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Practice of Dzogchen in the Zhang Zhung Tradition of Tibet


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Practice of Dzogchen in the Zhang Zhung Tradition of Tibet
Translations from the Druchen Gyalwa Yungdrung and the Sevenfold Cycle of the Clear Light

This work contains translations from the Bonpo Dzogchen practice manual for the Zhang Zhung Nyangyud, known as the Gyalwa Chaktri of Druchen Yungdrung, and from the Odsal Dunkor, the Sevenfold Cycle of the Clear Light, being the dark retreat practice from the same tradition, translated with commentaries and notes by John Reynolds.

The translations presented here all relate to the actual practice of Dzogchen according to the ancient Bon, pre-Buddhist tradition of Tibet, known as the Zhang Zhung Nyangyud, the Oral Transmission from Zhang Zhung.

The country of Zhang Zhung was once a powerful kingdom that lay in what is now Western and Northern Tibet, centering around the famous Mount Kailash. As a written tradition, these teachings and practices are said to go back at least to the eighth century of our era, coming from the great Bonpo master Tapihritsa and transmitted to his disciple Gyerpung Nangzher Lodpo. The master Tapihritsa gave his disciple permission to set down in writing these precepts of Dzogchen in the Zhang Zhung language for the first time. Then in the tenth century, these same precepts were translated into the Tibetan language by Ponchen Tsanpo for the benefit of his Tibetan disciples. In the eleventh century, these precepts were collected from various sources in Western Tibet and in Nepal and put into their present form by Orgom Kundul and Yangton Sherab Gyaltsan. Thus, never having been concealed due to persecution, this transmission represents a continuous and uniterrupted lineage from the early times until present.

In the thirteenth century, the illustrious Bonpo master Druchen Gyalwa Yungdrung composed a practice manual for this tradition. Book One deals with the preliminary practices of this Dzogchen system and the translation of this text was published earlier. Included in the present volume are the translations from Book Two that principally deal with the practices of contemplation and vision, otherwise known as Trekchod and Thodgal, as well as translations from Book Three of the four supplementary texts dealing with the view, meditation, conduct, and fruit of Dzogchen. Also included in this volume is a translation of the instructions for making the 49 day dark retreat according to the Zhang Zhung tradition, the text known as the Sevenfold Cycle of the Clear Light.

These translations were done over a period of time under the guidance of Yongdzin Rinpoche, Lopon Tenzin Namdak. While detailed explanations of the various practices must be had from a qualified lama belonging to this tradition, this volume provides a useful overview of the practices on the path of Dzogchen for those who are sincerely interested in these matters.