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Title: Rigpa  
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Subject: Dzogchen, Nondualism, Pointing-out instruction, Rainbow body, Aro gTér
Collection: Buddhist Organizations, Buddhist Philosophical Concepts, Dzogchen, Nondualism, Nyingma, Tibetan Buddhist Practices
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Tibetan letter "A" inside a thigle. The A, which corresponds to the sound ‘ahh’,[1] represents kadag while the thigle represents lhun grub.

In Dzogchen teaching, rigpa (Tibetan: རིག་པ་Wylie: rig pa; Skt. vidyā; "knowledge") is the knowledge of the ground.[note 1] The opposite of rigpa is marigpa (avidyā, ignorance).


  • Definition 1
    • Kadag and lhungrub 1.1
    • Rigpa and mind 1.2
  • Practice 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6
    • Published sources 6.1
    • Web-sources 6.2
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Rigpa is the knowledge of the ground.[note 2] Erik Pema Kunsang translates a text which provides basic definitions of rigpa and marigpa in a Dzogchen context:

Unknowing (marigpa) is not knowing the nature of mind. Knowing (rigpa) is the knowing of the original wakefulness that is personal experience.[3]

Kadag and lhungrub

Rigpa has two aspects, namely kadag and lhun grub.[4] Kadag means "purity" or specifically "primordial purity".[5][6] Lhun grub in Tibetan normally implies automatic, self-caused or spontaneous actions or processes.[7] As quality of rigpa it means "spontaneous presence"[5][note 3] It may also mean "having a self-contained origin", being primordially Existent, without an origin, self-existent.[7] This division is the Dzogchen-equivalent of the more common Mahayana wisdom and compassion division.[4]

Rigpa and mind

In Dzogchen, a fundamental point of practice is to distinguish rigpa from sems (citta, (grasping) mind).[8] According to the 14th Dalai Lama, "sems is the mind which is temporarily obscured and distorted by thoughts based upon the dualistic perceptions of subject and object."[9] Rigpa is pure awareness free from such distortions.[9] Cittata, the nature of mind, is the inseparable unity of awareness and emptiness, or clarity and emptiness, which is the basis for all the ordinary perceptions, thoughts and emotions of the ordinary mind.[web 1]


Dzogchen practices aim to attain rigpa and integrate this into everyday life:

The practical training of the Dzogchen path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation and Action. To see directly the Absolute state, the Ground of our being is the View; the way of stabilising that view, and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action.[10]

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).[11]

See also


  1. ^ ghzi; Skrt. ālaya[2]
  2. ^ ghzi; Skrt. ālaya[2]
  3. ^ See also lhun grubrywiki,


  1. ^ Norbu 2002, p. 56.
  2. ^ a b Schaik 2004, p. 5.
  3. ^ Kunsang 2006, p. Chapter 15.
  4. ^ a b Dalai Lama 2004, p. 32.
  5. ^ a b Rinpoche Dzogchen Ponlop 2003.
  6. ^ Dalai Lama 2004, p. 30.
  7. ^ a b Hookham 1991, p. 49-50.
  8. ^ Kunsang 2012, p. 154.
  9. ^ a b Dalai Lama 2004, p. 31.
  10. ^ Sogyal Rinpoche (1992), The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, p.151]
  11. ^ Dudjom Rinpoche. Wisdom Nectar. Snow Lion 2005, page 296.


Published sources


  1. ^ Nature of mindRigpa Shedra,

Further reading

  • Guenther, Herbert V. (1992). Meditation Differently: Phenomenological Psychological Aspects of Tibetan Buddhist (Mahamudra and Snying-Thig Practices from Original Tibetan Sources). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (repr. 2005). ISBN 81-208-0870-3 (hardbound).
  • Surya Das (2007). Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection. Sounds True. ISBN 1-59179-612-1

External links

  • RigpaRigpawiki,
  • Primordial purityRigpawiki,
  • Tögalrigpawiki,
  • The Flight of the GarudaShabkar Lama (author), Keith Dowman (translator),
  • Hitting the Essence in Three Words
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