Brief Dzogchen Instruction
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Brief Dzogchen Instruction
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Homage to the guru!
When it comes to the practice of reality-as-such in the natural Great Perfection, simply completing the accumulations and purifications of the common and unique preliminaries is insufficient; these practices must really hit home.
For the main part, the outer and inner Khordé Rushen (separating the domains of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa) and the stages of purification related to the three doors must be practised precisely. For the purification of mind, by investigating mind's emergence, presence and departure as part of a thorough analysis of the basis and origin of mind, we determine that external objects of perception lack foundation or source. We also come to understand that our own internal aggregates, elements and sense-sources, our capacity for vocal expression based on speech and the circulation of breath, and the secret flickering movements of the mind are all without underlying basis or origin and by nature beyond arising as well. When we search and do not find anything, we simply allow the three doors to rest and relax in the essence of that experience, without trying to modify or adjust it.
By settling, we experience the inseparability of the three qualities of mind-as-such—empty essence, clear nature and aware responsiveness—a state of vivid, penetrating clarity that is inexpressible, beyond words and ideas. This knowing awareness, pure and simple, unstained by grasping thoughts, is what we call the awareness of the ground of liberation, the natural state of the primordially pure dharmakāya. Realization of this requires the coming together of both one's own devotion and the guru's blessings.
To rest in the essence of that primordially pure awareness without moving or wavering is "view, like a mountain: leave it as it is." To direct awareness into the eyes and direct the gaze into space, and settle in unimpeded transparency with no distinction between outer, inner and in-between, like a vast sea untouched by the wind, is "meditation, like the ocean: leave it as it is." Allowing awareness to settle without straying from its repose, so that any perceptions of the six senses, whether good or bad, unfold naturally and unrestrictedly, without preference or notions of acceptance or rejection, is "action, appearances: leave them as they are." In all these cases, settling naturally in awareness without modification or adjustment and without expansion or absorption, but simply sustaining the experience of vivid clarity alone without losing it, is "fruition, awareness: leave it as it is." You must understand that these four—view, meditation, action and fruition—are not separate from one another but are all essentially the same.
When we rest with these modes of settling, if we are unable to release any good or bad thoughts that arise, then we are no different from an ordinary person. So, no matter what deluded experiences or dualistic thoughts may arise, we must recognize them as they arise. Noticing alone will not help; we must reach the full strength of the experience of awareness. Once this is complete, then by merging inseparably with the great clarity and emptiness of awareness, there is no longer any sensory perception 'out there', nor is awareness 'within'. This indivisibility of experience and awareness is a crucial point concerning the release [of thoughts].
As an aid to practice, breathe not through the nose but continually through the mouth, with your lips and teeth slightly apart. Always fill the stomach—directly and to a moderate degree—by means of the ‘intermediate breath’ (bar rlung). Settle with your gaze directed into space. The key point concerning posture is to remain relaxedly straight. Place your hands in the gesture of equipoise or covering your knees.
If combining this with Tögal, adopt the rishi's crouching posture. When the sky is clear direct your gaze and awareness into the clear blue expanse and blend the three skies. Then, through focus, the inexpressible empty radiance of primordially pure dharmakāya will arise, bringing about enhancement. If multiple subtle thoughts develop utter a fierce "Phaṭ!" Staring in a wide-eyed, wrathful glare immediately brings about a vividly bright state of awareness. If the upper body feels blocked forcefully exhale with "Ha!" in such a way that the body trembles, and strike your upper chest with your fists as in the yogic exercises.
When you gain some familiarity with Trekchö in this way, for the Tögal of spontaneous luminosity, the visionary path of natural three-kāya awareness, you must apply the three key points of gateways, objects, and winds and awareness. Then, on the basis of any of the three types of posture and three types of gaze, as well as the support for the visions of light—whether the sun or moon, or a lamp—induce the luminous experiences. Without any separation between the act of focusing and that which is focused upon, merge inner awareness with the outer sphere of light and settle without attachment or clinging. It is crucial that wind and awareness be gentle and relaxed.
In addition, the lamp of pure basic space is the ground of arising, the lamp of self-arisen wisdom is what brings about arising, the lamp of empty spheres is that which arises, and the lamp of the far-reaching water lasso is the door to arising. By exerting yourself in the practice of these four lamps the four visions will unfold to the fullest extent.
Throughout all these stages, keep renunciation, bodhicitta, the purification of obscurations, the gathering of the accumulations, and devotion to the guru as the foundation of the path. Remain in mountain solitude, limit your speech, pay attention to cause and effect, acceptance and rejection, and act towards everyone impartially and with a pure heart. This is crucial.
Chökyi Lodrö wrote this at the request of Katok Gyalse Kunzang Rinpoche's daughter.
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros, "rdzogs chen gyi don khrid mdor bsdus" in ’Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung ’bum. 12 vols. Bir: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. W1KG12986 Vol. 8: 63–68