Daka / Dakini (S): "Sky-Dancer." In Tibetan, "pawo // khadro." kha: sky and dro: to go. Daka is male. pawo in Tibetan.; dakini, is female. Dakinis are female beings that travel in space, and are linked with giving birth to the full range of expansive potentialities. In Vajrayana Buddhism, the inspiring power of awakening consciousness; female wisdom holder. These are accomplished female spirits who have attained the Clear Light and assist practitioners in removing physical hindrances and spiritual obstacles. They are companions of Buddhas and meditators who can transmit special understanding when the recipient is properly prepared. Usually depicted in the iconography as a wrathful naked female. As a semi-wrathful or wrathful "yidam," the dakini has the task of integrating the powers liberated by the practitioner in the process of visualization (sadhana) and in response, grants the four enlightened dakini actions of pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and subjugating. In Tibetan, "Kha" means "celestial space" or "emptiness" (sunyata becoming an image). "Dro" indicates a sentient being moving about or dancing. "Ma" indicates the feminine gender in substantive form. Thus the "khadroma" is a female figure that moves on the highest level of reality; her nakedness symbolizing knowledge of truth unveiled. The homeland of the dakinis is said to be the mystic realm of Orgyen. There are many different types of dakini: wisdom dakinis, activity dakinis, and mundane dakinis, unenlightened and enlightened dakinis. An example of a worldly unenlightened dakini is a human practitioner that has accomplished some insight but who is not yet released from her suffering.

Enlightened dakinis are Wisdom Dakinis, and have passed beyond sorrow into liberation such as Yeshe Tsogyal, Madarava or any of the consorts of the five Dhyani Buddhas such as Mamaki or Tara. The absolute wisdom dakini is the empty quality of luminous wakefulness. On the relative level, the five aggregates of perception (S. skandhas/T. Phung-po nga) are the male aspect, while the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space are the female qualities. On the absolute level, the males are the subjective end of skiffull means and compassionate activity while the females are the wisdom realizing emptiness, the timeless, serene expanse of objective suchness. Thus the great mother of dharmakaya, Prajnaparamita, is the source of all buddhas and dakinis. Dakinis are born in three manners, spontaneously, in heaven realms, or through the power of mantra. They are a guiding light along the path removing physical and spiritual hindrances, awakening dormant spiritual impulses. Embodying the inseperability of bliss/emptiness and ego-annihilating wisdom, dakinis can appear in many different ways and forms, some of them quite outrageous or extremely repulsive in order to arrest conceptual thinking and wrong perception.

Dakini Teachings: A collection of teachings by Guru Rinpoche, oral instructions on Dharma practice given during his stay in Tibet in the eighth century. The advice was recorded by his main disciple, wisdom dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, Princess of Kharchen. She was Guru Rinpoche’s consort during his stay in Tibet and wrote these oral instructions down in a secret code language called ‘dakini script’ before concealing them as terma treasures to be revealed in future ages. These precious teachings were instructions in general Dharma practice, relating to the three levels of Buddhist doctrine, with detailed commentaries on how to personalize and actualize bodhicitta. Terma teachings include instructions regarding the means to ascend with the conduct while descending with the view. Guru Rinpoche taught his disciples with the power of truth and encouraged them to give up all non-virtue and misdeeds, to apply the great remedy that works against the pollution of disturbing emotions, and put manly effort into the performance of meritorious actions. He also made many predictions and with the help of Yeshe Tsogyal, buried many of his teachings to be revealed to generations in the future. He blessed his close disciples so that they would be inseparable from himself. In future rebirths these beings would reveal the Master's hidden teachings to benefit practitioners of future generations.

Dalai Lama (T): "Ocean of Wisdom." Dalai is a Mongolian word, conferred on this lineage when after the days of Genghis Khan, the Mongols and the Tibetans enjoyed a patron/priest relationship. The political and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, HHDL is also considered an emanation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesvara (T: Chenresig). The present Dalai Lama is the 14th incarnation. The Dalai Lama has always been a combination of spiritual leader and political chieftan of Tibet. Since 1959 he has lived in exile in Dharmasala, India and remains spiritual leader of his people, even under their oppression by the Chinese government. The Dalai Lamas of Tibet:

damaru (S): A double-headed hand drum traditionally made from the joined backs of two skulls, the juncture symbolizing the joining of samsara (cyclic existence) and nirvana (emptiness). The point where the skulls connect is hollow – samsara and nirvana are of the same nature. Two ball-on-string strikers beat the leather drum skins as the damaru is "played" by twisting it back and forth in the right hand. The strikers symbolize the compassionate aspirations of those who have not yet directly realized

damtsig: See samaya

Damzigpa, damtsigpa (T): Protector, one who upholds and re-strengthens the bond of samaya.

dana (S): The practice of generosity or charity; one of the Paramitas, implying Giving, alms-giving, benevolence, and liberality. As well as one of the All-Embracing Virtues, dana is the act of giving others what they want just to lead them towards the truth.

darshana: (S) "Vision, sight." Seeing the Divine. Beholding, with inner or outer vision, a temple image, Deity, holy person or place, with the desire to inwardly contact and receive the grace and blessings of the venerated being or beings. Also: "point of view," doctrine or philosophy.

Dasabhumi (S): The ten stages of Bodhisattva realization. See Bhumi

death: A rich concept for which there are many Sanskrit words such as mahaprasthana, "great departure;" samadhimarana, "dying consciously while in meditation"; mahasamadhi, "great merger or absorption," in reference to the departure of an enlightened soul. Hindus see death as the soul's detaching itself from the physical body and continuing on in the subtle body (sukshma, sharira) with the same desires, aspirations and occupations as when it lived in a physical body. Buddhists? See:bardo, reincarnation, suicide.

Dechen Gyalmo (T): "Queen of Great Bliss." The principal dakini, she is an expression or manifestation of compassion and wisdom. Her human incarnation is Yeshe Tsogyal. Thus, she embodies primordial purity and emptiness-awareness. The Nyingma root text or liturgy (Yumka Dechen Gyalmo, The Queen of Great Bliss of the Longchen Nyingthig) is a terma (treasure) discovered by 18th century terton Jigme. It is the essential teaching of the Dzogchen Anuyoga and Atiyoga. She is described as naked (having overcome obscurations to liberation), red-skinned (passionate dedication to training disciples), has one face and two arms; three eyes; feet are evenly on the ground, one foot facing forward, ready to act for others; her face bears an expression of great passion; she is desirous and cheerful. In her right hand she upholds a damaru (a small double-headed drum). In her left, she holds the handle of a curved ritual chopping knife, which rests at her left side. The Great Bliss Queen ritual is a guru yoga, i.e., the practitioner merges with the "deity," an expression of enlightenment or true nature. The purpose of the sadhana is to enhance mindfulness, compassion and wisdom that prepare one to become the Great Bliss Queen, that is to directly realize the true-nature state, compassion and wisdom unified. Traditionally, the sadhana (or another dakini liturgy) is performed on dakini days (25th day of the lunar month) as the liturgy for Tsog, or offering practice and meditation. In the Dzogchen practices, the Great Bliss Queen sadhana enhances the likelihood of discovering and enhancing one’s experience of innate awareness – discovering that one is (we are) Dechen Gyalmo. See Dzogchen, Padmasambhava, Vajravahari, Yeshe Tsogyal

dedication: Dedication of Merit: The Mahayana practice of devoting time and energy to a precise goal and accumulating the merit produced by our positive acts. One can thus work toward the quality of merit which enables us to reach temporal or timeless objectives in this or future. By the power of our merit we can obtain worldly pleasures or obtain the from samsara; of course, the highest form of dedication will garner merit for use in catalyzing the awakening and ultimate benefit of all beings.

deity: (S) deva, lit. shining one, Tibetan: Yidam yid/mind dam, derived from Damtsig, vow or commitment. Meditational deities, male or female, representing a particular means of illumination widely visualized in Tantra to assist in the development of concentration and samadhi.

demi-god: Sanskrit: asura, titan Tibetan: lha ma yin. See Asura

demons: Sanskrit: mara. Tibetan: dud. Negative influences that hinder spiritual cultivation. These can take an infinite number of forms, including evil beings or hallucinations. Disease and death, as well as the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion are also equated to demons, as they disturb the mind. The Nirvana Sutra lists four types of demons: i) negative emotions such as greed, anger and delusion; ii) the five skandhas, of our physical and mental functions; iii) death; iv) the demon of the Sixth Heaven (Realm of Desire) also known as the Golden Child Complex. Our True Nature has been described in Mahayana sutras as a house full of gold and jewelry. To preserve the riches, i.e., to keep the mind calm, empty and still, we should shut the doors to the three thieves of greed, anger and delusion. Letting the mind wander or carelessly shop, opens the house to demons, that is, hallucinations and harm. Thus, Zen practitioners are taught that, while in meditation, "Encountering demons, kill the demons, encountering Buddhas, kill the Buddhas." Both demons and Buddhas being relative illusions of the mind. See Yogacara, or Mind-Only.

dependent origination, (S: Pratitya samutpada/T: Tendrel) Interdependent origination: the crown jewel of the Buddha's doctrine, a deep understanding of this concept is no different than the realization of nirvana. See Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.

Deshin Shegpa (1384 - 1415): The fifth Karmapa.

desire: Sanskrit: raga. Tibetan: do chak. See attachment

desire realm: Sanskrit: kamadhatu. Tibetan: do kham.

Devadatta (S): Adopted son of Dandapani, father of Yasodhara. Cousin and boyhood rival of the Buddha. Devadatta was ordained as a follower of Shakyamuni Buddha, but later left him and repeatedly attempted to kill him.

devas (S): "Shining ones." Beings living in the higher astral plane, in a subtle, nonphysical body. Deva is also used in scripture to mean "god or deity" in the class of the least painful existence of samsara. The gods are alotted a very long happy life as reward for good deeds performed in the past; however this happiness is often a hindrance on the path since it obscures recognition of the first noble truth. A deva's life is completed in great sufferings because the gods have the capacity to clearly see their inevitable future rebirth in one of the lower realms. In Buddhist tradition, existence in in any dimension is understood to be impermanent. See: Mahadeva

development stage: The creation or development stage practices (T. kye rim) in Vajrayana meditation which involves the visualization of a deity and the repetition of mantra as one concentrates on a clear and detailed vision of the deity from whom one receives blessings. After developing stage practice is accomplished, it is complemented by completion or perfection stage practices (T. dzog rim) involving subtler yogas which relate directly to the channels, winds, and drops. (T. tsa, lung, tig-le)

devotion: An essential quality for all Vajrayana practitioners. As realization of the true nature of mind will not occur without receiving the grace of the Master, one must respond to the presence of this opportunity with great energy, humor and intelligence.. If the source of blessings is always active, it is up to the disciple to open their heart and mind in true devotion, which involves qualities such as respect, confidence, humility, love, enthusiasm and perseverance.

Dewachen (T): "Land of Bliss." Sanskrit: Sukhavati. "Pure Ground of Great Happiness." The pure realm of Buddha Amitabha. This is the world of utmost joy without suffering where beings may practice under conditions which are extremely conducive to great realization.

dharani (S): A chanted incantation held to bring spiritual benefit or serve as an aid to furthering one's progress towards awakening; short sutras of symbolic syllables. The earliest documented emergence of Vajrayana found in Mahayana sutras are those chapters devoted to dharani, long sequences of symbolic syllables to which are attributed various powers. These are clearly related to both the Mahayana mantras and to the paritta – texts, such as the Metta Sutta, recited for protection by non-Mahayana Buddhists. The earliest tantras, from the kriya tantra class or "action tantras," center around the visualization of one of the many buddhas and bodhisattvas. The kriya tantras for a large category of texts which appeared between the 2nd and 6th centuries CE. See kriya, tantra.

dharma (S): "That which subsists or supports." Tibetan: Chö. 1. The teachings of the Buddha (buddhadharma) and the underlying meaning of the teachings. That truth upon which all Buddhist practices, scriptures, and philosophy have a foundation. The Buddhas' appear to establish the manifestations of the Dharma in the world. 2. Any object, idea, or phenomena which can be defined as an entity of some sort. In this usage within Buddhist texts, dharma resembles the English word "thing" while having a wider and more inclusive meaning than physical objects. 3. The object of the sixth sense faculty: the conceptual mind. In this specific use, dharma represents any mental object (thought, image, memory, sensation) which is recognized by the conscious mind.

dharmadhatu (S): Tibetan: Chö kyi ying. The realm of all pheneomena; the space in which all transpires; the container and its contents, everything that is and is not; all phenomena, all noumena and their underlying nature; everywhere and everything; the existence of the animate and the inanimate, all things material and immaterial, all physical and mental events..

dharmakaya (S): "Truth body." Tibetan: Chö-ku. The open essence of the mind. The formless source condition, the unborn wisdom body of all beings, realized most directly by a Buddha. The primordial core of a fully enlightened one, which, free of all conceptual coverings, remains meditatively absorbed in the co-emergent perception of emptiness while simultaneously cognizing all phenomena. One of the three bodies of a buddha (see also nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya).

Dharma Kings: The three great Tibetan Dharma Kings: Srongsen Gampo, Trisrong Detsen, and Ralpachen. Seventh-century Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo, believed to be an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, created the Tibetan script. Trisong Detsen, an incarnation of Bodhisattva Manjushri, is the eighth-century king who invited Guru Padmasambhava and Abbot Shantarakshita to bring the Dharma to Tibet. Vajrapani, appearing as the ninth-century King Ralpachen, summoned Indian and Tibetan scholars to translate the Tripitaka, the Commentaries, and the Ancient Tantras into the Tibetan language.

dharmapala (S) Tib. "chö kyong" Protector of the Dharma. Special buddha aspect, both male and female, usually fierce in appearance, purposed to assist practitioners in overcoming obstacles encountered along the way to enlightenment. Ekajati is considered. the main protectress in the Nyingma lineage.

Dharmata (S): The fundamental nature of all phenomena, the essence of reality. Inscrutable fusion of form and emptiness.. At the sutra level, dharmata implies external or observable phenomena. At the tantric level, it denotes the primordial condition of consciousness where there is no separation of inner and outer dimensions.

Dharma Wheel: T. chö-khor. The 'Dharma Wheel' is a metaphor for the unfolding and maturation of the Dharma in the world, once it has been revealed by a Buddha. "Setting the Dharma Wheel in motion" is another way of saying 'revealing and propagating the teaching of the truth underlying all phenomena'. The eight spokes are a symbol of the Eightfold Path, leading to perfection. See: Eightfold Path.

dhyana (S): Meditation. Also, more specifically, the four concentrations in the realm of form beginning with the level where investigation and ananlysis are present, up through the four formless concentrations culminating in the level called neither perception nor non-perception. As fifth among the six Paramitas, it is associated with the accumulation of wisdom. .

Dhyani Buddha (S): The five Dhyani Buddhas are: Amitabha, Akshobya, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava, and Vairocana. On the relative level, this pentad represents the skandhas, while on the absolute level, they represent the five wisdom families. See Five Buddhas.

divinity: pathways of the non-mundane, transcendent purity which pervades all things. Expression of the awakening and support of meditation by which this awakening is approximate. In Buddhism, the essence of the divinity is identical to the unobscured mind of the practitioner, i.e. non-existing and non-separate; the presence or reflection of primordial awareness in the world.

Drolma (T): She who liberates. Tibetan for Tara. see Tara

dorje (T): Do. means stone, rJe means lord or king. Sanskrit: Vajra. Adamantine, impenetrable, invisible, unbreakable reality which can cut through anything else. Literal translations of vajra (a word cognate with English "vigor") are "thunderbolt" and "diamond". The dorje or vajra is a highly stylized Vajrayana ritual implement symbolizing the supreme method which is boundless compassion..In Vajrayana teachings, the dorje expresses and symbolizes the perfect purity, hardness and clarity of a diamond, conjuring notions of indestructibility, brilliant clarity, striking beauty and the incorruptible truth. As a ritual object, a dorje has five or nine spokes (symbolizing the nirmanakaya), attached to a lotus (sambhogakaya) which emerges from a central sphere (dharmakaya). It also appears also as a part,usually the handle, of many other Tibetan ritual instruments. A synonym for both vajra and dorje is mani (Skt., "jewel"), and these terms are often used as a code for the lingam, still carrying the associations of fertility, power, hardness, and great worth. Mani therefore appears with Padma (Skt. "lotus"; i.e. yoni) in the famous chant "Om Mani Padme Hum", a celebration of the primordial union of form and emptiness. The corresponding female equivalent to the male dorje-mani-vajra is ghanta (Tib. "drilbu), the bell. Images of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Vajrayana dignitaries often show them with one or both of these implements in their hands. Dorje/Vajra is the primary symbol of the Buddha Family in the eastern direction. Each detail of the Dorje represents a Bodhisattva. It represents the immutable and the indestructible power of Buddha Nature to overcome all obstacles.

Dorje Chang (T): Sanskrit: Vajra Dhara. "One who holds the Dorje." The first movement of Buddha Kuntuzangpo towards the world; Vajrasattva at midnight. The form in which the Buddha or the Lama manifests when giving Vajrayana Teachings. The golden ornaments of Dorje Chang attract the eye into a profound depth; it is in this form that we encounter the ultimate source of all Buddhist and tantric teachings. The primordial Buddha which is the source of all the tantras; the expression of ultimate buddhahood. Vajradhara personifies the awakening of the thirteenth bhumi, the highest in Vajrayana. He is the symbol of the Buddha nature inherent in every living being, the sign of indestructible mind because he is beyond all dualistic bias. Dorje Chang is the essence of the perfect Guru, the reflection of the spiritual completeness within the reach of everyone. He is generally represented as being dark blue, with or without a consort, holding in his two crossed hands the dorje and the bell, representing the union of method and wisdom.

Dorje Drolo (T): "Crazy Wisdom Vajra." A wrathful manifestation of Padmasambava and a subduer of demons. Guru Padma arose in the wrathful form of Dorje Drolo in the famous Tagstang or Tiger’s Nest Cave in Bhutan to subdue the negative and demonic forces of these degenerate times. Ferocious in expression, amidst a mass of primordial wisdom fire, he stands upon the back of a pregnant tigress who is the wrathful form of his Wisdom Consort of enlightened activity, Tashi Kye Dren, whose ferocity is unpredictable and wild. Dressed in a robe of brocade, his hair is red and curly, he has an overbite and fangs and wears a garland of severed heads representing the cutting of the 52 levels of dualistic mental-events. In his right hand he holds aloft a vajra emitting lightning bolts, and in his left a kila-phurba, a three-sided ritual dagger which severs the three poisons that are the source of all suffering. The ferocious expression he wears while riding a pregnant tigress who is munching on a corpse makes for a menacing figure. His body is dark brown and surrounded by a halo of flames.

Dorje Khandro (T): Sanskrit: Vajradaka. A deity who functions to purify negativities through his specific fire puja (jin-sek). See also ngondro.

Dorje Phagmo (T): Diamond Sow. Sanskrit: Vajravarahi. The main Yidam of the Kagyu tradition. She is the embodiment of Wisdom. Also known as Dorje Naljorma.

Dorje Sempa (T): Sanskrit: Vajrasattva. "One whose being is of the nature of the Vajra." Lord of all Buddha families, Vajrasattva is the Buddha of purification. Dorje Sempa meditation, one of the four preliminary practices, involves acknowledging all one's unskillful negative actions and attitudes, vowing not to repeat these things and through adopting the appropriate remdies, aims to eradicate the habitual tendencies from which they arise. See Vajrasattva

dosha (S): "Bodily humor; individual constitution." Refers to three bodily humors, which according to ayurveda regulate the body, govern its proper functioning and determine its unique constitution. These are vata, the air humor; pitta, the fire humor; and kapha, the water humor. Vata has its seat in the intestinal area, pitta in the stomach, and kapha in the lung area. They govern the creation, preservation and dissolution of bodily tissue. Vata humor is metabolic, nerve energy. Pitta is the catabolic, fire energy. Kapha is the anabolic, nutritive energy. The three doshas (tridosha) also give rise to the various emotions and correspond to the three gunas, "qualities:" sattva (quiescenceÑvata), rajas (activity Ñpitta) and tamas (inertia Ñkapha). See: ayurveda.

Drukpa Kagyü The Kagyü Lineage was founded in India by the wild yogi Tilopa (988-1069) and was brought to Tibet by Marpa (1012-1096), the great translator and principle disciple of Naropa (1016-1100). Marpa translated many important works of both Sutra and Tantra. The principle disciple of Marpa was Milarepa (1052-1135), who attained Enlightenment in one lifetime and became a key inspiration for genertations of Dharma practitioners. Milarepa's chief disciple was Gampopa (1079-1153) whose coming was prophesied clearly by the Buddha. Gampopa composed the "Jewel Ornament of Liberation," "The Precious Garland of the Excellent Path" and other works. Gampopa gathered an extraordinary number of disciples and through them the Buddha's teachings flourished like the rising sun. From Gampopa there came the four elder lineages which are: Barom Kagyü, Tshalpa Kagyü, Kamtshang or Karma Kagyü, and Phagdru Kagyü. His principle disciple was Phagdru Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170) who gathered together 80,000 disciples and thus benefited many sentient beings. From Phagdru Dorje Gyalpo came the eight younger Kagyüpa schools which are: Drikung Kagyü, Taklung Kagyü, Trophu Kagyü, Yelpa Kagyü, Martsang Kagyü, Yasang Kagyü, and Drukpa Kagyü. Drukpa Kagyü was the founder of the Drukpa Kagyü lineage, 1128-1188/9. He was a disciple of Phagmo Drubpa, master of Tsangpa Gyare. The Kagyü teachings were transmitted from Gampopa through Phagmo Drubpa to Lingje Repa. Jigten Sumgon (1143-1217) was the successor of Phagdru Dorje Gyalpo and because of this the Drikung Kagyü school is considered both an elder and a younger school.

dualism: Opposite of monism. Any doctrine which holds that there are two eternal and distinct realities in the universe, e.g., god-world, good-evil, self-other. A confused representation of reality, resulting from the ordinary mind which separates the subject from its experience. Partial or contextual knowledge founded on the concept of a subject and an object, which are innately assumed to be truly existent.

Dudjom Lineage Practices: Practices declared by 20th century Nyingma Terton Dudjom Rinpoche to be uniquely suited to practitioners in this age. These are the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro; Vajrakilaya, his own treasure revelation; and T'hröma Nagmo, the revelation of his previous incarnation, Dudjom Lingpa. See Dudjom Tersar Ngondro, Vajrakilaya Sadhana, Throma Nagmo

Dudjom Tersar Ngondro (T): Treasure (terma) revealed by Dudjom Lingpa, a previous incarnation of Dudjom Rinpoche. A concise but powerful set of preliminary practices for turning the mind to dharma, purifying obscurations, accumulating merit, and opening the door to mind’s true nature through guru yoga. This is the preferred method to prepare Nyingma students to receive Dzogchen teachings. See Dudjom Rinpoche; Ngondro, Dzogchen

Dukkha (S): Stress; suffering, impermanence. one of the Four Noble Truths). Misery, woe, pain, ill, sorrow, trouble, discomfort, difficulty, unsatisfactoriness.

Dzogchen / Dzogpa Chenpo (T): Sanskrit: Mahashandi. Also, Atiyoga. Great Perfection or Great Completion. The highest teaching of the Tibetan Nyingma sect; the innermost teaching that transcends tantra, ritual and symbol. This is a means to liberate the meaning of primordial buddhahood into its own state, and it is the nature of freedom from abandonments and acceptances; expectations and fears. Through this accomplishment, one recognizes the purity of mind that is always present and realizes the union of emptiness and wisdom. Dzogchen is not merely another practice or technique; it is the mind's original and fundamental state. In this approach, all the phenomena are regarded as being originally pure. Thus any distinction between Samsara and Nirvana is an illusory contrivance constructed by the obscured mind. 2) The view of non-duality practiced by followers of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism; 3) The practice of spontaneous insight meditation.

Dzogchen is sometimes translated as 'Great Fulfillment,' and is said to utilize Ch'an like teachings of the 'sudden school' which were rejected in Tibet during the Samye debates of the 8th century in favor of a more graduated path of Indian Buddhism represented by Kamalasila (a great Indian master) and Hwa Shang Mahayana (who stood for sudden enlightenment that comes of immediately and directly cutting through all mental discrimination). According to tradition, Trisong Deutsen made his decision with an eye as to what would work best for the majority of people, over what was intrinsically valid as a path. In any case, the Nyingmapa, never being much persuaded or involved in politics, incorporated this 'sudden school' approach into its highest yana, that of ati-yoga or Dzogchen.

At the heart of the Nyingma tradition, Dzogchen is held to be the most ancient and direct stream of wisdom within the teachings of Buddhism. Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912), one of Tibet's greatest scholars and masters, wrote: "Crowning the banner of the complete teaching of the Buddha, is the beautiful ornament of the clear light teachings of Dzogpa Chenpo." Accomplished masters of Dzogchen are reported to attain, upon their death, the 'rainbow body' leaving behind nails and some hair as the only evidence of their corporeal life, while their elemental body is completely transmuted into spiritual energy and light.

Dzogchen (Atiyoga) Categories of Transmission: The 6,400,000 verses of Dzogchen/Atiyoga scriptures are divided into three categories by Manjushrimitra (Jampal Shenyen). The first two were introduced into Tibet by Vairochana; the third by Vimalamitra. Associated with the primordial Buddha Samantabhadra (S) or Kuntuzangpo (T.) who is depicted as naked, midnight blue, unadorned, representing the dharmakaya, or truth body which is beyond the dualism of space and time. Dzogchen teachings originally transmitted by Padmasambhava and hidden for later discovery as terma, or "treasures," began to be discovered from the 13th century onwards. Dzogchen teachings originally came down from Samantabhadra to Vajrasattva (a sambhogakaya buddha) and then to the nirmanakaya Garab Dorje (a prodigy born of a virgin shortly after the time of Christ) who dictated these instructions to dakinis who wrote them all down in over six million verses. Texts which have been orally transmitted from the time of Garab Dorje are known as kama, or "oral tradition." The three major categories are:

1) Sem-de (T): Nature of the Mind series.

2) Long-dé (T): "Primordial Space" or "Vast Expanse" series. These deal with subtle-sensation as the focus of meditative absorption, and employ a great variety of yogic postures and corresponding physical pressure-points to stimulate flow of wisdom winds in the vajra-body. Details of such practices are kept highly secret and can only be received through transmission from a qualified Lama.

3) Men-ngak-de (T): Innermost Oral Instructions or Direct Transmission series. For those who can make use of a more direct approach. There are two major categories of Men-gag-de training: Trekchod, or "Cutting Through" - emphasizes the clear-light aspect of primordial knowledge, empty of any concept or image.. Thogal, or "Direct Approach" also know as Leaping Over, a more advanced practice which requires prior mastery of trekchod techniques and goes on to the practice of working with the vibrations of sound and light in sparking both recognition and liberation while directly seeing through the samsaric cycle and intimately knowing the "naked" mind of the Buddhas or True Nature.