Instructions regarding the practice of Shamatha Mahamudra
Including commentary on Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa in Twenty Eight Verses
Transcription from a teaching given by the Ven Zasep Tulku Rinpoche during Easter 2006 at Dorje Ling Retreat Centre, Tasmania.
You focus the mind on uncreated mind. From Tilopa’s text: “Is space anywhere supported? Upon what does it rest? Like space, Mahamudra is dependent on nothing.” So when you think about space, it’s not supported by any other phenomena other than space itself. Like space, Mahamudra is not dependent upon anything, is not resting on anything, it is not supported by anything.
So what you need to do is relax and relax your mind and “settle in the continuum of unalloyed purity and then, your bonds loosening, release is certain.” So if the mind is relaxed naturally and settled naturally, without any other methods, the mind will become pure – the bondage of the mind will loosen and one will be released from defilement.
If the mind is naturally relaxed and settled, just like the sky – if you practice patience and look at the sky, it will become clear. The sky is empty. Also, just like water – if the water is naturally undisturbed, the water will become clear, even after it’s disturbed if you leave it as it is.
“Gazing intently into the empty sky, vision ceases; Likewise, when mind gazes into mind itself, the train of conceptual and discursive thought ends and supreme enlightenment is found”. This kind of enlightenment means the moment-by-moment enlightenment, not the final enlightenment of the Buddha. The most important thing is to relax and settle the mind.
“Like the morning mist that dissolves into the air, going nowhere but ceasing to be, waves of conceptualisation, all the mind’s creation, dissolve when you behold your mind’s true nature.”
You shouldn’t fight, don’t struggle – accept. That’s also part of your practice. Don’t say to yourself: “This is so difficult.” Take it as a blessing. It takes a long time to settle and quiet the mind if you haven’t done this kind of meditation before. You have to just sit and gradually, gradually discursive thoughts, conceptual thoughts dissolve and subside. When we do Shamatha Mahamudra without focussing the mind on the breathing, when (a) discursive thought arises, let it arise – welcome it. When positive or virtuous mind arises – welcome it. Like nature: when the sun rises, let the sun rise – welcome it. When the moon rises, let the moon rise – welcome it. When the sun goes down, the moon goes down, let them go down. Welcome and say thank you and let them go and when the rain comes, snow is coming or storm coming, let them come and welcome them. When the rain stops and snow stops, let them also go and just be in the present and accept all things as they are. No rejection and no grasping. No subtraction and no addition – accept things as the way they are and let things happen naturally. This is the way to settle the mind and cultivate Shamatha Mahamudra.
If we keep applying different kinds of remedy, then the mind can’t settle or relax. And it’s difficult to understand the true nature of mind, because we are distracting our mind. (We become) too busy, doing the same kind of habit – good mind, bad mind, trying to get rid of all the negative mind, trying to accumulate all the virtuous mind. While you create the virtuous mind, you then create the non-virtuous mind at the same time because you never do things perfectly and then you get caught up with other defilements like negative mind states, expectations and so forth, so mind becomes unsettled and you can’t settle it. So therefore it is necessary to keep your mind like a mirror. According to the songs of Mahamudra by Tilopa and also according to the Maha Siddha Saraha: “Keep the mind like a mirror – an empty mirror – only reflecting.”
Please meditate on unborn mind. Develop unborn awareness. You are not waiting for distracting mind or virtuous mind. Not waiting for anything. Not waiting for enlightenment or to become Buddha, just sitting and keeping your mind in a natural state. Then if you don’t have any particular thoughts apart from being a sitter and just to be that way with no particular thought than to hear the rain, wind – then just be that way. This is good. This is wonderful. Then if you have a certain thought – fear arises, or clinging, craving mind or desire – whatever arises, then let it arise and observe it. Simply observe, no altering, not rejection, not holding. Let it arise and simply observe it. When you observe, naturally the mind will subside, dissolve itself. The point here is not trying to dissolve or eliminate – just be. Trying to experience the true nature of the mind – that is the point. That is the purpose – to experience the true nature of our innate mind. Trying to experience “Dolme Sangye” which means primordial Buddha nature.