Introduction to Mahamudra: the Co-Emergent Unification
~ Drikung Kyopa Jigten Sumgon

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche gave teachings on the Drikung Kyopa Jigten Sumgon’s Introduction to Mahamudra, the Co-emergent Unification on April 16 and 17 2023.

The recordings of these precious teachings can be found @ H.E. Garchen Rinpoche Long Life Ceremony: Day 5 and Day 6 on Youtube.

Links on YouTube as follows:

April 16
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche Long Life Ceremony: Day 5 AM Session 1 // Apr 16, 2023 // Drikung Kagyu Lamas – YouTube

April 17
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche Long Life Ceremony: Day 6 AM Session 1 // Apr 17, 2023 // Drikung Kagyu Lamas – YouTube

Teachings given by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, translated by Ian Bieler. May the blessings be endless!

*A continuation of the transcription of the teachings Day 6 (April 17) can be found below.
(The transcription for the previous Day 5 (April 16) can be found on Introduction to Mahamudra (1), page on this website).

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche Long Life Ceremony: Day 6 AM Session 1// April 17 2023 // Drikung Kagyu Lamas

Teaching given by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, translated by Ina Bieler.

May the blessings be endless!


Transcription for the purpose of study, reflection and practice.

The transcription is from the recording of the English translation by Ina Bieler. Ina translates, the Tibetan transmission given by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche. The written transcription follows the translation directly, with little editing of the text. Please excuse any errors. Thank you.

All rights reserved (copyright) to Garchen Buddhist Institute. 

[…] include the times in the recording where the teaching is translated into English.


Purify our own mind

So Dharma friends, you are all receiving many different teachings from different masters/ lamas. When we listen to all these different teachings, for a beginner practitioner that may seem to be a whole lot to process. It seems too much. But we can also condense all of these teachings.

Lord Jigten Sumgon had said, “The 84,000 different Dharma teachings are all for the sake of attaining enlightenment”. Each of those 84,000 can be sub-divided into 84,000 and so forth. But in brief, they are all nothing else but the methods to attain the state of Buddhahood. And so what is that state of Buddhahood? What is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings? The Buddha said, “Completely tame your own mind”. This is the Buddha’s teachings. So the Buddha’s teachings are to purify our own mind and nothing else.

For example, it is just like polishing rock. When you polish a rock, eventually you will have a crystal – a luminous crystal. But for as long as you don’t polish the rock, you won’t have that crystal. Slowly as you keep cutting and rubbing and polishing that rock, eventually you will see a clear crystal. In a similar way, we must tame our own mind.

Concept of “I”

And that which needs to be tamed is that concept of an ‘I’. The Buddha said that – “Beings are obscured by adventitious stains”. This concept of ‘me’, this ‘I’ constantly, uninterruptedly arises.

We always think, “I”. This is my bowl. My this, my that and so on. In relation to those six sense perceptions, we develop all kinds of thoughts of “me”. And so in this way, we have formed very thick layers of self, and that is how the outer universe and the inner sentient beings have come into existence.

This grasping at a self

So everything comes down to this grasping at a self. In the Ganges Mahamudra text it says, “When you cut through the root of a tree then its hundreds and thousands of leaves and branches will naturally dry out”. Also, it is said, that “You should not cut through the root or inquire into the root of phenomena, but cut through the root or inquire into the root of the mind.

When you understand that all phenomena are innate to your own mind, are within your own mind, then you have gained an understanding. So that which needs to be tamed is the self-grasping, and when you think in that way, when you think that, “This is the only thing I need to tame,” you have really gained an understanding.

This is how someone like myself, who doesn’t have much learning or many qualities sees that. There are many words that we can grasp, but that is really the essence of these words. In the end, out of the multitude of words, they really have the same meaning.

In the 37 Bodhisattva Practices also it says, “Appearances are one’s own mind, from the beginning mind’s nature is free from the extremes of elaboration. Knowing this, not to engage the mind in subject/ object duality is the Bodhisattva’s practice”. Also the omniscient Longchen Rabjam had said, “When you realise the nature of the mind, there is no higher learning than that”. And Milarepa said, “Aside from realising the natural state of the mind there is no other perfection of wisdom than that”.

If you want to gain the Perfection of Wisdom, you must realise the nature of mind. And, until you have realised the nature of your own mind, no variety of many thoughts or many words, can make you realise that nature. It is something that you have to realise from within. And that means to recognise that all comes down to self-grasping, because that is what constantly arises in all of our minds.

So this is how we should approach the teaching, when we listen to the teachings – from the perspective of people like myself who do not have much learning. So please keep that in mind.

The nature of the mind

Yesterday we said that “Mind, the nature of the mind is like an ocean, like a crystal, or like a flower. The mind is a union of emptiness and compassion”.

It is for example, like an ocean, like water. In the ocean there are many animals living in the ocean, but they don’t affect the ocean, [they] don’t harm the ocean in any way. Or, there are many waves on the ocean, but the waves only happen on the surface and they do not stir the ocean at the bottom. Or the mind is also like space. Actually the conventional, the relative bodhicitta is like an ocean and the ultimate bodhicitta is like space.

Ultimately the mind is vast, that is the meaning of Mahamudra, and the grasping at a self, diminishes when one realises that there is no self. The mind becomes vast. For that, we first need to possess the mind’s generation of bodhicitta. And that mind generation really determines the vehicle one is on. In The Great Liberation sutra it says, the “Mahayana mind, the mind of the Great Vehicle is like a vast ocean,” for example, [and] that is the mind of the spiritual masters who possess immeasurable love. Their mind is like a vast ocean.

Then it says in that text and “Those of the lesser vehicle who think only of themselves, their mind is like the water that collects in the footprint of a cow”. It is much more limited. So that is how we make the difference between the different vehicles. So, if we want to tame the mind, the mind must tame self-grasping. The way to tame self-grasping is by cultivating loving kindness, cultivating love. Love is the wish for the happiness of others.

The love that a mother has for her child and mind of wisdom

For example, there is the picture here of an animal with their child. […] One of my disciples gave that to me and it’s a really excellent example that exemplifies the love that a mother has for her child, and that’s the kind of love those great beings have for all beings. So you can see when a mother shares love with her child there is great joy, great happiness. So this love is the wish for the happiness of all beings. This is something that I always mention. Love is the only cause of happiness and this wisdom, that recognises that, is also related to science. Nowadays science, and there are many scientists who accept, who understand, that there is karma and past and future lives. They understand with a mind of wisdom. It is said that “Everything that is done in the field of knowable things is done by the Buddha”.

So therefore, science is also connected to wisdom. When one possesses wisdom, one will also be able to develop love, and understand the preciousness of love. For example, I’ve seen on many advertisement boards in America – when we’re travelling, these words of love and positivity and that is also a sign of wisdom. And that is really the essence of the Buddha Dharma, to cultivate immeasurable love.

If you cultivate immeasurable love, then immeasurable compassion will also arise. And when compassion arises, you will be aware of the suffering experienced by others, because your own self-grasping diminishes, true compassion arises, and you will feel the suffering of other beings.

For example, there was a disciple who said that when I went to a place where fish were being killed, I couldn’t even look. There was no way I could even look at that, it was so terrible – that is a sign of wisdom for example, because that person knows that their own mind is connected to the mind of sentient beings and that’s why they’re able to feel the suffering of others. It is also a sign that our minds really are one.

But then there are other people who have no feeling at all. Even if they see an animal being cut and killed, they will have no feeling and that is a sign of very thick layers of ignorance. When they are extremely ignorant then this is what happens.

In any case we need to tame our own mind and we tame our mind by cultivating altruism. In the 37 Practices, it says, “The Perfect Buddhas arise from the altruistic mind”. When there is no more self-grasping then the mind becomes like an ocean. Or when you look at the nature of your mind it is like a clear crystal.

Even though many thoughts may arise, if you do not pursue these thoughts then they will not harm you in any way. They will not affect you in any way. Just like the many animals living in the ocean, do not affect the ocean itself. Or just like the clouds in the sky do not negatively affect the sky. Anyway, I also wanted to share this image with you, that actually I’ve been carrying around for a very long time, but it is a great image which exemplifies love and compassion.

The natural state of the mind

So then coming back to the text. After these three examples then it says, “It [mind] is awake, naked and clear”.  So if you always remain within the natural state of the mind, the mind is awake, naked and clear.

In order for the mind to clear, and this is something my own guru, Jigme Dorje had mentioned, it is important for the back to be straight. When your body is straight, your back is straight – the mind will be clear. So, then that is related to awake, naked and clear. Then naked is that, when you rest in the natural state of the mind, whatever thought arises within that state, will be seen with utter clarity, just like a reflection clearly appearing in a mirror.

At that point, you shouldn’t think that, now since I’m meditating I have even more thoughts. It is just that you now see, what you have not seen before. Even if a multitude of thoughts arise, just let them be. If you just let them [thoughts] be, they will not affect the mind in any way negatively. Just like the multitude of animals in the ocean do not affect the ocean, or just like the clouds do not affect the sky.


And so this not, becoming engaged in the conceptual thinking, is what we call non-conceptuality. When you do grasp at the rising thoughts, when you do become engaged in your thinking, that is called discursive thoughts. These are thoughts.

Nonthought, a non-conceptuality, it is not that no-thought arises but that when thoughts arise, you do not cling to these thoughts, but rather you sustain a state of mindfulness. When you lose your mindfulness then in this moment, you will not be in a non-conceptual state.

It says, “naked and clear”. Where the mind is “awake, naked and clear”, this term also is related to another term, which is the fresh state of the mind. The present moment, where you do not entertain thoughts pertaining to the past, you do not anticipate the future. You are resting in the fresh present moment.

His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche has explained it in this way. He said, “It is very important to rest within this fresh, new moment of awareness. When you rest within that state, you may gain special insights or vipassana into the nature of the mind and see that which you have not seen before. It continues [mind nature]. It is neither to be focused on, nor distracted from. Accustom yourself to this as much as possible”.

When you are mindful, it is something not to be focused on, nor to be distracted from. Mindfulness, or the natural state of the mind goes nowhere. Whether you are mindful of it or not. It is never really lost. But when you are mindful, when the mind is clear, then you see it clearly. But by nature, since it is innate, unborn by nature, it is not something that goes away and then comes back. It is your innate state, that is why we say, “your mind is primordially the Buddha”.

If you are mindful of that, then you will clearly see. Then you will clearly see that all phenomena of samsara and nirvana are included within that. Until that is realised one must make an effort in practicing calm abiding.

Diligent in the practice (stability in calm-abiding)

And so, until stability in calm-abiding is attained, you must be diligent in this practice. Then when stability it attained – when you gain stability – next, the second point is special insight. It says, “Again, maintain the body postures, the physical key points as before, but now focus your gaze straight ahead into space, with your awareness lightly invigorated. Let your mind be relaxed and released in its natural state”.

So before, in the context of samatha practice […] the gazing was slightly different. Now we focus the gaze straight ahead. It is kind of a view that encompasses all that is seen – meaning that you are not – there is no focus on a particular object. Where you think, “Oh there’s this object, there’s that object straight ahead. But it is a gaze that encompasses the entire view, without focusing on anything in particular. Then when your mind abides in pristine clarity, look directly at its nature and discover how its nature is. Mind looking thoroughly at mind itself.

[…] The mind needs to be in a relaxed state. There is no need to tighten up, thinking, “I have to meditate”. But you rest in a relaxed, blissful state. Then it says, “Having gained perfect certainty, by meditating in this way, a clear yet indefinable awareness, which is pristine, vivid and naked will unfold. Until that happens – as you meditate, again and again with supplications to the guru – thoughts [then] subside of their own accord and mind abides one-pointedly, relaxed in its own nature”.

Bliss and emptiness (the natural state of the mind)

Then next we look at the nature of the mind. We need to analyse the mind and realise that actually there is nothing to be analysed. So there, then comes the difference between samatha and vipassana. In the context of vipassana, the special insight, we look into the actual nature of the mind.

First when we practice calm-abiding, […] first, it says, “Here one abides one-pointedly, relaxed in its own nature”. This is calm-abiding. Then in this state the nature of mind is ineffable. It cannot be thought about or described in a certain way, but it appears to be a clear and unceasing mind, pristine, vivid and nakedly clear. It is to be seen by not-seeing, be experienced by not-experiencing. There is nothing you are confident or certain about – nonetheless it is ineffable. This is special insight.

So first you gain a one-pointedness through calm-abiding. Then with clarity you look at this mind and analyse it, and find that there is nothing to be analysed. And that actually is the view of the Madhyamika, the Middle[way] view, according to the scriptures.

And so, whatever arises in the mind, whatever you see – is clearly seen. You see it, like it is illuminated by light. But this seeing, is like a self-illumination. It is illuminated by your own light. And what is illuminated, what you see – is empty of self-nature. The empty aspect here – is that there is no grasping at true existence of what appears, so therefore they are empty.

All appearances then – when there is no grasping, all appearances become empty appearances. And all sounds – when there is not grasping at sounds, become empty sounds. And then when there is no grasping in the mind – awareness naturally will remain empty. And that is the nature of the Buddha Vajradhara – empty clarity.

Or, it is also depicted as the yab yum aspect of Samantabhadra for instance. Where the clarity aspect is the yab, the male, and the emptiness aspect, is the yum, or the female. […] Together the yab and the yum represent this greatly blissful union of bliss and emptiness, which is the natural state of the mind.

The union of clarity and emptiness

[…] So then, if I were to ask you, “What is the kind of view that you have realised?” You could not express that in words. You can’t explain the nature of the mind in words. You can’t say, there is something in terms of its existence. You just can’t express it. But then you also can’t say, that is doesn’t exist, because there still is clarity. So that is the union of clarity and emptiness. It is inexpressible.

The nature of the mind is inexpressible, but it is something you yourself can realise – you can gain certainty in. When you rest within the natural state, within the view – you will come to see the fundamental nature of your mind, that is your buddha nature.

The mind is only temporarily in an ice-like state. The [nature of] mind is something that you have to realise yourself. You have to realise, what is within yourself. It is not something that you can find somewhere else, or something that arises anew. It is something that is already innate to your true nature.

Then it says in the text, “It culminates in the co-emergence”. As it has no colour, attributes, words or analogies. I simply recognise but can not speak of it, like a young girl’s pleasure in her heart – to whom can this sublime lord be told”. So the nature of mind that is like space, is inexpressible, being beyond words and thoughts and yet it is something that can be realised – that can be ascertained.

It is said that, “The view must be understood and then ascertained through the experience of meditation practice.” Through meditation practice you can decide upon your true nature. But you can not decide upon your true nature through a great multitude of words or much hearing.

I have had a few disciples who have really gained the experience through meditation practice. And sometimes it also arises when one develops great devotion to the guru. One then naturally sees the clear and empty nature of the mind that is ungraspable. There are many who have obtained stability in that realisation. But then when you ask them, “So how is it?” Again, they can not explain that. It cannot be expressed in words, but it can be ascertained, free from any doubt – as the Buddha had explained. Buddha nature is inborn to you and when you reach your own Buddha nature you can clearly ascertain your true nature.  

Ascertaining your true nature

And basically, it [your true nature] needs to be ascertained, it needs to be understood through meditation practice. So again, first we need to resolve the view and then we need to gain experience in meditation.

Regarding this line here “Like a young girl’s pleasure in her heart, to whom can this sublime Lord be told”. So that, this pleasure here, it is related to the path of skilful means of the Six Yogas of Naropa, the practices of the channels and winds.

But there are also three occasions when we come to the natural state of the mind, and that is: during death – when the consciousness transfers, during the deep sleep state and during sexual intercourse. And so, this one here, “the girl’s pleasure in her heart”, refers to sexual intercourse, which is also related to the skilful path of the Six Yogas of Naropa, the channels and winds practices.

The transference of the consciousness at death, that is related to the practice of Phowa. Then the third one, the deep sleep state, […] this is for an ability to practice Phowa, and the channels and winds. We begin by recognising mindfulness as we fall asleep – so we recognise luminosity. We recognise luminosity of the deep sleep state. When we fall asleep at any time, when we go into an unconscious state, there is a certain order of dissolution that that we always go through, at any time when we go unconscious. We go through whiteness, redness and blackness. Blackness is the time when the mind falls unconscious.

Sustain mindfulness

So here in a deep sleep context, we can train in – the mind not falling unconscious, but instead we sustain mindfulness. Also beginning with a straight physical posture or lying on the right side and then practicing mindfulness with great diligence.

Eventually one will not really fall asleep. One will sleep, but one will also sustain a state of lucid awareness at the same time. If one practices diligently, it begins with first recognising the dream state and then finally one recognises the luminosity of the deep sleep state.

There are these three times, these three occasions when we come to the natural state of the mind. It is: during sexual intercourse, which is related to the skilful path of the Six Yogas [of Naropa], it is during death, which is related to the Phowa practice, and then during the deep sleep state, which is related to the clear light practice.

The true nature of your mind

Then there is this term here, “to whom can this sublime lord be told”. So this term “sublime lord” is also very meaningful. As the “sublime lord” is the true nature of your mind. It means that all phenomena of samsara and nirvana are the expression of mind itself. When the mind matures, the mind attains enlightenment.

The dharmakaya and the sambhogakaya are that mind by nature. Then, the mind temporarily is in an unripened state. It manifests in the six realms of samsara. The six realms of samsara are also nirmanakayas. It is said that, “All phenomena have the nature of the three kayas. There is nothing that doesn’t have the nature of the three kayas”. So even the impure samsara, is actually nirmanakaya. It all has one mind that is buddha nature. It is said that, “Buddha nature pervades all beings. When one realises it, all enlightened qualities of a buddha arise from that realisation. Also, the happiness of samsara, or the happiness of the higher realms is an expression of this mind”.

The greatest merit is your buddha nature

In […] the Ganges Mahamudra, it begins with “Homage to glorious co-emergence”. So, this term “glorious” here, refers to great merit and that is your own buddha nature. The greatest merit is your buddha nature. It is like a wishfulfilling jewel. So that is the meaning here of “the sublime lord”.

Then it says, “This very nature of mind, that is pristine and vivid, free from the extremes of arising, ceasing and abiding – is called Mahamudra, as well as the truth body or the dharmakaya”. So, we [have] already talked about the nature of mind that is pristine and vivid. This is called Mahamudra. So again, what is Mahamudra? So “chag-gya chen-po”, in Tibetan right [the Tibetan term for Mahamudra]. “Chag -gya”, the “chag” refers to emptiness, and emptiness of what? Emptiness of a self. And there is no self. Then also, there is no other.

When there is no self, the mind abides vast like space, which is the “gya” of “chag-gya”. And Milarepa also said, “When you realise that mind is not different from space, you have actualised the dharmakaya. When you do not realise the nature of the mind, there is a concept of me, an I, and that creates the six realms of samsara”.

Karmic ripening is the natural manifestation of one’s moment to moment thoughts

So, the karmic ripening is the natural manifestation of one’s moment to moment thoughts. And [where] there is a self, one accumulates karma and that leads to the appearance of the six realms of samsara.  

While at the same time the mind never changes in itself. Whenever you realise it, you are a buddha. The mind always abides without arising, without cessation and without abiding. It does not arise from anywhere, it is not ever born and it can never die. The mind transcends birth and death.

However, if you wish to be free from suffering, you need to be careful when it comes to karma, because if you are not, you will experience suffering. Just like a T.V. show, like watching a T.V show. This is what Lord Jigden Sumgon had said.

[…] This is Mahamudra, this natural state – we give it different names. We can call that, Mahamudra. We can call it the Dharmakaya. We can call it Dzogchen. We call it Madhyamika, the Middle Way. We can give it different names, but Jigden Sumgon also said, “You have to remain untouched, by the three great ones”, which is Mahamudra, Dzogchen and Madhyamika. “Remaining untouched by the three great ones is the highest realisation”. He is saying that, you can’t give it a name. Without labelling it, let all labels be and just look at the natural state of the mind – then you can easily understand it.

The qualities of the sublime lord

The following really expresses these qualities of “the sublime lord” that we just mentioned. It says, “The utterly non-abiding tantra of suchnesses, it is Mahamudra. It is free from stains. It has nothing to negate and nothing to establish. It is never found by paths and antidotes. It is the body of all the Buddhas. It is the foundation of all qualities. It is spontaneously present. This very naked nature of mind that is cognisant and empty, is the definitive and absolute triple gem as well as the mantras and mandalas and so on”.

Then […] The Victory of Nonduality says, “The glories possessed by the triple gem are completely present in the primordial self-awareness alone”. This shows the way of awakening that bestows bliss continuously. Hevajra says, “It is mantra recitations, it is austerity and it is burning generosity fire puja. It is the beings in the mandalas and it is the most excellent mandala”. In brief everything is reflection contained within the mind.

Then, The Victory of Nonduality says, “Unborn is the truth body, unceasing is the complete enjoyment body, abiding nowhere is the emanation body. Thus is the mode of indivisibility shown”. Then, “The innate nature of your mind, the primordial co-emergent awareness, which is self-aware, self-luminous – is the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion”. The indivisibility of the two-truths, the indivisibility of skilful means and wisdom. And the indivisibility of the generation and completion stages.

The nature of the mind which exists as nothing, is emptiness – the wisdom. Its unceasing radiance is compassion – the skilful means. Both being not different. It is the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion. The Victory of Nonduality says, “The meaning, as known by all Buddhas, is the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion, which is the singular nature of mind”.

The indivisibility of emptiness and compassion

So, the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion – when one realises emptiness, then the grasping at self and other will diminish. The iceblock is melting. When the iceblock melts, then the water flows all over the place. It becomes all pervasive. When you separate from the self, the mind becomes pure, just like pure water. Then as a result, compassion for sentient beings will arise naturally. Milarepa said that, “When you realise emptiness, compassion arises. When compassion arises, you will accomplish the benefit of others”.

Also in the Dzogchen teachings, Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche has told me that, “A sign of realising emptiness is the arising of compassion”. He said that, “There is no need to speak much about the various qualities that may arise from meditation practice”. He said, “Just look at how much compassion you have. A sign of meditation, of realising emptiness, is compassion present in your mind”. And that is similar to what Milarepa said. So, when we realise emptiness, compassion arises. When compassion arises, you will accomplish the benefit of others.
There is a quote from The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. It says, “When you realise emptiness, compassion arises. When compassion arises – there is no self, and others. When there is no self, and others – you will accomplish the benefit of others. When you accomplish the benefit of others – you will encounter me. Through encountering me – you will attain the state of Buddhahood. Oneself, the Buddha and the disciple are inseparable – so supplicate to merge indivisibly with myself and the Buddha”.

The indivisibility of the two truths

Then it also mentioned the indivisibility of the two truths. So first, it is also said elsewhere that, “A sign of learning or hearing is a peaceful disposition and a sign of meditation is an absence of afflictive emotions”. And so for that one needs to look at one’s own mind, to see one’s own level of afflictive emotion. Then it mentions here, the indivisibility of the two-truths. There’s the relative truth, that is the infallibility of karma cause and effect and then there is the ultimate truth.

And the two truths are not separate. Milarepa said, “When you realise this indivisibility, then the ten virtuous actions will arise on their own accord and the ten non-virtuous actions will become purified. Will purify in their natural state – will dissolve or collapse into themselves”.

Knowing emptiness (- pristine, vivid and nakedly clear)

Then, […] all enlightened qualities arise from this realisation naturally. This state of knowing emptiness must be sustained throughout one’s day to day activities. As Milarepa, also had said, “Meditation must be imbued with an actual experience”. So that’s very important. Milarepa also said that, “Thoughts dissolving into the dharmakaya – isn’t that the actual meditation”. So, we say that, thoughts dissolve into the dharmakaya. So then, we have to look at our own personal experience.

These words of saying, “Thoughts dissolving in dharmakaya”. So is this really happening in my own personal experience? You look at your mind. When an afflictive emotion or a thought arises, then you know – this thought has arisen. You recognise the thought with mindfulness. And then once you have recognised the thought with mindfulness – you let the mind settle in a natural state. Then, that thought will just dissolve – like snowflakes, or like rain falling down. They’ll not leave an imprint in the mind.

When there is no feeling that remains in the mind, then no imprint is placed in the mind. If a feeling does remain in the mind – then there is also an imprint. Then, for example, you think that… (you keeping thinking – so it lingers in the mind). You think “Oh yesterday, you are so bad and today he [she] is still bad. Or yesterday this was my friend and they’re still my friend”. So, there is this imprint that stays within the mind – the feeling that remain within the mind. When a thought dissolves in the dharmakaya – then no such a feeling remains. Then also, no such imprint is placed within the mind. Then you really understand how self and other are nondual. And actually, that is a very profound thing to understand, that self and others are nondual. So now we will continue with the words here in the text.

The indivisibility of emptiness and compassion

So, here in the texts it mentions the indivisibility. So, there’s the indivisibility – of emptiness and compassion, of method and wisdom, of mahamudra, of dzogchen, generation and completion [stages], the two truths. But they all come down to the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion. So, emptiness, is that – all phenomena of samsara lack inherent existence. So, then, also one may wonder, if everything, if all are Buddhas, (if all beings are Buddhas), then whom do I cultivate compassion for?

So, this is not how we should think about the unobjectified compassion. […] A quality of all-pervasive emptiness, is that its nature is compassionate – that is the quality of the all-pervasiveness of emptiness.

And even when all are Enlightened. It is still – (this compassion), still pervades. There is still compassion that is unobjectified in the minds of all Enlightened Buddhas. It is the compassion that has no reference point. It has no object as a reference point. It naturally abides. And that is the union of emptiness and compassion. And that is the mind of all the great multitude of deities.

Emptiness that has compassion as its core

There may be many hundred of thousands of yidam deities, but as it is said for example, in the Chakrasamvara practice, their essence is emptiness that has compassion at its core. So even though, there is a hundred thousand deities – they have a single mind. Their various outer appearances are just like one person wearing different clothing. But their inner mind, is a mind of emptiness and compassion – unobjectified compassion, that has no reference point.

This unobjectified compassion, is a natural quality of all pervasive emptiness. So, that is the nature of emptiness and compassion, (which is also the union of emptiness (or wisdom), and method). Where the wisdom aspect is emptiness, and the method aspect is compassion. On the ultimate level, nothing possesses true, inherent existence, and yet there is a natural radiance of compassion that is all-pervasive.

And that actually also relates to the quote we mentioned yesterday, that “Enlightened activities are accomplished spontaneously, or non-conceptually. The Buddhas don’t have a deliberate intent, a thought, where they think “I need to benefit others”. They benefit others naturally. They pervade sentient beings, samsara and nirvana, naturally. It is this power, (this unobjectified mind), that is the power that pervades all of samsara and nirvana, and that which is then able to bring benefit to all sentient beings.  

The most important practice is to meditate

[…] It was mentioned yesterday, of all practices, the most important practice is to meditate. It was mentioned in a quote yesterday that, “A single session (state) of meditation, brings more benefit than to save the lives of all sentient beings in the three realms of samsara”. And that is because, if you engage in practice, because all of our minds are actually one – if you let go of your own afflictive emotions, you are benefiting all sentient beings in the three realms [desire, form and formless realms], since our minds are one.

For example, it is just like all sentient beings are suppressed underneath a large mountain, and if you eliminate your… one of your own afflictive emotions, it is like you are taking a little bit of weight off that mountain. So, it becomes that much lighter for all sentient beings.

So, you eliminate your afflictive emotion – when the afflictive emotion transforms into primordial wisdom. And so that is the reason why the afflictive emotion, ultimately is not negative. In the sense it doesn’t affect you negatively – because afflictive emotion by nature is primordial wisdom. The afflictive emotion arises from within the mind.

And when you realise the nature of the mind, you realise that there are no self and other. When you realise that, then there is also no place for the afflictive emotions to abide. When the five afflictive emotions mature, they mature into the five wisdoms. Just like when wood matures or ripens, it ripens into fire. But if wood does not encounter fire, if it just remains wood, then you will just keep piling up more logs of wood in an oven, and then of course it is of no benefit. It also must mature by encountering fire.

So, what is really most important, is that you engage in practice (in meditation practice) uninterruptedly. You must train the mind, by training with the afflictive emotions as they arise. In Dzogchen it also says, “We train our awareness, by training with the afflictive emotions”. And so this awareness, (this primordial awareness) is your mindfulness.

Whenever an afflictive emotion, a thought arises – recognise that thought with mindfulness. Then in this way, the thought, the afflictive emotion will mature into mindfulness itself – into primordial awareness. So […] there is no higher learning than recognising the nature of your mind.

The seat of your own awareness

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok had said “Do not lose the seat of your own awareness”. Jigme Lingpa had said, in Dzogchen teachings, “There is nothing higher, […] to be attained or accomplished, than not to lose the seat of one’s own awareness, the stability of one’s own awareness, because nothing else is needed. What that basically means is, to not become controlled by the afflictive emotions. He said that, “There is nothing greater that a hundred scholars, or a thousand masters and a hundred thousand siddhas, and so forth have found”. So that is the union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

Then the tantra of Unimaginable Co-emergence says, “Co-emergence is unelaborated, and therefore it is not something to meditate upon, but the nature is an unbroken stream. The stream is not to be cut. During the four activities, with undistracted, constant mindfulness, as you recognise whatever thoughts arise, they dissipate, like drops of rain and flakes of snow, falling into a sea.

Thus, when mindfulness is maintained for an extended time, the awareness of clarity and emptiness becomes utterly naked – even during the four activities. This is called “The expanse of spontaneous abiding”. It is said, “Undistracted mind looks at itself. If it realises its own suchness, even distracted states of mind, appears as Mahamudra. The mode of great bliss, wherein characteristics are self-liberated.

Pointing out thought as dharmakaya (truth body)

The second, is pointing out thought, as the truth body – the dharmakaya. By maintaining the body postures and gaze as before – as you release and relax your mind in its nature. It abides in pristine clarity and vividness – free from thoughts. Look directly at this nature of mind. Then within that mode, look directly at any thought that flutters and carefully discern, – whether or not there is any difference between the mind abiding, and the mind fluttering.

When you meditate again and again in this way, and attain perfect certainty – the increasing thoughts themselves, manifest nakedly as clear and empty. For example, waves break in water as waves. But the waves themselves are water. Other than water, there are no waves. Other than waves, there is no water. Likewise, though the myriad thoughts arise, from within the innate state of clarity and emptiness – the two of them are indivisible.

Hevajra says, “This itself is samsara. This itself is nirvana. Abandoning samsara – nirvana can not be realised elsewhere. Therefore, look directly at the nature of whatever thought may arise. In doing so, without reifying that thought, when mind abides non-conceptually, wherever it abides – an ecstasy of joy dawns in the heart of your heart”. It is not necessary to abandon a specific bad thought, and it is not necessary to search elsewhere for the ‘antidotal’ primordial awareness.

So here, regarding “the ecstasy of joy dawning in the heart of your heart”. When a thought arises in your mind, and you do not pay attention to the thought. You just keep looking at your mind. You sustain the natural state, as the thought arises – then that thought will diminish. It will just collapse in itself. And as the thought collapses in itself – there arises an experience of great bliss.

Through the power of emptiness and compassion

So the bliss arises, from the cessation of the thought. This is what we call the thought, or the feeling of a thought dissolving into the dharmakaya. It is like an ice block has melted. And it melts through the power of emptiness and compassion. And when it dissolves, what remains is an experience of great bliss.

Then it is said, “Knowing this unravels the bondage, by anything whatsoever. When this extraordinary path is realised, one attains Buddhahood in one life. Thus, if a thought of desire pops up, do not follow it, but look directly at its nature, and never be distracted from it. In doing so, when desire appears to be devoid of any ground or root, desire purifies itself in its own place, without being abandoned”.

This is called liberation in its own place. This permeating wisdom. And also it is called the Budda of Boundless Light. Likewise, when you keep looking directly at the nature of the five afflictive emotions, (instead of following them). And if they thus appear to be self-purifying, self-liberating and devoid of any ground or root – they are called the five wisdoms, as well as the five Buddha families.

The Utterly Non-Abiding Tantra of Mahamudra says,

“The great appearance of every possible form is the fully apparent one Vairocana.

Because it waivers not from the supreme essence, it is also the imperturbable vajra Akshobhya.

As it is rich with excellent wishes and results arise from it, it is the source of jewels Ratnasambhava.

Having boundless light of experience from one meaning, it is boundless light Amitabha.

As all purposes are accomplished with the realisation of the co-emergence, it is the accomplisher of all wishes, Amoghasiddhi. It is the Lord of all.

The King of Yogas

Thus, if you keep looking directly at the nature of whatever thoughts arise, having no nature of their own – they self-liberate”.  The same tantra says, “It is also called the five poisons incorporated in the path. As poison, is permeated with mantras… there are pith instructions that enable the incorporation of the five poisons in the path. Therefore, with undistracted mindfulness, if you look directly at the appearance of the myriad forms of dynamic energies of the innate mind, they collapse, baseless, rootless, with reification”.

Avalokiteshvara said, “Because all that arises are the innate nature itself, if whatever appears is left in its own place with mindfulness, all that appears turns into emptiness – that would undoubtedly be the king of yogas”. Thus, as you keep looking directly at the nature of any afflictive emotion, or thought that arises, that thought manifests nakedly, yet with no actual existence.

One taste (equanimity)

The sutra, Showing Inexhaustible Wisdom says: “It is Enlightenment – as the nature of these afflictions is realised, that which is the nature of afflictions is the nature of Enlightenment. Thus the primordial dynamic energy of the innate nature of mind arises unceasingly, as myriad events, and they are treated as being of one taste, without rejecting or seeking them.

The sutra requested by the Ocean of Wisdom says, “Oh Transcendent Victor, realising all phenomena to be in equanimity, is nirvana. Oh Transcendent Victor, therefore the bodhisattvas do not consider themselves far from nirvana”. Or thus, when you carry out the four activities in the mode of non-distraction, the primordial self-awareness appears spontaneously, and confusion of dualistic grasping simply self-liberates.

The Dakini[…] of Primordial Awareness says. “This Primordial Self-Awareness, like a lamp in the darkness of aeons, eliminates the karmic confusion forever. It is just like a mighty being, thus ascertain and maintain.

So, in this quote it says, ‘It is like a mighty being’. This mighty being, there’s a story, a kind of quote that goes along with that, but unfortunately, I forgot that quote, so I’m sorry. But it refers […to], what it refers to is, having recognised that one’s own mind is the Buddha.

Pointing Out Appearances As The Truth Body

Then second, Pointing Out Appearances As The Truth Body. Maintain the body posture, the physical key points and the gaze as before. Look directly at any appearing object in front of you and keep your mind relaxed and released – free from grasping.

Then, as you generate heartfelt devotion to the guru, and non-conceptually focus, on the apparent object and thus meditate without distraction, for a long time, your mind will abide in its innate nature – the primordial mode. At this point, appearances and mind manifest vividly to be indivisible, as neither do the appearances as objects remain outside, nor does the mind remain inside due to any other appearance.

The Incomprehensible Co-emergent Tantra says, “The co-emergent nature of mind, is the truth body. The co-emergent appearances, are the radiance of the truth body. This is the co-emergent indivisibility of mind and appearances”.

The mind is all pervasive

Rinpoche said, regarding this indivisibility of mind and appearances – when you do not grasp at appearances, you recognise that the mind is all pervasive, so mind also pervades all appearances. Therefore, the indivisibility of mind and appearances. The mind encompasses all appearances. It is just like a crystal ball, the mind doesn’t go to the appearances, but the various appearances of the six realms are reflected within that crystal. The various appearances of self and other, good and bad, and so forth. This is also mentioned in the Serkhangma. And so then, when all dualistic grasping at self and other completely dissolves, then you have realised the indivisibility of samsara and nirvana.

In other words, now all you need to do is to look at the nature of the mind – to realise the nature of the mind. Nothing else needs to be accomplished. There is no need to think about accomplishing this or accomplishing that. You just should rest within the natural state of the mind, and then the ice block will naturally melt, that is very important.

Indivisibility of appearances and mind

Thus appearances are just the unceasing self-radiance of the nature of mind. Not recognising itself, but grasping at appearances as real – mind displays as erroneous appearances. Thus in the state where appearances and mind are indivisible, there is a sense of being released. It is not that previously, discreet things are now merged and have become one. They have existed primordially in this mode.

Hevajra says, “From me, arise all migratory beings. From me also arise the three abodes [desire, form and formless realms], everything is pervaded by me. Other than that, no nature of migratory beings can be seen. Thus, apart from the self-appearances of the co-emergence, there is not true existence, even as tiny as an atom.

Self-appearances of the innate nature

Guhyasamaja says, “As these are unborn in the first place, suchness is primordially void”. This is the way of enlightenment shown”. According to the sutras – forms come from nowhere, go nowhere and abide nowhere. Therefore, when myriad forms of appearances manifest, they are the self-appearances of the innate nature. The primordial indivisibility of appearance and emptiness, which is free from the extremes of arising, ceasing and abiding.

The Extremely Non-Abiding tantra says, “Appearances and possibilities are Mahamudra, the great bliss and the wholly perfect. This is the leisure of mind, which the Lord of yogis beholds. Thus, all visible and audible phenomena denote the indivisibility of appearance and emptiness – like dreams and illusions. […?] said, “Like illusions, mirages and reflections – all visible and audible phenomena lack true existence and characteristics”.

Illusory appearances are mind alone

“Illusory appearances are mind alone, which like the sky without centre or boundary is cognizable by no-one. The various rivers such as Ganga, and so forth have the same taste upon merging with the salty ocean”. Likewise, it must be realised, that the various imputations, such as minds and secondary minds, have the same taste in the expanse of phenomena. Thus, all visible and audible phenomena, appear apparent yet empty, audible yet empty. Aware yet empty. They are the indivisibility of awareness and emptiness – just like space.

It is said, “There is neither form, nor someone who sees. There is neither sound – nor someone who hears. There is neither smell – nor someone who smells. There is neither taste – nor someone who tastes. There is neither touch, nor someone who touches. There is neither mind, nor secondary minds”. Maitripa said, “All phenomena are empty by their own nature. The concept of grasping at emptiness, is purified in its own place. Beyond thought, and nothing to think about – this is the path of all Buddhas”.

And so, regarding this last quote, “All phenomena are empty by their own nature – the concept of grasping at emptiness, is purified in its own place”. It is said that, “Even when you grasp at Mahamudra, you are not actually holding the true ultimate view”. So remain within a state that does not even grasp at emptiness. A state that grasps at nothing.

The Heart Sutra

This is also why we are continuously reading the Heart Sutra. When we read the Heart Sutra, we remind ourselves of the empty nature of our body. And that is the six sense sensations, the sense perceptions – are also in essence empty. And so, then when you recite the Heart Sutra with this understanding, this feeling of the body just being a heap of dust arises within you.

So that is why it is so significant to read the Heart Sutra, after we have eaten a meal – because when you read this, (the Heart Sutra), then the grasping of this me, the solid me, dissolves and a feeling of the body, just being a heap of dust arises.

Part Three

Then part three, is the way to maintain the experience at the end. With your mind undisturbed by thoughts and tamed by reflection on death and impermanence, generate recognition of your guru as the real Buddha, and supplicate with heartfelt devotion. Then, let your awareness relax spontaneously, without distraction. This will bring clarity without concepts, – which is pristine, vivid and nakedly clear.

Such clarity must appear perfectly throughout the four activities. This is called, ‘nailing stability with practice,’ – which means that it is necessary to sustain non-distraction for long periods. It is said, “Not caring for the meditation that has been developed, is like losing a precious jewel in mud. Like a king descending to the position of his subject, and like the lion following a dog. Therefore, care, with detachment is needed”.

Unborn and unelaborated

“Thus, make detachment, the feet of meditation. Keep death close at heart, cast away concern for this life. Make devotion the head of meditation”. When you meditate with heartfelt devotion to the guru, the subtle and coarse thoughts, spontaneously disappear upon recognition in the pristine and vivid mode of clarity and emptiness. Mahasiddha […] has said, “As the king of yeast, transmutes grains into their essence. So, with the yeast of experience, appearances and possibilities are transmuted into great bliss”.

“All that arises, and all that is seen, is unborn and unelaborated. As this is not reified, mere emptiness is unnecessary”. So regarding this last line here, “Mere emptiness is unnecessary”. There is no need to conceptually think, everything is empty. For example, when a feeling arises in your mind, a certain emotion arises. There is no need for you to think, it is empty. You just rest the mind in its natural state, and then the grasping at this thought, will naturally diminish, and will naturally become empty.

Meditation practice

Experiences can occur in myriad forms, high and low. At times, clarity and emptiness become nakedly vivid, and there is also certainty in this state. At times, it seems dark, foggy and dull, and you may even wonder what has happened to my meditation. At times, there is distraction by various unidentified things, causing irritability. As all these, are the ups and downs of experiences, maintain them indiscriminately, with neither acceptance nor rejection.

Santipa [Mahasiddha] said, “Attach not, if abiding. Let go, if sad. Do not hold on, but allow it to disperse. Anything deliberately grasped is confusion. Look at the birds flying from a boat”. So various experiences may arise in our meditation, and sometimes our experience is positive, and sometimes it is negative. Whatever it is, let it be equal.

Experiences in meditation

So, when you gain a positive experience in meditation, do not be overjoyed by that. And do not become disheartened, when you experience a negative experience. But whatever experience, let it be the cause for making an even greater effort in meditation practice, and sustaining clear awareness. And then all experiences will naturally dissolve on their own. On the other hand, if you are happy about good experiences, and upset about negative experiences, then, you will just entertain more thoughts of attachment and aversion.

So, there is this example of, “Look at the birds flying from a boat”. So, if a boat is out on the ocean. There is a bird on the boat. Then, if the bird flies away from the boat, since it is out on the ocean, there is nowhere to come back to, but the boat. So even it is flies away, it will come back to the boat. And so similarly, whatever thought arises, will just dissolve back into the mind itself. There is no need to try to gather it back. You just let be the thought, without entertaining the thought, and then the thought will just naturally dissolve into its natural state.

Purified in its own place

Thus, if the mind abides, leave it in the state of abiding. There is no need for deliberate elaboration. If it flutters, acknowledge each flutter. No deliberate effort is needed to let them abide. If the mind sinks into lethargy, meditate by supplicating the guru and invigorating awareness. In doing so, lethargy will be purified in its own place. If mind scatters in excitation, meditate by focusing specifically on the excitation. In doing so the scattering of mind will be freed in its own place, and the clarity and emptiness will dawn vividly.

Thus, as the myriad of occurrences of joy and sorrow are held with mindfulness, they become self-purified and self-liberated. The important point here, is that there is nothing else to be done, aside from resting in the natural state of the mind, no matter what arises. Not matter what arises, you hold the seat of your own awareness – like the royal seat, like a king. We speak about the King of Intrinsic Awareness. So, this king needs to hold his seat. It is a seat of mindfulness, meaning that, you should not engage in attachment to positive experience, or aversion toward negative experiences, so that is important.

Supplicate the Guru

So here it is also said, […] supplicate when the mind sinks in lethargy. Meditate by supplicating the guru and invigorating awareness. So, supplication of the guru here, […] that is a very important point. […] it was mentioned the other day, a quote by Tilopa, who said that, “Supplicate the guru, in order to clear away all hindrances. Supplicate the guru in order to enhance your meditation. In any circumstance, supplicate to the guru, and understand the guru to be the Buddha. The guru’s form is the sangha. The speech is the holy dharma. With the speech, the guru teaches the two-fold truth. And the guru’s mind is the Buddha”.

The guru’s mind is essentially the Four Immeasurables. There is really no guru who doesn’t possess the Four Immeasurables. If one wouldn’t possess the *Four Immeasurables, one would just be in samsara. [*Loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity]. And so therefore, when you recognise that. You supplicate to the guru, because the basis of your mind is the guru. [It is…] like, half your mind already, has become the guru. So that is why we supplicate the guru. “May I realise my mind to be indivisible from the mind of the guru”. So of course, we need to recognise the actual gurus, from whom we are learning, as the Buddha. But also, we need to recognise the mind, to be the Buddha. So, even if we can’t see a physical form to be the Buddha, we should recognise the mind to be the Buddha.

Self-arising and self-dissolving

It is said, “Whatever sign occurs from the six doors, let it be as it is. Self-arising and self-dissolving. When held with suchness, the three or five poisons have no power to harm. If not held with suchness, even by practicing all the path, the temporary joy of a happy migration may occur, but not the sublime state. One who knows this, utterly unravels afflictive emotions.

Thus, it is necessary to keep constant mindfulness, throughout the four activities. The great brahmin said, “Look at your suchness, represented by yourself. If the gaze of undistracted mind is lost, mind with distractions, can not realise suchness. The gem of suchness is then lost, amidst a jumble of objects. Thus, as you persist without distraction, the effect manifests in the four activities.

Even without being in mindfulness, you sometimes find yourself in the state of clarity and emptiness, without grasping. So, what this means, is that the state that you ultimately reach, is where you do not have to practice deliberate mindfulness. But it just arises naturally on its own. And until that is achieved, you need to practice meditation.

Nothing is established

Maitripa said, “Nothing is established in this – either meditation or non-meditation. Self-liberation of appearances, is the expanse of phenomena. Self-liberation of thoughts, is Mahamudra. Non-dual equanimity is the truth body, flowing like the current of a great river. When maintained thus for a long time, a decisive confidence will arise from within.

The great brahmin said, “Before, behind and in the ten directions, whatever I see is suchness. O Lord, all confusion has ceased in me today. I will ask no question of anyone now”. So, he said, “Before, behind and in the ten directions”. In the nature of the mind, there is no direction. There is no front. There is no back. The nature of the mind when realised, is realised as being all pervasive like space.

True realisation

When meditation reaches perfection, one attains Buddhahood. Je Mila [Jetsun Milarepa] said, “Sang” because awakened from the two obscurations and the two selves. “Gyay” because effulgent with the self-aware and self-luminous primordial awareness. “I Mila called this a sang gyay, a Buddha”. Shavaripa [Mahasiddha] said, “Imputed mind is purified in the basic expanse. The imputed mind being purified in the basic expanse, is merely labelled as Vajradhara”.

The Great Bliss

So, this term here is also important. “The mind being purified in the basic expanse”. So, when there is no grasping in the mind, various things may appear, but there is no grasping at those appearances. So, they are empty. And one sees the nature of the mind. “The mind is purified in the basic expanse” meaning, that the mind becomes all pervasive. There is no more inner and no more outer. No more delineation between oneself and the other [outer]. When you see the nature of the mind, – mind becomes just like space, all pervasive. And that itself is the buddha.

The great bliss, devoid of meeting and parting, truth body – is the nondual, unified Mahamudra. By the merit of writing this brief introduction, may all sentient beings attain the four pure bodies. Here ends the “Ornament”, which is the luminosity of the primordial awareness, that dispels the darkness of ignorance. An Introduction to Mahamudra, the Co-emergent Unification by Kyopa Jikten Gonpo [Jikten Gonpo Rinchen Pel – Kyopa Jigden Sumgon].

So, to all my friends, following us on the livestream, this teaching was like a mandala offering for you. There were many things that I didn’t know. I openly confess these, and I ask for your forgiveness.

(This is the end of this teaching).

Immeasurable thanks to the most precious H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, for giving these most precious teachings, for the benefit of all sentient beings.