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The following is from an oral commentary on the Trekcho teaching "The Three Words that Hit the Vital

Point" given by Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche.

THE ROOT TEXT


Homage to the guru. The view is Longchen Rabjam (Infinite Great Expanse) The meditation is Khyentse Oser (light rays of Knowledge and Love) The action is Gyalwai Nyugu (Son of the Victorious Ones) For the one who practices in this way, There is no doubt about enlightenment in one lifetime. But even if not, there is still happiness - a la la. The view, Longchen Rabjam, is as follows: To hit the vital point with the three lines, First, let your mind rest loosely. Without projecting, without concentrating - without thoughts. While relaxed and remaining evenly in that state Suddenly exclaim a mind shattering PHAT! Forceful, short and sharp - emaho! Nothing whatsoever - totally blank. A blankness which is utterly open. A total openness which is indescribable. Recognize this as the Dharmakaya awareness.

TO RECOGNIZE YOUR NATURE; THAT IS THE FIRST VITAL POINT.


After this, whether you are thinking or still, Whether you are angry, or attached, happy or sad, At all time and on all occasions Acknowledge the recognized Dharmakaya (this is our basic awareness) And let the child luminosity unite with the already known mother. Rest in the state of inexpressible awareness. Destroy again and again stillness, bliss, clarity and thinking. Let the syllable of knowledge and means suddenly strike down. No difference between meditation and post meditation. No division between sessions and breaks. Rest continuously in the undivided state. However, as long as you have not attained stability, It is essential to give up distractions. Divide your meditation into sessions. At all times and in all situations Maintain the single continuity of Dharmakaya ( basic presence of awareness) Resolve that there is nothing other than this.

TO DECIDE ON ONE THING; THAT IS THE SECOND VITAL POINT.


At this time, your likes and dislikes, joys and sorrows And all your passing thoughts without exception Leave no trace in the state of recognition. By recognizing Dharmakaya (basic awareness) in what is liberated, As in the analogy of drawing on water, There is unceasing self-occurring self-liberation. Whatever occurs is fresh food for the empty awareness. Whatever is thought is an expression of the Dharmakaya king. Traceless and naturally free - a la la. The way thoughts occur is the same as before, But the way they are freed is the most essential key point. Without this, meditation is but the path of confusion. Possessing it is the uncultivated state of Dharmakaya (awareness)

TO GAIN CONFIDENCE IN LIBERATION; THAT IS THE THIRD VITAL POINT.

This view endowed with three vital points And the meditation of combined knowledge and compassion, Is aided by the general actions of the sons of the victorious ones. Even if the victorious ones of the three times were to confer together, They would have no oral instruction superior to this. The Dharmakaya treasure revealer of awareness-display Discovered this as a treasure from the expanse of knowledge. It is unlike extracts of earth and stone. It is the testament of Garab Dorje. It is the heart of the three lineages. It is entrusted with secrecy to heart disciples. It is the profound meaning and words from the heart. It is words from the heart, the essential meaning. Do not let the essential meaning fade away. Do not let the instruction dissipate. This was the special teaching of Khepa Shri Gyalpo Translation by Tulku Thondrop and Tulku Pema Wangyal Introductory Section of the Root Text (Commentary) The text we are studying consists of a brief versified root text and an autocommentary, i.e. Paltrul Rincoche's expanded prose explanation of his own root text. He begins his commentary with the invocation,"I PAY HOMAGE TO THE KIND ROOT GURU WHO IS THE UNEQUALED EMBODIMENT OF COMPASSION." With regard to the characterization of his root guru as a supreme embodiment of compassion, in general we would say that of course no one is superior to the Buddha. But since we are unable, at this time, to meet Buddha Shakyamuni, we are unable to receive instruction from him directly. Nevertheless, we do have the good fortune to meet our personal teachers, our root gurus, and these root gurus manifest in our world in a way that allows us to communicate with them directly, to approach them personally, and it is only on the basis of such closeness that we receive instruction and are lead to buddhahood. Hence, while no one is superior to the Buddha in an objective sense, from our own subjective point of view, we would have to say that the root guru is in effect kinder to us than even the Buddha. Furthermore, when you pay homage to your teacher, as Paltrul Rinpoche does here, you do by implication pay homage to the Three Jewels as well, because your acquaintance with or exposure to the Three Jewels depends entirely on the instruction you receive from your teachers. In that sense, the guru's mind is the Buddha, his or her speech is the Dharma, and his or her body is the Sangha. What we discussed are the first words in the autocommentary, and they provide a commentary on the first line of the root text which reads, "I PAY HOMAGE TO THE GURU." The essence of all of the view, meditation and conduct of the Great Perfection is really included in the realization that one's root guru and all the lineage guru's are inseparable from one's own mind, that they are not to be found outside of one's own mind. In order to point that out, the text begins with a three-line description of view, meditation, and conduct, using the names of lineage gurus to describe the qualities of these different aspects of the path of the Great Perfection. The first of these three lines reads, "THE VIEW IS THE BOUNDLESS GREAT EXPANSE." "Boundless great expanse" in Tibetan is "Longchen Rabjam" which is the name of the Omniscient Longchenpa. The meaning of this line is that all of the appearances of Samsara are complete within, or never pass beyond, the great expanse of suchness and of sameness, which is the very nature of the awareness of each and every being, the sugatagarbha, or Buddha-nature, the nature of all things, an expanse that is totally beyond elaboration, beyond conceptualization. Because the understanding of that is the "view" of the Great Perfection, the first line reads, "THE VIEW IS THE BOUNDLESS GREAT EXPANSE." The second of these lines reads, "MEDITATION IS THE LIGHT RAYS OF WISDOM AND LOVING KINDNESS." "Light rays of wisdom and loving kindness," or "Khyentse Oser" in Tibetan, is the personal name of the omniscient Jigme Lingpa. Here again, we find that the name of the guru is used to describe the quality of meditation. The meditation is the cultivation of the view, and the view is the ascertainment of the nature of all things being beyond elaboration. The recognition of the view is an insight, or a vipashyana; it is a wisdom or a prajna, and that wisdom is

actually revealed through the practice of meditation. The revelation by means of wisdom, of the wisdom of emptiness as the nature of all things, is one of the two aspects of meditation that must be present. For this to occur properly, this generation of insight must be founded in a one-pointed even placement, of shamatha, that is of the nature of great compassion, of a non-conceptual, all-pervasive loving-kindness and compassion. In other words, the emptiness that is revealed by insight must be experienced with compassion. The insight itself must be conjoined with tranquility, and therefore, the knowledge aspect, the prajna aspect, must never be separated from the method aspect, the upaya aspect. This defines the meditation of the Great Perfection: a cognition of emptiness, the affect of which is compassion. Therefore, the text says, "MEDITATION IS THE LIGHT RAYS OF WISDOM AND LOVING-KINDNESS." The third line reads, "CONDUCT IS THE CHILD OF THE BUDDHAS." Of course, Gyalwai Nyugu, "child of the Buddha." is the name of Paltrul Rinpoche's root guru, the student of Jigme Lingpa. But this is not a random application; it has a particular significance. When someone is engaged in such meditation as was described in the previous line, then the conduct which is the natural outflow of that meditation in post meditation is the conduct of a bodhisattva. The term "sprout of the victors," or "child of the Buddha," is synonymous with bodhisattva; in fact, it can be used as a generic title for all bodhisattvas. The conduct of the Great Perfection is the implementation of the six perfections of the bodhisattva path for the benefit of others, and therefore, the text says, "THE CONDUCT IS THE CHILD OF THE VICTORS." The next two lines of the text actually have to be treated together because they form a statement in two lines which reads, "FOR SOMEONE WHO PRACTICES IN THAT WAY, THERE IS NO DIFFICULTY IN ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD IN THIS VERY LIFE." Paltrul Rinpoche's intention in this line is to remind us how fortunate we are to possess the opportunity to practice the view, meditation, and conduct of the Great Perfection. We are fortunate because one only gains the opportunity to encounter and implement this practice if one has gathered vast accumulations both of merit and of wisdom in previous lifetimes. If someone really puts the teachings of the Great Perfection into practice, then it is entirely possible that they can attain full awakening in this very life. To truly implement these teachings means to rely upon practice in solitary retreat and to totally abandon the activities of this world and this life, to abandon the obsessive concern that we normally have with attempting to protect our friends and subdue our enemies, and with so many other things. If you can in that way practice one-pointedly, then in this life you will come to be liberated in the ground of primordial purity. Even if you are unable to practice with that degree of diligence and austerity, just by directing your mind towards the cultivation of this view, meditation and conduct, you will attain the ability to take unpleasant circumstances as the path. You will be able to not be unseated or overly disturbed by various disasters, sickness and emotional upheavals that may occur, and you will be freed from excessive anxiety and hope with regard to the outcome of your various plans in this life. These will be the benefits that will accrue in this life, and in future lives you will go from bliss to bliss, which means that a momentum will be established by your practice so that in each life you will come closer to buddhahood until you finally attain it. In order to express all of this, continuing from where it said,"THERE IS NO DIFFICULTY ABOUT ATTAINING BUDDHAHOOD IN ONE LIFE," the root text says, "AND EVEN IF NOT, YOU WILL BE SO HAPPY." "These are the benefits of the view, meditation and conduct of the Great Perfection. Both the root text and the commentary then continue to actually explain these three aspects of the path; first the view, then the meditation, then the conduct. Most of the explanation will be concerned with the view. The next line in the root text is almost identical to one found at the beginning. It just says, "THE VIEW OF THE BOUNDLESS VAST EXPANSE:" - in English, we would place a colon at the end. This is just a heading that introduces an extensive explanation of what the view is. Earlier, we translated the title of this text as the "Three Words That Hit the Point." This phrase refers to the specific manner in which the teaching is expounded in the text. Even though literally the title is "Three Words That Hit the Point," Garab Dorje's injunctions actually are not individual words. Rather they are phrases, and it would be more correct to say "three points" or "three injunctions." The image intended is that these three points are so incisive, so telling in a resolution of the view, that they are like weapons that kill something on the spot. What they kill is confusion. They are like a butcher who is expert at killing and knows exactly where to hit an animal so that it drops dead on the spot. So therefore, the next line of the root text reads, "HIT THE POINT WITH THREE WORDS." THE FIRST WORD: RECOGNIZE YOUR NATURE (the View) The first of these Three Words is the method by which the view of the Great Perfection may be identified, if

one has not yet recognized the view. Within the various vehicles of Buddha Dharma there exist different ways of presenting their respective views. In the causal vehicles, i.e. the various traditions connected with the sutras, the view is established by means of scripture and of reasoning and logical analysis. In the common tradition of Secret Mantra, i.e. the Vajrayana in general, the view is pointed out by means of the fourth stage of empowerment which depends upon the example, or similitude, established in the third stage of empowerment, and there exist many different ways of doing this. However, in Dzogchen neither of these two means is used. The holders of the practice lineages i.e. the lineages that have come from the adibuddha Samantabhadra down to Garab Dorje and through his lineage successors down to the present day, have always introduced the view to students by means of pointing out the dissolution of mind, pointing out where conceptual mind dissolves or disappears. For this to be successful, there first has to be some pacification of coarse conceptuality. If your mind is agitated by waves of confused thought, then these coarse thoughts, which are your mind running after various objects, obscure the true face of your mind. Under such circumstances, because of this obscuration by thought, you will not be able to identify and recognize your mind's true nature, even if your teacher points it out to you. At a minimum, coarse conceptuality must be allowed to be pacified naturally. Therefore, the next line of the root text says, "FIRST, ALLOW YOUR MIND TO SETTLE IN RELAXATION." Neither allow mind to be distracted nor attempt to fabricate anything, and in particular, do not try to figure it out. While it is the case that one's mind, allowed to rest naturally, is itself the luminous wisdom that one attempts to identify, one will not be able to recognize the nature of the mind as long as there is any fabrication present. Although the basic instruction is simple, namely to allow mind to settle completely and thereby to recognize the innate wisdom that is always present, for beginners, it is impossible for there not to be adulteration of some clinging to the various phenomena and experiences that arise. As one allows one's mind to come to rest the various qualities of that stillness will naturally arise, such as a sense of ease or bliss, an experience of clarity, and an experience of absence of conceptuality. There is nothing wrong with these experiences in themselves, but as long as one is a beginner, it is impossible that one not be caught by them, because one is experiencing a bliss and clarity and non-thought that one has never known before. Something must be introduced into one's practice that would enable one to break through the clinging to these experiences that will naturally arise. There has to be something that frees one from this fixation, because any fixation will obscure the recognition. What is necessary is something that will break through the shell of clinging and cause the innate wisdom to be unleashed, so that naked awareness is displayed unobstructedly. The next line leads up to what is needed, "THEREFORE, WHEN ONE IS AT REST IN THAT STATE, RESTING RELAXED AND EVENLY....." What is to be done is indicated in the line that follows, "SHOUT A SUDDEN PIERCING 'PHAT'." What does shouting "phat" do, and how does one shout "phat?" The function of shouting "phat" (pronounced "pay") is twofold. it cuts off the flow of conceptuality; it interrupts it. And it destroys any conceptual meditation. Anything conceptual, either meditative or non-meditative, that is occurring in your mind when you shout "phat", will be interrupted. For this to work, it is essential that one shout it in a certain way: iit has to be short, sharp and fierce! Thus, the next line in the root text, continuing after the line that said, "SHOUT A PIERCING 'PHAT' THAT STRIKES THE MIND," is, "FIERCE, SHARP AND SHORT. HOW WONDERFUL!" This means that you do not waft the sound "phat" on the wind in a melodious way. You also do not plan it and crank yourself up; you do not think, "OK I'm going to shout "phat" now." You do not prepare yourself for it. It should be sudden and abrupt - like thunder and lightening. Now why does Paltrul Rinpoche say, "How wonderful!" regarding this shouting of "phat?" What is so wonderful about doing this? When you do this, your mind loses for an instant all directedness, all fixation and that is liberation. In that instant, there is a flash of liberation. This is described in the next line of the root text which says, " AN OPENNESS THAT IS NOTHING WHATSOEVER," that cannot be characterized in any way as "this" or "that." This experience of the state of Dharmakaya, of the nature of things, which is characterized by being without any directedness or focus or fixation, is the wisdom that totally transcends the mind as we know it, it is the naked, unobscured experience of unobstructed awareness. In order to describe this, the next line says, "IT IS OPEN AND YET UNOBSTRUCTED."

I will give several translations of this line because there are no exact English equivalents of the Tibetan words in this sentence. The Tibetan word "hedewa," translated here as "open" means something like "blank," but this does not imply obscurity; it has a connotation almost of "glaring." As to the other word in this line, "sang telewa," think of it as three words all in one - "penetrating," "transparent," and "unobscured" or "unobstructed." Hence, the line says that this state is characterized by an openness, an absence of any kind of limitation, that is nonetheless an unobstructed or penetrating lucidity. This unobstructed awareness totally transcends any form of elaboration and is beyond existence and non-existence. It is unborn and unceasing. This inexpressible, innate wisdom totally transcends any attempt we might make to describe it or even to think of it. So therefore, the next line reads, "THIS TOTALLY OPEN, TRANSPARENT AWARENESS IS INEXPRESSIBLE." The Dharmakaya awareness which abides as the ground of one's being, which is the primordial purity beyond elaboration, is the very essence of the path of a practitioner of the Great Perfection. Until this one thing is recognized, no matter how much you meditate and no matter what you practice, it can never be anything other than a contrived and intellectually fabricated view and meditation. If this is not recognized, then no matter what you do and how you do it, you are farther away from the practice of the Great Perfection than the earth is from the sky. In other words, there is more distance between fabricated meditation and Dzogchen than there is between the earth and the sky. Until one recognizes this, one does not possess this essential point of continuous non-meditation, of uninterruptedly encountering one's own natural lucidity or luminosity. To recognize this is the most important thing of all, and therefore, the next line of the text says, "RECOGNIZE THIS DHARMAKAYA AWARENESS." This recognition is the first of the three vital points, and it constitutes the view. If the view has not been recognized, then there is nothing to maintain in meditation, since meditation is simply not being distracted from the view. So therefore, right at the beginning, this recognition or identification or awareness is essential. Furthermore, this is only the recognition of a wisdom that is innate within oneself. It is not at all like looking for, or trying to recognize, something outside oneself. Nor is it the generation of something new within the continuum of mind. It is not the case that this wisdom is not present until recognition is present. This innate wisdom has always been there. The only difference is that now one recognizes it, but this recognition did not generate the wisdom. Because what is recognized is something that has always been present within oneself, this first point is called "recognition within oneself." So of the "three words," which we would rather think of as three phrases or three points, the first is "recognition within oneself," and we have completed then that first of the three points." The Second Word: Decide On One Thing (the Meditation) In the last posting we completed the presentation of the first of the Three Words, which is the recognition within oneself of the innate wisdom that is the fundamental nature of one's mind and the ground of all experience. The second point is concerned with the manner in which one can bring this recognition into one's experience, through maintaining it in meditation. To begin with, if there has been no recognition of the innate wisdom, then there is nothing to meditate upon. There is no way to go further. That recognition must occur first. But once one has recognized the innate wisdom, the next concern is the cultivation of a meditation that is continuous and unbroken like the flow of a river, a meditation that consists of simply allowing the mind to rest naturally within that which has been recognized, and maintaining such a meditation in all situations and at all times. If one does not waver from this recognition, then it makes no difference what else is going on in one's mind. Therefore, other than resting within this recognition of the innate wisdom, there is no fabrication, change or effort that one needs to make. There is nothing else to do in meditation than simply to maintain that recognition. There is no need to attempt to establish a state of stillness, or to attempt to get rid of the movement of thought within the mind. If the mind rests within the recognition of innate wisdom, then the mind is manifesting as the nature of the Dharmakaya (our true nature), as the nature of that innate wisdom itself. If the mind is active, if there is the occurrence of thought within the mind, as long as this recognition is not lost, then whatever thought arises is merely the expression of that wisdom and is experienced as such, as the "magical display" of awareness. Hence, when there is recognition, then it becomes irrelevant whether there is stillness or occurrence in the mind. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "THEN IT

MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHETHER THERE IS OCCURRENCE OF THOUGHT OR STILLNESS." With regard to the occurrence of thought within the mind, examples of such thoughts are kleshas, such as aversion towards that which one perceives as threatening, or attachment towards that which one perceives as pleasant or as affording some kind of security. One would classify such thoughts as pertaining to the Second Noble Truth, the truth of the origin of suffering, since kleshas are the origin of suffering. Or there could be an experience of some kind of affect that is not itself particularly a klesha, such as delight or misery, happiness or depression, in which case the thoughts pertain to the First Noble truth, the truth of suffering. So, in the midst of recognition, whatever thought arises in one's mind, whether it is suffering or something that would normally cause suffering, if the recognition is not lost, then one sees the suchness, or the nature of these thoughts. One sees that these thoughts have no nature other than the innate wisdom itself. In that sense, whatever occurs in the mind, without any exception, is merely the uprising, or the expression of our own innate wisdom. The only issue here is the recognition of this, or the absence of recognition. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "WHETHER YOU EXPERIENCE AVERSION OR ATTACHMENT, WHETHER YOU ARE EXHILARATED OR DEPRESSED, MAKES NO DIFFERENCE." Since nothing other than resting in the recognition of innate wisdom is an issue in this practice, the maintainance of the recognition becomes the deciding factor. In other words, even though you may have recognized the view, recognized the innate wisdom, if you cannot maintain this recognition in meditation, then while the nature of thoughts could never pass beyond being the uprising of that innate wisdom, you will not recognize them as such because you are no longer recognizing the innate wisdom. Therefore, when you are distracted from this state of recognition, when you become lost in ordinary delusion, bewilderment, or confusion, then thoughts become independent. "Independent" here means unrecognized. At that point, it appears to you as though thoughts have solidity, have independent existence. And once you are without this recognition of thoughts as being merely the uprising of innate wisdom, then thoughts can bind you in Samsara and actually become causes of suffering. Thus, in the absence of recognition, your mind and Dharma have temporarily separated and are no longer keeping company. At that point, you are really no different from anyone else, you have no advantage. If you fall from the recognition back into ordinary confusion, then you accumulate karma just like everyone else. At all times and in all circumstances, a practitioner of Dzogchen must never depart from this natural settling into recognition that we refer to as non-meditation. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL SITUATIONS....." With regard to the mental afflictions, such as attachment, aversion, bewilderment, arrogance, jealousy and so on, and the various different kinds of conceptuality that can arise in the midst of this experience of alternating stillness and occurrence within the mind, in the common paths within Buddha Dharma one relies upon individual remedies to tame these afflictions. For example, one would tame attachment by means of meditation upon that which is disgusting (i.e. - such as taming "our ridiculous attachment to the body" by contemplating corpses) One would tame aversion by means of conscious cultivation of lovingkindness, and so on. In Dzogchen, we do not resort to separate remedies for separate mental afflictions, because the only issue here is the presence of and absence of recognition. And if there is recognition, then the mental afflictions are seen as being the expression of the nature, and therefore do not themselves pose a problem. Hence, this is called, the "application of one remedy which liberates everything." This liberation is complete; there is nothing that could possibly arise within your mind that from this point of view would require any special treatment. In the maintenance of the view that has been identified, in the continuing recognition of the innate wisdom, everything is taken care of. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "CONTINUALLY RECOGNIZE THE INNATE WISDOM, THE DHARMAKAYA." You will notice that there are two things that we are talking about here: the innate wisdom itself which is always present and has always been present, and the recognition of the innate wisdom which is not always present. This ever-present innate wisdom is the true nature of the mind, and therefore the nature of whatever arises within the mind: whatever thoughts and mental afflictions arise in the mind are not OTHER in nature than the innate wisdom. They cannot pass beyond that. If something is the nature of everything in a certain sphere, then anything that occurs within that sphere must partake of that nature. This innate wisdom, or naked awareness, that is the nature of all thoughts, is called the "ground clear light," or "ground Dharmakaya." It is also called the "mother clear light present as ground." Another rendition of the Tibetan term translated here as "clear light," is "luminosity" or "luminous clarity."

This mother clear light is the clear light that has always been inherent as the innate wisdom in all sentient beings; it has always been present as the ground. The recognition of it, the actual experience of clear light in your present meditation practice - while on the path, and as first pointed out to you by your teacher - is called the "path clear light of practice", or the "child clear light." It is likened to a child because at the moment of recognition, mother and child unite. The traditional analogy is that of a child jumping into it's mother's lap. To rest in the state in which the two clear lights of ground and path are indivisible, is called the "meeting of mother and child clear light." This state, in which path and ground have become united, is the state of non-meditation, of no more separation between meditation and post-meditation. So therefore, the next line of the text says, "AND LET THE MOTHER AND CHILD CLEAR LIGHTS WHO WERE PREVIOUSLY ACQUAINTED MEET AGAIN." This is they key to liberation in the interval between lifetimes, or the bardo. At the moment of death, one's mind and body are separated, and when this occurs, the ground clear light manifests extremely intensely. While one is alive there is a certain obscuration or limitation on one's experience because of one's physical embodiment. This obscuration is temporarily removed in the moment after death because of the separation of mind and body and because of the temporary suspension of the chain of habit patterns caused by the shock of dying. So there is a window, an opportunity, at the early phase of the bardo experience where the mother clear light, the ground of all experience, arises without any impediment in the experience of every being after their death. If one has not identified the clear light during one's lifetime, then this brief appearance of the mother clear light in the bardo doesn't do one any good. Because of not identifying it, one just reacts to it and is not liberated. But, if someone has cultivated the child clear light, has cultivated the recognition of the mother clear light in their lifetime, then that is the basis for their liberation in one instant in the bardo. All the various teachings of liberation in the bardo, such as the "Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo" (Bardo Thodol), which have come down to us in the tradition of the Great Perfection, depend upon this single point of the meeting of the mother and child clear lights having been cultivated during one's lifetime. "This gives further meaning to what was said at the beginning about the profundity and efficacy of the Luminous Great Perfection. For example, it was said that through the identification of the innate wisdom, or the ground, one can attain buddhahood in this lifetime, and even if one does not, then as the next line of the text said, "....AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T, YOU WILL BE SO HAPPY." This alludes to the fact that if the recognition of the innate wisdom has not been brought to full maturation in this life, it can be easily recognized in the bardo, because there is a direct, unobscured manifestation of the innate wisdom at the moment of death. And even if liberation does not occur at that moment, one will have the momentum to continue in future lives as well. The teaching of the Great Perfection is considered to be more profound than most Dharma for a number of reasons which principally hinge upon this direct and effective means for liberation either in this life or in the bardo. As long as one does not lose the recollection of the clear light, this recognition of one's innate wisdom, other than resting in this recognition, there is no issue with regard to meditation. No matter what arises in your mind, it is an expression of that innate wisdom. No matter what mental affliction or thought arises, there is no need whatsoever to attempt to alter or control any of it. There is no need to attempt to get rid of anything that arises or to add anything. As long as there is recognition, nothing that arises is a problem in any way. Also, there is no problem with anything not arising; there is nothing missing, and therefore, there is nothing that needs to be added. This is an extremely significant point, and it bears repeating; other than maintaining recognition, there is no need to attempt to reject anything that arises in the mind, and there is nothing that could possibly arise that has any special status whatsoever, that deserves any special attention or is considered in any way superior, or to be adopted as somehow special. So therefore, the next line of the text says, "SIMPLY REST IN INEXPRESSIBLE AWARENESS." W hen one attempts to rest for a long time in that recognition of the innate wisdom, then for a beginner, there will arise various experiences which are principally classified into three types: physical or mental pleasure, cognitive or other forms of lucidity or clarity, and non-conceptuality. These experiences of bliss, clarity and non-conceptuality are good, they are not bad. From one point of view we could say that they are signs that one is going through a process of meditation, and we could even call them short term benefits of the practice. However, they pose a problem from another point of view: while they are the natural outflow of innate wisdom, they are not in themselves the innate wisdom, and in a sense they are an occurrence like

everything else. Because they are attractive qualities, they tend to obscure one's direct recognition of that which is natural, which means the ground, the fundamental, unchanging, innate wisdom that is one's very nature. Because they obscure one's recognition, it is necessary that one be able to peel off the skin of these experiences, that one be able to separate direct recognition of the nature from the husk of the various experiences which arise for a beginner. If you peel off this obscuring layer of experience, then the innate wisdom will naturally shine, will be experienced from itself, naturally and without any kind of obscuration, brilliantly and lucidly. There is a traditional analogy for this. It is said that if the meditation of a practitioner is continually blown apart, that is good, just as when water flows quickly over a precipice and is constantly churned, it is clean. Water itself in neither clean nor dirty, but a river can collect all kinds of silt and other forms of matter, and if it is stagnant, the water is never separated from the silt. When it flows violently over a precipice, so that the water is churned and pounded, then it becomes clarified; the water starts to be clean and drinkable. In the same way, if you continually blow apart these particular experiences that arise in your mind, then they cannot adulterate or obscure your recognition of the nature. Hence, the next line says, "DESTROY AGAIN AND AGAIN TRANQUILITY, BLISS AND CLARITY." "How does one actually destroy (breakthrough) these experiences? When your mind is at rest, obviously there is a tranquility that is a characteristic of resting within the recognition of the nature. This tranquility then gives rise to an experience of lucidity, and this experience of lucid tranquility soon begins to flourish, because there is an experience of recognition, there is some delight that becomes a part of the content of meditation, even reaching an actual feeling of cheerfulness or comfort. Whenever any of these things arise - and they will arise because they are the natural outflow of the nature - they could obscure the recognition of the nature. To blow them apart, you use this forceful, sharp exclamation of "PHAT!" In the commentary, an analysis is provided of what the sound "phat!" consists of. It consists of two consonants that when linked together form this particular sound. The first consonant is an aspirated "pha," it is the method aspect. It summons together, it gathers you altogether. The second consonant is "tha," it is the knowledge aspect, and it cuts. When you put them together it is pronounced "pay." You have to take that on faith; it is a matter of Tibetan pronunciation. So the first consonant summons together and the second one cuts through. When, in the midst of an experience, you claim "PHAT" forcefully, like sudden thunder, it scatters your fixation on the experience. What has to be blown apart is the craving of fixation caused by the pleasant quality of the experience. And "phat!" does do that. it is necessary to apply this means whenever you are beginning to get caught by an experience. So, therefore, the next line of the text says, "SEND DOWN SUDDENLY THE CONSONANTS OF METHOD AND KNOWLEDGE." Other than maintaining at all times and in all situations, in an uninterrupted manner, like the flow of a river, that inexpressible, unobstructed awareness in direct experience, there is nothing separate to meditate upon. Because of that there is ultimately no distinction in this practice between even placement and subsequent attainment, or what we would normally call meditation and post meditation. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN MEDITATION AND POST MEDITATION." This means that what you are meditating on in a meditation session is your recognition of innate wisdom, and during your various activities, i.e. in your post meditation as well, you are simply trying to maintain this recognition of innate wisdom. Because there is no real distinction between meditation and post meditation, the next line says, "AND THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN SESSIONS AND BETWEEN-SESSIONS." Since there is no meditation as such, other than resting in the recognition of the innate wisdom, this is called the "great meditation of non-meditation." It is a meditation that transcends what we would normally call meditation. in this practice of maintaining uninterruptedly, like the constant flow of a river, the recognition of one's innate and pervasive wisdom, there is not even a bit of meditation involved. There isn't anything at all to which one is directing one's mind, there isn't anything to meditate upon. Hence the commentary says, "........THERE IS NOT SO MUCH AS A HAIR'S WORTH TO MEDITATE ON." On the other hand, if you are maintaining this recognition of innate wisdom uninterruptedly, then there is not even one moment of distraction. Therefore, it is traditionally said, "never engaging in meditation and never being without it." Never being separate from this non-meditation is a characteristic of this practice, and that is what is being indicated here. So the next line in the root text says, "CONTINUOUSLY ABIDE IN THE INSEPARABILITY," the inseparability of meditation and post meditation which is beyond what

we would normally call meditation. There was a famous teacher of the Dzogchen tradition who one day met a teacher of another tradition. The other teacher asked the Dzogchen teacher, "What to you actually meditate on?" The Dzogchen teacher answered, "I have never meditated." Then the other teacher asked, "Then you don't meditate?" And the Dzogchen teacher replied, "I have never ever been distracted." We explained the instruction to abide continuously in the recognition of our innate nature in which meditation and post-meditation are inseparable. This is possible when there is the perfect set of circumstances connected with the meeting of teacher and student. Three conditions have to be met for this degree of realization to occur: the teacher has to have complete realization, the student has to have intense devotion, and the lineage which the teacher holds has to be authentic and unimpaired. If these three conditions are present in their most complete form, then when the introduction is given the student will fully recognize awareness. What will occur is not a partial recognition but a full and complete and final recognition of innate awareness. This is called the "unleashing of realization." From that moment onward, for that practitioner, there is no distinction between meditation and post-meditation. In that instant of recognition the individual attains full realization; there is no gradual process to be gone through. This does not depend upon the background of the person. It has nothing to do with whether the student comes from a family of high social status or one of low status, whether they are a brahmin or an outcast, whether they are male or female. It has nothing to do with whether they are young or old, whether they are educated or uneducated; none of these variables have anything to do with this. It depends entirely on these three things, the realization of the teacher, the devotion of the student, and the authenticity of the lineage. This has occurred in the past and is still occurring today. This mode of instantaneous full realization that may occur under the most auspicious circumstances is the literal import of the original teachings of the Great Perfection; it is what you would call a classic case of Dzogchen realization. This type of liberation is possible for the sort of person who is what is called an "allat-oncer," someone who all at once attains realization, as soon as the innate wisdom is pointed out or introduced. This is really a kind of liberation through hearing. In such a case, a person in fact does not even need to practice meditation; they are simply given the introduction, and by hearing it they identify the innate wisdom and are liberated on the spot. In the tradition of Dzogchen, we find many instances of liberation through hearing, liberation through seeing, liberation through tasting, liberation through touching, and so on. Among these, this teaching is an example of liberation through hearing, in the most literal sense of the word liberation. If you are someone like that, then at the time of the introduction of the innate nature, you recognize it fully, without any doubt, and you are liberated instantaneously. For such a person, there is obviously nothing to meditate upon. An all-at-oncer never passes beyond that naturally occurring meditation, and for him or her there is no need for deliberate meditation or a separate meditation process. Everyone else, however, i.e. ordinary practitioners who still fall under the power of confusion of thoughts and conceptuality, who are not all-at-oncers but gradual progressors, have to consciously practice meditation. We have to actually engage in some effort, and we must do so until we attain stability. So therefore, the next line of the root text says, "HOWEVER, UNTIL STABILITY IS ATTAINED........" So, for ordinary practitioners, it is necessary to practice meditation until one attains stability. True experience in meditation arises only when the various causes and conditions of meditative stability are present. If you meditate in the midst of massive distraction and disturbances, then no matter how long you practice, you will probably not generate much experience, there will not be much of a result. So therefore, the next line in the test says, "........IT IS IMPORTANT TO MEDITATE HAVING ABANDONED DISTRACTIONS," which means to meditate with calm relaxed mind in a setting that is without distractions. You will remember that it is said that there is no distinction between meditation and post-meditation or between even placement and subsequent attainment. This is certainly true. However, in the beginning, that is until one has developed meditative stability in sessions of sitting meditation, the wisdom of experience cannot be brought out in post-meditation. Until one attains real stability in resting within the recognition of innate awareness in formal meditation sessions, how can one possibly experience that innate awareness when doing lots of

different things during the post-meditation period? So therefore, one has to begin by stabilizing meditation in formal sessions and then slowly mix it with postmeditation. If one does not do this, if one deemphasizes sitting meditation and attempts to cultivate this recognition in post-meditation alone, then no matter how much one tries to carry this recognition into the path of one's various activities, one is likely to fall into the error that is called, "losing the nature in vagueness." "Losing the nature in vagueness," means that all one will be maintaining in post-meditation is the intention, or attitude, of recognizing innate awareness. One will not actually be recognizing it; one will just be going around thinking, "Oh yes, innate awareness, innate awareness," but there will not really be a recognition. When Rinpoche received this instruction from the learned teacher Kunnu Rinpoche, Kunnu Rinpoche gave an example of this deviation of losing the nature in vagueness the way Tibetans chant the Tara Mantra nowadays. It is possible that if you have memorized something - and the Tara praises are something that almost every Tibetan over the age of four or five has memorized - then when you chant it, you do not think of the meaning as you chant, the recitation just becomes an automatic activity of mouth. You are chanting it, and you are thinking of other things, possibly you are even doing other things while you are chanting it; that is an analogy for this type of problem. You are not really doing it if you are just trying to do it in post meditation. So therefore, the root text says, "DIVIDE PRACTICE INTO SESSIONS." Once you have cultivated practice in sessions to the point where you are justifiably confident of being able to rest in the recognition of innate wisdom during sessions, then if you do not expand that into postmeditation, if you do not gradually mix this meditative awareness with post-meditation activities, then your meditation will not serve as a remedy for adverse conditions, such as emotional upheavals occurring within yourself or occurring because of external circumstances. In any case, your recognition of innate awareness, maintained during meditation, will only serve as a remedy to upheavals if you can also maintain it during the upheavals. Merely having this in meditation sessions but not being able to bring it into post-meditation is not sufficient. If you cannot do this, then in post-meditation you will be no different from an untrained person, you will as easily be overpowered by upheavals as anyone else. So therefore, it is extremely important to maintain an unimpeded post-meditative awareness. In other words, while meditation has to come first, it is not enough, it has to be expanded into post-meditation. Therefore, the text at this point says, "AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL SITUATIONS...." So one needs to maintain an unobstructed awareness at all times and in all situations. In the same way as in the meditation session, in post-meditation there is nothing to be meditated upon. You do not have to look for anything to be aware of and recognize other than innate awareness itself. The essence of the even placement of this meditation is not being separate from the view of the Dharmakaya, the recognition of innate wisdom. All your actions, all of your experiences, all of your thoughts, are naturally freed without fixation: literally, they become unreckoned. Unreckoned here means that nothing unseats you, nothing gets any special status that takes you away from awareness. In that even, undistracted recognition, whatever happens is of itself evened out or relaxed; nothing has to be done to your experience. Within that recognition you are not attempting to get rid of anything, or to add anything. You are not attempting to restrict your experience, nor are you attempting to introduce something new to it. Since you are maintaining an impartial, even recognition of this innate wisdom, all of the details of your experience, all the varieties of things that arise, are kind of floppy, flim-flammy, not solid. It does not imply that the intensity or vividness of experience is in anyway diminished. It is like cotton balls that are being blown back and forth by the wind: who cares, it's not a big deal; you are not looking which way it is going now. One of the most common metaphors for this is the experience of an eighty year old man watching the play of eight-year old children. Essentially, what the Tibetan expression refers to is experience without fixation. Because of all of that, the next line of the root text says, "FOSTER THE RECOGNITION OF EVERYTHING AS THE UPRISING, OR EXPRESSION OF INNATE WISDOM, THE DHARMAKAYA." "Uprising" here means "something taking a certain shape," as an expression of, or nothing other than, innate wisdom or Dharmakaya. Hence, the line says, "experience everything as an expression of the innate wisdom alone." Everything without exception is just of that nature, and there is nothing else that has to be looked for or meditated upon. This practice, which is the union of tranquility and insight, shamatha and vipashyana, the cultivation of that which is most natural, of the nature of things, of that which is beyond elaboration, this fostering of the

innate, unfabricated nature of mind and of all things, is the essence of all the various practices that have been taught in the tantras of the Vajrayana. It is the ultimate wisdom that is presented in the fourth empowerment, the final stage of empowerment in Vajrayana. It is the special Dharma of the practice lineages which is like a wish-fulfilling gem, like a jewel that bestows everything you need. It is the special teaching of the Dzogchen tradition, and it is the genuine, essential realization of all of the Indian and Tibetan Siddhas, both of the old translation school, the Nyingma, and of the new translation school, the Sarma, together with all of their lineages. Therefore, understand that there is nothing beyond this to search for, there is no other practice or realization that needs to be sought. This resolution that the innate awareness is all there is to discover, and that resting within that recognition is all one has to do is very important. The reason is that if you do not have that resolution, if you do not decide on that once and for all, you will always be looking for something better, for some other instruction. That puts you in the situation of someone who knows that there is an elephant hidden somewhere in his or her house but does not want to look in the house, and therefore goes outside and tries to find the elephant's footprints in the forest. Once you have determined that the elephant is in the house, you are only cheating yourself if you try to look for the elephant elsewhere. In the same way, if you do not resolve that there is nothing to pursue beyond this unfabricated and natural practice, if you still think there is something more still to be gained from fabrication, then you become lost in a forest of fabrication, attempting to contrive or create an enlightened state. You will never become awakened until you give that up. Therefore, it is very important to resolve the utter primacy of unfabricated awareness. Hence, the next line of the text says, " RESOLVE THAT THERE IS NOTHING BEYOND THIS." Rinpoche now goes on to tell a story about a young tulku of twelve years old. He was playing with his maternal uncle of around the same age. As they were playing they came across a villager who was making tsa tsas. Tsa tsas are little clay images of deities or stupas and other things that are made from a mold. There is a tradition of Tibetans doing this in order to avert obstacles, and often they will make tsa tsas every day, the same number as their age. The young tulku took one of the villager's molds, and they went off with it to play. They came to a river and the young tulku said, "Well, I've got the mold; I guess I'll make some tsa tsas. I'll make as many as my years, but as we don't have any clay, I'll have to make them out of water." So he started to impress this mold onto the water in the river, and his uncle saw that every time he did this, there would be an image of the deity in the water that was much more beautiful than the clay ones, with five-colored light reflected from the water. But every time his uncle tried to grasp it, it would disappear; he would still see them but he could not get a hold of them. As he was doing this, the young tulku looked at him and said, "Everything in Samsara and nirvana is just like that; if you try and grab it, it disappears and you spoil it. The source of all our problems is that we are always trying to grasp at things with our mind." I mention this story because it seems to make much the same point as what we have been studying in the text of the Three Words. The resolution that the innate wisdom of the Dharmakaya, that one has recognized, is itself the Buddha that has never been confused, and that there is nothing beyond this to search for, is the second essential point. To maintain the continuity of this recognition with the understanding that there is nothing superior to this to be discovered, is included in this second essential point. Therefore, the text says, "THIS IS THE SECOND POINT: DIRECT SINGLE RESOLUTION." To recapitulate, the first point was recognition within oneself. There are two possibilities of recognition. On is that when this innate wisdom is pointed out, there will be complete, final recognition of the innate wisdom. In that case one only needs to resolve that there is nothing better to be attained, nothing else to find, and that is the second essential point, resolution. In other words, at that juncture, it is necessary for the practitioner to resolve once and for all that what they have recognized is indeed that which is to be recognized. The other possibility is that when the introduction is given, one may be uncertain of the degree of one's recognition. In that situation, which is quite common, one has to use the various approaches to meditation and post-meditation that have been explained in the commentary on this second point. In particular, one needs to consult with an experienced teacher, someone who has clear realization. If one attempts to resolve one's doubts within oneself, one may deceive oneself. If in the initial stage one has a complete recognition of utterly exposed awareness, awareness that is unadulterated by any kind of partiality, then from that point onward there is no need to consult with or ask anyone anything.

There is a saying in this lineage, "Rely long upon a teacher, and listen for a long time." If you are in doubt about the view, and for as long as you are in doubt, you need to constantly clarify your recognition by relying upon a qualified teacher, again and again receiving instruction and discussing your experience with the teacher. Eventually that will lead to a genuine recognition of the view. The only reason why one would need to rely upon a teacher and listen to teachings for a long time is this need for gradual clarification or correction of one's understanding of the view. There is a possibility of getting confused if you attempt to come to resolution without sufficient guidance. The following story illustrates this possibility. The first Dodrubchen Rinpoche, Jigme Thrinley Odzer, who was the student of Jigme Lingpa, had many students in Kham, in eastern Tibet, and was widely known for his teaching this approach of the Three Words. They became such a household word that everyone had heard about them. You would see people coming and going from his residence in his retreat center saying, "What do you practice?" answering with, "Oh, I'm meditating on the Three Words." This teaching became so well known that a fellow who was not the swiftest person in the world heard about it and decided, "That sounds good, this teaching in three phases that bestows liberation quickly, that's exactly what I need." So he went to receive this instruction. He was quite devoted to Dodrupchen Rinpoche and he thought, "If I stick around long enough and serve him, then at some point he will say those three words, and I will get the transmission." So he stayed around, and probably a lot of what he needed was taught, but he did not particularly notice it, he was waiting for Dodrupchen Rinpoche to say some particular three phases. One day he was serving tea to Dodrupchen Rinpoche, and as he was a little inattentive, he did it somewhat carelessly, spilling some tea. Now, this person was distinguished by possessing a rather large and extremely red nose that was pock marked and that looked exactly like a kind of berry that grows in Tibet and India, called raksha berry. Therefore, he was nicked named Raksha Nose. When he spilled the tea, Dodrupchen Rinpoche looked at him and said, "Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose!" He was overjoyed, left Dodrupchen Rinpoche and went into strict solitary retreat, spending all his time saying, "Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose. Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose," because he figured it was a Mantra, and he knew that everybody said Mantra. He had absolutely no doubt that these were the Three Words, and that this was how they were to be used, and he had genuine devotion for Dodrupchen Rinpoche. Because of his devotion and because of the intensity of his practice, he started being able to heal the sick. When animals or humans in his region became ill, all he had to do was to say his Mantra, "Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose" and blow on them or hit them with his mala, and they would get better. Eventually he acquired quite a reputation in his locality as a healer. So by this point he had resolved what he thought was the meaning of the teaching. Dodrupchen Rinpoche became ill with an separated ulcer in his throat, an inflamed, pus-containing swelling that would not drain. His students were concerned about this, and eventually the news made its way to this fellow, nicknamed Raksha Nose. When he heard the news he thought, "I am able to heal animals and humans, I should obviously go and heal my teacher." So he went there and went right into Dodrupchen's room, saw him sitting there and just said to him, "Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose," and hit him as hard as he could with his mala. Dodrupchen was so astonished by this that he collapsed with laughter and as he laughed, the ulcer broke open, the pus drained, and he felt much better. Then he turned to the man and said, "Who are you?" Raksha Nose said, "I'm your student, and I've been practicing your famous instruction of the Three Words." Dodrupchen asked, "Just what Three Words have you been practicing?" The man said, "What I have just used to heal you: Look what you do when you pour tea, Raksha Nose." Dodrupchen said, "Well, actually those aren't the Three Words." Eventually, he taught him this instruction of the Three Vital Points, and Raksha Nose went into retreat again and became an excellent practitioner. THE THIRD WORD: GAIN CONFIDENCE IN LIBERATION (the Conduct) In any situation in which strong attachment arises for an object of the senses that is perceived as desirable, such as a form you see with your eyes, or a sound you hear with your ears, or a smell that you smell, or something you taste, or a tactile sensation, or similarly when there is a strong arising of aversion toward an experience or object of the senses that is perceived as unpleasant or threatening, or when you become slightly intoxicated with delight over some kind of prosperity or enjoyment, or over getting what you want, or when you feel miserable because of unpleasant conditions or being ill, and so forth, in all of these situations, what is fundamentally occurring, from the point of view of this practice, is that the display of

awareness is arising. In other words, whatever arises is nothing other than the display of this fundamental nature. Because that is the case, it is extremely important to recognize the innate wisdom in what arises, the wisdom that is the basis of liberation. It is important that you let the arising not sway you from this recognition, but rather intensify it in such a situation. Therefore, in the root text it says, "IN THAT SITUATION (MEANING AT THE TIME OF PRACTICE) WHEN ATTACHMENT OR AVERSION, DELIGHT OR MISERY ARISE...." This need for recognition is not limited only to the arising of strong afflictions such as strong attachment or aversion. As long as you do not possess this essential point of simultaneous arising and liberation in your meditation, as long as you do not recognize that whatever arises in the mind is the expression of awareness, all the under-currents of thought that arises in your mind, all of the thoughts that are flowing unnoticed beneath your meditative stability, will accumulate samsaric karmas. If you are resting in a state of meditation, and you do not experience thoughts, but there is still an undercurrent of thought that is flowing through but does not particularly bother you, you are still accumulating karma, that thought, those thoughts, are not being revealed and recognized. All thoughts, whether coarse or very subtle, a mere undercurrent, have to be recognized and liberated as they arise, through this essential point of experiencing them as the expression of awareness, even if they do not plainly distract you from that recognition of awareness. Therefore, the root text says at this point, "ALL SUDDEN THOUGHTS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, MUST BE RECOGNIZED...." The key point of recognition is that there is a liberation simultaneous with the arising of the thought, which means it leaves no trace. This is explained in the commentary as follows, "Whatever thought arises, and especially the undercurrent of thought that is constantly going on, that does not manifest into full consciousness, that does not become loud enough to really disturb us, has to be recognized and liberated." This undercurrent of thought is like water that is flowing through high grass growing in a field. The water may be flowing around the bottom of the grass but you will not see it: if you go by the field, it will look like a dry field of grass but actually it is full of water. Something similar is happening in your mind all the time, and as long as that is not exposed and liberated, the undercurrent still constitutes a vague kind of confusion that adulterates the meditation. So that has to be recognized, and recognition means that there has to be a liberation of the thought as it arises. As long as you are not distracted from this recognition, whatever arises in the mind is directly seen, even at the moment of its arising, as nothing other than the display of innate awareness. Therefore, even as it arises, thought is liberated. Liberation upon arising means that thought leaves no trace. It does not produce karma, it does not lead to any further thought, it does not leave a trace in the mind. For this liberation to occur, there has to be present what is called a "natural mindfulness." If you have recognized the innate wisdom and are resting in that recognition, then there is a natural mindfulness present in the mind that will reveal and recognize the nature of whatever arises in the mind, including the undercurrent. This is not a heavy handed, intentional mindfulness, as though you were holding some kind of hook that you use to try to pull thoughts up from the undercurrent into the field of easy recognition. It is a mindfulness that is naturally present, based on your being settled in the recognition of the nature of innate awareness. It is necessary to recognize whatever thought arises and not just to recognize its arising but also to recognize its nature. What will happen then is that thoughts will be liberated upon arising; they will not leave any trace. The analogy for this in the text is "LIKE A DESIGN DRAWN ON WATER." Even as the design is being drawn, it already vanishes; it does not persist, it does not in any way change the water, or leave a trace in it. That is what needs to happen with all thoughts, including the undercurrent. Therefore, the root text says at this point, "WITHIN RECOGNITION NO TRACE IS LEFT." With regard to that recognition of thought, to repeat, it means more than simply recognizing the arising of a thought (or smell, or tastes, or sound, or sight, or feeling, or sensation) it means the self-liberation of the thought. Merely to recognize the presence or arising of a thought (or sound, or sight or....etc) does not sever the production of karma by that thought; however, the self-liberation of that thought does. Selfliberation means that at the very moment at which the thought is recognized, one sees the face of one's own awareness. Just as the arising of the thought did not distract you from the recognition of the innate nature, the recognition of the thought must also not distract you from the recognition of the nature. Because there is a direct, totally unfiltered recognition of awareness in the midst of the recognition of the thought, you continue to recognize the innate wisdom that you have been recognizing all along. You remain in that state, resting in the state of recognition, and therefore, thought vanishes without a trace. In

this case, recognition means that neither the thought nor the awareness of the thought distracts you from the recognition of awareness itself. And that, the text says, is a very important point about the liberation of thought. To drive home this essential point, neither the thought nor the recognition of the thought, and the recognition of its nature, distracts you from recognition of the innate awareness, and as a consequence, thought vanishes without a trace. The mere recognition of it will not do that. Because of that, the text says at this point, "RECOGNIZE THE DHARMAKAYA, WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF LIBERATION." Again, recognition of thought here means recognizing the nature, not just recognizing the presence of thought. This causes the thought to vanish like a design drawn on water; as the thought is arising, it already vanishes. It is experienced as having no duration and no aftereffect. Just as for a design drawn on water there is the simultaneous appearance and dissolution of the design, so with thought there is a simultaneous occurrence of arising and liberation. Self-liberation means that just as thought arises of itself, it liberates by itself. You do not intentionally generate a thought, and you do not intentionally get rid of it, it is self-arisen and self-liberated. Because you are not distracted from the recognition of the innate awareness, the thought is self-liberated as it arises. As long as you rest in the innate awareness, this self-arising and self-liberating quality of thought is unbroken and continuous. Because of the fact that the arising and self-liberation are simultaneous, the text says at this point, "FOR EXAMPLE, IT IS LIKE A DESIGN DRAWN ON WATER." From this it also follows that you in no way attempt to prevent thoughts from arising. Whatever for the thought takes, whether it is normally what you would consider a good thought or an unpleasant thought, makes no difference. Because you never waver from the recognition of the innate nature, which includes the nature of thought, whatever thought arises is liberated by being recognized as an expression of this nature. This must be held as a very important part of meditation practice. So therefore, the text at this point says, "THERE IS AN UNCEASING CONTINUITY OF SELF-ARISING AND SELF-LIBERATION OF THOUGHT." When one uses thoughts in this way to train in the recognition of the Dharmakaya, of innate awareness, whatever thought arises becomes an opportunity to train in the recognition of this awareness. When thoughts are self-liberated like this, not only do they not pose a problem, they actually become an opportunity for enhancement. When the arising of a thought is seen as an arising of awareness, when thought is recognized as being of the fundamental nature of that innate awareness, then the coarser and more outrageous a thought is, the more clarity and sharpness of awareness it actually brings up. Since there has been no separation of awareness and occurrence in the mind, no matter how intense a thought is, the recognizing and liberating awareness that occurs simultaneous with it will be equally intense. Because of that, the root text says next, "WHATEVER THOUGHT ARISES IN THE MIND IS FOOD FOR NAKED AWARENESS AND EMPTINESS." This brings up a crucial point that distinguishes Dzogchen meditation from other approaches. In most approaches to meditation, one is told either that one has to get thoughts to stop altogether, or at least one has to ameliorate their content. Some thoughts are alright and other thoughts are not; one has to try to clean them up a bit. But in Dzogchen, we view thoughts as a source of great help in our meditation practice. Because as long as there is sufficient stability of recognition, all that thoughts do is to bring out further clarity of awareness. Even the most outrageous thought, such as fierce anger or intense desire or pride, whatever arises in the mind, is only fuel that will cause one's awareness to be even clearer. An analogy that is given for this is a big fire. Once a fire is strong enough, whatever you throw into it just makes it burns more. Whether the grass and wood and trees that go into a bonfire are wet or dry, the fire will burn them up and they will not put the fire out. In the same way, intense thoughts and mental afflictions that arise in the mind do not have to be chased out or censored in any way, all they will do, as long as there is recognition, is to produce more and more intensity of awareness. Since whatever thought arises in the mind is recognized as the play of one's own awareness, this thought does not obstruct the recognition of awareness. Consequently, there is no need to reject or discriminate among thoughts. There is no thought that is too coarse to be recognized in this way and no thought that is so good that it has any special value. Because one maintains this impartiality in the recognition of the nature of thought, all thoughts are liberated as they arise. Because of that, nothing that arises in the mind is experienced as other than the expression of Dharmakaya, of innate awareness. So therefore, the root text says, "WHATEVER OCCURS IN THE MIND IS THE DISPLAY OF THE ROYAL DHARMAKAYA." When thoughts are experienced in this way, then the conceptuality of mind, which is nothing other than

ignorance, and all of the various forms which that ignorance can take, is purified into the expanse of wisdom awareness of the Dharmakaya. In being recognized as never having a nature other than that, thoughts do not leave traces, and thus do not manifest true impurity; therefore, they are purified. As long as this recognition is maintained, this purification is unceasing. It is not better at some times and worse at other times, or present at some times and absent at other times. As long as the fundamental recognition of innate awareness is maintained, whatever thought arises in the mind is in its essence empty and is experienced as the expression of that emptiness. So therefore, the root text says, "THOUGHTS ARE PURIFIED BY THEMSELVES AND LEAVE NO TRACE. HOW WONDERFUL!" The word for "becoming accustomed to something" in Tibetan is etymologically closely related to the word for meditation, and there is a saying in the Dzogchen tradition, "There is nothing to meditate upon, but there is a process of getting used to it." So when you become accustomed to this approach to thought, then thought itself arises as meditation, and you finally heal the split between stillness and occurrence in the mind. In this practice, there is no preference with regard to whether the mind has thoughts or does not have thoughts. Even when thoughts arise, they in no way impede your stillness, the stillness of course being the stillness of recognition. The arising of thoughts in no way harms your meditation anymore. So therefore, the text says, "THE WAY THOUGHTS ARISE IS JUST AS BEFORE." When you are accustomed to this practice, that does not mean that thoughts will not arise. In fact, apart from their being recognized as the display of innate awareness, the variety of thoughts that arise, for example, as delight or displeasure, hope or fear, is exactly like the way thoughts arise for anyone else, for an untrained person. The difference is explained in the next line of the text: an ordinary person gets caught by thought, clings to thought, reacts to thought with a heavy-handedness, a solidification, that consists of trying to hold onto thoughts and states of mind that are perceived as pleasant and as creating security, and attempting to get rid of, or being frightened by, thoughts and state of mind that are perceived as unpleasant or as threatening. Because of this reaction to thought, the ordinary person accumulates karma and comes under the power of his or her attachment and aversion. Of course, the whole process of Samsara rests on that. In this practice, thoughts naturally arise, and the variety of thoughts that arise is the same, but since for the practitioner these thoughts are liberated simultaneously with their arising, they do not accumulate karma. Thus, the difference between the practitioner and the untrained person in not in the arising or non-arising of thoughts, but in whether thoughts are fixated on or liberated. The liberation of thoughts has several qualities or aspects. The first is that thoughts are liberated as soon as they are recognized. This is like meeting a person you already know. If you can imagine that you lived with someone for a long time, and then you moved to a different city, and then you do not see them for a few years, but then all of a sudden you meet them again in the street, you would recognize that person immediately. You would immediately know that person to be your old friend. In the same way, thoughts are liberated in the instant of their recognition because they are recognized as being nothing other than the display of innate awareness. The second aspect of the liberation of thought is that thoughts are self-liberated without one's having to intentionally free them or purify them. The analogy used for this is like the knot that snakes sometimes tie themselves into. A knot tied into a snake does not have to be untied by anyone because it unravels by itself. In the same way, once the practitioner gains an immediate recognition of innate awareness, there is no need to apply any additional technique at all. The same moment a thought starts to move, the thought is liberated by itself. The third aspect of the liberation of thought is that all thought activity is naturally liberated without any harm or benefit whatsoever. This is like a thief entering an empty house; the thief does not gain anything, and the house does not lose anything. From all of this, it is clear that the experience of a practitioner and the experience of an untrained person are vastly different, even thought the thoughts that arises for them may not be different at all. What distinguishes the practitioner from an untrained person is the continual self- liberation of thought, not the manner of the arising of thought itself. So, therefore, continuing from the previous line which went, "WHILE THOUGHTS ARISE JUST AS THEY DID BEFORE..." then the text says,"...THERE IS A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE IN THE MANNER OF THEIR BEING LIBERATED." If one lacks this liberation quality, this third essential point, which is the self-liberation of thought, then the following quotation, which is not from Paltrul Rinpoche's text but from elsewhere, describes one's situation:

"Knowing meditation but not liberation, in what way are you different from the gods of dhyana?" The 'gods of dhyana' are the gods of the form and formless realms who abide in states of one-pointed shamatha, or tranquility, that is without the recognition and self-liberation of thought. What is being said here is that if you maintain a meditative state that does not enable you to bring about the self-liberation of thoughts (freedom from all clinging and fixations) it is of no significance. As the commentary says, "Those who place their trust in a meditation which is merely a one-pointed tranquillity that lacks this crucial point of liberation are deviating into the meditative states of the form and formless realms." In other words, those who think that it is sufficient merely to be able to recognize stillness and thought occurrence, merely to be able to tell the difference between there being or not being a thought, are not much different from untrained people, in their being at the mercy of confused conceptuality. The gods of the form and formless realms lead a comparatively delightful existence, because they abide in one-pointed tranquillity; the problem only is that while they remain in that state for eons and eons, eventually it does end and then they are still within Samsara. It is still a samsaric state and therefore ultimately useless. One-pointed tranquillity without this crucial point of liberation is not the only thing that is not of much use; if you attempt to conceptually seal your practice with some kind of contrived attitude, this will not do much good either. For example, if you try to tell yourself, "Whatever arises is of the nature of emptiness, whatever arises is of the nature of the Dharmakaya," if this is merely a programming of your own mind, then although you may get away with that while you are meditating, as soon as you encounter any kind of upheaval, the uselessness and ineffectiveness of this exercise will immediately be revealed. You will not be able to withstand the test of upheaval or adverse conditions on the basis of a conceptually simulated experience of the innate nature. Because neither a one-pointed tranquillity nor a conceptually simulated recognition is of any use ultimately, the root text says, "WITHOUT THIS, MEDITATION IS THE PATH OF CONFUSION." With regard to this crucial point of the self-liberation of thought, you can look at it from different angles, or apply different analogies to it; it can be referred to as liberation simultaneous with appearance, or selfliberation, or direct liberation. In whatever way you wish to refer to it, it comes down to one thing: the self-liberation of thoughts so that they leave no trace, produce no karma, leave no remainder, no trace. All the different terms come down to this one thing; and this direct, immediate, and directly experienced selfliberation of thought is the uncommon, special feature that makes Dzogchen unique. Earlier, we saw what happens if you do not possess this crucial point of liberation. But if you do possess it, then no matter what mental affliction or thought arises in your mind, it will always arise as the innate wisdom, it will always arise as an expression of this (non dual)innate wisdom. Therefore, once this point of liberation is gained, confused thought as we knew it has been purified and vanquished. Again, previously we saw how you could not withstand adverse conditions and upheavals without having gained this point, but when you possess this point, since everything depends upon thought, you can withstand any kind of upheaval, any kind of circumstance. Therefore, no matter happens to you, even the most adverse conditions will assist your practice, will arise as a friend. This approach is equivalent to taking mental afflictions on the path, because they no longer pose any problem. It is the purification in place of Samsara, without Samsara being abandoned. There is a shift, and it is no longer Samsara. It is liberation both from existence and tranquillity. Liberation from existence means liberation from the realms of desire, form and formlessness; liberation from tranquillity means that you totally cut through the hope of attaining nirvana, you cut through any hope of escape. This approach is the ultimate resolution into a mode of experience in which there is nothing remaining for you to do; there is no effort that needs to be applied. The word used here for "resolution" literally means, "to get beyond the mountain pass," to "make it over." It is a true, final resolution. because everything hinges on this point of liberation, the root text says in the next line, "IF YOU POSSESS THIS, EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T MEDITATE, YOU ABIDE WITHIN THE EXPANSE OF INNATE WISDOM, WITHIN DHARMAKAYA." If you do not possess the confidence of this liberation, then no matter how high your view is, or how high you think it is, and no matter how deep you meditative absorption appears to be, it will do you mind not the slightest bit of good. It will not in any way serve as a real remedy for mental affliction. It will not be a genuine path, because the definition of a genuine path, from the Buddhist point of view, is that it actually tame the mind, actually be a remedy for mental afflictions. Therefore, a high view and a deep meditation that lack this point of liberation are useless. If on the other hand, you do possess this one point of self-arising liberation of thought, then even if you do

not have the slightest idea of what a high view might be, or the slightest conceptual understanding of the view, and even if you do not have one atom of what you would identify as profoundity in your meditative samadhi, it is impossible that you not be liberated from the bondage of dualistic fixation. If you travel to an island on which every single thing is made of gold, then no matter where you look, you are never going to find ordinary rocks or trees or earth. In the same way, once this point of liberation is gained, no matter what arises in your mind, no matter what the thoughts consist of, even if you look for any karmic process of confusion, you will not find it because it is not there anymore. Even if you look for independent confusion, you will not find it. You have thoughts that arise, but they vanish without a trace. "Independent confusion" that is actually going somewhere, i.e. confusion in which thoughts not only arise, but they lead to a second thought, and so on. This third vital point itself is the measure, or literally the chalk line, that decides whether your practice is going anywhere or not: it all depends on this one point. So therefore, the next line in the root text says, "THIS IS THE THIRD VITAL POINT WHICH IS CALLED 'DIRECT CONFIDENCE' IN LIBERATION." briefly then, the three points are recognition, resolution and liberation.

Closing Section of the Text


These three points, recognition within oneself, direct single resolution, and immediate confidence of liberation, are the essence of the Natural Great Perfection. They are the essence all at once, not only of the view, but also of meditation, and of conduct or action. They all point to the essence of the entire Great Perfection which is unobstructed awareness. While, as expressly stated, these three points are all really concerned with the view, since view, meditation and conduct are all really the same thing, it also includes the meditation and conduct. Normally, in any theoretical exposition of Buddhism based on texts and treatises, when we use the term "view" we mean the evaluation of objects of knowledge performed by the intellect using valid cognition and logical rigor. However, that is not what the view is in the context of the Great Perfection. From the perspective of the Great Perfection, the view is direct realization or recognition of that unobscured and unobstructed wisdom, innate awareness. It is called the view of awareness that is wisdom. And since the view, meditation and conduct are really three aspects of the same thing, since they all depend on this one quality of unobstructed awareness, you can consider everything that has been taught up to this point as exposition of the view itself. So therefore, the root text says in the next line, "WHEN ONE POSSESSES THE VIEW ENDOWED WITH THE THREE VITAL POINTS...." In general, the teachings of the Luminous Great Perfection can be divided into three categories which are called the mind section, the space section, and the secret oral instruction section. Of these three, the one which is considered the most profound is the secret instruction section. It is from that section of the Great Perfection that Paltrul Rinpoche's text is drawn. Within the secret instruction section there are four subcatagories, the outer cycle, the inner cycle, the secret cycle and the super secret or supreme cycle. From among these four subcatagories, this text is drawn from the supersecret cycle. The original textual basis for these teachings are the seventeen tantras of the supreme cycle of the instruction section. The essence of these tantras, together with the oral lineage instructions and all of the textual commentaries which have been composed, can be summed up as the Three Points that Garab Dorje bequeathed upon Manjushrimitra at the time of his parinirvana. Until Paltrul Rinpoche composed this text in the nineteenth century, it was kept as an oral instruction that was passed from teacher to student. Paltrul Rinpoche then composed the text in order to prevent this tradition from dying out. The practice of the view that has been explained so far is the essential point of the path of primordial purity of the Great Perfection. As was explained at the beginning, there are two aspects of Dzogchen practice: one is Trekcho, or "breakthrough," which is the cultivation of primordial purity, and the other is Thogal, or "leapover," which is the cultivation of spontaneous presence. This system of instructions presents the innermost essence of the practice of Trekcho, the cultivation of primordial purity. Since the text presents the quintessence of this practice in an unmistaken format, it is really the apex of the nine vehicles into which the Nyingma tradition divides all Buddha Dharma. One can say that, on one hand, all other Dharma serves as an approach to this pinnacle of teaching, and on the other hand, since it is the final aim of all Dharma to bring about this realization, that all Dharma is included in this. The analogy that is given in the commentary is that of a king who goes to visit somewhere; he never travels alone, he is always accompanied by a retinue, his attendants, body guards,and so on. In the same way, when the king of Dharma, the Great Perfection, is present in an individual, then automatically all the other aspects of Dharma are present along with that.

When you encounter, in a final, decisive way, your own primordially pure awareness, which is referred to here as the self-arisen lamp, or torch of wisdom, the natural result of that encounter is the blazing forth of what is called the "knowledge which arises from meditation." Generally speaking, there is knowledge that comes from study and reflection, and there is knowledge that comes from meditation, that is not based on learning. When there is the recognition of innate awareness, then without your becoming learned in a conventional way, an understanding of all things burst forth from within you. As is said in the commentary, "the expanse of wisdom will over flow from your realization just like rivers bursting their banks in summer." When you have a true recognition of innate awareness, you naturally have an unconfused understanding of the nature of each and everything. An example of this is the omniscient Jigme Lingpa. Jigme Lingpa was a prodigy who never really studied; he never engaged in active scholarship. He went into retreat and meditated and when he attained full realization of awareness, there burst forth from within him an understanding of all areas of knowledge that was in his day unmatched in the entire country of Tibet. He attained this understanding without having to separately study each discipline or area of knowledge. Hence, as a natural outflow of the recognition of the view, there will be a characteristic of unimpeded knowledge or wisdom. Moreover, the innate nature that is being recognized, the Dharmakaya or innate awareness or wisdom, which is nothing other than emptiness, arises as great compassion. In other words, the affect of this realization is great compassion: it is a natural consequence of this realization that the person who possesses it also possesses impartial compassion. So therefore, in the next line of the text it says, "...THIS WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE MEDITATION THAT IS THE INTEGRATION OF WISDOM AND COMPASSION." You will remember that this was referred to in the second line of the root text as "light rays of wisdom and loving-kindness." When such a path, which is the unification of th recognition of emptiness and the arising of impartial great compassion is attained, then automatically the conduct of the children of the Buddhas. i.e. the bodhisattvas, is attained - just as when the sun has risen, automatically its rays are present. Just as the sun and its rays can never be separated, when such a view and meditation is present, then automatically the person will engage in the practice of the six perfections of generosity, morality, patience, diligence, meditative stability and knowledge. Moreover, since by means of such conduct this person continually produces more and more merit, they naturally are of great benefit to others, and they escape falling into error of what is called "peace and happiness," which means the state of the arhat. An arhat is undeniably liberated from Samsara, an arhat, as the word implies, has conquered that which binds one in Samsara, but he is immersed in a state of tranquillity and cessation such that he cannot actively benefit others. Because of the conduct which ensues from the realization of the Great Perfection, that deviation will never occur. One will be continually benefiting others and avoiding the deviation of a one-sided cessation or nirvana. So therefore, the next line in the text says, "....AND THIS IS ACCOMPANIED BY THE CONDUCT WHICH IS THAT OF ALL BODHISATTVAS." "Such a view, meditation and conduct is the quintessence of the realization of all the Buddhas of the past, present and future. It is the very essence of the realization of all holders of this lineage, the apex and final destination of all vehicles, the essence of the path of the Nyingthig, or heart essence, the innermost essence of vajra nature, and the very quintessence of the essence of the final result or fruition. Because of that, the root text says in the next two lines, "EVEN IF YOU GATHERED ALL THE BUDDHAS TOGETHER AND HELD A MEETING TO FIND THE BEST TEACHING, YOU WOULD NOT FIND ANY INSTRUCTION SUPERIOR TO THIS." While the meaning of what is presented in this text, as opposed to the particular words with which Paltrul Rinpoche presents it, is definitely the essence of the oral instructions which have come down through the lineage - originating with Garab Dorje"s presentation of the three vital points - even such a short presentation of them as this must arise as the display of the awareness of the writer; otherwise there would be no way to accurately set down these instructions in writing. So therefore, the next line in the text says, "THE TREASURE DISCOVERER OF THE DHARMAKAYA, THE DISPLAY OF AWARENESS, HAS TAKEN THIS TEXT AS TREASURE FROM WITHIN THE EXPANSE OF KNOWLEDGE." In his commentary, in explaining the second line, Paltrul Rinpoche deliberately puts himself down. He does this because his personality was like that - he had no arrogance -, and because it is the proper way to write about yourself. He says that, "while I have no practical experience of these things through the wisdom arising from meditation, this is the unmistaken presentation of the oral instructions I have heard

from my holy guru, and I have also thoroughly scrutinized this material with the wisdom which arises from listening to the teachings and have composed this with the wisdom of reflection." Of course, when he says that he has no practical experience of these things in meditation, he is equivocating. On the contrary, one would understand this to be a statement saying that in his composition of the text, he has integrated the oral teachings he heard from his root guru, Gyalwai Nyugu, with his own understanding, his own wisdom and realization, or as put in the text, his wisdom of hearing, reflection and meditation. Moreover, as the next line of the root text says, " THIS IS TOTALLY UNLIKE WHAT IS FOUND IN THE GROUND OR PROCESSED FROM ORE." In other words, this teaching is far more precious than gold or jewels. As was explained earlier, these three statements of the view were originally expounded by the great teacher, Garab Dorje, and the name of this system of instructions, which came to be attached to this text by Paltrul Rinpoche, but which in fact is a generic name from Garab Dorje's original teaching, is the "Three Words That Hit the Point," or we would say, the "Three Vital Points." These instructions originally arose as the time of Garab Dorje's parinirvana in response to the devoted supplication of his lineage successor Manjushrimitra. From within a massive expanse of light in the sky, Garab Dorje presented these teachings, and at that moment Manjushrimitra attained the same realization as his teacher. Since these are the instructions with which the lineage was passed on from Garab Dorje to Manjushrimitra, and since these were also Garab Dorje's final words, the next line in the root text says, "THIS IS THE FINAL TESTAMENT OF GARAB DORJE." The ultimate realization or essence of this instruction was passed down through the lineage, and it fell to Longchen Rabjampa, who is sometimes referred to as the Omniscient King of Dharma. In his lifetime during the fourteenth century, Longchenpa on the basis of this very instruction, attained the "great exhaustion of all phenomena into primordial purity." He manifested the full realization of buddhahood, exactly what Buddha Shakyamuni himself attained at Bodhgaya, and therefore became a full and complete Buddha in that very life. He embodied the first of what are called the three lineages which are always present in the Dzogchen transmission, i.e. the "lineage of the thought of the victorious ones," which means the lineage that embodies the full realization, beyond expression or communication, of buddhahood. In the eighteenth century, the vidyadhara, or holder of wisdom, Jigme Lingpa, was in a solitary three-year retreat in the caves of Chimpu, above Samya monastery in central Tibet, and to him Longchenpa manifested by displaying his wisdom body, i.e. he actually appeared directly and communicated his wisdom to Jigme Lingpa. He engulfed Jigme Lingpa with his splendor to such an extent that realization burst forth from within Jigme Lingpa spontaneously. This transmission that occurred from Longchenpa directly to Jigme Lingpa is the second of the three lineages and is called the "lineage of symbol passed to the holders of wisdom." Through encountering Longchenpa's wisdom body, Jigme Lingpa's realization burst forth, and this was something that was transmitted beyond words, beyond any conventional transmission. Paltrul Rinpoche then writes, "And he (Jigme Lingpa) bestowed these teachings in an oral transmission upon our precious root guru." "Root guru" refers to Jigme Gyalway Nyugu, the great heart child of Jigme Lingpa, who was Paltrul Rinpoche's root guru. Jigme Lingpa gave the pointing out instruction and oral transmission of these teachings, just as we have received them, to Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu who immediately and directly encountered what is called "manifest dharmata," or the direct and full revelation of the nature of things. Paltrul Rinpoche continues, "As I heard these instructions from this master who abided as the glorious protector of all beings, this is the heart essence of the three lineages," i.e. this instruction is the essence of the lineage of the thought of the Buddhas, the symbolic lineage of the vidyadharas, and the lineage of oral transmission from individual to individual. This instruction is like pure gold, and for the teachers of the lineage it is like the droplet of blood in the midst of their heart, the most precious thing imaginable. So therefore, Paltrul Rinpoche continues in the commentary, "It is inappropriate to give this to those who will not practice it, and it is equally inappropriate not to give it to those who will hold such an instruction as more precious than life itself and who, practicing it, will accomplish buddhahood in one lifetime." Because of that, the next line in the root text is, "I ENTRUST THIS TO THE CHILDREN OF MY HEART AND SEAL THIS." Just as parents will give their children whatever they can, will talk to them, teach them, and pass on to them everything they possess, in the same way, it is the responsibility of a teacher toward those who are receptive to, and who will benefit from an instruction, to pass it onto them without holding back. The seal

of entrustment here is like the seal on a will of succession. Those who practice this teaching and will treasure it, Paltrul Rinpoche calls, "children of his heart." Therefore, it is sealed in the sense that it must be passed on to them, the way you would seal a will. By the same token, it should not be passed on to those who would throw it by the wayside. Then he ends both the root text and the commentary by saying, "THIS IS OF THE UTMOST PROFUNDITY; THESE ARE WORDS FROM MY HEART. THESE WORDS FROM MY HEART ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL POINT, SO PLEASE DO NOT WASTE THIS MOST VITAL POINT. LET SUCH INSTRUCTIONS NEVER BE LOST OR WASTED." And he ends the commentary by saying, "This ends a brief commentary on the special teaching of the learned Shri Gyalpo." We need to examine this dual injunction that Paltrul Rinpoche places at the end of his commentary. He says, "It is inappropriate to teach this to those who will not practice it and equally inappropriate not to teach it to those who will." The reason why it is inappropriate to teach it to those who will not practice it and inappropriate not to teach it to those who will, is really one and the same: the greatest danger is that this instruction may become lost. If we consider someone who will not practice this, who has no intention to make any use of this teaching, we might think it is uncompassionate not to present this teaching to them. We have heard that the Great Perfection, especially at this time, is a teaching that liberates merely through being heard; and since it is so beneficial, we would think that we would want everyone to hear it. The problem is that someone hears this and makes no attempt to actually practice it and will rely purely upon their conceptual understanding, based upon their memory of what they heard. And since what they heard was unfamiliar to them, and therefore somewhat disturbing, then, by not practicing it, over time they process what they heard and adapt it to their personal view. Because for this person there is no practice involved, the processing of what they heard increasingly turns into a mere rationalization, which then develops into an adulteration of the teaching that supports their own particular reason for not practicing it. Eventually, this turns into a full-scale corruption of the teaching of the Great Perfection. Such corruption will destroy the teaching; it will be lost. If this teaching, in its authentic form, disappears from this world, then we will have lost one of the most precious resources that human beings have available for attaining awakening. Paltrul Rinpoche also says that it is necessary to teach it to dedicated practitioners, that it should be taught. The obvious reason is that by means of this instruction, practitioners can attain full and complete buddhahood in one body and one lifetime. If practitioners accomplish that, then as Buddhas they will benefit not only the people of their own particular world but beings throughout the entire universe. So it is imperative to offer this instruction to individuals who are going to make such a profound and great use of it. This instruction is the ultimate statement of the definitive meaning, i.e. the final and true meaning of the Buddha's teachings, and it has come down to us through a process of continuous scrutiny, analysis and examination by the learned and accomplished teachers of both India and Tibet. It has been refined and condensed down to this quintessence, this comparatively short essay. Therefore, it is like the drop of blood at the center of the heart of all the Buddha's teachings and of all the holders of the lineage. Because of that, it is difficult for us as comparatively untrained individuals to truly appreciate what this teaching represents, what is actually being transmitted, and what the consequences of that transmission are. Hence, it may be necessary to hold back from conceptual judgment, until you have gained some experience of what it really is. In any case, this completes the instruction on Paltrul Rinpoche's text, "The Special Teaching of the learned Shri Gyalpo - The Three Words that Strike the Vital Point.