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Prayer to Ta pi hri tsa A short exposition of the Base, the Path and the Fruit in Bon Dzogchen teachings By Ratka Jurkovic

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Introduction

Dzogchen rDzogs pa chen po or in short rDzogs chen), the Great Perfection represents the highest system of spiritual practice for both the Nyingma and Bon schools, which maintain that it leads to recognition of the state of absolute knowledge, the so called Natural State (gnas lugs), that exists in

all sentient beings.* 1 It is also considered to be the essential nature of all phenomena. The Natural State represents the primordial, intrinsic purity of Buddha-nature (bodhicitta)

2- in every individual, the condition to which the practitioner becomes directly introduced by an accomplished Dzogchen master.

3 The accomplished master is the one who has experienced and stabilized in himself (or herself) the Natural State

i.e.z who has not only mastered the doctrine, but has become Dzogchen itself.4

Each individual possesses the intrinsic purity or bodhicitta; instead of turning outside for answers, one should turn inside to find themz and

  • Various people have helped in producing this paper and I would like to express my grat让ude to them here:

Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz for his help and guidance in the translation of the text. I also thank him for his patient and minute explanation of various Dzogchen terms.

—Charles Ramble, for his academic supervision, humour, tolerance and patience, especially in editing numerous versions of the draft manuscript. I thank him for opening doors of both the University of Oxford and Bon Dzogchen to me.

—Georgios Halkiasz my dear friend and colleague, for his ed让orial feedback, sleepless nights and endless discussions on the topic of Dzogchen. Thank you for boosting my morale throughout the whole writing process.

—Jean-Luc Achardz for his wonderful wisdom and guidance through the maze of Dzogchen terminology. Thank you for your extensive and profound comments, and your patience and tolerance in answering all those numerous questions.

—My family and closest friends, Alexandra Casey Kemp and Rosw让ha Christ. I acknowledge your lovez encouragement tolerance and support. Dear Casey and Rosw让ha, thank you for all the coffee breaks. They were the highlights of my student days here in Oxford.

—Sonja, for being the Clear Light in my life. Thank you for shining even in the darkest and quietest moments.


1 Rossi (1999: 20).

2 Although I shall use Sanskrit equivalents for certain Tibetan terms, it should be noted that certain authors (such as Donatella Rossi) object to this convention on the grounds that, according to the Bonpos, the terms are translations not from Sanskrit but from the Zhang-zhung language.

3 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 30-31); Reynolds (2005: 21-23); Rossi (1999: 56).

4 Tulku Thondup (1989:144).

6


eventually transcend dualistic concepts of both outside and inside. The adherents of the system maintain that Dzogchen methods of training are of utmost simplicity in order to reach and stabilize the state of awareness (rig pa) within oneself. However such a simple state is also the hardest thing for a practitioner to achieve.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze particular facets of Dzogchen as seen in the six verses extracted from the "Prayer to Ta pi hri tsa" (Ta pi hri tsa'i gsol "debs), written in the eight century by Ta pi hri tsazs disciple Gyer spungs chen po sNang bzher lod po. The paper will also present a translated commentary on the prayer written by Venerable Lopon Tenzin Namdak (1926-)z a highly accomplished Dzogchen master and one of the most learned contemporary Bon scholars outside of Tibet. Ven. Tenzin Namdak is highly respected for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Bonpo culture and a lifetime's experience of teaching monks both in Tibet and India.6 The commentary is a part of the 13-volume set of collected works by Ven. Tenzin Namdak and is found

in volume 13z the rDzogs chen gyi skor. This volume includes six texts with pith instructions on Dzogchen and long life prayers. The translation of the commentary was carried out in the course of fieldwork that included a Dzogchen retreat in Shenten Dargye Lingz a Bon monastery in

France. The translation was done with the help of Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz the abbot of the Bonpo monastery of Triten Norbutse (Khri brtan nor bu rise) in Kathmandu. Khenpo was leading the retreat on the famous Dzogchen text "Heartdrops of Dharmakaya'7 (Kun tu bzan po'i snying tig), written by Shar rdza bKra

shis rgyal mtshan (1859-1935). This famous Bonpo master gave the teaching to his various students from the Bon and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, in an unbroken lineage that thrives to the present day. I participated in the six-day retreat from 13th to 18th of April, 2008. This comprised morning and

afternoon sessions that included both teachings and meditation. During the breaks, Khenpo worked with me on the translation of Ven. Tenzin Namdak7s commentary and provided me with exegetical material which informed the core of the paper.


Although the prayer is comprised of twenty-two verses, a set of six crucial verses offer the outline of the Dzogchen teachings represented through the discussion of Basez Fruit and Path. The six verse form is typical of the kind usually found in the earliest Dzogchen Nyingma textz "The Cuckoo of the Intellect^ (Rig pa'i khu byug), a copy of which was among the works found in Dunhuang. The text is dated to eight century, and catalogued as No. 746 in the Sir Aurel Stein's collection of manuscripts.7


The first part of this paper presents a general introduction to both the history of the Bon religion and to the tradition of the Great Perfection. The second part will elucidate some essential aspects of Dzogchen doctrine in a tripartite scheme comprised of the Base (gzhi), the Path (lam) and the Fruit ("bras bu). The third part offers the translation of both the prayer, as the root textz and the commentarial work by Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.


In this part I

5 Ibid., (1989: xiv).

6 Dixey in Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (2002: 11).

7 See below: n. 80-81.


will also provide my own commentary on the six verses of the prayer. In Appendix Iz a short biography of Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche is included. Appendix II includes Tibetan transliteration of both the prayer and its commentary by Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.


I. The Great Perfection teachings according to Bon


History of Bon

Followers of Bon maintain that their teachings were first taught as the everlasting Bon (g.yung drung bon) by the great teacher gShen rab Mi bo che in the legendary land called Olmo Lungring (ZO1 mo lung ring) in Tazik and were later brought to the country of Zhang-zhung in Western and Northern Tibet.8 gShen rab Mi bo chez the ruler of 亍azikz is considered by Bonpos to have been a fully enlightened Buddha; his name means "the great human being who is the supreme Shen practitioner/7


gShen rab Mi bo che travelled around propagating Bon. He came to Tibet in search of his stolen horses and their thiefz the demon prince bDud rje khyab pa lag ring. According to the oral tradition of Bon z at that time humans in Tibet were subsisting in a primitive state, living in caves and oppressed by the activities of evil spirits. In order to release them from evil influences, gShen rab Mi bo che taught the practice of shamanism.9


Moreover, he prophesied that higher spiritual teachings of Bonz in the form of Sutraz Tantra and Dzogchen would be brought to Tibet from Tazik and Zhang-zhung when the time was right. The kingdom of Zhang-zhung played an influential role in the history and culture of Tibet. Priests and masters were invited to Tibet as advisors and magicians while marriage alliances were established between Tibetan and Zhang-zhung royalty. However, Tibetans conquered Zhang-

zhung in seventh/eight century, and although Bon at first enjoyed royal patronage, it was severly persecuted during the adoption of Buddhism.10 The systematization and canonization of Bon scriptures began during the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet, that is after the 10th century, while there is evidence that the Bon Canon was clearly formed in the 15th century.11

8 Kvaerne (1995: 17), suggests that although the name Tazik implies the land of Tajiks in Central Asia, it is not possible to get exact identification of 让s location. However, Tazik is not just a geographical area, it is also a hidden land (sbas yul) in which one enters after being completely purified, similar to Shambala. For the latest discussion see Kvaerne in Karmay (2007: 83-97). See also Reynolds in Tenzin Namdak (2006: 4-5) and Karmay (1998: 105-106 and 1972: xxvii-xxxi).


9 Taught in the casual vehicles of Bon, see passages below for explanation. The term Bon is used to explain both the indigenous pre-Buddhist shamanistic / animistic culture of Tibet and religious culture which is believed to have flourished in Tibet prior to Buddhism and originated from Tazik. The latter is known as Yungdrung Bon. See Reynolds (2005: 4-10); Kvaerne (1995: 9-10).

10 Karmay (1972: xxxii) states that persecution occured around 780-790 A.D., during the reign of Khri Srong Ide btsan (742-797). The first persecution of Bon is said to have occured during the reign of king Gri gum; however there are doubts whether this happened at all. See Karmay (1972: xxxiii).

11 Martin (2003: 3); Rossi (1999:19).


The Bon teachings are classified in the so called Nine Vehicles and are divided into the so called Four-Vehicles of Cause and Five Vehicles of Fruit. The Four Vehicles of Cause are: the Vehicle of the gShen of Prediction; gShen of Appearance; the gShen of Magic; and the gShen of Existence. The first vehicle is concerned with astrology, rituals, divinations and medical diagnosis. The second includes instructions on fatez protection against demons, ransom and exorcism; the third is concerned with rituals aimed at disposing of enemies, and the fourth with funerary rituals and the Intermediate State (bar do).

The Five Vehicles of the Fruit are: the Vehicle of Virtuous Devotees; of the Great Ascetics; of the Pure Sound; of the Primordial gShen and of the Unsurpassable Supreme One. They are concerned with rules of conducts and religious practices for lay practitioners (5th vehicle); rules for fully ordained practitioners (6th vehicle); higher tantric practices of meditative transformation (7th vehicle); tantric practices based on the Generation (bskyed rim) and Perfection (rdzogs rim) stages of meditation (8th vehicle); and the teachings of the Great Perfection (9th vehicle).12

For Bonz Dzogchen represents the highest teaching in the so called Nine-Vehicle classification.13 Alternatively, the Bonpos divide their scriptures according to the Four Portals and One Treasury (sgo bzhi mdzod Inga). Dzogchen is presented in the last of the portals, known as the Guide (dpon gsas), which consists of both oral instructions (man ngag) and written transmissions (lung) by various Dzogchen masters.14 Similarly, Nyingmapas have a nine-fold division of their teachings, known as the Nine yanas, with Dzogchen or Atiyoga as the highest teaching.


The Nine yanas of Nyingma tradition are subdivided into a three-fold classification:

1. Sutric yanas: Sravakayana (Nyan thos), Pratyekabuddhayana (Rang sangs rgyas) and Bodhisattvayana (Byang chub sems dpa). The first two are Sravakayana Sutras aimed at achieving Arhatship. The third contains Mahayana Sutras focused on the practice of the six perfections in order to become an enlightened Bodhisattva.

2. Three Outer Tantric yanas: Kriyayoga (Bya rgyud), Caryayoga (sPyod rgyud) and Yogatantra (rNal fbyor rgyud).

3. Three Inner Tantric yanas, representing the highest tantric teachings of Mahayoga (rNal fbyor chen po), Anuyoga (rjes su rnal fbyor) and Atiyoga (Shin tu rnal fbyor\ Teachings in tantric yanas are received usually through one's own lama who gives empowerments and initiations to assist practitioners according to their understanding and capacity. In the highest tantric teachings the emphasis is on complex and elaborate meditation practices which include methods of visualization and states of samadhi, and less so on the external forms of spiritual practices, such as acts of austerity or ritual purification.15

12 Snellgrove (1967: 9-11); Rossi (1999: 20-21).

13 Ibid.

14 Reynolds in Tenzin Namdak (2006: 9-20); Reynolds (2005: 5-10); Karmay (1998: 111).

15 Tulku Thondup (1989: 3-4).


In the highest Atiyogaz also known as Dzogchen, the direct instructions for achieving the Natural State are given privately by the master to the practitioner. However, the majority of people need to go through the common training found in "lower" yanas before they are ready for Dzogchen. Although Dzogchen is usually understood as the path of nonaction and non-meditationz it is common to find among Dzogchen expositions a variety of meditative practice that adopt a gradual approach to enlightenment.16

The instructions of the Great Perfection are the highest spiritual teachings most commonly associated with the Bon religion and the Nyingmapa school. However, Dzogchen practitioners were also found among other Tibetan Buddhist schools. For example, it is known that the current and the Fifth Dalai Lama of the Gelugpa school were Dzogchen practitioners, while Dzogchen is also used as a supplementary practice for the Kagyupa Schools.


History of Dzogchen

The origins of Dzogchen or the Great Perfection cannot be traced with absolute certainty. It has been suggested that they are to be found in Mahayoga tantras, notably the Guhyagarbha tantra, that were translated into Tibetan shortly after their composition in the eighth century CE.18 Moreover, paralels can also be found in the doctrines developed in the Yogacara school called the storehouse-consciousness (alaya-vijnana) and the Z/Buddha embryo" (tathagatagarbha), which will be discussed below. The teachings of the Great Perfection "can be considered as forerunning the whole evolution and configuration of Tibetan Buddhism77.19 Its significance is not only one of spiritual doctrine, but also of the historical representation of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon religion.20

In the system of Mahayoga Tantra, Dzogchen represents the highest phase of the Tantric process of transformation comprised of the Generation Process (bskyed rim) and the Perfection Process (rdzogs rim). With this respect, Dzogchen is said to correspond to the usage of the term Mahamudra in the New Tantra system of the other Tibetan schools.21

An early textz the Man ngag Ita bai phreng ba, the copy of which is found in the bsTan "gyur, is considered to be the only work on Dzogchen securely attributed to Padmasambhava. It is usually dated to the 10th century, and in it Dzogchen is not treated as an independent vehicle but only as the final stage of the tantric perfection process (rdzogs rim). When taught as an independent vehicle, Dzogchen practice does not require any tantric practice before entering into the state of even contemplation (mnyam bzhag).22


16 For more on the practices found in Dzogchen see the section of Path in this paper.

17 Berzin (2006). Introduction to Dzogchen, at http:/ / www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ archives/advanced/dzogchen/basic points/introduction dzogchen.html accessed 04.01. 2008.

18 Karmay (1988:11, 64-66).

19 Rossi (1999: 21).

20 Ibid.

21 For further exposition on union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen see: Chagmez 2000.

22 Karmay (1988:137z 152).


Both the Buddhist Nyingmapas and the Bonpos claim that their respective Dzogchen traditions were brought to Central Tibet in the eight or ninth century.23 24 25 26'According to Nyingmapas, their Dzogchen teaching came to Tibet from the mahasiddha Sri siiha and his disciple Vimalamitraz who were both living in Northern India. Mahasiddha Sri siiha was the disciple of Indian mahasiddha ManjusrTmitraz who received the teachings from Nirmanakaya Garab Dorje (dGaz rab rdo rje)z the miraculously born son to the virgin Princess Sudharma. Garab Dorje was the first to transmit the Dzogchen teachings in our human world in the country of Oggiyana.24

From Vimalamitra and Sri siihaz the teachings were transmitted to Padmasambhavaz the spiritual founder of the Nyingma school and to his disciple Vairocana. The latter is said to come from Bonpo family and was reportedly instrumental in both translating Bonpo works into Tibetan and hiding some Bonpo texts before he was forced to leave Tibet.25


Four traditions of Bonpo Dzogchen

The Bonpo transmission of Dzogchen comes from a line of mahasiddhas who came from the ancient kingdom of Zhang-zhung and were residing around its spiritual centre, Mount Kailash (Ti se).

Within the Bon tradition there are generally considered to be three different transmission lines of Dzogchen teachings, which are collectively known as A rdzogs snyan gsum. However, there is a fourth, separate transmission known as the Ye khri mtha' sei, also considered to be an important Dzogchen cycle of

teachings.27 Within A rdzogs snyan gsum, the first two transmission lines are known as A khrid and rDzogs chen yang rtse'i klong chen and are based on rediscovered treasure texts known as gter ma. The third line of teachings, the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud is based on a continuous oral transmission through a

line of realized masters. Treasure texts or gter ma are important both for Bonpos and Nyingmapas. Both schools had to hide their teachings due to persecutions by the Tibetan kings Gri gum and Khri Srong Ide bstan28z as in the case of Bonz orz as in the case of Nyingma, due to their profound spiritual nature. Treasure texts were hidden either in nature (firez water, earth and space) or were sealed in the minds of realized masters and chosen individuals.29


The three main Dzogchen transmissions within Bon are as follows:

23 Reynolds (2005:12-14); Rossi (1999: 21-22).

24 The legend of dGa' rab rdo rje can be found as one of the chapters in the hagiography of Vairocana titled Vairo fdra 'bag, from either 11th or 13th century. According to the 13th century editor Dharma seng gez the hagiography is found in two versions, one being gter ma and the other bka'ma. For detailed description see Karmay (1988: 18-37).

25 Ibid.: 17-37; 216-223.

26 Reynolds (2005:13); Karmay (1998: 98).

27 Rossi (1999: 30)/ also mentiones the independent cycle of teachings called Byang chub sems gab pa dgu skor, gter ma found in the 11th century by gShen chen Klu dga' (996-1035).

28 Karmay (1972: xxxi-xxxiii).

29 Rossi (1999: 31). It is said that Padmasabhava sealed the profound spir让ual teachings in the minds of his disciples, to be discovered when the right circumstances have arisened. See Tulku Thondup (1997). Hidden Teachings of Tibet: An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.


1. A khrid

A khrid means the instructional teachings (khrid) concerning the Unconditioned (A). The white Tibetan letter A is the symbol of emptiness and of the Natural state. The great master Ri khrod chen po extracted these Dzogchen precepts in the llffi century from the Khro rgyud cycle of texts, which are part

of the so called Father Tantras (pha rgyud), originally attributed to gShen rab Mi bo che. They form a set of meditative instructions dealing with the view (Ita ba), the meditation (sgom pa) and the conduct (spyod pa) in the form of 80 practice sessions. Successful completion of the 80 sessions would give the

practitioner the title of rtogs Idan, i.e the one who possesses understanding. These practice sessions were, over the course of 200 years, reduced first to 30 and then to 15 when they came to be known as the A khrid thun mtshams bco Inga.30


According to the latest discovery by Jean-Luc Achardz the A khrid is based on the set of texts known as Gab pa dgu skor and Sems smad sde dgu which were rediscovered by gShen chen Klu dgaz. The author and the great master Ri khrod chen po compiled the practical teachings from these texts and elaborated the cycle of A khrid. Thusz A khrid is not directly a gter ma but a composition based on gter ma.31


2. rDzogs chen

Although the term resembles the doctrines of the Great Perfection in general, it is actually a reference to a specific transmission of Dzogchen based on the root text called rDzogs chen yang rtse'i klong chen ("The Great Vast Expanse of the Highest Peak which is the Great Perfection'7). The gter ma is from a cycle of treasure texts found behind a statue of Vairocana in mKho mthing temple and was rediscovered by the great Terton gZhod ston dNgos grub grags pa in the 11th century. The cycle was originally composed in the eight century by the Bonpo master known as Li shu sTag ring and hidden due the persecution of Bonpos by the king Khri Srong Ide btsan.32


Reynolds (2005: 15-16); Rossi (1999: 26); Karmay (1988: 201); Kvaerne (1973: 19-20). According to private correspondence with Jean-Luc Achardz on the 23rd of May 2008/ he states: "A short manuscript has surfaced recently which most apparently represents the tradition of A khrid as compiled by the 5th lineage holder g.Yor po Me dpalz showing an original set of practice in 8 or 10 (brgyad dam bcu) sessions. The interrogative dam appears in cursive as a tiny wave line above the d suffix of brgyad (8) and may have been lost during successive copying. For this reason, Lopon Tenzin Namdak thinks that there were never any 80 sessions but rather an original set of 8 or 10 sessions/7


31 Achard (2008: 64-65, 284).


32 Reynolds (2005:16); Rossi (1999: 26-28); Karmay (1988: 201-202).


3. sNyan rgyud


This cycle represents an uninterrupted oral transmission of the Dzogchen teachings originating from the country of Zhang-zhung and known as the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud (The Oral Transmission from Zhang-zhung). According to this transmission, the first teaching of Dzogchen was mentally transmitted by the Primordial Teacher Kun tu bzang po to "the Nine Sugataszz (bder gshegs dgu) and then to /zthe Twenty-four Individu-alszz (gang zag nyi shu rtsa bzhi) from the kingdom of Zhang-zhung. The disciples following the line of were mahasiddha Ta pi hri tsa and his disciple Gyer spung sNang bzher lod po in the eight

century BCE. It is believed that the teachings were first written down by Gyer spung sNang bzher lod po in the Zhang-zhung language, and translated into Tibetan in the ninth or tenth century by one of his successors, dPon chen bTsan po. The history of the lineage holders was compiled in 15th century by sPas ton bsTan rgyal bzang poz and it is based on the previous biographical material compiled two centuries earlier by Yang ston Shes rab rgyal mtshan. They are are known as "The Biographies of the Lineage Teachers of the Zhang Zhung Aural Transmission of the Great Perfection'7 (rDzog pa chen po zhang zhung snyan rgyud kyi brgyud pa'i bla ma'i mam thar).


A fourth lineage that scholarly sources usually mention as an important yet separate cycle originating in India (rgya gar gyi skor),34 is the Ye khri mtha' sei.35 This Dzogchen cycle is attributed to the eighth-century Zhang-zhung master Dran pa Nam mkhazz who converted to Buddhism during the persecution of Bon by emperor Khri Srong Ide btsan (742-797). This


33 Reynolds (2005: 80); Rossi (1999: 28-29); Karmay (1988: 203).

34 Rossi (1999: 29).

35 A study by Rossi can be found in the 'Lo rgyus chen mo in the Ye khri mtha' sei collection -see Karmay and Nagano (2000: 181-191).


collection of teachings is said to have been transmitted by both male and female accomplished masters.36 They were transmitted in the 11th century by a miraculous emanation of Tshe dbang Rig Zdzinz the son of Dran pa Nam mkhazz to Lung bon lHa gnyan.37 Comparison between Bon and Nyingma Dzogchen

In general, the difference between Bon and other schools of Tibetan Buddhism is not so much in doctrine and monastic practice, which are both very similar and to some extent equal, as it is in the lineages.38 Bonpos believe that their founder is gShen rab Mi bo chez who, like the Buddha Sakyamuni of all Buddhist schools, is considered an enlightened teacher.


With respect to Dzogchen, similarities between Nyingma and Bon doctrine are to be found in the ninefold division or vehicles of religious practice. The two schools differ in this respect from the others, which have only six vehicles, due to the reliance these place on the later translations of Buddhist scriptures in 10th and 11th centuries. Differences between Nyingma and Bon in the content of their respective nine vehicles between lie in the fact that Bon scriptures contain religious, secular and ritual belifesz including astrology, cosmology, medical science, divination etc.z which are not found in the Nyingma scriptures. Within the doctrine of Dzogchen, both Nyingmapas and Bonpos refer to Kun tu bzang po as the primordial Buddha and both have a strong gter ma tradition.39 40


II. The main facets of Dzogchen doctrine and their historical development

Three aspects of Dzogchen

Although Dzogchen is often referred to as the single great sphere (thig le nyag gczg)/0 it is described as having three aspects: Basez Path and Fruit.亍he Base (gzhi), represents the primordial state of the individual, or the invisible Primordial Buddhahood. The reason for invisibility is our stream of consciousness by which we see things as inherently existent and dual in nature, thus making the Primordial Buddhahood invisible to the deluded mind. The Path (lam) on which the Dzogchen practitioner enters, begins with the direct introduction to the Natural State, also known as the insight into the view (Ita ba) of one's Nature of Mind. After that one cultivates the actualization of awareness (rig pa), and simultaneously purifies oneself of


36 Martin (2001:409).

37 Rossi (1999: 30). Kvaerne (1995:12-13).

39 For comparative studies on Bon and Nyingma Dzogchen see : Achard (2005: 59-106)z Achard (1999: 215-239), Karmay (1988: 220-223).

40 For an explanation see Reynolds (2005: 22); Rossi (1999: 60, n.180).


cognitive and emotional defilements. These defilements have been accumulated through past and present karmic activities, which also influence possible future lives.

During the Path, the practices of khregs chod, meaning cutting through77 and thod rgalf or ^leaping over" are used to stabilize one in the natural state. This can only occur with an understanding of the reality of emptiness as a non-dual (gnyis med) wisdom that goes even beyond samsara and nirvana. The Fruit ("bras bu) represents the definite return to the state of Reality or Dzogchen and the attainment of the so-called Rainbow body ('jif lus, where a person's body starts to shrink and/or dissolves into light, leaving just nails and hair behind.41

The main facets of Dzogchen doctrine, will be explained in this paper from the aspect of Basez Path and Fruitz since this is the traditional Buddhist way of exposition of the teachings, and is also widely used in both Nyingma and Bon Dzogchen doxography. The exposition of teachings in the tripartite form of Basez Path and Fruit bares historical importance for both Nyingma and Bon Dzogchen. The reason for that is the need to justify or at least give the impression of the Indic origins of the teachings. The other Buddhist schools, especially in the period of second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet (phyi dar), representing the time in which the Indic origin became condition sine qua non, were suspicious and critical of the origins of Dzogchen.42


As Karmay states:


rDzogs chen has...been the focus of doctrinal and philosophical dispute right from the beginning of the eleventh century A.D. The criticism of it seems to be centred around two points: authenticity of its source and validity of its doctrine as a genuine Buddhist teaching.43 The Base

The natural state is usually referred to as having three aspects: the base (gzhi), expressive energy (rtsal) and display of manifestation (rol pa). It is usually compared to an ocean on which the reflection of the sun can be seen. Whatever terms we use to explain the single great sphere, it is only from the point of view of the display (rol pa), since from the point of view of the base (gzhi) everything is inseparable, empty and primordially pure. From the point of view of the ocean there is no difference whether the sun reflects on

41 For discussion on Base, Path and Fruit see Reynolds (2005: 21-24); Wangyal (2004: 51); Rossi (1999: 43-44). This division, prevalent in Buddhist philosophy, was introduced to Dzogchen literature in ca. 10th century, see Lung bon Lha gnyen, La zla bai bam po, in sPyi rgyud chen mo nam mkha dkar po ye khri mtha sei gyi gsung pod, Triten Norbutse Library, vol. 20z pp. 159-252.

42 For example, in the 11th century, the famous lHa Bia ma Ye shes 'od issued an edict expressing his concerns over the practices of sexual r让e (sbyor) and the r让e of deliverance (sgrol). Although he did not mention any specific tantras, this gave rise in later centuries to various accusations on the part of Dzogchen since sbyor sgrol tantric practice was found in the rNying ma rgyud 'burn, and it is in this tantra collection that doctrine of Dzogchen has been expounded. See Karmay (1988: 121-123).

43 Ibid.: 124.


the water or not: the ocean will remain unaffected, pure and clear.44 Dzogchen masters have used different categorizations and descriptions, both for pedagogical reasons and for revealing the doctrine to their disciples. When one is fully integrated in the natural state of mindz then no concepts are needed to explain the state of inseparability also known as the one taste (ro gcig) of everything.

亍he doctrine of one taste (ro gcig) represents an important part of the Ta pi hri tsazs final instructions to his disciple Gyer spung sNang bzher lod po

which are found as "The Prophetic Sayings of the Lord Tapihritsa from the Oral Transmission of Zhang-zhung for the Great Perfection Teachings'" (rDzogs pa chen po zhang zhung snyan rgyud las rje ta pi hri tsa'i lung bstan bzhugs so).45 One taste represents one of the three certainties (gdeng mam pa gsum) of a

yogiz and is comprised of understanding the inseparability of appearances and emptiness (snang stong dbyer med) as the Ultimate Reality (bon nyid). The Ultimate Reality in Dzogchen is not considered to be the Absolute Truth, found in the other Buddhist schools, and represented as emptiness of both self

and the phenomena. Dzogchen teachings acknowledge the existence of the two truths (absolute and relative) but state that the Natural State is represented by the single truth, known as one taste (ro gcig) or the unique essence (thig le nyag gcig). Natural state is beyond karmic causality and its effects. Appearances comprised of self and phenomena are the product of accumulated karma and they do exist on the level of relative truth. On the level of absolute truth, Dzogchen teachings acknowledge their emptiness, however, this is not the end state, since even acknowledging emptiness means grasping in order to

understand it. In Dzogchen one does not grasps for either emptiness or for awareness. Similarly one does not grasp for apperances. Both emptiness and appearances dissolve in the Natural State, andz like the drops in ocean, have the single salty taste of the whole ocean itself.46


Our Natural state is also known as the Primordial Base (kun gzhi), the primordial state of liberated awareness in each individual. The literature expresses it by various terms such as universal ground (spyi gzhi), universal grandfather (spyi mes chen po) or primeval grandmother (ye phyi mo). The Primordial Base has three main qualities. "Its state (ngang) is pure from the beginning (ka dag) and has physical form (sku). Its nature is spontaneous (Ihun gyis grub pa) and is luminous ("od gsal ba). Its self-being (bdag nyid) is the primeval intellect (ye nas shes pa = ye shes) which pervades all (kun khyab).ff

When speaking of Base (gzhi), the Dzogchen texts explain it in the terms of its Essence, Nature and Compassion48 (also known as the Trikaya of the


44 According to oral comments from Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz given during a retreat on Heartdrops of Dharmakaya, 13-18th April, 2008. See also Tenzin Namdak (2006:140).

45 Reynolds (2005: 108). The doctrine of one taste (ro gcig) is found both in Bon and Nyingma Dzogchen. For Nyingma sources see Chagme (2000: 57; 186-

187; 244-254) and Pettit (1999: 90,133, 237).

46 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 49-56,144).

47 Karmay (1988:177).

48 According to private correspondence with Jean-Luc Achardz compassion is represented as the altruistic, spontaneous and dynamic nature of the primordial state (23rd of May 2008).


potential or Base).49 The Essence of everything is emptiness, the state of primordial purity, while the Nature of everything is awareness (rig pa). Everything arising from the Base is seen as pure and complete. Compassion (thugs rje) represents the inseparability (dbyer med) of emptiness and awareness.50


Kun tu bzang po as the Primordial Base

In certain texts, the Primordial Base is referred to as Kun tu bzang po (Samantabhadra)z the Primordial Buddha, the one that has never entered the dualistic process of samsara and nirvana. According to both Bon and Nyingmaz he is the source of all the Dzogchen teachings. In Bon they were later exposed by gShen rab Mi bo che. Kun tu bzang po is present in the core of all sentient beings as their own Primordial Base or the Buddha nature. If we draw an analogy with the Yogacara school, he represents the Buddha embryo (tathagatagarbha), the potential within sentient beings which enables them to become Buddhas.51


When speaking about Kun tu bzang po as the Primordial Basez the literature usually portrays him as having a bodyz face and hands (zhal phyag rdzogs pa), where he acts as the Buddha preaching his doctrines.52 To quote Karmay: "In certain texts, the Primordial Basis is presented as the Kun tu bzang po of the sphere (dbyings), its effulgence as the Kun tu bzang po of the rays (zer) and its activities (rtsal) as the creative being (sku gsum) within the Primoridal Basis is discernible/'53 Since he is the aspect of total enlightenement known as Dharmakayaz he is also represented as the nude male Buddha figure sitting in the centre of space without any ornaments.54


The distinction between kun gzhi and kun gzhi rnam shes

Another analogy between Yogacara school and Dzogchen is usually drawn when talking about kun gzhi (base of all) and kun gzhi rnam shes (storehouseconsciousness).55 The storehouse consciousness as understood in the Yogacara school represents the place where all the karmic traces are stored and preserved for future lives. It is the last of the eight consciousnesses, and serves as the medium for the transmission of karmic traces (bag chags) from one life to another. Every action that we perform leaves the karmic imprint


49 The trikaya is comprised of Dharmakayaz Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakayaz which are known as the three aspects or levels of manifestation of the enlightened Buddha. See Reynolds (2005: 395-396, n.2 and 403-408, n.12). For distinction of Trikaya of the Base, the Path and the Fruit see Reynolds (2005: 23-24) and Tenzin Namdak (2006: 87).


50 For further discussion on Essence, Nature and Compassion see Reynolds (2005: 23).

51 Reynolds (2005:19); Hookham (1992: 94).

52 Karmay (1988:177).

53 1988:178.


54 For further discussion see: Reynolds (2005: 17-19); Karmay (1988: 178).


55 Karmay mentiones the work Kun tu bzang po ye shes klong gi rgyud by 'Jigs med gling pa (1729-1798) as the example of a most visible fusion of the doctrine of Yogacara and Dzogchen (1988: 179). For english translations of this work see Van Schaik (2004: 137-147) and Guenther (1963: 83-105).


in our stream of consciousness, which is like a seed waiting for the appropriate causes and conditions to appear in order for it to blossom and give fruit to our latent karma.56

The 16th century debate between the Kagyupas and Nyingmapas tried to establish whether kun gzhi is pure (ka dag) from the beginning. If we consider it to be the storehouse consciousness (kun gzhi mam shes), then primordial purity is not possible since the base is polluted by karmic traces. Nyingmapas strongly opposed the notion of storehouse consciousness, saying that kun gzhi and ka dag do not precede one another, but are born together. In a form of a riddle they reply to their Kagyupa opponents by saying that kun gzhi is pure from beginning (ka dag), and that kun gzhi and ka dag are neither the same nor different.57

For Bonposz kun gzhi is ab aeterno pure; it has never been defiled by the karmic traces. The kun gzhi is like a treasury, in which through the coordination of the eight consciousnesses the karmic traces will be stored, transforming it into kun gzhi mam shes. However, kun gzhi itself remains pure and unaffected

by karmic traces; just like the treasury is clean, once the treasure is removed. Ven. Tenzin Namdak states: According to Dzogchen, there are no karmic traces to be found in the Natural State. It is like trying to write something in space, or like clouds passing across the sky; there are no traces left

behind/'58 This position is similar to the gzhan stong position of the Yogacara school, which states that tathagatagharba is never really transformed, but rather revealed, once karmic traces are purified.59 60 However, Ven. Tenzin Namdak states that Yogacarins don't consider anything beyond storehouse-

consciousness which, like the other seven consciousnesses, exists inherently (although the objects that these consciousnesses perceive do not have inherent existence) and dissolves once nirvana is attained.


This also resembles closely the position of early Dzogchen writers of the 10th and 11th centuries who also made clear the distinction between kun gzhi and kun gzhi mam shes.6Q


Although kun gzhi in Dzogchen is understood to be the Dharmakaya of the Base (gzhi'i bon sku), this is still not the manifestation of Dharmakaya, found in the Fruitz or result of Dzogchen practice. Practitioners, although introduced to the Nature of the Mind (which is also the Primordial Base)z still have to purify themselves from the two-fold obscurations (emotional and intellectual).61


56 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 81); Hookham (1992: 333, n.2). For detailed explanation of alaya-vijnana see (Schmithausen, 1987).

57 See Karmay (1988:180-182).

58 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 87).

59 Hookham (1992: 333-334, n.2).

60 Karmay with this respect mentions the 11th century work Theg pa chen po ri tshul la jug pa by Rong zom Chos kyi bzang po (1988: 179).

61 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 87).


The distinction between Nature of Mind (sems nyid) and Mind (sems)

The base represents the Natural state of the Nature of mind (sem nyid gnas lugs), where everything that appears exists as the inseparable union of clarity and emptiness. In Dzogchen a clear distinction is made between the Nature of the Mind (sems nyid) and the mind (sems) or limited awareness. The Mind (sems) is an illusory creation and Dzogchen masters use the mirror metaphor to explain the difference between the mind (sems) trapped in conventional reality and awareness (rig pa) which is realized in the Natural State.


To quote Reynolds:


Time and causality are like the reflections in the mirror, whereas the Natural State is like the mirror itself; it is immaculate and perpetually untainted by Samsara or conditioned thought process. This Natural State of the Nature of Mind has been present there all the time, although it has gone unrecognized since time without beginning because it has been covered over by obscurations, just as the face of the sun high in the sky may go unrecognized because it is obscured by clouds. By removing or purifying these layers of accidental obscuration, the inner sunz concealed at the core of our being, unfolds into view.62


The understanding of sems nyid endowed with rig pa and inseparable from gzhi, is what distinguishes Dzogchen from Yogacaraz since in the latter the mind is the part of the system of eight consciousnesses (tshogs brgyad) including kun gzhi mam shes. The Base as understood in Dzogchen is not known to Yogacara.63


The real nature of mind (sems kyi rang bzhin) is from the beginning completely pure (ye nas dag pa), luminous ("od gsal ba) and immaculate (dri bral). The Nature of Mind is never changed or modified by karmic causes. It totally transcends the concepts of causality, so the practitioner, once stabilized in the

Natural State, does not expect neither good nor bad qualities to arise as a result of one's practice.64 If they arise, they are just the display of the mind (sems) and one should not cling to them. The reunification of sems and sems nyid (or realization of their inseparability within the Nature of Mind) is symbolically explained as the unification of a lost child and its mother, and it is in this moment that an adept gains realization.65


The Path

Looking from the point of view of the Basez our Buddha nature is primordially present from the very beginning. The question that arises is one of the necessity of practicing the Path. However, although our Buddhahood is present from the very beginning, we do not recognize it. It is obscured

62 2005: 398.

63 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 114).

64 Ibid.: 52.

65 Karmay (1988:175-176).


from us due to ignorance, delusion and karmic traces. The practice of the path is necessary in order to purify and remove thick layers of emotional (nyon mongs pa'i sgrib pa) and intellectual (shes bya'i sgrib pa) obscurations. The practices aimed at purification of obscurations are also known as the Trikaya becoming manifest on the Path.66

In the Bonpo tradition, there are two different approaches to practicing Dzogchen.67 In the first, one must find a suitable lamaz who is a Dzogchen master and request the teachings. In the second, comprising a more intellectual approach to Dzogchen teachings, the practitioners may follow a monastic scholarly path and train in Sutra and Tantra. Having completed this training, they are educated in the Dzogchen teachings, which leads them to the Geshe (dge bshes) degree.68

Herez only the first tradition will be presented briefly. After requesting the teachings, one starts with preliminary practices known as sngon "gro, which are described in detail in the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud rgyal ba'i phyag khrid. 69 These practices are divided into the following nine: Guru Yoga (receiving empowerments and blessings); meditation on impermanence; confession of sins; practice of producing bodhicitta; taking refuge; offering the mandala; mantra recitation; offering one's own body and praying for blessings. They are practiced one hundered thousand times each. After thatz one returns to the lama and requests the Dzogchen teachings. In order for one to recognize and stay in the Primordial Base or in the Nature of Mindz one has to be directly introduced to the Natural State.70

Having received the introduction, one goes into the retreat in the isolated place and one trains in two important practices, that of khregs chod and thod rgal. Khregs chod or cutting through77 is practiced in order to dissolve the rigidity of dualistic perception and to stabilize the awareness (rig pa) in all aspects of life. A practitioner usually starts the practice with khregs chod. Thod rgal or ^leaping over" entails physical postures and ways of gazing which produces visions that are to be understood as the display of the Mind-itself (sems nyid), and not as something independent of the practitioner.71


The practice q/khregs chod

It is said that all the individual's rigidities, tensions and obscurations resemble a bundle of sticks (khregs pa) tied together with a cord. When the cord is cut (chod), all the sticks fall on the ground, which means that the practitioner has released all the tensions and obscurations in a totally relaxed state (Ihod pa chen po).72

The introduction to the Natural state begins with fixation on the white Tibetan letter A. The principle is to first develop calm state of mind by one- 66 Reynolds (2005: 20).

67 As explained by Tenzin Namdak (2006: 125).

出 For the curriculum of studies as found in Bon Tri ten Norbutse Monastery, see: Tenzin Namdak (2006: 224-230).

69 For the detailed explanation of preliminary practices see: Reynolds (2005: 253-343).


70 For some methods of introduction see: Tenzin Namdak (2006: 126-130).

71 Rossi (1999: 68).

72 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 251z ch. 8, n. 1).


pointed concentration also known as samatha (Tib. zhi gnas). However, this is still not the Natural State. It is only the experience of a calm state, undistracted by whatever thoughts arise. The practice of khregs chod begins with looking back into ourselves and observing the mind and the watcher, what it isz where it comes from and so forth. We look and search and ultimatelly come to the point where we cannot really separate the watcher and the watched, since they have the same nature of emptiness and clarity.73


Once we have entered into the Natural State, the practice is to continue dwelling in itz and to stabilize it by observing the mindz the thoughts that arise and dissolve again without leaving traces. Eventually, all thoughts become automatically self-liberated as soon as they arise and the practitioner dwells in the unspeakable state (ha phyod).74 The practitioner, who is stabilized in the Natural State, enters into the path of non-action and nonmeditation. "Whether it is to look or not to lookz to act or not to actz everything is self-liberated; therefore there is no missed view or right view 一 I do not care." 75


The practice of thod rgal

The practice of thod rgal is done in order to realize that visions of ordinary normal life are illusory and insubstantial. Although it is considered as superior to khregs chod, it should not be practiced alone. If one does not practice both khregs chod and thod rgal together, then the methods of generating visions mean nothing, since the person will not be able to either stabilize the visions or understand them as illusions.76


Thod rgal practices are done either in dark retreat or by gazing at the sunz the moon and sky.77 The purpose is to enable the spontaneous arising of the visions in space which are the product of the dynamism of one's awareness. Although there are various classifications of the thod rgal practice, in this paper I will present only one. In the terms of gradual realization there are four stages of the development of vision (snang ba bzhi). At the initial stage, the practitioner experiences small spheres of light (thig le). In the two next stages, the visions become bigger. The practitioner will at first experience appearances of torsos and deities inside thig le, which will develop into pure visions of Peaceful and Wrathful deities and mandalas. The size of the thig le varies from that of a mustard seed to the ones as big as the shield. At first visions are unstable and various; they come and goz signifying practitioner's state of unstable mind. Gradually they become clearer and more stabilized.78


At the fourth stage of practicing vision, the practitioner realizes the Rainbow Body of Light as visions dissolve back into the Natural State.79 The dissolving of the actual body usually happens at the time of death, when the

73 Ibid.: 126-130.

74 For khregs chod practices see Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (2002: 51-74).

75 Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (2002: 73).

76 Tenzin Namdak in Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (2002: 93, n. 22-23).

77 For more see Wangyal (2004: 166-174).

78 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 199-200). For the full exposition of thod rgal practice see Tenzin Namdak (2006:189-204); Chagme (2000:153-179).

79 Tenzin Namdak (2006:199).


impure elements of our material body revert back (ru log) into the clear, coloured light. If one practices only khregs chod, then the body cannot become the light bodyz it can only disappear to the level of atoms.80


The Fruit

The fruit of the Dzogchen path is in Bon usually called the fully-realized Trikaya.The Enlightenment in Dzogchen is not understood as annihilation or oblivion, but realization of Trikaya which has always been present in the Nature of Mind.81 Through the practice of thod rgalf one realizes the Rupakayaz

represented as the manifestation of the enlightenment of the Buddha in visible form as Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. Through the practice of khregs chod one realizes the Dharmakaya.82 At the time of death/3 awareness manifests once again as the Clear Light. However, since all the karmic traces have been

purified one will not follow the path of samsaraz as there is no grasping and clinging involved. Since all the karmic residues have been purified, the Clear Light is the embodiment of the Trikaya. The Nature of Mind (sems nyid) is the Dharmakaya, the energy (rtsal) is the Sambhogakaya and the body (sku) is Nirmanakaya.


However, unlike in the Sutra system, Trikaya does not arise as a result of accumulation of wisdom and meritorious karma. It also does not arise as the product of the transformational practices of bskyed rim and rdzogs rim (the generation and perfection stages where the practitioner realizes the illusory body composed of prana and subtle mind)z found in the system of Tantra'4 The practice of thod rgal has opened up the space for the manifestation of Trikaya. This is possible because the ultimate liberation has been present in us from the beginning of timez like the clear sky.85


As Ven. Tenzin Namdak explains:

80 Ibid.: 192.

81 Reynolds (2005: 245).

82 Tenzin Namdak (2006:154); Reynolds (2005: 244).


83 For the explanation of the arising of samsara and nirvana at the time of death, see the translation of the text below.

84 Generation process means that practitioners generate and concieve themselves in the image of deity at the centre of mandala. The practitioners practices three concentrations (Skt. samadhi, Tib. ting ngg'dzin): thusness concentration (Skt. tathata samadhi, Tib. de bzhin nyid kyi ting nge fdzin)

comprised of med让at让on on emptiness; all-illuminating concentration (Skt. samantaloka samadhi, Tib. kun tu snang ba ri gi ting nge rdzin), where a clear moon disc is generated within emptiness and causal concentration (Skt. hetu samadhi, Tib. rygu ri ring nge fdzin), where the deity was imagined to appear out of a seed syllable placed at the top of the moon disc. Perfection stage represents the stage where practitioners are in union with deity. They are the deity. Dunhuang manual De kho na nyid kyi snang ba dam pa rgyan gi sgom thabs states that in the generation state one should have generated oneself as the

son of the Victor, while in generation stage one should generate the Victor as one's own son. For more see Dalton (2004: 8-9). Tenzin Namdak states that in perfection stage practitioners should create in their heart center a very refined Illusion Body or sgyu lus through union of prana and mind. This Illusion

body is something we create during the life time and it represents the base for the manifestation of the Sambhogakaya (i.e. the deity). At the time of death, we transfer our consciousness into it, and this becomes the way for the manifestation of our Sambhogakaya. (2006: 40). 85 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 250z n.12); Reynolds (2005: 245).


[all] other sentient beings, who are still caught up in their ignorance, remain behind in samsara. However, we have not abandoned them. Because we are now fully and permanently in the Natural State, the virtuos quality of the great compassion for all sentient beings, which is inherent in itz manifests spontaneously and without limitations. This compassion is total, the great compassion, because it is extended to all sentient beings impartially. And by virtue of the power of this spontaneous compassion, we reappear to Samsaric beings as a Body of Light in order to teach them and help guide them along the path to liberation and enlightenement.85


III. Translation of Tibetan texts

The following excerpts from the collected works of Ven. Tenzin Namdak are his commentaries on the ^.Prayer to Ta pi hri tsa» (Ta pi hri tsa'i gsol "debs), written in the eight century by Ta pi hri tsazs disciple Gyer spungs chen po sNang bzher lod po also known as Gyer spungs pa. Ta pi hri tsa is known as the 25th master in the unbroken transmission lineage within the Oral Tradition from Zhang-zhung (Zhang zhung snyan rgyud).

Little is known of his life 87 but it is presumed that he was born sometime in the seventh century in Zhang-zhung. He received the transmission of all four cycles of precepts within the Oral Tradition88 from the 24th master Tshe sprungs Zla ba rgyal mtshan. He attained the Great Transfer of the Rainbow Body ('ja' lus "pho ba chen po), leaving no part of his body behind/9 but manifested miraculously to his later disciples in the form most suitable for the occasion.


Gyer spungs pa is an important figure in the history of Oral Tradition, since he was the one who got the permission directly from Ta pi hri tsaz to write down the Dzogchen precepts in the Zhang-zhung language. This then resulted in the wider spread of the teachings, which until then were only spread in an aural manner from the master to a single disciple (gcig brgyud).

The prayer is used as a part of Guru Yoga practice, the single most important preliminary practice in both Dzogchen and all other Buddhist systems. The idea of Guru Yoga is to unite one's mind with the mind of the teacher. Through achieving such unity it is said that disciples receive blessings and/or assistance for their practice. It is believed that one should visualize in front of oneself Ta pi hri tsa in the skyz in a form of a young child or eternal youth, since this was the form he used to reveal himself to Gyer spungs pa. During visualization, one should recite the prayer.90


The prayer itself can be found in the manuscript version of the rGyal ba phyag khrid collection (practice manual and commentary to Zhang zhung snyan rgyud) and was recently reprinted as an appendix to the sNgon "gro'i gsol "debs in rGyun khyer bon spyod phyogs bdus dand dang thar lam rdzogs pa'i them skyes. 91 Within the prayer, particular importance is given to the six verses (highlighted below in bold).92 The symbolism of the six verses as a prototype and basic building structure of the main text is a form taken from "The


88 According to oral commentary from Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud has four cathegories of precepts, or the ways of teaching: external, representing the general exposition of the Dzogchen view and its difference from the other vehicles; internal representing the important explanation of the Dzogchen view; secret, which is seeing the intrinsic awareness nakedly; and exceedingly secret teaching representing the definite decision to accept Natural State as the source. See also: Reynolds (2005: 49-50, 82).

89 He realized Buddhahood in one life time and there was no necessity to undergo the process of death. Instead, his physical body simply faded away and dissolved into space. However, he is said to manifest himself in a Body of Light ('od lus) in order to teach disciples with whom he had karmic connections. See: Reynolds (2005: 441-442/ n. 14).

90 For detailed description of the practice see: Reynolds (2005: 216-219).

91 Ibid.: 213-25; 231-232; 518, n. 15.

92 Reynolds argues that this core six verses were written by Gyer spungs pa and the frame consisting of preface and conclusion was addedd by later editors, see (2005: 518Z n. 15).


Cuckoo of the Intellect^ (Rig pa'i khu byug).93 This is one of the earliest known Nyingma Dzogchen texts found in Dunhuangz belonging to the series of five texts that are said to have been translated by Vairocana from his own master Sri siiha. 94 It is preserved as No. 746 of the Sir Aurel Stein's collection of manuscripts and can be found in India Office Library in London. It is dated to ca. eight century. The text is comprised of six verses plus the salutations and the subsequent commentary on the work.95

The role of the cuckoo is important both for Bon in general and the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud in particular, since it is said that gShen rab Mi bo che came down to earth from heaven in its form. Also, in the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud, one of the nine Blisful ones (bde gshegs), belonging to the first group of those who received the teachings by means of contemplation (dgongs pa) rather than through the oral transmission, is known after his name as Bar snang khu byug (the Cuckoo of the space), who transformed himself in the cuckoo on the juniper tree and sang clearly the "Cuckoo of the Intellect.96 The six highlighted verses of the prayer refer to the Basez the Path and the Fruit of practicing rthod rgal (and mkhregs chod), as Ta pi hri tsa didz and in that way he obtained the Great Transfer of the Rainbow Body.97 98


E ma ho!

How wonderful!

Mind emanation of Kuntu Zangpoz (Your) body color shines like the white crystal,

Pure and clear rays of light emanate (from You) in the ten directions.

(You) are unadorned and naked, (representing) the essential meaning of the Primordial State.

(Through Your) compassion and two-fold knowledge, (You) care for the benefit of all sentient beings.

The heart essence of the enlightened ones is Dzogchen, the highest of all (teachings),

The summit of all vehicles and the essence of all the Tantras, transmissions and pith instructions.

The Natural State of the Base, (is the source) of both the liberation of nirvana and delusion of samsara.

Through sounds, lights and rays, all the faults (of samsara) and all the qualities (of nirvana) completely banish.

Having totally cleared away the darkness of the minds (trapped in the cycle of) rebirths,



93 Ibid.: 519, n. 17; Karmay (1988: 41,48).

94 Karmay (1998: 101) doubts whether this is so, and claims that these texts are original Tibetan compositions and not translations from Sanskrit.

95 For the detailed explanation see: Karmay (1998: 94-101) and (1988: 41-85).

96 Reynolds (2005: 39-48); Karmay (1988: 43-44). Apparently, one of the nine Bonpo Dzogchen texts known as Sems sde dgu is also entitled Rig pa ri khyu byug (see Karmay ibid.).

97 Reynolds (2005: 519Z n. 17).

98 Translation done with the assistance of Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung.


The Base, empty and without any origin, is instantly realized, (together with five) paths (and ten bhumis).

Experiences and realization manifest (on the Path), and samsara and nirvana are liberated into the (Nature of) Mind,

Trikaya of the Fruit manifests in the space.

To Youz Ta pi hri tsaz the protector of all beings,

I pray with wholehearted devotion.

(That you) bestow the blessing and empowerments to me and others, All obstacles, inner, outer and secret, may they be pacified.

Having been liberated of the illusory and ignorant apprehension of selfz and having perfected view and action, the intrinsic awareness manifests.

I prayz at this moment that the meaning of the Great Perfection, that is primordially empty and baseless, beyond conception, be bestowed upon me.

To youz Ta pi hri tsaz the lord protector of all beings

I pray that you hold with compassion the beings of six realms and release their minds.

[This prayer was dedicated single-pointedly by Gyer spung snang bzher lod pos to the mind-emanationz Ta pi hri tsa. May this prayer be auspicious and virtuous!]


Translation of the commentary by Venerable Tenzin Namdak

The translation of the commentarial text (Namdak 2005: 37-42) has been done with the help of Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz the abbot of the Bonpo monastery of Triten Norbutse (Khri brtan nor bu rise) in Kathmandu, who also kindly provided substantial oral commentaries to the text, which are included here in the footnotes. This text is the explanation of only the first four highlighted verses, due to the lim让ation of space. However, the translated material provides us with the solid explanation of the main facets within the Dzogchen doctrine.

The Natural State of the Base, (is the source) of both the liberation of nirvana and delusion of samsara

[p.37] As for the first, to explain the natural state of the fundamental (primordial) base. According to lower vehicles", [p.38] after the ultimate reality has been analyzed by logical cognition [to establish whether] the essence of the object of refutation (dgag byai ngo bo) exists or doesn't exist within a logical subject (bon can)99 100, (when one checks and finds) that essence of the object of refutation101 is not found in this base (of the logical subject),

99 Ven. Tenzin Namdak starts His explanation of the prayer by establishing the general philosophical view (Ita ba spyi gcod) of other vehicles and how they differ from the Dzogchen view. This is also known as the external category of teaching.


100 According to Khenpo Yungdrungz logical subject (bon can) is the subject serving as the point of analysis of whether there is or isn't inherent existence (dgag byai ng bo) within the object, e.g. a table. A practitioner will use the so called analytical med让ation to observe the object and try to understand it's empty essence. The refutation of the inherent existence varies according to different traditions (e.g. gzhan stong and rang stong). For a detailed explanation see: Hookhamz 1992.

101 According to Alexandar Berzin, object of refutation (dgag byai ngo bo) is: an item, or a truth about an 让emz defined in terms of the exclusion of something else (gzhan sei,


therefore (that logical subjects) nature is empty. From the point of view of that knowledge which realizes that specific subject (as empty, the subject should then also be considered from the) aspect of non-affirming negation.102

According to the Dzogchen (system), emptiness is beyond the ordinary conception (bio rig).103 The nature of the base (is considered to be) the union of clarity (and) emptiness. That clarity is also empty. (That) emptiness is also empty. Their union (is also) not beyond (the state of) emptiness. Since this

(state) is empty, it is given the name of (that which is) endowed with the nature of fathoming what is empty.104 105 106 107 108 109 According to the "'Extensive Oral Transmission, the Grey One'7105, it is said: "Clarity is clear within the nature of mind. Emptiness is also empty within the nature of the mind.zz106

(In the text) "'The Six Key Points of Pure and Perfect Mind//1Q7f it is said: /zAwareness (is) empty. Emptiness (is) awareness/7 According to "The Medium Length Oral Transmission'7108, it is said: "As for the nature of essence, (it is) empty, luminous, unchanging, unceasing (and) intangible. As for

emptiness, it abides as empty essence. As for luminosity, (it's) nature abides as clarity. Essence of emptiness abides (as) clarity. Essence of clarity abides as emptiness. The quality (of) inseparable union (of) emptiness and clarity (is) unchanging/7109

elimination of other), in which an object to be negated is explicitly precluded by the conceptual cognition that cognizes the phenomenon. An example of a negation phenomenon is " not an apple/7 In order to conceptualize "not an apple/7 one needs previously to have known "apple" (the object to be negated here).

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level5 analysis mind reality /cognition theory/level b fine analysis/affirmations.html


102 Reductio ad absurdum analysis within Madhyamaka school which consists of negation of positive and negation of negative.


103 According to Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz in Dzogchen we cannot say that we can conceptually grasp emptiness. As Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche points out, unlike the Sutra teachings (common name for all lower vehicles), which analyses the object by means of conceptual thought, Dzogchen uses direct and immediate introduction to emptiness and together with various forms of zhi gnas med让ation helps the person to understand the empty nature of reality and of the primordial state. (2004: 179).


104 According to Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz once we experience the state of emptiness that goes beyond the ordinary conception, then the observer also becomes the emptiness within the emptiness itself. «Who is aware? Who knows? The awareness is known by itself.» Like a candle light full of light, which itself produces the clear light. It is clear by itself.

105 Nyams rgyud rgyas pa skya ru ma, teachings belonging to the cycle of the Experiential Transmission (Nyams rgyud). It is the collective commentarial work based on the practical experiences of the Zhang zhung snyan rgyud masters. Within the extensive collection there is the Grey and the Brown one, because of the colour of the covers used to distinguish two versions.


106 This signifies the fact, that although the nature of the mind possesses two qualities of clarity and emptiness, they are in fact in unity within the nature of mind.


107 Byang tsub sems khyi gnad drug, a complementary text to the root text Instructions on the Six Lamps'7 (sgron ma drug pa), written by Ya ngal Gong khra pa chen po, belonging to Zhang zhung snyan rgyud cycle. The root text is also known as "The Six Lamps'7, which is the title used in this paper.


108 'Bring po sor bzhag / part of Medium length experiential teachings by Zhang-zhung masters, belonging to the Nyams rgyud cycle.


109 According to Khenpo Yungdrungz these statements are made to fortify the inseparability of emptiness and clarity. A Prayer to Ta pi hri tsa


(In the text) "The Commentary of the Six Precepts^110, it is said: /z(That which) possesses awareness abides as empty, and is clear as the state of great primordial wisdom. Awareness abides as pervasive Dharmakaya.zz Such a natural state cannot be found by conceptual mind in the duality of object and

subject. (Now), if you think how can (one) find (it)? (In the text) "'The Commentary of the Six Precepts", it is said: /z(There are two ways), the gradual taming of the mind and the instantaneous taming of the mind.111 112 As for gradual taming, (it is said that) by meditation (one should) focus one's mind on

the sacred syllable (or on any) divine body. (If) the mind does not want to focus and escapes (to the extremes) of drowsiness (and) agitation. (In the case of) drowsiness, (one should) uplift (the mind by) thinking (on) [p.39] Buddha's body (and) primordial wisdom (and) generate enthusiasm. (In the case of) agitation (one should) bring the (mind) down (by) thinking (that) substance of appearances (produced in meditation) is delusion. Having generated the

feeling of dissatisfaction that there is no benefit if one does not meditate on these principles, one meditates and in consequence of which, gradually, the discursive thoughts (become) more and more pacified. At the same timez the primordial wisdom arises (and) becomes clearer. As it is saidz focus on the (sacred syllable) A etc.z and let the mind gradually settle down. In that state of mindz (one should) again lookback at it."


As for instantaneous taming of mindz as mentioned above, (it is said): "When the mind does not want to be stable and (gets) agitated, it is similar to for example, a wild horse. If you try to tame itz it cannot be tamed and so you should (first) let it run as much as (it) wants and (gradually it will get


tired) so (you can) tame (it). (Like this)z the wild mind (which is) like the wild horsez if (you) intentionally try to tame itz more and more discursive thoughts will arise. (Therefore), let it just arise as much as it wants without trying to stop (your) senses. (Also)z without trying to tame the inside of

the mind (that runs) after the object, let it goz without holding and analyzing (your thoughts), without (any) attachment to any particular thing/7 According to the same text (it is said): "When (one) looks at (one's) mindz (there is) no colour and form. Therefore (one) does not see (the mind as)

substantial (and with) form. From primordial timez the mind is not substantial. Mind is endowed with essence of awareness. Through the (nature of) Mind which is endowed with the quintessence of awareness, one become familiarized with the state of Reality (bon nyid) which is endowed with the quintessence of mind.zz112


(In the text entitled) "'Determining the General Philosophical View" (it is said)113: "If discursive thought arises (and if one) looks (at it) directly, (it will be) liberated. (After liberation there will be) clear wisdom, without fixed point of reference. (This) is called the wisdom of thod rgal.ff When discursive


110 Lung drug 'grel, the text belonging to the rDzogs chen bsgrags pa skor gsum cycle, the commentary of the Lung drug, written by Li shu sTag ring.

111 This is the practice of direct introduction to mind (sems kyi ngo sprod) which is compulsory before training in khregs chod, see Tenzin Namdak (2006: 139-145).

112 This means by knowing awareness experientially, one comes to know the ultimate Reality (bon nyid) of the mind itself (private correspondence with Jean-Luc Achard on 26th April 2008).

113 ITa ba spyi good , independent root text, 12 chapters of pith instructions (Man ngag leru bcu gnyis pa), part of Bon bKa' brten.


thought arises, (if one) looks (at the discursive thought itself that has become) the object of watching, (it will be) dissolved. (Having dissolved thatz one) remains in the unspeakable state without particular identification of the (mind as) the observer. (That is) the experience (of) the nature of mind. Such a natural state is endowed with all the qualities of original purity, spontaneous perfection, essence, nature, compassionate energy etc.114 [p.40] As for the second, to explain the liberation (and) delusion (of) samsara and nirvana: (there are two and the first is) the way of being deluded (in) samsara.

(The second is) the way of being liberated (in) nirvana. As for the first, generally, (even) samsara (itself) is delusion (and also there is) no beginning of (that) delusion. In particular, each person at the time of death (can experience) the intermediate state of primordially pure Dharmakaya.115 Most people experience (that state), regardless whether (they have or haven't been) directly introduced (with natural state). (Sentient beings) remain (in the intermediate state of primordially pure Dharmakaya) for longer of shorter extent of time (and after thatz through the condition of rising movement) of

innate wind energy116, the three visions (of) sound, light and rays (will) freely manifest.117 Together with that vision, the cognizant 114 Dzogchen practice of zhi gnas or samata represents a part of so called semdzin practices (sems fdzin) which are aimed at fixating the mind on e.g.

white Tibetan letter A. By such practice the state of calm is achieved and mind is concentrated. However this is not the Natural state, or awareness (rig pa), it is just something created by the mind. In that state, when a thought arises, one should observe it (it becomes the object of watching) and without

trying to change it, inspect 让s colour, shape, point or origin, establishe whether 让 is coming from the inside or the outside of the body etc. After that we look at the mind, and inspect who and where is the watcher that really looks at the thought. There comes the point when ne让her watcher nor the object

of watching can be spearated since they are of the same nature, and this is the point of recognition of Nature of Mind (i.e. the unspeakable state). See Tenzin Namdak (2006: 126-131).


115 According to private correspondence with Jean-Luc Achard on 25th April 2008/ the Bardo of Dharmakaya (ka dag bon sku'i bar do) is: "The Bardo of the Primordially Pure Absolute Body is....the state which occurs just after the disconnection of the

mind from the body. At that time, there are no arising of anything (thoughts, visions, etc.), just the pure and limpid Essence of our natural state. In general, this Bardo is said to last as long as one is able to remain clearly in the state of Trekcho. For ordinary beings, it last a tenth of a finger snap

and therefore cannot be recognized. For many schools and masters (outside Dzogchen), this is a blank state without consciousness. In a sense this is true: there are no consciousnesseses such as sense or mental consciousness. However, this is not a blank state of being dull, etc. It is rather the pure state of Emptiness and Clarity together. The clarity aspect is at 让s sapiential level (not at 让s visionary level which occurs in the Bardo of Clear-Light of Reality) and is simply Awareness (jig pa). Therefore it is a state beyond consciousnesses but endowed with Awareness. It is self-aware without mental lim让

ations. If one recognizes this state just after death, then there is nothing else to do, this is total Buddhahood. The existence of this state just after death is the very reason of the practice of Trekcho (if one is unable to reach liberation in this life)/7


116 The natural base in itself hold all the potentiality and perfected qualities of all phenomena. The first element that arises out of it (leaving it nevertheless unaffected, like the sun reflecting on the water) is the very subtle wind, because it is in it's nature to arise (e.g. nature of the fire is

to warm upz of the water to moisten etc.). Due to the this spontaneous perfection and quality of the base, the elements can arise but they can never affect the base. See Rossi (1999: 65-67). According to Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrungz the subtle wind causes the subtle sounds and the luminosity and clarity of the base cause the arising of lights and rays.


117 For explanation of the Bardo of the Clear-Light of Reality (bon nyid 'od gsal gyi bar do), see Blezer in Karmay and Watt (2007: 188,192); Tenzin Namdak in Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (2002:122-123); Blezer (1997: 69-70); Orofino (1990: 45-59); Karmay (1988: 203-205).


consciousness (as) the perceiver (yul can gyi shes rig cig) arises (as soon as) the object's observable qualities appear (to that cognizant consciousness). Grasping of the objects (that appear to the cognizant consciousness) emerges from it's own side118 (and) naturally arises. That is called simultaneously- born ignorance (lhan gcig skyes pai ma rig pa).119 120 Furthermore, (if you ask) together with what (is this ignorance) simultaneously bornz (it is) born simultaneously (with) three (objects which are) sounds, lights (and) rays. (If you ask) what is also bornz the cognizant consciousness (as) the perceiver (is born). (If you ask) what condition caused (it)z it is

caused by the condition of sounds, lights (and) rays. The cause of the birth of that ignorance (is) the previous karma and negative emotions of the person (whose) mind stream (is endowed with that ignorance).


(In the text) "The Six Lamps'" (it is said): "When the three objects of vision (sounds, lights and rays) directly manifest, recollecting consciousness (of the) cognition (dren rig bio ye shes pa) (is) obscured (by the) objects. (In that way this consciousness) does not recognize (them as) self-manifesting

(and as) magical apparition (and it) perceives (them as) dual and real. That perception of duality obscures the actual state of awareness. Since (it) does not realize self-awareness (rang rig) (it) cannot realize the nature of primordial base (kun gzhi'i don). That is (called) simultaneously born ignorance77.


Because of that cognizant consciousness the grasping of the objects becomes grosser and having discriminated more particularities of the object, that consciousness (itself) becomes grosser. By the force (of that)z the objects of the vision are stirred up. Having stirred those objects of vision, the five

causal elements arise (rgyu Inga'i "byung ba).™ Due to thatz vision of five objects (yul Inga'i snang ba) arise. 121 Because of thatz five sensory perceptions (sgo Inga'i shes pa)122 123 [p.41] and five aggregates (phung po Inga) arise.也(That perception that grasps) those objects as inherent and from

their own side124 and discriminates different forms is called imputed ignorance. (In the text entitled) "The Six Lamps'" (it is said): "Six senses (having imputed or made up their) objects, (make them) vary in forms.125 That is imputed ignorance (kun btags kyi ma rig pa).126 127


By the power of imputed ignorance, (one) grasps self and others. Having grasped self and others, five poisons of negative emotions arise"」”

118 It appears that the objects are separate from us and not just the projection of our mind, oral commentary Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung.

119 The "genetic" cause which prevents recognition of the ultimate nature of mind, simultaneously born with all sentient beings, see Klein and Wangyal (2006: 90-91); Reynolds (2005: 241-242); Rossi (1999: 64); Karmay (1988:189-190).

120 Wind, earth, fire, water, space.

121 Form, sound, taste, smell, touch.

122 Eye, earz toungez nose, body.

123 Five skandhas - form, feeling, idea, formation, consciousness.

124 The objects have independent inherent existence, and the perception grasps them as dual and separate from itself.

125 One starts recognizing e.g. this is my hand and I can touch with it, this is my nose so I can smell with it, oral commentary by Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung.

126 Non-spontaneous ignorance made up later in the process due to causal rising of different elements, perceptions, aggregates and so fort. See Reynolds (2005: 242).

127 Desire, angerz delusion, pride, envy.



As for the second, (to explain) the way of being liberated (in) nirvana: at the end (of the) manifestation (of) the fundamental nature (in the intermediate state of Dharmakaya)z during the state of death (which is the time) when the three (visions) of sounds, lights and rays arise (due to the movement of) the

innate wind energy, at the same timez the expressive manifestation (of) awareness wisdom (rig pa'i ye shes) (appears) without wavering (from the state of ) self-originated wisdom (gzhi rang "byung ye shes) (and) the objects of perception manifest (to) the awareness wisdom, (but it) does not perceive them. All

the appearance of the objects of perception (resembles) magical apparition (and are) like an image in a mirror, (which) appears, but with no reality. As for the awareness, (it) is nothing other than the basez (which) is empty and clear. Therefore, all appearances gradually arise as those of wisdom and

body of divinities (just like) the rainbow manifests (itself) in the space.128 The empty form of inconceivable wisdom appearance (ye shes kyi snang ba bsam gyis mi grub pa) arises. That awareness wisdom does not waver from the empty and clear basez and (it also) does not follow the expressive energy of three

(objects which are) sounds, lights and rays. This is called simultaneously-born wisdom awareness (lhan cig skyes pa'i rig pa'i ye shes). (If you ask) together with what (is this wisdom) simultaneously bornz (it is born with) three capacities of sound, light and rays. (If you ask) what is bornz (it is)

that wisdom awareness that (is born). Even the term born (refers to) the beginning of realization of emptiness by emptiness itself. 129 Causal conditions of the birth of this wisdom result from the accumulation of merits in previous lifetimes by the person endowed with (it) and (he/she) is able to maintain

awareness at its natural place (rig pa rang gnas su zin) (without wavering towards objects). In "'The Six Lamps'" (it is said): "Due to the manifestation of the expressive energy of three objects (of vision which are sounds, lights and rays)

mindful awareness (dran rig bio yi shes pa ) sees directly (those objects as) selfmanifestations (and) magical apparitions, [p.42] Because (of the) selfmanifestation (of) the objects, awareness "awares" nakedly and freshly.130 The primordial base is realized clearly without obscuration. (Due to that)

realization, the awareness stays (in its) own natural place. (It) doesn't follow after the objects manifested by the vision. At that time (one) manifests (one's own) independence/7


128 The practitioner can be liberated either in the Bardo of Dharmakayaz or can move on to Bardo of the Clear-Light of Reality, where the first chance of liberation occurs if one recognizes the three visions (sounds, lights and rays) as the manifestation of one's own expressive energy (tsel) of the Nature of Mind. If one does not recognize them as illusions, more vision appear of the so called Zhitro (zhi khro), the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, their mandalas and retinues etc. This is also the point in which one can get liberated by realizing that these visions are mere projection of one's mind. See Tenzin Namdak (2006: 138).


129 Tenzin Namdak states that: "In Dzogchen, we do not even grasp at the presence of awareness. We find no grasping there and no watcher. Both the watcher and the watched dissolve into the Natural State....But other shools are not satisfied to let thoughts dissolve and then find nothing there, no

trace at all. They mantain that there must be a thought or a perception present that knows this state. Such a thought or perception, however, no matter how subtle, still represents grasping/7 (2006: 144). 130 It represents the moment of understanding of the emptiness and non-duality and inseparability of awareness from the Nature of Mind and Primordial Base, (ibid.: 140).

In this textz it is said (that) the term "dran rig bio yi shes pa,r should not be taken literally (as the recollecting consciousness of cognition in samsara but as the mindful awareness of nirvana). This is because beneath the objects of self-manifestation awareness manifests (itself) nakedly and

freshly. That awareness is nothing other than the awareness staying in its own natural place. (Its) expressive energy is manifested self-awareness wisdom (shar gyi rang rig ye shes). That (manifested self-awareness wisdom) is none other than the union of emptiness and clarity. If (you) are not convinced of thisz (you) will be in contradiction with all the texts and teachings that explain the simple sphere of basic nature as beyond conception.131


Through sounds, lights and rays, all the faults (of samsara) and all the qualities (of nirvana) completely banish As for the third, (to) explain the faults and qualities (of) three (visions of) sound, light and rays: as mentioned above, awareness that stays in its own natural place, the manifested self-awareness wisdom, is not wavered from the basez (which is) the union of clarity and emptiness (and) becomes the essence

of emptiness and clarity. From that state, whatever (visions of) sound, light and rays may arise, (one) does not perceive them and is not transformed and modified by either qualities or faults of grasping thought. Therefore, all the visions are manifested as empty form. Soz (one) does not accumulate any defilements of either qualities or faults on the primordial ground (which is called) completely luminous.132


Having totally cleared away the darkness of the minds (trapped in the cycle of) rebirths As for the fourth, (to explain) the clearing away (of) the darkness133 of sentient beings: having dispelled the darkness of the mind of the sentient beings (means that) all the obscurations comprising both afflictive obscurations and obscurations to the knowledge and all those similar to


131 Independence mentioned here means being aware that thoughts can arise, but we are ne让her distracted by them nor clinging towards them. We understand them as manifestation of expressive energy (rtsal) of the awareness wisdom which remains in its own natural state or place, (ibid.;. 146).


132 The quotation from Klein and Wangyal further fortifies the statement "Nothing, not even one thing


Does not arise from me.


Nothing, not even one thing Dwells not within me.

Every thing, just everything Emanates from me

Thus I am only one.

Knowing me is knowing all 一 Great bliss/7 (2006: 229).

133 The darkness of those deluded by duality and seeing things as having inherent nature, is sometimes explained with the parabole of "mistaking rope for a snake", see Klein and Wangyal (2006: 227); Rossi (1999: 55). "Thoughts and emotions fill the mind with darkness, like the clouds filling the space with thick clouds/7 Reynolds (2005: 242).


them are purified without leaving any trace by this Lord (Ta pi hri tsa) when (he) directly manifested the awareness wisdom (and) became perfect (in it). The Base, empty and without any origin, is instantly realized, together with the paths and bhumis.

[p.43] As for second, (to explain) the activity. Three sentences starting with word gzhi stong (the basez empty and without any origin) etc. (To explain its meaning there are three subdivisions which are): The instant realization of path and bhumis, the way of liberation from samsara and nirvana in the

(nature of) mindz (and) the means of obtaining the three kayas as a result. As for the first, although (the system of) Dzogchen accepts (the philosophy of) achieving two kayas (through) two types of accumulations of merit (and wisdom), as for the way to achieve the result, it is unnecessary to add any other method except keeping oneself in a single state of meditation on awareness wisdom, which is the union of the primordially pure and spontaneously perfect

base and is called the uniquely perfect awareness. Therefore (the result) does not depend on progressive stages of the path and bhumis. (In the text entitled) "'The Commentary to the Six Precepts^ (it is said): "The ultimate nature of phenomenal existence, the pure and perfect mindz has no paths and bhumis and (one) does not progress higher or lower. (There is) also nothing to be observed/7 Even though, from the base itself, there is nothing

to be examined, if (one) practices with understanding of spontaneous perfection, as mentioned earlier, (one will) realize the natural state of the Great Perfection and the way (in which it) is perfected. Knowing thatz the mind-stream of the practitioner will attain the qualities of that knowledge. For example, a person drinking a cup of milk (will indiscriminately and instantaneously) know the benefits and harms of nourishing quality of butter in milk on (his/her) bodyz even if the particularities of (those) nutritional qualities of the milk are not known (to that person).134


Commentary to the translation

The six verses encapsulate the exposition of the Basez the Path and the Fruit. The Primordial Basez representing our Natural State or our Nature of Mindz is spontaneously perfected. However, in it there is also potentiality for the rise of both samsara and nirvana. The practitioners of khregs chod and thod

rgalf at the time of death, enter into the intermediate state, but they are not deluded by the appearances that manifest themselves. The manifestation of 134 Through the direct introduction into the Nature of Mind by the qualified teacher, the practitioner starts practicing khregs chod to stabilize the mind and thod rgal to overcome dualistic perceptions and to understand the nature of the arising visions as a mere display of his / her own Nature of Mind.

Consequently, one comes to definite understanding (chod rtogs) of Dzogchen as the Sole Path (lam gcig) to liberation. There is no need to practice any separate method, since all the methods are already there, spontaneously perfected within the practice of remaining in the Primoridal Base. See: Reynolds (2005: 242-243); Rossi (1999: 68); Karmay (1988:193).


appearances occurs because the Natural Base in itself holds all potentiality and perfected qualities of all phenomena. As Reynolds states:

During the process of dying, onezs elements, vital winds, and thought processes all dissolve back into the space from which they originated. Deprived of the definition and constraint of a material body, consciousness finds itself in a vast dark empty space without any borders or walls....But this space is not just non-existence or a blank nothingness, a mere absence; it is the vast, open infinite space of onezs own Nature of Mind. This vast space of dimension is the Kunzhiz the basis of every thing, the state of Shunyata.135

The Nature of Mind is expressed as the inseparability of emptiness and inherent luminosity of intrinsic awareness (rig pa'i rang gsal) which spontaneously manifests in the dimension of space as the Clear Light.

Ifz at the moment of death, one does not recognize that the emanating sounds, lights and rays are just the display of the Nature of Mind or inherent energy of awareness (rig pa'i rang rtsal), and starts clinging to themz then one falls into unconsciousness. In the case of nirvana, or enlightened awareness (rig pa'i ye shes), the visions of buddhas and mandalas appear from the Clear Light. However, the practitioner, although at first perhaps deluded by the subtle visions of sounds, lights and raysz will recognize them as nothing but illusions, and in that way gain Enlightenment. This happens due to the simultaneously born wisdom awareness (lhan cig skyes pa'i rig pa'i ye shes), which enables the practitioner to remain stable in understanding the processess happening due to potentiality of the Primordial Base.

In the case of samsaraz the cognizant consciousness (shes rig) starts clinging to the subtle visions of sounds, lights and rays which causes them to become grosser and grosser. Due to the simultaneously born ignorance (lhan gcig skyes pai ma rig pa )z this genetic cause simultaneously born with all sentient beings that bares with itself the duality of the watcher and watched, one perceives visions as something separate from oneself and as born from one's own side. One also feels either attraction or aversion to themz which leads to unfolding of the other impure karmic visions and eventuall rebirth.136 Under samsaric conditions, cognizant consciousness is dual in nature, separating object from subject and is distracted by thoughts and emotions. This is

known as the two-fold ignorance, one called simultaneously born ignorance (lhan gcig skyes pai ma rig pa) and the other imputed ignorance (kun btags kyi ma rig pa). This two-fold ignorance is usually compared to the clouds in the sky which obscure the view. At the time of death, one clearly has the chance to either enter the path of samsara or nirvana. Therefore, it becomes necessary to understand and

familiarize oneself with the Natural State during one's life time. This is done through the direct introduction to the Nature of Mindz by the qualified lama and consequent practices of khregs chod and thod rgal. Through these practices one should stabilize oneself in the Nature of Mindz which is the state beyond thoughts, beyond good and bad qualities and beyond the accumulation of karma. Practitioners do not hope to achieve nirvana nor are


they frightened by the possibility of falling into the cycle of samsara. They do not desire to do good deeds and refrain from the bad ones. When either good or bad events happen, the practitioner does not cling to themz but lets them spontaneously manifest and dissolve into the Nature of Mind. The practitioner is no longer bounded by thought process which leads to the birth of ignorance. As such one is prepared for the state of bar do, and sees all

the defects of samsara and virtues of nirvana as mere visions. One also realizes that the Base is the only pathz meaning that by stabilizing oneself in the awarness of the Natural State, one does not need to practice any higher or lower method than this. By practicing khregs chod and thod rgalf one realizes that enlightenment is nothing more than liberating within

oneself the Trikaya or the Primordial Budhahood that has been obscured. As a consequence, one obtains the Rainbow Body and dissolves into light. Appendix I: Short biography of Venerable Tenzin Namdak137 The Venerable Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche is considered to be one of the most learned experts on Bon outside Tibet. He is both an accomplished scholar and a practitioner of Dzogchen and Ma rgyud or Mother Tantras within Bon.138 He was born in 1926z in Kham province in Eastern Tibet. He started the monastic life at the age of seven and he received his early education in two well known Bon monasteries 一 Tengchen and Yungdrung Ling. In 1945. he started his studies in philosophy at Yungdrung Ling. From 1945 to 1950 he lived the life

of a hermit existence with his master and tutor sGang ru tshul khrims rgyal mtshan. This master was a highly learned lama within the Bon tradition and a long-time Lopon at Yungdrung Ling. In his cavez Lopon Tenzin Namdak studied grammar, poetics, monastic discipline, cosmology and the stages of the path to enlightenment.139

In 1950, following the advice of his master, he went to Menri monastery in Tsang province. There he completed his studies and obtained Geshe (dge bshes) degree (Tibetan equivalent to a Doctor of Philosophy). His principal teacher was Slob dpon ljong ldong sangs rgyas bstan Zdzinz and in Menri he undertook the study of Tibetan and Sanskrit grammar, poetics, astrology and medicine, also deepening his knowledge of Sutric and Tantric teachings. In 1953, due to his outstanding knowledge, he became Lopon (slob dpon) or head teacher of the academic program at the monastery's college. He retired from the position in 1957 due to the increased conflicts between Tibetans and Chinese. In 1960 he tried to escape to India, but on the way was shot by Chinese soldiers and incarcerated in Chinese prison for nearly 10 months. He escaped with a

group of monks, and after 22 days arrived in the safety of Nepal. In 1961z while residing in Kathmandu, he met David Snellgrovez the famous Tibetologistz who invited him to come to London. He came as a

137 For detailed biography of Venerable Tenzin Namdak see: Reynolds in Tenzin Namdak (2006: 209-230); Reynolds (2005: 368-380).

Tenzin Namdak (2006: 209); Reynolds (2005: 367).

139 Tenzin Namdak (2006: 210-211); Reynolds (2005: 368).


visiting scholar at the University of London, and obtaining a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, resided some time at Cambridge. His three-year collaboration with Snellgrove resulted in the publication of "The Nine Ways of Bon'\ and the translation of the extracts from the gZi brjid, the most extensive hagiography of gShen rab Mi bo che.


He returned to India in 1964z and continued working on the publishing and printing of Tibetan texts. He also raised the funds for establishment of Bonpo settlement in Northern India. In 1967Z with the financial help of the Catholic Relief Service, he purchased a piece of forest land at Dolanji and began to establish a settlement, which was officially registered as the Tibetan Bonpo Foundation (TBF). About 70 families were transferred from Manali district where they lived under harsh and impoverished conditions. They all received a piece of land and a house. TBF has its own constitution and administration, with the Abbot of Menri acting as the president. In 1978z the Bonpo Monastic Centre was completed, consisting of a temple, library, Abbots residence, residential area and Lama's college (bshad grwa). It took almost nine years to build the whole complex and during that timez Lopon Namdak had a crucial role of being the teacher to young monks, a publisher of crucial Bonpo texts, and the organizer of the curriculum in the college. As a well renowned

scholar, he himself wrote numerous publications, of which many are used as a part of the curriculum. The purpose of the Lama's College at Dolanji was to preserve the tradition of education in philosophy, as it was taught in Tibetan Bon monasteries, and to

inaugurate a nine-year program which would prepare students for Geshe (dge bshes) degree examination. Students would learn Sutraz Tantra and Dzogchen, by application of philosophical analysis and logic to their understanding. Recently, Lopon Namdak established another Bonpo monastery and college in Nepal,

known as Triten Norbutse (Khri brten nor bui rise). Lopon continued his visits to the Westz where he gave Dzogchen teachings according to Bonpo tradition of the A khrid and Zhang zhung snyan rgyud. In 1991z

he was invited by HH the Dalai Lama to represent the Bon tradition at the Kalachakra Initation in New York. In 2001. Shenten Dargye Lingz a permanent Bon centre for teaching, retreat and research was established in France. Appendix II Transliteration of Tibetan texts


The transliteration of the Prayer to Ta pi hri tsafA4°

EMAHO!

kun bzang thugs sprul sku mdog shel dkar "od/ dri med mdang gsal "od zer phyogs bcur "phro/ rgyan med gcer bu ye nyid snying po'i don! mkhyen gnyis thugs rje "gro ba'i don la dgongs/ bde gshegs thugs bcud rdzogs chen kun gyi mchog/


theg pa'i yang rise rgyud lung man ngag snying/ gzhi yi gnas lugs "khor "das grol "khrul dang! sgra "od zer gsum skyon yon rab gsal zhing/

"gro ba bio yi mun pa kun gsal nas/ gzhi stong rtsa bral ba lam gcig chod rtogs/ nyams rtogs mngon-gyur "khor "das sems su grol! "bras bu sku gsum dbyings su "god mdzad pa!

"gro ba'i mgon po ta pi hri tsa la!

bdag bio rise gcig mos pas gsol ba "debs! bdag sogs "gro la dbang bskur bying gyis rlobs/ phyi nang gsang ba'i bar chad zhi ba dang! ma rig "khrul ba'i bdag "dzin grol bas kyang/ rang rig mngon gyur Ita spyod mthar phyin nas! ye stong rtsa bral bio "das chen po'i don! da Ita nyid du bdag la rtsal du gsol/ rje "gro ba'i mgon po ta pi hri tsa la] gsol ba "debs so "gro drug thugs rjes zungs la bdag rgyud khrol/ [ces sprul sku ta pi hri tsa la! gyer spungs snang bzher lod pos gsol ba phur tshugs sub blab pa'o/bkra shis/dge'o//]

Transliteration of Venerable Tenzin Namdakzs commentary on the Prayer to Ta pi hri tsci"

[p.37] dang po gzhi yi gnas lugs 'chad pa la! theg pa 'og ma liar bon can zhig gi [p.38] steng du dgag byai ngo bo yod med don dam dpyod pai rig shes kyis brtag nas dgag byai ngo bo de gzhi de yi steng du ma rnyed pas gzhi de yi rang bzhin stong pa yin par nges dgos shing nges byed de yi ngor dgag bya bead pai med dgag gi mam pa shar ba zhig go rdzogs chen gyi stong pa de bio rig gi yul las 'das pa zhig yin tel gzhi yi rang bzhin gsal stong zung 'jug cig fdod

la! gsal ba de yang stong pa/ stong pa yang stong pa/ zung 'jug kyang stong pa las ma 'das pas/ 'di la stong pas stong pa 'jal bai ngang tshul can zhes mtshan gsol/ snyan rgyud rgyas pa skya ru ma las! gsal ba yang sems nyid du gsal/ stong pa yang sems nyid du stong / zhes dang / byang chub sems kyi gnad drug las/ rig pa stong pa/ stong pa rig pa/ zhes gsungs pai phyir/ 'bring po sor bzhag las ngo bo'i gnas lugs nil stong pa/ gsal ba! 'gyur med/ 'gag med/ thogs med du gnas pa yin tel stong ni ngo bo stong par gnas/ gsal ba ni rang bzhin gsal bar gnas/ stong pai ngo bo gsal bar gnas/ gsal bai ngo bo stong par

gnas/ stong gsal dbyer med kyi yon tan 'gyur med du gnas/ zhes gsungs pai phyir/ lung drug 'grel las/ rig bcas stong par gnas pas/ ye shes chen po'i ngang du gsal tel rig pa khyab bdal bon sku ru gnas zhes byao! /zhes gsungs] de Ita bui gnas lugs de yul dang yul can gang gi steng nas shes rig gis mi rnyed pas! da ji liar byed nas rnyed snyam na/ lung drug 'grel las/ khad kyis fdul ba dang / cig char fdul ba gnyis so/ /khad kyis fdul ba nil yid fbruam lha sku la sems glad de bsgom pas/ sems gnas su ma fdod de! bying rgod kyi mthar shor na/ bying na gzengs bstod la [p.39] sangs rgyas kyi sku dang ye shes la spro

ba bskyed/ rgod na shes pa shed smad la snang bai dngos po 'di 'khrul pa yin/ don la ma bsgom na phan med snyam pai skyo ba bskyed de bgom pas/ je zhi je zhi la mam rtog zhi la] je gsal je gsal la ye shes bskyed pa'0/ /zhes gsungs pa liar a la sogs la sems glad de rim bzhin gnas su bcug gnas pai sems la star kha log ste bit a ru gazhugapa'i lugs de'0/ /cig char 'dul ba nil gong ma Itar sems sdod du ma fdod de rgod na/ dper na rta dmu rgod du shor ba de yang btul bas mi thul de/ kho rang dkyus pas chad nas drung du fong ba bzhin du/ sems rta rgod dang fdra ba 'di yang / btul na mam rtog phyir la mang bas/ dbang po yul la mi dgag rang yan du btang bas/ shes pa yul la yan pa

star mi btul! ma bzung ma brtag pas gang du yang chags pa de nyid ces bya'o/ /zhes dang I yang de nyid las/ sems la bit as pas/ kha dog dang dbyibs su ma grub pas/ dngos po'am dbyibs su ma mthong pa'o/ /zhes dang / sems la dngos po gdod ma rang nas med pa ste/ rig pai snying po can du yod pa'0/ /sems nyid rig pai snying po can des/ bon nyid sems kyi snying po can gyi ngang la 'dris par byed pao! /zhes gsungs pa dang / Ita ba spyi gcod las/ mam rtog thol gyis

skyes sam na/ gcer gyis bit as pas khrol gyis grol/ glad med kyi ye shes sa le ba/ thod brgal ye shes bya ba yin! zhes gsungs pa liar mam rtog cig skyes pa de la bit as pas bit a yul stor/ de stor nas Ita mkhan de yang 'di liar zhes ngos bzung med pai ngang du ha phyod de lus pa de la sems kyi gnas lugs mthong ba'o//de Ita bui gnas lugs de la ka dag dang Ihun grub! ngo bo rang bzhin thugs rje sogs [p.40] kyi yon tan kun tshang pao! /


gnyis pa 'khor 'das kyi grol 'khrul bshad pa la! 'khor bai 'khrul tshul dang / 'das pai grol tshul lol /dang po nil spyir 'khor ba 'khrul pa yin yang 'khrul pai thog ma med/ khyad par du gang zag re rei 'chi dus kyi skabs der/ ka dag bon skui bar do ngo 'phrod pa dang ma 'phrod pai 'gro ba phal cher la shar ba yin/ gzhi der yun ring thung nges med du gnas rjes lhan skyes rlung gi g.yo Idang la brten nas sgra fod zer gsum gyi snang ba 'gag med du shar/ de

shar ba dang dus mnyam du yul can gyi shes rig cig shar ba de la yul de'i mam pa shar ba dang / yul dernamasa rang gi ngos nas byung bar 'dzin pa zhig ngang gis skyes/ de la lhan cig skyes pai ma rig pa zer! de yang gang dang lhan cig tu skyes na yul sgra fod zer gsum dang lhan cig tu skyes/ gang skyes na de dus kyi yul can shes rig de skyes/ rkyen gang gis byas na sgra fod zer gsum des by as/ de fdrai ma rig pa de skye bai rgyu rang rgyud Idan gyi gang zag de'i las nyon snga ma mams so! sgron ma drug pa las/ snang bai yul gsum mngon du shar bai tshe/ dran rig bio yi shes pa yul la rmongs/ rang snang sgyu mar ma shes gzhan snang bden par mthong / gzhan mthong bio yis rig pai don la bsgrigs/ rang rig ma shes pas kun gzhi'i don ma rtogs/ de ni lhan cig skyes pai ma rig pao! /zhes gsungs] shes pa de'i rkyen gyis yul la 'dzin pa rags su song ba dang / yul gyi bye brag mang du phyes nas shes pa de rags su song bai stobs kyis snang bai yul mams dkrugs/ snang yul mams 'khrugs nas rgyu Inga'i 'byung ba shar/ de'i rkyen gyis yul Inga'i snang ba shar/ de'i rkyen gyis sgo Inga'i shes pa dang [p.41] phung po Inga sogs byung zhing / yul de mams la rang ngos nas grub par 'dzin bzhin mam pa du mar phye bai shes rig de la kun btags kyi ma rig pa zhes bya ste! sgron ma drug pa las/ tshogs drug yul la brtag ste sna tshogs phye/ de ni kun tu brtag pai ma rig pa! kun brtag ma rig dbang gis bdag dang gzhan du bzung / bdag dang gzhan du bzung bas nyon mongs dug Inga byung I zhes gsungs pai phyir/ gnyis pa 'das pai grol tshul ni/ 'chi srid skabs kyi gzhi snang gi mthar lhan skyes kyi rlung gi g.yo Idang las sgra fod zer gsum gyi snang ba shar ba dang / dus mnyam du rtsal shar gyi rig pai ye shes des gzhi rang 'byung ye shes las ma g.yos par yul snang mams rig pai ye shes la shar yang ngos ma bzung / rjes su ma 'brangs pas yul snang mams sgyu ma Ita bu dang / gzugs brnyan Itar snang ba'0/ /rig pai ye shes ni gzhi stong gsal las gzhan du ma gyur pas/ snang ba mams rim bzhin sku dang ye shes kyi snang ba nam mkhai gzha' tshon shar ba am! stong gzugs ye shes kyi snang ba bsam gyis mi khyab pa shar bao! /rig pai ye shes de gzhi stong gsal las ma g.yos rtsal sgra fod zer gsum gyi rjes su ma 'breng pas rig pa rang sa zin zhes paol l'di la lhan cig skyes pai rig pai ye shes zer! gang dang lhan cig tu skyes na sgra fod zer gsum dang lhan cig tu


skyes/ gang skyes na rig pai ye shes de! skye zhes pai tha snyad btags kyang stong pas stong pa 'jal bai 'go tshugs paoll'di liar skye bai rgyu rkyen nil rang rgyud Idan gyi gang zag de yis sngon nas bsod nams kyi tshogs bsags pai lag rjes las rig pa rang sa zin pao! /sgron ma drug pa las/ snang bai yul gsum rtsal shar bas/ dran rig bio yi shes pa yis! rang snang sgyu mar lhag [p.42] gis mthong / rang snang yul gyi rkyen byas nas] rig pa gcer bur rjen gyis shar/ kun gzhi sgrib med sal gyi rtogs! rtogs pas rig pa rang sa zin/ snang ba yul gyi rjes ma 'breng / de tshe rang dbang mngon du gyur/ zhes gsungs pai phyir/ gzhung 'di las dran rig bio yi shes pa yis! zhes gsungs pa dgongs pa can las rang gzhung gi don ma yin te/ fog tu rang snang yul gyi rkyen byas nas] rig pa gcer bu rjen gyis shar/ zhes pai rig pa de rang sa zin zhes pai rig pa de las gzhan pai rig pa med! rtsal shar gyi rang rig ye shes yin dgos! de ni stong gsal zung 'jug de las gzhan med pai phyir/ gal te 'di liar bshad pa la yid ma ches na/ gzhi gnas thig le nyag gcig de bio 'das yin par ston pai gzhung kun gyis gnod pa 'bebs pai phyir/gsum pa sgra fod zer gsum gyi skyon yon bshad tshul la! gong bshad liar rig pa rang sa zin zhes rtsal shar gyi rig pai ye shes de gzhi gsal stong zung 'jug de las g.yo ba med pa stong gsal gyi bdag gcig tu gyur pa de'i ngang las sgra fod zer gsum gyi snang ba gang shar bai mam pa mams la skyon zhes pa dang I yon tan zhes pai 'dzon rtog gang gis kyang ma bcos ma bsgyur bas snang ba thams cad stong gzugs su shar bas skyon dang yon tan gyi dri ma gang yang gzhi thog tu ma bsags pas na rab tu gsal bao! / bzhi pa fgro ba bio yi mun pa bsal ba nil fgro ba bio yi mun pa kun sangs nas/ zhes pa 'gro bai rgyud la yod pai nyon mongs kyi sgrib pa dang shes byai sgrib pa gnyis gang rung gis bsdus pa dang cha fdra ba thams cad rje 'dis rig pai ye shes mngon gyur mthar phyin pai du su rjes shul med pa rje yi thugs rgyud la sangs zin pas na kun bzang gi sku [p.43] mngon du sgyur paoll gnyis pa 'phrin las nil gzhi stong sogs tshig gsum ste/ sa lam gcig chod du rtogs pa dang / 'khor 'das sems su grol tshul/ 'bras bu sku gsum thob tshul loll dang po nil rdzogs chen gyis rgyu tshogs gnyis bsags pa la brten nas 'bras bu sku gnyis 'grub pa zhal gyis bzhes pa yin yang / 'bras bu sgrub pai tshul rti 'di yi gzhi ka dag dang Ihun grub zung 'jug de nyid rig pai ye shes kyis nyams su blangs pa la rig pa chig rdzogs zhes bya ba rkyang fded du bsgrubs pa las thabs gzhan snon pa 'debs mi dgos pas na/ sa dang lam gyi rim pa bgrod tshul la brten mi dgos pa'0/ /lung drug 'grel las/ bon nyid byang chub sems la sa lam dang / gong 'og tu bgrod rgyu med cing / blta rgyu yang med do! /zhes gsungs/ gzhi ngos la de liar blta dpyad byed pai gnas rang mtshan pa zhig ma mthong yang gong du bshad pai Ihun grub kyi don go nas bsgrub na rdzogs chen gyi gnas lugs dang rdzogs tshul shes/ de shes na de sgrub pa po'i rgyud la yon tan mams 'byung ste] dper na S ma phor gang 'thung ba pos fo ma phor gang la mar bcud ci tsam yod pai tshad ma rtogs kyang fo ma phor gang gi bcud des 'byung 'dus kyi phung po la phan gnod kyu bya ba byed pa bzhin tel



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