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According to Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, Dzogchen (Rdzogs chen or Atiyoga) is the natural, primordial state or natural condition, and a body of teachings and meditation practices aimed at realizing that condition. Dzogchen, or "Great Perfection", is a central teaching of the Nyingma school also practiced by adherents of other Tibetan Buddhist sects.
According to Dzogchen literature, Dzogchen is the highest and most definitive path to enlightenment.
The term dzogchen also designates a school of Tibetan buddhism, with a distinct practice and a body of teachings aimed at helping an individual to recognize the Dzogchen state, to become sure about it, and to develop the capacity to maintain the state continually.[note 1]
According to one Nyingma tradition, the first master of the Buddhist Dzogchen lineage in our world was Garab Dorje (Wylie: dga' rab rdo rje, Sanskrit *prahevajra) from Uddiyana (Wylie:. o rgyan).
According to late mythologies, Dzogchen is said to have been passed down as listed following. Often, practitioners are said to have lived for hundreds of years, and there are inconsistencies in the lifespan dates given, making it impossible to construct a sensible timeline.
Padmasambhava (Tib. Pema Jugne or Guru Rinpoche, Wylie: padma 'byung gnas, gu ru rin po che) is considered the source of the Buddhist Dzogchen teachings in Tibet (Tib. bod), which are the heart of the Nyingma (Wylie: rnying ma) tradition, with which they are primarily associated. Dzogchen has also been practiced in the Kagyu (Wylie: bka' brgyud) lineage, beginning with Milarepa (Wylie: mi la ras pa) and most notably by the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (Wylie:. rang byung rdo rje). The Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth (present) Dalai Lamas (Wylie: ta la'i bla ma) are also noted Dzogchen masters, although their adoption of the practice of Dzogchen has been a source of controversy among more conservative members of the Gelug (Wylie: dge lugs) tradition.
The essence of the Dzogchen teaching is the direct transmission of knowledge from master to disciple.
Unlike Mipham, Rongzom did not attempt to harmonize the view of Mantra or Dzogchen with Madhyamaka.
Rongzom held that the views of sutra such as Madhyamaka were inferior to that of tantra, as Koppl notes:
By now we have seen that Rongzom regards the views of the Sutrayana as inferior to those of Mantra, and he underscores his commitment to the purity of all phenomena by criticizing the Madhyamaka objectification of the authentic relative truth. 
The Vima Nyingtik epitomized the Dzogchen teaching in three principles, known as the Three Statements of Garab Dorje (Tsik Sum Né Dek):
The Vima Nyingtik retroactively classified previous Dzogchen literature into three categories:
Sentient beings have their energy manifested in three aspects:
All teachings have energies that have special relationships with them. These energies are guardians of the teachings. The energies are iconographically depicted as they were perceived by yogis who had contact with them. The dharmapalas most associated with Dzogchen are Ekajati (Wylie: e ka dza ti), Dorje Legpa (Wylie: rdo rje legs pa) and Za Rahula (Wylie: gza' ra hu la) in the Nyingma and Sidpa Gyalmo in the Bön tradition. The iconographic forms were shaped by perceptions and also by the culture of those who saw the original manifestation and by the development of the tradition. However the guardians are not merely symbols as the pictures show actual beings.
According to Klein and Wangyal:
[...] the essence and base of self-arisen wisdom is the allbase, that primordial open awareness is the base, and that recognition of this base is not separate from the primordial wisdom itself [...] that open awareness is itself authentic and its authenticity is a function of it being aware of, or recognizing itself as, the base [...] The reflexively self-aware primordial wisdom is itself open awareness (rigpa), inalienably one with unbounded wholeness."
This open awareness of Dzogchen, or rigpa, is said to lie at the heart of all things and indeed of all Dzogchen practice and is
[...] primordial wisdom's recognition of itself as unbounded wholeness [...] the incorruptible mindnature.
The analogy given by Dzogchen masters is that one's true nature is like a mirror which reflects with complete openness, but is not affected by the reflections; or like a crystal ball that takes on the colour of the material on which it is placed without itself being changed. The knowledge that ensues from recognizing this mirror-like clarity (which cannot be found by searching nor identified) is called rigpa.
The Menngagde or 'Instruction Class' of Dzogchen teachings are divided into two parts: Trekchö and Tögal (thod rgal). Ron Garry:
The practice is that of Cutting through Solidity (khregs chod), which is related to primordial purity (ka dag); and Direct Vision of Reality (thod rgal), which is related to spontaneous presence (Ihun grub).
Many lamas require their students to complete the conventional tantric ngondro before starting Dzogchen practice. Trekchöd starts with nine preliminary practices, to prepare the student for the main practice.
Trekchöd has a specific preliminary practice,[note 3], rushan,[note 4] which may be rendered into English as "differentiating saṃsāra and nirvāṇa". Rushan involves "going to a solitary spot and acting out whatever comes to your mind."
The Dzogchen preliminaries also include a series of exercises known as Semdzin (sems dzin). Semdzin literally means "to hold the mind" or "to fix mind." Semdzins are found in all three series of Dzogchen (Semde, Longde and Mennagde), but the twenty-one semdzins found in the latter are common; Longchenpa divides them into three series of seven. According to Longchenpa as reported by Reynolds,
[T]he first group enables the practitioner to find him- or herself in a calm state, and thus the exercises are similar to the practice of Shamatha [...] [T]he exercises in the second group enable the practitioner to discover the relationship between body and mind. And those in the third group enable one to discover the nature of one's own condition."
Exercises in the first category include "fixating on a white Tibetan letter A on the tip of one's nose. Linking the letter with one's breathing, it goes out into space with each exhalation and returns to the tip of the nose with each inhalation. This fixation inhibits the arising of extraneous thoughts . . . however, the second exercise in the same category involves the sounding of the syllable PHAT! which instantly shatters one's thoughts and attachments. Symbolically, the two parts of the syllable indicate the two aspects of enlightenment, that is, PHA signifies Means (thabs) and TA signifies Wisdom (shes rab)."
The main trekchö instructions in the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo state:
This instant freshness, unspoiled by the thoughts of the three times,
You directly see in actuality by letting be in naturalness.
Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche states:
Trekchö is the thorough cut of cutting through, cutting the obscurations completely to pieces, like slashing through them with a knife. So the past thought has ceased, the future thought hasn't yet arisen, and the knife is cutting through this stream of present thought. But one doesn't keep hold of this knife either; one lets the knife go, so there is a gap. When you cut through again and again in this way, the string of thought falls to pieces. If you cut a rosary in a few places, at some point it doesn't work any longer.
Insight leads to nyamshag, "being present in the state of clarity and emptiness".
Lhundrub Tögal is the compassionate or skillful means aspect of rigpa.[web 1] Lhündrub Tögal[note 5] means "spontaneous presence", "direct crossing", or "direct crossing of spontaneous presence". The literal meaning is "to proceed directly to the goal without having to go through intermediate steps." It is a training to enhance the realization of the view, the practice of the unity of appearance and emptiness.
Thod rgal is also called "the practice of vision",[web 2] or "the practice of the Clear Light ('od-gsal)".[web 2] The practice entails progressing through the four visions, using visual manifestations and various kinds of light. The tögal teachings in the Zhang Zhung Nyan Gyud describe the clear light and the natural arising visions, and how they can be used in the training. Mandalas, tiglés, white points, circular rainbows, images of Buddhas, deities, and Buddha dimensions may also appear.
Jigme Lingpa states:
After a session of prana meditation, I began sleep yoga.
Dilgo Khyentse states:
You should sleep lying on your right side in the lion posture while visualizing a red four-petaled lotus in your heart center. In the center of this lotus, see your root guru in the form of Guru Rinpoche....Fall asleep while remaining in that state.
Lhun grub practice may lead to full enlightenment and the self-liberation of the human body into a rainbow body[note 6] at the moment of death, when all the fixation and grasping has been exhausted. It is a nonmaterial body of light with the ability to exist and abide wherever and whenever as pointed by one's compassion. It is a manifestation of the Sambhogakāya.
Some exceptional practitioners such as Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra are held to have realized a higher type of rainbow body without dying. Having completed the four visions before death, the individual focuses on the lights that surround the fingers. His or her physical body self-liberates into a nonmaterial body of light (a Sambhogakāya) with the ability to exist and abide wherever and whenever as pointed by one's compassion.