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Rig pa

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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The most important word in the intimate instruction section (man ngag sde) of the teaching of the great perfection is "rig pa". It is a word that has no effective equivalence in English, and within the last few years many translators have ceased to try and translate it at all when it is used as a noun in great perfection teachings and not as a verb (where it means "to know").

Today while translating a section from the Self-originated Self-arisen Original Purity revelations of Rigzin Godem (1337-1409), I came across a definition given by Padmasambhava that I feel is instructive for those with some doubts as to what "rig pa" is. He states:

Rig pa” does not follow delusion after deluded appearances are consciously known (shes par rig) to be false

The operative term here is "consciously known" or "shes par rig". Rig pa is in fact a specific type of knowledge. Nevertheless, the word "knowledge", like the word "awareness", is a word too fraught with other connotations to be used to accurately translate the term "rig pa" in this context.

These days there is a real danger of people conflating Dzogchen teachings with the teachings of other so-called "non-dual" traditions such as Advaita, Kashmir Shaivism and so on. It is important to understand that "rig pa" is not some sort of over-arching uber-consciousness like the cit of sat cit ananda in Vedantic teachings.

Instead, rigpa is just the accurate knowledge of our own state, that deepens as we become more accustomed to the Dzogchen view.

Source

www.atikosha.org