|What is Mahamudra? It literally means 'the great gesture' and represents
a total orgasm with the universe. When two lovers are deeply in tune with
each other, in harmony, in accord, the moment of orgasm is said to be much
more than a release. It becomes an electric phenomenon, where both feel
a oneness and a freedom from physical boundaries. When this union happens
between a seeker and the universe, it is exponentially deeper and higher.
This is called Mahamudra.
The phrase loose and natural is important too. Being natural is good insofar as one is not being unnatural or forcing oneself to do something. But even being natural can turn into a fetish, and make one stilted. The word loose is significant. When one is loose and natural, even that stiltedness is not possible: it is a state free of external discipline and structure, of let go, of receptivity in which realization is said to knock at your door.
If one sees naught when staring into space;
The clouds that wander through the sky have no roots, no home;
In space, shapes and colors form,
Just like a crowd consists only of the individuals who compose it, the mind consists only of the thoughts that constitute it. There is no crowd apart from people and no mind apart from thought. The distinctive thoughts are homeless; when one sees this, one becomes fully aware, the witness.
The shapes and colors that form in space are not our real nature. Our identification with them is false. When one thinks one is tinged, it is only because of a false identification. At this moment of realization, one sees that all things emerge from the inner sanctum of the witnessing consciousness. And that the witnessing consciousness always remains pristine, pure, unsullied by the names and forms that emerge from it.
The darkness of ages cannot shroud the glowing sun;
Though words are spoken to explain the Void, the Void as such can never
As darkness is absence of light, ignorance is absence of enlightenment. As darkness cannot be fought with or destroyed except by bringing light into the space, the darkness of ignorance cannot be destroyed by operating on it, only by lighting the lamp of enlightenment. The effort to fight with darkness is what we know as morality; religion, on the other hand, is the process of awakening the light within.
And Tilopa emphasizes the fact that enlightenment is always total and sudden, not partial or gradual. Even if darkness has persisted for millennia, a small light will banish it immediately. Similarly, even if samsara, or identification with the world, has existed for long kalpas, or eons, the sun of enlightenment will expel it in a flash. No working on karmas, no improvement and betterment.
Tilopa then quickly emphasizes that these are all metaphors, fingers pointing to the moon. Naropa should not grab his finger, take him literally. That which is real can only be witnessed, not spoken about. And the Void may be ineffable in the sense that it cannot be grasped, but it is the ultimate source and fountainhead of all that is. This is the paradox. As Jesus said, only he who dies can be reborn.
Do naught with the body but relax,
Tilopa doesn't recommend any postures, contortions, exercises or routines. He just wants you to relax, feel nice and easy with yourself. In that silence, sitting peacefully, all happens by itself, understanding arises of its own accord. When the moment is enough, there is no goal, no desire to be elsewhere, no turbulence. Then energy has another dimension, the dimension of celebration in the moment.
How does one empty the mind? Not with effort; that would go against Tilopa's grain. By watching. By becoming a witness. Watching passively, as one watches a river; not actively, as one waits for a lover. In this silence and ease, thoughts recede on their own, one's mind becomes empty effortlessly.
One becomes like a hollow bamboo, silent and receptive, at ease with one's body. In that silence and receptivity, the divine manifests itself. Then, one is not identified. Then, one neither gives nor takes, but stands aloof. In that poise, that equanimity, that transparency and grace, the mind is silent, at rest.
In such a state, the mind does not cling to anything and is transformed to Mahamudra—a presence, a benediction, a state of grace. If one practices this, not doing anything, but slowly dissolving and melting and merging into the feeling of being at ease, here and now, the feeling of blessedness deepens over time, until it culminates in Buddhahood.
The practice of mantra and paramita, instruction in the sutras and precepts,
He who keeps Tantrik Precepts, yet discriminates, betrays the spirit
He who abandons craving, and clings not to this and that,
There is little point in following Tantrik precepts externally, if one discriminates and becomes identified. Because that betrays the very spirit of samaya: being in the eternal now, unidentified, aloof. When one witnesses the rise and fall of one's thoughts, unconcerned, like one watches ocean waves—clinging to none and repelling none—beyond activity, beyond desire, beyond craving, one perceives the real meaning of the scriptures. Not by following someone else, by imitation, through goals and desires, which can only lead one astray.
In Mahamudra, all one's sins are burned; in Mahamudra one is released
The distinction between small and great teaching is critical. Ethics, morality, improvement are born of effort; they are superficial, lead to acts and modified behavior. Meditation and awareness transform and transmute one's being and lead to enlightenment—they are called great teachings. In ignorance, you are asleep, and only sin is possible. In a state of enlightenment, you are awake, and virtue is the natural result of all your acts.
To transcend duality is the Kingly View.
Transient is this world, like phantoms and dreams,
Transcendence is freedom from choice, it is going beyond, like a child one day transcends toys: it is effortless and natural. And when one transcends, one sees there never was any duality. It was in error in perception, born of confusion and prejudice. It is the Kingly View and Royal Practice, because it is not born of struggle and aggression, but of insight and understanding. It is the path of no practice.
When one treads this path, one sees that the world is transient, that relationships are fleeting. Then, one's renunciation is not physical escape, but a renunciation of the mind and its attachment. Then, no one is one's kin and, when one is meditative, the woods and mountains are wherever one is.
Effortless, loose and natural, enlightenment is always at hand, close by. And enlightenment by its very nature is Non-attainable, because it is not a goal, but one's very nature—only that which is separate can be attained.
Cut the root of a tree and the leaves will wither;
Whoever clings to the mind sees not the truth of what's beyond the mind.
One should not give or take, but remain natural—for Mahamudra
is beyond all
Once one is settled in awareness, one sees that one neither gives nor takes, one merely witnesses. The witness is beyond, far beyond acceptance and rejection, born of choice and identification.
Tilopa says that the inner abode, is Unborn and therefore cannot die. Since it is unmanifest, its purity is pristine, eternal—it cannot be sullied. In this state, the world of appearances dissolves into dharmata, or its elementary nature; self-will and pride, which were always illusory phantoms, once and for all disappear into nothingness.
The supreme understanding transcends all this and that.
At first a yogi feels his mind is tumbling like a waterfall;
The supreme understanding is also the ultimate transcendence. Then, the being is no more bounded, but a mere fragrance and acts with the greatest resourcefulness, yet is wholly untarnished by attachment to its actions. And what is the supreme accomplishment? It is the realization that the divine is not separate from existence, but immanent in it, and that one is identical with this immanence. In this immanence, there is no past, no future. It is a state of perfect equanimity beyond the grasp of the hope and desire they create. Awareness beings torrentially, proceed with grace and dignity—and finally dissolves inseparably into the very consciousness that gave it birth.
The author expresses his indebtedness to Tantra: The Supreme Understanding