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Nang-jang (refinement of perception) is the name given to a visionary text of the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition, in which the Dzogchen master, Dudjom Lingpa, experiences visionary visitation from fourteen awakened beings, including Avalokiteshvara and Longchenpa, who teach him of the illusionality of all things and their ultimate dependence upon a universal 'ground of being'.

Some Basic Ideas of the Nang-jang Text

According to the teachings bestowed upon Dudjom Lingpa by the highly advanced spiritual beings who visit him in this text, all phenomenal, sensible things are empty and illusory. Yet there is that which is not separate from them, nor they from it, and which can be described as the 'ground of being'. Orgyan Tsokyey Dorje (one of the spiritual visitants) states:

'All sensory appearances are not other than the ground of being, but are of one taste with that ground itself, like the reflections of all the planets and stars in the ocean that are not other than the ocean, but are of one taste with the water itself.'[1]

The text also tells of how the Buddha nature, the heart of awareness, is utterly pure and lucid and constitutes the very life essence of all things, both samsaric and nirvanic. Ekajati declares:

'Since the fundamental nature of awareness, buddha nature, is pristine and lucid, free of sullying factors, it is "utter lucidity". Since it is endowed with the seven indestructible vajra [diamond / adamantine] attributes, it is "vajra". And since it abides as the vital essence of all phenomena of samsara and nirvana, it is "heart essence".[2]

This is ultimate reality, a state of truth beyond ordinary mundane consciousness and beyond the power of words to describe. It is designated by Zurchhung Sheyrab Dragpa in the text as 'a supreme and inexpressible state', the 'fundamental nature beyond ordinary consciousness'.[3] The practitioner of this spiritual path is urged to strive for the obtention of an ultimate all-knowingness which transcends time:

'Hold this to be the most excellent key point - to practice with intense and unflagging exertion until you attain supreme timeless awareness [jnana], which is total omniscience.'[4]


  1. Dudjom Lingpa, Buddhahood without Meditation: A Visionary Account Known as Refining One's Perception (Nang-jang), tr. by Richard Barron, Padma Publishing, California, 2002, p. 27
  2. Buddhahood without Meditation, by Dudjom Lingpa, tr. by Richard Barron, Padma Publishing, 2002, p. 147
  3. Dudjom Lingpa, Buddhahood without Meditation, Padma Publishing, 2002, p. 179
  4. Dudjom Lingpa, Buddhahood without Meditaiton< Padma Publishing, 2002, p. 179

See also

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