The third aspect of ultimate reality, which can be experienced as the perpetually timeless unfolding of our own potential, is termed Tuje (thugs-rje) in Tibetan. Our own potential, an already perfected primordial potential, unfolds in the context of itself. This is because reality is always totality and never segmental. Even the mere concept of totality-versus-segmental is itself delusory dualism, the core existential glitch that permits the on-going illusion of un-enlightenment. The real totality that is referenced here by the symbolic use of that t-word will always be mercifully inconceivable.
First, let’s be clear about what inconceivable means, and then consider how it is merciful, which is the topic of Tuje. Inconceivable means that any idea we may come up with about ultimate totality can only ever be about totality. So, the reality of the state of totality always remains inconceivable. But this does not mean that ultimate reality is unknowable. If we train ourselves to relax into a state of non-conceptual presence, ultimate reality can be truly and completely known. This unique knowing of ultimate reality is involuntary, autonomic, if you will, but fully conscious. In the extremely concise Tibetan language, this state-of-being-in-the-non-conceptual-presence-that-reveals-our-already-complete-innate-knowledge-of-ultimate-reality is called Rigpa. We could make up a fresh word for this or use the old Greek word, gnosis, but since the English language has such open borders, I think we may as well just keep the word, Rigpa. Above, the inconceivable totality that is the very essence (ngo wo) of reality was characterized as being mercifully inconceivable. Of course, this is a verbal device intended to introduce the aspect of Tuje. Tuje is also non-conceptual but, like totality, also completely knowable in the radical, autonomic state of Rigpa. It is important to keep in mind that, although we can speak of these three aspects of Ngo Wo, Rang Zhen and Tuje independently, they are never separate. Each aspect equally subsumes the other two, constituting a condition of unity that transcends not only any and all concepts of unity, but even transcends its own unity — and always remains the inconceivably simple truth about ourselves and everything else, no matter how far we wander from recognizing it.
The conventional translation of Tuje is “compassion”, and this is not incorrect. However, the term compassion is commonly used to name a particular sentiment or emotion. It is usually relegated and confined to feelings of compassion. The specific Dzogchen usage of Tuje is to refer to the most fundamental, primordial energy of all reality. This fundamental energy is always and pervasively compassionate, merciful, loving and warm, in the sense that our experience of this primordial energy always involves those qualities. In Dzogchen practice we must learn to clearly differentiate experience and realization. Although working with our experiences is an indispensable part of Dzogchen practice, realization is beyond experience. It is only at the dualistic level of experience that we can characterize Tuje as having such qualities as compassion. The realization of Tuje is synonymous with the realization of Buddhahood and beyond all concepts.
Merciful compassion is the quality of the basic energy of all existence, and to the extent that we can open ourselves to this energy, we will experience pleasure. Of course, there are many levels and degrees of pleasure, and Tuje is the intangible energy of it all. Tuje is the non-conceptual reality that everything is inherently positive. Negative states only seem to exist due to our mistaken habit of languishing in the delusive state of dualism. This is not to suggest that we can simply decide now to stop being dualistic. It is not so easy. But if we can come to understand, even intellectually, that our dualistic perspective is blocking our capacity to enjoy eternal pleasure, then the approach to liberation is at hand. Tuje is the fact that every situation, without exception, is the completely perfect situation. This is because every situation perfectly presents the spaciousness of eternal emptiness (ngo wo), as, the clarity of infinitely variant manifestation (rang zhen), and vice versa. The energy-power (Tuje) that is part and parcel of this perpetual confluence is always optimal as the perpetual thrust of autonomic realization. In the same way that a surfer catches and then rides the energy of an oceanic wave, concretely demonstrating, if only briefly, the non-duality of surfer and surf, likewise, mercifully and warmly, ultimate reality unceasingly presents us perfect opportunities for the enlightenment of realizing ultimate non-duality.
Therefore, we ourselves are fundamentally Tuje. And to the extent that we can abide in-and-as this primordial energy, we will be beneficial to the world. In the Dzogchen view, therefore, the ultimate demonstration of compassion and loving-kindness is to simply abide in Rigpa. By remaining in this autonomic presence, all of our activities will spontaneously, effortlessly and perfectly fulfill the needs and wishes of others. This is because when we are in the state of Rigpa we are existing in non-dual confluence with primordial energy of Tuje. This is also why, in Dzogchen, Bodhicitta is not referred to as something to be cultivated and/or practiced. Instead, Bodhicitta is understood to have always been none other than what and who we really are.