Tögal

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Tögal (Tib. ཐོད་རྒལ་, Wyl. thod rgal) — one of the two aspects, along with trekchö, of Dzogchen practice[1].

Tögal, translated as ‘direct crossing’, ‘the direct approach’ or ‘leapover’, can bring very quickly the actual realization of the three kayas in this lifetime, and thus is a more rapid way of bringing about the dissolution of the practitioner’s karmic vision. The practice of tögal brings the realization of ‘spontaneous presence’ (Tib. ལྷུན་གྲུབ་, lhundrup), and it can only be undertaken by a practitioner who has first gained stability in the practice of kadak trekchö.

Sogyal Rinpoche writes:

Only when the master has determined that you have a thorough grounding in the practice of trekchö will he or she introduce you to the advanced practice of tögal. The tögal practitioner works directly with the clear light that dwells inherently, “spontaneously present,” within all phenomena, using specific and exceptionally powerful exercises to reveal it within himself or herself.
Tögal has a quality of instantaneousness, of immediate realization. Instead of traveling over a range of mountains to reach a distant peak, the tögal approach would be to leap there in one bound. The effect of tögal is to enable a person to actualize all the different aspects of enlightenment within themselves in one lifetime[2]. Therefore it is regarded as the extraordinary, unique method of Dzogchen; whereas trekchö is its wisdom, tögal is its skilful means. It requires enormous discipline, and is generally practiced in a retreat environment.
Yet it cannot be stressed too often that the path of Dzogchen can only be followed under the direct guidance of a qualified master.[3]

Notes

  1. More precisely of the Mengak dé section of Dzogchen.
  2. Note 7 from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Through the practice of tögal, an accomplished practitioner can realize the three kayas in one lifetime (see 'Chapter 21, The Universal Process'). This is the fruition of Dzogchen.
  3. Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, revised and updated edition (HarperSanFrancisco, 2002), page 171.

Further Reading

  • Jamgön Mipham, White Lotus, translated by the Padmakara Translation Group (Boston and London: Shambhala, 2007), 'An explanation of the Seven-Line Prayer according to the innermost, secret Great Perfections, the Heart-Essence of Luminosity', pages 65-73.
  • Ringu Tulku, The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgön Kongtrul the Great (Boston & London: Shambhala Publications, 2006), pages 257-282.
  • Tsele Natsok Rangdröl, 'Tögal' in Quintessential Dzogchen, translated & compiled by Erik Pema Kunsang and Marcia Binder Schmidt (Boudhanath, Hong Kong & Esby: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2006), pages 244-247.
  • Tulku Thondup, The Practice of Dzogchen (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1989), pages 73-76.

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