Dzogchen in English

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Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:58 am

This might be a stupid question, but it is a sincere one. Is there anything like a complete, accurate presentation of Dzogchen available in English?
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Yudron » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:33 am

dzogchungpa wrote:This might be a stupid question, but it is a sincere one. Is there anything like a complete, accurate presentation of Dzogchen available in English?


That's a tough multi-layered question. Are you looking for a beginners guide to the view of Dzogchen? A manual of all the core practices? Something intellectual about the history and development of Dzogchen?

All translated texts have limitations, but that does not mean they aren't worth reading.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:48 am

Yudron wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:This might be a stupid question, but it is a sincere one. Is there anything like a complete, accurate presentation of Dzogchen available in English?


That's a tough multi-layered question. Are you looking for a beginners guide to the view of Dzogchen? A manual of all the core practices? Something intellectual about the history and development of Dzogchen?

All translated texts have limitations, but that does not mean they aren't worth reading.


Well, I'm not really sure, but for starters let's say "yes" to all three, and whatever anyone else has to offer. Also, I didn't mean to imply that tranlsated texts were not worth reading.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:00 am

Probably the best 2 intro books are Dzogchen the Self Perfected State and The Crystal and the Way of Light, both by Namkhai Norbu. The great news is, if after these books you find you would like to practice Dzogchen, the author teaches frequently all around the world, and most of his teachings are broadcast freely online.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:14 am

dakini_boi wrote:Probably the best 2 intro books are Dzogchen the Self Perfected State and The Crystal and the Way of Light, both by Namkhai Norbu. The great news is, if after these books you find you would like to practice Dzogchen, the author teaches frequently all around the world, and most of his teachings are broadcast freely online.


Yes, I have read those, and I have met ChNNR. I have no doubt that they are accurate introductions, but I'm not sure that they are complete presentations.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Yudron » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:47 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Yudron wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:This might be a stupid question, but it is a sincere one. Is there anything like a complete, accurate presentation of Dzogchen available in English?


That's a tough multi-layered question. Are you looking for a beginners guide to the view of Dzogchen? A manual of all the core practices? Something intellectual about the history and development of Dzogchen?

All translated texts have limitations, but that does not mean they aren't worth reading.


Well, I'm not really sure, but for starters let's say "yes" to all three, and whatever anyone else has to offer. Also, I didn't mean to imply that translated texts were not worth reading.


I am really fond of the Golden Letters, which contains the Three Phrases of Garab Dorje and the commentary by Patrul Rinpoche, with clarifying comments by a contemporary translator. It may be a little challenging if you are right at the beginning, but useful.

More accessible and easy is Tulku Urgyen's Rainbow Painting, which is terrific. People like Tsoknyi RInpoche's Fearless Simplicity and Carefree Dignity, then there is Nyoshul Khenpo's Natural Great Perfection.

None of these read like a textbook, but they convey a lot.

I personally did not "read ahead" myself before I was introduced to Dzogchen by my gurus. Everyone is different, but I wanted to have a good foundation before doing the preliminary practices of Dzogchen (khorde rushan), pointing out instructions, and Dzogchen proper. I didn't want to spoil the experience of practice by contaminating it with my own preconceptions. The sense of anticipation, and being willing to be surprised, created a sense of openness and softness that worked well for me. The above books are not "spoilers" that way, but I would consider avoid reading other texts on the actual practices before you get there.

Please look at the list of Dzogchen teachers at the top of the Dzogchen forum --which is not comprehensive--then take your time finding a lama (if you haven't already) with whom you have a connection. Check everybody out, not only the most famous ones.

My lama's advice is not to race through a Dzogchen text, but read a small amount a day and really digest it.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Yudron » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:25 am

There actually is a kind of huge textbook, or encyclopedia, of the Nyingma tradition, comprised of many volumes, that is being translated mainly by Lama Ngawang Zangpo (with some parts being tackled by Gyurme Dorje). This is a 19th century publication written by Choying Topden Dorje for the benefit of the ngakpa community in Repkong. This project was initiated by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, long ago, and will also include a new Tibetan edition ( Alak Zenkar Rinpoche is very involved in that.) It’s called the Do Gyud Dzod –the Treasury of Sutra and Tantra. It definitely will have a clear and organized thorough presentation of Dzogchen. It looks like volumes may come out one at a time like the other big Tsadra project, the Treasury of Knowledge.

The scholars tell me there really is nothing else like it. I really look forward to it.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby simhanada » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:05 am

There is Namkhai Norbu's Santi Maha Sangha texts, beginning with the Precious Vase. The Precious Vase is available to anyone that has had transmission from him but the subsequent texts you need to of passed the necessary SMS Level tests.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:19 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:This might be a stupid question, but it is a sincere one. Is there anything like a complete, accurate presentation of Dzogchen available in English?


What do you mean by complete?
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:00 pm

Yudron wrote:There actually is a kind of huge textbook ...


That sounds interesting, thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:What do you mean by complete?


Well, I don't really know. It's just that often when reading Dzogchen discussions I feel like I am missing some basic information,
and I was wondering if there was some systematic presentation I could consult.

I think you recently mentioned 4 of Longchenpa's treasuries in a similar context, but of those, 2 are not yet translated, and I'm not sure if you think the translations available are really accurate.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Malcolm » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:24 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:What do you mean by complete?


Well, I don't really know. It's just that often when reading Dzogchen discussions I feel like I am missing some basic information,
and I was wondering if there was some systematic presentation I could consult.

I think you recently mentioned 4 of Longchenpa's treasuries in a similar context, but of those, 2 are not yet translated, and I'm not sure if you think the translations available are really accurate.


Well, in terms of overview, Dudjom Rinpoche's book is fine. But if you are looking for details of how to practice Dzogchen, these days the emphasis is on man ngag sde, and as such, the main text most Lamas teach from is Tri Yeshe Lama. But there are a number of other texts as well.

The Theg mchog mdzod is the most comprehensive review of man ngag sde literature, but it is not translated as of yet, so far as I know.

There is ChNN's Santi Mahasangha, and those who have received all nine levels (no one as of yet to my knowledge) will have received the most comprehensive training in the three series of Dzogchen available.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby mutsuk » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:36 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Theg mchog mdzod is the most comprehensive review of man ngag sde literature, but it is not translated as of yet, so far as I know.

Probably not in English but it exists in French (unpublished yet though) since 1995.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby username » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:39 pm

Yudron wrote:My lama's advice is not to race through a Dzogchen text, but read a small amount a day and really digest it.


That is very true. For a structural break down I think ChNN's Cryastal & the Way of Light, though not a huge book, is unmatched in it's complete scope & modern approach to subdivisions of areas within Dzogchen worldview. Then for details one can consult larger texts and/or teachers.

The main point of Dzogchen is being in the natural state which is beyond words, philosophy, concepts, religions, ideology, axioms, etc. However it is very good to learn the systematic presentation of Dzogchen so I think everyone should just as the OP enquires. However many confuse the ontological breakdown with the aim of Dzogchen as though it was limited to being just a philosophy or worldview or ideology. Dzogchen goes beyond these and many academics fall into that pitfall.

Back to the point I quoted which I think has been very helpful in my experience. Over the years I too have found that reading passages of Dzogchen texts, particularly those sourced from the purer dimension on Dzogchen specially terma more than tantra or even teachers' texts for me personally, that are relevant to one's stage on the path are very helpful. Specially effective if read very slowly every day or once every few days as felt like. Then contemplate on that short section when one feels like it. Often at a later or even sooner stage, sometimes immediately sometimes not, I might start re-reading that text or just sections with the timing I feel as apt, but usually a small section of the text again. Finally this passage by Nyushol Khen is very insightful IMO:

"Saraha, too, sang such a song, dancing wildly and waving his
arms, explaining that everything is "That." Saraha sang, "In the
ten directions, wherever I look, there is nothing besides this primordial
Buddha, which has no arms and no legs, is just one infinite,luminous sphere."
In the same song, Saraha sang, "Now that our work is completely
finished, we have nothing to do and time to do whatever
we want." That's the ultimate dance and song that we ourselves
need to sing. When spiritual practice is authentic, that can be your
song, your dance, and your reality-our reality.

What one needs is what we've already received, which can fit into the
palm of our hand. Please cherish it, keep it exactly where it is right now.
It is with you, whatever you aspire towards, want, and need; it is with
us, and is us. However many thousands of commentaries, scriptures,
and teachings may fill the airwaves with sound vibrations,
the essence of them all is the recognition of the true nature of one's
mind, and the practice or actualization of that.

The Christians have a big good book called the Bible, and within
the Bible there are two different Bibles, and moreover there are
libraries full of commentaries since the time when the Bible first
arose. Those two Bibles exist in Tibetan in an outdated nineteenth
century translation by some Jesuit missionaries. In Hinduism there
are the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and so on. So many
splendid scriptures and commentaries, many of which have been
translated very well into Tibetan over the last thousand years. The
Koran also has quite a few pages, and plenty of other writings
over the last thousand years are derived from that source.

And outside the religious and spiritual traditions of the world there are
so many books, philosophies, sciences, psychology, political notions,
and other interesting things to read and study and think
about, just like the infinite leaves in a wild forest.
But whether one knows all those things or not, if and when one
discovers and recognizes spontaneous innate awareness wisdom,
the true nature of all things-called Dzogpa Chenpo or innate
buddha-nature-that is the heart of the matter, which is all one
needs. That is the universal panacea, which cures all ills, resolves
all delusions and doubts, and which totally liberates and frees.

The seventeen Dzogchen tantras are like scriptures of the primordial
Buddha. The main one is called the Kunshi Gyalpo Gyu,
The Tantra of the Sovereign of all Activities. If one understands the
meaning of Dzogchen, just hearing the title of such a tantra explains
everything: that there is just one great sovereign, the master
of all activities-referring, of course, to rigpa or buddha-nature,
one's own original nature. The only import of practice is to understand,
recognize, and truly experience deeply the true nature of all things.

If you really want to study and hear about Dzogchen, there are
many writings: there is the famous enlightened trilogy by
Longchenpa, translated by Guenther as The Trilogy of Comfort and
Ease, and his other profound trilogy, the Rangdrol Korsum, as yet
untranslated; the Seven Treasures by Longchenpa; many vajra-songs
by Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa, including his exhaustive Yonten Dzod;
and many delightful writings by the enlightened turn-of-the-century
vagabond, Patrul Rinpoche, and his contemporary, Lama Mipham.
More recently, the late great Nyingma leader, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche,
our beloved master, adorned this world with his numerous enlightened
poems, writings, and treasure-texts.

There's a whole universe of such things; we are very fortunate to
be connected to them. We are also fortunate in that we don't have to
read them all. Scriptures, teachings, and practices are not the ultimate way,
they are reflections of it. The true meaning of Dzogchen is your own
nature, not something you need to find outside. Truth is not really
found in books, it is only described in books. It is not like food,
which must be eaten and comes from outside. Dharma teachings
are not exactly like food, which can only temporarily satisfy hunger;
realizing the ultimate nature of reality within is the only truly
long-lasting fulfillment and utmost satisfaction.

Dzogchen itself is the three jewels. It is our own original nature
of body, speech, and mind: the three kayas or buddha-bodies. Let
that rest in natural great ease, carefree ease, at home and at peace
with all things. There's no need to focus one-pointedly on any
object, or to analyze and try to figure out and understand things.
Those are preliminary bases for beginners, in the light of this sort
of absolute, nondual practice. Once you have been introduced to
your true nature, and have recognized it, you can really begin to
practice Dzogchen. Therefore, remain in the innate great ease, open
to everything, aware of innate wakefulness itself, the natural state."

- from pp. 66-68: Natural Great Perfection -Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Mariusz » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:40 pm

There are many genuine Nyinthig guidance books of Dzogchen:

-as Ngetön Tenzin Zangpo’s The Excellent Chariot,
issues from this unbroken lineage. As one of the most beautiful and lucid
explanations of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis, it provides invaluable
guidance for practitioners of the Dzogchen teachings.
Ngondro and Khorde Rushen are available in internet, translated by Cortland Dahl
-as Kunzang Gongpa Kundu guidance book composed by Terdak lingpa, but for step-by-step practitioners of Dzogchen from Pema Lingpa in yeshekhorlo

Just start the practice and you receive these books
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:29 pm

mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Theg mchog mdzod is the most comprehensive review of man ngag sde literature, but it is not translated as of yet, so far as I know.

Probably not in English but it exists in French (unpublished yet though) since 1995.


French is ok too. May I ask who the translator is, and if it is available?
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Yudron » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:29 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Theg mchog mdzod is the most comprehensive review of man ngag sde literature, but it is not translated as of yet, so far as I know.

Probably not in English but it exists in French (unpublished yet though) since 1995.


French is ok too. May I ask who the translator is, and if it is available?


Wouldn't it be much more precious to receive the Yeshe Lama, or the Thegchog Dzod, or the like, from your wisdom lama? Do you really need to read what you are going to hear before you hear it? I think this can really prevent the pith instructions from hitting the point when the time really comes.
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:36 am

Malcolm wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:What do you mean by complete?


Well, I don't really know. It's just that often when reading Dzogchen discussions I feel like I am missing some basic information,
and I was wondering if there was some systematic presentation I could consult.

I think you recently mentioned 4 of Longchenpa's treasuries in a similar context, but of those, 2 are not yet translated, and I'm not sure if you think the translations available are really accurate.


Well, in terms of overview, Dudjom Rinpoche's book is fine.

Are you referring to the Big Red Book (The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History)?
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Sally Gross » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:14 pm

Yudron wrote:There actually is a kind of huge textbook, or encyclopedia, of the Nyingma tradition, comprised of many volumes, that is being translated mainly by Lama Ngawang Zangpo (with some parts being tackled by Gyurme Dorje). This is a 19th century publication written by Choying Topden Dorje for the benefit of the ngakpa community in Repkong. This project was initiated by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, long ago, and will also include a new Tibetan edition ( Alak Zenkar Rinpoche is very involved in that.) It’s called the Do Gyud Dzod –the Treasury of Sutra and Tantra. It definitely will have a clear and organized thorough presentation of Dzogchen. It looks like volumes may come out one at a time like the other big Tsadra project, the Treasury of Knowledge.

The scholars tell me there really is nothing else like it. I really look forward to it.


A personal perspective: forgive me if it is way off the mark. I can understand the desire for a full and comprehensive account from an academic perspective; but there is a world of difference between an intellectual exposition and experiential understanding grounded in practice and experience. An intellectual grasp is liable to become an impediment from the point of view of experience: if you think that you have understood what is ineffable, whatever it is that you have understood is clearly capable of being "effed", to coin a phrase, and is way off track. It is to the real thing what iron pyrites -- fool's gold -- is to real gold at best. In the event that your interest is intellectual rather than experiential, I daresay it is a different matter.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati


Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.

- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90
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Re: Dzogchen in English

Postby Sönam » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:16 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
mutsuk wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Theg mchog mdzod is the most comprehensive review of man ngag sde literature, but it is not translated as of yet, so far as I know.

Probably not in English but it exists in French (unpublished yet though) since 1995.


French is ok too. May I ask who the translator is, and if it is available?


I suppose JLA ...
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -
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