Treasury of Word and Meaning

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Longchen Rabjam

Treasury of Word and Meaning (Tib. ཚིག་དོན་མཛོད་, Tsik Dön Dzö, Wyl. tshig don mdzod) — one of the Seven Treasuries of Longchenpa. It is a summary of the Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, explaining the crucial points of practice.

Sogyal Rinpoche writes:

Only the Innermost, Unexcelled Cycle of the Upadesha Class contains the complete instructions on tögal practice, and the text that gives the clearest and most explicit explanation of them is the Tsig Don Dzöd. The treasury itself is composed of eleven themes, or vajra topics, which cover everything from the ground of Dzogchen, the origin of delusion, the buddha nature, its location, the light channels, the gateways, space and wisdom, the practice, signs of realization, dying and the bardo of dharmatā, and the “great liberation”. Every single detail is covered, which is what makes this Treasury unique.[1]


The text consists of 11 chapters:

  1. the Ground and basis of reality (Tib. གཞི་, Wyl. gzhi), how that ground dynamically manifests itself (Tib. གཞི་སྣང་, Wyl. gzhi snang);
  2. how sentient beings stray from the Ground;
  3. how all beings have the essence of Enlightened energy;
  4. how primordial wisdom (Tib. ཡེ་ཤེས་, Wyl. ye shes) abides within us;
  5. the pathways, and
  6. the gateways, and
  7. domain for primordial wisdom;
  8. how primordial wisdom is experientially accessed;
  9. signs of realization,
  10. signs in the dying and bardo transition; and
  11. ultimate fruition as the manifest realization of the kayas.

As Malcolm Smith[2] and Turpeinen[3] point out, the titles, structure, and even entire passages of the eleven chapters of Longchenpa’s Precious Treasury of Words and Their Meanings are paralleled by the early Great Perfection’s Eleven Words and Their Meanings by Drupchen Khepa Nyima Bum as well as by the largely identical Great Ear-Whispered Lineage of Vimalamitra in the Northern Treasures’ cycle Samantabhadra’s Unobstructed Awakened Mind. The model for this elevenfold template appears to be a passage at the end of the eighth and last chapter of the Garland of Pearls.[4]


Oral Transmissions Given to the Rigpa Sangha


  1. Foreword to Longchen Rabjam, Precious Treasury of the Genuine Meaning. See reference below
  2.​2012/​09/​a-​preliminary-​note-​on-​vimalamitras.html and 2016, 8ff.)
  3. (2016, 194ff.)
  4. Karl Brunnhölzl, A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart: The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra and Its Tibetan Commentaries (Sommerville: Wisdom Publications, 2018), note 445.

Further Reading

  • David Germano, Poetic thought, the intelligent Universe, and the mystery of self: The Tantric synthesis of rDzogs Chen in fourteenth century Tibet (PhD dissertation), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992
  • Tulku Thondup, The Practice of Dzogchen, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1989, pp. 205-213, pp. 400-401 and pp. 413-420 (includes an abridged translation of chapter 11).