Sde snod bcud bsdus man ngag gi snying po

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LibraryCommentariesSde snod bcud bsdus man ngag gi snying po

sde snod bcud bsdus man ngag gi snying po

One of a series of short texts by the Kadam scholar Kyotön Mönlam Tsultrim, this was composed in Narthang at the behest of Sonam Dar, a descendent of Kyide Nyima Gön and at the request of Geshe Gönden Ö and Yönten Ö. The text contains concise lamrim instructions starting with (1) instruction on the contemplation on precious humanhood, impermanence and the law of cause and effect, and the practice of taking refuge for the inferior individuals, (2) contemplation of defects of cycle of existence, renunciation and non-self for those following the path of the hearers and solitary realisers for the middling individuals, and (3) finally the cultivation of bodhicitta and meditation on non-conceptuality and luminous nature of the mind which is free from all elaborations for superior individuals. This brief teaching underscores the importance of eradicating conceptual thoughts and abiding in the non-conceptual luminous nature of the mind.

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Description from When the Clouds Part

This instruction[1] was given by Mönlam Tsültrim at the request of two Geshés, Gönden Ö[2] and Yönten Ö.[3] It explains the paths of the three types of individuals of lesser, medium, and highest capacities. In the context of the latter, we find Mahāmudrā-style instructions and a quotation from the Uttaratantra. These instructions begin by saying that one should cut through thoughts of the three times—not following the past, not anticipating the future, and relaxing and settling the present mind. For thoughts are the cause of saṃsāra, while nonthought is the cause of nirvāṇa. In particular, one needs to cut through all outer reference points in terms of being real and delusive and look at the essence of the mind inside. Through that, a mind to look at is not seen and thus the looker naturally is at peace, relaxes, and settles. It is taught that the mind was not seen, is not seen, and will not be seen by the buddhas of the three times. The nature of the mind is primordially luminous. Since this luminous and empty mind is the dharmakāya, if one realizes it as it is, one will be liberated. As the sūtras say, "The nature of the mind is luminosity." Uttaratantra I.154cd states:

Actual reality is viewed as it really is—
If actual reality is seen, one is liberated.

Though this luminous and naturally empty mind exists intrinsically within one, one wanders in saṃsāra due to not knowing this. The means to put an end to this wandering are that one’s guru demonstrates the true nature of one’s mind as it is. Through that, one sees that the preceding moment of mind is no more after it has ceased, the next one is not there either as it has not arisen yet, and if one searches for the present one, it is without abiding. Nor does one find any shape, color, or essence of this present moment of the mind, but it is empty and transparent. Then, one relaxes and settles within that state. If one rests in that way, one realizes that one had tainted one’s own natural condition before. During subsequent attainment, out of the state of realizing that everything lacks real existence, one solely engages in activities for the welfare of others and dedicates all this to great awakening in a nonreferential manner. (pp. 321-322)

  1. Skyo ston smon lam tshul khrims 2007e. This work is not translated below but only the relevant parts (400–402) are briefly summarized here.
  2. Tib. Mgon ldan ’od.
  3. Tib. Yon tan ’od.

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Other Titles ~ sde snod bcud bsdus kyi man ngag
Text exists in ~ Tibetan