A Lamp to Dispel Darkness (ignorance) - Mipham
An Instruction that Points Directly to the Very Essence of Mind (or Ground)
In the Tradition of ‘the Old Realized Ones’
by Mipham Jampal Dorje
I. The Homage
Homage to the Lama, inseparable from Mañjuśrī, the embodiment of wisdom!
Without having to study, contemplate, or train to any great degree,
Simply by maintaining [direct] recognition of the very nature of mind (subject)
according to the approach of the pith instructions,
Any ordinary village yogi can, without too much difficulty,
Reach the level of a vidyādhara: such is the power of this profound path.
(Note: Since the three spheres -- subject / mind, relation / action / awareness / thinking / perception / cognition, object / phenomena (physical, conceptual, mental fabrications; internal, external, between; individual, collective, cosmic; gross, subtle, very subtle) -- are inseparable / interdependent / co-defined / co-relative / co-dependent / co-emergent / co-evolving / co-ceasing / in harmony / equal / non-dual / one ..., what we directly perceive / recognise / abide in is not just the mind, but this inseparability ... of the three spheres: the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres. -- see more about this Union below.)
II. The Instruction that Cracks Open the Egg-shell of Ignorance
(Cracking the shell of all conditioning / karma covering our true nature & dynamic, thus letting our true Mind directly perceiving / recognise its true nature & dynamic.)
(II. A way to directly perceive what is under all the conditioning / karma based on ignorance -- at the self-arisen unconditioned unalterable pristine Consciousness / Mind / Reality / Ground --: by first drastically calming the mind, and then directly looking at the three spheres -- subject / mind, relation / action /awareness, object / this state of non-thinking -- here & now. Well, they say look at the mind who is trying to not-think, who is aware of this non-thinking state, but the three spheres are inseparable. So, it is not just the subject / mind recognising itself, but the Ground / Reality / Indivisible Universe / U2T directly recognising its true face / Buddha-nature / Genuine Emptiness / U2T free of all extremes & middle. One important point is to realise that there is a primordial nature that is free of all conditioning / karma, a self-arisen unalterable eternal pristine Ground that is empty but still functional / cognizant, functional / cognizant but still empty. One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>). It is also called: pure primordial awareness or wisdom, naked mind, empty-awareness, Union of the Two Truths [U2T], etc.)
[A.] When you leave your mind in a state of natural rest, without thinking any particular thought, and at the same time maintain some kind of mindfulness, you can experience a state of vacant, neutral, apathetic indifference, called “lungmaten”, (a ‘no-man’s land’), where your consciousness is dull and blank.
In this, there is not any of the clear insight of vipaśyanā, which discerns things precisely, and so the masters call it marigpa (“non-recognition, ignorance, unknowing”).
Since you cannot define it and say “This is what it’s like”, or “This is it!” such a state is called lungmaten (“undecided, indeterminate”).
And since you cannot say what kind of state it is you are resting in, or what your mind is thinking, it is also called tha mal tang nyom (“an ordinary state of apathetic indifference”).
In fact, you are stuck in an ordinary state within the ālaya.
You need to use such a means of resting the mind, as a stepping stone, so as to give rise to the non-conceptual state of primordial wisdom.
However, if there is not the self-recognition of primordial wisdom which is our rigpa, then it cannot count as the main (meditation) practice of Dzogchen.
As The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra says:
A blank state, devoid of any thought whatsoever —
That is marigpa, the cause of delusion.
[B.] Therefore, when mind experiences this kind of dull state that lacks any thought or mental activity,
by allowing your attention to turn naturally and gently towards
the one (subject) who is aware (relation / action) of this state (object) — the one (subject) who is not thinking (relation / action)—
you discover the pure awareness of rigpa,
free of any movement of thought,
beyond any notion of outside or inside,
unimpeded and open, like the clear sky.
Although there is no dualistic separation here between an experience (relation / action) and an experiencer (subject),
still the mind is certain about its own true nature, and there is a sense that,
“There is nothing whatsoever beyond this.”
When this occurs, because you can not conceptualize it or express it in words, it is acceptable to apply such terms as: “free from all extremes”, “beyond description”, “the fundamental state of clear light” and “the pure awareness of rigpa.”
As the wisdom of recognizing your own true nature dawns, it clears away the blinding darkness of confusion, and, just as you can see clearly the inside of your home once the sun has risen, you gain confident certainty in the true nature of your mind.
This was ‘the instruction (mengak) for cracking open the egg-shell of ignorance (marigpa).’
III. The Instruction for Cutting through the Web of Saṃsāric Existence
(Neutralising / dissolving / transcending / purifying / liberating our dualistic mind with its inseparable fabrications / conditioning / karma. Becoming free from them by directly perceiving / realising their true nature & dynamic. Thus transmuting samsara into Nirvana here & now. Note: Free from them, not necessarily without them.)
(III. A way to directly perceive what is under all the conditioning / karma based on ignorance -- at the self-arisen unconditioned unalterable pristine Consciousness / Mind / Reality / Ground -- by first drastically calming the mind, and then directly looking at the three spheres -- subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, object / this clarity/cognizance or emptiness -- here & now. Well, they say look at the mind aware of this clarity / emptiness / Union of the Two Truths, but the three spheres are inseparable. So, it is not just the subject / mind recognising itself, but the Ground / Reality / Indivisible Universe / U2T directly recognising its true face / Buddha-nature / Genuine Emptiness / U2T free of all extremes & middle. One important point is to realise that everything that appears -- good or bad -- is this Ground, inseparable with this Ground, thus beyond all dualities, like already equal / pure / perfect / divine here & now. This direct realisation / wisdom is what self-liberates / purifies / transmutes all appearances, the three spheres, the whole samsara, into pure Nirvana here & now. There is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do / add in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do / subtract in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone get closer to the liberating Truth. So, ‘trying to not-think’ is just a tool, an adapted skillful means to calm the mind and be present here & now to observe Reality in action; ‘non-thinking’ is not an end by itself. A mind completely without thoughts is impossible. They are called impure when there is ignorance, and pure when there is wisdom.)
When you gain this kind of realization, you understand that this nature of reality (Ground / U2T)
has always been this way, timelessly,
that it is not created by any causes or conditions, and
that it never undergoes any kind of transition or change in the past, present or future.
At the same time, you can not find even the tiniest fraction of something called “mind” that is separate from this nature.
You could also say that the state of mental blankness we looked at earlier is indescribable,
but it lacks decisiveness, since you are completely unable to describe it in any way.
Rigpa, on the other hand, is in essence indescribable,
but at the same time it has a decisive quality that cuts through any doubt about what is indescribable.
So there is a huge difference between these two kinds of indescribability,
like the difference between blindness and perfect vision.
This covers the crucial point of distinguishing between the ālaya and the dharmakāya.
Therefore, because terms like ‘ordinary mind’, ‘mental non-doing’, ‘inexpressible’ and so on are used in two different ways — only one of which is authentic — when you come to know the crucial point of how the same words can have a higher level of meaning, you can come to experience the true meaning of the profound Dharma.
[A.] When resting in the essence of mind,
some feel that what is to be maintained is a simple clarity, a simple awareness, and so they settle in a state of ordinary mental consciousness, thinking, “This is clarity.”
Some focus their attention on the awareness of an absorbing sense of emptiness, as though their minds had ‘become’ empty.
But, in both cases, there is some clinging to the dualistic experience of an aspect of ordinary mental consciousness.
[B.] When you find yourself in either of these states,
look into the innate nature (bab) of that subtly fixated attention — the clarity (object) and the one (subject) perceiving (relation / action) the clarity (object), the emptiness (object) and the one (subject) perceiving (relation / action) the emptiness (object) —
and, by doing so, you will take away the support for the ordinary consciousness that perceives things dualistically.
Then, if you can decisively recognize the innate nature of your own mind in all its nakedness — clear and open, without any limit or centre — and a state of lucid clarity arises, that is what is called, ‘the very essence of rigpa.’
With this, as rigpa sheds the covering layer of experiences involving clinging, its pure and pristine wisdom is laid bare.
This was ‘the instruction for cutting through the web of conditioned existence.’
IV. The Instruction for Remaining in the Equalness which is like Space
(Gaining familiarity with practice / experience -- until one can continually directly perceive / abide in the true nature & dynamic of Consciousness / Mind / Reality / Ground with its three inseparable qualities: an inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres, about opposites, about all dharmas.)
This is how you should recognize the pure awareness of rigpa once it is freed from the various layers of ordinary thinking and experience (of conditioning / karma), like a grain of rice freed from its husk — by settling naturally and making use of rigpa’s own self-knowing (or self-illuminating) quality. (i.e. Ultimately it is our true nature that directly recognises itself here & now; it is the Indivisible Universe that directly recognises itself through us.)
It is not enough, however, simply to understand the nature of rigpa; you must be able to remain in that state with some stability through developing familiarity. And so it is very important that, without becoming distracted, you sustain constant mindfulness, so as to continue resting in an utterly natural state of awareness.
When you are maintaining that state,
at times you might experience a vague and dull state with no thoughts,
while at other times you might experience an unobstructed state (zang thal) with no thoughts that has the clarity of vipaśyanā.
At times, you might experience states of bliss on which you fixate,
while at other times you might experience states of bliss free of such fixation.
At times, you might have various experiences of clarity with grasping,
while at other times you might experience a vivid clarity that is unsullied and free of grasping.
At times, you might have unpleasant and disturbing experiences,
while at other times you might have pleasant and soothing experiences.
And at times, you might experience an extreme turbulence of thoughts which carries your mind away, causing you to lose your meditation;
while at other times, you might experience unclear states of mind because of a failure to distinguish between mental dullness and vivid clarity.
These and other experiences come about unpredictably and to an extent you can not measure, like various waves produced by the winds of karma and habitual thoughts, which you have cultivated throughout beginningless time. It is as though you are on a long journey, during which you visit all sorts of different places — some of them pleasant, some fraught with danger — but whatever happens, you do not allow it to deter you, and continue on your own path.
In particular, when you are not yet familiar with this practice, and you have the experience of ‘movement,’ as all manner of thoughts stir in your mind, like a blazing fire, don’t become discouraged.
Maintain the flow of your practice without letting it slip away, and find the right balance, so that you are neither too tense nor too relaxed. In this way, the more advanced meditative experiences, such as ‘attainment,’ will occur one after another.
Note 1: This is a reference to five successive experiences that occur during the development of meditation in general, and śamatha in particular. They are termed ‘movement’ (compared to a cascade of water down a rock face), ‘attainment’ (compared to a torrent in a deep ravine), ‘familiarization’ (compared to a meandering river), ‘stability’ (compared to an ocean free of waves), and ‘consummation’ (compared to a mountain).
At this point, investigate the distinction between the recognition and nonrecognition of rigpa, between ālaya and dharmakāya, and between ordinary awareness and wisdom. Through the master’s pith instructions, and on the basis of your own personal experience, have confidence in the direct introduction you receive.
While you are maintaining this, just as water clears by itself if you do not stir it, your ordinary awareness will settle in its own nature.
So you need to focus mainly on the instructions which clearly show how the true nature of this awareness is naturally arising wisdom.
Don’t analyze with a view to adopting one state and abandoning another, thinking, “What is this that I am cultivating in meditation? Is it ordinary awareness or wisdom?”
Nor should you entertain all kinds of speculations based on the understanding you have gained from books, because doing will only serve to obstruct both śamatha and vipaśyanā.
[Union śamatha <==> vipaśyanā] : At some point, the aspect of familiarity or śamatha — which here means settling in an utterly natural way with stable and continuous mindfulness — and vipaśyanā — which here means the awareness that knows its own nature by itself — will merge together automatically. When this happens, and you gain some stable familiarity with it, you come to understand how the śamatha and vipaśyanā that are the primordial stillness of the natural state and the clear light of your own nature have always been inseparable, and the naturally arising wisdom that is the wisdom mind of Dzogpachenpo dawns.
That was the instruction for remaining in the equalness which is like space.
The glorious Saraha said:
Having gone beyond thinker (subject) and thinking (relation / action) (and object),
Remain like a young child, free of thoughts,
This is the way to be. He also said:
Focus on the master’s words and apply great effort —
Then, if you have received the master’s instructions introducing you to your rigpa:
There is no doubt that your inherent nature will arise.
[The true nature of Reality:] As he says, the naturally arising wisdom that is mind’s inherent nature,
and which has always accompanied your ordinary mind from time immemorial, will dawn.
This is no different from the inherent nature of everything,
and so it is also called the ‘genuine clear light of the fundamental nature (of Reality).’
(i.e. It is the true nature & dynamic of Consciousness / Mind / Reality / Ground, of the three spheres -- subject / mind, relation / action / awareness, objects / phenomena.)
Therefore, this approach of resting in a completely natural state and maintaining the recognition of your own nature, or rigpa, the very essence of mind, or the nature of phenomena, is ‘the pith instruction that brings together a hundred crucial points in one.’ This is also what you are to maintain continuously.
[Measuring progress:] The true measure of your familiarity with this is the ability to maintain the state of clear light during sleep. The signs that you are on the right track can be known through your own experience: your faith, compassion and wisdom will increase automatically, so that realization will come easily, and you will experience few difficulties. You can be certain about how profound and swift this approach is if you compare the realization it brings with the realization gained only through great effort in other approaches.
[Benefits:] As a result of cultivating your mind’s own natural clear light, the obscurations of ordinary thinking and the habits it creates will be naturally cleared away (sang), and the two aspects of omniscient wisdom will effortlessly unfold (gyé). With this, as you seize the stronghold of your own primordial nature, the three kāyas will be spontaneously accomplished.
Profound! Guhya! Samaya!
This profound instruction was written by Mipham Jampal Dorje on the twelfth day of the second month, in the Fire Horse year (1906), for the benefit of village yogis and others, who, while not able to exert themselves too much in study and contemplation, still wish to take the very essence of mind into experience through practice. It has been set out in language that is easy to understand, in accordance with the experiential guidance of a great many old realized masters. Virtue! Maṅgalam!
Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2005.
See also other Blog Posts like:
Pointing Out Ordinary Mind - Dzogchen Ponlop
From: Buddha Doodles
The mind is free of any true reality ~ Padampa Sangye
The root of both samsara and nirvana is to be found within your mind;
People of Tingri, the mind is free of any true reality.
(i.e. The mind is empty but still relatively functional, and vice versa.
It is the Ground. Its true nature is pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths.)
– Padampa Sangye
from the book "The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most"
"Leave alone whatever arises in the mind.
Do not seek to change or alter anything.
It is all perfect as it stands."
Seeing the real, you are free ~ Nagarjuna
Seeing what is not real, you are bound;
Seeing the real, you are free.
quoted in the book "The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment Vol 3"
[𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳-𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗻 𝘂𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱:]
From: Nibbāna Sutta: Parinibbana (1)
There is, bhikkhus, 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲 (𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱) where there is
no earth, no water, no fire, no air;
no base consisting of the infinity of space,
no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness,
no base consisting of nothingness,
no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception;
neither this world nor another world nor both;
neither sun nor moon.
Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising.
Not fixed, not movable, it has no support.
Just this is the end of suffering.
From: Nibbāna Sutta: Parinibbana (3)
There is, bhikkhus, 𝗮 𝗻𝗼𝘁-𝗯𝗼𝗿𝗻, 𝗮 𝗻𝗼𝘁-𝗯𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁-𝘁𝗼-𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗮 𝗻𝗼𝘁-𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲, 𝗮 𝗻𝗼𝘁-𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗲𝗱.
If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.
But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.
From: Nibbāna Sutta: Parinibbana (4)
For the supported there is instability, for 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 there is no instability;
when there is no instability there is serenity;
when there is serenity there is no inclination:
when there is no inclination there is no coming-and-going;
when there is no coming-and-going there is no decease-and-uprising;
when there is no decease-and-uprising there is neither "here" nor "beyond" nor "in between the two."
Just this is the end of suffering.
Idea from Michael Gregory: https://www.facebook.com/michael.gregory.9212/posts/3732351276844495
Free ~ Mipham Rinpoche
If we are not trapped in the mire of mental constructs ,
The manifestation (objects) of awareness (subject) is directly seen,
Free from constructs.
(i.e. When our body, speech & mind are calm enough, when we are fully present here & now, then we are in the right position to directly perceive the true nature of our mind's displays / manifestations / objects, and the true nature of the mind / subject.)
Without tying knots in the air with the rope of speculation,
May we be skilled in spontaneously resting in the genuine nature.
(i.e. May we be skilled in directly abiding in the true nature & dynamic of Consciousness / Mind / Reality / Ground; in the true nature & dynamic of the three spheres -- subject, relation / action, object --; directly perceiving / realising the Union of the Two Truths about those three spheres in all activities of the body, speech & mind.)
– Mipham Rinpoche
quoted in the book "Quintessential Dzogchen: Confusion Dawns as Wisdom"
The goal is to realise the important role our conditioned mind plays in our feelings & perceptions of everything (physical, conceptual, mental; inside, outside, between; past, present, future).
So, it is important to always be mindful of the three aspects together: objects / phenomena / result, subject / mind / actor, and the inter-relation between the two, their co-dependence / co-emergence / co-evolution.
Usually we concentrate only on the objects.
Concentrating only on the subject / mind is no better.
We need the whole picture: the Union of the three.
It is the mind in action, the natural activity of the mind, that we need to understand.
Once we understand how our mind fabricates / imagines / deforms everything depending on its present mood and accumulated karma, then we can transcend all of those illusions / conditioning / karma.
After that we perceive everything as Nirvana here & now, and we spontaneously turn to enlightened compassionate activities, enacting the Union of compassion <==> and wisdom / emptiness of a Buddha.
Trying to stop thoughts altogether ~ Mingyur Rinpoche
The mind is always active, always generating thoughts, just as the ocean constantly generates waves. We can’t stop our thoughts any more than we can stop waves in the ocean. Resting the mind in its natural state is very different from trying to stop thoughts altogether.
– Mingyur Rinpoche
from the book "The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness"
"No matter how long the room has been dark, an hour or a million years, the moment the lamp of awareness is lit the entire room becomes luminous. You are that luminosity. You are that clear light."
-- Tenzin Wangyal
Comments from other texts
From: The Backward Steps - Dogen
𝗻𝗼 𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗱, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗯𝗼𝗮𝘁
𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁.
(i.e. Suggested interpretation from somewhere on the Net: 'we need to be empty so that the things of this world can reveal themselves to us'. Meaning to be able to directly perceive the true nature & dynamic of Reality (of subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena) in the here & now, we first need to calm our body, speech & mind sufficiently, and be fully present here & now. But, no need to kill the body, speech & mind, they will calm themself automatically with full equanimous mindfulness of the present moment. They -- appearances, thoughts, feelings ... -- will still/always arise, but the more we directly perceive / realise their true nature & dynamic, the less they will disturb us. We will become free from them, not necessarily free of them / without them. Free to use then without any craving, attachment ... without leaving a trace / karma.)
From: The Quintessential Instructions of Mind: The Buddha No Farther Than One's Palm - Mipham
(Résumé: It is like simulating the result until this self-arisen primordial naked unalterable awareness beyond all karma spontaneously recognises itself here & now. This is called bringing the fruit into the path. In meditation, it may feel like an individual primordial naked awareness basis of all, but it is the inconceivable self-arisen unalterable permanent pristine Ground / Reality / Indivisible Universe directly recognizing itself, its true nature & dynamic, the Ground with its three inseparable qualities. It is the Ground directly recognizing the Ground and its inseparable spontaneous natural displays / manifestations / appearances. Union Ground <==> displays. Union of the Two Truths. A pure non-conceptual non-dualistic Oneness / Union in the sense of: not many, not one, not both together, not neither; a Union beyond all conceptual proliferations, beyond all extremes & middle.)
(i.e. Meditation: Placing the mind (as much as possible) in its original pristine state free from all conditioning / karma, free from all grasping, attachment, fear, hope, discrimination, conceptualisation, focus on the past or future. It is like abiding in pure equanimous presence to Reality as it is here & now. This is called bringing the fruit into the path: simulating the result until the result recognises itself -- a primordial awareness free of all conditioning / karma, empty but still functional.
The goal is the same as directly abiding in the true nature of the primordial Ground / Reality / Mind: Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres: Union of dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances / ex. primordial functionality luminosity cognizance of the mind (1st truth) <==> and emptiness of inherent existence (2nd truth). An inconceivable state or Union free of all conceptual proliferations, free of all extremes & middle, free of all conditioning / karma.)
(i.e. Gradually developing an inner certainty that all appearances -- physical, conceptual, mental; positive, neutral, negative -- as inseparable from the Ground, are the Ground / Reality. And thus that all displays share all the characteristics of the Ground. Union appearances / displays <==> Ground. )
(i.e. The true nature of the Mind, the Ground, is exactly this original pristine state of meditation free from all conditioning / karma, free from all grasping, attachment, fear, hope, discrimination, conceptualisation, focus on the past or future. It is like abiding in pure equanimous presence to Reality as it is here & now. It is like directly abiding in the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres -- subject, relation / action, object --: Union naked pristine unalterable functionality / cognizance / awareness (1st truth) <==> and emptiness of inherent existence (2nd truth). Functional awareness but empty of inherent existence, empty of inherent existence but still functionally relatively aware. One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>). Aware of its own (subject) true nature & dynamic while functioning naturally, simultaneously aware of the true nature & dynamic of its inseparable spontaneous manifestations / displays / appearances (objects), and aware of the relation between the two (relation / action). Aware of the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, of the Ground as an inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres.)
(i.e. In meditation, continually maintain this original pristine state of meditation free from all conditioning / karma, free from all grasping, attachment, fear, hope, discrimination, conceptualisation, focus on the past or future. Maintain focus on this inconceivable Ground.
This Ground, the primordial mind, is not the conditioned body, speech, and/or mind. It is free from all conditioning / karma, free from all conditioned fabrications (physical, conceptual, mental; individual, collective, cosmic). It is like our true nature before any karma was added to it. But that is just an imperfect picture, because samsara is limitless. Ex. There is no mind without any activity / thoughts. So the goal is not to produce a pure mind without any activity / thoughts … nor to try to perceive such a thing. The Ground has three inseparable qualities: essence / emptiness / purity, nature / appearances / cognizance / spontaneous presence, and it's dynamism / compassionate energy. So the Ground, the innate mind, is not just like an empty sky, it is inseparable stillness & movement, inseparable emptiness & appearance / functionality.
The inconceivable self-arisen unalterable pristine permanent Ground, the true nature of the primordial mind, is more like the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all conceptual elaborations, free of all extremes & middle; or the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres, or the Union of opposites, or the Middle Way. That is the only thing that is self-arisen, unconditioned, unchanging, uncontrived, permanent … U2T: Union of conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth) <==> and emptiness of inherent existence (2nd truth). In the case of the mind, it is the Union of clarity / luminosity / radiance / functionality / cognizance (1st truth) <==> and emptiness of inherent existence (2nd truth).)
(i.e. This meditative state -- directly abiding on the Ground, on the true nature of the mind -- is indescribable / inconceivable. It is beyond causality / production / action and their respective conceptual opposite. It is directly perceiving / realising / abiding in the Ground without using any of our conditioning / karma. It is as if this Ground, or our true nature, or the indivisible Universe, has to directly recognise itself here & now. Then it becomes totally free from all illusions.)
(i.e. This Ground, our true nature, is not objects / phenomena-only / appearances / displays, not a pure-subject / pure-mind-only / pure-ground-only, not both together, not neither. It is the Union of the Two Truths, the Union of Ground <==> and its inseparable displays / appearances. It is like the Union of the ocean <==> and its waves, the Union of the sky <==> and its clouds, the Union of the Sun <==> and its rays. These apparent opposites -- ex. waves & ocean -- are not inherent / separate / independent / in opposition, but are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, equal / non-dual / one -- in the non-dual sense of those terms -- <==> thus empty of inherent existence.
The important point is that the displays / appearances / waves / clouds / rays cannot be separated from (abandoned for uniquely) the Ground / Emptiness / Ocean / Sky / Sun only. The problem is not appearances / displays but the ‘grasping’ based on ignorance of their true nature & dynamic. So, the solution is not about rejecting / abandoning appearances, actions, thoughts, conceptualisation, discrimination / duality, feelings, etc. but about transmuting them by becoming fully aware of their true nature & dynamic as directly perceived in meditation: the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres.)
(i.e. All appearances / displays of the self-arisen Ground, positive neutral or negative, are One with the Ground / Reality / Mind / Indivisible Universe. In that sense, they are all One in the non-dual sense of the terms: ex. not different / separate / multiple / dual / unequal, not identical / united / one / non-dual / equal, not both together, not neither; not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither; etc.)
(i.e. The true nature of the mind / reality / Ground, is self-arisen, unchanging, unperturbable, unalterable, permanent like the sky -- empty of inherent existence, but not separate from its natural functions / displays / manifestations / appearances. It is Great Bliss beyond all dualities; like desires & fears, acceptation & rejection, ignorance & wisdom, samsara & nirvana.)
(i.e. This direct wisdom, direct knowledge of the Ground, is what self-liberates / purifies / transmutes all appearances, the whole samsara, into Nirvana here & now. We are then free from all illusions / conditioning / karma, from our 5 aggregates, from our body speech & mind -- including our actions, thoughts, concepts, dualities … --, by seeing through them, by directly realising their true nature & dynamic. We are 'free from them', but not necessarily 'free of them', not necessarily without them. We can still use them as simple tools, but we are not fooled by them anymore. We can use them without any grasping, without any attachment, without becoming slaves to them, because we are always fully aware of their true nature & dynamic. So, we never had to reject / negate / abandon our actions, thoughts, concepts, dualities, conditioning / karma; they have been self-liberated / transmuted into gold. Ex. the five poisons are transmuted into the five wisdoms.)
(i.e. The goal is to become always (continuously) aware of the true nature & dynamic of the Ground and its inseparable displays / manifestations / appearances (U2T) as they arise, abide for a while, change, and then cease.
Then, all objects / appearances are perceived as like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams, because they are objects / phenomena merely labelled / imputed / conceptualised by the subject / mind in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma (1st truth) <==> thus empty of inherent existence (2nd truth). And the subject / mind is also perceived the same: co-dependent with the objects / phenomena <==> thus also empty of inherent existence.
Being empty of inherent existence, everything is beyond all discrimination in absolute terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither.
So, everything is can be perceived as already equal / pure / perfect / divine here & now -- in the non-dual sense of those terms: not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary, not equal / pure / perfect / divine, not both together, not neither; but we insist in the first point as an antidote to our usual position.)
(i.e. Ground: Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas, pure or impure, samsara or nirvana. Although everything is empty of inherent existence (2nd truth -- not real inherent independent separate absolute existence) -- subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena -- <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional appearances (1st truth -- not completely non-existent, meaningless, useless). Appearing but empty, empty but still appearing and relatively functional. One aspect implies the other (<==>). With ignorance appearances / actions are said to be impure; with wisdom / awareness they are said to be pure / perfect / divine. Ex. pure qualities / perfected virtues, five wisdoms, enlightened activities, etc. In that sense, those qualities have always been there with our true nature, our Buddha-nature.)
From: Essential Mahamudra Verses -- Maitripa
(Résumé: Everything is the Ground / Mahamudra: Union of the Ground <==> and its displays / manifestations; Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres -- subject, relation / action, object --; Union of opposites; Middle Way free from all extremes & middle.
Becoming fully aware of this Ground, with its three inseparable qualities -- essence, nature, compassionate energy / dynamism -- is the liberating factor. Then samsara is purified / transmuted into Nirvana here & now.
This Ground, and thus also its displays, are indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all conceptual proliferations, beyond all extremes & middle: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither; beyond existent & non-existence; beyond all conceptualisation & non-conceptualisation, discrimination & non-discrimination, duality & non-duality, causality / production & acausality / spontaneity, beyond the three stages of becoming -- origination / coming, duration / abiding / change, cessation / going --; beyond form & non-form / matter-energy, space & non-space, time & timelessness.
The Ground is felt as a primordial naked pristine awareness: empty but still functional / cognizant / luminous, functional / cognizant / luminous but still empty.)
(i.e. In more precise words:
𝗠𝗮𝗵𝗮𝗺𝘂𝗱𝗿𝗮 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗲𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 / 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 '𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆' as it is here & now.
And that '𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱' is the self-arising unchanging unstained fact that everything -- the three spheres of 1. subject / mind, 2. relation / action, and 3. object / phenomena -- is like a Union of being 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 (2nd truth) <==> exactly because 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗼-𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗻 / co-dependent (1st truth). One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>).
Something could be co-dependent with its parts (when applicable), and/or its causes & conditions (when applicable), and its conceptual opposite(s) (always), and as object co-dependent with the subject / mind merely labelling / imputing / conceptualising it in dependence of its past / conditioning / karma (always).
Everything is conventionally dependently arisen & relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth), but still empty of inherent existence (2nd truth); empty of inherent existence (2nd truth), but still conventionally dependently arisen & relatively functional impermanent appearances (1st truth). One aspect / truth implies the other (<==>).
In other words: Mahamudra is directly perceiving / realising / abiding on the Ground as the inconceivable 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀. Abiding in this, being always fully aware of this, is Liberation, Freedom, Bliss, Nirvana.
This 'Ground' is also called the 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱: Union clarity / luminosity / awareness / functionality <==> and emptiness. It is also the Inseparability / Union of three kayas: Trikaya, or Buddhaverse, or Buddha-nature of everything, of Genuine Emptiness free from all extremes & middle.
From: The bliss of directly abiding in the true mind and its inseparable natural continuous spontaneous unimpeded displays
Acknowledging all your experience as something ordinary (natural) ~ Mingyur Rinpoche
Wherever you are, whatever you do, it’s essential to acknowledge your experience as something ordinary, the natural expression of your true mind. If you don’t try to stop whatever is going on in your mind, but merely observe it, eventually you’ll begin to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, a vast sense of openness within your mind – which is in fact the natural mind, the naturally unperturbed background against which various thoughts come and go.
– Mingyur Rinpoche
from the book "The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness"
From: A successful meditation is when subject & object merge, or become one; when opposites merge, when the Two Truths merge.
(Résumé: The goal of meditation is to directly perceive / realise / abide in the true nature of Reality as it is here & now, or the true nature of our mind. This Reality is indescribable, inconceivable for our flawed conditioned conceptual dualistic mental; it has to be directly perceived / realised / abided in without using our conditioning / karma.
But, still, we use concepts to point to it; concepts like: the Union of the Two Truths, the Union of the three spheres, the Union of opposites, the Middle Way free of all extremes & middle, the tetralemma, the primordial equality / purity / perfection / divinity of everything, etc.
To describe the goal of meditation, we can also say that a successful meditation is when subject and object merge, or when opposites merge, or when the two truths merge. This is exactly the same as the Union of the three spheres, or the Union of the Two Truths, or the Union of opposites, or Union of shamatha & vipashyana.
But, it is not like two different separate things coming together, merging. They have always been inseparable, interdependent, co-dependent, in harmony. The ‘merging’ is in fact the direct perception / realisation that it is so.)
From: Gaining freedom without losing our mind
(i.e. 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗖𝗟𝗨𝗦𝗜𝗢𝗡: Again, it is about trying to find 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗪𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲.
Being able to use our (actual 𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆 / physical fabrications, 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗰𝗵 / conceptual fabrications, 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 / mental fabrications) x (individual, collective, cosmic) (including our feeling, thinking, remembering, planning, conceptualising, classifying, discriminating, etc... ),
to use them as simple tools, without grasping, without attachment, without becoming slaves to them, without thinking they are inherent, universal, absolute with inherent / universal / absolute qualities;
𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 them in absolute terms ...
Being able to use them while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as pointed by concepts like: the 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵𝘀, 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀, 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 / 𝗡𝗼𝗻-𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗪𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝘀 & 𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗺𝗮 ...
That is the meaning of being free from them, liberated.
"𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺" ... 𝗡𝗢𝗧 "𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁",
NOT rejecting / abandoning / demonising them.
Realising that 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗹, 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗲, 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁, 𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 of our true nature (Buddha-nature), of the true nature of Reality, of the indivisible Buddhaverse. They are the magical dance / play of the Universe, the dance of what is, the dance between emptiness and appearance, a dance of luminosity, a dance of insubstantial appearances.
We should be celebrating LIFE / our true nature, not trying to escape it.
Our capacity to think, talk, conceptualise, discriminate, compare, analyse, create, transcend our limits ... is what differentiate us from animals and rocks.
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗵𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲.
𝗟𝗲'𝘁 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝘁.)
(i.e. In that sense, everything is the Ground spontaneously manifesting its inseparable displays, dancing its magical dance. Everything is Union of the Two Truths -- Union of being dependently co-arisen <==> and empty of inherent existence --. Everything is Union of the three spheres, merely labelled / imputed by the mind. Everything is Non-dual / Union of opposites, beyond all opposition, duality, discrimination in absolute terms. Not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither; meaning beyond all conceptual elaborations, beyond all extremes & middle. So there is no inherent / universal / absolute basis any discrimination or non-discrimination, conceptualisation or non-conceptualisation, action or non-action, thinking or non-thinking, feeling or non-feeling, remembrance or non-remembrance, accepting or rejecting. In that sense, everything is perceived as already equal, pure, perfect divine here & now. This way, all appearances, defilements, poisons, can be self-liberated / purified / transcended / transmuted into the Ground simply by directly realising their true nature & dynamic; that they are inseparable with the Ground, in Union with the Ground.)