From the murals of Shechen Monastery. Used with permission of Rabjam Rinpoche.
Profound Instruction on the View of the Middle Way
by Mipham Rinpoche
Once you have gone through the training in analysis
And developed confidence in the crucial point
Of how the individual is devoid of self,
Then consider how, just as the so-called “I” is
An unexamined conceptual imputation,
All phenomena included within
The five skandhas and the unconditioned are the same:
Labeled conceptually as this or that.
Although we apprehend all these various phenomena,
When we investigate and search for what's behind the labelling, it cannot be found.
And when we reach the ultimate two indivisibles,
Even the most subtle and infinitesimal cannot be established.
It is the same for all that appears through dependent origination:
Entities themselves arise dependently,
And ‘non-entities’ are dependently imputed.
So, whether an entity or non-entity,
Whatever is conceived of uncritically,
Once it is analyzed and investigated,
Is found to be without basis or origin —
Appearing yet unreal, like an illusion, dream,
Reflected moon, echo, city in the clouds,
Hallucination, mirage, and the like.
Appearing yet empty, empty yet appearing—
Meditate on the way empty appearances resemble illusions.
This is the ultimate that is categorized conceptually.
It has the confidence of a mind of understanding,
And is indeed the stainless wisdom of seeing
The illusory nature of post-meditative experience.
Yet it is not yet free from focus on apprehended objects,
Nor have the features of a subjective mind been overcome,
And so, since it has not gone beyond conceptuality,
The true reality of natural simplicity is not seen.
Once this kind of certainty has arisen,
Even clinging to mere illusion
Can be understood as conceptual imputation.
There is apprehension, but no essential nature to the perceived,
And even the perceiving mind cannot be found,
So, without clinging, one is brought to rest in natural ease.
Remaining like this, all perceptions,
Both external and internal, are not interrupted.
Yet within this fundamental nature, free from grasping,
All projections imposed upon phenomena,
Have never arisen and never ceased to be.
So, free from the duality of perceiver and perceived,
We rest in the all-pervading space of equality.
This is beyond any assertions, such as ‘is’ or ‘is not’.
And, within this inexpressible state of true and natural rest,
An experience dawns that is free from the slightest trace of doubt.
This is the actual nature of all things,
The ultimate that cannot be conceptualized,
And can only be known individually —
The non-conceptual wisdom of meditative equipoise.
Once you become familiar with this state,
In which emptiness and dependent arising are an inseparable unity,
The ultimate condition in which the two truths cannot be separated,
That is the yoga of the Great Middle Way.
Those who wish to realize this swiftly
And make evident non-dual, primordial wisdom
Beyond the domain of the ordinary mind,
Should meditate on the pith instructions of Secret Mantra.
This is the ultimate profound and crucial point
Of the progressive meditations on the Middle Way.
So, begin by thoroughly refining your conduct,
And then arrive at certainty, experientially and in stages.
With confidence in the illusory nature of empty appearance,
This is what it means for nothing to be removed or added on the path.
And, within the equality of the all-pervading space of perfect wisdom,
There is complete liberation.
In a place where people suffer drought and dehydration,
Hearing that there is water does not dispel thirst;
It is only by drinking that relief is found.
And this is how it is for learning and experience — so the sūtras say.
Someone with only dry, theoretical understanding,
Who is worn out by all kinds of reasoning and ideas,
Does not need sporadic practice; but, when meditating in proper stages:
Will swiftly gain acceptance of the profound.
Jampal Gyepe Dorje
wrote down whatever came to mind,
On the twenty-ninth day of the eleventh month of the Water Dragon year (1892).
Through this, may all beings realize the meaning of the profound Middle Way!
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2006.