Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet

Dzogchen | Mahāmudrā | Tibetan MastersKhenpo Gangshar

English | བོད་ཡིག

Khenpo Gangshar

Khenpo Gangshar

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Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet

A Concise Instruction for Realizing the Nature of Mind

by Khenpo Gangshar

Pleasant experience is the result of virtue, whereas dissatisfaction follows negative action. This is simply the unmistaken way of things, so it is necessary to identify both virtues and misdeeds. Initially the three of body, speech, and mind need to be identified, and when they are recognized, we must determine which is the principal agent of both virtuous and negative actions. Which is the most important, you might ask. Mind is sovereign. As it is said:

The body serves in both positive and negative ways;
Mind is like a king, in control of everything.

Body and speech are like servants acting on the commands of mind, their monarch. Unless there is first the thought of something, be it good or bad, there is no way for the body to enact it, or for speech to express it.

Recognize that mind is behind all action, but what is the mind? Does it exist or not?

It cannot definitely exist as something, and as it possesses neither color—white, yellow, red, green—nor shape—square, triangle, etc.—, it can’t be ‘seen’ to exist. Neither is it completely non-existent, for this sovereign-like consciousness is none other than one’s own unceasing thoughts and memories. The glorious Rangjung Dorje said:

It is not existent, for even the Buddhas have not seen it;
Nor is it nonexistent, for it is the basis of all saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.[1]

This concludes the preliminaries.

The Main Part of the Practice

Sit comfortably, relaxed and at ease. There is no need to think of anything, simply rest—naturally, without fabrication. Open your eyes and gaze into space; keep your mouth slightly open and breathe naturally. The nature you’ll experience is free from thinking, recollection, or reflection of this or that, be it pleasant or unpleasant and so on. It is mind itself—clear, vivid, sharp, and naked. This is the nature of every sentient being’s mind; it is one with the heart of the supreme guide, your glorious guru, and indivisible from the wisdom of the buddhas of the three times. It is none other than the Mahāmudrā of the Dharmakāya, the Luminous Great Perfection, the Path Together with its Result (Lamdré), compassion and emptiness conjoined, and so on. It may be given many names, but they all come down to the same thing. Rangjung Dorje said:

All is neither false nor true,
Like the moon’s reflection in water, say the wise.
The ordinary mind is none other than
The dharmadhātu, the buddha nature.[2]

Look directly at whatever arises and do not attempt to alter it. Simply rest. All the stages of creation and completion, mantra repetition and visualization are included in this. You must learn to distinguish this practice from distraction. If you are undistracted and naturally at ease, this is awareness, where there is neither gain nor loss. However, if distracted—even slightly—you may give into like and dislike and the accumulation of positive and negative action, the fuel to wander in saṃsāra. Learn to make this distinction between awareness and mind or thought; rely on the stability of the former and purify the latter, gathered as they are like clouds.

The essence of the techniques of taking illness, destructive emotion, the intermediate state, and confusion to enhance the path is simply to rest in the natural state.

There is no need to bore you with further details here.

The accomplished and learned Gangshar Wangpo kindly gave these instructions to the assembled students of Shedrup Dargye Ling, the Thrangu Tashi Chöling School, on the seventh day of the sixth month in the Fire Bird year. Maṅgalam (May all be auspicious)!

| Translated by Sean Price, 2021.


Tibetan Edition Used

Gang shar dbang po. "dpal khra 'gu bshad sgrub dar rgyas gling du bstsal ba'i sems khrid 'phrad tshad bsdus pa" in gsung 'bum/_gang shar dbang po. TBRC W2CZ6597. 1 vols. Kathmandu: Thrangu Tashi Choling, 2008. Vol. 1: 137–143

Secondary Sources

Khenchen Thrangu, Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar, with commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 2011.

  1. From Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, Aspiration of the Mahāmudrā of Definitive Meaning, verse 11  ↩

  2. From Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, The Treatise Called "Revealing the Essence of the Tathāgatas" (de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po bstan pa zhes bya ba'i bstan bcos)  ↩