Stages of Mahamudra 
A Progressive Path of Meditation Instructions
Leading to Mahamudra

from the Enlightenment Stupa in Loma Bonita Oaxaca, Mexico
with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche

‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌S‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌un‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌d‌a‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌y‌ De‌cem‌‌ber 3‌rd ‌‌‌‌‌‌


Transcript of teachings given from the beautiful Enlightenment Stupa in Loma Bonita. At this auspicious location, Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche taught from the sublime text, Stages of Mahāmudrā: A Message for Gompa Drakpa Dorje. 

Khenpo led us through the stages of meditation so that we may gain insight into the state of Mahamudra, resting in the union of emptiness and awareness. 

This teaching is called, the Stages of Mahamudra: A Message for Gompa Drakpa Dorje. Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon gave these instructions, after this disciple, (another of his students), made request for them.

[Transcript: All rights reserved (copyright) to Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche]

Good morning everyone, good afternoon, good evening. Everyone ready? I think we need to sit closer together here, (too far away). If we sit closer together, it is better for the translators.

So the teaching I am sharing over these two days, (what I was sharing yesterday, and I am sharing today), are from Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon’s text: the Stages of Mahamudra: A Message for Gompa Drakpa Dorje. So Jigten Sumgon is sharing these instructions for his disciple. His student is meditating, somewhere in the caves, and he made a request to Jigen Sumgon for some instructions. So then Jigten Sumgon sent this message to his disciple. This teaching is that guide, step by step to Enlightenment [Realisation], in one life-time. Jigten Sumgon is sharing here, what we really need. Our goal is Enlightenment, (liberation), it is not achieving something within worldly concerns, (worldly affairs), there is no end to that. [All of samsara has one taste. In the same way Realisation of the dharmakaya nature, (nondual reality) has one taste. We practice from non-dual awareness, to Awakening, (omniscience), not of following the deluded, dualistic mind in samsara. It is only the practice of the dharma, that is of any real long-lasting benefit]. So then, what do we really need? What is important? What are the essential keys, to go to Enlightenment? [Realisation of the nondual nature of dharmakaya]. So that, is what Jigten Sumgon is sharing, to his disciple in these instructions. Then, these instructions that he sent to his student, are not like writing, (where he is thinking). Like, when we send a letter to someone, we write really nicely, check again that everything is correct, right? Or not, then make amendments etc. So, that is just ordinary people sending a letter to someone. This is, not that way, (worldly thinking way), organising, and sending letter to his student. But through meditation [practice], Jigten Sumgon arises this song, (Realisation), then, that is what he sent to his student.

So, this year, [in India, just prior to coming here], I received, one of the group of the Collections of Jigten Sumgon’s Songs of Realisation. I received that transmission from His Holiness [Kyabgon] Chetsang. Some organisers collected many of the important songs, (the parts together), which are easy to share with others. Not too long, very short, profound [in meaning, Realisation]. They have these collections, and this is one from that. So today, here our program is Stages of Meditation. With regard to Stages of Meditation, there are many different kinds. [As I am sharing here], if I say, Stages of Meditation, maybe most people here, think, [I am referring] to the book I created, that is called Stages of Meditation. (So that, for example, is another way, a guide). It contains much information, (much more information than here). I saw this Song of Realisation, [Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon’s, Stages of Mahamudra: A Message for Gompa Drakpa Dorje], is very beautiful, very essential, for someone who wants to achieve Enlightenment, [Realisation]. So then, it is very suitable for our program, and that is why I am sharing this one. So, I think those who have come to the Enlightenment Stupa, are wanting Enlightenment, [Realisation]. The goal is Enlightenment, and that is the reason we have to share this here. Then, yesterday we shared already, what we call the preliminary practices. So what are the preliminary practices, that I shared yesterday? Do you remember, or have you forgotten already? So… remember… yes?… good… (So here, I think everyone remembers). I hope you [also], in the Zoom Sangha, all remember, what I shared with you yesterday.


And when you receive the teaching there are three big mistakes, (of not listening correctly). [Firstly, we mustn’t be like an upside down cup, because then nothing will go in; we need to have an open mind. We shouldn’t be like a cup with a crack, where everything goes in and then leaks straight out. Finally, we shouldn’t be like a dirty cup, where we have so many preconceptions beforehand that the teachings get completely muddled]. 1. If you are not listening to teachings correctly, it is the same as the cup is overturned, (facing down), then the teaching (food), can not be put inside there. If you don’t pay attention when you are listening, then you can’t hear anything. When we receive the teaching, it is not that, the body is there, the mind must be there. If your mind is going somewhere else, someone could be yelling at you, and maybe you don’t hear. So, that is why, firstly it is important to focus, when listening to teachings. 2. Then, if you are not cultivating the teaching [in your mind], it is the same as your cup has a hole in the bottom, whatever you put inside, it does not stay there, it is gone. So that is why, when we receive the teaching, we have to reflect, [meditate], on it, again and again, and bring the teachings to our mind. 3. Then, when you are listening to teaching, if you don’t pay attention, sometimes you are cultivating emotions, thoughts, and then go back to listening to the teaching. So that is the same as the food already has poison (defilement). So that food, if you eat, you get sick. In the same way, when you are listening to teaching, [antidote to our mistaken view, duality], you can not be listening with afflictive emotions. So when you listen to teaching, you have to be happy, have joy, and enthusiasm, recognize that they are important. There is nothing more important, [than listening to the Dharma, reflecting and meditating on liberation of mind teachings]. So that is what we need to cultivate. Listen and think about the teachings, then they really bring benefit to us.

In the history of Buddha, and the histories of the Bodhisattvas, those who are Enlightened, they sacrificed their lives for the teachings and the Dharma. This teaching, comes from Jigten Sumgon, think about all his gurus, they sacrificed their whole life for the teachings, and the Dharma. Marpa Lotsawa went three times to India to receive teachings, and then translate them to the Tibetan language. So his whole life was sacrificed on the journeys to India, and back to Tibet, and that journey is beyond our thinking. Tibet is very high altitude, he travels to India, it is very low altitude, (extremely hot), and then there is no transportation. No road to go there, no bridges. So he changed his life for the Dharma, and he went three times to India. Each time it took, seven years, three years, like that, to go to India, receive teachings, and return to Tibet. So at that time he needed offerings of gold, to give to his teachers, to receive teachings. Without gold, they don’t give you the teaching, because the teaching is precious, [in worldly thinking], gold is also precious, (so exchange). And, another reason is, the teachers are testing the students, whether they really care about the Dharma, or not, that is the reason they let them offer gold. Marpa Lotsawa, travels to India, receives the teachings, he translates these teachings to the Tibetan language, and he shares those in Tibet. He is collecting gold for offerings, and then he takes all this gold back to India. Receives teachings again, then when the gold offering is finished, he has to go back again, [and collect some more gold].


(samsara, dualistic delusion, self-grasping attachment to mere concept. It is because of the practice of the pure lineage upholders, of the precious Dharma teachings)

For example, Marpa Lotsawa did go back many times, his whole life was sacrificed for that, (three main times, he makes the journey from Tibet to India, and back again), due to his compassion, love, [bodhicitta]. Outer level, it says in his history, that he was not a loving person, he was very wrathful. But inner level, he has compassion, (it is immeasurable compassion for everyone). So that is why he did that hardship for other beings, that is why he had students the same as Milarepa. He gave hardship to Milarepa, that is not easy, giving training like that to someone. But due to Marpa Lotsawa’s compassion, he never gave up, he gave hardship for Milarepa, because he knows Milarepa can benefit others. So Milarepa also did so much hardship, and then he can hold all these teachings. So the teachings, benefit, or not benefit, is dependent actually, it is really up to us. If you really care, you put effort. Even if you only have impermanent meditation, still we can liberate the mind from suffering. If we don’t care about anything, always just wanting teachings, but then we don’t cultivate, meditate on them, then whatever we are taught, (we might have eight-four thousand different Dharma teachings), but still we are suffering. Okay, so that is the reason. Whatever teaching we receive, it doesn’t matter, whether it is the preliminaries, or main practice, (very deep, high level practice), all these practices are the same as our medicine. Each teaching is liberating us, so we have to recognise that. It is important to take care of the teachings, because these teachings come from teachers, who really sacrificed their lives to receive the teachings, practiced, and then shared with us, due to their compassion.

And then also, another example we have spoken of, Marpa Lotsawa goes back and forth, [from Tibet to India, returning to Tibet], because he has to make offerings of gold in India, to receive the teachings. And so the point is, the gold is testing the students. Can that person really practice or not? Do they really care about the teachings? Some people think Garchen Rinpoche only has one guru, that is also misunderstanding, (he has many gurus actually). One of his guru’s, his name is Khenpo Munsel. [*Garchen Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet in 1936 and recognized at a very young age as the 8th incarnation of Garchen Rinpoche. From that time, he entered into monastic life and studied and practiced the dharma under many of the highest lamas of the Drikung lineage until the age of 19. Garchen Rinpoche then entered into a traditional three year retreat, which was interrupted after two and a half years due to the Cultural Revolution in China. At that time, after fighting in war to defend Tibet and preserve the Buddha Dharma, Garchen Rinpoche was captured and imprisoned. Garchen Rinpoche spent the next 20 years in prison and labor camps in Communist China. While in prison, Garchen Rinpoche met his root Guru, the great Nyingma master Khenpo Munsel]. Khenpo Munsel gave teachings to Garchen Rinpoche, and the monks who wanted to receive Dzogchen teachings, he told them, if you have gold I can share with you Dzogchen teachings, without that, please go away. So no-one thinks that anyone has gold in the prison. Garchen Rinpoche has gold, Khenpo Munsel was very surprised when he put the gold on the table.


[Enduring unfathomable hardships, Rinpoche practiced secretly in prison until he attained great profound realization and merged his mind with his Guru]. So Garchen Rinpoche has these instructions, he holds lineages in Dzogchen, and Mahamudra, due to his efforts and these connections. So we are also very lucky, (most fortunate), to receive the blessing lineage from Garchen Rinpoche, and we can discuss these teachings. Then Jigten Sumgon […] is Drikung Kagyu’s first lineage holder, (he started the Drikung Kagyu lineage). And Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon has so many students, (he had the most monastic followers in the history of Tibet). So at this time, he sent 5500 student monks to Mount Kailash to meditate. (Mount Kailash is a holy mountain, and many meditator practitioners go there). Then he sent another 5500 to another region called Tsari. It is another of Vajrayogini’s holy mountains in Tibet, it is close to Arunachal, (so now it is called Arunachal and part of India), but that area, the region it is still in part of Tibet. He sent another group there. And 5500 he sent to Lapchi, where Milarepa achieved tummo meditation and Enlightenment. And still he had so many students in his monastery. All the students are meditator practitioners. So Jigten Sumgon is sharing these instructions, sending, to those who meditate and practice. So yesterday, [what we covered], Jigten Sumgon is sharing the most important, key essential, first step, impermanence meditation. So we have to cultivate that often and often, again and again.

Impermanence meditation, really truly helps release suffering, because suffering, all is our fixation, (strong fixation, grasping). When you have suffering, think that suffering is actually due to fixation, grasping, and then at that time, cultivate impermanence meditation, the fixation is naturally released, (the grasping is gone). So then the problem, the suffering, is naturally released, our suffering is liberated. So right now, most important is impermanence meditation, more important than Mahamudra, (impermanence meditation is very important). So that is why Jigten Sumgon says in his teaching, other teachers speak of Mahamudra as the profound teaching, my profound teaching, first step, is the preliminaries. If you can go into the first step, then you can easily go up. The first step is the hardest. It is very hard to get into the first step. This is why Buddha Shakyamuni said, there are two things that are big obstacles. 1. Firstly is not an open mind to want to go the path. (So that is the first obstacle). 2. Then second, is losing patience on the way, (on the path), and so no accomplishment. So those two, are the main obstacles.


So impermanence meditation, is a very powerful way to release the first obstacle. When you have sadness, suffering in your mind, you think, for example, due to our family situation, due to our job situation, due to our friends, enemies, whatever is going on, something within our mind, (our mind is suffering). But if you cultivate impermanence for thirty minutes, it is very powerful. If you cultivate impermanence for thirty minutes, you can feel that suffering becomes very light, and not that heavy. Right now in Loma Bonita, this wind is not too cold. This wind is very soft. We need to become the same, like that. If we don’t cultivate impermanence, our suffering is the same as, like frozen air (wind), very cold. Suffering is very strong. If you cultivate impermanence meditation, and then afterwards you look to your suffering, it is like, very soft. Same as this wind on your body, we don’t get hurt. Sometimes, maybe its not really pleasant, but not that strong hurt. So we can diminish our suffering by using this impermanence meditation. We have to cultivate impermanence. So like what I have shared, for example Jigten Sumgon, think about it, so many monks, monastics, at that time, and now it is all gone. Many of those kinds of examples, many histories. In Mexico, many kings, so many pyramids everywhere. So think about these pyramids who built these? Very powerful people, kings, but now what is left? Nothing. We don’t even know who constructed many of these. So this is impermanence. And then think about countries, how many times they change. All the time. So, think about all the history of countries, and think about all the powerful people of the past, they are all gone, right now, none remaining. Many, we don’t even know their names. So think about that, cultivate that, meditate upon that. Right now, all the situations, are also like that, in a 100 years, 200 years time the same, (none remaining), everything is impermanent.

Then look at business people, rich people, presidents, family, neighbours, everything is changing. So we think on that, cultivate that, and we recognise impermanence, and then, we look to ourself. When we were young kids, and we bring to our mind when we were with our parents, and siblings together. Kids together, think about that. Right now that is the same as dreaming, (delusion). And then, when we went to school, high school, university, or whatever. Starting jobs, starting a family, think about this, all of this, right now, it is only memories. Everything is impermanent, it changes. So we feel this impermanence, recognise it, and then, also looking to oneself, how many days have gone already? We don’t know how long we are going to stay, (how long we have left). Because as long as we have birth, we are going to die. No-one is free from death. And, even though Buddha Shakyamuni was Enlightened, he left his body and went into paranirvana. Why did he do that? Because he is showing for us, impermanence meditation. So long as we have this body, we have to leave it. Enlightenment is in the mind, (mind is Enlightened). Body, can not be Enlightened. This body is compounded phenomena, (of the five elements). We dissolve back to the five elements. All compounded phenomena comes together, and then it separates again.


So think on that, [again and again], cultivate that thinking on impermanence. And in this way, mind has less fixation, grasping. It naturally opens the inner channels. When we open the inner channels, we also arise love for ourselves, and love for others. (So we recognize impermanence, and meditate on that, and some channels naturally open due to that). And then also devotion is arising too. Devotion arises to the Enlightened beings, and those who have spiritual qualities. And compassion arises for other beings, who are suffering. So another reason impermanent meditation is important, is, it is why the first door [of practice] opens. So, we cultivate impermanence every morning and/ or, every evening when we go to sleep, [as much as we can], it is really helpful. So we cultivate that again and again, then one day we have our own experience of that, impermanence practice. Losing loved ones, something going on, (miserable things happening in samsara), but then, at the time of that, it is not affecting our mind that much. So we can transform suffering. This means we use this teaching practice, and the suffering, and we can transform, (change) that. So it is not possible to remove all the problem [situations]. You can never say, that is never going to happen. Things are going to happen as long as we have life, because everything is impermanent. But when we have cultivated impermanence meditation, [deeply within ourselves], whatever happens, we are not sad, not suffering. We have love in our hearts, we become our own protection. Then, we really recognise that suffering is our own teacher, so that we have to meditate on, it is the first step, in impermanence meditation.

Then, also at the same time, we have to think about the precious human body. So, from one angle we cultivate impermanence, and from another, we cultivate the meditation on the precious human body. Precious human body meditation is, we have to appreciate many things. So, for example, today we have the opportunity of gathering here. In the Zoom Sangha, we have to appreciate the organizers, translators. And we appreciate here, [this place], that we have this space in front of a stupa, in this beautiful natural setting. We have to appreciate that. And, as long as we live in appreciation, of all these things, [in our life], then, negative feeling is not, in our mind. When negativity is not in our mind, then naturally we are happy and joyful. Every single day we can appreciate many things. When we have a place to go to sleep, and food, for the people who provide the food. Many people are helping us all the time. We rely on so many other people. We think about them, and appreciate them, again and again. When we always cultivate the positive, then our mind is always happy. If we are thinking negatively all the time, then that [adversely] affects our happiness. So then it becomes, that whatever we have in this world, nothing is great. Then everything is a problem, and we get depressed and sad. If it becomes very strong, it can lead people to committing suicide. If we always cultivate appreciation, and have gratitude, happy for others, and we do that again and again, then our life becomes very beautiful, and joyful.


So especially, we have these Dharma teachings, connections, we have to appreciate that all the time, again and again, and that really helps us to connect to the Dharma, (the spiritual). And then, what is important here, what Jigten Sumgon says, we have to know that samsara is suffering. If we don’t know that samsara is suffering, we are not going to be seeking for liberation, [liberating our mind from samsara]. Everyone wants happiness, but due to ignorance, they don’t see that samsara is suffering. [Until we awaken, we are trapped in the dualistic self-grasping of conceptual delusion]. Some people really enjoy in samsara. Why it is, they enjoy being in samsara, is due to ignorance. Pigs really enjoy being in the garbage, (a really dirty place), really enjoying themselves. We can watch this, and see that, they are really enjoying that. But it is not a great place, that they are enjoying. In the same way, those who know nirvana, [and liberation of mind], they are seeing us, in the same way, as we are, the pigs. We are enjoying samsara, the same as the pigs are enjoying being in the dirty place, with the garbage. Bugs really enjoy being in the restroom, or feces. So same, our enjoyment in samsara is like that. The Realisers, and those who know nirvana, (who have that experience), are seeing us, as the same, as like bugs and pigs, attached to the impure place. Same as that.

So that is why, we have to know samsara is suffering. No-one in samsara, is free from suffering. Even if we have some short happiness, it is all temporary happiness. It just arises briefly and then is gone again. […] Within samsara, all the happiness that we have, becomes causes of suffering, because of attachment, [self-grasping to dualistic concepts]. The Realisers who have the ability to see into future lives, [and those who know], are not seeking temporary happiness. The happiness, [in samsara], they know, creates the suffering. They do not turn away from suffering. They realise that the suffering is purifying karma and negativity. So for example, we [continually] eat sweet, sugary things, then one day we get diabetes. Someone eats the sour, they remove the diabetes. [Sour is the antidote to sweet, right?]. Sour is not a pleasant taste. (Kids don’t like the sour, because it is not a good taste). But sour, in some ways, is really helpful for the body. [But, the sweet, it creates diabetes]. So which one is better? In the same way, suffering is not pleasant, or a happy experience, but it actually removes our causes of suffering. [Or cures the suffering, and future sufferings, burning the negative karma]. Happiness, [on the other hand], is exhausting positive karma, [further unaware attachment to delusion in samsara, and is at the cost of us not realising, the true, nondual nature of reality]. So that is why, we cannot attach to happiness, and we cannot have hatred for suffering.


(the dualistic mind, caught up in self-grasping to mere concept, as real)

Patrul Rinpoche, […] shared the teaching, ‘I am very happy to be sick, I am very happy to get suffering, because my sickness is purifying my negative karma. I bring all the sentient beings sickness, [upon myself], I can help release other beings suffering’. [This is a form of Tonglen practice, whereby the practitioner takes on the sufferings of other sentient beings, (on the in breath), and then, on the out breath, generates the bodhicitta mind, (the aspiring and engaging bodhicitta), may all sentient beings be free from suffering]. Patrul Rinpoche, also says, ‘and if I am well, I am happy, and joyful, because I want to practice more Dharma’. So any way, the practitioner is happy, suffering arises they are happy, happiness arises, they are happy, they use that [as their Dharma practice], to practice the Dharma. So the point that we are sharing here is, it is important to recognise, samsara is suffering, because no-one has true happiness within samsara. So we cannot find anyone who has true, permanent happiness within samsara. Who gets true happiness within samsara? No-one gets that. So, then we have to use this samsara, and we have to liberate our mind, [purify it of the afflictions, and the mental obscurations caused by these], and achieve Enlightenment. So that is why, Jigten Sumgon always mentioned that, this part is very important, this preliminary practice is very important. So long as you have very strong enthusiasm to want to liberate your mind, [from samsara], cultivate love and compassion for others, generate bodhicitta. [Recognising the plight of all sentient beings trapped in samsara’s sufferings, without recourse, until they come to, and practice the Dharma teachings]. So yesterday we shared that section of the teachings by Jigten Sumgon.

So, first step cultivate impermanence, think about the *defects of samsara. [Another way of describing the defects of saṁsāra is that it is characterised by the three marks of conditioned existence: the unsatisfactory or painful (duḥkha), (see Four Noble Truths), the impermanent (anitya) and the emptiness of self or essential being (anatta, or anatman)]. Whilst Jigten Sumgon, up to this point in this text, does not make explicit, the preciousness of the human body, it is very important. Especially in these times, many people are always sad. So we cultivate the preciousness of a human life, appreciate the opportunity, we can generate within ourselves gratitude and joy. And with this practice, given here, we can arise love and compassion for others, because we really see samsara is suffering. So, we really recognise, that we ourselves are also really suffering, [when we go beyond, chasing the surface facade, the mere concepts of things, which we continue to create, and follow in our minds]. Then, love and compassion arises from within, and we cultivate that, and generate love, compassion, bodhicitta for ourselves and for others. And then bodhicitta, (this awakening mind), because we recognise the suffering of samsara, we want to liberate our mind from that, and help others to liberate their minds from that. So, we generate this love, compassion, bodhicitta for ourselves, and others in our minds. This generation in the mind, to want to free ourselves and others from suffering is called bodhicitta. Then, liberation, what is true liberation? True liberation is we have to realise Mahamudra. [The selflessness, (or empty nature) of all phenomena, (emptiness of self and other phenomena). Appearances are the mere coming together of various causes and conditions, they have no inherent nature of their own. The Buddha realised the truth of dependent origination].


So, yesterday we shared, liberation has different steps. We generate love, compassion, bodhicitta. Then, if we don’t cultivate and practice the Yidam Deity, Jigten Sumgon says, [liberating the mind], takes a really long time, (aeons on the path). So, I don’t think anyone wants to continue, aeons in the sufferings of samsara. Do you? No, right? So that is the reason we need Yidam Deity practice. [Through generating the Yidam Deity, we’re arising from within the mind, the pure vehicle, liberating mind from its suffering, (it’s self-clinging to samsara, mistaken attachment to dualistic concepts)]. The main point of Yidam Deity practice is, we recognise this ordinary body, speech, and mind is Enlightened form body, Enlightened speech, Enlightened mind. So, Enlightenment is, we don’t need to think about, the result is future, (future lifetimes), the result is right now, in here with us. So that is why, it is Vajrayana teaching practice, transforming ordinary body to Buddha’s form body, (and that is why we have so many different Yidam Deities). So, which Yidam Deity, you really have a strong connection, devotion to, always visualise that Deity’s form, clearly, [as vividly as you can]. Then, at the same time as visualising the Yidam Deity, we have to recognise that we are also inseparable with the Yidam Deity. So visualising the Yidam Deity is, when we close our eyes, [generate bodhicitta awareness, from within the mind], it is mind projecting Yidam Deity in front of us. So, our mind projects the Yidam Deity, and our mind is connected to that. So that is why, we look to our mind, and projecting Deity, is inseparable [with that]. So then we visualise ourselves as this form body, Yidam Deity. So, visualise that.

We have to start from of course, generating bodhicitta. Then, think about emptiness, [not nothingness, vivid luminosity, nondual, clear light awareness of mind]. If we don’t generate emptiness first, it is very hard to visualise the Yidam Deity, [because the Yidam Deity is the luminous, pure light awareness of the mind]. So, when you visualise the Yidam Deity, you have to let go of ‘I’ and ‘self’. If you carry with you, ‘I’ and ‘self’, you cannot visualise the Yidam Deity. Last week I shared with you, you cannot swim in the frozen lake. So you cannot argue with that. Even if you say, this lake I have to swim in, but it is already frozen. You cannot go into the water, because it is frozen. So visualise the Yidam Deity. If you still have selfish, self-grasping mind, you cannot generate Yidam Deity’s form, (and visualise that). And that is reason, in the Yidam Deity prayers, [Tibetan lines of introduction to practice…], means, all the phenomena, everything becomes emptiness, [is recognised as emptiness]. So, we look to ourself, all this body is emptiness. [‘Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness, emptiness is none other than form’]. So this is delusion form. We look to self, and investigate, where is this ‘I’, this ‘self’? We realise that they do not exist. [They are mere concepts, designated upon a collection of parts, (of which they themselves, are empty, (dependent origination)). So while things appear, (conventionally to us, relative reality), this is not actually their true nature, (which is empty of inherent existence. All phenomena are selfless)]. At that moment, that you generate this awareness in your mindstream, you arise the Yidam Deity, and visualise that, your mind is connected to that. Arising as the Yidam Deity, you look to your mind, it is inseparable with the Yidam Deity. And then you look to your body, and you can feel your body has become inseparable with the Yidam Deity. So, then this is the same as the summer lake, you can go into the water and swim. It is joyous being there, in that state. So same as that, when we generate the Yidam Deity, (by letting go of selfish, self-grasping mind, thoughts and emotions), then we can meditate on the Yidam Deity.


We visualise the Yidam Deity, (in this way), and connect this awareness recognition with the Mahamudra. So, at another level Mahamudra, follows Yidam Deity practice, however Mahamudra meditation really helps visualise the Yidam Deity. The true Yidam Deity is Mahamudra, (Mahamudra realisation is the source of that). And the source of true bodhicitta, is also Mahamudra. So beginner meditators, go step, by step up, (through the process). Practice, cause – result, cause – result, cause -result, like that. When you become a really good meditator practitioner you go the other way, you use Mahamudra, and apply love and compassion. Use Mahamudra and arise Yidam Deity, Bodhicitta. Use Mahamudra meditation, (the nondual realisation, is non-conceptual level), not the dualistic, conceptual mind of samsara, experiencing the defects of samsara. So at that time it is Absolute Truth, realising the nature of awareness, (rigpa), practice. It’s source is Mahamudra. Relative Truth practice we have to go step by step, because right now, (if we are not Realised), we are Relative Truth level. So that is why we cannot say, practice Mahamudra and then use that in each of the other practices, to do that, requires that Realisation. So for beginners, that is why, it goes step by step, (in the Relative level), to the Mahamudra. Then, when you know how to meditate Mahamudra, you use Mahamudra, in the practices, [of bringing benefit for all sentient beings]. Then you can use every practice, as the Absolute Truth nature. So that is the reason the essence of Mahamudra is very important. Even if you visualise the Yidam Deity, your mind must be in Mahamudra states, then we are truly Yidam Deity. If we are not in Mahamudra, then visualising the Yidam Deity is still outer level, or on the inner level, but not the secret level, Yidam Deity practice. Secret level Yidam Deity is Mahamudra.

When you have Mahamudra meditation, then secret level is cause, inner practice is result. And, inner practice is cause, outer level is result. So, secret level Yidam Deity actually means Mahamudra. We meditate Mahamudra, the cause is secret level, result is inner Yidam Deity meditation. Then you transform all the *winds, channels, drops as Yidam Deity’s home. [*Tibetan Buddhism views the human body as consisting of a coarse body made of six constituent elements of earth, water, fire, wind, space and consciousness, and also of a subtle body, or ‘Vajra body’, of winds, channels and drops. In Vajrayana, it is said that subtle channels are the body of awakening, subtle winds are the speech of awakening and the drops are the awakened mind. From the point of view of Buddhahood, the channels are the body of emanation, the winds are the body of perfect experience, and the drops are the absolute body]. So that is inner Yidam Deity practice. And then inner practice, result is outer Yidam Deity. This means that when you have inner level practice, and you generate yourself as Buddha’s form, then you can visualise all appearances as the Yidam Deity. But we do not share that way, when we give teachings. In teachings, the first step is always outer level, then go to inner level, and then secret level. When the practices become immeasurable, (unlimited), the source is always Mahamudra. So, when you have Mahamudra meditation, all the other practices become expansive. We speak of immeasurable love, the cause is Mahamudra, without Mahamudra it is not immeasurable love meditation. We speak of immeasurable compassion, without Mahamudra, this is not possible. And then immeasurable equanimity, immeasurable equanimity, without Mahamudra, is not possible. Equanimity, means that you have to know that everything is one nature, (this Realisation of true reality), that is Mahamudra. The immeasurable joy is also Mahamudra, without Mahamudra it cannot be Absolute Truth joy, Realisation. So that is why, all the practice that leads to the immeasurables, or beyond samsara, are Mahamudra. But we cannot share that way, [Mahamudra state]. We have to share by following relative truth step by step, that is the guide.


So the reason is, if someone doesn’t know all these first stages, and we talk directly of Mahamudra, that person can have a nihilistic view, that is very dangerous, and the wrong path. So for that reason, we go through the stages of the practices, cultivating bodhicitta, generating the Yidam Deity and so forth, this leads to the practice of Mahamudra. (If you go in the wrong direction, it doesn’t become Mahamudra, [it is not free of the two extremes, either eternalism or nihilism, or existence and non-existence]). So, that is why Nagarjuna said, [Tibetan…], if someone is looking to emptiness, through the wrong view (way), then for those who don’t have enough wisdom, it becomes very dangerous, falling into nihilism. So, that is the reason, many teachers, that guide, do not talk about Mahamudra first. They speak about Buddhist Philosophy, you use your intellect, and investigate for yourself, that which proves emptiness, [the selflessness of all phenomena]. So, intellectually you have a clear understanding of emptiness, and then there is not any doubt of the emptiness of all phenomena, [when you have done your thorough, investigative analysis]. You have complete certainty that everything, (all phenomena) are emptiness, [in the nature of dependent origination. Appearing yet empty, empty yet appearing, like rainbows in the sky]. So, the source of that reasoning, (understanding) is Madhyamaka Philosophy. So, that is why that teaching is important, [investigating the emptiness of all phenomena, from the point of reason], and it is shared often. Also, however, if someone’s only goal is to reach Enlightenment, [and they are single-pointedly focused on that]. They don’t have wrong view, (they don’t have those thoughts), then these stages outlined here can be used, if the person has strong connections, and devotion to the Yidam Deity, Guru and so forth, then the instructions, this way, can be used, [skipping the philosophy], to share Mahamudra. Do you understand what I mean… yes? So now we go to Mahamudra.

I also have to look at the Tibetan, to make sure that what I am explaining is correct, (not mistaken). You also need patience. I still rely on the text, without the text, I can not explain Mahamudra. I don’t have my own independent explanation to explain the Mahamudra. I don’t [yet] have that quality, I rely on the text and the teachers. So that is why I follow the text, and we make sure I am not sharing the wrong way, okay.

Verse 11

“Hence, the supreme path of all victors, throughout the three times, which was practiced by the mahasiddhas of bygone times and is the life-essence of viras and dakinis, is mahamudra, mind itself”.

So, now Jigten Sumgon is sharing Mahamudra. He says, the Mahamudra is so important. “Hence, the supreme path of all victors, throughout the three times…” So, ‘supreme path’ means, all the Enlightened beings, (past, present and future), must have to Realise the Mahamudra. So, who has Realised Mahamudra, then that is called Buddha. And that is why all the ‘supreme path’ is Mahamudra, and all the past Buddhas, present Buddhas, and future Buddhas source is Mahamudra. So, also you have to know, there are two different ways, that we explain Mahamudra, usually, Sutra Mahamudra and Vajrayana Mahamudra. And the Heart Sutra [text] is also Mahamudra, Buddha Shakyamuni when he shared the Heart Sutra, (is also Mahamudra), it is called Sutra Mahamudra. And, then Buddha Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa Lotsawa, Milarepa, all this instruction is also called Mahamudra, it is called Vajrayana Mahamudra. Two different lineages. So this one, [Drikung Kagu], is Buddha Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa Lotsawa, Milarepa, Gampopa, Phagmo Drupa, Jigten Sumgon, and then all the teachers right now, this is the lineage that they come from. “Hence, the supreme path of all victors, throughout the three times, which was practiced by the mahasiddhas of bygone times…” All Mahasiddhas practiced Mahamudra. “… and is the life-essence of viras and dakinis, is mahamudra, mind itself”. So the heart essence of the Yidam Deities, dakinis is Mahamudra. And Mahamudra is protected, for example, by Achi Chokyi Drolma and all the dakinis. So, that is why here, Jigten Sumgon says clearly, “the life essence if viras and dakinis, is mahamudra mind itself”.

So, the Mahamudra is nature of mind. “… mind itself,” means our mind nature. “…itself” is, not deluded, not polluted, that “itself,” is called Mahamudra. So today the sky is obscured, because of the clouds, we cannot see the sun. In the same way, that we don’t see the sun, [to use the analogy, because it is cloudy], we don’t see our Buddha nature, (nature of mind), because of our conceptual thoughts and emotions. And Mahamudra means, mind itself is not polluted by thoughts and emotions. So, Mahamudra is its own nature itself, same as the sun, when it is not covered by the clouds. Also space, (no clouds), so that is called Mahamudra. Then, the Supplication to Tara, also comes from Jigten Sumgon’s Song of Realisation, which contains such beautiful instructions on Mahamudra in there. So Mahamudra is self-arising, non-dual, primordial wisdom. It is always there, never lost. In the same way, the sun is actually always there, (as it is), it is not lost, the clouds are only our temporary perceptual experience. In the same way, Mahamudra is beyond our current delusional state, capacity, [limited awareness], because it is a non-deluded state. So, we have delusions, we experience birth, [old age, sickness], and death, so that is our perception. Like, we see sunrise and sunset, day and night. So, that is all our perceptual experience. But, think about it, the sun itself does not have that. The sun itself, has no sunrise and sunset, no day and night. It is not clouded, no thunders, no rain, no storms exist there.


We have birth, death, old age, sickness, day, night, suffering, happiness, all going on within those delusional states. But, in the true nature of rigpa states, (mind itself states, Mahamudra), is beyond that, [those delusional states]. The delusion does not exist in those states. So that is why, when we have Realised the nature of rigpa, (of mind itself), then our mind is free from death, we are free from birth, [in samsara]. We are free from all these delusional states. Do you understand? So, that is why, “mind itself” means, always there, never lost. So when you have strong anger, your mind, (self nature), is still the same, (it doesn’t change at all), just as, we have a storm here, the sun is still the same. So, your nature is always the same, even if you have anger, or desire, your nature is the same. Desire, anger, stinginess, suffering, never affects our true nature (rigpa), the nature is always the same there. So right now, it is very hard for us to have this experience, [free from delusional states], this is because our conceptualization, (attachment to mere concepts, delusion), is so strong. Delusion is very strong. When we meditate, following the Stages of Meditation, and really look to mind itself, in the present, clear awareness of those states, all the delusion is not affecting us, in those states. We can get some short experience of that, from following these instructions, (this teaching), and meditating on it. We return to the practice again and again, because sometimes we see the sun, but then it is clouded again, right? (Sometimes we see the sun, but then it sets). So, until we are fully Realised, we have some positive experience, but it is lost again.

Verse 12

“Furthermore, the Tantra of the Vajra Cage says: “Through meditating on the mind as supreme buddha, one awakens as a buddha in this life. For there is no buddha or sentient being apart from this precious mind”. This has been taught by Vajradhara”.

“Furthermore, the Tantra of the Vajra Cage says…”. When Buddha shared the tantra teaching, he mentioned what Mahamudra, (this nature of rigpa) is. “Though meditating on the mind as supreme buddha, one awakens as a buddha in this life“. If we meditate Mahamudra, it is possible to reach Buddhahood in only one lifetime, we can achieve Enlightenment. So, “mind as supreme buddha,” means Mahamudra meditation, is we are looking to our own nature of rigpa mind. Our own mind nature, is called Buddha, that is why we are looking at that nature [Buddha], and not looking to the branches, [we are directly looking at our own nature of mind]. And, that is the reason, it is possible to achieve Enlightenment in one lifetime. “For there is no buddha or sentient being apart from this precious mind”. So we speak of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, etc. Usually we think I am ordinary. And we talk about Buddha Shakyamuni, Bodhisattvas like Manjushri, Chenrezig, Vajrapani and so forth, all these Bodhisattvas, then many high spiritual teachers, we are not thinking that, we are also Buddha. So, that is not Mahamudra. Mahamudra means, we have to know that we are Buddha. We have to know, [that we are aspiring and engaging], Bodhisattvas. So where are the Bodhisattvas, where are the Buddhas? It is our mind. And, that is why, when Garchen Rinpoche shares the Refuge ceremony, he always says, ‘Every single being is Buddha, (the mind is Buddha)’. Whether we accept it or not, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is buddha truly, [rigpa nature of mind], because as long as we have a mind, (we call mind, buddha), not anything other than that. So that is why it says here, “Through meditating on the mind as supreme buddha, one awakens as a buddha in this life”. And, that is why we have to know that our mind is buddha. Buddha is not somewhere else, outside [of oneself]. As long as we are knowing our mind is buddha, then we can achieve Enlightenment. [We can receive, and put into practice, the teachings and instructions given by Realised masters].

For there is no buddha or sentient being apart from this precious mind”. In those states of rigpa, the mind does not separate sentient beings and buddhas, (it is our mind state). When our mind is deluded, at that time, we are sentient beings. When we meditate, and we are in our own nature of rigpa state, then we are buddha. So, for example, we did an hour’s meditation here together, last night, and with Zoom Sangha, (those who joined in the meditation with us). When your mind, is in the nature of rigpa states, (not deluded, not arising concepts), if you can be in those states for one moment, at that moment, it is called buddha. We are buddha, [at that moment]. So, now this practice of Mahamudra, we meditate, and maybe we can be in there, [that state], one moment, within one hour. So, in one hour, we are in that state, one moment, that moment we are Enlightened. Then, when thoughts, delusions arise again, we go back to being, what we call ordinary sentient beings. So, then we apply Mahamudra meditation again, and we go back into our own nature of rigpa states. If we can go into that state for five minutes, then five minutes we are buddha. If we can stay in, for one moment, for one moment we are buddha. So that is why samsara, (the mind of ordinary sentient beings), and buddha (Enlightened qualities of mind, (buddha)), everything is within ourself. When we are in our own nature of rigpa states, we are buddha, and when we are deluded we are sentient beings. So, that is why sentient beings, [revolving in samsara], and Enlightenment, (nirvana), [and Buddhahood, beyond both samsara and nirvana], is all from our mind, not any other than that.


So our own mind is the creator, [or realises itself nature]. When our mind is deluded, we create samsara. When our mind, is truly in nature of rigpa states, it is called buddha. So, if our mind is not one hundred percent in the true nature of rigpa state, (but not deluded in samsara), we have love, compassion arising for others. Then, at that time, we call that bodhisattvas. So, bodhisattvas is also ourselves. In one day, we can be samsara beings, we can be bodhisattvas, we can be an Enlightened beings, (buddhas). Not only in one day, within one hour, we can be hungry ghosts, we can be hell beings, we can be animals, we can be human beings, [with attachment in the desire realm], we can be jealous gods, (because when jealousy arises, that is the jealous gods), and, when pride arises, the gods realm. So, within one hour, we can be these six realm beings, or bodhisattvas, or buddhas. So, these six realms beings, bodhisattvas, and Enlightened beings, everything is ourself, not somewhere else. So long as we know that then it is very good, to practice the bodhisattvas path. The bodhisattvas path is, we have that understanding, knowing, and that practice is called Vajrayana. So, it is very clear what Jigten Sumgon says here, “Through meditating on the mind as supreme buddha, one awakens as a buddha in this life”. So, he says in this life, but each moment, we can be Enlightened.

And, in these instructions, a very important key is, we have to maintain this Mahamudra, each moment. So we have to apply this practice each moment. So, use some of the techniques, [for how to train the mind], and get into your nature of rigpa. Which one(s) really help you, to go into the nature of rigpa. It is very hard to get in there, because our mind is all the time deluded, and it is easy to follow the distractions, desires. Very hard to stop this, (by going back into the nature of rigpa).

[No illustration. Compassionate energy forms, of the nature of rigpa]

Very hard, right, not easy. And that is why, I always recommend memorising the Supplication to Tara prayer. So long as you have it memorised, each word you read, (mentally reading), and cultivating, and using that, for going back into the nature of rigpa. As long as you are in the nature of rigpa, then you can generate the Yidam Deity, Tara easily. When your mind is not deluded, (in the nature of rigpa states), and then, at that moment, you are thinking about Tara, Tara is arising from your nature of rigpa. Rigpa is none other than Tara, Tara is none other than the nature of rigpa. So then, that is called, we are Tara, we are none other than Tara. And, when you generate any Yidam Deity, you have to use this Mahamudra technique practice. When you practice Mahamudra meditation, then within that nature of rigpa, you can generate Manjushri, you can generate Vajrapani, you can generate Chenrezig, and so forth. All these Deities are within our own nature of rigpa. So, that is why Mahamudra is the source of the Yidam Deity.

So, without Mahamudra, we really cannot say, ‘I am Tara’. Without Mahamudra, ‘I am Tara’, can be very deluded Tara. [Or, in the nature of rigpa, (Absolute Truth) state, can be really true Tara]. So, it can be, very wrong [mistaken], there too. If we are not in the true nature state, then saying, ‘I am Tara’, that is delusion. So, without Mahamudra meditation, we cannot say, ‘I am Tara’. Without Mahamudra meditation, you say, ‘I am Tara’, it becomes self-grasping [at] Tara, (deluded Tara). But, if you know the nature of rigpa mind, meditate and, in that case, the nature is arising the Tara, then you really feel, ‘I am the Tara’. At that time also, the ‘I am’, is not the deluded ‘I am’, (the fixation, ‘I am’, just the label ‘I am’). In that mistaken consciousness then Mahamudra also, just becomes a label. So, that is why Jigten Sumgon is very clear here, “… ‘For there is no buddha or sentient being apart from this precious mind’. This has been taught by Vajradhara”. So this teaching comes from Buddha Vajradhara. Buddha Vajradhara is the dharmakaya [form] of Buddha Shakyamuni. Then next verse.

Verse 13

“The Guhyasamaja, the king of tantras, says: “It is free of all phenomena. It has abandoned the aggregates, elements, sense sources, apprehended objects, and the apprehending subject. With the selflessness of phenomena in utter equanimity, your own primordially birthless mind is the nature of emptiness”. These words were spoken by the Bhagavan. The Protector of the World, Tillipa, taught: “I Tilli, have taught that the suchness of your own mind is the result”. By reciting these profound words, you will meditate on mahamudra, your own mind. Generally, mental activity or its absence and the existence or nonexistence of arising are mere conceptualities”.

“The Guhyasamaja,” Guhyasamaja, is another very important tantra teaching. “The Guhyasamaja, the king of tantras…” So here it says, the king of tantra teaching, is the Guhyasamaja. […] So, “The Guhyasamaja, the king of tantras, says: “It is free of all phenomena”. Free of all phenomena, (all the phenomena is free), means emptiness, [the selflessness, of all phenomena]. Free here, does not mean, you can take it all, and you say, ‘my’ or ‘mine’. Or, everything is free, ‘I want this,’ ‘I want that’, that is the wrong idea. Free, here means, everything is emptiness. All phenomena are emptiness. In the Supplication to Tara prayer, [*The Seven Verses of Supplication to Tara], the first sentence speaks of, all phenomena, (or everything), is dharmadhatu, or empty.

*The Seven Verses of Supplication To Tara

Verse 1

“In the realm of the unborn mother,
the Dharmadhatu
Abides the reverend Mother, the Deity Tara.
She bestows happiness on all sentient beings.
I supplicate Mother Tara (of Dharmadhatu) to protect us from all fears”.

So, the first line says, “In the realm of the unborn mother, the Dharmadhatu”. “Unborn,” means emptiness. So, everything is emptiness.

[And, the instructions, in this text here says], “It is free of all phenomena. It has abandoned the aggregates, elements, sense sources, apprehended objects, and the apprehending subject”. So, the aggregates are within ourself.


Skandha, (Sanskrit: “aggregates”) according to Buddhist thought, the five elements that sum up the whole of an individual’s mental and physical existence. The self […] cannot be identified with any one of the parts, nor is it the total of the parts. They are: (1) matter, or body (rūpa), the manifest form of the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water; (2) sensations, or feelings (vedanā); (3) perceptions of sense objects (Sanskrit: saṃjñā; Pāli: saññā); (4) mental formations (saṃskāras/sankhāras); and (5) awareness, or consciousness, of the other three mental aggregates (vijñāna/viññāṇa). All individuals are subject to constant change, as the elements of consciousness are never the same, and man may be compared to a river, which retains an identity, though the drops of water that make it up are different from one moment to the next.

[End of notes section]

Our body has five elements, five aggregates, and five [main] afflictive emotions. All of this, is emptiness. [As the Buddha taught, the emptiness of dependent origination. [Or, all phenomena is selfless, free of the two extremes, either eternalism, (absolutism), or nihilism. Everything is in dependent relationship. It appears conventionally, (relatively), but has no inherent, (solidly existing identity of its own), it is merely imputed. The mind experiences these imputations, (as real, solidly, inherently existing from their own side), when it has not realised the true, (empty) nature of all phenomena]. So, the point is:
i) The five afflictive emotions are emptiness, and the five wisdoms, [the enlightened nature of the five afflictive emotions], are emptiness.
ii) The five aggregates are emptiness, and the five Buddhas, [the enlightened nature of the five aggregates], are also emptiness.
iii) The five elements are emptiness, and the five female Buddhas, [the enlightened nature of the five elements], are also emptiness.
So, that is the reason here, in this text, it says, “It is free of all phenomena. It has abandoned the aggregates, elements, sense sources, apprehended objects, and the apprehending subject”. This more extensive explanation is called Buddhist Philosophy. Nagarjuna, [150 – c. 250 CE, an Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist philosopher monk of the Madhyamaka (Middle Way) school, who is regarded as the most important Buddhist philosopher after the historical Buddha himself], used logic, (investigation and explanation), to prove emptiness. And, this is why Buddhist teaching is regarded as a science, philosophy, not a religion.


If we say, the five Buddhas are permanent, the five wisdoms are permanent, [the five female Buddhas are permanent], but the emotions, [the aggregates and elements], are emptiness, it becomes a religion. [Because, this falls into the two extremes, in that case, eternalism [or absolutism]. The Buddha’s teaching is free of the two extremes, it is the emptiness of dependent origination, (dependent origination, because phenomena is ‘dependent’, (in dependence), this frees from the extreme of eternalism, and because phenomena is ‘origination’, (dependently originated, even though the true nature is emptiness), this frees from the extreme of nihilism]. So, [as in the text here], the five aggregates are emptiness, and the five Buddhas, are also emptiness. […] The five elements are emptiness, and the five female Buddhas are emptiness. The five afflictive emotions are emptiness, and the five wisdoms are also emptiness, that is why we are not stuck in the ‘conceptualisation’ of religion. It must be free from conceptualization, [attachment to concepts]. Positive and negative are both conceptual, we have to go beyond both, (beyond that), [which is the the non-dual, empty of inherent nature, state]. Because, if negative, is not there, then also positive is not there. As long as you have negative, you have positive. [You have one, you have the other]. You have a right hand, you have a left hand. You don’t have a left hand, you don’t have a right hand. In the same way, when all these afflictive emotions no longer exist, then the five wisdoms, also don’t exist, [qualities of emptiness, emptiness is in the nature of dependence], that is why, here in the text it says, “It is free of all phenenomena”. [Mahamudra, “unborn Dharmadhatu”]. “It has abandoned the aggregates, elements, sense sources, apprehended objects, and the apprehending subject”.

With the selflessness of phenomena in utter equanimity…” So, within the selflessness of phenomena, (all the phenomena is emptiness, [not nothingness, luminously clear, nondual, awareness, primordial nature state]. And, another way we share this is, the i) selflessness of person, and the ii) selflessness of phenomena. So, we separate these, [in Philosophical Studies for clarity, it is said, that once the selflessness of the person is realised, the realisation of the selflessness of all phenomena, follows that]. The reason Nagarjuna separated, the selflessness of person, and the selflessness of phenomena is because, we can not liberate our mind, due to selfishness, [attachment of self-grasping, to phenomena as inherently real from their own side]. Why, we are not Enlightened, [Realised beings], is due to self-grasping at phenomena. We are fixated to the phenomena, [when there is not awareness, (when we have not Realised), our true nature [of rigpa], which is the true nature of all phenomena]. This is why we are not Enlightened. And, why we cannot liberate the mind, to Arhat level, is due to attachment to ‘I’ and ‘self’. Actually both, [attachment to self, and attachment to phenomena], are due to grasping, fixations. Fixation to our own body is called ‘self’ [grasping]. The other, is fixation to self ‘phenomena’, (objects, things). We have to free our minds from both.


“With the selflessness of phenomena in utter equanimity…” Everything is equanimity, that is why Mahamudra brings immeasurable equanimity, because our enemies, and our loved ones are the same, both are emptiness. With Mahamudra meditation, then you can truly recognise equanimity, it is all the same, no difference, [nondual]. [Recognising mind nature, liberating mind, (purifying mind) in this way, we realise this]. So, we use the meditation on love and compassion, we generate equanimity, still that equanimity is limited. Without Mahamudra meditation, every practice is limited. When there is Mahamudra meditation, everything is unlimited, unconditional, equanimity. “… your own primordially birthless mind is the nature of emptiness”. So, then we are truly free of death, [the mind liberates, realises its own nature]. “… your own primordially birthless mind,” in some of the teachings, this is referred to, as attaining the rainbow body, (which means the practitioner is free from death). When we are Enlightened, then at that time, we say achievement, (accomplishment) of Buddha Amitayus. (True Buddha Amitayus is, Enlightened mind, is free from death). We have many Yidam Deities, [and the practice of generating the Yidam Deity is, mind recognising itself, its own nature]. The Buddha Amitayus form body, is red in colour, and is holding the long-life nectar vase. When we are Enlightened, arising the form body on a relative level, is called Buddha Amitayus form body, but the true nature of Amitayus, (that is free from death), is the Absolute Truth body, nature of rigpa state, (the Enlightened, primordial mind, Buddhahood). So, Buddha mind, that is called Amitayus. [Realisation of the selflessness of phenomena].

Then, all Buddhas are the same [in that], they have the Enlightened qualities of a Buddha. The Enlightened qualities, arising the form body, is called the Yidam Deity, and then that benefits others. When we are Enlightened, we are free from all the diseases and sicknesses, and we have absolute healing qualities, (which is the realisation of the unborn, primordial, true nature). So, healing qualities, arising the form body, is Medicine Buddha. Then, what is the difference between Medicine Buddha and Buddha Amitayus? Only, slightly different aspects. Actually, both are Enlightened qualities arising the forms. So, if we want to receive Enlightened, healing qualities, blessings, (healing our own negative emotion for example), then that is why we use the Medicine Buddha image, and practice. Do you understand? And then, we know we are facing death, (old age, all these samsaric sufferings), and we want to free our mind from that, (from life obstacles and so forth). We want to receive blessing from Enlightened beings (qualities), that are free from death, then we have to practice Long Life Buddha Amitayus. So, through the achievement of the fully Enlightened buddhas, (those qualities), there is so much activity, benefitting other beings. Different ways of benefitting others, and that is why we practice Tara (for example), because Tara is an Enlightened form body, (activity) of the Buddhas. By us connecting with Tara’s Enlightened activities, and following the practices of Enlightenment step by step, through our different activities, we can bring benefit to others, (our activity benefits others). This is why in Mahamudra, the Yidam Deity is the oneness, [arising from the Enlightened qualities, of realisation of the nature of the Buddha mind]. “… your own primordially birthless mind is the nature of emptiness”.


Then, “… These words were spoken by the Bhagavan”... this means the Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni gave so many teachings, here Jigten Sumgon speaks very concisely of the key points. Then, Jigten Sumgon is also sharing another short instruction from Tilopa. “The Protector of the World, Tillipa, taught:”, the Protector of the World means, Jigten Sumgon is calling Tilopa, his protector, (my refuge, my guru, Tilopa). Then, [Tilopa taught], “I Tilli, have taught that the suchness of your own mind is the result”. (So, this comes from Tilopa), the suchness of your own mind, is the nature of rigpa [itself]. “… is the result” means, that is the Buddha. (Result is Buddha, then Buddha is our own mind). Our mind nature is called Buddha. So Tilopa, what he is saying here is, I take you directly to the result, [he took the result, as the path]. The result, is the [realisation] of mind nature. So the point is, the teaching follows in cause, and then result. But Tilopa says, I directly took the result [as the path], and he says, what I share that is Buddha, that is the result. Then, what he shares is, “… the suchness of your own mind is the result”. The point is, don’t look for Buddha somewhere outside, [it is the realisation of mind nature itself]. So, we look to our own mind, (investigating this for ourself). Not pointing to others, we must always point ourself, to our own mind. Searching for ourself, [looking to this nature of mind itself]. We look to others outside, for Buddha, we are never going to find that, (searching outside, we can never find that), which is why everything is looking to our own mind. In that way, we can find Buddha, [the true nature of all phenomena, (everything)].

“By reciting these profound words, so Jigten Sumgon is saying, what Tilopa is sharing are very profound words. “… you will meditate on mahamudra, your own mind”. So Mahamudra is our own mind. “Generally, mental activity or its absence and the existence or nonexistence of arising are mere conceptualities”. So, Jigten Sumgon says, when we speak about Mahamudra meditation, this is conceptualization. Normally we create thinking, we think, does Mahamudra exist, or does it not exist. This is mental creation, mere conceptualities, at that level, everything is conceptual. [Mental activity is conceptual, (relative level) state. Mahamudra meditation is when mind realises its own nature, has cut through, (beyond), realising oneness, nondual, indivisible, primordial nature of the Dharmadhatu]. We can not use words for Mahamudra, and will not realize it, through continuing to intellectually investigate, [because it is not a conceptual state]. So when we meditate, we are looking to the nature of mind, [mind nature itself], and letting go of all the conceptual activity.

Verse 14

“Any type of meditative concentration accomplished by focusing or relaxing, are deviations leading to higher god realms. So, just as water is poured into water or butter mixed with butter, directly actualize your own primordial wisdom for yourself in a single instant! The profound primordial wisdom which you realize transcends the realm of speech, thought, consciousness, and expression. It is realized by those with fortunate karmic propensities, it relies on the path of blessings and is completely beyond the conceptual mind. It is not in the domain of logicians”.

“Any type of meditative concentration accomplished by focusing or relaxing, are deviations leading to higher god realms”. So then, Jigten Sumgon says, any type of meditative concentration, that relies on the conceptual, [conceptual functioning], whatever is accomplished that way, (either by focusing or relaxing), are deviations leading to the higher god realms. [So, that whilst increasingly more subtle states of mind are achieved, (leading to rebirth in the higher god realms), still mind is in samsara (delusion), not liberated, into the nondual, Mahamudra, primordial awareness, dharmadhatu nature]. So the main point is, when your mind is not in the nature states, (whether your mind and body is relaxing, or your mind and body is tight, or you focus mind, with object, or breath, all those meditation states, take you to higher, or highest realms in samsara, (highest god realms), but do not liberate mind beyond that state, (that of realising its own nature)). So without Mahamudra, still in samsara, (still cannot go beyond that). We can see this reflected in the life story of Siddhartha, Gautama Shakyamuni, (the historical figure, who became Buddha). [On his journey to realise the true nature of reality], Siddhartha had many teachers, learning from these adepts, who had accomplished these highest levels of meditation, (excellent samatha meditation, relaxation, and so forth, different ways to reach these higher levels of practice, (but still bound within samsara)). Siddhartha found that no-one could share the truth, [realisation of dharmadhatu nature]. He realised, I have to find this myself. As no-one could share this, this is why he had to meditate upon this, [mind nature itself], himself, [to liberate the mind from samsara, achieve Realisation, and the fully Enlightened state of Buddhahood. This Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni did, and became Buddha, (Awakened to the true nature state)]. […]

Buddha gave teachings, after he had attained the fully Enlightened state of Buddhahood, (he was not still on the path). Buddha’s teaching liberates the mind, beyond being still bound in samsaric states, to realisation of the true nature states. Many religions have meditation and practices, that go to very high levels of realised awareness, but then they are stuck there, because they are not free from the conceptual state. [Buddha has been described as the first scientist (of mind and reality), who, after he was fully Enlightened, taught others how to discover for themselves, what he had discovered. He manifested the twelve great deeds, made five hundred mighty aspirations, and left these teachings and practices in the world, to benefit beings until the end of samsara]. Even if you have concepts about religion, you are stuck there, [still, mind has not realised itself]. [Self-grasping] to concepts, God(s), and so forth, you are stuck there, [and any such fixation, as we have seen, has been, and still is, (unfortunately), the cause of wars throughout history. But, when the nondual, nature states are realised by the mind itself, it knows the true nature of reality]. So, in the true nature states, means free of all these fabrications, [self-grasping attachment to mere concepts, and instead, having direct realisation of the nondual, primordial nature itself].


So what Buddha taught, (unmistaken view, meditation and action), was the emptiness, [unborn nature], of dependent origination, (the selflessness of all phenomena). The conduct part, is not something unique to Buddha’s teaching, (other religions and practices have this]. So the importance of love, compassion, generosity, and so forth, is taught as part of conduct, in many places. But then bodhicitta, (the awakening mind, practicing for oneself and others benefit, liberating mind from samsara, and helping others likewise), maybe not. Bodhicitta is another difference, (bodhicitta is, we really see that samsara is suffering). All these samsaric beings used to be our loved ones, (mother sentient beings), are suffering in samsara. Seeing this, and that we ourselves, are in samsara suffering, we are seeking liberation of mind from these states. So, we generate from within, [through compassionate awareness], the determination to practice, I want to liberate, [my mind from these samsaric states], achieve the Enlightened state, and I want to help all these other sentient beings also, to liberate their minds. (So that awareness of the nature of suffering, of all sentient beings in samsara, and generating the determination to help them, other religions don’t have). […] Even among Buddhists, (that are not Mahayana based), they follow a path of liberation for oneself. And then Mahamudra, is free from all the concepts and fabrications, (it is realisation of the nondual, unborn, primordial awareness, true nature state itself).

So, what is Mahamudra? “So, just as water is poured into water or butter mixed with butter…” Within all sentient beings, is this true nature state, (water or butter is used to represent this, here), through purification of our mind, we realise our mind, (all phenomena), is nondual with this unborn primordial nature state (dharmadhatu), (water or butter). Or, in the same way, just as I have this container of water here, if I then pour it into the ocean water, it will become inseparable with the ocean water. Another way dzogchen explains it is, child luminosity meeting mother luminosity, (our own unborn nature is united with, becomes inseparable with, the unborn nature itself). [For practitioners who have familiarized themselves with the practices, during the dying process itself, and are able to recognise, there is the opportunity in the transitioning states, of the bardos, and dissolution of the physical body, for the child luminosity, to unite with the mother luminosity]. So, different words are used, but same meaning. Jigten Sumgon doesn’t use those words, [child and mother luminosity] here, but it is exactly the same meaning.


So, we receive instruction for meditation, and practice to realise nonconceptual states, (experience the true nature states, (rigpa) ourselves, the child luminosity). Using the examples, realisation of our own water, or butter within us, (or, mind directly looking at, and realising mind nature itself), realisation that the nondual, unborn nature state, is inseparable with the realisation of all Enlightened beings, is oneness. It is the same Realisation, there is no difference. Just as pouring our water, into water, it becomes the same water. Or, our own butter, mixed with the butter itself, it is the same. Or, you have your own small window, (this is your own realisation), you can see, like small space. But then, this space is dissolved into all the space, (space is the same). So, same idea, (that is the main point). Our own knowing of the true luminosity, becomes inseparable with all Enlightened beings luminosity nature. Our knowing that nature, is inseparable with absolute true reality. Do you understand… conceptually we understand. “… directly actualize your own primordial wisdom for yourself in a single instant!” So, we are directly looking at our own mind. [Through habituating to this practice, this lights the seeing], we can see [realise] this nature of rigpa, in a single moment. It is very hard to see, and you don’t know when you are going to see, (the nature of rigpa). Some people are really deep sleeping, then wake up, and in that single moment, see the nature. There are other samsaric activities, where you see this nature of rigpa in a single moment, but without meditation you will not recognise that. Do you understand… we are not recognising that, [nature of rigpa state]. Some people, who are good meditators, can be in that state, (stay longer in those states).

Whilst the mind is resting in states of single pointed meditative concentration, there arises a single moment of the nature of rigpa, (realised), and then resting in that recognition, we have the ability to liberate mind in the bardo. Someone loses consciousness, and then arises the single-nature of rigpa, [on waking], the first moment of that mind, there is no thought, but it is so subtle and short, it is not recognised. When you are practiced in remaining in meditative absorption, in a state of recognition, then any ordinary activities that you are doing in samsara, you can rest the mind in those states, you can maintain that state, even driving the car. If anger arises, or desire arises, you can stay in those states. When you are in those states, anger arising, is the ‘mirror-like wisdom,’ it is called Buddha Vajrasattva, (at that moment you have generated, you are Buddha Vajrasattva). And, in maintaining that state of realised awareness, desire arises, that is called ‘discriminating wisdom’, (all distinguishing wisdom), and is called Buddha Amitabha. […] In this way, when the five afflictive emotions are liberated, they are referred to as the five wisdoms, the five Buddhas, (aspects of Enlightened wisdom energy). So for more experienced meditators, accomplished in these meditative realisation states, the afflictive emotions are liberated into wisdom energy, and this arises deeper insight, which they use in their meditation practice. If the practitioner has trained the mind, and is able to rest in the natural nature of rigpa states, then when strong pride arises, that afflictive emotion of mind is liberated into the wisdom of equality, (Buddha Ratnasambhava). So, the five afflictive emotions can be liberated into the realised wisdom energy aspects, of the five Dhyani Buddha families). The other two, the afflictive emotion of jealousy (envy) is liberated into the all-accomplishing wisdom, of perfect practice, (Buddha Amoghasiddhi) and, the afflictive emotion of ignorance and delusion is liberate into the wisdom of dharmadhatu, (Buddha Vairocana).


The profound primordial wisdom which you realize transcends the realm of speech, thought, consciousness, and expression”. So Realisation transcends the five aggregates (skandhas), into the aspects of wisdom energy of the five Buddha families. [The five skandhas in Buddha Dharma, are matter, sensations, perception, formations, and consciousness. These five skandhas or aggregates make up the physical and mental existence of each person. The five afflictive emotions, also known as the five kleshas (Skt) or mental afflictions are anger, attachment, ignorance, jealousy and pride]. The five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and space, is the emptiness, (all phenomena are devoid of self), the nature of the five female Buddhas. [The union of skilful means of compassion, with the wisdom energy of emptiness is liberating mind, into the realisation of the true nature of rigpa states, (dharmadhatu)]. The five afflictive emotions become the five wisdoms, (aspects of emptiness), as described above. Anger (mirror-like pristine awareness wisdom), attachment (pristine awareness of discernment wisdom), ignorance (pristine awareness of the dharmadhatu, the true nature of all phenomena, jealously (accomplishing pristine awareness wisdom), and pride (pristine awareness of total sameness, equality wisdom). Ignorance, (coarse and subtle forms) is the most difficult of the afflictive emotions to liberate. Detecting through deep single pointed meditation, in the nature of rigpa states, and uprooting (liberating), through the awareness realisation of its true nature. Ignorance is particularly difficult to liberate, because it is deeply embedded, habituated unawareness, binding, and giving rise to, the other afflictive emotions. Without ignorance (delusion), anger is perfect, (without affliction), it is the source of mirror-like wisdom. It is easy to recognise anger arising, when you are resting mind in meditative awareness states, and you can liberate it, (into its nature, through recognising it as mirror-like wisdom).

In states of ignorance, when the other afflictive emotions of anger, jealously, pride and desire arise, it is very difficult to recognise these, and liberate through awareness. The main point in this teaching is, through cultivating meditation states, when this afflictive emotion arises, right away recognise that, and through maintaining single-pointed awareness, look directly at the mind, (nature of rigpa). “… directly actualize your own primordial wisdom for yourself in a single instant!” Arising recognition of the nature in that single moment, that is the essence here. “The profound primordial wisdom which you realize transcends the realm of speech, thought, consciousness, and expression”. We have the ability to transcend [current states of mind], everything can become transformed through [deeper] awareness, realisation. So this true nature is beyond words, beyond expression. [As in the Heart Sutra [text], the Heart of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom. ‘Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness. Emptiness is none other than form’. (The heart of emptiness is compassion, (bodhicitta). So, emptiness with a heart of compassion)]. We have this great good fortune, (opportunity) to realise. “It is realized by those with fortunate karmic propensities, it relies on the path of blessings and is completely beyond the conceptual mind. It is not in the domain of logicians“. So this fortune is, the gurus blessings, we have the opportunity to receive teachings, the ability to transform our afflictive emotions, and even whilst this true nature rigpa is beyond words, beyond expression, still we have the ability to realise this. [Mahamudra] is not in the domain of the logicians means, it can not be recognised by those who believe only what they see, or, who are still in the realm of mental conceptual constructs, like the scientists, those that don’t have experience of the nature of rigpa itself, (which is completely free of all conceptual fabrication, or conjecture). Similarly, if you only study Buddhist Philosophy, but don’t put what you are learning into actual practice, (and receive instruction on how to practice Mahamudra), then the true nature is hidden. [Just as, the Buddha once said, to imagine someone is trying to show you the moon, [here this represents our Enlightenment, realisation of transcendental wisdom], by pointing at it. The pointing finger is what guides you to the moon. Without the finger, you might not notice the moon. But the pointing finger, is not what it is. “All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon; and those whose gaze is fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond”. Even, whilst we might catch sight of the moon (concept), still [that way, we’ll not see], cannot see its beauty, (non-conceptual, nondual, unborn, oneness nature). It is beyond the image in our mind, the image itself is emptiness].

[Excerpt from the Heart Sutra, the Heart of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom

“Therefore, Śāriputra, since bodhisattvas have no attainment, they rely on and abide by the perfection of wisdom. Since their minds are unobscured, they have no fear. They completely transcend error and reach the ultimate nirvāṇa. All the buddhas throughout the three times fully awaken to unsurpassed, genuine and complete enlightenment by means of the perfection of wisdom. Therefore, the mantra of the perfection of wisdom—the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the mantra that equals the unequalled, the mantra that pacifies all suffering—is not false and should thus be understood as true. The mantra of the perfection of wisdom is proclaimed as follows:

[oṃ] gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhisvāhā.

Śāriputra, a bodhisattva and great being should train in the profound perfection of wisdom in this way.”

Verse 15

“So I request you O sublime one to endeavor in habituating your mind!”

So Jigten Sumgon, sees and respects, the sublime nature of his student Gompa Drakpa Dorje, and that he can hold this teaching, (habituate his mind in the realisation of Mahamudra states), he is requesting that he do that. Jigten Sumgon is also requesting us here, (fortunate ones to receive these teaching instructions), to practice in the same way. When we receive this teaching, we can think, that he is sharing directly with us, that is the point of these instructions.

Verse 16

“Since these profound words of advice of the precious guru, the lord of Dharma, should not be put down in writing as I have done here, owing to your encouragement, O sublime one, whatever contradictions or confusions there may be, I humbly request the sublime patience of the assemblies of gurus and dakinis”.

This concludes the letter sent to Gompa Drakpa Dorje. By the beggar Ratnasri, A Sakya bhiksu

So these instructions, (sent in response to Gompa Drakpa Dorje’s request), come from Jigten Sumgon. It is very profound teaching, and not something that can be shared in writing. So, after having written the instructions down, Jigten Sumgon writes this at the end of the letter, explaining this to his student, (O sublime one), for whatever contradictions or confusions there may be in writing these instructions down, (he makes confession), I humbly request the sublime patience of the assemblies of gurus and dakinis. Jigten Sumgon says, I have written them down, due to your encouragement.

[Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche]: Also, when I have shared this teaching, any mistakes, (anything incorrect), I confess to guru, the dakinis and to you. For you, listening to this teaching from the beginning, until now, you can also make confession in your mind to the gurus and dakinis, for whatever you have not listened to correctly, due to distractions and so forth.

Thank you everyone, so now we have finished the teaching.

[Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche then gives the lung transmission of the text, upon request of students]. Following this, so we have finished the transmission, and now we are going to the dedication.

(Any errors are the transcriber’s, editor’s own).

Immeasurable thanks for sharing these precious teachings with us.

[Additional referencing from wikipedia, rigpawiki].