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July 04, 2009

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Love this post Brian... from my wolfish self...

Something continues to gnaw at me with the churchless.

I don’t mean to attack, but do mean to question.

Why do even the most churchless on here appear to follow a spiritual practice of some kind? If truly churchless, why not be wholly secular and skeptical, devoid of any and all spiritual belief.

If on the other hand such spirituality is indeed practiced and tolerated, why not the same extended to other mystic traditions or religions? Christianity and RS have been slammed on here.

Brian appears to be an adherent of Tai Chi and sympathetic to Taoism. Fundamental to both is ‘chi’ or ‘qi’, which suggests an energy flow principle to all living things. There is also Yin Yang that presupposes an inherent dualistic nature to the universe. And of course there are masters who teach this discipline to disciples.

There is no evidence for ‘qi’ or a stream of energy flowing within us. Instead, we have blood that flows within our veins and arteries. Human anatomy does not consist of energy or life-energy pathways.

tAo appears to be an adherent of Dzogchen and non-duality. Dzogchen suggests there is a natural primordial state of all living things. Self-liberation in which our ultimate nature is said to be pure all-encompassing intrinsic awareness that has no form of its own and yet is capable of perceiving, experiencing and expressing all form. There is a master that teaches Dzogchen to his disciples.

There is no evidence for a primordial state or intrinsic awareness. Instead, we have a brain capable of different perceptive functions and mental states. There is no way of telling what the most primordial state is. Indeed the most basic state of the brain would be no awareness at all, in which the brain simply supports automatic life function of the body. Such a being would be medically diagnosed as braindead (i.e. a vegetable) and has absolutely no awareness to speak of.

These beliefs have no objective or scientific evidence to support them and both make use of masters. If such spiritual, non-secular, non-scientific and non-provable beliefs are acceptable, what then is the cut-off point for being churchless?

George, you ask some good questions. I'll let tAo respond from his Dzogchen perspective. I suspect it would be much the same as my response.

Which, probably, I'll address in more detail in a blog post later today. Briefly, my Tai Chi practice doesn't involve a belief in the reality of "chi." I don't think I've ever said that I believe in chi/ki.

In my Tai Chi classes I've frequently expressed skepticism about what chi is, from the traditional Chinese point of view. I don't do this much any more, because my instructor and fellow students know how I feel.

And I don't think that's so different from how many, if not most, Tai Chi practitioners feel. Namely, that chi is the feeling of being alive. Whatever I feel, internally and rather subtly, while doing Tai Chi -- that's chi.

After about five years of practice, I no longer try to analyze my feeling or put it into a conceptual framework. Whatever energy I feel within me I call "chi" (just a word, after all, like "energy") and leave it at that.

I'll explain more in tonight's post. Thanks for asking a good question. Bottom line: lots of people, me included, are attracted to a philosophy (like Taoism) without believing everything in it. I'm pretty sure tAo is similar in regards to Dzogchen, but again, he can speak for himself.

George, you asked some questions. But it is important for you to be very aware that these questions of yours are all based upon your own ideas and assumptions about various things, and are not necessarily correct.

You asked:

"Why do even the most churchless on here appear to follow a spiritual practice of some kind? If truly churchless, why not be wholly secular and skeptical, devoid of any and all spiritual belief."

-- It appears (from the rest of your comments below), that you are mainly asking Brian and myself. And Brian has already given you his brief response regarding his own Tai Chi practice. And I agree with what he said about that.

So that being said, my answer to your first question is:

I do not follow any spiritual practice... and, I am also basically devoid of any so-called "spiritual" beliefs. I have no use for (spiritual) beliefs. I have some beliefs about other things, and I know information about other things... but I hold no "spiritual beliefs" or religious beliefs. Also, I am very pragmatic and I do not believe in anything supernatural.

"If on the other hand such spirituality is indeed practiced and tolerated, why not the same extended to other mystic traditions or religions?"

-- Again, I myself don't practice any sort of spirituality. However, on the other hand, I DO in fact "tolerate" mystic traditions and religions. And having critical opinions about some mystical and religious beliefs does not mean that I don't tolerate them. Just because I may criticise aspects of religion and mysticism, does not mean that I don't tolerate the same.

"Christianity and RS have been slammed on here."

-- Yes, no doubt that some aspects of both santmat as well as christianity have been criticised here.

"tAo appears to be an adherent of Dzogchen and non-duality."

-- No, I am not an adherent of either. I understand them pretty well, but I would not say that I am an "adherent" of them. And there is a very significant difference between the mere concept of non-duality versus the orientation of awareness that is dzogchen.

"Dzogchen suggests there is a natural primordial state of all living things. Self-liberation in which our ultimate nature is said to be pure all-encompassing intrinsic awareness that has no form of its own and yet is capable of perceiving, experiencing and expressing all form."

-- Well... yes and no. Dzogchen is simply awareness - basic original awareness. And as such, it is already "self-liberated". It is as simple as that. It is not a "state". And ideas like "ultimate nature" and "all-encompassing" are not actually relevant to dzogchen. Also, it is fundamental and obvious that awareness "has no form of its own". Howwever, awareness does not "perceive" or "experience" or "express" anything. Perception is entirely a function of the senses via the brain. So that is why, in the moment-to-moment orientation of dzogchen, awareness is regarded as always being prior, or primordial.

"There is a master that teaches Dzogchen to his disciples."

-- No, that is incorrect. There is no such "master" in the sense of RS or christianity etc etc. There may be a TEACHER (but not necessarily) who simply 'transmits' the understanding or the initial orientation that is termed 'dzogchen'... but that is an extremely simple affair that has nothing whatsoever attached to it. It amounts to nothing more than a simple verbal explanation from teacher to student. It has nothing to do with the kind of submitting to, or being devoted to and having belief in a "master" or a satguru or gihf-savior, as in Santmat and christianity etc. There is absolutely no similarity there at all.

"There is no evidence for a primordial state or intrinsic awareness."

-- That is absurd. George, I think you have failed to understand the obvious. Everyone (that is currently alive) has awareness, or is awareness. That is totally obvious. And this simple awareness that we all possess is the same awareness that is being referred to in dzogchen. So for you to say: "There is no evidence for intrinsic awareness", is ridiculous. You obviously have misunderdstood the meaning of awareness. The evidence for awareness is obvious... it is that you ARE now aware because you are reading these words on your computer screen. If you were not presently AWARE, if you had no AWARENESS, then you would be either asleep, or in a coma, or dead. So why are you complicating this very simple fact that we all have (or are) awareness?

"we have a brain capable of different perceptive functions and mental states."

-- That is quite true. I have no quarrel with that.

"There is no way of telling what the most primordial state is."

-- Again you don't understand the very simple reality of this. Awareness is not some "state". Awareness simply means the fact that you are AWARE. Thats all it is. But you are trying to associate other things with it. Of course there are various "states" of consciousness that are related to the brain such as the deep sleep state, the waking state, the dreaming state, the drugged state, and so on. In this case, awareness is said to be primordial because without awareness, we cannot think, know, experience, perceive, or feel anything. That is the meaning of awareness being primal.

"Indeed the most basic state of the brain would be no awareness at all, in which the brain simply supports automatic life function of the body. Such a being would be medically diagnosed as braindead (i.e. a vegetable) and has absolutely no awareness to speak of."

-- Yes, that is in respect to the brain.

"These beliefs have no objective or scientific evidence to support them and both make use of masters."

-- Thnat is absolutely incorrect. There are no "beliefs" in dzogchen. Or rather, dzogchen is not about beliefs or holding beliefs. Dzogchen is NOT a "belief". Also, as I explained above, the term and connotation of "master" is totally different in dzogchen, than in Santmat. In dzogchen, the term "master" is synonomous with "teacher". Wheres in Santmat, the "master" is regarded as an embodiment of God or divinity, a savior type figure, and a form to be worshipped and meditated upon. There is none of that in dzogchen. A master of dzogchgen is simply a dzogchen teacher. There is no similarity at all between the savior worship of religion or with the master worship of RS.

"If such spiritual, non-secular, non-scientific and non-provable beliefs are acceptable, what then is the cut-off point for being churchless?'

-- Again George, dgchen is not a "spiritual, non-secular, non-scientific and non-provable belief". Dzogchen is not any kind of "spiritual belief". Dzogchen is not "non-secular", because dzogchen is not religious. Dzogchen is not "non-proveable", because dzogchen is founded in the immediateness of this always present moment of our awareness. And dzogchen is not "non-scientific" because it involves the obvious reality of our conscious awareness. (and in dzogchen, it is totally irrelevant whether awareness is a product of and dependent upon the brain, or it is independent of the brain. The practical appliction of dzogchen still applies. There is no belief involved at all.

George,

Brian’s post “Welcome to the Church of the Churchless”:

If you are spiritual but not religious,
If you don't belong to an organized faith but sometimes wish you did,
Or if you do belong but sometimes wish you didn't,
Welcome to the Church of the Churchless.

If you are tired of dogma that divides rather than unites,
That demands blind faith rather than open-eyed investigation,
That proclaims "You'll see when you believe"
Instead of "You'll believe when you see,"
Welcome to the Church of the Churchless.

Coming from an RS background of some 40+ years I now question certain attitudes such as believing in a GIHF. I no longer attend satsang because I don’t enjoy the discourses, which sound too authoritarian, dogmatic and ‘religious’ for my liking. I have always had an interest in a wide range of esoteric and metaphysical teachings, at the same time maintaining a questioning attitude towards all theories and now also even questioning my own direct experiences of anything ‘mystical’, just seeking the truth now, whatever that may be.

We go around and around on this blog about God, science, religion, spiritual paths and what is true and false. All this is entertaining but it reminds me of a dog chasing its tail. Maybe this little story can shed some light:

There once was a student of a teacher of the One Absolute Reality. However, the student did not get the understanding he was seeking and returned to his former religious practices of meditation, right living, vegetarian diet and community service.

The teacher cared very much for his student and disguised as a homeless bum he went to see how his student was doing.

The teacher found the student at a parade in a nearby town. He went up to the student and asked what the parade was all about. The student said it was in honor of the new mayor.

The teacher asked, "Where is the mayor?"

"Right over there on a horse." answered the student.

"You say the mayor is on a horse," inquired the teacher, "but which is the mayor and which is the horse?"

"What!" said the student. "You see the two but you don't know the man above is the mayor and the animal below is the horse? Are you drunk?"

"Please don't be impatient with an old bum like me." said the teacher. "Please explain what you mean by 'above' and 'below'."

Exasperated, the student said, "You see the man and the horse, one above and the other below, yet you want to know what is meant by above and below? If you can't understand things seen and words spoken then action alone will show you. Bend forward and I will demonstrate."

The teacher did as he was told and the student got on his shoulders. He said, "Now you should understand. I am above as the mayor, you are below as the horse. Is that clear?"

"Well, not yet," said the teacher. "You say you are above as the mayor, and I am below as the horse. The 'mayor', the 'horse', 'above', and 'below', so far it is clear. But please tell me what you mean by I and you?"

When the student was suddenly confronted with the problem of defining the 'you' apart from the 'I', realization dawned upon him. He at once hugged the teacher saying, "Who else but my wise teacher could have thus drawn my mind from the superficialities of phenomena to the true Being of Reality! Thank you! Thank you!"

tAo,

I am happy to stand corrected if my understanding is incorrect, but i also am retiscient to simply accept definitions given to me. Instead i will refer to the wiki, as a neutral basic source.

I realise you are pragmatic and yet you still do appear to resonate with metaphysical principles, which is fine, but my question is why so overwhelming anti other metaphysical ideas?

I consider both non-duality and dzogchen to be metaphysical concepts, which is to say they are defined or based on principles that are transcental to reality and not perciveable to our senses or go beyond science.

From the opening sentence of the wiki: "According to some schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, Dzogchen is the natural, primordial state or natural condition of every sentient being, including every human being".
--- So I automatically disagree with your above refutation of misunderstanding Dzogchen as not being a state, since this is clearly the word used repeatedly in the wiki entry. I did not write the wiki entry. It may be wrong, but there is a prima facie case that it is right and that you are perhaps wrong.

The wiki continues "Our ultimate nature is said to be pure, all-encompassing, primordial awareness. This intrinsic awareness has no form of its own and yet is capable of perceiving, experiencing, reflecting, or expressing all form.".
--- Metaphysical claims. Again I did not the write this.

On another churchless thread in the archives you indicated that Norbu was your Dzogchen master. As a result I looked up Master Norbu's teachings and the wiki says Norbu is "a recognized tulku (also trulku), a reincarnate master" and that Norbu "provide different practical sets of instructions (sadhana) for the practice of Dzogchen."

So master Norbu makes reincarnation claims and holds sadhana, which sounds very similar to the RS guru. Dont shoot the mesenger, after all GIHF was fair game.

"In Dzogchen, self-liberation is achieved by discovering or recognizing one's own primordial mindstream"
-- more metaphystical principles (from the wiki)

Now, i presume you, like Brian, only select certain aspects of these metaphysical teachings (presumaly the non-spiritual ones), however they remain based on metaphysical principles, the same as any other mystical tradition (which is also based on metaphysical claims).

So my question holds, what is the cut-off point for these metaphysical claims?

Jen,

A very worthy point you raise, which is what i am trying to settle.

Don't get me wrong, i am not attacking the churchless, instead i am questioning their method, i.e. whether they are consisent in criticising the various spiritual traditions.

We've seen some big bashing of RS and christianity, which does not bother me personally, but i am asking why other metaphysical traditions or claims are not only tolerated but apparently followed.

Tucson,

An interesting parable, but one i simply do not resonance with. I have never attended, nor been initiated into, nor formed part of any spiritual, mystical or religious tradition. I would have no idea which is more truthful than the other.

George,

The parable, like many, is designed to stimulate the readers intuition to 'see'. This 'seeing' is not an intellectual process. The conundrum of existence will not be resolved via conceptualization and connecting the dots A to Z. This story will not mean much to some while to others it could mean a great deal. Generally, a background in zen, advaita and other non-dual philosophies would help one to appreciate the parable but it is not a prerequisite.

The student in the story probably had extensive involvement with such teachings, perhaps years or even decades. His teacher said the right thing at the right time. The student was ripe.

George,

You responded: "i also am retiscient to simply accept definitions given to me. Instead i will refer to the wiki, as a neutral basic source."

-- The problem with that, as Brian has already pointed out, is that Wiki is far from being the last word. And it is not even necessarily accurate and correct. Wiki is created by all sorts of people who have all sorts of different views and understandings (and agendas) about subject matter. You ask me to explain about dzogchen, but when I give you accurate and insightful information... information that I have acquired directly and in person from one of (if not the most) expert and authoritative dzogchen masters (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu) in the world, as well as from my own deep study, experience, and insight... you turn around and dispute that with a mere Wiki entry. You can trust the Wiki if you wish to, but if you are asking me to relate my own knowledge, then don't throw Wiki at me. Wiki is certainly not the foremost authority on dzogchen, and what is related in Wiki is not necessarily coming from accurate information or expert knowledge. Anyone can put information in Wikipedia. So just because the Wiki says something about dzogchen, does not mean that it is the proper understanding. It all depends upon who put up that info, and the accuracy of their understanding.

Now as far as this dzogchen issue goes, you seem to keep insisting that dzogchen is a metaphysical belief system (like RS). But as I have said many times, that is an incorrect view and understanding of dzogchen. And I have told you why, but you ignore what I have said, and instead, you refer to some generalized info from Wiki. If you are not going to hear and understand what I say, then why bother asking me? If you think that some Wiki knows more about dzogchen than I or my teacher does, then don't even ask me. Its annoying for me to take the time and effort to try to explain and enlighten you about the real meaning and nature dzogchen, and then have you basically turn around and ignore or dispute everything that I say.

You said: "I realise you are pragmatic and yet you still do appear to resonate with metaphysical principles, which is fine, but my question is why so overwhelming anti other metaphysical ideas?"

-- Again George, I myself do not subscribe to so-called "metaphysical principles", but also, I am not "anti other metaphysical ideas" either.

I am not any staunch proponent or promoter of dzogchen... but I can say that dzogchen is not at all a metaphysical belief system as you seem to think it is. Dzogchen is simply about being aware and awake and attentive to the ever-fresh ever-present moment. There are no beliefs, nor any metaphysicalness involved in it. And I don't care what somebody else has written in a Wiki. People have all sorts of mistaken ideas about things. And don't believe me if you don't want to. Go ask an expert dzogchen master if you don't trust what I say. But don't go to Wiki if you really want to understand dzogchen.

You said: "I consider both non-duality and dzogchen to be metaphysical concepts, which is to say they are defined or based on principles that are transcental to reality and not perciveable to our senses or go beyond science."

-- That is absolutely incorrect regarding dzogchen. Dzogchenn is NOT "defined or based on principles that are transcental to reality and not perciveable to our senses or go beyond science". Refer to what I said above.

You said: "I automatically disagree with your above refutation of misunderstanding Dzogchen as not being a state, since this is clearly the word used repeatedly in the wiki entry."

-- Again, the Wiki is not authoritaive, and does not necessarily use the proper teminology... and so it may not convey the proper meaning and understanding.

"I did not write the wiki entry. It may be wrong, but there is a prima facie case that it is right and that you are perhaps wrong."

-- No, that is an incorrect conclusion. My understanding comes directly from one of the most (if not the most) knowledgeable and authoritative dzogchen masters in the entire world. So I really don't give a damn what some Wiki says. Nevertheless, you can think whatever you want.

"the wiki says [Namkhai] Norbu is "a recognized tulku (also trulku), a reincarnate master" and that Norbu "provide different practical sets of instructions (sadhana) for the practice of Dzogchen. So master Norbu makes reincarnation claims and holds sadhana which sounds very similar to the RS guru."

-- Again, that is merely what some Wiki says. Namkahi Norbu made no such claims. He was declared a tulku by Tibetan Buddhist religious authoritites. He does teach various levels of practices that may aid in the awareness that is dzogchen, but those do not supersede or conflict with the essential nature of dzogchen itself. And there is no similarity with the RS theology or the RS GIHF, at all. None.

I am not going to go on through all the rest of the Wiki stuff that you have cited. There is no point in my doing that. Suffice it to say that the Wiki does not necessarily represent or interpret dzogchen accurately in all respects. Wiki is a poor source for understanding dzogchen.

"So my question holds, what is the cut-off point for these metaphysical claims?"

-- The point is that RS and Christianity etc are both theology and based upon metaphysical beliefs and supernaturalism. Tai Chi and Taoist practices, and dzogchen are not theology and not based upon abstract metaphysical beliefs and other-worldly supernaturalism, God, saviors, etc.

And from another post you said: "does not address the issue of why certain metaphysical philosophies appear to more acceptable to the churchless than others".

-- You keep trying to assert this, but I don't see this as being the case at all. I myself don't accept other "metaphysical philosophies" any more than any others. I don't buy any metaphysical philosophies. And dzogchen is simply all about being in the 'instant presence' of ever-fresh awareness, and NOT about any believing in any sort of "metaphysical philosophies".


I will probably leave this issue in the intrests of peace, since am not a big one for getting talked to in that manner, and actually am biting my lip as i type this.

I have provided an argument and reasons to support my argument based on the only indepent source i know of.

You are welcome to dispute the validity of my or wiki's assertions, but i am simply not going to accept an 'experts' view on a discipline as gospel, particularly where that person is favourably oriented to the discipline concerned.

Also, let me be quite clear, I am not here just to learn, but also to question. You guys have no problem questioning, and indeed berating in very strong terms, other traditions and concepts.

The problem with proclaiming one self an expert is that it automatically forecloses having one's views examined.

Whats more is that i am trying to actually examine the underlying methodology or logical critique that is being used to apply the blowtorch to certain traditions, proclaimed to be dogma, while not others.

As i say, best i leave this issue for the time being.

George, you said:

"I [...] am not a big one for getting talked to in that manner"

-- And what manner is that? I have not taked to you in any unfavorable manner. If you re-read my last post/comment, there is nothing amiss or unsatisfactory or derogatory about it, or within it. If you believe otherwise, then you are welcome to please indicate precisely what that is.

"I have provided an argument and reasons to support my argument based on the only indepent source i know of. You are welcome to dispute the validity of my or wiki's assertions, but i am simply not going to accept an 'experts' view on a discipline as gospel, particularly where that person is favourably oriented to the discipline concerned."

-- I simply do not agree or accept everything that your Wiki references say about dzogchen. Some of it is misleading. And Wiki is neither "independent" nor authoritative. Wikis are created by various people who are not necessarily experts, but who are very likely to have biases and inaccuracies.

So if one wishes to understand dzogchen (or any other subject matter), one would be wise to go to someone who is a more knowledgeable and experienced source in that particular subject matter.

"Also, let me be quite clear, I am not here just to learn, but also to question."

-- I have no problem with your questioning. My problem is how you dismiss the information and the answers that are offered from reliable and authoritative sources, and instead you prefer to make your own faulty interpretations that you derive from unreliable sources (such as Wiki).

"You guys have no problem questioning, and indeed berating in very strong terms, other traditions and concepts."

-- No, that is not what we are doing.

"The problem with proclaiming one self an expert is that it automatically forecloses having one's views examined."

-- I did not claim to be an expert. But there are those who are far more expert than I. And I recommend those sources rather than Wiki. The Wiki is hardly an expert source.

"Whats more is that i am trying to actually examine the underlying methodology or logical critique that is being used to apply the blowtorch to certain traditions, proclaimed to be dogma, while not others."

-- Yes, but you assume that these "others" are similar, but some of these "others" are not the same.

"As i say, best i leave this issue for the time being."

-- Whatever George... However, if you are closed-minded or you choose unreliable sources for your information, then you will not obtain the clarity and accuracy that you say that you seek.


lol, me being close-minded?!

come on, i have taken in each and every bit of what you have said, but i have also presented an alternative argument, not based on my interpretation, but based on the wiki's interpretation.

I realise you feel the wiki is incorrect, but presumably it is writted and edited by ppl that also have knowledge of Dzogchen. So the interpretation that they apply is different to the one you do. This suggests prima facie that there are others with a knowledge of Dozgchen that have a very different interpretation to your own.

I simply do not know who is right, you have stated that you and your master are, but i dont know what your masters teachings are or if there are other masters that disagree with his interpretation.

For completeness, i have found some other sites with the filter that they are specifically supported by the expert teachings of Master Norbu.


http://www.tsegyalgar.org/mirror/

This piece by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu talks about initiation and mantra recitation. This was revalatory, since of initiation appears related to an aspect of Dzogchen too.

http://www.dzogchen.it/dzogchen

This site apparently represents the international community of Dzogchen as created by Master Norbu. It describes "the tibetan A is the symbol for the primordial state". It confirms master norbu was recognised as a child as a reincarnation of an earlier great Master. The definition given is "Dzogchen means Total Perfection and refers to the condition of primordial potentiality of each individual. The method through which we enter into the knowledge of Dzogchen and discover our real condition is called Dzogchen Teaching."

I presume tAo you do not recognise master norbu as being a reincarnation?

I repeat my contention that this basic concept of self-realization or discovering some sort of inherent unrealised potential is exactly the same as in other mystical tradition, it is a metaphysical claim.

Your own interpretation may choose to avoid the metaphysical aspects, but since they seem so fundamental i really do struggle to see how this is done.

The question of interpretation is indemic to religion with ppl often taking from it what they want, often causing splinter factions and argument over intepretation.

George, you are merely interpreting in your own way, what you have read... which is what others have intrepreted and then written in their own way.

On the other hand, I am relating (sharing) what was taught to me directly by my teacher himself, in his own words and his own explanations. And that is why I am not interested in how some Wiki may present or portray or intrepret dzogchen.

Also, the issue here is not what I think or what I presume about "master norbu as being a reincarnation". I don't "presume" any such thing. I neither believe that, nor disbelieve that. It is simply not relevant or or of any concern for me. It was YOU who assumed such, and it was you who said that he makes that claim. But as I have already indicated, it was the tibetan buddhist lamas that made that claim - and who supposedly "recognized" that and who claim that. He himself did not make any such claims.

You say that "the interpretation that they [the writer's of the Wiki] apply is different to the one you do."

-- No actually it is more that YOUR own interpretation of the Wiki is what is different than mine. And I don't have an "interpretation" per se. I have only related what an authoritative teacher of dzogchen has explained to me personally and directly.

You also say that this suggests that "there are others with a knowledge of Dozgchen that have a very different interpretation to your own". Perhaps, but the differences, if any, are very slight and are only in the words used. It is more likely that this difference is due to your own interpretation of what you read.

You say that it is your "contention that this basic concept of self-realization or discovering some sort of inherent unrealised potential is exactly the same as in other mystical tradition, it is a metaphysical claim."

-- There is no "metaphysical" claim. Dzogchen is neither "self-realization" nor is it "discovering some sort of inherent unrealised potential". Dzogchen is about the self-liberating nature of awareness, prior awareness, instant awareness, the here and now nature of awareness. There are no claims involved. Dzogchen is not "self-realization".

Also, I don't "choose to avoid the metaphysical aspects". There are no metaphysical aspects. Is my (or your)immediate here & now awareness (or instant presence), something that is metaphysical? Certainly not in my experience.

I think you are regarding dzogchen in the same mistaken way that you do towards Brian and Taoism, and the TAO... as if it is something metaphysical, something abstract and removed from our immediate here and now physical bodily awareness and existence. But thats not what it is. And thats why you think it is the same as Santmat. And its not a matter of interpretation at all.

The bottom line for me is that you can go on and think whatever you want. It does not matter to me. And so I really have nothing more to say, because you insist on holding to your own opinions and conclusions. I have already given you a basic correct explanation of what dzogchen actually is, and why it is not any sort of metaphysical belief etc. But you have made up your mind and you choose to think and believe otherwise.

So there is nothing more that I wish to say to you about this.

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