From Lama Surya Das:
Dzogchen means the innate great completeness. It points to our own innate wholeness, our own true Buddha nature, our untramelled spirit, perfect and pure from the beginningless beginning. It is what we call the Buddha within -- not an oriental Buddha, not an historical Buddha, not one of stone, not male or female, but the Buddha nature within each of us, true and wise, loving and compassionate. We want to come back to that, awaken it, cultivate it -- that is what the path is about. We don't get it from outside, from someone or somewhere else, or even from our own ideas of what we are. The Havajra tantra says we are all Buddhas by nature but must, through our own spiritual work, awaken to ourselves.
Sometimes the spiritual or religious path seems like a jungle, a thicket of theories and practices and opinions. But there is at the center a sunlit clearing where all the teachings converge. The mystical teachings meet at this awakening to what is within us. It is also in everything around us, so our awakening isn't narcissistic. We see Buddha nature in the eyes and hearts of fellow humans and creatures in the natural world. It is there too. That is what we discover through these practices of meditation, self-inquiry, chanting, inner investigation, prayer, yoga, and so on.
I think our Dharma (spiritual) practice is an opportunity we should really treasure. It was a secret teaching in the East, almost unknown even to Tibetans. Many teachers have required ten or twenty years of preliminary study and monastic training before giving access to this teaching, but my teachers say this is the moment of Dzogchen. People have little time and the Dharma is fading in the East, but Dzogchen is something we can actually do here and now. With or without the Buddhist religious overlay, we can simply awaken with inquiry, awareness practice, and a loving heart. It is not obscure but simple. We can take great joy in that. This is the time of Dzogchen.
Emaho! (EE-MA-HO -- a Tibetan exclamation of cosmic delight)
Lama Surya Das~Peace to all beings~
PHOTO: Dzogchen teacher Lama Surya Das picture from Snow Lion Publications