The completion stage (Tibetan:dzog rim; Sanskrit:saṃpanna-krama) is one of the two stages of Anuttarayoga Tantra. Completion stage may also be translated as perfection stage or fulfillment mode. The other stage of Anuttarayoga Tantra, which generally precedes the completion stage, is the generation stage (Tibetan:kye rim; Sanskrit:utpatti-krama).

The completion stage is the second phase of the Vajrayana Buddhist sadhana, or practice texts, associated with the Anuttarayoga Tantra, which in Dzogchen correspond to the Inner Tantras: Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Ati Yoga. Although completion stage appears in the Anuttarayoga Tantra in general, it is especially associated with the Mother Tantras such as the Hevajra Tantra. Completion stage practices are therefore associated with the development of a Vajra Body, through practices that purify the movement of lung in the subtle body.


The Dharma Dictionary defines the 'Completion Stage' as follows:

One of the two aspects of Vajrayana Practice. The meaning and depth of this principle changes while ascending through the three outer sections and the three inner sections of Tantra. For instance, the completion stage defined as the dissolving of the visualization of a deity corresponds to Mahayoga; the "Completion stage with marks" based on yogic practices such as tummo corresponds to Anu Yoga: and the "Completion stage without marks" is the practice of Ati Yoga.[1]

The completion stage engages creative imagination or visualization and emphasizes the voidness aspect of reality as a skillful means of personal transformation. The completion stage employs the "mystic vortices" of the body, the cakra, the subtle energy of the subtle body, the five pranas or vāyu, together with the channels, the nadi through which the energy flows in order to generate the 'great bliss' (Tibetan: Dem Chog or bde-mchog; Sanskrit: Maha-sukha) associated with bodhi or enlightenment.[2]

Dowman (1984: unpaginated), in elucidating the spiritual disciplines of the Mahasiddhas, links the completion stage with the Two Truths, voidness, along with a suite of advanced Mahamudra sadhana and other practices that are related to the Six Yogas of Naropa such as tummo:

Fulfillment meditation includes "higher" techniques of meditation, which result in understanding of ultimate truth. But since relative and ultimate truth are two sides of the same coin, creative and fulfillment stages both lead to the same goal. Fundamentally, fulfillment meditation techniques entail the perception of emptiness in form, or the dissolution of form into emptiness: the dissolution of the creative stage vision into emptiness is technically a fulfillment stage practice. Examples of fulfillment mode yogas are dream yoga, the yoga of the mystic heat, Mahamudra meditation, the yoga of the apparitional body, the yoga of resurrection, clear light meditation, and the yoga of uniting skillful means [upaya] and perfect insight [prajna] to create the seed-essence of pure pleasure.[3]
"Seed-essence" is a rendering of tigle and changchubsem = 'seed-essence' = yang life-force = white bodhicitta. Seed-essence (Sanskrit: bija-tattva) is cognate with bindu (Sanskrit) and gankyil (Tibetan).

Dowman (1984: unpaginated) further maps the instrumentation[4] of "fulfillment meditation" in relation to the Mahamudra kundalini raising of the 'phowa of Great Transference' ("ultimate liberation") through the cranial fontanelle at the 'Bardo of Death' and a subsidiary preparatory sexual yoga:

The system of visualization vital in fulfillment meditation is that of the subtle body. This imaginary subtle body consists of psychic nerves - nadi, their focal points or energy centers - cakras; the energy that runs in the nerves - prana; and the essence of prana, known as "seed-essence" or bindu. A central channel, or nerve, runs from the sexual center to the fontanelle, and the left, rasana, and right, lalana, channels run parallel joining the central channel, the avadhuti, at the gut center. Converging from all parts of the body like physical veins, subsidiary nerves enter the central channel at the five focal points of psychic energy - the sexual, gut, heart, throat and head centers. Visualization of this system allows the yogin to manipulate the energies relating to the various centers for different mundane purposes, but the highest aim is to inject all energy into the central channel and up to the head center where ultimate liberation is achieved. The key to this system relates right and left channels to skillful means (male) and perfect insight (female) respectively, and the central channel to their union - Mahamudra. In an important sexual yoga, with or without a sexual partner, red and white seed-essence, bodhicittas, are mixed in the sexual center to rise up the central channel as kundalini. This is the yoga of uniting pure pleasure and emptiness.[3]

Dalton (2003: unpaginated) states that:

The perfection stage practices are often divided into those without signs (mtshan med) and those with signs (mtshan bcas). The former refer to practices in which the enlightened view is accomplished instantaneously, without any effort, “like a fish leaping out of the water.” The latter – the practices with signs – are generally the perfection stage practices known collectively as “channels and winds” (rtsa lung). Here, the practitioner works with a system of channels within one’s body, through which are moving the “winds” – subtle energies closely related to one’s mind. [5]

Berzin (2008: unpaginated) frames the energetic process of the completion stage and in so doing, mentions the Clear Light, the Illusory Body, and the Rupakaya:

On the complete stage, we cause the energy-winds (rlung, Skt. prana) to enter, abide, and dissolve in the central channel. This enables us to access the subtlest level of mental activity (clear light, ‘ od-gsal) and use it for the nonconceptual cognition of voidness – the immediate cause for the omniscient mind of a Buddha. We use the subtlest level of energy-wind, which supports clear light mental activity, to arise in the form of an illusory body (sgyu-lus) as the immediate cause for the network of form bodies (Skt. rupakaya) of a Buddha.[6]

See also


  1. Source: [1] (accessed: December 13, 2007)
  2. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.63. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dowman, Keith (1984). Introduction to Masters of Mahamudra. Source: [2] (accessed: December 4, 2007)
  4. "Instrument" is an English rendering of the Sanskrit term Yantra; refer Yantra Yoga.
  5. Dalton, Jake (2003). 'Anuyoga Literature' in rNying ma rgyud 'bum - Master Doxographical Catalog of the THDL. Source: [3] (accessed: Sunday August 24, 2008)
  6. Berzin, Alexander (2008). "The Major Facets of Dzogchen" in The Berzin Archives. Source: [4] (accessed: September 16, 2008)


  • Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
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