Homage and reverence to Lama Choki Gyelpo
Whose seven-horsed mandala of all-illuminating wisdom and love
Radiates all-embracing beams of boundless compassion
Instantaneously enlightening beings of the three realms.
Homage and reverence to Ngakchang Dorje:
From clouds of loving kindness and compassion piled high
In the vast expanse of his radiant, empty dharmakaya,
A downpour of dharma descends upon the earth,
Upon his fortunate disciple vessels.
The winds of diligence blowing into the unfurled sails of
The ship of vision carries all beings drowning in the ocean
To the Island of Jewels, the Buddha's trikaya:
Homage to the captain of that ship, Jamyang Gyatso!
The sun of wisdom and love of these my three Lamas,
Radiating warming rays of potent grace,
Struck the white lotus of this lucky vagrant,
And the bud of Knowledge fully opening
A thousand petals of mystical experience and insight were exposed.
Piled high on the pistils of intelligence
Lies nectar that liberates by taste,
The ambrosial nectar of these songs of vision:
This I offer to my lucky disciples, the swarm of bees,
To drink in devotion to their hearts'content.
(verses from "Song One", to follow...)
EHMAHO! This carefree and free-speaking vagrant with the deep
sings "The Flight of the Garuda", a song of vision, facilitating fast ascent of
all the stages and paths. Listen attentively, my beloved sons and daughters!
Like the roar of the dragon, the great name of Buddha resounds throughout the
universe, in samsara and nirvana. Constantly vibrating in the minds of the six
types of sentient beings, how wonderful that this resonance is not silent a
They may be ignorant of the Buddha's existence within, but how amazing that
fools search for him outside! Clearly visible like sunshine, bright and
radiant, how surprising that so few can see him!
The Mind, the Buddha himself, having neither mother nor father, how wonderful
it is that he knows neither birth nor dying! Suffering all our multifarious
feelings, how marvelous that he is unaffected for better or worse!
The original face of the mind, unborn and primally pure--how wonderful it's
authenticity and natural perfection! Intrinsic knowledge itself, our naturally
liberated nature--how marvelous it is that no matter what occurs it is released
by letting it be!
EHMAHO! Nobel beloved sons and daughters, listen without
distraction! All the
Victorious Buddhas if the past, present and future have taught eighty-four
thousand books of scripture, teaching as boundless as space itself, but all to
one end: how to realize the nature of mind. The Buddhas taught nothing more
If the principal root of a tall tree is severed, its ten thousand branches and
leaves will wither and die all together; likewise, when the single root of mind
is cut, the leaves of samsara, such as dualistic clinging, perish.
The empty house that has stood in darkness for millennia is illuminated
instantly by a single lamp; likewise, an instant's realization of the mind's
clear light eradicates negative propensities and mental obscurations inculcated
over countless aeons.
The brilliance and clarity of sunlight cannot be dimmed by aeons of darkness;
likewise, the radiance of the mind's essential nature cannot be obscured by
aeons of delusion.
Indeterminate is the color and shape of the sky, and it's nature is unaffected
by black or white clouds; likewise, the color and shape of mind's nature is
indeterminate, and it cannot be tainted by black or white conduct, by virtue or
Milk is the basis of butter, but the butter will not separate until the milk is
churned; likewise, human nature is the ground of Buddhahood, but without
existential realization sentient beings cannot awaken.
Through gnostic [a pure nature of mind, or basic cognizance independent of
intellectual constructs] experience of the nature of reality, through practice
of these precepts, all beings can gain freedom; regardless of the acuity of
his [one's] faculties even a cowherd attains liberation IF his [one's]
existential experience is nondual realization. [caps. mine]
When you realize the clear light of mind's nature, the pundit's words of wisdom
are redundant. How relevant is another's description of the taste of treacle
when your mouth is full of it?
Even the pundit is deluded if he [one] has no existential realization. He
[One] may be skilled in comprehensive exposition of the nine approaches to
Buddhahood, but he [one] is as far distant from Buddhahood as the earth is from
the sky if he [one] knows of it only from second-hand accounts.
You may keep your strict moral discipline for an aeon and patiently practice
meditation for an eternity, but if you have yet to realize the clear light of
the mind's immaculate nature you will not extricate yourself from the three
realms of samsara. Diligently examine the nature of your mind!
EHMAHO! Now listen further, all my best beloved sons and
daughters! No matter
what system of mind-training you practice, unless you realize the nature of
your mind, severing its root, you miss the point of Dzokchen. [Dzogchen]
The errant aspirant blind to this imperative is like the archer who places his
[a] target to the front only to shoot off his [the] arrow in another direction.
He is like the householder who searches outside for a thief who is still in
the house; like the exorcist who sets his [a] spirit-trap at the west door
when the demon lives in the east; like the poor man [person] who begs, blind to
his [their] hearth-stone of gold.
Therefore, my beloved children, you who wish to resolve life's frustrations and
anxieties by the direct method of discovering the nature of mind, examine your
minds in the following way:
What we call "mind", is an insistent chatterer, hopping, skipping and jumping
about. Try to catch it and it slips away, changing shape or vanishing;
attempt to focus it and it will not be still, proliferating and scattering;
try to pin it with a label and it resolves into unutterable emptiness. But, it
is tis same mind that experiences the gamut of human feeling, and this is the
mind that must be scrutinized.
First, what is the origin of this mind? Is it a function of external
phenomena--mountains, rocks, water, trees and celestial breezes--or is it
independent of them? Asking yourself where the mind comes from, investigate
this possibility thoroughly.
Alternatively, consider whether or not the mind originates from the
reproductive fluids of our parents. If so, enquire into the process by which
it emerges. Continue this enquiry until it is exhausted and you admit the mind
has no origin.
Then secondly, answer the question, "Where is the mind now?" Is it in the upper
or lower part of your body, in your sense organs, in your lungs or your heart?
If it lodges in your heart, in what part of the heart? What is it's color and
shape? Thoroughly investigate the present location of the mind and it's
characteristics until you are certain that they are not to be found.
Finally, examine the movement of the mind. When it moves, does it pass through
the organs of the senses? In its mementary embrace of external objects, is
there physical contact? Is it only a mental function, or are both body and
mind involved together? Investigate the process of perception.
Further, when a thought arises with it's attendant emotion, firstly,
investigate its source. Secondly, find its present location, its color and
shape and any other attributes. Look long and hard for the answers to these
questions. Lastly, when thought has subsided into itself and vanished, where
has it gone? Examine your mind closely for the answers.
At the time of death, what occurs to the mind? How does it leave the body?
Where does it exit? Consider these questions and all their ramifications in
Persevere in your careful enquiry, examining the mind until you reach a
positive conclusion that it is empty, pure and utterly inexpressible, that it
is a non-entity and free of birth and death, coming and going.
The arid assertions and metaphors of others--statements such as "Mind is
emptiness!"--are worse than useless. Until you know the answer yourself such
statements tend to bring doubt and hesitation to the mind. It is like a
dogmatic assertion that tigers do in fact live in a country where it is
generally supposed that tigers are extinct. It leaves doubt and uncertainty on
the subject. After tenatively examining your mind and having established its
nature, it is as if you had explored the valleys and hills where the tigers are
said to exist and, having seen for yourself whether tigers live there, are
fully informed. Thereafter, if the question of tigers' existence in that place
arises, you will have no doubt as to the truth of the matter.
EHMAHO! Again, my beloved sons and daughters, gather round and
the analysis and examination of your minds in the manner described above, when
you failed to find a "mind" that
you could point to and say "This is it!" and when you failed to find so much as
an atom that you could call concrete, then your failure was a supreme success.
Firstly, "mind" has no origin; since it is originally emptiness its essence is
insubstantial. Secondly, it has no location, no color and no shape. Finally,
it does not move: without moving, it disappears without a trace; its activity
is empty activity, its emptiness empty appearances.
Mind's nature is not created by a cause in the first place, and it is not
destroyed by an agent or condition at the end. It is a constant quantity:
nothing can be added to or taken from it, it is incapable of increase or
decrease, and it cannot be filled or emptied.
Since mind's nature is all-pervasive, the ground of both samsara and nirvana,
it is without bias or partiality. No form demonstrates its actuality more
clearly than another, and it manifests all and every-thing equally without
Mind cannot be established or defined as anything at all specific, since it
goes beyond the limits of existence and non-existence. Without coming and
going it is without birth and death, without clarity and obstruction.
The nature of mind in its purity is like a stainless crystal ball: its essence
is emptiness, its nature is clarity, and its responsiveness is a continuum.
In no way whatever is the nature of mind affected by samsara's negativity.
From the first it is Buddha. Trust in this!
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of the original nature of mind,
the ground of our being, our true existential condition.
EHMAHO! Again, my beloved heart-sons, listen. [in another
this familial phrase is consistently referred to as simply 'children', in my opinion that
is so much more to the point!] Hear how Dharmakaya Kuntu Zangpo is free
without need for so much as an instant of meditation, and how the six types of
beings wander in samsara without having performed even the slightest negative
or vicious act.
In the beginning, before anything was, nameless samsara and nirvana were pure
potential in the original ground of being. This is how Knowledge arose from
the ground at that time: in the same way that the natural light of a crystal
shines out when a sunbeam strikes it, when the primal awareness of Knowledge
was vitalized by life-force, the seal of the Vase of Eternal Youth was broken
and spontaneously originated clear light shone in the sky like the light of the
rising sun, as pure-lands of pure-being and primal awareness.
Then Dharmakaya Kuntu Zangpo understood this to be his [how about if this read:
"understood this to be spontaneous manifestation?"...with no gender reference?]
spontaneous manifestation, and instantaneously the outer light of pure-being
and primal awareness dissolved into the inner clear light. In the original
ground of being, pure from the beginning, he [this?] attained Buddhahood.
We unenlightened beings, however, did not understand that the nature of
spontaneously originated [original] appearances was [is] our own natural
radiance, and unmindful perception and bewilderment were the result. This is
called "the ignorance that accompanies every perception."
Also at that [this] time ['time'] the clear light and the appearances arisen
[arising] out of the ground of clear light were [are] perceived as two. This
is called "conceptual ignorance." It was at this juncture that we fell into
the trap of ignorant dualism. [or, It IS at this juncture we FALL into this
trap of ignorant dualism.]
Thereafter, [Hereafter,] as the potentialities of our experience proliferated
[proliferate] with the gradual widening of the scope of our activity, the
entire gamut of samsaric action emerged. [emerges.] Then [So now] the three
emotional poisons appeared [appear] together with the five poisons that evolved
[are evolving] from them, the eighty-four thousand forms of passion developing
from the five poisons, and so on. Since then, [Even now,] until [at] this very
moment, we have endured [endure] the pleasure and pain of the wheel's constant
revolutions. We spin endlessly in this samsaric existence as if tied to a
If you need elaboration of this topic, consult Kunkhyen Longchenpa's "Treasury
of the Supreme Approach", and the "Dense Cloud of Profound Significance,
Now, although your Lama's profound personal instruction has made you aware of
the self-deception and delusion harbored in the dark cave of your mind, you
have also recognized your mind as Buddha. You have encountered the original
face of the Original Lord, the Adibuddha, and you know that you possess the
same potential as Kuntu Zangpo. My spiritual children, contemplate
this joy from the bottom of your hearts!
EHMAHO! Again, beloved children of my heart, listen! "Mind",
concept, this most significant of words, being no single entity, manifests as
the gamut of pleasure and pain in samsara and nirvana. There are as many
beliefs about it as there are approaches to Buddhahood. It has innumerable
In the vernacular it is "I"; some Hindus call it the "Self"; the Disciples
say "self-less individual"; the followers of"Mind-only call it simply "mind";
some call it "perfect insight"; some call it "Buddha-nature"; some call it the
"Magnificent Stance" (Mahamudra); some call it the "Middle Way"; some call it
the "Cosmic Seed"; some call it the "reality continuum"; some call it the
"universal ground"; some call it "ordinary consciousness". Since the synonyms
of "mind", the labels we apply to it, are countless, know it for what it really
is. Know it experientially as the here and now. Compose yourself in the
natural state of your mind's nature.
When at rest the mind is ordinary perception, naked and unadorned; when you
gaze directly at it there is nothing to see but light; as Knowledge, it is
brilliance and the relaxed vigilance of the awakened state; as nothing
specific whatsoever, it is a secret fullness; it is the ultimacy of non-dual
radiance and emptiness.
It is not eternal, for nothing whatsoever about it has been proved to exist.
It is not a void, for there is brilliance and wakefulness. It is not unity,
for multiplicity is self-evident in perception. [here I think of "in
perception... only? ...and I'm inclined to think in answer to this...yes. Then
beyond this, follows a thought of total interdependence, regardless of
perception or not,of course, and yet beyond this "I" come to a thought of, in
reality a non-interdependence due to this very non-separatedness encountered or
perceived in total interdependence, spontaneously and so - 'ad infinitum.' So
anyhow, to continue...] It is not multiplicity, for we know the one taste of
unity. It is not an external function, for Knowledge is intrinsic to immediate
In the immediate here and now we see the face of the Original Lord abiding in
the heart centre. Identify yourself with him, my spiritual sons [children].
Whoever denies him, wanting more from somewhere else, is like the man [person]
who has found his [their] elephant but continues to follow its tracks. He
[They] may comb the three dimensions of the microcosmic world systems for an
eternity, but he [they] will not find so much as the name of Buddha other than
the one in his [their] heart.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of our true existential
condition, which is the principle realization in
Cutting Through to the Great Perfection.
EHMAHO! Once more listen attentively, my noble sons and
three modes of Buddha's being--essence, nature and responsiveness--and the five
modes of being, as well as the five aspects of primal awareness are all
completed and perfected in the naturally luminous intrinsic knowledge of the
here and now.
The essence of Knowledge, indefinable by any term such as color, shape or other
attribute, is the dharmakaya; the inherent radiance of emptiness is the light
of sambhogakaya; and the unimpeded medium in which all things manifest is the
The three modes are explained like this: the dharmakaya is a crystal mirror;
the sambhogakaya is its nature--brilliant clarity; and the nirmanakaya is the
unobstructed medium in which the reflection appears.
From the first, people's minds have existed as these three modes of being.
If they are able to recognize this spontaneously, it is unnecessary for them to
practice even so much as a moment of formal meditation--the awakening to
Buddhahood is instantaneous.
In this introduction to the three modes they are defined separately. In truth,
my heart-children, do not fall into the error of believing them to be separate,
belonging to different continuums.
From the beginning, the three modes of being are empty and utterly pure.
Understanding them as a single essence that is the union of radiance and
emptiness, conduct yourself in a state of detachment.
Further, since the primal awareness of self-existing Knowledge manifests
everything whatsoever, this awareness is the pure-being of the Creator,
Vairocana; since it is unchanging and unchangeable, it is the pure-being of
Immutable Diamond, Aksobhya-vajra; since it is without centre or
circumference, it is the pure-being of Boundless Light-form, Amitabha; since
it is also the gem that is the source of supreme realization and relative
powers, it is the pure-being of the Fountain of Jewels, Ratnasambhava; since
it accomplishes all aspiration, it is the pure-being of the Fulfiller of All
Ambition, Amoghasiddhi. These deities are nothing but the creative power of
The primal awareness of Knowledge is mirror-like awareness because of the
manifest clarity of its unobstructed essence. It is awareness of sameness
because it is all-pervasive. It is discriminating awareness because the entire
gamut of diverse appearances is manifest from its creativity. It is the
awareness that accomplishes all actions because it fulfills all our ambition.
It is awareness of the reality-continuum, the dharmadhatu, because the single
essence of all these aspects of awareness is primal purity. Not so much as an
atom exists apart from these, which are the creativity of intrinsic knowledge.
When a pointed finger introduces you directly and immediately to the three
modes--essence, nature and responsiveness--and the Five Buddhas and the five
aspects of awareness, all together, then what is experienced is brilliant,
awakened Knowledge unaffected by circumstance and uninfluenced by clinging
thought; it is cognition of the here and now, unstructured and unaffected.
All the Buddhas of the three aspects of time arise from this Knowledge.
Constantly identify yourselves with it, beloved sons and daughters, because
this is the spirituality of all the Buddhas of the three aspects of time.
Knowledge is the unstructured, natural radiance of your own mind, so how can
you say that you cannot see the Buddha? There is nothing at all to meditate
upon in it, so how can you complain that meditation does not arise? It is
manifest Knowledge, your own mind, so how can you say that you cannot find it?
It is a stream of unceasing radiant wakefulness, the face of your mind, so how
can you say that you cannot see it? There is not so much as a moment of work
to be done to attain it, so how can you say that your effort is unavailing?
Centered and dispersed states are two sides of the same coin, so how can you
say that your mind is never centered? Inbtrinsic knowledge is the
spontaneously originated three modes of being, which is achieved without
striving, so how can you say that your practice fails to accomplish it? It is
enough to leave the mind i n a state of non-action, so how can you say that
you're incapable of attaining it? Your thoughts are released at the moment of
their inception, so how can you say that the antidotes were ineffective? It is
cognition of the here and now, so how can you say you do not perceive it?
EHMAHO! Once again, beloved sons and daughters, listen with
in its insubstantiality is like the sky." Is this true or false, my children?
Confirm it by relaxing completely and looking directly at the mind, gazing with
your entire mind, free of all tension.
"The emptiness of the mind is not just a blank nothingness, for without doubt
it is the primal awareness of intrinsic knowledge, radiant from the first.
Self-existent, natural radiance is like sun-light." Is this indeed true? To
confirm it, relax completely, looking directly at the nature of your mind.
"There is no doubt that it is impossible to objectify or grasp thought or the
movement of memory. This capricious, changeable movement is like the cosmic
wind!" Is this indeed so? To confirm it, relax completely, looking directly at
the nature of your mind.
"Without doubt all appearances whatsoever are our own manifestation. All
phenomena, whatsoever manifests, is like reflection in a mirror." Is this
indeed so? To confirm it, relax completely, looking directly at the nature of
No experience is possible anywhere but in the mind, so there is nothing to see
other than that seen at the moment of vision. No experience is possible
anywhere but in the mind, so there is nothing to meditate upon other than mind.
No experience is possible anywhere but in the mind, so there is nothing to do
other than what is done in the mind. No experience is possible anywhere but in
the mind, so there is no samaya to be sustained outside the mind. No
experience is possible anywhere but in the mind, so there is no goal to be
reached that is not in the mind.
Look, look, and look again. Look at your own mind!
Project your attention into external fields of space, and, attentively watching
the nature of your mind, see if it moves. When you are convinced by
observation that the mind does not move, retract your attention and concentrate
upon the mind within, and look carefully for the projector of diffused thought.
When you have decided that there is no entity responsible for thought
patterns, look carefully for the color and shape of the mind. When you arrive
at the emptiness that has no color or shape, look for a center or
circumference. Certain that middle and margin are the same, search for an
inside and an outside. Finding no distinction between inside and outside, you
arrive at Knowledge, which is vast as the sky.
"By virtue of its all-penetrating freedom this Knowledge that has no center or
circumference, no inside or outside, is innocent of all partiality and knows no
blocks or barriers. This all-penetrating intrinsic knowledge is a vast expanse
of space. All experience of samsara and nirvana arises in it like rainbows in
the sky. In all its diverse manifestation it is but a play of mind."
You need only look out from the motionless space of intrinsic knowledge at all
experience, illusory like the reflection of the moon in water, to know the
impossibility of dividing appearances from emptiness.
"In a state of Knowledge there is no separation of samsara and nirvana." Look
out from the motionless space of intrinsic knowledge at all experience,
illusory like the reflection in a mirror, and no matter what manifests it can
never be tasted, its existence can never be proved. In this dimension samsara
and nirvana do not exist and everything is the dharmakaya.
All beings wandering in the three realms of samsara remain trapped in dualism
until they realize that within their own perception resides the primal
awareness that is the ultimate identity of all experience of samsara and
nirvana. Due to the power of the delusive subject/object dichotomy, they hold
samsara and nirvana to be different states of mind. They remain bound because,
where in truth there is nonduality, they see a duality.
In reality no distinction between samsara and nirvana can exist in anybody's
mind. However, when the worldly fool rejects some things and indulges in
others, avoiding the "bad" and cultivating the "good", despising one while
loving another, then due to partiality, prejudice and bias, aimlessly he [one]
wanders through successive lives.
Rather than attain the spontaneously accomplished three modes of intrinsic
knowledge [essence, nature, responsiveness] without striving, thick headed
aspirants explore the techniques and stages of many time-consuming methods of
"self-improvement", leaving them no time to reach the seat of the Buddha.
"Emphatically, all phenomenal appearances whatsoever are one's own vision."
Look out from the state of motionless intrinsic knowledge and all light-form
and animate existence is like reflection. Appearances are empty, sound is
empty and indeed one's own nature is originally empty.
Similarly, turn your attention inwards to the mind that is the viewer, and your
thought processes, naturally subsiding, are empty like the sky, unstructured,
free of conceptual elaboration, utterly indeterminable, beyond description,
concept and expression of any kind.
All events whatsoever are an illusory magical display of mind and all the
magical display of mind is baseless and empty. When you have realized that all
events are your own mind, all visual appearances become the empty dharmakaya.
Appearances are not binding. It is through attachment to them that beings are
fettered. Sever all delusive attachments, children of my heart!
EHMAHO! Best beloved, fearless sons and daughters, without
applying the spur,
the horse will not gallop; without thorough churning, the butter will not
separate; without detailed explanation you will not be convinced of my meaning.
So while I sing my long but lyrical songs, listen in comfort, relaxed, without
Until you perceive all appearances as mind you will never realize the meaning
of emptiness. To facilitate this understanding, you favored children must
apply yourselves fully to a diligent analysis and thorough search. Firstly,
where do appearances come from? Secondly, where are they now? Lastly, where
do they go?
During your examination you will see that just as mist arises out of the sky
and dissolves back into the sky, appearances are the magical display of your
mind, arising in the mind and vanishing back into it.
Take as an example the shimmering effect seen by a man [person] with an
impaired sense of vision when he [they] gaze(s) ahead. Although the shimmering
appears to exist in front of his [their] eyes, nothing is there--it is an
In the same way, when mental functions are impaired by negative propensities
that cause clinging to apparently external objects as discrete and substantial
entities, then visual and auditory phenomena appear to exist where not so much
as an atom can be proved to have ultimate reality. Everything is a figment of
All these figments of mind are baseless and empty. They are non-existent
light-forms, apparition and magical illusion, like the reflection of the moon
in water. Compose yourself in the reality of inseparable appearance and
Now, in our sleep we may dream of our native country, our parental home, and
our relatives or friends, as if they were actually present, and an appropriate
strong feeling may arise. Although our family and friends are not actually
present and we have not stirred an inch from our beds, we may experience a
face-to-face encounter with them of the same vivid intensity as in the waking
Each and every sensual experience of our lives is an experience similar to last
night's dream. Just as we attach labels to dream entities, objectifying and
clinging to them as substantial entities, so appearances are modified and
apprehended by mind in the waking state. In the same way that dreams have no
substance, so the figments of the mind, all appearances whatsoever, are also
EHMAHO! Only children of my heart, most well-beloved! All
indeterminate and equivocal, so much so that what some can see, others cannot.
Further, regarding the sentient beings of this world, some conceive of the
world as earth, some conceive of the world as fire; some conceive of the world
as wealth and others conceive of the world as suffering.
Some sentient beings conceive of water as water, some conceive of water as
fire, some conceive of water as nectar; some conceive of water as their home,
while others conceive of water as earth.
Some sentient beings conceive of fire as fire, some conceive of fire as wealth;
some conceive of fire as their home, while others conceive of fire as food.
Some sentient beings conceive of space as space, some conceive of space as
their home, while others conceive of space as earth.
Thus, insofar as appearances are equivocal, they appear as they do through the
power of the karmic proclivities of the perceiver. The four elements conceived
of as the four elements are human perceptions.
Other beings conceive of the earth as the fires of hell, as the farmers'
wealth, or as the misery of the racially oppressed.
Likewise, the fire-gods conceive of fire as enjoyment, hungry-ghosts with
bodies of fire conceive of it as their home and fire-flies conceive of it as
Likewise, regarding water, denizens of hell conceive of it as fire,
hungry-ghosts see it as pus and blood, elephants conceive of it as earth, the
gods know it to be nectar, shape-shifting gods conceive of it as jewels and a
shower of flowers, and nagas conceive of it as their home.
Finally, regarding space, all the gods conceive of space as earth, since they
are made of space.
Furthermore, all phenomenal appearances manifest in whatever manner they have
thus been perceptually defined.
When Devaputra asked Sakyamuni, "Who made Mt. Meru, the sun amd the moon?",
the Buddha himself said, with his own lips:
"In answer to that, surely no creator exists oter than the karmic
potentialities and habitual patterns and conditioning of our thought processes.
These define and label appearances, reifying and objectifying them, forming
them accordingly. All things are created by our own minds."
Again, Devaputra asked the Buddha, "Our habitual thought patterns and
conditioning may form the nature of appearances, but from whence comes the
solidity and density of Mt. Meru, the sun, themoon and so on?" And the Buddha
"In Benares there once lived an old woman who visualized herself as a tiger
and transformed her human body into the body of a tiger, and the people of
Banares, having set eyes upon her, fled, and the city was deserted. If in a
very short time an old woman can effect such a transformation by visualization,
is it not indeed probably that apprarances have been created in the same way,
when the mind has been conditioned by karmic propensities instilled from
Thus all things are created by mind.
Further, Hindu sadhus are wont to visualize themselves in a solitary place in
order to prevent distraction from the mundane hustle and bustle and diversions
round about them, and after they have attained a tangible solitude to live in
even other people can appreciate it.
One Hindu yogin is alledged to have visualized a rock in the sky, and after it
became as stone it impeded the human body.
Therefore, since all appearances are modified by conceptualization, they are
the mind's self-manifest display, and all such manifestation is in reality
Further, denizens of the short-lived hells conceive of their bodies as doors,
pillars, ovens and ropes, and so on, and suffer the pain of it. In whatever
way appearances are conceived in the mind, inevitably in that form they
All the pleasure and pain of all sentient beings of the six realms is created
only by their own minds. On account of this, while you remain absorbed in
equanimity, strive for conviction that all things are your own mind's illusory
magical display, insubstantial appearances with an empty essence.
Further, it is said in the scriptures that the three dimensions of microcosmic
world systems of suffering beings exist in a single speck of pollen on a pistil
of the lotus that Saint Mountain Lake, Muni Himavat-sara, holds in his hand.
The scriptures also assert that when the yogin adept on the path of the
Immediate Crossing has fully potentiated his vision of reality as Knowledge, he
sees boundless Buddhafields, and also boundless fields of residence of sentient
beings of the six types, in each and every pore of his body. Into each of the
six realms he projects emanations to transform the different beings, and the
ultimate purpose of all those beings is served as in a dream.
In such ways all experience of samsara and nirvana is the natural and
spontaneous manifestation of one's mind, and the ground of this spontaneous
display is emptiness. You must cultivate and sustain conviction in the
dimension of emptiness and radiance, remaining free of all attachment to it.
Furthermore, it is said that in a single speck of dust there are as many
Buddhafields of infinite dimension, and also innumerable realms of sentient
beings of the six types, as there are motes of dust on the earth. The
Victorious Buddhas have said that none of these Buddhafields and realms of
sentient beings intermingle, affect each other, or produce any ill omen.
And again, people say that in the stomach of every insect there is an infinite
number of hives of microscopic insects. People also believe that in the
reaches of space there are an infinite number of cities constructed upside
down, and, likewise, innumerable other cities built on their side or right side
up. If you question who made these cities in this way, the answer given by the
Victorious Buddhas is that they were all conceived in the minds of the sentient
beings who perceived them.
You must understand that the nature of mind, from the beginning, is like space,
and that all experience is also, necessarily, like space. All relative visual
and auditory experience is only the natural and spontaneous manifestation of
mind in itself.
Although, indeed, there are changes in the mindstream at death, it is the
mind's projections that change--there is no external change.
Since all experience is the manifestations of mind, all manifest appearances
are baseless and empty. Sustain the experience of the state of Knowledge where
there is no duality between radiance and emptiness, where there is luminous
appearance without substance, like the reflection of the moon in the water.
All visual appearances, everything that you see, are the spontaneous
manifestation of mind. The chalice, the inert phenomena of the world that form
a receptacle, is mind; the elixir, the animate existence of the six types of
sentient beings that inhabit the world, is also mind; the blissful phenomena
of gods and men of the upper realms are mind; the painful phenomena of the
three lower realms are mind; the loss of awareness and the passion that
manifests as the five poisons are mind; the noumena of Knowledge and primal
awareness, self-existent and spontaneously arisen, are mind; the
manifestations of negative thought processes created by cyclical mental habit
patterns that potentiate transmigratory tendencies are mind [karmic
propensities ?]; the manifestation of positive thought patterns, Buddhafields,
are mind; the phenomena of obstacles erected by hostile forces, spirits and
demons are mind; fully manifest divinity and spiritual powers are mind; the
manifest diversity of discursive thought is mind; the phenomenon of
one-pointed thoughtless trance is mind; the phenomena of apparent concrete
entities with color and shape and other attributes are mind; that which is
indeterminate and without specific characteristics is mind; phenomena in which
there is no duality of unity and multiplicity are mind; phenomena that cannot
be established in any way as either existent or non-existent are mind.
There is no noumenal or phenomenal manifestation whatsoever that is not mind.
The mind is like an artist. The body is created by mind, as are all the many
worlds existing in the three dimensions of microcosmic world systems: all of
them are also drawn by the mind. All beings possessing this puerile mind are
seduced and inveigled by the pictures drawn by their thought processes.
Thus it is of crucial importance to cultivate absolute conviction that all
things are the illusory, magical display of mind.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of mental projections, the
concepts of dualistic thought processes, as mind.
EHMAHO! Listen further, noble, beloved sons and daughters of my
Buddha taught that the creator of all these appearances mentioned above, mind
in itself, has no knowable essence and neither color nor shape nor any other
characteristic. From the beginning empty and intangible like the sky, the
nature of mind is unquestionably empty and baseless.
However, although we may use the sky as a metaphor indicating the nature of
mind, it is only pointing at mind's emptiness. Mind is also cognitive, its
emptiness manifesting everything: the sky is non-cognitive, an empty, blank
nothingness. The sky, therefore, does not illustrate the nature of mind.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of emptiness as appearances.
From the very beginning appearances and emptiness are indivisible: because the
mind is empty, appearances are unimpeded, and ungraspable phenomena arise in
the dimension of emptiness as variegated radiance. Appearances, on the other
hand, do not obstruct or fill emptiness: although they are manifest, their
nature is originally empty.
For the yogin who realizes the indivisibility of phenomena and emptiness like a
rainbow in the sky or the reflection of the moon in water, every experience of
samsara and nirvana is a play of magical illusion. Watching the play of
indivisible appearances and emptiness, the yogin whose intellect and mental
processes are still is content.
Are your minds still, my beloved children? Look to see if the emptiness and
appearances of your mind can actually be divided. Appearances and emptiness
are indivisible. [!]
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of indivisible appearances and
It follows, then, that naturally indivisible appearances and emptiness, the
inherent radiance of self-existent Knowledge, clear and alert, constitutes the
three modes of being that are the Buddha's spontaneously originated dynamic.
Threrfore, children of my heart, without regard for sessions and intervals of
formal practice, in constant meditation sustain this recognition day and night.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of natural, spontaneous gnostic
EHMAHO! Listen again to this vagrant's
song! There are two ways of defining
the three modes of being: in terms of Knowledge as the universal ground of
being, and in terms of the process of appearances emanating from the Knowledge
that is the universal ground.
Clearly understanding these two definitions you will intuitively recognize
samsara and nirvana as pure-lands of the three existential modes.
This is the definition of the three modes of being that structure originall
Knowledge. I have used this metaphor previously, but here it is again:
Original intrinsic knowledge is like a crystal ball: its emptiness is the
dharmakaya's nature; it's clear natural glow is the sambhogakaya; and as the
unimpeded medium of whatever appears, it is the nirmanakaya.
That is how the three modes of being are defined as original Knowledge, and
although they are not identical to it, neither are they separate from it.
Just as the five colors of the spectrum arise out of a crystal, so the
manifestations of the ground of being arise out of original Knowledge.
In the process of manifestation the pristine emanations of the Buddha's
Pure-Lands and the bewildering emanations of phenomena and of beings, all
things whatsoever, are empty in essence, and this emptiness is the dharmakaya;
their nature is radiant light, which is the sambhogakaya; and their
unobstructed manifest diversity is the nirmanakaya.
This is how the three modes of being are defined as the process of
manifestation of appearances in the universal ground of being.
The distinction between these two definitions is rarely made, but it is vital
that it be clearly understood. It was made clear to me through Longchenpa's
If you understand this, then you know that the entire universe of phenomena and
noumena and the energy that animates it is, and has been from the beginning,
the spontaneously originated mandala of the three modes of being, and that it
is futile to look for the pure-lands of the three modes anywhere else.
If people were capable of spontaneous reflexive recognition of just the six
types of sentient life as the three modes of being, then without the necessity
to perform even the slightet practice of meditation, they would all attain the
Further, since the three modes of the ground of being are ultimately the
dharmakaya, do not regard the three as different. Since the three modes of the
process of manifestation in the ground of being are the rupakaya, do not
regard them as different either. Ultimately the dharmakaya and the rupakaya
are also not different: in the dimension of the dharmakaya, emptiness is the
Finally, reaching the end of the path, after appearances manifesting in the
ground have spontaneously dissolved back into the ground, when the dynamic of
the universal dharmakaya is revealed, the ultimate goal is attained.
Thereafter, without stirring from the space of the dharmakaya, the two aspects
of the rupakaya (sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya) are displayed like a rainbow,
and there is an uninterrupted stream of activity for the sake of all beings.
EHMAHO! Now listen once again to this vagrant singing! At one
time or another
all of you have been injured by others. Conscientiously recollect in detail
how others have wrongfully accused you and victimized you, humiliating you and
grinding you into the ground, and how you were shamed and deeply mortified.
Brood on these things, letting hatred arise, and as it arises, look directly at
its essence, at hatred itself. Then, discover firstly where the hatred comes
from, secondly, where it is now, and finally, where it goes to. Look carefully
for its color and shape, and any other characteristics.
Surely the vision of your anger is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not
reject anger! It is mirror-like awareness itself.
Then, all you lovers, think of the beautiful man or woman in your heart. You
gluttons, consider the food you crave--meat, cake, or fruit. You strutting
peacocks, recall and dwell on the clothes you like to wear. You avaricious
traders, think about the form of wealth you desire--horses, jewelry, or cash.
Carefully considering these matters, allow desire to arise, and when it arises
look directly at its essence, at the greedy and lustful self. Then discover
firstly where it comes from, secondly where it is now, and finally where it
goes to. Look carefully for its color and shape, and any other characteristics.
This vision of your desire is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject
it! It is discriminating awareness.
When you are tired, depressed and dull, accept your sloth, and as it arises
gaze directly at its essence. Who is it that is slothful? Firstly, where does
it come from? then, where is it now?, and finally, where does it go to?
This vision of your sloth is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject
your stupidity! It is awareness of the vast plenum of space, the
Then think about your class and status, your race and influence and your
wealth. Consider how handsome or how beautiful you are, and how pleasant and
effective your voice. Recall to what extent you are virtuous and successful in
study, contemplation and meditation, in reading and writing, in learning in the
sciences and arts, and also in the ritual arts, and in converting and
controlling others, and so forth. After considering your talents and virtues,
thinking that you are a little superior to others, allow pride to arise. As it
appears, look directly at its essence, at pride itself. Discover firstly where
it comes from, then where it is now, and finally where it goes to. Look
carefully at its color and shape and for any other characteristics.
This vision of your pride is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject
your pride! It is awareness of sameness.
Then consider how much more influential and wealthy others are than yourself.
Recall their talent and success, their large numbers of followers, their wisdom
and ability in the arts and sciences, their superior singing, oratory and
effective speech, their superior knowledge of life and how to live it, and
their worldly wisdom and persuasiveness. After you have considered all the
talents and virtues of others, allow the fear that they are superior to
yourself to arise, together with envy and jealousy. Upon its arising gaze
directly into the essence of jealousy, at jealousy itself. From where does it
come? where is it now? and finally where does it go? Look carefully at its
color and shape and at any other characterisic.
The vision of your envy is ultimately empty and ungraspable. Do not reject
your jealousy! It is all-accomplishing awareness.
If you intuit the nature of your passions this way, emotional defilement
becomes primal awareness. [I love this!] How ridiculous to expect to find
primal awareness and emptiness after you have suppressed passion! How tragic
to spend your life searching for something in a place where it is
inconceiveable that you should find it!
After you have realized the five poisons as emptiness by this method, it is
unnecessary to examine every passion that arises as described in this
introduction; there is no need to search for the seat of the passion, its
present location, its eventual destination, its color and shape, and so on.
Once you have understood the five poisons as emptiness, avoid pursuing the
passion from the moment it arises.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of transformed emotional
expression, and such also is my instruction in purification through creative
If you have practiced purification through creative emotional efflorescence by
the method described above in the past, henceforth whenever the five
poisons--defiling passions--arise, by virtue of your habitual reflexive
recognition of their hidden core, emptiness and primal awareness will arise as
one. Then, release and the arising of appearances are simultaneous!
In the biographies and teaching of the Lamas of the past, the axiom "The
greater the passion and the greater intensity of discursive thought the greater
the dharmakaya" occurs frequently. Know that it means exactly what it says!
For beginners, when powerful and intense emotion arises it is best to examine
the passion and then to rest in equanimity.
This is the Lamas personal advice, so keep it in your heart.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of spontaneous release of the
EHMAHO! Once more listen to me, beloved sons and daughters who I treasure like
my heart! Wrap soft, silken clothes around your body and observe the mind that
thinks "How soft!" Wrap coarse yak wool or sheepskin around your body and
observe the mind that thinks, "How coarse!" When observing the mind, emptiness
is the one taste in both perceptions.
Look at the form of a beautiful statue or a great painting and observe the mind
that thinks "How beautiful!" Look at the form of a hideous frog and observe
the mind that thinks "How repulsive!" When looking at the mind, emptiness is
the one taste in both perceptions.
Put something sweet like molasses or honey in your mouth, and observe the mind
that thinks "How sweet!" Then taste something like ginger and look at the mind
that thinks "How pungent!" When observing the mind, in both perceptions
emptiness is the one taste.
Smell something aromatic like sandalwood incense and look at the mind that
thinks "How pleasing!" Then smell something repungnant like asafoetida or wild
garlic and look at the mind that thinks "How foul!" When observing the mind,
emptiness is the one taste in both perceptions.
Listen to the sound of a bell or flute, and observe the mind that thinks "How
lyrical!" Listen to the sound of stones grating or hands clapping and look at
the mind that thinks "What cacophony!" When observing the mind, emptiness is
the one taste in both perceptions.
Imagine that you are reborn as a world emperor ruling the lands of the foru
continents, that you are surrounded by an entourage of queens and ministers, in
a palace constructed out of the five types of precious substance (gold, silver,
turquoise, coral and pearl), where you are eating a feast of a hundred tastes.
When such a vision arises in your mind watch the mind that thinks "How delightful!" Then imagine yourself a beggar without even a single companion,
with nowhere to lay your head but a cow shed, where rain drips in from above
and moisture seeps in from down below, your body afflicted by many diseases,
your hands and feet rotting off from leoprosy, tormented by so many troubles
that truly you know the meaning of suffering. When such a vision arises in
your mind, watch the mind that thinks, "Oh, the pain!" Observing the mind,
both in happiness and sadness, emptiness is the one taste.
After you have realized the emptiness of the six sense-fields in this way,
whenever any positive or negative feeling arises from any of these fields you
need not examine them as in this introduction. Every perception is without
foundation, released from the beginning and empty; and refraining from
pursuing any of them at the moment of their inception, relax into your own
space, into the nature of your mind. Undoubtedly, every sense impression is
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of the spontaneous release of
the six sense-fields.
EHMAHO! Again listen attentively, my noble sons and daughters! Relax, let
yourself be at rest in the free space of mind's original nature, and observe
the quiescent state of mind. Gazing into the mind at rest, you abide in the
infinite space of Knowledge. Know, therefore, beloved children of my heart,
that a quiescent mind is an empty mind in a state of knowledge.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of quiescence as an adornment of
Then, as thought moves in the mind, observe how it is manifest: it moves not
the slightest degree out of the space of empty and radiant Knowledge. Know,
therefore, that an active mind is still an empty mind in a state of Knowledge,
beloved sons and daughters.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of the movement of mind as its
No matter how large or violent the rolling wave, it cannot escape the ocean for
a moment. In the same way, mind, passive or active, cannot escape Knowledge
and emptiness to the slightest degree. If it is quiescent, it is in a state of
Knowledge, so you can relax. If it is active, whatever arises is the radiant
glow of Knowledge itself, so again, relax.
The assertion that mind in quiescence is in meditation and that an active mind
is out of meditation, sognifies failure to understand the inherent emptiness of
both quiescence and activity, and it indicates that quiescence, movement and
Knowledge, these three, are not yet fused into one.
Therefore, best beloved sons and daughters of my heart, because quiescence and
movement are both states of Knowledge, and because in the past you have fully
comperhended both these states separately, now in your existential praxis you
should condition yourself in the experience of quiescence, movement and
Knowledge as one.
Such is my introduction initiating recognition of nondual quiescence and
Song 16: "Introduction to Dzogchen--with Cautions"
EHMAHO! Listen, only beloved children of my heart, listen with your ears
attentive and calm! Set the sweet melodies of this vagrant minstrel, Tsokdruk
Rangdrol, upon the white peaks of your heart with the Sweet-voiced Maiden!
When we have established that all experience is the one taste of emptiness, we
have no attachment or aversion to samsara or nirvana. The error of
apprehending external entities either as aliens or as allies, as enemies or
friends, is precluded. No "self and other" dichotomy arises in any situation:
all things are known as the one taste of emptiness.
The following is a complete exposition distilled into aphorisms. In the
pinnacle of approaches to Buddhahood, the Great Perfection known as Dzogchen,
the whole of samsara and nirvana has been realized as unfounded and acausal.
From the beginning, "Buddha" is the one taste of the dharmakaya. In the
Dzogchen dimension there is no distinction between gods and demons. In the
Land of Dzogchen there are no Buddhas and no sentient beings. In the ground of
Dzogchen there are no moral dualities. There is no near or far on the Dzogchen
path. There is no attainment or non-attainment of the Dzogchen goal. There is
no correct or incorrect behavior in Dzogchen. There is no meditation or
non-meditation in the reality of Dzogchen. Such is Dzogchen vision.
When we realize this Dzogchen vision, all constructs pertaining to the gross
and subtle planes of the three doors subside, and, thereafter, like tangled
wool made manageable by moistening, our three doors--body, speech and
mind--reach a state of quiet, self-directed responsiveness.
Coincident with the development of a happy, glowing, thought-free samadhi is
the birth of authentic compassion, which is like the love a mother holds for
her only son, except that here the love is directed towards all beings roaming
in samsara who lack the Dzogchen vision. This compassion is a very special
feature of Dzogchen vision, and this you must know.
After you have resolved that all things are empty, if then in your conduct you
abandon virtue and no longer shrink from vice, you have fallen under the spell
of a demon of infinite and intense evil. It is crucial to avoid this demonic
Such are my introductions initiating recognition of Dzogchen, the Great
The following introductory advice about Dzogchen is
While you have yet to realize that all visual and auditory experiences of the
relative, external world are totally empty, when you contemplate Dzogchen
vision you will tend to ask "Why meditate?" In order to counteract this
tendency, remember to perform these exercises:
While making supplication to the Lama, observe your mind. From time to time,
when you are in a relaxed state of concentration, observe your mind intently.
At these times you will feel totally contented, and appearances will arise as
emptiness so vividly that you will think", "Although I can touch those things
out there with my hand, there is really nothing there!" Profound affirmations
and confident thoughts will certainly follow, like, "This is definitely the
Dzogchen vision!" At such times you will gain confidence in your vision. But
do not spoil it by clinging to it. Just relax in spacious detachment.
Even if you do not practice what is transmitted in this introduction, if you
have understood that everything manifests from your own heart center as
reflexive forms of emptiness, at the time of death, no matter what fears arise
in the bardo, you will attain the Buddha's awakening in the universal ground,
pure from the beginning.
He [Anyone] who practices the substance of this introduction without having
received the transmission is like someone who starts in error on the first day
and remains in error until the fifteenth. To say "I've realized emptiness!"
when you have not yet understood that there is no reality in any experience of
the relative world, is a great falsehood.
In order to avoid such pitfalls at the outset, as described above, sit at your
Lama's feet, and having established the nature of your original existential
condition through direct transmission, you will avoid any deviation, double
binds and pitfalls that may arise later on. Therefore, my dearest children,
keep this advice in your hearts.
EHMAHO! Once more, most beloved sons and daughters, listen!
After you have
fully intuited and established the original existential condition of the
Dzogchen vision, you must utterly sever the ties of attachment and aversion to
your family and homeland.
Go alone to the forest or to a mountain hermitage. Abandon all physical work
and dwell at ease; cease all verbal expression and remain in silence;
transcend all objects of thought and let your mind merge with space. In this
state, relax, without attempting to change anything, and without diffusion or
fixation of your consciousness.
When the mind is free of all ambition and all belief-supports, that is Dzogchen
vision. Abide in a state of non-meditation. Realize Dzogchen's goal of
Further, when you are composed in equanimity, living the vision, do not become
entangled in any web of judgmental thought by saying to yourself, "Now I've
arrived at a state of Knowledge!" or "Now I'm caught in manic depression!"
No, stay wakeful in the continuum of reality without any notion of present or
future attainment, flexible and responsive in unobstructed freedom.
You cannot perceive non-conceptual truth with your structured intellect, and
you cannot reach the place of non-action through temporal activity. If you
want to attain the non-conceptual goal of non-action, rest in naked Knowledge
free of dualistic grasping.
The supreme vision is free of all conceptual duality. Supreme meditation is
free from the cultivation of some attributes and rejection of others. Supreme
action is beyond all striving and effort. The supreme goal is ever immanent,
Looking for 'it', the vision cannot be seen: cease your search. 'It' cannot
be discovered through meditation, so abandon your trance states and mental
images. 'It' cannot be accomplished by anything you do, so give up the attempt
to treat the world as magical illusion. 'It' cannot be found by seeking, so
abandon all hope of results.
Do not be biased or partial, thus spoiling your free and easy uncontrived
consciousness of the here and now by clinging attachments. This radiant
insubstantiality, Knowledge of the here and now, this is the summum bonum of
all vision. This all-pervasive, all-embracing object of mind transcending the
intellect, this is the summum bonum of all meditations. This unforced,
detached, free and easy spontaniety, this is the summum bonum of all behavior.
This unsought, spontaneous accomplishment, present from the beginning, this is
the summit of all attainments.
The matrix of vision is observation of emptiness and radiance without clinging
to it. The matrix of meditation is maintenance of reflexive release without
clinging to it. The matrix of action is relaxation with a free and easy
response to the six sense-fields. The matrix of the goal is collapse of all
expectation and apprehension.
When the mind has no limitations, we see the sovereign vision. When it has no
point of reference, we practice sovereign meditation. When we are free of all
inhibition and indulgence, we perform sovereign activity. When mind is free of
hope and fear, we have attained the sovereign goal.
As there is nothing to see, abandon all fixed ideas, all preconceived notions
and all parameters of vision. As there is nothing upon which to meditate, let
be whatever arises adventitiously. As there is no particular way to behave,
give up evaluation, judgment, and criticism. As there is nothing to attain,
forsake all expectation of results.
Whatsoever can be is Knowledge, so do not cling to any one thing. Nothing is
'it', so do not judge and criticize. No intellectual concepts are valid, so do
Primally pure intrinsic knowledge, naturally radiant, transcends the intellect
and objects of mind, so there is nothing to see. As its essence has no root or
ground, there is nothing to meditate uon. As its reflexive release is beyond
all limitations and extremes, there is nothing to do based on conscious and
rational design. As it is beyond striving, accomplishment and ambition, there
is no fruition.
Its essence is emptiness, so abandon self-denial and self-improvement. Its
nature is empty radiance, so let your diligent effort drop away. Everything is
unobstructed, so forget your preferences. Just as phenomena arise, let them
be, and do not cling to them.
The yogin's perception is like the flight-path of a bird in the sky. The
bird's flight-path vanishes without a trace: each previous perception vanishes
without repercussion--do not attempt to prolong a perception by pursuing it and
clinging to it. The bird's future flight-path is as yet nonexistent: do not
anticipate the next perception. The present bird-print in the sky is colorless
and shapeless: the present perception has an ordinary, unremarkable
form--leave it alone and refrain from contaminating it or modifying it by
Just as phenomena arise let them be and do not cling! This is the radical,
essential practice during the daily round. If you do not cling to whatever, or
however, phenomena appear, emotional defilements, naturally freed, are sublime,
The vision is unoriginated, non-conceptual, capable of any departure
whatsoever, for in intense concentration the vision has no specific content.
Meditation is a natural, innate process of being free, for in intense
meditation there is non-meditation. Conduct is a perfromance of magical
illusion, innocent of any distinction between giving and taking, abstinence and
indulgence, for intense activity is purposeless. The nature of the goal is
absence of both hope of attainment and fear of failure, for with intense
practice the goal vanishes.
In past, present and future the mind is acausal and baseless. Its spontaneous
manifestation of vivid appearances is a constant wonder. From the first to the
last the nature of all experience is pure! miraculously arisen! eternally
free! completely free! effortlessly accomplished! This ordinary
consciousness, unforced and authentic, is the Buddha's dynamic, a vast space
What is more, with effort, examining and contemplating the mind, you do not see
its intrinsic original nature. In the unthinkable, inscrutable ordinary nature
of reality there is neither meditation nor non-meditation, neither distraction
nor non-distraction. Many are liberated through natural no-meditation.*
[Here in the text is a note I think is important to include, in an attempt to
clarify, and avoid misunderstanding: *At this stage reflexive recognition of
the nature of mind has become a habit. Examination of the mind is now an
obstacle to the spontaneous arising of Knowledge. No-meditation indicates a
state where even the notions of meditation and meditator are absent, free of
both meditation and non-meditation when both states are self-conscious. This
double negative has the same meaning as Naropa's mahamudra statement of simple
negation, the oft-quoted lines:
Without thought, deliberation or analysis,
Without meditation and without action,
Without doubt or expectation,
Mental constructs and dualities spontaneously dissolve
And the original face of reality shines forth.
The mendicant pilgrim is best placed to recognize anonymous, unlearned (or
learned) realized beings whose attainment has arisen in spontaneous
In the unthinkable, inscrutable, ordinary nature of reality there is no
difference between freedom and bondage. No matter what arises, when you
perceive your original nature the joy arises automatically -- and what joy!
Trapped by the thought of desiring thoughtlessness, conflicting thoughts
multiply, and in mounting frenzy you run aimlessly hither and thither. Relax
and merge into the primal space of Knowledge, which is free of coming and
going. Cut loose and just let be. Then, ready for anything, you remain firm
and stable, as solid as a rock.
Grasp this paradox, my sons and daughters! There is not so much as a mote of
dust upon which to meditate, but it is crucial to sustain unwavering attention
with presence of mind.
EHMAHO! Once more gather round and listen, my children! It is
absurd to try
to purify external objects, which are insubstantial appearances, the natural
forms of emptiness. They are empty from the beginning, like the reflection of
the moon in water.
It is absurd to apply forceful antidotes to thoughts and concepts, and internal
objects. They vanish by themselves without a trace. It is absurd to try to
improve mind's manifestations with your renunciation, your practice of
self-improvement, or your hopes and fears. They are free from the beginning
and primal awareness by nature.
Do not dress up Knowledge, which is naked clarity itself, in the clothes of
elaborate intellectual analysis. Rather, rest in relaxation in that
magnificent sameness that is without partiality. Stay free and easy, without a
care in the world, in the place where there is no residue to perception.
No matter what thoughts arise in that space, know them to be the natural
radiance of impartial and spontaeously existent Knowledge. Then we are able to
let go of the mental residue of perception. Abandoning the manifestations of
mind to vast all-embracing space as the play of elusive, effervescent,
shimmering reality, we immediately reach the plenum of Kuntu Zangpo's dynamic
The foregoing is called the universal, self-liberating yoga of the naturally
accomplished and originally liberated Great Perfection.
Although we do not move, we arrive at the Buddha's seat. Although we do not
practice, the goal is spontaneously accomplished. Although we do not abandon
emotional defilements, they are purified as they stand. Thus our Mind is the
same as the dynamic minds of the great Lamas, and following in their footsteps
our karma is exhausted.
You should understand the enormous significance of this, my sons and daughters.
By the generosity of the wise old man Choki Gyelpo, I, Tsokdruk Rangdrol,
attained the spontaneously originated, dynamic mind of Vagrant Non-action.
This non-action may be crucial, but it is not understood by some. Everything
is already done, but they say, "I must work hard!" Everything has been
liberated from the beginning, but they say, "I want to be free!" Everything is
at rest from the beginning, but they say, "I want peace of mind!" The mind is
in meditation from the beginning, but they say, "I must meditate!" The vision
exists from the beginning, but they say, "I must see it!" The goal is attained
from the first, but they say, "I must reach it!"
People who trust in an analytical view are learned, but they know only the
taste of dead words and divisive concepts. They claim understanding, but it is
an idle boast. They meditate, but their meditation consists of mental
structures. They examine the mind, but cling to duality. They are successful,
but it is all in samsara.
It is certain that the intellectual with an analytical view of reality has no
connection with the Heart-essence of the Great Perfection, the Dzogchen
Nyingthig. No specific activity is necessary, for action does not lead to the
exhaustion of karmic activity. It is beyond reckoning in terms of action and
In the non-meditation beyond meditation, meditation is detrimental. Beyond
vision, where there is nothing to see, upon what can you focus? Beyond
seeking, where there is no seeking, there is no finding. Knowledge is direct
recognition of the here and now.
How ridiculous that someone should have this explained and not listen. Such a
person has no connection with Dzogchen.
When you observe something that is arising in a dynamic mind of immense space,
utterly pure from the beginning, then there is no duality of samsara and
To have taken this Mind as the subject of my song will indubitably please the
Victorious Buddhas of the past, present and future.
"However," you may ask, "although at first I may rest free and easy when
perceiving external, delusive objects of mind, later will I not again regress
The answer to your question is that ordinary individuals attached to their ego
will certainly go astray. But as for the yogin who understands all appearances
as causeless and baseless and who refrains from attempting to change himself
[oneself] or phenomena, rejecting some things and cultivating others, because
he [one] is naturally composed in detached equanimity he [one] will not err.
"Are there no potential traps or dilemas in this dimension?" you may further
There is no pitfall or trap possible on this path. Dilemas and traps are
caused by clinging and attachment. If there is no attachment to anything that
may arise, what can possibly be the cause of downfall?
However, when Knowledge arises co-emergent with an object, looking at the
essence of the thought of what has arisen should not be considered the
meditation. The crucial practice is to constantly sustain the aspect of
Knowledge that is naked radiance.
Furthermore, when Knowledge is quiescent, neither diffused nor concentrated,
the lack of concepts and thoughts associated with the quiescent aspect is not
the central point of the meditation. In that state you should sustain clarity
and strength of mind, crystal clear and acutely awake.
If you fail to understand this vital point and think, "Observing either
diffusion or quiescence of mind is the essence of meditation," you will go
astray, my sons [children]. Mere quiescence is a trance state of the gods and
mere diffusion is ordinary conceptualization. You may meditate on these but
you will not attain Buddhahood.
In short, until you realize your goal, at all times whatsoever you should
sustain the aspect of Knowledge that is naked, unobstructed clarity,
maintaining a vivid awareness of it as a crystal ball. After your goal is
attained, continue to sustain constant identification with that state.
It is said that the central reality of the vision of Cutting Through is
Knowledge, and that Knowledge should be sustained in all its radiant clarity by
stripping the mind naked. This point is of unique importance. It is an
aphorism reduced from a hundred words, so remember it well, beloved sons and
EHMAHO! Once again, sons and daughters of my heart, listen with
respect! Here is the instruction on the four infallible guiding stars. The
infallible guiding star of vision is called a guiding star because of its
unfailing radiance: it is vivid perception of the here and now. The
infallible guiding star of meditation is called a guiding star because of its
unfailing radiance: its vivid perception of the here and now. The guiding
star of action is called a guiding star because of its unfailing radiance: its
vivid perception of the here and now. The infallible guiding star of the goal
is called a guiding star because of its unfailing radiance: its vivid
perception of the here and now.
Here is instruction on the four unshakeable bolts. The unshakeable bolt of
unchangeable vision is vivid perception of the here and now, and it is called
an unshakeable bolt because of its permanence throughout past, present and
future. The unshakeable bolt of unchangeable meditation is vivid perception of
the here and now, and it is called an unshakeable bolt because of its
permanence throughout past, present and future. The unshakeable bolt of
unchangeable conduct is vivid perception of the here and now, and it is called
an unshakeable bolt because of its permanence throughout past, present and
future. The unshakeable bolt of the unchangeable goal is vivid perception of
the here and now, and it is called an unshakeable bolt because of its
permanence throughout past, present and future.
There are a vast number of different visions, but in the self-existent
intrinsic knowledge of the here and now, which is pure awareness, there is no
duality of vision and viewer. Do not look at the vision but look for the
viewer. Looking for the creator of the vision, if you fail to find him [one],
then your vision is at the point of resolution. This vision in which there is
nothing at all to see but which is not a blank nothingness of ultimate void, is
vivid and unalloyed perception of the here and now: this is Dzogchen vision.
There are innumerable dissimilar methods of meditation, but in the unobstructed
clarity, which is ordinary perception of the here and now, there is no duality
of meditation and meditator. Do not perform the meditation, but look for the
meditator. Searching for the meditator, if you fail to find him [one], then
your meditation is at the point of resolution. This meditation in which there
is no meditating whatsoever, free of depression and elation, free of cloudy
vision and sluggishness, is the natural radiance and unalloyed perception of
the here and now -- it is meditation fixed in uncontrived sameness.
There is an infinite variety of different modes of behavior, but in the cosmic
seed of intrinsic knowledge and pure awareness there is no duality of action
and actor. Do not perform the action, but look for the actor. Searching for
the actor, if you fail to find him [one], then your conduct is at the point of
resolution. This conduct, in which there is no activity whatsoever but which
is not governed by delusive habit patterns, is the unforced, natural radiance
of perception of the here and now -- this is immediate, immaculate action,
where nothing whatsoever is contrived or forced and nothing is inhibited or
There are innumerable goals, but in the spontaneously originated, effortlessly
accomplished intrinsic knowledge of the three existential modes, there is no
duality of accomplishment and he [one] who achieves the goal. Without striving
for the goal, seek the sadhaka, the yogin on the path. Looking for him [one]
who is accomplishing the goal and failing to find him [this one], then you are
at the point of achievement. This goal in which there is no striving for
accomplishment, completely free of renunciation and cultivation, hopes and
fears, is the spontaneously natural radiance of Knowledge that is perception of
the here and now: this is empty, natural radiance of the three existential
modes of the Buddha manifest. It is the ultimate goal of Buddhahood.
EHMAHO! And again, beloved sons and daughters, listen
If you sustain this practice unwaveringly from the beginning, until you abandon
yourself totally in complete freedom there will be no coming and going from the
supreme truth and no departure from the here and now. [Here, I believe, may
possibly be an error in context translating, or possibly printing...read,
instead of, "...in complete freedom there will be...", "...in complete freedom
will there be...", and see how it works for you. At this point, it's just an
observation...but imo, has definite ramifications in the 'overall view'.]
When there is no distinction between appearances and emptiness, then perfect
vision is realized. When there is no distinction between dream and the waking
state, then perfect meditation is realized. When there is no distinction
between pleasure and pain, then perfect conduct is realized. When there is no
distinction between this life and the next, then your original existential
condition is realized. When there is no distinction between your mind and the
sky, then the dharmakaya is realized. When there is no distinction between
your own mind and the Buddha, then the goal is realized.
EHMAHO! Once again, beloved children, listen to me! Regard this
body like the reflection of the moon in water. Perceive all vocal expression
as echo. Dissolve the multitude of your mental concepts in the purity of their
Live all visual and auditory experience without attachment, as hallucination,
dream, the reflection of the moon in water, a fairy palace in the sky, a
distortion of sight, an apparition, a bubble and an echo. Perform all your
daily activity in this state. Without making any division between sessions of
meditation and the intervals between them, practice constantly, day and night.
Do not seek to alter your thoughts in any way. Leave them in their natural
state, without forcing them or adulterating them. Let them alone as empty
radiance, without clinging to them, and thus allow self-expression to release
itself by itself. Let them be, without reification, without meditation,
without any effort, and leaving no trace whatsoever.
Treat all past thought as the trackless path of a bird in the sky, all present
perception as clear dustless space, and all future thought as the water in a
mill with its sluice gate closed. Without cultivating or modifying any
thought, with a free and easy attitude leave thoughts alone in their natural
state of open space.
Treat all gross and subtle concepts, the three poisons, the five poisons, and
so on, like thieves entering an empty house. Treat external appearances of the
six sense-fields, which leave no residue in the mind, like a city of magical
In short, regarding creation, existence and cessation; the ground, the path
and the goal; vision, meditation, conduct and fruition; time, place and verbal
expression; the disposition and the disposer; liberation and the liberator;
and so forth: when the innate radiance of all these events is unaffected by
evaluation and judgement, and one is free of effort and striving, without
clinging or any partiality, then moment by moment every single experience is
brought to a final and certain resolution, without attachment, in the ultimate
purity of the empty continuum of mind -- like droplets of water merging in the
So do not be disheartened when during meditation many thoughts disturb you and
you think, "This is not meditation." The mind may be actively generating
thought, but because the mind is empty, thought is also empty. Since whatever
arises is a state of Knowledge, do not attempt any alteration based on
judgement and evaluation, but leave it alone in its natural, authentic,
uncontrived state. In that way, thought will certainly be released into its
own natural purity.
If you are a practitioner of lesser capacity, unable to stay in
state, you should practice a combination of examination followed by rest in
equanimity, as described in the introductions. [Songs 3, 8, 9 and 13.]
Alternatively, you can force thought to its own demise: provoke relevant or
irrelavant thoughts and then pursue them, one after the other, in various ways,
prolonging each thought until the mind is exhausted. Finally, when you have no
more grasping, rest in ease.
Another method is to meditate upon the real Lama in the center of your heart.
Keep your mind fixed on him [or, her] for as long as possible, and then,
finally, letting go, rest in the state of Knowledge.
Or again, meditate upon a tiny point of bright light in the center of your
heart. Imagine it descending until it reaches the Seat of Indra (the navel
center). This method will certainly destroy diffused and rampant thought.
When agitation is stilled, rest in the state of Knowledge. When torpor is
present, sharpen your gaze, and after stripping Knowledge naked, sustain the
Or, as a further option, imagine your mind as a light-seed, and when the image
is still, shout "PHAT!" Instantaneously the mind shoots from the fontanelle
like an arrow, and you should imagine it mixing with the clarity of the sky.
Then identify your intellect with the nature of the sky. It is impossible that
your torpor will not be eliminated by this method. When your torpor has
vanished, rest in a state of detachment.
Since this advice is the result of personal experience, remember it well.
Without being trapped by thought of desire for thoughtlessness, increasing the
dimensions of Knowledge, abandon yourself to it smoothly, and be happy and free
in that vast, open space.
Initially (in your practice of meditation), thought is like a rushing river at
the bottom of a gorge. In the middle, it flows calmly and majestically like
the River Ganga. Finally, just as all rivers become of one flavor in the
ocean, so thought is resolved in the state where the mother-light merges with
In particular, whatever disease, hostile spirits, or apparitions afflict you,
do not make any attempt to ward them off by magical rites. Rather, practice
the following meditation that attacks the problem directly and reduces the
affliction to the same taste as all other experience.
Go to a spot that tends to breed fear -- to a forest, a burning ground, or an
island -- or to an isolated garden, a rock-cave, or an empty house, or go sit
under a tree, for instance, and visualize the following: Transmute your own
body, the vessel and its contents, all phenomena and noumena, into elixir.
Then offer the elixir to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten
directions. After they have been satisfied, they dissolve into light with a
disposition of loving kindness, and the whole of samsara and nirvana is
completely filled with the elixir of clear light. Then, with your elixir that
liberates by taste you satisfy all beings under the sky. The Oath-bound
Spirits and Dharma-protectors, who are qualities and talents, become your
guests, and then the supreme field of compassion consisting of the sentient
beings of the six realms, as well as all karmic creditors, hostile spirits,
obstructive forces and elementals -- all are satiated.
Then with the conviction that samsara and nirvana are of one taste, in the
unalloyed nature of mind that is the dharmakaya, walk and sit, run and jump,
talk and laugh, cry and sing. Alternately subdued and agitated, act like a
lunatic. Finally, abide in a state of peace and happiness.
At nigh-time, sleep peacefully and naturally, free of all discursiveness, free
of diffused or concentrated thought. Sleep in the space inherent within,
maintaining perfect attention to pure potential.
When you practice in the above manner, disease and hostile spirits are
automatically assuaged and pacified. Your view and meditation are then brought
to resolution, your realization is like the sky, your meditation is naturally
radiant and you act like a child. Without any frame or points of reference you
act spontaneously, like a madman [crazy-person, lol!] Making no distinction
between self and others, you are a saint. Detached from whatever you say, your
speech is like melodious echo. Without desire for anything at all you are like
a Garuda soaring aloft; you are like a fearless, intrepid lion [lioness (!?!)
lol!]. All is free from the beginning, like bright clouds in the sky. Such a
yogin [or yogini] is a real Sugata, a Vidyadhara. He [She] is worthy of
enormous respect and homage. He [She] is even far superior to the
EHMAHO! And yet again, my beloved sons and daughters, listen to
the song of
this vagrant! Vairocana is not outside; he exists within. He is the
reality-continuum (dharmadhatu), the nature of mind free of movement, the true
nature of sloth, pure as it stands. That is the real Bhagavan Vairocana.
Vajrasattva is not outside; he exists within. He is the mirror, the
unobstructed medium of creative Knowledge, the true nature of anger, pure as it
stands. That is the real Bhagavan Vajrasattva.
Ratnasambhava is not outside; he exists within. He is the sameness that
rejects nothing and indulges nothing, judges nothing and evaluates nothing, the
true nature of pride, pure as it stands. That is the real Bhagavan
Amitabha is not outside; he exists within. He is sensory discrimination,
where pleasure and emptiness vanish into the continuum of space, the true
nature of desire, pure as it stands. That is the real Bhagavan Amitabha.
Amoghasiddhi is nooutside; he exists within. He is total accomplishment,
Knowledge arising unimpeded and naturally liberated, the true nature of
jealousy, pure as it stands. That is the real Bhagavan Amoghasiddhi.
EHMAHO! Once again my best beloved heart-sons [and daughters],
rising joy to my vajra-song! When you realize that the five Buddhas are
inherent in the mind's nature and in emotional defilement, then the whole of
phenomenal creation and the life therein is a book of instruction and is itself
the ultimate mandala. On the parchment of diverse red and white phenomena the
bamboo quill of self-existent primal awareness and Knowledge inscribes
baseless, unattached ciphers liberated from the beginning, creating images to
be read in the space of co-emergent appearances and emptiness.
This spontaneously accomplished mandala, which is the entire three dimensions
of microcosmic world systems, is consecrated by the natural sprinkling of
rainwater; its streets and alleyways form the natural lines of its design;
our footprints are the dots of colored powder; our own bodies of apparent
emptiness are the existential mode of the Yidam deity; our speech of auditory
emptiness is vajra-recitation (of mantra); our thought, detached and naturally
liberated, is the deity's spirit; and all the movements of our limbs are the
Food and drink are offerings of the nature of reality, and all phenomenal form
is the deity's body; the expression of all articulated sound is music. There
is nothing to protect and nothing to be impaired in this natural samaya.
Whatsoever the yogin [or yogini] who practices in this manner does, he [she]
need not rely upon a path of cause and effect and diligent striving, because in
the space of clear light reality his [or her] instruction and the creative
stage of meditation, and the samayas, are naturally fulfilled. To attain
quickly the great miracle of the ultimate power, without striving, is the
special characteristic of the Great Perfection, my heart sons and daughters.
When we practise like this consistently, just as clouds vanish into the sky,
the welter of thoughts and concepts of samsara and nirvana dissolve into the
primal ground of being.
After the dharmakaya is revealed as the clear light of intrinsic knowledge like
the radiant, unobscured solar mandala, we are able to raise the dead and
comprehend the mysteries, and demonstrating various miracles we can direct
After perfecting all the qualities of the ten stages and the five paths without
exception, individuals of superior capacity are liberated into the pure ground
of being in this lifetime, individuals of middling capacity at the moment of
death, and those of lesser capacity in the bardo (the after-death state).
Thereafter, remaining forever inseparable from the pure awareness of the three
modes of being in the continuum of reality, emanating apparitional bodies to
transform all beings in whatever way is required, we work unremittingly to give
ultimate meaning to all sentient beings.
Keep the significance of these words in your mind, and surely the inner sun of
happiness will shine upon us.
He who has expressed such aspiration in song is the vagrant Tsokdruk Rangdrol.
Through its virtue may all those many aspirants who have such good fortune
swiftly dissolve all the defilements inherent in loss of awareness, and in
emotion and thought, in the primal continuum of purity. May they attain the
goal of Buddhahood in this lifetime.
This song of the vision of Cutting Through to the clear light of
Perfection, which has the potential of leading us quickly through the stages
and paths, is called "The Flight of the Garuda". It is based on many
scriptural treasures of Dzogchen: "Introduction to Direct Vision of Knowledge"
by Orgyen Rinpoche, Longchenpa's "Seven Treasures" and "Three Chariots", and
"An Afterword on the Great Perfection: The Three Cycles of Space", The Vast
Cloud of Profound Truth", "Heartdrop of the Dzogchen Dakini", and "Buddha in
the Palm of the Hand", all by Longchenpa. The secret instruction of my Lamas
and my own meditation experience decorate its margins. It is written by
Tsokdruk Rangdrol for the sake of many devoted disciples. May it cause
boundless advantage to the tradition and to sentient beings.
Since these vajra-songs were composed for all those concerned with liberation,
they should be sung by yogins [and yoginis] when they are focusing upon
Dzogchen vision. As the Knowledge Bearer Sri Simha said regarding the purpose
of such songs:
"The Buddha's Mind is all-pervasive; sentient beings' Knowledge is
fragmented: to create openness like the sky is of great advantage."
So, just as Sri Simha advises, identify Knowledge with the vast space of the
sky, infinitely increasing its height and depth, and out of this space, which
embraces all sentient beings, sing these songs to benefit your meditation on
"Samaya! Sarva mangalam!"
Maintain the commitment! May all beings be happy!