By Dakpo Tashi Namgyal

Clarifying the Natural StateThis is a powerful, pithy book on mahamudra. The teachings are direct, and while the traditional four levels of mahamudra are covered, I prefer the preceding chapters where a fresh, lucid, almost personal account of the nature of mind is given. It seems as if this was written as one-on-one personal advice from an enlightened master to a student on solitary retreat, which in a way it perhaps was meant to be.

Here are a few selections:

“Make compassion the activity of your meditation practice, so that you cultivate loving kindness, compassion and bodhichitta for all sentient beings and bring them under your protection with dedication and aspirations. Until you have reached perfection in your meditation training, keep to secluded places and regard as Mara’s obstacles the superficial acts of “benefiting other” by teaching and propagating the Dharma to them.”

“It isn’t enough to just think that the essential meditation training is an indescribable state beyond concepts, free of arising and ceasing. Within an undistracted and wide-open state of mind, look vividly and without fixating in the identity of the meditation state. Look repeatedly to see how it is.  Likewise, look repeatedly into the meditation mind and into the mind that clings to ‘I’ and ‘me’. Moreover, look to see whether there is any difference between the past, future or present mind. Look into  where the past mind came from, where the future mind will come from and how the present mind is. Spend a couple f days clearing up any uncertainty you may have about this and gain a decisive experience.  The meditation object, the meditator and the mind states of past, present and future are  not each a different nature, Rather, they are this very mind that can appear in any way while not having any concrete existence whatsoever.”

“Utilizing Sickness: When sick from a disease, do not worry about its particular causes,  circumstances, etc. Do not get involved in suppressing or encouraging it. Use the acute feeling of ache and pain as the very substance of the training and,  without trying to alter it, suspend it in being vividly present. … Here, in this context, it is more a matter of using your sickness for spiritual training, rather than foolishly assuming that it does not matter whether or not the physical support for attaining enlightenment dies.”