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For information on the Rigpa organization, see About Rigpa

Calligraphy by Sogyal Rinpoche

Rigpa (Skt. vidyā; Tib. རིག་པ་, Wyl. rig pa) is a Tibetan word, which in general means ‘intelligence’ or ‘awareness’. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, ‘the innermost nature of the mind’. The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment—a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself.

Rigpa is the special feature of Dzogchen. Jikmé Lingpa says in his Treasury of Precious Qualities:

Rigpa, which transcends the ordinary mind,
Is the special feature of the natural Dzogpachenpo.

And Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima wrote: “Generally speaking, in the instructions on Dzogchen, profound and special aspects are endless. The key point, however, is the differentiation between the ordinary mind and rigpa."


The Dzogchen teachings mention various aspects of rigpa, such as:

  • the ground rigpa
  • the essential rigpa
  • the effulgent rigpa
  • rigpa of all-embracing spontaneous presence (Tib. ལྷུན་གྲུབ་སྦུབས་ཀྱི་རིག་པ་, Wyl. lhun grub sbubs kyi rig pa)

Alternative Translations

  • awareness
  • basic awareness
  • primordial awareness
  • pure awareness
  • intrinsic awareness
  • intuitive awareness
  • awakened awareness
  • immediate awareness
  • wakefulness
  • knowledge
  • pure presence

Further Reading

  • Dalai Lama, Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, Snow Lion, 2004
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Vision of Enlightenment, Tertön Sogyal Trust. Also published by Wisdom Publications, 2007, as Mind in Comfort and Ease. The Vision of Enlightenment in the Great Perfection. ISBN : 0861714938