Beyond the Sea: The Teachings of Mahamudra

A Short Guide to Mahamudra
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In this situation, you are aware of your self nature and the intrinsic nature of the universe. You are aware that you are truth itself and truth is you. There is no difference between the two. It is the quintessence of attaining Buddhahood as practised by great cultivators, known also as the cultivation practice of the Middle Way. It relies completely on the combination of mind and techniques to reach the state of the single Buddha vehicle, through which one perceives the true reality behind all things.

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The final goal of all cultivators is to partake in the right path, whose fruition is the realm of nirvana, attain Buddhahood and thereby free oneself from the bondage of cyclic existence, and attain complete spiritual freedom. I would say that anyone who practises the yoga of Mahamudra and gains attainment shall reach the state of wonderful action of the mind and spirit, in which every movement and action reflects the cultivation and attainment of Mahamudra. Thus, one gains spontaneity of expression, which moves one beyond the state of an ordinary mundane mortal. The very act of eating is making offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the devas, and the sentient beings suffering in the six realms.

Therefore the act of consuming food is in effect performing the homa ritual, which is the mandala offering performed in Mahamudra. The very act of clothing oneself is guarding oneself with armour protection, which is termed secret adornment. Hence, dressing up is the spontaneous emergence of the Mahamudra of adornment. The very act of bathing is cleansing ones limbs, mouth and body.

Hence, this constitutes the spontaneous emergence of the Mahamudra of purification. The very act of speaking is transforming all speech and sound into mantra, for all utterance is the recitation of mantra, and such is the Mahamudra of speech purification. The very act of sleeping is the Yoga of Clear Light, where the sleeping postures are in fact Mahamudra. The true meaning of Mahamudra is the complete transformation of the mundane ordinary mind into a holy mind, for every desire is met with an antidote in Mahamudra. Thus, an ordinary person is transformed into a holy sage, for all negative karma borne of ignorance is eliminated, leaving no trace of even a single dust particle.

All aspects of truth are continuously revealed in inexhaustible meanings, expressed as infinite wisdom. I would like to make the statement that anyone who practices the doctrine of Mahamudra, whether an ordained monk or layperson, is one who has vowed to attain Buddhahood. As such, he has accepted the transcendental method and the instructions of the Highest Tantra Yoga, which should be regarded as an act of true renunciation.

All the past practices are incomparable to the teachings of Highest Tantra Yoga and Mahamudra, as this teaching encompasses all other teachings and wisdom, and is the supreme teaching that eternally embodies all as one. Thus, by practising Mahamudra, one attains true renunciation. When the Tantric practitioner of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism attains realization through the practice of Mahamudra, all mundane teachings, all teachings of the Sutric system, all dharma gates, all rules and precepts, all Tantric teachings are shattered.

However, those who have not been enlightened will not experience this state of realization. Thus, I shall not elucidate further on this, as any explanation may not result in immediate understanding. This truth is only understood by one who has realized and attained Buddhahood. I am an accomplished adept who has attained Buddhahood. I have gained supreme victory in this world, and gained the status of a guide to the human and spiritual worlds. In this way, I have demonstrated the process of attaining Buddhahood by my example.

I am an enlightened Vajra master. Those who follow my practice and read my books are indeed endowed with the affinity to attain Buddhahood. This is because as the result of my cultivation, I have made spiritual attainments and received the Tantric dharma for attaining Buddhahood. I am the Buddha and the Buddha is me, for there is really no difference. I have the means to deliver sentient beings, and sentient beings who follow my methods of cultivation shall attain Buddhahood.

I am the representative of the holy Sangha, and I am a holy Sangha myself. To practise Buddha dharma, we must follow the rules of studying Buddhism. Upon taking refuge, one develops faith. Those without faith who havent taken refuge will find it impossible to enter into the path of Tantric Buddhism. Without the power of blessing and the power of response from the guru, there can be no accomplishment.

The second condition is generating Bodhi mind. This aspiration refers to perseverance in cultivation, with the intention to attain Buddhahood and deliver sentient beings. This is expressed through the Four Immeasurables: May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. This is Immeasurable Loving-kindness; may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

This is Immeasurable Compassion; may all beings never be separated from the supreme joy which is beyond all sorrow. This is Immeasurable Joy; may all beings abide in equanimity, free from attraction and aversion. This is Immeasurable Equanimity. I want my students who practise my teachings to have the motivation to continue in their cultivation diligently until they attain Buddhahood, and do so in a down-to-earth manner. Upon the attainment of Buddhahood, one must vow to return to deliver sentient beings so that all may attain the fruition of Buddhahood.

This is the highest of aspirations. The third condition is repentance. As the speech and action of ordinary beings are tied to negative karma, so are their discursive thoughts. Hence, the behavior of ordinary beings is distorted, misleading, illusionary, and tied to negative karma.

Before starting any practice, human beings are subject to the influence of the defiled mind and have no understanding of the purified mind of self-nature. They are affected by afflictions, impulsiveness, and obstacles.

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Thus, they are really worthless. The Sutra on the Eight Realizations states, The mind is the source of evil, while the form is the assembly of crimes. The individual whose body and mind is drowning in the deep pool of transgression is completely unaware of his or her predicament. It is therefore necessary to repent and cultivate the Four Preliminaries, especially the Vajra Heart Bodhisattva Practice, known also as the Vajrasattva Hundred Syllable Mantra Practice, to eliminate negative karma through the recitation of the Hundred Syllable Mantra.

The fourth condition is to make offerings to the guru. As the guru is the embodiment of the Triple Jewels, making offerings to the guru is equivalent to making offerings to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. A true guru who accepts the offerings from his disciples does not delight in these donations, but rather he uses this wealth as a means to benefit sentient beings through the completion of his duties and assignments.

Through your offerings, the guru may reduce your karma and offer you blessings. The act of making offerings constitutes the path of generosity, and can carry the meaning of renunciation from worldly affairs and Samsara. As offerings are made to the guru, one receives his blessings and naturally gains many spiritual experiences quickly. The fifth condition is to swiftly attain union with the guru. Those who follow my teachings must first practise Guru Yoga. Know that the yogic power of the lineage guru is the only secret to attaining Buddhahood.

Guru Yoga is the first dharma gate that one practises in attaining Buddhahood through Mahamudra. Visualize the lineage holders seated in meditation pose arranged in levels according to the order of lineage transmission. In the uppermost level one finds the presence of Vajradhara, and at the bottommost level sits Guru Lian-sheng. The lineage holders emit a flood of light that enters into the body of the practitioner.

The wisdom of initiating Mahamudra is seen in gaining response with Guru Yoga, for the key secret of this uncommon teaching lies in the active supplication of the lineage holders to bestow their guidance and blessings. In this way one gains interaction with the gurus, and receives lineage transmission.

It is only upon the fulfillment of these five conditions that someone truly becomes my lineage disciple. The Mahamudra practice is the method of attaining Buddhahood. My unreserved revelation of this major practice will likely astonish many senior leaders of Tantric Buddhism around the world. The world shall witness the reemergence of this major teaching that has been transmitted in secrecy through generations. The cultivation heart essence of Master Sheng-yen Lu is derived from a long lineage of gurus, and with the publication of this book, it shall continue its transmission into the future, so that everyone will be able to partake in its precious secrets.

But take note that we must practice in gradual steps, beginning with fulfillment of the five conditions, then the practice of the Four Preliminaries, followed by Guru Yoga, Deity Yoga, the Vajra Practices, and finally Highest Yoga Tantra, gaining realization through stages before one can cultivate the Mahamudra.

Thus, this book is precious, and should be considered extremely so, for it is certainly extraordinary. I would like to once again emphasize that the true teaching of actual practice is the Mahamudra of Attaining Buddhahood. First we must learn the seven point meditation posture, which is also known as the seven points of Vairocana. This meditation posture strives to achieve balance in mind and body through the sitting posture.

In India, this position for sitting meditation is called the full lotus position, and we know it as the crossed-legged position. As often seen in Buddha statues, the legs are in the vajra posture, with both legs crossed and the soles facing upwards. Thus it is known as the full vajra position. Sitting in the full lotus position allows the body and mind to stay in complete equilibrium, removing discursive thoughts and facilitating blood circulation. It allows the body to remain soft yet able to endure hardships. Through the seven point meditation posture, one may obtain primordial wisdom, achieve meditational stability, and directly attain Buddhahood.

Why is it called the seven points of Vairocana? Vairocana is the principal deity of Esoteric Buddhism, and is the main deity of both the Vajradhatu Mandala and Garbhadhatu Mandala, symbolizing Universal Illumination. According to the Buddhist sutra, the image of Vairocana is described as follows: Vairocana sits on an eight-petalled lotus throne; he has a body gold in colour, appearing like a Bodhisattva seated cross-legged on a jewel lotus, wearing a five Buddha precious crown painted white.

His back is adorned with the combined five coloured circular light, his head is encircled with a cloud, and his body is encircled in a colourful aura of multi-layered lights. He appears with shoulder-length, deep maroon hair and long, pierced earlobes adorned with gold earrings. His neck is adorned with layers of ornaments and precious jewels, pearl and jade necklaces, blue pearl ornaments and a garland that hangs down to his knees. His arms are adorned with pearl and jade armlets, and his wrists are decorated with gold bracelets, which may also be worn on his upper arms.

His hands are placed together, palms facing upward, with the left palm covering the right palm; the thumbs of each hand touch each other, placed beneath the navel to display the image of entering absorption. He is dressed in light, white celestial clothing, wears a skirt made of different textiles such as blue brocade and silk, and his waist is wrapped with a green girdle belt.

Inwardly, the merits of Vairocana illuminate the dharma realm of Suchness, and outwardly, they illuminate all sentient beings without hindrances. These merits comprise all virtues and merits as a complete whole, and remain constant and unchanged. They also embody the mind of all sentient beings and all Buddhas, whose light is omnipresent. This is the light of this Tathagata who illuminates the dharma realms in equanimity. Vairocana is never seen in a standing posture, but only in the sitting position.

This carries a deeper meaning, as he is the central figure of the Dhyani Buddhas and his image shows him entering into profoundly deep meditation. Thus, the teaching of Mahamudra begins with the meditation posture of Vairocana, where the legs are crossed in the vajra posture of the full lotus position, with the soles of the feet facing upwards. Some people whose legs are short or whose joints are stiff may find it impossible to cross their legs and achieve the full lotus position. However, they should at least attempt to adjust their soles to face upwards and pull their legs towards the body to achieve a balanced posture.

The hands form the Dharmadhatu Mudra with palms facing upwards, resting beneath the navel point, with the right hand placed over the left hand and the thumbs lightly touching. Alternately, one may form a mudra with tip of the middle fingers touching each other and the thumbs placed at the lower portion of the index fingers, and maintain this mudra consistently. We can use either of these two mudras. Keep the chest up and slightly move the shoulders backward. The chin is slightly tucked in, just as a soldier would raise his chest and tuck his chin in training.

Press the tongue lightly against the upper palate. This is of vital importance, as it is what Taoists would call bridging heaven and earth or building a celestial bridge. When animals enter into hibernation, their tongues rest in a position touching the upper palate. When a practitioner initially enters into the practice of Mahamudra, he would not be able to truly enter into tranquility if his tongue does not touch his upper palate.

In India, the act of pressing the tongue against the upper palate is called Khechari. This is not performed simply by touching the upper roof of the palate with the tongue, but also involves rolling the tongue backwards so that it reaches deep into the throat slipping behind the nasopharynx and presses against either nasal opening.

In this way, one achieves balance between body and mind, for the disruptive flow of breath is calmed. In this way life can be prolonged, and ones essence is kept in place without depletion. The pressing of the tongue against the upper palate requires bending the tongue like a hook to hook against the inner nostril.

The Taoist views the tongue as a bridge between ones shen or spirit, which resides in the head, and ones body and heart. The next aspect of Vairocana meditation is the act of gazing at an object. Most practitioners of the Mahamudra may sit cross-legged in the lotus posture, with the hands positioned beneath the navel resting on the lap , lift the chest, and press the tongue against the upper palate, yet their minds may still wonder, generating discursive thoughts.

Thus, when we want to pacify the mind, we must begin by focusing on one point. The training starts with a person taking an object, placing it within five and a half feet of their gaze, and concentrating on it without letting the gaze waver. In time, one should be able to gaze longer, and once the focus is fixed, the mind is stabilized. Otherwise, the mind wanders. When the mind drifts away, the lackluster gaze makes the person appear dull. Therefore, one must begin with training the mind to focus on one point, as that is the key to pacifying the mind.

The first of the five lineages of Tantrayana is the Tathagata lineage, known also as the Buddha lineage. The principal Buddha of the Buddha lineage is Vairocana Buddha. The Light King of the Tathagata lineage is Vijayosnisa. The Wrathful One is Acala. The consort of the Tathagata Lineage is Aparajitavidyarajni. The heart of the Tathagata lineage involves secret mantras. These constitute the divisions of the Buddha lineage, which also includes their many retinues. When we begin the practice of Mahamudra, we must first learn the meditation posture of Vairocana so that we may gain access into the Buddha lineage and attain Buddhahood within this very body.

Know that the cross-legged full lotus position is meant to take advantage of the circulation of xiaxing chi downward moving energy which covers the area from the navel to the toes , and is not a pose taken for aesthetic reasons. It is a position that facilitates the smooth circulation of the downward moving energy. Place the hands evenly [on your lap], with the tips of the middle fingers touching each other, and keep the thumbs close to the lower portion of the index fingers. This keeps the body and mind in complete balance, and allows the body temperature, the circulation of chi and blood circulation to stay in good balance.

By raising the chest and tucking in the chin, the spirit and energy circulate throughout the whole body without hindrance. If we do not raise our chest and tuck our chin, insufficiency of spirit and energy will lead to falling asleep during practice. Many have asked me why they fall asleep upon entering meditation.

This is all due to the chest not being raised and the chin not being tucked in, resulting in an absence of spirit and energy. Too much relaxation will lead to falling asleep. When the tongue is pressed against the upper palate, it allows the shangxing chi upward-moving wind, or Udana in Sanskrit to move downward, and the xiaxing chi downward-moving wind or Apana in Sanskrit to move upwards.

The two energy currents nurture each other through this approach. This important point shall be elucidated in chapter four. The act of gazing at one object, which is also the method of Focusing the Spirit into the Tianxin Location [the forehead, the seat of the spiritual eye], is a major training of The Illuminated Way of Meditation, and helps to focus the mind on one point. With this focus of mind, one enters into meditative absorption.

We can place a vajra or dorje about five and a half feet away from us and gaze at it. The vajra is a precious Tantric ritual object symbolizing indestructibility. When we look at the vajra, we should revere it as though it were the Chinese emperors elongated jade tablet. This will make the meditation meaningful and tangible. Vairocana, the Great Sun Tathagata, once expounded the dharma at the abode of Mahesvara. The Tathagata at that time had appeared in a body of gold, with his hair piled on top of his head, forming a topknot Sanskrit: ushnisha that appeared like a crown with the Five Buddhas seated on it.

The Tathagata was radiating lights of many colours, and was clothed in silk like a white celestial robe. This is a sign of attaining perfect enlightenment in the Suddhavasa Heaven. However, I feel that while the Great Sun Tathagata is synonymous with the sun itself, which turns darkness into brightness, the suns light is divided into day and night, and there are places where sunlight can never reach. Thus, the word great is added to the word sun to signify that the light of the Buddha is undivided by day or night, interior or exterior areas, as the wisdom light of the Great Sun Tathagata shines completely in equanimity throughout all dharma realms.

I shall reveal a secret to you, my readers. When Vairocana was residing in the abode of Mahesvara and giving his discourses, among the audience was one kumara whose name was Padmakumara. Padmakumara placed his palms together in respect and asked the Buddha, Why is the Tathagata seen sitting, and not standing? To sit is to abide within the great dharma realm in tranquility, and I make full use of the seven point sitting position to instruct sentient beings.

Through the Mahamudra that is constant and indestructible, which harmonizes the body and mind. Padmakumaras questions set into motion a series of events that would result in a specific time in the distant future where I, as Padmakumara, would deliver sentient beings. I accepted the decree of Vairocana and came as a manifestation of Padmakumara to transmit the Mahamudra. This is how it started, and the event itself is a celestial secret, which was neither mysterious nor improvised. Everything has its design and purpose. Mahamudra is anything but simple. One begins with the seven point Vairocana sitting posture, balancing and controlling the functions of chi and the meridians.

Through the full lotus position, the meditation mudra, the raising of the chest and tucking in of the chin, the pressing of the tongue against the upper palate, and the gazing at one object, one harmonizes the body and mind. Only by mastering these prerequisites and setting a good practice foundation can one begin the practice of the heart teaching of purity and perfect realization. Before one can arrive at the state of non-meditation and non-attainment, one should start with the preliminaries of meditation and attainment. Mahamudra involves the practice of winds, channels and drops.

It is an approach for attaining Buddhahood in this very body, and not some empty doctrines to dwell upon as a theoretical endeavour. It requires the individual to put it into practice, to cultivate, to truly gain a spiritual response, from which he shall know that I, Sheng-yen Lu, do not make this up, for what is being said here is absolutely true. Washington lies in the north-west region of America, and shares a border with Canada. This state is five times the size of Taiwan, and has a population of four million [translators note: as of ]. As it is located in the north, its winter is freezing cold.

In the winter of , a heavy snow reduced the temperature to minus thirty degrees Celsius at night, with a daytime temperature of around minus ten degrees. The rivers were frozen into ice, and so were the lakes. The dew that rested on the windows was turned into ice. None-the-less, I continued with my meditation. I want to tell my readers that I had no heater in my home. In the severe cold winter, I had to rely on the heat generated through Mahamudra to counter the freezing cold.

In my home, the cold air had consolidated into ice, yet my body was sweating lightly, like a stove, experiencing a certain warmth all over. This is the psychic heat produced by Mahamudra practice. We stabilize ourselves with the seven point Vairocana meditation posture and regulate our breathing. Visualize a spot about four fingers beneath the navel.

It is a place where the three channels, the left channel, the right channel and the middle channel, converge, known to the Taoists as the Dan-tian. In this spot is positioned the Sanskrit syllable short AH which is hair-breath in thickness and appears red. This short AH trembles and vibrates like the flame that trembles in the stove. In your visualization, feel that the little flame that resides at the junction of the three channels is rather warm.

Still seated, breathe in using the complete inhalation approach, so that the chi enters the left and right channels One may review this breathing method in my book, The Realization of the Master. When this breath of wind reaches the meeting point of the three channels, it fans the fire and increases the temperature of the red fiery flame. The hair-breath thickness of the short AH thickens, and becomes even redder. While performing complete breathing, one needs to visualize the exhalation of blue smoke.

Thus, with every complete inhalation and complete exhalation synchronized with their respective visualizations, one continues this cycle of breathing. Every inhalation and exhalation performed is called a breathing cycle. By performing ten such breathing cycles, the flame should reach the navel chakra. With the next ten breathing cycles, the navel chakra and its surrounding area should be filled with heated wind. The subsequent ten breathing cycles should cause the lower body to experience warmth all over. Another ten breathing cycles thereafter should raise the flame to the heart chakra.

Another ten breathing cycles should move it further upwards to the throat chakra. Then, the next ten breathing cycles should raise the flame towards the brow chakra. Another ten breathing cycles should lead it to the crown chakra. Once I heard that a monk who was spiritually developed would place a teapot of cold water upon his head every time he sat for meditation.

When the monk entered into meditative absorption, his body would remain very still. An hour later, the cold water in the teapot would turn hot and began steaming. Such a feat is the yoga of psychic heat, which is the practice of drops and inner fire. Those who are less adept in this practice may achieve a warm sensation around the region of the Dan-tian.

Even ones pubic region feels like a stove, where one finds the area hot when felt with ones hand. When one gains mastery over the yoga of psychic heat, even the most subtle spots such as the cold tips of the fingers and toes can be penetrated by the heat of the chi, or wind. The whole body experiences a hot sensation. This is the reason I could keep myself warm during the freezing cold winter. When the psychic heat reaches the crown chakra, the white bodhicitta white drops at the crown chakra melts and drips downwards via the path of the tongue that is pressing against the upper palate.

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To be frank, if the readers were observant enough, they would notice a revelation of my Tantric cultivation on line 8, line 1 of original Chinese book page 3 of my first spiritual book, Encounters with the World of Spirits. The meaning of this mantra is clear; it points to the purity of the self-nature, indicating that the self-nature of all dharma is pure. This is the light of this Tathagata who illuminates the dharma realms in equanimity. Regarding a calm state which possesses bliss and confirmations. This is a path with many obstacles and is difficult to travel and takes a great deal of time.

This fluid is known in the Taoist teaching as the heavenly court water, and is called nectar in the Buddhist teaching. The fluid has the characteristic of cooling, and when mixed with the psychic heat produces a nurturing effect. This is known as the mixing of water and fire. On the practice of psychic heat and the practice of inner fire and drops, I would like to elucidate the main points one more time:.

The first experience that marks progress on the path to attainment of Buddhahood through Mahamudra is psychic heat. When the psychic heat is ignited, it signals success in the most elementary achievement. Without this, all is but empty talk. Some practitioners have gone astray with their practices, since they have lost their glow and their limbs have become cold. These symptoms are an indication of a practice gone wrong. The initial practice of the Mahamudra of psychic heat requires one to meditate six times daily, and only after the ignition of psychic heat can one reduce the practice to three or four times a day.

Each session requires at least seventy breathing cycles. One round of inhaling and exhaling constitutes one breathing cycle. The syllable AH is Sanskrit, and the short AH that is as thin as a hair breath resembles the Chinese character Na with the right portion removed. During visualization, pay special attention to the blazing red syllable getting redder and redder, and therefore thicker, with a growing flame that gets hotter as the practice progresses. Inhale through complete breathing. Keep it slow and drawn out, so that the breath reaches the meeting point at the Dan-tian.

With the wind fanning the fire, the fire blazes upwards fiercely, moving through one chakra every ten breathing cycles. In total, seventy breaths are needed every meditation session for the seven chakras. Some practise breathing cycles, penetrating all the meridians in the body. When the psychic heat blazes through the crown chakra, the white bodhicitta nectar melts and drips downwards.

This is an example of the method of mixing water and fire. This is a great secret kept within heaven and earth, a major celestial secret indeed. The truth of attainment in the Buddhist teaching is found within this practice, and so is the truth of the formation of relics. Exhale through complete breathing as well. Keep the breath slow and drawn out, and visualize blue smoke leaving your body similar to how smoke from the fire in a stove leaves through the chimney.

There is a sensation associated with cultivation of psychic heat. The coldness of the limbs is removed and those with health problems find relief when the fire of psychic heat burns inwardly. The circulation of the inner fire of psychic heat clears the meridians of blockages and those who gain mastery over its application may find themselves free from illnesses. This is certainly a first class method for balancing the spiritual energies of body and mind. Due to the arousal of psychic heat, the body feels warm all over and the individual finds himself bathed in a sensation of lightness.

The body feels a sense of lightness whereas the mind enjoys a state of freedom. Discursive thoughts cease, leaving the person in a state of extreme tranquility and joy. Generally speaking, as one moves further into the practice, many states of phenomena may be experienced, experiencing visions during meditation such as the projection of past lives, images of beautiful women and dream-like illusory imageries. Irrespective of the nature of these illusory visions, be they good or bad, we should not be attached to them.

We should instead strive for active, diligent cultivation, for that shall lead us naturally to attaining Samadhi. Someone once asked me what psychic heat and inner fire were. The true meaning of psychic heat is the breath of life prana. The true meaning of inner fire is the fire of life. The survival of man hinges on psychic heat and inner fire. What exactly is the central channel? The central channel is an invisible channel, a pathway that facilitates the travel of psychic heat through the body.

In principle, it exists and moves through the centre of the spine, and some of its secondary veins fan out from the spine. Some have said that the central channel is the governing centre of all spiritual veins. It is close to the Ming Men, the gate of life, which is the source of life itself. The Indians called it the Muladhara, the seat of all drops of psychic heat.

These drops are the very life drops of man, and the human body is born from these drops. Today, the teaching of Mahamudra has clearly elucidated the very source of the life of man, and explains in detail the way to produce psychic heat and inner fire. My exposition of all these teachings is geared towards the deliverance of all sentient beings. Through fearless expedient means, I lead individuals through my teachings so that they may be liberated from the suffering of this world and receive the cause and condition of Buddhahood to attain the path of liberation. What a great dharma affinity and secret this is!

The practice of psychic heat takes perseverance, moving from simple to deep levels, and from deep levels one enters into the wonderful realms. From the wonderful realms one enters into the mystical, through which realization can be attained. Many are aware that I am afraid of hot weather, but not cold weather, for I have long achieved the cultivation of psychic heat and the cultivation of drops and inner fire.

Many are also aware that Sheng-yen Lu has great supernatural powers, though some have called me a con man who has absolutely no ability of any sort! Yet the fact that I can write about the practice of Mahamudra is evidence of true knowing. There is nothing mystical about this, for it is the fruit of my actual practice. I have walked past this secret gate and truly mastered its secrets. For you to truly learn the practice of Speech Purification, I would like to first draw your attention to a little story:. As his heaven was adjacent to the human world, he often received the offerings of human beings, and often looked me up.

He had enjoyed a great meritorious blessing in the celestial realm and had not continued any form of cultivation. As his blessings had come to an end, he displayed the five signs of decay of a celestial being. Where once the being could travel to any realm at will, he is now bound to one place, and appears to lose all his transformation power.

When Immortal Benevolent Fruit experienced the celestial beings five signs of decay, the only person he could ask was me. As he had been living in the Heaven of Constant Enjoyment, whose celestial citizens are enjoying the fruits of their blessings, he had been living with the attitude of enjoy the blessings now and be careless about the future. The beings who reside in this heaven absolutely do not engage themselves in any cultivation, and thus are less ideal than beings in the physical world, for life on earth includes both suffering and joy.

Some beings partake in cultivation only because they have gone through much suffering. If a human performs meritorious deeds, he ascends into the Heaven of Constant Enjoyment to enjoy his blessings. However, the lack of knowledge about cultivating the right dharma subjects him to the phenomenon of the celestial beings five signs of decay upon reaching the end of his blessings.

These facts are detailed in the sutras. Immortal Benevolent Fruit came to me and said, "Lian-sheng, you must help me. Then I transferred the nature of the immortal being into the nature of his true mind, so that his mind would not wander, and he remained in a constant state of meditative contemplation. We are done for. There is nothing to grab onto. We will never get to the other side of the river. Don't worry. We are going to do this. On another occasion Nagarjuna was again traveling in the neighborhood and came upon the scene of the young Tilopa playing that he was a king.

He was sitting at the bottom of a tree with a couple of girls pretending to be his queens; four little children pretending to be his inner court, other children pretending to be the outer court, and twenty-five children acting as his subjects. Seeing this, Nagarjuna came up to them smiling.

The young Tilopa jumped up and prostrated to Nagarjuna and said, "How are you? Did you have a hard time on your journey? You must! He wrote down the name of the king, the names of the queens, what kinds of ministers he would require, what kind of wealth and riches would be needed by the kingdom on a piece of paper and put it into the treasure vase. Then he gave it to Tilopa and said, "Say, 'I will be king' three times into this vase.

It so happened that the king of the region suddenly became totally exasperated with his kingdom and decided he must give it up and go somewhere else. This was due to the great blessings and power of Nagarjuna and the magic treasure vase. Furthermore, this thought came to the king without anyone knowing about it. He dressed himself as an ordinary person and just left. For instance, if there were any threats from enemies, the elephant would plow up the earth and toss it around.

When a plague of some kind would threaten the kingdom, the elephant would cry and shed many tears. When good things happened in the kingdom, the elephant would rush into the local park and pull up the flowers and throw them all around. This elephant was also responsible for determining the future king. The elephant would rake a crowning vase by picking it up with its trunk and place it on the head of the person who was to be the next king. Not many people had noticed that their king had vanished. One day the elephant went to the vase he used to crown rhe next king with, picked it up, and began marching out of the palace towards the forest where young Tilopa was still playing his game of royal court.

All the ministers and people ran behind the elephant, muttering to each other, "What's going on? Either the king is dying or our kingdom is finished. Because the people of the kingdom believed completely in the elephant's choice, they took the young boy back into the palace of the kingdom and placed him upon the jeweled throne and made him their king.

At first the ministers and later all the subjects treated this boy-king with suspicion. They didn't obey his commands because they thought he was an ordinary person and his selection was actually some sort of mistake. So Tilopa prayed to Nagarjuna for guidance and Nagarjuna instructed Tilopa to mount his elephant, take a sword in one hand, and go out into the park, slap the trees in the park, and then tell them to go to war. Tilopa did this and when he slapped the trees, the trees turned into warriors, ready to go to war.

When the subjects and ministers saw this, they thought, "Oh, this is a great king with incredible merit" and brought him back into the palace and accepted him as their true king. They arrived on horseback dressed as ordinary merchants with big packs on the backs of their animals. The people and ministers of the kingdom saw them and didn't give them anQ[her thought. Actually they were Persian warriors disguised as merchants. When they stopped in front of the city, they got off their animals, undid their packs, put on all their armor and prepared to advance onto the city.

At this point everyone in the kingdom was terrified that there would be a great war and they would be destroyed. But Tilopa told them, "Don't be afraid. I'll take care of it. He stood before the approaching army and incredible light radiated from his mantle, dazzling all the Persian warriors so they couldn't look in his direction. Then Tilopa held up his sword and brandished it until many soldiers came flying out of the sword, scaring the Persian enemy completely away.

After that the subjects and ministers were extremely happy with their king and celebrated and rejoiced. So this concludes the second chapter on the childhood ofTilopa which tells how the poor cowherd became a king. This chapter shows us that one does not have to become poor and be an ascetic to practice the dharma. The first is called "aU-good behavior" because the beginner must take up the practice of being extremely peaceful, calm, and carefully watch his or her actions by having extremely controlled and noble behavior. The beginner who engages in this behavior is able ro advance along the path and then at a certain point, he or she must enter what is called the "vanquishing behavior" or adul shug in Tibetan.

The syllable shug means "entering. In the stage of aU-good behavior the beginner avoids these situations, but in the vanquishing stage the meditator actually seeks them out. The meditator has to destroy arrogance, pride, and hatred by confronting them and throwing himself into situations that evoke the kind of response that allows him or her to work with these emotions. The third stage of"victorious in all directions behaviour" is the final expression of total fearlessness; it is a total lack of any inhibition about anything done.

So, we begin Vajrayana practice with the beginning level of "aUgood behavior" and gradually work mwards the final level of the practice of "victory in all directions. We cannot begin with the level of vanquishing behavior by doing such things as wearing bone ornaments and behaving like a mad man. These things are meditative practices for later on when we have gone through the various spiritual stages.

Therefore, at this point Tilopa began practicing the ali-good behavior by maintaining his vows as a monk and studying very diligently. The story proceeds with Tilopa abandoning his life as a king and becoming a monk and entering the Hinayana path. This took place when, as a king, he developed great revulsion for samsara.

Setting his own son up as royal heir, he left the kingdom and went to a cemetery called Somapuri where there was a temple erected over a spontaneously arisen form of the Heruka. At the time ofTilopa, this temple was considered holy by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Tilopa received full ordination as a monk or bhikshu and resided in Somapuri for a long time practicing diligently.

Tilopa Begins Vajrayana Meditation However, Tilopa's meditation was interrupted by the sight of a very ugly hag who suddenly appeared in front of him. She had a bluish-gray complexion and yellow-colored hair. She appeared before him and distracted him by saying to Tilopa who was reading the Prajnaparamita, "Would you like to understand and directly experience the meaning of the Prajnaparamita?

I want to understand it directly. You must practice virtuous behavior for very many lifetimes. This is a path with many obstacles and is difficult to travel and takes a great deal of time. The teachings I have to teach you are of the fruition tantra. With this practice you can attain fruition within one, three, or at the most seven lifetimes. This practice is very easy and there are few obstacles on this path. I am going to make you enter into the secret Mantrayana. In the creation stage one visualizes oneself as the deity and the practice is to destroy one's current neurotic fixation on gross and mundane phenomena.

Since one can develop a fixation upon the deity itself, the dakini then taught Tilopa the pith instructions of the completion stage, which is basically the instruction on how to dissolve the immeasurable palace of the mandala into the deity, the deity into a seed syllable, and then the seed syllable into emptiness. With these two pith instructions, Tilopa attained a degree of realization and the dakini said, "Now throw out your bhikshu ordination and go about acting like a madman, practicing in secret so that nobody knows what you are doing," and then she vanished into the sky. This dakini who bestowed these instructions and empowerments on Tilopa was called Karpo Sangmo.

The reason for doing this vanquishing behavior of acting like a madman is that one has to test one's samadhi by enduring harsh conditions, such as being thrown into jail, being beaten up and robbed, and so on that this practice places one in. One combines the experience of these unfavorable conditions with the samadhi itself to experience the power of one's samadhi.

This is a very powerful method to let go of one's neurotic conceptions. This part ofTilopa's biography corrects the notion that people can accomplish enlightenment by themselves and that they don't need a teacher. Tilopa took a dakini as a teacher.

There are five aspects of the vase empowerment: the vase empowerment of Akshobhya, the crown empowerment of Rarnasambhava, the vajra empowerment of Amitabha, the bell empowerment of Amoghasiddhi, and the name empowerment of Vairochana. Through these five stages of the vase empowerment, one recognizes the five skandhas as being the five Buddha families.

The second empowerment is called the "secret empowerment" and takes place through the actual experience of tasting and swallowing the healing nectar or amrita that is passed out in the empowerment. One swallows it and all the knots and blockages within the subtle channels Skt.

With this one experiences an extremely even flow of the energy within the body. This is the empowerment of the energy flow, the channels, and the energy points Skt. The third empowerment is called the "knowledge and wisdom" empowerment in which one actually experiences great bliss. By experiencing great bliss one recognizes that it is inseparable from the nature of mind, that it is emptiness.

So one attains an experience called "bliss-emptiness" which is called "approximate wisdom" or "an example of the acrual wisdom of bliss-emptiness. These four empowermems are called "ripening empowerments" because when one receives these empowerments, one does not accomplish all the stages and so it is not that one never needs to practice any more. Rather, ripening empowerments should be taken as symbolic moments which eventually 12 Tilopn Re11ormces Snmsnrn nud Meets His Tendli!

Ys lead co frui don. So one feels that one has had the great fortune of receiving the empowermenrs and these will be connected with the full realization of these empowerments with further practice. Tilopa Meets Matangi After practicing the pith instructions for a long time, Tilopa found that he had reached a point where he could progress no further. He wanted co go to the south of India to find Nagarjuna once more.

To do this he began walking through the jungle. In the jungle he saw a beautiful straw hut and wondered who was in there. Inside he found ayogi, who had no food, utensils, or clothes. Tilopa said to him, "What are you doing? Tilopa asked Matangi to accept him as his student and Matangi accepted him. He then manifested the mandala of Guhyasamaja and gave him all the pith instructions of the creation and completion stages of this tantra. The Chakrasamvara tantra that Tilopa had received from the dakini Karpo Sangmo were instructions of the mother tantra.

The instructions of Sangvadhupa from Matangi were of the father tantra. The basic difference between the mother tanrra and father tantra is that the mother tantra emphasizes the completion stage which relies more on the emptiness aspect of the nature of mind. The father tantra emphasizes the creation stage and relies more on the luminosity or clarity aspect of the nature of mind. Based on Matangi's instructions, Tilopa completely achieved the stage of creation to the point where it was almost like seeing the yidam face to face.

Tilopa had attained the wisdom arising from the creation stage and was now on the verge of completely accomplishing the completion stage. From him Tilopa received the instructions and empowerments of the Chakrasamvara practice once again which he had already received from Karpo Sangmo. However, there are three lineages of Chakrasamvara with one coming from Luipa, the second from Nagpopa, and the third from Dribupa.

This lineage of Chakrasamvara came from Nagpopa who became Tilopa's third teacher. Tilopa received all the pith inmuctions ofNagpopa and became a fully accomplished practitioner in the completion stage. Even though he had completely accomplished these two stages of practice, he still hadn't realized the ultimate view. So he left that part of the country and wenr to the west of India where he encountered the great mahasiddha Lalapa. From Lalapa he received the pith instructions of Mahamudra, especially the "three heart sphere" 10 instructions and certain pith instrucrions.

Luminous Emptiness - a Mahamudra Blog

In this way Tilopa traveled to the four directions of India and became the disciple of the four great mahasiddhas: Matangi, Lalapa, Karpo Sangmo, and Nagpopa. He received all the mother tantra, the father tantra, and the Mahamudra instructions from them. He not only received these instructions, but practiced until he had fully mastered them. Tilopa received further instructions from Matangi who said to him, "Now you must meditate continuously on the very essence of suchness and the nature of phenomena and mind.

To do this you must find some kind of activity to engage in. Previously you were a king, so you have some vestige of class arrogance and this must be destroyed. Furthermore, Matangi told Tilopa that in the state of Bengal in eastern India there was a kingdom ruled by a very divine king, who was no ordinary king but an emanation of himself. This king had so blessed the land that whoever practiced meditation there would travel very rapidly on the path and attain exceedingly good results. Matangi also explained that in that kingdom there was a town called Harikila with a market 14 Tilol'a Reuouuces Samsarn aud Meets His Teadzers place and a brothel.

Tilopa must become a pimp and a servant to a prostitute in this brothel. Matangi explained to Tilopa that at this point he should begin engaging in vanquishing behavior. This outer activity, supported by the power of samadhi, is not just meditation practice, but rather a practice in which one puts oneself in lowly jobs to destroy any vestiges of arrogance. Matangi also explained that if he practiced in this way, Tilopa would attain perfect siddhis11 and benefit many beings. So Tilopa went to Bengal in eastern India and did exactly as his guru Matangi told him. During the day, he pounded sesame seeds to extract the oil and at night he was a servant to the prostitute Dharima.

All the time he was engaged in this behavior outwardly his mind was completely absorbed in the samadhi of perfect such ness. By doing this practice for twelve years Tilopa accomplished enlightenment. He was seen by people around him in different marvelous ways. Some saw him flying through the sky like a blazing ball of fire surrounded by fourteen butter lamps. Some saw him in the midst of brilliance, sitting as a yogi surrounded by women and dakinis who were circumambulating and making prostrations to him. Others saw him sitting as a bhikshu absorbed in samadhi in the midst of brilliance.

When people began to see these things they started telling Dharima that something had happened to Tilopa. Dharima was really shocked at hearing this and when she went out to see for herself she saw Tilopa in the sky before her, radiant and brilliant. In his right hand he was holding the mortar and pestle for grinding sesame seeds. Dharima was upset and confessed to Tilopa that she had no idea he was such a holy person and felt very sorry that she had ordered him around as a prostitute's servant for all these years. She then offered him her deep confession. Tilopa said, "You are not at fault.

You didn't know I was a mahasiddha. Actually, I have attained all the siddhis because of you. I needed to work as your servant to become enlightened. There has been no harm done. Everyone around them was completely amazed and rejoiced. Word quickly spread to the king who came in regal splendor riding on an elephant to see what was going on. As he approached he noticed that Tilopa and Dharima were floating in the sky at the height of seven plantain trees. Tilopa's Song ofRealization Tilopa then sang a song of realization 12 to the king and everyone assembled there, giving all the pith instructions he had received of the mother tantra, the father tantra, and the Mahamudra.

Spiritual songs, dohas, are sung using metaphors. Tilopa began the song with an explanation that everyone knows that there is sesame oil within the sesame seed, but they don't know how to extract it. If they do not know it is to be extracted by being beaten, pressed, or cooked, they cannot obtain the pure sesame oil. This is very similar to spiritual realization with the oil being the inborn, innate wisdom of mind. This explanation of the nature of mind is somewhat beyond the view explained in the Madhyamaka Rangtong13 and the Chittamatra schools see chart page The Rangtong view basically points out that the nature of mind is actually only emptiness.

The Madhyamaka Shentongview is similar to that ofMahamudra, which is that there is an actual essence of mind which is innate, primordial wisdom which is recognized and actualized in practice. In the schools of the lesser viewpoint, the realization is the same but it is achieved through gradually developing one's meditation through progressive stages and deepening one's view. In the Mahamudra view, merely by hearing the explanation and receiving the introduction to the mind's nature as being unborn, innate spontaneous wisdom, realization can occur.

With this there is recognition of all one's neurotic preconceptions which then immediately collapse into awareness itself and one attains Mahamudra directly. This is the meaning of the oil in the sesame seed. Buddha-essence is found in the minds of all sentient beings. Just as you cannot extract sesame oil unless you know the process, you can't actualize the unborn natural wisdom of Mahamudra without instructions from a qualified guru.

This can take place in a myriad of ways. Some gurus may point out the mind's true nature merely by explaining what it is and saying, "Your mind is Mahamudra. Some may explain it in a completely special way such as when Tilopa hit Naropa in the face with his sandal or when Naropa introduced the nature of the mind to Marpa by creating a mandala of a yidam in the sky. Even though there are numerous ways of introducing the nature of mind, it is impossible to actualize this wisdom without the introduction.

Tilopa continued by singing, "By means of this magical realization of mind's nature, all experiences and awareness become inseparable, so that all phenomena and mind become inseparable. This is extremely wonderful. How wonderful that this is true. This primordial unborn wisdom of the Buddha-essence can be realized analytically or directly.

In the analytical way, the Kagyu school uses the Shentong of the Madhyamaka view to realize the Buddhaessence. However, there is an enormous difference between Shentong and the Mahamudra approach regarding emptiness. The Shentong uses logical analysis to discover the nature of mind by deducing that "the mind is like this," using descriptive awareness to explain the unexplainable concept. However, the Mahamudra view uses experience itself and depends upon direct observation of the nature of mind under the direction of the guru.

At that point one merely dwells in mind's essence experiencing it fully through direct experience.

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The first part of the nam tar already discussed his meeting with four great lamas. The second part concerns Tilopa's direct experience of Vajradhara, that is, meeting the wisdom dakinis and receiving instructions and teachings directly from them through visions. These two sides of the biography in no way conflict with each other. Actually, rhe whole story ofTilopa is quite inconceivable. It would be foolish to attempt to put all of these events in some kind of order and to state, ''At this specific time Tilopa received this particular instruction from such and such a lama and had the vision of this particular wisdom dakini.

It is quite possible that Tilopa was receiving direct visionary experience from the wisdom dakinis while he was searching for a teacher on the worldly level. The section from the unshared biography begins with how Tilopa obtained the instructions from the secret treasure house of the wisdom dakinis in the western realm of Urgyen. A wisdom dakini appeared to him in the form of a very ugly old woman who was disgusting to look at.

She asked him, "Who is your father? What is your country? What book are you reading? What are these cattle? Tilopa answered, "My country is the Land ofZahor. This hag became extremely angry with him and said, "You know nothing. This isn't true! Your land and country is the western realm of Urgyen. Your father is Chakrasamvara. Your mother is Vajrayogini and I am your sister.

My name is Oeterma. The dharma you are studying is the inexpressible dharma of the whispered Lineage. The dharma you are reading is in the hands of the wisdom dakinis. In order to get there you need three things: a crystal ladder, a bridge adorned with precious jewels, and a magical key made of grass. For instance in the life story of Padmasambhava it was predicted that there would arise many obstacles to his receiving the dharma.

He wanted to go to the hidden realm called Beyu which required a special way to enter. There was a raging river which no one could cross with any ferry, and there was a tree at one side of the river which was the gate to this secret kingdom. The tree couldn't be cut down with any kind of axe or 20 Tilopn Receives Secret Justructious sword. However, at the base of the tree was a crystal knife and the tree could be cm down with this crystal knife.

The adept capable of going through the process of cutting the tree could attain many kinds of samadhi and great teachings in this realm. Khenpo Ganchar wrote a treatise about this particular realm. He said some people think they can just go find the river nobody can cross, see the tree, and chop it down and cross the river. He explains that this is impossible for someone who has accumulated negative karma. He also writes that in the literal sense a river impossible to cross does not exist and a tree that can't be cut down with an iron axe and yet can be cut down with a glass knife also doesn't exist.

He then shows that these parts of the story are symbolic. The incredible torrent that can't be crossed is the turbulence of samsara. The tree that can't be cut down by ordinary means is the tree of ego-clinging. The crystal knife nestled in the tree of ego-clinging is the knife of wisdom. This metaphor shows that the practice of dharma involves traversing samsara by means of walking over one's ego-clinging.

At the beginning of the path, ego-fixation is an integral part of the practice. Then traversing over this tree of ego-clinging is the path itself, and entering into the wondrous hidden kingdom of the nirmanakaya-sambhogakayadharmakaya is the richness of the fruition one may accomplish after completing the path.

As can be seen, these symbolic stories are very profound. I believe that this story ofTilopa is also symbolic. The crystal ladder is a metaphor for the pure view of realizing emptiness which is like a crystal. The jeweled bridge is a metaphor for meditation because meditation on resting the mind is so uncommon that it is like a bridge and it is covered with jewels because it is very pure.

The grass key is a metaphor that indicates action without attachment. The key is made of grass because one doesn't become attached to something made of grass. The key is actually the key of mastering the subtle channels and energy flow within the body. He cold them he had received the prophecy that he was to go to the western realm ofUrgyen and receive instructions from the wisdom dakinis there.

His mother and father assented. So, he went to the western realm of Urgyen and confronted many dakinis who projected all kinds of wrathful images and frightful manifestations at him. He was very proud of the fact chat he was able to overcome any fear they projected at him and wasn't afraid in the slightest of their manifestations. He went past the stages of the nirmanakaya dakinis and the sambhogakaya dakinis into the very heart of the mandala - the dharmakaya court in the center of the realm of Urgyen. He entered without fear of the terrifying experiences these dakinis were able co produce and reached the center of this mandala.

As Tilopa entered the center of the mandala, he sat down comfortably without any inhibition before Bhagavati, the great mother of all the dakinis. All the ocher dakas and dakinis were very upset that he should just stride into the center of the mandala without offering any respect to the mother of all Buddhas. They voiced this opinion to the Bhagavati and she said, "He is in fact the father of all Buddhas; he is the emanation of Chakrasamvara himself. Even if you were to produce a huge rain or hail storm of vajras, he would not be harmed in any way.

He has every right to sit with me without offering obeisance. The mother of all Buddhas asked Tilopa, "What do you want? Why did you come to this western realm of Urgyen? I have come here for them, so please give them to me. The first symbol she made was the "tsakali," a physical symbol. Then she said a seed syllable for the speech symbol and following that she made a hand gesture Skt. He also knew exactly what to ask for and how to ask for it.

He said, "I recognize that this tsakali is the treasury of the body, of the physical experience. I need to receive all the instructions of the lineage from the dharmakaya manifestation of Vajradhara himself for this. From the great treasury of speech he requested all the teachings, all the empowerments, and all the different degrees of practice of the path of ripening.

Seeing the mudra, he recognized that it was the symbol of the treasury of mind. He asked Bhagavati for all the teachings on Mahamudra, the path of liberation. Bhagavati replied, "h is true. In my treasure house is the body where the wish-fulfilling jewel of the lineage lies. But the door to this treasure house is closed with the lock of samaya. Those who don't have the key of samaya cannot enter. It is true that in my treasure house of speech are the teachings of the path of ripening.

All the yidam deities in this treasure house are closed to those who don't have a prophecy. It is true that in my treasure house of the mind there is the dharmakaya which contains all the correct instructions of the Mahamudra, the path of instantaneous liberation. But this is dosed co those who have not attained full accomplishment. What this passage means is that if one has perfect samaya and has received a command that predicts one's enlightenment 17 and has accomplished a deep level of realization, these treasures and the richness of the pith instructions are available like an open door in which one can take whatever instructions one wants.

Without perfect samaya, one cannot receive the legacy of this lineage. Without the prophecy, one cannot receive all the teachings of the path of ripening. Without the direct experience of the nature of dharmata, one cannot understand the Mahamudra. Bhagavati responded laughingly, "A blind man can't see an image.

A deaf man can't hear a sound. A mute can't talk and a cripple can't stand up and run. So whatever prophecy or key you have is from some kind of demon and is a fake. I have the second key of the prophecy because I have recognized mind as Mahamudra, the dharmata itself. I have the third key of actual accomplishment because, having merged mind totally with the dharma essence, I have direct continuous experience.

So, I am fully authorized to enter the treasury. You have the prophecy, the perfect samaya, and are fully accomplished. Therefore, I bestow upon you these jewels from each of my three treasuries. Tilopa understood them instantly, saying, "Through these three jewels from the three treasure houses I will accomplish enlightenment.

I am fearless and fly in the sky like a bird and there is nothing that can obstruct me. I am Sherab Sangpo Tibetan for "deep wisdom and good". Subsequently, Tilopa has been known as Tilopa Sherab Sangpo. The Bhagavati and all the dakas and dakinis told Tilopa, "You must reside with us here in the land of Urgyen. I have my disciples- Naropa, Rerepa, and Kasurivaand I must take these three jewels from the treasury to bestow them upon my many disciples. In this way, these teachings or pith instructions that Tilopa brought from the land of Urgyen became extremely wide-spread in the land ofTibet.

However, the J whole story ofTilopa accepting Naropa as his student and the story of all the difficulties while training Naropa is not given in any detail in Tilopa's spiritual biography because it is so vividly described in Naropa's spiritual biography. Consequently, he was arrogant and had a great deal of pride, For Naropa to progress along the path, Tilopa had to destroy his arrogance.

Naropa was already extremely wise and had mastered a great deal of knowledge, so in Naropa's training Tilopa does not give Naropa empowerments or specific teachings. Tilopa provided an environment for Naropa to destroy his pride and arrogance by giving him all kinds of hardships to undergo. The actual transmission of teachings to Naropa took place through symbols, The actual empowerment that did take place was with Tilopa's skill at using symbols and thus subduing Naropa's pride.

Finally Naropa achieved realization with the slap of a shoe across his face by Tilopa. Naropa's wisdom and realization somehow naturally manifested by means ofTilopa's way of dealing with him. Unlike Naropa, the eight disciples mentioned in this particular spiritual biography did not have a natural inclination towards practicing dharma and had to be subdued through miracles and magical displays. He asked his mother, "How can I make you happy? They decided that the master of ceremonies should be the great yogin Marti who was a renowned and accomplished yogi.

He naturally accepted the position of master of ceremonies. But Tilopa's ugly sister appeared and told the assembly, "You've got the wrong person in charge of this ganachakra ceremony. A few minutes later she returned with Tilopa and this started a contest between Tilopa and Marti to see who was, in fact, to be the best master of ceremony.

In the beginning of the contest Tilopa equaled all of the miraculous displays that Marti performed. Finally at the end of this contest Tilopa made the sun and moon fall to the ground, turned his body completely inside-out, revealing whole universes in each of his pores. At that point Marti realized he was no match for this great yogi. He developed great faith in Tilopa and requested transmission. Tilopa agreed and gave him all the pith instructions and empowerments he requested.

Thus the mahasiddha Marti became the first ofTilopa's eight renowned disciples. During this time the Buddhists were having a great deal of trouble in southern India because there was an extremely clever and erudite Hindu who was defeating them in debate. According to the tradition of those times, whoever loses a debate had to reject his own teachings and convert to the religion of the winner.

Therefore, the Buddhists were suffering terribly. When you come to nothing to come to, you come to mahamudra. A tree spreads its branches and leaves. Cut the root and ten thousand branches wither. Likewise, cut the root of mind and the leaves of samsara wither. Though darkness gathers for a thousand eons, A single light dispels it all.

Likewise, one moment of sheer clarity Dispels the ignorance, evil and confusion of a thousand eons. If you want to know what is beyond intellect and action, Cut your mind at its root and rest in naked awareness. Let the cloudy waters of thinking settle and clear. Let appearances come and go on their own. With nothing to change, the world you experience becomes mahamudra. Rest in no beginning, with no self-interest or expectation. Let what appears appear on its own and let conceptual ways subside. The most majestic of outlooks is free of all reference.

The most majestic of practices is vast and deep without limit. The most majestic of behaviors is open-minded and impartial. The most majestic of fruitions is natural being, free of concern. At first, practice is a river rushing through a gorge. When your mind is less acute and does not truly rest, Work the essentials of energy and bring out the vitality of awareness. Using gazes and techniques to take hold of mind Train awareness until it does truly rest. When you practice with a sexual partner, empty bliss awareness arises.

The balancing of method and wisdom transforms energy. Let it descend gently, collect it, draw it back up, Return it to its place, and let it saturate your body. When you are free from longing and desire, empty bliss awareness arises. You will have a long life, you will not gray, and you will shine like the moon. You will radiate health and well-being and be as strong as a lion. You will quickly attain the ordinary abilities and open to the supreme one.