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Naturally Liberated Mind,
The Great Perfection

By Longchenpa

Sanskrit: maha-sandhicittatiisvamutki-na-ma
Tibetan: rdzogs-pa chen-po sems-nyid rang-grvl

This section is a complete translation of naturally liberated mind (sr). It is one of the three cycles on natural liberation (rang-grol skor-gsum) in dzogpa chenpo by longehen rabjam. It consists of three chapters. The first chapter is on the views of the "basis," the second chapter is on the path of meditation, and the third chapter is on the perfection of result. In this section we tried to maintain the sequence of tibetan lines in the translation, but in some places it was impossible to avoid shuffling the words from one line to another.

Homage to the glorious kuntu zangpo.

From the utterly pure essence which transcends objective thought

Arisen as the glow of the essence of the spontaneously accomplished nature

Pure from various characteristics of the duality of apprehended and apprehender, the mind

Which is free from discriminations of dimensions and partiality:

To you i pay homage.

Phenomenal existences are unborn, of equal nature;

In which the originally liberated appearances and mind prevail evenly without apprehensions;

Concerning that marvelous sovereign, naturally liberated mind,

Listen while i tell you what i have realized.

"liberation by realizing the basis"

The first chapter of

Naturally Liberated Mind, the Great Perfection

The utterly pure view has no extremes or center.

It cannot be indicated by saying "it is this," nor is there in it any distinctions of height or width.

It transcends eternalism and nihilism, and it is free from the stains of the four assertions of extremes.

Sought, it will not be found; watched, it is not seen.

It is detached from directions and partiality, and it transcends all the objects of conception.

It has no standpoint, neither voidness nor non-voidness.

There is no realized and unrealized, no counting, nor objective aim.

All phenomena are primordially pure and enlightened, so it is unborn and unceasing, inconceivable and inexpressible.

In the ultimate sphere purity and impurity are naturally pure and phenomena are the great equal perfection, free from conception.

Since there is no bondage and liberation, there is no going, coming or dwelling.

Appearance and emptiness are conventions, apprehended and apprehender are like maya (a magical apparition).

The happiness and suffering of samsara and nirvana are like good and bad dreams.

From the very moment of appearing, its nature is free from elaboration.

From it (the state of freedom from elaboration), the very interdependent causation of the great arising and cessation appears like a dream, maya, an optical illusion, a city of the gandharvas an echo, and a reflection, having no reality. All the events such as arising, etc., Are in their true nature unborn.

So they will never cease nor undergo any changes in the three periods of time.

They did not come from anywhere and they did not go anywhere.

They will not stay anywhere: they are like a dream and maya.

A foolish person is attached to phenomena as true, and apprehends them as gross material phenomena,

"i" and "self," whereas they are like a maya-girl who disappears when touched.

They are not true because they are deceiving and act only in appearance.

The spheres of the six realms of beings and the pure lands of the buddhas, also are not aggregations of atoms, but merely the self-appearances of beings’ minds.

For example, in a dream buddhas and sentient beings appear as real, endowed with inconceivable properties.

However, when one awakens, they were just a momentary object of the mind.

In the same way should be understood all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana.

There is no separate emptiness apart from apparent phenomena.

It is like fire and heat, the qualities of fire.

The notion of their distinctness is a division made by mind.

Water and the moon’s reflection in water are indivisibly one in the pool.

Likewise, appearances and emptiness are one in the great dharmata.

These appearances are unborn from the beginning, and they are the dharmakaya.

They are like reflections, naturally unstained and pure.

The mind’s fabricating their existence or nonexistence is an illusion,

So do not conceptualize whatever appearances arise.

Those appearing objects are also reflections of mind.

They are like a face and its reflection in a mirror while there is no duality, the perception of duality is the natural characteristic of the experiences of beginningless habit.

The mind and dreams are not separate, rather it is like the appearance of dreams to a person who is drunk with sleep.

One should know that there is no essential distinction between (subject and object).

For example, like a baby seeing a mirror, ignorant people accept and reject external objects when a mother sees the mirror she cleans it; similarly the yana of cause and result alters external objects. A lady, seeing it, cleans her face; likewise one who knows suchness looks at the mind within this is the immaterial, essential yana.

In the mind which has no essence, various things arise because of the objective conditions, like reflections appearing in a mirror or in the ocean.

The emptiness essence, unceasing nature, and variously appearing characteristic, the magical display the dual projection of samsara and nirvana within a single mind.

It is like the color of a crystal altered by a black or white cloth.

The essence is without change, but because of conditional perceptions as the basis of arising, various perceptions seem to change at the time of their appearance;

But in reality it is unchanging like the purity of the crystal.

The primordially empty mind, which has no root, is not defiled by the phenomenal appearances of samsara and nirvana.

Throughout the three times and timeless time, the state of kuntu zangpo, the essence of the changeless perfection at the basis is undefiled by the appearances of the six objects, like the water- moon [the moon’s reflection in water].

For the non-existent appearances of samsara and nirvana, like a magic display, do not make efforts of acceptance and rejection, negating and defending, or hope and doubt.

Attaining liberation by knowing the nature of the (world’s) magical display:

It is as if, seeing the army of maya one is taken in, but by knowing the reality there is no fear. Likewise, it is not necessary to renounce objective appearances in particular. The nature of samsara is the essence of the mind, which is primordially unborn and enlightened, so by seeing the mind, realization of the nature of existence is attained.

Then there is no other peace to be accomplished. (it is as if) being frightened of one’s own forces (mistaking them for) others’, later, by recognizing them, one is relieved. Today by the blessing of the glorious master, worldly thoughts are realized as dhamakaya. So the natural great bliss arises within.

There is no need of acceptance and rejection since all existent phenomena arise as the lama.

All the inexhaustible instructions are the support of enlightenment.

There is no end of satisfaction in happiness and peace.

All is happiness, prevailing in dharmata, from which the play of unceasing varieties of phenomena is the spontaneously accomplished rupakaya and dharmakaya, appearances and emptiness, the twofold accumulation, skillful means and wisdom, meditation and withdrawal from meditation the unconstructed and natural five bodies and five primeordial wisdoms are perfected in the state of intrinsic awareness, free from grasping after perception and mind. The stages, paths, recollection, and contemplation—the qualities-are spontaneously perfected and are of the essence, the dharmata.

The great self-arisen impartial intrinsic awareness is unadulterated by an apprehended [object] and unbound by a subject.

It is like the nature of maya, non-dual and pure. So what is the use of pondering, discoursing, or contemplating?

There are no developing and perfecting stages, no duality, no union, no standpoint or division of yanas.

These are all conventions and drawings of the mind.

(all are of) the state of self-arising, just designated as self-liberation.

The awareness has no objective and cannot be defined as "this is it,"

So do not make efforts to apprehend it, thinking "it is," for it transcends the mind.

The mind is effortless and spontaneously perfected;

Do not adulterate it with antidotes of modification and trans-formation: let it go in ease.

If the dharmata, in which realization and non-realization are equal, is not adulterated by binding it with nets of contemplation, then in the ultimate meaning there is neither "is" nor "is not," neither phenomena nor emptiness.

It cannot be defined as "unity and multiplicity" and the rest.

It transcends view and meditation, free from assertion and negation, no coming and going, free from extremes, non-dual, like maya and a dream.

The purpose of [the teaching on the] two truths is the prevention of attachment to (phenomena) as real.

In the actual meaning there is no absolute and relative.

Things are not present as they are (mentally and conventionally) construed, (but) one is bound in the net of apprehending them as "this is.

Whatever one asserts, he will fall into the extremes of attachment; and through efforts and achievements, samsara will not cease.

Good and bad karma cause wandering in this world, and the experiences of happiness and suffering, high and low, are

Like the revolving of an irrigation wheel.

In the samsara of the three times, beings of the three spheres wander in delusion;

They are tormented by the disease of ignorance, fabrications and efforts- no beginning or end to it—oh, pity the living beings! Kye ho! All are just like dreams and maya.

In the ultimate meaning there is no samsara and no wanderers in it.

All are originally liberated in the state of kuntu zangpo.

There is no basis, root, or substance. How satisfying it is!

The unmodified, primordially pure mind.

Is unstained by the phenomena of existence: it is like a reflection.

In the appearing object nothing is conceptualized to be apprehended; in the self-arisen mind, nothing is conceived for an apprehender.

That non-dual primeordial wisdom arises from the dualistic perceptions.

Therefore, the ceaseless mind and its object are the great attributes.

The elephant of non-apprehending roves freely on the plain at the pace of self-liberation, ornamented by the trappings of non-duality.

He destroys the swamp of acceptance and rejection, hope and doubt,and he possesses the strength of realization and enters into the ocean of non-duality.

He wanders freely without different phases between arising and liberation, and unbound by the ropes of the objects of abandonment and antidotes.

He freely maintains the standpoint of powerful accomplishment.

By fully perfecting the great power, phenomenal existence arises as dharmakaya.

When perceptions of the six objects are unceasing and the perceiver is essentially empty, and mind free from extremes attains aimless liberation, then intrinsic awareness of the non-duality of samsara and nirvana reaches the (primordial) ground.

It is called the achievement of the supreme attainment.

Because of perfect accomplishment of the purpose of self and others, it is the attainment of enlightenment in the unexcelled pure land .

Alas! The animal-like contemplators stop the perceptions and remain without any thoughts.

They call this the absolute nature and become proud. By gaining experience in that state (of concentration) they will be born in the animal realm.

Even if they do not gain experience [in it], it is certain [that they will be reborn in the realms of absorption [form] and the formless.

There will be no opportunity to get liberation from samsara.

So, extremely proud ones, who are possessed by the harmful spirit of their own standpoint, follow mentally fabricated and deluded doctrines.

Because of their defiled fabrications, they will not see the dharmata.

Even if they analyze the two truths, they will fall into the extreme of eternalism or nihilism.

Even if they analyze the freedom from extremes, they will discover the view of [only] the summit of samsara. Whatever they do, because of bondage to their standpoint, they will never actually see the natural primordial wisdom.

The actual meaning is obscured by pondering expression, and concepts.

By not understanding the proper (ways of) pondering, experiencing, and conceptualizing, the error occurs by (turning) the meaning [object] of the search (into) the searcher [efforts].

Mind and primordial wisdom are like water and its moisture:

At all times there is no separation between them, but they are adulterated by the discriminations of mental acceptance and rejection. Mind and its object, whatever appears, is the essential nature but by apprehending partiality, its openness is restricted. Now, if you wish for the meaning of the dharmakaya free from conceptualization, do not make efforts to search for the nature. The "sovereign of whatever arises" suspends attachments and concepts, undiscriminated, and unrecognizable in terms of "this is it; (in it phenomena) do not exist in the way that they arise.

In their nature they do not exist as they appear. Ordinary perception, unobstructed and liberated from the beginning, is the view of the natural great perfection. The nature of phenomena is exemplified by space, but phenomena are not conceivable as the nature of space. "the mind is unborn and phenomena are like space."

We speak thus, but it is only indication and imputation.

Is free from (the aspects of) "is" and "is not," and it is beyond thought.

It cannot be indicated by saying "this is," and it is totally perfected from the beginning.

Kye ho! In the pure nature of phenomenal existence.

Arises the sudden purity, non-apprehending intrinsic awareness.

From the very point of arising it does not exist anywhere.

The self-liberated great perfection—when will i be able to see that?

In the rootless mind, pure from the beginning, there is nothing to do and no one to do it-how satisfying!

The intrinsic awareness of aimless phenomena, in which deliberate apprehension such as "this is it" has dissolved-what happiness!

In the view and meditation which have no discrimination, there is no breadth or narrowness, height or depth-how pleasant!

In the action and result which have no acceptance and rejection, hope and doubt, there is nothing to gain and nothing to lose-how warm!

In the equally perfected maya-like nature, there is no good to accept and no bad to reject-i feel like laughing!

In the perceptions which are blurred, evanescent, undefined, fragmentary, discontinuous, unobstructed and natural, whatever appears, there is no apprehension of "this is this" or "this is these appearances."

"is" and "is not" are apprehending mind; and being detached from that mind is dharmakaya.

When in the aimless object the uncertain appearances arise, the unapprehending cognition attains liberation without duality;

Then all the phenomena of perception are the great play of the mind.

In the mind which is free from ground, root, and substance, the spontaneous uncreated qualities are fully perfected.

By liberating denial and assertion into dharmakaya, happiness will be achieved.

All deliberate concepts are fabrications.

If whatever arises arises free from conceptualization, it is the it is the primeordial wisdom.

By liberating acceptance and rejection in its own state, happiness will be achieved.

By liberating acceptance and rejection in its own state, the object of thought is transcended.

For the buddhahood which is totally and naturally pure, do not search anywhere but in your own mind.

Other than [in] the searcher (itself) there is no separate place to search for.

It is like the caste of maya-(people) and water in a mirage.

There is no duality of samsara and nirvana as apprehension of duality has ceased in the unadulterated self-arisen intrinsic awareness.

He who sees the meaning of the equality of all phenomena and realizes the mind as unborn like the sky is perfecting [realizing] the phenomena of the world and beings as the naturally pure buddha-field, the state of equanimity of unborn spontaneous accomplishment.

The essence of appearances and mind is emptiness, and that meaning of dharmakaya;

Their nature is unceasing, and that is the appearance of sambogakaya;

Their characteristics are various and that is the nirmanakaya.

By knowing this, everything is the three bodies, primordial wisdom, and pure land.

There is no [need of] modification, transformation, renunciation, and antidote, so it is completely satisfying.

E ma! Living beings, by holding on to duality, when they dwell in this dream-like delusory samsara, whatever efforts they make are causes and effects of samsara.

By experiencing the non-conceptual universal ground, they stray into the formless realm;

Experiencing the clear-empty consciousness of the universal ground, they stray into the form realm;

Experiencing the six consciousness they stray into the desire realm.

The changes of the mind are the steps [to different realms] of samsara.

For people who want enlightenment, the meaning of the unmodified absolute is to let the mind be at ease without effort.

The ordinary mind, unmodified and natural, unstained by apprehension of samsara and nirvana, attains liberation in its natural state.

By attaining liberation in that way, dwelling in the instantaneous nature without thought is the state of dharmakaya;

The unceasing ground of arising, clarity, and emptiness is the sambhogakaya, and the emanation, liberation upon arising, is the nirmanakaya.

With confidence (in the foregoing) it is certain that worldly thoughts will be enlightened.

Kye ho! Since the character (rang-bzhin) of appearances and mind is changing, watch the mirror of the aimless dharmanakaya. The arising of non-apprehender in the aimless phenomena is the secret of mind; there is nothing else to be signified.

It is the natural character of spontaneously accomplished intrinsic awareness, the essential meaning of whatever arises;

Do not make modifications and adulterations.

Phenomena are the nature of substancelessness.

The sky of unapprehending mind has no center or end.

Although they arise naturally without creation or cessation, absence of denial, assertion, and of attachment to characteristics is the true meaning;

And they are changeless throughout the three times-this one should know.

The innate primordial wisdom free from the duality of percept and mind can [only] be signified by realizing, but there is nothing to be shown and nothing to see.

The absolute mind is beautiful in its natural state.

By various [means]-unwavering contemplation, analytic wisdom, [and] precepts, intellectual knowledge and instructions-one will only gain theoretical understanding, but one [will] never achieve the naked primordial wisdom.

For example, even if one indicates by pointing, saying "this is space," it is not an object that can be seen, so it is merely a way of differentiating.

The arising of realization through the kindness of the lama is like the dispelling of darkness by the sun. The moment one sees all (existents) as dharmakaya by instantaneous intrinsic awareness, ignorance is turned into primordial wisdom and defilements into indications (of the five primordial wisdoms).

One should devote oneself (to practice) by all means without wavering.

Common and uncommon attainments will be achieved in this life.

Fools hate samsara and seek nirvana.

It is like throwing away a very rare wishing-jewel, taking another wishing-jewel that needs cleaning, and after cleaning it, looking around for a trinket. The self-liberated mind, the precious jewel, by realizing its own nature cleanses the deluded stains.

Understanding that is the precious treasure of virtues and the heart of the achievement of the benefit of self and others.

When the meaning realization of the mind arises like the water and waves, the projections and dwelling are in the state of dharmakaya.

(then) whatever takes place, there is no need of rejection and acceptance.

There is never any need of practicing rejection and acceptance.

At all times for the joyous yogi it is the great flowing-river yoga in the state of all-equally perfected great nature.

Just upon the arising of the realization, [the mind] becomes naturally clear and luminescent.

Even when there is again projection, it will be in [the state of dharmati as before.

As luminescent intrinsic awareness has no extremes and center, there is no duality of defilements and antidotes.

So, things to be rejected, antidotes, detachment, attainment, hope and doubt, are liberated in their natural state. People who do not know how to distinguish jewels from lamps think that the lamplight is the light of a jewel.

If one does not distinguish the absorption and experiences of self-liberation, then he will be bound by the attachment to liberation-upon-arising itself.

If one does not distinguish between experiences and realization, he will be deluded by holding on to the experiences as realization.

After realization there are at all times no changes of good and bad by gaining experience of that, the virtuous experiences arise. For example, space, by the changes within the four elements, will not undergo any alteration: the space will return as before.

Likewise, for the yogi who has realized the mind, there is no good and bad realization due to the increasing and decreasing of experiences.

If there is a good and bad, it is experience, not realization.

Definite realization should be sought from a holy person.

Thereafter, in accordance (with his teachings) one should remain in contemplation (without wavering).

To meditate this is the definitive absolute view.

By seeing it [mind], the person of superior intelligence will attain liberation.

It will not depend on experiences everything will arise as realization.

There is nothing to be rejected, so there is no antidote to meditate, just as for a healthy person there is no need of medicine.

Thus, you should learn the unapprehended view, free from partiality.

May the blessings of this teacher reach you somehow.