Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Conflation of Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen


Dzogchen Explorations

Okar Research


"CONFLATION occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity — the differences appear to become lost. In logic, it is the practice of treating two distinct concepts as if they were one, which produces errors or misunderstandings as a fusion of distinct subjects tends to obscure analysis of relationships which are emphasized by contrasts."….Haught, John F. (1995). Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, p. 13.

"CONFLATE: to fail to differentiate (a thing) from something similar or related…
Synonyms of conflate: confound, mistake, mix (up), amalgamate, combine, comingle, commingle, commix, composite, concrete, conflate, fuse, homogenize, immingle, immix, incorporate, integrate, interfuse, intermingle, intermix, meld, merge, mingle, mix

"In his work on Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, John Pettit clarifies the various usages and implications of the term Dzogchen that are often CONFLATED:
"Great Perfection" variously indicates:
- the texts (āgama, lung) and oral instructions (upadeśa, man ngag) that indicate the nature of enlightened wisdom (rdzogs chen gyi gzhung dang man ngag)
- the verbal conventions of those texts (rdzogs chen gyi chos skad)
- the yogis who meditate according to those texts and instructions (rdzogs chen gyi rnal 'byor pa)
- a famous monastery where the Great Perfection was practiced by monks and yogis (rdzogs chen dgon sde)
- and the philosophical system (siddhānta, grub mtha') or vision (darśana, lta ba) of the Great Perfection.
—Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's beacon of certainty: illuminating the view of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Somerville, MA, USA: Wisdom Publications

Biographical CONFLATION of Indrabhuti related to conflation of Oddiyana…."The matter of the conflation of Indrabhuti and at least one evocation of the historicity of a particular personage by that name is intimately connected with the location of 'Oddiyana' (the locality denoted by the term 'Oddiyana' whether in each case cited is Swat Valley or Orissa or some other location)….

Geographical CONFLATION…."In his argument, P. C. Bagchi states that there are two distinct series of names in Tibetan:
(1) O-rgyān, U-rgyān, O-ḍi-yā-na, … with the first series connected with Indrabhūti, i.e., Oḍiyăna and Uḍḍiyāna
(2) O-ḍi-vi-śā, while the second series falls back on Oḍi and Oḍiviśa, i.e., Uḍra (Orissa) and has nothing to do with Indrabhūti.
Studies in the Tantras. Calcutta. University of Calcutta, 1939
"N.K. Sahu objects, however, and points out that these two sets of names are seldom distinguished in Buddhist Tantra literature, and opines that the words Oḍa, Oḍra, Uḍra, Oḍiviśa and Oḍiyāna are all used as variants of Uḍḍiyāna. In the Sādhanamālā, he further points out, Uḍḍiyāna is also spelt as Oḍrayāna while in the Kālikā Purāṇa, as indicated earlier, it is spelt either Uḍḍiyāna or Oḍra. There is also evidence, Sahu continues, that Indrabhūti is the king of Orissa rather than of the Swāt valley. The Caturāsiti-siddha-Pravṛtti, for example, mentions him as the king of Oḍiviśa while Cordier, in his Bṣtān-ḥgyur catalogue, gives sufficient indications of his being the king of Orissa. Also, in his famous work Jñānasiddhi, king Indrabhūti opens it with an invocation to Lord Jagannātha, a deity intimately associated with Orissa and with no other area of India."…. Donaldson, Thomas E. (2001). 'Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa:

"….There is a difference between tantric Buddha Nature of Mahamudra and sutric Buddha Nature of Tathāgatagarbha Sutras….this point is confusing for many people. It is made more confusing when scholars like Longchenpa regularly invoke the Uttaratantra in order to introduce concepts in Dzogchen causing people to CONFLATE sugatagarbha teachings as they appear in Dzogchen and sūtra. "….

"…one thing which concerns me is a throwing around of the word Rigpa, particularly if the equation of Presence and the Witness earlier on this thread is accurate (seems to be!) and the further equation of Presence and Rigpa on the link you just gave accurately reflects Aziz's teaching. If these equations are accurate, then the word Rigpa has just been used to refer to the Witness which is simply false. The Witness is the eighth vijnana, not Rigpa. Dzogchen could be looked at as an ontological critique of epistemological Yogachara; it specifically critiques mahayana doctrines of awakening as involving a transformation or conversion of the eighth consciousness. That's not to say that the Tibetans aren't confused about this too, they clearly are. Partly to blame is the conflation of Completion Stage in the Tantric System and Great Completion, i.e., Dzogchen and the CONFLATION of Madhyamika, Mahamudra and Dzogchen by many contemporary teachers. All of this can be traced through the history of the Early and Later translations in Tibet and the social effects of the accompanying shifts in institutional power-- i.e, the coming to power of a monastic (non)theocracy!"….

"In John Reynolds…Golden Letters: The Three Statements Of Garab Dorje….The chapters on the history of Dzogchen are historically interesting to those who like to trace lineages. In the chapter,`Is Dzogchen An Authentic Buddhist Teaching?' Reynolds plots what was and was not acceptable to the clerical establishment over the course of centuries, as Dzogchen and its possible antecedents move in and out of being ecclesiastically recognised as authentic Buddhist teaching…..If Dzogchen has always primordially been in them and they in it - as the primordial dharma from which all dharma arises, it is very difficult to definitively formalize where All emptiness is form/ All form emptiness is a sutra teaching and where a Dzogchen teaching. This lies both already in the mantra and in its interpretation, the two being non-different and a necessary CONFLATION in non-duality."

"Natural Perfection, Longchenpa's Radical Dzogchen…..These days there is a real danger of people CONFLATING Dzogchen teachings with the teachings of other so-called "non-dual" traditions such as Advaita, Kashmir Shaivism and so on. It is important to understand that "rig pa" is not some sort of over-arching uber-consciousness like the cit of sat cit ananda in Vedantic teachings…..Instead, rigpa is just the accurate knowledge of our own state, that deepens as we become more accustomed to the Dzogchen view."….

CONFLATING Mahāmudrā & Dzogchen….."Namdrol wrote: I can offer citations by masters who have trained in both systems who assert the presentation of the basis in Dzogchen and Mahāmudra are not the same, and that it is an error to CONFLATE them based in superficial similarities……Could you please do so? Please don't get me wrong: I don't have doubts, you can. But it would help to see things from this perspectice by someone well trained in both systems as I've read (maybe too) much from the 'other' side (i.e. dzogchen and mahamudra being the same)."….

"Recognizing Effulgent Rigpa….We must be careful not to confuse and take the realization of the alaya for habits to be the realization of rigpa. Further, we need to be careful not to confuse and take to be the realization of rigpa a decisive awareness (nges-shes) of either the conventional nature (the mere producing and perceiving of cognitive appearances) or the deepest nature (voidness) of the alaya for habits. To do so would be confusing Dzogchen meditation with Gelug/Kagyu Mahamudra."….

"This sort of idea is very prevalent among those with no training in Dzogchen, in the "tradition" of those who conflate the so-called non-dualist traditions together, based on mere reading of texts in translation."….

"The third kind of perspective is fuzzy in Wilber’s writings. It occurs most explicitly in Integral Spirituality, although it has precursors in some of his earlier writings. This is the meaning of perspective that Wilber attempts to correlate or CONFLATION with the Dzogchen meaning of view. Here Wilber incorporates the concepts of emptiness and form and their non-dual integration, with the notion of emptiness and view-as-perspective and their non-dual integration…..The deepest Buddhist teachings—Mahamudra and Dzogchen—maintain that the nature of the mind is not in any way different from the forms arising in it. It is not just that there is Emptiness and View, but that Emptiness and View are not two—exactly as the Heart Sutra maintained, when Form now means Forms in the mind, or View: That which is Emptiness is not other than View; that which is View is not other than emptiness."…..

"…Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that people who think that he's on drugs when he's writing know nothing about drugs, and know nothing about writing. The same could be said for those who CONFLATE anything Buddhist with a pot high -- they know nothing of Buddhism, and have misinterpreted their drug experience. When it comes to pot and Buddhism, I've done a lot of the latter and enough of the former to know that they are as different (to steal a line from Mark Twain) as lightening and a lightening bug. At a meditation seminar I attended, the teacher, Reggie Ray, told a guy who claimed he was experiencing "vertigo" during sitting: "Do you smoke pot?" Startled, the guy nodded. Reggie Ray said, "Don't. Meditation grounds you."….

"The term Shambhala-Buddhism was introduced by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in the year 2000 to describe his presentation of the Shambhala teachings, originally conceived by Chögyam Trungpa as secular practices for achieving enlightened society, in concert with the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu and Nyingma lineages."…..

"Some sources hold that it was Kukuraja who prophesied the birth of Garab Dorje, the founder of the human lineage of the Nyingmapa Dzogchen Tantra teachings though the chronology is problematic. The tradition holds that there may be multiple Kukaraja's which are CONFLATED... (a view also propounded by modern scholarship)….."….

Oddiyana …a small country in early medieval (?) ….., ascribed importance in the development and dissemination of Tantric Buddhism. The physical location of is disputed and open to conjecture….In later Tibetan traditions, is either CONFLATED or identified with Shambhala,"….

"….maybe something should be said, as part of a background, about different Eastern religions, so they do not become CONFLATED into a single entity."….

"The idea that anyone would CONFLATE Buddhism with new Age ideas – only in America."…..


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….January 2014


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