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Mahamudra Teaching

Extracts of teaching (Singapore, 1994)

Mahamudra includes many different forms of teachings, not only the teachings of Vajrayana, but also the teachings of Theravada and the teachings of Mahayana. It contains the entire Universal Truth. The Universal Truth is something that is primordially there, no matter whether you are a Buddhist or believer of some other spiritual path.

The reason why I emphasizes Mahamudra in such a way is that: the genuine quality of the characteristic of all the phenomena is Mahamudra. Mahamudra can in fact be divided into three ~ the Fundamental Mahamudra, Path Mahamudra and the Result Mahamudra or the Mahamudra of Fruit. Everything and every phenomenon that are available in this world, including the subtle elements are the 'Fundamental Mahamudra'. We are simply ignorant about these things being 'Fundamental Mahamudra' just because of our egoistic attachment or the egoistic way of looking at them. This egoistic attitude blocks us from seeing the Fundamental Mahamudra nature of such things or phenomena that we are in.

Therefore, we need to practice a lot in order to realize the nature, the 'Fundamental Mahamudra'. This is called 'Path Mahamudra'. The entire practice that is something to do with the realization is called 'Path Mahamudra'. It doesn't really make any sense by saying, "Everything and every phenomenon are the Fundamental Mahamudra," unless you realize the reality of these things: including yourself, your mind and your emotions.

The intellectual knowledge can be very useful to understand or to initiate yourself in order to practice. However, the main thing is experiential knowledge.

Primordially, we were Mahamudra, we are Mahamudra and we will be Mahamudra. But we don't ahve the cognition, which in Tibetan we call 'Rigpa', which means the wisdom seed. So, the Fundamental Mahamudra doesn't make much sense to us.

Everything in this world, including yourself, your emotions, your feelings and senses, all are fully inter-dependent. Nothing is independent, that is one of the greatest indications of these thigns being Mahamudra. And yet, we are not smart enough to understand or realize it.

Inter-dependence itself indicates to you that everything is not existing by itself, as it appears to be to you. So, this is Emptiness in the Buddhist philosophy. Emptiness, Voidness or Shunyata is the thing that is not really existing as it appears to be because of it being inter-dependent. I think that is the furthest you can explain about Shunyata or  Emptiness. Many people get confused with this, saying that if everything is 'Emptiness', then it means that everything is empty, everything is not there, everything should actually be empty. Because of our ignorance, when it is said that something is empty in our illusory world, it means to us something like an empty bowl. Some people think that since the world should be empty, there should not be anything there. This kind of conception is a totally wrong view.

If you think of emptiness as an empty bowl, there are so many risks or faults that can be produced by that kind of misunderstanding. Then all the bad deeds are also empty, why not? Then, whatever we do, there is no restriction. Also, there should not be any karmic links, karmic causes and effects, because everything is empty, just like an empty bowl. All kinds of misbehavior can be caused by that kind of misunderstanding of the Buddhist philosophy.

The most important thing in order to realize Mahamudra is that one has to understand the teachings of relative truth and the teachings of the Ultimate Truth of Lord Buddha. All the phenomena are very much in dualistic state right now because we created the scene of dualism. Dualism is two things going together at the same time. The dualistic world is actually a projection of our own dualistic mind. This is the so-called relative or conventional truth of the Lord Buddha's teachings.

The Fundamental Mahamudra is the so-called Right View, which has to be viewed by our wisdom. In order to have wisdom, one has to work hard in order to purify the obstacles and defilements, etc. The correct view is very important in order to practice the right path. If one has right view, that itself is a very great purification.

When you realize the Fundamental Mahamudra, you realize the entire phenomena as Mahamudra, including the negative accumulations. But since most of us are unable to do this, we need the help of doing all sorts of practices, such as prostrations, offering of mandala, Vajrasattva mantra and etc. We are so ignorant, attached and stuck with the relativities that we need lots of support of the so-called relative practices.

We are actually the Fundamental Mahamudra, as I have mentioned, because everything is inter-dependent. For example, the distance of 'long' and 'short' are also very much inter-dependent and very relative. This is because short distance depends on long distance. The long distance makes the short distance, the short distance itself is not existing as it appears to be. For instance, that particular short distance can make another particular short distance long. Therefore, the short distance that you are talking about becomes long, comparatively.

We can say that the distance between here to Kuala Lumpur is very far if you compare to the distance between the place where you are going to stay tonight and this temple. But if you are going to talk about the distance between here and India, then the distance between here and Kuala Lumpur is very short. So, the short distance is no longer standing by itself, which means that the short distance is not existing itself, as it appears to be. So it is just a matter of expression, just a matter of conception. Anyway, this is just a hint of the Fundamental Mahamudra.