Commentary on Self-Liberation text, part 5
This is Part 5 in an ongoing series of writings and commentary by Mark West on the Dzogchen Terma treasure text entitled “Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness”, translated from the Tibetan by John Myrdhin Renolyds. This particular Terma text was composed in the 8th Century of our era by the master from the then province of Uddiyana in Tibet, namely Guru Padmasambhava.
This text and certain others represent an introduction to Dzogchen, The Great Perfection. Dzogchen is not the name of a religion, philosophy, school, or sect but rather the Primordial State of the individual, or what Nisargadatta Maharaj referred to as the natural state. The essence of the teachings of all the Buddhas and enlightened ones is the understanding of this state, which is the nature of one’s own mind.
Within this (intrinsic awareness ), the Triakaya are inseparable and
fully present as one.
Since it is empty and not created anywhere whatsoever, it is the
Since its luminous clarity represents the inherent transparent radiance
of emptiness, it is the Sambhogakaya.
Since its arising is nowhere obstructed or interrupted, it is the
These three ( the Triakaya ) being complete and fully present as
one, are its very essence.
When you are introduced in this way through this exceedingly
powerful method for entering the practice.
( You discover directly ) that your own immediate self-awareness
is just this ( and nothing else ),
And that it has an inherent self-clarity which is entirely
How can you then speak of not understanding the nature of the
Moreover, since you are meditating without finding anything
there to meditate upon,
How can you say that your meditation does not go well?
Since your own manifest intrinsic awareness is just this,
How can you say that you cannot find your own mind?
The mind is just that which is thinking;
And yet, although you have searched ( for the thinker ), how can
you say that you cannot find him?
With respect to this, nowhere does there exist the one who is the
cause of mental activity.
And yet since activity exists, how can you say that such activity
does not arise?
Since merely allowing ( thoughts ) to settle into their own
condition, without trying to modify them in any way, is sufficient,
How can you say that you are not able to remain in a calm
Since allowing ( thoughts ) to be just as they are, without trying
to do anything about them, is sufficient,
How can you say that you are not able to do anything with
regard to them?
Since clarity, awareness, and emptiness are inseparable and are
How can you say that nothing is accomplished by your
Since ( intrinsic awareness ) is self-originated and spontaneously
self-perfected without any antecedent causes and conditions,
How can you say that you are not able to accomplish anything
by your efforts?
Since the arising of discursive thoughts and their being liberated
How can you say that you are unable to apply an antidote?
Since your own immediate awareness is just this,
How can you say that you do not know anything with regard to
Within this Rigpa or intrinsic awareness, the Triakaya, what we usually understand as “The Three Bodies of the Buddha”, are wholly present and inseparably united from the very beginning. These Three Bodies of the Buddha are in actuality not three different things but only three aspects of the non dual nature of the mind. We only distinguish them in the conventional sense for the purposes of communication and discussion. The Sanskrit term Kaya literally means “body”, but as in our own personal experience, our physical body and our immediate environment interpenetrate and form a single field of activity, so kaya also has the sense of “the dimension of existence”. Thus the three dimensions of the existence if the Buddha are the Dharmakaya which is all-pervasive and omnipresent; the Sambhogakaya which manifests in Akanistha ( heaven, paradise ), the highest plane of existence; and the Nirmanakaya which manifests to ordinary sentient beings in time and history. Collectively these three are known as the Triakaya, and as has been pointed out previously these are not three different things but rather three aspects of the one essential essence or no thing, which is just THIS ever present intrinsic awareness or mind.
From the standpoint of Dzogchen, the Trikaya is not something which is attained or realized at some point in time, nor is it something which is latent or undeveloped in the individual which must be nurtured and cultivated in order to be brought into manifestation, such as a seed containing the entire tree in potential. For the Trikaya is already fully present from the very beginning in the nature of mind. Since in its essence the nature of mind is empty and is not made out of anything, it is the Dharmakaya. Yet it is not a dark, cold void. Since its nature is clear luminosity, the translucent radiance of emptiness, it is the Sambhogkaya. And since its arising is nowhere obstructed, impeded, or interrupted, it is the Nirmanakaya. When we speak of the base, the Primordial State of the individual, we are speaking of these three aspects: its Essence, its Nature, and its Energy – and as the Trikaya which is the base, they are primordially present and of a single essence.
“Moreover, since you are meditating without finding anything to meditate upon”,
This shows that in actuality there is no one to meditate and nothing to meditate on. THIS is then a natural meditation or the meditation of being, or what we call the natural state or the primordially present single essence of intrinsic all-knowing awareness.
Thus this utterly natural meditation is taking place effortlessly and naturally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so to speak, so in actuality or reality, there “is” no such thing as time and this is only a way of talking or pointing to THIS ever present essence.
Meditation is your natural primordial state or essence, so there is is no need to try to meditate as that would the be a fabrication by a non existing apparent separate entity. If I entertain the idea that I am going to meditate then that implies a separate entity there who is going to meditate, and as this text points out, this is an impossibility. So leave everything “as it is” including the apparent time-bound mind of memory; leave it there unaltered, unmodified, uncorrected. As the ceaseless thoughts and concepts spontaneously arise in this changeless clarity and emptiness of intrinsic knowing, do not interfere with them or try to fabricate, alter, change, or modify them in any way and they will self-liberate without any effort on your part; just like the clouds that arise and disperse in the boundless sky; and it is noted that there is no cloud that is ever attached to the sky and so they spontaneously dissolve or resolve back into the sky which is emptiness, space, nothingness, or no thing.
Just so the thoughts that arise will also subside into into THIS awake, aware, no thing if they are simply left as they are and not modified, altered, or corrected. Get it? Yes, there is no one there to get it – you are THIS intrinsic essence of awareness, full stop! Do not try to grasp what is being pointed out with the mind, do not try to become anything simply be “as you are” in this natural primordial state or condition. Rest in and as THIS uncontrived Singularity. The mind as we usually know it is time, and you will never find the answer there, as the mind “me” So and So is time, fabrication, or imagination and THIS non dual Absolute or essence that we are pointing to is timeless, and you will never get to the timeless essence ( non duality ) through time ( duality, beginning, ending, coming, going etc ). This so called ego or “me” is a thought up conceptual entity. The ego “I” or “me” is only a thought and as such is a phantom, the child of a barren woman, and has no substance or independent nature of its own; so there is no need to get rid of it, kill it, or sublimate it, just see that it never existed by itself and is simply an appearance in this boundless clarity and emptiness of intrinsic awareness, like the reflections appearing in a spotless mirror.