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“The Middle Way View”
Saturday, November 6, 2021
Padma Samye Ling
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Madhyamaka and the Vajrayana
“Madhyamaka represents the heart teachings of the Glorious Conqueror, Buddha Shakyamuni. Even Vajrayana practices are based on the Madhyamaka view. For example, at the beginning of deity practice we rest in awareness of the true nature, the samadhi of suchness, or tattva-samadhi. This meditation on the true nature is none other than meditation on Madhyamaka. It is also known as Dzogchen meditation. The Dzogchen teachings are actually based upon the Madhyamaka teachings. So, even in the practice of Vajrayana, when visualizing the deity we must have the realization of Madhyamaka. When we reach the completion stage known as the “completion stage beyond all characteristics,” we are also meditating on Madhyamaka, which is none other than Dzogchen meditation. Basically, the emptiness aspect of the nature is no different regardless of whether one is practicing Madhyamaka or Dzogchen; both involve meditating on the “observant state,” or uncontrived, nondual awareness of the true nature.
If this is true, what is the real difference between the way Madhyamaka and Dzogchen introduce practitioners to the true nature? Dzogchen directly approaches the true nature without the use of logic or reasoning. It is a simple way of directly introducing a practitioner to her own awareness, thereby leading to the discovery of her own innate nature. In contrast, Madhyamaka introduces emptiness, or the true nature, by means of logic and reasoning. It is a more investigative, scholarly way of analyzing reality in order to establish the authentic realization of the true nature. This is the technical difference. However, when it comes to the actual nature, it is always the same—there are not two separate natures— regardless of the practice we use to bring forth this realization. You already know this, of course, but we are just reminding you of how important and special these teachings are for all practitioners.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Opening the Wisdom Door of the Madhyamaka School (pg 69)
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