The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Ganga-Mahamudra-Upadesa of Sri Tilopa (translated by Rodney Devenish)
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Homage to the Innate Gnosis!
Mahamudra is beyond all words and concepts.
But for your sake, O Naropa, my devoted disciple,
who is diligent in ascetic practice and exertion, this shall be said:
Alas! Impermanent is this world.
It is like a mirage or a dream.
Even the illusion of its existence
is not something that exists.
Therefore, abandon worldly pre-occupations,
renounce distinctions of caste and race,
the cause of attachment and aversion,
and meditate alone in forest, mountains and solitary places.
Abide without seeking;
loosely remaining in the natural state.
By attaining non-attainment,
you will quickly reach the stage of Mahamudra.
Know all the phenomena of Samsara as worthless;
just the causes of attachment and aversion.
All created phenomena are without real substance,
therefore seek instead the substance of the Ultimate.
That which pertains to consciousness is unable
to perceive the transcendent Gnosis (jnana).
That which pertains to action is unable
to perceive the truth beyond action.
If you would attain the transcendent,
that which is beyond consciousness and action;
then cut the root of consciousness,
and let the mind revert to nakedness.
The polluted pool of mental activity will clear
if simply left to settle, undisturbed.
Do not try to stop appearances as they arise,
for Mahamudra is beyond acceptance and rejection.
If you sever the root of a living tree,
the branches will quickly wither and die.
Cut off the very root of consciousness,
and all mental projections will immediately cease.
The darkness of long ages is dispelled at once
by the light of a single lamp.
One moment’s experience of the mind of uncreate clear Light
will immediately rend the veil of ignorance.
One who wishes to attain this level of meditation
should first begin by practicing remembrance on the breath.
Through control of the gaze and such exercises,
the mind will be disciplined until it abides in its own state.
Just as when looking into the open sky,
fixed concepts of centre and circumference dissolve,
So if with mind one perceives the mind,
then mental activity ceases; Enlightened-mind is realized.
Clouds that arise and take form in the sky
pass away quite automatically according to natural law.
Likewise, the flow of thoughts arising in the mind
naturally pass away when mind perceives mind.
Space has neither colour nor shape;
changeless, it is not tinged by either white or black.
Likewise, mind has neither colour nor shape,
nor can it be stained by virtue or vice.
The burning stellar radiance of the sun
cannot be covered by the eternal darkness of space.
The luminous essence of mind
cannot be shrouded by Samsara’s endless duration.
Though we say that space is empty,
the actual nature of this vacuity defies description.
Though we say that mind is Clear Light
it is actually beyond all words and concepts.
Space lacks any locality at all.
Likewise, Mahamudra rests on naught.
Without making effort, remain loose and natural in the primordial state,
and the fetters that bind you will simply drop away.
Since mind is empty like space, there is nothing which mind does not encompass.
Cease with bodily movement and sit relaxed;
close your mouth and remain in silence;
empty your mind and leap beyond the phenomenal!
Let the body rest at ease,
insubstantial like a hollow tube of bamboo.
Let the mind rest in itself,
spacious and un-preoccupied with thought.
When the mind is not possessed by aims,
that is Mahamudra.
that is Great Enlightenment!
Once you let go of all objects-of-perception
the nature of the mind shines forth.
Not trying to meditate is the supreme path of the Buddha.
By the meditation of non-meditation Enlightenment is won.
Non-duality is the King of Views.
Resting the mind without flux is the King of Meditations.
Not choosing this or that is the King of Conduct.
When there is neither hope nor fear, this is the King of Results.
Since the fundamental ground (alaya) is unborn,
it can neither be obscured nor defiled.
Simply rest in that original unborn state and
without meditating or not-meditating,
let appearances resolve back into Ultimate Reality (dharmata).
In being free of the extremes, one attains the King of Views.
Entering the vast and deep, one attains the King of Meditations.
Not making an effort, one attains the King of Conduct.
With non-seeking awareness, one attains the King of Results.
At first the yogi feels his mind to be turbulent like the upper course of a rushing river.
In the middle stage it becomes smooth like the broad Ganges.
In the end it is like the Ganges entering the ocean, meeting of son and mother.
Adherents of shamanic ritual and of the Mahayana
of the Sutra and Vinaya, and followers of The Religions
with all their various scholastic theologies and devotions
have no idea of the marvelous innate Mahamudra.
Not caught up in perceptions, nor caught in desire,
seeking nothing, abiding in the self alone, one simply lets
consciousness flow like a wave in the great ocean.
The light is hidden only by seeking to know it.
As to keeping the covenant (samaya), it is broken
by the very act of trying to adhere to rules.
Cease with rules and ritual, abandon volition, stray not from the Ultimate,
and then a true Precept-keeper will you be, a lamp illuminating the darkness.
If you slip not into conation,
if you hold to neither this nor that,
the real meaning behind all the Scriptures, will make itself clear.
In Mahamudra one is released from the prison of Samsara.
In Mahamudra all one’s karmic impurities are burned away.
It is then that you shall be known as a ‘Lamp’ of the Dharma.
Even the ignorant who understand not the Teaching,
and fools who are lost for a time in Samsara,
can be saved if they but rely on a holy Lord (guru).
Through grace (adhisthana) they may be sure of deliverance.
Now concerning the practice of Karmamudra,
of causing Bliss-Emptiness to arise
through union of Wisdom (prajna) and Means (upaya):
drow down and blend thoroughly,
and you shall manifest the actual Divine Pleroma (mandala) in your own body.
Following this path free of desire,
the experience of Bliss-Emptiness will carry you along.
Glowing inwardly, blessed with renewed vigour, with immortality,
your power will expand like the waxing moon.
Thus, surpassing all worldly accomplishments (siddhi),
the supreme goal, the Supramundane Accomplishment, shall you attain!
Colophon: By virtue of entering this practice, may all obstacles to the realization of Mahamudra dissolve away. May the Clear Light of Mahamudra dawn in the minds of the practitioners. May this Pith Instruction on Mahamudra come to abide in the hearts of those disciples fortunate to connect with it. This pith-instruction on Mahamudra was given by Sri Tilopa to Mahapandita Nadapada on the banks o f the Ganges River. Translated into Tibetan from the Sanskrit by Marpa Cho-kyi-lodro. Now presented in English by the Dharma Fellowship (Lama Karma Kunzan Rodney Devenish, Denman island British Columbia) http://www.dharmafellowship.org/ganga_ma.htm