«The All-Embracing Mahamudra»

The Mahasiddha Tilopa once said to his disciple Naropa,

«Beloved Naropa,

This treasure of Buddhahood
belongs to you and to all beings.

Obsessive use of meditative disciplines
or perennial study of scripture and philosophy
will never bring forth this wonderful Realization,
this Truth which is natural to Awareness,
because the mind that desperately desires
to reach another realm or level of experience
inadvertently ignores the basic Light
that constitutes all experience.

The one who fabricates
any division in consciousness
betrays the friendship of Mahamudra.
Cease all activity that separates,
abandon even the desire
to be free from desires
and allow the thinking process
to rise and fall smoothly
as waves on a shoreless ocean.

The one who never dwells in abstraction
and whose only principle
is never to divide or separate
upholds the trust of Mahamudra.
The one who abandons craving
for authority and definition,
and never becomes one–sided
in argument or understanding,
alone perceives the authentic meaning
hidden in the ancient scriptures.
In the blissful embrace of Mahamudra,
negative viewpoints and their instincts
are burned without remainder—
like camphor.

Through the open door of Mahamudra,
the deluded state of self–imprisonment
is easily left behind forever.
Mahamudra is the torch of supreme Liberation
shining forth through all conscious beings.
Those beings constituted by Awareness
who try to ignore, reject or grasp Awareness
inflict sorrow and confusion upon themselves
like those who are insane.
To be awakened from this madness,
cultivate the gracious friendship of a sublime sage of Mahamudra,
who may appear to the world as mad.
When the limited mind enters blessed companionship
with limitless Mind (Awareness),
indescribable Freedom dawns.

Selfish or limited motivations
create the illusory sense of imprisonment
and scatter seeds of further delusion.
Even genuine religious teaching
can generate narrowness of vision.
Trust only the approach
that is utterly vast and profound.

The noble way of Mahamudra
never engages in the drama
of imprisonment and release.
The sage of Mahamudra
has absolutely no distractions,
because no war against distractions
has ever been declared.
This nobility and gentleness alone,
this nonviolence of thought and action
is the traceless path of all Buddhas.
To walk this all–embracing way
is the bliss of Buddhahood.

Phenomena on every plane of being
are constantly arising and disappearing.
Thus they are forever fresh,
always new and inexhaustible.
Like dreams without solid substance,
they can never become rigid or binding.
The universe exists in a deep, elusive way
that can never be grasped or frozen.
Why feel obsessive desire or hatred for it,
thereby creating illusory bonds?
Renounce arbitrary, habitual views.

Go forth courageously to meditate
in the real mountain wilderness—
the wide open Mahamudra.
Transcend boundaries of kinship
by embracing all living beings
as one family of consciousness.
Remain without any compulsion
in the landscape of natural Freedom—
spontaneous, generous and joyful.

When you receive the crown of Mahamudra,
all sense of rank or attainment
will quietly disappear.
Cut the root of the vine
that chokes the tree,
and its clinging tendrils
wither away entirely.
Sever the conventionally grasping mind,
and all bondage and desperation dissolve.

The illumination from an oil lamp
lights the room instantly,
even if it has been dark for aeons.
Mind is boundless radiance.
How can the slightest darkness remain
in the room of daily perception?

But one who clings to mental processes
cannot awaken to the radiance of Mind.
Strenuously seeking truth by investigation and concentration,
one will never appreciate the unthinkable
simplicity and bliss that abide at the Core.
To uncover this fertile ground,
cut through the roots of complexity
with the sharp gaze of naked Awareness,
remaining entirely at peace, transparent and content.
You need not expend great effort
nor store up extensive spiritual power.
Remain in the flow of sheer Awareness.

Mahamudra neither accepts nor rejects
any current of energy, internal or external.
Since the ground consciousness
is never born into any realm of being,
nothing can add to or subtract from it.
Nothing can obstruct or stain it.
When Awareness rests here,
the appearance of division and conflict
disappears into original Reality.
The twin emotions of anxiety and arrogance
vanish into the void from which they came.

Supreme knowing knows no separate subject or object.
Supreme action acts resourcefully without any array of instruments.
Supreme attainment attains the goal without past, future or present.

The dedicated practitioner
experiences the spiritual way
as a turbulent mountain stream,
tumbling dangerously among boulders.
When maturity is reached,
the river flows smoothly and patiently
with the powerful sweep of the Ganges.
Emptying into the Ocean of Mahamudra,
the water becomes ever–expanding Light
that pours into Great Clear Light—
without direction, destination,
division, distinction or description.»

(English version by Lex Hixon, another translation can be found here)



Other sayings by Tilopa.

One torch can dissipate
the accumulated darkness
of a thousand aeons.

The oil, which is the essence of the sesame—
although known even by the ignorant to be contained in the seed—
cannot be extracted unless it is learnt how to do so.
Likewise, the innate gnosis (wisdom–insight, natural realization, sanskr. sahaja–jnana)—
though always present in the hearts of beings—
is not realized unless a wise guru explains the way.
By pounding the sesame, removing the husks,
it is possible to extract the essential oil.
Likewise, when one attends to the guru’s Instruction,
the truth of the Absolute (sanskr. Tathata) is revealed.
This is the symbolism of the sesame.
Indivisible and one is the Innate Essence (sanskr. sahaja) of all that exists!
Oh! So vast, so deep, the meaning is now perfectly clear.
How wonderful!

At first, a yogi feels
his mind is tumbling like a waterfall.
In mid–course, like the Ganges
it flows on slow and gentle.
In the end, it is a great vast Ocean
where the Lights of Son and Mother
merge in One.

Kye ho! Listen with sympathy!
With insight into
your sorry worldly predicament,
realizing that nothing can last,
that all is as dreamlike illusion,
meaningless illusion provoking
frustration and boredom,
turn around and abandon
your mundane pursuits.

Stop all physical activity
and sit naturally at ease.
Remain silent
and let sound be like an echo.
Do not think about anything,
look at experience beyond thought,
open–minded like space.
Let go of control, stop
and rest at ease in that state.
Awareness without projection
is the greatest meditation.
Train and develop like this
and you will come to the deepest Awakening.

If you are beyond all grasping
at an object and at a subject,
that is the king of all views.
If there is no distraction,
it is the king of all meditations.
If there is no effort,
it is the king among all conducts.
When there is no hope and no fear,
that is the final result,
and the fruition has been attained or revealed.

The appearances of the world are not the problem,
it’s clinging to them that causes suffering.

It’s not the appearance that binds you,
it’s the attachment to the appearance that binds you.

Child, it is not by appearances that you are fettered,
but by craving.

Samsara is to see fault in others.

Cut the mind at its root and rest in naked Awareness.

Have a mind that is open to everything, and attached to nothing.

Like space, one’s mind is not dependent on anything.
Rest relaxed in the Natural State (sanskr. sahaja).

Don’t recall. Let go of what has passed.
Don’t imagine. Let go of what may come.
Don’t think. Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t examine. Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t control. Don’t try to make anything happen.
Rest. Relax, right now, and rest.


Back to Overview

Share this post via