Forming "Opening to Utter Totality" Mahamudra/Dzogchen Zoom group

We are forming a Zoom group in the near future called “Opening to Utter Totality” to serve as an ongoing support for dedicated Dzogchen/Mahamudra practitioners. The pilot group will be limited to 10-15 members to promote intimacy, with additional groups formed in time if/when a critical mass gathers. The group will study/contemplate the first 3 volumes of Longchenpa’s “Seven Treasuries” initially, the Padma Publishing edition.

  • If you are interested in being considered for membership, please reply with a brief statement of interest, including a personal and dharma practice bio with email contact information. Thank you!

Do you have a teacher for this group? You won’t understand the texts without a teacher who opens them up for you.

Thank you, Baba. I appreciate your concern, but I disagree that these texts cannot be accessed/understood without a live teacher interpreting them. Longchenpa expresses in the Precious Treasury that students should consider taking up texts such as these as equivalent to being in the presence of the teacher, and I find that the texts have that kind of power if regarded properly. The purpose of the Opening to Utter Totality Zoom groups will be not merely to study these texts and “understand” them conceptually, but to “conjure” the underlying meaning. We will operate with great regard and reverence for lineage teachers who developed and transmitted teachings such as the Treasury, but outside of the formal hierarchy of Tibetan Buddhism, which can be stultifying for some western practitioners, and which is no longer essential for accessing and genuinely experiencing Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings.

I think the tb system is rubbish to a large degree… but you will not recognize or stabilize the basic state without the help of someone who’s got it down. Having the intention and being motivated to study Longchenpa or other author-masters of the tantric tradition is wonderful but it is a misinterpretation to think that it will work out well. No one will ever genuinely experience dzogchen or mahamudra without a teacher and never has. Western ideas or inventions will not change that. I can’t endorse or encourage your project but all the best nevertheless.

Thank you again, Baba, for your feedback and good wishes. Not to quibble, but since some realized individuals are “hidden,” how is it possible to generalize regarding what’s true for everyone who’s ever “genuinely experienced dzogchen or mahamudra”? Regardless, participants in Opening to Utter Totality Zoom groups are free to connect with spiritual teachers as they wish and as they require. It’s just that the groups as a whole will not be hierarchically connected with any lineage or individual spiritual teacher.

How is it possible to generalize? I don’t mean to be rude but if you have to ask, you really shouldn’t be leading a dz/mm group.

It is possible to generalize because the basic state is not defined or affected by whatever one’s opinions or preferences are. You don’t get to define it yourself as you like.

In the art of tantra, there are the specialists, those who teach; and apprentices, those who are there to learn. Because of empowerments and transmissions which is the very foundation of tantra, it will never be democratic where everyones gets to say their views and opinions that are then equally considered. There are bad examples of this non-democracy and the bad kind of hierarchy in the world and history of tantric yoga but my point is that one thing that will always remain constant in tantra is the principle of from guru to the student. In a healthy setting it’s a massive gift that can take one to buddhahood and lightbody.

And yet all of these things you mention vanish into emptiness like the imprint of a bird in the sky. None exists even for an instant in the basic space of awareness.