Schools & Systems › Mahāmudrā
Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Lotsawa House presents the following texts on the subject of Mahāmudrā (phyag chen) or the 'Great Seal':
The author makes a distinction between “instructions that apply more generally” and “teachings that are intended for specific individuals” in order to argue for a gradualist approach that culminates in Mahāmudrā or Dzogchen for all but those of the very sharpest faculties (who are able to proceed to the highest teachings directly).
Khenpo Gangshar describes this pithy advice on how to be truly happy by settling into realization of mind's essential nature as "insane ramblings", but it will surely be of great benefit to practitioners.
- From the Mahāmudrā Preliminary Practices: Continuous Integration with Ground, Path, and Fruition by Khenpo Gangshar
Basic instructions on the preliminary contemplations of the rarity of the freedoms and opportunities, impermanence, karma and the sufferings of saṃsāra, followed by a simple explanation of the ground, path and fruition according to Mahāmudrā.
- Naturally Liberating Whatever You Meet: A Concise Instruction for Realizing the Nature of Mind by Khenpo Gangshar
Gangshar Wangpo tells us that he based these verses—which explain how to eliminate obstacles to practice and sustain realization of mind's essential nature—on scripture, the oral instructions of his guru, and his own experience.
This concise commentary draws from the tradition of Fivefold Mahāmudrā teachings passed down from Pakmodrupa to Jikten Sumgön, and thus especially emphasized within the Drikung Kagyü lineage. When included in a single session of practice, these five points—bodhicitta, guru yoga, yidam practice, Mahāmudrā, and dedication—are held to provide a complete path to awakening. Chokyi Jungné’s instruction expands upon traditional presentations by concluding with specific instructions on how to practice during all periods of the day, as well as at the time of death.
This well-known and important source for the Mahāmudrā tradition, which is included within the Tengyur (Toh 2303), contains instructions that Tilopa imparted to Nāropa on the banks of the River Ganges.
Belonging to the set of instructions known as the Seven Excellent Interdependent Connections (rten 'brel rab bdun ma), this text by the great Kagyü teacher Pema Karpo (1527–1592) explains meditative equipoise, which is "the dependent arising that gives rise to excellent qualities", and post-meditation, which is the "dependent arising for perfecting the capacity".
This extremely concise form of the Mahāmudrā preliminaries includes contemplations on the preciousness of human birth, impermanence, karma and the sufferings of saṃsāra, as well as the practices of taking refuge, generating bodhicitta, Vajrasattva visualization and recitation, maṇḍala offering and guru yoga.
- The Excellent Path of Definitive Meaning: An Unmistaken Expression of the Definitive Mahāmudrā by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö