In a rather unusual text-like precept from Recognizing Mahamudra’s Illuminating Wisdom, Milarepa explains that “mahamudra” means three things:
- the ultimate reality of things, termed the basis;
- the practice leading to its realization, termed the path; and
- the illumined state of mind, the result.
First, mahamudra as the basis means the natural state that is the basic condition of things, the intention of Buddha, the real nature of beings. It is without color or form, without circumference or center, free from partiality, not experienced as existing or not existing, not illusory, not liberated, not produced by a cause, and not influenced by conditions. Wise buddhas cannot improve it, nor stupid beings impair it. It is not improved by realization, nor impaired by illusion. Because that is the basic condition (of things), the basis is mahamudra.
Second, mahamudra as path means the possibility of practice on the strength of that basis. When focusing, focus without objective. When stabilizing, be stabilized without distraction. When shifting, shift without grasping. When manifestations occur, experience them as reality. When a liberation occurs, allow it to occur naturally.
Third, mahamudra as result means the freedom from anything that is liberated and any agent of liberation, from hope and from fear. It is beyond intellection, beyond facts, free from (the perception of) identities, and transcends compulsive conceptualization. Thus it is beyond thought and expression.
These three – basis, path, and result – are indivisible in practice.