The Buddhist Paths
Zen and Dzogchen: Unifying the Ground and Result
The spiritual teachings that have arisen within the primordial Great Wisdom Tradition of
human history have a View (darshana, theory) which explains the Ground, the great Source of
all appearing reality, and a Path (marga) which establishes theMeditation (bhavana) that seeks
the continuity of recognition of the Ground leading to the Result or Fruition of the practice.
This endpoint is “the Fruit” that is ultimate realization of our inherently nondual primordial
wisdom sourceground. This final realization is seen as the essence, if not the cause of human
happiness, and in the highest nondual teaching of each tradition as ultimate Happiness Itself
(Paramananda, Mahasuka). In Buddhism this blissful Result is Buddhahood. The Path is the
confusion of the gradual seeking strategies to this “goal” of liberation enlightenment.
Regarding the View, the teaching is generally presented exoterically. Then, as knowledge
deepens to wisdom in the “advanced” practitioner the teaching becomes more and more
esoteric (inward, secret, nondual). Regarding the View of the Fruition (result/realization) of
the Path, it may be either gradual (zengo, rim-gyis-pa), or non-gradual (sudden, tongo, cig-carba).
In actual practice these two are interdependent. We “make the goal the path.” Yet it is
urgent that we understand the subtle differences, as we shall see.
The Buddhist gradualist path (zengo) of the sutras (Hinayana and Mahayana) and outer
tantras (Vajrayana) is a linear step-by-step, cause and effect progression of practices that
purify ignorance through application of transformational "antidotes" to the obscurations or
kleshas (desire/attachment, anger/aggression, ignorance) that veil (maya, vikshepa) the “goal”
of the realization of the supreme source or Base (gzhi) as shunyata (stong-pa nyid), luminous
emptiness, the absence of inherent existence (nihsvabhavata). Ultimately, as this
enlightenment, this enlightened awareness, is stabilized, it may accomplish the Result that
is Buddhahood. On this gradual path with its ever increasing continuity of sudden
satori/samadhis (“brief moments, many times”), the practitioner becomes a Bodhisattva who
then “progresses” to ever subtler levels of demonstration of his/her enlightenment (the ten
levels or bhumis) through the everyday practice of the "perfections" (paramita) of wisdom,
compassion and meditative contemplation (quiescence/shamatha and penetrating
insight/vipashyana) on shunyata (luminous emptiness). In Zen shamatha/vipashyana is
shikantaza (joriki, advanced zazen meditation). The gradualist path "aims" at or seeks the
“goal” of shunyata realization. The aspirant works gradually on the relative conditional self
through conceptual analysis – the discriminating wisdom of prajna (sherab, sophia) until certainty is ascertained and emptiness is realized. Nagarjuna (2nd century) regularly
reminds us that the only way to realize Absolute Truth is through liberating the
obscurations arising in the world of Relative Truth. Thus, Absolute or Ultimate Truth—
shunyata—is both origin and aim. While the gradualist path of the Hinayana and the
Mahayana uses prajna, the Inner Tantras, and especially the Ati Yoga of Dzogchen, utilize the
non-coneptual, nondual innate primordial wisdom (sahajajnana, yeshe, gnosis) the natural
luminosity of essential mind nature. This blissful intuitive wisdom cannot be grasped by
discursive, conceptual analytic meditation (prajna). It can only be directly realized
(pratyaksa), suddenly, through transmission and empowerment by the master. It is then
brought to fruition by nondual meditation under the guidance of the master. This
primordial wisdom is the Buddha Nature, the tathagatagarbha, that is the primordial ground
or base (gzhi), empty in essence, luminous by nature, and compassionate in manifestation.
In the non-gradualist (tongo, sudden) path of Dzogchen and of the mujodo no taigen of
nondual Saijojo Zen, our intrinsic Buddha Nature (tathagatagarbha) is already inherently
present in each individual, so there is nothing to seek. The presence (rigpa, vidya) of our
luminous primordial, original Buddha nature—Buddha Mind—is “always, already
present”. "Wonder of wonders, All beings are Buddhas." The dualism of conditional
existence and of the exoteric gradualist path must be "cut through" (trekchö, kensho)
directly via the fiery concentrative force (tapas) of spiritual practice or sadhana aided by
direct transmission from the master (the Lama or the Roshi). "Introduce the state of
presence (rigpa) of mind nature directly" (Garab Dorje). "If the view is dualistic, there can
be no enlightenment" (Hui-neng). Of course, the necessary ngöndro or foundational
practices of Dzogchen and Shojo Zen are “gradualist,” preparing the student for the
liberating, sudden flashing realization of Absolute Truth, the always immediate presence
of rigpa that is satori. The tongo, sudden approach, as with zengo, the gradualist approach,
is a continuity of many sudden satori experiences opening into the vast emptiness ground
as we tread the ascending lifestage levels of realization, potentially all the way to
Buddhahood (Appendix A).
As we have seen, generally the view of the path of exoteric sutra is based on
renunciation and purification, the esoteric tantric path in transformation, and the radical
Maha Ati of the Dzogchen View is that the self-perfected state is the primordial presence of
Buddha mind is already present in each being. Buddha mind arises from the Buddha body
of ultimate reality (dharmakaya, chos-ku) personified as Samantabhadra, the Primordial Adi
Buddha whose ultimate realization is the Buddhahood of the individual. This concept-free
innate “pristine cognition” (dharmadhatujnana, chos-ying) of the vast expanse of Ultimate
Reality Itself (dharmata) is the emptiness (shunyata) base (gzhi) that is the actual nature of all
arising relative phenomenal reality. These two realities are the Two Truths (satyadvaya,
denpa-nyis), Relative and Absolute. The illusory or apparitional aspect of this primordial
Absolute Reality is the dependent arising of form as Maya or dharmin (Dudjom Rinpoche, 1991). Again, Buddha mind is inherently present in all beings “from the very beginning,”
or before. And it cannot be grasped or realized by discursive concept mind.
So the sutra and tantra views of Buddha Nature are antidotal, that is, we apply
cognitive and behavioral antidotes to the negative emotional afflictions or kleshas
(ignorance, desire/attachment, anger/aggression/hatred) as they arise. Just so, Buddha
Nature itself is the supreme antidote to such ignorance (avidya or marigpa). Again, the Ati
Yoga view of Dzogchen is that the state of presence of our Buddha Nature is already
present, awake, awaiting recognition, realization, then actualization through
compassionate conduct in the lifeworld. Thus there is no need of an antidote. Perhaps, we
are not yet Buddhas, but we are all already Buddha. “From the beinning, all beings are
Buddha” (Hui-neng). Alas, this true nature of ours is veiled or cloaked by ignorance
This “state of presence” that is Buddha mind or Buddha gnosis (innate gnosis,
sahajajnana) is transmitted directly, from master to prepared student, then practiced by the
student. Again, Buddha Nature is the essential Nature of Mind, the very essence of the
primordial ground or base or source (kun-gzhi). According to the Prasangika Madhyamikas, this
vast emptiness base is not just a negative void, a “non-affirming emptiness,” but a luminous
clarity, a brightness that is an affirming emptiness, and it pervades all phenomena including
all us sentient beings. We are luminous beings of light! As this state of presence is originally
and perfectly pure (kadag), from the very beginning, obstructing thoughts, desires and
karmic actions need not be denied, renounced or transformed, but merely allowed to selfliberate
(rang grol, zenkan, kensho, satori)—at the very instant of their arising—into their
“primordially pure” source condition, the already present nondual awareness ground that
is always our actual original identity, our Zen mind-Buddha mind. Therefore, all of the
“slings and arrows” of our outrageous relative conventional existence are openings—an
aperture—into the blissful primordial ground of being. The knowing (prajna), and feeling
(bhakti) realization of this is the vast expanse of our Primordial Awareness Wisdom(jnana,
yeshe, gnosis), always already present here and now. Thus it is told by the radical nondual
wisdom teaching of Zen and Dzogchen.
Are you sure, Zen and Dzogchen are of the same religion? You wrote so many as if Zen , Dzogchen, Lama, Buddha Sakyamuni teaching are all the same? I don't think that makes any substantial ground at all. They're totally different religions. As if just selling dog meat as goat meat.
They are both Buddhist traditions.
There is no evidence that the historical Buddha taught dzogchen Jeremy.
Still they are both accepted as are all the traditions of Buddhism.
Neither the Buddha, nor Jesus, nor Shankara, nor Lao Tzu created a school or a
religion. The schools, sects and cults of religion are human inventions and bear the
limitations, distortions and dualism of secondary human gross and subtle egoic
ignorance (avidya) as we conceptually and experientially unpack their view and
That the esoteric and nondual teaching of Zen and Dzogchen are historically associated
with Buddhism, does not mean that they began with or are limited to historical Buddhism.
Dzogchen, for example, was practiced by the ancient pre-Buddhist Bonpos of the indigenous
Tibetan Bon wisdom teaching, and by the pre-historic "Twelve Teachers of Dzogchen"
centuries before the incarnation of the historical Nirmanakaya Buddha Shakyamuni (Norbu, 1999).
Just so, esoteric Christianity teaches “That which is called the Christian religion
existed among the ancients, and never did not exist, from the beginning of the human race
until Christ came in the flesh.” (St. Augustine, Ch.V). Nor does the fact that Nyingma
Dzogchen was influenced by Shivaism and Ch’an, or that Ch’an and Zen were influenced by
Taoism mean that one is derived from or reducible to the other. As we recover from our
habitual, linear cause and effect thinking we see that all of the traditions of our great
Primordial Wisdom Tradition have arisen not so much one from another in a linear
historical cause and effect chain, although these influences exist, but interdependently, as a
continuum from the Primordial Wisdom Base. The various traditions of our Great Wisdom
Tradition all respond to the primordial wisdom of this same ultimate ground of arising
reality forms. Contemplation and meditation upon this “wisdom of emptiness” opens
equally into that ground for all of them.
Yes, their practices are entirely different so it's only said they or all human have Buddha nature. What's Buddha nature? Can we also say, we all have Christ nature and have them any difference or just call them Godly nature?
Buddhism is following Buddha Sakyamuni teaching but Dzogchen is totally following Hinduism teaching. That's what I know. Sky, you know how much different is between Buddhism , Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Dzogchen, Zen ....?
Why someone persistently add them up to equal them as one religion? That's funny.
I do know the difference Jeremy, as do you..
|All times are GMT. The time now is 11:01 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
(c) Spiritual Forums