And whatever practice you do should be embraced by the three excellences.
The excellent preparation of bodhicitta is to practice with the motivation that it will be a cause to bring all beings to full enlightenment, Freedom from reference point is freedom from distraction from the object of meditation.
The excellent conclusion of dedication is to share the merit of the practice for the benefit of the enlightenment of others. If you are not sure how to do that, one can aspire to dedicate merit in the manner of Manjushri and Samantabhadra.
Yesterday I asked you to think about the relation of appearances and mind, thoughts and mind, and moving mind and still mind. When giving pointing out instructions, it's necessary to contemplate the instructions and share your understanding with your teacher.
It is better if you can understand the nature of mind through your experience and not just read about it, because for most people, understanding will not arise just through reading. The understanding that arises through meditation will be without doubt.
You can view them as different. You can't really see mind, but you can see thoughts, but I can't really see mind. Even though thoughts appear, they also can't be found, so they both have the same nature.
You should rejoice and happy that you are on the path to realize the nature of mind, which is great bliss. You should be happy because you have seen afflicted thoughts case suffering and that they are not truly real. Understanding this is the path to realize the nature of mind.
The equal taste of the two is my teaching." The same is true of appearance and mind. Matripa said, "The coemergent nature of mind is dharmakaya. Coemergent appearances are the radiance of the dharmakaya. Therefore indivisible appearances and mind are coemergent."
There's another metaphor used, The waves are not separate from the ocean from which they arise. However, if we can't sustain this understanding, mind and thoughts will seem separate, mind and appearances will seem separate, and the still and moving mind will seem separate.
Normally when we ask, no one will say samsara and nirvana are the same. Shavari said that just as all rivers have one taste when they reach the ocean, so do all the mental states have one taste in the dharmadhatu.
There are four sidetracks and three deviation to the practice of mahamudra. The first side track is to hold onto the concept of emptiness. That is true, but merely thinking everything is emptiness is to fall into the extreme of anihilation.
The secondary aspect of this sidetrack is to meditate on emptiness without gathering the accumulations. The second sidetrack is to think the sutras and tantras are antidotes to afflictive emotions, which should be rejected. There are different methods for dealing with afflictive emotions.
But simply rejecting them is a sidetrack. The secondary aspect is to meditate on mahamudra as an antidote to the afflictive emotions. Mahamudra is seeing the nature of whatever arises, including afflictive emotions. Thoughts are the dharmakaya, so they do not need an antidote.
You shouldn't view the ground as inferior, because it is buddha nature. The ground and fruition are indivisible. The secondary aspect is to practice mahamudra with the hope of achieving the dharmakaya. There is no separation between the practice and the fruition.
The fourth sidetrack is to stamp everything that exists with the seal of non-existence. Just as it is not appropriate to take a non-existent as an existent, it is not appropriate to take an existent as a non-existent. You should not think the deity needs to be dissolved into emptiness.
The secondary aspect is to dissolve entities into emptiness by means of reciting a mantra. All sadhana practices start with a dissolution of appearances into emptiness while saying "all phenomena are pure and have the nature of emptiness."
There are two kinds of pride. One is an afflictive emotion and the other is divine pride. Regular pride is thinking you are what you are not. Divine pride is acknowledging things as they actually are. So these are the four sidetracks.
When they happen and you find yourself in this state and you become attached to it and try to gain it again, that drives it away, because these experiences arise through not being attached to conceptual thought.
The deviation to clarity is attachment to the arising of psychic powers, such as reading others thoughts. It's very important to have a lama who has experience on the path and knows what obstacles arise on it.
We can see this in the relation between Gampopa and Milarepa. All sorts of experiences arose and he asked Milarepa about them. Milarepa said they are neither good nor bad, and to keep practicing. Without a teacher Gampopa might have gotten sidetracked.
Deviation into non-thought is to cling to the cessation of thought and the four formless meditations. Also, believing that because all phenomena are empty that there is neither good nor bad is to deviate into nihilistic prattle.
Someone who has the complete realization of mahamudra, that person, who is unaffected by appearances, is not helped by virtuous actions nor harmed by unvirtuous ones. But for ordinary persons, who are bound by appearances to hold that all actions are devoid of kelp or harm is to fall into nihilism.
But someone who understands the relation between actions and their results will be less self-centered, relaxed, and at ease. Someone who doesn't understand karma unwittingly brings about their own suffering.
But someone who does, won't let themselves get carried away by afflictive emotions. It's the difference between driving during the day and driving at night without headlights.
The manner of resting the mind fatigued by the concepts of duality is seeing ordinary mind as fresh, innate, and natural. Normally, when we relax our bodies, our minds are still spinning. What fresh means is resting in the present, without recalling the past or imagining the future.
The next topic is the manner of sustaining the practice. I have given some instructions on the mind and you have contemplated them. But is also important to meditate on them. and cultivate the understanding one has.
You might expect one will rest in the stainless, clear, immaculate nature of mind. But achieving this is quite difficult.
Aversion is the foot of meditation, so you should give up attachment to worldly things. You don't need to live in a cave, but you should practice the dharma and not be chasing after worldly concerns. Devotion is the head of meditation, so you should supplicate the Kagyu masters from your heart.
If you do, there is the danger that you will misguide others.
Later he related his experiences to Gampopa and he replied your experiences are worth less than this ball of tsampa I am eating, for it at least can fill my stomach. The armor of meditation is having a conscience and sense of shame.
If you see that you are lessening your afflictive emotions, you should rejoice.
His teacher scolded him as the worst practitioner and sent him away. As he left, he felt distressed and as he walked away, he left a footprint in the rock, as his mind was free of clinging. Then he thought this was a bad thing, he was competing with his teacher, and turned the rock over.
But his teacher knew what had happened and called him back. This is true of all practices. If we conceptualize, no result will come about.
Q: Does it take special preparation before you can rest your mind?
Q: What is the unnatural mind?
A: All contrived thoughts.
Q: So everything else is the natural mind?
A: So what is everything else?
The main point is to cut through attachment. It is holding onto thoughts and emotions that brings suffering. The goal is not to be free of thoughts and emotions but to cut through your clinging to them.
Tilopa said to Naropa, "You are not bound by appearances, you are bound by clinging. Cut through your clinging, Naropa." The mere arising of a thought does not cause suffering. It doesn't matter if you are in a group or in solitude.
You should always sustain the practice of mahamudra. It differs from shamatha, where you may have questions where the mind is meditating or not. In Mahamudra there is no need to doubt, one merely sustains the experience of ordinary mind.
There is no difference between looking nakedly at whatever arises and relaxing loosely.
As a beginner we must apply effort to stop a train of negative thoughts. But a more advanced practitioner should be free from rejecting thoughts or applying antidotes to them. The thought that recognizes a demon is itself the obstacle.
Once Milarepa was meditating in a cave and saw a rock split open. Milarepa thought this must be a demon and the Rock Ogress appeared. He did wrathful practices to avert the demoness, but they did not work. Eventually he rested his mind and the demoness disappeared.
There is no need to rely on anything else at all than resting the mind. It is called the white panacea, after a medicine that would cure all diseases. If you know this remedy, however gross your afflictive emotions are, your realization will be that much stronger.
A moment of anger is unvirtuous if not transformed into wisdom, but it is easier to transform that emotion. Phagmodrupa was teaching a student and making him angry. When he got very angry, he said, now rest in that, and in that way was able to bring him to realization.
The five fold path of mahamudra dispels afflictions for those who have not yet achieved mastery, but this is the instruction for those who have achieved mastery. The practice of mahamudra comprises all other practices.
Just as a lamp dispels the darkness of kalpas, likewise a single moment of a luminous and clear mind dispels the ignorance of kalpas. Mahamudra is the remedy that cuts through the root of all aflictions.
When the root is cut through, the dharmakaya is there in that instant. Even to have a doubtful thought that Mahamudra may be valid is to rent existence apart All the joy of this world and the next are brought forth without exertion.
The yoga of non-meditation is when there is no need to maintain mindfulness or rest in equipoise, all appearances arise as meditation. At the highest level all consciousness, even the most subtle is transformed to wisdom.
There are various ways of developing these for persons of higher, middling, and lower capacities. The main practice is to maintain silence and practice in solitary places, to let go of attachment to oneself, enjoyments, and samadhi. The main enhancement is devotion to the guru.
Q: Is there a flow chart that explains the various stages of practice?
A: The outline of this text corresponds to the stages of mahamudra practice. It starts with shamatha practice and then the investigation of the nature of mind. Once that is seen it moves onto investigating, the nature of thoughts and appearances, and the still and moving mind. Then it discusses the results of mahamudra practice, the four yogas.
Q: Could you explain the indivisibility of the three times?
A: When we are alive we have the obscurations of a body of flesh and blood and of being awake. In dreams we have the obscurations of dreams. At death, these obscurations cease so there is the opportunity to become realized by joining the child luminosity with the mother luminosity. But without practice we won't realize that.
Q: How do you choose your yidam?