While the great master Padmasambhava was staying in Great Rock Hermitage at Samye, Sherab Gyalpo of Ngok, an uneducated sixty-one year old man who had the highest faith and strong devotion to this master, served him for one year. All this while Ngok didn't ask him for any teachings, nor did the master give him any. When after a year the master intended to leave, Ngok offered a mandala plate upon which he placed a flower of one ounce of gold. Then he said, "Great master, think of me with kindness.First of all, I am uneducated. Second, my intelligence is small. Third, I am old, so my elements are worn down. I beg you to give a teaching to an old man on the verge of death which is simple to understand, can thoroughly cut through any doubt, is easy to realize and apply, has an effective view, and will help me in future lives."
The master pointed his walking staff at the old man's heart and gave this instruction: Listen here old man! Look into awakened mind of your own awareness! Such has neither form nor color, neither center nor edge. At first, such has no origin but is empty. Next, such has no dwelling place but is empty. At the end, such has no destination but is empty. This emptiness is not made of anything and is clear and cognizant. When you see this and recognize this, you know your natural face. You understand this nature of things. You have then seen this nature of mind, resolved the basic state of reality, and cut through doubts about topics of knowledge.
This awakened mind as awareness is not made out of any material substance; such is self-existing and inherent in yourself. This is the nature of 'things' which is easy to realize because such is not to be sought elsewhere. This is nature as mind which does not consist of a concrete perceiver and something perceived to fixate on. Such defies limitations of permanence and annihilation. In such is no thing to awaken; awakened state as enlightenment is your own pure awareness, naturally awake. As this, here is no thing which goes to the hells; awareness is naturally pure. As this, within is no practice to carry out; our nature as such is naturally cognizant. This great view as this natural state is present within yourself. Resolve this: such is not to be sought elsewhere.
When you understand view in this way and would like to apply this in your experience, wherever you stay is the mountain retreat of your body. Whatever external appearance you perceive is a naturally occurring appearance and a naturally empty emptiness; let this be, free from mental constructs. Naturally freed appearances become your helpers, and you can practice while taking appearances as path.
Within, whatever moves your mind, whatsoever you think, has no essence but is empty. Thought occurrences are naturally freed. While remembering (being mindful of) your mind-essence, you can take thoughts as path and practice is effortless and easy! As for innermost advice: no matter what kind of disturbing emotion you feel, look into the emotion and such tracelessly subsides. The disturbing emotion is thus naturally freed. This is simple to practice.
When you can practice in this way, your meditation training will not be confined to some kind of 'sessions'. When you know everything is a helper, your meditation experience is unchanging, this innate nature is unceasing, and your conduct is unshackled. Wherever you stay, you are never apart from this innate nature.
Once you realize this, your material body may be old, but awakened mind doesn't age. Such knows no difference between old and young. This innate nature is beyond bias and partiality. When you recognize such awareness, innate wakefulness, is present in yourself, here is no difference between sharp and dull facilties. As you come to understand this innate nature, free from bias and partiality, is present within yourself, here is no difference between small and great learning. Even though your body, this support for mind, falls apart, dharmakaya of awareness wisdom is unceasing. As you come to have stability revealed in this unchanging state, here is no difference between a short or long life span.
Old man, practice this true meaning! Take practice to heart! Literally! Do not mistake words and meaning! Do not part from your good friend diligence! Embrace everything whatsoever with mindfulness! Do not indulge in such idle talk and pointless gossip! Don't become involved with common aims! Do not disturb yourself with worry of offspring!
Don't excessively crave food and drink! Intend to die an ordinary man! Your life is running out, so be diligent! Practice this instruction for an old man on the verge of death!
Because of his pointing his staff at Sherab Gyalpo's heart, this is entitled "The Instruction of Pointing the Staff at the Old Man". Sherab Gyalpo of Ngok was liberated and attained accomplishment. This was written down by the Princess of Kharchen for the sake of future generations. This is also known under the name "The Instruction of Pointing the Staff".