The sky is a symbol of the nature of
Mind in Dzogchen


Introduction to Dzogchen

Dzogchen is based on recognising nonduality. Dzogchen means ‘utter completeness’. From the point of view of Dzogchen, we are already complete. Nothing needs to be obtained or jettisoned in order to realise nonduality. This is the path of immediate self-liberation.

The Aro gTér approach to Dzogchen

Dzogchen is ‘complete’ in that all teachings are contained within it. All Aro gTér teachings—whether on Dzogchen, Tantra, or Sutra—are rooted in the Dzogchen perspective. The Aro gTér is unusual in teaching the basic concepts of Sutra, such as the Four Noble Truths and Five Precepts, from point of view of Dzogchen.

The base, or starting point, of Dzogchen is rigpa: instantaneous enlightenment. If one has not experienced rigpa, it is not possible to practice Dzogchen. Rigpa however, is the natural condition — and simply needs to be seen. For this reason, Dzogchen can be practised. This is paradoxical — yet the paradox is pragmatic. The factor which resolves the paradox is inspiration. If this is found to be provided by the Lama then the impossible becomes possible.

Most commonly, students are required to complete the Tantric ngöndro ngöndro(preparation) and to accomplish the Tantric phases of generation and completion before approaching Dzogchen. Dzogchen sem-dé however, contains a ngöndro which brings one to the base of Dzogchen. This ngöndro is a series of four meditation practices whose result is rigpa. These practices have the stylistics of Dzogchen – although they are not initially Dzogchen itself. In this way it is possible to approach Dzogchen on its own terms, rather than via Tantra. This direct approach was traditional in Tibet not only for hermits – but for people with families and livelihoods. The Aro gTér was practised by such people in Tibet, and it is taught and practised by such people in the West today.

The practices of this Dzogchen ngöndro are not easy – but neither are they difficult or complex. They do not require extensive preparation or technical knowledge.

Aro gTér Dzogchen teachings

The ngöndro of Dzogchen sem-dé is the foundation for all other Aro gTér teachings and practices. Our meditation site contains extensive resources and information on this ngöndro. We offer a free internet course, books, classes, audio guided meditations, retreats, and individual instruction.

Dzogchen itself is divided into three series: sem-dé, long-dé, and men-ngag-dé. The Aro gTér contains all three. Each series is characterised by decreasing conceptual content — and this therefore requires greater experience of non-conceptual practice. Accordingly, most of our public programmes are concerned with Dzogchen sem-dé. Some aspects of Dzogchen long-dé are taught publicly. Generally, Dzogchen men-ngag-dé is taught only to Aro gTér apprentices.

TThe following weekend retreats are particularly relevant to those interested in learning about Dzogchen:

Dzogchen Wonderment & Sheer Vividness – a practical introduction to Dzogchen sem-dé – meditation on the nature of Mind

Reality – The Vivid, Vivacious, and Volatile Vision – the Dzogchen practice trčk-chöd – ‘exploding the horizon of conventional reality’

Singing Power into Being – Dzogchen gar-dang – the method of discovering rigpa within the dimension of sound

Spontaneous Becoming – the Dzogchen method thamal-gyi shépa – instantaneous recognition of timeless presence

The Method of the Mahasiddhas – the means of integrating Dzogchen practice with everyday life

sKu-mNyé: moving being – from Dzogchen long-dé – exploring the kaleidoscopic patterns of vivid and powerful energies of being

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