Naropa. The Summary of Mahamudra

The Summary of Mahamudra by Naropa
Sanskrit: Mahamudra Padametha
Tibetan: phyag rgya chen po tshig bsdus pa (Chagya Chenpo Tsig Dupa)

Homage to the great state of bliss!

First, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of perception:

Concerning what is called Mahamudra:
All things are your own mind.
Seeing objects as external is a mistaken concept;
Like a dream, they are empty of concreteness.

Second, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of awareness:

This mind, as well, is a mere movement of attention
That has no self-nature, being merely like a gust of wind.
Empty of identity, like space,
All things, like space, are equal.

Third, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of union:

When speaking of ‘Mahamudra,’
It is not an identity that can be shown.
Therefore the mind’s suchness
Is itself the state of Mahamudra.

Thus he taught the Mahamudra of the view through the threefold perception, awareness and union. Next, among the three points on the Mahamudra of meditation, first stating the nature of the Mahamudra of the basic state:

It is neither something to be corrected nor transformed,
But when anyone sees and realizes its nature
All that appears and exists is Mahamudra,
The great and all-encompassing dharmakaya.

Second, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of realization:

Naturally and without contriving, allowed to simply be,
This unimagined dharmakaya,
Letting it be without seeking is the meditation training,
But to meditate while seeking is deluded mind.

Third, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of indivisibility:

Just as with space, just as with a magical display,
While neither cultivating nor not cultivating
How can you be separate or not separate!
This is a yogi’s understanding.

Once more, for the three points about the Mahamudra of conduct, first, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of self-liberation:

All the good deeds of harmful actions
Dissolve by simply knowing this nature.
The emotions are the great wisdom;
Like a jungle fire, they are the yogi’s helpers.

Second, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of equal taste:

How can there be staying or going?
What meditation is there by fleeing to a hermitage?
Without understanding this, all possible means
Never bring more than temporary liberation.

Third, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of indivisibility:

When understanding this nature, what is there to bind you?
While being undistracted from its continuity,
There is neither a composed nor an uncomposed state
To be cultivated or corrected with a remedy.

Once more, for the three points about the Mahamudra of fruition, first, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of what appears and exists:

It is not made out of anything.
Experience self-liberated is dharmadhatu.
Thinking self-liberated is great wisdom.
Nondual equality is dharmakaya.

Second, stating the nature of the Mahamudra of samsara and nirvana:

Like the continuous flow of a great river,
Whatever you do is meaningful.
This is the eternal awakened state,
The great bliss, leaving no place for samsara.

Third, stating the nature of Mahamudra of ultimate perfection:

All things are empty of their own identities.
The concept fixed on emptiness has dissolved in itself.
Free of concept, holding nothing in mind;
Is in itself the path of all buddhas.

To conclude, instructing and stating the dedication:

For the most fortunate ones,
I have made these concise words of heartfelt advice.
Through this, may every single sentient being
Be established in Mahamudra.


This was given orally by the great pandita Naropa, to Marpa Chokyi Lodro at Pullahari.

These thirteen verses that concisely show Mahamudra in completeness were divided up in accordance with their meaning. The details should be known from oral teachings. Do not fix your mind on other variations; since this is copied from the old manuscript, I feel it should not be changed.

(This note was added by Shamar Kacho Wangpo. There is a saying that “The pith instructions in Mahamudra should be known from an instruction in concise words.” It is the opinion of all past sublime masters who upheld the Practice Lineage that this teaching summarizes all the key points of Mahamudra instruction).

Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Published in Songs of Naropa: Commentaries on Songs of Realization, by Thrangu Rinpoche (Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1997).

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