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Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal

Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal

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A Clear, Concise and Simple Explanation of the Generation and Completion Stages for the Benefit of Beginners

by Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal

Namo guru-vajra-satvāya

To the one thing that is the true nature of all things—
Luminosity, the unconditioned nature of mind,
The dancer enacting the illusory web of union—
I pay homage. I will now briefly explain how to accomplish this.

For those of supreme fortune who are disposed toward the Mahāyāna, who have thoroughly trained their minds in renunciation and bodhicitta through the path of the common vehicles, whose mindstreams have been ripened by the four empowerments, who possess samaya, and who wish to train in the path of the two stages of generation and completion, I present the following explanation.

In general, the generation stage has four special features:

  • The special ritual, the application of the generation stage rituals as they are taught in the tantras.
  • The special specific fruition, the ability to generate the power of mantra.
  • The special essence, the nature of melting bliss and emptiness.
  • The special function, the ripening of the practitioner for the completion stage.

The completion stage has three special features:

  • The special cause, activating the vital points of the vajra body.
  • The special function, purifying the subtle channels, subtle winds, and essence drops in the central channel.
  • The special form, the unity of bliss and emptiness in which co-emergent bliss is identical to empty form.

These and other points are taught in the infinite tantras of unsurpassable mantra of the Sarma and Nyingma schools, as well as in the pith instructions of supremely accomplished yogis.

Practitioners of the two stages should train in the genuine path of exact perfection, just as it is explained in these profound teachings. Beginners, by contrast, might not easily comprehend these points and find them difficult to apply in practice, in which case, they should train in a semblance of this through aspirational practice.[1]

As such a practitioner, you should first complete the common and uncommon preliminary aspects of a given ritual. Then, when you come to the main part of the practice, the generation stage, you should have some level of understanding and experience of how the objects to be purified—habitual tendencies related to the three states of death, bardo, and birth—are actually purified, as well as how the results of purification—the perfection of the qualities of the three kāyas within the ground, and one's own ripening for the higher paths of the completion stage—come about. With knowledge of these points you should then train in the cause, the pitching of the framework of the three samādhis; in the result, the generation of the maṇḍala with the support and supported; and in the main focus, the training in the vivid appearance of the deity, and so forth, as taught in the instruction manuals.

The unobstructed dynamic expression of awareness that is the unity of emptiness and compassion manifests in form as the mudrā of the deity's body. Therefore, you should train in bringing to mind as vividly as possible the appearance of the support—the immeasurable celestial palace—and the appearance of the supported—the main deities and their retinue, including the details of their faces, hands, ornaments, attire, postures and the like. Although as a beginner, you will not immediately be able to develop the level of clear visualization that is described in the texts, nevertheless you should not feel discouraged or give way to hope and fear. Rather, you should gradually increase the duration of the practice by training frequently and repeatedly for short periods. When you train in this way and the visualization arises clearly, just let it be as it is and then set the practice aside. Likewise, when the visualization is unclear, again just let it be and then set the practice aside.

Rid yourself of the faults of dullness and agitation, the poison of meditative concentration, and gradually familiarize yourself with the practice. Once you have gained some familiarity, apply, according to your ability, the instructions on dispelling faults, on enhancing, and so on, as they are taught in the general instruction manuals on the generation stage of deity practice.

Vivid Appearance, Recollecting Purity, and Stable Pride

Most importantly you should train in the three qualities of vivid appearance, the recollection of purity, and stable pride.

1. Vivid Appearance

The visualization of the support and supported appears yet lacks true existence. It is vividly clear yet thought-free. It is blissful yet without grasping. It is the embodiment of the indivisible dharmakāya essence, sambhogakāya form, and nirmāṇakāya activity—a unity that, like a rainbow or the reflection of the moon in water, appears distinctly and perfectly complete. To train one's mind one-pointedly in this is to train in vivid appearance.

2. Recollection of Purity

The support and supported, the main and retinue figures with their faces, hands, ornaments, attire and other details are neither ordinary nor independently existing, but are the qualities of the dharmakāya buddha, manifesting as the symbolic seal. Primordial awareness—buddha nature, the great unconditioned and indivisible unity of profound luminosity—is never without the twenty-five undefiled qualities of the fruition. For like the sun and its rays of light, these are primordially beyond meeting and parting. They manifest as the various symbolic seals. Knowing this is the recollection of purity.

3. Stable Pride

This is not a conceptual notion, imagining something that is not so. Rather, it is the primordial natural state of original purity—the great freedom from elaboration, the state beyond bondage and liberation—that has always been present as the self-arisen primordial protector, the all-pervasive sovereign great bliss. Being profoundly certain of this, in way that is impervious to ordinary conditions and stable as a vajra, is to train in stable pride.

If you possess these three qualities, your generation stage practice will become the genuine path. Otherwise, visualizing the deities as inherently existent forms with mouths, eyes, and ears amounts to newly superimposing the form of the wisdom beings who abide in the pure, awakened expanse upon oneself. This involves imagining something that is not so. Such a mere semblance of pride is not the authentic pride of the unsurpassable mantra that we are concerned with here.

The Three Beings, or Sattvas

All phenomena consisting of the aggregates, elements, and sense sources are the natural, dynamic expression of ultimate awakened mind. From the very beginning, they have always been the wheel of deities replete with the three seats.[2] Training in this—the superior relative truth—in accord with the genuine natural state, is to train in the samaya being.

Basic space and primordial wisdom indivisible, never separate from the five undefiled qualities of the fruition—the superior ultimate truth—is naturally present as the essential life-force of original wisdom. This is the wisdom being.

These two superior truths are not separate from one another; by nature they are no different. This indivisibility appearing as the essence of samādhi is the samādhi being.

Those with vast minds who realize these three sattvas to be of equal taste, inseparable within the expanse of the intrinsic, true nature, need not go through the elaborations of conferring empowerment, sealing, inviting, and so on. There are many, however, who do not have such a profound understanding. Therefore, in order to purify their fixation on the deity as being separate from themselves, they should visualize themselves, the samaya being, as the deity, and then invite the wisdom being from basic space. The latter confers empowerment, seals it, and then dissolves inseparably into the samaya being. Once the offerings and praises and so on have been rendered, they should then engage in mantra recitation while performing the samādhi visualizations of emitting and absorbing light rays, and so forth.

Rendering Offerings

Here in the context of the extraordinary, unsurpassable mantra, the rendering of offerings and the other stages of activity are distinctly superior to those of the lower vehicles. For example, the four offerings—outer, inner, secret, and suchness—are connected to taking the four empowerments as the path.

The Outer Offerings

The outer offerings of sensory pleasures relate to taking the vase empowerment as the path and are connected with the generation stage. All externally appearing objects—sights, sounds, and such—are empty appearances, like illusions. They manifest in the form of offering goddesses, such as Vajrarūpā (Vajra Form Lady), and are savored and enjoyed in the manner of the divine reveling in the divine, in an illusory display that is free of clinging. As such, the two accumulations are perfected like a magical illusion.

The Inner Offerings

The inner offerings of amṛta, rakta, torma and the like are the offerings of samaya substances. Through the yogic discipline of enjoying them without any notions such as clean and dirty or acceptance and rejection, the pure elements of the subtle channels, subtle winds, and essential drops increase. This is an aid to the path of the secret empowerment.

The Secret Offerings of Union and Liberation

Using either a karma or wisdom mudrā-consort, by engaging in the union of the lord and lady and thus taking the third empowerment as the path, the immutable primordial wisdom of melting bliss extinguishes conceptual thoughts within basic space.

The Innermost Secret Offering of Suchness

The innermost secret offering of suchness is letting be, evenly, within the primordial wisdom of the fourth empowerment. It is the essence of ultimate luminosity, the primordial natural state, suchness free of elaborations, which transcends both offering and offerer.

Thus, the four offerings of unsurpassed mantra are distinctly superior by virtue of being more blissful and swifter in effect than the offerings made on other paths.

All these offerings emanate from oneself and are then presented back to oneself, as is done in Delighting in Emanations.[3] Free of any grasping at the offerer and offering as being separate, they are enjoyed within a state of non-dual equality. In this way, the presentation of offerings is a crucial practice for developing the strength of the illusory samādhi.

The Four Stakes That Secure the Life-Force

1. The Stake of Concentrating on the Deity

Here you train in the practice of the deity's form replete with the three qualities of clarity, purity, and stability, as mentioned above. Meditating on this with one-pointed focus is the unsurpassable means for accomplishing mantra's calm-abiding (śamatha).

2. The Stake of the Essence Mantra

As the samaya-being deity, visualize within your heart centre the wisdom being, who resembles you but has no ornaments or attire. This is the renowned tradition of the Secret Illusory Web. In some traditions, you visualize the wisdom being as an ornament or hand implement. In any case, in the heart centre of the wisdom being, you visualize the samādhi being—the seed-syllable together with the mantra garland. With undistracted, one-pointed focus on this, you perform the mantra recitation. This is done as mental recitation, subtle wind recitation, verbal recitation, or other manners of recitation. Recite the mantra like the flow of a river, uninterrupted by other words, and without the faults of reciting too loudly or too quietly, too quickly or too slowly, and so on. This is the means for invoking the life-force of the wisdom deity from its vital centre. The mantra itself is the vajra speech of all the tathāgatas, manifest in form. Therefore, it has inconceivable power to bring about the unimpeded accomplishment of activities and attainments. It is important to develop deep confidence in this fact.

3. The Activity Stake of Emanation and Absorption

Knowing appearances, sounds, and thoughts to be the maṇḍala of deity, mantra, and the intrinsic nature, you visualize light rays emanating and being reabsorbed into the life-force seed-syllable and its mantra garland, and so on. By altering the visualizations, you accomplish the twofold aim of benefiting oneself and others, exactly as you wish.

The ultimate nature of mind is the unity of emptiness and compassion. The awakened activities are its natural, dynamic expression. Whatever activity you wish to focus on, such as pacifying or emanating, can be accomplished by adapting the visualizations according to your specific intent. For instance, when engaging in pacifying activity, the life-force syllable, mantra garland, and light rays are white in color and have the nature of amrita. When engaging in increasing activity, they are yellow in color and bring a downpour of jewels. By adjusting the visualization of emanation and absorption in this way, you can pacify the eight fears, increase the six riches, and so forth. This is how the visualizations can be adapted to accomplish each of the boundless activities as desired.

However, not everything can be accomplished solely through focusing on visualizations. The kāyas, primordial wisdoms, awakened deeds, and activities have been naturally present in the luminous natural state from the very beginning. They are the dynamic expression of the activity-accomplishing primordial wisdom. This dynamic expression manifests spontaneously and naturally, without thought or intention, as the inconceivable awakened activity of the illusory web, and influences beings according to their needs. Since this is emptiness manifesting as interdependent arising, the results will occur without fail. You need to develop complete certainty in this fact.

Furthermore, the basis for accomplishing the boundless activities of the awakened ones is that all appearances and sounds manifest as the three maṇḍalas. This itself is the unobstructed, natural radiance of the primordial great secret—buddha nature, innate co-emergent great bliss—manifesting in manifold ways. Everything—all conceptual phenomena consisting of the aggregates, elements, and sense sources—is in essence the innate three vajras, primordially present. Certain of this fact, you should understand that when practicing you are simply bringing this to mind. Do not think that phenomena that were previously impure have somehow been transformed and freshly purified by the path.

4. The Stake of Unchanging Realization

As already stated, the visualizations, recitation, and the like are not conditioned creations of the conceptual mind. Rather, they are the natural, dynamic expression of the ultimate intrinsic nature. They are the great pure equality—all possible appearances manifesting as the ground, and present as the great self-arisen maṇḍala. Within this, there is not even so much as a scintilla dualistic conception. There are no notions of self and other, of samaya and wisdom beings, of the goal to become accomplished and the act of accomplishing it, or of pure and impure. Within the expanse of non-dual equality, saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are both primordially awakened. Once this has been resolved decisively through the view, the practice becomes the process of habituating and familiarizing yourself with this. If your practice is infused with this profound view of the natural state, no matter what kind of deity you practice, whether it is a wisdom being or a mundane being, you will never go astray. Moreover, your practice will be the unsurpassable, immediate cause for gaining the supreme attainment.

The Four Phases of Approach and Accomplishment

In the context of the ground approach,[4] on the first day of your practice, you prepare the substances and articles and then perform the ritual once. This is the phase of approach. Subsequently, for as many days as your practice lasts, during the first half of the practice you focus on emanating and absorbing rays of white light, thereby purifying misdeeds and obscurations. This is the phase of close approach. For the latter half of the practice, you focus on emanating and absorbing rays of red light, to bring the attainments towards you. This is the phase of accomplishment. On the final day you gather rays of dark blue light into yourself, to receive the attainments. This is the phase of great accomplishment.

When applying these four phases to a single session of practice, the beginning of the ritual up to the stage of the three samādhis constitutes the approach; visualizing oneself as the main deity is the close approach; visualizing the consort, blessing her secret space, and visualizing the complete host of retinue deities is accomplishment; and conferring empowerment, sealing, inviting the wisdom beings, and so on, until the recitation, offerings and praises, and so forth—in other words, all other aspects of the ritual—are the great accomplishment. This is how it is explained in the Kīlaya Yoga Tantra.

When you perform the concluding activities, such as the feast offering (tsok) and the torma offering, all the guests to whom you offer and give have the nature of the sugatagarbha. They are identical in being the body of great bliss, primordial and spontaneously present. Currently, depending on whether or not they are enveloped in the cocoon of adventitious, dualistic delusion, they appear in all sorts of pure and impure ways. Yet, regardless of how they may appear, this is not the way they really are. For instance, whether or not you realize it, all conditioned phenomena are momentary by nature. Similarly, from the perspective of the way things really are, the intrinsic nature of all the guests is primordial liberation, which manifests as the symbolic mudrā in an inconceivable display of emanations—as the main deities and their retinue, as their emanations, servants, envoys, messengers, and so on—in order to influence beings according to their needs.

In actuality, the maṇḍala deities are beyond any hierarchical distinctions. Thus, free of any such notion, you should visualize the gathering torma and other offerings, which are in essence undefiled wisdom amṛta, as the inner samaya substances of secret mantra—namely the five meats, five amṛtas and such. When you offer them, imagine that they are received within the expanse of non-dual equality, free of dualistic fixation, notions of clean and dirty, acceptance and rejection. Think to yourself that, as a result, temporarily the two accumulations are perfected, the two obscurations are purified, and all obstacles to the path of awakening are dispelled both for you and all others. Think that ultimately this acts as an aid on the path to liberation, within a single gathering in the Unexcelled[5] pure realm, the display of the great secret.

Furthermore, when receiving the attainments you must understand that in actuality the deity and you are not separate. Nevertheless, within the mere illusion of the relative—which is like a magical apparition conjured up by a magician—through the mechanism of the various practices on deity, mantra, and samādhi, all the supreme and common attainments are directly brought about like a treasure in the palm of your hand. Such is the inconceivable power of interdependent arising. You should have confidence in this, understanding that it is how things really are.

In the concluding dissolution phase, you dissolve the entire maṇḍala wheel of support and supported into luminosity, and let be within equality. At death, the elements dissolve, one after the other, and, at the end, all the eighty basic thought-states that are triggered by the subtle wind and by the white and red essences cease. At this point, luminous primordial wisdom that surpasses thought fully manifests, free of all obscurations and veils, just like the moon in the clear autumn sky. You perform the dissolution phase in order to take this process that occurs at the time of death as the path. You then re-emerge from that state and assume the form of the deity of luminous unity. You visualize all appearances and sounds as the wheel of the deity and, through this, eliminate the extremes of permanence and annihilation. You then close with aspirations and prayers of auspiciousness, these being the gateway of the skilful means of the unsurpassable Great Vehicle.

In between sessions, always maintain divine pride as you go about your regular activities. It is of vital importance that you practice in this way, applying all the preliminary and concluding aspects fully and correctly, for each and every aspect of the practice has a specific purpose and function.

In this way, your practice will become the unity of generation and completion, as well as the unity of the two accumulations. Visualizing appearances as the deity is the generation stage, the aspect of skilful means through which the accumulation of merit is perfected and the auspicious conditions for the form kāyas are arranged. To remain completely free from grasping at the deity as truly existent, and to know that all appearances are the nature of innate luminosity—this is the completion stage of insight through which the accumulation of wisdom is perfected and the auspicious conditions for the ultimate dharmakāya are arranged.

All these appearing, conceptual phenomena that seem so real are merely unexamined, superficial appearances. This is the relative truth. Emptiness, the natural state in which not even a jot of true existence is perceived, is the ultimate truth. These two truths—appearance and emptiness—are themselves not separate. Whatever appears, such as form, is empty and yet, from within emptiness, the whole array of interdependently-arising phenomena appears unobstructedly, without wavering from the innate nature.

You should determine that the basic space of phenomena—the unity of appearance and emptiness—being free of imputations and doubt, is the actual, final ultimate, the profound view free of assertions. Then you should train in letting be, evenly within this state, in which there is no removal or addition, acceptance or rejection. As you gain direct experience of this, all conceptual elaborations will cease and you will arrive at the realization of the great Middle Way, the ground beyond extremes. These myriad appearances are but the natural radiance of mind, and the nature of mind is empty, essentially unborn. Clarity is mind's defining characteristic, while emptiness is its intrinsic nature. These two qualities are primordially indivisible, beyond meeting and parting. They are the great equality, a unity that is essentially devoid of arising, abiding, and ceasing, the supreme state that transcends conceptual mind. Having determined this with certainty, train in naturally letting be within this uncontrived innate expanse, without getting distracted and without intentionally meditating. By practicing in this way, all concepts will come to a halt. This is the practice of the path of Mahāmudrā, the Great Seal.

All the phenomena of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are perfect and complete within the expanse of awareness-bodhicitta. The nature of mind is in essence empty; this is dharmakāya. Its nature is clarity; this is sambhogakāya. The unobstructed dynamic expression of awareness is nirmāṇakāya. The three kāyas, all beyond meeting and parting, are in essence primordially awakened by their very nature. The object, empty basic space, and the subject, wakeful primordial wisdom, have always been beyond meeting and parting. This is the characteristic of empty awareness—translucent nakedness in which all phenomena are exhausted. Maintaining the natural radiance of this empty awareness and remaining untouched by even the most subtle concepts of striving, effort, hope, or fear, is the fruition, the primordially liberated Great Perfection.

With this in mind, consider that which differentiates between subject and object—the locus of the attachments and imputations of the dualistic mind. This is the subject that perceives the relative truth. No matter how sharp you fancy the subject to be, or how profound the object, they are no more than conceptual elaborations of the conditioned mind. Therefore, they will never be able to bring to a halt the conceptions of dualistic fixation.

These are not separate—the object of observation, the one conceptualizing it, and realization itself. In essence, they are an ineffable equality. By resolving this, you see the adamantine natural state, utterly void of all concepts of what is seen, of the one who sees, and so on. Inexpressible, inconceivable, and ineffable, it is seen in the manner of not seeing, like "seeing" the centre of space. This is the primordial wisdom of the subject perceiving the ultimate truth. In a sūtra, the Transcendent Conqueror said:

Understand that suchness is beyond words, impossible to describe.
The true nature of things is like the sky,
Completely free of the workings of conceptual mind—
The greatest of wonders, sacred and sublime.

And Rāhula's Praise to the Transcendent Mother says:

Beyond words, beyond thought, beyond description, Prajñāpāramitā
Unborn, unceasing, the very essence of space,
Yet it can be experienced as the wisdom of our own awareness:
Homage to the mother of the buddhas of past, present, and future!

Statements such as these can thus provide an indication. The natural state is contained within the primordial wisdom of the equipoise of noble beings. Still, it is possible to practice an approximation of it by applying the pith instructions of the lineage and relying on the guru's compassion and your own devotion. With the coming together of these auspicious causes and conditions, even in your present state as an ordinary being, this way of training is not beyond your reach.

This is because the intrinsic nature can dawn in your mind as an abstract image—like the example of the moon's reflection appearing on the surface of water. This is called example primordial wisdom. Due to the crucial fact that the intrinsic nature is beyond elaboration, when even an abstract idea of the intrinsic nature appears in your mind, a state of mind that is beyond elaboration arises. Of course, this alone does not make you a noble being, since you have not yet discarded the obscurations associated with your level. For instance, a person on the path of seeing who realizes ultimate luminosity directly does not become a buddha because they have yet to purify the stains to be discarded on the path of training.

The intrinsic nature is not something that arises anew; rather it is something already primordially present that is pointed out to the student, who then needs to become familiar with it. When in meditative equipoise, maintain this state without seeking to add or remove, obtain or reject anything. In post-equipoise, apply yourself to the countless methods for gathering and purification that lead to the unity of the two accumulations. As you thereby continue to remove the stains obscuring your natural element, your perception will become increasingly pure. You will gradually become directly united with the unified primordial wisdom of the noble ones. All the sūtras and tantras of definitive meaning agree in this regard.

With the unsurpassable mantra, it is not necessary to undergo the hardships and austerities that the sūtra path requires. Rather, from the very outset you possess the view of self-arisen primordial wisdom, understanding that it is not a conditioned phenomenon that can be created anew through effort, but is primordially present as the unconditioned, intrinsic nature of all things. This sovereign identity that is partless, universal, and pervades the whole of existence and peace is the very life-force of the whole of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa. It is pointed out nakedly and directly through the profound skilful means of ripening and liberation, then recognized decisively as the wisdom of the dharmakāya Samantabhadra, and trained in accordingly. This is what is meant by taking fruition as the path and gaining accomplishment in the vehicle of skilful means.

In this way, all appearance and existence is brought within the expanse of the view of great, pure equality. Suffering thereby arises as awakening, and the cause of suffering arises as the essence of the truth of the path. Clouds of great blissful bodhicitta, in which truly existent impurity cannot be found no matter how hard you search, are manifest as the boundless purity of the wheel of deities, and ordinary concepts are thus bound within basic space. This is an extraordinarily skilful practice that is free from any conceptual fixation on meditation, conduct, and fruition as being separate from one another. Through it, many eons of accumulations are gathered in each moment. As a result, those of sharp faculties and supreme good fortune merge directly with the unified state of Vajradhara within a single lifetime within this degenerate age.

Due to the overwhelming strength of the habitual tendencies of the deluded conceptual mind, driven by the impure karmic winds, the pure element of primordial wisdom is not manifest, in spite of being present as the essence. This is how things are in the context of the ground, when one is a sentient being.

When the antidote, the innate luminosity of primordial wisdom, is merged with samsaric phenomena (that which is to be purified) and dawns in the form of the path (that which purifies), the coarse aspects of the impure mind and subtle winds are overcome. The functions of the karmic subtle winds and those of primordial wisdom then come to compete with one another. This is the stage of the path of practitioners.

When the antidote is mastered, even the slightest disturbances of the impure mind and subtle winds are eliminated without trace. At this point, the only thing manifest is the natural radiance of primordial wisdom and its pure subtle wind. That is the final fruition.

Thus, from the perspective of relative, conceptual analysis, three stages are posited based on the progressive purification of temporary obscurations and the manifestation of qualities. Nevertheless, from the perspective of the final, ultimate analysis, these three periods are indivisible—all are of a single taste within the expanse of natural, great equality. They are not established as dualistic phenomena, such as pure and impure, in anyway whatsoever. This is why it is said that saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are primordially awakened within the expanse of non-dual bodhicitta. Indeed, at the level of spontaneously perfected great bliss, this is how it is, right this very moment. It is of crucial importance that you understand this point.

I have cast aside the chaff of wordy explanations,
To offer my siblings of excellent fortune and similar goals
This barley shoot that condenses the meaning to its vital core.
Accept it as sustenance for the body of your experience.

Now that we have obtained the boat of the freedoms and riches
And the rudder of the guru's direct instructions,
If we fail to exert ourselves in crossing the ocean of saṃsāra
We’ll surely find ourselves endlessly adrift on waves of suffering.

The flower garlands of youthfulness wilt in the blink of an eye.
The inescapable shadow of the Lord of Death is fast approaching.
Our lifespan is like lightning's dance: unreliable and unsteady.
So quickly, ever quickly, rouse the troops of diligence!

Now that we have the freedom to practice Dharma,
If we can refrain from the meaningless pursuits of delusion,
We have this one chance to accomplish what is truly meaningful, the sublime Dharma.
If we fail, we will certainly come to regret it later on.

The virtue of the beginning is to turn one's back on saṃsāra.
The virtue of the middle is to ground oneself in solitary practice.
The virtue of the end is to unlock the treasury of twofold benefit.
May we have the fortune to see our wishes fulfilled in accordance with the Dharma!

I, the deluded monk, Gyurmé Pema Namgyal, offered this explanation to a pair of vajra siblings with pure samaya, as a piece of refreshing advice for the one-pointed practice they have pledged to undertake. I mainly intended it to be easy to understand, and have therefore used concise language to write down immediately whatever came to mind. Through this virtue, may the victory banner of practice stand ever-firm, and may our practice bear the fruit of the two attainments! Sarva maṅgalaṃ. May all be auspicious!

| Translated by Samye Translations (trans. Laura Swan and Peter Woods, ed. Libby Hogg and Liz Miller), 2022.


Tibetan Edition

Zhe chen rgyal tshab 'gyur med pad+ma rnam rgyal. "las dang po pa la phan pa'i bskyed rdzogs kyi go don phyogs mtshon nyung gsal go bder brjod pa." In gsung ʼbum padma rnam rgyal. Paro: Ngodup, 1975–1994. Vol.17: 271–289

Secondary Source

Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche. Luminous Essence. Trans. Dharmachakra Translation Committee. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2009.

Version: 1.4-20221126

  1. As Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche (2009, 28) explains in his treatise Luminous Essence (spyi don 'od gsal snying po): "Devoted training [or: aspirational practice] involves a mere meditation on general features, without having perfected absorption. This produces the ability to actualize the genuine path in one's stream of being, and carries the benefit of accomplishing various temporary activities. Definitive perfection [or: exact perfection] refers to a path where meditation is perfected in the five gradual practices, such as great emptiness, as they pertain to the stages of death, the intermediate state, and birth. Based on this path, one actualizes the levels of the four knowledge-holders."  ↩

  2. The forty-two peaceful deities of the three seats or categories are as follows: 1) the aggregates and elements are the seats of the five male and five female buddhas, and are called the seat of the buddhas; 2) the sense faculties and their objects are the seats of the eight male and the eight female bodhisattvas together with the six munis, and are called the seat of the bodhisattvas; 3) the limbs are the seats of the male and female wrathful deities, and are called the seat of the wrathful deities.  ↩

  3. Delighting in Emanations (Tib. ’phrul dga’, Skt. nirmāṇarataya) is one of the celestial heavens in the desire realm. Gods in this heaven create and enjoy their own objects of pleasure.  ↩

  4. Tib. gzhi bsnyen, the "ground approach."  ↩

  5. Tib. 'og min, Skt. Akaniṣṭha. The Unexcelled Pure Realm.  ↩

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