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Diversity Is Both Bondage and Liberation

Trident Leaning on Side of Building
Episode No. 223

Shambhavi explains the core View of the nature of diversity and our relationships to it based on a teaching of Abhinavagupta. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

One of the things I talk about is View teachings—what View teachings are and why they’re important. Most of the teachings that you get in this kind of tradition—in Dzogchen, Chan Buddhism, Daoism—are very heavily weighted toward View teachings.

View teachings answer questions like: What is reality? Why do we do spiritual practice? What is a person? Do we have a soul? Is there time? Those kinds of questions. How are we supposed to orient ourselves when we sit down to do seated practice? etc.

View teachings answer the bigger questions about a tradition. They give you the biggest context for practicing in a tradition. Every single book that I’ve written, except for perhaps the poetry books, has a little exposition in the beginning about the importance of View teachings. This is something that we really want to understand.

The other thing that’s different about View teachings in the direct realization traditions is that the View is actually the biggest View. It’s the most all-encompassing, absolute View. And then, of course, there’s View about relative life, too. But normally when you get View teachings, you’re getting a very big View.

This is a bit of a different teaching method than we might be used to—even just from regular school, but particularly from American Buddhist traditions. In those traditions relative teachings, the teachings that relate only to our condition as limited beings, are given first. And then this bigger View—this more absolute, cosmic-sized View—is really saved until later on, if ever given.

So in the direct realization traditions the teaching method is big first, then go small. And it’s very, very deliberate because it’s assumed that there are going to be people in many different conditions hearing any particular teaching.