Information about Dogzen Practices

What is Dogzen?

The purpose of Dogzen is to bring the enlightened state into our daily lives. The core activity of Dogzen is to become directly aware of awareness.

Dogzen is inspired by Dzogchen, reputed to be the deepest enlightenment tradition within Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. However, the Dogzen practice has an extra element of experimentation and grassroots discovery. It doesn’t necessarily look like traditional Dzogchen, or any school of Buddhism for that matter, so we call it Dogzen.

You can be in many different states, as we all know. With Dogzen, there isn’t any particular state that we need to be in before we begin. You simply become directly aware of your awareness as it is right now and increase that direct experience.

We make a distinction between what we are aware of at this moment and the nature of awareness itself. It is easy to understand that no matter what you are aware of and no matter what state you are in, the common denominator of all experience is awareness itself. Traditional Dzogchen literature sometimes calls this “intrinsic awareness” because awareness is intrinsic to all experience.

One of our practices is “detaching awareness from what it is aware of and becoming directly aware of awareness itself.” People generally need a little support to get this started, so we use meditation techniques, including solitary meditation, guided group meditation, and a powerful two-person contemplative art called the Dyad.

Dogzen practices all have a single focus: to continually deepen awareness of awareness. The consciousness that evolves from this becomes a touchstone or base from which you experience your daily life. You begin to perceive the events and meanings of daily life from pure, naked awareness.

Viewing the world from the base of naked awareness strikes directly at the tendency to become sucked into illusions and lose yourself in reactivity. As we become more and more familiar with the way objects and meanings arise within the field of awareness, many sufferings and upsets are revealed to be unnecessary, and they dissolve without you having to do anything about them. You don't have to believe in anything or use force for this to take place. It is simply the consequence of being grounded in the base. In addition, insights into the nature of illusion and reactivity help you to understand how and why others are acting the way they do and you become more open, tolerant, and helpful. It uncovers your natural compassion.

At first we do the Dogzen practices in a group setting. After a little practice, you find you can access the base in your daily life whenever you want. The goal is to steadily increase your familiarity with naked awareness until, eventually, you can access it effortlessly in any life situation, or even become established in it permanently. This will dissolve all your illusions and reactivity.

Dogzen evening practice sessions typically meet for a couple of hours every two weeks. There is a short subsidence-type meditation that quiets the nervous system and helps you “go to the base.” Then there is a short talk or discussion about awareness and about the techniques or practices we will be doing. You can find most of what we talk about in the Dogzen Email Newsletters. These are like a short self-study course.

Following the meditation and talk, there is usually a Dyad that lasts forty minutes. A Dyad is a two-person meditation technique that effectively combines contemplation and communication. In the Dyad, one person is active, the other receptive. These roles are reversed every five minutes, signaled by a bell or gong. The active partner contemplates an aspect of awareness and then communicates what comes up to the receptive partner. The receptive partner listens and understands, keeping open attention on the active partner. The receptive partner does not judge or evaluate what the active partner says, or give any feedback. We have found that this combination of contemplation, communication, and open listening is very effective in accessing direct awareness.

Everyone is welcome to try the Dogzen approach. There isn’t any commitment and it isn’t about beliefs. You don’t have to stop any other spiritual or personal growth activities to benefit from Dogzen. It is such a basic process, it can improve the effectiveness of any other spiritual practice.




Dogzen Email Newsletters

The Dogzen Email Newsletters comprise a short course on Dogzen. Within these newsletters are all of the basic ideas that you will need to understand and practice Dogzen.

It is best to read the newsletters in order, as each one builds upon the ideas introduced in the previous one.

Dogzen Email Newsletter 1 - Aug. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 2 - Sept. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 3 - Sept. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 4 - Oct. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 5 - Oct. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 6 - Nov. 2004
Dogzen Email Newsletter 7 - Jan. 2005
Dogzen Email Newsletter 8 - Jan. 2005
Dogzen Email Newsletter 9 - Feb. 2005
Dogzen Email Newsletter 10 - June 2005
Dogzen Email Newsletter 11 - July 2005
Dogzen Email Newsletter 12 - Nov. 2005

Dogzen Email Newsletter - The Dogzen Dyad - 1/2007
Dogzen Email Newsletter - Introductions - 2/2007
Dogzen Email Newsletter - Janus Dyad - 3/2007

Cultivating Naked Awareness CD

The Cultivating Naked Awareness booklet comes with an audio CD that contains some dialog about Dogzen and a guided meditation called "Preparation for Contemplation." Some people find the guided meditation to be a good practice to use for cultivating naked awareness.

If you want to listen to the audio, or create your own copy of the CD, you can receive the files by writing an email to and requesting the individual file by name or the complete CD.

Introduction To Dogzen
Introduction to the PFC
Preparation for Contemplation
Dedication of Merit

Dogzen Newsletter Archive

These are older newsletter from an earlier period of our work. 

Listen to (or download) audio talks 
based on the first four newsletters. 

Dogzen Newsletter 1 - March 2002
Dogzen Newsletter 2 - March 2002
Dogzen Newsletter 3 - March 2002
Dogzen Newsletter 4 - May 2002
Dogzen Newsletter 5 - Aug. 2003
Dogzen Newsletter 6 - Oct. 2003
Dogzen Newsletter 7 - April 2004
Dogzen Newsletter 8 - April 2004

Newsletter 1 [4.9 MB]
Newsletter 2 [2.7 MB]
Newsletter 3 [2.9 MB]
Newsletter 4 [2.9 MB]

        [These are MP3 files.]

Dogzen reading list

Dogzen Evening Practices

If you want to go to a Dogzen Evening Practice, or lead one, here is some additional information about what we do there.

Evening Practice Overview
Preparation for Contemplation
Dogzen Dyads

Reutrn to EI page

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