What is Dzogchen?

Just as a cloud originates from an empty sky, so all concepts and thoughts arise in our inner space, then vanish back into its emptiness. We have to try to understand ourselves, our true condition, to see that all our concepts and problems arise there, abide there, and disappear there. Discovering this condition is finding the primordial state. But in order to understand our condition we have to go beyond concepts and thoughts. Our original condition is thoughtless, and thought cannot touch what is beyond thought. There can be explanation in words to introduce the state, but the explanation is not realization of the state. Dzogchen is direct understanding, without thought, and not distracted by thought.

Each individual must look within to discover the origin of thoughts. Then when one has had the experience of this discovery, the master can introduce and explain the state since the student has already had the experience. The master does not introduce his own concepts to the student, but confirms and explains what the student has discovered - thoughts arise from emptiness, which is the true condition of the individual. Each individual has this basic condition, which is Buddhahood. It is not something one receives or gets from outside. This is the true condition of the individual.

From writings by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche