First I will explain
the foundation of Mahamudra and then actual meditation on Mahamudra according
to the teaching or text called Nye Don Donme
Today I am giving Mahamudra Teaching this is the first time I am giving Mahamudra in Nelson last time Zasep Rinpoche asked me to give some teachings on Mahamudra but we didnt have the time.
And I have received the Mahamudra teachings from various lamas traditions and this particular Mahamudra teaching I am giving to you this lineage I have received from Kalu Rinpoche the great Kargyu lama from one of the main lineage holder of the chungpa Kargyu tradition. Also I have received this teaching from the 16 Gyalwa Karmapa.
Im not a great teacher and I dont consider myself as an expert on Mahamudra but I like to give some teachings on Mahamudra to you to repay their kindness of all my teachers specially the lamas like the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and Kalu Rinpoche. To repay their kindness.
So in the past the Buddhadharma flourished and so long and we have been very fortunate and we have many traditions and lineages different lineages. Altogether there were 8 different lineages or traditions in Tibet or part of Tibetan Buddhism.
As I said there are 8 different traditions and the Kargyu tradition Mahamudra is one the most important practice or meditation and also particularly Karma Kargyu tradition or what we call Kamsang tradition. Mahamudra is most important part of the teaching.
According to the Kargyu tradition they also have different lineages they have 4 what we call Chezi the great lineages and 4 chugzi lesser or smaller lineage so all together there was 8 of the Kargyu tradition and basically its the same. But they have a little different tradition the way they explain the teachings the way they practice they way they taught the teachings they have a different style.
So this particular Mahamudra teaching I am giving to you today I received this teaching from Kalu Rinpoche. The name of this text is called Ne Don Donme This teaching comes from Lodre Thai Jamgon Kongtrul.
According to Jamgon Kongtrul teaching on Mahamudra he put emphasis on foundation practice a lot. It is very important to practice the foundation before actually we engage ourselves into the Mahamudra meditation.
And I am very happy to say to express that so many of you are interested in the Buddhadharma and Sangha and also generally people in the west there is lots of interest in Dharma and Buddhism and interest in meditation is always increasing.
A long time ago the Buddha Sakyamuni gave a prediction and he said that Dharma would flourish in the land of people with the red face, redmen. Long time ago many Indians and Tibetans interpreted/thought that this land is perhaps Mongolian or Siberia because Dharma was spreading towards that direction. But now many thinkers believe this land is North America.
Also we do have a prediction given by the Buddha his teaching of the Dharma will travel from India to the north then he said from north towards to the north. We know that Dharma has flourished to the north in Mongolia and all the way to Siberia.
So all of you are very interested in Buddhadharma and meditation sincere I am very happy to teach. And also I would like to say that when you practice Dharma it is very important to practice according to the lineage and also step by step not to confuse the order and go step by step.
It is easy to talk about Dharma and it easy to listen to dharma but it isnt easy to practice. So if we dont practice Dharma and mediation properly then things can go wrong with ones own practice if things go wrong then things can be harmful to ones self and also to others.
So when we practice Dharma and meditation we need to think about how to focus the mind on Dharma, the essence of Dharma practice is to cultivate peace, to cultivate inner peace, to subdue our mind. We need to know that the purpose of Dharma teaching is to subdue our mind to cultivate inner peace.
Many great teachers said in the past, see you are studying the great teaching of Mahayana and you could say of yourself that I am a Mahayanist but that's not good enough. You have to actually integrate these teachings deep into your heart it has to kind of soak into your heart in your mind. It has to be absorbed into system, mind system.
See many people when the come to Dharma first people have eagerness and excitement but also many people have a very simple mind kind of black and white mind and dont even realise they have become a little bit sectarian or discriminating. "I am Gelugpa", "I am Nyingmapa" "I am this pa that pa" and not realising that the essence of all these teachings is the same. We should think that we are doing the same practice for the same purpose. We have to realise that all these teachings have to be respected and we need to know that they are the same thing.
The very first founder is the Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha gave three teachings on the 3 Yanas. The gradual path to enlightenment, Sutrayana and Tantrayana and so forth. The essence of these teachings is to cultivate wisdom and compassion and lightened mind Clear light and bliss and so on and enlightenment for all sentient beings. So when people are not knowing these teachings and people cultivating narrow minded and discriminating the teachings and then they sometimes they use the teachings in the wrong way. Instead of purifying the mind we might be diluting our mind
Now when we read the history of Tibetan Buddhism each tradition of the four traditions or four lineages have great founders. For instance according to the Sakyapa tradition they have five great Lamas as founders. What they call three white lamas and two red lamas. And according to the Kargyu tradition the great Marpa and Milarepa and Gampopa and so forth many great teachers they were the founders. And according to the Nyingma they have great lamas like Mipam Rinpoche and many other teachers. In the Gelug tradition Lama Tsongkapa and his disciples Kaedrub and Gyaeltsab and so forth. And so if you have the time to study, if you have wisdom you find the essence of all these teachings are one and go back to the same source.
So it is very important to have an open mind and great interest in all the great traditions not only Tibetan tradition but other traditions as well.
The great fifth Dalai Lama, one of his teacher was called First Panchen Lama. He wrote a famous text which explains how all these practices have the same essence. He explained about how the Mahamudra DzogChen and Madhyamika or what we call the middle path he explained that all these three have the same essence.
The first Panchen Lama was called Losang Chogen he wrote the root text of Mahamudra according to the Gelugpa tradition. He explained that Mahamudra DzogChen and Madhyamika and suche all these traditions had the same essence. The same taste. He gave an example if you look at one big chunk of sugar if you bite into this sugar doesnt matter which side you find the same taste of sugar. Doesnt matter which way you bite. So its like this Mahamudra DzogChen and Madhyamika all have the same taste when we know how to bite it. And if you know how to taste you find the same taste.
All these traditions have a final kind of view on voidness in other words emptiness clear light. According to the Nyingma tradition it explains voidness the clear light to Dzogchen way. According to the Kargyu tradition it explains the clear light and voidness the Mahamudra way and according to the Gelugpa it explains the voidness and clear light the ultimate view of Sunyata through the system called the Madhyamika or middle path.
According to all those traditions or lineages the emphasis is on foundation practice especially in the Mahamudra tradition we have know the foundation practice, it explains a lot about the foundation practice. The actual practice of Mahamudra is to actually observe the mind and recognizing the nature of mind and meditating on the nature of the mind, trying to realise the nature of the mind.
So as I said before the essence of Dharma is to cultivate peaceful mind enlightened mind so therefore the foundation practice is the way to cultivate the mind, peaceful mind subdue our minds.
Subduing the mind is important one, cultivating Dharma in our mind to integrate into our mind is very important otherwise no matter what kind of profound advanced practice we do or you go into long retreat say you do a three year retreat or even a longer retreat you do lots of practice and repetition so many hours. If the Dharma practice isnt implemented into your mind so when you come out of the retreat your mind is still the same. Nothing has really changed. So then means that the Dharma is not really absorbed into your mental continuum.
The Buddha himself also said in the sutra, the essence of Dharma is to cultivate inner peace and purify defilements or delusion and to cherish others. This is the essence of the Dharma this is my teaching.
It is important for us to analyse from time to time to inspect our Dharma practice to see how much change has happened, how much progress is made since we started meditation some time ago, some years ago , many years ago, look back. So when you see the progress has been made you can rejoice yourself.
When we say that we are going to practice Dharma which actually means I am going to purify the mind, purify my ego. When you inspect your Dharma practice or yourself and when you see your defilements are becoming less and less. For example anger aggression passion attachment ignorance all those defilements become lesser become subsided then you can say, yes my Dharma practice is good.
When we study Dharma a lot . Many people read books and take teachings here and there, take initiations and we search the path we do lots of study and meditation learn so much. There is one danger we need to know, that people have lots of intellectual understanding becomes many people read intellectually read so much and talk lots and have lots of discussion and so forth. Attend many teachings and initiations and study we are unable to cultivate the Dharma in our heart we fail to cultivating the Dharma then what happens is we think to ourselves in kind of subconscious way we think we know the Dharma Oh I know Dharma You think you know Dharma and you think you have the realisations just because you know in you head. But its not really absorbed into your heart. So its like when the Dharma comes in it bounces off like throwing water on canvas and doesnt soak into it. When that happens when you get into that kind of habit then its difficult. Then every time you receive teachings it never goes in, never soaks in to the mind then that's the danger to be aware.
There is a Tibetan word cho means Dharma and cho med means kind of a hard hearted dharmic person you call yourself dharma person but your heart has become very hard, not very soft and the Dharma is not being absorbed into the heart and then that's difficult that's a problem.
We practice for the Dharma we meditate we choose the Dharma path by ourselves voluntarily nobody forces us and nobody tries to manipulate us nobody tries to brainwash us we choose the Dharma through our own choice.
Whenever we practice Dharma the most important thing is that you practice, what ever you do for practice you try to do it properly and purely. Quality is the most important, quantity is not important.
There are different ways you can study and also different ways you can practice Mahamudra. According to the Kargyu tradition or Gelug tradition if you are committed yourself to practice Mahamudra like step by step especially if you wish to practice the Tantric aspect of Mahamudra then you need to receive initiation, not only lower Tantric initiation of one of the Tantric deity according to the Annutara yoga Tantra. For example according to the Kargyu tradition you have to receive Vajravarahi/Vajrayogini initiation or Heruka Chakrasamvara. According to the Gelug tradition you also have to receive Vajrayogini Heruka, Yamantaka, and so forth. But those of you who havent received all these or any kind of initiation like that you could do the Mahamudra practice according to the Sutra or general.
As I said before if you are interested to practice Mahamudra and especially the higher form of Tantric aspect of Mahamudra then it is important for you to work towards it and prepare yourself to qualify to receive one of those higher Tantric empowerments.
In order to receive initiations of the Annutara yoga Tantra one of the deities like Vajravarahi or Chakrasamvara you have first to accomplish the four foundations and specially one has to practice the Guru Yoga.
I am going to go through this text called Nyg Don Donme. It is quite a long text so we dont have time to go through everything word by word because we only have two days therefore some parts I am going to read it this means you are listening and receiving the transmission the Lung in the Tibetan tradition. When you are listening to the words while I am reading you are receiving the transmission or Lung. Although you dont know what I am reading exactly every word you dont know what is happening but then I will read and from time to time I will explain the main point.
More than half of this text is actually explaining the foundation of Mahamudra. Then the actual Mahamudra practice comes later on. First I go through the foundation.
The root of this text there is a Mahamudra text called Dani Osel which means the moonlight.
According to the different lineages of the Kargyu tradition they also have different labels of Mahamudra. For instance according to Digong Kargyu tradition they have a label for Mahamudra a name for their system of Mahamudra its called Chag Chen Nga Zen. Five foundations for the Mahamudra. According to Shangpa tradition the name for Mahamudra is called Gauma. It is charm box or blessing box. So the red Shangpa Kargyu lama travelled to India he received the teaching and returned to Tibet he kept this sacred text in a little charm box. So this is how the name for this tradition of Mahamudra started according to the Shangpa Kargyu tradition.
When you do the Mahamudra meditation you have to have a good understanding of the view of Sunyata. The purpose of Mahamudra practice is you study Mahamudra, you practice Mahamudra then later on you are going to practice the Six Yogas of Naropa. This is very profound and therefore in order to cultivate realisations of the Six Yogas of Naropa you have to have realisation of Mahamudra you have to have a good understanding of voidness. It says that when you accomplish the realisations of voidness or Mahamudra when you meditate on Mahamudra you have to experience the voidness of self and the meditator As well as the voidness of the object of meditation and you have to experience the voidness of the action of the meditation, all three simultaneously. When you meditate you actually have to experience there is no me, and there is no object of mediation as well inherently, independently existing me or object of meditation. You have to experience that.
When we talk about Samatha Vipassana we talk about meditation. Meditation doesnt mean you sit somewhere and you be quiet. Just sit and be quiet. That's not meditation. When you practice Samatha Vipassana you have to cultivate calm abiding mind therefore you can achieve calm abiding body as well. You can achieve the realisation of the suppleness of the mind and suppleness of the body together. And one can also have concentration and single pointedness concentration without obstacles such as wandering mind and dullness mind and sinking mind.
When you begin the Mahamudra meditation first you have to do the foundation. One of the most important foundation practices is the Guruyoga. According to the different lineages they have different Guruyogas and the have different Guru mantras. For example in the Kargyu tradition particularly Karma Kargyu tradition you say the mantra of Karmapa or you pray to Karmapa. In Tibetan we say KARMAPA CHENNO. Chenno means please pay attention to me. Guru Karmapa please pay attention to me. So we repeat this over and over. According to the Gelugpa tradition or the Sakya they have their own guru mantras. You say that mantra and visualize the Guru in front of you or on your crown and say the mantras and this is how you begin the meditation. First you do the Guruyoga. According to Gelugpa tradition recite Lama Tsong Khapa mantra OM GURU VAJRA DHARA SUMATI KIRTI SIDHI HUNG.
Usually if you do a meditation retreat on Mahamudra you must start in the early morning. The morning is the best time. You start with the Guruyoga and then you meditate on Mahamudra. This time I would like to explain the meditation.
When we meditate on Mahamudra it is very important for us to follow the discipline we have to follow the explanation on how to sit properly. We have to follow seven postures of Varirochana Buddha style.
First we sit on a comfortable and firm cushion. If you can sit with cross legs or what we call lotus posture or Vajra asana. If you cant do that then you could do half lotus posture. Keep your hands together in the mudra of meditative equipoise.
Keep your back or spine straight like a bamboo arrow.
Keep your shoulders balanced like an eagle, a great eagle when its flying his wings are straight and balanced. Keep your shoulders in the same line.
Also keep your head straight with a slight bend at the neck.
Close your mouth, touch the tip of your tongue on the back of the upper teeth.
Dont close your eyes and gaze in front of you so that you see the tip of your nose as you are sitting straight.
There are different ways of keeping the hands together. Sometimes you put your hands on your knees or you practice the mudra of meditative equipoise. When you do the Mahamudra meditation keep your hands together with the right hand on top of the left hand and touching the tips of your thumbs together. The first mudra with the hands on the knees is done with the higher form of Mahamudra or meditating on Vase Breathing Meditation or Tumo Meditation and so forth controlling the breath in the central channel. That time you keep the hands on the knees.
After you are sitting properly practicing the right posture then we have to begin the mindfulness of breathe. There are different types of mindfulness of breathing meditation. Nine point breathing meditation and another kind of breathing meditation.