Key Points on Trekchö
Summary of the Key Points of Advice on Trekchö
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
I prostrate at the feet of the noble guru!
The key points of the introduction to the actual nature of mind are as follows. Reflect continually on impermanence. Contemplate the trials of saṃsāra. Adapt your behaviour according to the laws governing actions and their effects. With a stable foundation of refuge and altruistic intentions, ensure that all your actions of body, speech and mind are for the sake of others. Dedicate merit and make prayers of aspiration. Apply yourself conscientiously to the stages of accumulation and purification. And ensure that the generation and perfection phase practices of your yidam deity are made effective through the key points of approach and accomplishment. To realise the actual nature of your own unborn awareness you must persist in the practices until you develop uncontrived devotion toward the guru. And even after you develop such uncontrived devotion, it is vitally important that you continue praying to the guru and receiving empowerment.
Actual Instruction on the Nature of Mind
Probing to the root of mind means investigating which of the three doors (of body, speech and mind) it is that causes us to wander throughout beginningless time in saṃsāra and which it is that carries out virtuous or non-virtuous actions. When investigating, we discover mind to be the most important factor. Searching for hidden flaws means examining whether body, speech and mind are unitary or distinct, and finding that, while on a conventional level they appear to be related, ultimately there is no real entity called ‘mind’ that could be one with or distinct from anything else. It is simply a deception, a clear appearance of something unreal. When you investigate the essence of this mind, even if you search for its arising you cannot find it. There is no reality to mind’s apparent presence. Nor is there anywhere that it ceases. It is thus without foundation or origin. When investigating whether the searching mind and the mind that is sought for are the same or different, it seems as if one gives rise to the other. But as the mind that is the object of the search is unreal, so too is the mind that searches. Nevertheless, by clinging to a self in all our vague and transitory thoughts, which are brought about by fleeting causes and conditions, we experience the delusion of saṃsāric existence.
Having recognised this fact, we should look directly into the nature of the mind that does not find anything when it searches for mind. Leaving the three doors of body, speech and mind as they are, without altering them in any way, we will intermittently experience a state of non-conceptual clarity. This fluctuating experience, which can change according to circumstances, is the all-ground consciousness. Whatever meditative experiences might arise at this level of consciousness, whether blissful, clear or free from thought, they are still flawed mental experiences. Moreover, the vacant, thought-free state of being wonderstruck is also of the nature of the all-ground consciousness and deeply flawed.
No matter what arises in the mind, whether it is states such as these, obscured by mental speculation, or fluctuations of thought unsullied by such experiences, we must sustain an awareness of the present that cannot be benefitted or harmed or transformed in any way by such risings. This awareness is vivid, fresh, uncontrived and unspoilt. It is limpidly clear, nakedly apparent, lucid and bright, beyond any concrete definition. This clear, penetrating awareness is not a void or vacuity, but a primordially pure genuine awareness that is and always has been empty, its essence utterly indefinable. This clear light of awareness and emptiness, which is the Great Perfection, is the very face of rigpa that is to be sustained.
The method for sustaining the face of rigpa is the four ways of leaving things as they are:
- the view, like a mountain, leave it as it is;
- meditation, like the ocean, leave it as it is;
- action, appearances, leave them as they are; and
- fruition, rigpa, leave it as it is.
To make naked awareness and emptiness evident through this method is what we call “introducing directly the face of rigpa in itself”. We must have confidence in this, recognising that there is no other “buddha” or “primordial wisdom” aside from such a state, and that there is nothing further to do with phenomena that are already perfect within rigpa’s expanse.
Meditation means not to waver from an experience of the view, without clinging, distraction or fixation. Don’t try to block or shut out any perception related to the six senses, and don’t allow your attention to become diffused or withdrawn. Instead, simply settle naturally and without restraint. With no duality between objects and awareness, allow any rising thoughts or perceptions to be freed naturally by themselves, dissolving without trace like the path of a bird in flight. This is what we mean by “confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.” With this kind of practice to remain unmoving is a special key point that applies equally to meditative equipoise and post-meditation.
If you persevere in the way I have here described, then even if you experience what might appear plainly and distinctly to be dualistic clinging it will still not obscure the nature of mind, just as clouds do not sully the sky. As these apparent veils do not in fact taint your experience, the two kinds of obscuration, together with any habitual tendencies, will clear away and purify themselves, and the experience of the great primordial wisdom of awareness and emptiness will increase. As this happens, it is crucial that you remain unattached to any meditative experience, including any form of visions or moods, whether elated or depressed, calm or agitated, and that rather than supressing experience you allow it to unfold spontaneously.
This summary of the key points of advice on Trekchö was composed by Chökyi Lodrö to fulfil the request of Yönru Lhasé Sogyal.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2017.
Tibetan Edition Used
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros, "rdzogs chen gyi don khrid mdor bsdus" in ’Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung ’bum. 12 vols. Bir: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. W1KG12986 Vol. 8: 72–75
Jamyang Sonam, the king of Yönru in Lithang, who renounced his kingdom as soon as his son was of age in order to follow Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. Arriving in Sikkim after Jamyang Khyentse had passed away, he went on to Tso Pema in India, where he stayed in retreat, before eventually dying in Manali. ↩