11 Dec 2014

Shaivism and Dzogchen: Hinduism and Buddhism - the bonds, the tantras, the View

“The great similarities between Buddhist Dzogchen and Hindu Shaivism
are completely obvious to anyone who has some knowledge of each one
of these traditions… The connections between Kashmir and Tibet were
very close during the 8th and 11th centuries…”
Dr Rudolph Bauer


As those of you who know me personally are aware, I love to read. It’s my foremost hobby. And at the moment, there’s a stack of books and slew of online articles related to the genuine tantric teachings that make up my reading list. And what I read tends to be what I blog about (for better or worse!).

But for today, rather than write anything much myself, I will quote and link to an essay by Professor Rudolph Bauer that pretty much summarises what I have learned this past month while reading about the connections, the indissoluble tantric bonds, that exist between certain Hindu and Buddhist practice traditions – notably the Kashmir Shaivite (Trika) and Dzogchen Buddhism (Atiyoga) traditions. A Commentary on the Historical Unfolding of the Dzogchen Tradition within the Influence of the Heart Essence:

The influence of the Hindu tantric traditions was mostly from Kashmir Shaivism.  As compared to other Indian tantric traditions, the influence of Kashmir Shaivism gave both greater emphasis on the actuality of phenomena and greater emphasis on the vibrational aspects of the luminous, energetic dimension of primordial awareness, which, as source, was located in the human heart...

We can learn much about Kashmir Shaivism through the writings and teachings of Abhinavagupta, who was the great 9th century master of Kashmir Shaivism.  Of course, this Shaivite framing contains the very same qualities of primordial awareness that are understood from within the Dzogchen tradition.  For in both the Shaivite and Dzogchen traditions, the source of this consciousness within human beings is the hrdyam [hṛdaya], or the heart as psyche.  Also, just as the Dzogchen tradition does, so too does the Shaivite tradition make the distinction between the mind and primordial awareness; Shaivite masters repeatedly made the differentiation between the mind and awareness. The mind has both the functions of thinking, feeling, sensation, memory and the innate awareness, which was vast, infinite, and multidimensional.  This distinction also greatly influenced Dzogchen Upadesha, or instructions, in its […] becoming such an effective and direct process of realization of the divinity of awareness…

In Kashmir Shaivism, Shiva is the inner self of all beings and is very much like the [Buddhist] All Creating Sovereign, who is primordial awareness and who is present in all that exists.  Shiva of Kashmir Shaivism is not an entity, but rather is the very nature of awareness or consciousness itself.



  1. Not sure if I mentioned it, but I am a tantric practitioner in the Buddhist tradition. We should chat about it. I love your posts on this topic. Keep them coming. -Martina

    1. Yes, I was thinking of you when I wrote this -- and to be honest, I kept saying to myself while reading the texts this past month, "I have GOT to talk to Martina about all this!" We must get to chatting more soon, in the new year maybe, when the holiday rush is past. xx

    2. Yes, let's chat! And I practice in the Tibetan Buddhist Gelug tradition-it's mahamudra tantra.

    3. Ummmm, didn't I introduce you two? Shout out please?

    4. Hey Rod -- you always deserve a shout out -- "Holla!!"

      But Martina and I actually went to high school together, so we've known each other for a loooooong time.

  2. ;) Holla...Yah, I thought Steph was totally awesome back in 10th grade.

  3. thank you for your comments about my discussion about shavism and dzogchen....the Washington center for consciousness studies presents live video streaming seminars on this topic for thanks you Rudolph Bauer

  4. Hello! Long time since I last posted here -- remember, you interviewed my a couple of years ago! A reminder: my blog,
    I'd like to write you but can't find your contact details, so could you please email me? My address is sw.maas at Would love to hear from you!