The Three Statements of Garab Dorje


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....."As Garab Dorje attained nirvana, his body dissolved into space in the midst of a great cloud of rainbow light; the earth shuddered and miraculous sounds were heard. His disciple Mañjushrimitra, who had studied the Nyingtik teachings with him for seventy-five years, saw him in the sky, surrounded by light, and cried out “Alas, alas! O vast expanse! If the light that is our teacher is extinguished, who will there be to dispel the darkness of the world?“ It is said that, at this, Garab Dorje’s right hand and forearm appeared holding a golden casket, the size of a thumbnail, which circled round Mañjushrimitra three times, and descended into the palm of his hand. Inside it he found the Hitting the Essence in Three Words, Garab Dorje’s final testament, written in ink of liquid lapis lazuli on a leaf of five precious substances. Simply seeing it, Mañjushrimitra attained the same realization as his master. In fact, all four of the first vidyadharas of the Dzogchen lineage—Garab Dorje, Mañjushrimitra, Shri Singha and Jñanasutra—bequeathed a testament in a similar way to their disciples, whereupon the minds of the disciples and wisdom minds of the masters became inseparable. Hitting the Essence in Three Words has been revered by masters and practitioners throughout the centuries as embodying in its key points the very essence of the path of Dzogchen.

The Three Statements Which Strike The Essence(The Three Vajra Verses of Garab Dorje).....Upon receiving the last testament transmission from Garab Dorje of The Three Essential Statements, Manjusrimitra classified them into the three continuous aspects of Dzogchen and the three corresponding teaching series:

1. The Base: Recognize your own true nature. Direct transmission or introduction of the state of presence of one's Original Buddha Nature by the master. This is the Dzogchen View upon which the semde series is based.

2. The Path: Choose the state of presence. Direct discovery of the state of presence (rig pa), beyond doubt. This is the Dzogchen Meditation upon which the longde series is based.

3. The Fruit/Result: Continue in the state with confidence in liberation (total realized integration of the Base in the everyday lifeworld). This is the Dzogchen Conduct upon which the mengagde secret upadesha series is based.These three statements distill all of the Dzogchen tantras and wisdom.

The Primary Dzogchen TantrasThe Six Vajra Verses of Vairochana

The Three Essential Points (The Three Vajra Verses) of the essence, nature and energy of the Base, and of the Path and Fruition of it is contained in Vairochana's early Dzogchen tantra, the Six Vajra Verses, or "Cuckoo of the State of Presence" (Rig-pa’i khu-byug) of the Radiant One that each individual is, primordial Being Itself, the luminous presence of intrinsic awareness (rig pa). The cuckoo is the sacred bird of the Bonpo founder Shenrab Miwo and is considered in the aboriginal Bon tradition as the king of birds, harbinger of spring and bearer of wisdom from the vast empty sky. The Six Vajra Verses of Vairochana and all of the hundreds of Dzogchen tantras and texts are but commentaries on Garab Dorje's Three Varjra Verses or The Three Essential Points

The Six Vajra Verses (translated by Namkhai Norbu):

Verse 1 & 2: The Base (View): The nature of phenomena is non-dual (gnyis med), but each one, its own state, is beyond the limits of the mind (semde mind meditation series).

Verse 3 & 4: The Path, Way of Practice (The Meditation): There is no concept that can define the condition of "what is," but vision nevertheless manifests: all is good (longde, space meditation series).

Verses 5 & 6: The Fruit, Result, Way of Being in Action (The Conduct): Everything has already been accomplished, and so, having overcome the sickness of effort (seeking), one finds oneself in the self-perfected state: This is contemplation. (mengagde/upadesha, secret essence meditation series).

The Base by direct transmission (semde): Introduce the state of rig pa directly (ngo-sprod) by transmission from the master. The View: recognize and practice your own primordial nature which is Buddha nature the source of all arising. This is the development or “understanding” (rtogs pa, avabodhi) phase of Dzogchen teaching.

The Path (longde): “Don't remain in doubt” (“choose the state of presence”). The Meditation (gompa): “Decide on one point.” Choose and use the realization of the nondual unity of emptiness and awareness that is the nature and essence of the three kayas. This does not mean “choose the Dzogchen Path or teaching.” That is dualistic. Rather, choose the state of presence, moment to moment, now. Do not remain in dualistic, space-time located meditation on emptiness. Choose to be the vast empty space of the primordial non-dual state. Thus is the primordial state of presence stabilized through practice in the lifeworld. This is the “stabilizing” (brtan pa) phase of the Dzogchen teaching.The Fruit/Result, (Integration, mengagde, or secret upadesha, nyingthig): Continue in the profound confidence (gdeng) of the wisdom of emptiness that is self-liberation. The Conduct: Liberation (grol ba) is prior to meditation. The state of presence or contemplation is already accomplished as thoughts arise and spontaneously selfliberate (rang grol). No effort. No seeking strategies. All thought and emotion, all arising is already primordially or universally liberated (ta-drol). Wise, compassionate conduct arises and continues from stable confidence (gdeng) in the luminous emptiness of the source, just as that very light descends and continues throughout the conduct in the lifeworld. Thus is the prior unity of the state of presence with the arising energy of inner and outer phenomenal experience realized, and expressed. This is the “integrating” or completion (bsre ba) phase of the Dzogchen teaching.

H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche’s Comments on Garab Dorje’s Three Vajra Verses or The Three Statements ( translated by John Reynolds):Verse I: Recognize your own true nature (The Base) “This fresh immediate awareness of the present moment, transcending all thoughts related to the three times (past, present, future), is itself that primordial awareness or knowledge (ye-shes) that is selforiginated intrinsic awareness (rig-pa).”Verse II: Choose the state of presence (The Path) “Whatever phenomena of Samsara or Nirvana may manifest, all of them represent the play of the creative energy or potentiality of one’s own immediate intrinsic awareness (rig pa’i rtsal). One must decide upon this unique state for oneself and know that there exists nothing other than this.”Verse III: Continue in the state with confidence in liberation (The Fruit) “Whatever gross or subtle thoughts may arise, by merely recognizing their nature, they arise and self-liberate simultaneously in the vast expanse of Dharmakaya, where Emptiness and Awareness are inseparable (gsal stong gnyis med).”~ H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche’s Comments on Garab Dorje’s Three Vajra Verses or The Three Statements (translated by John Reynolds)

Tsik Sum Né DekGarab Dorje Tsik Sum Né Dek (ཚིག་གསུམ་གནད་བརྡེགས་, Wyl. tshig gsum gnad brdegs), 'Hitting the Essence in Three Words'[1] — the final testament of the first human Dzogchen master Garab Dorje (Skt. Prahevajra)The three statementsIntroducing directly the face of rigpa in itself.Decide upon one thing, and one thing only.Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Tsik_Sum_N%C3%A9_DekJohn Reynolds, Golden Letters (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1996)

Born 166 years after the Parinirvana of Lord Buddha in Oddiyana northwest of India, Garab Dorje, an incarnation of Vajrasattva, was the first human teacher of the Atiyoga Tantras. From the age of seven, he defeated the pandits of Oddiyana and India with his teaching that dzogchen goes beyond the law of karma, the law of cause and effect. At his passing into the Body of Light, he gave his disciple Manjushrimitra what have become known as the Three Statements or Three Testaments.

In his book The Crystal and the Way of Light, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche renders them as follows:1. DIRECT INTRODUCTION to the primordial state is transmitted straight away by the master to the disciple. The master always remains in theprimordial state, and the presence of the state communicates itself to the disciple in whatever situation or activity they may share.2. The DISCIPLE enters into non-dual contemplation and, experiencing the primordial state, NO LONGER REMAINS IN ANY DOUBT as to what it is.3. THE DISCIPLE CONTINUES IN THE STATE of non-dual contemplation, the primordial state, bringing contemplation into every action, until that which is every individual’s true condition from the beginning (the Dharmakaya), but which remains obscured by dualistic vision, is made real, or realized. One continues right up to Total Realization.



July 2012

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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