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His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche's

Teaching on Milarepa
by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche
Oral translation by Tashi Jamyangling
May 11-15, 2004
Vancouver, Canada
All the Dharma friends who have come here to receive the
teaching is indeed a wonderful thing to happen. To you all,
with joy, I welcome you and wish you Tashi Delek.
The sublime Dharma is the words/teachings of the Buddha.
What is sublime Dharma? Sublime Dharma consists of
loving kindness and compassion. When we say loving
kindness and compassion, we think of all sentient beings as
boundless as space, we treat all sentient beings as our
children and we think of ourselves as the mother.
Following the Buddhist teaching, what a practitioner
necessarily has to do is to try to alleviate all sufferings of
mother sentient beings. Even though we individuals are
seemingly insignificant, there is no limitation as to how far
and wide we can generate our mind. We can reach out to
all sentient beings of the three dhatus. Therefore, it is not
an insignificant thing. It is a very, very significant thing.
Buddhas teachings consists of 84 000 heaps and when
we go on to practise these teachings, we do so in four
different ways. Imparting the Dharma knowledge, listening
or learning the Dharma teachings, meditating on what is
learned and then actually practicing the Dharma teachings.
When we actually go about practicing the Dharma, we start
with taking refuge. Why do we have to take refuge?
Taking refuge is the foundation to the Dharma practice. We
take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Taking
refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is the three
outer refuge. We take refuge in the Buddha who is the

historical Buddha, Gautama Buddha. We take refuge in his

teachings consisting of 84 000 heaps. When we say 84
000 heaps, it sounds really as a tremendous amount and
overwhelming. But when you sit down and practise the
essence of these teaching, it is not so vast at all. In fact,
the entire 84 000 heaps of Buddhas teaching can be
summarized into loving kindness and compassion. We try
to generate loving kindness and compassion or bodhicitta
where there is no bodhicitta.
Once bodhicitta is
arisen/generated in ones mind stream, we try to ensure
that it is not depleting/decreasing but increasing higher
and higher. That is the fruit of, the result of, the essence of
84 000 heaps of teachings. We talk about the essence of all
the Buddhas teaching is bodhicitta or loving kindness and
compassion. We can even simplify that, in summary, we
can repeat what Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo replied to a foreign
Dharma practitioner who met Khenpo some years ago in
Tibet and the practitioner said, The Buddhas teaching is
so vast, so overwhelming, can you please teach me one
simple essence, the summary of the whole teaching.
Khenpo replied, It is very easy. The quintessential
teaching is compassion. Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo is indeed a
fully Enlightened being. When you actually sit down and
practise the Dharma, what you practise is compassion or
you practise love.
Sublime Dharma practice means that you have to have
loving kindness and compassion in your mind stream. And
if you progress in the practice of bodhicitta, you will come
to something called untargeted/impartial compassion, that
is, you would treat all sentient beings like a mother would
to her own children. When you have that kind of loving
kindness and compassion to all, that is the untargeted
compassion. Right now, we have loving kindness and
compassion but it is only towards those who are close to
our heart. It is biased. We have loving kindness and
compassion towards our children, family members because
of attachment. The other side of the coin is that we have
aversion, in the worst scenario, we have hatred. So, that is

dualistic. When we practise Dharma whoever practise

loving kindness and compassion, that person becomes a
Sangha. A Sangha would not cause pain and suffering to
others, but instead, will benefit to whatever extent one
When you take refuge, it is important to understand that
the three Jewels are really in ones own mind stream.
When you actually practise the Dharma, you have the
potential to reach Enlightenment because the three Jewels
are within ones own mind stream. When you reach
Enlightenment? The Tibetan word for Enlightenment is
Sang-ge, made up of two separate words. Sang is to
awaken, so which component of oneself awakens? It is the
mind which is awoken. Before one reaches Enlightenment
or mind is awoken, that mind stream will have attachment,
the notion that I am the center of all things. This
association, the mind stream is polluted with this clinging
to I and self. Whatever activities we do, there is always I or
my or mine as the central focus. When I pick up my cup
and take a seep from my cup, I have this tendency that the
cup is mine and the water is for me and this goes on on a
daily basis, at all time but no one is really consciously
aware of this. So, in order to reach Enlightenment or to
awaken the mind stream, you have to dismantle the
attachment. The only way you can do that is to generate
loving kindness and compassion. When you are able to do
this, the mind becomes the Buddha. When mind is
unobscured by ego clinging or self attachment, then the
next word for Enlightenment is Ge . Ge is to expand, to
reach out, to pervade. When the mind is not obscured, it
out to all, it pervades everything. That state of mind in the
Dzonchen language is primordially pure. Then the mind
stream is fully awoken and as a result, to reach out to all
becomes like the space. This definition is given by

In some religions, they tell you that sentient beings cannot

become Enlightened beings. That is a very narrow-minded
view. Gautama Buddha teaches us that if you put in
enough effort, you too will reach Enlightenment. The
reason is that all sentient beings have Buddha nature and
Buddha potential. Gautama Buddha, being omniscient,
knows that all sentient beings have the same Buddha
nature and will enable them to reach the same kind of
Enlightenment that Buddha himself has reached. The
difference between a fully Enlightened Buddha and a
sentient being who is in samsara, if we use an analogy, is
as the difference between water and ice. The essence of
ice is water except that it is frozen. When the water is
frozen, it is called ice. When ice thaws, we call it liquid
water. Both water and ice have the same essence.
Sentient beings in cyclic existence, what and who is
responsible for it? It is like an ice sheet that has built up in
our mind stream that is responsible. We normally dont
seem to be aware of it, but the root cause of our existence
in samsara is attachment. If you read the thirty-seven
Boddhisattva practices, it teaches you that the root cause
of all pain and suffering is ones desire for ones own
happiness at the expense of others. We refer to afflictive
emotions sometimes we say three poisons, sometimes we
say five poisons. If we go into details, it refers to 84 000
types of afflictive emotions. The driving force or the root
cause of all these afflictive emotions is attachment. If you
try to look at that, attachment, the root cause of evils, you
will not be able to see it. It is intangible just as you cannot
touch the freezing cold weather in winter time. You go out
there, the weather is so cold, everything freezes, you feel it
at the tips of your fingers, your toes, your ears etc.
Moreover, you have a tendency of shrinking, shivering. You
do feel the effect, but if you say, show me winter, there is
nothing that you can hold onto and say that this is winter.
Likewise, attachment is something that you cannot hold
and say that this is attachment. But the effect of
attachment is consuming your mind stream. So we can

more or less say that attachment is the harsh winter

climate where everything freezes. Only the Enlightened
one, the Buddha, is able to see this.
Attachment has to do with self, I. One disciple came to a
lama and said, Lama, you keep on teaching me that I
should dispel attachment and self. Where is self? I cannot
find it. The lama said, Why do you come here today?
The disciple said, I came to receive some teachings. The
lama said, Precisely. You said that I came to receive
teachings. That is attachment. That is self.
We are talking about attachment and self and we said that
we have to dismantle attachment. The need to dismantle
attachment is not seen by anyone except the wise Buddha.
Whatever kind of pain and suffering in this world, it comes
about because of our attachment, aversion and ignorance.
Whatever kind of pain and suffering exist in samsara, it
comes about because of these three poisons. It was the
Buddha who saw the root causes of all the pain and
suffering in samsara. It was Buddha who said that the
antidote weapon against these three poisons is altruistic
mind. If we need to dismantle attachment, aversion and
ignorance, we have to have an altruistic mind. In the
Buddhas teaching, he compares the power of sun and
bodhicitta. Buddha said, the power of bodhicitta, the
radiance of bodhicitta is by far brighter than the radiance
of 100 000 suns. All sentient beings do not need any pain
and suffering. All sentient beings aspire to have happiness
and the causes of happiness. When an individual is
undergoing a lot of pain and suffering, a person can sit in
the sun for a long, long time but the light is not going to
alleviate pain and suffering. Conversely, when you are
undergoing pain and suffering, if you either meet a really
close friend or hear his or her voice or receive a letter of
some sort, immediately, it will dispel the darkness of
suffering in your mind stream. Why? Because of love and
compassion that exist between the two of you. If love and
compassion between two persons can make that kind of
difference, then not to speak of the love and compassion

that exist between ten people or hundred people. Then try

to imagine the kind of power that it would have when you
have loving kindness and compassion towards all mother
sentient beings of the three realms. That is why we say the
power of bodhicitta is by far greater than the power of 100
000 suns. This is just talking, you need to have the
experiential understanding of the power of bodhicitta. You
have to turn inwardly and experience the power of
Where there is loving kindness and compassion in ones
mind stream, there is the absence of attachment and
aversion. Just as the sunlight melts away the snow flakes,
loving kindness and compassion will melt away attachment
and aversion. When the mind stream is filled with loving
kindness and compassion and when there is the absence of
attachment, aversion and ignorance, then one will have an
experiential understanding of the innate nature of the
mind. Then you are actually experiencing the absolute
truth. When you have loving kindness and compassion in
your mind stream, you are not going to cause pain and
suffering to others, but you are going to do anything
possible to benefit the others. When you do not cause pain
and suffering to others and you benefit others, you yourself
become a Sangha. When you become a Sangha, you have
done away with attachment. That is why taking refuge is so
important. All these are within the topic of taking refuge.
Now, we talk about the three inner refuges. All the three
inner refuges are not outside but within ones own mind
stream. How do we actually practise this? Milarepa said
that we have to master the view, meditation, conduct and
fruition. These are the four different paths. First, we will
deal with the Buddhist view. In doing so, we have to look at
two aspects of doing it, the outer mastering and the inner
There are three groups of sentient beings. There are
sentient beings who have a great deal of mental capacity,
there are sentient beings who have average capacity and
there are sentient beings who have feeble mental capacity.
Why are they different? From where does the disparity

come? The differences arise because of ones own past

deeds. In your many lifetimes, if you had exposure to
Dharma teaching and practice, the result is that you are
blessed with a higher level of understanding in this life. If
you had average exposure to Dharma and practice in your
previous life, you will have an average understanding in
this life. If you had just received refuge ordination in former
life/lives, the result is that you will have leaning towards
the Dharma even though maybe you do not have a
profound understanding of the Dharma. Although ones
own ability to understand the Dharma is kind of
predetermined by the amount of exposure that you had in
your previous life/lives, all these three different categories
of mental capacity are very much prevalent in one beings
current life. That is to say, when one enters the path of
Dharma as a novice, there would not be a great deal of
appreciation or understanding of the Dharma. So we can
classify this period as a period when one does not have a
great deal of intelligence or intellectual capacity. As you
keep on learning and practicing, then you will open up and
you will have a greater mental capacity to understand.
When you receive a lot of teachings and when you do a lot
of meditation etc, you will be at the level of those who
have a greater degree of understanding and mental
We are dealing with the Buddhist view. Mastering the
Dharma practice, for someone belonging to the group
having the least capacity and consequently have the least
capacity of understanding the Dharma, they should master
the thorough understanding of cause and effect
relationship. The cause being attachment and the effect or
the result being pain and suffering that exist in samsara.
Therefore when you understand this relationship, you will
understand that there is a need to give up afflictive
emotions which bring about pain and suffering. How can
you give up afflictive emotions? You can do that by making
proper use of such mental events as mindfulness,
watchfulness and heedfulness. Beings with the least
mental capacity will strive to reach self-liberation. Self-

liberation can only be realized if you have the

understanding of cause and effect relationship. There is
the outer cause-and-effect relationship and the inner
cause-and- effect relationship. The inner cause and
effect/result is very important. Whenever there are
afflictive emotions in your mind stream, if you aspire to
reach self-liberation, you have to get rid of these afflictive
emotions. Whenever there are afflictive emotions in your
mind stream, these afflictive emotions will serve as a seed.
When there are seeds sown, it is a certainty that sooner
and later, there will be blades of grass growing. It is just
like a seed of flower, one day it will bloom. So, in order to
deal with this, you have to be your own witness, your own
judge, and you have to be true to yourself and try to get rid
of these afflictive emotions. When you find out that all the
pain and suffering that one faces in samsara come about
because of afflictive emotions and then when you
investigate further, one will find that hatred for example,
will cause ones rebirth or ones experiencing of the
suffering of hell. When you know the reason why one faces
certain pain and suffering, one will come to the conclusion
that one has to detach oneself from attachment. In the
case of the persons who have the least exposure to the
Dharma, through reasoning and through ones own
experience, one by one, one will be able to find out the
reasons why there are pain and suffering. If for no other
reason, by fearing the consequence of unleashing negative
emotions, one will be able to then cease to have
attachment. The root cause of everything is attachment
and aversion. When we say attachment, aversion,
ignorance etc, really, it is the attachment to self. When you
minimize or do away with this very strong attachment and
aversion, you will start to see the true nature of the mind.
When you start seeing a glimpse of the true nature of the
mind, you will realize that obscurations, pain and suffering
are all brought about by attachment to self. When you have
this understanding, you will find out the need for
bodhicitta, loving kindness and compassion, or benefiting
others or altruism. But in the case of beings with the least

amount of exposure to the Dharma, you begin by trying to

do a service to yourself. Try to alleviate your own pain and
suffering and gradually, you will find out that the way to
alleviate your own suffering is by being kind, gentle, and
compassionate to others. By being that, you will discover
that you need to detach from attachment to self.Those who
belong to the average group of beings with average mental
capacity should have a complete understanding of the fact
that all sentient beings are indeed ones own parents from
the beginningless time, it has always been that way. What
it means is that it is the view of those who practise, who
walk the path of Bodhisattva, this is dealing with loving
kindness and compassion.So if you master in the view that
is suitable for the first two groups of beings, especially in
the case of the average mental capacity who have
thorough understanding of how all sentient beings are
ones own parents etc, then at this level of understanding,
there would be very little attachment and aversion in ones
mind stream. Then there would be the presence of a state
of mind that is balanced, this is called equanimity. When
you have equanimity, then the state of mind will be at
peace, stable. When the state of mind is at peace and
stable, a subtle conceptual thought or subtle afflictive
emotions would not be able to shake the stabilized state of
mind. Gradually, this stabilized state of mind will become
like space which is free of the four limitations or the four
extremes (as summed up by eternalism and nihilism). The
mind which is free of four extremes, is a mind which sees
itself or its own innate nature. When you see the innate
nature of the mind itself, that state of mind is not dualistic
(self and others). In this state of mind, you will experience
the oneness of sentient beings and enlightened beings.
There will be no attachment, no aversion. Where there is no
attachment, the mind is set free. It becomes like the all
pervading space, free from limitations or extremes. Then
that state of mind is the state of mind of the beings
belonging to the group which has superior mental capacity.

The Eight Ornaments of Profound Meaning

To cut through exaggeration from within
Is this not view not spoiled by any extreme?
Dress it in scriptures, adorn it with reasoning
And this will serve as its special embellishment.
Rinpoche is going to teach us one of Milarepas songs
called The Eight Ornaments of Profound Meaning. First,
Rinpoche is going to explain the view and the first priority
(essential element). These priorities are labeled poetically
as ornaments.
Milarepa based on eight different
ornaments to help us to understand the definitive/ultimate
meaning. The first ornament is Buddhas canonical
teachings (scriptures) and ones own analytical deduction
People talked about the four extremes. We can summarize
it into eternalism and nihilism or affirmative and negative.
We cannot fall into one extreme by saying that yes,
everything exist independently. If you say that because
within all phenomena, whether it is the outer cosmos or
everything that is subsumed under, not one single thing
exists inherently or independently without relying on other
factors and conditions. On the other hand, if you have a
nihilistic view of all phenomena, this is also extreme
because all phenomena and everything that we experience
are actually the creation of the mind.
The four extremes really mean eternalistic view and
nihilistic view. This is talking about the innate nature. When
we talk about the innate nature, we have to be definitive or
absolute about it. We can do that based on a) quotations
from the teachings of the Buddha, and b) through our own
analyses and experiences. We cannot be definitive about it
without both of these two components, one without the
other will simply not do. We are talking about the Buddhist
view which is beyond all extremes and to come to this kind
of profound and definitive meaning, you have to rely on the

Buddhas teachings as well as your own experiential

understanding and analyses. Buddha said, The profound
and definitive meaning of the innate nature is profound,
composite. These are the characteristics or attributes of
the innate nature.
This comes directly from a quotation of the Buddha. Now if
we analyze it through our experiential understanding of the
innate nature, we can only do so by the mind looking at the
mind itself. When we do so, it will appear to us as if there
is one aspect of the mind as conceptual thought and the
other aspect of the mind which sees the rising of the
conceptual thought. It appears to us as if these are
dualistic. Conceptual thought which is the seeing and the
see-er, the watchful aspect of the mind, which does the
seeing. Now we investigate what this aspect of the mind
which sees the conceptual thought (the see-er) is all
about. When we do that, the identity of that particular
aspect of the mind has gone into emptiness. It becomes
like the space, it cannot be labeled. It has disappeared.
Now we have to stay in that state of mind, a state of mind
which cannot be labeled, cannot be named, cannot be
identified as such, but it is there and it does not have an
independent existence. That state of mind is is not;
affirmative yet negative. That state of mind is the mind
which created both samsara and nirvana. It is not
something that there is, it is not something that there is
not. We cannot put a label to it. Let it be left in its natural
state. When left to its natural state, it is unfabricated or
uncontrived. To come to conclusion to the definitive
profound meaning, we need the direct teaching from the
Buddha, and our own experiential understanding of the
subject matter. It is kind of easy when we look externally at
all the phenomena and to come to a conclusion that all
phenomena are the creation of ones own mind.
Everything we see outside is composite and come about
due to the conglomeration of causes and conditions. It is
even easier when we rely on science as far as matter is

concerned. However, when it comes to the inner mind

though, it is somewhat more difficult.
When the conceptual thoughts dissolve in the state
of Dharmakaya (Buddhahood),
Is this not the self-arisen/self-originated meditation?
Dress it up in the realm of experience
And this will serve as its special embellishment.
Second, Rinpoche talks about meditation and the priority
here is experience. We understand that all phenomena,
both in samsara and nirvana, are the creations of the
mind. First, the conceptual thought arises, when we treat
what is arisen as conceptual thought as having inherent
existence, one thing leads to the other. The cup, for
example, first you need to have an idea conceptual
thought, and it evolves from there. It is the creation of
mind. So is our very physical body. But conceptual thought
does not have its independent existence without relying on
other causes and conditions. When you do not follow these
conceptual thoughts as having independent existence,
what the root text says is that these conceptual thoughts
will dissipate. How? Just like waves arising from the ocean
will dissolve into the ocean itself. When you understand
that conceptual thoughts are without reality,
without inherent existence, then what happen to
conceptual thought is that it will dissolve/dissipate into
where it comes from, which is the Dharmakaya state of
Buddhahood. Conceptual thought does not exist
independently. Conceptual thoughts are not reality, they
are merely the manifestations of the innate nature and do
not exist independently. So, if you do not follow them, they
will just disappear from wherever they came from, just like
waves disappearing into the ocean. This is the meaning of
the first two lines.
The next two lines: we talked about conceptual thoughts
dissolving in the Dharmakaya state, isnt that the
spontaneously arisen meditation? This line means

experience based on understanding is of priority. To come

to that kind of definitive meaning, you need to have the
words of the Buddha as well as the basis of your own
experiential understanding. Yes, you can analyze and you
can rely on science etc, but most important of all, it should
be something that is based on your own experience. We
may ask, How does the conceptual thought dissolve into
the Dharmakaya state of Buddhahood? If we try to
analyze these things and get into a zillion number of nittygritty things, it will only confuse the mind. If someone tries
to cut a tree by cropping off all the branches and leaves of
a gigantic tree, it is going to be time consuming, confusing
and ineffective. So, if one wants to get rid of all the
branches and the tree altogether, we may as well cut and
crop off the tree trunk so that you have taken care of
everything. Likewise, instead of going through all different
ways of analyzing as to how the conceptual thought
dissolves in the Dharmakaya state of Buddahood, the most
powerful thing is to base everything on your own
experiential understanding and your own experience. This
is the second ornament. Milarepa said, In order to come to
the definitive understanding of the point, instead of putting
it into very eloquent words, verbalizing it and talking about
many fancy things, simply try to understand the main
point. So it is the same thing as cutting the tree trunk
rather than cutting the branches and leaves.
If the understanding of the true nature is not based on your
own experiential understanding, but it is based on
academic understanding only, then what is going to
happen is that you know how to say, All conceptual
thought arises from the true nature of mind and dissipates
into the true nature of the mind. But that is all. The
negative side of having only the academic understanding is
that whenever you generate a very strong negative
emotion, like anger, you are going to unleash that anger,
create negative karma just the way you used to do before.
Nothing has changed and you are going to create the same
kind of negative karma, same kind of consequences that

you have to face. But on the contrary, if it is based on your

own experiential understanding, then when a very strong
anger arises, immediately, you will know that it is not a
very good thing to unleash negative emotions. You will
meditate on the nature of that particular negative emotion
and in the process that negative emotion will have
disappeared. When the negative emotion disappears, then
you will say Yes, I understand that anger does not have
inherent existence. Then next you are going to say, If
anger does not have inherent existence nor do any other
afflictive emotions. All afflictive emotions are empty of
inherent existence. Then this is going to benefit you when
you continue to practise what you understand.
The sixfold collection purified where it stands
Is this not the conduct of equal taste?
Dress it up in a sense of right timing
And this will serve as its special embellishment.
The third verse of teaching is dealing with conduct and the
priority (ornament) is timing. In dealing with conduct, the
root text said, When the grouping of six aspects of
consciousnesses is purified where it stands, isnt that called
the conduct of equal taste? The six senses are eyes, ear,
nose, tongue, body and mind. Their associated objects, six
sense objects, are form, sound, smell, taste, touch and all
phenomena. Based on the six senses with the presence of
the six sense objects, mental factor such as consciousness
arises. The six aspects of consciousness are (eyeconsciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness,
tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness and mindconsciousness). When the six aspects of consciousness are
purified where they stand, there is no question of
attachment. Then there is no question of lingering in
samsara. We are talking about having the experiential
understanding of the innate nature. The conduct of one
taste, one taste so that whenever you see an image, there
is no question of attachment to the good image or aversion
to the not so good image; the same thing applies to sound,

smell, taste, touch and everything. There is complete

oneness, no good, no bad, no parallel nor opposite. No
question of beautiful and not beautiful and that is called
equal taste. As to Milarepa, there is no difference between
samsara and nirvana, it is of one taste. To him, if a child is
crying here, he knows that it is unreal as there is no
independent inherent existence, it is like a dream. So when
we talk about purifying the six consciousnesses, this is
what it is about.
We are talking about conduct and in the context of eight
ornaments; right timing is the essential element (ornament
or priority). Right timing is very crucial. When you are
practicing all the things that we mentioned, the purification
of the six consciousnesses and reaching a level where you
can have one taste, the question is when you should
practise the one taste. Now timing is important. If you do
not have the experiential understanding of the innate
nature of all things, you will not be able to understand what
one taste is. Good taste and not so good taste in food, for
example, these are all delusion and delusion, by definition,
is the cause of pain and suffering. When it comes to
clothing for example, there is good and not so good dress,
warm or not so warm, all these attributes that we attach to
our clothes. All these are in reality conceptual thoughts.
When you are used to certain food and you are habituated
with that food, the taste is acquired and that taste is stuck
with you. It is almost like an addiction. You got to have that
taste and you call it good taste. But if you look at the
nature of that good taste, there is not a thing called good
taste which exists independently out there. There is not a
thing called bad taste in food which exists independently.
The timing part, you have to practise this one taste
whenever you have the experiential understanding of the
true nature. But if you do not have inner realization and
you went out there and drank heavily, the
result would be drunkenness. It is not a good timing. We
are talking here about conduct. It has to be at the right
timing. When you are realized to the level where you will

not be intoxicated at all and you will not lose the mental
alertness, it is perfectly fine to drink and it is of one taste.
However, it is not a good timing if you are not realized. It is
fine for a realized person such as Naropa to kill sentient
beings (fishes) since he reached the kind of realization
where his mind and the mind of other sentient beings
merge into one and he could elevate their consciousness to
the level of Buddhas pureland for example. So all things
are about timing and you can practise one taste only when
the timing is right and when you are able to practise this
one taste. When all the six sense consciousnesses are
purified, that is to say, complete and utter pure vision, and
when you have reached that very high level of attainment,
a person who is beyond good and bad, then whatever that
person does is fine as he or she sees everything as pure
vision, it is now the time which enable you to do whatever
you want. About timing, again, whether
the thing you do is virtuous or not, depends on the right
time and wrong time. This applies to giving charity or
Dhana; there is also a timing factor here. The
Boddhisattvas had no problem in cutting off their body
parts and feeding the hungry animals, for example,
because the timing for them was right as they were in that
state of attainment where they could do that. If we try to
replicate what they did, it will be tragedy. If we cut off our
hands, it is going to hurt us and there will be consequences
to it since timing is not right. So, instead of doing any good,
it becomes an obstacle to our practice. For example, many
of you who aspire to go for long retreat, again, there is
right time and wrong time as mentioned here. Therefore,
you should weigh all pros and cons, to see whether you are
likely to be able to succeed if you went on a retreat. Also
find out if you are able to make ends meet. And
emotionally and otherwise, when you think it is the right
time, then it is a good thing to embark on whatever
Dharma practice you want to do.
When experiences of emptiness bliss well up
Is this not the point of whispered lineage

Dress it in four empowering abhishekas
And this will serve as its special embellishment.
I (Tashi Jamyangling) translated the text as follows: When
experiences of emptiness and bliss are generated, is that
not called the pith instructions passed from mouth to ear?
We are talking about the union of emptiness and bliss.
Bliss is generated when you do practices like nadi, prajna
and bindu. Bliss can also be generated when you do
creation stages of practice. When you say the union of
emptiness and bliss, the essence of bliss is emptiness,
essence of emptiness is bliss. All kind of contaminated
bliss is subject to changes, however, the non-contaminated
bliss, the absolute bliss is called the Great Bliss, it is the
kind of bliss that is devoid of pain and suffering and this
kind of bliss can be called the pitch instructions (oral
lineage) passed from mouth to ear. If you practise nadi,
prajna and bindu, you will generate bliss. If you experience
the true nature of the mind however, you will experience
the Great bliss. The true nature of the mind itself is the
Great Bliss.
When you generate bliss and emptiness, why is it that it
has to tie necessarily with the unwritten pitch instructions
passed from masters mouth to your ear? Bliss and
emptiness are generated (for example, by practising nadi,
prajna, bindu or the creation stage of practice or
completion stage of practice) because of the help of the
pitch instructions given by the master. If you are going to
generate the bliss and emptiness because of the pitch
instructions given by ones own master, it must be
connected to the bestowal of the four empowerments.
Four empowerments, the first one is creation stage of the
practice (vase empowerment), second, the completion
stage of the practice (secret empowerment), third, the
empowerment of the mind (crystal empowerment), fourth,
the essence kaya empowerment (primordial wisdom
empowerment). When the empowerment of the creation

stage (the first empowerment) is given, it introduces you to

the fact that your five aggregates or skandas, five senses,
five sense bases are primordially pure. The second
empowerment introduces you to the fact that all your
subtle nerves, channels, wind, bindu, everything is
primordially pure. By giving such empowerment, it enables
one to reach the state of sambogakaya, the state of
Buddhahood after death and before rebirth. Third
empowerment introduces you to the qualities of ones mind
and the fourth is the introduction to the true nature of the
mind. So again to recap, the arising of the union of
emptiness and bliss is called the pitch instructions given
from master to disciple and this must be linked with the
four empowerments.
There is also a method to introduce mahamudra first, the
generation of bliss and emptiness through the practice of
nadi, prajna and bindu and then step by step attaining the
attainment of the four yogas in the Kagyupa tradition. The
four yogas are one point, uncontrived/unfabricated, one
taste and no meditation. The four yogas are not part of the
Six Yogas of Naropa, rather, the four yogas are the four
levels of meditation attainment. So, the fourth ornament is
empowerment, it deals directly with the esoteric tantric
practice. Empowerment means the tantric practice that
enables one to reach Enlightenment in one lifetime. This is
the specialty of tantric practice. If one can practise it
according to the tantric teachings, all the five sense objects
need not be given up. In tantric practice, the sense of
giving up does not arise; rather the key word is
transformation, transformation of the five sense objects
into the five primordial wisdoms. The five sense objects are
taken into the path to reach enlightenment. This is what
tantric practices is all about and this is what empowerment
is all about. Empowerment in this case means the tantric
practice. When you receive empowerment, with that comes
the teaching and after that you will have some
understanding of what tantric practices is all about.

What actually happens when you receive empowerment is

that, one will then expose to the teaching of pure vision.
When you are able to practise pure vision and that at all
times aided by alert mind, one will always view oneself as
deity and others as deities as well. At that time, the
question of attachment and aversion would not arise, which
means that there will not be dualism, self and others.
Without dualistic mind, with pure vision, then whatever
kind of sense-object that you make use of, as long as it is
done without parting from the deity, pure vision, there is no
cause to habituate yourself. Normally what happens is,
without that kind of pure vision, first you are attracted to
the sense object, then you make use of that and you kind
of feel good about it and you repeat it, it becomes a habit,
almost like an addiction which result in bondage in
samsara. When you have this deity vision, pure vision of
self and others, even when you make use of the sense
object, the half you are using it for your sustenance but the
other half you are offering it to the deity. This will not bind
you into immobility. You will not be in samsaric bondage.
In order to practise this kind of teaching, you need to have
a spiritual master who is completely qualified to impart the
teaching and the knowledge which will enable you to
generate the union of bliss and emptiness. From the view
of the disciple, you need to have a great deal of devotion
and faith in the teaching and in your spiritual master. Just
repeat, the keyword here is the pitch instructions that pass
from the masters mouth to the disciples ear (the pitch
instructions pass through the oral lineage). This is a rough
orientation of Milarepas teaching here. Everything cannot
be made explicit and open here because it is the esoteric
aspect of the tantric teaching. Many of you have received
empowerment, it is important that you observe the
samayas or the obligations.
Here it says, these teachings must be practised in the

context of the four empowerments or the practice must be

associated with the four empowerments. Mind and the
samaya or obligation must not part. When we say
obligation of receiving empowerment, we are talking about
pure vision. All the male species must be viewed as
Chenrezig or Avalokitshvara and all the female species
must be viewed as Tara. All sentient beings must be
viewed as dakas and all the female beings must be viewed
as dakinis. Again and again, consistently, you must train
mind to recognize all sentient beings as such. When you
are able to train the mind in this way, whatever daily
activities you conduct, they will all be pure, whatever food
or drink you eat or drink, these are viewed as ganachakra
offerings. All of you must after receiving the tantric
empowerment make effort to practise pure vision. For
example, you have a spouse to whom you have a great
deal of love and affection, you have respect etc. When you
practise pure vision, your practice in this current life will
progress. It will become better and better. In the future,
after you pass away from here because of having practised
pure vision, because of having viewed each other as deity,
that practice will make a indelible imprint in your mind
stream to the extent that in your bardo stage, after death
and before rebirth, instead of remembering your loved one
as mere mortal, you will remember your loved one as your
deity. With that indelible imprint in your mind stream, you
will have the possibility of reaching enlightenment in the
bardo stage because when you come across the image of
that very deity, the opportunity is open for you to reach
enlightenment. When you practise the essence of tantric
practice, experiential understanding of the true nature of
the mind will be clearer and clearer.
When the vivid vision of emptiness unfolds
Is this not the evolution of paths and levels?
Dress it in signs that come while traversing the path
And this will serve as its special embellishment.
When the clarity of emptiness unfolds, isnt that called the

levels of paths and bhumis. When the emptiness of your

mind becomes clearer and clearer, this is what it really
means by bhumis (the level of attainment and paths).
Clarity, is an aspect of the mind which does the detecting
of the arising of the conceptual thought, whether good or
bad. With the detection of the rising of these conceptual
thoughts, especially the afflictive emotions and the very
strong negative emotions, when you ensure that you have
detected these strong emotions and that you are not
overcome by them and do not unleash the negative
emotions, step by step then you progress in the four yogas
(single-pointed, uncontrived, one taste and no meditation),
one by one. For example, when the aspect of your mind
actually sees the true nature of the mind, and then when
you try to stabilize that special insight, it will be the first
level of meditational attainment which is single-pointed.
When you have a taste of that true nature of mind, without
straying away from that experience, when you are able to
conquer all the obscuring conceptual thoughts that arise
and when you are able to remain focused, this is the next
level. This is being uncontrived. And like that, you will go
step by step, higher and higher. When you keep on
practicing, then you keep on improving, keep on
progressing and you go higher and higher in your path and
bhumis, when you sit down and do one kind of meditative
equipoise, for example, in that brief moment, everything is
included too. Lets say we are doing shamatha or calmabiding meditation, when we are able to for a split second
remain in a state of no conceptual thought, there will be
bliss. When there is bliss, there will definitely be clarity.
Where there is clarity, when the conceptual thought arises
(conceptual thoughts are like throngs in our mind), we will
have the wisdom of not to fall prey to these conceptual
thoughts. In this brief period of meditation, we will
experience everything. These experiences are blissful
experience, clarity, no conceptual thought. The more you
practise, the quality of your mind stream will become
better and better and you will go higher and higher in
terms of paths and bhumis.

The fifth ornament is the sign of having succeeded in your

practice. As you progress in your practice, the quality of
your practice is going to increase. Correspondingly, you will
start seeing various signs but signs like bliss, clarity, non
conceptual thoughts etc, but you must not be attached to
these. Khenpo Munsel has taught us that in our practice,
there will be many different signs. None of these signs are
anything that you should cling onto. None of these signs
are permanent. However, one of the definite signs of
having experiential understanding of profound emptiness is
that your mind stream is filled with compassion. That is
significant and that is definite. Profound emptiness and
compassion are complementary to each other, therefore
when you have an unusual amount of compassion in your
mind stream; you know that correspondingly, you have that
much experiential understanding of the profound
emptiness. So the signs, the most reliable indicator is the
presence or the absence of compassion in your mind
steam. If you do not have compassion in your mind stream
and if you think you have some experiential understanding
of profound emptiness, there is a great chance that your
meditation and your practice will go wrong. These are the
signs of path or attainment. Reaching level and paths must
be indicated by signs and the definite sign is the presence
of compassion. For example, when you reach the first of
the ten bhumis, it is said that you will have the vision of
hundred enlightened Buddhas who will give teachings to
you. Other signs of attainments would be firmer and
deeper faith in the cause and effect, much more
compassion toward sentient beings, firmer and deeper faith
in the Three Jewels, much less afflictive emotions and
greater pure vision.
When your mind has arrived at the point where the
riddle is solved,
Is this not Buddhahood gained in a single life?
Array it in bodies, the buddhakayas, the four
And this will serve as its special embellishment.

When you have reached to the point where your ordinary

mind is exhausted, is this not called Enlightenment in one
lifetime? We have the ordinary mind on the one hand and
(rigpa) awareness on the other. Mind is the chaotic,
ordinary mind that we have which is unmindful, unheedful
and undefined ordinary mind. The difference between
ordinary mind and awareness is the presence or absence of
clarity. The awareness on the other hand is the clarity
which sees or experiences the true nature of mind.
Awareness is a state of mind which has done away with
ignorance. Awareness means a mind which does not have
clinging attachment. Awareness means it is like the image
in a stainless mirror. When you have this kind of awareness
or when you have exhausted the ordinary mind, that is
Enlightenment. It should be called Enlightenment. The
Tibetan word for Enlightenment is Sang-gye. Sang means
to awake from the delusion of dualistic bondage dualistic
as I and you, samsara and nirvana.
We have this notion that if we practise so and so, we will
then reach Enlightenment some time down the road.
However, it is not like that at all. If you are able to correctly
practise and correctly meditate, for a split second, you
embody all the qualities of the enlightened one. How? What
is the correct practice? The correct practice is when you do
not chase the past, when you do not usher in the future,
when you stay in this present moment in the minds natural
state or in the minds true nature which is like the space a
phenomena that you cannot possibly put a label on, a state
of mind that has clarity which essence is emptiness, a state
of mind that is emptiness which essence is clarity, at that
moment one becomes fully enlightened. There is a phrase
called instantaneous Enlightenment, so you reach
instantaneous Enlightenment at that particular moment.
But because you have not practised enough to stabilize or
prolong that experience, then again delusion sets in, but if
we were able to stay in that present moment at will, that is,
for the duration that you wish to stay in that state of mind,

you have become a fully enlightened being.

In the Mahamudra language, there are three descriptive
words which describe the nature of mind. The first one is
new, the second is staying in its natural state and the third
is staying loosely without pressure or stress. When the
mind rests in its natural state in the present moment
without pressure or stress, it is like seeing a glimpse of the
sun through layers and layers of cloud formation. We have
in our mind stream layer and layer of conceptual thoughts,
but when we dwell in the present moment, which is the
new mind, in its natural state, when we leave the mind
loose, we have this opportunity of having a glimpse of our
true nature of mind, that is the time when the conceptual
thoughts cease. Then later on when we keep on practicing,
then there will come a time when the sky would be free of
layers and layers of clouds when the sun would be fully
exposed. When the sun is fully exposed, then the sun will
not be subject to changes and it will always remain that
way. In that case, it may seem like you can intermittently
reach Enlightenment and then go back into delusion and
again be enlightened. So it looks as if it were very easy, but
not all that easy either because your attainment must be
the attainment in the context of the four bodies/kayas.
When you have this experience of seeing the true nature
which is like open space, emptiness, that would be the
Dharmakaya state. You must have this experience. Then
out of this emptiness, you will experience clarity, the clarity
is Sambogakaya. From the very beginning when we begin
to practise, we practise the four immeasurables. The four
immeasurables include loving kindness, compassion, joy
and equanimity. The creative power of loving kindness and
compassion, the untargeted compassion directed towards
not any one in particular but rather to all sentient beings,
the feeling would be as if there is a tint of sadness in ones
own mind stream. That untargeted compassion manifests
as Nirmanakaya state of Buddhahood. The combination of
all three is embodied/subsumed in ones own mind which is
the essence kaya or the fourth kaya (svabhavikakaya). So

your experience has to be the experience in the context of

the four kayas/bodies of enlightened being.
A master of scriptures and logic and special
Is this not called a lama who holds a lineage?
Adorned with a noble heart of true compassion,
This is what serves as his special embellishment.
A person who is endowed with the scriptural knowledge
and who is endowed with intellectual and analytical
capacity and who embodies a wide array of pith
instructions based on the experiential understanding of
his/her masters. When we come across such a person, what
else can that person be called but a lama who embodies
all these knowledge in
his/her mind stream. Tibetan word lung means scriptural
teachings, scriptural teachings as contained in the three
Tipitaka. These are the direct teachings of the Buddha.
Analytical deduction would be for example processing all
these canonical teachings. Dialectic debate would be for
example a method of coming to a definitive understanding
of the meanings of the teachings of the Buddha. The pith
instruction is something that is passed down to you by
ones own masters. Pith instructions are based on ones
own unique experiential understanding of the practice.
Someone who has all this knowledge, that person surely
has to be the lama.
The Tibetan word for scriptural teachings is lung. Lung has
several different meanings. In this particular context, it
means Buddhas teachings which can be categorized into
two groups - one is academic and the other is experiential.
From the academic side, the academic institutes, for
example monastic colleges provide opportunities for
students to study the scriptures (so that they become
learned), to undergo training in logic, dialectical debates
and so on. These are methods of defining and redefining
the definitive meaning of Buddhas teachings. He/she is a

lama who has received these scriptural teachings and who

has undergone training in logic etc. If we shift to the
experiential part of teaching and practice, pith instructions
for example, fall into the category of experiential learning
and practice. A lama upholds the lineage - lineage of the
scriptural teachings, lineage of the teachings in logic,
lineage of pith instructions. When we say lineage, we are in
the context of tantric practice. Empowerment to ripen
ones own mind stream is one lineage, that is, lineage of
empowerment. The commentary teaching is another
lineage. Actual practice based on pith instructions given by
the masters is the lineage of blessings. So when the text
refers to lineage this is the kind of lineage that it is talking
Pith instruction ties in with the blessing lineage which
comes from practice. This is very important. When we talk
about pith instructions, first of all, you yourself have to
have that experience and the experiential understanding of
the subject matter. You have to feel the warmth of that
particular practice and then you share that experience with
others in the form of pith instructions. When you do in this
way, the benefit will be tremendous. You can pass on the
blessings. It is something like the water running through a
metal pipe. The pipe alone would be of very little use if
there is no running water in it. If you yourself actually
experience what you are teaching to others, then there will
be the blessings. For example, when you meditate on
loving kindness and compassion (the relative bodhicitta),
you will experience that you are able to cope with
afflictive emotions, attachment, aversion. When you are
able to reap the benefit of practicing relative bodhicitta,
you can share that experience with others and say, This is
what I did and these are the experiences that I have.
When you share your experience, it becomes the pith
instructions. As these are my experiences, therefore, if you
do the same, you will experience similar experiences. Same
thing when we are undergoing the creation stage of the
practice. If you do it correctly, you will have experiences.

When you meditate on cause and effect relationship for

example, when you have experience, you can share that
experience with others; in this way, from your mind to
another mind, transferring the experience. Unless you
yourself have a firm belief in what you preach and have
experience in what you teach others, what you teach to
others will have very little use. Here in the root text it
refers to someone who holds the lineage and this is the key
thing. Someone who has all these wonderful qualities, pith
instructions and all, who holds the lineage, to be a
complete lama, this person must be ornamented with
compassion. If you have compassion, the connection
between lama and disciple for example is automatically
made when there is compassion compassion in the lama
and compassion in the disciple. Where there is no
compassion, no love, connection cannot be established.
The word lama is made up of two separate words. The
etymology of the word La is mindfulness, the ability to
bring to mind of all sentient beings. Ma is the Tibetan word
for mother. So treating and thinking of sentient beings as
ones own mother. This is what a lama should be doing. A
lama should look at all sentient beings as ones own
mother, mother sentient beings. His Holiness Dalai Lama
for example, all those people who are blessed with wisdom,
see him as a great being, a lama who sees all sentient
beings as ones own mother. Tibetan word for compassion
is tuk gje. Another name for Chenrezig or Avaloketishvara is
tuk gje chen po. Tuk gje is a word composed of two
separate words. Tuk is honorific word for heart and gje is
king king of hearts. Someone who has a great deal of
compassion and that heart indeed is the king of all hearts.
That heart is the king of the hearts of all sentient beings.
That heart is the protector of all sentient beings. When we
talk in terms of loving kindness and compassion, it should
be the kind of loving kindness and compassion that are
unbiased. If ones compassion is biased, then it is not
compassion, whether it is the compassion of the lama or
the disciple. A biased compassion is attachment. The other

end of attachment is aversion. It would have no benefit at

all. It has to be unbiased compassion. The above teaching
is about the kind of qualities that a true lama must have.
One who has faith, with compassion is amply
Is this not a student comprising a suitable vessel?
Fully equipped with respect and devout
This is what serves as their special embellishment.
Now we are going to discuss what kind of quality a disciple
must have. A disciple must have a great deal of
compassion, a firm loving trust in the lama or the Three
Jewels. If you have these, you become the right kind of
vessel to hold the teachings of the lama, a true disciple.
When we talk about loving trust and faith in the lama, there
are three different kinds of trust and faith. One is that trust
and faith arise out of the fact that the Three Jewels are
inspirational. The Three Jewels inspire you and out of this
inspiration grows this loving trust and faith. The second is
that trust and faith arise through the understanding of
causality of cause and effect relationship. The third one is
that loving trust and faith arise when you have such
longing to be liberated from samsara for yourself and
others. If you have all these, you become a true disciple, a
true vessel suitable to receive the teachings.
When someone is being called the right kind of vessel, it
is a metaphor. It means that you are a suitable vessel to
receive the teaching pertinent to these three different
disciplines the ordination of self-liberation, bodhisattva
ordination and the tantric ordination. This is only possible
when you have the right kind of loving trust and faith.
When you see the need for you and all sentient beings to
be liberated from samsara and that the only way to be
liberated is by seeking the protection of the Three Jewels,
you will have loving trust and faith in the Three Jewels.
Thus whenever you have this loving faith and trust, you will
also have compassion. So you are a disciple, a suitable

vessel if you have a great deal of compassion, loving trust

and faith. To make yourself to become a complete disciple,
a completely suitable vessel for receiving all the teachings,
you need to have the ornament of mg which normally is
translated as devotion but here means respect and devout
commitment. For the sake of simplicity, we translate mg
as devotion.
Devotion arises because you aspire to be liberated from
samsara. Devotion is made up of two Tibetan words m
and g. M literally means inclination towards one thing or
longing for one thing. This one thing is to be liberated from
samsara, longing to be liberated from samsara is called
m. When you have that kind of desire, this desire will then
generate respect for the lama because the lama is the one
who can lead you to the right path. This respect is g.
As to generate devotion, first we have to generate
superficial devotion. We generate superficial devotion by
thinking of our parents. We can generate devotion when we
know that our parents have been so kind to us. We can
generate the superficial devotion when we think of the
kindness of all the teachers for example. Same thing can
be done when we think of the kindness and the benefits of
having a system in your country such as a government, an
organization, a civilization and so on. So when you think of
all these kindnesses, you can generate respect and
devotion. When you have some understanding of cause
and effect for example, you will be able to generate
devotion toward your lamas or teachers because it is
thanks to their teachings that you have this kind of
understanding. Among all the teachers, the kindest teacher
is the one who teaches you the profound Dharma.
Mg can be loosely translated as devotion whereas T pa
can be loosely translated as faith and trust. Mg, m is
when you look at someone like the lama, it is not only
leaning toward the lama, appreciating the qualities of lama;
but there is a strong element of holiness, sacredness and
blessings attached to it. Then comes the word g means
respect. Tashi Jamyangling (the translator) asked Rinpoche:

When you whole-heartedly pray to your root lama with

faith and trust (tpa) versus when you whole-heartedly
pray to your root lama with devotion (mg), what kind of
different inner feelings or emotions would you generate?
Rinpoche replied: Tpa (translated here as faith and trust)
is actually love loving your lama, liking your lama and
trusting your lama. These are the different kinds of feelings
that you experience when you have tpa (faith and trust).
When it comes to mg (translated as respect and devout
commitment) is when you see the wonderful qualities of
your lama and then grow a great deal of respect for them
to the extent that whatever the lama teaches you, you will
never forget. For example, Khenpo Tenzin Sangpo would
teach that when he sees the prayer flags fluttering in the
wind and casting shadows on the ground, he would have so
much respect that he would not walk over the shadow
without being mindful and heedful. Instead he would make
a gesture with his hand as if he was lifting the shadow of
the flag from the ground and at the same time saying the
mantra Varja Pedma Atama. When you have so much trust,
love and devotion to the lama, you will always remember
his/her words. T pa (translated as faith/trust) and m g
(translated as devotion), these two seem to be similar, yet
different. When you have t pa (faith/trust, a firm-rooted
one), and out
of that, one is able to generate mg (devotion). We have
respect, trust and faith in all lamas. Devotion, however, we
have towards just a few. Tpa (faith/trust) basically means
liking someone but there is much more than that. You like
someone because that someone is not ordinary. That
someone is full of blessings, there is something holy and
sacred about that someone. When you are struck with this
kind of feeling toward a sublime being to the extent that
even the bodily hair stands on their end; when you have
that kind of faith/trust and when you have mind to mind
connection to your lama/root lama (the root lama would be
for example, the one who has given you the refuge
ordination, empowerments and oral transmission etc.), the
previously arisen tpa (faith/trust) is now lifted to mg

(devotion). Tears come into your eyes and this is not like
the faith/trust in the earlier days but rather there is mind to
mind merging.
In order to generate mg (devotion), you have to start
with superficial devotion before it becomes a second nature
to you. Think of or meditate on all sentient beings as ones
own parents. If one is able to do that, this will create the
causes and conditions to generate non-dual wisdom. In the
same way, try to generate superficial devotion towards all
lamas. Think of all lamas having the same essence, that is,
the lamas mind as the mind of Buddha, the lamas speech
as the Dharma and the lamas body as the Sangha. With
the help of the superficial devotion, when you think of their
kindnesses again and again, you will be able to generate
devotion towards all lamas without making special effort.
Same as Milarepa, we have access to teachings of many
very learned lamas. When we have access to these
precious teachings, each time when we receive teaching,
our love for the lama increases. As the love increases, the
blessings also increase. There is a correlation. Your love
towards the lama corresponds to the amount of blessings
that is transferred or flowed in to you; especially when you
are undergoing real hardships or pain and sufferings. When
you reflect on the teachings of your lamas, it will help a
great deal. When I was in prison for example, when I faced
lots of trials and tribulations, when I reflected on the
teachings that I received from the sublime lamas, I became
tougher, more heroic and not scared to face hardship. All
this thanks to the teachings of the lamas. This helps to
increase your superficial devotion to the lamas, especially
the lamas from whom you have received the bodhisattva
vows or tantric teachings. These lamas are very, very kind
to us. These lamas are the ones who show you the way to
get out of samsaric existence. First, you begin by
generating superficial devotion towards your lama by
thinking of the wonderful qualities of the lama. Then when
you get used to this, later on, you will not need to first
think of the lamas qualities etc. The minute you think of
the lama, it would be like sunrays shining on snow flakes,

your afflictive emotions and conceptual thoughts would

automatically, instantaneously dissipate because the
lamas mind and the nature of your mind is the same. Your
alert mind and the lamas mind are the same. Later on
when you are used to generate devotion, the absolute
devotion (not the superficial one), you will find that lamas
mind is beyond death and beyond birth. When you
are able to generate non-superficial devotion to the lama,
you will see that the lama is nothing less than a fully
enlightened being.
Here is Rinpoches explanation on m g (devotion): When
I was a small boy, I used to be very, very angry at Marpa
Lotsawa. I used to like Marpa Lotsawas consort Dakmema. I
thought, What a wonderful lady, how kind. What a
bodhisattva. But I used to almost hate Marpa Lotsawa
because of the cruelty that he inflicted on Milarepa. Then I
began to read Marpa Lotsawas life history. He sold
everything that he ever possessed and turn them into gold
coins. He took a backpack and from the cold Tibet went all
the way on foot to Nepal. He faced all kinds of hardship. He
went to India with the heat, diseases, sicknesses and all
kinds of hardship he faced. As narrated by Marpa Lotsawas
son when the father came back, My father sold everything
he possessed and turned them into gold and took the gold
to India and when he came back, all he ever brought to
Tibet was a backpack full of textbooks. That was quite
true. On reflecting on this, Marpa Lotsawa gave everything
away and he did not even care for his own safety. He was
willing to give his life so that he would be able to bring
back the sublime Dharma. Why did he do that? He did it for
sentient beings. He brought all those oral traditions of very
profound teachings which he later on passed onto his
disciple Milarepa. It is thanks to the effort of Marpa Lotsawa
that we today have access to these wonderful teachings.
When you examine this carefully, you will see how kind
Marpa Lotsawa had been not only to Milarepa but also to
all those who follow the teachings today. So there is
enough reason to have a great deal of superficial devotion.
Your eyes start getting moist, tears gather in your eyes. All

kinds of devotion then you generate because you now find

that Marpa Lotsawa was not a cruel person but someone
who had been very, very kind to all sentient beings. So this
is how I generated my superficial devotion. There were
many times when Marpa Lotsawa beat up Milarepa,
physical abuse literally. However, when you look at this
with a wider view, you will understand that what drove
Marpa to beat up Milarepa was a profusion of compassion
and love and the very profound goal that was set. Not only
was Marpa Lotsawa very compassionate but he was also
all-knowing omniscient. Marpa Lotsawa had many, many
disciples who were entitled to have golden canopy as a
mark of respect. But out of all these, Marpa Lotsawa handpicked Milarepa and prophesized that Milarepas
forbearance has the life force pull of Buddhas teachings. In
other words, Milarepa is going to be the upholder of the
Buddhas teachings out of all the disciples. From this we
understand that Marpa Lotsawa really knew. He could
foretell the future as he was omniscient. He knew the three
times. Today, on this planet, Kagypa teachings flourish
thanks to the heroic forbearance of Milarepa. Through the
effort of Marpa and Milarepa, we are blessed with the
practice lineage of blessing. So when I know that Marpa
Lotsawa knew then what the future of Milarepa would
become, I was able to generate the superficial devotion.
You should have devotion, respect, trust and love towards
all. If you have this, you are the one who is going to be
benefited. If you have the wrong view which is the opposite
of devotion, you are the one who will incur the loss. You are
the one who has to face the consequences of being born
into the three lower realms of existence. This is in a
nutshell of how I was able to generate superficial devotion.
One of the things that will help you to generate superficial
devotion is to read the life histories of the sublime beings.
The real (non-superficial) devotion can be generated by
doing meditation.
So you generate superficial or contrived devotion (not the
actual or absolute devotion), then later on, when you start
seeing the true nature of your mind, then we will find that

the nature of your mind and the nature of Buddhas mind

and the nature of the lamas mind, all three become the
same. When you see that, you will trust yourself. We talk in
terms of seeing or experiencing the true nature of the mind
versus not experiencing the true nature of the mind. There
is an element of doubt in the latter case. Sometimes when
we experience certain thing, we tend to ask ourselves
would this be the experience of the true nature of the mind
or would it not? When you actually see the true nature of
your mind, there will never be this kind of doubt. When you
see the true nature of your mind, there will be no
attachment in that state of mind. The nature of that mind
will be the union of emptiness and clarity. The nature of
that mind would be the embodiment of the three kayas
according to Dzogchen tradition. Experiencing the innate
nature is not something that is arisen in your mind stream
that was not there previously. Innate nature is not
something that we have sought and found from without. It
has always been within ones own mind. In the mahamudra
tradition, it is the recognition of ones mind which has
always been fully enlightened. When you have this
experience of the true nature, oneself is no less than a fully
enlightened being. Lama is a fully enlightened being and
you yourself are a fully enlightened being.
Just to recap the topic. Someone who has compassion,
someone who has trust and faith, that someone is surely a
disciple, the right kind of vessel to hold all the teachings.
But still to be a complete vessel, to be a complete disciple,
something else is missing, that something else is devotion
mg. When a person, on top of compassion, trust and
faith, is complimented with ornament (devotion) then that
person becomes a complete disciple. During practice, the
practice must be integrated with the generation of
devotion. It is extremely important. If you do so, then later
on, it will not become just superficial devotion. It will then
become the actual devotion. When you are able to
generate actual devotion, you will see the true nature of
the mind. In Dzogchen teachings for example, since not all
can straight away see the true nature of the mind,

therefore in the teaching, it says that if you cannot

experience the true nature of the mind; let alone the true
nature of the mind, if you cannot even experience the
arising of your alert mind, then we should whole-heartedly
devote on the generation of devotion toward ones lama.
When you do this, your mind merges later on with the mind
of the lama and then this will enable you to see the true
nature of the mind. This particular teaching was given by
Jigme Linpa, the famous Vidyadhara. In the Mahamudra
teachings, it is always emphasized that the experience of
mahamudra becomes possible because your mind merges
with the mind of the lama. Because of your devotion, you
are able to merge your mind with the mind of the lama and
as a result you can experience the true nature of the mind.
What is true nature of the mind? It is something that is very
difficult to put a label on, it is something that you have to
experience yourself.
Where there is no devotion towards the lama, one will not
receive the blessings. The blessings of the practice lineage
will not flow to you. Gyalpa Rinpoche, the founder of the
Drikung Kagyu Lineage said, Unless you yourself have
reached the level of the attainment of Vajradhara, do not
let your disciples meditate on you as such. The reason is
because when a profusion of devotion is generated by the
disciple, it merges with the mind of the lama the mind
and mind will meet. When the mind of the disciple tries to
reach out to the lama and if the lama has nothing to reach
at, it is harmful. That is the message of Gyalpa Rinpoche. In
order to be meditated upon by your disciples, you have to
reach certain level of attainment. Why did he warn us that?
It is because when the disciples reach out to the lama
through devotion, it is possible to reach out mind to mind.
Disciples have to have the right kind of devotion while the
lama has to have the right kind of power and attainment.
When these causes and conditions are right, when the
disciples generate a great deal of devotion to the lama, the
disciples can actually receive the inner realization of the
lama. Same thing happens when you practise yidam deity.
Why do we practise yidam deity with devotion? It is

because when you practice with the right causes and

conditions, you will be able to receive the bodhicitta of the
yidam deity. How come we should not seek protection from
samsaric deities? For the same reason, you try to reach out
with devotion to the deity and the deity has nothing to
offer, then it becomes detrimental rather than of any
benefit. When you have the right kind of lama, the right
kind of motivation, right kind of devotion, then obviously, it
will not only benefit you, but also increase your faith,
increase your trust and increase your devotion.

In brief, one comes to terms with mind through

Meditation turns this into experience;
Conduct fills in the picture in every detail;
What actually happens--four kayas manifest;
The fruit of all this is asserted in terms of mind;
Realization is seeing these all come down to the
The first line can also be read as The minds rope is
severed (set free) by the view. When you come to that
kind of absolute decision as to what view to adopt in
your mind, there are several different types of views.
One is the view of dharmata the innate nature as is.
That is, samsara, nirvana and all phenomena are
devoid of an independent existence. All phenomena are
emptiness and do not have self. That is the nature of
dharmata. That is one view at the absolute level. Then
at the relative level, it is not like there isnt an
experience of hell. There is. It is not like you do not
experience appearances. You do experience
appearances. So from where do all these come from?
We are talking about the view, the dharmata, and yet
we are talking about a secondary view where all these
are possible. Instead of looking outward to search for
answer, we look inward towards ones own mind, the
true nature of mind. Who create all these

appearances? Who create all the hells and other

realms? The quick answer to that is that the world
systems, the cosmos is created by our (sentient
beings) collective karma. Within it, the inhabitants, the
individual samsara comes about because of individuals
karma. These karma, whether collective or individual,
are created by none other than the mind itself. Who see
and understand all the details as to how the law of
cause and effect work? The fully enlightened being can
see them all. Nobody else can see everything in details.
We have some vague idea about that and we have our
own individual skewed views on things.
When you do not see or understand the nature of all
phenomena, then we tend to have clinging attachment
to phenomena. We have attachment and that develops
into a habit. When you have some idea of the true
nature of phenomena, you will come to the conclusion
that everything is composite, meaning that everything
exists because of a whole bunch of other causes and
conditions. Temporarily, at the relative level, they exist
but at the ultimate level, they do not exist. Some
people have this kind of understanding. Having some
understanding is better than not having any
understanding of the nature of phenomena. When you
have clinging attachment to what seems to have
independent reality and if this clinging attachment
becomes habituated tendency, then you will be in
bondage. When you can dismantle this belief that
phenomena, whatever it may be, have independent
existence and when the mind is free from that
bondage, then it does not really matter what happens
outside of your mind stream because the mind is thus
set free. Even though you do not have a profound or
deeper experiential understanding of this particular
point, but if you have some academic understanding
that there is not any single thing that exists by itself,

that knowledge alone would be of great help to oneself.

To recapitulate, we said that dharmata is emptiness but
it is not empty of cause and effect. We have cause and
effect on the relative level and we cannot say that
dharmata is empty and therefore we can do away with
cause and effect. Causes are the creation of the mind
and effects are the reaction that naturally follows the
action. All these, you have to understand from within
internally, not externally. You have to internalize all
these understandings. Milarepa said, Do not search for
your answer between the lines of profound teachings
but try to find your answer within your own mind.
When it comes to actual practice, when you mind
wanders off too far away, then it would become very
complicated and overwhelming. It is like you want to
get rid of a big tree by cutting every single branch and
every single twig. It would be overwhelming. One
should know how to tackle the tree trunk instead. So
when you do practice, establish your view first, instead
of looking at the cosmos and the sentient beings within,
look at your physical body. Your physical body is in fact
the same as the outer cosmos in every respect. Our
inner mind is the same as all sentient beings mind in
samsara. Instead of looking out there to the world
system and all sentient beings, when you look at your
own physical body, you will find that it is not
permanent. It changes every split second. That is why
you look inwardly and do your meditation on the true
nature. This physical body is the product of your mind.
When your mind or the Buddha nature is obscured,
instead of your mind stream being liquid, an ice sheet
is developed. That ice sheet is samsara. Ever since your
Buddha nature got obscured, you kept on being born
again and again. In the 37 Bodhisattvas Practices, it is
clearly mentioned that all the phenomena neither come

nor go; but in our case, we keep on wandering in

samsara, all because of our minds creation of karma.
The root cause, like the tree trunk, is the conceptual
thought. So if you are able to look at the root cause, so
instead of dwelling in the nitty-gritty branch and twig
situation, it is much easier to practice. To conclude, the
first line says the minds rope is severed by the view.
Because we have established the view, the mind is
The second line can also be read as Experience is
gained with meditation. Previously we said that when
all the conceptual thoughts are dissolved into the
dharmakaya, the state of Buddhahood, that is called
meditation. There is countless number of sentient
beings and there is countless number of enlightened
beings. However, the nature of the mind of all is the
same. That is the view. You may say that it is difficult to
see the true nature of the mind. It is difficult. It is not
something that is there. If you say that it is there, it is
one extreme. If you say that it isnt there, it is another
extreme. Try not to fall either side of these two
extremes eternalistic or nihilistic. It is difficult;
however, we have the support through the blessings
arising from our practice lineage. Try to lead the mind
to its natural state without alteration or fabrication. You
dont have to say that it is there or isnt there, just
leave the mind alone, then on and on it will be like the
space. That is the essence of the true nature of mind.
Until you can experience the true nature of the mind,
try generating devotion to lama. Once you start seeing
and experiencing the true nature of mind, your
immediate response would be that it is not that difficult
at all. When you do not have attachment to any
conceptual thoughts, you will see the true nature of
mind. When you do not have attachment to conceptual
thoughts, there is no cause to create karma. When you

do not have attachment to conceptual thoughts, these

conceptual thoughts will dissolve into the dharmakaya,
the state of Buddhahood. This is meditation. Stop look
at it at a wide expanse, do not try to stretch it to the
limit and try to analyze everything in every detail. Try
to make it simple and leave the mind alone and
meditate. That is enough. That is how I practice and I
find it that more than adequate.
Next line is about perfection of conduct and it reads
Conduct fills in the picture in every detail. If you have
the definitive view and if you meditate, then what
about conduct? You must have perfect conduct. When
you practice, normally we have attachment and
aversion. We have good and bad. All these will
disappear during practice and meditation. How about
post meditation period? That is when the conduct kicks
in. You must carry forward this practice. Although we
know in our view that there isnt anything that has
inherent or independent existence, we see, hear and
experience things. In your post meditation period, in
your conduct whatever you may be doing, all the
external and internal experiences that exist, we should
treat all these as dreams and illusions. Actually this text
is going to explain eight kinds of illusions but for now,
we just use dreams as an example. We have this
tendency of treating our daytime experiences as real
and nocturnal dream experiences as being something
different. In reality this very life is like a dream. If you
investigate it, we have the outer cosmos and the inner
inhabitants, and we have the self and others; all these
in our mind stream are like dreams. If you can treat all
these as dreams and train the mind to recognize them
all as dreams, it will be of great help during the bardo
stage (after death and before rebirth). Both daytime
experiences and dream state experiences, you will find
them as the same when you pass away from this life. In

the bardo state after your death, in retrospect, all your

lifelong experiences will be seen as nothing more than
what we today think of as a dream at night. So if you
can train the mind to recognize that this very life is like
a dream, then there will be less attachment and less
aversion. When there are less attachment and less
aversion, there will be more love and compassion.
When you pass away from this life, you need love and
compassion to carry forward. Read the 37 Bodhisattva
Regarding training on the perfection of conduct, there
are two things that we need to have. One is the alert
mind which is an aspect of one of the fifty-one mental
events. We have to have an alert mind on guard. Two is
loving kindness and compassion. We need to have
loving kindness and compassion ongoing uninterrupted.
When we have these two, then again we do not need to
analyze each and every conduct as right conduct or
wrong conduct because we know that we have as
driving force the right ingredients: the alert mind on
guard and loving kindness and compassion
uninterrupted. When we have these two, all our
activities, all our conduct will constitute as the
performance of six perfections. Actually, whatever we
do, as long as the alert mind is functioning, the alert
mind is on guard and we have loving kindness and
compassion in our heart uninterrupted, then whatever
we do in samsara, everything is going to constitute as
perfect conduct. That is the quality of bodhicitta. If you
do not have the alert mind or watchful mind, then what
is going to happen is that you are going to develop
attachment. When the mind is not separated from alert
mind and loving kindness and compassion, then
everything you do will be perfect conduct, perfect

Perfect activities or perfect conduct means, if possible

trading ones own place with the place of other sentient
beings; and if that is not possible, when you have the
alert mind on guard and loving kindness and
compassion in your mind uninterrupted, then there will
always be an equality of self and all other sentient
beings. Perfection of conduct means, if you know how
to practice it correctly and if you have the skillful
means, it includes the six paramitas which is in the
sutrayana tradition. If it is in the tantrayana tradition,
we will speak slightly differently. All appearances, all
sounds, all awareness, everything will be transformed
into the perfect conduct by skillful means.
Regarding conduct, there are three different levels of
path. First is the path of the novice, the beginner in the
Dharma. When you are an inexperienced beginner in
the Dharma practice, at least what you have is the fear
towards the consequences of samsara. You have an
understanding of the cause and effect. Just by sheer
power of fear and the understanding of cause and
effect, that will prevent yourself from indulging in
negative deeds. So, you will try to save yourself from
being overcome by afflictive emotions. If you are a
practitioner who can generate loving kindness and
compassion, then whatever deeds you do, all the six
paramitas are included in your conduct because
bodhicitta means love. We take an example of a mother
and a child. Obviously, there is lots of love, mother
loves the child. But this love is also tainted with
attachment. Behind this love is the notion that the child
belongs to me, the child is mine. Even then with this
kind of love towards your child, whatever expenses that
you paid on behalf of the child constitute as the first of
the six paramitas dana paramita or giving. Second
one is that you will not want to cause harm, knowingly
or intentionally, to your child. That is, observing the

ethical code of conduct. You do everything possible to

benefit your child. The third is that you undergo all
kinds of hardships which is patience. The fourth is that
you always put in the best effort in order to achieve
whatever you are aiming to achieve and overcome all
problems whatever they are for your child, even if you
are tired. This is diligent effort. The fifth is that you
always think of benefitting your child. This is
concentration. In this particular case, what are missing
is the sixth paramitas which is wisdom. Wisdom is
absent because of attachment, attachment to your
child. Where there is attachment, it will result in cyclic
existence. But if you have wisdom, wisdom to treat all
sentient beings in the six realms of existence as equal
to your child, if you are able to recognize all sentient
beings in the six realms as your mother, that is called
great equanimity. Where there is equanimity, there is
no self and where there is no self, there is the presence
of six paramitas. Automatically, you are practicing the
six paramitas. The difference between whether or not
you are incorporating the six paramitas in your conduct
is the presence or the absence of attachment and self.
If you have bodhicitta, all your mundane activities will
be turned into six perfections whether you are working
for the government, for the nation or for yourself. With
bodhicitta in your mind and in your heart, even when
you sleep, you will be accumulating virtues. What six
paramitas do is that they safeguard, enhance and
increase your bodhicitta by helping you to keep
bodhicitta in your mind stream. Where there is
bodhicitta, there is a lack of attachment. Where there is
no attachment and clinging, you will be able to see the
true nature of mind. It is possible to reach
enlightenment only with the practice of bodhicitta.
Above describes the six paramitas according to
sutrayana tradition.

According to the tantric tradition, it is different. We do

not have to think of all sentient beings as our parents.
The outer cosmos, in the tantric practice, is seen as the
five elements, as celestial mansion or mandala. All
inner nutrients or sentient beings as having the
afflictive emotions, five negative poisons, we see the
five poisons in the purified state as five primordial
wisdoms. The physical constitution of all sentient
beings, five skandas, the five heaps are seen as five
Dhyani Buddhas with their corresponding female
consorts or dakinis in the purified state. Everything is
self-arisen in these pure forms. The entire samsara is
seen as the five Dhyani Buddhas and the five consorts.
Take the example of just one apple. The apple comes
about because of the five elements and the apple is
there to benefit sentient beings. The apple comes
about because of the aspiration prayers and the power
of all the enlightened beings. We are talking about the
four kayas or the four bodies of enlightened beings. Of
the four, the apple is the Nirmanakaya state of
Buddhahood because it exists in order to benefit
sentient beings. In tantric practice, we talk in terms of
existence and appearances as pure and when they are
pure, there is no room for attachment and aversion.
When there is no attachment and no aversion, there is
no cause for obscurations. This is how we must
understand tantric practice.
Now we go on to the view and practice of mahamudra.
The conduct in the context of mahamudra practice is
not to have dualistic notion, that is the key. When we
eat, we have a dualistic idea of tasty and not tasty.
When we find one food being tasty, with that we have
attachment; and another one not being tasty, we have
aversion. When it is perceived as good, we have
attachment. To what is perceived as bad, we have
aversion and in the worst case scenario, we have

aggression. There should be neither expectations nor

doubts. We expect to have happiness and we are
averse to pain and suffering. This kind of dualistic idea
brings about the buildup of an ice sheet in ones mind
stream. The mind without conceptual thought is liquid.
The mind with conceptual thought becomes like an ice
sheet. So when you have attachment and clinging,
these obscure Buddha nature. If you do not have
attachment and clinging, you can make use of all sense
objects. Whenever you have dualistic idea of
attachment and aversion, in that case, we must call
upon the alert mind to separate right from wrong. You
should also free yourself from acceptance and rejection.
Where there is neither acceptance nor rejection, that is
called conduct of one taste, there is the oneness of
equality of happiness and suffering. Both happiness
and suffering are conceptual thoughts. Where there is
one taste, it will free oneself from the idea of happiness
and suffering. That is so because if you look carefully,
happiness arises because of suffering. Happiness does
not come by itself. Happiness relies on or depends on
suffering. Without being dependent on suffering,
happiness will not arise. Where there is equality,
whatever you do, your conduct will be virtuous. The
main thing is that you do not have attachment in the
mind stream. Eat whatever that is in front of you. Wear
whatever clothes you have without having attachment
or aversion. There is a saying even if your realization
is sky high, your conduct must be ground level low.
You must not stir up the sentiment of sentient beings.
You do not agitate the mind of sentient beings. Be
careful not to upset sentient beings.
When you receive all these teachings and apply these
teachings to your practice, how can we actually go
about doing that? The main thing to watch out for is
not to fall into the two extremes in whatever activity

you do. For example, earning a livelihood, let there be

a balance, not be excessively rich nor be excessively
poor. Let your livelihood be something that is going to
nurture your physical body. Let it be something that is
going to be healthy for you so that there will be no
cause for attachment or aversion. So when you live a
life, you should live a life that is not marked by the two
extremes, devoid of attachment and aversion. When we
practice meditation devoid of dualistic clinging
attachment and aversion and through experience, the
mind is going to remain clean. When the mind remains
clean, the result is the actualization of the four kayas.
When you actualize the four kayas, the result is what is
going to be imprinted on your mind stream. The result
of all these will be found in your mind stream. To
conclude this song about the eight ornaments: we have
a definite view; we gain experience by meditation; we
perfect our conduct; we actualize the four kayas; the
result is imprinted on the mind stream.
The last one reads Realization is seeing these all come
down to the same.
You have the experiential understanding of the true
nature of mind and everything that is understood or
actualized comes down to one mind stream which is the
absolute truth. You are in the state of absolute truth
means that when you are constantly in the alert mind
mode or when you are completely stabilized in the alert
mind. That state of mind is the essence kaya, the fourth
kaya Svabhavikakaya. Nirmanakaya, Sambogakaya,
Dharmakaya, everything is subsumed under that state
of mind.
We talked about view, meditation and conduct in three
separate categories. Then we talked about the result.
When we talk about view, we talk about the view
relating to the mind. It is about the very mind. When we

talk about meditation, we are talking about remaining

in the continuity of the minds nature. When we talk
about conduct, we are also talking about the mind. We
are talking about the state of mind that is free of
attachment and aversion, free of dualistic clinging.
Conduct in that context is relating to the mind
essentially. Lastly, when we talk about fruition/result,
we are also talking about the mind. Everything is about
the mind. In Dzogchen teachings, we would say
everything in samsara and nirvana is arisen in one
mind stream. In mahamudra we refer to this mind as
the ordinary naked mind (the true nature of mind). This
ordinary naked mind does not change. It remains the
same from now until full enlightenment.

The Song of Mahamudra

Sung in reply to the challenge raised by three
At the time Im meditating on Mahamudra
I rest without struggle in actual real being
I rest relaxed in a free-from-wandering space
I rest in a clarity-cradled-in-emptiness space
I rest in awareness and this is blissful space
In varietys space I rest in equipoise
And resting like this is native mind itself
A wealth of certainty manifests endlessly
Without even trying self-luminous mind is at work
Not stuck in expecting results, Im doing O.K.
No dualism,no hopes and fears, Ho Hey!
Delusion as wisdom, now thats being cheerful and bright
Delusion transformed into wisdom, now thats all right!
How to meditate on Mahamudra? Milarepa said, When I
meditate on Mahamudra, I rest in the innate nature without

effort. This innate nature Milarepa referred to as the

ordinary naked mind. In the sutras, you will find different
terms for this, terms like the Buddha nature, the essence of
the enlightened being etc; but Milarepa simply referred to it
as the naked ordinary mind. When Gampopa, who was a
very realized and a scholarly gifted one, when he heard this
label, it woke him up. Gampopa saw a new dimension to
the true nature of mind. When you have conceptual
thoughts arising in your mind stream, that aspect of the
mind which recognizes the arising of conceptual thoughts
is labeled as the naked ordinary mind. Therefore, you can
look inwardly and look at your own mind. When you do
that, that aspect of the mind can be found without having
to make any effort. It will be found and discovered
naturally. When we look inwardly, we must look at the
innate nature without effort and we have to do it by
ourselves. Without effort means that when the alert mind
recognizes the arising of the conceptual thought and to
meditate on that aspect of the mind, we do not have to
make any special effort to seek because it is there naturally
arisen in our mind stream and it stays in that mode.
When you mediate on the true nature of mind, you will
detect the arising of conceptual thoughts. When you look
at the nature of those conceptual thoughts, these
conceptual thoughts will dissipate. There will be periods
when there are no conceptual thoughts and the feeling or
experience you get is vastness and the feeling of
emptiness and then again conceptual thoughts will arise.
Then look at the nature of conceptual thoughts. It is a
repetition. When you keep on doing that, you do so without
exerting yourself since Milarepa in his teaching specifically
mentioned the word "Tson me" (brtson med) which means
No Effort. Rinpoche said, Do not make effort. There is no
need to make effort. Let the mind stay in its natural state.
That is the key. Try to meditate tonight and come tomorrow.
You may be asked to tell Rinpoche what your experiences

Normally when you practice, we precede all our practices

with refuge and bodhicitta mind generation. In addition to
that, if you could read The 37 Bodhisattva Practices at least
once every week, then this will give you more insight into
why we read the refuge prayer and the bodhicitta mind
generation. When you make a habit of reading the 37
Bodhisattva Practices once every week and when you keep
on doing that, you will eventually be able to recite it by
heart. This little booklet tells you the reasons why we take
refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; otherwise, if
you just recite the refuge prayer and the bodhicitta mind
generation, especially to the new ones who are novices,
they will not have much understanding as to the causes
and conditions that bring about happiness or suffering.
(The 37 Bodhisattva Practices can be down-load at
The root cause of all pain and suffering is attachment and
clinging. Some people wonder If you just do mental
visualization of offering, how would that possibly benefit
oneself or others? If it is giving, then you have to actually
give. Whatever it may be, you have to actually make a
material gift. Well, that is true if it is possible, by all
means, go out and give. If you do, you will have both the
aspiration as well as the practice. Both aspiration and
action are all included in the actual act of giving. But we
have to understand why giving is a virtuous deed. Our
possessions whatever they may be, with those
possessions, we have attachment. When we part with our
possessions, there is a feeling of not wanting to part
stinginess. When we part with things, there is aversion.
When we receive
things from others, it has to do with attachment, we like it.
We do not want to part with things. Why? Because the root
cause of this is attachment and clinging. Therefore, if we
know that the act of giving is to detach ourselves from
attachment. If that is the case, then it makes perfect sense
when we try to visualize everything that is wonderful in
the outer cosmos, and everything that is contained within

we make a nonattached offering to the deities, to the

Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In our Mandala Offering, we
visualize the four continents etc, all the wonderful qualities
of the outer cosmos and the inner content; we bring to
mind and then make them as an offering to the Buddha,
Dharma and Sangha. That includes our own physical body,
speech and mind. When you make this a habit, there will
not be attachment to even your own body, speech and
mind since you repeatedly make offerings to the Three
Jewels in your mind stream so these do not belong to you.
When these do not belong to you, you do not have
attachment. It is for that reason why a prescription of 100
000 Mandala Offerings is made in order to train the mind to
detach oneself from attachment. It is not a question of how
big or small an offering one makes, the real point is to
detach oneself from attachment. The main thing is to
cleanse ones own state of mind until the state of mind
does not have attachment and clinging.
We say that loving kindness compassion bodhicitta is
indispensable and extremely important. Lets talk about
compassion. Compassion is something that is promoted by
all major religions. What is unique about Buddhism is that
together with compassion, we have to have emptiness;
that is the specialty of Buddhism. If you do not have the
experiential understanding of emptiness but you have a
great deal of compassion, then sometimes, it can work
against you. For example, mental condition, we call it heart
disease (loong disorder), but really it has to do with the
mind. Compassion without emptiness cannot be of any
great deal of benefit to others. Why is that so? The logic
behind is that all pain and suffering arise from ignorance.
What ignorance? Attachment and clinging to self and to all
phenomena as if they have independent existence. The
antidotal weapon against ignorance is profound emptiness.
What create karma are the afflictive emotions and even
compassion is afflictive emotion. When you have
compassion and in addition if you have the experiential
understanding of the profound emptiness, together you can

benefit both the living as well as the dead. Because you are
generating compassion towards sentient beings and at the
same time, attachment to a deluded notion of the
existence of reality is dismantled by your experiential
understanding of emptiness. Whenever you are able to
generate a great deal of compassion, let that be
complimented by the experiential understanding of
emptiness; the two have to go together. If the two are
generated together, it becomes beneficial for oneself and
for others.
Solution to samsaric problems such as pain and suffering
arising from losses, if the solution to such samsaric
problem is achieved through material replacement, for
example, the loss of ones dear parent, which is going to
generate a great deal of pain and suffering; that is, if that
loss is to be remedied strictly in a material sense, the only
way how we can get rid of pain and suffering would be to
have the dead parent resurrected, which would not
happen. Samsara has so many different varieties of pain
and suffering. To find a solution, a kind of healing remedy
to all pain and suffering is to be found within the mind
stream itself. When you realize that all pain and suffering
including happiness is nothing more or less than
conceptual thought, when you see the true nature of the
mind, then the healing remedy is found. The build-up of
something like an ice sheet in the mind stream is thawed
away. In order to find the healing remedy, in order to thaw
away the ice build-up in ones mind stream, Mahamudra is
important. Mahamudra plays a great part in this healing
remedy. When you have an experiential understanding of
the innate nature of the ground, then you will find that
neither happiness nor suffering has any taste. That is
why we call it the state of equality or no taste of both pain
and suffering. This idea of the Buddhist practice and
experience is something that even the scientists are
investigating nowadays and find amazing. This amazing
quality of our practice is the specialty of Mahamudra.

Last night, we talked about this very thing, i.e. the innate
nature, Mahamudra. We talked about it based on the root
text here. The Tibetan term for this is Don Gyi Nelug
(Don Gyi gNas Lugs). Don literally means meaning, but
here in this context it refers to the mind. Gyi is a word
connector, and gNas Lugs means the state of being.
Talking about the innate nature how the innate nature is,
the nature as is. Talking about the innate nature, it refers
to as the innate nature of the ground that has to do with
the view. When we practice this innate nature of the
ground, then it becomes the innate nature of practice. We
will also refer to the innate nature of ground and practice
as mother and child. The mother is the ground while
conceptual thoughts are referred to as the child. We will
also say the awareness, the mother and child of awareness.
When you look at the nature of mind, you will find that
mind itself is emptiness and when the mental event, the
child, sees the innate empty nature of the mind, then that
is unification of mother and child. The feeling is the feeling
of emptiness and that is what you will feel, that is the
innate nature, a state of mind which is like the space not
marked by conceptual thoughts and it is a state of mind
that you do not have to make special effort to look for and
to find. It is always there. It is the experiencing of the mind
as is.
Last night, I asked you to meditate and try to experience
the true nature of mind. I would like to know who
experienced it?
When you experience the true nature of mind for the first
time, it is going to be a tiny glimpse of the true nature of
mind. How tiny? It would be like the fire or the amber on
the tip of a burning incense stick, that is primordial wisdom
you being in contact with the primordial wisdom. When
you cannot see the primordial wisdom, then it is not
primordial wisdom, but it is consciousness. When you see
the true nature of mind, the act of seeing that is not
consciousness but primordial wisdom. That is the

distinction between samsaric gods and wisdom deities.

Samsaric deities who do not experience primordial wisdom
are in samsaric bondage. The deities, the enlightened ones
who experience primordial wisdom, they are known as the
wisdom deities. This primordial wisdom, the reason why we
call it primordial is because it was always there from the
beginningless time and if we are able to abide in the
continuity of that primordial wisdom, we will be able to see
both samsara and nirvana and that is why the enlightened
beings are called omniscient. It is said that even though the
primordial wisdom is so tiny just like fire on the tip of the
incense stick, it has the power to burn away conceptual
thoughts. So you start off with a tiny fire and use its ability
to burn up conceptual thoughts and gradually this tiny fire
will become bigger and bigger and it will become like a
burning wick of a candle or a butterlamp. When you get
used to the meditation, the fire and the intensity of the
heat, will be greater and greater.
The beginners will find it extremely difficult. The
experienced meditators/practitioners, they will find that
when they meditate on mahamudra, all conceptual
thoughts disappear. The beginners, when they try that,
instead of getting rid of conceptual thoughts, more
conceptual thoughts will arise and they will find it
extremely difficult. When we say that having a glimpse of
the true nature of mind, or having a glimpse of the
experiential understanding of mahamudra, is like the
burning tip of an incense stick, it is quite true. It is fire
though it is quite small. But if you try to take that burning
incense stick and try to put a whole bunch of logs alight,
the fire of the burning tip of the incense stick is not
powerful enough to do that. All that the burning incense
stick will be able to do is to burn a strand of hair or two. So
when you try to take that incense stick and try to light a
huge bond fire, it does not happen. Thus the beginners will
get discouraged. Then they find themselves having more
problems and more conceptual thoughts. Therefore, in the
Tara practice sadhana, there is a line that says,

After having seen the point, one does not put in effort to
get used to that experience and consequently, you are
back to where you started. The second line from the Tara
text is that then one engages in unwholesome deeds.
When you start seeing a glimpse of the true nature of
mind, instead of sticking with that and persistently
practicing that again and again so that that experience
would be prolonged and you become so used to it as if it
were your second nature, one is being distracted in doing
something else and then everything will come to nothing.
Therefore when you start seeing a tiny fire, a glimpse of
the true nature of mind and if you then try to use that to
solve all your problems and when you do not succeed in
that, you get discouraged.
The beginners have a tendency of finding that when you
embark on mahamudra meditation etc, even more
problems and challenges arise, and they completely
overwhelm you. Actually it is not like that at all. We have
this tendency of forgetting all the past difficulties. If we
remember everything that we underwent, then in
comparison, you would not find the fresh new challenges
that much overwhelming. None of us remember what it
was like when we came out of the mothers womb. If we
could remember all the details of those experiences, then
in comparison, the new experiences would not be that
difficult or overwhelming. Since none of us can remember
and we have a tendency of forgetting our past difficulties,
whatever we encounter as new challenges and difficulties
we have this tendency of believing that it is such an
insurmountable problem.
If you know how to practice, how to grasp the essence, you
can say that the entire hundred thousand songs of Milrepa
are contained in these few lines (refer to The Song of
Mahamudra). If you do not know how to grasp the essence
teaching it is like going to a huge department store just

looking at everything and coming out without buying any

single item.
We talk about the true nature of mind and when you start
seeing the true nature of mind, we refer to that as the
reunion of mother and child. When that reunion takes
place, the state of mind would be the union of emptiness
and clarity. When the emptiness and clarity are not
separated, it would be the union of mother and child. When
you are introduced to the nature of mind, it is important to
meditate on it and become used to that experience. That
stabilized state of meditation is called the mahamudra.
When you say mahamudra, that mahamudra has to be
experienced within. Milarepa went on saying, when I
meditate on mahamudra. If you do not see that nature of
mind, it is not possible for you to experience mahamudra.
When you are introduced to the nature of mind and when
you meditate and practice and gain experiential
understanding then each time when you meditate, it will be
like meeting a friend or acquaintance. There will be the
Union of emptiness and clarity, this clarity pervades all
space. Space is boundless and therefore when clarity
pervades all space, there is not a thing which is not
subsumed under ones own mind. There is nothing outside
space and there is nothing outside ones own mind. When
you remain within this vastness of ones own mind, all
conceptual thoughts are dissolved and there would be an
experience of great bliss. When we say enlightened being
that means the state of mind free of attachment and
clinging, that state of mind is so vast and if you are able to
abide in that vastness, there would be great bliss. When
you can abide in that vastness of mind, such thing as death
is not a reality. That vastness of mind is beyond death.
Mahamudra in Tibetan phyag rgya chen po (pronounced
chakya chenpo). Chakya normally means mudra and
Chenpo means maha or big. The word cha also means
honorific word for prostration. Cha can be used in the

context of offering prostration to the nature of mind as

such. When you experience the vastness of ones own
mind, when you experience bliss and the qualities of this,
then with a great deal of reverence, one would offer mental
prostration or cha to the mind-as-such or the enlightened
mind of ones own being. To that, one offer mind
prostrations. That is the real/genuine devotion (nonsuperficial).
Kya literally means parameters, that which confines
something. In a nation for example, there is a set of rules
and laws codified, and all citizens have to live within the
parameters or the confines of those laws and rules and
regulations. We cannot step outside the parameters or the
boundaries of those restrictions. The space is such that no
one can go beyond. Wherever you go, you would be within
the parameter of space. All sentient beings came about
because of conceptual thoughts. All sentient beings came
about from emptiness. All sentient beings when they pass
away will dissolve into emptiness. No sentient being will
cross over the parameter of emptiness. When they come
they come from within the parameter of emptiness and
space and when they go, they go within the parameter of
emptiness and not beyond. So we came from emptiness
and we dissolve into emptiness. We do not dissolve outside
of emptiness. So we will use an example. When we sit
down and meditate on emptiness, all the conceptual
thoughts disappear and where do they disappear? They
disappear within the parameter of emptiness and not
outside. By this you will learn that the conceptual thoughts
are transient/momentary. All these happen within the
parameter or confine of emptiness or space, they are not
beyond space or emptiness.
Chen/maha means big, this space is big and everything
within the parameter is huge. (Po is just a companion
In short, mind is the basic ground of both samsara and

nirvana. Mind is like when we go to the seaside and see a

huge ocean, we are kind of overwhelmed by the width and
the depth of the ocean. We say, what a huge/deep ocean
etc. In that ocean there are all kinds of marine lives. But
instead of being overwhelmed by its size, to understand
the nature of the ocean all you really have to do is to dip
your finger in the ocean and bring it up and look at your
finger, and understand the properties of that water and
understand what is water. Through the understanding from
the drop of the water, you understand the properties of
that huge ocean. Understanding the nature of ones mind is
understanding mahamudra. Immediately you will come to
the conclusion that by understanding the nature of mind,
all phenomena do not have an independent existence. By
understanding this, you will understand the profundities of

So let us conclude and say that Dharma brothers and

sisters: You have seen the nature of the mind. In seeing
the true nature of the mind, there are the qualities or
attributes of mahamudra. Then if you have that kind of
experiential understanding of the view, we have to get
used to that view with meditation and this ties in with
the words here Let yourself not be distracted but leave
the mind in the natural state of being free and loose;
so two key things undistracted and free and loose.
Loose means not being constricted or restricted but just
leave it loose, like tightening and loosening of belt, so
that kind of loosening loosen the mind and leave it
undistracted. The next one is Leave mind in the
continuity of emptiness. That continuity part is

important. Why does it say Guard the mind and do not

let the mind be distracted? Rinpoche uses the
following quotation from another teaching where it says
Do not be distracted. Let your mind be on guard. If the
mind is distracted, there is the danger of infiltration of
robbers and bandits.
What are these bandits? They are attachment and
aversion. Milarepa said, Do not be distracted. What
aspect of the mind is going to be on guard, to be on the
lookout and watch out for bandits? It is the clarity part
of mind, the alert mind. What is the difference between
a non-distracted and a distracted mind? For example,
when we go on mediation, the alert mind acts like a
mirror on which everything is reflected with clarity. The
focus is the alert mind, the aspect of the mind which for
example detects the arising of conceptual thoughts.
When you are in that state of mind, there is clarity and
awareness of everything that is going on and yet the
mind is not distracted by any forms or shapes, of any
particular individual or anything in the room. When the
mind is distracted, it shifts from that meditative state
to, for example, focusing on just one face. When the
mind is not on guard, there is no clarity, that will lead to
becoming judgmental and then lead to complications.
The next key word of Milarepas teaching is to have the
mind loosened up. What it means is that until your
meditation stabilizes, you have to be persistent, work
hard, always try to be non-distracted. Even when you
are walking, like visually you would say that, from this
pillar to the next pillar down the road, I am going to
make sure that I will not get distracted. Or, for the next
two minutes, I am going to remain undistracted. So like
that you have to persist, put in all your effort and then
when you get used to this kind of meditation, the time
during which you remain undistracted will be longer

and longer. When the meditation of remaining nondistracted stabilizes, then it is time to leave your mind
alone, loosen up your mind. For example, you hold onto
the bird all the time even when you are feeding the
bird. You are kind to the bird and you train the bird, but
yet you are holding onto the bird because you do not
want the bird to fly away. But when you get used to the
bird and the bird gets used to you, when the bird sits,
eats and stays there on the table, now there is no need
to hang onto the bird. Do not hold it anymore. Leave
the bird free on the table. In the same way, when the
state of non-distraction stabilizes, then free the mind
and relax the alert mind. Rinpoche quoted two lines of
teaching from a master and the first line says Be
persistent and keep the mind under tight control and
then loosen it up. Two paradoxical statements, what it
means is exactly what Rinpoche is teaching.
So when you stay undistracted and loosen up the mind,
gradually, you are in innate emptiness and when you
are in the continuity of emptiness, there is going to be
clarity as well, and the nature of mind is emptiness and
its quality is clarity. When you experience the union of
emptiness and clarity, then that will be blissful. That
leads to the next line:
Abide in the clarity of the continuity of emptiness, if
you did that, the next instruction is
You do so but stay in the state of awareness, in bliss.
What it means is when you have the feeling of bliss, do
not lean toward this bliss but lean towards the
awareness or rigpa, the clarity of awareness. To
recap, abide in the clarity of the continuity of emptiness
which will generate great bliss but do not be attached to
the feeling of bliss but rather abide in the state of

Mahamudra is not a process. It is not like if you

meditate mahamudra, you do a, b and c. All these
things are looking into the different aspects of the
innate true nature of our mind. It is like when a light
shrines through a crystal, a spectrum of light of
different colors will appear on the other side. What
Milarepa is doing is not chasing different colors of light
but remain within the very crystal, where the spectrum
of light first originate. So multicolor light rays
manifested, these light rays do not have independent
existence, nor does even the crystal itself. When you
have this understanding of the totality, there is no
question of attachment or aversion, everything that
comes because of this. Sentient beings chase those
multi-colored lights, enlightened ones do not. Those
multi-colored lights do not have any independent,
inherent existence, nor does the very crystal. At the
end, we have to let go of the crystal. The point is that
you actualize dharmakaya state and even dharmakaya
state does not have independent, inherent existence.
That is the precise point. Mahamudra is something that
is not there. Even the glorious ones cannot put a label
to it. Yet it is not that there isnt, because it is the
mother of all the basis of both samsara and nirvana.
This is the wonderful quotation from the teaching of
mahamudra. So the key thing is that when you do not
have attachment and aversion, and when you remain in
the state of mahamudra then if you ask yourself is
there a dharmakaya state: no, there isnt because you
cannot put a label to it. So isnt there dharmkaya? Of
course there is since sambogakaya is the manifestation
of dharmakaya and nirmanakaya who does come down
to benefit sentient beings is one of the creative power
of dharmakaya state. So there is and there isnt. This
kind of creative power of the innate nature of mind is
unimpeded and unobstructed. Nothing is going to
impede it. It is self-seeing without effort, all the

enlightened activities are accomplished without any

effort. These are the creative power of dharmakaya
Mahamudra is actual enlightenment. It is not a method
to reach enlightenment but it is the actual enlightened
state. It is not the means to an end. It is the end itself.
The method would be the practice of bodhicitta.
Mahamudra is the innate nature of all phenomena. It is
the true nature of mind. It is the Buddha nature and the
enlightened state. But it is not enough to say that this
is it. The practitioner has to actually experience that.
When you experience mahamudra, one is enlightened.
We have ground, path, fruition/result. In case of
mahamudra, result is not separate from the path. Path
is mahamudra, result is mahamudra, all in one.
On the one hand, we talk about union of emptiness and
clarity as if it is just two. But it is not like that at all. It is
like the burning butter lamp here, if you look at the
burning wick, the essence is emptiness (since there is
no independent existence of causes and conditions) but
yet out of this emptiness, there is the quality of
emptiness which is clarity and luminosity. These two
are completely inseparable just like a burning wick. This
is only an external lamp, but the internal lamp when
we look at our own mind is just like this analogy.
The song of Mahamudra Sung in reply to the challenge
raised by three scholars contains only a dozen lines. In
it, it includes everything, starting from samatha
meditation going to insight vispassana meditation until
you reach enlightenment. Everything is contained in
these few sentences.
When I meditate on Mahamdura, Milarepa said, I stay
calm in the state of continuity of nonconceptual mind. I

stay in meditative equipoise in these various ways.

When we say nonconceptual mind, it does not mean
that mind ceases to have conceptual thoughts, mind
will keep on having conceptual thoughts but when they
arise, the recognition of these conceptual thoughts as
conceptual thoughts is important. Once there is
recognition, do not be judgmental about it. Do not
investigate or analyze these conceptual thoughts. Do
not follow these conceptual thoughts. Do not succumb
to these conceptual thoughts. Let your wisdom stand
on its own, then conceptual thoughts would not affect
you. The key is not to follow, judge or analyze
conceptual thoughts. Stabilize your alert mind. If the
conceptual thoughts arise, let them arise and if they do
not arise, that is fine too.
Staying in meditative equipoise in a variety of ways,
the key is in a variety of ways. We tend to have all
kinds of conceptual thoughts, sometimes it is devotion
to the lama, sometimes it is trust and respect and other
times it is compassion. Then we also have non-virtues
thoughts as well, all kinds of non-virtuous thoughts.
Whatever they may be, good or bad, whenever you are
meditating, there should be equality and equanimity. If
there is the absence of equanimity, you will be
attached to the virtuous deeds and averse to the nonvirtuous deeds and you are going to accept the good
thoughts and reject the bad thoughts. If you do not
succumb to this during meditation, then whatever kind
of conceptual thoughts arise, they will just dissipate,
just like waves arising in the ocean and waves
dissolving in the very ocean.

The mind as such, if you leave it in these ways, you will

experience certain unobstructed certainties. This is what
the root text says. So, you do all these things that Milarepa
taught us to do and your wisdom increases. We use an
example here, daytime we have daytime experiences and
nighttime we have nocturnal dreams. We tend to say that
life is like a dream, but we do not really experience what
we say due to our clinging and attachment. As a result, all
kinds of complications arise out of our clinging and
attachment to things that appear to our senses. However,
when the clinging attachment to what seems to our
ordinary mind as having inherent existence is dismantled,
the daytime experiences and the nocturnal dream
experiences become the same - in the sense that we do
not have expectation and doubts. When we see objects or
images, we have no attachment. When we do not have
attachment to forms, it is called the union of appearances
and emptiness. When we hear sounds, all kinds of sounds
and we do not have attachment to sounds, then it is the
union of sound and emptiness. Of course, it does not mean
that when we are in this kind of meditation, we do not have
the capability to distinguish between what is beautiful and
what is not. We have these abilities but in that state of
mind, we are not judgmental. We are not analyzing, the
clarity is there, but we are not following these
appearances. So when we hear words or sounds, we can
distinguish words and sounds, but we do not have clinging
attachment. In that kind of meditative equipoise, we do not
have attachment and clinging to either sounds or forms.
When we do not have attachment to forms and sounds, we
are going to experience experiences which are not ordinary
experiences, but are definitive certainties or the
experiential understanding of various points of Dharma
teachings and practices which arise unimpededly,
unobstructedly, and spontaneously in your mind stream.
Certainties are the definitive experiential understanding.

When you have the experiential understanding of the true

nature of mind, then you say to yourself, yes, indeed I
experience that, it is like space, then you actually
experience the qualities of the enlightened being. All
appearances become pure deities and all sounds become
the sound of mantra. Normally in the creation state of
practice, when we say deities, all sentient beings are
deities. We have to make a conscious effort to think like
this. We go as far as visualizing the hands, the face etc.
When the mind stream does not have attachment and
clinging, you have the definitive experiential understanding
which to your mind is certainty without any doubt. When
you have no attachment and clinging to sounds and forms,
we experience what we often talk of as union of
appearance and emptiness or union of sounds and
emptiness. The sound, whatever kind of sound that you
want to hear, it will be transformed as such. You do not
need to think this is good sound or this is bad sound. The
same thing applies to the inner afflictive emotions.
Definitive understanding or certainty means that you in the
meditative state actually experience (not only just
academic learning) that there really is no difference
between inner afflictive emotions and the primordial
wisdoms. That is the definitive experiential understanding.
When you are one with mind as such, in that state, even if
conceptual thoughts arise, you do not have to do anything.
You will come to the conclusion in your own experience,
that as soon as the conceptual thoughts arise, they are
liberated - dissolved into mind as such itself. Self-arisen
and self-liberated. It is like waves that comes from the
ocean and go back to the ocean. In that state of mind, you
will understand the sameness of afflictive emotions and
primordial wisdom. This can only happen when your
meditation has stabilized - stabilization of your meditation
on your experience of the true nature of your mind. When
you stabilize your meditation on the true nature of mind, a
whole lot of other definitive experiential understanding will
arise spontaneously without obstruction. At that time, you
do not have to make special effort to look outwardly. This

connects to the next line self-seeing without effort,

enlightened activities of selfless, self-seeing. The mind as
such is self-seeing or self-illuminating. When you
experience the true nature, mind as such, with that
definitive experiential understanding you will be able to
carry out a great deal of enlightened activities. This is
because if you have genuine bodhicitta in your heart,
everything you do turns into the performance of the six
paramitas because of the power of loving kindness and
compassion. Here we are saying, when you stabilize your
meditation and you can experience the true nature of mind
which is self-seeing and self-illuminating. By this power,
you are able to, without any effort, carry out enlightened
activities. This is because now, you have come to a level
where both the appearances and existence - everything is
pure vision. That is the time when you are able to carry out
a great deal of enlightened activities. Enlightened activities
by definition are to benefit others. It is to benefit sentient
Regarding effortless enlightened activities, we have our
lamas. Lamas benefit us in this life and in future lives. For
the deceased, lamas will say prayers and lama will
dedicate merits on their behalf. For the living, lamas will
provide protection. What enables lama to help both the
deceased and the living? From where does the lama derive
that kind of power? The power comes from the experiential
understanding of the profound emptiness - the union of
emptiness and compassion. When you meditate and you
are one with the true nature of mind, you will have a
definitive experiential understanding of how it actually
benefits all sentient beings both the living as well as the
dead. How does it benefit when you have the experiential
understanding of emptiness? That state of mind does not
have self. When you do not have self, all afflictive emotions
and everything else do not have inherent existence, not a
reality. All the afflictive emotions and the ripening of karma,
pain and suffering of all sentient beings will be understood
as a mere dream and not having any kind of reality to it.

This life, next life and the bardo state wherever the
sentient being may be, what they are undergoing is
something like a dream. That is, you will gain definitive
experiential understanding of this particular point when
you are one with mind as such.
We talk about the quality of bodhicitta. When you have
bodhicitta in your heart and your friend has bodhicitta in
his/her heart and when one of you face difficulties or
challenges, when you hear or see or receive letter from
your friend, it will bring a great deal of joy in your heart. It
is because of the power of bodhicitta. Bodhicitta links all
sentient beings. Whoever has bodhicitta, these beings are
connected by bodhicitta. When you have ignorance,
ignorance brings about delusion. When you have the
experiential understanding of profound emptiness, it is as if
the cataracts are removed, you have this sharp vision of
what reality is. That is why when disciples are introduced to
profound mahamudra and when the introduction is
successful, all pain and suffering cease. The reason is when
you are introduced to mahamudra, in the state of
mahamudra, there is no such thing as conceptual thoughts,
conceptual thoughts are dissolved back to mahamudra, so
there is no cause for pain and suffering. A shepherd was
asked by Milarepa to tell his experience of meditation. He
said, When I am meditating, I have no pain and suffering
but when I am out of it, I feel pain and suffering. Then
Milarepa responded: In that case, you have to keep on
meditating and practicing so that experience will be
prolonged and stabilized and reach the non-meditation
state. The reason is that when you come out of
mahamudra, you will have conceptual thoughts and when
conceptual thoughts are harming you, you are back to the
ordinary self and you will feel pain and suffering.
These are just academic teachings but when you are one
with the mind as such or the true nature of mind, you will
experience the definitive understanding of this in
experience. Enlightened activities are to benefit all sentient

beings. You do benefit sentient beings through enlightened

activities because you are able to do this in the
Dharmakaya state.
Now we are going onto the last three short lines.
The result is the achievement of all minds aspirations and
therefore my mind rests in peace. We tend to look
elsewhere for result or fruition of our practice. The result is
the true nature of mind. Definitive experiential
understanding when you have it, you will say, this is it, I
experience it. When you have the experiential
understanding, finally your mind is at rest because there is
no expectation or doubt - expecting to reach
enlightenment, and having doubt and fear of being reborn
in the three lower realms of existence up high and down
low. Now you experience the oneness of sentient beings
and enlightened beings, now you see that your previous
expectations and doubts were all delusions.
Next line deals with expectation and doubts. It says: I am
now happy when I experience that my mind is detached
from the dualistic expectation and doubt. Now you see that
sentient beings and enlightened beings are one. I am very
happy now because all the delusions arise now as
primordial wisdom. We are deluded right now when
thinking that all phenomena in samsara and nirvana have
nature of their own, independent inherent nature which
they do not. Everything that we perceive, everything that
we experience and everything that exists in samsara and
nirvana arise out of the true nature of mind. When you
have this experiential understanding, they dissolve in this
very nature of the mind. We have been distracted and
deluded by the creative power of the true nature. The
creative power of the true nature of mind is so great that
we have been confused and deluded in the myriad of
creativities of this true nature - manifestations, things that
arise out of it, instead of understanding the true nature of
mind. Now when you have this definitive understanding,
through experience, now we know that in the realm of or at

the level of enlightened beings, there is no such thing as

delusion but primordial wisdom. Now we have the fruition
and the result, everything is in that mind as such.
The last word is the transformation of delusion into
primordial wisdom. This is important. Because when you
meditate, in your meditative state, all the ordinary
delusions are transformed into primordial wisdom. This
ends the teaching on The Song of Mahamudra.