Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dzogchen or Shambhala?

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I have considered myself a follower of the Shambhala path, as outlined by Chogyam Trungpa, for a couple of years. Due to scheduling conflicts, I have been unable to do formal training. I feel I am at a point where I need formal training to continue progressing.

Strangely enough, I have been drawn to Dzogchen teachers of late, especially Dzigar Kongtrul and Tarthang Tulku. Now there is an opportunity to begin teacher training in the Dzogchen tradition here in Tucson.

There is a great opportunity to do pointing out instruction and bodhichitta instruction next weekend, and I plan to do both as a preparation for the class in case I decide to follow through with that.

I have no intention of being a teacher, but I think I could really benefit from the formal instruction.

Here's my question to the other Buddhists out there: Does anyone have experience with both traditions and maybe have anything you can share that might help in my decision? I'm not opposed to following both paths, but Shambhala is very secular compared to Dzogchen, so I'm not sure how compatible the teachings might be. And I also think there is benefit in choosing a path and giving it all of my attention.

Thanks in advance for info you can share.

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Anonymous said...

Hey William, this is a good question and I spoke about this with a senior student in the Dzogchen Community of Namkhai Norbu. Partly, it depends on your Dzogchen master. Namkhai Norbu teaches very essential Dzogchen and it can be practiced in addition to other paths out there. Some masters seem to teach a combo of Dzogchen and a more lineage oriented approach. If it's the latter, you might have difficulty pursuing two paths. If it's the former, you still might run into akwardness. The practitioner I spoke with said she did it, but it was akward being around the more secular community because she was/had to be secretive about her Dzogchen practice.

It seems to me, according to my master's teachings, that you can practice in both just fine. As a practitioner though, it might be easier to choose. And I agree, I think it's better to give your all to one path versus two, generally speaking. I guess, I'm sort of doing both by studying at Naropa, but it's more mixed with academics. The difficulty I think you might find is in the view of the two paths and holding them both equally. Dzogchen's view is none other than our real state, nothing to uphold. Whereas more secular, traditional paths definitely hold a view, and one that's definitely different than that of Dzogchen.

Love to hear more about your process, what more your thinking/feeling, and what your decision ultimately will be.


Mike said...

I can't offer much guidance, not having any experience in either tradition. However, I went from Japanese Rinzai Zen to Korean Zen, and am very happy with this tradition. Rinzai was very secular to me, and I was looking for something that still had meditation as its primary focus, but that was more spiritual, more religious. Korean Zen fit the mold perfectly. But I didn't know it until I started attending meditation sittings, classes, and events at the Korean Zen temple. So I'd say just start involving yourself in Dzogchen, and see where you are led.

luzandina said...

Hi Will,
I'm familiar with both paths. Followed the techings of Trungpa Rinpoche till I found Namkhai Norbu, got direct introduction, and been practicing Dzogchen ever since.

The Dzogchen point of view is that of self-liberation, and as Ryan expalined it is quite wider that the other paths (maybe you know that there are 9 "yanas" o vehicles from hinayana (narrow path), then "maha", then the vajra-yanas, that are divided into inner and outer (kriya-tantra, anu-yoga, maha-yoga anb ati-yoga (dzogchen).

you could say (my opinion) that is a sort od "transcend and include" within the different paths of buddhism.

And you can accomodate different practices from different traditions if that is what you need according to your capacity ... by following your writing in zaadz and here, my guess is that
capacity won't be an issue for you ...

I have some friends in the shambala too and they told me that trugpa's son Sakiam? is taking shambala to a more traditional style (more "ngnondro" or preliminary practices, before you take the main teachings ... once again the capacity issue...

good luck

william harryman said...

Thanks to all of you for your generous assistance on this. I think that I am going to dive into the Dzogchen path and see where it takes me. I won't give up the Shambhala stuff I am doing around opening my heart, nor will I give up some of the psychology I do on my own.

As I mentioned to Kai above, the Dzogchen work feeds some Purple and Blue meme needs that don't get met by Shambhala work. And besides, I have always been drawn to the shamanic elements in Dzogchen.

Thanks again to all of you!