Dear all and ALL,
This was originally written for the "Batman Practices Togal" thread, but perhaps it deserves a new thread as its purpose is to clarify possible misunderstandings about Togal for newcomers.
The wrong information in the Batman comic about Togal could cause a negative reaction in a reader unfamiliar with the term. But who knows, maybe it will also plant a cause for someone to Google Togal and try to discover what a short path method to enlightenment really is about, and then lead them to identify, contact, and receive the TG teaching from a living Togal Master.
Adaptions of Dharma to pop culture can bring people to Dharma: T Lobsang Rampa's, The Third Eye
or Lionel Davidson's The Rose of Tibet
are older examples.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lh%C3%BCndrub_T%C3%B6gal
Dharma Wheel's threads also comes up when you Google Togal.
Seems like too much confused information for a newcomer to ever figure out.
So – for, newcomers, here is a story about Togal (TG) that was told to me by a drunken friend. (Perhaps a prequel for Dummies for Togal Practitioners
– Perhaps my friend is qualified to write about Dummies.
One man’s, small beans, opinion.
Homage to the Masters!
(From inside the Lion’s mouth)
TG is a practice that ends attachment to internal and external phenomena by immersing the practitioner in the direct experience that all phenomena are empty projections. This is not an intellectual understanding achieved through reason but a new way of seeing / being. In TG practice, the normal mind is confronted with experiences that are known as real and unreal at the same time, and in response, normal mind finds a non-dual resting place in the luminous vastness of instant presence. Whatever arises is left in its natural state, because this arising is simultaneously informed by non-dual instant presence. The dark retreat works in a similar way.
TG is not suitable for everybody. One Lama said that he had tried it for 40 years, and that all he achieved was to strain his eyes. I think that karma has a lot to do with it. If you were a TG practitioner in a past life, I think that it is much easier and faster in this life. Some Lamas say you can achieve results in six months. I have heard that for some practitioners it is cumulative, with each practice session building on the results of the previous: you do not have to go back to the beginning each time.
While there are several, open source, descriptions in books, I don’t think that it is appropriate to reference these here. My friend’s sincere opinion is that you are wise to try TG only after gaining permission / instruction from a qualified Master of the practice AND it is really beneficial to have a TG Master be nearby, and tuned into you, when you are practicing. I don’t think that it is useful to study books on this practice because there are several key points, which are part of the oral tradition, that are not in the books. That said, the Yeshe Lama, and its commentary, are the best of the books. Make sure you get the latest edition.
Some true TG Masters teach TG to all who apply, without any other qualifying requirements.
Some true TG Masters will tell you, that you need to have a stable practice of Tregchod before you practice TG, or it won’t function.
Some true TG Masters will teach TG before teaching Tregchod.
Some true TG Masters will want you to complete Nundro, and Lama, Yidam , and Khandro practice accumulations, before undertaking TG.
TG is taught as part of the most precious Nyingmapa 3 year retreat.
TG is taught as part of the most precious Nyingmapa, Yeshe Lama retreat, which has been taught several times in the US, since 1980.
All of the practices of the TG and most precious Yeshe Lama are taught, by some enlightened Dzogchen Masters, outside of the structure of the most precious Yeshe Lama or 3 year retreat.
TG is taught by qualified TG Masters, every summer, in retreat, in the USA, with some preliminaries required.
There are several Bonpo TG Masters who will teach TG if asked.
(My friend reserves the right not to comment on any of the above.)
Is this a suitable practice for you? Far better to consult a qualified TG Master than to try to decide this yourself. Perhaps the right method is to follow whatever sequence / requirement that your root Teacher is using. Then there is no apparent conflict with the different sequences / requirements as mentioned above.
2 cent opinion: if you get instruction / permission for the TG, try to also get instruction / permission to do the dark retreat. You may find the dark retreat more useful for your practice. This is why Lord Buddha taught 84,000 (means a lot of) different teachings so that there would be something for everybody.
Hurrah for Ekajati's sharp tooth; may it always be on my heart.
May this be of help to someone!
Long life to the Dzogchen Masters, in good health and with success in all things.
Good fortune to all and ALL.