‘The aim of Dzogchen is the reawakening of the individual to the primordial state of enlightenment which is naturally found in all beings’
Thus states the first line on the back-cover of this treasure-trove of a book. This book is a comprehensive book on Dzogchen, which some say is the highest teaching of Tibetan Buddhism, and is based upon the translation of one of the most ancient and perhaps most important Dzogchen texts, the Kunjed Gyalpo.
The Kunjed Gyalpo, which translates as ‘The All-Creating King’, is the source text for the semde (mind) school of Dzogchen. It clearly outlines what Dzogchen is, what it isn’t and how to use the teachings to gain enlightenment. The text compares Dzogchen with other methods of spiritual practice and points out how it is superior to them. Indeed, Dzogchen is often said to be the pinnacle of Tibetan Buddhism, and although it is usually Dzogchen practitioners themselves that say this, it does have striking parallels with Zen, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta.
Anyways, let’s get to the teaching itself: it is a direct-path teaching with no frills and plenty of repetition to drive the central point home: directly recognise your true nature and rest in that effortlessly.
Your True Nature
So what is your true nature? Kunjed Gyalpo, a personification of the Supreme Source, tells us who he is. In doing this he is of course telling us who we are:
‘I will show you your own nature. You are me, the source. I am and always have been pure and total consciousness’
Chapter 30, p. 168
‘I am self-arising wisdom that has existed from the beginning. I am the fundamental substance of all phenomena that has existed from the beginning. I am the supreme source of everything, pure and total consciousness.’
Chapter 4, p.139
‘Its being is pure and total consciousness, and its abode is the dimension of essential reality. It shines in the sky of pure instantaneous presence, it pervades all habitats and forms of life, it gives rise to the whole animate and inanimate world. It has no material characteristics that can be shown, it is not an object that can be seen, nor can it be explained in words. This fundamental substance, not produced by causes, transcends all definitions based on concepts.’
Chapter 5, p.139
‘The total space of Vajrasattva is the vast dimension of being in which all is always good. As it is the perfect universal path that liberates all, it is beyond birth, cessation, or being thought’
Chapter 30, p.168
The fruits of knowing who you are
And what are the merits of knowing your true nature?
Listen, great being! When you understand my essence you will also understand all the teachers and all the teachings…perceiving my essence you will understand the totality of all phenomena and overcome all actions and efforts, realising the natural perfection in which there exists no effort whatsoever.’
Chapter 4, p.139
Let things be
The text repeatedly drums the point home, You are That. Realise You are That and stay in that realisation. No paths, no special yogas, no levels of realisation. Just this oneness here which has no room for individuality. You are that now:
‘When atiyoga [ie. Dzogchen] practitioners hear about total perfection, they find themselves on the level of primordial enlightenment, and in this way, without acting, they achieve total bliss. Without the need for effort in their practice they achieve enlightenment’
Chapter 29, p.127
In my next posts I will deeper explore facets of the Dzogchen teachings as presented in this root text