in this chapter, "The Innermost Essence," is the heart of the

practice of Trekchö.

Trekchö means cutting through delusion with fierce, direct

thoroughness. Essentially delusion is cut through with the irresistible

force of the View of Rigpa, like a knife cleaving

through butter or a karate expert demolishing a pile of bricks.

The whole fantastical edifice of delusion collapses, as if you

were blasting its keystone away. Delusion is cut through, and

the primordial purity and natural simplicity of the nature of

mind is laid bare.

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. Tögal practitioners

work 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 persons to actualize

all the different aspects of enlightenment within themselves

in one lifetime. 7 Therefore it is regarded as the

extraordinary, unique method of Dzogchen; whereas Trekchö

is its wisdom, Tögal is its skillful 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. As the Dalai Lama says: "One fact that you

must bear in mind is that the practices of Dzogchen, such as

Trekchö and Tögal, can only be achieved through the guidance

of an experienced master, and through receiving the

inspiration and blessing from a living person who has that

realization." 8


Through these advanced practices of Dzogchen, accomplished

practitioners can bring their lives to an extraordinary

and triumphant end. As they die, they enable their body to be

reabsorbed back into the light essence of the elements that

created it, and consequently their material body dissolves into

light and then disappears completely. This process is known as

the "rainbow body" or "body of light," because the dissolution

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