Lama Khemsar Rinpoche teaching a class

DZOG-CHEN (The Great Completion)



The founder of the Yungdrung Bön, Teacher Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, has taught "Bön Theg-pa Rim-gu" (The Nine Gradual Views of Bön). Within the nine, the Ninth is The Supreme View, known as Dzogchen. Dzogchen is the direct and swift path. According to its view, unlike other paths and their respective views, Dzogchen practitioners (Dzogchenpa) could apply one single pointedness view (Thig-li Nyag-chik kyi Tawa) for total realization. This means that Dzogchenpa could attain "The Great Rainbow Light Body" (Jalu Wod-ku Chenpo) here within this life.

Such a View is not just a concept but, historically, many Dzogchenpas, including the 20th century Master, Sharza Tashi Gyaltsen (1855-1935), have attained this. Its teaching is all about discovering one's own "Nature of The Mind" (Sem-kyi Ne-look) as the Core Meditation.

Dzogchen teaching sounds exciting and easy to many but one must know the difference between the Dzogchen View and the Dzogchenpa. Dzogchen's view (The Nature of The Mind) does not need anything to add or subtract, but for Dzogchenpa proper practice, including purification of karma (bak-chhak) is a MUST so as to discover the Sem-kyi Ne-look! In the past this teaching was never taught in public as we do today and in fact there were times where the teaching was taught from one master to only one disciple. It is not everybody's "cup of tea"; Dzogchenpa must take it very seriously and follow it through!

Receiving philosophical Dzogchen teaching alone no matter from whom is not enough — one has to TASTE the teaching as per the Master's levels of instructions, based on the complete curriculum of The Teaching!!!

In one sense it is very fortunate (good karma) and worthwhile for one to receive such teaching during this most Rare and Precious Human Birth. On the other hand, it is essential to understand the teaching, including its Tawa (view), Gompa (meditation) and Chod-pa (characteristic) and Dre-bu properly and practice accordingly. Otherwise one may have the reverse effect of building additional ego!!!

There is always the possibility of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the teaching. Going around and talking about Dzogchen (Dzogchen Chatter box) is not at all the way. Practicing regularly, diligently and persistently in an invisible way is needed! To do this, one must have an authentic Master with whom regular contact must be maintained on various levels, including engaging in spiritual consultations with him.

Whilst covering various levels of Dzogchen, including aspects of Sem-dhe (mental), Lonk-dhe (spatial) and Men-ngak-dhe (esoteric) instruction classes, Lama Phuntsog Tashi Khemsar gives DIRECT TIPS on practical Dzogchen Meditation, cutting through philosophical layers!

From day one, when Lama Phuntsog Tashi Khemsar received "Direct Tips" from his Master, he remarked that, "He felt as if he was transferred from a slow moving passenger train to a super sonic Jet!"

The phenomena of The Nature of The Mind is sublime!

Lama Phuntsog Tashi Khemsar's A-Z Curriculum designed for his Khyim-sar Drub-dra are geared towards discovering one's own Nature of The Mind! A written curriculum is available to those who have received teachings from him.


DZOG-CHEN NGON-DRO (Foundation Teachings)

As with learning anything new, it is essential to have a starting point, or foundation, upon which to build, and this is the primary purpose of the Dzogchen Ngon-dro Foundation Teachings. It is through them that we are introduced to the hooks upon which to hang all of the Dzogchen Ngo-zhi (Fundamental Dzogchen) subsequent teachings. Rinpoche points out that it is during the Dzogchen Ngon-dro that one is given all the background information on practices and so on. It therefore follows that one is at a distinct disadvantage if one has not completed them, prior to proceeding to more advanced teachings, since the necessary hooks will be lacking.

Also as these are the foundations upon which all the other teachings are built, it is essential to ensure that they are strong and capable of supporting further “building” and this is achieved through regular practice. Without this, Rinpoche says,“It is like building a house on a frozen lake. When the ice melts...!!!!!”

Rinpoche advises that traditionally the more advanced teachings are only imparted to those whose mind-streams are sufficiently ripened to benefit from them, since there is no point in pouring clean /clear water into a dirty or cracked vessel, where it is likely to be sullied or to leak out. Dzogchen Ngon-dro helps purify and seal the vessel — thus helping the student prepare the mind and clear away the obscurations which could impede further progress.

The Dzogchen Ngon-dro Teachings are divided into Outer, Inner and Secret Dzogchen Ngon-dro. The Outer Dzogchen Ngon-dro covers Lho-Dhok Nam-Zhi (The Four Thought Transformations) where one is taught about the preciousness of human birth, the impermanence of life, Karma (the Law of Cause and Effect), and the benefit of the Liberation Path which helps us release ourselves from the suffering of Samsara (Cyclic Existence). This forms the outer Ngondro.

Although the number of Inner Dzogchen Ngon-dro differs among the various traditions, all such Dzogchen Ngon-dro are generally considered mutually acceptable by Lamas of the different traditions. In the Inner Dzogchen Ngon-dro, Rinpoche teaches Nine Foundations (Dzogchen Ngon-dro gu) as follows:

1) Sem-kyed: Meditation on the generation on the Enlightened / Compassionate Mind/Bodhichitta.

2) & 3) Kyab-dro & Chhak: Seeking Refuge through the Refuge Objects and purifying one's karma through prostrations.

4) Yig-gya: A purification practice based on the meditative recitation of a mantra of 100 syllables.

5) Mandal Bulwa: The accumulation of further merit through symbolic Mandala offerings.

6) Lamei Neljor: The Aspirational meditative practice for achieving the Lama”s body, mind, speech and wisdom-knowledge empowerments!

7, 8, & 9) Nying-po Nam Soom: Meditative practice of the three Mantras:Sale Wöd, Matri and Du-tri Su – these three mantras being the consolidated essence of all the teachings of Yungdrung Bön.

Secret Dzogchen Ngon-dro is what is experienced and realized through the practice of Outer and Inner Dzogchen Ngon-dro.

The Dzogchen Ngon-dro teachings given by Rinpoche are derived from the Bön-Po’s popular teaching Aa-trid whose commentary, “Aa-trid Kaloong Gya-tsho,” compiled & composed by Sharza Tashi Gyaltsen (1855-1935). Aa-trid is one of the three streams of Bönpo Dzogchen teachings (Aa-trid, Nyen-gyud & Dzogchen). Sharza Tashi Gyaltsen achieved Jalu Wöd-ku Chen-po (The Great Rainbow Light Body) in 1935. Sharza Rinpoche was one of the Masters of the late Neljor Tsondru Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who was one of Lama Phuntsog Tashi Khemsar”s Root Lamas.

As previously mentioned, Rinpoche stresses the importance of Dzogchen Ngon-dro teachings to those who sincerely wish to make spiritual progress. Without his students having received such teachings, he feels it would be like casting seeds on stony ground. The Dzogchen Ngon-dro teachings serve to plough and fertilize the field in readiness for the seeds to be sown to grow to fruition, and for the harvest to be reaped. He stresses that by attending the Dzogchen Ngon-dro teachings more than once, each repetition gives rise to a new depth of insight and one”s unripened stream of mind becomes increasingly ripened. As the seedling, which travels up through the soil and constantly reaches out to the warmth of the element sun, is nourished by each new dawn until it eventually ripens to fruition so, those who repeatedly attend and practice the Dzogchen Ngon-dro teachings receive nourishment from them and will surely flourish.


A Stepping Stone to Dzog-Chen

Rinpoche teaches Zhi-ney (Calm Abiding) and gives an introduction to Dzogchen (The Great Completion).

Dzogchen, the practice of the Nature of the Mind, is the supreme and most esoteric practice of Tibet”s Yungdrung Bön spiritual tradition and, it is said that, by engaging in this practice, it is possible to attain enlightenment in this very lifetime. It is believed that there are three paths to Enlightenment: Pang-lam (Renunciation Path), Gyur-lam (Transformation Path), and Drol-lam (Liberation Path). Dzogchen is the path of Liberation, or the “Direct Path,” since through it, one neither has to renounce nor transform one’s negative experiences but can simply liberate them by applying Ta-gom-Chöd Soom (the View, Meditation and Characteristic Behaviour) of Dzogchen thus freeing oneself from Samsara (the Cycle of Existence).

Through Drol-lam, it is possible to realize Jalu Wö-ku Chen-po (the Great Rainbow Light Body) in this very life and body. In order to do this, one has to be introduced to the Natural State of the Mind — the state of absolute knowledge, which exists as a potentiality in all sentient beings. Rinpoche stresses that the aim of our meditation practices is to reach Treg-chöd Meditation (cutting through illusionary resistance), which is a Dzogchen Practice. To graduate to this stage, one must take progressive steps commencing with Zhi-ney, Nyam-zhak, Lhak-thong etc.

During this teaching, Rinpoche will provide “keys” to open the door to the natural state of the mind — a major key being through Zhi-ney (Calm Abiding) — the first rung on the meditation ladder. This is a form of meditation which creates a stable mind capable of focusing single-pointedly on emptiness or any other phenomenon. The nature of Zhi-ney is explained in depth and Rinpoche leads the participants through each of the various stages of this practice — ensuring that all participants are given ample opportunity to practice and perfect the techniques. Rinpoche stresses that one must practise Zhi-ney regularly if full benefit is to be obtained and one is to be fully prepared for experiencing the Nature of the Mind.

Rinpoche emphasizes that traditionally, the ultimate teachings of Dzogchen are imparted only to those individuals whose mind streams are sufficiently ripened to benefit from them, since there is little point in pouring clean water into a dirty or cracked vessel where it is likely to be sullied or leak out. Thus it is necessary for the practitioner to ensure that his or her “vessel” is clean and intact. He therefore generally restricts the Zhi-ney and Dzogchen teachings to those who have received and are practising Dzogchen Ngon-dro (Foundation Teachings) since these are the foundations upon which all the other teachings are built — thus it is essential to ensure that these foundations are strong and capable of supporting further “building”. This is done through regular practice. Without this, it would be like building a house on a frozen lake. When the ice melts…!!!!!

In these modern times, Rinpoche has noted that there is a tendency for people — especially in the western world — to demand immediate gratification. With this in mind, he is understandably concerned lest people view Dzogchen as a “quick fix” to instant enlightenment and emphasis es that, if the planted seed is to grow to fruition, it requires to be tended, nourished and watered with care — thus regular practice is essential. Neglect to do this, he says, results in puny — if any — growth. Yes, through Dzogchen it is possible to attain Enlightenment in this lifetime, however, he suggests that we should remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare, where they both set off from the same starting point, but it was the slow and steady approach of the tortoise which resulted in him reaching the goal first — and still in this lifetime.

Finally, Rinpoche says, “We have Dzogchen practitioners in Tibet who have no idea what they are doing, but are expert at talking about Dzogchen. Such people are called Dzogchen kha-jangpa (Dzogchen chatter-boxes) in other words, they know the theory, but are all talk and no practice. They thus merely delude themselves and thereby impede their own progress.”


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