A SONG ON THE VIEW ARISING FROM UNDERSTANDING AND EXPERIENCE by the Thirteenth Karmapa, Dudul Dorje
From Vajradhara to the root guru,
You represent the lineages of actuality, displaying buddhahood in human form.
I pray to You from my heart that my mind stream's
Karma and afflictions may become pure and that experience and realization may dawn.
Even though I do not fathom the thoughts of holy beings of the past,
Without vying with the ordinary appearances of our days,
But rather through following those past ones with devotion, in my mind stream,
I have found some understanding and experience through the guru's kindness.
I understand that the view—the realization of emptiness—
Exists in the mind streams of noble hearers and solitary realizers,
While the view of the mahayana is superior through bodhicitta.
Even if you are able for a thousand reasons
To cut through the root of samsara, if you lack bodhicitta,
Since you do not have the superior intention, the stains of latent tendencies
Will not become pure, since there is no remedy.
I understand that, without having generated this mind,
Meditation on emptiness is unable to realize emptiness directly.
The direct realization of emptiness is the ground of a Buddha,
Upon which [all] knowable objects are of one taste.
Therefore, I understand that you progress through the paths and grounds
According to the order of generating the mind of emptiness of the mahayana.
I understand that, since the Buddha's intention cannot be expressed
On the path of letters, all statements of samsara and nirvana
Being ‘existent’ or ‘nonexistent’ are mere conventionalities.
If meditation must be beyond mind and needs to drop mental engagement,
It is not suitable to give explanations about whether there is a view or not,
Because the view and meditation of the mahayana are not internally contradictory.
In the tradition of Mahamudra, view and meditation are mere labels,
But there is no presentation of a philosophical system that establishes view and meditation.
Likewise, the lineage from the great Patsab Lotsawa
To Tusum Khyenpa that accords with the intention of mother [prajnaparamita],
As commented on by Nagarjuna, is the Madhyamaka view
That was clearly explained by honorable Mikyo [Dorje].
It is declared to be the great Madhyamaka free from claims.
[To say on the one hand that] the qualities of a Buddha are
inconceivable for minds on this shore
And that, without analysis, these qualities are described by following his words,
While saying [on the other hand] that wisdom exists and that it is the perfect [nature], is
However, I understand that if such is held at the end of analyzing
For the ultimate through reasoning, the ultimate has become an object for the mind,
Thus being [in itself nothing but] a portion of the cognitive obscurations.
Hence, the following words by the dharma lord from Takpo are the remedy for this.
He says: ‘Throw the views of *intellectual+ understanding behind you
And destroy the foundation of meditative experiences!’
From among the mahayana's two philosophical systems, Madhyamaka and [Mere]
The philosophical system of Madhyamaka is the tradition of the noble father [Nagarjuna]
and his son.
It summarizes all that is to be known through a threefold presentation:
On *the level of+ no analysis and mere convention, by saying that ‘all of
samsara and nirvana exists,’
Adopting positive [actions] and rejecting negative ones are outlined in precise detail.
This is asserted as worldly seeming reality.
The analysis of conventions through the conventional mind
Means to understand, through the five great [Madhyamaka] reasonings,
That all phenomena of samsara and nirvana are not really established,
Are primordially unborn, and empty of reality.
I understand that this is the ultimate reality that is presented as a convention:
It is [just] the counterpart that depends on and is the reverse of the seeming.
As for the purpose of this [ultimate reality], since the root of samsara
Is the clinging to a self, it serves as the remedy for that.
If this is perfectly analyzed through a reasoning consciousness that analyzes for the
According to the scriptures of the profound sutras and tantras,
[The masters] speak of eight as well as a hundred extremes,
Such as existence, nonexistence, being, and not being.
Therefore, as for final actuality, no claims are entertained
And it is determined to be free from extremes and beyond being an object of mind.
When the wisdom of Buddhas resembles space,
How should the minds of naive beings who just see what is right in front of them analyze it?
Thus, no analysis, analysis, and perfect analysis
Represent the stages of the seeming, the ultimate, and the freedom from extremes.
It is not held [here] that the basic nature is directly perceived, But its discordant factors and
flawed [views about it] are crushed. I have arrived at certainty in my mind
That this Madhyamaka system with its threefold presentation
Is the approach of Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, and honorable Mikyo [Dorje].
Secondly, [the system of] Asanga and his brother who follow the final wheel [of dharma]
Is known as ‘False Aspectarian Mere Mentalism’ in the land of the noble ones
And as ‘Shentong Madhyamaka’ in Tibet. The meaning of these two names is the same.
This is the completely pure system that,
Through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind,
Holds that the result—kayas and wisdoms—exist on their own accord. As for its necessity, it
is asserted that it is taught in order to
Relinquish any arising of fear of emptiness and to awaken those with indefinite disposition.
When commenting on its meaning, honorable Rangjung [Dorje] says
That it is one with the system of Candrakirti.
Others assert that the ultimate is existent and really established
And that emptiness is really established.
As for the mahayana's sutra portion, both the middle and the final wheel [of dharma]
Have the purport of the Sugata heart, the unity of emptiness and luminosity.
The middle [wheel] explains this by mainly teaching emptiness,
While the final [wheel] elucidates it by mainly teaching luminosity.
I understand that, in actuality, these are not contradictory.
As for the way in which the view of the mantra[yana] is superior,
The Sugata heart is said to be the unity of emptiness and luminosity.
This is clearly stated in The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra:
‘The basis of purification is mind as such, the unity of emptiness and luminosity...’
The dharma lord from Takpo declares: ‘Some Madhyamikas *say that Madhyamaka] accords
with the mantra [yana]
Due to the aspect of emptiness, but that it does not entail luminosity and bliss.
Some Mere Mentalists [claim that Mere Mentalism] accords with the mantra [yana]
Due to the aspect of luminosity, but that it does not entail emptiness and bliss.
The [actual] reason, why the view of the mantra[yana] is superior
Is that it is the unity of bliss and emptiness as well as luminosity and emptiness.’
Therefore, I understand Shentong Madhyamaka well.
In the Kalacakra system, it is said that the emptiness
Endowed with the supreme of all aspects is superior to [the one in] the sutras.
This is asserted to be the same essential point as the [above], the unity of the two realities.
By using the example of mirror divination for what appears Due to the difference in the
profound essential point of means,
It also speaks of ‘the seeming that has the form of emptiness’
Or ‘emptiness that has the form of the seeming.’
Therefore, except for the difference in terms of which topic is mainly taught
And the superiority in means, the essence [of the mantrayana]
Is always in accord with the view of Madhyamaka.
As it is said in [Nagarjunas] collection of reasonings:
“For whom emptiness is possible,
Everything is possible.
For whom emptiness is not possible,
Nothing is possible”.
The great commentary on the Kalacakra states
That the [yanas of] the paramitas and of mantra have the same view,
But, as for meditation, the former of the two systems does space-meditation,
Whereas the latter engages in shelterless meditation.
The Mother declares, ‘Meditating on prajnaparamita
Means to meditate on space.
Also those who wish to meditate on shelterlessness
Should train in and meditate on prajnaparamita.’
Hence, these [two] are in full accord.
This is just a brief summary of the way to understand the view
That I offer here in front of the root guru.
Any stains of lacking understanding and wrong thoughts that I might have I confess and
repent right before his eyes in this very moment
And ask him to forgive me through his great compassion.
Secondly, as for meditation, there is a great variety of meditative systems
That set their teaching priorities [according to] people's capacities and their individual
However, as far as the meditation of Mahamudra is concerned,
It is not asserted as being something different from the view.
Therefore, once you have understood through the view what the points of going astray into
hundreds of extremes are,
Assume the essential points of the body and [look at] mind as such in stillness and
No matter whether it is still or moves, just be aware with mindfulness.
Apart from that, do not entertain hopes, fears, or desires and so on,
But leave [mind in its] uncontrived, naturally settled, intrinsic state.
If you can [leave it this way], there is some slight knowing of your own face [at this point]
that is to be left still.
It is nothing but this, which for the time being, is merely labeled with the name
Nevertheless, lower meditative equipoises
Become higher subsequent attainments, so that, from the path of accumulation
Up through the supreme worldly dharma of the path of preparation,
There is a progression. [However, any attempts at] thus gauging any one [of its phases]
I understand as setting foot on small-minded people's paths of going astray.
Since all [paths] above the supreme worldly dharma are beyond the world,
In the nature of their meditative equipoises,
There is no difference, but in terms of the progressive arising of qualities
And the difference in purifying the cognitive obscurations,
they become gradually more superior.
Hence, from the path of seeing up through the path of no more learning,
That is, from the ten bodhisattva grounds all the way up to the Buddha ground,
This is the progression as my mind understands it.
I understand that, up through the supreme dharma, what is to be purified are the afflictive
While what is to be purified from the path of seeing onward are the cognitive obscurations.
Taking the view of being empty of reality [that results from] the analysis of
To be final and then wanting to meditate [in this way] is the system of others.
In our system, the remedy for clinging to identities is being empty of reality,
Which is praised as letting go of all phenomena as illusions during subsequent attainment.
What familiarizes with the view free from reference points and free from claims
Is nothing but sheer mindfulness, which is labeled ‘meditation.’
Thus, I understand that view and meditation are inseparable.
In the sutras and tantras, many different things have been said
In specific contexts about what is called ‘conduct.’
However, [the main point is that] it must be embraced solely by a mind Free from clinging
or aversion to a purpose and full of virtue and altruism,
Since all views, meditations, and conducts are the same
In being means to purify the stains of mind as such—
These stains being attachment, hatred, and dullness.
As for the mantra[yana] speaking about bringing afflictions onto the path,
I understand that this is not a matter of increasing the afflictions in your mind,
But to add the wood of the afflictions to the fire of wisdom.
Through this, the wood of the afflictions is consumed, while the fire of
wisdom grows bigger.
For persons of highest [faculties] who are skillful in means,
This will be of great benefit, but not for fools.
My own mind stream being devoid of realization, this explanation Is surely as inappropriate
as a blind person talking about colors.
However, [I share only] a little bit of just what I understood
About view, meditation, and conduct as it dwells in my own mind.
If these steps of it being transferred into the domain of letters
Are good explanations, I dedicate them so that they, through their virtues,
May become causes for the teaching of the Takpo lineage to spread.
For now, that’s it for the task set out before me.
Hereafter, [I would just like to add that] the omniscient great one from Jonang,
Who is called lord Taranatha,
Is the honorable one who is like a second mighty sage,
Incomparable as to the basic nature of the view of actual reality.
The treasury that voices his profound intended meaning
[Speaks about] ordinary Madhyamaka and Great Madhyamaka:
Ordinary Madhyamikas are known as those [who propound] self-emptiness.
They are those in both India and Tibet who maintain the lack of a nature,
That is, [masters] such as Ruddhapalita who propound consequences and so on.
This Great Madhyamaka which is known as other-emptiness
Is called ‘Yogacara-Madhyamaka’ or ‘Vijnapti-Madhyamaka.’
The protector lord Maitreya, noble Asanga,
The supreme pandita Vasubandhu, the honorable protector Nagarjuna,
Other scholars and siddhas in India and Tibet, in particular
Honorable Rangjung [Dorje], who is endowed with the eye of wisdom,
Have all praised this view of other-emptiness as supreme.
The basis of samsara, all phenomena, are without any reality.
Nondual from the expanse, self-aware wisdom is luminosity.
It is ultimate reality, the unconditioned nature of phenomena,
The truely established Sugata heart.
May this very actuality, the essence of the definitive meaning of the final wheel [of dharma]
Spread its luminous radiance henceforth just as the progression of the whispered lineage
These words were put forth by the lord Dudul Dorje
In order to please the supreme Tulku
On a virtuous day. They were written down
By the scribe named Bomra Sonam. May it be virtuous!
Translated by Karl Brunnholzl
From the book "Heart Advice of Karmapa "