What is the Point of Togal?

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What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:20 pm

What are the reasons for Togal practice? What does it help in? How is it better than, or complement, Trekcho?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby pensum » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:16 pm

Astus wrote:What are the reasons for Togal practice? What does it help in? How is it better than, or complement, Trekcho?


"Trekcho is to simply acknowledge that one's innate essence is empty. Togal is to recognize that the natural display is spontaneously present. They are not our creation; they are not produced by practice. There is no imagining of anything in either trekcho or togal.

"Without cutting through with treckcho, you can't directly cross with togal."

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
(Vajra Speech, pg 174)

my footnote: the term lhun grub, translated here as "spontaneously present" is a very important term in dzogchen. lhun encompasses the notions of being effortless, natural, spontaneous; while grub means accomplished, formed, come into being. Togal is typically translated as direct crossing or direct leap, and refers to spontaneously crossing the illusory gap between self and other, subject and object, the perceiver and the perceived. In short, one effortlessly and spontaneously shifts from one's habitual dualistic perspective directly to the nonduality that is innate rigpa.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Jax » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:28 pm

One's stability in being the non-dual Knowing within all experience is enhanced, quite beyond the relaxed state of trekchod. There is a much stronger aspect of Wisdom or Yeshe present after togal practice sessions. The sense of primordial Knowingness is more apparent, non-conceptually. One should not wait to practice togal until one's trekchod is completely stable, as togal itself will enhance trekchod immensely.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:44 pm

Thanks Jax, it's a great summary. So Togal is a (group of) special method(s) to enhance the presence of rigpa, thus strengthening Trekcho?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Jax » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:58 pm

Thanks Jax, it's a great summary. So Togal is a (group of) special method(s) to enhance the presence of rigpa, thus strengthening Trekcho?


All Dzogchen "methods" have only one goal: to enhance and stabilize the presence of Rigpa in experiential consciousness.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:24 pm

Jax wrote:All Dzogchen "methods" have only one goal: to enhance and stabilize the presence of Rigpa in experiential consciousness.


Then why the methods? Shouldn't abiding in non-dual awareness be sufficient? Just as Garab Dorje's three statements say.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Jax » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:55 pm

Yes, abiding as non-conceptual Awareness is Dzogchen. IF consciousness is just not shifting into that Wisdom, methods can be used. But the methods have no affect on Awareness, they simply reduce the density of thinking mind so intrinsic Awareness illuminates itself devoid of mind, like looking in a mirror, noticing the mirror instead of the reflections.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby heart » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:34 pm

Astus wrote:
Jax wrote:All Dzogchen "methods" have only one goal: to enhance and stabilize the presence of Rigpa in experiential consciousness.


Then why the methods? Shouldn't abiding in non-dual awareness be sufficient? Just as Garab Dorje's three statements say.


The three statements can include Tögal instructions also http://www.tibet.dk/pktc/transpaper.htm ... ThreeLines

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Jinzang » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:13 pm

Then why the methods? Shouldn't abiding in non-dual awareness be sufficient?


Because of our strong habituation, it is difficult to see though dualism and abide in non-dual awareness. This is true even after the initial opening. So one uses special methods, like the Six Yogas to complement mahamudra or Togal to complement Trekcho. This is why tantra is considered a fast path, because it speeds up the process. Otherwise mahamudra/trekcho would be more or less the same as sutra practice.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:37 pm

Jinzang wrote:Because of our strong habituation, it is difficult to see though dualism and abide in non-dual awareness. This is true even after the initial opening. So one uses special methods, like the Six Yogas to complement mahamudra or Togal to complement Trekcho. This is why tantra is considered a fast path, because it speeds up the process. Otherwise mahamudra/trekcho would be more or less the same as sutra practice.


Interesting. They explain the nature of mind as complete with the three bodies and needs no improvement. Of course, that doesn't mean there is no need for practice. But what is strange to me is that compared to "By not altering it from being as it is, The state of buddhahood is now spontaneously present." and "The conduct is nondoing and the fruition beyond adopting and discarding.", I find that, however natural those visions are, all the techniques and instructions are extraneous. Comparing this to Mahamudra teachings, the Six Yogas can be complementary, but they are not necessary nor are they the next step.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:59 pm

Astus wrote:
Jinzang wrote:Because of our strong habituation, it is difficult to see though dualism and abide in non-dual awareness. This is true even after the initial opening. So one uses special methods, like the Six Yogas to complement mahamudra or Togal to complement Trekcho. This is why tantra is considered a fast path, because it speeds up the process. Otherwise mahamudra/trekcho would be more or less the same as sutra practice.


Interesting. They explain the nature of mind as complete with the three bodies and needs no improvement. Of course, that doesn't mean there is no need for practice. But what is strange to me is that compared to "By not altering it from being as it is, The state of buddhahood is now spontaneously present." and "The conduct is nondoing and the fruition beyond adopting and discarding.", I find that, however natural those visions are, all the techniques and instructions are extraneous. Comparing this to Mahamudra teachings, the Six Yogas can be complementary, but they are not necessary nor are they the next step.


I wouldn't say extraneous, the visions are product of the utter dissolution and exhaustion of dharmata. I wouldn't even say it's to strengthen trekcho... trekcho is the means to cut through obscurations, and rigpa is the basis or foundation of these practices so it's not necessarily to strengthen rigpa either. It's referred to as "leaping over" because it's the pinnacle practice to utterly attain perfect buddhahood fully exhausting all the obscurations of body, speech and mind... a process of returning the elements to their unobstructed and original form of light. There are no contrived visualizations like other common practices, a series of four or five postures coupled with certain gazes and ways of breathing produce a very specific series of visual experiences, each representing an aspect of reality being exhausted. The visions are activated by certain gazes related to certain light sources and/or pressure being applied to certain sense organs in a specific way. It's all lamp, bindu, energy related. Overall it's a complete and total breakdown of "reality" and for that reason it is quite unparalleled by any other practice in any other system. Unbelievable stuff!
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Jax » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:19 pm

Unfortunately, by thinking of togal in terms of some final ultimate result we obfuscate the fact that the realization of trekchod IS complete enlightenment and nothing further need be done. It only affects the method of transference or death, whether as rainbow body, atomic body dissolution or the Great Transfer. The realization of kadag or Dharmakaya is the same. So one must not think that togal or yang ti is necessary. Often people think that something needs to be corrected or dissolved, like bagchags or other "obstacles". There are no obstacles to present awareness or rigpa. It is always at perfect oneness with experience, all experience... there is nothing to integrate with, this is because rigpa is absolute empty awareness and is always fully integrated with its own display. However, a "yidam" like entity arises, like a character in a dream that experiences samsara etc. It is rigpa's display, it has never known its true nature and never will. When we wake up from a dream in the morning, we can't say the dream character woke up, it dissolved. So in fact there is no one that realizes and no one that is liberated. The traveler within samsara is just a figment of imagination that arises in rigpa as pure play, the sport of Buddhas, where Buddha Mind imagines itself to be a participant in samsaric or dualistic vision. Its pure sport... Samsara is not an obstacle to awareness, it is its playground... Ah la la ho!
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:53 am

This^ contradicts what the Dzogchen tantras say. the tantras and the commentaries on them give at least 7 ways in which togal and its realization is superior to trekchod. Wanna know what they are? Gotta go talk to a Dzogchen master who will explain this at the proper time. Suffice it say that togal is not some enhancement for trekchod. To the contrary, trekchod enables the knowledge and stability necessary for togal to work.

As an aside, did someone feel my previous statement about togal shared too much? It seems it's disappeared. That's fine because it was probably unnecessary, as is debating with people about whether togal is "extraneous" or not. And yet I still do it haha. Guess old habits die hard if one's distracted too much lol.
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:31 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:This^ contradicts what the Dzogchen tantras say. the tantras and the commentaries on them give at least 7 ways in which togal and its realization is superior to trekchod. Wanna know what they are? Gotta go talk to a Dzogchen master who will explain this at the proper time. Suffice it say that togal is not some enhancement for trekchod. To the contrary, trekchod enables the knowledge and stability necessary for togal to work.


There is no tregchö without tögal, and no tögal without tregchö.

N
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:12 am

Namdrol wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote:This^ contradicts what the Dzogchen tantras say. the tantras and the commentaries on them give at least 7 ways in which togal and its realization is superior to trekchod. Wanna know what they are? Gotta go talk to a Dzogchen master who will explain this at the proper time. Suffice it say that togal is not some enhancement for trekchod. To the contrary, trekchod enables the knowledge and stability necessary for togal to work.


There is no tregchö without tögal, and no tögal without tregchö.

N


You know, this is something one sometimes hears said by masters, and I can see how it's essentially true in terms of the natural self-liberation of appearances, but yet Jigme Lingpa and Longchenpa and Padmasambhava have still taken the time to speak clearly about the different channels involved and the limitations of trekchod vs togal, and togal's superiority over trekchod. So, if one is "practicing" trekchod without implementing the key points of togal, how is realization of the pure essence of the elements going to overtake the gross, karmic perception? Why would these masters make these statements which I know you are familiar with? I mean, there are the instructions for trekchod, and there are the further instructions of togal... And in almost all lineages one gains stability in trekchod prior to moving on to togal. ChNN even talks about this in Crystal and the Way of Light--he had a dream of clarity featuring Changchub Dorje who told him (paraphrased) "hey, I said stabilize trekchod, not be a perfectionist about it... it's time for you to begin practicing togal!" So how does your statement make meaningful sense in light of all of this?
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby heart » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:26 am

According to Khenpo Namdrol before Longchenpa Tögal was practiced before Trechö and it was Longchenpa that changed so that Trechö came first and Tögal later.

My own master (CNR) said that if one only practice Trechö eventually the visions will start, so according to my understanding Tögal is just a way to jump-start the naturally occurring visions and lamps.

/magnus
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:41 am

heart wrote:According to Khenpo Namdrol before Longchenpa Tögal was practiced before Trechö and it was Longchenpa that changed so that Trechö came first and Tögal later.

My own master (CNR) said that if one only practice Trechö eventually the visions will start, so according to my understanding Tögal is just a way to jump-start the naturally occurring visions and lamps.

/magnus


Ahhh, maybe it does makes sense... So I'm guessing that practicing trekchod alone, without the key points of togal, it would take a long time for the visions to begin and for one to continue to progress through them. Maybe this is why relying on the course channels could be a problem, especially if one is not so young when one starts out, leading Jigme Lingpa, etc to say what they have said about the "7 superiorities of togal over trekchod." Is this your understanding, Magnus? Namdrol?
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby heart » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:27 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
heart wrote:According to Khenpo Namdrol before Longchenpa Tögal was practiced before Trechö and it was Longchenpa that changed so that Trechö came first and Tögal later.

My own master (CNR) said that if one only practice Trechö eventually the visions will start, so according to my understanding Tögal is just a way to jump-start the naturally occurring visions and lamps.

/magnus


Ahhh, maybe it does makes sense... So I'm guessing that practicing trekchod alone, without the key points of togal, it would take a long time for the visions to begin and for one to continue to progress through them. Maybe this is why relying on the course channels could be a problem, especially if one is not so young when one starts out, leading Jigme Lingpa, etc to say what they have said about the "7 superiorities of togal over trekchod." Is this your understanding, Magnus? Namdrol?


Yes.

/magnus
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Re: What is the Point of Togal?

Postby Astus » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:05 am

Thanks for the replies, it was very helpful.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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