The One-Taste of View, Practice, and Realization

There is brief instruction found in the third volume of Jigten Sumgön’s collected works that brings together three main instructions he had received from his guru, Phagmodrupa.

(A) The first is the ever-present Fivefold Path of Mahāmudrā, consisting of the resolve for awakening, the practice of the cherished deity (yi dam), guru yoga, mahāmudrā, and dedication. It is presented here very briefly as the following stages:

(1) Recollecting impermanence and death and the disadvantages of transmigration as the basis of all practices, which are a part of the four thoughts that turn the mind to the dharma, namely (a) the leisures and endowments of the precious human body, (b) impermanence and certain death, (c) karma, cause, and result, and (d) the disadvantages of saṃsāra. Jigten Sumgon urges his followers to practice these at the beginning of each practice session or at least at the beginning of the first session in the morning (vajra statement 2.14).
(2) The practice of love, compassion, and the resolve for awakening (bodhicitta).
(3) The practice of the body as the cherishes deity (yi dam).
(4) The practice of guru yoga by visualizing one’s guru in the center of one’s heart.
(5) The practice of “the mind,” i.e., of mahāmudrā, which is the central instruction here.
(6) The dedication of merit, which closes the instruction.

Mahāmudrā is here presented directly as the practice of the nature of the mind and in its very essence of non-attachment. This kind of non-attachment is not only the very essence of disciplined conduct, but also of mahāmudrā, which is why vajra statement 6.13 says: “That mahāmudrā and disciplined conduct (śīla) are one is an unsurpassed special teaching of Jigten Sumgön.” In the present context, Jigten Sumgon teaches that the practice of the mind is essentially non-attachment to the concept of existence and non-existence of the mind, non-attachment to the theory of “only mind,” which teaches that all appearances are only mind (an allusion to the philosophy of cittamātra), and non-attachment to the theory of remaining in the middle between these extremes, which is an allusion to the philosophy of madhyamaka.♦ 1 Moreover, this practice of the nature of the mind is also the non-attachment to the “three spheres,” which refers to the mental imputation of a practitioner, a practice, and an object of the practice, such as a deity or a mantra. It is in this way of perfect non-attachment to any dualistic conception that one should “abide perfectly with deity and mantra in the nature that is free from proliferation.”

(B) The second main instruction that is contained in this brief instruction is that such a practice that is free from these dualistic concepts of establishing and abandoning, where no conception of anything to think or to practice is left, is the point on the path were the third yoga of mahāmudrā, one-taste, is accomplished and view, practice, and realization become indistinguishable. The lines that we find here and that are attributed to Phagmodrupa are an approximate rendering of a verse found in the works of Phagmodrupa:♦ 2

If you do not let go or not let go, invoke or not invoke,
focus on an object, or set up a support,
and if you, not practicing anything, rest in that innate state,
you will experience that which has no boundaries nor center, like space.

This is to be practiced at all times while going, standing, lying down, and sitting.

(C) The third main instruction contained in this brief instruction is that the liberation that occurs when realization arises in such a practice is the guru’s blessing. This is expressed in the famous passage of the Hevajra Tantra that teaches that the innate “is to be known through the final moment of guru attendance.” As Jigten Sumgon explains elsewhere, this

“final moment of guru attendance” does not refer to making great offerings, performing many services, and attending the guru for a long time. Since beyond seeing the guru as dharmakāya and the arising of certainty about that, there is no occasion of regarding him as anything superior to that, this [seeing of the guru as dharmakāya] is called “the final moment.”♦ 3

Such an “attendance” is the true guru devotion as it is also taught in the Samādhirāja Sūtra, also known as the Candrapradīpa[sūtra], and it is the “supreme intention of the precious one” (Phagmodrupa).

The guruʼs profound intention:
View, practice, and realization are of one-taste and indistinguishable

Oṃ Svasti!

I bow my head to the feet of the supreme guru,
who has permanently overcome total darkness,
leads the beings away from the swamp of saṃsāra,
and reveals the meaning as it is and in all its variety.
For the sake of the devoted ones, I will write down these words
that have been requested by the good disciple,
who has gathered together the great collection of supreme accumulations
and has spoken a supplicated with respectful devotion.

In general, the state of being for all of us is that of [certain] death and impermanence. There is neither bottom nor limit to the sufferings of transmigration and the lower births. Because you and all others wish to escape from the sufferings of transmigration and lower births, practice at first love, compassion, and the resolve for awakening. Then practice that your body is your cherished deity. Imagine the excellent guru in the center of your heart. Then, your mind:

Don’t practice it as existing, that would be eternalism.
Don’t practice it as not existing, that would be nihilism.
Don’t practice it as mind, that would be ‘only mind’ (Skr. cittamātra).
Don’t practice it in the middle [between the extremes], that would be grasping.
The practitioner does not exist, the practice does not exist,
the deity does not exist, and the mantra, too, does not exist.
The Exalted One taught
that you should abide perfectly with deity and mantra
in the nature that is free from proliferation.

And the protector of the world [Phagmodrupa] taught:

If, neither letting go nor not letting go, neither invoking nor not invoking,
you practice that where there is nothing to think or practice,
View, practice and realization become one and the same taste, indistinguishable.

The meaning of this well-expressed instruction is this:
Rest freshly, unfabricated, and in an unbound state.
You must practice uninterruptedly
in all kinds of conduct such as going, standing, lying down, and sitting.
The Precious One maintained that when realization arises in that,
the complete liberation is the guru’s blessing.

Furthermore, Vajradhara instructed on that meaning repeatedly in the [Hevajra-Tantra], saying:

That which cannot be expressed by others, the innate,
which cannot be found anywhere,
is to be known through the final moment of guru attendence,
and through one’s own merit.

[And furthermore]:

Previously, for the sake of the King of Samādhi
I have served billions of Buddhas
to the East of this kingdom.

[This] has been taught in detail in the Candrapradīpa[sūtra]. And Maitreya said:

The absolute truth of the renunciants
is to be realized through devotion alone.

And since this has been taught, I request you to undertake great efforts with regard to devotion [to the guru], for realization arises from devotion. This is the supreme intention of the precious one.

Should the Ḍākinīs of the three places
not be pleased with the profound words I have written,
I request them to tolerate it
and also to extend their blessings.

May all the sentient beings
reach as much excellence as there exists
on the pure grounds that match the excellence
as much as excellence exists
and as much as has been, will be, and is [obtained].

[This instruction] is complete.

[This translation has been completed by Jan-Ulrich Sobisch on February 13, 2009 and slightly improved on April 20, 2021.]

‘Jig-rten-mgon-po’s works, vol. 3, pp. 291‒294.
ཨོཾ་སྭསྟི། གང་ཞིག་ཀུན་ནས་མུན་པ་གཏན་བཅོམ་ཞིང་།། འཁོར་བའི་འདམ་ནས་འགྲོ་བ་འདྲེན་མཛད་པ།། ཇི་སྙེད་ཇི་བཞིན་དོན་རྣམས་སྟོན་པ་ཡི།། བླ་མ་མཆོག་གི་ཞབས་ལ་སྤྱི་བོས་འདུད།། བསགས་པ་རབ་གྱུར་ཚོགས་ཆེན་བསགས་པ་ཡི།། སློབ་མ་བཟང་པོས་དད་ཅིང་གུས་པ་ཡིས།། གསོལ་བ་བཏབ་ནས་ཞུས་པའི་ཡི་གེ་འདི།། མོས་གུས་ཅན་གྱི་དོན་ཕྱིར་འབྲི་བར་བྱ།། སྤྱིར་བདག་ཅག་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་འདུག་ལུགས་ནི་འཆི་བ་མི་རྟག་པ་ཡིན། འཁོར་བ་དང་ངན་སོང་གི་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ལ་གཏིང་མཐའ་མེད་པ་ཡིན། འཁོར་བ་དང་ངན་སོང་གི་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ལས་རང་གཞན་ཐམས་ཅད་བརྒལ་བར་འདོད་པས། དང་པོར་བྱམས་པ་དང་སྙིང་རྗེ་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་སེམས་བསྒོམ། དེ་ནས་ལུས་ཡི་དམ་གྱི་ལྷ་བསྒོམ། བླ་མ་དམ་པ་སྙིང་གི་དབུས་སུ་བསམ། དེ་ནས་རང་གི་སེམས། ཡོད་པར་མི་བསྒོམ་རྟག་ལྟ་ཡིན།། མེད་པར་མི་བསྒོམ་ཆད་ལྟ་ཡིན།། སེམས་སུ་མི་བསྒོམ་སེམས་ཙམ་ཡིན།། དབུ་མར་མི་བསྒོམ་འཛིན་པ་ཡིན།། སྒོམ་པ་པོ་མེད་སྒོམ་པའང་མེད།། ལྷ་མེད་སྔགས་ཀྱང་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།། སྤྲོས་པ་མེད་པའི་རང་བཞིན་ལ།། ལྷ་དང་སྔགས་ནི་ཡང་དག་གནས།། བཅོམ་ལྡན་འདས་ཀྱིས་གསུངས་པ་དང་།། འཇིག་རྟེན་མགོན་པོའི་ཞལ་སྔ་ནས།། གཏང་ཡང་མི་བཏང་དགུག་ཀྱང་མི་དགུག་སྟེ།། བསམ་དུ་མེད་པ་སྒོམ་དུ་མེད་པ་ཉིད་བསྒོམ་ན།། ལྟ་སྒོམ་རྟོགས་པ་རོ་གཅིག་དབྱེར་མི་ཕྱེད།། བཀའ་བསྩལ་ལེགས་པར་གསུངས་པ་འདི་ཡི་དོན།། སོ་མ་མ་བཅོས་ལྷུག་པ་ཉིད་དུ་ཞོག།། འགྲོ་འཆག་ཉལ་འདུག་སྤྱོད་ལམ་ཐམས་ཅད་དུ།། རྒྱུན་ཆད་མེད་པར་ཉམས་སུ་བླང་བར་བྱ།། དེ་ལ་རྟོགས་པ་སྐྱེ་ན་རྣམ་གྲོལ་བ།། བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་ཡིན་པ་རིན་ཆེན་བཞེད།། ་དེ་ཡང་རྡོ་རྗེ་འཛིན་པ་ཡིས།། གཞན་གྱིས་བརྗོད་མིན་ལྷན་ཅིག་སྐྱེས།། གང་དུ་ཡང་ནི་མི་རྙེད་དེ།། བླ་མའི་དུས་མཐའ་བསྟེན་པ་དང་།། རང་གི་བསོད་ནམས་ལས་ཤེས་བྱ།། དོན་འདིར་ཡང་ཡང་བཀའ་བསྩལ་གསུངས།། ངས་སྔོན་ཏིང་འཛིན་རྒྱལ་པོ་འདི་ཡི་ཕྱིར།། རྒྱལ་པོ་ཁབ་ཀྱི་ཤར་ཕྱོགས་འདི་ཉིད་དུ།། སངས་རྒྱས་བྱེ་བ་ཁྲག་ཁྲིག་རིམ་གྲོ་བྱས།། ཟླ་བ་སྒྲོན་མ་རྒྱ་ཆེར་གསུངས་པ་དང་།། མི་ཕམ་མགོན་པོའི་ཞལ་སྔ་ནས།། རང་བྱུང་རྣམས་ཀྱི་དོན་དམ་ནི།། དད་པ་ཉིད་ཀྱིས་རྟོགས་བྱ་ཡིན།། ཞེས་པ་ལ་སོགས་པ་གསུངས་པས། མངོན་པར་རྟོགས་པ་མོས་གུས་ལས་སྐྱེ་བ་ལགས་པས། མོས་གུས་ལ་ནན་ཏན་ཆེ་བར་མཛད་པར་ཞུ། རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཡི་ཐུགས་དགོངས་མཆོག།། ཟབ་མོ་ཡི་གེར་བྲིས་པ་ལ།། གནས་གསུམ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་མ་མཉེས་ན།། བཟོད་པ་དམ་པ་བཞེས་ནས་ཀྱང་།། བྱིན་གྱིས་བརླབ་པར་མཛད་དུ་གསོལ།། འགྲོ་ཀུན་དགེ་བ་ཇི་སྙེད་ཡོད་པ་དང་།། བྱས་དང་བྱེད་འགྱུར་དེ་བཞིན་བྱེད་པ་དང་།། བཟང་པོ་ཇི་བཞིན་དེ་འདྲའི་ས་དག་ལ།། ཀུན་ནས་ཀུན་ཀྱང་བཟང་པོ་རེག་གྱུར་ཅིག།། རྫོགས་སོ༎ ༎

1. []See also the Samādhirāja Sūtra 9.27, which says: “Existence and nonexistence are extremes, and pure and impure, likewise, are extremes. Therefore, having abandoned such extremes, the wise one should not dwell in the middle either.”
2. []dGe ba’i bshes gnyen chos kyi blo gros la bskur ba’i gdams ngag, vol. 4, pp. 654‒661, p. 657: btang yang mi btang dgug kyang mi dgug ste/ /dmigs yul med par rten yang mi bca’ bar/ /bsgom du med pa gnyug ma’i ngang bzhag na/ /mtha’ dbus med pa nam mkha’ lta bur myong/ /.
3. []’Jig rten gsum mgon, bsTan bcos rdo rje ri zhes bya ba rgo na ba dang shākya dbang phyug gnyis la gnang ba, collected works, vol. 3, pp. 297–309, fol. 150v5. This interpretation builds on reading dus mtha’ (final moment) instead of dus thabs (timely method?) in the tantra.

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