In general, making offerings is an extremely important method for the practitioner to accumulate merit. The attainment of the state of enlightenment occurs when we have brought to full perfection our accumulation of merit. In particular, the method of offering bowls of saffron water is an excellent way of accumulating merit because it is an act of generosity in which you have no greed. You don’t have any particular attachment to the water, so it is a way to offer that which we have no concept of possessing. It is also excellent to offer the butterlamps, candles or light because this act of offering this light symbolizes burning away our mental afflictions of desire, aggression, greed, jealousy, pride and so forth.
The other part of the symbolism is that it is a way to burn away our illness. In the Tibetan medical tradition, physical illness is based on an imbalance of the elements in the body, illness is seen as an imbalance between wind, bile and phlegm. When these are out of balance sickness arises in the body. So this offering symbolizes burning away illness. In general, making offerings such as these with a good attitude is an excellent means for accumulating an enormous amount of merit. It is particularly meritorious for us because we are very fortunate to be part of a lineage of great masters who made these types of offerings. For example, my and our own root Lama, the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, made it his particular special offering to offer a lot of butterlamps and offered 100 every day. Then Deshun Rinpoche, who was also a very important to me in my own training, was incomparable in his offering of the bowls of saffron water. Because we are part of this lineage, it makes the merit even stronger.
If you are just doing something ordinary but you have a lot of support, you have a lot of people behind you, you have a lot of money, you have power behind you, it is easier to accomplish your aims. It is the same thing to rely on an authentic lineage. That is the support we need to bring our practice to fruition.
by Lama Norlha Rinpoche
Butterlamp Prayer – $1
Donate Butterlamps to any being in need of prayer. These prayers are said every Sunday by the Sangha and are a powerful influence on those sentient beings dedicated during the Butterlamp offerings. Please donate $1 for each butterlamp.
Mahamudra is beyond description
But for your sake, O Naropa, my most devoted disciple,
who is diligent in ascetic practice and exertion,
this shall be said:
Space lacks any locality at all.
Likewise, Mahamudra rests on naught.
Thus, without making effort, abide in the pure primordial state,
and the fetters that bind you will simply drop away.
Just as when looking into the open sky,
fixed concepts of centre and circumference dissolve,
So, if with mind one perceives the mind, mental activity ceases; then is it, that Enlightened-mind is realized.
Clouds that arise and take form in the sky,
pass away quite automatically according to natural law.
Likewise, the flow of concepts arising in the mind,
naturally pass away when mind perceives mind.
Space has neither shape nor colour;
it is changeless, and not tinged by either white or black.
Likewise, mind-in-itself has neither form nor colour,
nor can it be stained by virtue or vice.
The burning stellar radiance of the sun
can not be covered by the eternal darkness of space.
Likewise the luminous essence of mind
can not be shrouded by Samsara’s endless duration.
Though we say that space is empty,
the actual nature of this vacuity defies description.
Though we say that mind is luminous,
it is actually beyond all words and concepts.
In that mind is like space, it encompasses all.
Therefore cease with bodily movement and sit relaxed;
close your mouth and simply remain in silence;
empty your mind and leap beyond the phenomenal!
Let the body rest at ease, insubstantial like a bamboo tube.
Let the mind rest in itself, spacious and un-preoccupied with thought.
When the mind is not possessed by aims, that is Mahamudra.
When this is realized, that is Great Enlightenment!
Adherents of the Tantra and of the Mahayana,
of the Vinaya and Sutra, and the followers of the World Religions,
with all their various scholastic theologies and devotions,
have no idea whatsoever of this wondrous simultaneously-born Mahamudra.
As to the keeping of covenant-vows (samaya), they are broken
only by the act of trying to adhere to them. The light is hidden only by striving to know it. Cease with rules and ritual, abandon volition, stray not from the Ultimate, and then a true Precept-keeper will you be, a lamp illuminating the darkness.
Not caught up in perceptions, nor caught in desire,
seeking nothing, abiding in the self alone, one simply lets
consciousness be, like a wave in the Great Ocean.
If you slip not into conation, if you hold to neither this nor that,
the real meaning behind all the Scriptures, will make itself clear.
Just abiding, one is released from the prison of Samsara.
Just abiding, all one’s karmic impurities are burned away.
It is then that you shall be known as a “Lamp of the Teaching”.
Even the ignorant who understand not Mahamudra,
and fools who are lost for a time in Samsara,
can be saved if they but rely on a holy Lord (guru).
Through grace (adhisthana) they may be sure of deliverance.
Know all the phenomena of Samsara as worthless;
just the cause of attachment and aversion.
All created phenomena are without real substance,
therefore seek instead the nature of the Ultimate.
Non-duality is the King of Views.
Resting the mind without flux is the King of Meditations.
Not choosing this or that is the King of Conduct.
When there is neither hope nor fear, that is the King of Results.
Once you let go of all objects-of-perception,
the true nature of the mind shines forth.
Not trying to meditate is the supreme path of the Buddha.
By the meditation of non-meditation Enlightenment is won.
Alas! Impermanent is this world.
It passes like a mirage or a dream.
Even the illusion of its existence
is not something that exists.
Moved by weariness, abandon worldly pre-occupation.
Renounce distinctions of class and race,
and meditate alone in forest, mountains and solitary places.
Abide without seeking; loosely remaining in the natural state.
By attaining non-attainment, quickly shalt thou reach the state of Mahamudra.
If you sever the main root of a living tree,
then all the many branches wither and die at once.
Cut through (kathinaccheda) the very root of consciousness,
and all mental projections will immediately cease.
The darkness of long ages is dispelled
instantly by the lighting of a single lamp.
One moment’s experience of the mind of Clear Light
immediately rends the veil of ignorance for ever.
Aha! That which pertains to consciousness is unable to perceive transcendental Gnosis (jnana).
That which pertains to created phenomena is unable to perceive the uncreated Reality.
If you would attain the transcendent, beyond consciousness and creation;
then look directly into one’s own mind, until awareness is revealed in its bare nakedness.
Let the polluted pool of mental activity clear itself.
Merely watch the flow, just as it is.
Do not engage with appearances as they arise,
for Mahamudra is beyond acceptance and rejection.
Since the fundamental ground (alaya) is unborn,
it can neither be obscured nor defiled.
Just rest in the unborn state, neither meditating nor not-meditating, letting appearances resolve back into Ultimate Reality (dharmata).
In being free of the extremes, one attains the King of Views.
Entering the vast and deep, one attains the King of Meditations.
Not making an effort, one attains the King of Conduct.
In non-seeking awareness, one attains the King of Results.
At first the yogi feels his mind to be turbulent,
like the upper course of a rushing mountain torrent.
Then it becomes smooth like the broad river Ganges.
In the end it is like entering the ocean, a child returning to the mother.
One who wishes to attain this level of meditation
should first begin by practicing remembrance of the breath.
Through control of the gaze and such exercises,
the mind will be disciplined until it abides in its own state.
Now concerning the practice of Karmamudra,
the union of Wisdom (prajna) and Means (upaya):
draw down and blend, then raise it up to the source.
Finally cause it to saturate the entire body.
If this is performed free of lust, then Bliss-Emptiness is attained.
Glowing inwardly, blessed with renewed vigour and vitality,
thy life-power shall expand like the waxing moon.
Radiant and healthy, with the composure of a lion,
thou shalt attain Accomplishment (siddhi), both mundane and supreme.
By virtue of entering this practice, may all obstacles to the realization of Mahamudra dissolve away.
May the Clear Light of Mahamudra dawn in the minds of the practitioners.
May this Pith Instruction on Mahamudra come to abide in the hearts of those disciples fortunate to connect with it.
This pith-instruction on Mahamudra in 28 Verses was given by Sri Tilopa to Mahapandita Nadapada on the banks of the Ganges River. It was translated into Tibetan from the Sanskrit by Marpa Cho-kyi-lodro, and is now presented in English by the Dharma Fellowship. The origial text may be found in the Do.ha. mdzod. brgyad. ces.bya.ba. phyag. rgya. chen. po’i. man.ngag. gsal.bar. ston.pa’i. gzhung., printed at the Rumtek monastery of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, in Sikkhim.
Mahamudra practice is directly dealing with the essence of everything and everyone. The purpose of the entire practice of Dharma is to attain Buddhahood. There is no other purpose. And the purpose of attaining Buddhahood is to assist all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood. There is no other purpose. Continue reading “Mahamudra by Tai Situ”
If you understand that all the misleading appearances of worldly existence are not intrinsically real, they will not tend to mislead you.
If you have attachment to friends and enemies as being real, they will mislead you. But if you have equanimity towards both, they will not mislead or deceive you.
If you see a lot of change or transition, that will tend to mislead you. But if you understand the intrinsic nature beyond change, it will not be misleading.
If you cling to the reality of birth and death, there is much deception. But if you realize there is no birth and death, there’s no deception.
If you believe in the existence of suffering, there’s much deception. But if you realize there’s no suffering, there’s no deception.
If you believe that self and other are separate, there’s much deception. But if you recognize that they are not two separate things, there’s no deception.
If you understand this true nature of deception, discursive thoughts will be liberated in their own place.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Creation & Completion, Vajravairochana Translation Committee, October 1995 & June 1996, p. 9-10. Translated by Sarah Harding
Milarepa’s Three Nails of Meditation
All thoughts, being dharmakaya, are free.
The nature of thoughts is luminous clarity, which is the true nature of mind-beyond fabrication, transcending all conceptual descriptions. Luminous clarity is the dharmakaya of natural purity. What is this dharmakaya like?
Awareness is luminous, in its depths is bliss.
The experience of dharmakaya has three characteristics: awareness, luminosity, and bliss. How do you meditate on that?
And resting without contrivance is equipoise.
Without trying to create or to stop anything, just let go and relax. That is meditation. There is no clearer explanation.
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, The Union of Sutra and Tantra, Karme Choling, 2001, p. 70. Translated by Ari Goldfield.