SUBLIME HEART TEACHINGS (2)



The Serkhangma “Golden Temple Prayer” Practice & Teachings with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche


Transcription: Day 2 (Transcribed as spoken with little editing, and includes further commentary).


(Continuation of transcription of teachings, Day 1 can be found on Sublime Heart Teachings (1) page of this website).





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Day 2

(Section 2)

Today, we continue from yesterday, The Seven Branches of the Mantra composed by Jigden Sumgon. Yesterday, we finished the first of the seven branches: prostration to the guru’s body, speech and mind, [Absolute Truth body]. This first part, (the prostration) and the praise for the enlightened qualities of the guru’s body, speech and mind, is the most important section.

Then yesterday, also I shared with you, that the first sentence, (the first verse) of this prayer is a summary, or the introduction into all the teaching which follows. The section is Guru yoga with Mahamudra practice. So we visualise guru, and also, our wisdom, (mindful awareness), is looking into our own [basic] nature [of mind, rigpa]. So, the nature is self-arising, and that nature is our Absolute Truth guru. This guru is within ourselves, [our own true nature of mind, rigpa]. So, that is the meaning of ‘self-arising,” (it is always with us).


Outer and inner level teaching

I have shared extensive commentary of the first section of the prayer. The prayer follows on two levels, the outer and inner level teaching. Outer level is Relative truth and inner level is Absolute Truth, – Relative Truth guru and Absolute Truth guru. Relative Truth gurus are, – right now we have devotion, connections, and we are receiving Mahamudra teaching, from the gurus, so that is called Relative Truth guru. Absolute Truth guru is, the Relative Truth guru, is introducing us to the Absolute Truth guru.

Absolute Truth guru is within ourselves, [it is the true nature of our mind, rigpa], so that Absolute Truth guru is our nature of rigpa, and then that is why Jigden Sumgon, in Verse 1 says:

“I gaze upon the supreme,
self-arisen Lama…”

“I gaze upon,” – here, Jigden Sumgon is looking to Absolute Truth guru. Absolute Truth guru is self-arising. (Always with us, always there). We use our mindful awareness, [(meditation), to look upon our true nature (rigpa)]. Yesterday, I also spoke of our wisdom eye, [the third eye], looks to our [inner] guru, [Absolute Truth, nature of mind]. This mind is what is being referred to here, and looking to our own [true] guru, that is Absolute Truth guru, that is Mahamudra.

So, in the general teachings, (5 Path Mahamudra). [For the preliminaries, 1) train in bodhicitta, 2) Meditate on the yidam deity, (generating pure perception, connecting with pure form of the deity – purification of one’s energies of body, speech and mind), and 3) Meditate on the guru. For the main part, 4) settle within Mahāmudrā, And 5) seal with dedications at the end. Practicing all these within a single session is the Fivefold Mahāmudrā. Jigden Sumgon has the fruition of the Fivefold Mahamudra practice. He has realised Mahamudra. The purpose of practicing The 5 Stages of Mahamudra is to bring to oneness, – to realise the nondual state, nature of rigpa (true nature of mind)].


5 Path Mahamudra

Relative Truth level, the 5 Path Mahamudra has stages, one by one. First, we cultivate bodhicitta, and then we visualise the yidam deity, then visualise guru, then meditate Mahamudra, then go to dedication. So 5 Part Mahamudra is relatively, separate. But when we are really practicing Mahamudra, Absolute Truth level, then all five parts are inseparable. So how can we practice them inseparably? Because mind is going into emptiness, [into its true nature, (nondual state). Unification of, emptiness and compassion, (or wisdom and method)]. Emptiness, means the Absolute Truth bodhicitta, (which we discussed yesterday).


Absolute Truth Bodhicitta

So, Absolute Truth bodhicitta, is the embodiment of bodhicitta, of all the gurus. The main point is, the Absolute Truth state is the Absolute Truth bodhicitta. Absolute Truth bodhicitta, then, that is the yidam deity, so that is Guru Yoga, and that is Mahamudra. So Mahamudra, yidam deity, guru yoga, Absolute Truth bodhicitta, they are all inseparable. And then the dedication also, is free of the three spheres, – means no subject, no object, no action.

[The three realms are the desire, form and formless realms of samsara. The Four Seals of Mahamudra are: The first seal: All composite things are impermanent. The second seal: All that is tainted [impure] entails suffering. The third seal: Realisation is peace. The fourth seal: All phenomena are devoid of independent entity, (the emptiness of dependent arising). Mahamudra is the Great Seal, (nondual state), Realisation of the Absolute Truth body].


Dedications

[By making dedications in this way, (recognising the emptiness of):
i) the person dedicating, ii) the recipient of the dedication, (to whom, we are making the dedication), iii) and the action of dedication itself, – recognising all, are empty of inherent existence, this is the Realised state of Mahamudra, the guru’s mind, the Absolute Truth bodhicitta]. So, usually, free of three spheres means, no subject, no object, no action. Just being in the natural state of the mind (rigpa), dedicating to the true nature [Absolute Truth body]. So, the dedication, is also inseparable with Mahamudra.


Unification of 5 Path Mahamudra

Jigden Sumgon here, is sharing 5 Path Mahamudra. This has [5] stages, but all the stages are brought together, as oneness, when we practice. So Absolute Truth bodhicitta is inseparable with Absolute Truth yidam deity. Absolute Truth yidam deity is inseparable with the Absolute Truth guru. Absolute Truth guru is inseparable with Mahamudra. So, when we visualise the yidam deity, – and the yidam deity’s nature, and our nature is inseparable, then, it is called Absolute Truth yidam deity.

We have outer level practice of yidam deity. We visualise, and we make supplications to the yidams, and practice the visualisations, so that is the outer level, (Relative Truth yidam deity). But, Absolute Truth yidam deity, – “yidam” means our own primordial nature of mind. Now, and since beginningless time, we are inseparable with this primordial nature mind, – that is yidam. So true yidam is within, it is our own nature of mind. Then, the guru also, we have Relative Truth guru, who gives us, all the Mahamudra teaching, introducing us to Absolute Truth guru, – the Absolute Truth guru is always within us, never separate. So that is Absolute Truth guru and yidam, and also all Mahamudra, (inseparable).


Essence of the teaching

So that is why, here Jigden Sumgon is sharing very clearly, “I gaze upon supreme, self-arisen Lama”. It is his self-arising yidam deity, self-arising guru and lama and all is Mahamudra. They are all inseparable, (bring to oneness). So that, in this teaching, is what is most important here, the essence of the topic, (the teaching). So that is why this sadhana, or Seven Branch Prayer is not only outer level. This morning, we have just finished opening prayers. We chant the outer level Seven Branch Prayer. Not the same as that, – that is outer level Seven Branch Prayer. Also, it is called the Mahayana Tradition, Outer Level Seven Branch Prayer. A very popular prayer.

Then, in this one here [Serkhangma Prayer], Jigden Sumgon composed this Absolute Truth Seven Branch Prayer, [born of Realisation, of mind nature]. This is also the Vajrayana Tradition Seven Branch Prayer practice. We recognise in Jigten Sumgon’s composition of this prayer, that he has a very strong, special connection with his own guru, (Phagmo Drupa), and through his devotion, he has realised Absolute Truth guru. He has brought his own mind, and his guru’s mind together, and they have become inseparably one.


Outer and inner practice

The teaching has two levels, outer and inner. Outer level, Jigden Sumgon is offering praise to his guru [Phagmo Drupa], this is also an inward prostration, to Mahamudra (the inner guru). Jigden Sumgon has realised the Absolute Truth guru, the nature of his own mind and his guru’s mind are inseparable. It is oneness. But right now, as we share this teaching [here], we are in the relative level, – we don’t have that realisation, [if we’re not in the nondual state]. So that is why we have to explain these slightly separately.

[First the outer level]. Outer level guru, – Jigden Sumgon has very strong devotion and faith in his guru. He is supplicating to his guru Phagmo Drupa. On the inner level, the main point is Jigden Sumgon has Realised that his own mind, and the guru, Phagmo Drupa is inseparable, is oneness. So that is Absolute Truth guru, and that is why, when we read this prayer, “I gaze upon the supreme, self-arisen Lama”, – here we can visualise our Root Guru, and use that prayer. We connect to our Root Guru on the relative level, and through our devotion, we receive blessing from our guru, (connect with the enlightened qualities of the guru mind).


Absolute Truth Guru

Then inner level, “I gaze upon the supreme, self-arisen Lama,” – we use our wisdom awareness, directly looking into our own suchness nature. (It is the nature of rigpa). And that nature of rigpa is called Absolute Truth guru. It is Self -Arising [as] Guru. Lama means guru. It is our own nature of rigpa. So that is always with us, [which is the meaning of], “… seated on the immutable, spontaneously established throne”. It is inseparable with us, always there [our true wisdom nature].

Then, “… here in the mandala of primordially pure-mind,” this is what yidam deity means, always with us, [our primordial nature, the true essence nature of mind]. It is “… the supreme palace of all Victorious Ones of the three-times”. The source, of all the Enlightened beings. It is the primordial pure mind, yidam deity, self-arising, Absolute Truth guru, is the Absolute Truth mandala, is Absolute Truth deity, all is of the primordial state.

This is the main essence of the teaching, that was covered yesterday. Supplication to [the Absolute Truth] guru’s body, speech and mind, on the Relative Truth, and Absolute Truth levels. Relative Truth level, [we offer inward praise and prostration], to guru’s body, speech and mind. Absolute Truth level is our own nature [Absolute Truth nature], We have the true nature of dharmakaya, that is the praise to the [Absolute nature] of the mind. Knowing the true nature (rigpa), rigpa is dharmakaya. Sambhogakaya is all the Enlightened qualities, and is the [Absolute Truth] speech, [Absolute Truth] guru’s speech. The nirmanakaya form is the Absolute Truth body, [Absolute Truth] guru’s body. So, the Three Kayas are inseparable. Yesterday we discussed these one by one, as the Praise to the [Absolute Truth] guru, on the outer and inner levels. We have completed the first part, which covers verses (1-10), Absolute Truth Prostration to the [Ultimate Truth] guru. Then, today we come to the second part, which is the Offerings section. These are the Absolute Truth Offerings.




Verse 11 (Offering Verse 1)

“Oceans of emanated offerings to you delight the Victorious Ones
and ripen all sentient beings.
Having completely filled the Dharmadhatu,
I make this unsurpassed offering unceasingly”.


“Oceans of emanated offerings”. The offerings are inexhaustible. “… delight the Victorious Ones,” is the [Absolute Truth] guru [mind]. “… and ripen all sentient beings”. We are offering to the guru, then that offering, benefits and is ripening, all the sentient beings minds. So, benefit is brought to all the other sentient beings, through these offerings.

“Having completely filled the Dharmadhatu”. The offerings are immeasurable, (here, it is not referring to the relative level), it is all Absolute Truth level offering, (- that is dharmadhatu). So these offerings are not outer level offerings, – this is beyond our conceptual thinking, (relative level). Here it is referring to bringing the inner level, Absolute Truth offerings.


Absolute Truth level offerings

“Having completely filled the Dharmadhatu”. The realised mind can create these, “Oceans of emanated offerings”. “… to you delight the Victorious Ones,” means the offerings are made to the Absolute Truth guru. Offerings are made through the realised mind. Without realisation, “Having completely filled the Dharmadhatu,” is not possible. So, this means, having realised, knowing Absolute Truth, Dharmadhatu, – beyond the conceptual mind, (mind is in the nondual state).

And then that offering is the same as “Oceans of emanated offerings”. This means the offerings are inexhaustible. Relative Truth offering is limited. Conceptual mind offering is limited, not unlimited. So, the Absolute Truth offering is when we are using our wisdom awareness, looking into our own Absolute Truth guru. In that state, then that offering is called inexhaustible. It is not really subject and object, but it is called offering. The Absolute Truth level offering then, is not the same as the Relative Truth level offerings.


Relative Truth level offerings & Absolute Truth level offerings

Relative Truth level offerings always have subject, object and actions. These three are separate. (Absolute Truth level offerings, these three are inseparable). Our mind right now is conceptual mind. It is very hard to know [Absolute Truth level offering]. We always think with offerings, there is a subject and an object. Offering to the yidam deity, or Buddha or guru – an object. An offering object, and then we are offering, so we are the subject. Without that, we cannot really bring this into our mind, whilst at the conceptual level.

In this case, Absolute Truth offering is, – free from the three spheres, (as it is called. No subject, no object, no actions). So the mind is in the dharmadhatu nature, – in that state, then that is Absolute Truth offerings, that is Absolute Truth guru, Absolute Truth yidam deity. Everything is brought into oneness (inseparable). So then that offering is referred to here as “Oceans of emanated offerings”. This is just an example on the relative level. “Oceans” is meaning the dharmadhatu, the dharmakaya nature. It is inexhaustible.


Beyond subject-object duality

So in the true nature, that is naturally the offering, (the Absolute Truth offering is arising). So using mindful awareness, looking into suchness, our own Absolute Truth guru, and then in that state, that is the Absolute Truth offerings. Then that is, “to you delight the Victorious Ones and ripen all sentient beings”. [The true awareness nature is the light, dispelling the ignorance of sentient beings, (self-clinging, self-grasping to subject- object duality)]. “Having completely filled the dharmadhatu”. (In the natural state, of rigpa). “I make this unsurpassed offering unceasingly”.

Otherwise, on the conceptual level, (conceptual offerings), then this is not possible, – “I make unsurpassed offering unceasingly”. So “unsurpassed, unceasingly” means, always in that self-arising nature, rigpa. So that is called the “Unceasing” offering. I hope you understand the meaning of “Absolute Truth offering”. Usually offering (as mentioned), we are thinking about Relative level. So that is easy to bring to the mind, because our mind is a conceptual mind (in a Relative Truth state). Relative Truth offering is very easy to understand, – but with Relative Truth offering, it is not possible to have this kind of ability or quality. It is not possible on the relative level to have, “unsurpassed offering unceasingly”. Nor, “Oceans of emanated offerings to you, delight the Victorious Ones”. Nor, “ripen all sentient beings,” [minds].

So, this is Absolute Truth offering, and knowing guru’s mind and our mind [Absolute Truth nature], are inseparable. Being in that state, then that is Absolute Truth offering. So that offering is the same as “Oceans of emanated offerings,” that offering is then, “unsurpassed offering unceasingly” and “ripen all sentient beings” [minds]. This is the first verse of the offering verses. Then we go to the second offering verse.



Jigden Sumgon emanated these vast, inexhaustible offerings, through his meditation practice, – through his devotion and realisation. The offerings are arising, from his [Absolute Truth] nature [rigpa], – from his Realised mind. This is different to the usual offerings, in other sadhanas. This offering is arising from Jigden Sumgon’s meditation. His realisation means that he is always in the [Absolute Truth nature] state, [Absolute Truth guru state]. He is in the nature of the Absolute Truth guru, and all the offerings are arising from that, the Absolute Truth guru state. So now, the second offering verse, Verse 12.



Verse 12 (Offering Verse 2)


“From the heart-palace of the great being radiates the light
of immeasurable Bodhicitta.

Thus in all the pure-lands of the ten directions, innumerable,
beautiful offering Goddesses manifest, holding water, flowers, incense,
lamps, supreme scents, and food”.


“From the heart-palace of the great being radiates the light of immeasurable Bodhicitta”. This means [from the Realised mind, (the heart)], from the [nature of the] Absolute Truth guru. So here, when we usually say, “heart place”, we are pointing to the heart centre, the heart itself. But here, it is not pointing at the [physical] heart level, – this means in the Absolute Truth guru [nature]. The realisation in that state, from that place. It means in the nature of rigpa.

“… of the great being radiates the light of immeasurable Bodhicitta”. It is through the realisation, in the nature of rigpa, (in the nature of Absolute Truth guru), it is in that state, that arises the Bodhicitta. Arising from the state, is arising from Bodhicitta, and that Bodhicitta is called Absolute Truth Bodhicitta, (not Relative Truth Bodhicitta). Relative Truth Bodhicitta, is we want to liberate all other beings. In that [relative] state, there is subject, object, actions. The three are separate. In this [Absolute Truth Bodhicitta] state, the three are inseparable. Jigden Sumgon’s meditation is in the nature of Absolute Truth guru.


Immeasurable Bodhicitta

Jigden Sumgon is in the nature of Absolute Truth guru, which is inseparable with his guru, Phagmo Drupa. In that state, the arising Absolute Truth Bodhicitta is inseparable with the mind of Phagmo Drupa and Jigden Sumgon, it is the Absolute Truth guru. These are not separate states. This is why, “From the heart-palace of the great being radiates the light of immeasurable bodhicitta,” immeasurable bodhicitta is called Absolute Truth Bodhicitta. Relative Truth bodhicitta is not immeasurable bodhicitta. Relative bodhicitta is always limited bodhicitta.

It is the Realised mind, that arises Absolute Truth Bodhicitta. The three, the Absolute Truth guru mind of his guru, Phagmo Drupa and Jigden Sumgon’s own Realised mind, and Absolute Truth Bodhicitta, are all one. Thus, “From the heart-palace of the great being radiates the light of immeasurable Bodhicitta. Thus in all the pure-lands of the ten directions, innumerable”… Form bodies arise from this light of immeasurable bodhicitta. “… beautiful offering Goddesses manifest”. The goddesses are inseparable with the guru’s mind, (not separate), they are arising from the Absolute Truth guru’s mind.


Immeasurable Bodhicitta manifestations

“… beautiful offering Goddesses manifest, holding water, flowers, incense, lamps, supreme scents, and food”. So all this offering is arising from the Absolute Truth guru, (Realised minds), inseparable with the Absolute Truth Bodhicitta, and within that state, is arising the form bodies called the goddesses. Then those goddesses are “holding water, flowers, incense, lamps, supreme scents, and food”. All this offering is arising from wisdom and method, which are inseparable in this state. Method is also Absolute Bodhicitta, it is wisdom, [oneness/ nondual]. Wisdom is bodhicitta, bodhicitta is wisdom, they are inseparable in this state. Offerings are made to all the Enlightened beings in the ten directions.

So, the main essence, the main point is offerings in the nature of Absolute Truth guru, – subject, object, actions, (the three are inseparable). The immeasurable bodhicitta, goddesses and the offerings are inseparable, because they are arising from immeasurable bodhicitta. All is inseparable in the [Absolute Truth guru] nature states. There are many different kinds of offering objects, here, – “water, flowers, incense, lamps, supreme scents, and food”, which arise with the innumerable offering goddessess in all the pure-lands of the ten directions, making offerings to the Enlightened mind (beings).



Verse 13 (Offering Verse 3)

From the cloud banks of offerings rain falls,
delighting the Victorious Ones of the three-times.
Thereby filling the spheres of realms,
I make offerings to the Victorious Ones of the three-times.


From the cloud banks of offerings rain falls,” the arising offerings are immeasurable. “… delighting the Victorious Ones of the three-times”. All this offering delights the Victorious Ones of the three-times. Meditation, meditating [Absolute Truth guru, nature of rigpa], [bodhicitta activity], pleases the Enlightened beings. The offerings are arising through meditation, through visualising. Meditation, in the nature of rigpa states. Through the bodhicitta, light and all the offerings are arising, then the offerings are made to the Enlightened yidam deities, (Enlightened) beings. [Continuous offerings of benefit and bliss pervading all spheres of realms and beings].

“… delighting the Victorious Ones of the three-times,” – past, present and future Buddhas. “Thereby filling the spheres of realms”. Then, all this offering is going to all the three realms. All the spheres of realms means, all the Enlightened beings pure realms. “I make offerings to the Victorious Ones of the three-times”. So the offerings are made to the Victorious Ones [Enlightened beings] of the three-times. A meditator Realiser does not have to create all these object offerings. So for example, Milarepa, stayed in a cave. Nothing in the cave. Through his realisation, through his bodhicitta, [inseparable with all] the Enlightened beings, [in the nature of Absolute Truth guru], arising all the immeasurable offerings, benefitting all other beings.


Absolute Truth Offerings

In the previous verses, Jigden Sumgon praises the Absolute Truth guru, from which the enlightened activities arise, which ripen all sentient beings minds. It is through the Absolute Truth offerings [bodhicitta] that all sentient beings minds are ripened (benefitted). [In Verse 10, “Until the ocean of samsara is exhausted, you perform the supreme activities that ripen all sentient beings…”, and in Verse 11, “Oceans of emanated offerings to you delight the Victorious Ones and ripen all sentient beings…”]. Generally ordinary people have [mundane mind level thinking], we create Relative Truth offerings, when we have not realised the Absolute Truth guru – this enlightened quality or ability. [So, opening the mind, it is the Bodhicitta mind which ripens into the nature of the Absolute Truth].

Within the Absolute Truth level, when you know this Absolute Truth teaching, then the offering is within that state (inseparably). [When we are on the path, practicing], we meditate Mahamudra, sometimes we think, but what are we going to do for the generosity part, the morality part? We have to practice yidam deities with different names, and yet I cannot stay in the Mahamudra meditation states. We have those doubts, because we don’t have the realisation of Mahamudra yet. Once we have realised Mahamudra, everything is within that state. Everything is spontaneously perfected in that state, is perfectly completed.

In the spontaneously, perfectly completed state of Absolute Truth offerings, the Enlightened Realisers don’t have to create all the subject, object actions, (relative level, duality thinking). They don’t have to “create”, doing things, because it is spontaneously accomplished through the meditation. They are in the nature of the Absolute Truth guru state, and using this Absolute Truth bodhicitta. Through the Realisers realisation, [in the Enlightened state], arises the form bodies of the goddesses, and all the offerings are also naturally arising in that state. This is, “delighting the Victorious Ones of the three-times,” (all the Enlightened beings), and creates an accumulation of merit, this brings benefit to others, ripening sentient beings minds. So that is the main point in that offering verse. Then we go to the fourth offering verse.



Verse 14 (Offering Verse 4)

“Light radiates once more from the body of the Victorious One,
manifesting parasols, victory banners, draped banners, canopies,
musical instruments, garments, precious jewels, medicine, and grains.
I offer ocean-like cloud banks of these manifold offerings”.


“Light radiates once more from the body of the Victorious One,” – through the Absolute Truth Bodhicitta, light radiates again, “once more from the body of the Victorious One”. “… manifesting”, – manifesting because the Realised beings do not need to create objects, everything is their own manifestation, arising through their own realisation (bodhicitta). “… manifesting parasols, victory banners, draped banners, canopies, musical instruments, garments, precious jewels, medicine, and grains. I offer ocean-like cloud banks of these manifold offerings”. All these offerings.

So here many of the offering objects are mentioned. Sometimes in the monastery, in the temple, there are the cloth offerings, for example the banners, that you can see hanging in the monastery. But in this verse, through the Realised beings meditation, everything becomes their own manifestation offering. (Through our meditation, everything can become our own manifestation offerings). Who has that ability, (our own meditation manifestation offerings)? It is only those who have realised that the Absolute Truth guru’s mind, and their own mind, are inseparable. Then that person [being], has the ability to make these offerings [arising from the Absolute Truth nature].


Making connections to the Absolute Truth guru mind

We don’t have that ability [when we are not a Realised being], that is why we need these objects, (Relative Truth level) offerings. When we’re in the Relative Truth states, we [make] connections through these offerings, [to the Realised mind nature]. Then the fifth offering verse.



Verse 15 (Offering Verse 5)

“The seven precious royal attributes,
like Wheel; the seven subsidiary ones, like the Mansion;
the auspicious substances; the substances of the Siddhis;
and so on have arisen from the Two Accumulations.
Please accept these offerings”.


So then again here, using all the different objects. All this you can usually see. We offer these to the guru, when we have Long Life Ceremonies and so forth, and you can go to the temple and see all the physical forms of the offering objects there. In this case we don’t have to create physical objects, everything is through our own manifestation, (through mental visualising). Then that offering is made to the Enlightened beings. Then this offering, “… have arisen from the Two Accumulations”. So, it brings the two accumulations together. [Also called the two collections or two types of merit, they are: the merit of virtue (morality), which develops the method side of the path by practicing generosity, patience and so forth, and the merit of (transcendental) wisdom, which develops the wisdom side of the path by meditation on emptiness and so forth]. Joyful effort to accumulate both virtue, and practice wisdom meditation.

The method, and wisdom, are called the two accumulations of merit. These are brought together, into oneness (inseparable), – [realised the nature of Absolute Truth guru mind (rigpa)], this is offered to the Enlightened beings. Then, the sixth offering verse.



Verse 16 (Offering Verse 6)

“Furthermore, I behold in my mind and offer to the Protector
all offerings throughout the limitless pure-lands of the Victorious Ones
that belong to an owner and do not belong to an owner,
and all that is worthy to be offered”.


So here Jigden Sumgon is mentally visualising, and making offerings to the Absolute Truth guru, of manifestations, arising from his realised nature (rigpa). He is manifesting all these offerings through his nature of rigpa. “Furthermore, I behold in my mind and offer to the Protector all offerings throughout the limitless pure-lands of the Victorious Ones”. [Jigden Sumgon is making offerings from the Realised mind nature, to the Realised beings, (all the Victorious Ones, Enlightened beings, Buddhas), of all the Realised offerings, pervading all the limitless pure-lands. (This can only be accomplished by a Realised being)].

So then this offering, it says “that belong to an owner…”. Something that is owned by someone. Also, “and do not belong to an owner…”. For example, within a country, the houses and cars and so forth all belong to the owner. Maybe we can say the forests and the oceans etc, do not belong to an owner. They are part of a region, now everything already belongs somewhere. Nothing, does not belong somewhere anymore, countries claim, this is mine and so forth. The main point is it doesn’t matter, Jigden Sumgon says, someone can cross the oceans, lakes climb the mountains, pass through the forests, trees and flowers, whether they are someone’s or not, we can bring all this into our minds and offer this to the Enlightened beings.


Antidote to self-clinging

[When we are realised, the offering is in the Absolute Truth nature]. As long as we have a more selfish mind, self-grasping (self-clinging), [not a Realised being yet]. This is what this offering is for, that Jigden Sumgon is speaking about here, [antidote to self-clinging, the reason why we continue to revolve in samsara]. Whether owned by others, or not owned, it doesn’t matter, everything is brought, as mine (all of it). Everything is owned by me, (this me, selfish mind), and then you are offering it to Enlightened beings (giving it up). Jigden Sumgon said, that this is more effective [antidote] to our self-grasping mind.

If we have very strong, selfish mind, (strong self-grasping), only all the time thinking about me and I, and then we see the beautiful land, ocean, flowers, houses, cars, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. And you know, beautiful clothes [shopping] malls, everything inside there. Also, restaurant food, whatever we see. All this we bring to the mind, and then mentally, offering to Enlightened beings. [Our true nature is the Enlightened nature, it is just temporary occluded by the self-clinging, (like clouds). When they pass, there is the clear, radiance of the open sky. By making these offerings and dedicating correctly, (realising the true Absolute nature of the subject, object and action of the offerings), these offering dedications are then seeds of awakening, (with us, until the true, Absolute nature is Realised), never lost].


Liberating the mind

Making offerings in this way, is effective antidote to our self-grasping, if we have very strong, selfish mind. [Method for opening up the spacious awareness in the mind of the true, Absolute nature]. We always need mindfulness, doing this, [this connects us to the awareness of true Absolute nature]. It does not matter where we are going, [externally, relative level. This is inner work – clearing)]. Always we go outside somewhere, shopping malls, nature, forests, you know, the ocean, hiking. It doesn’t matter where we are going, cities, – every object, mentally we bring to the mind and offer mentally.

So that is more powerful, [effective to the mind], than making physical object offerings and chanting, in our room, [and we are not inner connected]. [What we are doing here, is training the mind beyond its habitual self-grasping at relative reality, as somehow inherently, solidly existing from its own side. Delusion to argue with appearances, we do this because we have not stable Realisation of mind in its true Absolute nature (rigpa). The dualistic mind follows appearances (believing in the separation of self and other), instead of realising the essential, essence nature of all phenomena, (all phenomena have the same essential nature)].

If we are doing these offerings, then always we have to be mindful. When we see that object, we have no fixation to the object. [The practice is], we visualise everything as mine, bring it, and then offer to the Enlightened beings. So that is the method of offering, for ordinary beings. Then we go to offering verse 7.



Verse 17 (Offering Verse 7)

“I offer all pure-lands of the Victorious Ones of the three-times,
which are the very pure mandalas of the Three Kayas
completely filled with flawless prosperity.
Please accept these offerings you, the Lord of Compassion”.


“I offer all pure-lands of the Victorious Ones of the three-times”… In the previous verse, the offering is impure place, (relative level). Everything is brought to mind and offered. In this verse, bring the Pure-lands into our mind, and make this offering to the Enlightened beings. “… which are the very pure mandalas of the Three Kayas, completely filled with flawless prosperity. Please accept these offerings you, the Lord of Compassion”. We think about for example Padmasambhava’s Purelands, Tara’s Purelands, and Buddha Amitabha’s Purelands, all those kinds of Pure-lands, are brought to the mind. So then also the pure Pure-lands are offered to the Enlightened beings. Ordinary level perception is brought to pure perception, and this offering is made, to Enlightened beings. Also wherever it is that we stay right now, visualising it as Amitabha Pure-lands, and offering to the Enlightened beings. This is called pure- offerings.

Offering verse 6 that we have just finished before this one, covers the relative level, impure offerings. (Everything in this world, we bring to our own mind and make offering to Enlightened beings). In this offering verse 7, visualise, all this place, visualise all this universe, as Buddha Amitabha’s palace. And all beings, are like Buddha Amitabha’s form, and retinues, Bodhisattvas, and offering this to Enlightened beings, – pure offerings. Then in this verse, the offerings are also through meditation. So, “… the very pure mandalas of the Three Kayas”. Pure mandalas of the Three Kayas, is mind’s nature, the Absolute Truth guru, or nature of rigpa states, – that is called Absolute Truth mandala. The Three Kayas are this state, (as we have already mentioned), and that is the Absolute Truth secret level state, and the offering. Then, offering verse 8.



Verse 18 (Offering Verse 8)


“To you, Protector, I offer my body, speech and mind;
all wealth equal to space, without exception;
and all the virtues accumulated in the three-times.
Out of compassion, please accept these for the benefit of all sentient beings”.


“To you, Protector”. Protector is guru. Absolute Truth guru is Absolute Truth Protector. Of course then, relative level, also our own guru(s), (the relative forms), the spiritual beings, are the Protectors. Guru is Absolute Truth Protection. “I offer my body, speech and mind”. So, [here Jigten Sumgon is offering body, speech and mind, and likewise, we offer this way]. “All wealth equal to space, without exception; and all the virtues accumulated in the three-times”. So also, all the virtues of the past, present and future we offer. We create an accumulation of merit, everything we are offering to the gurus.

“Out of compassion, please accept…” So we ask Guru, out of your compassion, please accept these offerings. “… accept these for the benefit of all sentient beings”. Benefit, for all other beings. So, this is for our ability, [we think about (reflect on this) ourselves]. If we have not Realised Absolute Truth guru, we think about [reflect upon], the Spiritual Realisers (masters), who have this Realisation [Absolute Truth guru], – those who have Realisation, who help us, we visualise those guru(s). Then we say, “I offer my body, speech and mind”. Everything we are offering to the gurus, “… all wealth equal to space, without exception; and all the virtues accumulated in the three-times”. Then, through guru’s compassion, please accept our offerings, benefit all other sentient beings. Then the next verse.  
 



Verse 19 (Offering Verse 9)  

By seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching,
and recollecting the Vajra Goddesses of form, sound, odor,
taste, and tangible objects, the three obscurations are purified.
I offer the Goddesses of Appealing objects to you.
Please accept them, immaculate victorious lord”.


Verse 9 of the offering section. This offering is more elaborate. “By seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and recollecting the Vajra Goddesses of form, sound, odor, taste, and tangible objects, the three obscurations are purified. I offer the Goddesses of Appealing objects to you. Please accept them, immaculate victorious lord”. So, by seeing, (we are seeing the form), hearing, smell, taste and touch, all the senses, (and the five objects of the senses), “… and recollecting the Vajra Goddesses of form, sound, odor, taste, and tangible objects”. We visualise form goddesses, sound goddesses, odor and taste goddesses, and tangible objects. We bring these to mind, then we are offering all the five senses, and tangible objects, so that the three obscurations are purified, (the body, speech and mind obstacles).

“I offer the Goddesses of Appealing objects to you”. The Vajra Goddesses, is the knowing, that sound is emptiness, form is emptiness, all the senses, the tangible objects, all is emptiness. So that is called, “… recollecting the Vajra Goddessess”. All this, that becomes the form body of the Vajra Goddesses (emptiness). Vajra Goddesses are not actually physical, ordinary form. Vajra means, “Sound is emptiness, emptiness is sound. Sound, is none other than emptiness. Emptiness, is none other than sound” [*Prajnaparamita, Heart Sutra of Transcendental Wisdom]. Then, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness, emptiness is none other than form”. So that Realisation, or wisdom, is arising the form, of the form Vajra Goddessses.


Beyond the perception of ordinary physical form

Vajra means indestructible. Not just ordinary physical form. Vajra Goddesses means, – Realisation is arising the form bodies, that is called the Vajra Goddesses. So, Jigden Sumgon he has Realised the five senses, the five objects of the five senses, the five faculties, and the five consciousnesses, all is emptiness. Sometimes we speak of six senses. So sometimes we speak of 15 or 18 emptinesses [For either, the 5×3 or 6×3 aspects accordingly].



Additional section: Further explanatory material on the subject matter –


For 15 or 18 emptinesses.


[Also see: https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/maha-prajnaparamita-sastra/d/doc82378.html

The absence of inherent existence of all phenomena

[*”Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience. It adds nothing to, and takes nothing away from, the raw data of physical and mental events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether there’s anything lying behind them”. Excerpt from What Do Buddhists Mean When They Talk About Emptiness? – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review].

[Emptiness (Skt. śūnyatā; Tib. སྟོང་པོ་ཉིད་tongpa nyiWyl. stong pa nyid) — the absence of inherent existence in all phenomena, which was explained by the Buddha in the sutras of the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma, and further elaborated upon by masters such as Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti. (The Emptiness of Dependent Origination)].


The Emptiness of Dependent Origination

[**skandha, (Sanskrit: “aggregates”) Pāli Khandha, 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].

[“The first five are the **skandhas; the next six are the inner sense bases (ayatanas) or the sense faculties, and the six outer sense bases or their objects. Then adding the six types of consciousnesses, we have the eighteen dhatus or elements, through which ordinary beings pursue the various sense objects. Consciousness coming into contact with these objects creates a condition for attachment to arise. So we can see that the five skandhas and the eighteen dhatus cover all material things as well as our mind. They give us different ways to categorize and analyze them”. The following link to the article also gives a further brief explanation, The Nature of Everything Is Emptiness | Karmapa – The Official Website of the 17th Karmapa (kagyuoffice.org) ].

[Another way to explain the same progression is the Four Emptinesses of Completion Stage Meditation (see philosophy – Are there different types of emptiness (Śūnyatā)? – Buddhism Stack Exchange)

  1. Emptiness, experienced when the first five consciousnesses (of sense-organ experiences) dissolve into the sixth (the consciousness of mental experiences).
  2. Great Emptiness, experienced when the sixth consciousness dissolves into the seventh (emotional consciousness).
  3. Extreme Emptiness, experienced when the seventh consciousness dissolves into the eighth (ground consciousness).
  4. Total Emptiness, experienced when the eighth consciousness dissolves into primal wisdom].



Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma

A brief overview see:
Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma – Wikipedia



– End of additional material section –




Back to, Verse 19 (Offering Verse 9)

All 18 or 15 of them, all are inseparable, everything is emptiness. “Emptiness is form. Form is emptiness. Emptiness is none other than form. Form is none other than emptiness” [Heart Sutra]. So that Realisation, is the offering [Absolute Truth guru, nature of rigpa]. “… recollecting the Vajra Goddesses of form, sound, odor, taste, and tangible objects, the three obscurations are purified”. Recollecting in this Realisation, the three obscurations are purified. [*The three obscurations are: emotional, cognitive and extremely subtle form of cognitive obscurations, [four obscurations, if karmic obscurations are added to the previous three obscurations]. Here, these offerings, [of the Realisation of the Absolute Truth nature], are made to the “immaculate Victorious lord,” referring to Buddha, or Enlightened beings, (the stainless oneness, perfectly pure (free of obscurations)].



– Additional material section –

The omniscient mind is the continuity of this present consciousness that is completely purified of all obscurations and is perfected in all the understanding. The absolute nature of that omniscient mind is also completely pure. So, the omniscient mind itself is the transcendental wisdom of dharmakaya, and the absolute nature of that is svabhavakaya, ngo wo nyi ku, or the state of self-nature. This translates as the holy body of the self-nature, but svabhavakaya is not a physical body, it is the state of self-nature.

Our mind, or consciousness, is not oneness with the obscurations. It is not oneness with ignorance, anger and attachment. Just as a mirror is not oneness with dirt, but is temporarily obscured by dirt, so our mind is stained by the obscurations but it is not oneness with them. It is temporarily obscured by veils such as the two kinds of obscurations, the more subtle obscurations to the omniscient mind [that block our enlightenment] and the more gross obscurations of delusions [that block our liberation].

Our present mind is temporarily obscured by these two veils, so it is not pure. Just as a mirror covered by dust is not clean, or just as a white cloth that is covered by the dirt of our body is not clean, like that our mind is not clean or pure. We can say that the absolute nature of the mind is pure because it is not oneness with the obscurations, however our present mind is not pure and stainless, because it is stained by obscurations. By practicing the remedy and by generating the path in our mind, we can remove the two obscurations and our mind becomes the omniscient mind, the transcendental wisdom of dharmakaya. The absolute nature of that becomes the svabhavakaya, the state of the self-nature, which is called enlightenment.

Buddha Nature and the Omniscient Mind | Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive


– End of additional material section –





Verse 20 (Offering Verse 10)

“The Vajra Goddess of body, nature of form,
Is the Supreme Goddess of fully purified ignorance.
I merge her with the eyes of the Lama, Lord of Dharma.
Please accept this in the great bliss of non-duality”.


In the last verse Jigden Sumgon gave a summary, introducing the Vajra Goddesses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching), pure 5 sense offering. He then elaborates further on these, one by one, a verse at a time. First is seeing, form Goddess, “The Vajra Goddess of body, nature of form”. The nature of form is emptiness. “Emptiness is form [body], form [body] is emptiness. Emptiness is none other than form, form is none other than emptiness”. So that arising form body is called Vajra Goddess of the body. The nature of the form of the Vajra Goddess’s body is emptiness.

“Is the Supreme Goddess…”, that nature is called Supreme Goddess. Why is it called Supreme Goddess? It is because Supreme Realisation is emptiness. The form is emptiness, [as given in the four lines above, from the Heart Sutra of The Perfection of Transcendental Wisdom]. So that Realisation is the Supreme Realisation, that is called “… the Supreme Goddess of fully purified ignorance”. Whoever has this Realisation, fully purifies ignorance. All the forms become pure dharmadhatu, fully purified ignorance.


The great bliss of non-duality

“I merge her with the eyes of the Lama, Lord of Dharma. Please accept this in the great bliss of non-duality”. So Jigden Sumgon is offering nonduality. Nonduality is dharmadhatu. The nature of form-emptiness is dharmadhatu, and dharmadhatu arising as form, is called [Supreme] Vajra Goddess of body. Jigden Sumgon is offering to Enlightened beings, his guru Phagmo Drupa, (because the ignorance is purified), when the dharmadhatu (nonduality) is Realised. And then that Realisation is offering to the guru (Absolute Truth guru). Another way this is said is, – offering dharmadhatu wisdom to the gurus. Dharmadhatu wisdom is purified ignorance, (is knowing all forms are emptiness), body, all these forms are transformed to dharmadhatu, and then that Realisation, is the offering to the guru.

“Please accept this in the great bliss of non-duality,” through non-duality, I request guru to please accept these offerings. So this offering is not the relative idea, that practicing is hard. This offering is through meditation. Our mind is merging into guru’s mind inseparably, and knowing, all this form is guru’s form. Guru’s form is also the same as Vajra Goddess here. Guru’s form is empty. Empty form is guru. Guru’s form is emptiness, emptiness is guru’s form. So, then merging into the guru’s form inseparably, all seeing form(s), is inseparable with guru’s form. And then that Realisation, naturally purifies ignorance itself. Then that Realisation is called dharmadhatu wisdom, that is nonduality meditation practice, and that is true guru’s form body offering. Not the physical form body, that we bring into the [practice] room, and make offerings of the physical objects, to [the outer physical form of the] guru, that is Relative Truth offerings.


Absolute Truth form, offerings

But in this offering, it is through Realisation of meditation, mind is in [rigpa] nature, dharmadhatu states, meditating. Knowing all this form is guru’s form. Guru’s form is emptiness, and then that Realisation, removes all the ignorance. And that Realisation is called dharmadhatu, and that is called Absolute Truth offering (nondual offering), it purifies ignorance. These are Absolute Truth form offerings. Relative form is, we see the beautiful objects, we can use the beautiful objects, (as we have just spoken of). Bring everything into our mind, and then offering to the Enlightened beings. When you see beautiful cities, landscapes, any attractive object, bring into mind and offering it this way. These are Relative Truth offerings.

In this offering verse, this is called Absolute Truth offering, is through Realisation, knowing all the form is emptiness, it is dharmadhatu. Then all the form you are seeing is guru’s form, it is the Absolute Truth guru’s form, is emptiness form. It is called guru’s form, that which purifies ignorance, that is Absolute Truth form body. On the Relative level, we have beautiful object offerings, attractive objects that we have mentioned here.


Inner & Secret level Offerings

Absolute Truth offering has two different levels. There is sometimes confusion here. Absolute Truth level offering has, inner level offerings, and secret level offerings. Inner level offering is, seeing all form is Goddess form, guru’s form and offering. So we usually meditate that all form is Enlightened being, Buddha’s form body, and that is called inner offering. Secret offering is mind is in the nature state of rigpa. Then in that state it is called dharmadhatu, no subject, object exist in that state. In that Realisation, ignorance is naturally released (transformed), that is called Absolute Truth offerings. So, the offerings are dependent on the level of capacity of the practitioners. For ordinary people, it is good, on seeing the physical objects, expensive objects, beautiful objects, attractive objects, to bring to the mind, and offering these. Then visualise the Yidam deity practitioners, in the manner of, all form is Enlightened beings form offering. For the Mahamudra meditator, in the nonduality states, ignorance releases itself. It is called dharmadhatu offering, that is secret level offerings.

Individuals all have different capacity levels. Jigden Sumgon presents all of the levels of offerings here. Through his Realisation (ability), he makes Absolute Truth level offerings. For ordinary people, beginner level offering, is to make outer level offerings, or using beautiful objects, and bringing to mind, and offering to Enlightened beings. Why is offering important? The offering here helps us to realise, that samsara is created by self-grasping (selfish mind), and then, on the other hand, nirvana (all is Enlightened), is free from self-grasping fixation. So that is why offering is antidote to self-grasping, (the selfish mind) and, creates an accumulation of merit.


Antidote to self-grasping

The offering is not just our ordinary thinking way, of making offerings, as in the giving of a physical object to someone. Each of the offerings includes all the different practice levels together. The practice of the Six Paramitas, is contained within the Prostration Offering, (the first part of this prayer). Each practice, has all the different practice levels within them, (they can not be separated). Just as when we buy a laptop, computer, a device like an iphone, they have so many things within those packages, and are not just the outer shell, or logo. Everything is inside there, even the app’s are included. The whole package is together. So, in the same way, when we are practicing The Seven Branch Offering, each of the branches contains the entire package, (all the practices together, within that).

So, we have to understand that. Each of these branches is inseparable. Each branch, contains all the Six Paramitas together, and one branch has all the other branches with it together. Seven branches, you can multiply by seven times again. (Seven times seven, is forty-nine). You see, you can create forty-nine branches. So [for each branch], the ‘Offering Prostration‘, ‘Confession Prostration‘ and so forth, – each one, brings all these practices together. So we can go up to forty-nine Seven Branch Prayers. All this is brought into one. In this verse, here “… Lord of Dharma. Please accept this in the great bliss of nonduality”. Everything is brought to oneness, “… In the great bliss of nonduality”. All branches, all paramitas are in that state, inseparable. So that is the [Absolute Truth] body, nature of form. The benefit of this, is that usually we have fixation to the form body, attached to the appearances, the forms. Through making offerings in this way, all this is transforming. The next verse is the Vajra Goddess of mind.





(Continued on Sublime Heart Teachings (3) …)