The following short but profound article on meditation has been composed by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa on the eve of his departure from India, on his first visit to the West, and it is offered to the world at the instance of William Stucky, who is bringing out the journal Samata or the Blue Pearl for His Holiness’ friend in Dharma, Baba Mukhtanandaji, of the Guru Dev Ashram in Ganeshpuri, Vajreshwari, Bombay.
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
May all beings be away from sorrow and the causes of sorrow
May all never be separate from the sacred happiness that is sorrowless;
May all leave attachment to dear ones, and aversion to others
And live believing in the equalness of all that lives.
In order that all men may reach the Supreme State of Illumination of the Buddhas, the practice of Dharma is the most necessary thing.
All are, as we say, drowning in the ocean of the suffering of the world, outwardly stained by greed and desire, and the poison of hatred and malice towards others. We compare the state of unawakened man to a dark night of ignorance.
If we could put Dharma in its most essential form we can say it is the teaching of the Buddha that brings liberation from ignorance, and cleans away the poisons of the mind, voice and body.
That is what this profound yet simple word Dharma signifies
To attain to some understanding of Dharma, some outpouring of energy spiritual and physical is required on the part of the aspirant, on our own part.
You are willing to take infinite pains for example to put up a complicated piece of machinery. Or to acquire wealth, position, influence.
Work for the Dharma like this.
Teaching in Dharma is imparted not only in lectures, or read in books. By meditation and looking into the mind, analysing it, a certain spiritual maturity comes to us.
Deeper Dharma (guhya) requires the oral teaching of the Lama. The Lama's teaching is the teaching of all the Enlightened Ones—he is not different from them.
That is why we say there are three elements in the deeper anuttara teaching- the energy-aspiration of the disciple, patient listening to what the Lama-Guru says ( and in particular heeding the secret inner Instructions), and thirdly the silent meditation practice of looking into the mind.
The combination of these three brings us to the Mahasukha or inexpressibly great happiness of the Buddhas.
In the preliminary stage of the teaching, we have to work with body, voice and mind. In order to cleanse the sins and impurities of the body we use the yogic prostration practice.
In order to cleanse the sins of the voice, and its impurities, we take the refuge of the Triple Gem and recite the 100-syllable mantra of the Vajra Sattva.
In order to purify the sins and impurities of the mind, tendencies which have been collected through countless lives and endless kalpas of time we have to say mantras and bow to the Buddhas, with a heart-rendering feeling of penitence for all the suffering that we knowingly or unknowingly have caused to others or inflicted on them.
These efforts are the steps that lead to the higher practice.
In order to help all living beings in their seemingly unavoidable suffering, we put on the armour of compassion, not only for men but for all living entities, seen and unseen.
We base our life on the practice and realisation of the ten Perfections of the way of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas: they are generosity, morality, patience, energy, meditation and vision, which is the eye guiding the six. Beyond that, the Perfections of skilful means; powers (bala) the art of perfect prayer; the culminating transcendent knowledge (gnosis).
It is only the boundless mercy and kindly heart of the Lama-Guru that reveals to us in depth the seed of Enlightenment that is within all of us. The Bodhicitta. It is not something to be sought for outside.
From our Guru (because that is the meaning of Lama) we take the Bodhisattva Vow and begin to understand the three degrees of the Bodhisattva practice.
An intense feeling for all that lives is the very heart- practice of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who take on themselves the burden of the world's suffering and in return share their limitless happiness with them, with all, not leaving out any single being.
The second and deeper meaning of the Bodhicitta is the inexpressible luminous clear mind realisation of the Buddhas, the enlightenment beyond all human words in which they "live and have their being" practising the excellent upaya or skilful means of the Path. The real meaning cannot be expressed in words, but can only be shown or understood through these skilful means.
Be conscious of yourself as you really are.
Imagine a white OM letter shining on your brow.
A red AH letter gleaming on the base of your throat
A blue HUNG letter in the centre of your body under the heart.
This is the essential meditation.
VISUALISATION: BODY INDESTRUCTIBLE.
When this meditation becomes firm, in the expanse of the clear blue sky before you visualise the Lama-Guru sitting on a thousand-petal led lotus, on the Moon Mat that covers the Sun. He is the Maha Vajra Dhara: the Great Vajra-Holder, or the indestructible, unconquerable Victorious One.
In the same way think that the white Om, the red Ah, and the blue Hung syllables are imprinted on the three Sacred Doors of this figure of light in the sky.
The OM letter symbolises his Vajra Body
The AH letter symbolises his Vajra Voice
The HUNG letter symbolises his Vajra Mind.
As you look towards him, the devotion of the pupil streams towards him in waves of love and, as if an echo, the lights stream back from the Lama's brow and are absorbed In the OM on my forehead. This is the empowerment or initiation of the higher Vajra Body. By means of this all apparent phenomena, and the emptiness at the heart of things, become inseparable and fused in the mind.
The world and Nirvana are the "not two", (implicitly one).
Again, from the AH at the base of the throat of the Lama-Guru, a glory of red light falls on the AH syllable on my own throat and is absorbed in it. By means of this, my voice receives the higher Voice initiation.
All sounds and the Sunyata, emptiness at the heart of sound, become inseparably fused.
Sound and Nirvana are the "not two", (implicitly one.) All sounds appear as Mantra.
From the heart of the Lama-Guru, Vajra-Holder, limitless blue light falls like incense smoke, enters the HUNG in my own heart, and is absorbed in it.
My mind thus receives the higher Vajra Mind empowerment-initiation from the blue radiant HUNG in the Lama's mind.
All thoughts and the Sunyata, emptiness at the heart of all thought, become inseparably fused. Mind is the "not two"- the non-dual, beyond thought. Mind is the simultaneously arising (lhen kyes) That which is the Light-Void.
The mind does not wander any more. Going and coming; the arising and disappearing of outer things and of thoughts stops. All is calm.
How can we describe the indescribable? Can we say it's like this, like that? Things are or are not. There is an unreality, an emptiness, a Maya of just everything that is. Like the sky itself, covering all. Past, present and future are the same, beyond thought. How can we explain that in the essence is space?
Is or is not; not like this, and not like anything else. Away even from transcendency. Emptiness and the Dharma nature are not different. Beyond all signs whatsoever. Beyond communication. Different. Nameless. Sudden like lightening. With a meaning beyond thought; therefore there is no meaning. Now it's all finished. Words are liars.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
All things in their nature are of the mind.
Being of the mind, there is nothing, not even the tiniest thing like an atom, or a mote of dust which is not of the same mind nature.
All is nakedly pure, unmade by the lower mind.
This realisation is the state of illumination of the Buddhas of the Three Times... their symbolic "Buddha Palace of Light.
In their profundity or attainment- gambhira- is the Buddha being, the Fruit, the Real.
"Remain within this profundity, undistracted.
No need to discipline body or voice
All will come spontaneously.
There is nothing in THIS to realise:
understand that whatever is apparent
is without own-being.
All phenomena are egoless
and Dharmadhatu, the mind realm,
is completely free of thought.
The great transcending knowledge beyond duality
is the Holy Spirit in which all is
As the Great River flows on
Whatever meditation sitting you do
This then is always the Buddha's nature
the world just isn't there
and all is the great Bliss.
All Dharmas, every single thing
is void in essence
and being void
cannot be grasped by the mind
we are cleansed of attachment,
within the mind nothing arises
This is the Path of all the Buddhas
Ranjung Rikpi Dorje
Composed by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa in the Monastery wreathed in a Thousand Rays of Rainbow Light, which we call Rumtek, the Dharma Chakra Centre of Sikkim, August, 1974. Translated by Gelongma Khechog Palmo, helped by Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche.