Lhündrub Tögal is a Dzogchen term and practice which holds the semantic field "leaping over", "direct crossing" and "direct approach". The Menngagde or 'Instruction Class' of Dzogchen teachings are, for instruction, divided into two indivisible aspects: Kadag Trekchö and Tögal (thod rgal). The practice of Trekcho is the basis for the practice of Tögal.

Tögal is the practice of "the six lamps" which constitute the preliminaries and the main practice.

The preliminaries constitute the practice of separating samsara and nirvana, "djungne-drosom".

The term 'lamp' connotes something that dispels darkness and refers to the illuminating quality of the practitioner's basic nature. This lamp has six aspects:

  1. the abiding lamp of the ground
  2. the citta flesh lamp
  3. the smooth white channel lamp
  4. the distant lasso water lamp
  5. the pure lamp of the expanse
  6. the bardo lamp of time

Theoretical basis

While the fundamentals of Tögal in both theory and practice are esoteric and barely accessible outside of the oral traditions of Tibetan Buddhism -- there being very little written about it, except in the context of translated practical manuals, e.g., by translator Erik Schmidt et al. -- it can, at least in theory, be understood through the formal analogies that are easily drawn between Tögal and various theories of contemporary science and (to a lesser extent) Western philosophy. These lines of analogy are drawn throughout the works of H.V. Guenther, especially his From Reductionism to Creativity and Matrix of Mystery.

One esoteric text on Tögal is readily available in English translation, 'The Sun's Life-Giving Force' (also known as 'The Circle of the Sun'), by 17th century Tibetan master Tsele Natsok Rangdröl. The translation is found in Guenther's Meditation Differently.


The dzogchenpa through sadhana engenders stability in abiding in the nature of mind through the discipline of Trekcho and with this as foundation and support, may progress the refinement of Togal. Whilst Trekcho reveals the nature of the Dharmakaya, Togal reveals the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.[1] The discipline of Togal employs refined 'forms' (Tibetan: གནདWylie: gnad) of 'bodily posture' (Sanskrit: asana, mudra and bandha) and 'visual focus' or 'gaze' (Sanskrit: drishti) to incite four specific visionary experiences.

In the following quotation of Pettit (1999: p.80), 'mantric syllables' are bija, the the 'buddha paradises' are Pure land:

"In the four visions of all-surpassing realization gnosis manifests spontaneously as visions of spheres of light containing mantric syllables and images of buddhas, "vajra chains" (rdo rje lug gu rgyud), and buddha paradises (zhing khams). After these visions reach the limit of diversity and completeness, all appearances recede in the ground of reality (dharmatã, chos nyid), and the perfection fo the three buddha bodies is attained [trikaya]."[2]


  1. Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861711572, p.80
  2. Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861711572, p.80


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