Discriminating between Consciousness and Awareness – by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje

Inspired by Manfred Seegers’ fascinating weekend course on 5-6 June 2010 (as part of the Space for Mind event held by our London Buddhist Centre), this entry is dedicated to the famous treatise on differentiation between consciousness and wisdom (Tib. namshe yeshe) by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). This text is very important to Karma Kagyu Diamond Way practitioners as studying it can help to support one’s meditation practice and the development of the pure view.

Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)

Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)

Here are two excerpts:

As the sole omniscient one taught, the three worlds are merely the mind.

They are not derived from themselves, from something else, from both of these, or without a cause—all phenomena arise interdependently.

They are by their own essence empty, devoid of features that are distinct or unique, and free from features of truth or falsity—like a magical illusion, the moon in water, and so forth…

Knowing this, the Buddha taught to sentient beings.

In this way, from what source does so-called “delusion” and “non-delusion” arise?

Having relied upon the nature of interdependent co-origination,

I have come to know this like my own image in a mirror, like fire from smoke.

Likewise, the six modes of ordinary perceptual awareness, the appearances of exterior referents and living beings, self-importance, cognitive discernment, and whatever manifestations appear

Are not produced from anything else,

They are not produced from themselves,

They are not produced from both themselves and something else,

And they are not produced from the absence of themselves and something else.

In the same way, the victorious one taught that everything within saṃsāra and nirvāṇa is merely the mind.

These excerpts are taken from the translation by the scholar Michael R. Sheehy, Ph.D. It is held on the Jonang Foundation’s Digital Library because it reflects the shentong “empty” (tong ) of ‘other’ (shen ) view of emptiness. This view is central to the Jonang tradition of Buddhism, as well as the Karma Kagyu school. The full text can be seen here.

Please note that in order to benefit most from the text it is extremely important to receive more detailed explanations on it from a trained Buddhist teacher who has studied the text extensively and been authorised to teach it.

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