Prostration to Shri Vajradakini!

Intelligent Naropa, you who have undergone austerity
Bearing suffering with devotion to the guru,
Fortunate one, pay attention to this! [1]

There is no “teaching” of Mahāmudrā,
Yet an example is space: upon what does it rely?
Our mind Mahāmudrā, likewise, has no support.
Not remedying anything, relax and settle in the unborn primordial state. [2]

If bonds are relaxed, we are liberated, without doubt.
Just as looking into space stops our sight of visual forms,
If mind looks into mind,
Thoughts cease and unexcelled enlightenment is attained. [3]

Clouds of vapor ascend in the sky.
They don’t go anywhere, nor do they remain.
Similarly, when we see that thoughts are our own mind,
The rising waves of thought will clear. [4]

The nature of space is beyond color and shape;
It does not stain light or dark, does not change.
The essence of our mind is also beyond color and shape;
It is not stained by light or dark, good or bad phenomena. [5]

The brilliant clear essence of the sun
Is not obscured by the darkness of a thousand eons.
Likewise, the clear light essence of one’s mind
Cannot be obscured by eons of samsara. [6]

For example, we use the term “empty space”
Yet there is nothing in space to which the term refers.
Likewise, we say, “our own clear-light mind”
Yet there is nothing that is truly a base for the designation. [7]

Thus, the mind’s nature has always been like space.
There is no phenomenon that is not included in it.
Giving up all physical activity, the yogi sits relaxed.
Vocal expression does not exist.
Why? It is like empty echoes.
Without a thought in mind, look at the transcendent Dharma!
Body has no essence, like a plantain tree.
Mind, like being in space, is beyond objects of thought.
Without discarding or placing, relax and settle within that state. [8]

If mind is without fixed reference point, that is Mahamudra.
Meditating and familiarizing with that, unexcelled enlightenment is attained. [9]

Practitioners of Mantra, and of the Paramitas,
Vinaya Sutra, the Pitakas, and so on,
Will not see clear light Mahāmudrā
By way of the tenets of each of their scriptures.
Because of their assertions, clear light is obscured, not seen. [10]

Conceptual vows degenerate from the meaning of samaya.
No activity in the mind, free of all desire,
Naturally arisen, naturally extinguished, like designs on water,
If we do not leave the meaning of nonabiding and nonobservation,
We don’t transgress samaya and are a lamp in the darkness. [11]

If we mount this meaning, we will be liberated from samsara.
Absorbed in it, all harm and obscuration will be burned.
We are said to be a lamp of the teachings.
Silly beings, uninterested in this meaning,
Are always carried away by the river of samsara and finished.
How pitiful, silly beings suffering unbearably in the worse realms.
If we are unable to bear it, want liberation, rely upon a skillful guru,
And their blessings enter our heart, our mind will be liberated. [13]

Free from all desire, if we do not abide in extremes
We shall see all teachings of the three pitakas. [12]

Kye ho! These samsaric things are the cause of meaningless suffering.
Since fabricated things lack essence, look at the essential meaning!
Beyond all subject-object duality is the king of views.
If we have no distraction, it is the king of meditations.
If we exert no effort, it is the king of action.
If we lack hope and fear, the fruit will manifest. [14]

Beyond observed objects, mind’s nature is luminous.
With no path to travel, keeping to the buddha path,
Accustomed to no object of meditation,
One attains unexcelled enlightenment! [15]

Kye ma! Worldly things cannot be well checked
Or analyzed, like illusions or dreams.
Dreams and illusions do not exist in actuality,
So, disillusioned, give up worldly activity.
Sever attachment and aversion to entourage and land.
Staying alone in the forest, meditate in retreat.
Abide in the state of nonmeditation.
A tree grows with trunk, branches, and foliage;
If its single root is cut, the hundreds of thousands of branches will dry up.
Likewise, if the root of mind is cut, the foliage of samsara will dry up. [16]

For example, darkness accumulated over a thousand eons,
That whole mass of darkness, is dispelled by a single lamp.
Likewise, our own clear-light mind instantly dispels
Ignorance, harm, and obscuration amassed over eons. [17]

Kye ho! Intellectual Dharma does not see what transcends intellect.
Fabricated Dharma does not realize what “nonactivity” means.
If you wish to attain “transcendence of intellect” and “nonactivity,”
Cut the root of your mind and leave awareness naked.
Immerse conceptual thoughts in that bright stainless water.
Do not approve or reject appearances; leave them as they are.
Not abandoning or adopting, all of existence is liberated in Mahāmudrā.
In birthless alaya—“foundation of all”—imprints, harm, and obscuration are abandoned.
Don’t be proud and calculating; settle in the essence of birthlessness.
Since appearances are reflexive, we run out of mental creations.
Freed from boundaries and limits is the supreme king of views.
Boundless, deep and vast, is the supreme king of meditations.
Cutting extremes, unbiased, is the supreme king of conduct.
Without hope, naturally liberated, is the supreme result. [18]

At first, it’s like racing mountain rapids.
In the middle, it moves slowly like the River Ganges.
At last, all rivers meet the sea, like the meeting of mother and child.
If those of little intelligence cannot abide in this state,
Apply breathing techniques and cast awareness into the essence.
Through mode of view, holding the mind, and many branches,
Persevere until you abide in awareness. [19]

By having karmamudra, bliss-void wisdom will dawn.
Blessings of method and wisdom join in union.
Elements slowly falling, spinning, drawn back upward,
Are brought into the places and made to pervade the body.
Without attachment to it, bliss-void deep awareness dawns. [20]

Long life without white hair, waxing like the moon,
Luminous complexion with the strength of a lion,
Common siddhis quickly attained, we mount the supreme. [21]

May these pith instructions of Mahāmudrā
Abide in the hearts of fortunate living beings! [22]

This completes the twenty-three vajra verses on Mahāmudrā taught by the sovereign of Mahāmudrā siddhas, Tilopa, to the learned and accomplished Kashmiri pandit Naropa on the banks of the River Ganges. Great Naropa then taught it to the Tibetan lotsawa, Great King of Translators Marpa Chökyi Lodrö, who translated it and made it definitive at Naropa’s northern abode of Pullahari. ITHI! May all be virtuous! [23]

From the precious book:

Tilopa’s Mahamudra Upadesha: The Gangama Instructions with Commentary, amazon kindle book: