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The Clear Light of the Buddhas Teachings Which Benefits All Beings
Volume 2, Number1 March 1998
His Eminence Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche
There is one thing that my supreme guru, His Holiness The Gyalwa Karmapa, told me, which I remember very clearlyand all the time I try to keep this in mind and be mindful of it. He said, When you go around and teach people, let them know that they are the shrine of the Buddha. The Buddhas shrine is within them. Let them know that.
Photo by Ryszard K. Frackiewicz
The Clear Light of the Buddhas Teachings Which Benefits All Beings
This issue is devoted to a commentary by His Eminence Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche on The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning, composed by The Lord Protector Rangjung Dorje, The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. 3 5 9 12 15 22 24 39 54 59 Preface The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning (English) Situ Rinpoches commentary The first verse or shloka: preparation for engaging in the prayer Shlokas on support for the path Shlokas on prajna that understands the path Shlokas on the unmistaken path itself Shlokas for perfect practice on the perfect path The final shloka: dedication The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning (Tibetan)
Lama Tashi Namgyal
Shenpen Ösel is a tri-annual publication of Kagyu Shenpen Ösel Chöling (KSOC), a center for the study and practice of Tibetan vajrayana Buddhism located in Seattle, Washington. The magazine seeks to present the teachings of recognized and fully qualified lamas and teachers, with an emphasis on the Shangpa Kagyu and the Karma Kagyu lineages. The contents are derived in large part from transcripts of teachings hosted by our center. Shenpen Ösel is produced and mailed exclusively through volunteer labor and does not make a profit. (Your subscription and support are greatly appreciated.) We publish with the aspiration to present the clear light of the Buddhas teachings. May it bring benefit and may all be auspicious. May all beings be inspired and assisted in uncovering their own true nature.
Copy editors, Transcribers, Recorders
Glen Avantaggio, Alan Castle, Ryszard K. Frackiewicz, Yahm Paradox, Chris Payne, Rose Peeps, Mark Voss
Members of the Seattle sangha
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ur intention for this third issue of Shenpen Ösel was to present a variety of teachings, including a commentary by The Very Venerable Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche on selected verses taken from Nagarjunas Sixty Stanzas of Reasonings; a commentary by His Eminence Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche on The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning by Rangjung Dorje, The Third Gyalwa Karmapa; and an introduction to the generation and completion stages of tantric meditation by The Very Venerable Khenpo Thrangu Rinpoche. When we completed the editing of the transcripts of all these fine teachings, however, we discovered that we had much more material than a single issue could accommodate. Consequently, we have elected to devote this issue to Situ Rinpoches profound teaching on The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra and to reserve the other two teachings for the next issue. To introduce the teachings in this issue and to set the stage for what you will be reading in subsequent issues, I would like to touch on a distinction that is present in the madhyamika (middle way) schools of mahayana Buddhism. Nagarjunas Sixty Stanzas of Reasonings, for instance, were a commentary on the Prajnaparamita teachings of the Buddhas second major cycle of sutra teachings, in which the Buddha taught that no phenomena mental or materialhas any true, substantial, indivisible, independent existence, independent of the causes and conditions that give rise to it and independent of the mind that perceives it. All phenomena are, in this sense, empty. Nagarjunas commentaries constitute the foundation of the madhyamika rangtong (literally, self-empty) school of mahayana Buddhism. In the third major cycle of sutra teachings, the Buddha taught that absolute reality is the clear light nature of mind and that this clear light nature of mind is the essential naturegenerally called buddha natureof all sentient beings. The madhyamika shentong (literally, other-empty) school of mahayana Buddhism is based on these teachings. The shentong school holds that, although the clear light nature of mind is ultimately empty of all the cognitive and emotional obscurations of mind that temporarily prevent one from recognizing this clear light nature of mind as ones own true nature, the clear light nature of mind itself is not empty of its own nature. Those who adhere to the madhyamika rangtong view hold that the second turning of the wheel of dharmathe second cycle of the Buddhas sutra teachingsconstitutes the Buddhas definitive teachings on the true nature of reality, and that the teachings of the third turning of the wheel of dharma are provisional, a kind of make-up course of slightly less profound teachings designed for those who couldnt understand the teachings of the second turning. SHENPEN ÖSEL 3
indivisible. however. practice. They maintain that anyone who succeeds in meditation in freeing themselves completely from the attempt to understand ones reality conceptually will ultimately experience the clear light nature of mind. they make a good complement to each other. tranquility and insight in English). When the nondualistic experience of the minds true nature arises. that if rangtongpas continue to meditate properly. Thap lam. while the virtue of the path of means is that it tends to be faster. hold that the third turning of the wheel of dharma constitutes the Buddhas definitive teachings on the nature of reality and that the teachings of the second turning are the provisional teachings. causes the experience to disappear. is what sometimes we refer to as formless meditation and includes mahamudra. By properly integrating the distorted karmic energies of ones mind. and an understanding of one is thought to be beneficial to the study. etc. there are two pathsdrol lam and thap lamthat are generally followed simultaneously or alternately by the practitioner.Those who adhere to the madhyamika shentong view. those of the rangtong view try to look at it to see if it is permanent. on the other hand. and understanding of the other. They further maintain that those of the rangtong view who fail to recognize that ultimate reality is the clear light nature of mind are still subject to a subtle form of conceptual grasping. or even just observe. mahamudra or madhyamika. rather than allowing it simply to experience itself. therefore. The shentong view maintains. Situ Rinpoches teachings touch on these two approaches to meditation. the shentong view. the experience dualistically. Thus Situ Rinpoches commentary on The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra. Lama Tashi Namgyal . The study and practice of either of these two systems. they will gradually purify even this subtle tendency and then the true nature will dawn in them. the Definitive Meaning. The virtue of the path of liberation is that it tends to be smoother. though it is based on the tantric teachings of the Buddha and is not of the sutra tradition. This attempt to analyze. one brings about the same enlightened awareness that is reached as the fruition of the formless meditation approach of the path of liberation. 4 SHENPEN ÖSEL Drol lam. the path of means or method. will lead to buddhahood. includes all tantric practices Dharmas of Naropa or the Six Dharmas of Niguma. however subtle. The vajrayana view corresponds to the view of the third turning of the wheel of dharma. thereby confirming the rangtong view that all phenomenon are impermanent and empty of any true existence. They also discuss the relationship of the vajrayana approaches to meditation and the traditional sutra meditation practices of shamatha and vipashyana (shinay and lhaktong in Tibetan. These practices relate to mind in terms of the energy aspect of mind. etc. is based on this view. In the vajrayana. In this approach to meditation one relates to the mind in terms of the awareness aspect of mind. the path of liberation. Neither path can be practiced properlyand in the case of the path of means it would be dangerous to try to do sowithout the guidance of a qualified tantric master.
May not even the words evil deeds and suffering be heard And may we enjoy the splendor and goodness of oceans of happiness and virtue. Hearing and studying the scriptures and reasonings free us from the obscuration of not knowing.The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra. So long as this is not accomplished. May the brightness of the three prajnas grow in power. Buddhas of the three times in the ten directions and your sons and daughters. which is the two truths free from the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. birth upon birth. May the river of accumulated virtue of the threefold purity Flow into the ocean of the four bodies of the Victorious Ones. without obstacle or interruption. just as we have received them. and Grant your blessing that these aspirations may be accomplished exactly as we ask. Is attained the fruit of well-being for oneself and others. may we practice and enjoy the holy dharma. SHENPEN ÖSEL 5 . In all our lives. Contemplating the oral instructions disperses the darkness of doubt. the Definitive Meaning Composed by The Lord Protector Rangjung Dorje The Third Gyalwang Karmapa Namo guru. In the light born of meditation what is shines forth just as it is. free from the extremes of samsara and nirvana. Through all my lifetimes. Sprung from the snow mountain of pure intentions and actions Of myself and all sentient beings without limit. endowed with faith. By understanding the meaning of the ground. May we practice these properly. free from the extremes of exaggeration and denial. deities of the mandala. And by practicing the supreme path of the two accumulations. Gurus and yidams. Having attended on a worthy spiritual friend and received the pith of the holy instructions. energy. Please consider us with kindness and understanding. May all beings meet the dharma which neither errs nor misleads. and intelligence. Having obtained the supreme freedoms and conjunctions of the precious human existence.
is the subtle pith of meditation. it is unceasing and unimpeded. be realized. be realized. under the power of ignorance. By the power of this dualistic fixation. Not realizing it. It is not existenteven the Victorious Ones do not see it. the meditation. this ultimate essence of phenomena. or This is not it. It is completely devoid of any This is it. It is not nonexistentit is the basis of all samsara and nirvana. May ignorance. Naturally manifesting appearances. the stainless dharmakaya. Then keeping ones awareness unwavering. in accordance with the view.The ground of purification is the mind itself. The view. That which purifies is the great vajra yoga of mahamudra. This is not it. that never truly exist. manifesting as everything whatsoever. may all doubts about the ground be discerned and cut. one circles in the ocean of samsara. 6 SHENPEN ÖSEL . If it is realized. Mind is no mindthe minds nature is empty of any entity that is mind. All phenomena are illusory displays of mind. perfect truth. there is nothing to deny. If one says. Spontaneous intelligence. Being empty. be discovered and cut. but the middle path of unity. Resolving doubts about the ground brings conviction in the view. the actionmay there be confidence in these. Putting all aspects of meditation into practice is the supreme action. there is nothing to show. is confused into a self. May conviction be gained in the ultimate. beings wander in the realms of samsaric existence. The true nature of phenomena. This is not a contradiction. is unconditioned. buddha is not anything other. are confused into objects. May the ultimate nature of phenomena. May the fruit of purification. If one says. which is the basis of everything. What is to be purified are the adventitious. the root of confusion. indivisible cognitive clarity and emptiness. which transcends conceptual understanding. limitless mind beyond extremes. be manifest. This is it. temporary contaminations of confusion. May this simple secret. Examining well.
it is also called the great perfection. Free from mental fabrication. May the ocean of shamatha be unmoving and stable. The meaning which cannot be seen is vividly seen. dualistic clinging is self-liberated. And the unmoving waters of mind rest naturally. Looking again and again at the mind which cannot be looked at. Nonthought transcending conceptual mind is spontaneous presence. The consummation of everything. the essential meaning of all is realized. the mind devoid of objects is seen. just as it is. Not adulterating meditation with conceptual striving or mentally created meditation.Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind. torpor. it is the great middle way. Unmoved by the winds of everyday busyness. the clear light nature of what is. its empty nature devoid of mind is seen. Knowing how to rest in the uncontrived. be realized. Looking at both of these. Free from extremes. Great bliss free from attachment is unceasing. it is the great seal. May the unconfused genuine self-nature be known by self-nature itself. May there be confidence that by understanding one. dzogchen. May the effortless enjoyment of these experiences be continuous. SHENPEN ÖSEL 7 . Looking at objects. Luminosity free from fixation on characteristics is unobscured. May all doubts about mind be resolved. Looking at mind. mahamudra. Arising is mind and cessation is mind. madhyamika. Free from dullness. May the practice of resting in minds true nature be skillfully sustained. murkiness. Thus cutting doubts about how it is or is not. natural spontaneous flow. Realization is mind and confusion is mind. May the nature of mind. and. The waves of subtle and coarse thoughts calm down by themselves in their own place.
Longing for good and clinging to experiences are self-liberated. Negative thoughts and confusion purify naturally in ultimate space. In ordinary mind there is no rejecting and accepting, loss and gain. May simplicity, the truth of the ultimate essence of everything, be realized. The true nature of beings is always buddha. Not realizing that, they wander in endless samsara. For the boundless suffering of sentient beings May unbearable compassion be conceived in our being. When the energy of unbearable compassion is unceasing, In expressions of loving kindness, the truth of its essential emptiness is nakedly clear. This unity is the supreme unerring path. Inseparable from it, may we meditate day and night. By the power of meditation arise the eyes and supernormal perceptions, Sentient beings are ripened and buddha fields are perfectly purified, The aspirations that accomplish the qualities of a buddha are fulfilled. By bringing these three to utmost fruitionfulfilling, ripening, and purifyingmay utmost buddhahood be manifest. By the power of the compassion of the Victorious Ones of the ten directions and their sons and daughters, And by the power of all the pure virtue that exists, May the pure aspirations of myself and all sentient beings Be accomplished exactly as we wish.
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His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche
A Commentary on
The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning
Composed by The Lord Protector Rangjung Dorje The Third Gyalwa Karmapa
In February of 1995, His Eminence Jamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche gave a three-day teaching on the Prayer of Mahamudra at Edmonds Community College in Edmonds, Washington. The following is an edited transcript of that teaching, which Rinpoche gave in English. By His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche
s requested by the dharma center and its lama, I will be teaching about mahamudra, particularly according to the Prayer of Mahamudra, written by The Third Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje. We have only three sessions to go through the prayer, so it will be quite brief; but it will be both a teaching and a transmission. As you know, in Buddhism every person who teaches dharma and also every person who receives the dharma has their own responsibility. That is very simplethe pureness and the authentic future of the lineage depend totally on the people who have the lineage of transmission, and by my teaching this to you, SHENPEN ÖSEL 9
Photo by Ryszard K. Frackiewicz
Photo by Ryszard K. Frackiewicz you are going to have the mahamudra teachings is the transmission of this particular kajung, the texts written by the teaching and lineage. So this is great Indian masters, such as not a public talk. This is not Nagarjuna, and the teachings of just a simple introductory the great Indian mahasiddhas, lecture. This is very serious. I such as the eighty-four take it this way, and I hope you mahasiddhas and the thirty all know that. After this teachgreat female enlightened masing, you will be connected to ters, etc. Those teachings and the mahamudra lineage just as those texts are the kajung and we all have been connected to are a source of the mahamudra it throughout the history of the teachings. And mengaks are mahamudra lineage. I wanted texts such as The Ninth Gyalwa to let you know this, because Karmapas Ocean of Certainty, that is the way it was taught to Ngedön Gyamtso. This is one me. perfect example of mengak. At the beginning, it is These are the sources of the necessary to give you the mahamudra teachings. definition of mahamudra. Now the definition of the Mahamudra, both the term and If I know how to drink this water term mahamudra, if we make it the teaching itself, is actually very simple, is this: Every properly, I will get enlightened. derived from the essence of the single, relative reality, incluteachings of Lord Buddha. The sources of the sive of everything and not excluding anything, is mahamudra teachings in the Tibetan language the manifestation of the ever-present, incorruptare called gyu, kajung, and mengak. Gyu means ible, unchanged ultimate. That is the definition of tantra, and those are the direct words of Lord mahamudra in general. Now, technically, this Buddha himself. Kajung refers to the texts writmeans that if we are able to do anything properly ten by the great masters of India, originally we can attain enlightenment through that parwritten in Sanskrit, which were subsequently ticular vehicle. And, in principle, that means translated into the Tibetan language. Mengak are anything. So, I will give you a simple example: direct instructions from master to disciple, given drinking this water. If I know how to drink this according to the particular disciples maturity water properly, I will get enlightened. Okay, you and level of understanding with the sole purpose wait. [drinks water] Im not enlightened. [laughof improving the wisdom, the compassion, the ter] Why? I dont know how to do it. So, in prindevotion, and the realization of the disciple. ciple, by doing anything correctly, we can attain These latter are usually not written. Sometimes liberation. they are handwritten, but definitely not printed. Now that is the mahamudra in general, acBut I must tell you that some of these mengak cording to its basic definition. But then, why did I texts have been translated into English and not attain enlightenment by drinking this glass of printed and you can buy them in bookstores these water? Number one, I dont know how to do it days Maybe I can call it blessing in disguise. properly; and, number two, I dont have the [laughter] lineage that teaches how to attain enlightenment Now, gyu, the original source of the through drinking water. Do you see? mahamudra teachings, are actually the highest Therefore, the particular teachings of the tantras, such as Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, lineage of transmission of mahamudra that we do Mahamaya, Kalachakra, etc. The essence of these havesuch as the four foundations of teachings is mahamudra. Another source of the mahamudra, the visualization practices of
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general description of mahamudra. But in the mahamudra tradition we do have the lineage of attaining enlightenment by praying. although mahamudra means trödrel. we can get enlightened. buddha nature is temporarily out cold. So. We dont know those things because we dont have such a lineage. [laughter] So. We have to go slowly. because there is the living lineage of how to attain liberation through those means. That is the essence of mahamudra. This prayer is written as a supplication. mahamudra. then it becomes very clear. semche trödrel. and nothing less than that. We have to overcome all the defilements and obscurations in order to get there. being away from activity. We dont know how to attain enlightenment by drinking Coca Cola. When we see in principle what mahamudra means. especially for that person. that is a basic. I That is the heart and essence of the mahamudra teachings to be absorbed in and to observe the nature of mind n the Prayer of Mahamudra itself. Yes? Now. lets say popular. I have a kind of primitive new term for it. then that is enlightenment. compared to everything else we might do. You might even call it. slang. and we just want to be. We cant begin there. through those means. Anything that you can think of about dharma is one way or another summarized in this very short prayer. mahayana. the physical exercises of mahamudra. You just somehow sit there and get enlightened. Enlightenment is nothing more. And maybe. and then see in particular what kind of lineage of living teachings there is. but sometimes in this way we get to the point pretty quickly. by purification of cognitive obscurations. step by step. And that is very true in one particular aspect of the mahamudra teachings. Those things are alive. while that is happening. We have to get there by the accumulation of merit and the accumu- lation of wisdom. and believe we already are. So. [laughter] I dont mean to say inauspicious things. we shouldnt get these two things mixed up. But that happens as a result. we dont know how to attain enlightenment by driving a sports car or by traveling in a mobile home. the very widespread. then it becomes a little inconvenient for everybody. non dualistic aspect of practice. madhyamika. any kind of ritual. the breathing practices of mahamudra. That is the heart and the essence of the mahamudra teachingsto be absorbed in and to observe the nature of mind. unidentified flying ego is out to lunch. by purification of negative emotional defilements. by meditating. which are limited in number. in any kind of prayer. that is the end. we still have to overcome the dualistic bondage in order to be nondualistic. If we manage to do that. etc. by doing practices such as the four foundations [ngöndro]. We dont know how to attain enlightenment by eating pizza. Therefore. or an activity-free sort of practice. what we really wish to be. We cant say we are nondualistic just because we want to be nondualistic. which is always nothing less than buddha itself. Okay? If we are not clear and honest about where we stand as far as our personal level of maturity is concerned. concept of mahamudra is that you dont have to be involved in any kind of visualization. a non-conceptual. then it is very important to go through it SHENPEN ÖSEL 11 . So. Has been taken for a ride. but of whatever level of dharma that you can think of: hinayana. When we go through a traditional text like this. with all due respect. any kind of discipline. To be absorbed in and observe the nature of mind. And I call it unidentified flying ego. It doesnt work that way. and the way of observing the nature of mind of mahamudrawe have because we have that lineage. not the beginning. saying we are nondualistic just because we want to be nondualistic. the deity practices of mahamudra. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes about almost every important point of dharmanot only of mahamudra.mahamudra.
this text has three parts. And the entirety of these mahamudra teachings was actually derived as one whole from Tilopa. So.* The physical Buddha. it becomes like a big hotel with many rooms and many floors with no floor numbers and no room numbers. who transmitted them to Naropa. the main body of the prayer. who is the author of this prayer. and guru means the master. Namo means salutation. And the last part. and then to the present holders of the lineagehad many. I dont know what you call it. Gurus and yidams.e. Then it becomes very difficult to find anythinglike an elevator with buttons but no numbers on themit would be very hard to find anything! In order to avoid that. Maybe you call it outlining. which comprises the majority of the text. there is an important. In our tradition. and the conclusion of the prayer three parts. each of whose lineages extended all the way back to the Buddha Shakyamuni. whose disciple was Gampopa. That is the beginning part of the prayerfour lines and one short Sanskrit phrase preceding them. that is the distance lineage. The second is the actual prayer itself. the outlining of the entire text. The distance lineage gurus start with the Lord Buddha and extend in a continuous. basic structure that you have to follow. So. there is the pure [dharmakaya] aspect of the guru. the distance lineage gurus. whose disciple was Marpa who brought the mahamudra lineage from India to Tibet. you have to have an outline of the entire text first. and Grant your blessing so that these aspirations may be accomplished exactly as we ask. . as well as all the gurus of the mahamudra lineage. Namo guru. which is very short. The Sanskrit phrase is Namo guru. is the conclusion of the prayer. The first and last parts are very short. Please consider us with kindness and understanding. when we learn about a text. whose foremost disciple was Dusum Khyenpa [The First Karmapa]. Otherwise. unbroken succession of enlightened masters and students all the way down to The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. At the beginning of this first shloka there is a short Sanskrit sentence. Buddhas of the three times in the ten directions and your sons and daughters. When you talk about guru in the mahamudra lineage. We call that the distance lineage because it goes all the way back to the Buddha Shakyamuni. he first part is written in four sentences. after the Buddha Shakyamuni passed from this realm. who then transmitted them to Marpa. and in that way it becomes quite easy. The first is the preliminary aspect of the mönlam or prayer. his teacher. the historical *Editors note: i. Here he means his personal root guru. since they have reached the stage of deathlessness. in the beginning. there is. etc. Tilopawhose disciple was Naropa. I will read the text to you in Tibetan as I go through it so that you will also get the lung [reading transmission] for the text as I discuss its meaning. Then you know which sentence means what and where it belongs. This is very particular. from some gurus he received certain empowerments. That lineage begins with the buddha Vajradhara who bestowed mahamudra teachings on the bodhisattva Lodro Rinchen. From some gurus Tilopa learned certain tantric texts. or deathless awareness. which teachings then come down to Tilopa and Naropa. whose disciple was Milarepa.in the strict Tibetan way. Here 12 SHENPEN ÖSEL T Karmapa bows to and salutes his guru. sachay. In the case of the great masters who received mahamudra lineage transmissions directly from the buddha Vajradhara. many gurus. There is the close lineage of mahamudra as well. etc. all the way down to The Sixteenth Karmapa. and the close lineage gurus.. So then. those transmissions happened a long time after Prince Siddharthas paranirvana. because the great master. deities of the mandala. And we call that. there is the beginning. buddhas are not said to have died. We call each verse or four-line section a shloka.
and the nirmanakaya of the buddha. Subsequently. and they practiced them. And through their practice they attained realization. So. But it is not like that. which is Prince Siddhartha in our case. Sometimes people misunderstand and think that these masters may have just been running around somewhere and all of a sudden a big light hit them. So. or the texts as a whole. it has to happen very. . but not as Prince Siddhartha. in German. then it was transmitted in Tibetan .Buddha Shakyamuni. and it makes them feel better. when The Third Karmapa says Namo guru. they followed the discipline and really practiced. isnt it? And somehow it will happen. In Tibetan. Namo guru doesnt mean anything. In order to respect that. as well as his per- First the dharma was transmitted in Sanskrit. It has to happen properly. for the dharma as a whole. In this way. It is not another trip of UFE [unidentified flying ego]. very nicely. to somebody who doesnt know Sanskrit. although there was no limitation on Buddhas part. not it has to happen. French. These great masters first followed the path of the distance lineages. physically was born in India. . Through their practice they attained realization. the sambhogakaya of the buddha. etc. Close lineage we call ngegyu in Tibetan. whereupon they encountered Vajradhara and received all the teachings and then commenced going around and teaching. these masters always begin with a few Sanskrit words. As part of their realization the Buddha manifested to them. according to the custom of most Tibetan Buddhist masters. Karmapa salutes his guru in Sanskrit. as buddha Vajradhara. but only as a result of the realization of the teachings they had already received from their masters. in which SHENPEN ÖSEL 13 N . buddha Vajradhara means the dharmakaya of the buddha. Now it has to happen in English and other languages sonal root guru from whom he received the teachings of mahamudra. who begin their writings and prayers with Sanskrit words. he is addressing both the distance lineage gurus and the close lineage gurus. Nge means close. and also to receive the blessing of the original sound of the Buddhas teachings as they were heard by his disciples. if you know what I mean. was at that time no longer in physical Prince Siddhartha form. very nicely. they know what they are saying. Prince Siddhartha. People are very much concerned about this. not very far. Spanish. they received the transmission as part of that realization. Nicely. And the Buddhas teachings were originally heard by those people who spoke the Indian language. But in Sanskrit it means salutation to the guru. whose teachings started with the historical Buddha. ow I want to go on a little side-track here. What happened was that first these great masters received the teachings of the Buddha and the Buddhas disciples through distance lineages. not just socially nicely. it will happen! But it will not happen out of haste and out of everybodys desperation. But. Thats understandable. Then the buddha Vajradhara transmitted directly to certain great masters. the timeless buddha. because they say that when they say prayers in Tibetan they dont know what they are saying. but in accordance with the transmission of the lineage as it has been continued all the way through history. First the dharma was transmitted in Sanskrit. the mahamudra lineage and many vajrayana Buddhist lineages actually have distance lineage as well as close lineage. The buddha Vajradhara means all in onethe ever-present buddha. Since I have been in the West many people have talked about doing prayers and practices in the English language. The reason for this custom is that the Lord Buddha. When they say them in their own language. then it was transmitted in Tibetan. Chinese. I think to a certain degree it has happened properly already.
but the nature and essence of every single sentient being is perfect. then there will be no benefit. This popular concept of human nature as being bad is wrong. We have many wonderful texts. That transition has to take place in a sacred and holy manner. is that our translations into English and other languages will employ three languages. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa wrote the Sanskrit sounds of Namo guru in Tibetan. a form body that is perceptible to ordinary beings and manifests for their benefit. although we have this ultimate potential of perfect. this phrase is not even used as part of the translation of a text originally in Sanskrit. Now it has to happen also in English and other languages. requesting their compassion. Mandala does not mean only the surroundings. A few words. Nobody speaks Sanskrit as a language. I think you all pray for this transition to take place quickly and properly and without damaging the lineage. not just like some kind of simultaneous translation at a world trade conference. Mandala means the whole thing. and the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times and ten directions. Yes? The majority of the texts will be translated into the local language. A This popular concept of human nature as being bad is wrong. and they render speech in all the languages needed. which benefits the buddha in question. The latter two arise spontaneously from the former. That is how I see it unfolding. and requesting that they support the fulfillment of the prayer that he is writing. according to vajrayana Buddhism. I share your aspiration in this matter. He wants them to bless his writing of this prayer. The environment and the deity together make the mandala. What I see happening. or the hundred-syllable mantra. fter that short Sanskrit phrase. That is okay for them. the sambhogakaya. the Sanskrit mantras and certain other phrases will always remain in Sanskrit. and the nirmanakaya. Therefore. Human nature is perfect and good and nothing less than buddha. so there is a reason for it. They will not be translated. Ultimately. but there will be no blessing if there is no lineage. a form body called the enjoyment body. limitless goodness and positiveness. The Tibetan masters never translated OM MANI PEME HUNG. that exists for the benefit of beings but is perceptible only to high-level bodhisattvas. secondly. they are professionals there. The meaning of gurus you understand. When Lord Buddha taught tantra. If translations come about only as a result of peoples fear and peoples greed. Thats a pretty long time. but he wrote it in Sanskrit.* The reason that we practice deity meditation in Tibetan Buddhism is that each and every one of us in our potential is buddha. or the body of the realization of ultimate truth. the Buddha himself manifested as the central deity of the particular mandala of whatever tantra he was teaching. And the surroundings manifest as the environment of that deity. this custom will remain as it is. we have negativity and we have *Editors note: There are three bodies of buddha: the dharmakaya. we are buddha. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa continues to invoke all the gurus and deities of the mandalas. that they be compassionate towards him. according to vajrayana Buddhism.language it has continued to be transmitted for many centuries. And not only human nature. very important parts of the text will remain in Tibetan. it means the surroundings and the deity. and what I think will happen inevitably. without damaging its blessing. Human nature is perfect and good and nothing less than . Translations have to happen in a pure and healthy manner. Deities refers to the sambhogakaya of the buddha. However. Then. nothing less than buddha. for more than a thousand years. We 14 SHENPEN ÖSEL should all pray for that. In this particular prayer we are studying. Because the dharma originally came from India. But it doesnt work like that in the translation of dharma. or any of these namo gurus. Okay? Now back to the text.
Milarepa attained enlightenment through them. As for the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three times. This is very simple poetry. Here Karmapa makes an analogy with the very pure snows of a snow mountain. First. The first part generally dedicates all the prayers and intentions of himself and all sentient beings and all their virtuous activity of body. I dont mean only apparent in me. Through the practice you transform your subconscious and unconscious levels of mind. the object. Hes talking about pure motivation and pure action. There are five dollars that I am SHENPEN ÖSEL 15 . But anyway. the general dedication. all of which exists as the result of negative deedsthe physical limitations and mental limitations and defilements. the essence of which is the recognition of the true nature of mindthe essence of mahamudra itself. we also have the chance to attain enlightenment. The purity is like the clean. For example. present. In this way. Karmapa writes in two parts. That is the example of the pureness of the motivation and the deeds. as well as the physical body through your visualization. That is the purpose of the practice of the deity. And the second part of the main body of the text particularly dedicates the prayers in five sections to five particular. which will enter into the ocean and become part of the great ocean. You transform your experience of form into the deity. Then he makes reference to threefold purity. attained enlightenment through these practices. and ten directions means the four cardinal directions with the four directions in between and above and below making ten. which is the main body of the text itself. like Marpa. yes? So. By implication he is saying that there are three things that make an action impure. then the particular disciples to whom Buddha manifested all got enlightened. buddhas everywhere. that is what he means. and I am the one who is the giver. speech and mind towards enlightenment. and the ultimate form of the accumulation of merit. First. the lineages come from those enlightened masters. all of the great masters of our lineage attained enlightenment through the practice of deity meditation. Therefore. specific objectives. the practice of the yidam. When Karmapa talks about the yidams or the deities. and. Thats actually a more complicated way of saying every direction. which melt and give rise to very clean streams. Indeed. In practical terms it means every direction. the general prayer: Sprung from the snow mountain of pure intentions and actions Of myself and all sentient beings without limit. five specific objectives. I think this is perfect for your mountains here. which is very apparent. So. I dont have to tell you about it. the practice of the deity begins right there where you are. just like space above. The three aspects of impurity are these: a fixation on or attachment to the subject. When Lord Buddha taught any particular tantra manifesting as that particular tantras deity. the subject. Our great masters. and future. if I give something to a beggar. The deepest and most direct way to transform whatever is negative. Through practicing the meditations associated with these deities.shortcomings and limitations. it is the ultimate form of purification. And. I presume in you too. Perhaps they want us to know that there is space below. then the beggar is the object to whom Im giving. Dualistic fixation makes an action limited and impure.is to transform it all into the essence of itself. and the deed itself. His supplication concerns the virtues of himself and all sentient beings that derive from pure motivation and pure action. unstained snow on the top of a mountain. Maybe our great masters are worried that we think that beneath the earth everything is solid. they say below. which are free from three aspects of impurity. etc. three times means past. Gampopa attained enlightenment through these practices. then. second. N ow the second part of the text. May the river of accumulated virtue of the threefold purity Flow into the ocean of the four bodies of the Victorious Ones.
a correct path. And so. So. It is okay to give. the svabhavakakaya. these four lines express the general prayer of Gyalwa Karmapa. he is praying for a path that is an unmistaken path. The giving is totally free of these three limitations and three aspects of duality. life after life. so that these positive activities may become the condition for our enlightenment. He does it all at once in this part. free of any kind of dualism. Proper mahayana motivation is the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beingsto have bodhicitta. Through all my lifetimes. for buddhahood itself. of course. n the next section of the main body of the prayer. And this. and svabhavakakaya. Number three. be heard. but that negative I . may not even the sound of negative deeds and negative conditions. But it is still limited when there is fixation. when we apply and practice this path. he wants the practice to be authentic. number five. The path could be a correct path. number four. and no clinging to the things that are given. Then. which is the result of negative deeds. or positiveness. This achievement doesnt mean that you have to go bankrupt. he prays. Then. He prays that not only will we not accumulate negative deeds. until one reaches that great liberationthe great ocean of the four kayas of the Victorious Onesuntil that is achieved. The four kayas of the buddha are dharmakaya. He makes five major. as in the paramita of generosity. May not even the words evil deeds and suffering be heard. first. the first one. A real path. such as suffering. So. he prays for the accomplishment of the journey on the path. specific prayers. the ordinary conditions: So long as this is not accomplished. the preconditions are not there. 16 SHENPEN ÖSEL That establishes the basis of this entire prayer. birth upon birth. then one cannot be a vajrayanistcannot and will not be a vajrayanist. which is the fourth kaya. He is praying that our actions be very positive. perfect realization. When we refer to the paramitas. So. which is about perfect conditions for the path to liberation. If one does not have mahayana motivation. ordinary conditions. whom he compares to a great ocean. he is praying for perfect conditions for the path to liberation. while the second concerns the extraordinary. He says that virtue. sambhogakaya. he makes several specific prayers with specific objectives. he writes in two shlokas. in all reincarnations. looking at the whole prayer. but one simply wont be a vajrayanist without it. Number one. Not a wrong one. we mean a form of generosity that has become totally pure. They are just three aspects of one thing. he prays that we also get the practice right. It doesnt mean that you have to make everybody rich. There is a fixation on these three things. The first three kayas are not three separate things. Karmapa in these four lines is saying: May all of our intentions and deeds be for the sake of enlightenment. Of these. So. will flow into and become one with the four kayas of the Victorious Ones. So Karmapa prays that all of our intentions and actions be free of these three aspects of dualism. The first shloka concerns general. he is praying for perfect wisdom. That is his prayer in general. We should give. but we might practice it incorrectly. you know? It means that there is no dualistic clinging of any kind between the giver and the recipient of the giving. he makes these five particular prayers. and so it is a samsaric gift. for the final. It is not illegal to be a vajrayanist without proper mahayana motivation. nirmanakaya. too. is like a very pure river coming from the mountain.giving to the beggar. And may we enjoy the splendor and goodness of oceans of happiness and virtue. In vajrayana Buddhism the most important step of inner maturity is to be a complete mahayanist. not a look-alike path. Then it doesnt work. Number two. Generosity then is totally achieved. Here Karmapa prays that. rebirth after rebirth. which will enable us to really understand and to attain realization on the path. more advanced conditions. Now I will comment on this a little bit as it relates to the mahayana.
May we practice these properly.* So. our teacher. With faith or trust. that the dharma still exists. So he prays that. very fundamental. He uses a particular word. In all our lives. very basic. The four lines before these last ones are very basic. and jor refers to ten particular conditions. What this means is thatand this is most importantwhen we have a great master. our master accompanies and supports us. and that we may totally enjoy the goodness of it. there be no negativity. SHENPEN ÖSEL 17 . As we practice. (Having ones senses impaired to the extent that ones mind could not function properly in the study and practice of dharma would constitute the loss of ones precious human birth. for all sentient beings. Of the ten conjunctions or resources. She actually means one who is sympathetic. you contemplate eighteen subjects. you have to remember. Now Karmapa is talking about these eighteen subjects. faith. Karmapa is not saying that hearing negative things is bad. Karmapa prays that we may meet and become acquainted with a profound and kind master. There are eight talwa and ten jorpa. At the beginning of these practices. without obstacle or interruption. not reverting to evil ways. help us to develop our potentials and lead us progressively through the journey. or living in a dark age. energy. being born in a land to which the dharma has spread. shenyen. Not general. and within the precious human life contemplation. but very general. a long-lived god. Tal refers to eight particular conditions. may we obtain the profound precious human life. wouldnt it? And then he prays that joy and virtue be totally abundant. concerning the perfect conditions for the path to liberation: Having obtained the supreme freedoms and conjunctions of the precious human existence. that there are still followers who have realized the meaning and essence of the teachings of the dharma. and wisdom. all of which qualities are very important on the path of dharma. a hungry ghost. of course. and that their lives may be full of joy and totally auspicious and positive. resources. It is a prayer. a heretic. and having confidence in the three jewels. With faith or trust. The eight freedoms are traditionally enumerated as freedom from birth as a hell being. and here as conjunctions. endowed with faith. Nyen means a support. a barbarian. diligence. that the Buddha taught the dharma. This is a bit of an extreme prayer. the five personal conjunctions are having a human body. very specific. qualities. and intelligence. Having attended on a worthy spiritual friend and received the pith of the holy instructions. profound diligence and wisdom. you do four contemplations. Next. may we practice and enjoy the holy dharma. The first of these is the precious human life. diligence and wisdom all together we can accomplish a lot *Editors note: Tal is often translated as freedom and jor as endowments. But if it were possible not even to hear of negative things. that would be wonderful. just as we have received them. deeper and quite specific. And then he prays that we may have profound devotion. Karmapa is talking about and praying that we may have these eighteen conditions of a precious human life. like a great ocean.deeds will not even be around to hear about. and when we have great faith. in these next four he makes his aspiration more advanced. a mentally handicapped person. then what we must receive under those conditions has to be the real nectar of dharma. and trust. Nyen means one who is helpfulone who is sympathetic with our shortcomings and weaknesses and able to transmute our shortcomings and weaknesses. This leads to the second. Karmapa prays that we may meet such a master and receive from him or her the essence or nectar of the instructions. fundamental prayer. He says. diligence and wisdom all together we can accomplish a lot. I think all of you know of or have done the four foundation practices [ngöndro]. an animal. life after life. eighteen particular qualities of this precious human life. no suffering. having all of ones senses intact.) The five conjunctions that come by way of others are that a Buddha has been born in this age. That is his general. and that there are benevolent sponsors. extraordinary or more advanced prayer. But.
the profound. we dont want obstacles. He emphasizes this in every one of the four lines. You see? Thats why in our teaching there is tremendous emphasis on mindfulness and awareness. he also indicates the need for the nectar of the profound and precious instructions. Okay? This great Tibetan yogi is called Drukpa Kunli. Correctly. and for me they mean a lot because they really helped me to understand devotion and compassion. In general. This also gives further emphasis to practicing the pure dharma correctly. So Karmapa prays that these teachings may be received. he says. And if one does everything in this right and correct and pure way. If we are getting something wrong. It doesnt emphasize mindlessness. the rightness. Chö means dharma. [laughter] You see. Dam chö means profound. authentic. [Rinpoche points to his forehead. and every moment of doing something or doing nothing becomes . I have four lines here that were said by one of Tibets great yogis. But it doesnt really help very much because you could have bought a sledgehammer and just hit the wall once. then everything will be fruitful. He was very unconventional and very extreme. Then Karmapa prays that there be no obstacle to the practice of the correct path. positively. One day he went to a shrine. very diligent. You see? So. And if one does everything in this right and correct and pure way. He is supposed to have been one of the three craziest yogis of Tibet. the appropriate conditions necessary to progress on the path. precious. but there is a tremendous depth of understanding within these topics in regard to the importance of practicing the pure dharma correctly. dam chö. Sometimes people are very. sacred. Dam has many meanings. etc. At the end of this line. in this way The Gyalwa Karmapa is emphasizing the correctness. Not just practice. without obstacles. And he prays that every consecutive life will be totally dedicated to and involved in the practice of the precious and profound dharma. and the accuracy of all of these particular conditions. This is a specific prayer for the basic conditions. not mindful. ow Im going to take a little side-track here. we have to be able to digest them and apply them properly without obstacle. when he talks about the teacher. Then there would be a hole. He is praying that they all arise in that way because they are all necessary for the attainment of enlightenment. so that we stop and ponder. You dont have to use this. So. we want to have obstacles. authentic teachings of the Buddha. we learn about devotion and diligence and wisdom. And in the next line. He prays that we may practice appropriately without obstacles. Profound means precious human life that is conducive for attaining enlightenmenta human existence endowed with all the requisite qualities to pursue the right goal. diligent mindfulness and awareness. It doesnt suggest that to really hit the wall you have to be mindless. he indicates the need for a profound and kind teacher. so that we dont continue. pure dharma. In this shloka we learn quite a few very important things. In the next line. but practice appropriately. Damchö means profound and sacred dharma. This all goes together. One has to get everything right. a very beautiful shrine. which is profound. then everything will be fruitful. You see? But if everything is going well. and every moment of doing something or doing nothing becomes diligence. and then learn about the correct way. In the last sentence. they will bang on it continuously until it makes a hole. We have a saying: so diligent that the forehead can make a hole in the wall. he refers to precious human life. In the first line.] So diligence does not mean desperately trying to do something. he indicates the need to prac18 SHENPEN ÖSEL tice appropriately. We have to be able to practice correctly what teachings we receive. I have shared these in several places.. He was standing in front N One has to get everything right.
So devotion to buddha is totally inherent in us. You have compassion for all sentient beings because you know their essence is buddha. everywhere. until they each reach the ultimate freedom and ultimate liberation. As you say in America. Sometimes people say. faith and trust and devotion all come to the same thing. And compassion for all sentient beings is the other side of that devotion to buddha. dualistic concepts and findings and discoveries. you see. and that we are so thrilled by what Buddha has and are so blindly amazed by it that we fall on our faces everywhere for the Buddha. You see. you know that in that person there is the buddha. Im not either. they are not going to be at peace. hes not saying that good food is bad. Hes not saying that being healthy is uncomfortable. Then he prostrated to the Buddha. From this we can see that our ultimate liberation is the destination of our ultimate potential. in essence. that essence is fully liberated and mature. We have all the potentials of the Buddha. It is not his egocentric. that is devotion.of it. without doing anything. A long time ago you and I were the same. you have that kind of superficial compassion. house. Most of us do very well with bread and butter. We can see very well how many problems there are in this world. Propaganda minister. I am lazy. therefore. They will struggle with whatever it takes. authentic compassion. and that this person doesnt have them. When the Buddha talks about the sufferings of samsara. And we are not just busy with problems of bread and butter. too. How you feel towards that person lying down therethat is authentic compassion. even in religions. And then you try to help. dont we? But it doesnt make us liberated. our buddha nature. but I dont have devotion. The nature of every sentient being is without limitationthat is buddha nature. He looks at him for a long time. Buddha did not campaign for himself to teach dharma. in every society. It is not like that. you feel superior to that person. he is just staring at the Buddha with some sense of surprise. you have become enlightened. and. Buddha knows that. which are also very much. It is not that you think that you have clothes. Then he says. It is not that the Buddha had something that we dont have. and he looks at the Buddha statue without bowing. and food. First he says. He knows that. [laughter] So hes looking at the Buddha with a long time no see attitude. And the Buddhas teaching is the manifestation of that limitless liberation and limitless realization. But true compassion and devotion are much deeper than that. therefore I am still wandering in samsara. the essence of theravada and mahayana Buddhism as well. Therefore. And finally he says four things. When you see someone lying in the street with no food and no clothes. He is standing there. That is also not bad. And also. In a buddha. and behaved himself. of course. You were diligent. Our devotion to Buddha is deeply rooted in our essence and our potential. SHENPEN ÖSEL 19 I . It is for the very reason that we and Buddha are. You see? The Buddhas teaching is the manifestation of his realization. That is wonderful. That is what he is saying. actually. Instead of just ignoring the person. Because he is one of the craziest persons. the same. It is for this reason that receiving the Buddhas teachings is meaningful to us. I bow to you. Good food is very tasty. Being healthy is very comfortable. how many problems there are in every person. n these four lines. Compassion and devotion are not two separate things. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa covers all of these very important areas of vajrayana Buddhism. as though he were seeing an old friend that he hasnt seen for a long time. And until each person and each being is fully free and unlimited. that is good. and so. he doesnt fit there. long time no see. A buddha has attained ultimate freedom and ultimate liberation already. That is not complete compassion. But what he is saying is that the suffering of samsara is that no sentient The suffering of samsara is that no sentient being can or will ever stop struggling until they become buddha being can or will ever stop struggling until they become buddha. That means that the person must look more deeply at their compassion. And we are not Buddhas propaganda minister. Then he says. Then he says. either. I have lots of compassion. Once you have pure. They are two sides of the same coin. Everything is really bad. His clothes are terrible. That is not possible. therefore. And we can see how many problems there are in every family.
we can do it properly by following the lineage closely and properly. very good. Question: Regarding the issue of translation. The ego is there. very hard to deal with. . instead of OM MANI PADME HUM . Many great masters got enlightened saying their mantras with bendzra. You see? And because it is identified as eternalism or nihilism. if I tell you that I am enlightened. That is the closest way to the correct way. Thats an excellent question. Ah . are you alluding to or referring to nihilism? Rinpoche: Definitely not! With nihilismthere is no ego. For example. Rinpoche: Okay. No. And that is very hard to deal withvery. 20 SHENPEN ÖSEL Question: How can one do something properly unless one is enlightened? Rinpoche: Thats very good. and yet the ego is not recognized by the person. Question: By unidentified flying ego. ngowo nyi ku. Thats very. what was the name of the yogi who was staring at the Buddha? Rinpoche: Drukpa Kunli. Question: Rinpoche. . But actually. Lama Tashi: Rinpoche. could you explain the reason for the bendzra in Tibetan and vajra in Sanskrit. we might lose a point there [laughter]because we dont know how to say vajra. if we are here to pass a Sanskrit exam. if you dont stop saying that. you can fix it. The only one who can deal with it is oneself. I could have received 200 different teachings from 200 different teachers. So bendzra is equal to vajra. then it will take somebody who is enlightened to do anything properly. Lots of Western people know about Drukpa Kunli. I think he is quite well known around here. because in eternalism and nihilism there is already identified ego. you see. So. If you have questions . If there is no lineage. It means further emphasis. Its like OM MANI PEME HUNG. So vajra became bendzra. Question: What is the name of the fourth aspect of buddha that encompasses the dharmakaya. If I attain enlightenment in this life. I will be attaining enlightenment through the practices that I received from my gurus. Each teacher received each particular teaching from his or her guru who had in turn . but it is actually a little bit more difficult than that. . nirmanakaya are not three separate things. Okay? It is not so much a question of eternalism and nihilism. I will give you an example. then I will say. For another person it is very hard to deal with. .We have completed the beginning of the prayer up to the two specific prayers that Karmapa wrote regarding the perfect conditions for the path to liberation. then it will take somebody who is enlightened to do anything Rinpoche: Well. Because the majority of the great Tibetan masters were not educated in Sanskrit. and nirmanakaya? Rinpoche: Svabhavakaya. But. you are not enlightened. But maybe it will help you. Which should we use? If there is no lineage. Excellent. sambhogakaya. . I will call my lawyer. this questioner is a bit confused about the distinction between close and distance lineages. not as vajra. But unidentified ego means ego is very much there. I am. No. It simply means dharmakaya. Then I will say. then we follow the lineage. The sound has the blessing. sambhogakaya. I will stop here for now and will continue later. And the teachings of the lineage transmitted to us and interpreted for us are the original teachings of the Buddha. then you might say. . either intentionally or unintentionally. They are three aspects of one thingthat is what it means. [laughter] You see? So that is UFE. yet the ego still says that there is no ego. they didnt know how to pronounce Sanskrit properly. Okay. [laughter] It can be both eternalism and nihilism. They are not the original teachings of the person who teaches us. And we continued to say bendzra because we received the transmission as bendzra. Im joking. It does not mean another thing. its very simple. we continue to say it that way. And this is a totally fabricated example. Because we have the lineage. In Tibetan we say ngowo nyichi ku. Then if you say.
Question: Do close lineages always begin after a siddha has attained enlightenment? We want to practice the dharma for the sake of attaining enlightenment. We want to be sincere in the way we want to learn about Lord Buddhas teachings. Because. My distance lineages would be the lineages of all of my gurus. So its like that. the connection. Inc. There is no particular way to find the guru. And the big river goes all the way down to the ocean as one single body of water. is the third that which is given. That would never happen. an affinity. if one were to consider all the moments of thought involved before. as part of my realization. the trust. many small streams on the mountainside. Okay. the practice of the teachings of which brought me to this realization. during and after one act of generosity. and what is it that makes them pure? Rinpoche: Dualism and nondualism. I might receive direct teachings from Buddha himself. These three: the one who receives it. you know. What is to be given. or is there a difference between them? Rinpoche: Take. Of course. all of that will happen naturally. the distance and close lineages. And dongpo means the one who is to give. his follower. So. but then of course. for example. You learn from a guru in whom you have full faith and trust and from whom you gain or derive inspiration and with whom you really feel a connection. Rinpoche: Of course. for the benefit of all sentient beings. Because all of it is involved. Threefold purity and these three main spheres of activity are just a general outline of three particular things. After they attain enlightenment. it might end up becoming 10. Rinpoche. That is the distance lineage. Not before. Lenpo means the one who is to receive. Because of the affinity. We want to practice the dharma for the sake of attaining enlightenment. fundamental thing is that we all have to be sincere. Im Buddhas disciple. Im not enlightened. The basic. It is like many. it will happen. jinpa or generosity. That would be a close lineage. Because enlightenment can never be limited. [laughter] Unfair to all of us. Im not buddha.received their teachings from an unbroken lineage that goes back to the Buddha. Question: Rinpoche. That is very important. Theres no way to make those affinities and those connectionslike some kind of signing of somethingtheres no such thing. Now undo this fabrication. then the guru and the teacher. I dont think it will be anything very complicated. that would be unfair. how does one find ones guru. Before I wanted to give. you learn from the situation. You receive teachings. But. it would become too complicated. You see? Then it might just be. That would be a close lineage. the one who gives it. Our motivation should be sincere. Question: As regards the three impurities. If that is purely established. the other one is hoping that something will be given. and dualism of any kind is limited.000 [things to see as empty or not to be fixated on]. all of that will happen respect to every moment you have to talk about every single thought. the human guru? Rinpoche: When you find. and all of that together involves giving and taking and all of this. Jincha means what is to be given. Both are involved. If somebody receives the teachings directly from buddha without being enlightened. of course. the faith and the inspiration. what is it that makes them impure. and that which is given. you have certain inspirations. with SHENPEN ÖSEL 21 . They all come together into one big river. Why didnt that happen to us? Why for him? Did he pay more money or something? [laughter]. when I attain enlightenment. If that is purely established. the physical guru. you find. instead of three. for the benefit of all sentient beings. if somebody really wanted to go into detail. You cant have a limited buddhahood. Buddhahood Limited. It has to happen from your heart. then the guru and the teacher. [laughter] Question: Rinpoche. or the act of giving. When it happens. That lineage would start from that particular buddha and would come first directly to me and would then continue on from me to others.
one will be freed from the ignorance of not knowing. the particularly focused prayers. we overcome not-knowing. Within this part. So. we are on the second of the particular prayers. wisdom arising through contemplation. this particular prayer in which he talks about the three wisdoms is a prayer to have perfect wisdom to understand and to attain realization on the path. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes regarding the perfect wisdom necessary to understand and realize the path to liberation in four lines: Hearing and studying the scriptures and reasonings free us from the obscuration of not knowing. Now remember. And relative obstacles. May the brightness of the three prajnas grow in power. This is the first step in the development of wisdom. That is the particular subject here. written by The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. which here means the direct teachings of the Buddha. and also the rigpa. and wisdom arising from meditation. will be liberated. in writing about the first wisdom. of ignorance. which refers to the particular reasonings and commentaries on the teachings of Buddha. Three aspects of wisdom. which is the actual main body of the text itself.One has to accumulate merit in order to overcome relative obstacles. says that by hearing the lung. C Beginning With the Three Aspects of Wisdom Here The Gyalwa Karmapa writes about three aspects of wisdom: the wisdom arising from learning or learning by hearing. we might not succeed in overcoming without a rich accumulation of merit. Rangjung Dorje. even if we mean well. we are in the second part of three parts of the main text. 22 SHENPEN ÖSEL Photo by Ryszard K. Contemplating the oral instructions disperses the darkness of doubt. In the light born of meditation what is shines forth just as it is. The Gyalwa Karmapa. He ontinuing our teaching on the Prayer of Mahamudra. He prays that these three wisdoms should increase. once we know. Frackiewicz . ones obscuration of not knowing.
of comtemplating them. in Tibetan. both sides.specifically says lung and rigpa here because we can know all kinds of things. I think. The next stage he writes about is wisdom arising through contemplation. and go through them as thoroughly as possible. gompa it is also thinkSHENPEN ÖSEL 23 N . of contemplating them. seeing accurately. The light that is born from meditation will make clear the actual as-it-isness of everything. in this way. what you have learned as the method. So. will also be seen accurately. you think about them. We can know how to sail a boat. Those are the three aspects of wis- meditation. prayer. But here. or how to ski. That is bad English. they talked about contemplation very much as we talk about meditation. the first step is to overcome the obscuration of notknowing. whatever you have learnedyou will see accurately. First you hear the teachings and then you contemplate them. I would like to go on a little side-track here. In this way. So. Then contemplation is followed by the third kind of wisdom. It also can be translated as thinking. the second kind of wisdom we obtain through contemplation of mengak. Here he mentions a particular kind of contemplation. or just a simple discipline. We could end up anywhere. at the beginning. As far as the English language is concerned. thinking about them. but very special instruction. the third wisdom is described here. which he says here arises from The wisdom of hearing the teachings. Karmapa ends these four lines by saying. to attain buddhahood. then we might still have doubt. the essential purpose of that particular discipline. Mengak. All of that is knowing. Those are the three aspects of wisdom. the example is nightfall. of seeing correctly. what those meditations and prayers and disciplines are for. Through meditation one develops clarity. which refers to the commentaries and explanations on the teachings of Buddha given by his followers. And when we say. and of meditating upon what you have established through thinking and hearing. then we wouldnt know where we were going. both your objectiveness and your subjectiveness. Im not really sure exactly how it works in your language. when I had an exchange with some Christian mystics. and we might not overcome those doubts. We can know how to make nice bread. which refers to the teachings of the Buddha. and rigpa. Then. If we dont contemplate these things that we have learned. Then. a particular kind of knowing that will clear away ignorance is required: lung. meditation. sacred instruction. when we say sempa it means thinking (traditionally translated contemplation). but the clarity of knowing correctly. whatever it might bemeditation. you see as it is. look into them. So. or prayer. the contemplation of sacred instruction. If we were walking at night with no light. and of meditating upon what you have established through thinking and hearing. from the light that is the result of meditation. That is sempay. unmistakenly. What we have learned he describes as mengak. the darkness of night. means instruction. Therefore. you know. ow. Once. not this kind of clarity [indicating the physical light in the room]. Maybe they are the same thing. But the meaning behind that is: Whatever is there. visualization. The darkness here represents doubt. thinking about them. Now. what has been seen accurately will also be realized accurately. I really dont know exactly the distinction between meditation and contemplation. But. what that does is to cause one to be victorious over the darkness of doubt. Sempay means contemplating. The main purpose of a Buddhistand particularly of mahayana and vajrayana Buddhistsis to become enlightened. without delusion. To fulfill that purpose. We can know how to surf. may the light of the three wisdoms be ever-increasingthe wisdom of hearing the teachings.
May all beings meet the dharma which neither errs nor misleads. Is attained the fruit of well-being for oneself and others. 24 SHENPEN ÖSEL . that is the basic motivation of mahayana. enlightenment itself should be beneficial for othersand there must be a ground for that. I wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. he writes. when Karmapa says ground. then that is not a mental activity. you have to have the ground to attain enlightenment. The whole. free from the extremes of asserting and denying. Meditation posture is body. nirvana. there must a ground for that. golwa means totally going against. systematically going through the procedures of a particular meditation practice as outlined by a teacher. and making sure that you get it right and all that sort of thing. But. step by step an established and confirmed practice. You contemplate with the mind. but not thinking about something to find out something. You meditate with the mind. and fruition. This particular stanza is extremely rich and extremely deep. The path is the accumulation of merit and the accumulation of wisdom. With respect to your attaining enlightenment. Ground here means the ground for everything. It is something that one becomes. he says. So. correct. whatever it is. free from the extremes of samsara and nirvana. it is all just wishful thinking. it is a mental activity. that is not mistaken or going on any detours away from the actual purpose of the dharma.* So. N ow. It is just going through the particular matter. of course. And then. So. which is the two truths free from the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. path itself. Some Buddhists wish to become enlightened and become buddhas. When you say. and signify personal liberation from samsara and the attainment of peace or nirvana. he doesnt mean some kind of basic foundation practice. Here The Gyalwa Karmapa writes about ground. As for example. free from the extremes of exaggeration and denial. And by practicing the supreme path of the two accumulations. But both are mind. Otherwise. And then finally. Buddhahood comprises personal liberation from samsara. When we say. but meditation is mindis involved with mind. is free from the extremes of samsara and the extremes of peace. until then. For the benefit of all sentient beings. The ground. path. And chukpa means misunderstood. Some Buddhists wish to become enlightened as far as arhatship. It is not trying to find out what you know and what you dont know. the ground means this basic ground for everything. That is what Buddhism is all about. To be simple here. the basis and ground for the entire Buddhist tradition goes back to enlightenment. the fruition. Then. This is also written in four lines: By understanding the meaning of the ground. everybody can attain enlightenment. as well as omniscience and limitless capabilities for leading sentient beings to liberation. is the two truthsthe relative truth and the ultimate truthfree from both eternalistic and nihilistic extremes. I wish to attain enlightenment. the third particular prayer that The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes is for the unmistaken. He prays that one meet with dharma that is neither going against the actual purpose of the dharma nor is a misunderstanding of the dharma. and is the benefit for oneself and the benefit for all beings.ing. How far we get in this life is one thing. But once one achieves the final realization of meditation. So there is this difference. It is a mental activity. Every single one of these ideas must have a ground [a basis]. there must be a ground that it will be a benefit for others. there are slight differences between becoming an arhat and *Editors note: Arhat and arhati are the names applied to thosemale and femalewho reach the pinnacle realization of any of the hinayana traditions. entire dharma is here in these four lines. He ends these four lines by saying: May I and everyone meet the dharma that is not antithetical to the actual purpose of dharma. Now. but every single Buddhist wishes to become enlightened.
When you are going in circles you might be running. from when I was born to when I die. attaining buddhahood is the final destination of every single sentient beingbecause their ultimate essence is buddha. And as for me. At the end of the day you end up in the same place. The ground for why your enlightenment will benefit all sentient beings is that the Buddha Sakyamunis enlightenment benefits us. That is for every Buddhist. all become relevant. a basis for being able to do that. So. There is not one single sentient being. Every single sentient being will go on wandering and struggling in samsara. too. but we will continue wandering and struggling and being helplessly propelled from realm to realm. sometimes seemingly happy. it still benefits us. that does not have buddha nature thinking correctlythat our enlightenment will be of benefit to all sentient beings. the process of enlightenment. [laughter] Tremendous. I dont know whether or not amoebas have buddha nature. but going in circles means going in circles. There is a place called Seattle. we can go through all kinds of things. enlightenment is a necessity. everybodys ultimate goal is to become buddha. Therefore. The essence of the mind of every sentient being is perfect and has no limitation. and the benefit of that is that Lord Buddha became enlightened. . They will struggle. That means they have buddha nature. And we call that buddha nature. [laughter] So everybody has their ambition in this life. but always dissatisfied. That is the simple way to understand the ground. just like the Buddhas. this is the ground. That is the basic ground. for which the person who is praying is praying. that is the ground. we too will be enlightened. right here. So. I dont want to fail to improve by at least one percent in this life. And the ground is that every single sentient beings potential. I wish to attain enlightenment. the ground for that is that every sentient being in essence is nothing less than buddha. both are a kind of enlightenment. not slight. The circle can be as small as the circumference of a finger. and the destination of every single sentient being. Until we become buddha. then there has to be a place called Seattle. Therefore. I definitely want to make sure that I improve one percent at least. you might be crawling. is equal to the Buddhas mind. So. Every single sentient being has buddha nature as their ultimate potential. The definition of samsara is going in circles. and that our enlightenment will definitely benefit all sentient beings. There must be a ground for that. definitely. The previous Buddhas enlightenment benefitted Buddha Sakyamuni. In that way. The definition of samsara is that.becoming a buddha. He took the vow to attain enlightenment three trillion eons in the past. and the ground for the benefit to all sentient beings of attaining enlightenment. however much we struggle. just as Buddhas enlightenment benefits us. and the ground for enlightenment itself for which the person is praying. they will not be at peace. however insignificant it might look . we end up in the same place. The circle can be as big as the whole universe. In this way. And. That enlightenment is a necessity for every single sentient being to attain. until they attain buddhahood. I do my best. But somehow. but they are supposed to be sentient beings. I mean. Two thousand five-hundred years after his enlightenment. we can find ourselves in all kinds of realms. Therefore. the ground for the enlightenment of the person who is praying. But realistically. That is the ground for thinkingand There is not one single sentient being. Still. Ground means that if you are a travel agency and somebody comes and asks you to sell a ticket to someplace called Seattle. . more often in pain. we can know that as his followers. SHENPEN ÖSEL 25 . you know. which is the essence of their mind. But that will not stop us from struggling. however insignificant it might lookit could be something like an amoebathat does not have buddha nature.
Do you say that? Oh. there . in this way. if we are eternalistic then we will assert everything. which is nihilism. And when we brush our teeth every morning. The whole of lifejust to keep it going. It takes two to tango]. If we do something bad. and so forth. it will be to our minds only an entirely good thing. If it were the case that we had to purify every one of our bad karmic actions by doing some good karma equal to it. maybe more are taken. which is eternalism. or do nothing? You see. and doing one good thing to purify one bad thing. then enlightenment will never happen if we think of doing good karma as opposite to bad karma. After that. see? The particular definition of ground that Karmapa has written here is relative truth and absolute truth. And they will die. Here. or of any eternalistic view or any nihilistic view. We might believe that everything is a real. because. free from the extremes of assertion and denial. This happens all the time. As far as extreme viewseternalism and nihilismare concerned. then we will regard it as a completely bad thing. or nothing exists. And. And so on. when we do something good. or nihilistic on the other. living and breathing. but thats the reality. And then we eat a full plate of rice. When you grow that rice. I dont want to depress you. how many animals have to be killed? First you have to plow the ground. and insects and animals underneath have to be dug up. How many beings will be chopped into pieces in harvesting? For each single grain of ricemaybe ten. There are many things like that. nobody is a winner. Then. The correct view of relative truth and absolute truth is that they are a unity. And then every day you have to water. then we get stuck. and somebody wanted to buy a ticket to that place. how many germs are we killing? You see? And we have to brush. Every dharma is related. twenty lives. you need two. if we dont understand relative and absolute truth. you eat a plate full of rice. I cant enumerate them all here. if our thinking becomes eternalistic. otherwise. then there would be no ground. how much life do we have to destroy? For example. and doing one good thing to purify one bad thing. relatively. just to keep the human body moving. Absolutely. How do I do that? Am I supposed to hibernate. then we inevitably become either eternalistic on the one hand. dried up by the sun. This is very much related to the previous point. So. How many insects get drowned? Countless. you have to harvest. However. 26 SHENPEN ÖSEL If we think of doing good karma as opposite to bad karma. we are not yet manifesting as buddhas. or we might not believe in anything at all. The worms are cut. if we talk about being nihilistic. In other words. What is important to understand here is that. The next line talks about the supreme path of the two accumulations. tangled. there are so many. other little creatures will eat the rice or we will not be able to get any rice. two to tangle. I would have to live maybe a hundred lives without creating any more bad karma. You see? You Americans have a wonderful saying for that: To get tangled. The animals on top of the soil have to be cut under. you see? And so on. entangled. [laughter] [Rinpoche is trying to say. if we are fighting the good and the bad as a battle. Then you spray. we might think that everything exists. what happens? We know we have to brush. we are all buddha. Impossible! How impossible? Well. then enlightenment will never happen. somehow between these two. what would you have to do? What would I have to do? For one days karma. Two to tangle.If there werent a place called Seattle on the planet earth. You say it really well. when we do. the true understanding of relative truth and ultimate truth is free of eternalism and nihilism. in one day. solid thing for ever. they are in harmony.
Just by thinking we are buddha does not make us buddha. Or some kind of culture that they want to get rid of. things will just continue and go on as usual. First. there is no word to describe it. Knowing and information have to be transformed into wisdom through work. trying to get rid of the things that they think need to be got rid of. At the same time you have to accumulate wisdom. it is not wisdom. we try to be considerate. They do something. As far as our intentions are concerned. That is the accumulation of merit. Enlightenment is possible only in that wayfrom the inside. The accumulation of merit will provide the space and opportunity and the conducive conditions for the accumulation of wisdom. you see. But the accumulation of wisdom comes through truly developing compassion. Not that we think that Accumulation of wisdom comes through truly developing compassion. We dont purposely steal something. relative karma. Also. We cant totally avoid accumulating bad karma. we avoid all negative activities. Their minds never ever died. we do our best. So. They do that something and get everything wrong. we try to be generous. Everyone died relatively. Knowing is up here [pointing to his head]. through application. truly developing devotion. Worse than a disaster. the relative negativity. You know these ways very well. But do you know any of them who died ultimately? Nobody died ultimately. millions and millions of years. definitely not. what happened to them? They died. positive conditions must be developed. Enlightenment happens through the accumulation of wisdom. That is the result of a nihilistic attitude. but somehow. that is a positive way to be nihilistic. But there are negative ways to be nihilistic. On the outside. truly recognizing ones essence and the essence of ev- these actions will take care of everythingthey wont. and through the realization of ultimate truth. through practice. Knowing has to do with knowledge. There will be no progress. isnt it? We know that on this planet we dont see any human beings who are older than 200 years. is naturally transformed and purified. Bad karma is all relative. but it is on the inside that the actual realization happens. You see? So. truly praying. It becomes a race that they want to get rid of. All of those people. they all died. and replace them with positive and meaningful activities. We dont purposely hit people. as well. who have been here for a long. We do our best to avoid it. truly praying. saying that you are buddha. The real balance and harmony between these two extremes is the actual path of dharma. which Karmapa describes in the next line as the accumulation of merit and the accumulation of wisdom balanced and harmonized. Then. long time. My potential is buddha. through really going through it and digesting it and applying it. we avoid all negative karma. but we do our best. That means we dont purposely kill something. I am buddha. truly developing devotion. After some time it becomes a religion that they want to get rid of. we should also try to avoid and overcome unnecessary activities. from that point of view. truly meditating. People believe that they can do just one something to make everything right. which is very harmful. Why is it that we can become enlightened in that way? What happens to the bad karma that we have accumulated just by living? How is it taken care of? We can get enlightened because it is impossible to accumulate ultimate bad karma. One positive way to be nihilistic. even though they are not negative. not through the accumulation of merit.are many ways to be nihilistic. But by not doing anything. is to say. I dont have to do anything. truly meditating. truly recognizing ones essence and the essence of everything. we try to be kind. Their human bodies died. In this way it becomes a total evil disaster. That is how enlightenment through the path SHENPEN ÖSEL 27 . not from the outside.
very happy.merit and. from prehend the ultimate? No. you other hand. Therefore. you can be the most Why does that happen? Because of the lack of powerful person on earth. I Thats not what we are looking for. and we are able to progress Those are extremes. being rich. from the merit about it. we might not sucgood in that case. happens. merit and. when they the benefit of all sentient beings. of person. Our gradually. but. You see. Because attainment that is accumulation are extremely beneficial for oneself and important. That person has not accumulated enough ment can be anything. perfect. and the second one condition and result ofkarma We will be very happy if we have is peace. influenced by relative truth. our minds are totally derful. which realize the ultimate truth. both merit fall into a positive kind of condition. Anyway. Thats about it. and why of condition. and that I dont think is your hands. Frackiewicz things fall into a positive kind karma benefits us. youd better be stacles. it is not that easy for most of us. you or might become anything in the universe. then this will be wonspeech. this happens. They say. And on the am sincere. because of that. bevery peaceful. this does not attainment should be free of mere worldly attainwork. We wish to attain enlightenment for when they become very intellectual. such as being a king. I dont like to say it. On the one really know a lotthen they somehow overlook hand. In the next line. which we call nirvana. You can be the most beautiful person on earth. Its real. we will be very happy if we have 28 SHENPEN ÖSEL . being the that they are not just making excuses. over overcome relative obstacles. That is no good. That is also why good Photo by Ryszard K. right now. that happens. Sometimes when people become very intellectualeven Buddhists beneficial for all beings is what we actually wish to achieve. because of that. that attainment will still be In that way. Your worldly attainmerit. You could even be a unimerit. [laughter] If you become a ceed in overcoming without a rich accumulation universal monarch ruling four continents. They say all kinds of things. We will all be in like Milarepa or Naropa. But then. our niously. we is free from extremes. together and harmodays. The Gyalwa Karmapa says that our know. And I know ment. attainment. you might understand point of view as well as from it. the level of relative truth. Its happening that way and its difficult for them. That is what Gyalwa ruled and controlled and Karmapa is praying for here. things peace. I want to do good things. if we develop both now. very quiet state of cause what happens then? I see lots of this kind realization and just sit there and enjoy it forever. we dont just want to reach some kind of the accumulation of merit. But Therefore. Karmapa Therefore. The first are totally under the influence extreme is mere samsaric ofand under the total cause. Thats know. even if we mean well. our body. richest person on earth. and we are able to bad karma harms us only on progress internally as well. as long as we dont talks about the fruition. Why? accumulation and wisdom internally as well. you of merit. And relative obone whole solar systemwell. Unless we are really. really dedicated will have lots of responsibility. but in reality. I want to practice dharma. our nights. you can hear point of view. we both the relative point of view can only hear about it. One has to accumulate merit in order to versal monarch ruling over four continents. thats about it. the point is that we can be very easy. [laughter] the wisdom point of view. but a passive kind of and relative truth. can we comexternally and internally. I can as well as from the ultimate talk about it.
In the first line. He makes two divisions: The first is a general prayer for this unmistaken practice upon an unmistaken path. temporary contaminations of confusion. he means purification. But. One-sided nirvana is good and nice. but that is not the practice of mahayana. which are the same as the aspirations of mahayana. How he describes this is the very commonly accepted way of describing it in highlevel vajrayana teachings. it does not go crazy in space. He uses variations of the same basic word four times here. when he says jang. That is the kind of fruition that Gyalwa Karmapa is praying for. It has several meanings. be manifest. in the sense that mind does not have any kind of dualistic entity. indivisible cognitive clarity and emptiness. If we should reach some kind of peaceful and quiet state and just enjoy that. It will not last forever. which is jang. There are a lot of meanings in this same word jangpure. What is to be purified are the adventitious. So. unmistaken practice upon that unmistaken path. not a roundabout kind of pathhe prays for the correct path for himself and for all of us. But then. Then. the ground for purification is the mindthe unity of clarity and emptiness. which is the unity of emptiness and clarity. A person who is alive may weigh sixtyfive kilos. as such. etc. SHENPEN ÖSEL 29 . It gives an overall view of the whole thing. The general prayer covers a very large part of the textthis particular prayer. That is the third particular prayer. As for the minds qualities. Empty doesnt mean that nothing is there. the second is a more detailed prayer for this. P rayer number four is concerned with the practice of that unmistaken path. it means purifying all sorts of shortcomings and defilements and negativities. Mind has no limitation of any kind of dualistic identity. is the mind itself. with no limitation whatsoever. there are no limitations. This mahamudra prayer is written in accordance with the aspirations of the vajrayana. even desirable. to master something. to purify. mind is the essence of everything. here. mind is described as empty. but it is just for oneself. He says many prayers within it. it doesnt have any solid thingness to it. the stainless dharmakaya. The struggle will still go on. One basic meaning is to purify. So let us limit it to purifying and mastery. Emptiness. and what you are mastering is much deeper than just overcoming negativity. When we practice. the correct practice upon the correct path. the body will still weigh sixty-five kilos. He is praying for correct. as you progress on your path you are going deeper. Mind is the essence of everything. it is limited. Therefore.* In that way. Another meaning is mastery. Vajrayana is practiced for the benefit of limitless sentient beings. mind doesnt have any kind of shape. Then he prays for an unmistaken path. That which purifies is the great vajra yoga of mahamudra. Therefore. It does not get suffocated under water. *Editors note: Rinpoche is referring here to the basic dualistic split and the fundamental ignorance of the true nature of mind that form the basis for the negativities and that must also be purified if the negativities are not to recur.impermanent. what Karmapa is praying for is the total realization of buddhahoodmahamudra realization. the ground for that purification. That is how he describes the mind. nor is it the practice of vajrayana. prayer number four. what you are purifying. you cant trap mind in anything. May the fruit of purification. In that way. and then after that person passes away. at the beginning. Mind doesnt weigh anything. that would be quite good. Mind doesnt have any kind of color. okay? In the first sentence he says. it is empty. In that way it still entails the suffering of samsara. In these four lines Karmapa says everything there is to say about the path and the practice of the path. for ones own benefit and for others benefittotally without any limitation. The ground of purification is the mind itself.
I really admire your people who have invented all of these means of communication. wonder. It is a miracle in itself. and you say. And what is to be purified are the temporary. and you look at what they are fighting about. it is just nothing. That is what is to be purified. the Karmapa says that the means to purifythe method of purificationis mahamudra. Jang cha means what is to be purified. The greatest possible strength and quality and powerthat is all described by vajra. and stretching. All the defilements and all the negativities [Rinpoche is referring to the emotional and emotionally reac30 SHENPEN ÖSEL Mahamudra is like a vajra in the sense that it is the most powerful. So mind is clear. It is all the mind. and of incomparable strength. It is like a diamond. Somehow we can communicate. most direct method. you can come to understand so much. But then. there is negative illusion. There is so much illusion. In the West. That is hathayoga exercise. these two qualitiescognitive lucidity and emptiness. it is clear. We have the ground for purification and the means of purification. isnt it? Mind is everything. looking at it from your own perspective.Right now. illusory obscurations or stains that obscure the mind. then you can get really shocked that something like that is so important to somebody. . if they look at something that we do here that we think is very important. and all of that. It is luminous. understand. Their parents and their friends are proud of somebodys dying for that specific thing. Karmapa says jang cha. you think of somebody putting their feet here and there. which also include dualistic perception]. In this way. when someone says yoga. It is not ignorant. all kinds of *Editors note: For example. but that is the reality of the situation. People are fighting somewhere. If you remember what I told you about the ground earlier. Gyalwa Karmapa here describes mahamudra as vajra yoga. If mind is put under the ground in the middle of the lava in the middle of the planet earth. most direct method tive afflictions]. then you are shocked by it. It doesnt mean that it is bad. Yoga in general means actual practice. That is what is to be purified. But when you look at it from here. it sees everything. In the second line. that is nothing. especially in these days when we are exposed to so much in the world. They die for it. luminosity and emptinessare one. Oh. If you really think about what you see these days. Mahamudra is like a vajra in the sense that it is the most powerful. like a thunderbolt. They are temporary. as members of the same human race on the same planet. He also adds great and calls mahamudra the great vajra yoga. They are not permanent. where there is no light whatsoever. and youre not more enlightened than they areyou can be totally equal in that regardbut just by seeing how illusion works. Then. we can feel. In the third line. how they are involved in such an illusion. And I dont think that they are less enlightened than you. There is positive illusion. and the application of ways and means. maybe they will think the same thingThis is not very important. it is clear. and all the basic defilements such as ignorance [Rinpoche is referring to the cognitive obscurations. all are temporary. the yoga of the vajra. we can see that it is all illusion. Illusion is very easy to understand. because they are illusions. the illusion that gracious living requires the ownership of a dishwasher is an illusion on which dishwasher manufacturers thrive. then that applies here as well. Vajra means all of that in one. we all can see. from some kind of cellar or basement. Therefore. But the dishwasher manufacturers notion that ownership of a Mercedes is absolutely essential to his or her business prosperity is an illusion on which the Mercedes manufacturer and the Mercedes dealership thrives..e. nothing worth fighting about] But for them its everything. The unity of emptiness and clarity is the ground for purification. If you look up from within the darkest place on earth. They are not ultimate. They are relative and temporary. and so they are also illusion itself. There is so much. it will not be burned. the application of ways and means. And yoga actually means ways and means. All of this is mind. clarity and emptiness. [i.
illusions. So. but there was nothing but his shoe. the result of purificationjang drewhich is the dharmakaya totally free of all defilements. It is not something created that finally manages to be a complete creation. when it happened. and maybe not 100 percent acceptable in your kind of culture and society. You see? Naropa was out cold there for a couple of minutes. The final enlightenment has to come from you. dharmakaya. Because. says very clearly that enlightenment is not something that you get from the outside. this particular word. Ngön actually means manifest. and then he goes into detail. In fact. I can even say. may it manifest. It is not a creation. So. But it didnt happen. May it manifest in its fullest manifestation. Then Tilopa got really angry. Tilopa led Naropa through the hardest and most extreme journey towards liberation. there is one particular example: As you know. shows up more often. exactly what Gyalwa Karmapa is saying here: The result of purification. the stainless dharmakaya. First. actually. he writes them in two parts again.* In this way. Its like dreaming within a dream. then something else has already happened. hes following him everywhere. he discusses the fruition. I think. Tilopa asked Naropa. or at least looked like he really waswith all due respect. happened in quite a dramatic way. What could that be? Naropa says to Tilopa. N ow. Once that happens. And Naropas realization. So. that almost everyone is thriving on one or another kind of someone elses illusion. the true nature of illusion. and each test teaches one particular great transmission. you get illusions within illusions. illusions keep on encouraging illusions and keep on developing further and further. So in that way. it is simply the purifying and overcoming of all the relative dualistic creations of confused mind. Tilopa told him. So. Those are the general prayers. he picked up his shoe and slammed it into Naropas face. is the subtle pith of meditation. I want to attain enlightenment without having to practice. and also because he was ready for it. That part is actually quite good. May it manifest. Naropa was following Tilopa all over to get teachings. Then Tilopa asks Naropa. Naropa was quite enlightened already. heNaropawanted to be enlightened in one lifetime. SHENPEN ÖSEL 31 . may it manifest. In the last line. Then keeping ones awareness unwavering. that is. ngön. There is nothing more I can give you toward it. Now what do you want? And Naropa says. Naropa passes through all kinds of tests. he says it briefly in one prayer. So. Finally. all of the obscurations. and maybe be correct in saying. then the good part is that the true color of illusion. So. he was enlightened. one by one in four specific prayers. thereby unveiling what has always been there and is always there as the essence. here. Just as soon as we are about to find out about any particular event. [laughter] He says to himself. And then one last transformation was still supposed to happen. We end up seeing it quite clearly. So. I knew this always. The bad part is that everything goes so fast that there is no time to get to the bottom of any particular illusion. Naropa is transformed. and knocked Naropa out. I still have not received the final teaching and transmission. It is the manifestation of what is already there. I want that. chö ku ngön gyur shok. Then. The Gyalwa Karmapas words here say that what is to be purified are the illusions. in accordance with the view. First the brief one: Resolving doubts about the ground brings conviction in the view. And those peoples illusions are also that on which some other ones thrive. He looked around for something. His guru was Naropa. That is what is to be purified. and Tilopa really tests him. but not quite there yet. For this. So Naropas miracle happened as a result of that. the mahamudra lineage was brought to Tibet by Marpa. [laughter] Without having to do anything. You might even consider it a little extremely dramatic. which are temporary and relative. secondly. Enlightenment is something that happens within and then manifests. he had to go through many. when he woke up. many things. So. when Karmapa writes specific prayers for this.
So. and then as soon as one comes off ones diet. if we are not able to maintain it during post-meditation. They resent themselves. one spoils everything that has been achieved. or philosophy. the practice becomes successful. then we have confidence. And people have a lot of hurt. and the action all have to be understood and practiced together. Meditation refers to when you are sitting and meditating and practicing. I roughly understand it. Nothing can corrupt that. It becomes something like stress management. nothing can shake that. they are disappointed in themselves. but thats not real dharma. One might go on a diet for one month and really get thin. Meditation and action mean meditation and post-meditation. But when negative circumstances fall on you. View covers meditation and action both. actionthese three should be correct. Now. You could call it view. the meditation. or value. Karmapa says that the confidence of the view is the total confirmation of the ground. We have a very old Tibetan sayingits a little bit sloppy and not very refined actually: When the stomach is full of food. and the correct actionview. If we are not able to have and maintain the view very clearly. Then the next day. And theres all this guilty feeling. It becomes stress management.Putting all aspects of meditation into practice is the supreme action. [laughter] We meditate to overcome the little aches and pains. The view. not aware. the actionmay there be confidence in these. the meditation. one looks like a great dharma practitioner. then the meditation and the action might not be in accord with one another. So. when you are not meditating. In this way. You are buddha in your essence. Lots of people say they are depressed. after coming out of meditation. we become undisciplined and not mindful. during meditation we could be very good and quite diligent. but I think the greatest and most direct remedy for these attitudes and feelings is in this first sentence: The confirmation of the ground is the incorruptible. the correct meditation. So the view. Action means when you are not meditatingwhen you are doing other things. The ground is buddha nature. which I still havent really digested 100 percent. somehow. nothing can . then it doesnt really take us anywhere. although. There is nothing wrong with it. And then 32 SHENPEN ÖSEL You are buddha in your essence. It would be like someone who is going on a diet and who is not very good at it. We are nothing less than buddha. That is real confidence next is what? In that way. meditation. Its the same thing. thats not the real purpose of Lord Buddhas teaching. ordinary person shows up. Here Karmapa writes about the three most important components of practice that we all must have as practitioners of mahamudra. I may be wrong. to feel good. All of your activities have to be conducted according to the view. Nothing can corrupt that. It covers everything. they dont feel worthy of anything. Action refers to post-meditation. isnt it? When we confirm that in our own minds. We are not this limited. but during post-meditation we could be behaving quite differently. One thing I have come across since I came to the West for the first time in 1980 is that a lot of people say that they hate themselves. then the true color of a real. and then just go on with our lives in the same old way. or understanding. we meditate again. then. Even if we have the correct view. They dont like themselves. in that way it doesnt help. It actually does not become the real dharma by which one attains enlightenment. All sorts of things like that. the first thing is to go to a McDonalds and next to a pizza parlor. and the meditation becomes something else. unshakable confidence that you are buddha. One has to have the correct view. if we meditate very well. because the view applies at all times. miserable human being. and there are all kinds of things like that. but then. or attitude. and the sun is shining warm.
when we become absorbed fully in the mahamudra experience. and absorb when we are viewing the process from the outside. in no timewhich would be wonderful. are interdependent manifestations of mind. I want it to happen to you. hat is the general. our experience then contains everything. We say observe when we are viewing the process personally and inwardly. He says maintaining this confirmation of the ground. In the third sentence. meditation and action. the highest and deepest and most natural confidence. The Gyalwa Karmapa says that the best and the most profound action is the fully matured mastery of all that is meditated upon. a prayer regarding the meditation. T The Gyalwa Karmapa says that all phenomena. He will be praying for these four separately. but I dont know. manifesting as everything whatsoever. After that. The Gyalwa Karmapa breaks it down and makes a prayer about each one of these. and the second is in greater detail. However. Being empty. absorption in the experience of mahamudra entails acute and pervasive awareness of relative phenomenon. as the name implies. and a prayer about the fruition or the total accomplishment of the path. [laughter] So I cant say too much about that. nothing different about this mind out of which everything manifests. without getting affected by thoughts and concepts and emotions. or doing whatever we are doingif we are always able to maintain this awareness of this ultimate essence. may all doubts about the ground be discerned and cut. For mahamudra practitioners it is the highest mahamudra attainment if we are able to observe the essence of our mind and absorb ourselves in it. Mind is no mindthe minds nature is empty of any entity that is mind. He makes a prayer regarding the view. The first is brief. which is the view. but it is totally alive and clear. He ends these four sentences by saying. may one obtain this confidence and this depth of view. That is the crucial point. Mind is totally free of any kind of limitation. It hasnt happened to me. or we can be just resting at home or working at the office. there is nothing that is either shut out of our awareness or that passes beyond our awareness. That is real confidence. Then he prays: May one totally confirm this with clear and profound examination of it. is the secret or key to meditation. Anyway. The brief one reads: All phenomena are illusory displays of mind.shake that. including everything. and the mastering of that in all situationsthat is the profound action. the important definition of meditationto maintain awareness of that ground. Mind itself is not any kind of dualistic entity. overall version of this particular prayer. otherwise we will become buddha in one second. then the use of this word could be misleading. Examining well. this confidence. In that way. on that confidence of the view that arises from the confirmation of the ground. From practical experience one can say that when we sit in meditation and observe our mind. what Karmapa means here is that the view of mahamudra is the confirmed understanding that everything is the manifestation of mind with no limitationand that everything is interdependent with mind with no limitation. that meditation on the ground.* Of course. are the manifestations of mind. and SHENPEN ÖSEL 33 . Its true. if one thinks of absorption in the sense of becoming engrossed exclusively in ones own thoughts or in ones own little world. In this sense. This part of the prayer covers most of the main body of the text. and a prayer regarding the action. then that is the true. parts. that the process is both personal and inward. But. he writes in two *Editors note: Situ Rinpoche was teaching in English and it was not entirely clear exactly how he was using the words observe and absorb. He says it is empty. Then Karmapa talks about meditation. it is unceasing and unimpeded. No matter what we are doingwe can be just having a holiday. The first one. There is nothing that cannot manifest through it and within it. It hasnt happened to me. profound action. both the relative manifestation and the ultimate essence of the mind become part of our experience. whereas. there is nothing new. it will be dualistic.
dualistic identity or substance. Yes. because in that way our little merit becomes limitless and lasts forever. We should dedicate the merit. We will not have a merit cash flow problem. But in this way you do get involved with the mahamudra lineage. That is part of being a mahayana practitioner. Beyond any limitation. you know. What can we really do. You look at it as some kind of cash flow. and maybe go hunting and go fishing and all that sort of thing. we dedicate to everyone for the benefit of all sentient beings. It is for this reason that we dedicate the merit. you are involved. The mahamudra lineage masters will not be jealous. This is a transmission. but still it wouldnt be limitless. yes? Ninety years. This mind is beyond any limitation: both of having any kind of solid. I understand what you might mean by this ques34 SHENPEN ÖSEL We should dedicate the merit. good things. will this teaching place us within the Kagyu lineage. how much can we do? Not so much. what do you mean by not doing well in post-meditation. for doing something for others. whatever job that you have. or being anything during meditation? Rinpoche: Not doing well during post-meditation is very simple to explain. Because of this. Because of that. These kinds of things they can do. For example. what does that mean for those who practice Zen or other forms of Buddhism? Rinpoche: Of course it doesnt limit your involvement with other lineages. Question: Rinpoche. and if so. So. and also of not having clarity and clearness that pervade everything. of course. Question: Rinpoche. not moving and everything is perfect. you drink. This is not a lecture. there is not so much that we can do in one life. It is dedication that will make a little merit limitless. becoming absorbed in this. If I do. but after that. whatever dharma that you practice. Some people can do things. you know. Then. It is a teaching. what little meritorious activity that we can accumulate. you see? Practically speaking.within which we experience everything as we are. but I dont know whether or not I am supposed to say that. [laughter] But it is not that way. our entire life. and action. merit doesnt work like that. But it doesnt mean that you cant associate with anybody else. Question: Rinpoche. You should be open. and then you put everything in one check and give it to somebody. it might be eighty years. If you have lots of money saved for many years. It is not some kind of secret society that youre signing into. meditation. There is no such thing. [laughter] Whatever practice you do. how can we accumulate merit when we are always giving it away in the act of dedicating it to others? tion. that limited virtue becomes limitless. and then you might even do something not so nice. is the view of mahamudra. whatever kind of friends that you haveeverything remains as usual. You meditate for maybe two hours. and then you smoke. Knowing this and observing this. Rinpoche: Oh. then you go to the pub. dedicating merit is the accumulation of merit itself. If we dedicate our life. And thats what you are here for. you will go bankrupt. [laughter] You shouldnt think like that. That is the only way that something limited can become limitless. so that they may attain enlightenment. You wanted to receive a mahamudra teaching. your motivation might change. could you please explain a little more about view. Yes. overall prayer for the view of mahamudra. Some kings build palaces that cannot be destroyed even by bombs. you get drunk. We couldnt do some really big limitless thing. It is not like giving money. That is the general. and especially a vajrayana practitioner. Some emperors have built walls that you can see from the moon. because in that way our little merit becomes limitless and . you get involved. and confirming this.
Dharmakaya is another name for the total realization of the essence. and he doesnt realize whats wrong. Question: Beings. that means total. Are they beings? Rinpoche: If the plants have mind. I realize this. I realize that.So. enlighten is something like knowing. Can you enlighten me on this? [laughter] And then I would wonder because at first I thought their question was really serious business. And no more negative karma. Buddhas realization. I must let you know In one teaching it says that there was one family whose oven was a sentient being that Im not educated in English. I cant read properly. So I really dont know the meaning behind every word precisely. And another one is enlightenment. Then. in order to know actually how to practice. enlightenment of buddhahood. So anyway. I can only talk so-so. Rinpoche seems to have started by saying that the realization of arhatship entails liberation from klesha and karma. You want to know about it. they are not beings. So. that is not doing well during post-meditation. all the negativity totally. its the opposite of ignorance. The dharmakaya essence. Then he realizes why people are looking at him. not samsara. on top of that. realization of buddhahood. . But when we say the enlightenment of buddhahood. thats the definition. Im Tibetan-educated. So you purify all the negativities.000 years went by just like that. when it comes to the English language. You dont want to be ignorant about something. And somehow most of the time it seems to be quite okay. All people say. which could be anything. So. everybody is looking. is dharmakaya. following those instructions exactly and meditating accordingly. the ground that exists right now. not yet.] Rinpoche: . I thought. and you could sit very still and very quiet for hours. So. because I thought somebody wanted to attain enlightenment through that. you have to receive the teaching and instruction and lineage of transmission for the exact practice that you wish to practice. Doing well during meditation means: First. And the barber does something wrong. and then I use it. That is the same as realizing dharmakaya. is the proper practice of meditation. We call that. total realization. no more negativity. exactly. roughly. Here. you have to receive the practice instructions. I dont know SHENPEN ÖSEL 35 . This is something that you have to emphasize. Somebody goes to a barber to have their hair cut. I just have some feeling about it. enlightenment. plants react to the sudden death of their fellow plants. When you reach that state. nor is it the manifestation of the limitless potential of mind. but it doesnt mean much. The realization of dharmakaya is when we attain enlightenment as to the nature of our mind. English. . At first I thought that enlightenment meant buddhahood. he is walking around. But then in the Tibetan tradition we say enlightenment of buddhahood the final enlightenment. everything becomes zero. for example. Question: [A question was apparently asked concerning the difference between the hinayana realization of cessation of an arhat or arhati and the full enlightenment of a buddha. And they say. and then if you really went deeper and deeper you might sit there so long that when you woke up it might be the fortieth century. several times people have come to me with some very simple question. So this word can sometimes be a little misleading. Meditation we dont just make up. But that is not the full development of all the limitless qualities. But reaching zero. and the somebody doesnt realize it. Okay. the final realization. Im not giving you meditation instructions. We have to receive the lineage of transmission. the essence of our mind. meant buddhahood. But as soon as he goes to the mirror he sees whats wrong. The meaning seems to get there. I cant write properly at all. they are beings. But actually in such a case. So. . But then. You reach the realization of peace. is doing well in meditation. Yes? We call that cessation. such as mental defilements [kleshas] and negative karma. as it was interpreted in the commentary by The Eighth Tai Situ. this lineage you have. which means. I am teaching the Prayer of Mahamudra as written by The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. but the other side. Im not teaching you how to meditate. and the practice transmission from the lineage. . what are sentient beings? For instance. So. Again. also. that if you were a very good shamatha meditator. enlightenment is not nirvanait is the English language version of enlightenment. But then. then that is peace [nirvana]. So it is as though all those 2. I always end up most of the time emphasizing total realization. and . If they dont have mind. It is like a knowing.
living lineage. thinking that they are helping them to be liberated from some kind of evil thing. Then. yes. a fish less sentient than a cow? It is the clear. In some of the sutras. The moment that you begin practicing dharma you will not become buddha. This is very possible. whoever or whatever has mind. Sem means mind. And some person who is a little bit mad might go around destroying lives. a mind can reincarnate into a plant. In that case. But many of them might not have known. Question: Rinpoche. can take over. You will still have shortcomings. They may have thought they were doing the right thing. Thats number one. Question: Rinpoche. and adequate intention that is most important from a Buddhist perspective Rinpoche: I really dont know. There need to be very strong guidelines. Some of them may have known exactly what they were doing. and try to have the proper view. while we are still with our obscured minds. In the Tibetan language we call sentient beings semchen. or a bad action. and one could become anything. I have never seen any text that says all plants and all trees have mind. the Buddha talks about certain plants having mind.whether plants have mind or not. And then one should try to practice them in ones meditation. But these English language definitions I think you yourselves know much better than I. or more complicated-minded sentient being. how can we know whether an action we take that isnt obviously a good action. It is in reference to some specific events. If one isnt fully realized. is worth doing. along the way. But it doesnt mean that all plants have mind. or less complicated-minded sentient being. definitely. when we say sentient being. yes. Many of the really terrible people. yes. Question: Rinpoche. I really dont know. Ones real intent should be: I wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. and adequate intention that is most important from a Buddhist perspective. or anything. theres a second part to this question. which I dont know. So. many of them have thought that their intentions were good. In order to accomplish that end I will follow the Lord Buddhas teachings according to the lineage. Every day the being in the oven was baked inside. and less intelligent. But one has to be able to progress through it. In this kind of situation. that it is knowing that one is aliveis a worm less sentient than a fish. All ovens are not beings. But I have seen in the sutras that there were certain situations in which some plants were beings and suffered in certain situations. Definitely. then one cant go through the world engaging in non-activity or buddha activity. This kind of thing 36 SHENPEN ÖSEL happens in society. If the lineage is not there. The living lineage has to be there. It was a hell realm. because then the dharma books are taught by people according to their own ideas and ego. well. correct. it doesnt really mean much. even if all the dharma books are there. In one teaching it says that there was one family whose oven was a sentient being. correct. It is the clear. That means you will still be making mistakes. what is the relationship between intention and the karma involved with harming or liberating sentient beings? Rinpoche: Well. And the living lineages master whom . pure. chen means having. who have done so much harm to humanity. but sometimes the mind can reincarnate into things like that. Some mentally disturbed person might do lots of harm to somebody and think thats something good. rather than real dharma. Semchen means one with mind. more sentient and less sentient. intention does not count as anything positive. I would rather say more intelligent sentient beings. whether it will be beneficial or not. That is what dharma practice is all about. intention is most important. In that way. That is a question of English language definition. the kind of ego that I was describing. your intention is just wandering around out in the wilderness. you know. Otherwise. and try also to apply them in ones post-meditation. what are sentient beings? And does it mean. But it is not a generalization. how does one not get locked in the struggle of nihilism and eternalism? Rinpoche: Yes. it actually is only their own ideas and ego disguising themselves as dharma. a little bit of that problem always will be there. this is a related question. And then the ego. pure. But then intention has many levels. Thats why one has to have the profound. into plants.
Starting with His Holiness The Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. very precious. Be mindful and aware. That is actually the essence of all the teachings that I have gotten from them. ultimate. and including all the other great masters that I really consider my teachers. That is your essence. and even if someday I find myself about to crash. will happen as a result. relatively in samsara. That kind of total. yes. Question: Rinpoche. during every moment in which we dont realize this ultimate essence of mind as it is. and then keep on marching. That is easy to overcome gradually. On the way we might lose the path. We make mistakes. and your limited knowledge and your shortcomings and problemswith some potentials. When people start to think that they would like to make exactly the perfect. you have to use your own common sense. correct decision. Maybe ninety percent right and ten percent wrong. when you become enlightened. as I told you this afternoon. Maybe there might be landslides. Question: Rinpoche. none of those lifetimes. not as a cause. the defilements continue. Especially in big. we might make a mistake. okay. But observing and learning from the way they were. In this way. if I drink this water I can get enlightened if I know how to do it perfectly. fortunate to be connected with so many great masters. Well. ultimate perfection100 percent ultimately perfect. then the mistakes will be little mistakes. and they tell you. you have to stand on your own feet. you have to use your own common sense Rinpoche: Well. as far as Im concerned. your practice has guidelines. You are not just your limited physical body. There is no way that this buddha within will be SHENPEN ÖSEL 37 The spiritual issues you relate to the guru. In certain things. And they tell you. But even though I dont like it and even though something might happen to my airplane. We have to take that first step.you associate with has to be a qualified master of the lineage. We are truly. Dont be afraid of making mistakes. but everything is also beyond any limitation. not even one moment has happened. you should not become totally dependent upon the guru because you also have buddha nature. of enlightenment. We have a saying. The important issues. but for regular things. And I learned a lot from them verbally. That is you. ultimately in . from a practical point of view. but we dont miss the real. Not necessarily always just sitting there and listening to some talks from books. It must be karma. and I learned a lot from them through their actions as well. time is relative. That would be paranoia. And you have to make your own decisions. And they instruct you in it. Since 1980. then I know that this buddha within me will still be intact. from all of them I received so much. Everything is relative. But then. ultimate goal. according to the vajrayana teachings. one could say. I dont know whether or not it will be inspiring. we repeat mistakes. and then really do crash and become barbecued. In your practice you follow the guru. would you kindly tell us a story from your own life experience to inspire us in our faith? Rinpoche: Are you serious? [laughter] Okay. ultimately. And they empower you with it. Sometimes every weekand still I dont like it. and they tell you. if minds nature is pure. Then. So we do our best. very. Everything is based on that. because I spend so much time on airplanes. But slowly we progress. my life experience. It doesnt mean that we are truly. that your essence is buddha. you have to stand on your own feet. I have been flying almost every month. This is very. because we are so used to doing and saying things in the wrong way. then thats a big problem. Lets say I dont like flying very much. Because that is how much was received really. how they manifested. I was very. I could have even been the Arizona desert. So. where do defilements come from? samsara. very precious. Because that expectation implies that. but for regular things. We may wander about. but I will say a few things. is properly guided. You are actually nothing less than buddha. A journey of a million miles starts with the first step. the spiritual issues you relate to the guru. My time with those great masters has been very. We do our best. just like your guru. but by now there should be a couple of huge. But then. beautiful lakes in it. But being able to do that is already enlightenment. In their teachings all these great masters emphasized just one very simple thing. big airplanes. All right.
which is to get the entire lineage of how this ordination has been continued from the Buddha up to now and how it is to be continued. Sister Palmo was a very special nun. But these days it seems to us that the population of nuns is growing. from those of male monks? There is no way that this buddha within will be corrupted. made to revive the bikhuni ordination. or lost Rinpoche: Well. which means that ten years have passed since they were ordained and they are thus permitted and empowered to pass on the lineage. I have put everything I can into continuing this effort. So this is. We need the lineage. which is a reality. So. He sent Sister Palmo. And since then several additional efforts have been *Editors note: no bikhunis who have successfully transmitted the bikhuni lineage to the next generation of nuns. or affected. theres also another very inspiring development in India and Nepal and Tibet and everywhere. as you may know. then Ill be very happy. And. a Westerner. or lost. or affected.000. Since His Holiness passed away in 1981. actually in our lineage. how are their duties different. In vajrayana Buddhism. the most important.corrupted. but no bikhunis. if at all. actually. Right now we have enough fully ordained nuns to pass on the lineage. and there is a college where nuns can study. There are many.000over 20. The lineage is missing. there is a huge difference in the population of monks and nuns. His Holiness The Gyalwa Karmapa. There are three-year retreats for nuns. And we will get there. Let them know that. right now. I dont know why. too. In my monastery in India I have built a three-year retreat center for nuns. The Buddhas shrine is within them. Freda Bedi. And when that happens. which I remember very clearlyand all the time I try to keep this in mind and be mindful of it. to become a bikhuni. or burned. He said. When you go around and teach people. In Tibet. there are two ordinations for monks: novice and bikhu [a fully ordained monk]. who actually was responsible for training Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and many other rinpoches. and right now eleven nuns are doing the three-year retreat. 38 SHENPEN ÖSEL . we have reached that point. my guru. We have novice nuns. lets make the dedication. We dont have that fully in our hands yet. enough bikhunis who are mature. I think. or hurt. Question: Do you have women monks in your temple? If so. Still. counting the monks and nuns together all over the world. essential blessing from all of those great masters. told me. But nuns dont have bikhuni ordination in Tibetan Buddhism. Thats all. But somehow. So that is what Im trying to do. altogether there are about 20. So thats where we stand. So. a few of them actually for the second time. to speak English. And now we are stuck with one last thing to do. There is one thing that my supreme guru. so that it becomes limitless. there are many more nuns.* His Holiness The Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. let them know that they are the shrine of the Buddha. and the history. or burned. the name. These things are developing. the Karma Kagyu lineage. many more monks than nuns. wanted to revive the bikhuni ordination. theres a long way to go. which was a very great contribution. what are the different duties. Our little deed here we dedicate for the benefit of all sentient beings. We are waiting for that. about which Im very happy. or hurt.
Second. May ignorance. path. Spontaneous intelligence. So. within this same prayer he is also writing about view. Frackiewicz We always encounter our ultimate essence. Now. Of the five particular prayers regarding the view. And number five is concerned with overcoming all aspects of doubt regarding the ground. and fruition. which are interdependent manifestations. and we have mistaken them as objects. So. a self. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa is making a prayer for perfect practice on the perfect path of mahamudra. is confused into a self. which is the view. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes five particular prayers concerning the view. By the power of this dualistic fixation. But each time we encounter it. Within this section. But each time we encounter it. those two are the basic delusions. Karmapa writes here: Naturally manifesting appearances. meditation. and within the category of ground. are confused into objects. mind itself is free from all kinds of limitations and extremesneither mind nor any of its manifestations is any kind of solid entity. After that then. Third. the meditation. mind is free.n this particular section that we are now studying. then these five prayers concern the view itself. we have already finished going over the general prayer. I We Pray for Perfect Practice on the Perfect Path Here Karmapa means that all of the external manifestations. and action. that never truly exist. which is the ground. but we misrecognize it as I. Then he takes the next step. So. the ignorance of all sentient beings. beings wander in the realms of samsaric existence. we mistake it for an I. always. regarding the practice of the perfect path itself. but also beyond the existence or nonexistence of any kind of limited identity. which we call objects. not only from the extremes of existence and nonexistence. Beyond both of thesethat is the second prayer. everything that is in the universe is actually the manifestation of mind. the essence. as various kinds of separate entities. which are interdependent with ourselves. Gyalwa Karmapa is writing about ground. have never existed with any kind of ultimate reality. They have existed as the manifestation of the essence of mind. Since. always. be discovered and cut. they are projections. That is the first step here. First. The buddha within is always recognized by us. The definition of ignorance here is that we have mistaken those manifestations. He says that we always encounter our ultimate essence. the first is that everything is the manifestation of mind. SHENPEN ÖSEL 39 . The fourth prayer is that we understand the unity of emptiness and interdependence. he writes about these five particular categories. nor are they nothing at all. In the third sentence. the root of confusion. he says Photo by Ryszard K. under the power of ignorance. He is praying for that understanding. we mistake it for an I. a self.
May the ultimate nature of phenomena. For me. This is not a contradiction.that.. Karmapas prayer is very simple. Mahamudra will say. and the onenessand even beyond the onenessof everything. we have been wandering in all kinds of different confused conditioned existences. Not only that. The way of understanding that everything is the manifestation of mind. of enlightenment. you are the object. may I and everyone totally recognize this illusion. that takes everything out there as only the projection of your own mind. why should I tell you all of this. in these four sentences. it is the foundation and essence of both all of existence and also buddha itself. we act upon them. everything is there as nothing more or less than the interdependent manifestation of everyone elses mind. may we realize the nondualism or nonduality. If it were so. we manifest as ordinary sentient beings. then duality is established. of realization. who was enlightened. He says that even the Buddha. Everything is interrelated. for you. and may we be totally victorious over this confusion of ignorance. my eye is the subject. Then he says. It is not just made up. everything out there is a production of my mind. and also of your mind. Regardless of what the I does and how it appears. which has emotions and concepts. For you. in samsara. What is out there is the object. If that were the case. Everything is interdependent. for what it is. and it is also free from not having any kind of reality at all: It is not existenteven the Victorious Ones do not see it. he is saying. is not complete. saying that nobody is there. But it is not there more than an interdependent manifestation of what is within us. Thats how you affect it. because its only me. From that point of view. only me. in relative manifestation. dualistic solid reality. and everyone is interdependent. He says that mind is not just nothing. Thats how you see it. I am the object. but the middle path of unity. and hes praying for that recognition. Relatively. This kind of subjectobject dualistic interaction goes on foreversometimes temporarily good.] So. it is there. For me. There is nothing more and there is nothing less than that. thats how you perceive it. your eye is the subject. Mind itself is free from any kind of true. because manifestations are taken as objects. [laughter] [Rinpoche would just be talking to himself. solid existence. what about my being a production of your mind? In the mahamudra tradition it does not end there. Our mind. did not see anything that was a dualistic. and from time to time. But it is dualism in either event. which is ignorance. Everything is interdependent. we are sentient beings in samsara. sometimes people are very nice to each other and help each other. nothing is there more than just your mind. etc. It is not nonexistentit is the basis of all samsara and nirvana. be realized. he next prayer is the second in this category. and thats how it affects you. This is quite different from saying. and buddha nature is recognized as a self and taken as the subject. And due to this dualism. We have likings and dislikings. through which we see things and communicate with things. The Gyalwa Karmapa writes from the mahamudra point of view that everything is the manifestation of mind. dualistic reality. May we totally confirm the truth of this. is in its essence. What Karmapa says in the first sentence is that the mind does not have any kind of solid. of libera- T . limitless mind beyond extremes. It is not just the I. Mahamudra will never say. It is totally interdependent. So in this way. Only this way. it does not change what everything is all about. there is much more that develops out of it. But. we do negative things to ourselves as well as to others. In the context of this dualism sometimes people kill each other. This is the way that vajrayana Buddhism and the mahamudra tradition understand and de40 SHENPEN ÖSEL scribe everything as the manifestation of mind. Hes pointing out that everything out there is there. We are influenced by them. nothing less than the buddhas dharmakaya itself. sometimes temporarily bad.
then you say. this is what mind looks like. dualistic entity that you can somehow use as an example to say. Is mind green. either in terms of existence or of nonexistence. There is no such thing. you dont believe in that. The harmony of everything. that you say. have you heard about these particular philosophical terms such as shentong? Okay. He doesnt just say middle way he says zung jug. SHENPEN ÖSEL 41 T . The meaning behind this is quite simple. [laughter] Middle way doesnt mean you dont believe in this. It is important here to understand what middle does not mean. because whether mind is a solid reality or whether it is totally empty. is not contradictory. may one realize this ultimate nature. he third prayer is again slightly different. is Mind does not have any kind of solid. But then mind is not something about which you can say that it is nothing. whatever its nature. The middle way here is the unity of these two views beyond any limitation. According to the shentong view it is like this: Mind does not have any kind of solid reality. then what is the definition of big. mind does not have any kind of solid. That is the middle way. I dont say anythingno or yes. There is no limitation to mind whatsoever. the essence of mind which is beyond any kind of limitation. You know. You have a perfect image for misunderstanding middle way. The middle way means the unity of everything. Maybe thats wise. as such. If the mind is somethingif the mind is supposed to be big. dualistic entity that you can somehow use as an example to say. Then he says that this something and nothing. So. dualistic limitation at all. The Gyalwa Karmapa emphasizes this here very clearly. It doesnt mean that when somebody says mind is empty. Im in the middle.tion. which is the philosophy of our lineage. this is what mind looks like mind purple? Does mind have all the colors that you can think of? Is it like a rainbow? You see? We could go on and on asking questions about minds specific characteristics without being able to answer these questions with an affirmative. Im in the middle. mind is not just nothing. the middle way. It is everything. but then maybe you get into trouble with both sides. What do you call that? Humpty Dumpty! Middle way doesnt mean you have to be Humpty Dumpty. Unity here means that the mind has no solid. And then if somebody says that mind is something. this is the shentong view. It is everything. The Gyalwa Karmapa writes here: If one says. this is the unity. Mind is neither totally existent. Maybe you wont get into trouble with either side. is mind blue. [laughter] Here the modifier of middle wayzung jug in Tibetanmeans unity. The mind does not have any kind of physical size. nor does its lack of any kind of solid dualistic reality suggest the total nonexistence of anything. or everything and nothing. is it the size of one million times that? What is it? In that way you get nowhere. Therefore. one hundred million solar systems? Or. the actual size? Is it the size of a planet? Is it the size of a whole solar system? Is it the size of a whole universe. Im not sure. there is nothing to show. it cannot be said that this is it or this is not it. which means unity. It is everything. Gyalwa Karmapa ends this question of whether mind is something or mind is nothing with the final conclusion of the middle way. It is free from that limitation. And then he says. So. I dont say anything. You just sit in the middleit doesnt mean that. That is the unity of both of these. Then we can even go to the simple and very stupid concept. This is it. Zung jug. then who is saying it? Nothing is saying it is nothing. If somebody says mind is nothing. in your schools you have one person with a very big head sitting on a wall. it is not just nothing. Therefore. It is all-pervading.
Dü jay means composite and is used to refer to things that are compositions of other factors. down to the finest details. But it does not really change anything. but they cant know exactly the nature of anything in its undisturbed state. There is nothing equivalent to it except itself.* You see. whatsoever. Your mind is like this glass of water. because it is dualistic. In the same way. because those are merely the manifestation of mind. This is not it. There is no equivalent example for the mind itself. except itself. There is nothing about which one can say that mind is totally unlike this. viewed as the basic component in the formation of concepts. Your mind is just like my mind. I have heard some scientists say that they can examine the materials of the universe. except the mahamudra nature of mind itselfbuddha. he says mind is dü ma jay. idea. . because everything is a manifestation of mind. lo les des pay chö nyi dü ma jay. neither in its cause nor in its condition. and everything is part of the limitless manifestation of mind. then you can know how it is in that kind of situation when it is being disturbed by examination. is unconditioned. is beyond any kind of concept. and then we become six foot or even seven foot tall. Mind is not a result of many 42 SHENPEN ÖSEL Whatever you might think about. a percept is an impression in the mind of something perceived by the senses. The true nature of phenomena. When we are born. Then Karmapa says that you cannot say that mind is not this or is not that. He can say that. down to the nuclei of atoms and so forth. will be conditioned by the thinking and thus will no longer be the *Editors note: According to the American Heritage Dictionary. We cannot create a mind by combining many things. But. not composed. Any example will be incomplete. But the mind is not a composition in this way. and this essence is also not the result of a composition of anything. we are very small. Then we keep on eating. Minds manifestation has no limitation whatsoever and the essence of the mind has no limitation of any kind whatsoever. When you examine something. which transcends conceptual understanding. Because when they check anything. and then something comes out of it. our ordinary impression of mind is like our thoughts. perception. There is nothing that does not have the quality of mind. Our body is a composition. The ultimate nature is beyond all of this. and grow bigger and bigger. which is also the true nature of mind. thought. there is nothing to deny. when The Gyalwa Karmapa says the mind is beyond being an object of thought. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa here writes that there is no example that can illustrate the mind as being like this totally. Everything is the interdependent manifestation of mind. which means we cannot create a mind mechanically.. he is saying the same thing. they have to disturb it to check it. This is the meaning of the second sentence in this verse. The Buddha can say. in this case the ultimate nature of mind. May conviction be gained in the ultimate. the dharmakaya. Therefore. some from our mother. Mind is like everything. Some factors that make up our body come from our father. Thinking itself is dualistic. And it is beyond any percepts and concepts. will be conditioned by the thinking and thus will no longer be the unconditioned thing itself components put together. for mind itself we cannot find an example. The Gyalwa Karmapa says in the third sentence. in this case the ultimate nature of mind. You cannot say. keep on drinking.If one says. etc. Whatever you might think about. that the true nature of phenomena. some from the universe at large. But you still dont know how it is when it is not being examined. perfect truth.
It is the essence of everything. He writes: Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind. Buddha means the recognition and realization of the essence of the mind. this ultimate essence of phenomena. There is nothing that can undo the essence. It is completely devoid of any this is it. What Karmapa is saying is that it is so simple. tsang means secret. which concludes this first section about the view. It is as simple as that. He says to himself. Then he says that everything is beyond any kind of limitation of. and it even has an ironic interpretation. Then he says. a kind of spiritual acupuncture point . Realization is mind and confusion is mind. which is the basis of everything. that is the tsang. So. So he prays. The true nature of phenomena. It is always incorruptible and unchangeable. this is. when he woke up enlightened after the holy episode with Tilopa [laughter]. There is no doubt. the nature of mind itself.unconditioned thing itself. And whatever disappears and is empty is also mind. May this simple secret. that is the secret. the buddha nature. Tsang is a weakness. Once you understand and attain realization. which is the true nature of mind. Regarding this. one circles in the ocean of samsara.* rayer number five is about the total confirmation of the ground. regarding the meditation. But if you dont realize the true nature of things and get carried away by illusionseverything becomes like an illusionthat is also mind. or this is not it. directly translating the word. If one does realize this. It always is as it is. Naropa said. one general and one specific. And whatever dissolves and dies and the cessation is also mind. I think that a way to describe this T might be what we shared yesterday about Naropa. SHENPEN ÖSEL 43 . Whatever is born and whatever arises is mind. and there is nothing that can create the essence. It cannot be corrupted. that is mind. The general section. that it be confirmed that everything is just mind. buddha is not anything other. hen Karmapa prays. . the pure essence of everything. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes: Not realizing it. May all doubts about mind be resolved. P T and he next section is meditation mahamudra for this Gyalwa Karmapa makes two categories. it is totally pure in itself. which is the fruition of training in relative bodhicitta. Then he prays that all doubt about the nature of mind may be resolved. The Gyalwa Karmapa says that when one doesnt realize this. is the same as realization of the true nature of mind. wandering in the ocean of samsara. may I confirm a correct understanding of the ultimate essence. I have known this a long time ago. The fourth prayer is about the unity of emptiness and interdependence. is beyond all of this. So. which is something like weakness. or this is not. Arising is mind and cessation is mind. then one is in samsara. But here it doesnt mean the negative aspect of weakness. it cannot be diluted. ultimate bodhicitta. may I see that most essential spot of the nature of mind. and there is no way to dilute it in its essence. of the ultimate nature of mind. the soft spot. then there is nothing other than this that can be described as buddha. the pure nature of mind. be realized. he writes in four lines: *Editors note: Soft spot is a term coined by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as a way of describing a point from which to begin developing bodhicitta. the eye of the storm. lets say. and this word is a little hard to translate because. If it is realized. Karmapa says that whatever manifests and becomes apparent is mind. the simplicity of it. This is the fifth and last prayer regarding the view of mahamudra. because the essence is the essence. . I have known this a long time ago.
then the fountain of nectar. and then a thought comes. When you just sit there and try to observe the nature of your mind. because that is a slightly different approach from what he is describing here. you just observe. The visualization is a thought. I dont know if Im saying this correctly or not. observing the nature of mind. That is quite simple. and all kinds of particulars. he says. And thinking a particular prayer is also a thought. the thought can carry you away. you might get a little confused. It is about resting in the nature of mind. and one that could be applicable to any kind of meditation that you are doing. You can daydream there forever. in the second sentence. That is very profound. then you can also apply this. Karmapa is telling us not to do that. You are not adding some kind of Rolex watch to your gurus hand. So. You have to understand that Karmapa is writing about a very specific level of meditation. We have to work pretty hard to visualize. you 44 SHENPEN ÖSEL If you are visualizing properly in the vajrayana tradition. like prostrations. So that makes a difference. If you put water in the milk. it gets diluted. It is all created by mind. first the lotus. etc. It is the most convenient time and situation to daydream. Whatever kind of meditation that you are doing. You are following the method according to the precise instructions of the lineage. then these more preliminary forms of meditation are mentally created. not being carried away by the winds of ordinary thoughts. or visualizing a buddha. It doesnt just happen naturally up there. In the first line he says without being diluted. At the same time. because they are from the lineage. you are not creating a new visualization. then the letters. However. but not totally literally. One might take a happy ride and spend all ones meditation hours just daydreaming all sorts of wonderful things. Vajrayana visualizations are not the same as architectural plans. it is not considered the same as ones own creation.Not adulterating meditation with conceptual striving or mentally created meditation. So. you are not doing something like that. May the practice of resting in minds true nature be skillfully sustained. If you are doing something that employs visualization. So he is writing this verse according to that. you are not creating a new visualization. Even though we learn them from the lineage. like an architect drawing a new plan for a new house. still they are mentally created. The third line of this verse is concerned with knowing how to place your mind in the unchang- . But since this is not our own invention. When you are really observing the nature of mind. Therefore. doesnt it? Mentally created meditation involves dualistic effort. if we compare this kind of meditation [involving visualizations and prayers. Knowing how to rest in the uncontrived. This is a very profound teaching about a particular kind of meditation. it is a mental activity. then the deity. You are not adding some kind of Rolex watch to your gurus hand are not adding anything. It is a creation of your mind. If you are visualizing properly in the vajrayana tradition. natural spontaneous flow. which has blessings and confers transmission. Unmoved by the winds of everyday busyness. if you take this too literally with respect to your present meditation method.] with the particular meditation that Gyalwa Karmapa is praying about here. not diluted by the effort of mentally created meditation. on a somewhat more subtle level it is considered a creation of the mind. [laughter] If you are doing guru yoga. which is considered the highest aspect of mahamudra meditation. So. It does not involve mentally created meditation.
we just sit down and use any kind of breathing technique. undiluted. The fifth deals with the nyam. That is the most essential meditation. how to recognize. In the last sentence. Karmapa says. and at the same time. in order to reach that state. So that is nyam. and we feel peaceful. Free from dullness. Karmapa writes six particular shlokas. We say that when there is a storm coming. It is like that. And the sixth one is tokpa. We have an example. but then in Tibetan it is perhaps not that strong. But before that. the subtle and also the more rough aspects of thought. or any other kind of method. but real awareness and realization that takes place. You have got one days hard work of worldly gain already. hat is the general prayer concerning mahamudra meditation. This doesnt mean that we have to let our habits take over. and then the rough and subtle thoughts slowly settle down. which is the analogy. and murkiness. May one just rest in its natural essence. the essence of all meditation. the recognition of the nature of mind as great unity. the actual realization. You dont want that. and learning about different methods of meditation such as breathing. We do all the other practices in order to be able to do that. And if you go home you might get into an argument with your husband or your wife. [sometimes translated as temporary experience] that precedes realization of any kind. May the ocean of shamatha be unmoving and stable. the third. Here Karmapa compares the mind to an ocean. people who do meditation for stress management purposes achieve this state. But mahamudra doesnt stop there. That is how we meditate. because that is not the only purpose of mahamudra. remains calmly and naturally without moving. visualizations. then your mind becomes calm and steady and quite relaxed. The next line mentions three principal stains SHENPEN ÖSEL 45 T . and you calm down. He is saying that. The real fruition of meditation is realization. may one be able to rest in the nature of mind. torpor. placing it in its original. the accumulation of wisdom. the practice of the nature of the mind.ing. Karmapa makes it very clear in the second line that one is not to get carried away by thoughts and emotions. etc. naturally become peaceful. physical exercises. so you do a little bit of meditation. may we be quite well acquainted with and know how to maintain this practice of the most essential aspect. how to observe the nature of mind. all kinds of practices. etc. In the next line. such as visualizations or any other way of mentally creating anything. without getting carried away by regular thoughts and emotions that we naturally have. We go through all the other basic processes of the accumulation of merit. vipashyana. something starts to appear in your life. once you reach that level. That means. Here it is very clear that The Third Gyalwa Karmapa is saying that resting in the nature of mind is the ultimate of all meditations. he says that the great water. which are like waves. because one days job is done. So you get a double benefit. praying one by one for each of these to happen properly. the great unity.. but then you have this price that you have to pay. They are very happy. the lake of the mind. the full maturity of the process is happening or has happened.. In the practice of shamatha. And the unmoving waters of mind rest naturally. unaffected. The first prayer concerns shamatha: The waves of subtle and coarse thoughts calm down by themselves in their own place. the fourth. natural state of mind itself. which is expressed in these four lines. Nyam is a technical term implying some kind of indication. unchanged. after which The Gyalwa Karmapa writes six particular specific prayers on the same subject: The first one concerns shamatha. which is not nyam. you have the experience or you feel the actual happening of the progress of your meditation. without following or developing any kind of particular procedures or means. original. Youre really tensed and not so clear-minded. natural state. and may one know how to go about just resting in that way. Nyam means that you feel it. as it is. the second. the top of the castle feels it first. As I mentioned yesterday.
without stable realization. its actually realizing more than just seeing.or defilements of the mind that must be removed in the practice of shamatha. but that you nonetheless observe and observe again and again. And nyokpa means all mixed up and contaminated. there may be some slightly different definitions of vipashyana and shamatha. ones mind sometimes tends to space out and become totally ineffective and inadequate. Jingwa and mukpa are not necessarily mixed up. but it is good to know. without moving and without being disturbed. you recognize it. The reason that that happens is that it is all within us. may the face of your own mind be recognized by your own mind itself. the purpose is to go further towards enlightenment. ow I would like to go on a little side-track here. just as it is. which is how Tibetans translate vipashyana. You have an expression in English. You know. From that point of view. Even if you have made some mistakes. nondualistic way. Jingwa is a more outwardly oriented mental state. So. In the last line. one can look at the nature of mind which is not an object and has no objective nature that you can look at. including here. the next shloka reads: Looking again and again at the mind which cannot be looked at. When one is spread too thin. May the unconfused genuine self-nature be known by self-nature itself. Thats not too important for us here right now. Instead of our inner potentials being imprisoned and then suffocated and being stepped all over. Of course. The definition of shinay is a mental state of peaceful. and totally exhausted. this is temporary. A vajrayana Buddhist practices shinay not just to have some kind of convenient awareness. and The Gyalwa Karmapa prays that we will overcome them. When T N 46 SHENPEN ÖSEL . The meaning which cannot be seen is vividly seen. the essence. But then you might sit down and do a very good session of shinay immediately after that. The shinay does not add something to us from outside. When one is feeling very dull and heavy. this is it. the limitless potentialsomehow manifests itself temporarily. after one has developed the clear-minded condition of shinay. calm abiding. you know that in the Pali and Sanskrit traditions and translations of the Buddhas teachings. being spread too thin. may the ocean of shinay be stable. because you feel it. while mukpa is a more inwardly oriented mental state. For beginning practitioners particularly. The tremendous benefit of shinay is that during its practice our inner potentialthe buddha nature. shinay lets the buddha quality manifest. Then you will see what cannot be seen from a dualistic point of view. See is a way of describing it. you see quite clearly where things went wrong and you are able to develop some perspective on everything more effectively. The Gyalwa Karmapa says. you see it. and nyokpa. there is no doubt whether this is it or this is not it. and is providing the space for it to manifest. nyokpa is mixed up. because maybe you could get confused later. and then feel more clear and see things more clearly. Karmapa says. in that situation. In vajrayana Buddhism there is particular terminology we use for this. It is letting our inner potential and its own natural remedies manifest. Then. mukpa. that is what is meant by mukpa. But you will see it in a most natural and spontaneous. These are three principal obstacles to meditation that good shamatha overcomes. You could have been very confused and very disturbed and inadequate in many things. which is the meeting of a mother and child after a long separation. stable. In Tibetan these are jingwa. That is what is meant by jingwa. Thus cutting doubts about how it is or is not. Of course. it is not coming from outside. But it is all right there. he next shloka is concerned with lhaktong. shinay is an extremely effective means of meditation. a handy awareness that one develops temporarily now and again. The word seeing is used in many of the teachings.
which is the other]. dzogchen. be looked at]. May the nature of mind. the real dualism is dissolved. and kun dön tok means that the essence of all is realized. the great middle way. that is how we. And between these two. one realizes the essence of everything. it is the great middle way. Looking at mind. I n the next shloka. the third prayer describes how a mahamudra practitioner at this level should look at everything else. When you look out. it is wisdom. through dualism. in those days when I was meditating. we separate ourselves constantly from our true nature and essence. its empty nature devoid of mind is seen. be realized. they become one. etc. In this way. it is the great seal. Free from extremes. the nature of the mind. you dont see any dualistic entity. The Gyalwa Karmapa writes: Free from mental fabrication. eternalism. Being beyond any kind of extreme like nihilism. it is allpervading. But then. you see that everything is a manifestation of in here [indicating by gesture some internal space]. According to The Gyalwa Karmapa here. anything that is separate from what is looking and can.. as mahamudra practitioners. nothing less. everything happens between them. a total kind of oneness. there isnt any kind of dualistic entity that you can hold on to. nothing more. the mind devoid of objects is seen.they recognize each other. dualistic clinging is self-liberated. is called the great completeness. It is all-pervading. Karmapa says.e. all are realized. and it confirms that they are just manifestations of mind. look at objects. lots of people. the essential meaning of all is realized. but then it was solved. Between these two ways of looking and subsequent seeing. Karmapa says. is the middle way. in that way. in which the essence of ones own self recognizes itself by its own self. look at the nature of mind. Chik she means knowing one. view outside and inside and their interrelationship. When Im traveling around. Maybe I had some problem with meditating and this way of seeing things. mahamudra. What is left is the clear light. Inwardly. May one obtain this confidence. May there be confidence that by understanding one. like mother and child recognizing each other and then becoming one and nondualistic. once we recognize the true face of our own mind. and look at the relations between everything: Looking at objects. this particular sentence was extremely helpful for me. Then he says. Looking at both of these. madhyamika. being beyond any kind of conceptual limitation is mahamudra. Karmapa prays that one may recognize and realize this essence of everything. and it is not ignorance. observing them and being absorbed in that observation. Clear light is used in the sense that it is everything. the unity of everything. I SHENPEN ÖSEL 47 P . it is also called the great perfection. Then he says. By knowing any one of these. rayer number four discusses the unity of various paths leading to enlightenment. Clear light doesnt mean a kind of light. and then all of this [Rinpoche indicates through gesture everything else. the clear light nature of what is. then the dualism between mind and objects and between the observer and the observed naturally disappears. it is like coming back home. look at everything. We cant separate. by knowing one. I wanted to let you know. dzogchen. it is the essence of everything. but when you look in. looking inwardly at the mind you dont see any kind of dualistic entity [i. I must tell you that when I was young. The essence of all together. That is described here in the last sentence. The consummation of everything. but we somehow have this situation: We call ourselves I.
We see this very clearly now. Then something that is really a life and death matter for you. I think The Gyalwa Karmapa answers this very clearly in these four sentences. And we are set in them. that is actually a very good sign. Chakcha chenpo [mahamudra]. The ultimate realization of any authentic system is the same. For them their reality is real. and when we as people travel all over the world we can see this. we are dzogchen practitioners who are trying to achieve that same realization. may these kinds of effortless experiences develop continuously. the most basic and the biggest mind-set is the self. And it is the same for the middle way as well. So what happens with nyam is that up to that point of having nyam the practitioner. When a person is practicing very seriously. I must take a little side-track here. I comes first. our great masters always warn us about nyam. Certain people are doing certain things very seriously. He says. as far as you are concerned. are sentient beingshave all these different kinds of mind-sets. . These are descriptions of the highest and most profound nyam. May the effortless enjoyment of these states be continuous. And when a person has nyam. they would find it very silly. But once one attains realization. sometimes being obscured by mental defilements] and without having a sense of clinging to the clarity. Actually. all are the same. We are just students. I. which is actual realization. Luminosity free from fixation on characteristics is unobscured. that is another kind of nyam. and he calls that oneness unity. if we are practicing mahamudra. Its like a life-and-death matter. Therefore. and we can see everything. very dangerous. mahasamdhi]. which is beyond any kind of intention and effort. but for you your reality is real. They all contain the essence of recognizing and realizing by which you attain the realization of buddhahood. if those same people were to look at it. downs [the mind sometimes being clear. That is very clearly written here by The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. we are mahamudra practitioners who are trying to achieve that realization. me first. If we dont recognize that yet. all the different kinds of sentient beingsand practitioners of course. and when the state of nonthought that transcends intellect or conceptual mind develops into spontaneity. Dzogchen realization is equal to mahamudra realization and middle way realization. like the development of an involuntary spontaneity. Nonthought transcending conceptual mind is spontaneous presence. when the clear light becomes continuous without the minds having ups and 48 SHENPEN ÖSEL T he next prayer is about nyam [meditative experiences of a temporary nature]: ow.guess mostly intellectuals. Isnt it? So. and we can read everything. ask questions about what is the difference between chak chen [mahamudra] and dzogchenwhich is better. not you first. but it is also a dangerous time for the practitioner. uma chenpo [madhyamika]. and whats the difference between shentong and rangtongall kinds of philosophical questions. and dzokpa chenpo [maha ati. and they make such a big deal about it. different kinds of conceptual understandings of reality. It doesnt mean anything to them. its so silly. we are just practitioners. and whats the difference between those and madhyamika. then they ought to have nyam. And of course. then. are involved with thoughts and emotions and reality from the standpoint of one particular kind of mind-set or set of concepts. thats one kind of nyam . in fact all people. N Great bliss free from attachment is unceasing. then mahamudra realization is equal to madhyamika realization and dzogchen realization. And if we are practicing dzogchen. Karmapa says a few words about this later when he talks about tokpa. thats another kind of nyam. because the world is very open. Now Karmapa talks about three types of nyam: When. in the practitioners experience great joy becomes continuous without stopping. But for you it doesnt mean anything. to do so is quite common. and without attachment to that joy. The self is very important.
the continuation of great joy without any kind of clinging to it. very deeply. It is working. And. one that really pounces on you. when conditions are positive. Im not a buddha. if you think you are buddha. things might not really have changed very much or improved very much on the deeper level. You dont have to think you are buddha. yes. It is a very strong instinct. So it is possible that intellectually. that is. all of my great teachers always warned me about this. And that can be totally mental. Im quite clear about that. In that case. for the practitioner. So in this vein. And you might write about it. but it takes time and it takes effort. you will inevitably have nyam like this. You might be a very great philosopher and really know a lot. I cant claim that I had tremendous nyam. just because you would like to have certain meditative experiences].. but in a very difficult situation. Nyam are a very important part of the practitioners path. you get attached to it. through learning. through practice. They are right there. When I was practicing. Im buddha. maybe in peaceful situations. you might not change a bit. [laughter] And it might be very inconvenient for you. But this stage is also dangerous if you dont understand it deeply. does it? When a person is experiencing this level of nyam. one thing after another. Nyam is described here by Karmapa in a most positive way. you might even go crazy. [laughter] Yes. And when that happens. you might overcome certain aspects of this mental conditioning. Definitely. then you are buddha. but then on the subconscious or unconscious level. They are really a kind of confirmation that your practice is going well. You have to be that. but Im not a great practitioner. every kind of physical makeup has an impact on the mindevery imaginable kind of conceptual impact. because they dont get it.e. they will not be able to manage it. Im not really a great practitionerI must be honest. But. and he is describing the highest aspect of nyam. When one is practicing at this very deep level. Regardless of how unreal it is and could be seen to be. and especially through the practice of mahamudra. that persons practice really works very. if the person doesnt have good guidance. There is so much there that it becomes a reality. That happens when it happens. it is a reality to those peopleand a very solid one. It doesnt happen before it happens. and if the person doesnt know that it is simply a nyam. Im buddha already. Through meditation. that can also even be physicalall kinds of things can happen. nyam are a very important part of the practitioners path. But when you are buddha. because they are very encouraging. strictly based on the intellectual aspect of learning. if the person thinks it is real tokpagenuine realization of buddhahoodthen they might think. every kind of culture. And because I knew what they were supposed to be. every kind of background. you can have tremendous experience. arent you? You dont have to think. before you are buddha. I do my best. you might be able to do a lot of good things. It works even at the unconscious level and the subconscious level. every imaginable kind of environmental impact. and when your meditation begins to get quite advanced. I did not manage to think that I was buddha. And on top of that. but I had nyam. might even make a SHENPEN ÖSEL 49 . And then you talk about it. is that when you feel really good. If people who are not advanced try to have experiences like these. then you might lose everything. of the emotional level. its quite something. Usually what happens. that can also be visual. time after time. And when that happens. So I dont have great nyam.You see? Me first is present in every single sentient being. because they are very encouraging there is the breaking up of the external and the subconscious level. Just because you want to be something [i. you dont necessarily become something. you are buddha already. then. and even of the physical level of the setting.
Another is hope. also be freed. which is tokpa in Tibetan. T 50 SHENPEN ÖSEL . So. Then a buddhas negativity and a buddhas obstacle would be extremely big. in effect. he third section concerns the actionthe view. Negative thoughts and confusion purify naturally in ultimate space. it is so great. not attachment. loss and gain. obstacles come along together with the path and its nyamlike a shadow and the form it follows. But that is attachment. naturally. the nature of this ordinary mind. be realized. That is total realization. Its so *Editors note: Here Rinpoche. In the second sentence. Another term for that kind of situation is barchay in Tibetan. narrows our focus to one of the principal high-level obstacles to mahamudra realization. the nature of mind. Karmapa discusses ordinary mind. so you hold onto it. but until a certain level there is this kind of obstacle. by mentioning only fear among all negative thoughts and other aspects of confusion.* In the third sentence. The nyam just ends right there. The Gyalwa Karmapa prays that one may realize the ultimate essence of everything beyond any kind of dualistic fabrication. they use the bigger one. We dont have to be extraordinary in order for our true nature to be buddha. That means that even though we are ordinary sentient beings the nature of our mind is buddha. aving prayed for perfect nyam. Nyam can never become tokpa if we announce the nyam. in two shlokas. The Gyalwa Karmapa says that if the nyam is sometimes frightening and fears arise. Even in the ordinary now the essence is buddha. clinging to a nyam may be kind of nice. H precious. the meditation. In the same way. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes prayers about mahamudra action. It doesnt go on like that all the way to buddhahood. He prays for perfect tokpa. The Gyalwa Karmapa in the sixth shloka prays for tokpa.movie about it. From one point of view. The first shloka concerns compassion. which is related to the attachment mentioned in the previous line. the realization that comes after the nyam. right after praying for perfect nyam. actual realization: Longing for good and clinging to experiences are self-liberated. For the boundless suffering of sentient beings. And the greater the achievement. the six particular prayers related to the meditation are complete. then may it dissolve into the ultimate space. Karmapa prays that we recognize and realize this. In ordinary mind there is no rejecting and accepting. May unbearable compassion be conceived in our being. which is fear. [laughter] Its not like that. you hold onto it. he prays that good nyam and any kind of attachment will be spontaneously freed. naturally. the bigger the negatives. Then the nyam is gone. May fear. free from accepting and rejecting. But the bigger the positives in your practice. With this. We have a saying: The brighter the light. it is a dangerous threshold for the practitioner who is progressing rapidly. and now the action. In the last sentence. they wander in endless samsara. the second concerns the unity of compassion and emptiness: The true nature of beings is always buddha. [laughter] You might do all kinds of things. That doesnt mean somebody is waiting for you with different kinds of hammers. Yes? The path to buddhahood doesnt go on to the very end that way. the negativity aspect. Not realizing that. the sharper the shadow. but fear. May simplicity. which means obstacle. and he prays that we never get attached to nyam. what takes place in the postmeditation experience. and Karmapa says may this be spontaneously freed. and if somebody is really progressing well. but until a certain stage. the truth of the ultimate essence of phenomena. the bigger the obstacle. Not all the way.
the essence and the nature of it is the naked and bare manifestation of emptiness. sickness. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes very clearly about that particular point in these four lines. written in four sentences: When the energy of unbearable compassion is unceasing. the real suffering of sentient beings isnt hunger. Some people want power. I think I spoke to you yesterday about compassion and devotion. They are wandering in samsara because they dont recognize their own true nature. some of us dont. In expressions of loving kindness. We will not just go about our own business. Then he says. People will do anything. that is beyond any kind of limitation to compassion. but it does not solve their suffering. That is the suffering hes talking about. compassion which is not selfish. because of their lack of realization of this. Some of us have good health. we are in samsara. If we dont have enough money. he says that there is no way that the unity of compassion and emptiness can go wrong. It will not allow us to be selfish. Looking at things from this perspective. the truth of its essential emptiness is nakedly clear. Compassion never dies. he second particular prayer of this section is about the unity of emptiness and compassion. Inseparable from it. That means that true compassion. They do this. Some people even rob banks. and you scream and yell and jump up and down. suffering is the struggle and the constant dissatisfaction of life. lack of money. In the last line. In the third line. Because of knowing what the potential of all sentient beings is. which is not dualistic. of course. which he earlier described as unbearable. Karmapa prays that unbearable compassion may be born within us. That is the definition of samsara here. Samsara is nothing more and nothing less than beings not knowing and not recognizing that they are buddha. Now. then its ultimate essence. So long as we are in samsara suffering has no end. in essence. may we meditate day and night. without any kind of skins on it. He says the nature of all sentient beings is always buddha. and is all-pervading. But. If you are traveling down a road SHENPEN ÖSEL 51 T . Karmapa states that sentient beings in samsara are suffering without any end to their suffering. In the third sentence. is always alive. That is the idea of unbearable here.This is regarding compassion. That will continue as long as we are in samsara. when we fully realize that. we are buddha. of course. then we put our own effort into realizing buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings. When this compassion manifests as loving kindness. It is always alive. we might take out a loan and do all sorts of things. they stand for all kinds of things. they do that to obtain it. it sounds as though unbearable here means that youre so compassionate that you cant stand it. compassion which is not stubborn. which is emptiness. Every single sentient being is always buddha in their essence. a buddha. but suffering is not limited to the hungry and sick. Until we fully realize that. Zömay means that we are unable to ignore the suffering. according to the Buddhas teachings on suffering. Sometimes. We want to have good health. so we take good care of ourselves. manifests as it is. and only these sorts of things. always. The first sentence says that the strength and the power of this compassion. Hunger is one kind of suffering. This unity is the supreme unerring path. they think that suffering means pain. something like that. We cant afford to be lethargic. And when this compassion manifests as loving kindness. without any cover. Compassion is so strong that it will not allow us to be lethargic. That is what unbearable compassion is. because of knowing that every sentient being is. We will do everything to overcome our suffering. And they may even get everything. They stand for election. but it does not solve their suffering. they are wandering in samsara. compassion which is empty and open. But then somehow having good health does not solve the problem of suffering. But it doesnt mean that. when people talk about suffering. Golsa means that there is a kind of way to go wrong. bare.
T he last and fifth section is praying for the final accomplishment of the fruition. will know everything. Like people like me I have a hard time even manifesting in one form correctly most of the time. he prays. such as 100 different buddhas set up in 100 different shrine rooms in 100 different locations. For further information. He says. For example. Sentient beings are ripened and buddha fields are perfectly purified. the final enlightenment of buddhahood. There are five aspects of ngönshe. which means the profound. By bringing these three to utmost fruition fulfilling. a first-level bodhisattva can manifest in 100 physical forms in 100 physical locations all at the same time. Then nothing can go wrong. In these four sentences. correct fruition of the path. the Karmapa did not mention all the details here. In this way. through the meditation on the nature of mind. regarding the unity of emptiness and compassion. So. the simple way to look at this is that the eyes represent the omniscient quality of the buddha. the best. at all times. That is one of the miracles of the first-level bodhisattva as far as physical form is concerned. but it will be limited. may one practice this day and night. then you can make a mistake. the five eyes and the five ngönshe get more and more limitless. which is hard to translate. Ngönshe means knowing beyond the limitation of time and distance. This ngönshe is gradually obtained with varying degrees of limitation. In Buddhism in general. this is a way of describing enlightenment by referring to 52 SHENPEN ÖSEL . a buddhas qualities are described in this manner: five eyes and five ngönshe. all at the same time. The aspirations that accomplish the qualities of a buddha are fulfilled. This completes the second prayer in the section on the action. which develops through *Editors note: Such a bodhisattva can also see 100 different situations in perfect detail. etc. present. but at the beginning they are limited.and come to a junction that has three or four different forks. ripening. and in mahayana and vajrayana Buddhism in particular. But I dont think it is the same thing. Lots of people say something like clairvoyance. You will have the quality of these five eyes. That is what we call ngönshe. There are twelve categories of these special powers of a bodhisattva. But there isnt any way to make a mistake if compassion and emptiness are in unity. golsa drelway means that there is no way to get it wrong. Before you attain the enlightenment of buddhahood you will have ngönshe to see the past. in four lines: The problem is that there is no power together with their kindness By the power of meditation arise the eyes and supernormal perceptions. and purifyingmay utmost buddhahood be manifest. Chen in Tibetan means eyes. lam chok. see Gampopas Jewel Ornament of Liberation. Actually.000 manifestations at the same time etc. the practice of mahamudra. is that one attains the eyes. He says that the result of the strength of meditation. the correct path the unity of compassion and emptiness. which quality is the result of the power of meditation. In the last line. which gradually increase as the bodhisattva progresses from one level to the next. In the same way they can see all the virtuous and unvirtuous karma that they have performed in 100 previous lives and all that they will create in 100 future lives. Our ordinary eyes see forms and colors of forms. Beyond this. Karmapa writes it exactly as the fruition of the completion of the path. It doesnt mean buddha has five eyes. [laughter] So. under the chapter on spiritual levels. But then. So. Karmapa is describing how buddhas see everythingand these eyes represent five different aspects of seeing everything ngönshe. Someone who has ngönshe will know the future. and future. That means that the second-level bodhisattva can manifest 10. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa describes the buddha. the unmistaken. in a simple but comprehensive manner.* The second-level bodhisattva has all of these special qualities and insights multiplied by 100.
Superficially speaking.* One has to first have the inspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. Thats what it means. in this way the original inspiration is being fulfilled. its good for the health. So that when you do something. The Gyalwa Karmapa prays. Dzok means all the qualities of buddha are complete. So. min means everything. Then there are the prayer itself and the conclusion. is fulfilled and completely accomplished. beyond any limitation. There is a very common saying. I think a superficial word for that is to ripen. that kind people always suffer. Karmapa says. At that stage. In the mahayana teachings it is very clearly said that enlightenment wont happen without someones first giving rise to enlightenment mind. it is very hard. min. ne shloka is left. there is kindness. At the same time. A great bodhisattva. This means that. it is very sour. And The Third Gyalwa Karmapa is saying that as one progresses along the path these special qualities gradually develop from being limited to being limitless. At the beginning. dont have to change anythingthey are good just as they arestill their essence has to ripen in its manifestation. So. that good people always suffer. for benefiting sentient beings. They say things like that. the original aspiration such as. does it? The problem is that there is no power together with their kindness. here he uses a very particular word. Then Karmapa condenses the first three lines into one very short sentence. That concludes the final part of the main body of the prayer. Many people would like to be kind. but somehow things are not right. min means benefiting sentient beings. its soft. but before attaining buddhahood. It tastes good. pure land. So. and you get into trouble. After that. dzok min jang sum thar jin sang gye shok. after attaining realization. beyond any limitation. become complete: sang gye chö nam drup pay mönlam dzok. which means ripen. and jang means that the empowerment by all the buddhas and bodhisattvas is complete. However. Without this. which is not true. You cant eat it. When a good person suffers. then it is really good. that means the person has good intentions. That means they are not ripe. true enlightenment wont happen by accident. I men tioned that we have three parts to this text. too. Or something similar. they dont behave like a buddha. but dont exactly know how to. but their kindness doesnt have power. the awakening mind resent it. and min means benefitting oneself. may we benefit beings. receives direct transmission from all the buddhas. it is like pilgrimaging to all the pure lands. and then have the ability to be more compassionate and kind. That is what we call shing kam. So. therefore. It is the inspiration and blessing and transmission of all the buddhas to dispense empowerment. It doesnt mean that all kind people have to suffer. They dont think like a buddha. But it is not physical. so that their inner essence may manifest and become more apparentso that they may become more kind and more compassionate. may one attain this total enlightenment of buddhahoodsang gye shok. gradually all the qualities of buddha. it is the compassionate aspiration and the compassionate activity of the buddha to make beings ripe. ripening is complete. because right now they dont talk like a buddha. Then he says. I wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. although you cant change sentient beings essence. sang gye shing rap jang also has a very particular meaning. instead of other people really appreciating it and being happy and benefitting from what you do. ripen sentient beings. And sometimes they even do totally wrong things.these particular eyes and particular ngönshe. The first part is the preparation. they somehow *Editors note: Bodhicitta: the altruistic mind that aspires to awaken in order to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Once it becomes min. like the preliminary part of the prayer. It is very hard to digest. The conclusion has four SHENPEN ÖSEL 53 O . so that their kindness is not working. also. A fruit which is not min is a green one. because they are all buddha and. every aspect of the essential qualities of beings has to be ripened. It doesnt have to be that way. He says.
your master. Question: Rinpoche. you would rather like me to say that Im enlightened? Okay. I practice. Thats all. But it could be anything. But dont get discouraged. and practice as usual. for it is also written in the texts that it is not until the eighth bhumi that the bodhisattva is totally liberated from emotions. definitely. definitely not. Im traveling.lines: By the power of the compassion of the Victorious Ones of the ten directions and their sons and daughters. then I think youre quite safe. is. Really. You might get enlightened before I do. Gyalwa Karmapa prays to all gurus. and seek advice. could you say more about the experience of nyam? What are its indicators.. how long does the experience last? Do they last for moments. and you dont have to not think about it. according to mahamudra principles. and what Karmapa is praying for here and what he wrote in his prayer is. At the end. Definitely not. and by the power of all the positive. but. Rinpoche must here be referring to these emotions. i. If you know it is a nyam already. may this pure aspiration be fulfilled just as it is. you are all much more enlightened in driving cars than I am. May the pure aspirations of myself and all sentient beings Be accomplished exactly as we wish. then you should take nyam as an encouragement. and know not to get attached to it. Buddha means that one is enlightened as to everything. And Im not buddha. whatever practice that you are doing. At the beginning. I hope that my teaching on this prayer will be beneficial. but Im not 100 percent practicing all the time. Im doing many. I pray that this will benefit you and be conducive to the progress of that particular practice that you are doing. This is very clear. you see. doing my best. for months? Rinpoche: It could be anything. for weeks. just appreciate it. but its not true. and bodhisattvas. . I will say it. and try not to pay too much attention to what happens. not just here and now. I am blessed by many great masters. may there be nyam foreveruntil the final realizationcontinuous. as a mahayana-vajrayana practitioner. many things I have to do. but I hope that it will be continuously beneficial for you in your practice. may we all attain the enlightenment of buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. That is the end and the completion of the Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra by The Third Gyalwa Karmapa. And so. Whatever lineage that you are involved with. good karma that existsall the good things that any and all sentient beings have been involved inmay the pure aspirations of myself and all sentient beings be fulfilled as they are. I think that is a good enough step. That is what he prays for. he prays again that by their compassion. And then if you continue your practice. Everyones aspiration. and that it will be conducive to the progress of your practice. for days. But Im not buddha. You just talk to your teacher.e. And you can talk to your teacher about it. of all the remaining more subtle ones. if it makes you happy. Im enlightened on certain things. It depends also on what is really *Editors note: Some eighty or ninety kinds of coarse emotions are abandoned permanently at the attainment of the first bhumi. And by the power of all the pure virtue that exists. It could be anything. One simple thingI dont know how to drive a car. buddhas. Im teaching. and take it as an encouragement and take it as a reassurance that your practice is going well. And I wish this not only for those of you who are practitioners of mahamudra. I wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. you know. how can we keep ourselves from feeling discouraged or helpless when even advanced people like you who dedicate their lives to meditation and dharma practice are not even enlightened? [laughter] 54 SHENPEN ÖSEL Rinpoche: So. You dont have to purposely think about it all the time. The conclusion to this whole prayer is actually very similar to the beginning of the prayer. the first level of enlightened bodhisattvahood. the last sentence is. also and equally for those of you who are involved with Zen or with other lineages. virtuous. Of course. Question: Rinpoche. Why not? Question: How do we overcome strong attachment to nyam which have already occurred? Rinpoche: If you know it is a nyam. So. But dont announce them to everybody. deities. by the compassionate blessing of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three times.
I think you know large. yes. then you Karmapa.. definitely not if the realization of your home of The Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa] right now has nature of mind is the final one.Rinpoche: Yes. If youre a shamatha practitioner. . yes. ? treats in the mountains around Tshurpu are now occupied by very good practitioners. all the emotions. what hes like. from everywhere. Yes. yes. So thatwhat tion in Tshurpu is like. of them are nuns coming from all parts of Tibet. what his situaknow how to do it at an advanced level. one of the Karmapas had their own retreat in the mounyes. Rinpoche: The enlightenment of buddhahood is beyond And then. But. although joy? And is it as temporary as The Seventeenth Karmapa that is not very important. really. the emotion? But miracles have happened anyway. [laughter] Yes. When I was there he was seeing people every day at two oclock in the afterQuestion: Can enlightenment be experienced without noon. happening. I have a number of questions about Question: Rinpoche. My guru. the supreme leader Rinpoche: How to rest in the pure nature of mind? All of the Karma Kagyu lineage and the Kagyu lineage at right. really good. or it could be very short.000 feet above sea levelmost of these recertain level of realization. no generalization is possible. I formed a long time before buddhahood. Southeast Asia. . The emotions are improved and transAnd everything is really wonderful. is the embodiment of Chenrezig. And the monastery itself has two retreat centers. It was really an inspiration of the highest level. It could be tremendous. Tshurpu Monastery [the traditional seat of the Karmapas and the present Rinpoche: Oh. that sounds great. from time to time. His Holiness is Question: Is the experience physically extremely healthy. Sometimes certain things really quickly transform. or with many emotions? see him. mostly by nuns. SHENPEN ÖSEL 55 . Most Audience: Regress.e. did any of the how one learns to rest in the pure nature of the mind? What Karmapas attain buddhahood? advice or help can you give us? Rinpoche: I believe so. It could be anything. of realizing our true nature and mentally he is extremely associated with an emotion.* now there are 400 monks. intelligent. Question: Can you say something about The Seventeenth how to do it quite well. much before the stage of a first-level bodhisattva also. His Holiness sees people every day. from America. how hes doing. then it will be like that [i. which range from something like onward will not fall back. Until you reach a 12. I dont want to go into detail about that. actually. And every day several hundred people were there to emotion. both having Rinpoche: Yes. could you give a brief comment as to His Holiness Karmapa. A buddha or a bodhisattva of the first level tains around Tshurpu. in general. he also gave empowerments. He has performed like bliss or exhilaration or lots of miracles. We all have emotions must tell you that Tshurpu Monastery officially is allowed by the Chinese government to have only 100 monks. yes. yes. from Europe. monks doing three-year retreats for quite some time now. coming from all parts of Tibet. but at a beginners level. yes. But if it is a nyam of your over 400 monks. I have had the great opportunity and privilege to see him about four times now in different situations. Question: Rinpoche. right now. If youre an advanced practitioner. The first one is. one can. how do you say . everywhere. And Tshurpus retreatsalmost every nature of mind. if youre a beginner. you see. and it could last long. how his education is progressing? level you practice atis not something I can influence.000 to 15. temporary]. but.
its okay. then you just realize it. Meditate using that basic shinay practice. but trying to maintain that awareness as a background in your post-meditation experience. there is a thought happening. There will be luminous clarity and even a little bit of joy in there. Usually we have emotions. And they are not . The preliminary practices that our lineage does are actually mahamudra preliminary practices. Prompted by all sorts of outer and inner phenomena. And if youre not doing anything. they are called preliminary. They are not just good-for-nothing practices. what is the relationship between the practice of ngöndro and mahamudra experience. Meditating on the nature of mind directly is the highest and most essential mahamudra practice. At the beginning of our talk. exclude [lhaktong]. That seems also to be the general popular concept of mahamudra. Just leave it there and rest again in that same state of mind. whoever your real root guru is. you just happily draw the meditation to a conclusion and go about your life. whatever other practice you have to do. But that will be the beginning. It will be superficial from that point of view. maintaining awareness doesnt mean that you have to be different. there wouldnt be any mahamudra. Otherwise. trying to maintain the awareness of itself. the other is accumulation. then you dedicate the merit and. Even physically. Once you get into this state of mind. Not so good. dont make any further elaboration on it. Otherwise. clear. Therefore. dont try to think its bad. dont try to continue it. Every practice of mahamudra is directed towards that. caused by anything and everything. if you try to meditate at times. Then. then instead of just sitting there trying to enjoy it. The first thing that might happen is that it might cause an accident. Otherwise. When our mind reaches a state of calmness and peacefulness. we observe the nature of our mind without becoming involved in subject and object too much. which doesnt have any physical aspect. And if that happens. clear. When these thoughts occur.even if I try. if youre driving. it will be a little bit subject-object oriented. mahamudra preliminary practices. by itself. [laughter] Yes. exclude the empowerments. It is correct to do so. breathing or visualizing or anything. And the thought will dissolve into itself and go back to the original state of mind. Your purpose for doing that practice is to reach a peaceful and calm state of mind. well-grounded. Dont try to stop it. then naturally there will be thoughts. Oh. which is not simply empty. in all situations if possible. Then of course. and nonphysical. I think I said that mahamudra refers to everything that we practice. you do. but is also endowed with clarity. exclude the four foundations [the four preliminary practices]. Meditating on the nature of mind directly is the highest and most essential mahamudra practice Rinpoche: Oh okay. but everything else is also mahamudra. I think maybe they are referring to something like Karma Pakshi Empowerment. they just call this highest form of formless meditation. Then. That will be somewhat close to what youre asking. mature way. if everything goes well. it 56 SHENPEN ÖSEL can be detrimental also. But each one of the four preliminary practices is a complete practice in itself. The reason they are called preliminary is that many other practices are taught afterwards. mahamudra. There will be concepts arising. Question: Rinpoche. talk to that person and try to receive further teachings. In Tibetan we call it chak chen ngöndro. At the beginning. because you will have to say. would there? Mahamudra preliminary practices are directed towards two purposes: One is purification. really. in an immature and unclear and desperate way. We try to maintain that for a certain period of time at the beginning. exclude shinay. I hope thats good enough for now. we can have disturbances. I think. we have all kinds of things. now I want to rest in the nature of my mind. what does that mean? Lama Tashi: Well. this most essential essence practice of the mahamudra lineage. your mind is quite calm. without disappointment. We have to let everything settle peacefully. In that state of consciousness. and what is the relationship between mahamudra empowerment and mahamudra practice? Rinpoche: Mahamudra empowerment. you might not manage to do that. When people say mahamudra they usually tend to exclude the yidams. without being proud. And then we rest in this state of mind. but in a healthy. but limitless clarity.
dont we? We have to purify the negativity in our minds. And also. Then. . Vajrasattva. So. guru yoga. it is a perfect practice for a beginner. . this is how they are taught [i. That is how the four foundations are taught. the more problems you seem to get. when there is the merit. You can call that mahamudra meditation. But that doesnt mean that kindness brings problems. So then. When you look at mahamudra you have to see the whole thing. They are four totally self-contained and complete practices. in the mandala practice. The mandala offering is practiced for the accumulation of merit and wisdom. It is by itself a complete practice. These teachings are so abundant. and then the accumulation of merit and wisdom. from all the bodhisattvas. but with no strings attached. in this kind of organized system]. some people say that the more kind you are. all the mahamudra lineage gurus. mandala. therefore. the merit is limitless. And deity empowerments like the Karma Pakshi Empowermentwhich is actually a guru yoga empowerment. one receives empowerment. they are also practiced for accumulation and also in order to attain realization. Vajrasattva is practiced second because it doesnt require so much physical activity. After that. first there is physical.. We It is guaranteed that you will not fall asleep while doing prostrations. But the practice is more purification-oriented. the most important thing to understand is that you have all the authority to say this prayer. therefore. That process is practiced principally for the development of the wisdom accumulation. If one practices only prostrations forever. I have read each sentence to you one by one. and in between. the mandala offering is practiced for the accumulation of merit. but not just for purification. we accumulate merit in order to obtain wisdom. from the protectors. everybody who is here. That is the ground or the basis of our practice. having supplicated them with great devotion. we offer the whole universe to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. And it is guaranteed that you will not fall asleep while doing prostrations. When we offer to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. From all the buddhas. because somebody might have missed part of it. . if you get hold of the text. then we receive the wisdom accumulation on top of it. You can really feel that you are practicing. from all the sources of refuge. The activity is more mental and verbal. all of the various practices are the practice of mahamudra in the mahamudra lineage. It means that merit is lacking and. wisdom is hard to obtain. one can attain enlightenment through that. a deity empowerment. Question: Rinpoche. As I mentioned earlier. relatively speaking. The prostration practice comes first. Its aim is the purification of more subtle. And I can even read it one more time for everybody. may say SHENPEN ÖSEL 57 . positive energies and positive mental attitudes and attributes. there is no power behind it.e. how does one learn to practice? Rinpoche: After receiving something like this. and a protector empowerment all in oneis also an aspect of the mahamudra tradition. inner obscurations of mind. but starting from the four foundations of mahamudra and continuing all the way to the realization of buddhahood. And so one gets discouraged. because we have to accumulate merit in order to obtain wisdom. because beginners find it a little hard to sit. the objects to whom we offer are beyond any limitation. all are complete practices. it is a perfect practice for a beginner offer more than we can ever imagine. surrounded by all the sources of refuge. verbal. Therefore. and mental purification. we have to accumulate positiveness. yesobserving the nature of mind. from all the deities.just good-for-one-thing practices either. Since the power of compassion principally arises from deep and extensive wisdom. After the mandala offering we practice the guru yoga. organized as preliminary practices to go further into the teachings of the mahamudra lineage. having received this mahamudra teaching. In that respect. In that way. Prostrations are practiced for purification. Without merit. [laughter] You see? In that respect. physical purification is quite an effective form of practice for a person. how these came to be divided into four practices was like this: In the beginning we have to purify our mental continuum of cognitive and emotional obscurations. Prostrations. It is not just one essential formless meditation practice that is mahamudra. and from the dharma. One visualizes the buddha Vajradhara high above ones head. So. Now.
In this way. Try to understand it deeper and deeper.D. I have been saying it. Just to say it once is not enough. I dont mean to be presumptuous. theres no rush. And each day. when it comes to our own standard. if you want to be involved 58 SHENPEN ÖSEL The nature of a prayer is such that if you say it ten times wholeheartedly. I think Im a firstlevel bodhisattva. If you just say. each time you are saying it more deeply. and I cant say that I have completed it. the ultimate way of saying it. then we have to be quite honest and quite sincere. You will be able to say it in English and it will be full and complete. I respect their honesty. But the meaning is here in English. there is nothing wrong with being humble. each time you are saying it more deeply in the mahamudra lineage and practice further. you know the meaning of the prayer. and also humble. definitely not. So each day I say it. If you try to finish too quicklyprostrations. If in the future the English translation and transmission is made properly by one who has it. you can learn about this as you have time to go through everything that you have learned. really. and the translation group that worked under him. If your prostrations take ten years. you know. Each time one says it. I have found a wonderful translation of this prayer. thats fine. All right. which most people overlookthey just think condescendingly that person only knows how to say MANISbut. And if you recite it a hundred times wholeheartedly. You can do that on the side. This is very important. Im not a first-level bodhisattva. The transmission of the sound is actually in the Tibetan language. even if youre doing some other practices. nothing less than buddha. Of course. this has a really wonderful blessing. okay. it doesnt mean that you have to be ashamed. This is done by our Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. then that practice is a complete practice. So. Whereas. cant you? Then. But the practice itself is a complete practice. it is not enough. for exampleit doesnt mean anything. lets dedicate the merit. There is much more in it than one first understands.the prayer. very honest. We should never judge. have you ever known an advanced practitioner. and they say. Lots of times people come to me. So. one goes deeper into it. But then. then I think you should do the four foundations first. Just the word buddha itself goes deeper and deeper. [laughter] What Im supposed to be. who admits to having experienced complete realization? Rinpoche: Admits? I have met so many! [laughter] I have met so many who say they are buddha. So. Its not a beginner thing. then. a master. Thats why we repeat it. Since then. if you really do prostrations properly. Try to recollect the meaning and try to mean what you say. ten million times is not enough. OM MANI PEME HUNG. That will be the ultimate of my simple prayer. There is no end. it can lead you to enlightenment. But to really get the real realization of it. The simple prayer: I take refuge in buddha. each time you understand it more deeply. You have that authority. Thats when I was recognized as me. I say. I think its quite good. we all should have sacred outlook. You should learn about the four foundations. every practice is total on its own. and do them clearly and carefully. I take refuge in dharma. Really. For now. It doesnt make us less than buddha. with due respect. Then besides that. if you say it wholeheartedly it goes deeper and deeper. One time is not enough. But. You can even say it in English. Well. try to remember it. to get a Ph. what do you think? [laughter] They are being very honest. once will be enough. Question: Rinpoche. as you say it. So thats how you can practice at the beginning. I take refuge in sanghaI have been saying this since I was eighteen months old. Take all the time you need. The prostrations are a total practice. we know we are buddha. but I dont have the transmission to give it in English. I mean. Even if you just say. So how can I know whether or not you are a first-level bodhisattva. because the nature of a prayer is such that if you say it ten times wholeheartedly. I will complete the ultimate way of saying it when I attain realizationwhen I become a buddha. The Prayer of Mahamudra was translated by Lama Tashi Namgyal. If your prostrations are finished in one month. not as some kind of kindergarten of vajrayana Buddhism. You should look at it as a complete practice. then it will be the most convenient for everybody. OM MANI PEME HUNG. degree. if even you dont know? [laughter] Of course. . Even a million. if they say many mantras. In our heart. that in itself is a complete practice.
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If there are any among our readers who would like to contribute to Shenpen Ösels efforts to make the dharma available to practitioners by transcribing. by Shantideva. as freshly translated by the Padmakara Translation Group.m.att. The Way of the Bodhisattva. Chenrezig practice SUNDAYS 9-11 a.-2:00 p. Formless sitting meditation and teaching (Lama Tashi is currently teaching the Bodhicaryavatara.-12:30 p.m. because it is by understanding and practicing the dharma that. Naropa was the guru of Marpa. Frackiewicz . please let us know. and. His subject will be the mahamudra instructions of the great Indian mahasiddha Naropa. Watch these pages for further information or contact: Kagyu Shenpen Ösel Chöling 4322 Burke Avenue North Seattle.m. we are liberated entirely from suffering and its causes and are then able to be of great benefit to others. our lives are improved and we enjoy greater happiness. I New KSOC Meditation and Class Schedule SATURDAYS 8-10 a.m. in English. Formless sitting meditation and teaching (Lama Tashi is currently teaching The Essential Points of Creation and Completion That Will Benefit the Beginner Who Has Entered the Path by Jamgön Kongtrul the Great. in the short run. You would need to have access to a computer that is wired for email and a transcribing machine. Chenrezig practice 11:30 a.) 1:30-3:00 p. but it wouldnt matter where in North America you live.Thrangu Rinpoche to Teach Naropas Mahamudra Instructions he Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche will be teaching in Seattle June 2-9.m.m.m. Guru Rinpoche practice 10:30 a.) 62 SHENPEN ÖSEL Photo by Ryszard K. WA 98103 USA Telephone: 206-632-1439 E-mail: ltashi@worldnet. We can send you the tapes and you can attach your finished product to an e-mail message and send it to us. who was the guru of Milarepa. Transcribing is a very good way to learn the dharma and be of benefit to others at the same time. in the long run.net The Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche T Would You Like to Transcribe? t is said in the dharma that the greatest act of generosity is to give the dharma.
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WA PERMIT NO. Seattle. but of whatever level of dharma that you can think of. The Third Gyalwa Karmapa writes about almost every important point of dharma not only of mahamudra. Frackiewicz In the Prayer of Mahamudra. WA 98103 BULK RATE U. His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche Kagyu Shenpen Ösel Chöling 4322 Burke Ave.S. 1257 . POSTAGE PAID SEATTLE.Photo by Ryszard K. N.
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