The Teaching of the Essential Point in Three Words

By Mipham Rinpoche

Homage to Manjushri

The understanding of ordinary people is defective.
Recognition itself is not disclosed by words.

Turning from what draws you in,
Grasp the refinement of what is to be done;
Doing thus, the facticity of mind is recognized.

Thought formation is not bound by tenseness;
Likewise the fundamental continuity is self-contained,
Since action, exertion, and the matrix of purposeful grasping do not exist.
Doing thus is the ongoing meditation.

Because the realm of voidness is like the clouds,
All the various thought formations are like their ebb and flow,
When pacified through lack of benefit or injury.
Doing thus is self-liberation.

This is the teaching of the essential point in three words.
By experiencing within, one understands.

Set down by Mi-pham-rnam-par-rgyal-ba
on the third day of the month in the Fire-Monkey year


            "The Teaching of the Essential Point in Three Words" sets down in very concise form the means by which self-liberation is attained.  This is explained in three parts:  the ground, the path, and the fruit.

            The ground is threefold.  One must realize that the understanding, knowledge, and teachings of ordinary, worldly people do not indicate truth.  They are a deviation from truth.  One must realize that awareness cannot be revealed or recognized through language - that recognition of reality is through experience.  One must realize that in order to gain experience, attraction toward worldly pleasures and concerned must be abandoned, and one must perfect the work of gaining liberation.  Upon accomplishing these, one gains insight into the fact of mind recognition.  The essence of the ground is the facticity of mind.

            The path is threefold.  One must not become tense, tight, or bound but remain loose, calm, and free when thoughts appear, when disturbances arise, when discursive thought occurs.  One must continue unwaveringly, because the fundamental continuity cannot be disturbed, cannot be affected by thought-formation; like an island, it is self-contained, and is timeless.  One must realize the non-existence of deeds, of effortful striving, and of the source from which come all determined attempts to seize upon and hold any thoughts.  Upon doing so, one learns the method of prolonged meditation.  The essence of path is the absence of the matrix of purposeful grasping.

            The fruit is threefold.  One recognizes that the emptiness of reality is not really different from the cloudedness of thought formations.  One recognizes that the process of thought formation is like waves in the ocean.  One recognizes indifference to these waves, knowing the mind to be empty of real entities.  Thus the robber-like thoughts find nothing to steal and the helpful thoughts find no one to assist.  Thereupon is found release from the cause of samsara; thereupon is attained the great self-liberation.  The essence of the fruit is self-liberation.

            Such is the teaching of the crucial point in three words.  Those alone who gain recognition through experience can truly understand the great mystery.