The Ganges Essential Instructions of Mahamudra 3 ~ Garchen Rinpoche


The text reads, ‘in that way, the nature of mind is like space, there is no phenomenon not included in that.’ Thus all of the phenomena of samsara and nirvana are contained within Mahamudra. There is nothing that is not encompassed by Mahamudra. Likewise, we talk about Dzogchen or Mahasandhi, the Great Completion. This, likewise, is pointing to the fact that all phenomena are complete within Dzogchen. Thus Dzogchen and Mahamudra are like a single person who has two different names. Within the natural state of the mind, all phenomena are complete.

The three jewels who are the objects of refuge and the buddhas of the three times are complete in the mind itself. Thus, we speak of the mind which is free of an object to be purified and an object to be attained is buddha. That is to say that the nature of the mind is nothing other than buddha. It does not need to be purified, it doesn’t require any attainment to become buddha. This mind is changeless in the three times. Thus it is referred to as awareness Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra meaning completely good or ever good. Likewise, the dharma is referred to as the changeless stainless nature. The sangha is referred to as the attributes which are spontaneously complete. All of the qualities of the objects of refuge, the three jewels are complete in the mind itself.

The three jewels, the three roots, the three kayas are all complete in the mind itself. If we look down below at the samsaric realms, these are also arisen from the mind. When beings do not recognize the buddha nature, the natural state of the mind, they give rise to self-clinging, and that self-clinging conditions all of the phenomena of samsara. For those who realize the natural state, even though their physical form may abide in samsara, still they are manifestations of the nirmanakaya. They are tulku. The basis that is the buddha nature is possessed by all sentient beings. It is only due to temporary obscuration that beings are deluded by karma and propensities. It is the same essential basic nature that underlies all of samsara and nirvana.

Milarepa said that apart from the abandonment of samsara, there is no other nirvana to be attained. When we abandon fixation on samsaric phenomena, fixation itself becomes purified. On the basis of this, we realize the natural state of the mind. That mind is inseparable from space, being completely free of fixation we recognize the nature of the mind, and that is buddha. Apart from this, there is no other nirvana to be realized. When we become free of self-grasping, from our own side, we realize the state of buddhahood.

The three kayas of the buddhas are likewise complete in the mind itself. The dharmakaya is like the vast and clear expanse of space; the sambhogakaya is like the rainbows and clouds that manifest in space; and the nirmanakaya are the actually materially manifest emanations. They appear as gurus and spiritual guides in this human realm. In general, we think buddhas and sentient beings are something distinct. But in the mind stream of every sentient being is the buddha nature, the cause of buddhahood. The mind of all beings is at the very basis the nature of the three kayas.

~ Garchen Rinpoche

(to be continued…)