The purpose of this weblog is to serve as a resource for those who are interested in the practice of dzogchen. The particular standpoint of advocacy here is what could be referred to as freestanding dzogchen, but this is not the common context for such study, understanding and practice. This standpoint is not presented here as a contradiction or correction of other approaches. It is rather a view that attempts to draw out the real meaning of dzogchen knowledge as it particularly applies to the 21st-century individual. Since the 7th century, the dzogchen teachings have been closely associated with Vajrayana Buddhism and the majority of available literary references concerning dzogchen are written from that perspective. However, the dzogchen system of practice is in fact not at all dependent upon the tenants, precepts or philosophy of Vajrayana Buddhism. Dzogchen represents the consummate culmination of Buddhist practice in that its praxis is entirely existential — as distinct from the transcendental approach of Buddhism. According to Buddhist sources, dzogchen transmission among humanity originated in the land of Uddiyana which is now identified as the Swat region of present-day Pakistan. The original preceptor of dzogchen in our epoch was the master, Garab Dorje, whose principal disciples were apparently already masters of Vajrayana. However, dzogchen knowledge and teachings pre-date Garab Dorje by incalculable eons and are even said to be presently available in thirteen different “star-systems”.
Because of the radical nature of the dzogchen view, which “goes beyond the limitations of Cause and Effect”, these teachings were not promulgated publicly for reasons which will be explained. Centuries after Garab Dorje, the enigmatic master, Padma Sambhava, introduced dzogchen into Tibet. In both Uddiyana and Tibet, strong cultural and political convictions of that period prohibited, sometimes with very severe penalties, the open dissemination and practice of dzogchen. This is because dzogchen, in its radical and unequivocal expression, seems to present a kind of spiritual anarchy that conventional judgement can easily misinterpret. Particularly, dzogchen could be (and has been) erroneously viewed as an advocacy of secular anarchy. Furthermore, the bluntly amoral symbolic language of dzogchen, conspicuous throughout its literature, presents a serious challenge to the intellectually and emotionally immature. It is important to understand that the gradient-styled practices of Vajrayana Buddhism ultimately culminate in the realization of the dzogchen state. The Nyingma lineage in particular has served for centuries as a reliquary for dzogchen by maintaining the original dzogchen precepts as a secret teaching. Nevertheless, due to the strong predominance of the Tantric perspective in Tibet, dzogchen has been routinely characterized as impractical unless significant attainment in Tantrism has been accomplished as a prerequisite. This bias is really the result of Tibetan religio-political institutionalism more than genuine spiritual pragmatism. In actuality, dzogchen is a complete and unique spiritual system unto itself with its own unique way of training and working with all the various levels of individual aspirants. There are no prerequisites in dzogchen besides genuine personal interest. Freestanding dzogchen therefore refers to the approach and practice of dzogchen in its own right.
Only very recently have the dzogchen teachings begun to be offered again openly as an independent spiritual system, unbeholding to any particular religious or philosophical tradition. It is also important to understand that this freestanding approach to dzogchen does not contradict any religion or philosophy and can therefore be practiced by anyone, without the necessity to change one’s beliefs. Nevertheless, through the practice of dzogchen, all beliefs will ultimately and naturally evaporate on their own as they become fully exposed to the knowledge and inconceivable solar-like brilliance of one’s own intrinsic awareness.