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Lions Roar : July 2012
54 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 B UDDHISM IS RICH in methods for working with the mind. One of the most renowned and powerful is the ancient wisdom tradition known as Mahamudra. Originating in India, the view and practice of Mahamu- dra gradually spread across Asia and today has reached the West. As a philosophy, it aims to communicate clear knowledge of the true nature of the mind. As a meditation practice, it is designed to bring about that experience swiftly and unmistakably. Mahamudra is a contemplative Buddhist tradition known for its simplicity. The practice is to be genuine, relaxed, and aware in every situation in life, to accept and appreciate who we are. To engage in its profound methods, we aren’t required to change our lifestyle, and any message contrary to that is not a true Maha- mudra teaching. The practice of Mahamudra is an experience of our mind that’s completely free and joyful, no matter what our life brings us. It points us to mind’s true nature. The meaning of Mahamudra is found in its name. Maha means “great” and mudra means “symbol” or “seal.” The Great Symbol referred to is the wisdom of emptiness, which is the very nature of our mind and of all phenomena—any object or idea the mind can observe or become aware of. Because it covers the totality of our experience, the Great Symbol is known as the all- encompassing reality from which there is no escape or exception. So, how do we begin the practice of Mahamudra? First, we learn with an open and interested mind what Mahamudra is. Then we reflect on and personalize that knowledge so that it becomes our own experience, rather than a theory. Then, hav- ing digested the meaning, we simply sit, going beyond knowing about Mahamudra to becoming one with it. Realizing the true nature of our mind doesn’t happen just by accident, pure luck, or willpower alone. We need some help. We have to rely on key instructions of the Mahamudra lineage imparted to us through a trusted and realized teacher. Maha- mudra has a tradition of skillful methods for directly pointing out the nature of mind, which is a unique feature of this lineage. I WANT TO BE...Wise In Buddhism, wisdom is not something we acquire or develop— it is who we really are, the true nature of mind. Through Mahamudra meditation, says DZOGCHEN PONLOP RINPOCHE, we relax into the emptiness, clarity, and awareness of ever-present buddha wisdom. Right: Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa, a holder of the Mahamudra lineage. From the collection of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.