Dzogchen – The Indispensable Teaching for all Sentient Beings

Excerpt from the Ati Nedzer (a tt’i gnad gzer) Teaching
Merigar East, August 17, 2012

Good day to everybody everywhere. Now here we are at Merigar East and our retreat is starting today. I have already informed you that there will be a teaching of Dzogchen upadesha related with the Ati Nedzer, the series of longsal teaching. It is important that you remember not to go after the titles of teachings, but into the essence. When you learn the essence you should integrate it in yourself, otherwise it seems you are attending a conference. If you want to pursue the teachings in that way, it is better you don’t move from your house and read a book. That can be sufficient. But when you go to a retreat, it means you receive transmission and with this you learn something and you integrate. Then even if you learn only a few things, it becomes something useful in your life. So this is the purpose of the teaching.

We try to do our best. In general I give Dzogchen teaching – all teachings are not Dzogchen, particularly in the tradition of Buddhism, like vajrayana in Tibetan Buddhism. In vajrayana there is sutra, tantra and all kinds of teachings, but not Dzogchen. I give Dzogchen teachings in general because, in my experience, when we are searching for a teaching for realization, and also to realize something in our lifetime and not only for the future, the Dzogchen teaching is something which is the most essential of all. For that reason, I follow and apply Dzogchen.

People follow teachings, mainly in Tibet, based on how the person is related to the traditions. If you are related to one of the four schools in your region, your family, etc, then you follow that. I should have followed the Sakyapa tradition if I followed that way. Also when I was growing up, I learned and studied many things of the Sakyapa tradition because my place and family belong to that tradition. But I understand we follow the teaching to have realization, and also in this short lifetime, it has benefit for living in our society. After many years of studying philosophy and Buddhist tradition, I discovered that the Dzogchen teaching is the most essential.  For that reason I follow the Dzogchen teaching, and not only for myself, but when I started to teach in the Western world, I knew that people were interested to have some realization and benefit for themselves.

Basically, based on my personal experience, I started to teach Dzogchen and this is the reason for all my life, so when I teach, I mainly teach Dzogchen. I don’t know if most of you who are following this teaching know that Dzogchen teaching is the most essential teaching or not, or you just happened to come to this teaching. I can say that if you just happened to be in this teaching, you are very fortunate. Even without knowing that Dzogchen teaching is the most important and most essential, this is your fortune, so you should know that and try and understand what Dzogchen teaching is.

There are many ways we learn Dzogchen teachings and go to the final goal of the teaching. The final goal of the teachings, which all teachers present, is that there is a kind of realization. Also if you are going in the essence then you can understand what realization means. But most of the time you cannot receive that information or knowledge. So most people have no precise idea what realization means.

We have this famous idea that we can become “illuminated”.  Some people think that illumination means you become luminous or something different. Illumination does not mean that. It means if we are living or being in a dark room and we cannot see anything that is there, even our own condition. Dark is dark. But then in this dark there is a light and suddenly you can see how everything is. Illumination means something like that.