Luminous Melodies

A Synopsis of Mahāmudrā by Nāropa, the erudite dropout

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A Synopsis of Mahāmudrā by Nāropa, the erudite dropout

I pay homage within the natural state of great bliss

Here’s what is to be expressed as mahāmudrā:

All phenomena are your own mind

Seeing outer objects is the deluded mind —

they are like dreams — empty of essence [1]

Mind is the sheer movement of discursive awareness,

lacking a nature of its own, the display of the vāyus

It is empty of any essence, similar to space

All phenomena abide equally, just like space [2]

What is expressed as “mahāmudrā”

cannot be shown through its own essence

Therefore, the suchness of mind

is the very state of mahāmudrā [3]

It cannot be contrived or changed

If someone sees and realizes this true reality,

all that can possibly appear is mahāmudrā —

simply the great, all-encompassing dharmakāya [4]


Letting this nature be, loose and without contrivance,

it cannot be conceived — the dharmakāya

If it is let be without searching, that is meditation —

meditating while searching is the deluded mind [5]

Just as with space and its miraculous displays,

as there is neither meditation nor nonmeditation,

how could there be separation or nonseparation?

Yogīs realize that it is just this way [6]

All actions that are virtues and wrongdoings

will be free by knowing this true reality

The afflictions are great wisdom

as with a forest fire, they are the yogī’s aids [7]

How could there exist a time of going or staying?

What about dhyāna if you have gone to a hermitage?

Except just temporarily, you will not become free

without realizing true reality, no matter through what [8]

If true reality is realized, what is it that binds?

Apart from remaining undistractedly in the natural state,

there is nothing to fix or to meditate on with a remedy

in the sense of “resting in meditative equipoise” or “not resting” [9]

In this, there isn’t anything at all that is established

Appearances free in themselves are the dharmadhātu

Thoughts free in themselves are great wisdom

The equality of nonduality is the dharmakāya [10]

Like the steady flow of a great river,

however you may behave, it is meaningful

This is the buddhahood that is everlasting —

great bliss without any place for saṃsāra [11]


Phenomena are empty of their own essence

The mind that clings to being empty is pure in its own place

This mental nonengagement free of mind

constitutes the path of all buddhas [12]

For the most fortunate ones,

I put my heartfelt advice into words

Through this, may every single being

come to abide in mahāmudrā [13]

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