Togal = Five Lights Or Rays
The light that shines
These rays are the five wisdoms that are the natural display or manifestation of pure, empty awareness: “mirror-like wisdom”, “wisdom of all-encompassing space”, “wisdom of equality”, “discriminating wisdom” and “all-accomplishing wisdom”.
Pure light prisms into colours. These represent the five Buddha families in their pure aspect of a Buddha-type but, when ignored, they also represent the five defilements or negative emotions.
There are extensive descriptions easily available on the internet. Here, we are merely clarifying the terminology of Togal, especially with regard to Dzogchen – pure awareness. Of course, there may be deeper meanings to the one presented here, but we need steps in order to demystify. The experience will be unique to the individual.
When talking of visions, this is a cultural experience, and translated as such. If we see shapes and colours when closing our eyes, this is the ‘inner light’ of ‘phosphenes’: atoms constantly emit and absorb tiny particles of light, or photons, described as ‘coloured snow in the dark’. This may be experienced according to our karma: we may see Buddha images or just coloured snow in the dark, but the source is pure awareness. Even the notion of pure awareness may have many names.
Tibetan monasteries are very colourful. They are a reminder of emptiness that is within: the clear light (Trekcho) and the outer colours (Togal). The external vision of the monastery attracts: that is skilful means.
When we start to understand the light that shines, we are talking about our purest aspect that has downgraded into a gross appearance of self deception. We have solidified all appearances and created samsara, a vicious cycle of existence of ignorance, dullness, excitement and therefore, vulnerability and unhappiness.
We do not all have visions, but we can turn mental occurrences into anything that is beneficial. All appearances are projections in the mind. Ultimately, there is only clear light. There is no mystery. Mystery occurs when we doubt knowingness, which is our natural being of pure awareness, pure consciousness. We are Dzogchen, Trekcho and Togal.
The light that shines is skilful means … is love.
Pure and simple.
It’s the same in any language, tradition, universe or dimension.