How can I learn Dzogchen meditation without the religion?

 
pdxgcrays
 
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pdxgcrays
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13 September 2014 18:26
 

I just finished Sam’s “Waking Up” book and I’m enthused to try to find a Dzogchen teacher in my area (Portland OR) but the website of our local learning center seems strongly religious.  Sam even commented in his book (regarding pursuing instruction in Dzogchen): “However, one can never be sure how much Buddhist religiosity one will be asked to imbibe along the way.”

What advice can be offered to an atheist?  Do I just pretend to go along with it and view it as the “cost” of receiving these teachings? Is there even such thing as a secular teaching of this method?  I feel very conflicted.

 
regguy
 
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regguy
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16 September 2014 06:18
 

  Yes I agree this is a very important question. As Sam Harris says most of the ancient eastern teachings still require us to do the religious rituals and couch the teachings in religious language which are often not given out unless you are a full member of the organization. 
  There are two teachers I know who studied with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, a Dzogchen and Mahamudra teacher, who gave these teachings to anyone who asked because he had been given the pointing out instructions as a young boy and immediately benefited.  Mingyur Rinpoche, his son has authorized two wonderful western teachers Tim Olmsted http://steamboatbuddhistcenter.org/_/Welcome.html who lives in Colorado and Loch Kelly who lives in New York City http://www.lochkelly.org. I highly recommend them both.

 
geoff
 
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geoff
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20 September 2014 07:16
 

What advice can be offered to an atheist?  Do I just pretend to go along with it and view it as the “cost” of receiving these teachings? Is there even such thing as a secular teaching of this method?  I feel very conflicted.

For better or worse I think most teachers in the West who have a genuine understanding and practice of Dzogchen won’t just offer instruction of that type right off the bat. For many of the teachers, especially from Asia, asking for Dzogchen instruction is tantamount to going into a music lessons shop and asking to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix that day. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just the way that they approach it. Sam Harris was obviously fortunate to have received the teachings from Tulku Urgyen.

You may want to look in to the CD series by Dr. Reginald Ray called Mahamudra for the Modern World. There are some new agey components to the material but he offers coherent talks and instruction for Mahamudra meditation for westerners, without having to join a group and participate with all the other cultural or religious trappings. I recommend getting the CD set because it comes with a little booklet that offers some more guidance and a clear table of contents, but you can also get it as an audiobook at Audible (which doesn’t come with the book).

Dzogchen and Mahamudra are, respectively, the pinnacle of the teachings in the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, but as far as I understand it it is nearly the same practice and result.

 

 
regguy
 
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regguy
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20 September 2014 09:40
 

Yes, both of those mentioned Tim Olmstead and Loch Kelly studied with Tulkyu Urgyen and neither teaches Dzogchen proper.  I know that Loch Kelly http://www.lochkelly.org is authorized by Tulku Urgyen’s son, Mingyur Rinpoche to teach Sutra Mahamudra which leads to the same place and result as Dzogchen, as you say ,but uses mindfulness practices with steps and stages.

 
geoff
 
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geoff
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20 September 2014 16:00
 

I’d be interested in learning more about Loch Kelly.

I should have mentioned that Reginald Ray, via the Mahamudra for the Modern World set, is one of the few people I know of who is offering “pointing out” instruction to anyone who wants to receive it regardless of their prior experience, religious affiliation etc. He aims to create a system that is mostly secular I think. He’s caught a lot of shit for it from traditional people, East and West.

Other than that, if anyone wants to receive “authentic” Dzogchen teachings and pointing out instruction, I imagine they will probably have to submit to some sort of Tibetan Buddhist path and go along for the ride.

You can also check out these seminars (http://www.mangalashribhuti.org/dzogchen-seminar) offered once a year, but the ones I’ve attended are teachings about Dzogchen view, not necessarily on the actual pointing out of the nature of mind and Dzogchen meditation technique.

 

 
The Armenian Guy
 
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The Armenian Guy
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22 September 2014 18:11
 

geoff, I I was in the sangha of Sogyal Rinpoche but I left it for various reasons(especially my transformation to a skeptic), dzogchen had a lot of preliminary practices but most importantly you’ll have no benefit from Dzogchen without a stable Mindfulness meditation. So I advise you to train on mindfulness meditation, and do dualistic practices like concentrating on your breath or observing your thoughts and emotions, before you try to find a Dzogchen teacher.
Cheers

 
geoff
 
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geoff
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22 September 2014 18:21
 

TAG,

Thank you but I’m not the person who asked the initial question, merely a responder. I’d love to talk about what precipitated you leaving Sogyal Rinpoche’s sangha.

Cheers!

[ Edited: 15 September 2015 06:24 by geoff]
 
The Armenian Guy
 
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The Armenian Guy
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23 September 2014 05:03
 
geoff - 22 September 2014 06:21 PM

TAG,

Thank you but I’m not the person who asked the initial question, merely a responder. I’d love to talk about what precipitated you leaving Sogyal Rinpoche’s sangha. I’m in a very similar place.

Cheers!

Ah sorry smile
Well yeah why not, there was basically this scandal surrounding him that started to create doubts in me, and also a lot of intellectual inconsistencies, one day he said: “there’s a good news, scientists find out that there’s no center in the brain, so there’s no ego where all the information goes” after hearing it I was trying to project it on the Alaya Vijnana system of the mind that he’s teaching, of course I failed to create connections, basically after that I started to study more the brain and the greatest game changing impact on me I received from Sam and V.S.Ramachandran. And to be honest after a while I wasn’t finding his teachings new and fresh it was generally repetitions, there was nothing new helping you out to advance in your meditation practice, and also the has too many followers so it is not easy to get close with him to be able to practice and receive instruction in more direct and individual way. I must say that I’m also a lazy ass and maybe I was not meditating enough, but a lot of reasons(especially intellectual) forced me to leave his sangha.

 
The Armenian Guy
 
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The Armenian Guy
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24 September 2014 08:03
 

Geoff I found a video that might interest you wink Nothing evil but it’s kind of weird.
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152686071026460&fref=nf

 
empkae
 
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empkae
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28 October 2014 18:40
 

Portland Insight Meditation Community is very comfortable with this atheist. In the dharma talks and social conversation religion is rarely discussed.

http://www.portlandinsight.org/

 
Joe Roses
 
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Joe Roses
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30 October 2014 06:32
 

If you are interested in Dzogchen meditation you want to specially check Trekcho and Thogal parts of Dzogchen. These 2 are the best but still pretty secret techniques to realize your nature. There is a guy teaching both in Austria. He is not a monk and doesn’t care about religious part of Dzogchen. His name is Jackson Peterson and he is going to have retreat in January in Florida.
more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/386692801485843/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Check his Dzogchen facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/137617126381879/

For his Trekcho and Thogal FB groups you have to ask him to join.


These two are the best techniques to change your life. Do not waste your life with Tibetan monks. It can take years when with them when they might teach you about these secret techniques.

Joe

 
sexcellent
 
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sexcellent
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30 October 2014 17:35
 

Is there a way to get introduced to Dzogchen without having to go on retreat or visit a teacher? Is there like a self study guide? books to read? I know it’s a long shot but it’s the only choice I have at the moment.

With mindfulness meditation I feel like I am fooling myself. I mean just having a conscious intention to be mindful is inherently dualistic and I can’t see any chance of ever breaking the spell and arriving at a non dualistic worldview.

 
Getbusyliving
 
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Getbusyliving
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09 November 2014 17:05
 

If you get enough concentration by doing mindfulness meditation to the point where you can consistently notice a thought arise as soon as it does, Sam’s “Looking for the Self” meditation and especially his “Taming the Mind” blog post can trigger the realization. I just wish there were more support for the aftermath out there. It really can be somewhat destabilizing.

 
adytate
 
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adytate
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20 November 2014 02:55
 
Joe Roses - 30 October 2014 06:32 AM

If you are interested in Dzogchen meditation you want to specially check Trekcho and Thogal parts of Dzogchen. These 2 are the best but still pretty secret techniques to realize your nature. There is a guy teaching both in Austria. He is not a monk and doesn’t care about religious part of Dzogchen. His name is Jackson Peterson and he is going to have retreat in January in Florida.
more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/386692801485843/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Check his Dzogchen facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/137617126381879/

Joe

I’ve spent some time with Jackson’s book with mixed results. At first I was impressed that he was able to speak so practically and frankly about the subject. I think there is something that can be gleaned from his exercises. However, the book was riddled with superstition, supernatural claims and pseudoscience. There is a lot of reference to the chakra system and ESP. His chapter on Quantum Mechanics and consciousness was pure Deepak Chopra woo. This book does not translate Dzogchen or non-dualism into words that can be accepted by the skeptic-minded individual, we will have to keep on looking.


I’m now listening to Reginald Ray’s Mahamudra for the modern world. He says a lot that is reassuring to the skeptic mind such as “The vajrayana requires nothing be accepted as a matter of faith”, and he speaks frankly about the failings of Tibetan overly-religious culture. But then the initial teachings are again full of reference to the chakra system and in particular the “central channel”. He devotes significant time to a practice of connecting deeply with the Earth, which is characterized as a living being from which we can draw strength and confidence. I am hoping that things will improve, but it is not looking good.


While Sam’s book was excellent, the path of searching for help with non-dualism is frustrating to say the least. I hope he will follow up with some more guidance.

 
Ejackpete
 
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Ejackpete
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20 February 2015 12:16
 

Hi!

Dzogchen opens up new ways to perceive what we “believe” reality to be. The gray area is consciousness. Even Sam is not convinced that consciousness must
be a product of brain processes. He leaves that door open. Dzogchen is 100% about discovering what exactly our consciousness is directly from the only perspective you can ever be certain of:  first person.

Once consciousness is fully explored and all its aspects revealed; many so-called “superstitions” begin to show a different face. It’s very important to have a very sharp and discerning intelligence but not absent an open mind.

I cover all the basics of Dzogchen on my website: http://www.wayoflight.net