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The Gelug-Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra

Originally published as
H. H. the Dalai Lama and Berzin, Alexander. The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra. Ithaca, Snow Lion, 1997

Order this book directly from Snow Lion Publications

Part IV: A Discourse on The Autocommentary to "A Root Text for Mahamudra"

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, India, March 1982
translated by Alexander Berzin
July 1996

Session Five

The Way to Listen to Teachings

We have all come to listen to teachings on mahamudra, the great seal. But whenever we listen to teachings, we need a proper motivation. No matter how profound or excellent a teaching may be, if we do not listen to it with proper motivation, this will not do. Therefore, we need to set the proper, full motivation of wishing, by means of hearing, practicing and realizing these teachings, to attain an enlightened state of a Buddha in order to be able to benefit all beings. We need to set this motivation very deeply and sincerely from the depths of our hearts.

Not only must we have a proper motivation when listening to teachings, we must have no mental wandering. Otherwise, we miss certain points and become lost. Since we must listen attentively, if some extraneous thought or image comes to our mind, we must pay it no heed. We need to listen single-pointedly and not let our mind be distracted by anything extraneous.

Furthermore, it is very important not only to listen attentively, but also to retain what we hear and not forget it. When listening to teachings, or reading a written version of them, it is helpful to take notes. If, in the future, we refer back to these notes and study them, we gain great benefit in our practice. Therefore we need to listen to these teachings with proper motivation and single-pointed attentiveness, not letting ourselves forget anything.

Nonsectarianism

In Four Hundred Stanzas, Aryadeva has defined a disciple who is fit for receiving Dharma teachings as one who is "impartial, has common sense and takes interest." The first of these qualities, impartiality, means that disciples must not be attached to their own tradition and hostile toward others. They must not hold their own views as being the only ones proper and everything else as being at fault. Being impartial, they need to be open-minded about others' views. There are many religious traditions in the world and, among them, many national traditions of Buddhism. All of them are beneficial. Anyone who practices any of them sincerely and looks to their essence learns about training in ethics and other beneficial practices. Therefore, it is very important not to be sectarian. Without partiality or bias, we need to regard all religious and spiritual traditions with great respect.

Even within the folds of the Tibetan lineages of Buddhism, we have several traditions – Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. As disciples of the Tibetan form of Buddhism, we must especially not have sectarian regard toward any of these. If we hold a sectarian, prejudiced attitude toward these traditions, with hard feelings toward some, and create or further disharmony among them, we disable ourselves from building up positive force from our Dharma practice. There is great danger of a serious downfall. We must take care about our attitudes.

There are two different ways of looking with a discriminating eye at the various traditions. One is to examine each of them closely based on a sincere interest to know the distinctive features of each. We examine the assertions and practices of the various traditions with a critical eye, trying to establish the scriptural authority and logical basis for each. We undertake this so as to be able to understand and appreciate the grounds and sources that have given rise to the different traditions. The other way of looking with a critical eye is to judge them with an ordinary mind of attachment, hostility and closed-minded, foolish confusion. This latter manner of looking is the defining characteristic of sectarianism.

There were many realized beings in India, as well as Tibet, who debated in order to refute various interpretations and views. When great learned masters debate with each other, in an impartial manner, in order to determine which positions are valid and which are either illogical, self-contradictory or in contradiction to the scriptures, they are motivated by the sincere wish to benefit practitioners. But when others, who are not especially learned, experienced or mature, imitate this with a motivating basis of attachment and hostility, they simply argue and call each other nasty names. This type of endeavor is pathetic and misses the point of debate. Therefore, it is very important not to entertain a sectarian view toward the various traditions and systems, but rather to remain always impartial and have equal respect for all.

I myself have great respect for all the Buddhist lineages of Tibet – Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma and Gelug – and likewise respect for Bon and all the other religions and spiritual traditions we find in the world. If we look in an unbiased manner, we see that each of them has its own good points. Each is suited to a particular type of individual with a particular type of disposition and needs. As each is beneficial for the people it suits, it is totally appropriate to maintain respectful belief in the value of this wide variety of traditions, both within and beyond the Buddhist fold.

As for our own study and practice of Buddhism, depending on the direction of our interests and our capacity, we should try to study as widely as possible, and with sincere respect, as many of its traditions as we can. This helps us broaden and deepen our understanding and practice of whatever is our main tradition. For example, if Gelug practitioners study a dzogchen text, they gain a special and unique understanding of the Nyingma teachings on the basis of their Gelug training that can further enhance their Gelug studies and practice. The same is true of dzogchen practitioners who study a Gelug text, and so forth. Thus we must try to have a very broad and open attitude, and, based on respect and interest, study and practice as widely as we can the various traditions of Buddhism. The First Panchen Lama's approach in this text comes to the same point.

Brief Résumé of the Text

The outline for this text divides it into three sections: the preliminary discussion, actual explanation and dedication of positive force. It then divides the actual explanation into discussion of the preparations, actual methods and concluding procedures. The actual methods involve the tantra and sutra traditions of mahamudra. For the tantra methods, we need to follow the procedures in their proper order. First we establish a firm foundation for practice by training ourselves with the common and uncommon preliminaries. Then, on the basis of this preparation, we receive a full set of empowerments, from a properly qualified master, that plant the seeds for being able to attain the four bodies of a Buddha. Strictly keeping to all the vows and close bonds that we have received at the time of empowerment, we then enter into the practices. The main point of practice is, through various methods, to make manifest the simultaneously arising, primordial clear light of deep awareness. The sutra tradition of mahamudra is to gain a decisive understanding of the correct view of reality as presented in the three major recensions of the prajnaparamita sutras, known in Tibetan as The Three Mothers.

The First Panchen Lama next lists a number of teaching traditions that have appeared in Tibet. Among them are several mahamudra ones from various Kagyu lineages. There are basically two Kagyu lineages: Shangpa Kagyu from Kaydrub Kyungpo and Dagpo Kagyu tracing itself from Tilopa through Naropa, Marpa and Milarepa to Gampopa from Dagpo, who combined the Kadam and mahamudra traditions. Twelve Dagpo Kagyu lineages derive from Gampopa's disciples. The four primary ones – Karma Kamtsang, or simply Karma, Barom, Pagdru and Tselpa – trace from direct disciples of Gampopa himself. The eight secondary ones – Drigung, Drugpa, Taglung, Shugseb, Yelpa, Marpa, Yazang and Tropu – trace themselves from disciples of Gampopa's disciple, Pagmo-drupa. From among these various Kagyu traditions, the First Panchen Lama mentions the simultaneously arising as merged, deriving from Gampopa and found in Karma Kagyu; the amulet box from Kaydrub Kyungpo in Shangpa Kagyu; and possessing five from Jigten-gonpo in Drigung Kagyu. The six spheres of equal taste derives from a work buried as a treasure text by Milarepa's disciple, Rechungpa, recovered by Tsangpa Gyaray and passed on to his disciple, Gotsangpa, in Drugpa Kagyu; while the four syllables from Saraha's disciple, Maitripa, another of Marpa's Indian masters, is found in the various Dagpo Kagyu lineages. Outside these Kagyu lines, the Panchen Lama also mentions the pacifier tradition from another of Maitripa's disciples, Padampa Sanggyay, in which "the pure Dharma pacifies suffering," and also the object to be cut off, tracing from Padampa Sanggyay's disciple, Machig Labkyi-drolma. Furthermore, there is dzogchen in Nyingma and the discursive madhyamaka view in Gelug.

The First Panchen Lama concludes his list with the word "and so on." Included in "and so on" are the traditions of the Sakya lineage. Although Sakya discusses the view of reality in the context of pathway appearance-making of those who strive, presented as one of the three stages of appearance-making, the Panchen Lama is undoubtedly referring here to its view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana discussed in the context of the causal everlasting continuum of the alaya, the all-encompassing foundation, presented as one of the three everlasting continuums.

All these traditions have individual, different names. But if we, as Dharma practitioners, examine them from the point of view of scriptural quotation from Buddha's sutras of definitive meaning, as well as with lines of reasoning that establish what is of definitive meaning, and, not leaving that merely on the level of words, combine our thorough understanding of both with personal meditation experience, we see that despite their differences in name, they each come to the same meaning and point.

The Simultaneously Arising as Merged Tradition of Karma Kagyu

The main point of the simultaneously arising as merged tradition is, as our autocommentary quotes, "The simultaneously arising mind itself is dharmakaya, a body encompassing everything." This tradition, speaking primarily from the point of view of tantra, correlates primordial, simultaneously arising clear light mind with dharmakaya. "Simultaneously arising conceptual minds are the waves of dharmakaya." In other words, the arising of our numerous conceptual minds or thoughts of "good" or "bad" are like waves of that primordial, simultaneously arising, clear light dharmakaya mind. Here, dharmakaya clear light mind is likened to the ocean, while conceptual minds that think "good" or "bad" are likened to waves that arise from the ocean water as their basis.

Furthermore, "Simultaneously arising appearances are the luster or brilliance of dharmakaya." In other words, the root of the various appearances of "good" or "bad" to which our various conceptual thoughts give rise is the sphere of simultaneously arising clear light. Thus both appearances and the conceptual minds that give rise to them do not go beyond having clear light mind as their nature.

The quotation ends, "Appearance and mind simultaneously arise, inseparably." This is not asserting, as with the chittamatra view, that external appearances and the internal minds that cognize them exist truly and unimputed as being substantially one by nature. But rather this view asserts that all pure or impure emanated appearances can be presented in terms of the sphere of clear light. It is in this sense that the Karma Kagyu tradition speaks of inseparable appearance and mind.

Once, when Changkya Rolpay-dorjey was staying in China at Wutaishan, the holy five-peaked mountain plateau of Manjushri, he received in a dream a hidden vision of an emanation of the Buddha-figure Manjushri himself. In this vision, Manjushri gave him very clear guidelines for understanding the madhyamaka view starting on the basis of the chittamatra subject matter of the fourth chapter of Dharmakirti's A Commentary on [Dignaga's "Compendium of] Validly Cognizing Minds. " Although it was a vision that appeared in a dream, it amounted to what we call a pure vision.

Similarly, there have been many great realized masters of India and Tibet who trained themselves first with a chittamatra view of reality and, in the end, were led by it to a madhyamaka view. For example, Kagyu masters of old had the saying, "Decisively understand that appearances are the vitality of mind. Decisively understand that mind itself is devoid. Decisively understand appearance and voidness as a unified pair." There is also the similar expression among Sakya masters, "Remain within the sphere of clarity and voidness not apprehended apart."

These are both examples of traditions indicating a view of reality based on experience. Because they are views based on experience, sometimes they have and sometimes they lack the fault of contradicting the scriptural texts. They do not take as their main what follows from words, but rather they look for the exact, appropriate occasions to touch the minds of fitting disciples with guidelines that follow from their personal meditation experience. Thus this tradition of simultaneously arising and merged, which is expressed in terms reminiscent of those found with a chittamatra view, is an example of a tradition indicating a view of reality based on meditation experience.

The Amulet Box Tradition of Shangpa Kagyu

The amulet box tradition of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage from Kaydrub Kyungpo teaches, "The preliminary basis is [mind's] automatically coming to its own level in its three aspects. The actual method is [mind's] automatically releasing into itself the three faults. The result is [mind's] automatically giving rise to the three bodies of a Buddha. The actual method is also called 'recognizing the thieves.' The main guideline instruction of the Shangpa Kagyu line is that of the six practices, or 'yogas' of Niguma."

The three aspects are mind's essence, nature and defining characteristic, namely its voidness, clear light lucidity and appearance-making. The three faults are becoming attached to the boon experiences of stark nonconceptuality, clarity and bliss based on these three aspects, and which can lead to rebirth in, respectively, the realms of formless beings, ethereal forms or desirable sensory objects. Likewise, the three bodies of a Buddha automatically arise from these three aspects of mind – from its voidness, a body encompassing everything; from its clear light lucidity, a body of forms of full use; and from its appearance-making, a body of emanations.

The autocommentary continues, "Of these six practices of Niguma, those of tummo are for inducing the many realizations of the pathway minds. The illusory body ones are for the automatic release of attachment and hostility." The illusory body here seems to be slightly different from that presented in the Guhyasamaja system. In this context, illusory body seems to refer to the practices for seeing everything to be like illusion, as explained in the madhyamaka texts. By training our mind to see that, like illusions, everything that our mind makes appear does so on the basis of its being devoid of true and inherent existence, we are able to experience attachment and hostility automatically releasing themselves.

Furthermore, "The dream practices entail deceptive appearances within what is already deceptive automatically clearing away. Clear light practice is for eliminating the darkness of ignorance. Transference of consciousness, powa, is for attaining to Buddhahood without meditation. Bardo practice, during the period in between rebirth, is for achieving a triumphant Buddha's body of full use. Of these six practices of Niguma, the amulet box tradition takes as its main the practice of clear light." This involves anuttarayoga tantra methods of meditation for penetrating vital points of the vajra-body in order to make manifest clear light mind.

Kaydrub Kyungpo was a great yogi meditator. In his text, Hundreds of Verses for Auspiciousness, in which he composed verses for all to be auspicious for meditation, he wrote, "May everything be auspicious for the mahamudra of great bliss – the sphere of voidness, clarity and appearance – [seen] when purified down to the depths. Any appearance, to which mind gives rise, of anything that exists automatically emanates like a dream or illusion – a tone of uninterrupted great bliss."

This is Kaydrub Kyungpo's description of the mahamudra that is the greatly blissful, simultaneously arising clear light mind of deep awareness. His point that it can only be seen "when purified down to the depths" implies that it cannot be apprehended by coarser levels of mind. Therefore, to see it we must stop taking things to mind on the coarser levels. This, then, is not the Hoshang position of blank-mindedness in which we do not take anything to mind at all, although the manner of expression may lead us to consider it the same. This is similarly the case with the line, "If it is apprehended, it is not the view."

We should note that there were undoubtedly two Hoshangs in the history of Buddhism in Tibet. "Hoshang" is simply the Chinese word for "monk." The first hoshangs in Tibet were masters of the Chan tradition – called "Zen" in Japan – who translated Chinese texts into Tibetan at Samyay monastery at the time of Shantarakshita. If they had been advocates of blank-minded meditation and had repudiated the value of constructive deeds, Shantarakshita himself would have refuted them in debate. There would have been no need to invite from India his disciple, Kamalashila, to come to Tibet in the future to refute the Hoshang who would teach, at that time, distorted, antagonistic views. The Hoshang whom Kamalashila defeated at the Samyay debates, then, was another Chinese hoshang or monk who advocated a degenerate, incorrect view of Chan.

The next line of Kaydrub Kyungpo's verse, "Any appearance, to which mind gives rise, of anything that exists automatically emanates..." refers to the fact that since all phenomena, from their depths, are devoid of a being a concrete reality, anything having a devoid nature automatically establishes its existence. It "automatically emanates" in the sense that, by virtue of being devoid of a true and inherent nature, it is able to arise, it is able to exist. Thus when we say, as in The Heart Sutra, "Voidness is form; form is voidness," we mean "Voidness, therefore form; form, therefore voidness."

Because anything, such as forms of physical phenomena, automatically establishes its existence by virtue of its having a devoid nature, and is thus devoid of being a concrete reality, it is not the case that originally phenomena had a truly and inherently existing nature and then had that nature removed from them as its basis. From the start, everything, primordially from its depths, has been devoid of existing as a concrete reality. Thus the line, "Not being [truly and inherently existent], they appear like an illusion," is extremely powerful. This is the meaning of the term "automatically emanates" in Kaydrub Kyungpo's verse.

"Uninterrupted great bliss" in the phrase, "a tone of uninterrupted great bliss," refers to a greatly blissful awareness that is generated into a deep awareness of voidness and is thus inseparably in the same package as the void abiding nature of all objects that automatically emanate. Just as anything that exists, and can thus appear, is an automatic emanation of voidness, likewise any appearance of what exists is an automatic emanation or "tone" of the greatly blissful, clear light deep awareness of that voidness which, simultaneously arising with each moment, is "uninterrupted." When we have made manifest this type of greatly blissful deep awareness – in other words when we have made manifest the deep awareness that is an individualizing, reflexive pure awareness of itself as a unified pair of blissful awareness and its emanations, and which is the stable foundational basis for any appearance that emanates – we have "purified down to the depths."

This is "the sphere of voidness, clarity and appearance," in the sense that while appearing, things are devoid of concrete reality, and while being devoid of impossible modes of existence, things clearly arise. Thus the unified pair of appearance and voidness, of emanation and blissful awareness, is like space – a lack of anything tangible or physically obstructive. This tradition, then, ascribes the name "mahamudra" to such greatly blissful deep awareness.

The Possessing Five Tradition of Drigung Kagyu

The possessing five tradition, according to the autocommentary, "asserts in songs of meditation experience that the enlightening influence of the Dagpo Kagyu lineage masters is great and that of Jigten-gonpo is the root." Jigten-gonpo, as the paramount guru, was the founder of the Drigung school. In a short conversation I once had with Kyungka Rinpochey, this late Ladhaki Drigung Kagyu lama affirmed to me that the root of the possessing five tradition is indeed fervent regard and respect for the gurus. Thus there is a great emphasis on guru-yoga and practices of building up and cleansing.

The first of the five features of this tradition is, "If you fail to direct the racehorse of bodhichitta to the racetrack of benefiting others, you miss outstripping in radiance worldly gods and men. Therefore, exert effort in this dedicated heart as preliminary." Thus, the first point is bodhichitta meditation as preliminary. All practices of the perfection vehicle are included in the practices of bodhichitta and the six far-reaching attitudes. Since we must hold the rest of the pathway minds within the context of a dedicated heart of bodhichitta, if we lack it, we are unable to stabilize all that follows. "Therefore, exert effort in this dedicated heart as preliminary."

As for the second feature, "If you fail to take, as an unchanging basis, your body generated in the aspect of a kingly Buddha-figure, you miss gathering together an attendant circle of dakinis, female forces of unimpeded action. Therefore, exert effort in your body as a divine yidam – a Buddha-figure with which to bond." We must stop our mind's producing an appearance of our body in its ordinary fashion and implying its true inherent existence, and generate instead, in a stable and enduring manner, a pure appearance of it as a Buddha-figure and apprehend it as such. If we do not do this in a stable fashion so that it does not alter, we lack a basis for gathering together, on vital points of our subtle vajra-body, dakinis to help develop and enhance in us a joyful state of awareness. "Therefore exert effort in your body as a divine yidam." The second feature of the five, then, is visualizing our body in the aspect of a Buddha-figure.

The third feature is, "If you fail to shine the sun of fervent regard and respect on the snow mountain of your guru, possessing the four Buddha-bodies, you miss having a stream of waters of inspiration flow forth. Therefore exert effort in this mind of fervent regard and respect." The root of all actual attainments through the tantra path is our guru as a Buddha-figure with which to bond. Moreover, the root for all inspiration to achieve these attainments is the guru. Thus if we lack the sun of a mind of fervent regard and respect for our guru, we are unable to experience a flow of inspiration casacading into our mind like the rushing of a mountain stream. "Therefore exert effort in this mind of fervent regard and respect."

As for the fourth feature, "If you fail to purify away the mass of clouds of conceptual thoughts from the expanse of space of mind itself, you miss having the planets and stars of twofold omniscient awareness sparkle forth. Therefore, exert effort in this nonconceptual mind." In order to come to the deep awareness of an omniscient mind of a Buddha that straightforwardly and nonconceptually, omnisciently knows simultaneously the extent of all phenomena and how they exist, we must accustom ourselves to the primordial, simultaneously arising clear light mind of deep awareness on its full and complete level. In order to do this, we must dissipate the mass of clouds of our conceptual minds. "Therefore exert effort in this nonconceptual mind."

The fifth and final feature of the possessing five tradition is, "If you fail to polish with prayers the wish-granting gem of your two enlightenment-building networks, you miss having flow forth the enlightening influence needed and desired. Therefore, exert effort in this dedication at the end." The two enlightenment-building networks of positive force and deep awareness are likened here to a wish-granting gem. We must enhance them properly with our repeated prayers and dedications. If we do not properly dedicate these networks we have built up so that they serve as causes for our attainment to the enlightened state of a Buddha, we miss receiving the enlightening influence of the Three Precious Gems. "Therefore exert effort in this dedication at the end."

The Drugpa Kagyu Tradition of the Six Spheres of Equal Taste

The tradition of the six spheres of equal taste transmits "eight great discourses, six spheres of equal taste, and seven measures to practice and hold tightly. The eight great discourses concern the guru's three Buddha-bodies, love and compassion, the dependent arising of cause and effect, the dripping of nectars possessing five, simultaneously arising and merged, the six practices of Naropa, equalizing the mind toward the eight transitory things in life, and meditating on turning away interferences with hidden behavior." The six practices or "yogas" of Naropa are tummo, illusory body, clear light, bardo, transference of consciousness and entering the citadel. Dream practices are included among those of illusory body. The eight transitory things in life are praise, blame, good news, bad news, gains, losses, things going well and things going poorly.

"The six spheres of equal taste" – meaning an equal taste on the conventional and deepest levels – "are taking conceptual minds, disturbing emotions and attitudes, massive sicknesses, demonic curses, sufferings and death each as a pathway." It teaches various attitudes to develop with regard to the conventional and deepest levels for equalizing our attitudes toward each of these six.

"The seven measures are the four ornaments for the profound Dharma and the ornaments of guidelines for the three circles. The four ornaments for the profound Dharma are the source of good qualities – namely, engaging in the preliminary practices for tantra – receiving empowerments, practicing the two stages based on hidden explanation of the subtle vajra-body, and engaging in the bardo practices in between rebirths for enhancing our progress. The ornaments of guidelines for the three circles concern eliminating interfering spirits, registering the hundreds of thousands of songs of meditation experience, and detailing the collection of fine points." These are all transmitted by the Drugpa Kagyu tradition.

In the writings on the dependent arising tradition in the works of the Drugpa Kagyu founder, Tsangpa Gyaray, we find ample explanation of realizing the unified pair of inseparable dependent arising and voidness. He explains that the main point of the correct view of reality is to see these two as a unified pair in the sense that dependent arising helps establish voidness, and voidness helps establish dependent arising. Except for a difference in manner of expression, his presentation comes to exactly the same point as we find in other traditions.

The Four Syllables Tradition Common to All Dagpo Kagyu Lineages

The four syllables tradition, deriving from Maitripa, expounds on the four syllables, "a-ma-na-si," which comprise the Sanskrit word, "not to take to mind." "A" is the Sanskrit prefix for negation, while "manasi" means "to take to mind." As for the deeper significance of the four syllables, the autocommentary explains, "The first refers to cutting down to the foundational root state, the second shows the methods for settling the mind, the third cuts mind off from points where it can deviate, and the fourth demonstrates how to take mind as a pathway." This tradition teaches methods for mahamudra meditation in terms of these four points.

The Pacifier Tradition of Padampa Sanggyay

The next tradition is the pacifier one of fatherly Padampa Sanggyay, deriving from the scriptural line, "The pure view pacifies all suffering." We pacify all sickness, suffering, interferences, problems from harmful spirits, and so forth, into the pure sphere of clear light mind. We do this by looking barely and starkly at this basic primordial mind and train ourselves to see that all appearances arise from it like an illusory body, or illusion in general. In meditation, we overcome mental dullness by exclaiming loudly and forcefully the syllable, "pay (phat)," while imaging our mind shooting out the top of the crown of our head and mixing with space. To overcome flightiness of mind, we cut down to the root, in other words we cut away the level of mind that goes toward appealing distractions. If our mind wanders after various objects of attachment or desire, we focus on the underlying nature or basis for these objects. In this way, a correct view of reality in terms of clear light mind pacifies all suffering and problems.

This is a very profound system of practice. When our mind gives rise to any bad omens, we transform our experience of them into a pathway of practice by seeing them to be in the nature of conceptual mind. When our body gives rise to sicknesses, we see them as what dependently arises from a disturbance of the four elements. Thus, we take as our main practice lojong, cleansing our attitudes, accomplished through tonglen, taking on and giving. We take on or accept whatever experiences of difficulties or hardships arise and give them a beneficial function by transforming them into pathway minds through seeing their clear light nature. Thus, even when we experience death, we continue our practice by transforming it into the perfect opportunity for realizing the mother clear light mind. Thus our "pure view pacifies all suffering."

The Object To Be Cut Off, Dzogchen and Madhyamaka Discursive View Traditions

The object to be cut off tradition, deriving from the One Mother of All, Machig Labkyi-drolma, transmits chöd, the cutting-off rite, as found in all subsequent traditions in Tibet. The autocommentary does not elaborate further. The dzogchen tradition derives from the heart essence of the mind of Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpochey. It has three divisions or lineages, known as the mind, open expanse and oral guideline divisions. Although each transmits the full dzogchen teachings, the mind division emphasizes primal purity, the open expanse stresses spontaneously establishing; while the oral guideline underscores the two as a unified pair. Finally, the First Panchen Lama lists the tradition of the discursive view of madhyamaka transmitted by the Gelug lineage, followed by "and so on," without further comment.

The First Panchen Lama concludes by stating that all these traditions come, in the end, to the same intended point. He supports this in the autocommentary with an example deriving from a quote from The Stainless Light, a commentary by Pundarika on The Abbreviated Kalachakra Tantra. The example is that of a precious gem. Although different languages may have different names for this object in their own language, it is still the same gem no matter what we call it. Likewise these different traditions use different names and words for the deepest points, but their meaning is the same.