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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 57 |fall 2006 true path, and the true teachings. Then, you can carry out what you were inspired to do. Ron GaRRy: It’s good to have lots of literature and lots of teachings. Different teachings and different teachers will inspire different people. I look for inspiration wherever I can find it, and I bring that to my path and my practice. It’s rejuvenating. buDDhaDhaRma: Under what circumstances would people of another path benefit from a Dzogchen intensive? minGyuR RinPoche: People who are genuinely practic- ing in other paths, Theravada and Zen, for exam- ple, have a very good foundation for engaging in Dzogchen practice. Many practices are shared in common. If they decided to take part in Dzogchen practice, that could be helpful for them, because the real Dzogchen is within the mind. In order to engage in Dzogchen practice, you don’t have to change your Buddhist path. Your Buddhist path would be brought to the Dzogchen. Ron GaRRy: From where I sit as a student, Dzogchen is part of an organic whole, a total path, and some- times we tend to think of it externally like another item we would pick up at the supermarket. “How are the apples today? Oh, there’s a watermelon.” Sometimes I can get caught up in that getting- something kind of thinking, but when I relax a bit, I realize Dzogchen is an entire tradition. The whole concept of going to workshops is very dif- ferent. If I were a Zen practitioner, I would focus fully on the practices my teacher had given me. And if I felt a special connection to something else, I would pursue that. For example, if I became interested in Dzogchen, I would eventually go through all the processes we discussed earlier. I would start at the beginning, find a teacher, and so forth. Many friends of mine are really attracted to Dzogchen, to the high tantras, the inner tan- tras, but they tend not to be attracted to the four thoughts that turn the mind to dharma [the pre- ciousness of human rebirth, the inevitability of death, the cause and effect of karma, and the great suffering of samsara] and the preliminary prac- tices. At the same time, they will say that tantra is missing something that they need to fill in with psychotherapy. But what’s missing, what we all try to jump over, is the preliminaries. The preliminaries are really juicy and really wonderful. Studying the four thoughts, from a text like Words of My Perfect Teacher, is very power- ful, because it relates directly to my experience in my daily life. I have to be with my experience now, not with some far-off thing to be attained. Then I can benefit from instruction from the teacher. So, it’s a whole path, not something to do on a weekend. Before I discovered the power of the preliminar- ies, I was somewhat blinded by teachings on the view. I was doing practices but I didn’t know how it all fit together. Now when I hear a Dzogchen teaching on the view from a master, it tells me where I’m headed; my eyes are opened, and I can bring that into my practice of the four thoughts and the preliminaries. It’s not a matter of “I can’t wait to get through all this stuff so I can get to the Dzogchen.” maRcia schmiDT: Recognizing the nature of mind is not something you have to set aside while doing the preliminary practices. It’s a support for pre- liminary practices. You can recognize your innate nature and practice prostrations and the other preliminaries. It’s not a separate thing. It enriches the preliminary practices. On the other hand, one of the criticisms on Amazon.com for a book I did said, “She says this is Dzogchen, but actu- ally she’s telling us all this other stuff that’s not related.” They were talking about the preliminar- ies and developing bodhicitta. That is a common misconception that completely misses the point. If there is a huge separation between dharma and the real life of the people around you, then you will have dry Dzogchen, a nonconceptual state that has no bodhicitta. As Tsokyi Rinpoche says, it has no juice. Loving-kindness, compassion, and devotion are what make the Dzogchen path juicy and vibrant. Then, when people come in contact with practitioners, they will feel that this is a per- son who is honest, direct, and has some signs of practice. Dzogchen is a shortcut because you’re taking the fruition as the path. One’s nature can be pointed out and then you can recognize and use that nonconceptual state through every stage along the way. — Marcia Binder Schmidt Loden Chogse (Supreme Knowledge Holder) Tibet, 1800 −1899 (itemno.697)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg(itemno.298)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg