In Dzogchen, rainbow body (Tibetan: Jalü or Jalus (Wylie transliteration: 'ja' lus) is a level of realization. This may or may not be accompanied by the 'rainbow body phenomenon'. The rainbow body phenomenon has been noted for centuries, including the modern era. Other Vajrayana teachings also mention rainbow body phenomena.
Rigpa has three wisdoms, two of which are kadag and lhun grub. Kadag (primordial purity) is the Dzogchen view of emptiness. Lhun grub (natural formation) is the Dzogchen view of dependent origination. Throughout Mahayana, emptiness and dependent origination are two sides of the same coin. Kadag deals with tregchöd. The lhun grub aspect has to do with esoteric practices, such as (but not limited to) Thödgal, that self-liberate the dependently originated human body into the Sambhogakāya (rainbow body phenomenon). The symbol of Dzogchen is a Tibetan A wrapped in a thigle[clarification needed]. The A represents kadag while the thigle represents lhun grub. The third wisdom, thugs rje (compassion), is the inseparability of the previous two wisdoms.
The ultimate fruition of the thodgal practices is a body of pure light, called a rainbow body (Wylie 'ja' lus, pronounced Jalü.) If the four visions of thogal are not completed before death, then at death, from the point of view of an external observer, the following happens: the corpse does not start to decompose, but starts to shrink until it disappears. Usually fingernails, toenails and hair are left behind (see e.g. Togden Urgyen Tendzin, Ayu Khandro, Changchub Dorje.) The attainment of the rainbow body is typically accompanied by the appearance of lights and rainbows.
Some exceptional practitioners such as Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra are held to have realized a higher type of rainbow body without dying. Having completed the four visions before death, the individual focuses on the lights that surround the fingers. His or her physical body self-liberates into a nonmaterial body of light (a Sambhogakāya) with the ability to exist and abide wherever and whenever as pointed by one's compassion.
List of those reported to have attained the rainbow body
- Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen (1935)
- Shug-gseb rJe-btsun Cho-nyid bzang-mo (b. 1852, Attained 'ja'- lus in 1953.)
- Kenchen Tsewang Rigdzin disappeared alive in 1958.
- Ayu Khandro (1953) 
- Nima Cultrim Rinpoche Teacher of Arta Lama
- Togden Ugyen Tendzin (1962) 
- Khenpo A-chos (1998)
Shijie (屍解) was a practice whereby Daoists transcended death through means of a simulated corpse. This enabled them to live for long periods of time. Other forms of transcendence which did *not* use the simulated corpse method resulted in flying into the heavens, sometimes in broad daylight, and sometimes on celestial chariots.[unreliable source?]
- Dalai Lama. (2004). Dzogchen, pg. 32. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 978-1-55939-219-8.
- Reginald Ray, Secret of the Vajra World. Shambhala 2001, page 323.
- Norbu (1999), pp. 158-161
- Namdak, Tenzin. 2002. Heart Drops of Dharmakaya. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications. pg. 106
- Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen
- Kenchen Tsewang Rigdzin-Rainbow Body
- Tsultrim Allione 2000
- Choegyal Namkhai Norbu 2010
- Holland, Gail. Christian * Zinkie (2006) Buddhist Explorations: The Rainbow Body in The Snow Lion Newsletter
- Baopuzi neipian 抱朴子內篇, Ge Hong 葛洪, HY 1177, submitted 317
- Campany, Robert Ford. 2002, To live as long as heaven and earth: a translation and study of Ge Hong's traditions of divine transcendents, Berkeley: University of California Press.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2010)|
- Norbu, Chögyal Namkhai 2010. Rainbow Body -The Life and Realization of Togden Urgyen Tenzin. Shang Shung
- Mahayana Secret Sublime Sutra (大乘密嚴經, Taisho Tripitaka 0681, 0682)
- The Scripture of Forty-nine Chapters, by Ultra Supreme Emptiness Emperor, the Heavenly Lord (太上虛皇天尊四十九章經), in the "Orthodox Tao Store" (正統道藏) compiled during Ming Dynasty (AD 1368 – 1644)
- A Poem that Enlightens Those Who Get Lost and Rectifies the Way to Tao (破迷正道歌) by Taoist master Tzong Ley Kyun during Torng Dynasty (AD 617 – 960)
- "The Great Dictionary of Taoism"(道教大辭典), by Chinese Taoism Association, published in China in 1994, ISBN 7-5080-0112-5/B.054
- Norbu, Chögyal Namkhai Rinpoche (Edited by John Shane) (1988). The Crystal and the Way of Light.. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-14-019084-8
- Norbu, Chögyal Namkhai (1999). The Crystal and The Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-135-9
- Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (2002). Healing with Form, Energy, and Light. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-176-6
- Tsultrim Allione (2000) Women of Wisdom. Snow Lion Ithaca, NY.
- Rinpoche, Sogyal; Harvey, Andrew (Editor) & Gaffney, Patrick (Editor)(1993). Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. (Rev and Updated ed.). HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 978-0-06-250834-8 ISBN 0062508342
- Reynolds, John Myrdhin (1996). The Golden Letters. (1st ed edition). Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-050-6 ISBN 978-1559390507
- Blackman, Sushila (Compiled and edited) (1997). Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die: Death Stories Of Tibetan, Hindu & Zen Masters. New York, US: Weatherhill, Inc. ISBN 0-8348-0391-7