3.1 The Nature of Mahamudra:
Abiding nowhere, free from all characteristics, and pervading
everything, it is described as space, as Lord Matripa said:
"Mahamudra, that which is unified and
beyond the mind,
Is clear yet thoughtless, pervasive,
and vast like space.
[Its aspect] of great compassion
Is apparent yet devoid of any nature,
Manifesting clearly like the moon in water;
It is beyond all terms, boundaries or center.
Polluted by nothing, it is stainless
and beyond hope and fear.
It cannot be described,
like the dream of a mute."
The nature of mahamudra, which is thus described, is not
sullied by even the . tiniest hint of elaboration of reference points
and characteristics. It is the self-sprung natural mode of existence,
which is beyond the mind. It is the nature of great luminosity, the
innate natural state itself, in the nature of which flows the complete
intent of the definitive meaning of the sutras and tantras, [all] in
one flavor, like streams flowing into the ocean.
4. The Classification of Mahamudra:
4.1 The common [mahamudra] relates to the approach taken
in the sutras and tantras; as the Sagaramatiparipriccha-sutra (Sutra
Requested by Ocean of Wisdom) says,
"Ocean of Wisdom! All phenomena are impressed with the
seal of complete liberation; they are non-dual and utterly pure."
And, " .. .like the center of space, all phenomena lack diversity.
Therefore, all phenomena are impressed with the seal of equality."
It says in the Maitreavatarasutra, (Engaging Maitreya Sutra), "Noble
Son! All phenomena are [impressed with] the seal of emptiness."
Thus, fifteen types of seals are tnentioned there, and the Questions
of Gayanaganga Sutra mentions ten types of seals.
In the lower tantra division: the Manjushri Root Tantra labels
the gesture of the hands binding into a mudra as mahamudra. In
the Abhisambodhi of Vairochana the attributes of deities are labeled
In the higher tantra division: four factors are labeled
mudra: karmamudra, samayamudra, dharmamudra and
mahamudra. Apparently, there are many such [uses of the term]'
However, the conclusion is: It is shown in all sutras and tantras
that the essence of Tathagata exists, from primordial time,
inherently in the minds of sentient beings, and the nature of mind
is shown as luminosity. 'These [statements] and the like, wherein the
basic mode of existences is described, [indicate] the mahamudra of
As means to make manifest the essential element, there are
Dharma teachings that show freedom from elaborations, the variety
of emptiness, the lack of true existence of all phenomena, selflessness,
equality and unity; all these [indicate] the mahamudra of the
All the teachings about awakening into the primordial wisdom
of omniscience, such as those on the four bodies, the five primordial
wisdoms, and the like, indicate the mahamudra of the result.
4.2 How the Uncommon Mahamudra is Taught:
In this context, the emptiness that is supreme in all aspects and the
unchangeable bliss becoming of one flavor is held to be mahamudra.
It is held that the unchangeable bliss in the quote, "Mahamudra
is unchangeable bliss," does not refer to the imputed primordial
wisdom, which is based on experiences derived from karmamudra
and jnanamudra, or the like. Rather, it is held to be the natural
co-emergent bliss, as taught very extensively in the Seven Sections
of Accomplishment (grub pa sde bdun) and the Indian Text on
Mahamudra (phyag chen rgya gzhung), among many others.
In conclusion, the tantras and the texts by the mahasiddhas
show the basic mode of existence of all phenomena: the natural
emptiness; the natural co-emergence; the equality; the unchangeable
bliss; the great bliss; the freedom from arising, ceasing and
abiding; and the profundity, peace, and non-elaboration. One
should know that all these show mahamudra.
4.3 The Special [Mahamudra]; the Short Path: In general,
the fully awakened teacher, the Conqueror, taught 84,000 heaps
of Dharma. In terms of the stages of their practical application,
each of them falls into one of three categories: the path based on
abandonment; the path based on transformation; the path based
The path based on abandonment refers to the Paramita approach,
in which the objects to be abandoned are abandoned by
regarding them and their antidotes as distinct from one another.
The path based on transformation refers to the Secret Mantra
approach, in which generating one's body in the form of a deity is
transforming the support, and taking the afflictive emotions as the
path is transforming the Dharma.
The path based on recognition refers to the mahamudra [approach],
in which there are no objects to be abandoned, no antidotes,
nothing to transform, and nothing that transforms. This
means that one attains buddhahood by recognizing and getting
used to the certainty that dharmakaya, the nature of mind which is
primordially birthless, is innately present within oneself. Therefore,
it is regarded as a short path, separate from the tantra as well as the
In some cases, it is also referred to as the path of blessing. It is
held that, without the necessity of depending on the paths of sutra
and tantra, liberation is attained through the single-sufficient path
of mahamudra when a guru who possesses realization transmits it
to a disciple who is fortunate and has given lip the activities of this life.
That is, as Hevajra says,
"Unspoken by others, the co-emergence
Cannot be found anywhere.
Be it known that it is [found]
By following the guru till the end,
And your own merits."
Moreover, [all of] the Conqueror's discourses, the sutras and
tantras in their entirety, were delivered as methods for realizing the
mode of existence, the suchness, of all phenomena. Ultimately, the
practice of mahamudra also culminates with this suchness, as Jowo
"All the eighty thousand and
Four thousand heaps of Dharma,
Culminates into this suchness."
Also, the Great Brahman Saraha said,
" .... it is reading and it is also concentrating and meditating,
It is also knowing the commentaries by heart."
The Utterly Non-abiding Tantra says,
"Once one eats the food of uncreated
It provides the satisfactions of all
tenet systems without exception.
Not realizing this, the childish ones
rely on terms and words.
Everything is characterized by
one's own mind."
"It is mantra recitation, it is austerity
and it is the generosity of burnt offerings.
It is those beings in the mandala,
and it is the mandala;
In brief, everything is
a reflection contained within the mind."
This is a definitive telling of the Dakpo Kagyu Tradition by HH Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche