by Dudjom Lingpa
So I had the idea to put on some beautiful clothes made out of silk and brocade and go out and meet some people, but when I looked around I couldn’t find any. So I applied mud on my body for clothes, and for ornaments I stuck sticks and feathers in it. Then, thinking that these were the finest ornaments, I said, I have something stupid to tell people regarding putting mud and feathers on for clothing. So hark! Listen to this foolish meditation of mud and feathers. Listen, observe and laugh.
Some meditators value good thoughts and try to block bad thoughts. This is like a dog which has come into your house, stolen some food, then escaped outside, so you close up all the doors and windows and grope in the dark. Some meditators, after compulsive ideation has dissolved, send an antidote after it which is like sending a hunting dog after a fox which has already escaped. Some meditators practice by looking at their thoughts from afar, like an old shepherd viewing his herds of cows and sheep over a flat plain, but if you are a garuda flying away from your nest, it’s too much to throw out the corpses of 21,000 mice in a single day.
Some meditators regard thoughts like a flash of lightening, and awareness like clear light, considering the nonduality of appearance and awareness to be the genuine path.
Some meditators believe the genuine path is as soon as a thought arises, recognizing the thought and thinker as nondual.
These practices are good for beginners, but if you continue to meditate this way, it’s like compounding delusion upon delusion. If you practice this way, and achieve joy, clarity and non-conceptuality, and an inflated sense of having ascended to some high tower from which you look down on others with a haughty attitude, like sitting in the saddle of a fine horse, or posing on a high throne as some lamas do, how can you ever hope to ascend from the depths of samsara? It’s like lifting a big stone out of the bottom of the ocean. Grasping still occurs and liberation is out of the question.
When you engage in the path, if you focus single pointedly on an object, and forcefully block thoughts, more thoughts will arise, and you will become miserable, sick and mad. But if you are like a shepherd looking at thoughts from afar, then everything that arises will be seen with clarity, the mind is identified as awareness, and what is seen is understood as movement. In this stable experience, joy, clarity and non-conceptuality will arise. When you fuse stillness, movement and awareness, thoughts will be self-knowing, self-illuminating. What is crucial is not to lose your ground in terms of clear awareness free of hope and fear, negation and affirmation.
When I was young, I heard people say that meditation was a fine path to spiritual awakening. Giving this careful thought, I believed this path was something you could see, feel and hear, and so I thought if these old monks can do it, why can’t I? So I went to a remote area, sat in solitude, and waited for three days for meditation to arise. On the third day I got pooped and fell asleep. I had a dream of a white child who asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ I replied, ‘I’m waiting to see meditation.’ The child closed his eyes and sang the following song:
‘Hey, hey! You blind boy who wishes to enter the genuine path, listen! The body is like a paper bag carried away by the wind; the speech is like the sound of wind in a tube; the mind is the creator of both samsara and nirvana. Among these three, mind is foremost. You will wait a long time to see meditation.’ Then I woke up.
A few days later I had another dream of a yogin who called himself Orgyen Padma Vajra, who placed a vase on my head and said, ‘Investigate first the origin of the mind, second its location, and third its destination.’ Then he dissolved into me.
Another night I dreamed of a red yogin who called himself Orgyen Speech Vajra who said, “Thoughts are called movement; that which understands them is called awareness; and remaining in that understanding is called stillness. Never be separate from these three.’ Then he dissolved into me.
Three years later a young woman appeared in a dream. She placed 13 white mustard seeds on the surface of a clear mirror, then held it at my heart and sang this song:
‘Ema! Child of clear light, your own mind is the ground of all of samsara and nirvana. Its origin is empty, its location is empty, its departure is empty. It is spontaneously present in great emptiness. Your mind is a mirror that transcends causes and conditions. Like a mirror, it gives rise to various reflections, but its essential nature is unchanging. Distinguish between mind and awareness. They have the same ground, but they are not the same. The mind is what becomes deluded in samsara; awareness recognizes the nature of existence. Identify ground awareness. Child of wisdom awareness, this is the secret treasure of the dakinis.’ Then she dissolved into me, and my body, speech and mind were pervaded with bliss.
Applying myself to identifying luminous awareness, at times I had the sense that appearances, and that which recognizes appearances were nondual. Sometimes this experience appeared outside. Sometimes this experience appeared inside. Sometimes nondual appearance and awareness went out to the object then vanished. I knew these experiences were due to grasping to the ground as an object. At other times, grasping onto phenomena naturally dissolved when I relaxed into the all-pervasive, originally pure ground. Then the creative displays arose naturally and dissolved in a state free from antidote.
A mind devoid of activities, free from hope and fear, is reality itself, which can be likened to the sun rising in a clear sky. This is spontaneously present awareness, the dharmakaya. The essential nature of the ground is that all self-arising appearances naturally release themselves. The ground and appearance is nondual, like the sun and its rays. Mind grasps to phenomena; awareness doesn’t. Appearances, which are the creative display of the expansive ground of awareness, naturally dissolve in the primordial womb like waves in the ocean.
Later, in a dream, I saw Orgyen Dorje Trolod in an expanse of flame and light, and he was chanting a song of Hung:
‘Hung hung. Do you understand that the cord that holds you to samsara is the duality of subject and object? Do you understand that joy and sorrow, your environment and companions, are manifestations of light and dark, devoid of true existence like a dream? Although space is free of periphery or center, it doesn’t go beyond the expanse of awareness. Space is none other than the expanse of awareness itself. Supplicating the demon above you grasp to the buddha; supplicating the demon below you grasp to delusive appearances. These are both products of reification. Do you understand that all appearances are natural projections of thoughts? Do you understand that samsara and nirvana are nondual displays within the ground expanse of the absolute nature? Do you understand that dynamic energy is naturally released into the all-pervasive nature without meditation? All grasping is devoid of substance. Subject and object are one taste. Myself and emanations of myself are primordially one with the mother’s womb of the great expanse.’ Then Orgyen Dorje Trolod dissolved into me.
Samsara and nirvana are co-arising, but these are one, not two. It is very important to understand that the nature of being is the great perfection of samsara and nirvana. Don’t be satisfied with just the empty aspect of the view, but have the all-embracing dzogchen view. Good and bad are expressions of your own nature. The five buddhafields are the creative expression of the expanse of primordial wisdom. The compassionate buddha appears spontaneously, without effort.
Heh, heh! The originally pure absolute nature is free from the extreme of dualistic grasping. The palace of pure light is the display of pure presence. From the nondual realm of bliss and emptiness pure awareness beings arise as the face of natural being. From this effortless place, I naturally encountered these beings and received these quintessential instructions from the treasury of the expanse of reality itself.
Heh, heh! The essential nature free from extremes is the primordial ground, originally pure. Don’t look for any buddha apart from this. All fictitious appearances are perfected in the expanse of your own natural awareness. This is the meaning of the Great Perfection.
In the unchanging field of all-pervasive bliss and emptiness arising as the expanse, the sun of clear light neither rises nor sets. In the fortress of fearlessness, in the palace of spontaneous presence seated on the immutable throne, never disengaged from skillful means and wisdom, I, a useless old man, have held my own ground as an embodiment of reality itself, arising as Dorje Trolod, standing on the corpse of mental afflictions.
My path is the essential nature. I am not bound by reified practices. I have a way of practice without meditation or propitiation. This way is all-pervasive, free from extremes, holding one’s ground without antidote or structure. It is unmixed with intellectual analysis, and without focus. Whatever comes up, let it go. Here is a practice free from activity which transcends good and bad, hope and fear. Awakening to suffering and peace as being the expanse of reality, I have cut from my heart the darkness of ignorance. Mental afflictions are dispelled in total openness, in clear, empty wisdom awareness, the womb of non-objectivity.
These verses are the foolish dharma of an idiot who wears mud and feathers for clothing.