I bow to the aware Ever-present Good. Eight conceptual approaches Once known, mind itself is like space.
The nature of space is that there is nothing that is space.
In the same way, examples cannot really point out awareness.
Yet I rely on such methods to shed light on key points.
A Trackless Path
Translator’s commentary on this poem
Read excerpts and reviews of this book by Ken McLeod.
A priceless treasure in his home
But doesn’t know it? Just as he remains poor,
You remain entangled in a net of unaware thinking —
How heartbreaking, you beings, benighted in samsara! What is it like when you turn your back on the natural path?
Because you are enthralled by mistaken beliefs,
Your puritanical practice is lopsided,
Based as it is on some flawed metaphysical theory —
How reactive you are, you irrational extremists! Mind itself, originally pure, is like space.
As long as you look for it with conceptual tools,
You are like a bug encasing itself in its own spit —
In your obsession, you turn your back on what is truly meaningful.
How worn out you must be, you listeners, from rejecting everything! Mind is the source of all experience, patterned or free.
You wake up completely when you rest and do nothing at all.
Instead, you are dogmatic and single-minded in your belief
In the teachings of ignorance, interdependence and samsara.
How pleased you must be, you self-reliant ones, with your artificial awakening!
Mind itself, innately complete in all its potential,
Is conceived in uncontrived naturalness.
Yet you sophists, who take the two truths literally,
Distort being itself with your logic and analysis.
How long your journey, you followers of awakening-being philosophy! While mind itself doesn’t take up the good or give up the bad,
A meticulous practice of purity acts as an added pollutant.
With the forms of dualistic fixation you distort what is not two.
You seek a sublime state where there is nothing to be attained.
How elegant you are, you followers of ritual philosophy! In experience itself, which doesn’t become better or worse,
The conventions of outlook, practice and behavior fall away.
Yet, because of your investment in intelligent and skillful action,
The way you think leads you astray: you act when there is nothing to be done.
How tiring your chosen disciplines, you followers of behavioral tantra! No outside, no inside and nothing in between —that quality of attention is
Mind itself, free from conceptual distortions.
Yet your thinking creates symbols for what is profound and clear.
How ineffective, you followers of union philosophy! Effort and potential don’t affect how mind is.
It is what it is: you ride the result.
While complex practices may restore vitality to mind, channels and energy,
How tiring they are, you followers of similar union! Mind itself has no heads, hands or regalia.
Seeing what arises as a deity’s form, or hearing sounds as a mantra —
Such fixed notions lead you astray.
You won’t see mind itself through the path of great union! Timeless freedom in great completion Wonder of wonders! My nature is great completion.
Complete —in all experience, patterned or free, there is nothing to give up or attain.
Complete —all key instructions end up in utterly natural release.
Complete —all key outlooks end up in no conceptual position.
Complete —all paths of practice end up in making no effort.
Complete —all teachings on behavior end up in no do’s or don’t’s.
Complete —the essence of result is to be free of hope.
And this term “complete” is just a concept, too.
Awakening mind is the essence of all experience.
Awakening mind is the heart of all awakened ones.
Awakening mind is the life force of all beings.
Apparent and ultimate are not found in awakening mind. To say “it is not” does not make it empty.
To maintain “it is” does not make it solid.
It is a realm beyond thought —untroubled, nothing held, nothing dispelled —
A space free from the complications of thought and object. Because I am free from the thinking that distorts experience,
The evolution of good and evil ends completely.
What are deities, mantras and absorptions meant to do?
I am not a wakefulness that comes from practice.
My nature is universal presence:
How can seeing come through paths and levels? Therefore, having loosened the knots of expectations,
Let go of outlook’s razor-edge and rest.
Step out of deep practice’s cozy cocoon and rest.
Break out of behavior’s constricting conventions and rest.
Throw away expectations for dramatic results and rest. Practice or not practice —attention goes beyond.
Act or not act —decisions melt away.
Empty or not empty —awakening mind is beyond.
Be or not be —there is a vastness wherein
These differences fade away. Awareness —not a word, not a thought, no description at all —
Has as its axis no corrective, no holding a position.
Its nature is bare, steady, fresh and unfolding,
A vastness free from all effort and complications.
Rest where there is no change or time. The elimination of errors Wonder of wonders! Thus, awakening mind, in which there is nothing to give up or attain,
This buddha nature, which is awareness and peace,
Is present in you. Still, it is trapped in a cage of inventions.
Any notion of practice clouds the heart of the matter.
No origin, nothing there: that’s just how it is.
Perception doesn’t arise or vanish.
When you make it more than that,
It’s like making form out of what is formless:
You lose touch with what is natural. How reactive you become! Some people cut off the ebb and flow of thoughts and feelings
And construct an emptiness practice contaminated by goal-seeking.
Their forced and constricted practice wears them out.
Serious problems develop when reactive energy enters the life channel.
Some just do not see what is naturally present.
Misled by what is said about presence, their practice is ineffective.
They take as the essence of practice a dullness
That suppresses thoughts and feelings. They are very confused. Some who know that movement and memory are mind
Mull over the traces as thoughts and feelings ebb and flow:
They track the arising and fading of thinking.
With this meditation, Even if they practice for a hundred years, they just spin in confusion. In general, work and effort by themselves create opposition.
If you practice, you stir up all sorts of pains and discomforts.
If you don’t practice, you don’t see what you are and wander in confusion.
In either case, you lose touch with what is straightforward and natural.
Wonder of wonders! Because these errors stop you from going beyond ordinary experience,
Be clear that the approach of practice versus not practice
Relies on an artificial distinction.
Without trying to reshape it in any way, Rest in what you experience right now. When you give up your reactive checking,
Managing and goal-seeking —all of it —
There is a direct knowing, open and free.
Stop changing or altering it. Rest right there. Then, when conceptual thinking arises,
Don’t look at what arises: be what knows the arising.
Like an oak peg in hard ground,
Stand firm in awareness that knows,
And go deep into the mystery. Even in this experience of naked presence
In which there is no movement or change,
If you don’t avoid the mire of position-based correctives,
You lose your way in analysis and speculation. All the conventions of outlook, practice and behavior
Are, in terms of what is natural, just intellectual chaff.
Let correctives aimed at attention subside into space.
With the chosen discipline of not being concerned about wandering,
Just let things be —don’t change anything at all.
In a space beyond all complications and effort Lies a great treasure —no thought, no thinking. To know that from the beginning there is no awakening
Is to be where wanting has never been.
With this special teaching that rots the roots of samsara,
Wake up from the realm of misery. When you open and relax,
There is an emptiness that goes beyond true or false.
Here, if you know arising release, natural release and direct release,
You are no different from all the awakened ones.
You are awake and no different from me. In this age of strife, these vital instructions for the great mysteries
Are mingled with the canonical writings of the analytic approach.
A knowledge-holder who is not different from me
Will make my revelations clear. Embodiments of the awakening beings of the three families, masters of this teaching,
And those blessed with natural talent, enjoy and make use of it.