Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
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What would you see if you looked directly at your mind?
The Tibetan Buddhist teachings on mahamudra are known for their ability to lead to profound realization. Peaceful and infinitely adaptable, these teachings are as useful for today's busy world as they have been for centuries.
Written by the tutor to the seventeenth Karmapa, Essentials of Mahamudra is a commentary on Tashi Namgyal's famous Moonlight of Mahamudra - a text that the sixteenth Karmapa had identified as the most valuable for Westerners. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche recognized that Western meditators don't just need to know how to maintain our meditation practice - we need to know why we should do it. Unmatched in its directness, Essentials of Mahamudra addresses both these needs, rendering one of the most advanced forms of meditation more easily adaptable to our everyday lives.
that yidam practice in the Vajrayana is superior to the practice of focusing on the breath because our mind doesn’t wander in yidam practice. My mind wanders in visualizations, so how am I to understand this? RINPOCHE: Meditating upon the breath or upon some visualized object is a way of developing one-pointedness of mind. While it is a very effective way to proceed, it is somewhat boring. In contrast when you meditate upon the deity, it is very interesting. There are many things to look at,
are not truly external things. While this is true, it is not what is being pointed out here. Here the term “appearances” does not refer to the external appearances, such as a mountain; rather, it refers to the experiential sense of perceiving something, such as seeing an image or hearing a sound. Some feeling goes with that perceptual experience. We aren’t trying to make a point about whether or not apparently external phenomena are external and real. We are simply looking at the experience we
eliminating nonvirtue. That is a serious mistake. If we begin to think that way, it is very important to understand why it is incorrect. Instructions for the Fourth Yoga In the yoga of nonmeditation we experience more relaxation and spontaneity and fewer disturbing emotions. At the fullest development of this stage we reach buddhahood, realizing the nature of our mind directly in all moments. We see that there is no need to abandon things because we experience their natural state, purified of
comment on this in the light of the teaching on one-pointedness. RINPOCHE: I don’t know that I understand precisely the measure of Trungpa Rinpoche’s thought, but it strikes me that it was said from an extremely vast point of view. If one were to say that even a completely enlightened being still has pain, one might mean that a buddha sees the pain and the frustration that all sentient beings throughout space are experiencing and feels tremendous compassion for them, wishing to do something that
mahamudra, 76 teaching style of, 94 three bodies of, 81–82 wheel of Dharma and, 47 wisdom of, 88 buddha essence/nature, 2, 22, 23, 51, 75, 78. See also luminosity butter lamp, flame of, 25 C Chakrasamvara, 82 chammeba, 127 Chandraprabha, 84 Chandrakirti, 3 charya (performance) tantra, 76–77 chegom, 63 Chenrezig practice, 61 chigcharwa, 241 Chittamatra (Mind-Only) school, 6, 48, 50, 162 Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 98 clear light, 202 coemergence, 151–68, 170, 198 coincidences,