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A new handbook compiled by Nigel Wellings / Foreword Tsoknyi Rinpoche


Who's Who & What's What in the Great Perfection

"Buddhist practice involves three steps - intellectual understanding, experience and realisation."

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

This generously sized reader friendly handbook alphabetically lists the deities, teachers and the principle ideas that we first meet when we receive Dzogchen teachings. It also provides a time line for Indian and Tibetan Buddhism to give a sense of context, a small list of resources to continue study and an extensive word list that translates Tibetan phonetics into English. This classic dipping in book is much more than a simple glossary, it contains over 400 comprehensive sections that include:


The Principle Dzogchen deities. Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, the Five Buddha Families, the Eight Herukas of the Mahayoga Tantra and yidams including Vajrakilaya and Senge Dongma.


The Dzogchen lineage masters. Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra, Sri Singha, Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Vairocana, the village yogis, the great scholars, Rongzompa, Longchenpa and Mipham, the treasure discovers, Jigme Lingpa, and the masters of Rimé movement.


The Dzogchen Guardians. Ekajati, Dorje Legpa, Rahula, Mahakala, Tseringma and Dorje Yudronma.

Practicing meditation. The Nyingma nine vehicle system. Preliminary practices.  Generation and completion stages in the tantric sadhana. The Yidam and pure vision. Lojong, trulkhor, rushen, semzin, trekchö and tögal, the rites of the bardo. Rigpa, self-liberation and the Three Words of Garab Dorje.

Our relationship to the teachings. Taking refuge, faith, devotion, the lineage of teachers, the guru, receiving the direct introduction to intrinsic awareness, rigpa, guru yoga and the samaya, our tantric vow.


Describing the nature of reality. The philosophical backdrop - what early Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism and the Vajrayana have to say. The three turnings of the wheel of the Dharma. Dzogchen’s understanding of the Ground, Path and Fruition, mind and the nature of mind, the unity of emptiness and clarity and the Three Kayas.


The history of the Nyingma School. Its transmission through the spoken lineage, revealed treasures and direct visions, the particular history of Dzogchen and its unfolding teachings. Its tulku’s and tertöns. Its relationship to the New Translation schools and practices, Chö, Mahamudra, the Rimé movement.

"Dharma Friend Nigel has here gathered the keys and doors, portals and practice teachings—the veritable Indra’s Net of our esteemed Dzogchen tradition’s contemporary luminaries and their message and skillful methods;  offered us an opportunity to access this treasure trove, benefit ourselves and the world, and keep the truth-torch alive, as well as endeavor to pay it forward to the upcoming generations. Who dares to join us in this evolutionary consciousness movement?"

Lama Surya Das

Teacher, author & founder of the Dzogchen Centre and Foundation

"The Dzogchen or ‘Great Perfection’ tradition within Tibetan Buddhism has become increasingly popular in recent years. Nigel Wellings’ lively and well-informed book fills a useful gap, helping newcomers orient themselves to less familiar aspects of this tradition while also giving a feeling for the ideas and the personalities, legendary, historical and contemporary, that populate the world of Dzogchen." 


Geoffrey Samuel

Emeritus professor of religious studies at Cardiff University

& Honorary Associate at the University of Sidney

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"Nigel Wellings has laid out, in the form of a handbook, accurate explanations of terms, including historical information about the origin of certain teachings and biographies of major teachers."

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

"This is an exacting and highly intelligent reference work for Dzogchen teachings - the only one available - written in a readable style for both practitioners and scholars."  

Keith Dowman

Dzogchen teacher and translator of Tibetan Buddhist texts

"Nigel Wellings has done a great service by compiling this reference book bringing together the key figures and most significant terminology within the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  This system of practice, which was introduced into Tibet in the 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava and has continued throughout with the lineage of Treasure-finders (Tertons), developed its own style and terminology which differs significantly from the New Tantras brought from India in the 11th century. Therefore those only familiar with the later development often feel at a loss when exploring Dzogchen texts. So we are grateful to Nigel Wellings for providing both a Who’s Who and a What’s What to help clarify and empower our understanding of this important tradition."

Jetsunma Tendzin Palmo

Author, teacher and founder of the

Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery

"Nigel Wellings has been a long time student of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, who more than any other Tibetan Lama was responsible for introducing the practice and teachings of Dzogchen into the West. Nigel has provided us with a useful Dzogchen handbook, listing its deities, masters and principle teachings. Dzogchen, that does not require elaborate ritual practices, has become popular in the West and can easily be integrated into our Western lifestyle and society."

John Myrdhin Reynolds

Teacher, scholar, author,and translator of the 

Nyingma and Bön schools of Tibetan Buddhism

"The utter simplicity of Dzogchen stymies the mind in opening to its natural boundlessness. Yet, settling into the nakedness of luminous mind is supported by understanding and succoring inspiration from the sometimes complex lineages of teachers and teachings that reveal glimpses of this naked truth. Nigel Wellings has composed an impressive reference work detailing the various Whos and many Whats of Dzogchen and Buddhist traditions, enriched by his mature knowledge and leavened with wisdom nuggets from his masterful teachers. In readable yet precise fashion, this text is a handy resource that can clarify many doubts and will be consulted often."    


Ken Bradford, Ph.D

Author of Opening Yourself: The Psychology and Yoga of Self-liberation

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