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-;A$INSTRUCTIONS RELATING TO THE PRACTICES FOR THE BARDO


according to the Cycle of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as elucidated by Karma
Chag-med (Raga Asya), and translated by Vajranatha.
Here is contained "An easy practice for the immediate Introduction to Self-Liberation
through Seeing", being the guiding instructions for meditation practices in relation to
the Chonyid Bardo [Chos-nyid bar-do khrid-yig], according to "The Profound
Teaching of Self-Liberation through the Contemplation of the Peaceful and Wrathful
Deities" [Zhi-khro dgongs-pa rang-grol].
Homage to Samantabhadra and to the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities.
PART ONE
I. INTRODUCTION
[1. The Nine Vehicles to Enlightenment]
Well then, here we shall speak a little concerning the teachings in the Dzogchen
precepts. All of the teachings found among the eighty-four thousand gateways to the
Dharma revealed by the Lord Buddha may be collected into nine successive vehicles
to enlightenment.
As it is said in the Ati bkod-pa'i rgyud, "The Sravaka, the Pratyekabuddha, and
the Bodhisattva (vehicles) are intented for persons who possess inferior capacities.
The Kriya, the Upa, and the Yoga (Tantra vehicles) are intended for persons
possessing intermediate capacities; while the Maha, the Anu, and the Ati (Yoga
vehicles) are intended for persons possessing superior capacities."
[2. The Hinayana]
Having become terrified at the prospect of the evil destinies of rebirth, and
subsequently having desired to obtain happiness in a rebirth among the Devas or
among the human beings, if one practices the Dharma, one will most certainly obtain
rebirth wherever one desires. However, even though one may indeed become a Deva
or a king among mankind, yet when one's meritorious karma is exhaused, one will
again die, and, of necessity, one will fall once more into the evil destinies of rebirth.
But if one comes to desire liberation from the suffering experienced in Samsara,
when one protects one's vows and engages (continuously) in the practices of the Six
Paramitas, then, after some twenty kalpas, or one hundred kalpas, one will attain the
status of an Arhat among the Sravakas, or the status of a Pratyekabuddha (alone in
isolation). However, since this represents the inferior vehicle of the Hinayana, there
will come about no benefit for others.
[3. The Mahayana]
On the other hand, having come to desire Buddhahood for the sake of liberating
all other sentient beings, one produces the Bodhichitta, or Thought of
Enlightenment, and thereafter, having engaged oneself continuously in the practices

of the Six or the Ten Paramitas, then after only three immeasurable kalpas, one will
realize unsurpassed perfect Buddhahood. Yet this path (the Mahayana) is very long
and its course is exceedingly arduous and difficult.
[4. The Lower and the Higher Tantras]
So again, having produced the Bodhichitta in the same manner as before, if one
should practice (the methods of) the Secret Mantras according to the Kriya Tantra or
the Charya Tantra, then one will attain Buddhahood after only sixty rebirths. And if
one practices the Yoga Tantra, then he will attain Buddhahood after some sixteen
rebirths.
[5. The Higher Tantras]
However, if one should engage oneself in the practice of the Anuttara Tantra,
the superior individual will attain Buddhahood in this present life, the intermediate
individual will do so in the Bardo, and the inferior individual will realize it after only
one more rebirth.
Now, with respect to these Higher or Anuttara Tantras, within the New Tantra
system [gsar-ma lugs] there are found the Father Tantras, the Mother Tantras, and
the Nondual Tantras. On the other hand, within the Old Tantra system of the
Nyingmapas [rnying-ma lugs], there are found the Utpattikrama Mahayoga, the
Agama Anuyoga, and the Mahasandhi Atiyoga (also known as Dzogchen). However,
it is explained that these latter three are similar in meaning to the former.
[6. Atiyoga Dzogchen]
Then, with respect to the Mahasandhi Atiyoga, here there are included within it
three series of teachings known as Semde or the Mind Series [sems-sde], Longde or
the Space Series [klong-sde], and Upadesha or the Secret Instruction Series [manngag gi sde]. And within the latter are found those teachings known as Ati, Chiti, and
Yangti [a-ti spyi-ti yang-ti]. Among these (three series), Dzogchen Semde contains
the same meaning [don gcig] as the Mahamudra, and furthermore, it is also known
as the Thegchod cycle [khregs-chod skor] and it represents the very basis or
foundation (of the Dzogchen system). On the other hand, the Longde and the
Upadesha Series represent a view [lta-ba] that is higher than Mahamudra and,
indeed, they are regarded as the culmination of the Nine Vehicles.
[7. The Six Upadeshas]
It is certainly necessary that (as a practitioner) one should meditate on the
Upadeshas or secret instructions belonging to the the Mahamudra and the Dzogchen
Semde. Indeed, a great multitude of Mahasiddhas belonging to both India and Tibet,
after having meditated on these for only twelve years, attained realization and this is
clearly elucidated in their respective biographies.
With respect to that, it is explained further that there exist four or six
upadeshas for the attaining of Buddhahood without recourse to meditation on the
precepts [bka'] of Dzogchen:
1. To attain Buddhahood by means of eating, there exist pills made from the flesh of
an individual who has been reborn seven times (as a Brahman) [skye bdun sha'i rilbu];

2. To attain Buddhahood by means of wearing [btags grol], there exists the liberating
of the mind-stream through the wearing of something;
3. To attain Buddhahood by means of listening [thos grol], there exists the intiation
combined with the instructions for liberation through hearing while in the Bardo;
4. To attain Buddhahood by means of seeing [mthong grol], there exist instructions
found herein pertaining to the practice of Thodgal;
5. To attain Buddhahood by means of recollecting [dran grol], there exists liberation
through recalling to transfer one's consciousness (at the time of death); and
6. To attain Buddhahood by means of touching, there exists the sexual congress with
a Padmini, or lotus woman, who is a Dakini.
These are the six methods. There never was taught in the past, nor is there
taught in the present, nor will there be taught in the future by any of the Buddhas of
the three times a doctrine more profound than this.
[8. The Dzogchen Lineage]
These precepts [bka'] were first revealed (in our own world system) by the
Twelve Teachers, such as the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra, Vajradhara,
Akshobhyaprabha, and so on [Kun tu bzang-po, rDo-rje 'chang 'od mi 'khrugs-pa].
Thereupon various Mahasiddhas, such as the Vidyadhara Prahevajra [dGa'-rab rdorje], Srisimha, the great Humkara, Vimalamitra, Manjusrimitra, and so on, made
them their essential daily practice (thugs-dam mdzad). And subsequently, (as a
result), many hundreds of thousands of practitioners in India, China, Uddiyana, and
elsewhere, attained the Rainbow Body ['ja'-lus], and went to traverse the sky ['ja'-lus
mkha'-spyod du gshegs].
Moreover, in Tibet, these same precepts were expounded by Urgyan Rinpoche
(Padmasambhava) and by Vimalamitra to a great multitude of individuals, including
the king and the twenty-five disciples [rjes 'bangs] and the eighty-four Mahasiddhas
from Yerpa, all of whom on a single occasion went to traverse the sky. In a similar
fashion, Nyang Tingnedzin Zangpo, Chogro Gomchen and Gomchung, the seven men
from Tsang who were adepts, and so on, as well as some other tens of thousands
appeared and came forth (at different times in Tibet), and after attaining the
Rainbow Body, they all realized Khechara-siddhi, the power to traverse the sky
[mkha'-spyod dngos-grub].
Thereafter, the Lord Dusum Khyenpa (the First Karmapa), requested the
Dzogchen Aro oral transmission [rdzogs-chen a-ro snyan-brgyud] from Lama Dragkarwa [Brag dkar-ba]. Then the Lord Karma Pakshi (the Second Karmapa), after
having requested the Dzogchen teachings from Kah-thog Jampabum [Kah-thog
Byams-pa 'bum], said that, although Mahamudra and Dzogchen were different with
regard to their names, yet they are not distinct with regard to the meaning. The Lord
Rangjyung Dorje (the Third Karmapa), having requested the rDzogs-chen mkha'-'gro
snying-thig from Padma Ledreltsal [Padma las-'brel-rtsal], made this his essential
daily practice [thugs-dam mdzad]. And after having conferred initiation [dbang] and
scriptural authorization [lung] upon his four disciples, he preserved this profound
Dharma from declining and propagated it throughout the four directions of Tibet by
dispatching his four disciples. Also, Khanag Gomchen, by relying upon the love and
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the compassion practices of the Kadampas, and equally upon Dzogchen, also attained
realization.
Furthermore, Srisimha transmitted the precepts to Vairochana and he was the
first in Tibet to spread Dzogchen. In the meantime, since the dialecticians cast dust
upon it, doubts (as to the authenticity of the Dzogchen teachings) arose among the
people and it declined somewhat. But later it spread anew and extended itself again
in accordance with the prophecies (of Guru Padmasambhava). However, there were
only a few who taught even a small portion (of the precepts), From then, thence
forward until the time when the span of human life will be but ten years. But if one
meditates according to Dzogchen, since this is the era of the Mind of Samantabhadra,
most assuredly (these teachings) will be easy to understand. Nor will it be necessary
to meditate thus for a long period of time. Even though, in this degenerate age, the
full measure of (the mischief caused by) the Maras, the Devas, the Rakshasas, and
the eight classes of spirits (generally), overflows in abundance, yet thanks to to the
compassion of Urgyan Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), his blessings act swiftly and
because of this essential point, nowadays the ancient teachings (of the Nyingmapas
generally) and the Dzogchen teachings (in particular) have grown more and more
profound for us (Tibetans) and they have spread more and more widely.
Furthermore, nowadays there are increasing numbers of Lamas who have made
these same ancient doctrines their principal teaching.
[9. Retreat Practices]
Now, with respect to the Dzogchen precepts, there exists a gradual system of
explaining the teaching for persons of inferior capacity, as well as a system of
immediate introduction (to Dzogchen) for those persons who can rely upon their
superior capacity. This latter is the system of such masters as Trulzhig Wangdrak
Gyatso of Kah-thog and Sonam Zangpo, the Dzogchenpa from Kongpo. (According to
this system) the Guru and those who request his guidance bind themselves together
in a retreat and then inside the retreat house the teachings are explained
individually to each person. These teachings or oral instructions relate as follows:
1. the difficulty of obtaining the favorable conditions of a precious human rebirth;
2. death and the impermanence of life;
3. Karma: its causes and its consequences;
4. the sufferings experienced in Samsara;
5. Going to Refuge in the Three Jewels;
6. Producing the Bodhichitta or Thought of Enlightenment;
7. Love and Compassion;
8. the Vajrasattva Meditation and Mantra Recitation;
9. Mandala Offering;
10. Guru Yoga;
11. the Generation Process (utpattikrama) for various meditation deities;
12. Vayu Yoga and Yantra Yoga (breath control and movement exercises);
13. Mahamudra and Thegchod which represent the Base (for Dzogchen);
14. Discriminating between Samsara and Nirvana in terms of the three gates of body,
speech, and mind;
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and having practiced all of them and having obtained the requisite signs (of success
in practice) with respect to each of the above, one proceeds to
15. the introduction to Thodgal.
The explanations of all of the teachings [khrid] are generally not completed for at
least three years, and until then, the disciple remains in a retreat without the
freedom to come and go as one pleases. Then, having given birth to an excellent
understanding (and realization in practice of the meaning of the teachings), one may
be appointed to give the guiding explanations [khrid] to others. (Such is the case with
an individual of superior capacity.) But for an individual of intermediate capacity, it
is sufficient for him to have received the initiations [dbang] and the permissions [rjes
gnang] in the retreat, and such a one is then given the scriptural authorizations
[lung]. As for the individual of inferior capacity, having been in the three year
retreat, one may thereafter engage oneself in the commitment of reciting the six
syllable mantra (of Vajrasattva).
Finally, at the end (of the retreat), one need no longer remain in the hermitage,
but it is said that one shall not have the freedom or capacity to leave altogether,
because there exists the custom of engaging in further meditations. Proceeding in
that manner is certainly the best. But where this custom is not found, (it is still the
case that) the master and the disciples do not practice together subsequently with
just anyone, (that is, with those who have not been directly introduced to and
instructed in the Dzogchen teachings).
[10. Requirements]
With respect to that, up until now, having received the initiation, one was
thereafter introduced directly (to the Primordial State), and since this was explained
according to the text, it is not proper to explain it to someone else who has not
obtained the requisite initiation, nor should they listen (to the explanation of the
text). On the contrary, it is first necessary to have an initiation connected with the
Dzogchen system, such as the Zhi-khro, the initiation for the Peaceful and Wrathful
Deities. Merely receiving any initiation (in the Anuttara Tantra system) is not
sufficient. Even with regard (to one who has received the requisite initiation), if only
the preliminary practices and a synopsis of the rest has been explained, it is still not
proper. For in that case, the blessings (that come from hrearing the teachings) will
not enter into the disciples and there will come forth a downfall for the master
himself.
II. THE OUTER PRELIMINARY PRACTICES
OM. With respect to that (which has been said above), I shall explain a little
regarding the preliminary practices, since there exist very great blessings to be found
in the words of the text of the Zhi-khro (that is to say, the Zhi-khro dgongs-pa ranggrol of Karma Lingpa).
[1. The Difficulty of gaining a Human Rebirth]
According to the words of the Lord Buddha, "As for rebirth in hell, there exists
only the surface of the earth. As for rebirth among the animals, there exists only the
malt from which beer is brewed. As for rebirth among the Asuras, there exists only
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the snow storm. And as for the two kinds of rebirth among gods and humans, there
exists only (a small quantity of attachment), as much as the dirt found under a finger
nail.
"As for the difficulties in obtaining the favorable conditions of a human rebirth, the
reasons may easily be seen with the eye. How many individuals are there found in
the army of a great king? But in a large ant hill there are found some three hundredthousand individual ants, in an intermediate one some thirty thousand, and in a
small one some three thousand. How many people are there to be found in a village
or in a nomad's tent? But look at how many insects are found on a summer's
journey!"
Now, we should reflect upon our having gained an essential human body (in this
present lifetime) and thereafter recite: "O alas! I have now obtained this precious
human body, but if I do not practice the Dharma, then afterwards in the future it
will be difficult for me to obtain such a human body. But whether it is difficult or not
difficult, just look at the sheer numbers of sentient beings! When one is reborn
among the three evil destinies, how sad!"
[2. The Impermanence of Life]
Furthermore, all of us, in addition to the certainty of our eventual death, there
also exists the possibility of an untimely death. Because there exists no certainty as
to how many years yet remain to us, our death may be untimely. Because there exist
so many secondary causes for our death, our death may be untimely. Because there is
no (eternal) essence in the body, death may be untimely. And when we die, there will
be no one to whom we can cling. There will be no protector. There will come no help
or benefit from anyone else. All of the wealth that we have accumulated will be of no
benefit at the time of death. Wife and children and kinsfolk will be of no benefil at
death. Our own physical body will be of no benefit at death, for one's own body is
cast aside. If it is burned in a fire (at the cremation), its burnt ashes will be scattered
everywhere. Of the wealth we have accumulated, there will remain not a trace. We
cannot carry with us (beyond this life) even so much as one needle. We will be
separated from our kinsfolk who gather around (our corpse), and afterwards no one
will come to meet us, yet it will be necessary to depart quickly. We will be unable to
take with us either spouse or friend. At this time, it will be necessary for us to go on
alone by ourselves.
Reflecting thus, we should recite: "O alas! All conditioned things are
impermanent. And untimely death may steal one's life by day or by night. Those who
have died previously, though they were once powerful and virtuous, have nonetheless
all gone equally into death."
[3. The Causes and Consequences of Karma]
Similarly, once having died, we will be unable to go about our purposes. Yet
there exists an instructive guide [khrid] regarding virtuous and sinful actions. For,
according to the shorter Smrityupasthana Sutra, "By means of virtuous deeds one
obtains happiness, but from non-virtuous deeds originates suffering. In this fashion,
the consequences of actions that are virtuous and non-virtuous are clearly
demonstrated.
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"It is possible that fire may change into cold; it is possible that the wind may be
caught with a noose; it is possible that the sun and the moon might fall to the
ground; but it is not possible that the ripening of one's karma can be deceived."
By means of our virtuous deeds we cultivate a rich harvest, but this can be spoiled
through our sins, and so we must be able to renounce them. Reflecting thus, we
should recite: "Everyone will eventually come to wander through the narrow and
obstructed passageway (of the Bardo). If we enter into the law courts of Karma
Yama, even though we have been (in our lifetime) strong and powerful, now we will
be without any means to do anything whatsoever. (At this time of judgment) great
sinners will be driven forward by the signs of their deeds of virtuous conduct, driven
quickly and powerfully as if by lightning from the sky. Our white and black deeds
will be enumerated and calculated according to a precise system (before the judge
Yama Dharmaraja). Not even slight and subtle sins will be forgotten. What will those
people who did not avoid sin now remember? (They will remember) the felicitous
system of the white path which is the road to liberation and (equally remember) the
suffering to be experienced on the path of darkness leading to rebirth in the evil
destinies. Our karma follows us like the shadow follows the body. The condition of
our white virtues will be apprehended by Yama Dharmaraja, but the punishments for
our black sins will be administered by the Karma Yamas. And thus, sentient beings
are conducted onward (to their respective destinies) according to their individual
karma-- so it has been taught by the Victorious One."
[4. The Universality of Suffering in Samsara]
Then, there being few opportunities to set things aright, we thereupon find
ourselves in a condition of misery. Is not that correct? Naraka, or hell, is a great
roaring fire pit, possessing ever increasing levels of heat. It is vast and wide and deep
and high-- and inside of that, sentient beings suffer, screaming in agony. Elsewhere,
due to their great hunger and thirst, the Pretas cry out long and moarnfully.
Elsewhere again, the animals, lacking in intelligence and being inarticulate, are
killed off by one another one by one. Even the Devas, Asuras, and humans are only
happy for a mere instant. And with the irresistable swiftness of impermanence, they
again fall into rebirth in the evil destinies.
But there does exist a means whereby we can liberate ourselves from all this. If
we fail to practice that means right now in the present, then we may never come to
that opportunity again; and not having practiced it, afterwards it may be too late.
Thus we should recite: "O alas! This Samsara is nothing but suffering; only Nirvana
is happiness. Is that not so? The sufferings we experience in Samsara are like being
in a fire pit and we are afraid that we are about to be thrown into this pit. Is that not
so? But even though we find ourselves in this predicament, yet there now occurs an
opportunity for escape.
"The sufferings experienced in the three evil destinies are too intolerable to
endure and they transcend all limitations. The interval of happiness we might
experience (in the higher destinies) lasts scarcely an moment. But now we possess
the rare opportunity to escape from all this very quickly. Alas! There is no happiness
to be found anywhere in Samsara, for that condition is like a bottomless pit! The
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time for our reverting from this condition is the present moment and this may be the
only time (and opportunity). We have the capacity to pass beyond the limitations
imposed upon us by suffering in Samsara and come instantly into the interval of
happiness. Now is the time to escape from this fire pit!"
In this way, we may indicate (either to ourselves or to our disciple) the four
ordinary preliminaries.

PART TWO: THE INNER PRELIMINARY PRACTICE


[1. Visualization of Vajrasattva]
AH. As for the second part, the (inner) preliminary practice, here we shall
combine into a single (exercise) the four extraordinary preliminary practices and
proceed to meditate in the following manner:
One should meditate that above the crown of one's head, on top of a white lotus
and a lunar disc, is the white syllable HUM, and from this originates the Bhagavan
Vajrasattva. He is white in color, with one face and two arms. In His right hand He
holds the vajra sceptre before His heart and in His left hand He holds the ghanta or
bell at His hip. He is attaired in exquisite silks and is adorned with ornaments of
precious jewels. He is sitting with His legs is a relaxed playful position.
Within His heart center is the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra, as well as the
divine hosts of the Peaceful Tathagatas. In His throat center is Mahakarunika
Padmanartesvara and the divine hosts of the Vidyadharas. Within the middle of His
head is Mahasri Heruka [Che-mchog]., surrounded by the divine hosts of the blooddrinking Wrathful Deities. At the crown of His head is Urgyan Rinpoche
(Padmasambhava) and all of the Gurus of the Dzogchen Lineage, amidst vibrating
clouds of light.
[2. Invocation of the Wisdom Beings]
Then, all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas residing in the ten directions, having
descended (from on high), like snowflakes in a blizzard storm, are absorbed into the
crown of His head; and thus one now meditates that Vajrasattva embodies within
Himself the totality of the Triratna, the Three Jewels.
[3. Refuge and Bodhichitta]
Then, in His august presence, thinking to go to Refuge in Him and to produce
the Thought of Supreme Enlightenment, one recites:
"We go to refuge in the Buddha. We go to refuge in the Dharma. We go to refuge
in the Sangha. We go to refuge in the Gurus, in the Deities, and in the Dakinis.
"NAMO. I and infinite numbers of sentient beings, having come to realize that
we have been in essence Buddhas since the very beginning, now produce the Thought
of Supreme Enlightenment."
These are repeated three times.
[4. Mantra Recitation]
In the heart center of the body of Vajrasattva are the divine hosts (of the
Peaceful and Wrathful Deities) in the visible aspect of the one hundred syllable
mantra. From each of the one hundred syllables that are residing there, that is, from
the syllable OM in the heart of Samantabhadra until the final syllable AH in the
heart of Sarpamukha [sbrul gdong-ma], there descends a stream of amrita that fills
his entire body. Then from the large toe of his right foot, it descends downward
through the intervening distance and entering the aperature at the crown of one's
own head, the amrita comes to fill one's own body comletely. And thereby all of one's
sins and obscurations are expelled as black sludge out through one's anus and the
soles of one's feet. This sludge sinks down into the surface of the earth, descending
all the way to the golden foundation of the earth itself, and one should meditate that,
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(as the result of this), one's own body is now totally purified, becoming like an egg of
clear crystal, completely free of all dross.
At this time (while visualizing this), if one knows the mantra, one should recite
the hundred syllable mantra [yig brgya-pa]. However, those who do not know it, may
recite OM VAJRASATTVA HUM.
[5. Confession]
After murmuring the mantra for some time, one should recite as follows:
"Due to my confusion and lack of awareness, I have defaulted in and
transgressed my samaya vows. O my Guru and protector, please protect me! O chief
among those who wield the vajra sceptre, You who possess the nature of the Great
Compassion-- to You who are chief among all living beings, I go for refuge!"
[6. Offering the Mandala]
Next one recites:
"At this moment, my own physical body, together with whatever I enjoy and all
of my wholesome roots of merit, as well as all of the wealth of gods and men found in
hundreds of millions of world-systems, each one possessing a Mount Meru and four
continents, I offer with fervent devotion to You, O Guru Vajrasattva!"
Then recite as follows:
"OM AH HUM
In the immeasurable celestial palace that is our three-thousandfold universe, this
being both the external vessel as well as the internal contents (which are all living
beings), (where each world-system) has a Meru mountain and four continents, (all of
these worlds found therein), as many as there are atoms, I gather here as clouds of
offerings; and this abundance of all of the wealth, and the glory, and the felicity of
gods and men, I offer to You, the Guru Ratna, in the dimension of the Nirmanakaya:
May You regard us lovingly with Your (infinitr) compassion; and this offering having
been accepted by You, may all beings be reborn in the dimension of the
Nirmanakaya!
OM AH HUM
In the immeasurable celestial palace of the purified channels (nadis) and elements
(dhatus) of my own physical body, adorned with the ornaments, both lustrous and
dazzling, of the five sense faculties, these completely perfect elements (dhatus) and
sense fields (ayatanas), I offer to You, the Guru Ratna, in the dimension of the
Sambhogakaya: May You regard us lovingly with Your (infinite) compassion; and this
offering having been accepted by You, may all beings be reborn in the dimension of
the Sambhogakaya!
OM AH HUM
In the immeasurable celestial palace that is purified as the Dharmakaya which is the
Nature of Mind, abiding in that state without conceptions and without grasping at
either emptiness or clarity, this primordial awareness {gnosis} which is naturally
pure from the very beginning, I offer to You, the Guru Ratna, in the dimension of the
Dharmakaya: May You regard us lovingly with Your (infinite) compassion; and this
offering having been accepted by You, may all beings be reborn in the dimension of
the Dharmakaya!
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OM GURU RATNA MANDALA PUJA MEGHA SAMUDRA SPHARANA SAMAYE


HUM!"
[7. Lineage Prayer]
Now, to the Gurus both root and lineage, to the meditation Deities, and to all of
the hosts of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, we should recite (this lineage prayer)
aloud, praying with a one-pointed devotion as follows:
"To the Dharmakaya Samantabhadra I pray,
To the Sixth Tathagata Mahavajradhara I pray,
To the Teacher Vajrasattva I pray,
To the Vidyadhara Prahevajra I pray,
(To the Mahapandita Manjusrimitra I pray,)
To the Guru Srisimha I pray,
To the eight Vidyadharas of India I pray,
To the immortal Padmasambhava I pray,
To the divine consort Mandarava I pray,
To the King and the Twenty-five disciples I pray,
To the one hundred and eight great Tertons I pray,
To my benevolent Root Guru and my Lineage Gurus I pray,
To the Forty-two Peaceful Deities I pray,
To the Fifty-eight blood-drinking flaming (Wrathful Deities) I pray,
To the hosts of purified Vidyadharas I pray,
And to the oceans of Guardians of the Word I pray:
Please grant me blessing to see the visible manifestations of Reality [chos-nyid
mngon-sum mthong-ba],
Please grant me the blessing for increasing the experiences of vision [nyams snang
gong du 'phel-ba],
Please grant me the blessing of developing to the full measure of Awareness [rig-pa
tshad la pheb-pa],
And please grant me the blessing to overthrow and exhaust Reality itself [chos-nyid
zad sar 'khyol-ba]."
[8. Unification with the Guru]
One may simply recite the above (prayer) or sing it as a melody. And because
one has prayed in this way, Guru Vajrasattva at the crown of one's head, together
with all of the Gurus of the Lineage, melts into a mass of (brilliant white) light and
are absorbed into oneself. Thereafter one should meditate (in that state of unification
with the Guru), and because of this, one obtains empowerments, blessings, and the
attainment of siddhis. Then, (after having meditated in this way, one dissolves all
thinking and visualizing, and) one relaxes one's mind into its own unfabricated
inherent condition and remains in that vast expanse of space [sems ma bcos-par rang
lugs su lhod-de klong la zhog-cig].
[9. Observing the Mind]
At that time, one should observe (and watch carefully) one's thoughts [sems]
with one's mind [sems kyis sems la bltas-pas]. (In this way, one will discover that)
whatever arises (in the mind) is pure and empty in its essence without having been
11

created [ci'i yang ngo-bor ma grub-pa'i stong sang-nge-ba zhig 'char]. For according to
the Prajnaparamita, "Thoughts do not go into thoughts, but the inherent nature of
thoughts is clear light" [sems la sems ma mchis te sems kyi rang-bzhin ni 'od gsalba'o]. This self-knowing Awareness [rang gi shes rig] is characterized by the nonduality of luminous clarity and emptiness [gsal stong gnyis su med-pa'i mtshan-nyid].
[10. Introduction to the Natutre of Mind]
With respect to this, since it (this Awareness) is without any inherent nature, it
is empty in itself [rang-bzhin med-pas stong-pa)] And that state of emptiness,
_____________ is that Essence which is emptiness itself. And Awareness [rig-pa],
because it is by nature luminously clear, is characterized by the non-duality of
emptiness and clarity [gsal stong gnyis su med-pa'i mtshan-nyid-can]. On the side of
emptiness which is its Essence, it never falls into onesidedness where there is a
grasping at the extreme of eternalism [ngo-bo stong-pa'i cha nas rtag-pa mthar 'dzin
gyi phyogs su ma lhung]. And on the side of luminous clarity which is its Nature, it
never falls into onesidedness where it grasps at the extreme of nihilism [rang-bzhin
gsal-ba'i cha nas chad-pa mtha' 'dzin gyi phyogs su ma lhung te].
According to the Mu-tig phreng rgyud, "Its emptiness, clarity, and awareness are
unchanging."
And since it is pervaded everywhere by the energy of compassion [thugs-rje] and
its characteristic is non-duality, it is characterized by its transcending both the
extreme of eternalism and the extreme of nihilism.
According to the sGron-ma 'bar-ba'i rgyud, "From the great Primordial Purity
that has existed from the very beginning, its inherent nature has been like this. It is
a self-luminous clarity and it is uncreated by anything (other than itself). This has
been its nature from the very beginning." [thog-ma'i ka-dag chen-po las/ rang-bzhin
nyid ni 'di lta-bu/ sus kyang ma byas rang gsal-ba/ ye-nyid nas ni rang-bzhin-no]
As for the characteristic [mtshan-nyid] of that Essence, according to the Rangshar gyi rgyud, "It transcends the causes of both eternalism and nihilism."
Again, according to the Rang-grol gyi rgyud, " The taints that are the four
extremes are cleared away of themselves." [mtha' bzhi'i dri-ma rang sang-nyid]
The essence of this self-knowing Awareness is its pristine luminous clarity [rang
gi shes-rig gi ngo-bo wal-ler gsal-ba]. From the very beginning it is not created nor
produced by any primary causes and until the very last it is not destroyed by any
secondary causes or conditions [dang-po rgyus ma bakyed-pa/ bar du rkyen gyis mi
'jig-pa]. The inherent potentiality or energy of emptiness, being nothing in itself,
emanates as the diversity (of external appearances) [med bzhin du stong-pa'i rangrtsal sna-tshogs su 'phro-ba]; just this is the essence of a lamp (illuminating a dark
room). As for the nature of such a lamp: With respect to the essence of one's own
self-knowing Awareness (rang gi shes-rig], because its Nature (which is luminous
clarity) is uncreated, it is also emptiness [stong-pa nyid].
Moreover, as for what is called knowing Awareness [shes-rig]. it is also spoken of
as being one's own mind [rang gi sems]. Furthermore, in terms of its being empty in
the context of direction (in space), when one looks at this self-knowing Awareness
[rang gi shes-rin 'di la bltas-pas], one finds that it does not reside in the eastern
12

direction and that it is not created there. Similarly, it is not found in the south nor in
the west nor in the north nor above or below. Indeed, it is not emanated naturally in
any of what are called the four directions. Again, when one looks at this self-knowing
Awareness which is one's own mind, one finds that it is not made in the shape of a
globe or a sphere. Indeed, it is not made in any shape at all, such as a square, a half
circle, a triangle, and so on. Since it is not seem as visible anywhere, it is emptiness.
Similarly, it is empty in terms of having color. (When one looks) at this immediately
present knowing Awareness which is one's own mind [rang sems da-lta'i shes-rig 'di
la], one finds that it is not established anywhere with reference to the nature of the
color white. It is not created and seen in any color whatsoever, whether red, yellow,
indigo, green, brown, and so on. Because it is in no way something created (in terms
of location, shape, and color), one speaks of it as emptiness. In the same way, with
respect to this self-knowing Awareness which is one's own mind, there exists not
even so much as a hair tip of having been created with the marks and characterisitics
belonging to a phenomenon [chos-can mtshan-mar ma grub-pa].
Moreover, according to the Heart Sutra [shes-rab snying-po], "The five skandhas
are seen as being empty of any inherent nature."
According to the Rang-shar gyi rgyud, "As for one's coming to understand
Reality (dharmata), one should be aware in a state of indifference. Having
understood the real meaning of what is uncreated in any way, one then proceeds to
look at everything from the viewpoint of the Dharmata." [chos-nyid rtogs-par byed-pa
ni/ byar-med ngang du shes-par bya/ de ltar skye-med don rtogs nas/ chos-nyid ltabas lta-bar 'dod]
Again, according to the Yi-ge med-pa'i rgyud, "Because there exists no view,
there exists no one who is looking. Within this state there does not exist (any notion)
of 'It is this!' With respect to the meaning of some view, there is no (notion) of 'That
exists', and one should remain established in just that state." [lta-ba med-pas de la
blta- rgyu med/ lta-ba'i don la 'di yin ngang gis med/ de yod ma yin de'i ngang gnaspar bya].
According to the Rig-pa gcer-mthong, "With respect to the past, one abandons all
notions that extend beyond (the past) and are not cut off (in the present); and with
respect to the future, one discovers connections of mind [yid], but without
anticipating anything whatsoever. And in the present, one remains in the state of the
sky without grasping (at anything). Because there is no one who is meditating, there
is no meditation to be found anywhere. Rather, one remains mindful without
distraction and without wavering. While in this state that is without distraction and
without meditation, one simply gazes (at the sky) in an open-eyed staring manner
[cer gyis ltos]. This self-awareness [rang rig] is a bright self-luminous clear
awareness [shes-pa] and thereafter enlightenment or Bodhi arises easily."
With respect to the functional mind [yid], one should not make it into a storage
bin for meditation techniques. One does not allow thoughts or notions of either the
past or the future (to intervene). One harbors no expectations regarding the
producing of meditation, nor anxieties or fears regarding its not being produced.

13

Rather, one does not entertain any doubts whatsoever as to whether this is
meditation or is not meditation.
The body is held straight and then relaxed a little, and one continues observing
the mind with the mind [sems kyis sems la ltos la sdod]. But in terms of whatever
forms or colors or material things that may be seen, there exists no one who is the
seer of them. There being only emptiness where there is nothing whatsoever, the one
who is aware [rig rgyu] and the one who experiences [myong rgyu] only exist as
objects of the functional mind [yid kyi yul du rig rgyu dang myong rgyu zhig yod de];
and this is said to be like a man with impaired senses trying to taste sugar. And since
that is not known or expressed verbally, it is said to be inconceivable by the mind and
inexpressible in words. And since it is without form or color or substance, it is called
emptiness.
If one is aware of that, since it is supreme among what should be known [de shes
na shes-bya'i rab yin-pas], it is called the Prajnaparamita or "the Perfection of
Wisdom" [shes-rab pha-rol tu phyin-pa]. Since that (original) Mind [sems= semsnyid] is free of (cognizing) the extremes of existence and non-existence, it is called
the great Madhyamaka or "the Great Middle Way" [dbu-ma chen-po]. Since it
transcends everything that is found in both Samsara and Nirvana, it is called
Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol" [phyag-rgya chen-po]. Since all phenomena or
dharmas are unconditioned with respect to that it is called Dzogchen or "the Great
Perfection" [rdzogs-pa chen-po]. And since it has existed in its own condition from
the very beginning with respect to itself [de rang la ye nas rang chas su yod-pas], it is
called Sahaja-jnana or "the spontaneously born primordial awareness" [lhan-gcig
skyes-pa'i ye-shes].
Again, according to the Rig-pa gcer-mthong, "Emaho! As for this sparkling
awareness that is called the mind [sems zhes bya-ba'i rir rig tur-tur-po], even though
it does not exist, yet it is the origin from which originates all the various joys of
Samsara and all the various sorrows of Samsara. Thus it is pursued as the single goal
by all of the ten vehicles, and yet it receives in these individual vehicles names or
designations in inconceivable numbers. Some call it (by the name) the Nature of
Mind [sems-nyid]. Some Tirthikas (or Hindus) call it by the name Atman or the Self
[bdag]. The Sravakas call it Pudgala-nairatman, the absence of any abiding self in
persons [gang-zag bdag-med]. The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or mind
[sems]; while some others call it by the name Madhya or the Mean [dbu-ma]. Some
call it the Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom {shes-rab pha-rol tu phyin-pa].
Some call it by the name the Tathagatagarbha or the embryo of Buddhahood [bdegshegs snying-po]. Some call it by the name of ordinary awareness (tha-mal gyi shespa]. Some call it by the name the Unique Sphere or the Unique Essence [thig-le nyaggcig]. Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu, the dimension of all existence [chos kyi
dbyings]. And some call it by the name Alaya or the basis of everything [kun-gzhi].
"However, if one is introduced to it directly in the manner of pointing a finger to
indicate it, discursive thoughts relating to the past are dissolved without their
leaving a trace behind and discursive thoughts relating to the future are not
produced. And in the present, when thoughts abide in their own condition without
14

modifications, then with respect to one's own ordinary awareness, at the time when
one gazes nakedly at oneself by oneself, since one looks in this way, it becomes clear
without there being anyone who is doing the looking, and this manifest clear
Awareness is nakedly present [da-lta bzo-med rang-lugs gnas-pa'i/ tha-mal rang gi
shes-pa la/ rang gis rang la gcer gyis lta-ba'i tshe/ bltas-pas mthong rgyu med-pa'i sale-ba/ rig-pa mngon-sum rjen-par hrig-ge-ba]. It is immaculate and it is empty
without there being anything created. It is _____ without any duality of clarity and
emptiness. It is not permanent nor is it something created somewhere. But neither is
it something annihilated. It is clear and present. It is not a single entity,
nevertheless, awareness and clarity are not diverse. It does not become many, but in
itself it is inseparable and of a single taste [dbyer-med ro-gcig-pa]. It is not something
elsewhere, but this itself is one's own mind. [rang sems 'di nyid-do]."

15

PART THREE
III.A: THEGCHOD
[1. Direct Introduction to Intrinsic Awareness]
As for the principal practice [dngos-gzhi], this consists in the actual introduction
to the real meaning of the Natural State [gnas-lugs don gyi ngo-sprod]. With regard
to this, in terms of the Trikaya, the Essence [ngo-bo= sunyata] is complete in itself
in every way. It is empty and is not created or attained by anyone in any way-- it is
none other than the Dharmakaya itself. However, the inherent radiance (or
transparancy) [rang mdangs] of this emptiness represents luminous clarity [gsal-ba]
and this is the Sambhogakaya. And that which arises, being unobstructed and
uninterrupted in any way whatsoever, is the Nirmanakaya. This Essence itself [ngobo nyid] is complete and perfect as one's own individual Nature of Mind [rang sems
gcig tu tshang-ba].
When one is introduced to this, there exists the forceful method for pointing it
out [mdzub tshugs btsan-thabs ngo-sprad]: "Now, this is one's own awareness [rang
gi shes-pa 'di-ka yin] and this is its unfrabricated inherent luminous clarity [ma bcos
rang gsal 'di-ka yin]. Why is it said that the Nature of Mind [sems-nyid] is not
understood? With regard to this, it is because there is no one anywhere who is
meditating [bsgom rgyu ci yang med-pa] (while in that state). With regard to
meditation, why is it said that it does not originate somewhere? [bsgom la ma byung
bya-ba ci la zer] It is because (this state) is a manifest intrinsic Awareness [rig-pa
mgnon-sum 'di-ka yin]. Why is it said that one's own mind [ran sems] does not obtain
anywhere? It is because this clarity and Awareness are uninterrupted and continuous
[gsal rig rgyun chad med-pa 'di-ka yin] (while one is in the state).
"Why is it said that the face of the mind is not seen by anyone? [sems ngo ma
mthong bya-ba ci la zer]. It is because you, "the thinker", are only he (the subject)
who is thought by the functional mind [yid kyis bsam mkhan kho-rang yin-pa]. Why
is it said that the thought-process [bsam], in searching for him (the thinker), does
not find him anywhere? [btsal bsam rnyed bya-ba ci la zer] With respect to this
question, it is because (in the mind) there exists no one anywhere who is the actor
['di la bya rgyu ci yang med-pa]. Why is it said that, due to activity, activity (of mind)
does not originate anywhere? [byas-pas ma byung bya-ba ci la zer]. Because one
remains in one's own unmodified original condition, that alone is sufficient [ma bcos
rang sar bzhag-pas chog-pa]. Why is it said that activity (of mind) is not suitable
when abiding in that state? [gnas su ma btub bya-ba ci la zer]. Because one remains
just as one is in inactivity, that is sufficient [byar-med cog-ger bzhag-pas chog-pa].
With regard to that, why is it said that activity (of mind) is unable (to accomplish
anything)? [de la ma nus bya-ba ci la zer]. It is because clarity, Awareness, and
emptiness are spontaneously self-perfected and inseparable [gsal rig stong gsum
lhun-grub dbyer-med].
"Why is it said that activity neither creates (realizes) nor does it not create
(realize) anything? [grub dang ma grub bya-ba ci la zer] (It is because,) lacking
primary causes and secondary causes,evrything is self-originated and spontaneously
self-perfected. [rgyu rkyen med-par rang-byung lhun-grub] Why is it said that, even
16

with effort, nothing is able to be accomplished? [rtsol-bas ma nus bya-ba ci la zer] (It
is because) the arising of a thought and its liberation are simultaneous. [rtog-pa shar
grol dus mnyam yin-pa] Why is it said that, with the antidote, nothing brought forth?
[gnyen-pos ma byung bya-ba ci la zer] (It is because) this is immediate present
awareness. [da-lta'i shes-pa 'di-ka yin-pa] With respect to this, why is it said that it is
does not know anything? ['di la mi shes bya-ba ci la zer] (It is because) the Nature of
the Mind [sems-nyid] is empty and it is certainly without any basis. [sems-nyid stongpa gzhi med yin-par nges] One's own mind is immaterial and empty like the sky.
[rang sems dngos-med nam-mkha' stong-pa 'dra] One should observe one's own mind
to see whether it is like this or not. ['dra'am mi 'dra rang gi sems la ltos] There being
no looking at a total emptiness [stong-pa phyal-chad lta-ba ma yin-par], it is certain
that self-originated primal awareness is luminous clarity from the very beginning.
[rang-byung ye-shes ye nas gsal-bar nges] This inherent luminous clarity is selforiginated like the heart of the sun. [rang-byung rang gsal nyi-ma'i snying-po 'dra]
One should observe one's own mind to see whether it is like this or not.
"It is certain that the gnosis (primal knowledge) of intrinsic Awareness is
continuous and uninterrupted. [rig-pa'i ye-shes rgyun-chad med-par nges], and this
uninterrupted activity of intrinsic Awareness is like the current of a river. [rig-pa
rgyun-chad med-pa chu-bo'i gzhung dang 'dra] One should observe one's own mind to
see whether it is like this or not,
"It is certain that dscursive thoughts are normally not recognized as being
merely thought-movements and memories [rnam-rtog 'gyu dran ngos-bzung med-par
nges]; yet these movements are immaterial and they are like gentle breezes. ['gyu-ba
dngos-po med-pa ser-bu 'dra] One should observe one's own mind to see whether it is
like this or not." [Quoted from the Rig-pa ngo-sprod gcer-mthong rang-grol.]
[2. Continuing in the State of Contemplation]
One should meditate in that way on what has been said and settle down to
observe one's thoughts with a mind undistracted by any disturbances or conceptions
whatsoever. Indeed, the essence of the Mahamudra is just this persistance (of
continuing in the state) and the foundation of Dzogchen is just this practice of
Thegchod. [rdzogs-chen gzhi khregs-chod kyi nyams-len yin] If one is able to
meditate continuously for a space of time, then at the time of death when the
external breath [phyi dbugs] has ceased, one will come to recognize the Clear Light of
the Base [gzhi'i 'od-gsal]. And with respect to that, since it is said that one will
remain for some seven days without entering into the intermediate state of the Bardo
and (that this provides the opportunity for) attaining Buddhahood through directly
penetrating upwards [yar gyi zang-thal du tshang-rgya-bar], therefore one should
engage in this practice.
III.B: RUSHAN PRACTICES
[3. Discrimination between Samsara and Nirvana]
HUM. This (Thegchod above) is the principal practice and this alone is entirely
sufficient. But with regard to the path that is the teaching known as Thodgal [thodrgal], it is said in the sGra thal-'gyur, "The priliminary practice (for Dzogchen)
17

consists in an intense purification [sngon du 'gro-ba rtsal nyid sbyang], and with
respect to the body, speech, and mind (of the individual), thgis is explained as (the
practice of) discriminating between Samsara and Nirvana ['khor 'das ru-shan 'byedpa]. If one does not discriminate between Samsara and Nirvana, one will not sever
the links of one's body, speech, and mind with regard to Samsara and Nirvana.
(Thus, for this reason) one should make the discrimination between Samsara and
Nirvana."
[4. Purification of Body-- the Vajra Position]
Even though we cannot speak at length here (of these preliminary exercises),
still it is necessary to say a few words. According to the sGra thal-'gyur, "By means of
the vajra position, together with straightening oneself, in this way the body is
purified [lus sbyangs] and this is of benefit to the mind."
And again, as it is said in the 'Das-rjes, "By adopting the vajra position, touching
the soles of the feet together, straightening oneself, and joining the palms together
above the crown of the head, in this way, whomever does this with one's body, that
body will not revert and obstacles will be pacified. Wrong attachments and sins will
be pacified and that very body having been liberated into the Nirmanakaya,one will
become a Buddha who leaves nothing (of his material body) behind."
Thus, the two soles of the feet meet together and one straightens oneself. One's
hands are joined together (at the palms) above the crown of one's head and one
remains thus for a time (as long as one can).
[5. Purification of Speech]
Now, as for discrimination with regard to speech [ngag ru-shan phye-ba], as it
says in the 'Das-rjes, "In order to perform the preliminary practice for speech, one
utters the various different sounds of thre Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, as well as
the sounds of the elements. These various aspects are practiced with regard to
speech."
In accordance with this, one should recite (aloud) "NARAKA PRETAKA
TIRYAK ASURA MANUSHYA DEVA SANTIKA KRODHAKA E YAM RAM VAM
LAM SUM %" and one should then observe one's thoughts.
Moreover, according to the sGra thal-'gyur, "With regard to speech, one should
remain uttering HUM! and so come to affix the seal [rgyas gdab-pa], to purify
forcefully [rtsal nyid sbyang], to seek flexibility [mnyen btsal]. and to enter on to the
path [lam du gzhugs-pa]. By means of these (four exercises), one purifies one's speech
[ngag sbyang] and this is of benefit to the mind."
Now, one should meditate on the dark azure HUM syllable within one's own
heart center. From that (syllable), there diffuse and spread many (miniature azure)
HUM syllables and they come to fill one's entire physical body. Even from one's hair
pores emanate long strans of HUM syllables. Then one should meditate that the
entire world, everywhere in the four cardinal directions and in the four intermediate
directions, comes to be filled with these blue HUM syllables. First, one sounds a
single long HUM and from that, one forcefully utters a series of short HUM syllables,
carrying on in the fashion of a roundal : "HUM HUM HUM % HUM HUM HUM
HUM HUM %" One should utter these short HUM syllables very forcefully.
18

[6. Purification of Mind]


Now, in front of oneself, one instantaneously projects one's own intrinsic
Awareness [rig-pa] in the form of a blue HUM syllable, one full cubit in height.
As it says in the 'Das-rjes, "In order to accomplish the preliminary practice of the
mind [yid kyi sngon-'gro], one takes into the mind [blo] the sufferings of the six
realms, and one should observe one's subsequent experiences."
"Having thus been reborn in (each of) the three evil destinies, you should
meditate on the innumerable sufferings (that are experienced therein). Moreover,
having been reborn (successively) as a king among the Devas and amomg the Asuras
and among the humans, you should meditate on the immeasurable happiness (that is
experienced therein). In this manner you should observe (the functioning of) this
mind [sems la ltos] that is (equally) the creator of thoughts of suffering [sdug-bsngal
bsam-mkhan] and the creator of thoughts of happiness [skyid bsam-mkhan]. The
essence (of all these experiences of sorrow and happiness) is empty and they are in no
way special. However, with regard to any discursive thoughts which may arise in the
mind (such as the above), at the very outset, since they do not originate from
anywhere, they represent the Dharmakaya; during the intervening interval, since
they are nowhere established, they represent the Sambhogakaya; and finally, since
they do not go anywhere, they represent the Nirmanakaya." So it is said in the
Agama.
Again it is said in the sGra thal-'gyur, "In the beginning there is the arising of a
thought, in the middle there is its abiding, and at the end there is its passing away.
Having examined and investigated with certainty [nges-par brtags dpyad] into these
three (phases), one comes to purify one's mind [sems sbyangs] and this is of benefit to
the mind."
[7. The Inner Rushan Practice]
The meaning of what has been said above is, according to the 'Das-rjes, "Within
this physical body, because it has been produced (in the past) by reason of ignorance,
there reside the (causal) seeds [sa-bon] of the six realms. And because one's intrinsic
Awareness [rig-pa] represents the actual Trikaya, these Three Bodies arise within
oneself as the three letters, one makes the discrimination (between Samsara and
Nirvana) by means of a forceful purification [rtsal sbyang ru-shan dbye-ba]."
The physical body that one now possesses was brought into existence due to
ignorance [ma rig-pa] as its primary cause [rgyu]. The causal seed that generate the
six realms exist within the body as knots on the nadis or psychic channels, having the
form of letters. At the crown of the head is the white letter A, the causal seed of the
Deva realm. At the throat is the yellow letter SU, the causal seed of the Asura realm.
At the heart is the green letter NRI, the causal seed of the human realm. At the
navel is the dark letter TRI, the causal seed of the animal realm. At the secret place
is the dark red letter PRE, the causal seed of the Preta realm. And on the soles of the
two feet, one should meditate that there are two black letters DU which represnt the
causal seeds of the two realms, the hot and the cold hells.
19

With regard to them, we should meditate that all of the sins and obscurations
that produce the six realms (or desinies of rebirth) are dissolved into thin air. Then,
at one's forehead appears the white letter OM that represents the essence of the
Body of all the Buddhas. At one's throat appears the red letter AH that represents
the essence of the Speech (of all the Buddhas). And at one's heart appears the dark
blue letter HUM that represents the Mind (of all the Buddhas)-- and one should
meditate on these three letters. In order to produce clarity in the visualizing of them.
one should recite three times "OM OM OM, AH AH AH, HUM HUM HUM".
Then, from these three letters or syllables (are generated vast fires of gnosis),
and due to the action of being burned by these fires of gnosis, the six letters that
represent the causal seeds for the six realms are utterly burnt up and consummed.
Thus one should meditate that now the gates to rebirth in the six realms have been
closed.
And moreover, the essence of liberation through wearing [btags grol] is to murmur
the mantra that shuts closed the gates to rebirth in the six destinies, namely, 'A A
SHA SA MA HA. By means of these visualizations [dmigs-pa], having made this
discrimination with regard to the Samsara of the three worlds [khams gsum 'khorba'i ru-shan phyes], it is said that, for certain, one will close the gates to rebirth in
the six realms.
[8. Settling down into a State of Rest]
According to the sGron-me 'bar-ba, "Having discriminated with regard to
Samsara and Nirvana, one then proceeds to settle down into a natural state of rest
[rnal du dbab-pa] of one's body, speech, and mnd."
In accordance with what was said above, one straightens up the body for a
moment and then relaxes a little. With regard to speech, one does not say anything,
and with regard to the mind, without letting go of one's attention and thought
process, one observes one's thoughts and remains thus. [yul la bsam blo ma btang-bar
sems la ltos nas sdod-cig]
And as it says in the kLong-gsal, "In the same way, whomever settles into a
natural state of rest [rnal du phab], one should pacify all agitation in breathing,
(otherwise) this (agitated breathing) may become a secondary cause for illness, and
by holding (the breath), one will become self-liberated [rang-grol]." This is the
meaning.
[9. The Methods of the Three Gazes]
According to the 'Das-rjes, "One should also become stabilized by means of the
method of gzong of a Sravaka, a Bodhisattva, and a Krodha (or wrathful deity)."
Now, with one's legs crossed and one's hands held in the Bhumisparsha-mudra
or earth-touching gesture, or else in the Samadhi-mudra, the gesture of
contemplation, one should observe one's thoughts with the mind [sems kyis sems la
lta]. With regard to what appears before the eyes, one should gaze at the ground one
full drona distant (about six feet). This is the gaze of the Sravaka or disciple [nyanthos lta-stangs].
Then, having averted the eyes upward, one gazes into the sky, (allowing the
eyes) to dart hither and thither. This is the gaze of the Krodha or wrathful deity
20

[khro-bo'i lta-stangs]. Then, gazing directly at the tip of the nose, and doing this with
a firm one-pointedness of mind, this is the gaze of the Bodhisattva [byang-chub semsdpa'i lta-stangs]. With them there exists the face of the mind and afterwards any of
these three gazes may be done easily and one looks upon the face of the mind
(directly) [sems ngo ltos]. This is supreme (among the methods) for dispelling
pollutants. However, here we shall not go into a synoptic exposition regarding the
preliminaries for instruction in the Thodgal practice [thod-rgal khrid].

21

III.C: THODGAL PRACTICE


[10. The Three Instructions for Thodgal Practice]
Now, from among the six upadeshas for the attaining of Buddhahood without
recourse to meditation, there exists the attaining of Buddhahood through looking
[bltas-pas 'tshang-rgya-ba], and herein it is sufficient to gaze with the eyes at one's
own manifestly visible primal awareness [ye-shes mngon-sum]. When one gazes with
the fleshly eye which is like a bubble [chu bur mig gis bltas na], (according to the
Thodgal teachings) there exists the instruction concerning the arising of the Eye of
Gnosis [ye-shes kyi spyan shar-ba'i gdams-ngag], (the instruction concerning) the
Unique Sphere that is clear and empty [gsal stong thig-le nyag-gcig], and the
instruction for encountering in the present moment the Teachers (or Buddhas) and
the hosts of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities as the visible manifestations of the five
Gnoses [ye-shes lnga mngon-sum du ston-pa zhi-khro'i lha tshogs da-lta mjal-ba'i
gdams-ngag].
[11. The Three Lamps or Lights]
(As for the first of these three instructions, that concerning the arising of the
Eye of Gnosis), it is said according to the Ngo-sprod-pa'i rgyud, "The Ultimate Truth
exists in the middle of one's own physical body; in the physical heart resides the
Great Gnosis." [don-dam rang gi lus kyi dkyil/ snying na ye-shes chen-por gnas]
Again, as it says in the sNying gi me-long gi rgyud, "As for its location, it is
clearly visible in the center of the physical heart. In the middle of the lights of five
colors, there are the forms of the Peacerful Deities, like five grains of white mustard,
and here they reside in the manner of light."
[gnas ni snying-ga dbus na gsal/ 'od kha-dog lnga'i dbus na zhi-ba'i sku yungs-'bru
tsam/ 'od kyi tshul du gnas-so]
According to the Thig-le 'dus-pa'i rgyud, "In the center of the Chitta (the
physical heart) that causes memories in sentient beings reside the three Dharmas as
the essence of the mind." [sems-can dran byed tsitta'i dkyil/ chos gsum sems kyi ngobor gnas]. Elsewhere also, in the Man-ngag snying dgongs kyi rgyud, this matter is
spoken of extensively. Inside of one's own physical heart is (the light) which is known
as the Lamp of the fleshly heart [tsitta sha'i sgron-ma zhes bya-ba rang gi snying gi
nang na]. Here the fourty-two Peaceful Deities reside in the manner of divine bodies.
According to the Thig-le 'dus-pa'i rgyud, "The king of the channels is a hollow
tube of crystal and it abides penetrating inside the sun and the moon." [rtsa yi rgyalpo shel gyi sbu-gu-can/ nyi-ma zla-ba'i nang na zug-par gnas]
And according to the sGron-ma 'bar-ba'i rgyud, "Inside of the white conch shell
dwelling (the skull) where there exists the brain, there is a nerve (or channel) which
twists three times to the right and has a shape like the horn of a wild ox. [klad-pa
dung-khang dkar-po na/ g.yas su 'khyil-pa gsum yong-ba'i/ rtsa ni ba-men rwa 'dra'i
dbyibs] All of the rasas (the essential nectars) of the elements ['byung-ba'i dwangsma] having been concentrated herein, the sense faculties and the sense objects are
caused to arise from inside of this nerve or channel, and this itself is supreme."
['byung-ba'i dwangs-ma kun 'dus nas/ dbang-po yul la 'char- byed-pa'i/ rtsa yi nang
nas 'di nyid mchog]
22

There exists a nerve or channel [rtsa] that connects the physical heart with the two
eyes, and this (channel) is called the Lamp which is a smooth white nerve [dkar 'jam
rtsa yi sgron-ma].
According to the Tantra entitled the sGra thal-'gyur, "As for that gate whereby
gnosis (or primal awasreness) arises,it comes forth from the gate known as Chakshuh
(the physical eye) where there are concentrated together all of the rasas or essential
nectars of the body." [ye-shes 'char-ba'i sgo nyid ni/ lus bcud dwangs-ma kun 'dus-pa'i/
chakshuh zhes-pa'i sgo nas thon]
And according to the Sangs-rgyas rang chas kyi rgyud, "The Jnanakaya or
Wisdom Body [ye-shes kyi sku]' that is to say, that which supports the directly
penetrating gnosis, depends upon one's own eyes. [ye-shes kyi sku'am ye-shes zangthal gyi brten-pa de rang gi mig la rten-no] As for its location, it resides in the middle
of the pupil of one's own eye. [gnas-pa rang gi mig gi 'bras-bu'i dkyil na gnas-so] With
respect to its invisiblity, it is clearly visible to unobstructed vision. [gsal-ba mthongba mi 'gags-par gsal-lo]. This directly penetrating unobstructed state in the middle of
the pupil of one's eye is the Body (or dimension) of the directly penetrating primal
awareness (gnosis) of Buddhahood." [rang gi mig gi 'bras-bu'i dkyil na ma 'gags zangthat-ba 'di/ sangs-rgyas ye-shes zang-thal gyi sku yin-no]
One's own eye, where there exists a clear unobstructed vision through the water
mandala (lens) of the physical eye, is known as the Lamp of the water (blobe-like eye)
which lassoes things at a distance. [mig chu'i dkyil-'khor nas mthong-ba ma 'gags-par
gsal-ba rang gi mig 'di rgyang zhags chu'i sgron-ma zhes bya-ba yin-no]
[12. The Three Positions for Gazing]
According to the Mu-tig phreng-ba, "With regard to the activity of the body,
there exist three styles or modes: the mode of the lion, thast of the elephant, and that
of the crouching Rishi or sage. " [lus kyi las ni rnam gsum ste/ seng-ge'i tsul dang
glang-chen dang drang-srong cog-pu gnas-pa]
When we explain how one gazes or looks using these three sitting positions
(mentioned above), the the positions become two. But since these are not
comfortable, one should practice the position of the Rishi. For according to the sGra
thal-'gyur, "Having relied upon (the position of) the crouching Rishi, the phenomena
[chos rnams] are self-emanated [rang sprul nas], and they come to be seen with the
eye of the Dharma." [drang-srong cog-pu la brten nas/ chos nyid rnams la rang sprul
nas/ chos kyi mig gis mthong-bar 'gyur]
One should assume a crouching position with the body and press the two ankles
of one's feet together. The soles of the feet are placed firmly on the ground. The body
is straight and the two knees join at the chest, the hands grasp the two wrists and
embrace the knees, and this straightens the spine.
[13. The Method for Gazing into Sunlight]
According to the 'Das-rjes, "The essential point of breathing is to remain very
leisurely." [rlung gnad shin tu dal-bar bsten]
The voice does not speak and the breath is allowed to go in and out through
both the mouth and the nostrils in a (naturally relaxed) unrestrained self-occurring
fashion. [rlung mi bsdam-par rang babs su. And the mind and eyes, both with one23

pointed concentration, gaze with half-closed eyes (below) the sun in the (early
morning) sky. [mig dang sems rtse-gcig tu nam-mkha'i nyi-ma la mig zim-bus ltos].
And furthermore, one gazes at the sun when there are no clouds about.
As it says in the sGra thal-'gyur, "In terms of the gateway, one gazes with the
eyes of the Trikaya." [sgo ni sku gsum mig gis blta]
And according to the Yi-ge med-pa, "The eyes should gaze into the space of the
sky." [mig ni nam-mkha'i khams su blta]
Again, according to the 'Das-rjes, "As for the essential point relating to the
gateway, one looks with a certain shyness, averting (the gaze from the orb of the
sun)." [sgo gnad bzlog-pa bzur gyis blta]
This is the meaning of what has been said. In the same way, since one gazes
(below or to the side of) the sun, accordingly, in the Rang-shar rgyud it is said, "The
Body of Light which possesses the fivefold primordial awareness or gnosis appears
very clearly as a chain (of tiny rainbow spheres). Furthermore, coming and going,
they vibrate and move." [ye-shes lnga-ldan 'od kyi sku/ lu-gu-rgyud du rab tu gsal/ de
yang 'gro dang 'ong-bar dang/ 'grul-ba dang ni 'phrigs-pa'o]
[14.
Now, according to the Zhi-khro chos-nyid bardo'i ngo-sprod mthong-ba ranggrol, "One should be introduced to the pure realms of the Trikaya by way of being
directly introduced to those rays of light that are sunbeams."
Thus, in the very early morning, or else at the onset of evening, when the sky
and the rays of the sun are clear, the disciple (crouching or sitting) on a thin cushion,
should gaze with narrowed eyes at the sun. Such Kulaputras should purify the heart
of the sun [nyi-ma'i snying-po] and come to be aware of it as immaculate and as being
primordially pure, possessing the twofold purity of the Dharmakaya which is in itself
perfectly immaculate.From this state of the primordially pure Dharmakaya, which is
like the brilliance of the sun, and possessing the rainbow lights of the five colors,
inherently clear and uncreated by anything, one becomes aware of the Clear Light in
a natural way as being the the spontaneously self-perfected Sambhogakaya,
possessing the five certainties, in a mandala which has not been drawn by anyone, as
a fivefold tiny sphere or bindu of rainbow light.
Moreover, with regard to this rainbow light which possesses various different
kinds of colors, one should recognize that it has the inherent nature of the five
Families or Hierarchies [rigs lnga] of all Buddhas.
Furthermore, suddenly in an instant there appears in an unobstructed manner
that Body (or dimension of reality) that is the manifest form of the primordial
awareness (gnosis) of Buddhahood, devoid of any inherent nature and residing in the
sky unobstructed and directly penetrating everywhere. [skad-cig ma bsgrib-par
'gags-med zang-thal du nam-mkhar gnas-pa ni/ sangs-rgyas ye-shes lus-can gyi sku
snang la rang-bzhin med-pa] The Body is without back or front and one should be
aware of it as a Body where Space and Gnosis are inseparable. [dbyings dang ye-shes
dbyer-med kyi sku] In addition, it resides inside a fivefold perimeter of rainbow light,
much like the eye of a peacock feather or the bamboo supports of a round shield. And
one should be aware that (this vision of the Body of the Buddha) is residing in the
24

realm of the inherently clear, pure, luminous Lamp which is the perfectly pure
Dharmadhatu. From its lustre and rays [zer dang mdangs las] emanate rays of light
into all directions, and from this luminous clarity [gsal-ba], which represents the
creative potentiality [rtsal] of the Sambhogakaya possessing the five certainties, one
should be aware of the continuous and uninterrupted conversion of everyone
everywhere brought about by the Nirmanakayas exhibiting the five kinds of
uncertainty.
Inside of the rays (of sunlight), there are minute tiny spheres or bindus [thig-le],
in numbers inconceivable to the the mind, and in between there are the likenesses of
fish-eyes and nets of pearls. These nets, half-necklaces, chains, and links all shimmer
and vibrate. One should be aware that in these manifestations there exist
inconceivable hundreds of millions of compassionate Nirmanakayas who strive
everywhere, continuously and uninterruptedly, for the sake of benefiting living
beings. Moreover,even though these have a distinct manner of appearance or
manifestation [snang tshul tha-dad kyang], the sun and the tiny rainbow spheres of
lightare seen as being inseparable in a state of emptiness and inherent luminous
clarity [stong-nyid rang-gsal gyi ngang la dbyer-med]. However, in reality. even
though the Trikaya have distinct modes of appearance or manifestation [snang tshul
tha-dad], one should be aware that in the state of the Dharmata which is the
Essence, they are inseprable [ngo-bo chos-nyid ngang la dbyer med-par shes-par gyis
shig] When this has been said, one is introduced directly [ngo-sprod] and one settles
down into simply gazing [blta bcug].
[15. Pranidhana Commitment]
Nevertheless, it is also said that on this occasion (when one is practicing
Thodgal by gazing into the sunlight) one should express the pranidhana commitment
of the Path of the Light of Gnosis (primordial knowledge), [ye-shes 'od lam gyi smonlam] (as instructed below:)
"Now, in this regard, you should join your palms togehter. Each of these lights
that you see represent one of the radiant light-paths of the fivefold gnosis or
primordial awareness [ye-shes lnga'i 'od lam]. Since in reality these represent the five
light rays of the five Families of the Jinas, in the Bardo they will be even more
intense than this light (of the sun at present). At the time when the hosts of the
Peaceful and Wrathful Deities arise from the state of luminous clarity [gsal-ba'i
ngang nas], you should engage yourself in that (activity of) reflection that brings
about their recognition. [ngo-shes-par byed bsam-pa gyis] (as being manifestations of
your own mind), and afterwards make the following recitation:
"I do homage to the hosts of Gurus, Devatas, and Dakinis.I pray that they may
guide me with great affection along the path. During the time that I wander through
Samsara due to my delusions, may I be guided along the path by the Gurus of the
Lineage of the (Dzogchen) precepts with respect to the Path of Light through
attentive listening [thos-pa], through reflecting [bsam-pa], and through meditating
[bsgom-pa]. I pray that I may be carried along on the backs of the Supreme Mothers
and the hosts of Dakinis. May I be delivered from the narrow passage-ways and the
terrors of the Bardo, and be escourted by them to completely perfect Buddhahood."
25

[16. The Appearing of the Clear Lights ]


Then, since the blue light (which appears in the Chonyid Bardo) represents the
radiant light-path of the Mirror-like Gnosis [me-long ye-shes kyi 'od lam], one should
afterwards recite: "At the time when I wander through Samsara due to fierce anger,
the radiant light-path of the clear Mirror-like Gnosis appears before me. May I be
guided along this path by the Bhagavan Vajrasattva, and be carried along on the back
of the Supreme Mother Buddha Lochana. May I be delivered from the narrowpassage-ays and the terrors of the Bardo, and be escourted by her to completely
perfect Buddhahood."
When one beholds the yellow light, since this represents the radiant light-path
of the Gnosis of Identity [mnyam-nyid ye-shes kyi 'od lam], afterwards one should
recite: "At the time when I wander through Samsara due to fierce pride, the radiant
light-path of the clear Gnosis of Identity appears before me. May I be guided along
this path by Bhagavan Ratnasambhava and be carried along on the back of the
Supreme Mother Mamaki. May I be delivered from the narrow passage-ways and the
terrors of the Bardo and be escourted by them to completely perfect Buddhahood."
When one beholds the red light, since this represents the radiant light-path of
the Gnosis of Discrimination [sor-rtog ye-shes kyi 'od lam], afterwards one should
recite: "At the time when I wander in Samsara due to firece desires, the radiant lightpath of the clear Gnosis of Discrimination appears before me. May I be guided along
this path by the Bhagavan Amitabha and be carried along on the back of the
Supreme Mother Pandaravasini. May I be delivered from the narrow passage-ways
and the terrors of the Bardo and be escourted to completely perfect Buddhahood."
When one beholds the green light, since this represents the radiant light-path of
the Gnosis that accomplishes all benefits [don drub ye-shes kyi 'od lam], afterwards
one should recite: "At the time when I wander through Samsara due to fierce envy,
the radiant light-path of the clear All-Accomplishing Gnosis appears before me. May
I be guided along this path by the Bhagavan Amoghasiddhi and be carried along on
the back of the Supreme Mother Samaya Tara. May I be deivered from the narrow
passage-ways and the terrors of the Bardo. and be escourted by them to completely
perfect Buddhahood."
When one beholds the white light, since this represents the radiant light-path of
the Gnosis of the Dharmadhatu[chos-dbyings ye-shes kyi 'od lam], one should recite
this pranidhana vow" "At the time when I wander through Samsara due to fierce
confusion, the radiant light-path of the clear Gnosis of the Dharmadhatu appears
before me.May I be guided along the this path by Bhagavan Vairochana and be
carried along on the back of the Supreme Mother Dhatisvari. May I be delivered from
the narrow passage-ways and the terrors of the Bardo and be escourted by them to
completely perfect Buddhahood."
When one sees the vari-colored lights and zig-zag flashes, since these represent
the radiant light-path of the spontaneously born gnosis (shaja-jnana), one should
recite this pranidhana aspiration (commitment): "At the time when I wander through
Samsara due to the ferrocious force of erroneous appearances, may I be guided along
the path by the heroic Vira Vidyadharas, and be carried along on the backs of the the
26

hosts of Dakinis. who are the Supreme Mothers. May I be delivered from the narrow
passage-ways (and the terrors) of the Bardo and be escourted by them to completely
perfect Buddhahood!"
When one sees the lights possessing five colors, since these represent the
unification of the five Gnoses, afterwards one should recite: "At the time when I
wander through Samsara due to the ferrocious force of the five poisons, may I be
guyided along the path by the Victorious Lords of the Five Families and be carried
along (on the backs of) the Dakinis of the Five Families. May I be delivered from the
narrow passage-ways (and terrors) of the Bardo and be escourted by them to
completely perfect Buddhahood!"
[17. The Appearing of the Dull Lights]
Well then, when (one finds oneself in the Bardo and) these lights of five colors
are not pure, then the five elements (arise). If these five (lights) arise as enemies (in
the Bardo), they then represent the five poisons and this will be the cause for rebirth
along one of the five paths of Samsara. But if the lights are pure and one recognizes
them (for what they are), then they become (in reality) the five realms of the five
Jinas. And so (when one sees these dull impure lights in one's practice), afterwards
one should recite this pranidhana commitment: "May these space elements not arise
before me as enemies, but may they be seen by me as the pure realm of the azurecolored Buddha. May these water elements not arise before me as enemies, but may
they be seen by me as the pure realm of the white-colored Buddha. May the earth
elements not arise before me as enemies, but may they be seen by me as the pure
realm of the yellow-colored Buddha. May these fire elements not arise before me as
enemies, but may they be seen by me as the pure realm of the red-colored Buddha.
May these air elements not arise beforre me as enemies, but may they be seen by me
as the pure realm of the green-colored Buddha."
[18. Introduction to Sounds, Lights, and Rays]
According to the Yab zhi khro'i ngo-sprod, "Twenty-five: As for the introduction
to integrating with the ocean [rgya-mtsho ar-gtad ngo-sprod], since one presses with
the forefingers on the two eye balls, luminous spots come forth (in one's vision). Now,
one should be aware that these are signs or indications [rtags] that the divine forms
of the Peaceful Deities exist in the middle of the physical heart within an enclosure of
rainbow light [snying gi dkyil na zhi-ba'i sku 'ja' 'od kyi ra-ba na yod-pa'i rtags yin].
And doing this , one exerts pressure. Twenty-six: As for the introduction to the waves
of the ocean [rgya-mtsho rba-rlabs ngo-sprod], since one presses with the forefingers
on the two ears, from the depths there comes forth the sounds of tinkling and of
murmuring [gting nas 'ur ting gi sgra byung]. And this is a sign or indication [rtags]
of the forceful coming of the inherent sounds of Reality (Dharmata) which arise if the
Chonyid Bardo {chos-nyid bar-dor chos-nyid kyi rang sgra], like the roar of a
thousand thunder dragons. And one presses with the forefingers (in the ears in this
way). Twenty-seven: As for the introduction to the rays of the Dharmata [chos-nyid
zer gyi ngo-sprod], since one presses on the eyeballs for a long time with the
forefingers, lights emanate randomly and irradically, moving and vibrating, as chains
of tiny spheres and as rays [zer dang thig-le lu-gu-rgyud rgya-che-bar 'gul 'phrigs
27

yam-yam shig-shig 'phro-ba 'od ste]. And since there also arise manifestations of rays
in the Chonyid Bardo, one should recognize them (the rays seen in practice) as signs
or indications (in preparation) for that. One accomplishes this in a similar way (by
pressing on the eyeballs). Twenty-eight: As for the introduction to the arising of the
radii which are the rays of the sun [nyi zer rtsibs shar ngo-sprod], at the time when
the luminosity of the sky and the rays of the sun are clearly visible [nam-mkha'
dwangs shing nyi zer gsal-ba'i dus su], the disciples should gaze with squinting eyes
at the sun and the rays of the sun become like an arrangement of sharp-pointed
waepons, or like an arrangement of peaks and knots, or like spacious cobwebs. As for
that, the rays of light in the Chonyid Bardo are also similar to a rainfall of sharp
weapons. Here there will come manifestations which result from pressing down
directly upon oneself. (But in actuality) there are no weapons, rather they are the
rays of luminously clear gnosis [ye-shes gsal-ba'i zer yin].
Being without any fear with regard to them (the manifestations produced by the
above exercises), one should recognize them as being merely self-manifestations
[rang snang] (that is to say, as being manifestations of one's own mind); and then
afterwards one should recite the following pranidhana commitment: "May the sounds
lights, and rsays not rise before me as enemies, but may they be seen by me as the
pure realms of the various different Buddhas."
[19. The Secrecy of One's Visions]
Now, at the time when the sky is luminous, those (disciples) who are gazing into
it should look continuously (in the early morning) at the tip of the rising sun in the
east and (in the evening) at the orb [kha rgyun du] of the setting sun in the west.
And this will be the cause of one's seeing many marvelous sights. But it is not proper
to talk about these (experiences, or explain them,) to those who have not received the
requisite initiation and teaching [dbang dang khrid], since all this belongs to the
system of the profound Secret Mantras, where there exists a covenant with the
Dakinis [mkha'-'gro'i bka'-chad]. At these times (in the rearly morning and at sunset),
one should gaze continuously (into the sunlight). Thus the introduction which is first
is completed here.
[20. The Unique Sphere that is Clear and Empty]
(As for the instruction concerning the Unique Sphere that is clear and empty:)
Hereafter, an abridgement will be sufficient. The introduction to the Dzogchen
Thodgal (teaching) is the seeing of rainbow lights and the tiny spheres and the lesser
spheres [rdzogs-chen thod-rgal ngo-sprod 'ja' 'od dang thig-le thig phran mthong-ba].
One gazes continuously at the proper time at either the tip of the rising sun or at the
fading orb [thal-kha] (of the setting sun) when there are no clouds (present in the
sky) [nyi-ma rtse shar dand thal-kh de gnyis la sprin-med dus rgyun du ltos], and
then there will arise the four experiences of vision [nyams snang bzhi]. As one ripens
and matures (in the practice), there arises like rainbows or like theye in a peacock's
feather what is called the Lamp of the Pure Dimensions [dbyings rnam-par dag-pa'i
sgron-ma] in the interstices. Inside of them is what is called the Lamp of the Empty
Sphere [thig-le stong-pa'i sgron-ma]. (These phenomena) are like the ripples of water
when one throws a stone into a quiet pool, or like the ribs inside of a bamboo tube;
28

and the tiny spheres arise just as small peas or as mustard grains. And inside of them
is what is called the vajra chains of intrinsic Awareness [rig-pa rdo-rje lu-gu-rgyud].
All of them arise as twos or threes linked together like minute knots in the fine hairs
of a horse"s tail, or like pearls threaded together on a rosary string, or like iron ropes,
or like nets of pearls disturbed by the wind. These vajra chains of Awareness that are
inside them are what are called the Unique Sphere [thig-le nyag-gcig]. Moreover, the
unconditioned Dimension and Awareness [dbyings dang rig-pa 'du-'bral med-pa]
abide in the manner of the sun and its rays. And furthermore, these structures of
light are a sign of the dimension of space [dbyings kyi rtags su 'od khyim], the tiny
spheres are a sign of knosis or primal awareness [ye-shes kyi rtags su thig-le], and
the vajra chains are a sign of the divine forms of intrinsic Awareness [rig-pa sku'i
rtags su lu-gu-rgyud]. These all (actually) reside in the middle of the physical heart in
their natural state [de rnams gnas-lugs tsitta'i dkyil na gnas], and on the path they
arise visibly in the sense faculty of the eyes.
According to the Root Tantra known as the sGra thal-'gyur, "As for the Vision of
Manifest Reality [chos-nyid mngon-sum snang-ba], it is certainly projected through
the gates of the senses and is clearly visible in the sky without clouds." [chos-nyid
mngon-sum snang-ba ni/ dbang-po'i sgo nas nges-par thon/ sprin med-pa ni mkha' la
gsal]
According to the kLong-gsal rgyud, "Because one is introduced by way of the
practice of gazing into the pure sky devoid of conditions (such as clouds), as for the
Lamp in the gates of the sense faculties, these tiny spheres [thig-le], resembling the
eye in the beautiful feather of the peacock, becoming linked together into vajrachains, come to move, to vibrate, and to transform." [rkyen bralnam-mkha' dag-pa la/
gzigs stangs gcun nas ngo-sprod-pas/dbang-po'i sgo la sgron -ma ni/ mdzes-pa rmabya'i mdongs lta-bu/ thig-le lu-gu-rgyud 'brel la/ 'gul 'phrigs 'gyur-ba'i rnam-par 'gyur]
According to the Rang-shar rgyud, "The Body of Light possessing the fivefold
Gnosis becomes very clearly visible as vajra-chains. And furthermore, these lights
come and go, moving and vibrating." [ye-shes lnga-ldan 'od kyi sku/ lu-gu-rgyud du
rab to gsal/ de yang 'od dang 'gro-ba dang/ 'gul-ba dang ni 'phrigs-pa'o]
According to the Sen-ge rtsal rdzogs, "These things of intrinsic Awareness which
are self-manifestations are clearly visible as chains of Gnosis." [rang-snang rig-pa'i
dngos-po 'di/ ye-shes lu-gu-rgyud du gsal]
According to the Nor-bu phra bkod rgyud, "From the Lamp of the water (globelike eye) that laassoes things at a distance, also the completely perfect Buddha
possesses an aspect that is entirely visible as the divine forms [sku] of the vajrachains of Awareness." [rgyang zhags chu yi sgron-me las/ yang-dag rdzogs-pa'i sangsrgyas kyang/ rig-pa lu-gu-rgyud kyi sku/ yongs su gsal-ba'i rnam-pa-can]
Again, according to the kLong-gsal, "Furthermore, with respect to the Essence
that is primordially pure, it abides as the Nature which is spontaneous selfperfection. The all-pervading Energy arises as the heart [tsitta] and as creative
potentiality [rtsal]. The Essence itself arises in the gates of the senses, and so one
speaks of visible Awareness; and this is free of any mental analysis." [de yang ngo-bo
ka-dag la/ rang-bzhin lhun-grub nyid gnas te/ thugs-rjes kun la khyab-pa nyid/ tsitta
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dang ni rtsal shar/ ngo-bo dbang-po'i sgo la 'char/ rig-pa mngon-sum zhes su brjod/
yid dpyad rnams dang bral-ba'o]
Then, according to the Sangs-rgyas 'das-rjes zhal-chems yi-ge nam-mkha' nas
babs-pa, "When this visible manifestation is seen by anyone, there is no reverting to
the three worlds." [mngon-sum snang 'di sus mthong-ba/ khams gsum ldog-pa ma yinno]
Again, according to the rGyud klong-gsal kun tu bzang-po'i gsungs, "As for the
seeing of manifest visible Awareness,by virtue of the essential point of seeing the
Truth (=Reality), there is no reverting to the three worlds of Samsara." rig-pa
mngon-sum mthong-ba ni/ bden-pa mthong-ba'i gnad kyis su/ khams gsum 'khor-bar
ldog-pa med]
[21. The Vision of Manifestly Visible Reality]
With respect to what has been quoted above, the Vision of Manifestly Visible
Reality [chos-nyid mngon-sum gyi snang-ba] arises into visible manifestation
[mngon-sum du 'char]-- it is subtle and lustrous, clear and glittering, and variegated
in nature [phra dwangs-pa/ gsal la 'tsher-ba/ rang-bzhin bkra-ba/ mngon-sum du
shar]. The Lamp of the Pure Dimension dag-pa dbyings kyi sgron-ma] arises as
visible rainbows possessing five colors, vibrating with tiny spheres [thig-le] and lesser
sphers [thig phran], like radii or arrows or knot tips which stand upright, or like fish
eyes, or like a sieve, or like lattice works, or like blazing jewels, or like stupas, (and so
on). Then, from inside of them or else in between them, it (Awareness=Rigpa)
becomes clearly visible as vajra-chains of Awareness. And recognizing them (for what
they really are when they appear), one continues practicing without any movement
or agitation.
Furthermore, according to the Tantra, "As for the inherent nature of these
chains, being completely pure and, indeed, pure from the very beginning, they are
Buddhahood without delusion." [lu-gu-rgyud kyi rang-bzhin ni/ rnam-par dag-pa ye
dag-pa/ ma 'khrul-ba yi sangs-rgyas-so]
[22. Visions in the Bardo]
Because it is easy to be introduced in just this way, having recognized them in
the Bardo, one closes the gates to rebirth in the three worlds of Samsara. And since
this is eluciated and made clear in th Agamas of the above Tantra, the benefits are
great beyond the comprehension of the mind.There exists this profound Dharma
(teaching) for the attaining of Buddhahood as a powerful method for great sinners,
because also in the Chonyid Bardo, inside of the lights and the tiny spheres which are
like the this (the lights and tiny spheres seen in practice), there arise the hosts of
Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. If one can only recognize them (for what they really
are), it is like meeting people wom one has known previously and so one will not
become afraid or be terrified by them, and having been guided along the (light-)
paths by the hosts of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, it is said that one will be reborth
in the pure realms and one will not revert to the three worlds of Samsara.
With only this introduction to the nature of the mind which is Mahamudra
[phyag-chen sems ngo-sprod tsam-pas], this represents a superior insight ['di
mthong-ba lhag ste]. But even though one may see the face of the mind, since there is
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no one there who is aware, one may not believe it [sems ngo mthong yang rig-rgyu ni
med-pas yid mi ches te], and so one grasps at (and becomes attached to) views and
mental analyses [lta-ba yid dpyad 'dzin-pa yin]. But having actually seen it (for
oneself) withnoune's own eyes, (this lack of belief or of intellectual comprehension)
does not exist, and being without any doubts, one is liberated from all attachments to
mental analyses. This has been the introduction to the Vision of Manifestly Visible
Reality [chos-nyid mngon-sum kyi snang-ba'i ngo-sprod yin] which is the first (among
the four visions or) experiences of the state of the Great Perfection [rdzogs-chen
nyams].
[23. The Vision where Experiences Develop]
Second, as for the Vision where Experiences Develop [nyams gong 'phel gyi
snang-ba]: From among the two, the expeiences of vision [snang nyams] and the
experiences of awareness [shes nyams], the experiences of awareness arise as various
different types such as experiences of pleasurable sensation [bde nyams], experiences
of clarity [gsal nyams], and expereinces of emptiness [stong nyams]. But because one
does not find stability in them, they are of lesser importance. Moreover, even though
those (experiences), such as the inexhaustible Mahamudra [ma zad phyag-chen], are
experiences of awareness [shes-pa'i nyams], they represent higher or lower
experiences that are merely like mist, and so they do not give rise to firm belief [shespa'i nyams ni ba-bun dang 'dra zhes nyams mtho dman la yid-ches mi byed ching].
But for the sake of making important higher and lower understanding [rtogs-pa
mtho dman la gtso-bor byed-pa'i phyir-ro]. Here the measure of higher or lower
understanding [rtopgs-pa mtho dman gyi tshad] is apprehended by way of the
experiences of vision [snang nyams kyis bzung]; and since the visions do not change
(or are not transformed) [snang-ba mi 'gyur-pas], experiences of vision are very
important.
Because one practices with the experiences of vision in that way, ______
[dbyings rig res gsal res mi gsal-ba 'byung-no].{the dimension of awareness becomes
clear in each case, although nothing visible originates in it (at first)}
Still more, because one (continues) to practice, the dimension of awareness
[dbying rig smin-tshams dang 'brel] {linked with or conjoined to the dimension of
awareness} becomes linked with the eye-lids, and the Lamp of the empty tiny
Spheres comes to arise, having arisen without effort [thig-le stong-pa'i sgron-ma
rtsol-ba med-par 'char nas 'ong-ngo]. The tiny spheres go [tsam du 'go] just as
(resembling) small peas [sran-ma], and Awareness goes just as quickly like (flying)
birds or insects.
Still more, because one (continues) to practice, the manifestations [snangba=visions] of the five lights become like fractional visions (fractiles) [dum-bur
snang-ba], or stand upright [gyen 'greng], or radiating spokes [rtsibs shar], or like
knot tips [mdud rtse], or like the aspect of ____ [re-lde'i rnam-pa lta-bu], or like _____
[gru chad kyi rnam-pa {like form of sharp angles}. And these lights arise prevasively
just in front of oneself. Also the tiny spheres become just like mirrors and Awareness
[rig-pa] just like a fleetly running deer.

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Still more, because one (continues) to practice, from that manifestation (vision)
of space [dbyings kyi snang-ba de las], it (the dimension of awareness) becomes just
like a net of jewels, or like a net of lights and hanging necklaces, or like a chessboard
pattern, or like a sieve [mig tshags], or like a knot tip [mdud rtse], or like a manystoreyed stupa, or like a thousand petalled lotus, or a pavillion of light, or the sun
and the moon, or a mountain, or _____ [mkhab thabs ris], or become just as
__________ [thig-le mkhar phor tsam du 'gyur] {? like a bird flying in the sky}. And
for Awareness itself [rig-pa], it becomes just as a bee suspended (in the air) before the
nectar (in the mouth of the flower).
Still more, because one (continues) to practice, it (the dimension of awareness)
becomes filled just like a habitation with light and also with tiny spheres, becoming
just like chain-mail armor [bse phub]. Because one gazes at this light, it pervades
everywhere in full measure and the dimension of awareness [dbyings rig] arises
without (distinction) as to day or night.Inside of these tiny spheres appear the divine
forms [sku] of the deities and in between these (manifestations of) Awareness [rigpa] there also originate subtle forms [sku phra-mo re re 'byung]. And Awareness
remains without moving or agitation ['gul 'phrig med-par sdod].
[24. Preparation for Experiences in the Chonyid Bardo]
At the time when they arise in that way, since the visions in the Bardo now
become arranged in an orderly and systematic fashion, afterwards there will exist no
Bardo (because one becomes enlightened). Therefore, just this is the principal
practice (in preparation for) the Chonyid Bardo [chos-nyid bar-do'i nyams-len dngosgzhi].
According to the sGra thal-'gyur, "As for the developing of the visions of
experience, the gnoses (or primal awareness) having become shape and color, (such
as) various different upright standing strokes [gyen 'greng='greng-bu], radiating
spokes [rtsibs shar], and tiny spheres [thig-le], the Two Bodies become clearly visible
as (external) objects that are manifestations of Awareness [." [nyams kyi snang-ba
gong 'phel ni/ ye-shes kha-dog dbyibs 'gyur nas/ gyen 'greng dang ni rtsibs shar dang/
thig-le sna-tshogs sku gnyis dang/ rig-pa'i snang-ba yul la gsal]
According to the Sangs-rgyas 'das-rjes zhal-chems yi-ge gnam las babs-pa, "With
the developing of the visions of experience, the gnoses in the Bardo are made
manifest." [nyams snang gong du 'phel yis/ bar-do'i ye-shes mngon du byas]
Again, according to the sGra thal-'gyur, "By means of the visons of experience
that develop, delusory appearances are made to decline." [gong du 'phel-ba'i nyams
snang gis/ 'khrul-pa'i snang-ba nub-par byed]
If one gazes only at this (these visions which develop in expereience), it is said
that there will not come forth any fear or terror at the delusory visions that will arise
in the Bardo. Snd this (above) has been the the introduction to the second (stage of
vision) or experience of the state of the Great Perfection. [rdzogs-chen nyams gnyispa'i ngo-sprod]
25. The Vision of the Culmination of Awareness]
Third, as for the Vision that is the Culmination of Awareness in its full measure
[rig-pa tshad pheb kyi snang-ba]: From that (the developments above), because one
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continues to practice, inside of each of the tiny spheres refered to above, there arise
the divine forms of the fivefold Deities in union [yab-yum]. Moreover, these
culminate like the increasing to its full measure one pala (=one once) or to its full
measure one drona (=teo pints) without changing in any way or going beyond their
number. And inside of each of the tiny sphers, these massed groups of Deities in
union, belonging to the Five Families [rigs lnga yab-yum], are whole and perfect.
Everything within the three-thousandfold universe [stong gsum thams-cad] (is found
here) ___ {vibrating} as vajra-chains [lu-gu-rgyud du khri shig-shig-pa], and one
obtains empowerments in the manner of the arising of self-manifested Awareness
[rang-snang rig-pa'i 'char tshul la bdang thob-pa'o].
According to the sGra thal-'gyur gyi rgyud, "As for the vision that culmimates in
the full measure of Awraeness [rig-pa tshad pheb snang-ba], it is the manifestation of
the Sambhogakaya with all of its marks and characterisitcs (complete). The (various)
uncertain colors of the rainbows manifest as the Deities in union belonging to the
Five Families. From them come more pairs (of Deities) five by five, and the tiny
spheres which are exceedingly luminous become connected (and linked) together.
Possessing manifestations of the divine forms of the Deities in union, delusory
appearances having become exhausted, there are only the pure realms (remaining in
one;s vision)." [rig-pa tshed pheb snang-ba ni/ longs-sku mtsham dpe'i snang-ba ni/
ma nges kha-dog 'ja'-tshon la/ rigs lnga yab dang yum du snang/ de las lnga lnga zung
du bcas/ rab tu gsal-ba'i thig-le 'brel/ yab-yum sku yi snang-ba-can/ 'khrul snang zad
nas zhing-khams-so]
According to the 'Das-rjes zhal-chems, "By virtue of the vision that culminates in
the full measure of Awareness, one comes to recognize the Sambhogakaya." [rig-pa
tshad pheb snang-ba yis/longs-spyod rdzogs-pa'i sku ngos zin]
Again, according to the sGra thal-'gyur, "As for the vision that culminates in the
full measure of Awareness, one realizes the vision on the path to the understanding
of the Trikaya." [rig-pa tshad pheb snang-ba ni/ sku-gsum rtogs-pa lam snang 'grub]
Then, even if one does not meditate (any longer)it is said that even this is
sufficient. Whereafter (at the time of death) a ray of light from the heart center of
Vajrasattvapenetrates into one's eye and one's Awareness [rig-pa], finding itself in
this hollow tube is then absorbed into the heart senter of Vajtasattva, and it is said
that in this way one attains Buddhahood. Similarly, this (the above exposition) has
been the third (stage of vision or) experience of the state of the Great Perfection
[rdzogs-chen gyi nyams gsum-po].
[26. Absorption into the Sambhogakaya]
Now also, since those who ascend ['char mkhan] (in this way to Vajrasattva) will
be many, those of you (present here who have not yet died) should simply gaze at the
hosts of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities (who appear) in the sky, without driving them
away, but also without meeting them in reality. Then, even though one does not gaze
at them, it is still sufficient, forimmediately when the external breath has ceased
[phyi dbugs chad ma thog tu] (at the time of death, and one dies) (on'es Rigpa) having
been absorbed into the heart of Vajrasattva, one (instantly) attains Buddhahood.
This is the precept [bka'] of both Samantabhadra and of Urgyan Padma. And truly it
33

is the secret instruction for the attaining of Buddhahood that represents an


extremely powerful means (to enlightenment) for great sinners. [sdig-po-che btsan
thabs su 'tshang-rgya-ba'i gdams-ngag] And with respect to that, it is explained that
one's inert senseless corpse (now deserted by one's Rigpa) will (spontaneously)
dissolve into the rainbow, and the support will be the relics [ring bsrel].
[27. The Vision of the Exhaustion of Reality]
But still more, also if one continues to meditate, then there will arise the Vision
of the exhuasting of Reality [chos-nyid zad-pa'i snang-ba] (which represents the four
among the four stages in the development of vision); and having attained the
Dharmakaya which is the Rainbow Body, it is explained that it is not necessary to
remain in a physical body at all [phung-po bzhag mi dgos]. There exist (numerous)
histories of many individuals who have gone forth like that in the past. But now,
with this degenerate age (of the Kali Yuga), such are no longer able to proceed in this
way. Evenso, if one possesses courage, faith, and the samaya vows, and if one
meditates one-pointedly, it is not at all certain that this (attaining of a Rainbow
Body) will not be an event that will occur (in the future). (For example,) one or two of
our monks, having recited the Chibs chud-pa stag tshang yang dag text by the sixth
Sharmapa [zhwa dmar-pa] as well as the Karma smon-lam, came to attain the
Rainbow Body at a latter time and did not leave behind anything of their physical
bodies [phung-po ma bzhag].
The foregoing, representing the principal practice that is the direct introduction
to Dzogchen, the state of the Great Perfection, is now completed.
[28. Conclusion]
With respect to the conclusion pertaining to the sealing of the precepts of the
samaya, the Guardians of the Precepts [bka' srung] for this teaching are three: the
Mamo goddess who is the Queen of Existence Ekajati [ma-mo srid-pa'i rgyal-mo e-kadza-ti], the oath-bound Dorje Legpa [dam-can rdo-rje legs-pa], and the ferocious Za
spirit Rahula [gza' rahula]. They come to the aid of all those practitioners who
meditate according to the Dzogchen teachings.But if one does not keep the samaya,
then they may inflict punishments (on the negligent practitioner).
So, as for the samaya commitment with regard to this Dharma (teaching), one
should cultivate faith in it and not develop doubts with regard to it. One should
obtain the guiding instructions [khrid] from one's master, and it is not proper to
explain (any of the teaching) except to those people who have some experience of it.
It must be kept secret. And if one encounters the faces of the Deities, this must be
kept secret also. If one does not keep it thus, for those of you (present here) there will
come forth much suffering from illnesses. Therefore, practice it in secret!
[Colophon]
With devotion toward the Dzogchen teachings, this was written down by Raga
Asya Drodon Sampa Zangpo ['Gro-don bsam-pa bzang-po], (otherwise known as
Karma chags-med). For any mistakes made herein, we pray for the forgiveness of the
Guardians of the Precepts [bka' srung].By virtue of this merit, may many beings
become liberated and may good fortune and abundant prosperity come to adorn all of
Jambudvipa!
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[In accordance with the instructions delivered in a vision by Matrikadevi Bhavarajni


Ekajati, this text that elucidates the Dzogchen teaching of "Self-Liberation through
Seeing" was translated by Vajranatha (John Myrdhin Reynolds) at Potter Valley,
California, in July, 1980; and subsequently revised in Copenhagen, Denmark, in
October, 1988. SARVA MANGALAM]

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