Dzogchen Practices

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Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has created a unique training for his serious students (Santi Maha Sangha) which encompasses the study and practice of Dzogchen.  Students attend a teaching which desribes the essence of each level, and have a prescribed set of practices and studies to do at each level. After passing an examination which details their understanding and experience, they pass to the training for the next level.   The primary emphasis is on experiential practice and consequent correct viewpoint, culminating in constant “instant presence” without effort.  This is not a trivial re-programming from our usual depiction of ourselves and the world around us, and probably none of us has yet mastered all nine levels of the training.  Rinpoche describes this training as his major life’s work and motivation — perhaps we can make it ours.




Yantra Yoga or the Yoga of Movement is an ancient system of Tibetan yoga based on the text The Union of the Sun and the Moon, written in the 8th century by the master and translator Vairochana. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu wrote a detailed commentary on the root text and started to transmit this teaching in the West at the beginning of the seventies. Yantra Yoga is a fundamental method to integrate the profound essence of the Dzogchen Teaching in the three doors (body, voice and mind) of the practitioner. Through positions and movements combined with breathing one’s energy is coordinated and harmonized, so as to let the mind find the authentic balance and relaxation which is the basis for getting into and stabilizing one’s contemplation.

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In the Dzogchen Teaching sound and movement are very important because they are the means to integrate oneself into the state of contemplation.

The Vajra Dance is principally a practice to harmonize the energy of the individual.

If one has a more profound knowledge of the meaning of the Dance, it becomes a method for integrating the three existences of body, voice and mind into the knowledge of the state of contemplation.

This integration is one of the most important aims of a Dzogchen practitioner.

The Vajra Dance is practiced on a Mandala which represents the correspondence between the internal dimension of the individual and the outer dimension of the world.  More Information: www.




Santi Maha Sangha is a course of study and practice in nine levels that was started by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 1994. The aim of Santi Maha Sangha, which in the ancient language of Oddiyana means “Dzogchen Commmunity,” is to guarantee the continuation of the Dzogchen teaching as it was originally transmitted by Garab Dorje, and as Rinpoche has been transmitting it for more than thirty years within the Dzogchen Community. After the “Base” level, whose contents are presented in The Precious Vase, there are three levels dedicated to Semde, three to Longde and the final three to Mennagde or Upadesha.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gives the SMS base exam and the SMS level 1 training at Tsegyalgar East about every other year. This examination covers the instructions of Sutra, Tantra and Dzoghen as described in the “Precious Vase.” Practitioners interested to take the Base exam should extensively study and practice according to the “Precious Vase.” There are various opportunities throughout the year at local centers to take SMS Base courses with certified instructors.

Practitioners must also engage in some karma yoga (volunteer work for the Community) in the year prior to the examination. Likewise practitioners must also be a member of the Community the year prior to the examination. In order to learn about Karma Yoga opportunities please Contact Us via our website, visit our ‘Volunteer’ page, or contact your local Dzogchen Community Center. Thank you!

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