Composed by
The Third Gyalwa Karmapa

The third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) 

Namo Guru

Lamas, yidams, and deities of the mandala,
Victorious Ones and your sons and daughters of the ten directions and three times,
Please hold us in your great loving kindness
And bless our aspiration prayers that they may be perfectly fulfilled. (1)

May the rivers of my own and all limitless others’ gathered virtue,
undefiled by the three spheres,
That spring from the snow mountain
Of our completely pure intentions and actions
Flow into the ocean of the Victorious Ones’ four kayas. (2)

In this and in all our future lifetimes,
For as long as it may be until we attain enlightenment,
May not even the words ‘negative action’ or ‘suffering’ be heard
And may we enjoy the glory of oceans of virtue and happiness. (3)

In all our lifetimes may we gain the supreme freedoms and resources,
and have faith, joyous diligence, and prajna,
May we rely on excellent spiritual teachers, and having received
the nectar of their instructions,
May we practice accordingly and encounter no obstacles in doing so —
May we always practice the genuine Dharma. (4)

Listening to scriptures and reasonings frees us from the obscurations of ignorance,
Reflecting on the key instructions vanquishes the darkness of doubt,
Meditation’s light illuminates the true nature just as it is —
May the brilliance of the three kinds of wisdom increase. (5)

The two truths free from the extremes of realism and nihilism are the reality of the ground,
And through the supreme path, the two accumulations free from the extremes of
superimposition and denial,
The fruition that accomplishes the two benefits free from the extremes of existence and
peace is attained —
May we meet with this Dharma that is flawless and sure. (6)

The base of purification is mind itself, the union of clarity and emptiness –
May the great purifying vajra-yoga of Mahamudra
Clear away what is to be purified, the fleeting stains of confusion,
And may we manifest the result of this purification, stainless Dharmakaya. (7)

Eliminating superimpositions about the ground is confident view,
Guarding non-distraction from that is meditations essential point,
Becoming expert in all types of meditation is conduct supreme —
May we gain such confident view, meditation, and conduct. (8)

All phenomena are minds magical play
As for mind, there is no mind! Mind is empty of essence.
Empty and unimpeded, it can appear as absolutely anything —
Analyzing excellently, may we cut through all superimpositions about the ground. (9)

Our own projections, never existent, we mistake to be objects,
Out of ignorance we mistake self-awareness to be self,
Clinging to this duality makes us wander in the vastness of existence —
May we cut through ignorance and confusion at their root. (10)

It is not existent — even the Victorious Ones do not see it,
It is not nonexistent — it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana,
It is not the contradiction of being both — it is the Middle Way path of union —
May we realize mind’s essential reality, free from extremes. (11)

No name can show, ‘It is this.’
No refutation can demonstrate, ‘It is not that.’
May we gain certainty in the essential nature beyond the intellect,
In the uncreated, and in genuine reality’s ultimate limit. (12)

Not realizing simply this, one circles in the ocean of samsara,
When one realizes simply this, there is no other enlightenment.
Everything is this and there is nothing that is not —
May we realize essential reality, the underlying nature of the ground of all. (13)

Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind,
Realization is mind and confusion is also one’s mind,
Arising is mind and cessation too is mind —
May we determine that all superimpositions are mind. (14)

Unspoiled by meditation where thoughts are deliberate and striving,
Unmoved by the winds of ordinary commotion,
Knowing how to settle naturally in the uncontrived native state,
May we be skilled at and sustain the practices revealing mind’s true reality. (15)

With the waves of coarse and subtle thoughts dissolving in their own place,
The placid river of mind gently comes to rest.
Free of the silt and mire of dullness and torpor,
May the ocean of calm abiding be steady and undisturbed. (16)

Looking again and again at mind that cannot be looked at,
Unseeable reality is seen vividly, just as it is.
Cutting through all doubts about whether ‘it is’ or ‘it is not,’
May we unmistakenly recognize our own face. (17)

Looking at objects — there are no objects, they are seen to be mind.
Looking at mind — there is no mind, it is empty of essence.
Looking at both, clinging to duality is self-liberated —
May we realize minds abiding nature, luminous clarity. (18)

Free from mental contrivance, it is Mahamudra,
Free from extremes, it is the great Middle Way,
Since it encompasses everything, it is Dzogchen —
May we gain the confidence of realizing all through knowing one. (19)

Free of attachment, great bliss is unceasing,
Free of clinging to characteristics, luminous clarity is unobscured,
Beyond the intellect, nonconceptuality is spontaneously present —
Without effort, may these experiences be unceasing. (20)

Clinging to excellent experience is free right where it is,
Negative thoughts’ confusion is naturally pure in the expanse,
When ordinary mind manifests, there is nothing to adopt or reject, no freedom or fruition –
May we realize the truth of essential reality, free of fabrications. (21)

Beings by nature have always been Buddhas,
Yet not realizing this, they wander endlessly in samsara.
May we have unbearable compassion
For sentient beings whose suffering knows no bounds. (22)

This unbearable compassion radiates unceasing love,
And as it does, its emptiness of essence nakedly shines.
May we never leave this supreme and unerring path of union,
May we meditate upon it all day and all night. (23)

From the power of meditation come superior eyes and clairvoyance,
Sentient beings are matured, experiences of Buddha realms are cultivated perfectly,
And prayers to attain the Buddha’s qualities are fulfilled.
May we attain the enlightenment that brings maturation, cultivation, and fulfillment to
perfection. (24)

By the power of the great compassion of the Victorious Ones and their sons and daughters
of the ten directions,
And the power of all the immaculate virtue there is May my own and all sentient beings’
Completely pure aspiration prayers be perfectly fulfilled! (25)

Under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, this translation was adapted by Ari Goldfield in May 1999 from those by Lama Sherap Dorje in Mahamudra Teachings of the Supreme Siddhas, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1995, and Erik Pema Kunsang in Song of Karmapa, Kathmandu: Rangjung Yeshe, 1992. Translation revised September 2001.

from the book "Heart Advice of Karmapa "


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