me to know what Zen practitioners think of them.

    One short definition of Shikantaza is: Just sitting. This is complementary to the task: Just sit. Or: Sit down and do nothing. Or: Sit down and leave everything as it is. Or: Sit down and don’t focus on anything. Or: Sit down and be natural. The deeper meaning of these tasks is exactly the same. But what is meant by the term “deeper meaning“?

    Soto-introduction:

    Task: Just sit. But now you may practice: "just sitting", instead of just sitting.

    Different possible Dzogchen-menagde introductions:

    Task
    : Do nothing. But now you may practice: “doing nothing”, instead of doing nothing.
    Task: Leave everything as it is. But now you may practice: “leaving everything as it is”, instead of leaving everything as it is.
    Task: Don’t focus on anything. But now you may focus on “non-focusing”, instead of not focusing on anything.
    Task: Behave yourself completely natural. But now you may practice “completely natural behavior”, instead of behave yourself completely natural.

    If you are practicing these tasks, you’re like the client of a hypnotist. You automatically fabricate and grab his suggestions because you hold specific expectations for the session. And an artificial state of mind is the result. But primordial nonpractice has nothing to do with suggestions and hypnosis. Rather, it is the exact opposite of a self-hypnosis like meditation. Do that please absolutely clear.

    One is practicing these tasks, because of grasping. It’s important to detect this process exactly. If I tell you for example, that I have no name and you answer: “Hello no-name“, you fabricate an artificial reified-concept out of the fact, that I have no name. In our special case one fabricates a reified-concept out of these tasks and a quality like “just sitting’nes” seems to appear and permeates experience. That’s consciousness; a fabricated state of mind. This quality is reified-identified with experience and because of that one want to get something very specific from these tasks. That brings us right back to the start of this circle of ignorance. All this only because of fabrication.

    How can you break out of it? Recognice the difference between practiced “leaving everything as it is” and factual ‘leaving everything as it is’ exactly .. and leave everything as it is. That’s primordial unfabricated looseness. Since it is completely unfabricated, the reified-concepts of an origin or source or subject or object .. doesn’t matter naturally from itself. This knowledge is an immediate obvious fact, not just a thought or insight like: “It doesn’t matter naturally from itself.” It’s impossible to understand knowledge trough consciousness, because knowledge is primordial inseparable from appearances; so everything is like a vivid reflection. This expression is called transparency.

    Note A: It’s not a vivid reflection, it’s like a vivid reflection. Don’t misunderstand the term “vivid reflection” in a reified sense. You can’t understand transparency through consciousness.

    Note B: Don’t think: “There’s nothing to do”. That’s just an idea, just thinking, just like philosophy. The task must be implemented. And there are two ways to implement the task. As unfabricated fact, or grasping. As primordial nonpractice, or practiced nonpractice. For a person who is still on the ordinary path of training, when he follows one of these tasks, in the first time it is unavoidable not to practice one of these tasks, because ones own consciousness is the expression of grasping and fabrication. But if you realize the difference between your fabricated task and the factual unfabricated task, primordial natural looseness is immediate obvious. Since it is completely unfabricated, the reified concepts of an origin or source doesn’t matter naturally from itself.

    “Knowing” does not mean perception; for perception is of little measure. It does not mean understanding; for understanding is artificially constructed. Therefore, this “knowing” is “not touching things”, and “not touching things” is “knowing”. (..) Thought” is itself “knowing”, without dependence on another’s power. “Its knowing” is its form, and its form is the mountains and rivers. These mountains and rivers are “subtle”, and this “subtlety” is “mysterious”. (Dogen, Zazenshin)
    Conclusion: The task: “Just sit”, can be the beginning of recognicing the process of fabrication and if this process is fully understood, it can be the beginning of primordial natural looseness, which is completely unfabricated.

    From your Soto-Perspective, can you define important differences, or not? Big sorry for my bad english
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 02:12 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  2. #2
    Hello Martin,

    great to hear from you. As someone who has great respect and is often inspired by some of the wonderful dharma teachings coming from the Dzogchen corner of the Dharma-universe, I am sure we'll have plenty of interesting conversations in the future.

    Now I have to digest all your questions

    It'd be wonderful by the way if you were able to post a short introduction in the greetings by new folks thread, a picture of you would also be very appreciated by many, since we are much more than a discussion forum here, we are a breathing Sangha

    Schön, dass Du zu uns gefunden hast.


    Gassho and viele liebe Grüße,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  3. #3
    Hi Martin,

    Welcome again. Your English is fine, although your questions are difficult. As I am not a Dzogchen practitioner, I do not know I can answer. I have posted some words from a Dzogchen Teacher recently that resonate of Zazen ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...light=dzogzhen

    ... but noticed many other aspects of Practice with an Esoteric Buddhist flavor rather different.

    I must confess that I have read what you wrote three times, and I cannot follow sufficiently to respond. I do not think it is your English, but what is being asked and the manner of asking.

    Would you kindly review and sit with our "We're All Always Beginners" series of talks to get a sense of the flavor of Shikantaza practiced here? Then perhaps we can continue the discussion better.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-FOR-NEW-FOLKS

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    I must confess that I have read what you wrote three times, and I cannot follow sufficiently to respond. I do not think it is your English, but what is being asked and the manner of asking.
    Can you detect - based on direct experience - any difference between the described possible tasks?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Would you kindly review and sit with our "We're All Always Beginners" series of talks to get a sense of the flavor of Shikantaza practiced here? Then perhaps we can continue the discussion better.
    Yes I do, thank's for your links.

    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 04:13 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  5. #5
    Hello Martin,

    it's me again. What a surprise!

    There are two major differences between most Soto-Zen approaches and Dzogchen.


    1. We have no specifically designated "pointing out instructions" (which are symbolic, gesture and/or explanation based ways of introducing practitioners to the fruit of practise, or the nature of awakening itself at the beginning of the path)
    2. We have no special internal energy methods and Thögal (both these Dzogchen topics are rather secret and cannot just be learned from books)

    However, through dropping body and mind as we call it, we affirm and express our dynamically swimming in the ocean of awakening. Right here, right now, beyond and including here and now.

    At the beginning this seems like an intellectual statement, but through practise one can wake up (either instantly or over time) to it being a living reality.

    We don't care too much about traditional internal energy theories, and even amongst some Zen teachers who do, the assumption is that the full lotus position is in itself sufficient to balance whatever one might call internal energies.


    In an intimate dokusan conversation, a cocoon pregnant with possibilities, or whilst sitting on the toilet, Buddha nature can reveal itself and the bottom falls out of the bucket.


    From my arguably limited experience there are just as many gifted and also heavily deluded individuals practising Dzogchen as there are practising Shikantaza. If one were true and the other were not true, we'd see a much greater difference.

    While similarities are fascinating, the important bit is the actual work, the actual practise. So my two cents are in both cases, find a teacher, and dig dig dig until you see your shovel is made of diamonds.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  6. #6
    Hello Hans (again),

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post

    1. We have no specifically designated "pointing out instructions" (which are symbolic, gesture and/or explanation based ways of introducing practitioners to the fruit of practise, or the nature of awakening itself at the beginning of the path)
    But you have the instruction: Just sit. And there are two ways to implement this task. One you call Zazen (practice) the other one Shikantaza (primordial nonpractice)...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    2. We have no special internal energy methods and Thögal (both these Dzogchen topics are rather secret and cannot just be learned from books)
    In Dzogchen there are no special energy methods. That's tantrism. Preliminary practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    However, through dropping body and mind as we call it, we affirm and express our dynamically swimming in the ocean of awakening. Right here, right now, beyond and including here and now.
    Yeah. But From my point of understanding, the focus on a "here and now" .. is a focus .. not "just sitting" ..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    We don't care too much about traditional internal energy theories, and even amongst some Zen teachers who do, the assumption is that the full lotus position is in itself sufficient to balance whatever one might call internal energies.
    That's why I like Zen so much. But beliefe me - Dzogchen and Tantra are very different. Two different ways, two different fruits. Your practice begins with the task: "Just sit", Dzogchen (mengagde) begins with the possible task: Do nothing, leave everything as it is". I want to emphasize the common, that's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    From my arguably limited experience there are just as many gifted and also heavily deluded individuals practising Dzogchen as there are practising Shikantaza. If one were true and the other were not true, we'd see a much greater difference.
    You're right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    While similarities are fascinating, the important bit is the actual work, the actual practise.
    It's not about the "fascination" of similarities. It's about the end of a long dispute and much more.

    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 03:38 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  7. #7
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Martin,

    I really can't understand what you're trying to say. Are you saying that Dzogchen is better than shikantaza? If so, do Dzogchen. It's not like rooting for different teams here...

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    -----

    I know nothing.

  8. #8
    Hi Kirk,

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    Are you saying that Dzogchen is better than shikantaza?
    No. I'm saying that Shikantaza like Dzogchen mengagde is primordial nonpractice. So it can't be different. Same fruit.

    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 04:12 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  9. #9
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thigle View Post
    No. I'm saying that Shikantaza like Dzogchen mengagde is primordial nonpractice. So it can't be different. Same fruit.
    Primordial nonpractice?

    Huh?

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    -----

    I know nothing.

  10. #10
    Hoi kirkmc,

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    Primordial nonpractice?

    Huh?
    yes, sounds really academic. But it is primordial .. nonpractice. It's neither practice, nor practiced nonpractice, nor just a thought/idea. It's naturally from itself completely unfabricated. If you follow the task: "Just sit", in the beginning you are practicing "just sitting" .. instead of just sitting. That's meditation. That's grasping. That's an artificial focus. That's an artificial state of mind. And a lot of qualities seems to appear because of your meditation. Clarity, openess, bliss, whatever. And you go trough. Hopefully. But the task: "Just sit", can be primordial nonpractice to, if you recognice the difference between practiced "just sitting" and factual "just sitting" one day. You only can recognice the difference, if you recognice your own process of grasping/fabrication. I think, this approach does not differ from Zazen/Shikantaza. So there is no reason for Tibetan and Zen practitioners to argue. I distinguish here: If you are practicing "just sitting", it's Zazen. The other one is Shikantaza.
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 05:00 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  11. #11
    Dear Thigle,

    there are orthodox Zen teachers and orthodox Dzogchen teachers....who will say what is being practised is not the same on any level. Some of those know the other tradition rather well, others don't.


    There are others who teach Zen who come from a perennial philosophy point of view, and others who teach Dzogchen who come from such a place......they might say non-dual awareness stuff is the same wherever you turn.....and again there are people like Lex Hixon, who were "fluent" in multiple approaches and held a multiple-dharma citizenship ID card, who will agree it is one reality and one awakening, but that paths have to be travelled on their own terms and are not to be mixed.


    All I am trying to say (and feel free to disagree) is that intellectual analysis will never resolve this kind of dispute. Which is why the question "what do YOU do?" is so much more important.

    To loosely quote Kodo Sawaki: "Hey! What are you looking at? Don’t you see that it’s about you?"


    Gassho,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  12. #12
    Dear Hans,

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    All I am trying to say (and feel free to disagree) is that intellectual analysis will never resolve this kind of dispute. Which is why the question "what do YOU do?" is so much more important. To loosely quote Kodo Sawaki: "Hey! What are you looking at? Don’t you see that it’s about you?"
    I completely agree. One must compare everything with ones own experience. It's not enough just to "thinking about". "Dharma" is a shared endoperspective based on direct experience.

    ()
    Martin
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  13. #13
    Dear Martin,

    since we are practising in a Soto lineage here, the usual Dzogchen terminology is not our terminology. So in order for us Treeleaf Sangha members to comment in any meaningful way, I am afraid you would have to explain to us carefully and step by step, what all those words you are using mean.

    The first posting of yours is very "heavy hitting" and dense. So dense that it is very very hard to read. How about you take your time to explore our style here for a few weeks and then you could share your impressions.

    Your style is not "wrong" in any way, but to me it reminds me a bit of hardcore philosophy classes. Maybe you can break down those "tasks" in more everyday language?


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Dear Martin,

    since we are practising in a Soto lineage here, the usual Dzogchen terminology is not our terminology. So in order for us Treeleaf Sangha members to comment in any meaningful way, I am afraid you would have to explain to us carefully and step by step, what all those words you are using mean.

    The first posting of yours is very "heavy hitting" and dense. So dense that it is very very hard to read. How about you take your time to explore our style here for a few weeks and then you could share your impressions.

    Your style is not "wrong" in any way, but to me it reminds me a bit of hardcore philosophy classes. Maybe you can break down those "tasks" in more everyday language?


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Mongen says it well.

    He also is also most familiar with Zen/Dzogzhen topic that I know, so I will agree with what he has to say.

    Now, let us sit and have a cup of tea.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    M.

    Now, let us sit and have a cup of tea.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Wait, I'm supposed to drink tea while I sit? I totally missed that in the instructions.

    #ImDoingItWrong

    Gassho,

    Kirk the Tealess

    :-)


    (Posted from my iPhone; please excuse any typos or brevity.)
    -----

    I know nothing.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Now, let us sit and have a cup of tea.
    Good idea.

    ()
    Martin
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  17. #17
    Hoi Hans,

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Dear Martin,

    since we are practising in a Soto lineage here, the usual Dzogchen terminology is not our terminology. So in order for us Treeleaf Sangha members to comment in any meaningful way, I am afraid you would have to explain to us carefully and step by step, what all those words you are using mean.
    Don't be afraid, because I don't use Dzogchen terminology in any way. The most important term "knowledge" was used in the context of Dogen's quote. The term "transparency" to. for example, Dogen said to "transparency": subtle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    The first posting of yours is very "heavy hitting" and dense. So dense that it is very very hard to read. How about you take your time to explore our style here for a few weeks and then you could share your impressions.
    I do . But I know your style. I was a part of the Soto-Community for 4 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Your style is not "wrong" in any way, but to me it reminds me a bit of hardcore philosophy classes. Maybe you can break down those "tasks" in more everyday language?
    It has nothing to do with philosophy. It's the exact opposite. One must compare the words from the very beginning with ones own direct experience, that's all. Then everything can be understood easily. If one is just reading the text and thinking about the content, it's like philosophy. But I try to adapt myself to break down the tasks.

    ()
    Martin
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  18. #18
    Just drink the tea . And leave the argue on the cup

    Gassho _/|\_

  19. #19
    From what I can see here, what you're saying is that for both Soto people and Dzogchen people, there can be a "problem" in which the "goal" of "just sitting" (for Soto) or the "task" of "doing nothing" can be confused for the "actual thing." In other words, in Soto-speak, we can be told to "just sit" but because we've been told this, we conceptualize it, turning it into a "fabricated" "mind state" that is a delusion; in other words, we're not "just sitting" we're just sitting based on our idea of what just sitting is (therefore clinging to an idea/thought/concept/etc). I think what you're saying is that this kind of thing can happen in Dzogchen, too.

    If all that is what you're actually saying (and I really am not sure it is), then I would agree: this can definitely take place in Zen sitting and is definitely one the little struggles (non-struggles) that every practitioner goes through (or, to rephrase, that I have and still go through).

    So, the difficulty is, I think you're saying: how can we sit with "everything just as it is" when we have some limited concept of what "everything just as it is" is?

    And the reply to that (not the answer, just the reply) is: just sit. Drop it. Taigu has said in the past - and a thing that has always stuck with me - when you think you have it, you don't have it; I think that's sort of what you're getting at.

    In any case, I could be way off here; please feel free to ignore.

    Gassho, Shomon
    Shōmon

  20. #20
    Hoi Alan,

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    (..) we conceptualize it, turning it into a "fabricated" "mind state" that is a delusion; in other words, we're not "just sitting" we're just sitting based on our idea of what just sitting is (therefore clinging to an idea/thought/concept/etc). I think what you're saying is that this kind of thing can happen in Dzogchen, too.
    yes.. but that's no all. But in this direction it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    If all that is what you're actually saying (and I really am not sure it is), then I would agree: this can definitely take place in Zen sitting and is definitely one the little struggles (non-struggles) that every practitioner goes through (or, to rephrase, that I have and still go through).
    Right, everybody must go trough grasping/fabrication/reified-conceptualisation. When I sit .. just sit .. now .. I'm practicing "just sitting" .. instead of just sitting. I meditate, instead of just sitting. There's a artificial focus to detect. There's grasping. There's a really fabricated mind. There are a lot of expectations. I want to have something from "just sitting". There's automatically an artificial reified-conceptualisation of "just sitting". One can detect this reified-conceptualisation as quality like "just sitting'nes. That's consciousness. Et cetera. There's much to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    So, the difficulty is, I think you're saying: how can we sit with "everything just as it is" when we have some limited concept of what "everything just as it is" is?
    The task: "Leave everything as it is" is the same like the task:"Do nothing", or "don't focus" or "be natural" or "just sit" or "look into the sky like you are looking into the sky", or .... . There are always two different ways to implement these tasks. One way is based in ignorance, the other way is based on knowledge. So, just sitting can be Buddha.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    a thing that has always stuck with me - when you think you have it, you don't have it; I think that's sort of what you're getting at.
    Right. If one is practicing "just sitting" instead of just sitting, one can interrupt (while you sit) meditation, practiced nonmeditation, clarity, bliss, openess or whatever artificial. That' all based on fabrication. One day, for every "practitioner", the explained difference is absoluty clear.

    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-05-2014 at 06:19 PM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  21. #21
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    You have Dzogchen. We have Dogen. Clarity without the distraction of z, c, and h.



    Gassho,
    Juki
    Last edited by Juki; 05-05-2014 at 07:34 PM.
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  22. #22
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    Hi Martin,

    Like yourself I've been practicing both Dzogchen and Zen for some time. The details of practice and teachings, as well as language terms, are somewhat different, but essentially both traditions are pointing to the same "way and state of being". After all, they are both rooted in Mahayana Buddhism. There is an opinion that it is better to stick with only one tradition and not mix them up, but I think that may vary from person to person - some people are more flexible then others and there is no problem with either way.

    And regarding your point on "doing nothing" or "just sitting" as not a "practice of doing nothing" or "practice of just sitting" in both Dzogchen and Zen - that's true and it is a common point in both traditions and common to Buddhist practice in general regardless of the school. It's simply just dropping any idea of "someone doing or not doing, sitting or not sitting" (or rather a belief in the reality of the content of that idea). Where there is no "idea of doing or sitting", there is "just sitting" beyond labels and ideas. Yeah, we all know how sticky those ideas are , and no wonder - we exercised them for decades, but they tend to dissolve gradually and eventually go away like our childhood beliefs in fairies once they are recognized as just waves on the ocean of what is.

    One difference one may notice is an emphasis on "awareness" in Dzogchen and a lack of that emphasis in Zen. I think it's just one of those technical and instructional differences. Awareness is not emphasized in Zen as something special, it is just naturally experienced in Zazen without a need to emphasize it as something distinct or special, it's just an inseparable part of the direct experience of "what is".

    Anyway, I just wanted to drop a beautiful and short Dzogchen root Tantra which sounds to me just like a piece of Zen poetry:


    The nature of multiplicity is nondual
    and things in themselves are pure and simple;
    being here and now is not a concept
    and it shines out in all forms, always all good;
    it is already perfect, so the striving sickness is avoided
    and spontaneity is constantly present.

    "The Cuckoo's Song of Total Presence"
    The root Tantra of the Semde (Mind Cycle)

  23. #23
    Hoi Ivan,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    Hi Martin,
    Like yourself I've been practicing both Dzogchen and Zen for some time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    The details of practice and teachings, as well as language terms, are somewhat different, but essentially both traditions are pointing to the same "way and state of being". After all, they are both rooted in Mahayana Buddhism. There is an opinion that it is better to stick with only one tradition and not mix them up, but I think that may vary from person to person - some people are more flexible then others and there is no problem with either way.
    One can mix up different traditions, but not mix up different views .. based on direct experience. One has to distinguish different views accurately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    And regarding your point on "doing nothing" or "just sitting" as not a "practice of doing nothing" or "practice of just sitting" in both Dzogchen and Zen - that's true and it is a common point in both traditions and common to Buddhist practice in general regardless of the school.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    It's simply just dropping any idea of "someone doing or not doing, sitting or not sitting" (or rather a belief in the reality of the content of that idea). Where there is no "idea of doing or sitting", there is "just sitting" beyond labels and ideas.
    One must recognice ones own tendency to fabricate/grasp everything. That's simple and because of that, it's very complicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    Yeah, we all know how sticky those ideas are , and no wonder - we exercised them for decades, but they tend to dissolve gradually and eventually go away like our childhood beliefs in fairies once they are recognized as just waves on the ocean of what is.
    They dissolve gradually, if temporary knowledge has been recognized previously. So one have to make a lot decisions in this time. This can take years and decades.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    One difference one may notice is an emphasis on "awareness" in Dzogchen and a lack of that emphasis in Zen. I think it's just one of those technical and instructional differences. Awareness is not emphasized in Zen as something special, it is just naturally experienced in Zazen without a need to emphasize it as something distinct or special, it's just an inseparable part of the direct experience of "what is".
    Just for the other Zen-Practitioners: Don't misunderstand the term "awareness" with a special form of consciousness. "Awareness" or rigpa is "knowledge".

    "Knowing” does not mean perception; for perception is of little measure. It does not mean understanding; for understanding is artificially constructed. Therefore, this “knowing” is “not touching things”, and “not touching things” is “knowing”. (..) Thought” is itself “knowing”, without dependence on another’s power. “Its knowing” is its form, and its form is the mountains and rivers. These mountains and rivers are “subtle”, and this “subtlety” is “mysterious”. (Zazenshin)


    This is a full, flowery describtion of knowledge, transparency (subtlety) and even potentiality (mysterious). This triple is primordial inseperable. But as you said correctly, that's just a instructional difference. In concret experience, there's no triple. Neither trough Shikantaza nor Dzogchen.


    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-06-2014 at 06:58 AM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  24. #24
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    Hi Martin
    Quote Originally Posted by thigle View Post
    One can mix up different traditions, but not mix up different views .. based on direct experience. One has to distinguish different views accurately.
    Well, in direct experience there are no views, the Reality is experienced directly without any interpretations. The views have their place, they are important, but they are just temporary instruments that may help you to navigate from distorted interpretation of the world back to the natural state of the direct experience of Reality. The views of different traditions can be different, but when they are used as part of practice, they can lead to the same destination, same "way of being", where all views are dissolved and not needed anymore. But, on the other hand, the views, if misused, can easily become harmful, it's too easy to be lost in the intellectual realm of views and philosophies, disregard the practice (of non-practice) and become an "armchair" Buddhist. Zazen turns our attention from views, philosophies and interpretations back to life, to the direct experience of Reality.

    To compare the two practices, I have found the best way is to sit Shikantaza and see how it feels. Intellectual analysis only gets us so far and the different terminology doesn't help much and has us talking past each other. Once we have sat both ways, words are often unnecessary. We can feel the difference, such there is any.
    Exactly, thank you, Andy

    Gassho

  25. #25
    Against my better judgment, I will offer this ...

    - As Ivan says, as Shikantaza sits, we do not speak of "awareness" or "primordial Consciousness" or the like and their attaining. Neither do we -not- speak of such and not attaining such. A Clarity is thus attained-non-attained which is simultaneously free of the 10,000 things of life, yet is precisely the 10,000 things of life ... all while each of the 10,000 things of life rests simultaneously free of the 10,000 things of life, yet each expressing and fully embodying all the 10,000 things of life. Each of the 10,000 thus presents as clear and whole, just as it is ... both the things we find ugly and unpleasant and those we find pleasing. All Is Just As It Is.

    We do not seek to attain some extra-ordinary state of mind ... but sit right through and beyond "ordinary vs. extra-ordinary" ... and thus find this so-called "ordinary", tedious sometimes painful and frustrating world to have been the most wondrous and ordinary-extra-ordinary all along.

    Sometimes one may speak of "Original Mind" or "Big B Buddha" or "Emptiness" or (as in our Koan this week) "the Person of No Rank" ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...NIMITY-Case-38

    ... yet such are just names for what should not be reified (beyond and right through "being vs. not being"), and which simultaneously transcends Samsara yet which is fully flowering precisely as Samsara ... somehow fully beyond yet right through and fully embodied in sacred and profane, enlightenment and delusion AT ONCE.

    To accomplish so, we drop to the marrow all thought of accomplishing and attaining ... thus to accomplish what can only be attained in such way.

    When we sit Zazen ... sitting sits us ... sitting sits sitting ... there is only sitting. One must sit with the attitude that sitting itself is the Whole and Complete Act, the one thing to do ... the only thing in need of doing ... in that moment in all reality ... no other place to go, no other action in need of doing in such moment. Sitting is not an instrumentality or technique to the realizing of something ... and thus in dropping all thought of instrumentality toward realization, one realizes what can only be realized in such way. (Thus, Zazen is so much unlike our usual actions in daily life where we run to here and there, and need to "do and accomplish something" in order to fill some holes in our life that need filling. Zazen is the potholes of life Wholly Holey Holy filled by the flowing Dance of Wholeness ... a name I prefer to "Emptiness" ... all along beyond human standards of "complete vs. incomplete", "filled" or "empty" ... ).

    Something like that. I hope it helps.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-06-2014 at 02:04 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    When we sit Zazen ... sitting sits us ... sitting sits sitting ...
    This sounds for me like dissociation .. not "just sitting". But you're right in another way: If you are practicing "just sitting" instead of just sitting, so if you are meditate instead of just sitting, then sitting sits you .. sitting sits sitting. If so, there's a lot to learn about ones own grasping. Some day, after recognicing all the problems in ones own practiced "just sitting", you just sit - in an completely unfabricated, factual way. And that's Shikantaza. But that's just my point of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    there is only sitting.
    Sounds for me like a real strong focus on just sitting. Sounds like practiced "just sitting", not just sitting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One must sit with the attitude that sitting itself is the Whole and Complete Act, the one thing to do ... the only thing in need of doing ... in that moment in all reality ...
    Sounds for me like a real strong focus on just sitting. Sounds like practiced "just sitting", not just sitting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sitting is not an instrumentality or technique to the realizing of something ...
    You're right, that's what I'm talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Something like that. I hope it helps.
    Please do not be offended if I can not agree with you on all points. I respect you as teacher. Don't focus so much on my Dzogchen-context. There's nothing to defend in this topic.


    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-06-2014 at 07:37 AM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  27. #27
    I feel like a Tibetan man and a Japanese man trying to speak in each others languages. Not sure whether they are saying the same thing or not!

    All we can agree on is there is some truth beyond words.


    Anyway, we Practice here what we Practice here. Please sit so while here.



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-06-2014 at 07:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Wow. This thread is causing my brain to smoke. Gotta feed the dogs and get ready for work. :-)

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  29. #29
    I'm sitting in a hospital room as my wife prepares for surgery. That is real for me. This thread does not seem so. But I am a beginner.

    Gassho,
    John

  30. #30
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello John H,

    Metta to one and all.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by John H View Post
    I'm sitting in a hospital room as my wife prepares for surgery. That is real for me. This thread does not seem so. But I am a beginner.

    Gassho,
    John
    We are all sitting with you in the waiting room, John.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Thank you for your presence. No complications, good prognosis. All others in that waiting room, families and staff, benefitted from our sitting together.

    Gassho,
    john

  33. #33
    Dear all

    To compare the two practices, I have found the best way is to sit Shikantaza and see how it feels. Intellectual analysis only gets us so far and the different terminology doesn't help much and has us talking past each other. Once we have sat both ways, words are often unnecessary. We can feel the difference, such there is any.

    John - much metta to you and your wife. I wish you much patience and strength. Please let us know how it goes.

    Gassho
    Andy
    Last edited by Kokuu; 05-06-2014 at 01:20 PM. Reason: too many words

  34. #34
    Dear John,

    may one of Kanzeon's countless arms gently embrace you:

    Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo
    Kanzeon Namu Butsu
    Yo Butsu U In
    Yo Butsu U En
    Bup Po So En
    Jo Raku Ga Jo
    Cho Nen Kanzeon
    Bo Nen Kanzeon
    Nen Nen Ju Shin Ki
    Nen Nen Fu Ri Shin


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  35. #35
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Still trying to figure out this thread, but in the meantime, much Metta John, please tell us when everything goes ok with your wife.

    Gassho

    Sent from Tapatalk 2
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  36. #36
    Well, in direct experience there are no views, the Reality is experienced directly without any interpretations. The views have their place, they are important, but they are just temporary instruments that may help you to navigate from distorted interpretation of the world back to the natural state of the direct experience of Reality. The views of different traditions can be different, but when they are used as part of practice, they can lead to the same destination, same "way of being", where all views are dissolved and not needed anymore. But, on the other hand, the views, if misused, can easily become harmful, it's too easy to be lost in the intellectual realm of views and philosophies, disregard the practice (of non-practice) and become an "armchair" Buddhist. Zazen turns our attention from views, philosophies and interpretations back to life, to the direct experience of Reality.
    I agree totally, Ivan. The practice of Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Shikantaza and Vipassana all lead to the direct experience of reality. View is the basis on which practice rests in order to gain the fruit.

    Comparing different views is not entirely pointless but can certainly become addictive as an end in itself. Madhyamaka philosophy has endless treatises comparing the views of four schools of emptiness and many people have spent a lifetime studying this (for which we can be grateful). Whether it is a fruitful way to practice is entirely another matter. It is probably telling that Milarepa's parting message to his disciple Gampopa was to lift up his skirts and show the callouses on his buttocks from years of sitting.

    Gassho
    Andy

  37. #37
    Too much mental wheel turning in this discussion. I believe Mr. Thigle is a fellow who is known around the Buddhist internet for coming to places to push the very personal interpretations of Buddhist Practice seen here.

    It is fine to have one's own interpretations. But please recall that Treeleaf is not a typical internet Buddhist forum. Ours is a Place of Practice with a particular flavor of Practice, and the Forum merely supports that. Please Practice what we Practice here in our Dojo, or find a place better suited to one's tastes and needs.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  38. #38
    Conclusion: Many Zen Buddhists just sit, instead of just sitting. They meditate, instead of just sitting. And they do not recognice the difference. Thus, they task has to be extended: Just sit, don’t meditate.


    Many thanks to some less sectarian/religious buddhists in this community, you helped me very much!


    ()
    Martin
    Last edited by thigle; 05-07-2014 at 07:56 AM.
    » Neither focus .. nor practice «

  39. #39
    Hello,

    since the thread title mentions Dzogchen, for those who might be interested in hearing a pretty good dharma talk by a western teacher that also outlines the tradition a bit, here is a video link which I personally liked very much:


    LINK REMOVED for reasons outlined a few posts further down.



    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 05-07-2014 at 03:12 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    since the thread title mentions Dzogchen, for those who might be interested in hearing a pretty good dharma talk by a western teacher that also outlines the tradition a bit, here is a video link which I personally liked very much:






    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    There is some common ground ... groundless ground ... the pathless path ... but also so much that makes my head spin. I am sure that it is a lovely way for those who walk such way.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  41. #41
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    Thank you Hans, that's a good overview. But for those who want to dive deeper here are some good sources on Dzogchen:

    1. Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness, by Padmasambhava, translated by J. Reynolds (this is one of the most important original writings on Dzogchen)
    2. Golden Letters: The Three Statements Of Garab Dorje, First Dzogchen Master, translated by J. Reynolds
    3. Longchenpa's Precious Treasury of the Dharmadhatu, translated by Keith Dowman
    4. The Flight of Garuda, translated by Keith Dowman

    But again, some people don't feel comfortable digging two wells at a time and that's perfectly fine. But others may find it actually helpful. I find witnessing the constant presence of nondual Awareness quite helpful, it's very natural. The Awareness is always here and now, it's not a "special" state of consciousness, we just often disregard it because it's too obvious. But it's inseparable part of "what is", never comes, never goes, always here now. We can forget about Dzogchen and keep sitting Zazen, but once we discover the Awarenes then the knowledge of the presence of Awareness (called "Rigpa" in Dzogchen) becomes natural and doesn't go away anymore and then gradually and naturally changes the perception of the world. And by the way, the Awareness is mentioned in some early Mahayana sutras, for example in Lankavatara sutra ("How the boundless Awareness is achieved? ..." etc.).

    But please don't feel that I try to promote any other traditions here, not at all, I'm just sharing something I learned and some info for those who are interested. But if someone doesn't see it helpful - then forget it

    And another thought - Dzogchen is spreading in the West and I think some knowledge and familiarity with this tradition may be helpful for us followers of Zen so that we could communicate with Dzogchen followers and understand each other. We are all Mahayana Buddhists after all and we all belong to same global Sangha.

    Gassho

  42. #42
    Thanks for the link Hans - I am going to watch the video because I don't know anything about Dzogchen and found this thread a bit confusing.

    Gassho

    Willow

  43. #43
    Just sit beyond and right through boldface or original face, BIG FONT and tiny font, Times New Roman and time. Just sit.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-07-2014 at 12:35 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  44. #44
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    I am with Jishin. My brain hurts reading all this. Isn't this all a bit pedantic? I would just say in defense of the teachers here that I have not experienced sectarianism, and a rather open perspective to other's views. If you puddle jump from one system to another continually, you will never dig a deep well. It is interesting and perhaps useful on one level to clarify what one is doing by studying different views and techniques, but for me, this thread borders on the obsessive.

    Good luck John with your wife.

    Gassho and just sitting.
    C

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    I am with Jishin. My brain hurts reading all this. Isn't this all a bit pedantic? I would just say in defense of the teachers here that I have not experienced sectarianism, and a rather open perspective to other's views. If you puddle jump from one system to another continually, you will never dig a deep well. It is interesting and perhaps useful on one level to clarify what one is doing by studying different views and techniques, but for me, this thread borders on the obsessive.

    Good luck John with your wife.

    Gassho and just sitting.
    C
    It's not a question of pedantry or even necessarily obsessiveness or overthinking - those are all places to learn and teach, and not necessarily "bad." It's a question of the sincerity of the original question (how similar are shikantaza and dzogchen?).

    Hope your wife is doing well John. I was sitting in a hospital room last week while my wife had surgery, but it was just a broken nose, and she's fine.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  46. #46
    Hello dear fellow Treeleafers,

    Jundo is of course right, all this Dzogchen stuff doesn't really belong here and can potentially be very disorienting for some newcomers in particular. I will remove the link to the video now since we should focus more on Zen in this forum.
    My intention was simply to add some background information. The foreword to Cultivating the Empty Field by our ancestor Hongzhi contains some valuable comparisons and beautiful Zen texts that have a similar "vibe"

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 05-07-2014 at 03:14 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello dear fellow Treeleafers,

    Jundo is of course right, all this Dzogchen stuff doesn't really belong here and can potentially be very disorienting for some newcomers in particular. I will remove the link to the video now since we should focus more on Zen in this forum.
    My intention was simply to add some background information. The foreword to Cultivating the Empty Field by our ancestor Hongzhi contains some valuable comparisons and beautiful Zen texts that have a similar "vibe"

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Hi Hans,

    There was no need to remove the link.

    But some aspects of the Dzoghen Tradition ring and resonate ... and large parts make my head swim. I did have some reservations about some folks thinking we were recommending or endorsing what is presented.

    In any event, it is not what we Practice here although some may get much out of it. I am a very simple headed fellow. I just sit, and such is all the world.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I did have some reservations about some folks thinking we were recommending or endorsing what is presented.


    Gassho, Jundo
    I didn't get that feeling at all, and am grateful for your BOLD FONT post.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  49. #49
    Senior Member Bobby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    I am a very simple headed fellow. I just sit, and such is all the world.
    Gassho, Jundo
    Deep bows Jundo.

    I spent many years in my practice thirsty and diving face first down a well that had no water in it. Reading a lot in this thread reminds me of that time.

    There is nothing wrong with the opinions, teachings and practices that have been spoken here, but it wasn't the flavor for me. What I quoted from Jundo above sums it up for me. And as many have said, we have a certain practice here and this is a living breathing Sangha.

    When I first found Buddhism as a teenager I studied anything and everything I could get my thirsty little hands on. For so many years I mixed and matched and practiced everything I could trying to find "my" practice that was right for "me." One of the many things I studied was Dzogchen.

    I must say it took me many years after all that study and practice of all those different things to burn it all away and to move "the furniture out of the attic" so to speak. And I had found that this dropping away of all these things I had studied and dropping away of everything was coming from "just sitting." I started to simplify practice (perhaps to a bit of an extreme) in all ways. Then I searched for a teacher, community and Buddhist practice to further deepen my practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    So here I am at Treeleaf practicing our flavor. I practice and I practice simply. I tend to practice very simply and even when explaining our practice to others I explain it very simply. Mostly because I find we can become easily attached to some of the "furniture in the attic" and it is best to just sit.

    I am not agreeing or disagreeing with any of the practices or teachings in this thread, I am simply explaining some experiences on a winding path that has become a bit more simple, straight, narrow...and drops away.

    Am I saying the initial "thirst" is wrong? No, I am saying it is time to sit.

    My deepest respect to all of you.

    Gassho
    Bobby
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  50. #50
    How do you pronounce / say the word Dzoghen ?

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

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