Trika and Dzogchen History and Lineage

Bells in the Mountains
August 25, 2021

A student asks Shambhavi to clarify why we are studying both Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Student: I know here in Jaya Kula we learn practices from Dzogchen and from Trika. And for me, having a strain of skepticism, sometimes I’m like, that’s not pure or that’s not kosher or something. So if you can just clarify.

Shambhavi: OK, so I think a little bit of history is in order. So first of all, in the mix along the Silk Road, where these direct realization traditions really took root, there was enormous sharing and exchange and practicing in many different traditions. So for instance, Lalleshwari, the Kashmiri yogini, had a Sufi teacher. And she had a Kashmir Shaivism teacher. Abhinavagupta studied with many different traditions.

And in fact, our own tradition is synthetic, meaning that it’s a weaving together of multiple traditions. Back in the day when Abhinavagupta was around, one of those traditions was Trika—only one of them. But there were six other traditions: the Pratyabhijna, the Krama, the Kaula. I don’t really ever remember all of them, but those are the ones that always come to mind.

So they were all in general Tantric traditions or direct realization, but they were separate traditions with separate lineages and separate preceptors. In addition, some of those traditions were very influenced by Buddhism. That was also around in the same geographic location and where there was lots of exchange between people in those locations.

In Buddhist traditions today, especially those from Tibet, students are actually encouraged to get teachings from teachers in different Buddhist traditions.


Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.