Tilopa's Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa
English Translation by Lex Hixon
(cf. English Translation by Kunzang Tenzin)
Beloved Naropa, this treasure of Buddhahood belongs to you and to all beings.
Obsessive use of meditative disciplines or perennial study of scripture and philosophy will never bring forth this wonderful realization, this truth which is natural to awareness, because the mind that desperately desires to reach another realm or level of experience inadvertently ignores the basic light that constitutes all experience.
The one who fabricates any division in consciousness betrays the friendship of Mahamudra. Cease all activity that separates, abandon even the desire to be free from desires and allow the thinking process to rise and fall smoothly as waves on a shoreless ocean.
The one who never dwells in abstraction and whose only principle is never to divide or separate upholds the trust of Mahamudra. The one who abandons craving for authority and definition, and never becomes one-sided in argument or understanding, alone perceives the authentic meaning hidden in the ancient scriptures.
In the blissful embrace of Mahamudra, negative viewpoints and their instincts are burned without remainder, like camphor. Through the open door of Mahamudra, the deluded state of self-imprisonment is easily left behind forever.
Mahamudra is the torch of supreme liberty
shining forth through all conscious beings. Those beings constituted by awareness who try to ignore, reject or grasp awareness inflict sorrow and confusion upon themselves like those who are insane.
To be awakened from this madness, cultivate the gracious friendship
of a sublime sage of Mahamudra, who may appear to the world as mad. When the limited mind
enters blessed companionship with limitless Mind, indescribable freedom dawns.
Selfish or limited motivations create the illusory sense of imprisonment and scatter seeds of further delusion. Even genuine religious teaching can generate narrowness of vision. Trust only the approach that is utterly vast and profound.
The noble way of Mahamudra never engages in the drama of imprisonment and release. The sage of Mahamudra has absolutely no distractions, because no war against distractions has ever been declared. This nobility and gentleness alone, this nonviolence of thought and action, is the traceless path of all Buddhas.
To walk this all-embracing way is the bliss of Buddhahood. Phenomena on every plane of being are constantly arising and disappearing. Thus they are forever fresh, always new and inexhaustible. Like dreams without solid substance, they can never become rigid or binding.
The universe exists in a deep, elusive way that can never be grasped or frozen. Why feel obsessive desire or hatred for it, thereby creating illusory bonds? Renounce arbitrary, habitual views.
Go forth courageously to meditate in the real mountain wilderness,
the wide open Mahamudra. Transcend boundaries of kinship by embracing all living beings as one family of consciousness. Remain without any compulsion in the landscape of natural freedom: spontaneous, generous, joyful.
When you receive the crown of Mahamudra, all sense of rank or attainment will quietly disappear. Cut the root of the vine that chokes the tree, and its clinging tendrils wither away entirely. Sever the conventionally grasping mind, and all bondage and desperation dissolve.
The illumination from an oil lamp lights the room instantly, even if it has been dark for aeons. Mind is boundless radiance. How can the slightest darkness remain in the room of daily perception? But one who clings to mental processes cannot awaken to the radiance of Mind.
Strenuously seeking truth by investigation and concentration, one will never appreciate the unthinkable simplicity and bliss that abide at the core. To uncover this fertile ground, cut through the roots of complexity with the sharp gaze of naked awareness, remaining entirely at peace, transparent and content. You need not expend great effort nor store up extensive spirtual power.
Remain in the flow of sheer awareness. Mahamudra neither accepts nor rejects any current of energy, internal or external. Since the ground consciousness is never born into any realm of being, nothing can add to or subtract from it. Nothing can obstruct or stain it. When awareness rests here, the appearance of division and conflict disappears into original reality. The twin emotions of anxiety and arrogance vanish into the void from which they came.
Supreme knowing knows no separate subject or object. Supreme action acts resourcefully without any array of instruments. Supreme attainment attains the goal without past, future or present. The dedicated practitioner experiences the spiritual way as a turbulent mountain stream, tumbling dangerously among boulders. When maturity is reached, the river flows smoothly and patiently with the powerful sweep of the Ganges.
Emptying into the ocean of Mahamudra, the water becomes ever-expanding light that pours into great Clear Light without direction, destination, division, distinction or description.