Song Seventeen

Aphoristic Instruction on the Dzogchen Path

EHMAHO! Once more, most beloved sons and daughters, listen! After you have fully intuited and established the original existential condition of the Dzogchen vision, you must utterly sever the ties of attachment and aversion to your family and homeland.

Go alone to the forest or to a mountain hermitage. Abandon all physical work and dwell at ease; cease all verbal expression and remain in silence; transcend all objects of thought and let your mind merge with space. In this state, relax, without attempting to change anything, and without diffusion or fixation of your consciousness.

When the mind is free of all ambition and all belief-supports, that is Dzogchen vision. Abide in a state of non-meditation. Realize Dzogchen's goal of non-attainment.

Further, when you are composed in equanimity, living the vision, do not become entangled in any web of judgmental thought by saying to yourself, "Now I've arrived at a state of Knowledge!" or "Now I'm caught in manic depression!" No, stay wakeful in the continuum of reality without any notion of present or future attainment, flexible and responsive in unobstructed freedom.

You cannot perceive non-conceptual truth with your structured intellect, and you cannot reach the place of non-action through temporal activity. If you want to attain the non-conceptual goal of non-action, rest in naked Knowledge free of dualistic grasping.

The supreme vision is free of all conceptual duality. Supreme meditation is free from the cultivation of some attributes and rejection of others. Supreme action is beyond all striving and effort. The supreme goal is ever immanent, beyond aspiration.

Looking for 'it', the vision cannot be seen: cease your search. 'It' cannot be discovered through meditation, so abandon your trance states and mental images. 'It' cannot be accomplished by anything you do, so give up the attempt to treat the world as magical illusion. 'It' cannot be found by seeking, so abandon all hope of results.

Do not be biased or partial, thus spoiling your free and easy uncontrived consciousness of the here and now by clinging attachments. This radiant insubstantiality, Knowledge of the here and now, this is the summum bonum of all vision. This all-pervasive, all-embracing object of mind transcending the intellect, this is the summum bonum of all meditations. This unforced, detached, free and easy spontaniety, this is the summum bonum of all behavior. This unsought, spontaneous accomplishment, present from the beginning, this is the summit of all attainments.

The matrix of vision is observation of emptiness and radiance without clinging to it. The matrix of meditation is maintenance of reflexive release without clinging to it. The matrix of action is relaxation with a free and easy response to the six sense-fields. The matrix of the goal is collapse of all expectation and apprehension.

When the mind has no limitations, we see the sovereign vision. When it has no point of reference, we practice sovereign meditation. When we are free of all inhibition and indulgence, we perform sovereign activity. When mind is free of hope and fear, we have attained the sovereign goal.

As there is nothing to see, abandon all fixed ideas, all preconceived notions and all parameters of vision. As there is nothing upon which to meditate, let be whatever arises adventitiously. As there is no particular way to behave, give up evaluation, judgment, and criticism. As there is nothing to attain, forsake all expectation of results.

Whatsoever can be is Knowledge, so do not cling to any one thing. Nothing is 'it', so do not judge and criticize. No intellectual concepts are valid, so do not presume.

Primally pure intrinsic knowledge, naturally radiant, transcends the intellect and objects of mind, so there is nothing to see. As its essence has no root or ground, there is nothing to meditate uon. As its reflexive release is beyond all limitations and extremes, there is nothing to do based on conscious and rational design. As it is beyond striving, accomplishment and ambition, there is no fruition.

Its essence is emptiness, so abandon self-denial and self-improvement. Its nature is empty radiance, so let your diligent effort drop away. Everything is unobstructed, so forget your preferences. Just as phenomena arise, let them be, and do not cling to them.

The yogin's perception is like the flight-path of a bird in the sky. The bird's flight-path vanishes without a trace: each previous perception vanishes without repercussion--do not attempt to prolong a perception by pursuing it and clinging to it. The bird's future flight-path is as yet nonexistent: do not anticipate the next perception. The present bird-print in the sky is colorless and shapeless: the present perception has an ordinary, unremarkable form--leave it alone and refrain from contaminating it or modifying it by applying antidotes.

Just as phenomena arise let them be and do not cling! This is the radical, essential practice during the daily round. If you do not cling to whatever, or however, phenomena appear, emotional defilements, naturally freed, are sublime, primal awareness.

The vision is unoriginated, non-conceptual, capable of any departure whatsoever, for in intense concentration the vision has no specific content. Meditation is a natural, innate process of being free, for in intense meditation there is non-meditation. Conduct is a perfromance of magical illusion, innocent of any distinction between giving and taking, abstinence and indulgence, for intense activity is purposeless. The nature of the goal is absence of both hope of attainment and fear of failure, for with intense practice the goal vanishes.

In past, present and future the mind is acausal and baseless. Its spontaneous manifestation of vivid appearances is a constant wonder. From the first to the last the nature of all experience is pure! miraculously arisen! eternally free! completely free! effortlessly accomplished! This ordinary consciousness, unforced and authentic, is the Buddha's dynamic, a vast space without limitation.

What is more, with effort, examining and contemplating the mind, you do not see its intrinsic original nature. In the unthinkable, inscrutable ordinary nature of reality there is neither meditation nor non-meditation, neither distraction nor non-distraction. Many are liberated through natural no-meditation.*

Here in the text is a footnote I think is important to include, in an attempt to clarify, and avoid misunderstanding: *At this stage reflexive recognition of the nature of mind has become a habit. Examination of the mind is now an obstacle to the spontaneous arising of Knowledge. No-meditation indicates a state where even the notions of meditation and meditator are absent, free of both meditation and non-meditation when both states are self-conscious. This double negative has the same meaning as Naropa's mahamudra statement of simple negation, the oft-quoted lines:

Without thought, deliberation or analysis, Without meditation and without action, Without doubt or expectation, Mental constructs and dualities spontaneously dissolve And the original face of reality shines forth.

The mendicant pilgrim is best placed to recognize anonymous, unlearned (or learned) realized beings whose attainment has arisen in spontaneous no-meditation.]* -end of footnote-

In the unthinkable, inscrutable, ordinary nature of reality there is no difference between freedom and bondage. No matter what arises, when you perceive your original nature the joy arises automatically -- and what joy!

Trapped by the thought of desiring thoughtlessness, conflicting thoughts multiply, and in mounting frenzy you run aimlessly hither and thither. Relax and merge into the primal space of Knowledge, which is free of coming and going. Cut loose and just let be. Then, ready for anything, you remain firm and stable, as solid as a rock.

Grasp this paradox, my sons and daughters! There is not so much as a mote of dust upon which to meditate, but it is crucial to sustain unwavering attention with presence of mind.