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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 49 |fall 2006 buDDhaDhaRma: It would be helpful to begin by defining Dzogchen and trying to distinguish it from other forms of Buddhism. What is Dzogchen and what is unique about it? minGyuR RinPoche: Generally speaking, the whole Vajrayana project must include all three of the yanas, or vehicles – Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana – and these subdivide further. So there are nine yanas in all. To complete Dzogchen practice, you must begin with all the usual preliminaries – taking ref- uge, generating bodhicitta, and so forth. Then, the main project of Dzogchen is to look directly at the nature of mind, rigpa. Rigpa is not our ordinary, everyday mind. It is not conceptual mind. It is the mind that is beyond concept, the mind that is free from subject and object. Since rigpa, the natural state of awareness, is our innate nature, not the result of a process, there are many ways to enter the Dzogchen path. In fact, Dzogchen is the essence of all the paths and all the practices. buDDhaDhaRma: Why is Dzogchen called “the Great Perfection”? minGyuR RinPoche: Because everything is there. It is the condensed meaning of all the paths and the essence of everything, samsara and nirvana both. maRcia schmiDT: As the pinnacle of the nine yanas, Dzogchen is a part of the total path, and you cannot extract any element of it and isolate it. It requires working directly with a master qualified in the Dzogchen tradition. It is through the kind- ness of one’s teacher, and through the kindness of all the lineage gurus, that one is able to enter the Dzogchen path. Even though Dzogchen is sometimes referred to as a path of simplicity and doing nothing, that describes just the isolated moment of remaining in a nonconceptual awareness. We all would love to think that we can practice Dzogchen and be able to remain for long periods of time in the nature of mind. But for some reason we can’t. So it is not a path for someone without diligence. There’s actu- ally quite a lot to do to really be a Dzogchen prac- titioner. The complete path includes: purifying the obscurations – those things that prevent our mind from being in the natural state; gathering the accu- mulations, or merit – the many necessary positive circumstances that allow us to practice intensively; and working closely with a qualified teacher. Pema Jungne (The Lotus Born) Eastern Tibet, 1800−1899 (itemno.963)ColleCtionofShelley&DonalDRubin,www.himalayanaRt.oRg thangka paintings depict a selection of the eight manifestations of padmasambhava