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Already in India, the teaching styles of Mahāmudrā were quite diverse. There is a bewildering multitude of terminology like “mental inactivity” (yid la mi byed pa), “innate yoga” (lhan cig skyes sbyor), “ordinary consciousness” (tha mal gyi shes pa), or “natural mind” (gnyug ma[ʼi sems]). This posting will look at some aspects of the “natural mind” in Gampopa’s writings. We will see that, like the innate yoga, the natural mind practice uses thoughts for realizing the dharmakāya, yet it seems that it does so (at least at Gampopa’s time) in a more radical way. Future research may show that subsequent masters like Jigten Sumgön might have combined both into a single approach.

However, before I investigate Gampopa’s instructions on the matter, I would like to make a few remarks about translating esoteric instructions. My main point is that there is something not right when the terminology of such instructions is treated as if we are reading a philosophical debate or a more systematized form of a text. Esoteric instructions in the Kagyüpa tradition, especially those pointing out the nature of the mind or teaching mahāmudrā practice, are often spontaneously spoken words recorded by disciples or sketchy notes that reply to questions from disciples. Sometimes they are delivered in the form of poetry or song. Characteristic for them is the use of colorful metaphorical language (“space,” “light,” etc.), sometimes in the form of similes (“like a rainbow”). These metaphors are done an injustice when we translate them like the technical terms they sometimes turn into in the later literature of systematical treatises and commentaries. Such powerful metaphors as “clear light,” which originally illustrates the unobstructed quality of the mind, then turns into the abstract noun “luminosity,” and a term like “innate,” which refers to inborn qualities, morphs into such a terrible linguistic monstrosity as “co-emergent.” Translated like that, they are not metaphors anymore; they have solidified from a once-dynamic metaphor to a cold technical term. To use such technical terms when translating esoteric instructions is, in most cases, a mistake.

When we read a scholarly work, its technical language is often well-explained and specified by definitions. Although these explanations and definitions may vary between traditions or even from scholar to scholar, the scholarly activity of analyzing, defining, and teaching makes it often relatively easy to analyze and translate such terms. On the other hand, esoteric instructions are often brief to the point that they even seem cryptic. Their colorful terminology is much harder to pin down. Such texts virtually avoid definitions. They are on the spot compositions spontaneously delivered by experienced masters, often to remedy a problem in the meditative practice of their disciples. However, even though the terms are sometimes literally the same as in more technical texts, we should never make the mistake in our translations to define esoteric language through later technical terminology. That would be like putting the cart before the horse: The mahāmudrā instructions of the early Kagyüpa masters precede their more technical explanations of later generations. Therefore, translations of such texts should reflect the original and powerful metaphor, not the technicality of a philosophical debate.

That being said, let us have a look at the term “natural [mind]” (gnyug ma[ʼi sems]) as it appears in numerous esoteric instructions of Gampopa. To understand this key term in Gampopa’s system, we must carefully read it in the context of the teachings in which it occurs. Looking at more than fifty occurrences of the term in Gampopa’s instructions, we find it often in close vicinity of such terms as these:

– ordinary consciousness (tha mal gyi shes pa)

– nature of the mind (sems nyid)

– innate gnosis (lhan cig skyes pa’i ye shes)

dharmakāya (chos sku)

– true reality (de nyid)

– sameness (mnyam pa nyid)

– unerring emptiness (stong pa nyid ma nor ba)

All these are terms pertaining to the level of the absolute truth. Accordingly, when we find descriptions of the qualities of the natural mind, we find that it

– cannot be seen, pointed out, or expressed

– has no basis or support, and no labels can be attached to it

– has no tendency toward anything and no aim

– is not produced from causes and conditions

– is like a dream or an illusion

In Buddhism, these descriptions through negation are typical for something belonging to the sphere of the absolute truth. After all, absolute truth is beyond the sphere of the mind and cannot really be expressed in words. The experience of the natural mind is therefore like a dream or an illusion, not because it is false, but because it cannot be expressed. Gampopa says that it is like the happiness of a young girl and the dream of a mute person—both the girl and the mute person cannot express their experience. However, there are also a few descriptions in positive terms. The natural mind is also described as genuine, fresh, and simple, and it is explained to possess clarity and bliss. The descriptions through negation tell us what the natural mind is not, and the positive descriptions provide us with some kind of an idea of how it feels when such a mind is recognized. Nevertheless, these are not precise definitions as we can find them in scholarly works. Such a mind seems to escape all attempts of precise linguistic expression.

In some instructions, however, Gampopa provides several interesting statements about the natural mind that can provide us with a clearer idea of what it is. First of all, he describes some preliminary steps for attaining it. Accordingly, an essential preliminary practice is to cut off all kinds of thoughts pertaining to subject and object, or, in other words, to the apprehending and the apprehended. This places the natural mind in the vicinity of the teaching that all phenomena are nothing but mind: If there is no thought about subject or object, then there is no idea of an apprehending mind and an apprehended thought or object. This is the state in which one must dwell, namely a state of nonduality, in order to experience the natural mind. However, this is not a state of total emptiness or nothingness. Gampopa says (vol. 6, 8r, all quotes are from the Derge edition):

The essence [of the natural mind] is not nonexistence but to be separate from all arising and ceasing. The result [of the natural mind] is that nonexistence of arising and ceasing, the dharmakāya.

Therefore, thoughts are not merely cut off. Instead, one dwells in the realization that the thought that arises has no place where it originates from, no space where it dwells, and nothing into which it finally disappears. Moreover, Gampopa explicitly says (vol. 27, 9r): “Thought is the path of the natural mind.” But how does that fit with the many other passages where he speaks in the context of the natural mind of “nonthought” and “cutting off all thoughts?” A crucial passage may be the following, where Gampopa explains two systems of taking thoughts as the path. The first part of the passage says (vol. 10, 47v):

What is the difference between the natural [mind] (gnyug ma) and the innate yoga (lhan cig skyes sbyor, Skt. sahajayoga)? Innate yoga [also] takes thoughts as the path. Thoughts have two aspects: good thoughts and bad thoughts. Whichever arises, the thought is taken as the path by understanding it as a blessing. Thus, concerning the roaming in samsara, one roams because one has not recognized thoughts. There is no fear of samsara since one has made thoughts the path.

This is a very abbreviated explanation of the innate yoga. He states that thoughts are understood as a blessing, but he does not explain here how thoughts are used for practice. Elsewhere, Gampopa is more explicit and thus, before we continue with the above quote, let us briefly look into some other passages. In an instruction on innate yoga, Gampopa says (vol. 19, 17r):

All phenomena of the whole world are one’s mind. Come to a definitive decision [about that], thinking that the mind is without origination. Rest serenely inside yourself without evaluation. Remain without evaluating “this is fresh,” “it exists,” or “it does not exist.” Rest without hesitation, like a swallow enters its nest. “Unfabricated:” remain free from blocking or establishing, as the garuda soars in the sky. “Loosely:” remain without exertion. Have a smooth attentiveness that has abandoned all the activities of a person and remain [like that]. “Remain:” remain without blocking faults and establishing qualities. Remain lose and utterly without fabrication. Like that, be without focussing and rest at ease. Thereby, with a clear and unobstructed essence of the consciousness, loosen [the mind] through relaxation within complete purity, and practice! If relaxation is best, practice is best. If it is medium, practice is medium. If it is low, practice is low; it is impossible that it is any other way than that. Within dwelling like that, pacify any proliferating thought! This is like a cloud adventitiously rising in the sky that is pure by itself: It arises from the sky, and in the end, it dissolves back into it, yet it dissolves into the sky itself, and it is of the sky’s nature. An adventitious thought may arise, but it arose from the innate nature of the mind itself. In the middle, it remains, but it remains as the innate nature of the mind itself. In the end, it dissolves, but it dissolves into the innate nature of the mind itself. Know it to be not beyond the innate nature of the mind itself and practice [like that].

Although later authors like Jigten Sumgön go into more details, this should suffice here. The meditative practice described here is characterized by being both relaxed and attentive. Arising thoughts are to be pacified but not by blocking them, but by understanding that the thought arises from and dissolves back into mind itself, and between that, while it remains, it is none other than the mind itself. This is often explained through the example of waves and the ocean: The waves are not different from the ocean itself. Understanding it like that, Gampopa’s disciple Phagmodrupa, who was Jigten Sumgön’s root guru, says about the innate yoga (vol. 2, p. 288):

The rainbow of duality disappears in space. The emerging of thoughts and getting involved in them disperse like clouds. In this fine palace of spontaneous victory, the person of the natural mind who is free from proliferation sits cross-legged on the seat beyond thoughts.

And elsewhere very clearly (vol. 4, p. 292):

Thoughts arise in the essence of the natural mind, but like the darkness at daybreak, they disappear by themselves.

Garchen Rinpoche has pointed out that this innate yoga practice of mahāmudrā is a training, but when one dwells entirely without thoughts as described in Tilopa’s Gangama Mahāmudrā, that is the result. Probably to point out the difference between the training and the result, Gampopa, from the perspective of the natural mind, stated these critical words to those who practice the innate yoga (continuing the above passage of vol. 19, 17r):

Because you take thoughts as the path, the thing to be cut off and the means of cutting off are perceived as two, and there is no end to thoughts. A thought that arises is recognized. However, that one that arises may be recognized, but if you do not perceive the essence, you are not up to the task! When a chance to perceive [the essence] arises, that is it! There is no other chance to perceive [the essence]!

The point is here that a practitioner of the innate yoga may dwell in a state where mind and thoughts are like the ocean and its waves, but the actual task is to perceive in that arising thought the “essence.” Gampopa teaches explicitly that apart from thoughts, there is no other way to realize the dharmakāya! Gampopa’s disciple, Lama Zhang, also taught that one must take thoughts as the path. He said (vol. 8 of the 2004 edition, pp. 566‒67):

Following after afflictions or thoughts one is an ordinary person, abandoning or stopping them, one is a Hīnayānist, purifying and transforming them with mantra, mudrā, and samādhi, one is [a practitioner of] the outer mantra. Here, through the endeavor of bad thoughts, one is not spoiled. By looking at the essence of an arising thought, thoughts subside for those in whom experience arises, and something is inevitably added to their experience. For those in whom realization arises, there is nothing to subside.

And he quotes the “precious guru” (Gampopa?):

If one does not use thoughts for one’s favor, the time when gnosis arises will never come. A fire whose firewood is discarded is like a lotus on dry ground. If you know how to use thoughts in your favor, all outer and inner obstructions become aids for meditative practice.

Thus, what is that essence of thoughts? There is an interesting passage in the collected works fo Marpa Lotsāva, where he says (vol. 2, 211‒12):

Just that essence of thoughts (rtog pa’i ngo bo) is the “self of phenomena” and the “self of the person.” If you know the nature of thoughts to be clear light, then they stop by themselves.

Thus the self of phenomena—the belief that phenomena have an independent existence—and the self of the person—the belief in an independent existence of the self, like a soul—are here likened to thoughts. This is undoubtedly an interesting remark and deserves further investigation. I believe that the point here is that, like thoughts, the self has no origin, abiding, and cessation. Since the self shares these characteristics with the thoughts—the very thing with which we identify ourselves so much—realizing the essence of thoughts will cause the realization of the self: There is no identifiable essence. Therefore, the essence, the true nature of the self or natural mind, can be realized by understanding thoughts. Once one has realized the essence, thoughts and mind are realized as having no origin, abiding, and cessation—they are the dharmakāya. Gampopa actually explains this in the continuation of the above-quoted passage on the difference between the natural mind and the innate yoga (vol. 10, 47v):

If [the essence, i.e.] the “I” is not perceived [as it is], thoughts have no end. Through that, you possess the defect of endlessness with regard to that [arising of thoughts]. The “I” is [in truth] at the beginning unborn, in the middle without remaining, and at the end without cessation. It is without an essence to be identified. Its nature is uninterrupted. Its charateristics are beyond the mind. Now, from the perspective of mantra, with respect to the characteristics, even the buddhas of the three times do not perceive it. With respect to the absence of characteristics, it is uninterrupted at all times. From the perspective of the perfections,  there is nothing to be removed from the “I” and there is not the slightest thing to be added. Watch perfectly the perfect purity! If you see the perfectly pure, you are free. Here, the perfectly pure is the “I.”

This essence, the perfectly pure self, the “I,” is, of course, the “natural mind” (gnyug ma), or dharmakāya. Thus, thoughts are used to attain the state of nonthought, just as firewood is completely burned up in a fire.

[Updated version (May 20, 2019)]

The “Yoga of the Innate” (lhan cig skyes sbyor, Skt. *sahajayoga) is a special transmission of Gampopa and all the Kagyüpas after him – but before I discuss some of its details, let me first briefly explain my choice of the term “innate.” The literal meaning of the Tibetan term lhan cig is “together.” In connection with the Tibetan term skyes pa, the idea is that something is “born or arising together,” and Gampopa has pointed out that it means “at the same time,” namely that dharmakāya and mind♦ 1

have no “earlier” and “later” concerning the time [of their arising] and they are not a “good thing” [i.e. the dharmakāya] and a “bad thing” [i.e. the mind with its thoughts]. They are, therefore, “arisen together”

or simultaneously, that is, innate. When, in the mahāmudrā instructions of the “yoga (Tib. sbyor) of the innate,” the disciple is introduced to the nature of the mind right from the beginning, the topic or contents of this introduction is that, chiefly, the dharmakāya is innate to the mind, i.e. they are “arisen together.” In particular, as Gampopa said to the first Karmapa:♦ 2

What is innate to the mind is the dharmakāya.
What is innate to appearance is the radiance of the dharmakāya.

The innate nature of the mind is its nature or essence. The innate appearance is the thought that has arisen from [the mind]. They are like the sun and the rays of the sun or sandalwood and the scent of sandalwood.

In other words, any outer appearance is in truth a thought arising in the mind, where the mind is actually the dharmakāya and the thought dharmakāya’s radiance. This nature of reality, which is introduced to the disciple, is after that used as a means of practice on the path. Another way to express this are these words of Phagmodrupa:♦ 3

Mind, thought, and dharmakāya
are from the beginning innate (lhan cig skyes pa).
Since this is trained (sbyor ba, Skt. yoga) through instructions,
it is called “yoga of the innate.”

The perhaps most important characteristic of this yoga is, therefore, the involvement of thoughts and appearances in the practice of the path, as it is only through them that the dharmakāya can be seen. In other words, *sahajayoga is “mahāmudrā on the level of the path.”♦ 4

Jigten Sumgön has used this basic instruction of innateness in his Introduction to Mahāmudrā, the Yoga of the Innate in the chapter where he introduces appearances as dharmakāya. When the disciple dwells in an original or natural state of the mind, relaxed and without grasping,♦ 5

… appearance and mind vividly arise as inseparable without the appearing objects remaining outside and the mind being inside as different from the appearance. (…) Therefore, [the appearance] is the unhindered self-appearance of the natural radiance of the nature of the mind. (…) [I]t is not so that formerly separate things become one after they have merged – they have always been like that!

Since that is the case, Jigten Sumgön says in the instruction translated below that a thought “is seen as possessing qualities, as a kindness, or as indispensable” as it can be used to fully unfold the potential (rtsal) of discriminating knowledge (shes rab), leading to the realisation that dharmakāya is from the beginning innate to the mind.

Gampopa received two traditions of the instruction of this yoga; one by the Kadampa Geshe Chagriwa♦ 6 and the other one by Milarepa. The teaching that was transmitted by Phagmodrupa to Jigten Sumgön is called the “two armours” (go cha gnyis). According to Phagmodrupa, it is the teaching that Gampopa received from Milarepa. It occurs, however, that elements of Chagriwa’s instruction are also visible in Jigten Sumgön’s instruction translated below.

There exists a very profound and important commentary by Jigten Sumgön on Phagmodrupa’s teaching of the four yogas of mahāmudrā which has been translated by Alexander Schiller in his remarkable book on the four yogas.♦ 7 Jigten Sumgön mentions here that Milarepa’s transmission of the “two armours” – one concerning the “outer view,” the other “inner wisdom” – includes the following instructions. (1) All thoughts and mental afflictions did not arise from anywhere, which is the dharmakāya, they did not disappear anywhere, which is the sambhogakāya, they abide neither outside nor inside, which is the nirmāṇkāya, and they do not exist anywhere, which is the svabhāvikakāya. They have always been like that.♦ 8 (2) This knowledge is cultivated in meditative practice until thoughts and mental afflictions have completely vanished, like the centre of space, free from all clouds. – Here, the “outer” and “inner” aspects appear to be that the first is an “outer view” in the sense of an analysis based on learning and reflecting and the second a cultivation of inner wisdom leading to realisation. These two aspects of “outer” and “inner” are differently interpreted in Jigten Sumgön’s instruction translated below.

Jigten Sumgön’s commentary of the four yogas also mentions the instruction Gampopa received from Chagriwa. These are, at first, that thoughts, even though they do not have a real existence, are “a kindness” (because they are a means of realisation). Moreover, thoughts are non-existent-[yet]-manifested (med sprul), which is to say that although they are in truth not existent (med), they manifest (sprul) as possessing qualities, as a kindness, or as indispensable for the arising of the potential (rtsal) of discriminating knowledge.♦ 9 Furthermore, one overcomes thoughts on arising (phrad ‘joms), which is the conviction that at the very moment a thought arises, it is without origination. Thoughts are, still furthermore, retraced (rjes snyags). In Gampopa’s teaching, this is done by asking: Where did they come from?, and so forth (as above). In the commentary on the four yogas, thoughts are “removed without experiencing their taste.”♦ 10 These three points of Chagriwa’s instruction (together with two further points) also appear in Jigten Sumgön’s instruction translated below, at the very end of the text, almost as an afterthought.

The next section in the commentary of the four yogas refers to the four aspects of “taking as the path” (lam ‘khyer rnam pa bzhi). These are the instructions for taking thoughts, mental afflictions, illness (nad), and demons (gdon) as the path.♦ 11 These, too, are to be practised as not arising from anywhere, not disappearing anywhere, abiding neither outside nor inside, and not existing anywhere, that is, they are the four kāyas. In the instruction translated below, afflictions and illnesses seem to be mentioned at the beginning as the armour of the outer view. Concerning the afflictions, Jigten Sumgön mentions (as he does in his Single Intention 6.17) that one would have to be very attentive concerning even the most subtle evil. Proceeding like that, the virtuous disciplined conduct is never interrupted. Concerning illnesses, the instruction translated below states that neither the illnesses of the outer body nor the sufferings of the inner mind are to be abandoned. That is, they are not to be seen as a “bad” thing to be removed, but rather as something to be taken as the path. In general, instructions of how to take thoughts, mental afflictions, illnesses, and demons as the path can be found in many teachings of Jigten Sumgön (which can hopefully be explored on another occasion).

The commentary of the four yogas mentions in the section on the armour concerned with inner wisdom only that the knowledge that thoughts are unarisen, etc., is cultivated in meditative practice until thoughts and mental afflictions have completely vanished. The instruction translated below, however, has a different emphasis. Here, again in accordance with the Single Intention (6.9), Jigten Sumgön points out that the experience of the samādhis is not a quality in itself (and its not-arising is not a defect). In the commentaries of the Single Intention, a similar point is made for the three samādhis of bliss, luminosity, and non-thought. Clinging to bliss, one is only sidetracked to the realm of desire (Skt. kamadhātu), clinging to luminosity, to the realm of form (Skt. rūpadhātu), and clinging to non-thought, to the realm of formlessness (Skt. arūpyadhātu). The reason that the experience of bliss, luminosity and freedom from thoughts is not leading to any useful realisation is that it is a conditioned phenomenon and thus impermanent, but realisation is not conditioned and thus also not impermanent. An unconditioned realisation, however, cannot be achieved by a conditioned practice. This point is also briefly mentioned in a different section of the commentary of the four yogas.♦ 12

In conclusion, while Jigten Sumgön’s commentary of the four yogas is a systematical presentation of Phagmodrupa’s teaching, including a presentation of the teaching that mind, thought, and dharmakāya arise together, the instruction translated below is a direct personal instruction for the practice of the “yoga of the innate,” i.e. the practice of appearances and thoughts as unarisen and nothing to be abandoned.

TRANSLATION

The Instruction of the Yoga of the Innate: The Two Armours♦ 13

I pay homage to the guru!

At the time of practising the yoga of the innate, there are two armours: Being careful about the most subtle evil and not to interrupt the virtuous disciplined conduct are the armour of the outer view. Not to abandon illnesses of the outer body and sufferings of the inner mind is also the armour of the outer view.

Secondly, concerning the armour of the inner discriminating knowledge (shes rab), not to view the arising of the samādhi of the abiding, tranquil, and blissful mind as a qualitiy, and, likewise, not to view its non-arising as a defect is the armour of the inner discriminating knowledge.

By being endowed with the two armours in that way, one regards the thoughts with the eye of discriminating knowledge (Skt. prajñā). Thereby, at the time of non-distraction, thoughts are primordially unarisen. When there is a distraction, a thought arises. However, if you want to know if that thought has to be abandoned, it has not to be abandoned. It is seen as possessing qualities, as a kindness, or as indispensable.♦ 14 Why is that so? On the basis of that thought arises the potential (rtsal) of discriminating knowledge. Therefore, as a non-existence of thoughts is not established after [merely] abandoning that thought, examine from where that thought first arose. It did not arise from anywhere else but your empty nature of the mind, like, for instance, a cloud arises [in] the empty sky. By examining where [the thought] disappears at the end, [you will find that] it does not go anywhere but your [mind’s nature], like a bubble disappears in the water. By examining how [the thought] exists in the time between [arising and disappearing], [you will find that] it is not established as an essence of anything at all and does not abide anywhere.

In that way, by examining and practising the thought as unborn, the idea arises that somehow all phenomena of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa do not exist apart from your mind. By maintaining that experience, at first, it is an experience like the falling of snow upon a lake [i.e., the thought and the nature of the mind become of one taste]. By maintaining that [experience], it is then an experience like a fire spreading in a forest [i.e., the fire of experience is well-nourished with thoughts]. Then, thirdly, it is an experience like meeting a person one is familiar with from earlier times [i.e., there is an immediate recognition of the true nature of thoughts and appearances also in the post-meditative state]. [Now], you must not examine [anymore] from where that thought first arose, how it abides in the middle, and where it disappears at the end. That freedom from arising, stopping, and abiding is the dharmakāya.

[Generally, thoughts] are turned back by overcoming [them] on arising (phrad ‘joms), retracing (rjes snyags, also: phyi bsnyags), non-existence-[yet]-manifested (med sprul), removing hopes [of obtaining nirvāṇa] and giving up fright [concerning saṃsāra] (re ba ‘gag dogs pa bsu),♦ 15 and repenting from the heart (? zhe nas ‘gyod pa).

The Mahāmudrā-Yoga of the Innate is complete.

Notes
1. [sGam po pa’i gsung ‘bum, vol. 2, p. 356: dus la snga phyi med cing dngos bzang ngan med pas lhan cig skyes pa’o; in: Schiller (2014: 454).]

2. [Gampopa, Dus gsum mkhyen pa’i zhus lan: sems nyid lhan cig skyes pa chos kyi sku// snang ba lhan cig skyes pa chos sku’i ’od// sems nyid lhan cig skyes pa ni/ sems kyi rang bzhin nam ngo bo de yin/ snang ba lhan cig skyes pa ni/ de las byung ba’i rnam par rtog pa de yin/ de yang nyi ma dang nyi ma’i ’od bzhin nam/ tsan dan dang tsan dan gyi dri lta bu yin/. (Unfortunately, TBRC provides no folio numbers.)]

3. [Phag mo gru pa, lHan cig skyes sbyor, in: Schiller (2014: 454): sems dang rnam rtog chos sku gsum// dang po lhan cig skyes pa de// gdams pas sems su sbyor ba’i phyir// lhan cig skyes sbyor zhes su bshad//.]

4. [Cf. Gampopa’s characterisation of the difference between the two in Schiller (2014: 453, ftn. 37).]

5. [Phyag chen lhan cig skyes sbyor gyi ngo sprod, vol. 9, p. 489 f.; Cf. Sobisch 2006: 53.]

6. [Chagriwa (rGya lCags ri Gong kha ba) was one of the most important Kadampa teachers of Gampopa.]

7. [Chos rjes mdzad pa’i rnal ‘byor bzhi’i grel pa rnam dag rang ldan, in: Schiller 2014: 344-378 (Tib. text), 462-539 (translation and notes).]

8. [In his Phyag chen lhan cig skyes sbyor gyi ngo sprod, Jigten Sumgön explains that “the not being established as anything whatsoever is the dharmakāya, completely unhindered expression is the sambhogakāya, and the non-duality of these two and non-abiding anywhere whatsoever is the nirmaṇakāya” (Sobisch 2006: 43).]

9. [Cf. also Schiller 2014: 368.]

10. [See Trungram (2004: 196) and Schiller (2014: 506).]

11. [Cf. Schiller (2014: 369).]

12. [Cf. Schiller (2014: 361).]

13. [Khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po, vol. 5, no. 745.]

14. [Phagmodrupa describes thoughts as “the kind teacher” and as Buddha, Dharma, and Saṅgha; Chos rjes mdzad pa’i rnal ‘byor bzhi’i ‘grel pa rnam dag rang ldan, in: Schiller (2014: 344 ff., esp. 368).]

15. [This point is explained by Gampopa in the context of the sameness of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa. By realising saṃsāra itself to be nirvāṇa, one does not hope anymore to obtain nirvāṇa from somewhere. Instead, one realises nirvāṇa itself to be saṃsāra and does not have a fear of falling into a “bad” saṃsāra. See sGam po pa’i gsung ‘bum, vol.1, p. 223: re dogs med pa ni/ de ltar ‘khor ba nyid mya ngan las ‘das pa rtogs pas/ mya ngan las ‘das pa logs nas thob tu re ba med la/ mya ngan ‘das pa nyid ‘khor bar rtogs pa dang / ‘khor ba ngan pa cig tu lhung gis dogs pa yang med de/.]

Bibliography (Tibetan Texts)
Chos rjes mdzad pa’i rnal ‘byor bzhi’i grel pa rnam dag rang ldan, in: Schiller 2014: 344-378 (Tib. text), 462-539 (translation and notes).

Dus gsum mkhyen pa’i zhus lan, by Gampopa, TBRC W3JT13326.

Khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po, vol. 5, Zab chos of ‘Jig rten gsum mgon’s Collected Works, Dheradun, 2017.

lHan cig skyes sbyor, by Phagmodrupa, in: Schiller (2014: 454).

Phyag chen lhan cig skyes sbyor gyi ngo sprod ma rig mun sel ye shes snang ba’i rgyan, by Jigten Sumgön, in: The Collected Works of Khams gsum Chos kyi rgyal po thub dbang Ratna Shri, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche (ed.), Dheradun: D.K. Institute, vol. 9, p. 489 f.; cf. Sobisch 2006.

sGam po pa’i gsung ‘bum, Khasup Gyatsho Shashin, Delhi, 1975.

(Western Academic Publications)

Schiller, Alexander (2014) Die „Vier Yoga“-Stufen der Mahāmudrā-Meditationstradition, (Indian and Tibetan Studies 2), Hamburg: Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Universität Hamburg.

Sobisch, Jan-Ulrich (2006) Einführung in die Mahāmudrā „Angeborene Einheit,“ München: Otter Verlag.

Trungram, Gyaltrul Rinpoche Sherpa (2004) Gampopa, the Monk and the Yogi: His Life and Teachings, PhD thesis, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University.