Mahamudra Teachings and Medicine Buddha Teachings (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Crestone, CO USA June 2008 (Archive #1711)

These teachings were given in June 2008 at the White Eagle Conference Center in Crestone, Colorado. Included is the oral transmission of the First Panchen Lama's Root Text for the Precious Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra.

You can also listen to the Chinese translation of the teachings here. Read the edited transcripts of these teachings here.

Day Two Part B: Tantra Mahamudra; Decorating True Existence

…way of recognizing what mahamudra is. However, basically, there’s sutra mahamudra, tantra mahamudra. [pause]

So, the tantra mahamudra that is, the clear light of example, and clear light of meaning, there’s two. So clear light is the extremely subtle, your mind has gross mind, subtle mind, extremely subtle mind, and your body has gross body, subtle body, extremely subtle body, so like that, so the, so there’s, there are three, like this, so the extremely subtle mind, it is to do with your extremely subtle mind.

So, the, through the Six Yogas of Naropa, so forth, however, the whole thing is that, you bring the wind from the other channels into the central channel, and then, abiding in the central channel and absorb, so three things. So then, so the external signs, equalize the breathing equal, and, also then, the belly moving not happening, so, that those external signs happen when the wind enter in the central channel, they enter and abide and absorb.

So, then to absorb, there are twenty-five absorptions, you experience, so, during the life, it normally happens at the time of death, time of death for animals or for the human beings, so, it happens. So then the, so you, then during that time then, twenty-five absorptions, and then, the absorption of the five wisdoms, absorptions of the four, skandhas, the aggregates, and the elements, so things like that, then there’s inner visions, the inner visions happen, outer signs and inner visions and then the, then there’s, mind is, so there’s white appearance, red increasing, near attainment, dark near attainment, dark, dark appearance, these things happen. So during those times, then mind becomes much more, mind becomes subtle. Then the last one, after that, then the clear light, the extremely subtle mind appears after absorbing all the gross minds. So like that.

So, that mind, that mind has to realize emptiness, so however, there’s, during that time, there’s the experience four bliss, that happens, so the simultaneously born great bliss, that mind realizes emptiness, so there’s, not directly seeing, but still with the imaginary, the concept, conceptualization, the realizing emptiness, not directly seeing. So, so that’s one, clear light of example, so, as it happens at the time of death, then, during the life through meditation, that happens, able to, so you’re able to make functionable your chakra, wind, drops.

Then the, then after that you achieve illusory body, that is the impure body because still delusion there. Then after that you achieve the clear light of meaning that directly seeing emptiness. So, so the mahamudra, these two primordial minds, there’s different levels. So, anyway, so that’s, then you see, then, by achieving this, then this is, then this directly ceases the defilements, the disturbing thought obscurations, then you achieve pure illusory body, then after that, then, after that, then you achieve the unification of the two: illusory body, the pure illusory body and the clear light, unified, that’s the learning, that’s the still the path of learning. Then, as a result of that, then you achieve, the no more learning, so state of Vajradhara.

So anyway, so, roughly, tantra mahamudra, so through the experience, like that. So then the, of course, that, then for that you need to receive, to meditate on that you need to receive the, secret initiation, the initiation granted by giving secret substance, so, secret initiation, you need to receive secret initiation, Highest Tantra, Highest Tantra initiation, maha-anuttara, secret initiation, you need to receive that, only then you can meditate on this path, this completion path of the Highest Tantra.

Then the, so to be able to meditate on unification, those, then, you need to, achieve the Highest Tantra initiation, the word initiation, the fourth initiation. To be able to meditate on the illusory body, to achieve that, you need to receive the Highest Tantra initiation, the wisdom initiation, so, to build up potential, to bless your chakras, winds, to achieve illusory body, so there’s incredible things there, so initiation to bless and then later this becomes functionable for that.

Then the, you need to receive the secret initiation, which definitely plants the seed, the sambhogakaya, the holy body of the deity, then the wisdom initiation which definitely plants a seed to achieve the svabhavakaya, holy body of the nature, or truth body it’s called, truth body, holy body of the nature. So, then, the word initiation, which definitely plants to achieve the unification of no more learning, so the, and that’s the goal to, that’s the ultimate goal what to be achieved.

So then, all this, all this depends, all this is based on the first initiation, the vase initiation, you need to receive so that you’re qualified to, you are, anyway, suitable, anyway to meditate on the generation stage, so that, so like that, and then which definitely plants seed in the mental continuum to achieve the result, the, nirmanakaya, holy body of transformation, so, so like that.

So, so to be able to achieve those, clear light, illusory body, unification, those paths, you need to have realization of the generation stage, the generation stage has gross and subtle, so like that.

So, then now, then the, then in order to have those, in order to have those realizations, then, here I want to say, not possible to achieve clear light, illusory body, without having actualized bodhicitta, without, you can have realizations of the generation stage, but not the completion stage, the clear light, illusory body, unification, those things, so that, the extremely subtle mind, realizing, directly, directly seeing this, like that, through the bliss.

So without bodhicitta, cannot, so then otherwise, you’ll be achieving enlightenment without bodhicitta, you cease the defilements without, you are able to cease subtle defilements, subtle defilements, gross defilements the arhats, but the subtle defilements, then, you become buddha without bodhicitta, you become buddha without bodhicitta so then the, so it’s like that you can make ice cream without cream, you can make pizza without the flour, pizza without flour, so becomes like that, pizza without flour.

Anyway, so, because you need, unimaginable, unbelievable, I’ve ______ the word, unimaginable merits. It’s like a fund, it’s like you’re going to do some, billion dollar project, you need a billion dollars, so, you’re going to do a billion dollar project without the billion dollars, it’s not possible. So anyway, so, then with the, with all these unbelievable unimaginable merits, with the support, then that subtle mind, able to actualize subtle mind, then you can cease the disturbing thought obscurations, then with that direct perception able to cease subtle defilements. So here, definitely you need support, like a billion dollars, the bodhicitta, like that, support. So, so without that, cannot.

So, have to have realization of bodhicitta, not just meditate on bodhicitta, realization, that, not just good heart, actual realization of bodhicitta, that, that you, like use the example that, in the texts explained, maybe other families, brother, I mean other, they see a child, this beloved child fell in the fire, then, the other family members or the brothers, I mean, other relatives, they wish the child to be free from the fire, but nobody goes down actually to get it. So the father, well, in the texts says the father, but it could be the mother, also, but anyway, so anyway that person, father, relative, the father, I guess, usually the father, I think, the ?running part, usually, there’s, not all the time but, I think, usually.

So, anyway, so the father, actually he takes the full responsibility, and he just goes down to get the son, to get the son or the daughter, the child, anyway. So here, like that, so taking full responsibility on yourself, completely, so in Tibetan called lhagsam, special attitude, I call special attitude, I don’t know if there’s other translation, but special attitude, the attitude taking responsibility on yourself, so then, then go down, total determination, yourself go down to help, so like that.

So however, like that, hundred percent strong determination, to, to liberate sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them in full enlightenment. So, this is really amazing, really amazing achievement, mental quality, quality of mind, unbelievable, the power of mind, that you are able to accomplish, able to generate, become realization, actualize.

So, not just trying to think, not just putting effort to think, but here, I mean, of course, first for a long time, put effort to, to put, to think that way, but then gradually, then, becomes realization that you naturally, naturally, say, spontaneous, spontaneously arising without any effort, no effort, just, after a long time training the mind, putting effort training the mind in that, then your mind actually becomes that, so you naturally, spontaneously, your mind in that experience, then thought to, to do that work, and then thought to achieve enlightenment. So, this extraordinary, the principal consciousness, that which is, which has these two intentions, two wishes, seeking the works for other sentient beings, and then oneself to achieve enlightenment, seeking works for other sentient beings and seeking enlightenment, so, oneself to achieve enlightenment. So then, with these two wishes, just, the five ways similarity, so, bodhicitta, so, this, you feel, so for a long time, you put effort to, you put effort to feel this, that’s, I mean, at the very beginning probably, you may not feel much, it depends on the individual person’s karma, maybe sometimes just the words, bodhicitta, just, “to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings,” just words, there’s no feeling here, so then gradually. So, on the basis of developing the previous, those, the stages of meditation, which leads to bodhicitta, so, then, spontaneously arising, day and night, all the time, and I guess those who have bodhicitta, those who have realized bodhicitta, when they see sentient beings, you feel like that, animals or people, whatever, you feel this naturally, naturally, to achieve enlightenment for them, naturally, without any effort, spontaneously it’s happening, like that, all the time, except when you are in the equipoise meditation on emptiness, except those times, that time you are, your meditation, actually experience that emptiness. Then in the post meditation, break, then you, when you arise from that, then again the bodhicitta, so then like before, spontaneously arising, like that.

So, anyway, so need this, this one is extremely essential, this should be our main project in this life: actualizing bodhicitta, to actualize bodhicitta in this life.

Then, if you have that goal, all the time, then whatever you do, whatever you do, you will be doing for that. If you have that goal in your heart, then, whatever you do, you’ll do to actualize that.

Now, bodhicitta realization, based on the realization, another realization, like another, like story of the houses, that one depends on this, this one depends on this one, so like that, then, renunciation, the determination to be free from, the determination to be free from the whole entire samsara, including the cause, the karma, the action, the karma is Sanskrit, action, and the obscuring, disturbing attitude, the delusion, nyon mong pa. So, disturbing attitude, disturbing to your own mental continuum, instead of bringing peace, it cause disturbances to your mental continuum, so that’s the definition of delusion.

But I added one more, obscuring, so I think, I thought, in English, so nyon mong pa, nyon mong, so the, it has that kind of feeling, nyon mong pa, so the deluding yourself, deluding yourself, obscuring yourself, hallucinating yourself, so, I thought if you add the word, you add one more word, obscuring, that’s what it does to you, harm, great harm, great harm what it does to you, these delusions what it does, what this delusion does to you, not, become obstacle, cause obstacle, not allowing to, not letting to achieve liberation, from the oceans of samsaric suffering, all the six realm’s suffering, and the cause, karma and delusion. So, not letting you to be free, free forever, the ultimate happiness, everlasting happiness, not allowing, so, so by obscuring the mind. So I think that’s, I think it has great effect to the mind, great effect to feel what delusion is, what it is, what it does to you, what harm it does, what harm it ?effects to you, so I think, like that.

So, anyway, so by realizing how samsara is in the nature of suffering, samsara, samsaric happiness, nature of suffering. Because it is in the nature of suffering, so, that’s why samsaric pleasure, pleasure of sleep, pleasure of food, pleasure of whatever, pleasure of beach, pleasure of, anyway, the pleasure, you tie your hands with the wings, what do you call? You tie your hands with the wings then you jump from the cliffs, then you jump over the, or you jump from the airplane, what? [Students: Sky diving.] Sky driving.

So anyway, then you come out of the airplane and then everybody hold hands, everybody holds hands, in the space, come out of the plane and then everybody hold hands. Sometimes you get dropped, you can fall down.

Anyway, so, what’s it called, sky, sky driving, sky driving [Student: Sky diving.]

Anyway, so the, anyway, there are many things, there are so many things in the West, you see. I saw the, the one person did this one, he used himself as bullet, he used himself as bullet, shoot from here to the other side, can’t describe exactly but, yeah, one person used himself as a bullet. There’s so many things.

Anyway, so anyway, all this, so many things, so as well as sexual pleasure and all that, all sorts of things, anyway, so, because, I don’t know whether the scientists says, but, in the teaching Buddha explained is why those pleasures doesn’t last, it doesn’t continue, first of all, why it cannot increase, why it cannot increase higher and higher, or why doesn’t last even, doesn’t increase but why can’t it last, continue? So that’s, because it’s nature of suffering, because it’s nature of suffering. So one suffering, another suffering stopped, another suffering began, so, on that feeling label, pleasure, here I’m describing why it is nature of suffering, how it is nature of suffering.

In the Lam-rim Chen-mo by Lama Tsongkhapa, in the Great Commentary of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, so, by understanding this, then you can, then all the rest, same, once you know, once you can understand this example, then all the rest, same, you know how to meditate, you know how to discover. So, I mention this, an example there used in Lam-rim Chen Mo by Lama Tsongkhapa, so, after being burned the body in the sun, hot, and then your action, I mean the essence mention, I just make more blah, blah, blah, the, anyway the, your action, your body being exposed in the sun, so you stop that, the action, body being exposed under the sun, which compounds the hot, suffering feeling. So, you stop that action, when you enter the water you stop that action. So by stopping that action, then that suffering of feeling hot stopped. Then the action, next action, being in the cold water, entering in the cold water, then that created the discomfort, the cold, the discomfort, but it is less, but, you see, it’s less, it’s there, either unnoticeable or I mean, I’m just using as an example but _______ others, either unnoticeable or very little at the beginning.

So, another action, compounded another suffering, by entering the cold water compounded the second suffering, but because it is little, so, the previous suffering, the other suffering, stopped, then another suffering began, but that one is either unnoticeable or, it’s there but unnoticeable or less, so that is the basis on what you call, pleasure.

So therefore, it’s not real happiness, not true happiness. So, for the hallucinated mind, it appeared as pleasure, and believed, and it appeared as pleasure to the hallucinated mind, not to the wisdom, but hallucinated mind, appeared pleasure and then attachment. So I normally explain that, so, your mind, just to get this idea, your mind, during that time, that feeling, your mind label, pleasure, okay, your mind merely impute, pleasure, and then appeared, after your mind, after your mind merely imputed, then it appeared. Before your mind labeled, pleasure, there’s no appearance, appearance that this is pleasure can never happen, never happen, can never happen, before your mind labeled, can never happen. Your mind has to label, your mind has to label first, to appear this as pleasure, first your mind has to label.

So, your mind has to impute, this is pleasure. Even that is very subtle, extremely subtle, merely imputed, merely imputed, so, nothing exists from its own side. Therefore, nothing, merely imputed, merely imputed, so, there’s nothing there from its own side exists, nothing.

So, then, after that, merely impute with your belief, merely your belief. So then, then it appears, so when it appeared, the next second when it appeared back, the pleasure that your mind merely imputed, now there is the hallucination, you have to understand, there’s a big hallucination there.

So, it is merely imputed, so it should appear back merely imputed, it should appear back merely imputed, that’s the reality, that’s what it is, that’s what it is, so it should appear back like that, but it doesn’t appear to us, I mean, unless you’re buddha, or you are in equipoise meditation, you are arya being, exalted being, in equipoise meditation, so, otherwise, everything what appear to you, otherwise, until you become buddha, everything what appears, it appeared false, the false appearance, until you become buddha, unless when you become arhat, the arya being, the Hinayana, or the Lesser Vehicle arya being, who has the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness in equipoise meditation, not break-time post-meditation, but equipoise meditation, that or when you become, fully enlightened, means having purified the subtle defilements, the imprint left by the concept of true existence, ignorance, so that which projects, that which, the whole, your whole, entire world, your whole, entire world, I mean, I, action, object, hell, enlightenment, samsara, nirvana, happiness, problems, the whole thing, merely imputed by your mind, then, after the mere imputation, then, this imprint, this negative imprint, the first second the mind imputed, merely imputed, the next second there’s imprint, the negative imprint left by past ignorance cover, cover it, cover it the true existence, true existence, true existence. So the whole entire, including your I that is merely imputed by mind, your I, which does eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, all the activities, all the activities in mere name, creating the cause of happiness, creating the cause of suffering, experience happiness, experience suffering, all in mere name. So, the experience in mere name, actions in mere name, done by, this I, which is also merely imputed, which is also merely imputed by mind, exists in mere name. So, what I’m saying, right after that, the next second [snaps fingers] then the negative imprint, dualistic view, projects, the dualistic view covers everything, dualistic view, the, project, inherent existence, so made everything real, made everything real, self, action, object.

So, made everything real, so everything wherever we look at, everything wherever you look at, wherever you look at, sky, I was going to say sky, but the ceiling, the lights, anyway, I mean, outside the trees, sky, these mountains, anyway, all this, when you are here, everything, people you look at, everything, something real to, something real towards to you, all that, all that is not true. This is the, this is, this is, the biggest hallucination, the largest hallucination, we’re living in, we’re living in, believe all this is true, so, all this is true, all this really exists, true.

The mere imputation, but then you might think after I say this, you might think, “Oh, maybe nothing exists,” I’m not saying that. The mere imputation done on the valid base, which is also merely labeled by mind, valid base, but also merely labeled by mind, that exists, exists, but it exists, but it don’t exist from its own side. They exist, but do not exist from their own side. What appears to us, whatever, wherever we look at, whatever we listen, sounds, whatever smell, the bathroom, anyway, or next person, smell, anyway, the smell or the, so, everything real, so, sound, from its own side, real, whatever sound, real, bad sound, real bad sound, real good sound from its own side, so whatever smell, incense, incense smell or smell, smell of gas, what’s it called? Fart, yeah. Smell of incense, smell of fart. So, anyway, whatever smell, it’s something true, something real one from its own side. So, touch, touch, how do you experience, soft from its own side, soft from its own side, not soft from your mind, but soft from there, then, so, something gross, the gross hard, not from your mind, but something real, true, from its own side, like that.

So, all those are false, all those are projected by the negative imprint, on the mental continuum, left by the past ignorance, so made everything real. After the mind merely imputed, next second [snaps fingers] this, say, hallucination, decorated there, hallucination decorated on that, on that, on that means that second before, your mind merely imputed, this and that, on that mere imputation, mere name, imputation, so, then put this, then, put this, say, put this, say, true existence, decorated this true existence, as it is mentioned in the sadhana, the Three Purifications, the Heruka sadhana, so, there, particular the term that’s used, decorated, and it’s exactly how it is, exactly.

If you check, the evolution, how you, evolution of your, in your life, what is the truth, what is false, it’s huge, it’s, so, mahamudra, so the other one is tantra but here, basic one, very basic mahamudra, however, discovering in your life the false view that you have, all this whole entire thing, your mind, your I, and body and mind, then all the action, object, I mean, seeing, hearing, all this, smelling, tangible objects, so all this, so constantly mind merely imputed, then constantly this negative imprint left by the past ignorance put this huge hallucination, made everything real, so everything appearing to you.

So, I was telling in Mexico, just before some two or three weeks, then I came from Mexico, did a course there, two weeks or three weeks, two weeks? So I was telling that time to the people, maybe this is getting to another subject, but anyway it doesn’t matter, since I’m talking here, so, what I was trying to tell is that, when you drive car on the road, [pause] I’ve forgotten, _____ don’t remember. So anyway, oh, there’s a red light, then stop, oh, there’s a green light, go. So, anyway, [pause] I think maybe before the light, I must have used another example, because then used the light.

I think this might be easier, one example, just mention that, that might be easier. So, I usually say when you are a child, or, use that, that might be easier. So the, so, school teacher or parents, whoever it is, who is teaching you the first time, A, B, C, D, who is teaching you the A, B, C, D, very first time. So, on the paper or blackboard, draw like this, one line this way, one line this way, one like this, okay.

So, that time, what appearance do you have? You don’t have appearance that this is A. That this is A, you don’t have that, because you’re not taught yet, drew there, which is going to be labeled, A, after, okay. So, like this, so you don’t have the appearance, you don’t see, you don’t see that this is A, you don’t see that this is A, you don’t see, you don’t have appearance that this is A. Why? Because your mind hasn’t labeled that this is A. Why? Because you’re not taught yet, you’re not taught yet, you’re not taught yet, so, like that. So you just see the lines, this, so all these things you don’t have, seeing that this is A, appearing that this is A, that’s because your mind hasn’t labeled it A, with belief, so like that.

So, the next, when that, whoever the person, parents or whoever, then you see that this is A, then you believe, then you believe what that person said, then your mind also label, then your mind also, after that your mind, not only impute but merely impute, A, your mind, by following that person’s, what just taught you…