Many good posts on this thread.
There seems to be a feeling that perhaps it is presumptuous for anyone who is not a designated "Teacher" to say anything about Dzogchen, and I am completely agreeing with this.
So maybe the question that is ok to write about is: "am I beyond cause and effect?"
I don't know anything, about anything, including Dzogchen, but I have a good line of blah blah, and so, like a wind chime sounds when struck by the wind, when the wind of words on DW strikes my accumulated conceptions, something sounds off.
If my blah blah makes sense to someone, and clarifies their understanding, or rests their mind a little, then I am happy. I am quite sure that in 100 years, that anything I blah blah will make no difference to anyone. I am also quite sure that in a few years I will not be able to blah blah - even if I wanted to. So I blah blah now, while I still can. Maybe being "old" means that I can be forgiven my presumption. So if anyone takes offense at my blah blah, please remember that it will soon be gone.
The key point is that if we are followers of Mahayana, then we should be helping each other to get the benefit of Dharma. That is why I blah blah. This doesn't mean I am a teacher, or that I see myself as a teacher, it is just that I have been doing Dharma for 40 years, and Dzogchen for 32, and now it is time to blah blah. That said, I have no quarrel with anyone correcting or adding to what I am saying. This is called evolution by dialog: blah blahing towards Nirvana. http://www.amazon.com/Dialogue-Routledg ... 0415336414
This is the best potential of DW: not that we defend our position, or establish our superiority of experience, source, Teacher or view, but that we exchange information that might be helpful to our individual Dharma path leading to realization.
"Help the others" was the take-a-way from my first Tibetan (Kalmuk) Teacher, Geshe Wangyal. So I try to act from that imperative.
That is my cause and the blah blah is the effect. So I am certainly NOT Dzogchen and certainly NOT beyond cause and effect.
Dzogchen Masters Teach in three ways: giving direct introduction, using symbols, and by explanation. All three methods of expression are equally expressions of Dzogchen. These are the expressions of the 3 Kayas. The fourth Kaya is all three together, meaning that the 3 modes of expression are inherently inseparable. We can talk about them separately, and as being separate, but in essence they are one.
I like to mention the inexpressibility of the non-conceptual state, because, maybe someone, who when taking the pointing out instruction, and finds themselves with no mode of expression, (like trying to write on water) they will understand that this experience is normal, and they will then be able to relax more easily into this state, where there is no conceptual ground to stand on. (Whew - long sentence.)
This sounds a little complicated, but it is not. It is like
catmoon said, "See this? This is your hand. You've always had it. It's been hanging around on the end of your arm for ages"
This is why some call it your "true nature" or the "natural state." You have always had it (meaning that you did not have to do anything to "get" it), and so in this way, Dzogchen can be understood to be beyond cause and effect. This is explained much more eloquently in the Nine Amazing Things and the Twelve Vajra Laughs. You can search on these phrases, or PM me if you can't find these.
A Teacher sometimes also teaches through holding up symbols of the natural state, such as a peacock feather, a mirror, a needle, or a crystal, etc. For those to whom the symbol is meaningful, a symbol can also "point out" the natural state, without the use of any words.
The 17 +2 Dzogchen Tantras and other ancient works and commentaries explain Dzogchen in lots of words, so that we can learn to let go of the words, and learn to integrate the natural state with experience, 24/7.
If you search on Dzogchen on Amazon books you find 527 results.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_ ... ooks%2C186
For Mahamudra there are another 454 results.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_kk_1?rh= ... 1348955219
You can spend your next 20 life times reading (and I see nothing wrong with that, if that is what YOU want to do, and it makes you happy), OR you can take pointing out instruction, and then through practice you can develop confidence, and develop capacity to integrate 24/7, in this life. It depends on what you want to do.
Sorry for the long blah blah.
Homage to the Dzogchen Masters. May they live long in good health and with success in all things.