Sunday, 19 August 2012

Six Words of Advice

In celebration of this humble blog having surpassed ten thousand views, I present a rather fine morsel for readers to chew on: the Six words of advice from Tilopa. Translation and comment from Ken McLeod.

Don’t recall.
Don’t imagine.
Don’t think.
Don’t examine.
Don’t control.

This advice consists of only six words in Tibetan. The above translation was developed to capture its brevity and directness. Some years ago, I also developed the translation shown below, which some people prefer:

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

Tilopa’s instruction constitute the heart of Mahamudra; non-dual pristine awareness. Here is a link to additional material: 

These are instructions taken from Ken McLeod's Unfettered Mind site. These teachings are often misconstrued, or taken as instruction to give up doing anything. Like all instruction they are appropriate to an individual when the time and context are right.  Some non-dual practitioners are great at following similar instruction, but do so by avoiding engagement, in a more complete sense, with the messiness of existence. It becomes a sort of refuge from the uglier dimensions of life. This is in part one of the reasons why Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings are considered the pinnacle of the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions and were given in secret or only in the dynamic of 1:1. To arrive at such simplicity of instruction, one has to have cleared out a whole lot of manure before the experience, as Tilopa intended,  is genuinely met. Below is my own reflection :)

To be is to do.
To do is to be.
To unite the two fully is to live. 
Experience is all we have, and it is only ever found in the immediacy of the here and now, within the great flow of the process of life and death, of pulsing and contraction. Beyond hope and beyond fear.

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