Practice of rDzogs-chen in the Z^an-z^un Tradition, Part 2


Part 2 = The Seven-fold Cycle of the Clear Light





Introduction and Outline of the Texts

247 to 266


Translation of the Text

267 to 282


Commentary One

283 to 294


Commentary Two

295 to 313



Introduction and Outline of the Texts

247 to 266

p. 247 authors

"the [r]Dzog[s-]chen precepts were ... written down ... mainly in the tenth century [Chr.E.] by ... (Kun->dul >or-sgom) and ... (Yang-ston chen-po Shes-rab rgyal-mtshan). A practice manual for these practices, which included the dark retreat (mun-mtshams), was composed ... in the twel[f]th century by ... (Bru-chen rgyal-ba g.yung-drung) and entitled sNyan-rgyud rgyal-ba phyag-khrid."

pp. 248-50 contemplative states of mind

p. 248

"With the practice of [r]Dzog[s-]chen, one finds oneself beyond the mind in the state of contemplation (mnyam-bzhag, ting-nge >dzin), where the practitioner has entered into and remains in the Natural State of the Nature of Mind (sems-nyid gnas-lugs)."

p. 249

"a clear distinction is made between, on the one hand, mind (sems) and the thought process (blo) ... and, on the other hand, the Nature of Mind ... . The latter is the source and matrix of the former ... . ... On the one hand, the Nature of Mind represents ... what is called primordial purity (ka-dag), but on the other hand, it is pregnant with an inexhaustible supply of creative energy (rtsal). This represents a pure potentiality ... . This principle is called spontaneous perfection (lhun-grub)."

p. 250

"The Nature of Mind is not only ... primordial purity (ka-dag), but it is equally characterized by a luminous clarity (gsal-ba) and intrinsic awareness (rig-pa)."

pp. 251-2 inner light; the [allegedly] self-based nature of hallucinations

p. 251

"the light of awareness that illuminates our world. ... This inner light (nang >od), the light of awareness, resides in the hollow space inside ... a maroon-colored carnelian stone decorated with white crystals ... . This inner light of awareness proceeds from the hollow space ..., moving upward through the kati channel, to the two ... lenses to focus this light. The two ... are the gateways for the emergence into outer space of this inner light of awareness.

Thus, this light and the images that appear in this light, are actually something internal ..., but here they manifest in the empty space in front of oneself. The light ... is projected ... out through the lenses of the two eyes into the space in front, much like one is watching a cinema show. This process may be compared to a magic latern or a projector. ...

{Actually, just as if the cinema-projector were aimed differently, the cinema-projection (movie) would appear in a different place in the showroom; even so the hallucination would appear in a different place in the room whenever the direction that the eyen looked were to shift, if it were actually true (as alleged by the author and his literary sources) that hallucination were a projection via the eyen into the room.}

p. 252

The objects that appear are not really outside oneself. ...

In the dark retreat one is totally alone, alone in a dark room with one's own mind."

{Actually, one is always accompanied everywhere in the material universe by as many deities as are necessary and sufficient to maintain the structure of the physical universe around one -- and this number is in excess of the total number of all [mortal] living beings in the universe. (It is very easy for such a vast number of deities to fabricate any hallucination, however intricate.)}

{Or, alternatively, the hallucination would move about the room whenever the hallucinator were to turn his head, if it were actually true (as alleged, in effect, by many modern textbooks of psychology) that the hallucination were a projection directly from the brain into the room. But in fact, the hallucination will remain in the same place in the room (regardless of how either the eyen or the head may be shifted or turned), and can be easily walked around without shifting its position, proving definitively (to all by the most stubborn and dogmatic semi-atheist Bauddha/Bon or modernist fully-atheist psychologist) that the hallucination is located independently of the hallucinator, and must consequently be emplaced into its position by transcendent deities. (This mode of proof of the real existence of hallucinations is identical with the mode of proof of the existence of the physical universe, a proof which is generally accepted as valid by philosophers and by physicists.) The intellectual dishonesty (in denying the praeternatural) of ploutokrat-class-dominated political-state-sponsored atheists is truly appalling; they (state-sponsored atheists) are indeed praevaricating deceivers shamelessly accepting pay (bribes) to promote absurdities, calculated for the deception of the gullible working class.}

pp. 253-4 awaking from life; visions from Nature of Mind

p. 253

"Just as one wakes up in the morning and realizes that one has been dreaming, so when one dies, one wakes up from the extended dream that we call our everyday reality."

p. 254

"visions are spontaneously produced and effortlessly perfected because

the Nature of Mind, in and of itself, is outside ... the causal sequence, even though it represents the matrix and context of ... causality."

{This is to say, that Nature of Mind hath its headquarters in the causal plane-of-existence.}

p. 255 pure visions

"Pure visions ... arise out of understanding and awareness ... . They are archetypal images of the Buddhas and Buddha realms arising in the recognition of the Clear Light. These pure visions (dag snang) ... are spontaneous manifestations of enlightened awareness".

pp. 256-7 one's 2nd death : manifestation of the Clear Light of Death

p. 256

"when ... one is pronounced dead, one's ... consciousness (rnam-shes), finds itself deprived of the physical body. Nevertheless ... consciousness finds itself in a subtle ... body ... . For some days the deceased consciousness sees and knows ... what is being done to its corpse. But after three or four days ... the second death approaches, the moment of true psychic death ... . One experiences the white dawn and the red dawn and finally the moment of eclipse or total black-out ... . ... One finds oneself ... with neither ... body. One is simply suspended in space. ... Just at this moment, the border or Boundary (so-mtshams) between dying and the onset of the Bardo experience, the moment when the Clear Light

p. 257

manifests ... . ... Then ... the archetypal ... Peaceful and Wrathful Deities spontaneously manifest within the chaos of colors forming in this Clear Light. ... But ... these visions in the Clear Light flash by ... . The Clear Light having faded, ... one discovers oneself wandering in a visionary symbolic landscape ... much as in dreams. Having departed from the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality, one finds oneself in the Bardo of Existence, the process leading to rebirth. ... Then propelled by the winds of karma ..., one is driven relentlessly toward a new rebirth".

p. 258 sets of 49

"But the duration of the Bardo experience is symbolically forty-nine days. ...

{In some Puran.a-s, 49 Agni deities and/or 49 Marut deities and reckoned and named.}

For a particular individual, the Bardo may last for only a moment, or it may last for centuries, or even millennia, before that stream of consciousness again takes up embodiment."

pp. 259-64 outline of the text ""The Seven-fold Cycle of the Clear Light", from the Single Transmission Oral Tradition of Zhang-zhung for the Great Perfection Teachings" (rDzogs-pa Chen-po Z^an-z^un sN~an-brGyud gCig rGyud >Od-gsal bDun bsKor)

p. 259 part one, I.A.1 body-posture possessing 5 aspects


the __

are (is) __



"held in a cross-legged position"



"kept in the [samadhi mudra]"



"held straight like an arrow"



"pulled back like an iron hook"



"hunched like the wings of a vulture"

p. 259 part one, I.A.2 visualizing the psychic channels


the __ channel

is __ (color)










pp. 261-4 part two, weeks I-VII



name of the practice



"dust specks in the sun light"



"rays of the sun"


"exercises of the right white channel and the left red channel"



"exercises of ... one's own azure-colored central channel"


"exercises that are like the rainbow"



"exercises where ... the A emanates, and the OM integrates"


"exercises where ... the OM emanates, and the A integrates"



Translation of the Text

267 to 282

pp. 268-71 Part 1 = Yoga of the Psychic Channels & of the Winds

p. 269 I.A. the psychic channels

"the central channel opens its mouth like the spang-rgyan flower. ["the blue flowers of the Gentiana Stipitata Edgew, spang-rgyan sngon-po" (p. 316, n. 6)] ... .

... the central channel is visualized to open wide at its upper end like a bamboo walking cane."

the __ channel

is __

like the color of __


"crystal (white)"

"kangkari crystal"



"powdered coral"


"clear azure"

"the bright sky"

pp. 270-1 II.D. Bin.d.u-s & Syllables {/BSWO/ = /PSi/ & /PSYche/}

p. 270

"on utter[ing] aloud the syllable BSWO, from unmanifest space there is emanated a sparkling effulgence of primal awareness consisting of (a multitude of) dark red ... . They enter into the crown of one's head and are transmitted downward inside the azure-colored central channel. ... Because one utters aloud the syllable BSWO, from the BSWO syllable that abides as the Base ..., there is emanated a sparkling effulgence of dark red ... that come to fill to overflowing the interior of the azure-colored central channel. ...

p. 271

And because of that, no [Bhuta-s], or restless spirits, that are obstructers, and no wrong [spirit-]guides can cause any disturbances."

{In some other religious societies, Bhuta-s (for whom the country Bhutana is named) are sought for spirit-possession caerimonies.}

pp. 271-82 Practices for the 7 Weeks

pp. 272-3 1st Week

p. 272

"the ocean ... is pulled back against the Meru mountain ... . ... .

p. 273

the essence ... is clear and bright like a beam of sun light ... . One meditates on these two bindus ... as being a clear blue and green." "These (bindus) merge into a very bright and clear maroon (bindu) at the lower extremity of the azure-colored central channel where the three channels unite and thereafter it goes straight upward through the azure-colored central channel and is expelled outside by way of being ejected about one full digit above the crown of the head."

p. 274 2nd Week

"In the right nostril there is a yellowish white bindu and in the left nostril an orange -colored bindu. Both of them are just the size of ... Chinese peas and they emanate rays of light of five kinds like the rainbow."

pp. 274-5 3rd Week

p. 274

"the three channels ... come to extrude through the hole at the crown of the head like wheat stubble cut at harvest time.

p. 275

... on top of the right white channel (above the crown of the head) is seated the Lord who is the king of the sky ..., who embodies the essence of the moon, and

on top of the left red channel is his consort ..., who is the essence of the sun.

(They ...) ... are like the rainbow."

p. 276 4th Week

"on a petal at the right side of (the mouth of) the azure-colored central channel (above the crown of the head) is seated the Lord ... and

on the left is the Lady ... as before."

p. 277 5th Week

"At the two nostrils there are two bindus having the essence of subtle energy and mind. They are vibrant and sparkling ... and surrounded by rainbows and they are the size of ... Chinese peas. These two emanate rays of light of five kinds like the rainbow."

p. 278 6th Week

"two white A syllables at the nostrils ... transform into two orange-colored OM syllables that emanate rays of light of five kinds like rainbows. ... they become (a blue) HUM syllable at the lower extremity of the azure-colored central channel. This (syllable) proceeds upward and is expelled at the crown of the head for about one finger width."

p. 279 7th Week

"two red OM syllables ... are transformed into two white A syllables, which emanate rays of light like rainbows at the two nostrils. (These A syllables) ... become (a single blue) HUM syllable at the juncture of the three channels. This (HUM syllable) proceeds upward and is expelled at the crown of the head for about one finger width."

pp. 280-1 "General Method for Each Session"

p. 280

"on top of an orange-colored solar disk seat, which is in the brain, is an orangle colored HRI syllable.

And on top of a yellowish white moon disk, which is the membrane above the brain, is a yellowish white HRI syllable.

Both of them emanate rays of light of five kinds like rainbows."

p. 281

"inside the right and left channels, there are two green YAM syllables. ... They descend and at the juncture of the three channels, they coalesce into one."

"As for the Perfection Process ... : The A syllable goes upward from inside the central channel, and having been expelled from the crown of the head, it is absorbed into the wheel of light."



Commentary One = Beginning the Dark Retreat

283 to 294

pp. 283-4 source of the text

p. 283

"the present text is anonymous and was added as an appendix to the basic text of the rGyal-ba phyag-khrid of ... (Bru-chen rGyal-ba g.yung-drung, 12th cen. [Chr.E.])".

p. 284

"Traditionally, these teachings ... have been kept strictly secret. However, the guardian deity [goddess] ... (Srid-pa>i rgyal-mo) appeared in a vision to the former abbot ... of the Bonpo monastery at Dolanji in India and prophesied that if the [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings from Zhang-zhung were not given out to those who are sincerely interested, they would be entirely lost within a generation."

{The only reason why teachings were ever kept secret is that the jealousy by the royalty (and nobility) of anyone's ever acquiring knowledge of access to divine worlds, forbade open disclosure. Now that royalty can no longer restrict such knowledge, it is opportune to disclose it. (Of course the deities would agree.)}

pp. 284-5 title of the text

p. 284

">Od-gsal bdun bskor is the actual title of the text. Clear Light (>od-gsal) refers to ... vision practice ..., and the seven-fold cycle (bdun bskor) refers to the cycle of

p. 285

seven weeks spent in total darkness, each week having its own special ... practice."

p. 285 practicing fixation

"A white letter A is painted on the dark background of a card that is affixed to the end of a stick. This stick is then thrust into the ground at a comfortable distance in front of oneself.

... one stares ... focusing on it as a skilled archer would fixate on his target while holding his bow and arrow."

{An archer's fixation of the attention on a target is a meditation-practice of Ch>an/So^n/Zen.}

pp. 286-7 contemplation of hallucinations

p. 286

"There is no visualization (dmigs-pa) done here in the state of contemplation; there is only vision (snang-ba), that is to say,

whatever may spontaneously arise to the awareness in the space before one

{commonly known as "hallucinating"}

while sitting in the total darkness

p. 287

of the retreat.

Contemplation is a state beyond the mind,

{"Contemplation"is defined here as "hallucination"; "the mind" is defined here as "voluntary controlled". (Hallucinations are "beyond"being voluntary controlled.).}

whereas visualization represents a deliberate activity of the mind.

{This is intended as a derogation of voluntary control of one's mind (such voluntary control of one's mind being conventionally the definition of "sanity"; non-control being conventionally defined as "insanity").}

According to the clear exposition ..., the essential points of the yantra exercises (>khrul->khor) ... are two-fold :

(1) the balancing of ... the mind in equipoise (... sems mnyam-par bzhag) and

{"equipoise" = 'indecision, indecisiveness' (a usual characteristic of a person conventionally regarded as insane)}

(2) ... one harmonizes and balances the psychic energies, and by harmonizing these energies, one ... harmonizes the mind or flow of thoughts."

{Harmonization of one's thoughts is another peculiar mark of what is conventionally described as madness.}

p. 288 secret centre; difference of channels for gendres

"One visualizes the central channel as dark azure in color in the middle [vertically extended] of the body, beginning at

the secret center, some four fingers' widths below the navel,

{This may be the location of that Taoist elusive mystical "organ", the "triple burner".}

and extending to the aperture or opening at the crown of the head. ...

The right-hand channel is white in color, and the left is red in color. They symbolize the white lunar masculine energy and the red solar feminine energy respectively, as in the Tantra system.

These channels and colors are the reverse in women."

pp. 289-90 how to purify the colors of anger of desire : differences, by gendres

p. 289

"For men, ... one is absorbing into oneself luminous light blue wisdom air (ye-shes kyi rlung). ... One visualizes ... expelled as ... light bluish-gray smoke, which represents ... anger. ... Then ... one exhales ... light red ... desire. ...

Women should proceed in exactly the opposite fashion, first purifying desire and then anger. ...

p. 290

Men begin by cleansing the right channel, whereas women begin by cleansing the left channel, because these two side channels are the reverse in men and women due to tantric polarity. The white lunar channel, where the residues of anger accumulate, is on the right side in men and on the left in women, whereas the red solar channel, where the residues of desire accumulate, is on the left side in men and on the right side in women."

p. 290 the 3 colors to be purified


anger (z^e-sdan = dves.a)

desire (>dod-chags = raga)

bewilderment (gti-mug = moha)

__ umor causing diseases

wind (rlun = vayu)

bile (mkhris-pa = pittha)

phlegm (bad-kan = kapha)


light blue


smoky color [light grey]

disturbances from __

male spirits (pho gdon)

female spirits (mo gdon)

[dragons] Naga-s (kLu gdon)



Commentary Two = Practices for the Seven Weeks

295 to 313

pp. 297-8 I. considerations of essential points






"mind in equipoise"


"the breath ... functions properly"


"the channels by way of the nine breathings"


"the body ... position is assumed (bca>-ba lus ...)"


"the channels that are visualized (bskyed-pa rtsa ...)"


"the breath which is held (gzung-ba rlung ...)"



"the bindus on which one meditates (bsgom-pa thig-le ...)"

p. 301 III. naked divine couple

"on top of the right-hand white channel is seated ... the King of the Sky, ... (bon-sku mkha> yi rgyal-po) ..., who has the essence of the moon. He is naked and luminous white ... .

On the top of the left-hand red channel is seated his divine Consort, ... (... yum snang-ba gung gi rgyal-mo) ..., who has the essence of the sun. She is naked and red (or orange) ... . ...

Both of them are transparent bodies of light ... . ... this visualization is the reverse in women [left & right being reversed]. Rays of light come out of them and these ... invoke a multitude of [Jn~ana-sattva-s], or wisdom beings (ye-shes-pa)".

pp. 306 & 310 "Conclusion" : colors of one's brain; reversal of hands; reversing sequence of exercises

p. 306


"One visualizes the entire brain to be a reddish-yellow or orange-colored sun-disc ... . Above this, one visualizes the membrane at the top of the brain to be a white moon disc".

p. 310


"Having broken the dark retreat for whatever reason, one resumes it where one had left off ... . ... One sits in the same meditation position, but now the hands are reversed, the right hand being above the left hand."


"Following the reverse order (go ldog) means that one ... repeats the seven weeks doing all the exercises in the reverse order".


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