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Teachings on Lojongs, Rushens, and Semdzins
The Seven Lojongs or Mind Trainings belong to the Dzogchen Upadesha tradition and have been included in the Base Level of the Santi Maha Sangha as preliminaries to the fundamental practices of Dzogchen. The first six trainings are a reflection on the principle of the Four Awarenesses and on the value of the Master and the Teachings. The seventh, which comprises three methods linked to visualization and breathing, aims at leading the practitioner to an understanding of the state of contemplation through three specific experiences. In all traditions of Dzogchen Upadesha the practice of Khorde Rushen is considered to be fundamental as a base or starting point. In some traditions it is spoken of as Ngondro practice, that is as preparation. Nevertheless we need to understand very clearly its principle and function because it is not a preliminary practice as it is usually meant, but is a practice that introduces contemplation. The Semdzins are highly effective both as a method for distinguishing the pure presence of rigpa from the dualistic mind and for removing the doubts that arise from our experience in practice. The explanation of the seven Semdzins contained here is essentially based on a text of instructions of the master Adzam Drugpa, The Essence of Wisdom ('Od gsal rdzogs pa chen po yang gsang bla na ned pa spyi'i khyad par gyi khrid yig lam bzang ye shes snying po).