Practice of rDzogs-chen in the Z^an-z^un Tradition, Part 1, Capp. 3-5



Principal Practices Text = dNos-gz^i

65 to 100

p. 73 II.B. "Practice of the Dark Retreat"

"one should not eat ... garlic, onions, spices ... . ...

One should not stay in the sun[light] nor by a fire. ...

And one should not remain (in the dark retreat) without access to a wise and learned master who is skilled in the methods".

p. 74 II.C. "Arising of Visions in the Darkness"

"a pale [praeternatural] light may be [supernaturally] caused inside of the dark retreat house. Or everywhere inside and outside that (house) may become clear and lucid (to one's clairvoyant sight)".

p. 76 III.A.1 "Controlling ... the Gaze"

during __

to gaze __

while fixating on __

is __ lta-sans (gaze of the ___)

early morning

straight ahead

one cubit above one's head

>Khor-lo bsGyur-ba>i (Cakra-vartin 'Wheel-Turner')


[" "]

16 digits beyond one's eyebrows

Sen-ge >Gyin-pa>i ("dignified lion")


[" "]

a little in front of one's eyebrows

gSan-ba >Dus-pa>i (Guhya-samaja)

p. 78 III.A.3 "Arising of Visions in Space"

"According to the gNad Drug, ... Rigpa ... arises as five lights like the eye in a peacock's feather." [viz., iridescence?]

{cf. the Yazidi "Peacock Angel" Malik T.a>us}

"According to the sGrom-ma, ... within this dense darkness ..., one sees a celestial palace of light".

"According to the Lha-khrid" :-

when the vital wind of the __-element

be inserted into the central channel, it will appear like __ .






"fire-flies or ... sparks thrown out of a fire"




"rising of the sun or ... radiance of the sky"

pp. 82-3 III.B.1.4 Arising of Phainomena

p. 82

"as it says in the sGron-ma, "In the (total) darkness one will see visions possessing light. One will see magical apparitions of networks of rays which are similar to cobwebs ... ." ...

Elsewhere, there may appear ... zig-zag-like phenomena ..., or

phenomena like a mirror of crystal, or

like the wings of a bee, or

like golden eyes, ... or

like a yak-hair blanket" {[Skt.] /Kambala/ 'blanket', a district in Paktuia} ... .

Or elsewhere, ... there may arise patterns of nets or half-nets, or

chessboard patterns, or patterns of triangles ... .

Or (there may appear) the bindus of Rigpa (tiny luminous spheres of awareness) ..., being like scattered globules of quicksilver {thus reflective?}, or

bindus (tiny rainbow[-edged] spheres) arranged in pavilions of five lights surrounded by perimeters of rainbow light, or ...

like extended threads

p. 83

which are white or silver, or

like chains of iron,

or like ... ribs of parasols, or

like combs scattered in the atmosphere".

pp. 85-6 III.B.2.3a "Positions of the Body"






feet on ground, arms extended perpendicularly downward inside knees, with palms of hands on ground


lying prone, elbows and balls of feet on ground, press knees to chest


soles of feet on ground, sit crouching, knees within elbows



right elbow on ground, right cheek in palm of right hand, left hand on thigh


crouch with knees to chest, hands on knees, thumbs on ears

pp. 89-90 III.C.1 "Visions and the Appropriate Gazes"



which is __

of the element __

for the gaze of __









[Upaya] 'Means'




[Prajn~a] 'Wisdom'






p. 93 III.C.2.3a.2 "Essential Point of the Fundamental Method"

"the white red channel, the left red channel, and the central channel (all meet) at the secret place, whereat the right and left channels enter into the central channel and become a single ... tube.

At the crown of the head, the azure-colored central channel is like a cut-off hollow tube of bamboo".

p. 94 III.C.2.3a.3 "Essential Point of the Breathing"


is on the __ side channel

and __










p. 94 III.C.2.3b.1 "Method of Psychic Heat"


colored syllable

the syllable's nature

{for that element in Kun.d.alini yoga}

juncture of the 3 channels

green YAM

"vital winds of primal awareness"

{YAM in 4th cakra Anahata}

above that

dark-red RAM

"hot like ... fire"

{RAM in 3rd cakra}

in front of heart

5-colored A

"egg of the lark"

{A in 6th cakra Ajn~a}

"aperture of Brahma"

white HAM

"drip ... drops of melted human fat"

{HAM is in the 5th cakra, for akas`a}

p. 95 III.C.2.3b.1 "From the [Maha-sukha Cakra] at the crown of the head, ... they (these bindus) become scattered into all of the lesser channels (of the bode [read : "body"])."

pp. 95-6 III.C.2.3b.2 "Arising of Experiences"

p. 95

"visions ... will fill everywhere in the sky, in the atmosphere, and in the land. They will arise excessively, being both brilliant {luminous} and radiant {radiating rays} ..., being beautiful, attractive, bright, and clear ... . ... .

... there are pains in the channels ... . There may also come pain in the joints, and well as

{Among the tribes of northern California, bodily "doctor-pains" (of supernatural origin) are avidly sought in order achieve shamanic powers.}

shaking and moving (involuntarily)".

{In Kun.d.alini's ascent, involuntary bodily movements (often as mudra-gestures) are known as "kriya-s".}

p. 96

"With regard to experiences of the vital winds : The mind may feel very light ... and there may come odd sensations of itching ... .

With regard to experiences of the bindus : One's body may feel flexible ... and when touched, it will tickle."

p. 97 III.C.3.1 "Integrating Sleep with the Clear Light"

"The Rigpa that resides inside the central channel is clearly visible as a ball of threads of light just about the size of

a peacock's {peahen's} egg

{cf. the Basilidean cosmic simile of the peafowl's egg (according to Hippolutos : RAH, cap. X)}

(located in) the navel the throat center (ag-sho >khor-lo)."

{viz., at the Adam's apple or voicebox}

"practitioners will uninterruptedly see visions of the Clear Light. All of them, becoming aware of their own dreams (as being dreams), ... pious activities will come to increase more at night (in their dreams) than during the daytime."

RAH = Hippolutos : Refutation of All Heresies.

p. 99 III.C.3.2 "Recognizing Dreams as Dreams"

"At the end, one's dreams will become dissolved into the vast expanse of space ... . ...

At the same time, ... there will be (produced clairvoyant powers) nine times more ... and they will develop greatly."



Explanation of the View = lTa-khrid

101 to 124

pp. 103 & 106 I.A. prae-existent spontaneous perfection of the Natural State

p. 103

"the Natural State of the real disposition of things ... is the First Great Ancestor of all the Buddhas, as well as of all sentient beings."

{Likewise, in the Tao-te C^in the Tao is denominated as the "Ancestor".}

"nothing has been karmically ripened and nothing will be liberated ... . And ... this situation ... may be called the Great Spontaneous Perfection (lhun-grub chen-po)".

p. 106

"Even though it is said that it pervades all of the physical body in general terms, in particular (Rigpa) resides inside of the hollow heart-nerve (she-thun rtsa >dzin gyi nang) at the center of

{In the Chinese language, the same word /hsin (xin/ is employed to signify both 'heart' and 'mind'. This mere linguistic usage gave rise to such a great fallacy in Chinese metaphysics.}

the reddish brown cornelian pervilion {pavilion} with projecting crystals

{That the mind (here attributed to the brain) is crystalline is a doctrine (or rather, a visionary observation) by South American Indian shamans.}

that is the physical heart. At the center of a canopy-like pavilion of five (rainbow) lights, it abides".

p. 117 III.A.1 Spontaneous-Born Ignorance

"one is like a lion (gazing into the pool), who is deluded by his own reflected image, (thinking that it is another lion)."

p. 221, n. 4:66 "Ialdabaoth has a lion's head and gazes at his reflection in the waters of matter and chaos below." {Ilda-baoth "had seen reflected in the waters" ("GCh&MS") an image not his own. This reflection was apparently of goddess Barbelo (GB, p. 150, fn. 53).}

"This represents a veritable wrapping up of the light of Rigpa in a net."

{Because on his viewing the reflection of the goddess, Ialda-baoth unsuccessfully sought to lure and capture her : therefore, comparable may be the "net" (GM 89.2) of heroine Diktunne/Britomartis, whom Minos unsuccessfully sought (GM 89.b) to capture.}

"GChMS" = "Gnostic Christianity and the Myth of Sophia"

GB = Barnstone & Meyer : The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala, Boston, 2003.

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

pp. 118-9 III.A.2 praeternaturally envisioned net

p. 118

"And because these (cognitions) are aroused ... by the vital winds that move (g.yo-ba>i rlung) {scil., through transcendent worlds in subtle planes-of-existence}, ...

p. 119

the visible lights (of consciousness, at first subtle),

become like a network".

{Not only as a waking vision, such an envisioned divine net ("net of Indra") may also arise during hypnopompic phantasmagoria.}



Explanation of the Meditation = sGom-khrid

125 to 148

p. 128 II.A. propitiatory offerings to the gDon

"To ... (... demons ...) (gdon), one has recourse to ...

evocations of spirits (bka> bsgo),

offerings of ... [g]tormas {sacrificial cakes} to them (gtor-ma sbyin), and

throwing down one's physical body as food (phung-po gzan du bskyur), (that is, ... as part of the [gCod] Rite)."

{Actually, it is not the material body, but rather one's subtle body, that is thus fed (by way of a consummate shamanic feat) as a reverse eucharist to the deities (whose own bodies are subtle, not material).}

pp. 131-2 III.A.1 "How the External Visions come to be Seen"

p. 131

"it is said in the sGron-ma, "... Mindful (attention) is like the spear of the mind and fixation

p. 132

on the visions is like a shield of light. At the same time, one sees the seeds of the [Rupa-kaya], like a host of stars rising in the sky.""

"And elsewhere, it is said, "... (The visions) arise and come to fill the sky and the atmosphere ... . And there is established ... the (visible manifestations of) the realms. Inside of them, the seeds of the [Rupa-kaya-s] and the thigleys arise like scattered hosts of stars.""

pp. 133-4 III.B.1a "How the External Visions Increase"

p. 133

"Innumerable visions of Clear Light ... arise and inside of them, there will appear thigleys of Awareness ... . More than that, they will grow larger. They may be single, or two linked together, or three linked together, or even many of them linked together. They may be linked both upwardsly and transversely, and these (phenomena) are called the threads of compassion, which represent the Essence of Awareness (rig-pa>i thugs-rje>i nyag-thag). They are like yarn that is silver or white ... . ...

However, ... (initially) all are for

p. 134

the most part white, or each of them is a single (colour), or else ...

the five colors come forth complete in each of them (the thigleys). ...

{In European alchemical color-symbolism, variegation is commonly assigned to Hermes.}

And in the middle of these thigleys ... there just may appear aspects of divine forms; they abide there in each of them ... . ... They may appear

to move or to separate, to scatter, or to come together ...,

{Hermes is regarded as the most mobile of the Olympian deities.}

like quicksilver".

{Quicksilver (mercury) is the metal usually assigned to Hermes in alchemical symbolism.}

"According to the sGron-ma ... , "... At first, the visions will increase. One will see them (the thigleys) scattering or coming together like quicksilver.""

"And according to the gZer-bu, "As for the rays of Awareness and

{"Wanawana in Maori (New Zealand) means “spines, bristles, rays,” &c." ("DWhT", p. 37)}

the threads of compassion, at first they will manifest like

{Derived from /wana/ is /wananga/, "to seek for peace" ("DWhT", p. 37) -- peace being a result of compassion.}

a waterfall coming down from the steep face of a mountain.""

{Peace is sought at the wananga of ( p. 37) Marere-o-tonga ("DWhT", /marere/ 'waterfall').}

"DWhT" = Elsdon Best : "Diversions of the Whare Tapere". TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND, vol 34 (1901).

p. 134 III.B.1b days propitious for meditation

"the first progressive stage of meditating in discrete sessions (thun sgom) reaches its culmination ... like the third and fourth days of the waxing moon."

p. 135 III.B.2a "How the External Visions Multiply"

"The visions of the Clear Light ... arise in all directions. And inside them arise some thigleys of Awareness having the color of crystal. However ..., for the most part each of these thigleys of the pavilions of the five lights possess[es] rims (or auras) of the five-fold (colours). ... Again, for the most part, the thigleys of the chains have diverse colors and are like (beads) on a single strand. Their rims have five-fold (colors). In their centers (may appear) various different forms ..., such as ... stupas".

"according to the sGron-ma, "Then the visions begin to multiply and one sees them directly ..., whereupon Rigpa, or intrinsic awareness, is seen as a pavilion of light.""

p. 136 II.B.2b propitious days for unmoving clarity

"The experiences of one-pointed concentration are ... everything external and internal is released into total self-liberation. Furthermore, ... this state of total inherent clarity that is unmoving ... is like the fifth and sixth day[s] of the waxing moon."

pp. 136-7 III.B.3a "How the External Visions Develop Further"

p. 136

"there will arise pure visions of the seeds of divine forms and even the visions

p. 137

of divine realms. Everywhere there will arise various different visions in the cardinal and intermediate directions, as well as above and below, in front and in back, which have the nature of Clear Light. There will arise ...

those resembling a bamboo shield, or

{cf. the "flying shields" whereon people ride though the sky in Hopi myth}

those (phenomena) seen in a felt blanket made of yak hair ..., or

{cf. the "flying carpets"whereon people ride though the sky in the 1001 Nights}

or those (phenomena) may be like very small mustard seeds. ...

{cf. Jaina cosmic measurement of volume of outer space in terms of mustard seeds}

And there may arise with respect to them both upward pointed spokes and vertical strands of light. ... In the zone beyond that, there originate inconceivable numbers of visible objects ... that entirely fill the field of vision (of the practitioner), such as decorated and ornamented doors and windows that are very beautiful and complete. And in the middle arise aspects of divine forms (sku>i rnam-pa), either whole, or half, or just the head".

pp. 137-8 III.B.3b days propitious for the "single taste"

p. 137

"one's intrinsic awareness (or Rigpa) ... having suddenly gone into a singular (condition of) total primordial emptiness ... which is devoid of any root (or source), consequently, everything that arises

p. 138

or originates in ... internal consciousness, will come to have a single taste ..., and thus, that is called "the meditation where diversity comes to have a single taste." (For example,) this is like the eighth and ninth day[s] of the waxing moon."

pp. 138-9 III.B.4a "How the Visions become Completed"

p. 138

"The supreme Clear Light becomes visibly manifest, whereupon the divine forms and the divine realms of the Buddhas come ... . ... Furthermore, these pure self-manifestations (rang-snang dag-pa) of the great celestial palaces and man[.]d[.]alas of the [S`antika], [Paus.t.ika], and Raudra Deities (who are peaceful, prosperous, and ferocious respectively) ... are clear and bright (in their manifestations). ... And inside (the celestial palaces), with respect to the [S`antika] and [Paus.t.ika] Deities, there are seats ... having on them sun disks, moon disks, lotuses {lotoi}, swastikas ... . And with respect to the [Vas`ya]

p. 139

and Raudra Deities (who are enchanting and fierce respectively), they reside ... sitting upon ... Devas, [Naga-s], Gandharvas, the five wild animals ... . And these principal deities, both inner and outer, ... are surrounded by their respective retinues. ... As for their respective sizes, these transcend both large measures and small measures."

p. 141 III.B.5a "How the External Visions Arise"

"according to the Lung drug, "One sees the Sugatas as being as numerous as the grains of sand. ...""

{when one entreth into the divine visionary worlds inhabited by those Su-gata-s}

p. 142 III.B.5b witnessing the vast expanse

"everything that arises, arises as gnosis {realization of the divine origin of everything} ... . ... But if one fixates (the attention) on it {material particularities}, it {the gnosis} will go away (gtad na >gro). But when it is needed, it {as divinely-provided protection} will surely come. ... Thus, it becomes manifest (as the final stage of meditation, namely,) meditation in

the vast expanse of spontaneous understanding."

{"vast expanse" = vastness of divine worlds. "spontaneous" = induced not by one's self, but by the deities}

pp. 142-3 III.B.5b transcendentally visiting the deities & their heavenly palaces

p. 142

"the visions that occur at the present moment {i.e., as understood while the visions are in process} become systematically {i.e., by applying the mythological cosmology taught in the Abhidharma} ... understood as actually being deities and celestial palaces.

Therefore, ... thereafter one (no longer) does evil things [n]or violates morality. ...

{because after having witnessed the deities in their divine worlds, the soul-traveler will realize that those deities have plenary capacity to reward or punish mortals for their actions performed in the material world, as well as while mortals are visiting divine worlds}

Because one has thoroughly cut off the source of delusion ... directly into the Base, thereafter no further delusions with arise. ...

{The "source of delusion" is to doubt that the deities and those deities' power to reward and to punish are truly existent. The "Base" is Vajra-yana fundamentalist devotional worship.}

p. 143

Then, ... pure visions will arise to the disciple. For example,

one's own body arises in the [Sambhoga-kaya] form, adorned with the (thirty-two) marks and the (eighty) characteristics and accompanied by the emanated arrays of the seats, the thrones, (the celestial palaces), and the divine realms."

{In other words, whenever one is visiting, via soul-travel, the divine worlds, one will be temporarily provided there with a subtle body which will resemble the bodies of the various divine denizens of those worlds. While visiting there, one will (as a welcome guest) make use of those deities' seats and thrones, which the deities have divinely emanated out of their heavenly furniture-factories.}

p. 143 III.B.5b manifestations of the deities, by way of their aspects


__ aspect




108 Prosperity Deities (rGyas-pa>i lHa)



45 Peaceful Deities (Z^i-ba>i lHa)



86 Wrathful Deities (Khro-bo>i lHa)

p. 145 III.C. liberating delusions; falsehood of the doctrine of karmic causality

"Delusions come to be self-liberated without actually renouncing them."

"(The doctrine of) causality is a great and powerful falsehood and lie."

{The doctrine of karmic causality that relieth on ethical relations among humans solely is the falsehood; it is to be countre-acted by relying on relations also with deities.}

p. 146 III.C. obtaining magical powers; vast expanse of space

"at the time of meditation in the state (ngang bsgom), ... one will obtain the magical powers of the Bodhisattva, as well as clairvoyant knowledge ... .

At the time of meditation in the vast expanse of space (klong bsgom), ... there will arise into visible manifestation within the mind-stream (of the practitioner) all possible ... qualities ... of a completely perfect Buddha."

pp. 146-7 III.C. superior disciple : disciple who realizeth instantly

p. 146

"for the exceedingly superior individual who understands instantly (gcig-car-ba), there will arise the final visions (mthar thug snang-ba >char) and the (final) stage of meditation as a vast expanse of space where there is full understanding (rtogs-pa>i klong bsgom)."

p. 147

"for the individual who realizes instantly (gcig-car-ba), the instructions as such may be taught immediately and directly".


John Myrdhin Reynolds (translator, commentator, annotator) : The Practice of Dzogchen in the Zhang-Zhung Tradition of Tibet. Vajra Publ, Kathmandu, 2011.