Light of Primordial Wisdom
The Light of Primordial Wisdom
An Instruction Manual for the Primordially Pure Perfection Stage of the Powerful & Wrathful Dorje Drolö, Conqueror of Demons
by Dudjom Rinpoche
Namo mahāguru vajrakrodha lokottaraye!
In this instruction on the primordially pure, profound perfection stage of the essential life-force practice of the most secret powerful and wrathful conqueror of demons, Dorje Drolö, there are two parts:
- the preparation, preparing the ground of śamatha, and
- the main part, generating the wisdom of vipaśyanā.
1. The Preparation: Preparing the Ground of Śamatha
The root text says:
For the profound stage of perfection,
Towards the red syllable HŪṂ at the heart,
Let the ‘spear’ of prajñā-awareness be directed.
Sit on a comfortable seat in an isolated place, far from the hustle and bustle of ordinary people and without too much noise.
The crucial point of the body is to sit upright, completely alert, in the seven-point posture of Vairocana.
The crucial point of the speech is to breathe naturally.
The crucial point of the mind is to cut through any thoughts related to the past, present or future, and remain without any activity of mind such as following the past, anticipating the future or analysing anything at all. Simply settle, without any fabrication or distraction. If you are able to remain like this, that will suffice.
But if you find that your mind cannot remain still in this way, then visualize a red syllable HŪṂ at your heart, about an inch in size, or even bigger or smaller if necessary. When it becomes vividly clear, don’t focus too tightly, but simply look at the brilliant appearance and settle naturally, in a relaxed way.
If you find that it is still difficult to remain still like this, then place an object, such as a written syllable, or a stick or a small pebble, either large or small, directly in front of yourself and settle, directing your gaze towards the object. Stare, without moving your eyes and without blinking, but with the mind totally relaxed, free, and at ease. Don’t deliberately try to meditate or restrict the mind in any way, and don’t analyse or evaluate states of mind in terms of good and bad.
No matter what thoughts arise, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in them and carried away, but return to the object of focus, retaining an undistracted state that is clear and without thoughts.
If you find that your mind is dull, raise your gaze, make your posture more alert, invigorate your awareness, and, bringing out the awakened quality of rigpa, direct your attention one-pointedly.
If you find that your attention is dispersed and your mind is agitated, lower your gaze, make your posture more relaxed, and allow the mind to settle in a way that is perfectly natural and deeply relaxed.
In a similar way, you can also focus on a clear sound, a permeating scent, and so on. Or you can simply focus on the natural flow of your breath, paying attention to the three phases of arising, entering and remaining, but without thinking of anything and simply resting your attention. Alternatively, you can allow your mind to settle in a way that is concentrated, but without any particular object of focus at all. It does not matter which of these you choose as the object of your focus.
As you meditate like this, it will seem at first as if you have even more thoughts than before, but by continuing to practice without judgement or concern, you will experience a sense of total calm and peace, and both body and mind will feel blissfully well.
When you can remain one-pointedly like this, with your mind free from thoughts, and absorbed so completely that it is as if you can’t—or don’t wish to—leave the state of meditation, then that is a sign that you have arrived at familiarity with ‘calm abiding’ (śamatha).
2. The Main Part, Generating the Wisdom of Vipaśyanā
This has four parts:
- Deciding through the view,
- Taking to heart through meditation,
- Sustaining the continuity through action, and
- How the fruition is actualized.
1. Deciding through the View
This has three parts:
- Determining the nature of outer perceived objects,
- Determining the nature of the inner perceiving mind, and
- Recognizing the view of the natural state.
1. Determining the Nature of Outer Perceived Objects
The root text says:
Māras, obstructing forces,
samaya-breaking demons, gyalpo, gongpo and the like—
All are merely appearances arising to the mind.
As indicated by the things we label as obstacles, demons or obstructing forces, all appearing things, including ourselves and others, the outer environment or beings within it, might appear solid and real, but in reality they are nothing more than the delusory perceptions of our own minds. They appear, yes, but though seeming real, they are not. So recognizing them as like a magical display or appearances in a dream, which do not exist, but still appear, we should regard them as insubstantial and unreal.
Moreover, other than being mere labels, they are beyond any conceptual ideas we might have about them being existent or non-existent in nature, so ultimately we should not view them even as illusory in any concrete sense. Like this, we decide, therefore, that all appearances are primordial wisdom, in which everything, without any exception or bias, is experienced as illusory.
2. Determining the Nature of the Inner Perceiving Mind
The root text says:
In mind there is nothing to identify, no characteristics.
- The crucial point of the body is to apply the seven-point posture.
- The crucial point of the speech is to allow your breath to settle naturally.
- The crucial point of the mind is neither to be too tight nor too loose, but to rest directly without trying to do anything in the mind, in an experience of fresh, uncontrived awareness.
Turning your attention within, look directly into the very face of mind itself. When you look like this, you experience a state that is beyond any duality—beyond any separation between one who looks and something that is looked at, between an experiencer and experienced, between subject and object.
Instead, you experience a self-cognizing, objectless state of openness beyond any conceptual elaboration. Simply settle directly and evenly into that very experience, without spoiling it by trying to change or modify it in any way. This is how those of the highest capacity meditate—“settling into the immediacy of the universal awareness of rigpa.”
Still, for most people, whose minds are disturbed by the churning waves of thought, this is difficult to recognize, and so they should search for the mind using the path of rigpa and rigpa alone. This means that as soon as a flash or flicker of thought appears, you look directly into it and ask, “Where does this come from? Where does it remain right now? Where does it cease in the end?” You can also ask: “Who is the one to attain Buddhahood? Who is the one that wanders in saṃsāra? Who creates happiness and suffering?”
If you think it is the mind, then ask yourself, “Does it have a beginning? Or an end? Or a middle? Is mind real or unreal? If it is real, what is its colour or its shape?” If you think it is unreal, then ask yourself, “Is it completely nothing or what is it like?” Ask questions such as these again and again, without letting your attention slip, and look into the mind.
If you can’t arrive at a clear decision, but think of mind as something concrete and real with certain characteristics, or if you consider that it is an empty void of nothing at all, or if you think that it has never existed because you can’t find it, or if you think it clearly exists so how could anyone ever fail to find it, then continue to search and ask yourself more questions. You won’t find one who looks or something that is looked at, neither a ‘see-er’ nor one who is seen.
Not finding anything at all by searching and analysing, it is like looking into the sphere of space and not seeing anything at all. It is an experience of awareness, without any essence that could be identified. It is inexpressible, beyond thought and not something to be ‘seen.’ It is the union of emptiness and clarity, unchanging naked awareness beyond any object. When this arises as a stable experience then the instruction has truly penetrated your being.
3. Recognizing the View of the Natural State
The root text says:
Empty clarity, the ultimate Dorje Drolö,
Is not to be sought anywhere but here
In this naked, self-arising awareness.
Great Lord, pervading all saṃsāra and nirvāṇa—
Certainty is reached in this great primordial nature.
In this way, you can recognize that the natural condition or state of the mind is (and always has been) empty, free from any conceptual ideas of perceived object or perceiving subject, and primordially pure, beyond words, thought and expression. As the natural expression of the wisdom of unceasing clarity and radiance, it is spontaneously present as the Great Lord who pervades all saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.
And these two qualities (primordial purity and spontaneous presence) have always been inseparably united in the natural unconditioned state. This naked, naturally arising wisdom, which has always been enlightened as the naturally abiding realization of dharmatā, is the view of the Great Perfection beyond the ordinary mind. And you must realize it, by recognizing it just as it is.
2. Taking to Heart through Meditation
The root text says:
The past has ceased, the future
Not yet arisen. This present awareness,
Naked, empty rigpa—take it as the path.
Having directly recognized the dharmakāya, which is nothing other than this great empty and cognizant naturally arising rigpa, beyond the ordinary mind, then you must decide, with complete certainty, that there is not the slightest atom’s worth of meditation to be done besides settling naturally into the fresh and ordinary awareness that is the “fourth part, beyond the three.” We call it this because it is unstained by any thoughts associated with the three times, since the past thought has ceased, the future thought has not yet arisen and there is no fabrication or contrivance in the present moment of awareness.
Then, you must have confidence in the liberation of whatever arises in the mind, realizing that it is the flow of dharmakāya, naked empty awareness beyond the ordinary mind. And with this confidence, relax and settle in the open and expansive awareness that is space-like, and beyond any limits or extremes. At that moment, whatever you perceive through the six senses should simply be left, without clinging, in the naked, naturally clear and vivid experience.
No matter what thoughts arise internally within the mind, don’t try to proliferate or dissolve them, but simply leave them as they are in their naked condition, so that they dissolve by themselves. Remain naturally, without being constrained or restricted by antidotes, or influenced by objects, whether good or bad, or spoiled by clinging, and without succumbing to the wish to abandon or remedy. To sustain the experience of all-penetrating openness (zangthal), having recognized this quality of vivid, pristine awareness, immediately and directly, is a special feature of the Great Perfection.
3. Sustaining the Continuity through Action
The root text says:
When stability is gained through familiarity like this...
In meditative equipoise, unspoilt by clinging and attachment to primordial wisdom of naked awareness and emptiness, relax in the boundless openness of natural clarity.
In post-meditation, determine that whatever you perceive is like the magical tricks of a conjurer or appearances in a dream, experiencing it as clear and empty without grasping. By taking this as the path, meditation and post-meditation will merge inseparably and all that arises will be liberated by itself directly, so that your thoughts become ‘friendly’ supports of meditation.
If you find that thoughts harm your practice, then look directly into whatever thoughts or movement stir in the mind, and, like waves dissolving back into water, they will vanish without trace. By gaining the clear, decisive certainty that thoughts are without basis or origin (gzhi med rtsa bral), your practice will progress more easily. In short, in all your daily activity, do not slip into ordinary thinking and confusion, but train in the continuous river-like yoga of non-distraction and non-grasping, and you will gain perfect familiarity.
4. How the Fruition is Actualized
The root text says:
Having entirely overcome all ordinary phenomena,
The glorious Heruka is made manifest.
As this says, your own rigpa, which is spontaneously perfect Buddhahood that has never known delusion, is obscured by temporary deluded thoughts and clinging to things as real. And this delusion is reinforced by the view of striving to gain something from elsewhere.
But when, through the lama’s kindness, you are directly introduced to the dharmakāya’s own face and naturally sustain realization of primordial liberation, then, without gaining something new, you actualize your own natural condition, which has always been there, just as it is. This is what we refer to as ‘fruition.’
Once you come to master this state of the Heruka who pervades throughout both saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, you will spontaneously perfect the infinite forms of enlightened activity beyond effort.
In response to the requests of several devoted followers of this path, such as Nyötön Tsewang Paljor, I, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, wrote this brief commentary in the manner of a direct ‘pointing out’ instruction (martri), emphasizing what is easy to understand and put into practice. Jayantu!
Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2016.