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Mahamudra Practice Of the Kagyupas - Milarepa

After the yogi has trained himself in the essentials of quiescene and is able to at least attain at least the first absorption level, and after he has acquainted himself to some extent with the analysis aimed at direct perception of voidness, he is directed to the central practice of the kagyu tradition, the mahamudra (great gesture" or " great seal").

Like the great Liberation teachings of the Nying, or Old School, and the exercises in analysis of the Kadam and Gelug sects, Mahamudra practice is aimed directly at revelation of the natural reality of the apparent world.

The system is aligned with the Peerless ((anuttara) Yoga Tantras, and its practice and scriptures date back to the eighty-four siddas of India. It is an example of the deepest, most penetrating phase of yoga, and its expression in words is characteristically paradoxical and metaphorical. The key instructions are given orally from teacher to student, and the fourth empowerment, the empowerment of words, relates directly to it:

By conferral of the fourth and supreme empowerment, One becomes focused in the fabrication-free state

Through perception of the import of Mahamudra.

It is not as "sudden" a practice as its scriptures seem to imply. The struggle to attain its goal, the natural state (Tib.gnas lugs)wherin the perception of voidness is totally unified with perception of the apparent world, is long and arduous.

Without confronting the goal, the natural state,

You won't find escape to freedom

From the highs and lows of Samsara.

If you wish to see the goal of reality, Cleanse previous obstructive sins with the hundred-syllable mantra
And compile the two stores by Mandala, and so on.
Then after aligning your mind with lama's
Through intense longing prayer,
Practice the graded instructions for quiescene
From mere inception of stability
Onward into gradual stages.

Because the natural state is the root,
It looks so easy but is very hard.
But when awareness is focused on reality
After analysis by learning and reflecting
This is the only realization that librates totally;
It looks so hard but is very easy

Upon such good stabilization
Collect the nectar of explicit scriptures,
Then through examination by learning and reflecting
On the profound meaning personally taught
By a realized, experienced Lama
Take up practice as long as life lasts
Through the combination of analytic and focusing medatations.

Integrate compassion and voidness,

And with mind aimed at enlightenment for the sake of beings

And gnosis without fixed objective,

Mount the horse of good supplication.
By the forces of thorough comprenhension,
Knowledge of the keys to meditation,
And constant cultivation like a river stream
Of that gradual path process,
You'll complete the developmental signs of the path.

Realization will then gradually occur,
Conventional appearances seen as dream illusions,
Dependent origination known to be the inner workings of Samsara,
And illusiory appearances seen as baseless, rootless,

You'll know that beings are inseparable from Buddhas,
That not even the names"Samsara" and "Nirvana" exist.

This comprehension of the natural condition-
The actual state-is understanding,
The various events in one-pointed concentration
Are meditational experiences;
When they lead to confrontation of the goal,
That's realization.

In a rather unusual text-like precept from Recoginizing Mahamudra's Illuminating Wisdom, milarepa explains that "Mahamudra " means three things: the ultimate reality of things, termed the basis; the practice leading to realization, termed the path; and the illumined state of mind, the result.

Reference: Drinking the Mountain Stream- Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint: Lama Kunga Rinpoche & Brian Cutillo

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