Jigten Sumgon went into retreat in a cave.When he achieved enlightenment, he fully understood the mode of abiding of all phenomena. When he instructed his disciples, he told
them we have to practice the fivefold mahamudra. Jigten Sumgon taught
many systems of practice. But in essence they all come back to the
fivefold mahamudra. Some were pith instructions and some were more
extensive, but they all came back to the fivefold mahamudra. We should
all be practicing the fivefold mahamudra. Because the fivefold
mahamudra is the path to enlightenment, if you do not practice the
fivefold mahamudra, your practice will not lead to enlightenment. The
fivefold mahamudra comes down to the three excellences: first
generating the enlightened attitude, performing the practice, and
finally dedicating the merit.
The first branch of fivefold mahamudra is bodhicitta, which is the
essence of the cause.. The second is the yidam deity, which is the
essence of practice. The third branch is guru yoga, which is the
essence of qualities. The fourth branch is mahamudra, which is the
essence of meaning. The fifth branch is dedication, which is the
essence of method. If we look at sutra and tantra, the generation of
bodhicitta and dedication fall into the sutra vehicle. The creation
and completion stages of deity practice. are the essence of tantra,
method and wisdom. Creation stage refers to Chakrasamvara yidam
practice and completion stage refers to mahamudra practice. To meet
with success in the path you need the blessing of guru yoga, so it is
like a helper for the four other methods.
So why do we need all five of these? Of these five, mahamudra is the
root of the other branches. But if you just meditate on mahamudra,
your practice has emptiness but lacks compassion and will not lead to
full enlightenment. If you have compassion without emptiness you will
not gain enlightenment. Emptiness without compassion will only lead to
the fruit of the lower vehicles. So you need to develop both. We need
both method, the creation stage, and wisdom, the completion stage.
Completion stage purifies obscuration of mind and creation stage
purifies the obscuration of appearances. So that is why both are
necessary. When we do creation stage, we need completion stage, so
that we do not view the form of the deity as a substantial reality. So
in this way each branch depends upon the others.
Bodhicitta is the essence of the Mahayana. Without it all the other
branches cannot lead to full enlightenment. When we do each practice
there are many places where we can get tripped up. To avoid these we
need the blessing to follow the path, which comes from guru yoga. If
you want to give rise to primordial wisdom, you need to see the lama
in the form of the dharmakaya. If you don't enlightenment will not
arise in you. All the previous Kagyu masters have relied on devotion,
so if you lack it, you are off the path. When an ordinary being meets
their teacher they cannot see them as other than ordinary. As we
practice, we can see the teacher as Nirmanakaya. As we progress we can
see the teacher as Sambhogakaya. Finally we can see the teacher as
dharmakaya. So we practice visualizing the lama as the four kayas,
including Svabhavikaya. You can understand these as being
progressively profound and subtle, the outer, inner, secret, and
essence practices. As you see the lama, you receive the blessings from
the four kayas. Eventually you realize you do not need to look outside
yourself any more.
I will not go into too much more detail. First we generate the mind of
enlightenment, do the creation and completion stage practice, then the
guru yoga and finally the dedication. The dedication is so that we do
not lose merit of practice through the faults of anger, wrong view,
doubt, or regret. We have to look into our purpose for doing the
practice. Dedication is what makes the fruit come forth. Practice
without dedication is like an arrow that has not been shot. Dedication
is divided into relative, and absolute, which does not conceive of the
three spheres of dedicator, dedication, and beings dedicated to.
So now you see the need for these five stages of practice: First there
is bodhicitta. Without bodhicitta, practice does not lead to
enlightenment. Why? Because without it you fall into the lower
vehicle, because you only think of your own benefit. Secondly, we have
the yidam deity practice. Without it you cannot overthrow ordinary
appearances. Then thirdly, you must have devotion to the lama to give
rise to experience. So it is extremely important. Fourth is mahamudra.
Without it you cannot cut off the root of existence. The fifth,
dedication of merit, is necessary because without it whatever merit
generated will not last. So now if you have all five branches, all
stages of practice are included and you do not need anything else.
We have five afflictive emotions and this practice transforms them.
Bodhicitta transforms hatred. Yidam practice is the antidote to
arrogance, the grasping to a self. Meditating on the lama counteracts
jealousy. Mahamudra counteracts ignorance or delusion. Tilopa said
that thousands of eons of darkness can be vanquished with one lamp. So
similarly mahamudra counteracts delusion. Finally dedication
counteracts desire and attachment. Desire is attachment and clinging
and keeps us from giving. So giving counteracts attachment.
So we have five dharmas brought onto the path through the fivefold
mahamudra. These five fruits are relative bodhicitta, which gives rise
to absolute bodhicitta which is mahamudra. Yidam practice exhausts the
appearances of ordinary body, speech and mind. The guru yoga leads to
the true nature of mind itself. When you meditate on your mind as
inseparable from the lama's you give rise to unfabricated devotion and
realize the true lama, the nature of your mind. Practicing the
mahamudra leads you to find the Buddha is not outside yourself and
leads beyond hope and fear. Fifth, dedication results in the
accomplishment of your aims without effort.
Next comes how fivefold mahamudra overcomes the five classes of
demons. Bodhicitta overcomes the male demons, which are the result of
hatred. Yidam practice overcomes the spirits of Mara, which are the
result of arrogance. Guru yoga overcomes samaya breaking spirits, the
results of jealousy. Mahamudra overcomes the naga spirits, who take
birth as a result of illusion. Dedication overcomes female evil
spirits, who are the embodiment of desire.
Practice overcomes birth in the five realms, which is the result of
the five kleshas. Asuras and humans are grouped as one, so there are
five realms instead of six. Mahamudra also develops the five
primordial wisdoms. Each wisdom is the purification of its
corresponding klesha. Bodhicitta leads to mirrorlike wisdom. Yidam
practice leads to the wisdom of equanimity. Guru yoga leads to the all
accomplishing wisdom. Mahamudra leads to the wisdom of the
dharmadhatu. Dedication leads to discriminating wisdom.
There is much more I can say and I can't say I fully understand the
text. Beginners should practice each stage in succession. But at the
end we see they are all not separate from the nature of mahamudra. So
why do we do them in succession? When bodhicitta is complete we call
it bodhicitta mahamudra. When in creation stage we realize the unity
of emptiness and appearance, we call this mahamudra of the deity. When
we realize our minds are inseparable from the lamas and give rise to
unfabricated devotion, this is devotion mahamudra. In mahamudra when
we see all phenomena in samsara and nirvana are not dual, we realize
the mahamudra of the abiding nature. When we dedicate without
dedicator, object dedicated, or beings dedicated to, we realize
mahamudra that is beyond the three spheres. These are not just nice
words. If we practice we will realize this.
When we practice, we should practice all five in a single session. In
every moment we should practice all five. So how do you do this? How
do you make sure you don't leave anything out? If you do Chenrezig
practice, you begin with refuge and generation of the enlightened
mind, which is bodhicitta practice. When you visualize yourself as
Chenrezig, that is yidam practice. Visualizing Amitabha on your crown
is the lama practice. Completion stage practice is mahamudra. At the
end is dedication, which is dedication practice. When you eat, you
should meditate on compassion, which is bodhicitta. See your body as
the abode of the deity, which is yidam. Visualize your lama in your
throat which is guru yoga. See everything as a dream, which is
mahamudra. And dedicate at the end of the meal, which is dedication.
In brief, the Drikung tradition of the fivefold mahamudra is practiced
by all the Kagyu traditions. The Drukpa Kagyu and Karma Kagyu
mahamudra texts accept fivefold mahamudra as valid. All the great
Kagyu masters have come to enlightenment on this path. But the
individual must be diligent and work hard. If not practiced the
qualities of the practice will not manifest.. Buddha said I only; show
the path. Jigten Sumgon said I have extracted butter from milk.
Whether you taste it is up to you.