Shared with my atr blog admin group, john tan commented “I really like mahamudra!” “ This mahamudra poem by Naropa is so beautiful.  I have read it so many times, yet everytime I read it, my heart dances in joy.”



IN SANSKRIT: Mahāmudrāsaṃjñāsaṃhitā

IN TIBETAN: Phyag rgya chen po’i tshig bsdus pa

I pay homage to the continuity of great bliss!

The Mahamudra view of appearances, awareness, and unity are taught:

1. The Meaning of the Mahamudra of Appearances

As for the expression of mahamudra,

All phenomena are your own mind.

Seeing outer things as real is confusion;

Like a dream, they are empty of essence.

2. The Mahamudra of Awareness

The mind, moreover, is merely the movement of thoughts and memories;

It has no nature; it is the dynamism of wind energy.

Empty of essence, it is like space;

All phenomena are like space, abiding as great equality.

Naropa (1016–1100)

The mahapandita Naropa was a great scholar from Kashmir. He mastered Buddhist studies at Nalanda University, but then left to seek a master who could teach him how to tame his mind. Naropa underwent twelve years of intense hardships under Tilopa’s guidance, and finally attained complete mahamudra realization.

3. The Mahamudra of Unity

As for expressing mahamudra,

Its essence cannot be taught.

Therefore, the suchness of mind

Is the very continuity of mahamudra.

There are also three types of Mahamudra meditation:

1. Mahamudra’s Natural Way of Abiding

The nature of mahamudra is uncontrived and unchanging.

Whoever sees and realizes this

Experiences all that appears as mahamudra,

For the great dharmakaya is all-pervasive.

2. The Way of Realizing Mahamudra

Rest loosely in the uncontrived nature;

The dharmakaya cannot be fathomed.

When you rest without searching, this is meditation;

To search while meditating is confusion.

3. The Mahamudra of Indivisibility

Because it is free of meditating and not meditating,

How could there be separation or non-separation from that state?

A yogi realizes everything to be like space and magical displays.

The conduct of Mahamudra again has three aspects:

1. The Mahamudra of Self-Liberation

All virtuous and negative karma will be liberated

By knowing their suchness.

Afflictions are great wisdom

And, like a fire that benefits a forest,

Are a yogi’s boon.

2. The Mahamudra of One Taste

How could there truly be going or remaining?

What kind of meditation

Results from traveling to solitary places?

Whoever does not realize suchness,

Aside from having temporary experiences, will not be liberated.

3. The Mahamudra of Inseparability

If you realize suchness, what can bind you?

Except for remaining undistracted in that state,

There is nothing to meditate on:

There is neither a resting nor a nonresting in equipoise.

This practice cannot be created or improved by an antidote.

Once again, the fruition of Mahamudra has three sections:

1. The Mahamudra of All That Appears and Exists

In this, nothing whatsoever is accomplished—

Appearances self-liberated are the basic space of phenomena.

Thoughts self-liberated are great wisdom,

The nondual equality of dharmakaya.

2. The Mahamudra beyond Samsara

Like the continuous flow of a mighty river,

Whatever you do is meaningful.

This is the great bliss of Buddhahood,

Where samsara has no place.

3. The Ultimate Mahamudra

All phenomena are empty of their own essence.

The mind that grasps the notion of “empty”

Is self-purified.

Free from concepts, without mental fabrication—

This is the path of all the buddhas.

Final Advice and Dedication

For those most fortunate beings,

My heart advice is here collected into words.

Through this, may all beings without exception

Reside in mahamudra!

This instruction was given orally from the great master Naropa to Marpa Chökyi Lodro at Pushpahari.

Śubham astu sarvajagatām!

These thirteen verses summarize all aspects of Mahamudra without exception. The purpose and divisions of this teaching should be understood from a detailed oral explanation, in accordance with its essential meaning.

Do not put your confidence in mixed-up versions. This was written according to the authentic ancient manuscripts, so do not think it has been distorted.


Replied someone:

Resistance arises in the same as for example, anger:

“Though anatta is a seal [Soh: i.e. a truth that is always already so, pertaining to the nature of mind/experience], it also requires one to arise the insight to feel liberated. When a practitioner realizes the anatta nature of manifestation, at that moment without the sense of observer, there is no negative emotions. There is only vivid sensation of all the arising as presence. When you are angry, it is a split. When you realized its anatta nature, there is just vivid clarity of all the bodily sensations. Even when there is an arising thought of something bad, it dissolves with no involvement in the content [Soh: i.e. mental contents like stories, imagination and conceptualization along with emotional involvement]. To be angry, a 'someone' must come into the content. When there is no involvement of the extra agent, there is only recoiling and self liberations. One should differentiate arising thought from the active involvement of the content a practitioner that realizes anatta is only involved fully in the vivid presence of the action, phenomena but not getting lost in content.” - John Tan, 2009

“Not creating an idea of a self frees us completely from anger. You cannot have anger unless there is a self. There is no boundless and omniscient self somewhere in the sky that created the whole universe, and there is no tangible and limited self that inhabits this bag of skin. All of reality is simply infinite dharmas that arise and disappear in accord with the laws of karma. There is not one thing standing against another.” - Zen Master John Daido Loori

“I am only interested in the way to free from worries, fear, anger, greed and ignorance.” - John Tan, 2018

“After realization of anatta, I have found that negative emotions dissolves or are attenuated.” - Soh, 2018

The way to release afflictions is through self-liberation.

“There are three traditional methods of dealing with emotions: abandoning them, transforming them, and recognizing their nature. All three levels of Buddhist teaching, all three yanas, describe how to deal with disturbing emotions. It is never taught, on any level, that one can be an enlightened buddha while remaining involved in disturbing emotions - never. Each level deals with emotions differently.

Just like darkness cannot remain when the sun rises, none of the disturbing emotions can endure within the recognition of mind nature. That is the moment of realizing original wakefulness, and it is the same for each of the five poisons.

In any of the five disturbing emotions, we do not have to transmute the emotion into empty cognizance. The nature of the emotion already is this indivisible empty cognizance.” - Vajra Speech, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

“Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara. 

M” – Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith


“We do bad things, non-virtuous things, because we are afflicted. Afflictions are never a part of oneself but they do define us as sentient beings. If you want to stop being a sentient being and start being an awakening being you have to deal with your afflictions via one of three paths I mentioned. 

Why am I a sentient being and not a Buddha? Because I am subject to afflictions. How do I become a Buddha? By overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience. How do I begin? By setting out on one of the three paths, depending on my capacity.” – Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith

“Mr. JK said: What you're describing is the duality found in Christianity. saying we are impure and must better ourselves.

Kyle Dixon replied: Not at all, this is literally the teaching of Dzogchen, Śrī Siṃha one of the original Dzogchen masters, who was Padmasambhava’s guru, states:

This is acceptable since a so called “primordial buddhahood” is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions.

Likewise, Khenpo Ngachung, one of the greatest luminaries of recent times states:

In any system of sutra or tantra, without gathering the accumulations and purifying obscurations, Buddhahood can never be attained. Though the system of gathering accumulations and purifying obscurations is different, in this respect [dzogchen] is the same.

Longchenpa states:

All phenomena of samsara depend on the mind, so when the essence (ngo bo) of mind is purified, samsara is purified... The essence of mind is an obscuration to be given up. The essence of vidyā is pristine consciousness (ye shes) to be attained... That being so, it is very important to differentiate mind and pristine consciousness because all meditation is just that: all methods of purifying vāyu and vidyā are that; and in the end at the time of liberation, vidyā is purified of all obscurations because it is purified of the mind.

Even Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche’s father, states:

Purification happens through training on the path. We have strayed from the basis and become sentient beings. To free the basis from what obscures it, we have to train. Right now, we are on the path and have not yet attained the result. When we are freed from obscuration, then the result - dharmakāya - appears... the qualities of the result are contained in the state of the basis; yet, they are not evident or manifest. That is the difference between the basis and the result. At the time of the path, if we do not apply effort, the result will not appear.

Thus there is still much for you to understand about how Dzogchen actually works. You are only speaking of the side of the nature, the state of Dzogchen, but the side of appearances, the side of the practitioner, is not pure and perfect just yet. The two sides meet when the practitioner recognizes that nature, which is not presently known, and trains in the method and view.

5” – Kyle Dixon, 2021, krodha (u/krodha) - Reddit 


The release of all grasping and resistance is through actualizing all thoughts, emotions, sensory experiences as luminous and empty of inherent existence: 

A conversation with John Tan when I was still in my I AM phase back in early 2010:

Wrong and Right Understanding of Liberation

Session Start: Thursday, 25 February, 2010


(9:00 PM) Thusness:  anyway your answer in newbuddhist forum is no good.

(9:00 PM) Thusness: you got to have a clearer picture of what is pure subjectivity and you must not be confused with subjective and objective reality. that is, are you skewed towards subjective reality or are you skewed towards objective reality. if beyond these 2 extremes, what is it...and what is the purpose of having right view of experiential reality? Buddhism is concerned with experiential reality. many only understand in terms of concepts...the article you posted in buddhism forum by Mr. J expresses it well. That is, he understands it directly. You are still unable to integrate non-dual experience and DO into your view.

(9:13 PM) AEN: oic.. what does Mr. J understand directly.. D.O? i don’t really understand what you mean by not confused with subjective and objective reality

(9:31 PM) Thusness: you are misunderstanding 'objective reality' with experiential reality. like the 'body' is just a mental construct that once seem so real, objective reality too must be treated as a mental construct no different from the case of the 'body'

(9:34 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:34 PM) Thusness: however when you do that, you might mistaken it as pure subjectivity. therefore you must practice and continue to refine your understanding till you completely purified all these tendencies to treat things as truly existing as in first 'mental constructs', then presence.

(9:37 PM) AEN: 'then presence'?

(9:37 PM) Thusness: what you have expressed so far cannot show clarity that you have integrate your views into just one whole field of experiential reality.

(9:38 PM) AEN: like what david carse said 'what all this is is All That Is, pure Being Consciousness Bliss Outpouring; it is your perception of it as a physical world that is maya, illusion.'  however the article of Mr. J does but the view isn't clear.

(9:38 PM) AEN: oic. you mean Mr. J talks about dependent origination?

(9:38 PM) Thusness: nope... but he manage to understand from his realization and direct experience to resolve all into One Mind.

(9:39 PM) AEN: icic.. its like what david loy said rite: That sa?sara is nirva?a is a major tenet of Mahayana philosophy. "Nothing of sa?sara is different from nirva?a, nothing of nirva?a is different from sa?sara. That which is the limit of nirva?a is also the limit of sa?sara; there is not the slightest difference between the two." [1] And yet there must be some difference between them, for otherwise no distinction would have been made and there would be no need for two words to describe the same state. So Nagarjuna also distinguishes them: "That which, taken as causal or dependent, is the process of being born and passing on, is, taken noncausally and beyond all dependence, declared to be nirva?a." [2] There is only one reality -- this world, right here -- but this world may be experienced in two different ways. Sa?sara is the "relative" world as usually experienced, in which "I" dualistically perceive "it" as a collection of objects which interact causally in space and time. Nirva?a is the world as it is in itself, nondualistic in that it incorporates both subject and object into a whole which, Madh

theres no objects, just one reality

wait... din copy completely: ...Madhyamika insists, cannot be characterized (Chandrakirti: "Nirva?a or Reality is that which is absolved of all thought-construction"), but which Yogacara nevertheless sometimes calls "Mind" or "Buddhanature," and so forth.

(9:43 PM) Thusness: one taste in both essence and nature of all arising.  but even at that phase, it is not One Reality as in Identical reality. or a truly existing 'One Whole Reality'.  this is what a practitioner after going through One Mind or the Advaita Vedanta experience will conclude

(9:46 PM) Thusness: what is the truth of this 'One Whole Reality' that a practitioner after maturing non-dual experience? Even a practitioner after maturing this state will not be able to sync his view with this experience.  because he is using a dualistic expression and not a DO view.

(9:48 PM) AEN: oic..

(9:49 PM) Thusness: this is the same as one that experience the pure presence of "Iness" and say that this "I" is the same "I" in you as in him and me. in non-dual state, the practitioner will still fall into the same trap -- the one whole reality. Get it?

(9:52 PM) AEN: hmm.. but what you mean by *but even at that phase, it is not One Reality as in Identical reality or a truly existing 'One Whole Reality'

- you mean at that level there is some understanding of emptiness

(9:52 PM) Thusness: no. what is the 'One Reality' that David Carse is talking about? is this a Subjective Reality or an Objective Reality?

(9:54 PM) AEN: neither

(9:55 PM) Thusness: an integration where there is no distinction that can be found between the subject-object-ive reality, as an integrated whole?

(9:56 PM) AEN: yah.. just oneness?

(9:56 PM) Thusness: is there such a 'Oneness Reality'? When we fall into this trap after non-dual experience, we are falling into the same trap as claiming that the 'I' in you is the same 'I' in me after the experience of "I AMness". so neither subjective nor objective nor the integration of both nor the interaction of both.  we think in such a way because of our 'inherent view'...that is why I said experience is not enough, you need the right view. so after this phase of One Mind, don't get over excited, refine the view (anatta and DO). also understand why this is important to end suffering

(10:06 PM) AEN: oic.. how is it important to end suffering?

(10:07 PM) Thusness: why are you asking me? I ask you to find out and you ask me.

(10:07 PM) AEN: oic.. can you read through my post

(11:33 PM) Thusness: good. don't write like that. you are confusing ppl.  think through first before you post

(11:34 PM) AEN: oic..

(11:35 PM) Thusness: delete that post first...

(11:35 PM) AEN: ya deleted

(11:35 PM) Thusness: when you write like that, you are like writing for the sake of writing. write about what do you think is the cause. why do ppl after direct experience came to that conclusion. what happen when that dualistic knot is gone

(11:38 PM) Thusness: what sort of reality you are talking about? think through first. don't just blah something you do not know

(11:39 PM) AEN: oic..

(11:39 PM) Thusness: many are very sincere in those stuff they wrote. and that includes element. he knows what he is writing

(11:40 PM) AEN: icic..

(11:40 PM) Thusness: do not write for the sake of writing. subjectivity9 is also sincere, writing from his own experience. Just that he is unable to see.

(11:41 PM) AEN: icic..

(11:41 PM) Thusness: what does liberation mean? to a dualistic mind, what does it mean?  to a non-dual mind, what does it mean?  to a practitioner that has matured his non-dual experience and is free from the view of a source, a center, a reference, what is liberation? so don't just talk about self-liberation as if you have reached tat state. you got to know what it meant

(11:44 PM) AEN: oic..

(11:44 PM) Thusness: when you say that, you are not discussing... so what is liberation when your mind is dualistic? how do you understand it?

(11:44 PM) AEN: by disassociation?

(11:45 PM) Thusness: through disassociation...yes. you always want to dis-associate. when you are non-dual what happen? when anatta what happened? when there is no source behind, what is there to dis-associate? so what is it like? and what is meant by self-liberation in this sense? it does not mean you are already liberated as like what you expressed...

(11:46 PM) Thusness: sound liberates. what does that mean? it just mean that do not attempt to think liberation in terms of dis-association. if you are not dis-associating, then how? it is the way a practitioner 'understand practice' after maturing his experiential insight of anatta into the natural state. it does not mean nothing to do, or it already liberates

no.... it does not mean that

(11:50 PM) AEN: oic..  does it mean that without disassociating nor grasping, phenomena itself arise and subside on itself

(11:53 PM) Thusness: phenomena is also arising and subsiding

(11:53 PM) Thusness: is always

so don't talk about that

(11:53 PM) AEN: icic

(11:53 PM) Thusness: just write what i told u. it is not that there is nothing to do as in the case of the advaita

(11:54 PM) AEN: oic

(11:55 PM) Thusness: don't talk as if you already know what self-liberation is. but say when the mind is dualistic, how it perceives liberation. and when non-dual, how he perceives it to be? when anatta, what is it like if there is no source, how is one to dis-associate? what is liberation like when a person experientially and truly realized that? how by resting in a dualistic and inherent view mistake 'dis-association' as the path. you posted an article in the past that spoke briefly about it

(11:58 PM) AEN: at sgforums?

(11:59 PM) Thusness: yeah...forgot his your blog too

(12:00 AM) AEN: djhampa?

i don’t remember posting his post in my blog lhe

(12:02 AM) Thusness: nope

(12:03 AM) Thusness: Dr. John Welwood (Soh: Reflection and Presence: The Dialectic of Awakening, a good read )

(12:03 AM) AEN: ooh icic

(12:05 AM) Thusness: you must understand what i told you above. what is meant by dualistic and inherent view and its power to shape our experience. so you know what is the relationship with the right view?

(12:08 AM) AEN: and liberation?

(12:08 AM) Thusness: yes

(12:09 AM) AEN: yeah.. better understand now.

(12:13 AM) Thusness: so what is the meaning of 'always and already so'? and what is practice like?

(12:16 AM) AEN: back sorry.. someone called me, wrong number. always and already so means awareness isnt separated and is actually everything arising moment to moment, so practice is just experiencing everything without dualistic and inherent view?

(12:17 AM) Thusness: what has that got to do with self liberation?

(12:17 AM) AEN: it does not require disassociating, just experiencing everything as it is without dualistic and inherent view?

(12:18 AM) Thusness: are you able to do that?

(12:18 AM) AEN: no

(12:18 AM) Thusness: why?

(12:18 AM) AEN: bcos i still have dualistic and inherent views

(12:18 AM) Thusness: yes. therefore you must know that because we see with such views, without such views, that is liberation. that is why right view is important. if 'dualistic and inherent' view is dissolved from the deepest depth of our consciousness, that already is liberation. therefore practice is to meet conditions and see whether inherent and dualistic view arise. if it arises, then how could there be no suffering

(12:21 AM) AEN: oic..

(12:21 AM) Thusness: therefore ignorance is the cause of suffering. it is the wrong view that shapes the experience. that experience with the wrong view is what that causes psychological and spiritual pain

(12:22 AM) AEN: oic..

(12:22 AM) Thusness: any moment you have that experience it is always so. so practice is dynamic to see such tendencies arise

(12:23 AM) AEN: icic..

(12:24 AM) Thusness: because a practitioner mature his non-dual and anatta experience, his practice is dynamic as he realizes that all arising already so and always is so -- luminous and empty but we mistaken it as dualistic and inherent. it is the deeply rooted wrong view that shape and distort experience that causes all problems. get it?

(12:25 AM) AEN: oic..

(12:25 AM) Thusness: it is not negative feelings is already liberated...all sort of nonsense. did i teach you that

like what Mr. J said? ignorance of seeing separation and inherent existence causes all these problems, and negative feelings arise because of that.  so at that moment when you see that it is non-dual and empty, it liberates.  if you do not experience that at the moment, how can you be liberated. when you try to get rid of the anger, you can't...either you are split or there is something inherent in u. so when you see the 'nature and essence' of any arising be it negative emotions or whatever as empty and luminous, it liberates. You see it with your entire body/mind/soul therefore it liberates. if you din see it, no. get it?

(12:34 AM) Thusness: you must see the nature and essence of all arising as so.

(12:37 AM) AEN: oic..

(12:39 AM) Thusness: therefore when Mr. J said, negative emotion is liberation, he is having inherent view. coz he sees awareness as the substance, and think that since it is it, it is liberation and yet feeling pain. so that is confusion due to desync of view and experience with no clarity of insight. not knowing what causes the pain

(12:40 AM) Thusness: so understand ignorance. understand how inherent and dualistic view causes the problem

(12:43 AM) AEN: icic.. you mean there is no pain when one experience self liberation?

(12:44 AM) Thusness: of course there is pain if there is pain. it is the all of what the sensations are

(12:44 AM) AEN: what you mean

(12:45 AM) Thusness: you mean when you taste sour you don't know that it is sour?

(12:45 AM) AEN: i know

(12:45 AM) Thusness: then when there is those sensations that arise due to the conditions, you deny those sensations? whatever that you have dissolved, it isn't there. whatever conditions that contribute to the arising, has to arise

(12:47 AM) AEN: oic.. but you said negative emotion is liberation is wrong view?


(12:50 AM) Thusness: only when you resolve that this pristine awareness is luminous yet empty, that is liberation

(12:50 AM) Thusness: not seeing pristine awareness as inherent and dual

Labels: Self Liberation | 


Also, this self-liberation requires more than just insight into the non division of subject and object, it requires realisation of anatman, dependent origination and emptiness. As Thusness wrote over a decade ago:

"Hi Simpo,

How have you been getting on? I am planning for my retirement.

I think after stabilizing non-dual experience and maturing the insight of anatta, practice must turn towards ‘self-releasing’ and ‘dispassion’ rather than intensifying ‘non-dual’ luminosity. Although being bare in attention or naked in awareness will help in dissolving the sense of ‘I’ and division, we must also look into dissolving the sense of ‘mine’. In my opinion, dissolving of the sense of ‘I’ does not equate to dissolving the sense of ‘mine’ and attachment to possessions can still be strong even after very stable non-dual experience. This is because the former realization only mange to eliminate the dualistic tendency while the latter requires us to embody and actualize the right view of ‘emptiness’. Very seldom do we realize it has a lot to do with our ‘view’ that we hold in our deep most consciousness. We must allow our luminous essence to meet differing conditions to realise the latent deep. All our body cells are imprinted and hardwired to ‘hold’. Not to under-estimate it.”

o 12 Sep `10, 12:44PM 

Hi Simpo and AEN,

Yet we cannot get carried away by all these blissful experiences.  Blissfulness is the result of luminosity whereas liberation is due to prajna wisdom.   :)


For intense luminosity in the foreground, you will not only have vivid experience of ‘brilliant aliveness’, ‘you’ must also completely disappear.  It is an experience of being totally ‘transparent’ and without boundaries.  These experiences are quite obvious, u will not miss it.  However the body-mind will not rest in great content due to an experience of intense luminosity.  Contrary it can make a practitioner more attach to a non-dual ultimate luminous state.

For the mind to rest, it must have an experience of ‘great dissolve’ that whatever arises perpetually self liberates.  It is not about phenomena dissolving into some great void but it is the empty nature of whatever arises that self-liberates.   It is the direct experience of groundlessness and non –abiding due to direct insight of the empty nature of phenomena and that includes the non-dual luminous essence.

Therefore In addition to bringing this ‘taste’ to the foreground, u must also ‘realize’ the difference between wrong and right view.  There is also a difference in saying “Different forms of Aliveness” and “There is just breath, sound, scenery...magical display that is utterly unfindable, ungraspable and without essence- empty.”

In the former case, realize how the mind is manifesting a subtle tendency of attempting to ‘pin’ and locate something that inherently exists. The mind feels uneasy and needs to seek for something due to its existing paradigm.   It is not simply a matter of expression for communication sake but a habit that runs deep because it lacks a ‘view’ that is able to cater for reality that is dynamic, ungraspable, non-local , center-less and interdependent. 

After direct realization of the non-dual essence and empty nature, the mind can then have a direct glimpse of what is meant by being ‘natural’, otherwise there will always be a ‘sense of contrivance’. 

My 2 cents and have fun with ur army life. :-)

Edited by Thusness 12 Sep `10, 12:56PM