For the new moon today, am happy to offer to Dharma brothers and sisters, a double treat of a transcript of part of the OM AH HUM teachings, HE 8th Garchen Rinpoche gave recently (2nd -3rd October) as well as a new translation of a song by Milarepa on the Ten Pāramitās.
Below is a transcript of the teaching (based on the oral translation of Ina Bieler and Tibetan, for video see here. As well as additional information and images about the Vajrakīlaya consecration of the kīla/phurba he speaks about, with images of the syllables and links to the Youtube videos of Rinpoche teaching the six syllables, see here. Also the OM AH HUM recitation on video, see here. A .pdf of this transcript and images is also available for free download on request.
In addition, in this teaching, Garchen Rinpoche refers to a song by Jetsun Milarepa on the ten pāramitās, contained in his One Hundred Thousand Songs and recommends ‘we look at it’. Thus, today for ease of reference, as well as for the benefit of Dharma brothers and sisters, I have done a new translation of this song, compiled together with Tibetan and phonetics, that can also be freely downloaded as a pdf file and accessed in this website’s section on Milarepa, see here. I have also included it in full with the transcript of this teachings.
I dedicate this to the long life of HE Garchen Rinpoche, Ina Bieler, HE Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche and all at the Garchen Dharma centres. May their activities flourish! May all beings attain the one taste of full liberation!
Written, compiled and edited by Adele Tomlin, 6th October 2021.
OṀ ĀH HUṂ teachings
by 8th Garchen Rinpoche( 1st-2nd October 2021)
“Yesterday, I spoke about the OṀ ĀH HUṂ recitation. Generally, you might think that there are so many practices. It is a bit of a problem is thinking that way, we shouldn’t think that there is so many. It may seem that way from a relative perspective but the OṀ ĀH HUṂ recitation really shows us that all the different practices ultimately come down to one single essence. Ultimately, we have to be able to hold the view of a diversity having one taste. What does that a diversity having one taste means? No matter which practice you do, every practice begins first with taking refuge and cultivating the motivation of bodhichitta.
Bringing all practices into one essence
Regarding the refuge, our ultimate place of refuge is the Buddha and the state of Buddhahood. For a Buddha in a state of Buddhahood there is no duality. So what is it that actually protects us? Once you have taken refuge in the Buddha, the purpose of taking refuge in the Buddha is also in order to take refuge in the dharma. So we really take refuge in the dharma which will protect us.
The essence of all dharma is love and compassion. What is the benefit of cultivating love and compassion? If you cultivate love and compassion, then self grasping diminishes because the altruistic mind and the self-cherishing mind are contradictory just like ice and the sun . We need to know how to bring all practices into one single essence. From self-grasping, arises the body speech and mind. The body, speech and mind also have as their basis Buddha nature. So even though the basis is actually Buddha, or Buddha nature, it has become temporarily confused by the perception of a self. That is an adventitious stain, a momentary delusion and due to this delusion arose the imprints of the ordinary body, speech, and mind and these imprints then lead to birth in the six realms of samsara and all the sentient beings in the six realms, or the three planes of samsaric existence, have a body speech and mind and these need to become purified. We purify the body, for example, by practicing the deity, visualizing the deity and then we purify the imprint of the speech by reciting the mantra, and we purify the imprint of the mind by cultivating bodhichitta. So all practices are for the sake of purifying the body, speech and mind and that is the ultimate meaning or purpose of the OṀ ĀH HUṂ recitation.
Ultimately, our mind is pure in nature, but we have become confused and therefore perceived the confused ordinary body speech and mind. However, on the ultimate level, a Buddha sees there is no duality, this is just confusion, there is really no duality. That one taste manifests as diversity the other way around. When you understand that you will know how to bring all practices into a single essence. Therefore, if you practice only one thing then you should think that this really encompasses all practices. Temporarily, we have the relative level and the ultimate level. On the relative level, we have sentient beings who have not realized how things are. For those sentient beings, love and compassion are the most important as the basis, which is the mind’s generation, or the motivation of bodhichitta. Then, on the ultimate level, one must realize non-duality and when one abides within this view of non-duality one sees that everything is actually one. This is what the OṀ ĀH HUṂ recitation introduces us to. For this reason it really is the ultimate quintessence, essential practice of the secret mantra.
It is really from this essence that everything else arises, so therefore when you see that way, then you come very close to really practicing any other practice as well, since they all are for the purpose of purifying body speech and mind. Therefore, think really well whatever practice you engage in really think about it what is the real purpose of doing this practice? You should think and know it is in order to purify body, speech and mind. Where do my body, speech and mind come from? They come from self-grasping. How do I purify that? It is through the altruistic mind. If you understand that, you understand that diversity has one taste, that all practices come down to a single essence and that really is the enlightened intent of all the Buddhas of the three times.
It seems there are Buddhas and sentient beings, but really think about it again and again. Are they really separate and two? They are not two. The Buddha himself taught they are non-dual. He said that all beings are Buddhas but beings are obscured adventitious stains. That’s all it is it is just an adventitious stain and that stain is the grasping at a self. From the self-grasping arise the confused thoughts of attachment, anger and ignorance. In this way, practice the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation knowing that it all comes down to a single essence and this practice encompasses all other practices as well. Therefore, if just one person practices it, everyone benefits from it, and that is because all beings are actually one. If you engage in practice with this understanding, then the practice will be much more powerful. That is why, first in the beginning the practice has to be really based on an ultimate understanding of it.
A great Drikung master, Dharmarāja [Döndrup Chogyal, who became known under the name Drikung Bhande Dharmarāja] founded several new monasteries] had said in a verse on the five-fold path of mahamudra, that:
‘when you understand that everything that appears and exists is the form of the deity you have perfected the generation stage of the secret mantra’.
A practitioner, who understands the ultimate point of the secret mantra generation stage, someone who practices the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation, sees everything that appears and exists, the entire outer universe, as the boundless palace of the deity, and sees all beings contained, all sentient beings, as gods and goddesses or deities, protectors and dakinis. So all appearances are a deity, and all sounds are the mantra and awareness is empty.
A person who has gained certain certainty in this ultimate nature, will see no duality and will see everything as the deity, and see everything as the palace and pure land. Even the deity itself actually is also illusory, like a temporary illusion. Ultimately, the deity is primordial wisdom, a wisdom being, and therefore transcends existence and non-existence. So when one abides within the ultimate view then the deity is the space of non-dual awareness.
The concept ‘I’ and the ‘perfect, unelaborated form’
For example, in the Vajrakīlaya, regarding the Vajrakīlaya practice there’s this one line that a disciple asked a question about. What does this one line mean? ‘That your perfect form is unelaborated’. Your self nature is this unelaborated, perfect form and so this self nature now currently is this thought of me that is I, We think there is a self but that should cause you to think is there really a self? As you are looking for the I, this I is actually unfindable. Then when you see your mind, this concept of I becomes just like space. It is inexpressible beyond words and thoughts. First, you have to look into this I, what is this I? Then you come to the unelaborated, your self nature is unelaborated, the perfect unelaborated form. First, you look where is there an I, and then you realize that there is no I, but there is a non-dual space, that is the experience and the outer universe, although it appears, it transcends singularity and multiplicity, it cannot be said to be existing, nor can it be said to be non-existing, it is just like space.
The form that appears in the form of the deity and so forth, although there is Buddha nature there appears to be diversity, a duality. Ultimately, we all have one single mind. For example, it is just like the sun shining on a crystal and rainbow lights emerging from it. If you really understand that, you realize the so-called view, and you realize that there is no distinction, no division, within that view. That is the ultimate view, devoid of all grasping at a concrete reality. Yesterday, I already spoke a little bit about that and today, I will speak really about how to gather everything into one single essence. That is the ultimate practice.
When you practice a deity you visualize a deity, recite a deity’s mantra, whatever practice you do or other practices of purification and so on, it all comes down to a single essence. So how can we gather it all into a single essence on the relative level? The essence of all dharma is love and compassion. On the ultimate level. it is the realization of emptiness, primordial wisdom.
For example, in Jetsun Milarepa’s One Hundred Thousand songs there is a teaching on the ten pāramitās, you should look at that. Milarepa explains the ten pāramitās[i] and the ultimate instruction is the pāramitā of primordial wisdom. His teaching on that really conforms with Longchen Rabjam’s teaching which says when you realize the natural state of the mind, there is no higher learning than that.
[Author’s note, as Garchen Rinpoche advised us to look at Milarepa’s song on the ten pāramitās, I have done a new translation with both Tibetan, phonetics and English, which is posted here, and downloadable as pdf for those who wish to print it out].
One taste appears as diversity. Diversity means multiplicity. There are limitless sentient beings, there is limitless samsara and nirvana, beings in the three or six realms of samsara that we can directly see, and yet they all have one taste, meaning that they all are not beyond the mind. Therefore, because nothing transcends the mind, everything is equal and has a single flavor and therefore, it is non-contradictory. That is also why HH Dalai Lama says that for one who realizes emptiness there is no contradiction at all. One can say that things exist, or that they do not exist, and so everything is non-contradictory on the ultimate level because it all has the same taste. When one understands this view, then one knows how to bring everything into a single essence.
The essence of the three syllables, OṀ ĀH HUṂ – vajra form, speech and mind
When you engage in this practice of OṀ ĀH HUṂ and dualistic thoughts of a subject-object duality arise, then focus on back to the HUṂ bring your mind back to the HUṂ; the ĀH and the OṀ are included within the HUṂ. The OṀ represents the nature of the enlightened form, and the nature of all appearances. All form that we see, even though we see form, a form lacks any inherent nature and inherent existence. All forms are compounded phenomena, therefore impermanent and illusory by nature. That is what is represented by the by the OṀ, that is form. Even though you see things they lack inherent existence. When you see things neither think of them in terms of they are there, nor that they are not there, just let, them be as they are. Then the ĀH represents the enlightened speech, or the empty nature of sound, which is the vajra of speech. There is no grasping at sounds that are heard. So regarding forms and sounds we hear, these are beyond the extremes of existence and non-existence. We cannot say that they exist because we cannot grasp at them, we cannot take them, but we also cannot say that they do not exist, because we perceive them, we see them and so on.
This is the essence of the three syllables, the essence of enlightened body, speech and mind are presented by the syllables OṀ ĀH HUṂ. So when you practice the OṀ ĀH HUṂ you do not have to visualize OṀ ĀH HUṂ but you just kind of think of the natural sound of OṀ ĀH HUṂ. Think that it represents the essence of all practice, all the bhumis and paths, the various levels of practice are contained within this practice, all the different stages are contained within this view. Then from there on you should engage in practice, according to your own mental capacity.
Kālacakra – the entire universe is contained in the body
Based on this understanding then we should understand that the entire outer universe may be limitless but it is all in contained within one’s own body. Thus, one’s own body is an example of the entire outer universe. For example, when HH Dalai Lama gives the Kalacakra empowerment, he speaks of the outer, inner and other Kālacakra. For the outer Kālacakra, he says that the entire Kalacakra refers to the entire outer universe comprised of the five elements. Temporarily, this universe appears as both pure and impure and that is due to the temporary confusions in our minds on the basis everything is actually pure. For the inner Kalachakra, it means that everything, all of this diversity is included within one’s own body or within any being’s body. A large being, a small being and so on, everyone’s body consists of the five elements, and is an example of the outer universe. Also, the outer universe in essence, its nature, transcends multiplicity and singularity. So also bodies have that nature.
This is how we should engage in practice, seeing that beings of the three realms of samsara and my own body really have the same nature. First you gain certainty in that and then also you gain certainty in the fact that our minds are also one and the same. Our bodies are one, our minds are one, there is really no delineation between them. It just appears that way. It appears that there is separation because our minds are controlled by confusion. Therefore, that gives the illusion that there is a diversity, different body, speech and mind.
With this understanding, in general, whatever practice you engage in, even though there are many different practices, people do whatever practice they are drawn to, they like to do. Some like to practice chulen, extracting the vital essences, or they engage in practices of purifying obscurations, or they they practice the generation stage, the deity yoga.
When we practice a deity, first when we visualize the deity, we visualize the deity’s seed syllable. Also in the text it says ‘and then from that light radiates and it accomplishes the twofold purpose’. That means that when the light radiates at first from the seed syllable it radiates into the pure lands, where it makes offerings to the deities and all the Buddhas. So here those light rays become rays of devotion, these rays of devotion make offerings. Then in this way, through devotion of faith, we receive all these Buddha’s blessings and then again through the power of love of bodhichitta, the light rays then touch all sentient beings in the six realms of samsara, and purifies their obscurations. It melts their self-grasping, like melting ice. In this way, having made offerings to the Buddhas and purified the obscurations of sentient beings you accumulate merit and as a result of this merit, you will complete the accumulation of wisdom. You are also purifying your own obscuration, and as a result of that ultimately, you will yourself arise in the form of the deity.
Also, when the temporary stains in the minds of all sentient beings become purified, then in the natural state, all beings are already pure that is why we speak about adventitious stains. Ultimately, there is no separation between sentient beings and Buddhas.
Vajrakīlaya and the consecration of the kīla/phurba – six syllables and six afflictions
For example, when a disciple engages in practice and we have said that there are so many different practices, yet for example, many disciples like to practice Vajrakīlaya. In that there’s also one section, which corresponds to what we’re speaking about here in terms of purifying our obscurations. That is the consecration of the kīla/phurba and that is related to the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation[ii]. In the consecration of the kīla, we are introduced to six seed syllables, ah nri su tri pre duḥ, that represent the six afflictive emotions of all the sentient beings in the six realms.all beings in the six realms have six kinds of afflictive emotions. They are represented by those six syllables and so this practice is like a skillful method given by the Buddhas. See image:
[For a video of Garchen Rinpoche teaching on these six syllables, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0WOBs_VvTY]
The six afflictive emotions, the nature of these emotions is the six realms of samsara. Then where are these six afflictive emotions? They are within your own mind stream and the six afflictive emotions in your mind stream and in any one’s mind stream are exactly the same in essence. Also, our Buddha nature is exactly the same in essence. All the different afflictive emotions really are one, we all have the same afflictive emotions.
That is why all the afflictive emotions are gathered and summarized into these six syllables, ah nri su tri pre duḥ. What that means is, for example, the anger in a little insect and the anger in a person is one and the same. Or the afflictive emotion of a being without a body is one and the same. That is what you should have full confidence in. That all afflictions are one, there is just one affliction it all comes down to one. That is represented by these six syllables they represent all the six afflictions of all the sentient beings which are one. Ultimately, the nature of afflictive emotions is primordial wisdom. That is when you realize non-duality, then afflictive emotions will ripen or mature. When wisdom is unripe, when primordial awareness is immature, that is what we call afflictive emotions and when it matures then it becomes primordial wisdom.
The difference just lies in having matured or not. It depends on the person’s level of maturity but when the mind matures, then one will perceive the aggregates, sense sources and elements, and everything that appears and exists, as a divine infinite field of purity. One will see all as the deity because all possess Buddha nature. The difference is just maturity or immaturity, but the nature is still the same. Someone who has not matured still grasps at duality. That’s the only difference, so one should gain certainty in that and see that this practice represents the root or the heart essence of all practices. If you understand that, then bringing everything into a single essence, at the basis of that, you will understand that the nature of afflictive emotions is primordial wisdom. Thus, that is the first thing to recognize.
So the six syllables represent the six afflictive emotions. In the Vajrakīlaya practice, those are found in the consecration of the kīla. In this practice when you practice the consecration of kīla and you read those some syllable and so forth. You think that these are the syllables that represent the six kind of afflictive emotions in the minds of all sentient beings. Then next in their consecration those six syllables dissolve into light and this dissolution into light represents the the lack of true existence and afflictive emotions. That afflictive emotions do not inherently exist.
Here we practice from the perspective of knowing how things really are in the consecration of the kīla. Then the six syllables dissolve into light and then dissolve into OṀ ĀH HUṂ. That shows that everything is non-dual, the six afflictive emotions are all the same and they all gather into the syllables OṀ ĀH HUṂ. Also meaning that even though things appear they are empty of self nature; that is all appearances are empty, all sounds are empty and awareness is empty. These are the three vajras: the vajra of form, sound and mind.
From that perspective, what is the difference then between us and all beings and the enlightened pure body speech and mind of the deity? There is not the slightest of difference at all. For example, there is no difference between two drops of water when they merge. You cannot separate them. Then in the kīla consecration it says after the melting into light then the three realms and three existences are brought under control.
So, actually this practice of the Vajrakīlaya is extremely profound. That is also why this very brief ritual of the kīla consecration, was also added to the sadhana, when we first engage in practice because it is very profound. I personally benefited from it a lot.
Also the kīla consecration corresponds to the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation so really take this kīla consecration and read the stages of meditation or visualization and you will see the similarities. how they really actually are the same in essence. We have said the syllables have dissolved into OṀ ĀH HUṂ. We have basically three sets of two syllables. So three pairs of syllables, which are six and they dissolve into the three syllables: OṀ ĀH HUṂ. meaning to show that nature of afflictive emotions; the afflictive emotions melting into light means that that they do not inherently exist.
Empowerment of the life-force onto sentient beings
How do they melt into light? What really needs to melt essentially is the grasping at a duality; the grasping thoughts that think in a dualistic way. That is really what needs to dissolve and that is represented by this dissolution into light. Before everything has dissolved into light, how do these six afflictive emotions and these six realms of samsara really arise? It also says in the consecration of the kīla, after it has melted into light and the three realms and existences have been brought under control, it says that the empowerment is bestowed upon the life -force of all sentient beings, like a wisdom empowerment is bestowed upon the life-force of all beings.
It is a wisdom life-force, and that life-force of all beings is primordial awareness. It is the Buddha nature that all sentient beings possess. The life-force here in this context means that there is no self in one’s fundamental nature; that beings are just temporarily confused by a dualistic perception. Someone who practices and realizes that, realizes that there is no duality. The way we realize it is through the power of our own Buddha nature that is inherent within us fundamentally, within all beings. Therefore, it is really through the power of one’s own mind, one’s own Buddha nature, that one recognizes that. One recognizes that afflictive emotions do not inherently exist and they can melt just like an ice block; or in the Vajrakīlaya practice; melting into light.
The afflictive emotions do not inherently exist. That is what is represented by the melting into light and dissolving into those three syllables OṀ ĀH HUṂ, the three places . Everything dissolves into a non-duality. Also it shows that our afflictive emotions are non-dual, meaning that we all have the same afflictive emotions. Then the OṀ ĀH HUṂ, ultimately also dissolve into the HUṂ.
The three realms, three places and three syllables
In the Vajrakīlaya practice it says those six syllables dissolve into the HUṂ at the three places and then the three realms and three existences are brought under control. This also means that the three realms and three existences also do not inherently exist. They appear just like a mist in the sky. They are just an appearance that do not really exist. Even though things appear, they do not inherently exist. Therefore, we see all outer appearances as the mandala of the deity, the immeasurable palace of the deities, and all the inner content sentient beings as the male and female deities. That is something one can understand in just a single instant. When one understands that then one matures from being an ordinary sentient being. Then again the OṀ ĀH HUṂ dissolve at the three places and also dissolve. What this shows us is that the immature sentient beings possess afflictive emotions but the six afflictive emotions are one. Then they dissolve into OṀ ĀH HUṂ into three syllables and these ultimately dissolve just into the HUṂ syllable.
You should visualize while understanding the meaning of what you are visualizing Ultimately, it all dissolves into primordial awareness which is represented by the HUṂ. This is then where when everything dissolves into one this is where the afflictive emotions directly encounter primordial wisdom. In order to accomplish that what do we need to do?
The importance of practice: the clarity and brilliance of anger
One needs to engage in practice; meaning that one applies it in a practical way. For example, when you get really angry, then you should practice. When you really understand the nature of the mind, you will know how to practice when you get angry.
When you then get angry, you do not look at your object of your anger who made you angry, rather you look at the nature of your own anger itself. When you see the nature of your anger, you see a pristine, crystal clarity. Anger has a very clear quality and it is empty. it is a unity of clarity and emptiness. The clarity is sharp knowing and the emptiness is that the anger eliminates, completely wipes out all other thoughts.
For example, one can imagine two friends who had loved each other for a very long time. Maybe they stayed together for many years and have always loved each other. One day, if they get really angry at each other they might even kill the other person. That is because a moment of anger destroys a long habit of love and people then suddenly hate each other and kill each other. Anger has completely taken over all other thoughts. You do not think about anything in that moment you do not think about virtue or non-virtue or anything else, you are completely controlled by anger. There is nothing but anger in the mind in this moment. This needs bringing under control, like this wrathful bringing under control, as in the Vajrakīlaya consecration. Anger has this power to completely outshine all other thoughts. There is just the anger. Every other thought has become that, has become completely under the control of the anger. All the afflictive emotions, poisons and all the other five poisons and so on are controlled by this one moment of anger.
Suffering as nectar and afflictions as the adornments of primordial wisdom
Also, it says in the kīlaya practice that the nature of the three poisons is one. When you recognize the moment of anger arising, then actually what you see it as one, and there is no other thought. The afflictive emotion itself is actually primordial wisdom. It says that the afflictive emotion becomes the ornament, the adornment of primordial wisdom. That’s the the first thing to understand.
There is this mantra in the Vajrakīlaya again, SARVA VAJRA AMRITA. Amrita is the nectar and this ambrosial ocean of nectar. The ocean of all of suffering is an ocean of nectar, is a verse by a Drugpa Kagyu lama. All suffering becomes a nectar, an ocean of ambrosial nectar.
When you read that, think everything assumes the nature of nectar. Everything becomes nectar, meaning that there is nothing that is impure at all. At the end of the OṀ ĀH HUṂ they have also dissolved into the three wheels. If one practices the OṀ ĀH HUṂ with this understanding, then your understanding becomes much more profound. When you really understand this point, as you practice OṀ ĀH HUṂ, you will realize that there are no real sentient beings even though we do see conventional phenomena, they ultimately are illusory by nature. Ultimately their nature is the three vajras of body, speech and mind. Vajra here means ultimately they are all non-dual, which is also represented by the Buddha Vajradhara. In the Vajrakīlaya practice it corresponds to the wisdom awareness kīla of the four kīlas.
So the Vajrakīlaya practice is indeed extremely profound. If you engage in its practice in an authentic way, then you can also really combine it with the practice of OṀ ĀH HUṂ and they are related. Then it becomes more than just a verbal recitation. You verbally recite the practice and mentally you visualize and you meditate. That is really what must happen. Otherwise, it’s really pointless to just directly tell someone the afflictive emotions are primordial wisdom. We need to really experience how that is the case. That begins with first understanding the faults of the afflictive emotions and then understanding the qualities of the natural state of the mind. Then realizing that the afflictive emotions can melt into light; meaning they don’t really exist. It also means to understand that the six afflictive emotions are ultimately one.
The afflictive emotions of all sentient beings in the six realms of samsara are one. This is when you really understand that then this is enough the certainty that arises within you. Now you know that the afflictive emotions can melt into light they don’t really exist. They are there temporarily, we can see things temporarily, there are appearances but they do not inherently exist. Appearances are empty which is the vajra of form, sounds are empty which is the vajra of speech and awareness is empty which is the vajra of mind. These three vajras ultimately dissolve into one vajra the vajra of empty awareness. So these three vajras are represented by the three syllables the white OṀ, red ĀH blue HUṂ, which ultimately all gather in the HUṂ, which is the awareness.
OṀ ĀH HUṂ Practice during daytime and dreaming
This is the point that you should understand. This is what we call an understanding and then after understanding something, you have to also practice it experience it again and again. You practice the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation for a long time, again and again. First, you habituate to it during the daytime and then once you gain a strong habit then it will be brought into the night time when you’re dreaming. Then you will dream of the vajra recitation. Ultimately, we have to train toward sustaining an ongoing state of practice. It is said that practice is not to meditate upon something, but it is to habituate to it. The point is to engage in practice continuously to habituate and so first we need to know how to habituate. How do we sustain an ongoing state of practice? To understand that, we need to see the essence of practice. To see that we need to be able to bring all our practice into a single essence. Then also understand that by practicing this essential practice we accomplish the dual purpose of others and oneself.
When you understand this, you always stabilize your practice so you can just continue with the practice, gaining a habit of practice.
Now regarding the OṀ ĀH HUṂ practice, there are different visualizations and ways of focusing the mind that can be practiced. For example, in the context of other practices like when we extract essences, or when we receiving siddhis or empowerments and so on, all of these practices essentially are just a method for having the mind abide single pointedly, as is the OṀ ĀH HUṂ.
One way of practicing the OṀ ĀH HUṂ is that when you inhale, on the inhalation you think OṀ. The wind goes down to the navel where you think ĀH and then you hold it there for as long as you can. Then with HUṂ you exhale, but what you’re actually exhaling is just half of the wind and the stale air and the actual wind, which is the HUṂ. Then, this stays in the navel dissolving into the navel. So then you can just practice a kind of a gentle retaining of the winds.
At the end of your session, when you arise from your session you can now say a shorter, or a faster OṀ ĀH HUṂ, and then you stabilize your awareness in the OṀ ĀH HUṂ. Then you go about your day-to-day activities and then in all your activitie, because you’re breathing together with your natural breath, you continue to sustain awareness of the OṀ ĀH HUṂ all the time.
Then also at night, when you go to sleep, lie down on your right side and until you fall asleep into a state of unconsciousness also practice the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation. If you fall asleep with this awareness it is said that then the entire sleep time becomes actually the virtue of mantra recitation. Then also eventually as you’re sleeping and dreaming, the OṀ ĀH HUṂ will come to your dream and when you recognize it there, this is called the subtle luminosity. so the there’s the subtle luminosity and the deep luminosity or the deep sleep luminosity. That can be also practiced just through the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation. First, in the dream state the imprint of virtue arises and then you come to the actual nature the view, or the natural state of the mind, and then you recognize the dream state. There is an instruction that is called the instruction of recognizing the luminosity of the dream state. That is very much connected to the OṀ ĀH HUṂ vajra recitation.
The Dzogchen view of natural purity and OṀ ĀH HUṂ
First, it is very important that you know that Buddhas and sentient beings are one and the same. There is nothing at all that is impure. All these thoughts are impure, are just fixations to concrete reality and the concepts within one’s own mind. Through this practice they will become gradually purified and then finally you will realize that actually everything is pure in mahamudra.
This is explained in Dzogchen, for example, it is referred to as the original purity. It is said that all sentient beings self and other are fundamentally pure. We are just temporarily obscured and when you really gain certainty in that, when you know that, then this heavy load of grasping will become so much lighter and that is why it is so important. If you really trust in this instruction, a sign of trusting in this instruction is that you become much lighter so to speak. Normally, when we see all this suffering in the world and sentient beings suffer, then we often tend to think that this is so true, they really suffer. From that perspective of really believing in the truth of all of this, your own experience of suffering will be extremely hot and really intense. You will also suffer a lot from that. When you recognize that it is all illusory, it is just temporary, it is not the natural state, it is just a temporary manifestation of karmic imprints but it doesn’t inherently exist, in the natural state of the mind there is no such suffering. From that perspective, you will not see everything from this ordinary perspective. Otherwise, if you do not understand that, suffering will become so real and you really become like an ordinary person. The problem with that is you will fall into the fault again clinging to the concrete reality of appearances.
Sustaining the practice in daily activities
In your day-to-day activities, the OṀ ĀH HUṂ can be condensed just in to the HUṂ syllable. By sustaining awareness of the HUṂ syllable in all your day-to-day activities, you are sustaining an ongoing state of mindfulness of mindful awareness. Everything comes to the HUṂ ultimately. The OṀ ĀH HUṂ, which represents empty appearances, the ĀH empty sounds, and the HUṂ empty awareness. These are the three vajras of body speech and mind. They ultimately are summarized into the HUṂ. When you just rest with awareness of the HUṂ there will be no grasping at any sounds, or any appearances, in your day-to-day activities.
Also with regard to your day-to-day activities, sustain awareness according to the thirty-seven bodhisattva practices. In verse number 36, it says at all times and whatever you do always look what is the state of my mind.
[Author’s Note: Verse 36 says: ‘In brief, whatever condict one engages in, one should ask, ‘What is the state of my mind?” ]
So, at all times sustain mindfulness and awareness, it is that that conscientiousness or mindfulness that is the basis of all good qualities. Thus, on an ongoing basis in your day-to-day activities, if you can’t always remember the ĀH and the OṀ, it is enough to just sustain awareness of the HUṂ. Always remember the HUṂ because from an experiential perspective the HUṂ, the nature of the HUṂ is the ultimate truth.
I shared with you my instructions on OṀ ĀH HUṂ as well as I could. Maybe I was going a bit all over the place, and I do not know if it was so beneficial. If you still have some questions, we have Drupon Rinpoche here, also Khenpo is here. It is an excellent opportunity. We will all answer the questions to the best of our abilities so if you have questions and please ask them.
OM AH HUM teachings (Part 3), HE 8th Garchen Rinpoche gave recently (1st to 2nd October 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skZga2iop1Y).
Garchen Rinpoche teaching the six syllables in the Vajrakīlaya consecration (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0WOBs_VvTY).
Garchen Rinpoche teaching the OM AH HUM recitation and practice on video, see here (https://youtu.be/BA7LXjESK2I).
Tomlin, Adele (October 2021) NEW TRANSLATION: Milarepa’s Song on the Ten Pāramitās , ‘Empty words are of trivial value‘
[i] The perfections appear in Buddhist literature as a group in varying lists, but the lists of perfections are notoriously unfixed, with six and ten perfections being the most common. The Theravāda tradition recognizes ten, although only eight are listed in the Buddhāpadāna and seven in the Cariyāpiṭaka. The ten perfections in the Theravāda tradition are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (sīla), (3) renunciation (nekhamma), (4) insight (pañña), (5) energy (viriya), (6) patience (khanti), (7) truthfulness (sacca), (8) resolution (adhiṭṭhāna), (9) loving-kindness (metta), and (10) equanimity (upekkhā). This list differs from the list of ten perfections found in Buddhist Sanskrit literature.
A set of six perfections became common among some genres of mainstream Buddhist literature and developed into a standard list in a number of Mahāyāna sūtras. However, other lists of four, five, or seven perfections also occurred. In time, a set of six perfections became standard in Mahāyāna sūtras. The six are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality/discipline (śīla), (3) patience (kṣānti), (4) vigor/diligence (vīrya), (5) concentration (dhyāna), and (6) wisdom (prajñā).
This list was expanded to complement the ten stages (bhūmi) traversed by a bodhisattva in the course leading to full buddhahood. The additional perfections were (7) method (upāya-kauśalya), (8) resolution (praṇidhāna), (9) strength/power (bala), and (10) primordial awareness (jñāna).
[ii] This consecration is on p71 of the Vajrakīlaya sadhana practiced at Garchen Institute. Materials on the empowerment and sadhana can be accessed here: https://garchen.net/library-bydeity-vajrakilaya/