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The Song of Mahamudra

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The Song of Mahamudra
by Tilopa

  1. Mahamudra is beyond all words and symbols,
    But for you, Naropa, earnest and loyal, must this be said.

  2. The Void needs no reliance; Mahamudra rests on naught.

  3. Without making an effort, but remaining natural,
    One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.

  4. If one looks for naught when staring into space;
    If with the mind one then observes the mind;
    One destroys distinctions and reaches Buddhahood.

  5. The clouds that wander through the sky have no roots, no home,
    Nor do the distinctive thoughts floating through the mind.
    Once the Self-mind is seen, Discrimination stops.

  6. In space, shapes and colors form
    But neither by black nor white is space tinged.
    From the Self-mind all things emerge;
    The Mind by virtues and by vices is not stained.

  7. The darkness of ages cannot shroud the glowing sun;
    The long eons of Samsara ne'er can hide the Mind's brilliant light.

  8. Though words are spoken to explain the Void, the Void as such can never be
    expressed. Though we say "the Mind is a bright light," it is beyond all words and
    symbols. Although the Mind is void in essence, all things it embraces and contains.

  9. Do naught with the body but relax;
    Shut firm the mouth and silent remain;
    Empty your mind and think of naught.
    Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease your body.
    Giving not nor taking, put your mind at rest.
    Mahamudra is like a mind that clings to naught.
    Thus practicing, in time you will reach Buddhahood.

  10. The practice of Mantra and Perfections, instructions in the Sutras and
    Precepts, and teaching from the Schools and Scriptures will not bring
    realization of the Innate Truth.
    For if the mind when filled with some desire should seek a goal,
    it only hides the Light.

  11. One who keeps the Tantric Precepts yet discriminates, betrays the vows of
    Awakening,

    Cease all activity; abandon all desire; let thoughts rise and fall as they
    will like the ocean waves.
    One who never harms the Non-abiding nor the Principles of non-distinction,
    upholds the Tantric Precepts.

  12. He who abandons craving and clings not to this or that,
    Perceives the real meaning given in the Scriptures.

  13. In Mahamudra all one's sins are burned; in Mahamudra one is released from
    the prison of this world. This is the Dharma's supreme torch. Those who
    disbelieve it are fools who ever wallow in misery and sorrow.

  14. To strive for liberation one should rely on a Guru. When your mind receives
    the Guru's blessing emancipation is at hand.
    Alas, all things in this world are meaningless; they are but sorrow's seeds.
    Small teachings lead to acts. One should only follow teachings that are great.

  15. To transcend duality is the Kingly View; to conquer distractions is the
    Royal Practice; the Path of No-practice is the Way of the Buddhas. 0ne who
    treads that Path reaches Buddhahood.

  16. Transient is this world; like phantoms and dreams,
    Substance it has none. Grasp not the world nor your kin;
    Cut the strings of lust and hatred; meditate in woods and mountains.
    If without effort you remain loosely in the "natural state," soon Mahamudra
    you will win and attain the Non-attainment.

  17. Cut the root of the tree and the leaves will wither;
    cut the root of your mind and Samsara falls.

  18. The light of any lamp dispels in a moment the darkness of long eons;
    The strong light of the mind in but a flash will burn the veil of ignorance.

  19. Whoever clings to mind sees not the truth of what's beyond the mind.
    Whoever strives to practice Dharma finds not the truth of Beyond-practice.
    One should cut cleanly through the root of the mind and stare naked.
    One should thus break away from all distinctions and remain at ease.

  20. One should not give and take but remain natural, for Mahamudra is beyond all
    acceptance and rejection.
    Since the consciousness is not born, no one can obstruct it or soil it;
    Staying in the "Unborn" realm all appearances will dissolve into the
    ultimate Dharma.
    All self-will and pride will vanish into naught.
    The supreme Understanding transcends all this and that.
    The supreme Action embraces great resourcefulness without attachment.
    The supreme Accomplishment is to realize immanence without hope.

  21. 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 Child and Mother merge in one.


From: Teachings of the Buddha, Ed. Jack Kornfield


Nagarjuna's Mahamudra Vision
Homage to Manjusrikumarabhuta!

  1. I bow down to the all-powerful Buddha
    Whose mind is free of attachment,
    Who in his compassion and wisdom
    Has taught the inexpressible.

  2. In truth there is no birth -
    Then surely no cessation or liberation;
    The Buddha is like the sky
    And all beings have that nature.

  3. Neither Samsara nor Nirvana exist,
    But all is a complex continuum
    With an intrinsic face of void,
    The object of ultimate awareness.

  4. The nature of all things
    Appears like a reflection,
    Pure and naturally quiescent,
    With a non-dual identity of suchness.

  5. The common mind imagines a self
    Where there is nothing at all,
    And it conceives of emotional states -
    Happiness, suffering, and equanimity.

  6. The six states of being in Samsara,
    The happiness of heaven,
    The suffering of hell,
    Are all false creations, figments of mind.

  7. Likewise the ideas of bad action causing suffering,
    Old age, disease and death,
    And the idea that virtue leads to happiness,
    Are mere ideas, unreal notions.

  8. Like an artist frightened
    By the devil he paints,
    The sufferer in Samsara
    Is terrified by his own imagination.

  9. Like a man caught in quicksands
    Thrashing and struggling about,
    So beings drown
    In the mess of their own thoughts.

  10. Mistaking fantasy for reality
    Causes an experience of suffering;
    Mind is poisoned by interpretation
    Of consciousness of form.

  11. Dissolving figment and fantasy
    With a mind of compassionate insight,
    Remain in perfect awareness
    In order to help all beings.

  12. So acquiring conventional virtue
    Freed from the web of interpretive thought,
    Insurpassable understanding is gained
    As Buddha, friend to the world.

  13. Knowing the relativity of all,
    The ultimate truth is always seen;
    Dismissing the idea of beginning, middle and end
    The flow is seen as Emptiness.

  14. So all samsara and nirvana is seen as it is -
    Empty and insubstantial,
    Naked and changeless,
    Eternally quiescent and illumined.

  15. As the figments of a dream
    Dissolve upon waking,
    So the confusion of Samsara
    Fades away in enlightenment.

  16. Idealising things of no substance
    As eternal, substantial and satisfying,
    Shrouding them in a fog of desire
    The round of existence arises.

  17. The nature of beings is unborn
    Yet commonly beings are conceived to exist;
    Both beings and their ideas
    Are false beliefs.

  18. It is nothing but an artifice of mind
    This birth into an illusory becoming,
    Into a world of good and evil action
    With good or bad rebirth to follow.

  19. When the wheel of mind ceases to turn
    All things come to an end.
    So there is nothing inherently substantial
    And all things are utterly pure.

  20. This great ocean of samsara,
    Full of delusive thought,
    Can be crossed in the boat Universal Approach.
    Who can reach the other side without it?


Colophon
The Twenty Mahayana Verses, (in Sanskrit,
Mahayanavimsaka; in Tibetan: Theg pa chen po nyi
shu pa) were composed by the master Nagarjuna.
They were translated into Tibetan by the Kashmiri
Pandit Ananda and the Bhikshu translator Drakjor
Sherab (Grags 'byor shes rab). They have been
translated into English by the Anagarika
Kunzang Tenzin on the last day of the year 1973
in the hope that the karma of the year may be mitigated.


May all beings be happy!



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