Gampopa’s Four Dharmas
[[File:Dakpo Dawo.jpg File:Layakpa.jpg|300px|thumb]] Gampopa Sonam Rinchen was undoubtedly one of the earliest scholarly masters of the Kagyu school. He effectively combined the monastic and mind-training tradition of Kadam, in which he received his first training, with the tantric meditation tradition, which he received from Milarepa. He left behind a rich collection of teachings and meditation instructions, among which his teachings known as the Four Dharmas of Gampopa (སྒམ་པོའི་ཆོས་བཞི་) stand out as very well-known axiomatic teachings.
His learned disciple Jangchub Ngödup wrote down the four axiomatic instructions as it was taught to him in his work entitled Treatise Known as Four Dharmas of Incomparable Gampopa. Jangchub Ngödup, from the southern region of Layak, also authored an extensive commentary on the instructions entitled Ornament Illuminating the Essence: A Commentary on the Famous Text, the Four Dharmas of the Incomparable Dakpo in which he presents buddha-nature as a definitive teaching and directly links it to Mahāmudrā. The four dharmas are presented as:
- 1. ཆོས་ཆོས་སུ་འགྲོ་བ། Making dharma a [genuine] dharma practice
- 2. ཆོས་ལམ་དུ་འགྲོ་བ། Turning dharma into the path
- 3. ལམ་འཁྲུལ་པ་སེལ་བ། Clearing confusion on the path
- 4. འཁྲུལ་པ་ཡེ་ཤེས་སུ་ཤར་བ། Seeing confusion as pristine wisdom
Jangchub Ngödup elaborates on these four points in great detail, providing a very rich array of citations and arguments to underscore his points.
The buddha-nature is the cause, precious and supreme human body, the support, the virtuous master is the agent, and his instructions, the expedient technique. The result is the body of the perfect Buddha, who engages in actions for the world with no thought.~ Gampopa