Firstly, this is not necessarily an easy book for those who have no experience of meditation or contemplation - I have been practising Taoist water method meditation and chi gung for some years. The Dzogchen path is quite beyond fixed concepts and as such it can (much like the essence of Taoism) be hard to 'get a grip' on. Nevertheless, Namkhai Norbu's humour and clarity shine through in this book and he actually communicates something quite indefinable in this work. For those who are serious about pursuing greater clarity and awareness, buy this book, let go of your intellect, read it, and you will see what I mean. I for one intend to study personally with Namkhai Norbu at the earliest opportunity. A gem.
I have read several books on the subject and I`m rather familiar with teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, and I must say I completely disagree with some of the critical revives here. The book is clear and explains the main points of unique teachings of Dzogchen. And what I personally treasure about this book is, that it is written by someone who is real practitioner of these teachings, so that Namkhai Norbu does not give just dry lecture on the subject, but actually he IS an embodiment of Dzogchen teachings. educated in Tibet before Chinese invasion , He spend many years practicing Dzogchen with some of the greatest masters of Tibet...I recommend this book to anyone who is really interested in Dzogchen teachings from the source, rather than some theory written by scholars who never practice it...
A profound and searching classic, it demands a great deal from the reader. In the end it only partly satisfies the promise it makes, as in this tradition self-perfection is only possible with the intervention of a very particular kind of teacher.
I am afraid to say I was disappointed with this text. It is a thin account of one of the most profound of all spiritual teachings. I felt the author was more taking advantage of his position of respect in writing this book than sharing any true transmission of this precious teaching. The book lacks depth or subtly, both of which the Dzogchen approach itself possesses in abundence. I felt the Dalai Lama's discources on Dzogchen surprisingly had far more transition to offer that this.
The natural state (rigpa), need not be complicated, it requires no methods nor practices and is spontaeneously complete without effort of any kind... 'this' is it. when aware aware, when unaware unaware, just in your natural state... making an effort, not making an effort, how could you not be in your natural state, you were born in it, you will die in it. naturally so.
why worry about annihilation of self and annihilation of buddha nature (the great icchantika), it would be perfectly natural to ask the Truth, for a new self, a new nature. once one has come near to the end, one finds oneself back at the begging, but one has changed.
theres nothing at all to worry about, this normal mind is the way, ones everyday thought is the way, ones everyday life is perfectly enlightened. why worry about passions and defilements... you are already perfect... how could you not remain in a natural state? impossible.
you have already arrived, you always were perfect. naturally so. this is the teaching of Dzogpa Chenpo, where even defilements are tools for growth.