Curriculum

The Curriculum of the Six-Year Dzogchen Practitioners’ Course - an Outline.

Self-liberation means liberating the mind. We need to liberate the mind in order to become free of suffering and attain happiness. The six stages of advice for the practice of self-liberation start with the state of suffering and show us how to attain happiness.

At the beginning we need an appropriate body with which to make the journey. We investigate which kind of body would be the best one to assist the mind in attaining the mastery it requires. We discover that when we aspire to self-liberation, a human body is the very best basis for our endeavours. Once we have attained such a body we can prepare the way to self-liberation and set out on our journey to attain it. For this we need a path and we must look for the right one. This is our starting point. 

Three cycles are currently in progress

First Year        

The Path on which one Reflects on Searching for Self-Liberation.

Advice for those who, desiring liberation, reflect on searching for the path of self-liberation - like the thisha, a bird who searches for a safe and secure place when building its nest.

Searching for a path
Distinguishing between paths
Motivation
Refuge
Bodhicitta
The six transcendent perfections (paramitas)

Once we have generated mind, adopting bodhicitta as our motivation, and once we have aligned our own activity to that of the six transcendent perfections, we can go out into the forest of negative emotion and we will not be hindered on our path, just as an elephant is not hindered as he strides freely through the jungle. The truth of the path of insight arises when the level of supreme dharma on the path of junction has been attained. At this stage one is still defiled, but one no longer has to return to cyclic existence. 

Detailed curriculum for the first year

Second Year

The Path on which one Ascertains the Great Beings' Way of Self-Liberation.

Advice like the movement of an elephant -powerful approach on the path of self-liberation.

Third Year

The Path on which one Obtains the Great Transmission of Self-Liberation.

Advice like being in a garuda egg -outwardly the signs of the path of self-liberation are not yet evident, but inwardly the power, or energy, of the mind is perfect.

Fourth Year

The Path on which one Finds Relief in Self-Liberation.

Advice like a young garuda soaring in the skies -the strength of intrinsic awareness, self-liberation.

Fifth Year

The Path on which one Perfects the Great Skill of Self-Liberation.

Advice like the perfected skill of a young lion -an intelligent person's arrival at the summit of the practice of self-liberation.

Sixth Year

The Path on which one Thoroughly Accomplishes complete Self-Liberation -in order to find relief in the primordial level of the completely endowed All-Pervading Lord (Dorje Chang)

Advice like a wish-fulfilling jewel - the result made manifest, the accomplishment of all that benefits self and others.

Sutras

  • The UttaratantraGyud Lama in Tibetan, “The Ultimate Continuum”, by Maitreya /Asanga.
  • The Mulamadhyamaka-karika  (Uma Tsawa Sherab in Tibetan), " The Root Stanzas on the Middle Way", by Nagarjuna
  • The Abhisamayalankara (or Abhisamaya Alamkara), མངོན་རྟོགས་རྒྱན  Ngöntok Gyen in Tibetan, “The Ornament of Clear Realization”, by Maitreya/Asanga.

Additional texts to be studied

  • The Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche
  • The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva, by Thogme Zangpo
  • The Bodhicaryavatara, by Shantideva
  • Etc.