Karma Chakme's Mountain Dharma [Vol 2]

Author : Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

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Karma Chakme's Mountain Dharma [Vol 2]

Book Details

  • Publisher : KTD Publications
  • Published : 2006
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 402
  • Size : 228 x 154mm
  • Category :
    Tibetan Buddhism: Kagyu
  • Catalogue No : 14534
  • ISBN 13 : 9789741092079
  • ISBN 10 : 9741092075

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Synopsis

The second volume in this series examines the complete path of Mahamudra from initial experience to full realization. Commentary is given by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.

There is emphasis on how to conduct a proper retreat, plus the longevity practices of White Tara and Tseringma, geomancy, Chod practice, and how to use compassion as protection from fear and danger. This volume introduces the tantras, and gives highest yoga tantra instructions for Vairochana purification practices.

The great master Karma Chakme Rinpoche, born in 1613, was one of the most highly realized and accomplished scholar-yogis of Tibet. In order to benefit all practitioners pursuing the path of Dharma, he composed over one hundred volumes of teachings, of which this text, Mountain Dharma, represents the essence.

"Karma Chakme's Mountain Dharma is a complete text for those who want to practice Tibetan Buddhism. It is very precise and very clear. If you become well acquainted with this text, you have everything you need to achieve enlightenment." Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.

Read an extract of this title

A Song of the Path for Travelers Who Are Going a
Long Distance: The Practice of Meditation and the
Manner in Which Realization Arises

Karma Chakme Rinpoche now gives instruction on the practice of meditation and the manner in which realization arises. This is indicated by the initial homage, NAMO MAHAMUDRAYE, "Homage to Mahamudra." The song begins, as usual, with the words, "Listen carefully, Lama Tsondru Gyamtso," whom he also calls by his Sanskrit name, Virya Sagara.

The text begins, "Having received practical instruction in either a combination of Mahamudra and Dzokchen or either one of these Karma Chakme Rinpoche is saying that in order to practice this type of meditation, you need to receive instruction in either Mahamudra or Dzokchen or in a mixture of both. Having received that instruction, you need to offer your realization to your guru. Here realization does not literally mean realization; it means experience. Having received instruction in the technique of meditation and having practiced it a little bit, you need to go back to your teacher and discuss what your experience is, because you may not have understood it.

The point here is that the practice of meditation is completely unlike any other kind of study you might do. It is not something you learn out of a book. It is not something you simply try to comprehend intellectually. You have to get it right. Having received the instructions and having actually practiced them, to be sure that you get it right, you go back to the teacher and present what has happened. The teacher will tell you whether you are doing the right thing or not. The text continues, "If the guru says, 'That is it,' then do not stop." You should continue to practice. Do not abandon your meditation. The first point is that having received the instructions, you need to practice the instructions until it becomes evident to your teacher that you have fully understood them. Then you ban continue further.

"Go to a solitary, isolated place and meditate." The instruction here is to practice in retreat, and much of what follows at this point in the text is about how to practice meditation in retreat. The reason you are instructed to go into retreat is that if you try to practice this type of meditation in the midst of many activities, it is going to be very difficult to generate any experience or realization. The text continues, "It is best if you are completely alone. Even if you have companions, do not see them and practice alone." You should be completely independent without any contact with anyone whatsoever. If that is impossible - for example, if you need someone to cook for you or bring you firewood - then under no circumstances should you see him or her during your meditation sessions. You should practice alone.

It is extremely important to cut through complexity. Initially this refers to the coarse level of mental complexity, which is thinking about many different things. First addressed here are all the sorts of things you might come up with as excuses for not practicing meditation properly once you have gone into retreat.

The first things that may come up are mundane complexities, such as thinking about the need to subdue competitors or enemies and protect friends, about the need to take care of different things and make sure you have enough food and wealth, and about how your investments are doing. If your mind wanders to these things, then reflect upon the fact that it is through thinking about these things that you have continued to wander in samsara. When these thoughts come up, you have to recollect that you are not in retreat to think about them. Throughout this life, throughout all our lives, and throughout beginningless samsara, because we have allowed ourselves to continue to think about such things, we have never obtained liberation.

Karma Chakme Rinpoche continues, "Even in this life, up to now, you have exerted yourself in such concerns, but you have never accomplished a state of mundane happiness and security. Exclude such concerns from your mind while you are practicing, and commit to this by saying, 'From now until I give rise to experience and, at best, excellent realization, even if' I, die of hunger, I will not under any circumstances think about food, clothing, or wealth." The way to prevent your mind from wandering to mundane concerns during meditation sessions is to establish what in the Kadampa tradition is called the "impassable vajra of commitment," which is like a door or a gate that cannot be opened, even by force. It is the commitment that, "Under no circumstances whatsoever will I think about these things while I am meditating, no matter how hungry I get, no matter what." The first part is about mundane complexity, where thoughts arise of things you might want to take care of.

The next sort of thing you might come up with is thinking about learning, not just Dharma learning but learning in general, such as scientific and cultural learning. If your mind wanders to objects of knowledge, recollect the fact that all of these things are merely ways of attaining greatness in this life. Yet no one has ever attained enlightenment through studying the sciences or studying cultural traditions. Therefore it says, "The result of such learning is limited to food, wealth, and influence, and that is why we pursue it. Here in retreat, however, we are trying to ensure the welfare not only of ourselves but also of others in future lives. We are here because we want to attain the result of perfect awakening." In other words, by recollecting your inspiration, your fundamental reason for being in retreat and practicing meditation, you can cut through the tendency to think about learning. The reason these distractions and complexities arise is that when you start to practice the type of meditation being discussed here and you have nothing else to think about, your mind will start to try to fill that gap. One of the distractions will be, "It will be better if I study something." This section shows how to deal with that.

Chakme Rinpoche continues, "If it were possible to attain buddhahood through becoming learned in scientific and cultural matters, then would not all the great panditas of India have attained buddhahood?" Pandita here does not refer to a mahasiddha pandita; it means people who are learned in grammar, poetics, and cultural things. Remind yourself that on retreat you are trying to attain genuine experience and realization. The text says, "If clever explanations based on intellectual understanding could generate experience and realization, then why did all the great scholars of central Tibet, having attained the rank of being great and prominent scholars, need to rely upon realized teachers to point out stillness and occurrence to them?"

The next thing that will come up in your mind is, "Well, meditation is all very well, but I had better generate a definitive intellectual understanding of the Dharma first." At this point, in the context of retreat, however, this is just an excuse not to meditate properly. If eloquently expounding the Dharma from intellectual understanding alone were a way to attain enlightenment, then why would scholars of the past, after becoming famous and influential teachers, have gone to yogis to receive meditation instruction? The fact that they needed meditation instruction, even the most fundamental identification of stillness and occurrence in the mind, means that they had not realized anything through their scholarship. Therefore let go of any thought of wishing to become learned when you are in retreat.

The next thought that will arise is, "Well, okay, I do not want to become learned, but I had better look at the text to make sure that I am doing the right thing." Whenever you find yourself wanting to study, wanting to look at texts, remember that if reading volumes of Dharma texts could generate experience and realization, all of the household priests would have attained siddhi already. Household priests are people who are hired or sponsored by households to recite the sutras in their house for them. Such people are excellent chanters and readers, and they usually have a good understanding of what they are reading. Since they recite all of the sutras taught by the Buddha, they read a lot. Nobody reads more than they do. If reading Dharma alone could bring enlightenment, we would have heard about it because these people would have attained enlightenment. There is no record of anyone having done that.

The next thing that will arise in the mind is the thought that you want to write something. "Maybe I should recopy all of my liturgies." When that thought comes up, you should think, "If writing out Dharma could bring enlightenment, then all copyists and all scribes, who do that all the time, would have attained buddhahood." It is not that any of these things are not valuable. Scholarship is valuable, reading Dharma i~ valuable, writing out Dharma is valuable, but it is not what you are supposed to be doing when you are in retreat. You are supposed to be practicing meditation. Scholarship in and of itself will not lead to enlightenment.

Next, you might think, "I should chant more. I should chant more liturgies." If liturgical practice alone generated experience and realization, then all the monks in monasteries who do not go into retreat would have attained liberation. But they have not. This refers to monks who are so thoroughly trained in ritual that they can perform it perfectly. They have memorized the rituals for many different tantric sadhanas, they can play the instruments, and they can chant magnificently. That is not enough, and alone will not lead to awakening. It will lead to the accumulation of merit and it is a very important part of the monastic system, but it is not how you attain enlightenment. You must meditate.

Chakme Rinpoche concludes by saying, "Therefore understand that you have nothing to do other than maintain the recognition of your own mind that has been pointed out to you by your guru. From this point of view, everything else is a waste of time."

This involves, to begin with, proper physical posture. Meditation is something you do with your mind, but in order to do it with your mind, you must also be doing it with your body. Maintain the physical posture of the seven Dharmas of Vairochana. Within the context of that physical posture, rest your mind without fabrication or alteration, utterly relaxed. Without fabrication or alteration means that you do not think about the past or prolong the past; you do not think about the future or beckon the future; and you do not conceptualize the present moment of experience. To rest relaxed means to rest in a direct experience of the present moment of cognition without conceptualization.

When you do that, you see no thing. This means, when looking at your mind in that way, you discover that the mind has no substantial entity. In that sense, you could say that the mind is emptiness. At the same time, it is not nothingness. It is utterly open and empty of substantiality. You cannot say that it is nothingness because it is a cognition that cognizes itself. It is lucid to itself. It illuminates itself. Therefore we call it lucidity, clear light, or luminosity. When you can rest one-pointedly, without distraction, in the recognition that has just been described, that is the attainment of the ,first of the four stages of Mahamudra. This is a considerable attainment. Someone who actually attains one-pointedness will be able to rest in meditation for seven days without becoming hungry or needing to move for any reason.

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