Dzogchen is an advanced system of Mahayana practice that brings enlightenment. It is a central teaching of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and of Bon (indigenous religion of Tibet that gave Tibetan Buddhism much of its distinctive character).
Dzogchen is a Tibetan word that means Great Perfection. On the outer level, it refers to a technique of meditative practice that enables us to recognize our true nature. Basically, great perfection is that very nature: the natural, primordially pure nature of mind.
Sogyal Rinpoche characterizes it as „the heart-essence of all spiritual paths and the summit of an individual’s spiritual evolution”.
Dzogchen Teaching has been transmitted for many centuries: spiritual masters have used this method and have transmitted it to their disciples, without breaking its continuity, in an uninterrupted lineage up to the present day.
Due to its unelaborated and direct approach, it transcends cultural boundaries making it accessible to all nationalities alike, no matter of their spiritual background.
Dzogchen teachings emphasize spontaneity, naturalness, and simplicity. Although this method is portrayed as being distinct from tantra, it has incorporated many concepts and practices from tantric Buddhism.
It embraces an extensively varied array of traditions, that range from a systematic rejection of all tantric practices, to complete incorporation of tantric practices.
„The teaching of Dzogchen is, in essence, a teaching concerning the primordial state that is each individual’s own intrinsic nature from the very beginning. To enter this state is to experience oneself as one is, as the center of the universe though not in the ordinary ego sense.
To discover this primordial state is to understand the teaching of Dzogchen, and the function of the transmission of the teaching of Dzogchen is to communicate this state from one who has realized or become established in it, to those who remain caught up in the dualistic condition.
Even the name Dzogchen, which means „Great Perfection”, refers to the self-perfectness of this state, fundamentally pure from the beginning, with nothing to reject or accept.” – Chogyal Namkhai Norbu’s quote.
Dzogchen Meditation Practice
What prevents us from already being awakened is ordinary conceptual thinking, which is rooted in the obscuring emotions of aversion, desire, anger, self-grasping and the misunderstanding of the way everything arises hardly as the momentary result of ephemeral causes and conditions. These mental habit-formations obscure the truth that is so close that we can not see it.
The meditation practice of the Great Perfection is particularly designed to break up these obscuring mental habits of mind; at that moment what is revealed is what is really there: the pure mirror-like nature of intrinsic awareness, uncontaminated by the frustration, desire, and aversion of conceptual thinking.
In meditation, we just rest and relax in that true nature. In this unlimited, sky-like mental space we can observe how thoughts spontaneously abide, arise and disappear; we see that the exact same thoughts that cause us so much anxiety, animosity, and aggravation when we cling to them, have no more reality to them than does writing on water.
„The practice of Atiyoga or Dzogchen is to realize the tathagatagarbha, or Buddha-nature, which has been present in our nature since the very beginning. Here it is not enough to concentrate on contrived practices that involve intellectual efforts and concepts; to recognize this Nature, the practice should be utterly beyond fabrication.
The practice is simply to realize the radiance, the natural expression of wisdom, which is beyond all intellectual concepts. It is the true realization of the Absolute Nature just as it is, the ultimate fruition.” Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s quote.