The Third Karmapa: The Mahamudra Prayer

The Third Karmapa Rangjung-dorjey (Kar-ma Rang-byung rdo-rje): The Mahamudra Prayer, “Nges-don phyag-rgya chen-po’i smon-lam”

Homage to my Gurus.

(1) Gurus, yidams, and mandala figures, Triumphant Ones in the ten directions and three times, with your spiritual offspring, please regard me with affection. Inspire me that my prayers come true just as I’ve made them.

(2) May the stream of water from the mass of constructive actions, not muddied with respect to the three circles, born from the snow mountain of pure thoughts and actions of myself and all countless beings, flow into the ocean of a Triumphant’s four Bodies.

(3) In each and every lifetime until I attain that, may even the sound of (the words) negativity and suffering never resound and may I come to enjoy the glories of an ocean of bliss and virtue.

(4) Having obtained a supreme (human life) with respites and enrichments, endowed with belief in facts, joyful perseverance, and discrimination, may I rely on an excellent spiritual master and receive the essence of his guideline instructions. Practicing accordingly, without interference, may I enjoy the pure Dharma in all my lives.

(5) Listening to scriptures and reasoning frees us from the obscurations of not knowing. Thinking about the quintessence teachings destroys the darkness of doubts. The light arising from meditation makes clear the abiding nature of reality, just as it is. May the illumination of my three wisdoms ever expand.

(6) May I meet the unmistaken, undeviating Dharma, which takes the two truths as the main points of the basis, parted from the extremes of eternalism and nihilism, takes the two networks as the supreme path, parted from interpolating or repudiating anything; and fulfills the two aims as the attainment of the result, parted from the extremes of compulsive samsara and tranquil nirvana.

(7) The basis for purification is mind-itself, a unified pair of clarity and voidness. The purifying action is the vajra yoga of mahamudra. What is purified away are the stains of fleeting, deceptive confusion. May I manifest the result of the purification, a stainless Dharmakaya.

(8) Self-confidence in the view is to cut off interpolations from the basis. The essential point of meditation is to safeguard against wavering from that. The supreme behavior is to cultivate meditation’s (essential) point displaying as everything. May I gain self-confidence in the view, meditation, and behavior.

(9) All phenomena are miraculous emanations of the mind. Mind is no mind: it is devoid of an essential nature as mind. Void and so, without obstruction, it makes anything appear. Understanding this well, may I cut out the root from the basis.

(10) Reflexive appearances, never experienced as real, are deceptively confused into objects. Reflexive awareness, by the power of unawareness, is deceptively confused into a self. By the power of this dualistic grasping, we roam throughout the expanse of compulsive existence. May I once and for all cut the root of deceptive confusion, my unawareness.

(11) Not existent: not even the Triumphant have seen it. Not nonexistent: the foundation of everything of samsara and beyond. Not a dichotomy nor a juxtaposition, but a unified pair: the Madhyamaka middle way. May I realize the actual nature of the mind, free from extremes.

(12) Not characterized as anything, saying it is “this.” Not refuted as anything, saying it is “not this.” The actual nature, beyond intellect, is an unaffected phenomenon. May I gain certainty about the utmost point that is totally perfect.

(13) Not realizing the actual nature, we circle in the ocean of samsara. Realizing the actual nature, Buddha is not something other. Everything that is this and not this, nothing excluded. May I become aware of the faults regarding the actual nature, the alaya foundation of all.

(14) Whether appearance, it’s the mind; whether voidness, it’s the mind. Whether realization, it’s the mind; whether confusion, it’s my own mind. Whether an arising, it’s the mind; whether a ceasing, it’s the mind. May I cut off all interpolations on the mind.

(15) Without adulterating with meditation that strives with (thoughts) intellectually derived, not being blown by the winds of ordinary commotion, but knowing how to set my mind in the uncontrived, primordial state that it naturally falls to, may I become skilled and cultivate the practice of mind’s deepest point.

(16) The waves of subtle and coarse conceptual thought still in their place. Without movement, the undercurrents of the mind naturally settle. The pollution of the silt of dullness and bewilderment separate out. May I stabilize a stilled and settled, unmoving ocean of shamatha.

(17) Having looked over and again at the mind that cannot be looked at, and distinctly seen, just as it is, the deepest point that cannot be seen, in a state cut off from wavering whether the deepest point is “this” and “not that,” may (my mind) reflexively know its own face, without confusion.

(18) Having looked at objects, there are no objects – one sees them as mind. Having looked at the mind, there is no mind; it is void by essential nature. Having looked at the two, dualistic grasping releases itself into its own place. May I realize the abiding nature of the mind as clear light.

(19) It is the state parted from taking to mind according to the great seal, mahamudra. According to Madhyamaka, the middle way, it is the state parted from extremes. Dzogchen, the great completeness, calls it also the state incorporating everything. May I gain the self-confidence that knowing one is the realization of the point of all.

(20) Great bliss, without clinging, has unbroken continuity. Clear light, without grasping for defining characteristic marks, is parted from the veils of obscuration. Nonconceptuality, beyond all intellect, spontaneously accomplishes. May my experiencing the boon experiences, without striving, have unbroken continuity.

(21) Grasping at the boon experiences, clung to as good, releases itself into its own place. Deceptive confusion, conceived of as bad, in its self-nature, is pure in the sphere (of voidness). Normal awareness is without ridding or adopting, parting or attaining. May I gain stable realization of the (deepest) truth, the actual nature, parted from mental fabrication.

(22) The self-nature of wandering beings is always that of a Buddha. Yet, by the power of not realizing this, they endlessly roam in samsara. May I develop unbearable compassion on my continuum for limited beings with boundless suffering.

(23) While showing affection with a display of unbearable compassion not at all impeded, the essential nature – the (deepest) meaning of voidness – nakedly dawns. May I always meditate day and night, without separation from this supreme path of the unified pair, parted from points of deviation.

(24) (Having attained) the extrasensory eyes and advanced awareness arisen from the power of meditation, having ripened limited beings, having cleansed everything into Buddha-fields, and having fulfilled Buddha-Dharma practitioners’ prayers for actualizations. May I reach the endpoint of fulfilling, ripening, and cleansing, and become a Buddha.

(25) By the force of the compassion of the Triumphant Ones in the ten directions and their spiritual offspring, and of as much ennobling constructive force as there be, may the pure aspiration prayers of myself and all limited beings come true in this way, just as we’ve made them.

Nges-don phyag-rgya chen-po’i smon-lam” by The Third Karmapa Rangjung-dorjey (Kar-ma Rang-byung rdo-rje), translated by Alexander Berzin.