THE MIRROR OF ESSENTIAL POINTS
A Letter in Praise of Emptiness From Ven Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje
to his Mother
I pay homage at the lotus feet of Tenpai Nyima, Who is inseparable
from Dharma-lord Longchen Rabjam and perceives the natural state of
emptiness of the ocean-like infinity of things.
A letter of advice I offer to you, my noble mother Paldzom; Listen
for a while without distraction.
Staying here without discomfort, I am at ease and free from worries
In a state of joyful mind. Are you well yourself, my dear mother?
Here, in a country to the West, there are many red and white skinned
people. They have all kinds of magic and sights, like flying through
the skies and moving like fish in the waters. Having mastery over the
four elements, they compete in displaying miracles with thousands of
There is an endless amount of spectacles, like designs of rainbow colours,
but like a mere dream, when examined, they are the mistaken perceptions
of the mind.
All activities are like the games children play; if done, they can
never be finished. They are only completed once you let be, like castles
made of sand.
But this not the whole story; all the dharmas of Samsara and Nirvana,
though thought to be permanent, they do not last. When examined, they
are but empty forms, that appear without existence. Although unreal,
they are thought to be real, and when examined, they are unreal like
Look outward at the appearing objects, and like the water in a mirage,
they are more delusive than delusion. Unreal like dreams and illusions,
they resemble reflected moon and rainbows.
Look inward at your own mind! It seems quite exciting, when not examined.
But when examined, there is nothing to it. Appearing without being,
it is nothing but empty. It cannot be identified saying, "that's
it!" But is evanescent and elusive like mist.
Look at whatever may appear In any of the ten directions. No matter
how it may appear, the thing in itself, its very nature, is the sky-
like nature of mind, beyond the projection and dissolution of thought
Everything has the nature of being empty. When the empty looks at the
empty, who is there to look at something empty? What is the use of many
classifications, such as 'being empty' and 'not empty' as it is illusion
looking at illusion, and delusion watching delusion?
"The effortless and sky-like nature of the mind, the vast expanse
of insight, Is the natural state of all things. In it, whatever you
do is all right, however you rest, you are at ease." This was said
by Jetsun Padmasambhava and the great siddha Saraha.
All the conceptual designs, such as "it's two!" or "it's
not two!" Leave them like the waves on a river, to be spontaneously
freed in themselves.
The great demon of ignorant and discursive thought causes one to sink
in the ocean of samsara. But when freed from this discursive thought,
there is the indescribable state, beyond conceptual mind.
Besides mere discursive thoughts, There is not even the words of 'samsara'
and 'nirvana'. The total calming down of discursive thought Is the suchness
Not made complex by complex statements, this unfabricated single bindu
is emptiness, the natural state of mind. So it was said by the Sugata.
The essence of whatever may appear, when simply left to itself, Is
the unfabricated and uncorrupted view, the Dharmakaya, emptiness mother.
All discursive thought is emptiness, And the seer of the emptiness
is discursive thought. Emptiness does not destroy discursive thought,
And discursive thought does not block emptiness.
The fourfold emptiness of the mind itself Is the ultimate of everything.
Profound and tranquil,free from complexity, uncompounded luminous clarity,
beyond the mind of conceptual ideas: This is the depth of the mind of
the Victorious Ones.
In this there is not a thing to be removed, nor anything that needs
to be added. It is merely the immaculate looking naturally at itself.
In short, when the mind has fully severed the fetters of clinging to
something, All the points are condensed therein. This is the tradition
of the supreme being Tilopa And of the great pandita Naropa.
Such a profound natural state as this, Is among all the kinds of bliss,
the wisdom of great bliss. Among all kinds of delight it is the king
of supreme delight. It is the supreme fourth empowerment of all the
tantric sections of the secret mantras. It is the ultimate pointing
The view of 'Samsara and Nirvana Inseparable', and that of Mahamudra,
of Dzogchen, the Middle Way and others, have many various titles but
only one essential meaning. This is the view of Lama Mipham.
As an aid to this king of views one should begin with Bodhicitta, and
conclude with dedication.
In order to cut off through skilful means the fixation on an ego, the
root of Samsara, the king of all great methods is the unsurpassable
The king of perfect dedication Is the means for increasing the roots
of virtue. This is the special teaching of Shakyamuni which is not found
with other teachers.
To accomplish complete enlightenment more than this is not necessary
but less than this will be incomplete. This swift path of the three
excellences, called the heart, eye and lifeforce, is the approach of
Emptiness, the wish- fulfilling jewel, Is unattached generosity. It
is uncorrupted discipline. It is angerless patience. It is undeluded
exertion. It is undistracted meditation. It is the essence of prajna.
It is the meaning in the three yanas.
Emptiness is the natural state of mind. Emptiness is the non-conceptual
refuge. Emptiness is the Absolute Bodhicitta. Emptiness is the Vajrasattva
of absolving evils. Emptiness is the Mandala of perfect accumulations.
Emptiness is the Guru Yoga of Dharmakaya.
To abide in the natural state of emptiness Is the 'calm abiding' of
shamatha, And to perceive it vividly clear is the 'clear seeing' of
The view of the perfect Development Stage, The wisdom of bliss and
emptiness in the Completion Stage, The non-dual Great Perfection, And
the single bindu of Dharmakaya, all these are included within it.
Emptiness purifies the karmas. Emptiness dispels the obstructing forces.
Emptiness tames the demons. Emptiness accomplishes the deities.
The profound state of emptiness dries up the ocean of passion. It crumples
the mountain of anger. It illuminates the darkness of stupidity. It
calms down the gale of jealousy. It defeats the illness of the kleshas.
It is a friend in sorrow. It destroys conceit in joy. It conquers in
the battle with Samsara. It annihilates the four Maras. It turns the
eight worldly dharmas into same taste. It subdues the demon of ego-
fixation. It turns negative conditions into aids. It turns bad omens
into good luck. It causes to manifest complete enlightenment. It gives
birth to the Buddhas of the three times. Emptiness is the Dharmakaya
There is no teaching higher than emptiness. There is no teaching swifter
than emptiness. There is no teaching more excellent than emptiness.
There is no teaching more profound than emptiness.
Emptiness is the 'knowing of one that frees all.' Emptiness is the
supreme king of medicines. Emptiness is the nectar of immortality. Emptiness
is spontaneous accomplishment beyond effort. Emptiness is enlightenment
By meditating emptiness One feels tremendous compassion towards the
beings obscured, like ourselves,by the belief in a self, and Bodhicitta
arises without effort.
All qualities of the path and bhumis will appear naturally without
any effort, and one will feel a heartfelt conviction regarding the law
of the infallible effect of actions.
If one has but one moment of certainty In this kind of emptiness, the
tight chain of ego-clinging will shatter into pieces. This was said
More supreme than offering to the Sugatas and their sons all the infinite
Buddha fields filled with the offering of gods and men; Is to meditate
If the merit of resting evenly just for an instant in this natural
state would take on concrete form, space could not contain it.
The peerless Lord of the sages, Sakyamuni, for the sake of this profound
emptiness, threw his body into pyres of fire, gave away his head and
limbs, and performed hundreds of other austerities.
Although you fill the world with huge mounds of presents of gold and
jewels, this profound teaching on emptiness, even when searched for,
is hard to find. This is said in the Hundred Thousand Verses of Prajna
To meet this supreme teaching Is the splendid power of merit of many
aeons beyond count.
In short, by means of emptiness, one is, for the benefit of oneself,
liberated into the expanse of the unborn Dharmakaya, the manifest complete
enlightenment of the four Kayas and the five Wisdoms. The unobstructed
display of the Rupakaya will then ceaseslessly arise to teach whoever
is in need, by stirring the depths of Samsara for the benefit of others
through constant, all- pervading spontaneous activity. In all the Sutras
and Tantras this is said to be the ultimate fruition.
How can someone like me put into words All the benefits and virtues
hereof, when the Victorious One with his vajra tongue cannot exhaust
them, even if he speaks for an aeon?
The glorious Lord, the supreme teacher, who gives the teachings on
emptiness, appears in the form of a human being, but his mind is truly
Without deceit and hypocrisy supplicate him from your very heart, And
without needing any other expedient, you will attain enlightenment in
this very life. This is the manner of the All- Embodying Jewel which
is taught in the Tantras of the Great Perfection. When you have this
jewel in the palm of your hand, do not let it meaninglessly go to waste.
Learning, like the stars in the sky, will never come to an end through
studies. What is the use of all the various kinds of the many teachings
requested and received? What is the use of any practice which is higher
Do not aim at having many ascetic costumes, such as carrying a staff
and wearing braids and animal skins. Leaving the elephant back in your
house, do not go searching for its footprints in the mountains.
Mother, meditate the essence of the mind, as it is taught by the guru,
the Vajra Holder, and you will have the essence of the essence of all
the eighty- four thousand teachings. It is the heart nectar of a billion
Learned and accomplished ones. It is the ultimate practice.
This advice from the core of the heart of the fallen monk Jamyang Dorje,
is the purest of the pure essence from the bindu of my life blood. Therefore
keep it in your heart, mother. These few words of heart advice were
written in a beautiful countryside, the city of the spacious blue sky,
rivaling the splendour of divine realms.
To the devoted Chokyi Nodzom, my dear and loving mother, and to my
own devoted students, I offer this letter of advice.
This letter to my students was composed by one who goes by the name
'Khenpo', the Tibetan Jamyang Dorje, in the Dordogne Herbal Valley of
Great Bliss, in the country of France beyond the great ocean in the
May virtue and auspiciousness ensue!
(This was put into English, with the help of Khenpo Rinpoche, by Erik
and Lodro. Perigueux Retreat 1983)