A COMMENTARY ON MILAREPAS SONG OF REALIZATION TO GAMPOPA by the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje







THE SONG

Son, when simplicity dawns in the mind,
Do not follow after conventional terms.
There’s a danger you’ll get trapped in the eight dharmas’ chains.
Rest in a state free of pride.
Do you understand this,
Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When self-liberation dawns from within,
Do not engage in the reasonings of logic.
There’s a danger you’ll just waste your energy.
Son, rest free of thoughts.
Do you understand this,
Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When you realize your own mind is emptiness,
Do not engage the reasoning ‘beyond one or many’.
There’s a danger you’ll fall into a nihilistic emptiness.
Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When immersed in mahamudra meditation,
Do not exert yourself in virtuous actions of body and speech.
There’s a danger the wisdom of nonthought will disappear.
Son, rest uncontrived and loose.
Do you understand this,
Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When the signs foretold by the scriptures arise,
Do not boast with joy or cling to them.
There’s a danger you’ll get the prophecy of maras instead.
Rest free of clinging.
Do you understand this,
Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

When you gain resolution regarding your mind,
Do not yearn for the higher cognitive powers.
There’s a danger you’ll be carried away by the mara of pretentiousness.
Son, rest free of hope and fear.
Do you understand this,
Teacher from Central Tibet?
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?


Spoken by the lord of yogins, Milarepa


THE COMMENTARY


I will now comment on some of the teachings of the great Milarepa, the lord of yogins.

Son, when simplicity dawns in the mind,

When the natural, luminous mind is purified of the discursiveness of the mental events, this
is called ‘the wisdom of simplicity dawning’. Yet it is not the case that *the natural,
luminous mind] had not arisen before and needs to be produced.

Do not follow after conventional terms.

At that time, the expressions and consciousnesses associated with conventional terms
completely disappear. The instruction, therefore, is not to follow after objects and
appearances. ‘Do not follow’ is merely symbolic because, in this state, all dualistic
appearances have dissolved. There is nothing there to follow after.

There’s a danger you will get trapped in the eight dharmas chains.

Conventional terms and generalities are objects of desire. Allowing yourself to become
distracted by them will prevent you from gaining freedom from desire. What need, then, is
there to speak of gaining enlightenment?

Rest in a state free of pride.

Rest in the state of selflessness, free of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.

Do you understand this, Teacher from Central Tibet? 
Do you understand this, Takpo Lhajey?

These lines are straightforward.

When selfliberation dawns from within,

‘Within’ indicates suchness. It does not indicate *mundane+ consciousness. ‘Self-liberation’
refers to being liberated from things to relinquish and things to accomplish.

Do not engage in the reasonings of logic.

This line teaches that, in the state of perceiving reality, it is unnecessary to set forth proof
statements to establish certainty with regard to suchness.

There’s a danger you’ll just waste your energy.

This line teaches that applying logical reasonings when resting in the state of perceiving
reality is pointless. It explains the fault that would occur: trying to establish again what has
been established already.

Son, rest free of thoughts.

The samadhi one experiences at that time is completely free from the discursiveness of
thoughts. This line is therefore an instruction not to arise into postmeditation from that
samadhi.

Do you understand this...
When you realize your own mind is emptiness,

‘Your own mind’ is stated symbolically here, but actually [this line] refers to [the time when]
all phenomena, self and other, have [been realized as] emptiness.

Do not engage the reasoning ‘beyond one or many’

At that time, you do not need to resolve all phenomena as lacking an inherent nature by
using the logical reasoning ‘beyond one or many’ For the yogin resting in meditative
equipoise, all phenomena will [naturally] be realized as lacking an inherent nature.

There’s a danger you’ll fall into a nihilistic emptiness.

This line teaches that the emptiness arrived at through the ‘beyond one or many’ logic is an
emptiness apprehended [merely] by the [conceptual] mind. It is an emptiness whose object
of negation existed before yet does not exist later. This [type of] emptiness is not [the
emptiness in harmony with] the true nature of reality.

Do you understand this...
When immersed in mahamudra meditation,

This refers to the time of traversing the path *called+ ‘free of obstacles’ (bar chad med lam),
which relinquishes the factors to be relinquished of the paths of seeing and meditation.

This [stage is arrived at] through having gathered the accumulation of wisdom.

Do not exert yourself in virtuous actions of body and speech.

This means, ‘*Continue to+ gather the accumulation of merit, but do not let it distract you.’

There’s a danger the wisdom of non-thought will disappear.

The fault [in becoming distracted by virtuous actions] is that the remedial wisdom, invoked
in a single instant, will be [once again] led away.

Son, rest uncontrived and loose.

‘Uncontrived’ means to be unchanged by the fleeting stains. ‘Loose’ means ‘nothing other
than the very nature of just that’

Do you understand this...
When the signs foretold by the scriptures arise,

The scriptures give foretelling descriptions of what kind of signs arise when one attains a
certain path or a certain bhumi. When such signs arise [in your experience]...

Do not boast with joy or cling to them.

Those who have [actually] attained the bhumis do not boast about or cling to [their
realizations]. Therefore this line is an instruction given to those who have not attained any
of the bhumis and yet cling to their own view or conduct as being supreme.

There’s a danger you’ll get the prophecy of maras instead.

This line [describes what will happen] if you cling to your view and conduct as being
supreme: rather than relinquishing the factors to be relinquished by the path of seeing, you
will be seized by maras.

Rest free of clinging

[Rest free of] clinging with regard to all inner or outer phenomena being ‘like this’ or ‘like
that’

Do you understand this...
When you gain resolution regarding your mind,

When you resolve that your own mind is selflessness...

Do not yearn for the higher cognitive powers.

You do not need to dedicate yourself to attaining the short-term qualities and so forth.
When you perceive the truths [taught by] the Mahayana, those qualities will arise
automatically.

There’s a danger you’ll be carried away by the mara of pretentiousness.

[This line was spoken] with the intention in mind that, if you fail to perceive selflessness,
you may attain the qualities born of concentration, but [these qualities] will, for someone
who desires liberation, [still] be samsaric [qualities].

Son, rest free of hope and fear.

Do not hope for the qualities of contaminated paths. Do not fear the great emptiness.


These instructions were given by the unequalled Yangchen Gawa (the Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje) 
to the master Chogkyi Langpo. Translated by Tyler Dewar



From the book "Heart Advice of Karmapa "


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