The development of view is central to Dzogchen meditation. Therefore, a point of clarification necessary to understand Dzogchen is this. View and viewpoints, while somewhat related, are not exactly the same.

What do I mean by that?

First of all, a viewpoint (or point of view) generally has its basis in some school of thought or system of belief, although not necessarily a formalized system of belief. In fact, most viewpoints are loosely acquired over time. But how?

Acquiring Points of View

As you observe and evaluate the circumstances of your life…

1. You form ideas and opinions.
2. Experience seems to validate your ideas and opinions.
3. Your ideas and opinions grow stronger.
4. You develop a point of view.

Pretty simple. There’s nothing wrong with this. You need systems of thought, points of view, to negotiate your life.

Developing a View

A view is a little different as it relates to how you regard life as a whole. It's singular in expression.

Your view is your general outlook on things.

Ask yourself: What’s your predominant view of life? Is life pretty bleak and hopeless? Or do you generally think it’s pretty perfect just as it is?

Probably your view is somewhere between these extremes and that’s fine.

Your view plays a large role in how you meet life because your perception of things is completely wrapped up in your view.

In other words, two people can have a completely different perception and experience of the same event, depending on what their general outlook on life is. Have you ever noticed this?

View grows out of experience as do viewpoints; but because view is also the wrapper that holds those experiences, it develops in less obvious ways.

Developing the Dzogchen View

The development of the Dzogchen view grows out of the meditative experience and over time replaces all previous views. In other words, as we open to a deeper level of ourselves, how we regard ourselves and life as a whole changes. Our basic perceptions change too. We see how things really are at the ground level--open, clear, and sweetly warm.

As a result,we begin to have experiences of awakened perception or pure perception. We see things as they really are in their true nature. We realize that at the base, everything is perfect just as it is.

When this begins to happen, a bird isn't just a bird. It's a living, breathing expression of the sacred mandala.

View and Viewpoints are Connected

View and viewpoints are connected.

As you may have intuited, your view, as I’m speaking about it here, is a singular expression of how you see things, whereas viewpoints come a dime a dozen.

Yet, they relate.

What about Bob?

Let’s say there’s somebody out there you regard as generally uncaring. Let’s call him Bob. It seems everything Bob does is rather thoughtless, even cruel. Then one day you catch Bob committing a random act of kindness. He comforts a child who just scrapped her knee. Suddenly, your opinion of Bob is no longer validated. This forces your point of view to shift—at least a little.

In the larger sense, you might even begin to question how your opinions form in the first place. You begin to see that your opinions about Bob stem from your general outlook on life or your view. You might begin to wonder just how accurate your view of reality really is. In that sense, your view and viewpoints are related. They feed off each other and change together.

View and Viewpoints are Different

View and viewpoints are still different though.

Whereas points of view are mental constructs (configurations of beliefs, assumptions and values), view is how you approach life and how you give it meaning. View is more of a big picture understanding that tends to come straight from the heart.

It seems to me that both are necessary and good to human existence, but what do you think about all this?

What's your point of view?

Author's Bio: 

Kimberly has an M.A. in Religious Studies from Naropa University. She studies and practices Bon Buddhism and Dzogchen meditation. She is a student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinphoche. She offers practical tips for integrating meditation practice with daily living.

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