"Dzogchen might have a reputation for being effortless, but in order to practice it properly in the first place, we need to put in tremendous effort to understand what are known as the outer and inner preliminaries. With perseverance and wisdom, dzogchen becomes an incredibly profound and effective method for achieving enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
Dzogchen is a very advanced system of meditation on the deepest, subtlest, foundational levels of mind. “Mind” refers to the unbroken mental activity of cognitively engaging with objects, described from another point of view as the mental activity of giving rise to appearances (mental holograms).
The term “dzogchen” means “great completeness,” referring to the fact that all the qualities of Buddhahood are complete on the level of rigpa (pure awareness), the deepest foundational level of them all. Although nothing needs to be added to what’s called beginningless and endless “basis rigpa,” nevertheless, these qualities aren’t functioning now at their full capacity. Why? Because the obscuring factor of dumbfoundedness (bedazzlement) has been simultaneously arising with it, also without beginning.
“Dumbfoundedness” is an automatically arising unawareness of the void (empty) nature of all phenomena – the total absence of impossible ways of existing. It obscures rigpa’s so-called “reflexive awareness” of it own pure nature. This pure nature is threefold:
Primal purity – It is devoid of all grosser levels of cognition (limited awareness, “sem”) at which conceptual cognition, disturbing emotions and even ordinary sense perception occur. It is also primally pure of all impossible ways of existing.Spontaneously establishing – It gives rise to all appearances (mental holograms).Responsiveness – It emanates out in response to causes, conditions and the needs of others. In a sense, it “communicates” compassionately with those needs.
This threefold nature is responsible for our faculties of mind, body and speech respectively.
When basis rigpa is flowing together with this fleeting factor of dumbfoundedness, basis rigpa is functioning as an alaya for habits – foundational awareness, on which are imputed:
MemoriesKarmic potentials and tendenciesTendencies for the disturbing emotions and nominal disturbing attitudesHabits of grasping for impossible ways of existing.
The aim of dzogchen meditation is to attain (1) a true stopping of dumbfoundedness and thereby a true stopping of the alaya for habits and (2) the complete functioning of all the innate good qualities of rigpa in order to be of fullest benefit to all beings.
Dzogchen is taught in the Nyingma and Bon traditions in Tibet, and was later incorporated into the various Kagyu schools as well. In the Nyingma classification system of nine vehicles of mind, it is known as atiyoga: the highest of the six tantra vehicles. Nowadays, however, dzogchen-style meditation is frequently taught outside its sutra and tantra contexts – for instance, as a method for calming the mind and attaining the perfect concentration of shamatha (a stilled and settled state of mind). As such, it can be very effective. Nevertheless, for attaining liberation and enlightenment, dzogchen practice is only undertaken on the basis of extensive study and practice of:
The outer preliminaries – the precious human life, impermanence, the sufferings of samsara, karmic cause and effect (ethics), the benefits of liberation (renunciation), and a healthy relation with a qualified spiritual teacherThe inner preliminaries – refuge (safe direction) together with prostration, bodhichitta based on love and compassion, Vajrasattva purification, mandala offering, chod offering of one’s body, and guru-yoga.
After completion of all that, it is necessary to receive tantric empowerment (initiation) and strictly keep all the vows we take. On that basis, further required are:
Mahayoga tantra practice – deity-yoga with Buddha-figures and mantrasAnuyoga tantra practice – work with the subtle winds, channels, and energy-drops.
Without a strong build-up of positive force (merit) and deep awareness from all these practices and the inspiration and close guidance of a qualified master, it is not possible to achieve success in dzogchen practice; it is simply too subtle and difficult to do.
Without any preconceptions, expectations or worries, dzogchen meditation begins by quieting our mental activity down to the space between verbal conceptual thoughts of “this” and “that.” Each moment and each verbal syllable of each such thought simultaneously arises, abides and ceases. We can only properly identify this if we have studied and meditated beforehand on the Madhyamaka presentation of the voidness (emptiness) of arising, abiding and ceasing and the total absence of a findable “me” controlling or observing the process. By maintaining mindfulness of this simultaneous arising, abiding and ceasing, there is no need for conscious effort: verbal conceptual thought automatically “liberates itself” – meaning that it disappears by itself – and we settle into the state between thoughts."
Läs hela artikeln här: