Dzogchen: Precious Garland | Longchenpa | 2

Dzogchen:
The Four-Themed Precious Garland

Longchenpa
(1308–1364)

(2) Dharma as a Pathway of Mind

1. The Necessity for Dharma as a Pathway of Mind

(29) Those of you who wish for a pathway of mind (that leads) to Liberation, having, through belief in what’s fact, engaged yourselves with the supreme, lustrous, hallowed Dharma like that

– cherish making the Dharma go (within you) as a pathway of mind, in order that your very mind becomes fully tamed.

(30) There are those who have engaged themselves with the teachings of the Triumphant (Buddhas) like this and have even embarked on hearing, thinking and meditating (on them).

Yet some have not stilled (their disturbing emotions): their mental continuums are worse.

Some engage themselves with distorted pathways of mind, or inferior ones, or pathways of mind that lead astray.

(31) (Some have) great desires and craving, and (some are) distracted with (concerns for) this life and the like:

All those faults, contradictory to the Dharma, have come from their not having made that Dharma go (within them) as a pathway of mind.

- The faults (that come) from that in this and future (lives) are boundless.

(32) Whoever is fooled by (such) deception will be (filled with) regret at the time of death, will have terror and anxiety in the Bardo in-between period, will go to worse rebirth states in the future, and not have the opportunity to liberate themselves forever from compulsive existence.

- Therefore, make the Dharma go (within you) as a pathway of mind.

(33) Just as you may improperly even take hygienic medicine as an antidote for a sickness, yet since it was in fact improperly (taken), it would make you even more tormented than you were tormented (before);

likewise, what use is the Dharma if you have not made it go as an antidote? Therefore, as there are boundless faults like that; O people having belief in what’s fact, understand this well.

2. Entrusting Yourself to Spiritual Mentors

(34) Concerning that, since making that Dharma go (within you) as a pathway of mind depends, first of all, on spiritual mentors, cherish entrusting yourself to qualified hallowed gurus.

- All excellent bounteous good qualities come from that.

(35) As for that, entrust yourself fully and with great (respect and) appreciation to those who are skilled in methods, have a compassionate nature, are stilled, are tamed and have patience;

who have a splendid manner of behaviour (in accord) with their vows and close bonds, have heard many (teachings) and have (achieved) a great (level) of having trained (in them) well;

(36) (Those who) have a boundless Enlightening influence that automatically transforms the appearances of others; who are not corrupted with (thoughts of) this life;

who are purified, like the sky, of concerns about the 8 (transitory) things in life; who have made making (life) meaningful as the gauge for association (with them),

and who set out (for others) the pathway of mind (that leads) to Liberation.

- (Such spiritual mentors as) this are emanations of the Triumphant (Buddhas) at (this) time of the deteriorations.

(37) The benefits from that are boundless and inexhaustible:
You become disgusted with compulsive existence and renounce it.

(Thus,) your worldly planning becomes less; your concerns for this lifetime become lame; and your grasping for an impossible “soul” (based on) deceptive appearances falls apart;

(38) You naturally become tamed; you come to possess (the powers of) listening, thinking and meditating (on the teachings);

you come to possess the good qualities of having extensively trained, such as belief in what’s fact; your present life becomes meaningful; and your future ones will reap the results.

- Therefore, entrust yourself to hallowed (spiritual mentors).

(39) Moreover, by being undeceiving with your 3 gateways (for action), always please (your spiritual mentors) by showing respect from your appreciation (of their kindness), like a patient to a doctor, a sea merchant to a navigator, a passenger to a ferryman and a visitor to an escort.

(40) It has been said that if you develop thoughts of disbelief (in your spiritual mentors’ actual good qualities) or a distorted view (of them), you enter a worse rebirth state for (as many eons as) the number of moments (you develop it).

Therefore, make effort to protect, as you would your eyes, keeping your close bonds (with your teachers) pure,

by being extremely sincere in openly admitting (if you ever violate them), restraining yourself (from breaking them), and feeling regret (should you ever transgress them).

3. Developing Renunciation

(41) Having fully entrusted yourself like that to hallowed spiritual mentors, and then having trained your own mental continuum by listening, thinking and meditating on (their teachings),

transform whatever you do into something intent on a constructive (goal), with the thought of desiring only Liberation.

This is the quintessence teaching for making that Dharma go (within you) as a pathway of mind.

(42) Whenever you are listening to, thinking about, or reciting (the teachings), undertake that for the intention of liberating your own mental continuum.

Whenever you are writing, reading, memorizing, or teaching (the Dharma), undertake it with the desire only for Liberation.

(43) Whenever you are meditating, (studying the correct) view, or conducting yourself (with it), strongly make effort to (feel) renunciation and disgust (with Saṁsāra) by never parting your thoughts from being (set) only on Liberation.

- There is nothing higher than this heart-essence quintessence teaching.

(44) Eating, sleeping, walking, sitting, talking, speaking, thinking, and so on – in short, whatever activities you do, enhance your disgust (with Saṁsāra) by never parting from an attitude of wishing Liberation and (thus) tame your mental continuum.

- This is the essential point for making the Dharma go (within you) as a pathway of mind.

4. Developing a Bodhichitta Aim

(45) (Furthermore,) for making (the Dharma) go (within you) as a Mahāyāna pathway of mind in particular, direct toward the benefit of others whatever constructive things you do.

(In other words,) develop, with compassion, a Bodhichitta aim; have firm conviction (in the good qualities of Enlightenment); dedicate (your positive force toward achieving this goal);

and rejoice (in your own and others’ efforts toward this), and (thus) practice in full in order to (bring about) the benefit ­of (all) limited beings.

(46) (Practicing) like this, all wandering beings, (having previously been) your fathers, mothers, relatives and dear friends, are (appropriate) fields for (receiving) your help.

And (so), by developing a Bodhichitta aim for (fulfilling) the aims of others as well as your own, practice whatever is constructive for the sake of wandering beings.

(47)By my constructive (force), may (all) wandering beings become happy and may the sufferings of all of them ripen on me.

May my constructive (force) ripen on (all) wandering beings and (thus) may all embodied beings attain Enlightenment.

- Thinking that, train yourself to develop a Bodhichitta aim of immeasurable compassion.

(48) Whatever constructive (actions you do), as preparation develop a Bodhichitta aim, as the actual procedure do not be aimed (at impossible ways of existing), and as the conclusion dedicate (to your own and others’ Enlightenment the positive force).

Moreover, completely purify (yourself of misconceptions about the nature of) the 3 circles – the object to be trained in, the act of training and the one who is training.

Like illusions, they are mere appearances (based) on nothing real, like magical emanations.

(Therefore,) purifying (yourself concerning) the natures (of these three), dedicate (the positive force) in order to benefit others.

(49)Firm conviction” is having supreme belief in (the good qualities of) the Triumphant (Buddhas), the Triumphant Ones’ Dharma teachings, the hallowed (Bodhisattva) spiritual offspring of the Triumphant, and the fields for (growing) positive force – (in the good qualities of) all of these, without exception.

From having firm conviction in (the good qualities of what fulfils) your own aims, the aims of others and the aims of both, you will receive praise, shows of respect and esteem beyond all examples.

(50)Rejoicing” is habituating yourself (in meditation) to feeling happy about all the constructive acts of the Triumphant Ones, their spiritual offspring, and all wandering beings.

- This is a supreme method for transforming fathomless masses of positive force into something immeasurably great.

(51) Make “aspiration prayers” of the purifying (type), for the sake of benefiting wandering beings. (In this connection,) meditate in accord with the quintessence teachings concerning purifying the objects of your actions.

(52) Without being distracted for even a moment to the side of ordinary affairs, take as your heart-essence (practice) having the constructive (actions) of your 3 gateways (for action) be for the benefit of others.

Having tamed your own mental continuum, then coming to have the development of an exceptional resolve is said to be (the way to) make any Dharma (practice) go (within you) as a pathway of mind.

(53) In this way, may the melodious beat of the sound of the wondrous drum of the profound meaning, the renowned roar which is vast and profound, wake all wandering beings from the intoxicating sleep of their unawareness!

May they behold, on a wide-spread scale, a joyous banquet of being stilled!

This (concludes) the second chapter of A Precious Garland for the Four Themes, "Having the Dharma Function as a Pathway of Mind."