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Vajra Songs In Praise of the Dharmadhatu

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Verses from Shenpen Ösel

In Praise of the Dharmadhatu

1. There is something which as long as left unknown
Results in life’s three planes of vicious circle.
Beyond all doubt, it dwells in every being.
To the Dharmadhatu I devoutly bow.

2. When that which forms the cause for all samsara
Is purified along the stages of the path,
This purity itself is nirvana;
Precisely this, the Dharmakaya, too.

3. As butter, though inherent in the milk,
Is mixed with it and hence does not appear,
Just so the Dharmadhatu is not seen
As long as it is mixed together with afflictions.

4. And just as the inherent butter essence
When the milk is purified is no more disguised,
When afflictions have been completely purified,
The Dharmadhatu will be without any stain at all.

5. As a butter lamp that burns inside a vase
Would not even be slightly visible,
As long as left inside afflictionsvase,
The Dharmadhatu is not visible.

6. If one perforates the surface of the vase,
Whatever holes are made in whichever directions,
Through those and in precisely those directions
Light will shine, as is its nature to.

7. At the moment when the vajra-like samádhi
Is able to obliterate the vase,
At that very moment the light burning inside
Will shine throughout the reaches of all space.

8. The Dharmadhatu was never born,
Nor will it ever cease.
At all times it is free of all afflictions;
At the beginning, middle, and end, free from stain.

9. As sapphire, the precious gem,
Shines with brilliant light all the time,
But when confined within a grosser stone,
We do not see its bright light shine,

10. Just so, although obscured behind afflictions,
The Dharmadhatu has no trace of flaw.
While samsara blocks its light, it does not illuminate;
Nirvana gained, its light will brilliantly shine.

11. If the fundamental element is present,
Work will yield the sight of purest gold;
If the fundamental element were lacking,
The labor would produce no fruit but woe.

12. As kernels are not considered to be rice
As long as they are enveloped in their husks,
Just so the name of "Buddha" is not given
To all of those whom afflictions still enfold.

13. And just as when loosened from the husk,
The rice itself is what appears,
Just so the Dharmakaya itself,
When loosened from afflictions, freely shines.

14. It is said, "Banana trees are void of pith."
One uses this example in the world.
But the fruit of such a tree has pith indeed;
When eaten, it is sweet upon the tongue.

15. Just so, samsara has no pith,
And if beings can remove affliction’s peel,
The fruit within is Buddhahood itself,
The nectar for all corporal beings to taste.

16. And just as from a given kind of seed
A fruit results resembling its cause,
Who with common sense would seek to prove
A fruit exists without its specific seed as cause?

17. The basic element, which serves as seed
Is seen as the support of all great qualities.
Through gradual refinement, step-by-step,
The stage of Buddhahood will be attained.

18. Although the sun and moon are unstained,
Five veils exist which manage to obscure them.
These consist of clouds and fog and smoke,
The face of Rahu and dust as well.

19. And so it is, as well, for minds clear light.
Five obscurations manage to obscure it:
Desire, laziness, and ill intent,
And agitation too, as well as doubt.

20. And just as fire can clean a soiled cloth
Mis-colored with various marks and stains,
And just as when submerged within the fire
The marks are burnt away but not the cloth,

21. In just this way the mind, which is radiant clarity,
Is soiled by desire and the other stains,
But the fire of primordial awareness burns up these afflictions,
Without, however, burning away the radiant clarity.

22. In the sutras of the Teacher,
In whatever ways the Victor described emptiness,
All of these ways can rectify afflictions;
None can diminish the potential.

23. Just as water deep inside the earth
Lies untouched and perfectly clean,
Just so can primordial awareness rest within affliction
And remain completely free of any flaw.

24. The Dharmadhatu is not the self.
It is neither man nor woman either;
And being beyond everything perceivable,
Just how could it be thought of as oneself?

25. Within phenomena, all free of passion,
Male and female cannot be seen.
For the sake of taming those that desire blinds,
Terms like male and female are taught.

26. "Impermanent" and "suffering" and "empty":
Three designations purifying mind;
But what refines the mind unto its utmost
Is the teaching that nothing has any self-nature.

27. As a child in a pregnant woman’s womb
Is there and yet is not yet visible,
Likewise when covered by afflictions,
The Dharmadhatu is not visible.

28. From thinking "I" and "mine,"
And from thinking of names and grounds for these,
Four conceptual patterns come to be—
Due to elements and compounds too.

29. The Buddhas do not perceive
Any characteristics of their aspiration prayers,
Because the Buddhas are of the nature of self-awareness
And have their own permanently pure being.

30. Just as the horns on rabbits’ heads
Do not exist except in the imagination,
Phenomena are all precisely like that,
Merely imagined, having no existence.

31. Because they are not made of solid atoms
The horns of oxen cannot be seen, either.
Since not even tiny atoms exist,
How could one imagine that something made of atoms exists?

32. Since arising is a dependent occurrence
And cessation is a dependent occurrence,
There is not one single thing that exists
How could the naive believe that there is?

33. Using examples like rabbits and oxen’s horns;
The Thus Gone One has proven
That all phenomena are nothing other than the Middle Way.
34. Just as one sees

The forms of the sun, moon, and stars
Reflected in vessels of perfectly clear water,
So is the consummation of signs and characteristics.

35. That which is virtuous in the beginning, middle, and end
Is undeceiving and is marked by constancy,
And is free from self in this very way.
How could that be thought of as "I" or "mine"?

36. Just as water, during the summertime,
Is spoken of as being something warm,
And the very same water, throughout the winter season,
Is spoken of as being something cold,

37. Those ensnared in the net of the afflictions
Are referred to by the label, "sentient beings;"
The very same when freed of states afflicted
As "Buddhas" are revered.

38. When eye and form assume their right relation,
Appearances appear without a blur.
Since these neither arise nor cease,
They are the Dharmadhatu, though they are imagined to be otherwise.

39. When sound and ear assume their right relation,
A consciousness free of thought occurs.
These three are in essence the Dharmadhatu, free of other characteristics,
But they become "hearing" when thought of conceptually.

40. Dependent upon the nose and an odor, one smells.
And as with the example of form there is neither arising nor cessation,
But in dependence upon the nose-consciousness’s experience,
The Dharmadhatu is thought to be smell.

41. The tongue’s nature is emptiness.
The sphere of taste is void-ness as well.
These are in essence the Dharmadhatu
And are not the causes of the taste consciousness.

42. The pure body’s essence,
The characteristics of the object touched,
The tactile consciousness free of conditions
These are called the Dharmadhatu.

43. The phenomena that appear to the mental consciousness, the chief of them all,
Are conceptualized and then superimposed.
When this activity is abandoned, phenomena’s lack of self-essence is known.
Knowing this, meditate on the Dharmadhatu.

44. And so is all that is seen or heard or smelled,
Tasted, touched, and imagined,
When yogis [and yoginis]* understand these in this manner,
All their wonderful qualities are brought to consummation.

45. Perception’s doors in eyes and ears and nose,
In tongue and body and the mental gate—
All these six are utterly pure.
These consciousnessespurity itself is such-ness’ defining characteristic.

46. See how the mind has two aspects:
It can be worldly it can transcend the world.
From clinging to a self comes samsara;
When there is self-awareness, there is such-ness.

47. The ceasing of desire is nirvana,
As is stupidity’s and anger’s end.
For these to cease is Buddhahood itself,
The refuge of ennobled beings.

48. One either proceeds with knowledge or proceeds without—
Samsara and nirvana both have their source in the body.
Either you are bound by your own thinking,
Or, if you know the true nature, you are free

49. Enlightenment is neither near nor far.
It does not go away nor come to you.
Right there within the cage of your afflictions,
Either you will see it or you will not.

50. Abiding in the lamp of prajña
Will lead to peace, the most sublime there is;
Examining for self is the way to abide.
This is taught in scores of sutra texts.

51. The strengths, all ten, assist the immature
With a blessing force like that of the full moon.
But as long as they are caught up in afflictions,
Beings will fail to see the Thus Gone Ones.

52. Just as those in hungry spirit realms
See the sea as dry before their eyes,
Just so with those in ignorance’s grip
Who think the Buddhas don’t exist.

53. For lesser beings and those with lesser merit,
No matter what transcendent conquerors do,
It is like placing a precious jewel
In the hands of someone never known to see.

54. For beings who have amassed sufficient merit
The signs are radiant with shining light.
All thirty-two ablaze with brilliant glory—
Beings like these in Buddhas’ presence dwell.

55. The protectors inhabit forms of bodily dimension
For many kalpas, and many yet to come;
However, in order to tame disciples
They demonstrate different activities in the expanse that tames.

56. On definitely targeting its goal
Consciousness engages in its object,
Within the purity of self-awareness
The bodhisattvas’ grounds all inherently abide.

57. The mighty lords’ magnificent abode,
The beautiful domain of Akanistha,
And consciousness, the three of these together
Can be blended into one, I dare to say.

58. For the immature it renders total knowledge,
For noble ones affords variety,
To the mighty gods it grants long life,
It is the cause for life spanning kalpas’ long march.

59. It is that which guards the outer realm of beings,
And preserves their lives as well through countless kalpas,
It is that which makes it possible for life
To persevere within all living beings;

60. This the very cause that knows no end;
The results of such a cause are endless too;
When imperceptibility is realized,
Prajna becomes the condition for nirvana’s dawning.

61. Enlightenment should not be thought far off
Nor should it be considered close at hand;
When objects, six in kind, do not appear,
The genuine is known just as it is.

62. Just as milk and water mixed together
Are present in the very same container
But a crane would drink the milk and not the water,
The case of transformation is like this:

63. There is primordial awareness, there are covering afflictions,
Where both are found together in one body.
But the primordial awareness is what yogis [and yoginis] choose to take
And leave the ignorance behind.

64. For as long as "I" and "mine" are held to exist
And the outside is imagined as well;
When both forms of selflessness are seen
The seed of existence is destroyed;

65. The Dharmadhatu is the ground
For Buddhahood, nirvana, purity, and permanence;
The immature impute the two kinds of self,
And yogis [and yoginis] abide without these two.

66. In giving one endures a range of hardships,
And ethics gathers in the benefit of beings,
Through patience one performs the good of all,
These three will cause the potential to unfold.

67. Through being diligent in all the teachings
And steeping mind in meditative samádhi,
Through thorough reliance on prajña,
Enlightenment will grow and flourish.

68. Prajna endowed with skillful means,
Prayers of aspiration that purify,
The mastery of strengths, and thereby wisdom,
These four will cause the potential to unfold.

69. "Do not commit yourselves to bodhicitta;"
There are some who speak such dire word.
But were there no bodhisattvas to develop,
The Dharmakaya would be out of reach.

70. One who throws away the seed of sugarcane
But wants to taste the sweetness its fruit yields
Will, without the seed,
Have no sugar at all.

71. When someone values seed from sugarcane,
Maintains them well, and works to make them grow,
A crop of sweetest sugar can be harvested.
And just as what has come about like this,

72. Through valuing the bodhicitta fully,
Maintaining it, and working with it well,
The Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas arise
As so the perfectly enlightened Buddhas.

73. Just as seeds of rice and other plants
Are treated by the farmer with great care,
Aspirants who wish to make the greatest journey
Are treated by their guides with greatest care.

74. Just as on the fourteenth day of waning,
The moon is barely visible at all,
For aspirants who wish to make the greatest journey
The kayas are but barely visible.

75. Just as the moon when it is new
Visibly grows larger bit by bit,
Those who have reached the Bhumis
See the Dharmakaya more and more.

76. Just as on the fifteenth day of waxing
The moon has reached completion and is full,
Just so for those who’ve reached the Bhumis’ end point
The Dharmakaya shines complete and clear.

77. The bodhicitta, perfectly engendered,
Through stable and consistent dedication
To the Buddha, to the dharma, and to the Sangha
Does not decrease, and develops more and more.

78. When the four meaner deeds have been relinquished,
And the four better deeds have been embraced,
Just then is that-ness definitely realized.
This is what "the joyful" thoroughly signifies.

79. "The stained" are those whom shifting patterns mark
With the constant stains of desire and the rest;
Whoever has grown free of flaw is pure,
And this is what "the stainless" signifies.

80. Once afflictions’ net is rent asunder,
A flawless wisdom shines, and with its light
Purifies all darkness past all limit,
Removing it, and hence "illuminates."

81. It shines with light that is always pure;
Primordial awareness, which eliminates diversion,
Is steeped in light which shines on every side.
This bhumi hence is known as "radiant."

82. Since awareness, feats, and crafts are mastered here,
The range of meditative concentrations themselves,
And kleshas difficult to purify completely have been vanquished,
So "difficult to overcome" is its name.

83. With enlightenment of all three types included,
And everything perfected and complete,
With birth no more, disintegration finished,
This level is "directly manifest."

84. Since the bodhisattvas’ web of brilliant light with its display
Reaches every point in their surroundings,
And since they have crossed Samsára’s swampy ocean,
They are called "the ones who reach far."

85. Definitively guided by the Buddhas,
In contact with primordial awareness’s sea,
Spontaneous and free of any effort,
"Unshaken" by the Maras’ echelons.

86. Since yogis [and yoginis] at this level have perfected
The dialectics used to teach all points
Connected with precise correct awareness,
It takes the name, "select intelligence."

87. The body at this point is made of primordial awareness,
Is equal to an unpolluted sky;
The vigilance afforded by the Buddhas
Forms the "cloud of dharma" everywhere.

88. The ground of the qualities of Buddhas,
The fruits of training fully held in hand,
The transformation, when perfectly completed,
Is given "Dharmakaya" as its name.

89. Samsára’s tendencies are ponder-able,
Freedom from tendencies is not;
You are completely inconceivable.
Who could ever have the power to know you?

90. Beyond the pale of speech entirely,
And not an object sensespowers grasp,
Realizing you takes the mind’s awareness.
I bow in praise of all that you embrace.

91. The illustrious heirs of the Buddhas,
By following the path step by step,
With the primordial awareness that attends the "cloud of dharma,"
Can see emptiness, the pure mode of being.

92. As soon as mind has utterly been cleansed,
Samsára’s caged confinement broken through,
These will then assume their rightful place,
Upon a wondrous lotus flower seat,

93. Utterly surrounded on all sides
By lotus flowers, many tens of millions,
Each endowed with tantalizing anthers,
Their leaves alight with many precious gems.

94. The Buddhas with ten powers are replete.
Their fearlessness sets others’ minds at ease.
Their qualities are inconceivable.
From simplicity’s domain they never fall.

95. Through excellently practicing all paths,
They’ve gathered merit, garnered wisdom full.
So they are like the harvest moon on high
Surrounded by its court, the clustered stars.

96. With a hand like the sun,
Buddha holds a flawless gem with light ablaze.
With this the Enlightened One empowers the most senior heirs,
This abhisheka greatest of them all.

97. The mighty yogis [and yoginis] living on this plane
Look with god-like eyes on worldly beings,
Inferior because of mental blindness,
Whom suffering can frighten and distract.

98. And having seen them, light rays from their bodies
Shine, without the slightest strain at all,
And open up what gates there are for all
Who wander in their own confusion’s dark.

99. Those who have reached nirvana with remainder
Believe they have reached nirvana that’s without;
The nirvana that is reached in this tradition
Is a freeing of the mind of any flaw.

100. Sentient beingsessence free of substance
Is the sphere that is encountered on this plane.
Seeing this is the royal bodhicitta,
The Dharmakaya free of every flaw.

101. When the Dharmakaya is seen in all its purity
This is transformation, wisdom’s sea,
And from its depths a wealth of precious jewels
Fulfill beings’ needs as they have always wished.
In Praise of the Dharmadhatu composed by the great Acharya Nargarjuna is hereby completed.

A Song of Meaningful Connections

At your feet oh Marpa from Lhodrak I bow down.

Grant your blessing that this beggar will stay in natural retreats.
That you stalwart benefactors are so fondly gathered here
Makes the right connection for fulfilling the two concerns.
When this body hard to get that so easily decays
Gets the nourishment it needs, it will flourish and be full of health.
When the pollen from the flowers growing in the solid ground
And the honeydew of raindrops falling from the deep blue sky
Come together, this connection is of benefit to beings.
But what gives this link its meaning is when dharma is included, too.
When a body that’s illusion by its parents nursed to life
And the guiding instructions from a lama who’s reliable
Come together, this connection brings the practice of dharma to life.
But what gives this link its meaning is when persevering heart bone beats.
When a cave in the rock in a valley with no human being
And someone really practicing without hypocrisy
Come together, this connection can fulfill your every need.
But what gives this link its meaning is what’s known as the emptiness.
When a Milarepa’s practice of endurance in meditation
And those from the three realms who have the quality of faith
Come together, this connection brings about the good of beings.
But what gives this link its meaning is compassion in a noble heart.
When a skillful meditator meditating in the wilderness
And a skillful benefactor providing the wherewithal
Come together, this connection leads to both gaining Buddhahood.
But what gives this link its meaning is to dedicate the merit.
When an excellent lama endowed with compassionate heart
And an excellent student with endurance in meditation
Come together, this connection makes the teaching accessible.
But what gives this link its meaning is the samaya it brings about.
When the gift of abhisheka with its blessing that works so fast
And the fervent trusting prayer where you’re praying it will come to you
Come together, this connection gets your prayer well-answered soon.
But to give this link its meaning a little bit of luck might help.
Oh master Vajradhara, the essence of Akshobhya,
You know my joys and sorrows—and what this beggar’s going through.
Ultimate View, Meditation, Conduct, and Fruition
The view is original wisdom, which is empty;
Meditation, clear light free of fixation;
Conduct, continual flow without attachment;
Fruition is nakedness stripped of every stain.
This view, the original wisdom that is empty,
Risks getting lost in just being talk and no more.
If certainty, which is in touch with what’s meant, does not follow,
The words will not manage to free you of clinging to self.
And that’s why definitive certainty means so much.
The meditation, clear light free of fixation,
Risks getting lost in just being settling.
If original wisdom does not emerge from within you,
You might settle steadily but this will not set you free.
But wisdom does not come of dullness and agitation.
And that’s why non-wandering mindfulness means so much.
This conduct, continual flow without attachment,
Risks getting lost in only being a pretense.
If the view and meditation are not included,
The eight worldly dharmas may mix with your yogic pursuits.
And that’s why the freedom from clinging and veils means so much.
Fruition as nakedness stripped of every defect
Risks getting clothed in the garments of attributes.
If delusion is not overcome from its source on the inside,
Your practice may aim very far, but fall very short
And that’s why correcting delusion means so much.
The Profound Definitive Meaning
Sung on the Snowy Range
For the mind that masters view the emptiness dawns.
In the content seen not even an atom exists.
A seer and seen refined until they’re gone:
This way of realizing view it works quite well.
When meditation is clear light river flow,
There is no need to confine it to sessions and breaks.
Meditator and object refined until they’re gone:
This heart bone of meditation, it beats quite well.
When you’re sure that conduct’s work is luminous light,
And you’re sure that interdependence is emptiness,
A doer and deed refined until they’re gone:
This way of working with conduct, it works quite well.
When biased thinking has vanished into space,
No phony facades, eight dharmas, nor hopes and fears,
A keeper and kept refined until they’re gone:
This way of keeping samaya, it works quite well.
When you’ve finally discovered your mind is Dharmakaya,
And you’re really doing yourself and others good,
A winner and won refined until they’re gone:
This way of winning results, it works quite well.
Auspiciousness that Lights up the Universe
Namo Guru Hasa Vajra Ye!
You see that everything in samsara and nirvana
Is merely dependently arisen.
You see the dharmata, the true being,
That is the essence of all dependent arising.
The power of your great insight
Fills the universe with auspicious light.
Oh mighty Shepa Dorje,
Please rise up now from within my heart.
Ground’s basic nature transcends conceptuality,
And like water moons, appearances arise dependently.
May everyone realize that this is true
And dispel the darkness cast by doubt and wrong view.
And may their realization’s auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
The vision of your wisdom is amazing.
You see just how things are you see everything.
As parents love their children, so you love all beings.
You bring us benefit and happiness.
Your power makes disciples out of your enemies.
May your auspiciousness light up the universe!
For Samsára’s cause, clinging to "I" and "me,"
The dharma realizing selflessness is the greatest remedy.
May all beings use it to pacify
Their confused belief that there is an "I."
And by the power of this great happening
May auspiciousness light up the universe!
The ways of ordinary beings, you have left behind—
Noble ones who realize reality, the true nature of mind.
May you lead all ordinary beings,
Who have not yet entered, to the path of peace.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
May the yidams who bestow the siddhis
And the protectors who clear obstacles away
Eliminate all harmful conditions
Everything adverse to the path.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
May the noble path of nonviolence
Flourish in all the worlds there are.
When beings meet and interact,
May the connections they make be filled with love.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
At the twilight of this century,
That has been one of such prosperity,
May struggle over wealth and gain
Disappear and not be seen again.
Free from strife and violence,
May all enjoy great abundance.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
This has been a century
When science has advanced incredibly.
Amazing and wondrous, these new machines
That have brought the gods’ enjoyments to human beings.
May they be used with skill supreme
To end violence and cause peace to reign.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
May the sciences that explore outside
Be joined with the inner science of the mind
To excellently put an end
To mistaken views and confusion.
And by this may auspiciousness
Light up the whole universe!
The source of all this auspiciousness
Is the true nature of mind, so luminous!
So may realization of mind, just as it is
Set the universe ablaze with auspicious excellence!
Through all of this auspiciousness,
Wherever its light may be seen,
With the love and the compassion
That make bodhicitta mind supreme,
May this thought arise in everyone:
"Other beingshappiness is as important as my own."
And may excellent virtue and auspiciousness
Always increase, never diminish!
Supplication to Guru Rinpoche
The Prayer That Appearances Be Liberated As the Deity
That Sounds Be Liberated As Mantra
That Thoughts Be Liberated Into Pure Being
All these forms that appear to eyes that see,
All things on the outside and the inside,
The environment and its inhabitants
Appear, but let them rest where no self’s found;
Perceiver and perceived when purified
Are the body of the deity, clear emptiness -
To the guru for whom desire frees itself,
To Orgyen Pema Jungnay I supplicate.
All these sounds that appear for ears that hear,
Taken as agreeable or not,
Let them rest in the realm of sound and emptiness,
Past all thought, beyond imagination;
Sounds are empty, un-arisen, and unceasing,
These are what make up the Victor’s teaching -
To the teachings of the Victor, sound and emptiness,
To Orgyen Pema Jungnay I supplicate.
All these movements of mind towards its objects,
These thoughts that make five poisons and afflictions,
Leave thinking mind to rest without contrivances.
Do not review the past nor guess the future.
If you let such movement rest in its own place,
It liberates into the Dharmakaya -
To the guru for whom awareness frees itself,
To Orgyen Pema Jungnay I supplicate.
Grant your blessing that purifies appearance
Of objects perceived as being outside.
Grant your blessing that liberates perceiving mind,
The mental operation seeming inside.
Grant your blessing that between the two of these
Clear light will come to recognize its own face;
In your compassion, Sugatas of all three times,
Please bless me that a mind like mine be freed.
Spoken by Guru Rinpoche to Namkhai Nyingpo

  Selected Verses from Nargarjuna’s In Praise of the Dharmadhatu

38. When eye and form assume their right relation, Appearances appear without a blur. Since these neither arise nor cease, they are the Dharmadhatu, though they are imagined to be otherwise.

39. When sound and ear assume their right relation, a consciousness free of thought occurs. These three are in essence the Dharmadhatu, free of other characteristics, but they become "hearing" when thought of conceptually.

40. Dependent upon the nose and an odor, one smells. And as with the example of form there is neither arising nor cessation, But in dependence upon the nose-consciousness’s experience, the Dharmadhatu is thought to be smell.

41. The tongue’s nature is emptiness. The sphere of taste is void-ness as well. These are in essence the Dharmadhatu and are not the causes of the taste consciousness.

42. The pure body’s essence, the characteristics of the object touched, the tactile consciousness free of conditions - These are called the Dharmadhatu.

43. The phenomena that appear to the mental consciousness, the chief of them all, are conceptualized and then superimposed. When this activity is abandoned, phenomena’s lack of self-essence is known. Knowing this, meditate on the Dharmadhatu.

What it Means to be Lucky

The Excellent Path Laid with Precious Gems

E ma ho!

Now you have got what’s so hard to get,
The precious freedoms and advantages.
This one life alone means so little.
So why be so obsessed with it?
If to do some good for yourself and others too,
You listen to dharma, and then reflect,
Then you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
This life is quite impermanent;
It will definitely disappear.
You think everything will stay just as it is—
How to come out from this confusion into the clear?
Cut the root of Samsára’s confused appearances
By meditating on the meaning of what you’ve heard.
If you do this, you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
If you do good, you’ll be happy.
If you do bad, you’ll suffer pain.
Think well about how karma works
And you’ll gain certainty that it’s an unfailing law.
If then you act in a rightful way,
Doing what you should do and giving up the rest,
Then you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
The nature of samsara is the three sufferings.
When you know this in your heart, and it’s not just something you say,
And so you can free yourself and others from Samsára’s ocean,
You cut off suffering right at the root.
If you can do that, then you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
Meditating on impermanence
Cuts off attachment to this life.
Thinking over and over of Samsára’s suffering
Makes you realize how worthless samsara is.
This gives you the determination
To strive for nirvana’s liberation
If you do this, you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
Knowing Samsára’s cause is belief in "I,"
You know its remedy to be selflessness.
So if you apply scripture and reasoning
To gain certainty that there is no self,
And if you meditate on selflessness, you’re so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
All beings have been your father and mother.
Knowing this, you train your mind in love and compassion.
This makes you stop worrying so much
About your own comfort and happiness.
When you give rise to supreme bodhicitta
This is what it means to be lucky.
Everything in samsara and nirvana,
Without exception, is neither one nor many
So all phenomena are empty of essence.
And knowing that, if you meditate on profound emptiness,
Then you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
Meditating on emptiness cuts the root of existence.
Love and compassion free you from the extreme of peace.
When you bring together wisdom and means
That are stuck in neither existence nor peace’s extremes,
Then you are so fortunate
This is what it means to be lucky.
When you’ve made the Mahayana path your sturdy base,
And you know so excellently
The way that the totality of appearance
Is an infinite expanse of purity,
Then the four empowerments
Will ripen your continuum.
When you practice profound creation and completion—
This is what it means to be lucky.
The fruit of this creation and completion
Must ripen at the appropriate time.
This depends on your pure vision
Of your vajra brothers and sisters—it must increase!
So if pure vision dawns in your mind
This is what it means to be lucky.
Another reason you might be lucky
The freedoms and resources, this excellent base,
Is hard to find, and what’s harder than that
Is using it to practice dharma correctly.
So if you are on the path of correct practice
This is what it means to be lucky.
Knowing what it means to be lucky
Day and night, without distraction
In order to accomplish great benefit
For the teachings and for all beings
May all of us practice
The dharma of the lucky ones.

The Six Questions

Mind has even more projections than there are dust motes in the sun.
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who sees the appearance of things laid bare in the very bed where it lies?
The basic nature of things is not produced by cause or condition.
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who gets to the very bottom of this, cuts down to its very root?
Mind’s impulse to sudden thought cannot be stopped by hundreds with spears
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who sees that attachment can dissolve, be freed in and of itself?
The movement of thinking mind cannot be locked in an iron box
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who sees that discursive mind itself is empty in itself?
The sensory enjoyments even wisdom deities do not shun
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who’s able to see through the transparency of the process of consciousness?
What about the appearance of the six kinds of objects that go with the consciousnesses?
Not even the hands of Victorious Ones can put a stop to that.
Is there an accomplished yogi here or a yogini
Who can see there is no object there behind the appearances?


The Essence of Amrita

A Commentary on the Meaning of the Six Questions

Namo Guru Hasa Vajra Ye!
You realized genuine reality
And by the power of your realization
You taught your disciples, your daughters and sons,
Not to try to make thoughts go away
Because thoughts are already liberated
In the very spot where they are.
Oh great one, Shepa Dorje,
I bow at your feet, respectfully.
Limitless numbers of thoughts come out of habitual tendencies’ spring.
So if you don’t know how to self-liberate thoughts
Without trying to make them go away,
You’ll never be free of getting rid of your thoughts
As they come up one after the other!
Thoughts self-liberated, not given up, is
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
The basic nature of things is not produced by cause or condition.
If you can’t cut through your subtle ideas
About the way things really are,
Your own theories about reality
Will shackle you in chains.
So base-less-ness and root-less-ness are
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
"Mind’s impulse to sudden thought cannot be stopped by hundreds with spears."
This is how Milarepa sang it and so
There must be another way—
It’s attachment dissolving naturally,
Free as soon as it dawns.
This way of liberation is
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
Thoughtsmovement between the three times cannot be locked in an iron box.
So know that conceptuality
Is the great self-emptiness.
Self-liberation of your thoughts is
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
Form, sound, smell, taste, and touch and the qualities they possess—
Even wisdom deities
Don’t refrain from enjoying them.
The six consciousnesses self-liberated
Is spacious relaxation.
Taking sense-pleasures to the path is
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
What about the appearance of the six kinds of objects that go with the consciousness?
There isn’t anyone, whoever it may be,
Who can put a stop to that.
So knowing that the object appearing there
Has no substantial existence
And taking appearance to the path is
Definitive meaning’s profound point.
So that’s the way of definitive meaning—it’s incredibly profound.
And since samsara and nirvana are not different things—they’re equality,
And since rejected and gained are non-dual—they’re equality, too
Definitive meaning’s profound way is present naturally.
May you find doubt-free certainty in profound definitive meaning,
And get used to not taking one thing up
And abandoning another,
And get used to not practicing one thing and
Giving up something else.
And may the benefit of self and other be
Accomplished naturally.

Seven Delights

Namo Ratna Guru

When thoughts that there is something perceived and a perceiver
Lure my mind away and distract,
I don’t close my senses’ gateways to meditate without them
But plunge straight into their essential point.
They’re like clouds in the sky, there’s this shimmer where they fly;
Thoughts that rise, for me sheer delight!
When kleshas get me going and their heat has got me burning,
I try no antidote to set them right;
Like an alchemistic potion turning metal into gold,
What lies in kleshas’ power to bestow
Is bliss without contagion, completely undefiled;
Kleshas coming up, sheer delight!
When I’m plagued by god-like forces or demonic interference,
I do not drive them out with rites and spells;
The thing to chase away is the egoistic thinking
Built up on the idea of a self.
This will turn those ranks of Maras into your own special forces;
When obstacles arise, sheer delight!
When samsara with its anguish has me writhing in its torments,
Instead of wallowing in misery,
I take the greater burden down the greater path to travel
And let compassion set me up
To take upon myself the sufferings of others;
When karmic consequences bloom, delight!
When my body has succumbed to attacks of painful illness,
I do not count on medical relief
But take that very illness as a path and by its power
Remove the obscurations blocking me,
And use it to encourage the qualities worthwhile;
When illness rears its head, sheer delight!
When it’s time to leave this body, this illusionary tangle,
Don’t cause yourself anxiety and grief;
The thing that you should train in and clear up for yourself is—
There’s no such thing as dying to be done.
It’s just clear light, the mother, and child clear light uniting;
When mind forsakes the body, sheer delight!
When the whole thing’s just not working, everything’s lined up against you,
Don’t try to find some way to change it all;
Here the point to make your practice is reverse the way you see it,
Don’t try to make it stop or to improve.
Adverse conditions happen, when they do it’s so delightful—
They make a little song of sheer delight!
Composed by the Lord Gotsampa, translated by Jim Scott/Anne Buchardi, August 2, 1996, Karme Chöling, Barnet, Vermont
The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, the Definitive Meaning
Composed by The Lord Protector Rangjung Dorje The Third Gyalwang Karmapa
Namo guru,
Gurus and yidams, deities of the mandala,
Buddhas of the three times in the ten directions and your sons and daughters,
Please consider us with kindness and understanding, and
Grant your blessing that these aspirations may be accomplished exactly as we ask.
Sprung from the snow mountain of pure intentions and actions
Of myself and all sentient beings without limit,
May the river of accumulated virtue of the threefold purity
Flow into the ocean of the four bodies of the Victorious Ones.
So long as this is not accomplished,
Through all my lifetimes, birth upon birth,
May not even the words "evil deeds" and "suffering" be heard
And may we enjoy the splendor and goodness of oceans of happiness and virtue.
Having obtained the supreme freedoms and conjunctions of the precious human existence, endowed with faith, energy, and intelligence,
Having attended on a worthy spiritual friend and received the pith of the holy instructions,
May we practice these properly, just as we have received them, without obstacle or interruption.
In all our lives, may we practice and enjoy the holy dharma.
Hearing and studying the scriptures and reasoning’s free us from the obscuration of not knowing.
Contemplating the oral instructions disperses the darkness of doubt.
In the light born of meditation what is shines forth just as it is.
May the brightness of the three Prajna’s grow in power.
By understanding the meaning of the ground, which is the two truths free from the extremes of Eternalism and nihilism,
And by practicing the supreme path of the two accumulations, free from the extremes of exaggeration and denial,
Is attained the fruit of well-being for oneself and others, free from the extremes of samsara and nirvana.
May all beings meet the dharma, which neither errs nor misleads.
The ground of purification is the mind itself, indivisible cognitive clarity and emptiness.
That which purifies is the great vajra yoga of Mahamudra.
What is to be purified are the adventitious, temporary contaminations of confusion.
May the fruit of purification, the stainless Dharmakaya, be manifest.
Resolving doubts about the ground brings conviction in the view.
Then keeping one’s awareness unwavering, in accordance with the view, is the subtle pith of meditation.
Putting all aspects of meditation into practice is the supreme action.
The view, the meditation, the action -- may there be confidence in these.
All phenomena are illusory displays of mind.
Mind is no mind -- the mind’s nature is empty of any entity that is mind.
Being empty, it is unceasing and unimpeded, manifesting as everything whatsoever.
Examining well, may all doubts about the ground be discerned and cut.
Naturally manifesting appearances, that never truly exist, are confused into objects.
Spontaneous intelligence, under the power of ignorance, is confused into a self.
By the power of this dualistic fixation, beings wander in the realms of samsaric existence.
May ignorance, the root of confusion, be discovered and cut.
It is not existent -- even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent -- it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction, but the middle path of unity.
May the ultimate nature of phenomena, limitless mind beyond extremes, be realized.
If one says, "This is it," there is nothing to show.
If one says, "This is not it," there is nothing to deny.
The true nature of phenomena, which transcends conceptual understanding, is unconditioned.
May conviction be gained in the ultimate, perfect truth.
Not realizing it, one circles in the ocean of samsara.
If it is realized, Buddha is not anything other.
It is completely devoid of any "This is it," or "This is not it."
May this simple secret, this ultimate essence of phenomena, which is the basis of everything, be realized.
Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind.
Realization is mind and confusion is mind.
Arising is mind and cessation is mind.
May all doubts about mind be resolved.
Not adulterating meditation with conceptual striving or mentally created meditation,
Unmoved by the winds of everyday busyness,
Knowing how to rest in the uncontrived, natural spontaneous flow,
May the practice of resting in mind’s true nature be skillfully sustained.
The waves of subtle and coarse thoughts calm down by themselves in their own place,
And the unmoving waters of mind rest naturally.
Free from dullness, torpor, and, murkiness,
May the ocean of shamatha be unmoving and stable.
Looking again and again at the mind which cannot be looked at,
The meaning which cannot be seen is vividly seen, just as it is.
Thus cutting doubts about how it is or is not,
May the unconfused genuine self-nature be known by self-nature itself.
Looking at objects, the mind devoid of objects is seen;
Looking at mind, its empty nature devoid of mind is seen;
Looking at both of these, dualistic clinging is self-liberated.
May the nature of mind, the clear light nature of what is, be realized.
Free from mental fabrication, it is the great seal, Mahamudra.
Free from extremes, it is the great middle way, Madhyamika.
The consummation of everything, it is also called the great perfection, Dzogchen.
May there be confidence that by understanding one, the essential meaning of all is realized.
Great bliss free from attachment is unceasing.
Luminosity free from fixation on characteristics is un-obscured.
Non-thought transcending conceptual mind is spontaneous presence.
May the effortless enjoyment of these experiences be continuous.
Longing for good and clinging to experiences are self-liberated.
Negative thoughts and confusion purify naturally in ultimate space.
In ordinary mind there is no rejecting and accepting, loss and gain.
May simplicity, the truth of the ultimate essence of everything, be realized.
The true nature of beings is always Buddha.
Not realizing that, they wander in endless samsara.
For the boundless suffering of sentient beings
May unbearable compassion be conceived in our being.
When the energy of unbearable compassion is unceasing,
In expressions of loving kindness, the truth of its essential emptiness is nakedly clear.
This unity is the supreme unerring path.
Inseparable from it, may we meditate day and night.
By the power of meditation arise the eyes and supernormal perceptions,
Sentient beings are ripened and Buddha fields are perfectly purified,
The aspirations that accomplish the qualities of a Buddha are fulfilled.
By bringing these three to utmost fruition -- fulfilling, ripening, and purifying -- may utmost Buddhahood be manifest.
By the power of the compassion of the Victorious Ones of the ten directions and their sons and daughters,
And by the power of all the pure virtue that exists,
May the pure aspirations of myself and all sentient beings
Be accomplished exactly as we wish.