THE PRACTICE OF DZOGCHEN IN THE ZHANG-ZHUNG TRADITION OF TIBET, containing translations from the Bonpo Dzogchen practice manual for the Zhang-zhung Nyan-gyud, known as the Gyalwa Chaktri of Druchen Yungdrung, and from the Odsal Dunkor, "The Sevenfold Cycle of the Clear Light," being the Dark Retreat practice from the same tradition, translated with commentaries and notes by John Myrdhin Reynolds.
The translations presented here, made by a noted Tibetologist and scholar-practitioner, all relate to the actual practice of Dzogchen, "the Great Perfection," according to the ancient Bonpo tradition of Tibet known as the Zhang-zhung Nyan-gyud, "The Oral Transmission from Zhang-zhung." The country of Zhang-zhung was once a powerful kingdom that lay in what is now Western and Northern Tibet, centering around Gangchen Tise, the famous Mount Kailas. As a written tradition, these teachings and practices are said to go back to at least the 8th century of our era, coming from the enlightened Bonpo master Tapihritsa and transmitted to his disciple Gyerpung Nangzher Lodpo at the Darok lake in Northern Tibet. The master Tapihritsa gave his disciple permission to set down in writing these precepts of Dzogchen in the Zhang-zhung language for the first time. Then in the 10th century, these same precepts were translated into the Tibetan language by Ponchen Tsanpo for the benefit of his Tibetan disciples. In the late 11th century, these precepts were collected from various sources in Western Tibet and in Nepal and put into their present form by Orgom Kundul and Yangton Sherab Gyaltsan of Dolpo. Thus, never having been concealed due persecution, this transmission represents a continuous and uninterrupted lineage from there early times until the present.
In the 13th century, the illustrious Bonpo master and abbot of Yeru Wensakha monastery in Tibet, Druchen Gyalwa Yungdrung (1242–1290), composed a practice manual for the this tradition. Book One deals with the preliminary practices of this Dzogchen system and the translation this text was published earlier. Included in the present volume are the translations from Book Two that principally deal with the practices of contemplation and vision, otherwise known as Trekchod and Thodgal, as well as translations from Book Three of the four supplementary texts dealing with the view, meditation, conduct, and fruit of Dzogchen. Also included in this volume is a translation of the instructions for making the forty nine day dark retreat according to the Zhang-zhung tradition, the text known as "The Seven-fold Cycle of the Clear Light."
These translations were done over a period of time under the guidance and instruction of Yongdzin Rinpoche, Lopon Tenzing Namdak, the greatest living master and native scholar of Dzogchen in the Bonpo tradition. While detailed explanations of the various practices must be had from a qualified Lama belonging to the tradition, this volume provides a useful overview of the practices on the path of Dzogchen for those who are sincerely interested in these matters.