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Discover a wealth of readable, reliable guides to understanding Trika Shaivism, Dzogchen, and other direct realization traditions.


Trika Shaivism is one of the ancient Tantrik traditions of India. You will also see it referred to as Kashmir Shaivism and Shaivite Tantra.

The tradition as we know it today was formed from the confluence of number of direct realization traditions. Some of these are the Pratyabhijña, Kaula, Trika, and Krama streams of Tantra that flourished in Kashmir and the Swat Valley from the early Christian Era until the 12th century.

Dzogchen is a direct realization tradition from Tibet. In its formation, Dzogchen drew from the Nyingma and Bön traditions of Tibet, from Chinese Chan Buddhism, from India-born siddhas such as Garab Dorje and Padmasambhava, and from the sources of Trika Shaivism.


Trika Shaivism and Dzogchen hold a similar, although not identical, View of the process of self-realization. They share the understanding that the purpose of spiritual practice is to directly discover the unconditioned, natural state of existence and to remain resting in that.

Trika Shaivism places somewhat more obvious emphasis on the heart and devotion, while Dzogchen places somewhat more emphasis on mind and nature of mind. Both traditions are based in a profound understanding of the five elements and the necessity of opening the gates of the senses in order to re-integrate with the natural state.

Neither Trika Shaivism nor Dzogchen are belief- or faith-based systems. Practitioners are given tools and guidance so that they may discover their real nature with certainty for themselves.

Shambhavi’s Books

  • The Reality Sutras: Seeking the Heart of Trika Shaivism
    A comprehensive handbook of 37 teachings about the nature of the self and reality from the perspective of Trika Shaivism. Trika Shaivism shares with Dzogchen, Daoism, and Chan Buddhism an emphasis on direct, embodied experience and on uncontrived naturalness as the fruit of spiritual practice.
  • Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits
    A traditional spiritual teaching text about the obstacles, remedies, and rewards we can expect to encounter as we seek relaxation and wisdom through practices such as yoga, mantra, and meditation. The nine poisons are habits of body, emotions, and mind that distract or delay us from discovering who we really are. The nine medicines are the circumstances that help us to recover from limiting patterns. The nine fruits are wisdom virtues, such as compassion, that naturally appear on their own once obscuring conditioning is dissolved.
  • The Play of Awakening: Adventures in Direct Realization Tantra
    How can you stay motivated in your spiritual practice from day-to-day? What is the most fruitful way to work with your teachers? What detours and obstacles might slow you down? How do spiritual communities function as a core practice? What roles do grace and devotion, longing and loneliness play as you walk your path? How can you both live and die well? Practical advice for spiritual practitioners.

OTHER Books About Trika Shaivism

  • The Shiva Sutras
    Received text (Shruti) from Vasgupta. Central text of the tradition and a nondual blast.
  • Naked Song
    Down-to-earth revelations in poetry by a 14th century Kashmiri wandering yogini.

DZOGCHEN and other direct realization TEACHINGS