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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 55 |fall 2006 the bones and blood that you have. That’s the dif- ference between an authentic recognition of rigpa and an apparent one, between using the words of Dzogchen and getting the meaning, the realization, of Dzogchen. buDDhaDhaRma: Many people have heard of both Mahamudra and Dzogchen and even seen adver- tisements for programs about them. We have the general idea that they’re similar yet different. Both are considered ultimate teachings from some per- spective. What distinguishes these two Tibetan practice traditions? minGyuR RinPoche: The meaning of the two is not different. They come from different angles and use different terminology. For example, in Mahamudra we talk about ordinary mind and in Dzogchen we talk about natural awareness. Mahamudra is more focused on the meditation, from the experiential point of view, and on the minute details of still- ness, movement, emptiness, appearance, and so forth. That is the style of Mahamudra: the many ways of approaching ordinary mind in meditation. Dzogchen has more emphasis on the view. You make the distinction between conceptual mind and rigpa at the level of the view, and then you have to practice. The meaning is not different, but there is a different angle and therefore different words and different styles. maRcia schmiDT: There’s a famous quote from Tsele Natsok Rangdrol that says, “Mahamudra and Dzogchen, different words, but not meaning. The only difference is Mahamudra stresses mindful- ness, while Dzogchen relaxes within awareness.” For the practitioner, it has to do with the approach you take, and which path we travel will depend on the karmic propensities we have. The path of Mahamudra is very kind. It goes through the four yogas of Mahamudra [one-point- edness, simplicity, one taste, and nonmeditation] and their various degrees and stages. The teacher takes the student through them step by step and works within the context of the student’s experi- ence to get closer and closer to the recognition of mind nature. Dzogchen starts right from the beginning to introduce the student to natural awareness, rigpa. There is immediate recognition, which Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche’s brother, calls “baby rigpa.” It’s a baby, and that baby needs to be nurtured – not in a conceptual way, by add- ing something to it, but it needs to be trained, developed, and strengthened. It is abrupt, but it’s unstable. Not unstable in itself, but unstable with respect to one’s ability to remain there. We would all like to believe that we are proceeding directly, Dzogchen style, but most of us in fact are proceed- ing in a gradual way. buDDhaDhaRma: All of you have stressed the diffi- culty of Dzogchen and the need to go through a progression, a path, in order to be fully engaged in Dzogchen. So then Dzogchen is not really a short- cut in the way it is sometimes discussed. minGyuR RinPoche: It’s the very best shortcut! It’s the number one shortcut. buDDhaDhaRma: How can it be both a shortcut and a path with many stages? minGyuR RinPoche: In Vajrayana, we have develop- ment-stage practice, involving visualization and mantra, and completion-stage practice, which involves working with the energy channels – prana, nadi, and bindu. Dzogchen gets right to the heart. It’s more direct than any other method. You need preparation and various kinds of support, but the Nyima Oser (Rays of the Sun) Central Tibet, 1700−1799 (itemno.675)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg