51 - Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra

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        Preface: Pith Instructions in the Anuttarayoga Tantra


        After the publication of my fiftieth book, I plan to write a book detailing the pith instructions that have been secretly transmitted in the Vajrayana lineage. This book will be entitled Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, and the debut of this masterpiece will awaken and tremble the whole universe. As a result, Vajrayana Buddhism [a.k.a.Tantric Buddhism] will become an eternally glorious rainbow in the sky, liberating and blessing all sentient beings and heavenly beings. I will be the first in modern times to completely reveal these ancient teachings in writing. (This book shall be my fifty-firstbook.)

        I have been secretly practicing the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra for many years, and these teachings were transmitted to me by the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa and Guru Padmasambhava. Now, Master Sheng-Yen Lu will unveil the closely guarded secrets of this lineage. These secrets are thesupreme quintessence of Vajrayana Bud dhism. They contain the extremely rareand pith instructions for all Vajrayana practitioners to attain buddhahood. I, the Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru, am the master of the inextinguishable dharma lamp. I am the master that knows all secrets and who expounds the Highest Yoga Tantra. When this book is published, it will send shockwaves throughout the world.

        In the past, Vajradhara (a secret epithet that represents thegreat authority of Vajrayana Buddhism) first transmitted the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra to Tilopa, who later transmitted them to Naropa. [Naropa then passed the dharma baton to Marpa], who was originally from the snow-capped mountains of Tibet. Marpa established the Kagyupa School, the white sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Marpa’s successor was Milarepa, who attained buddhahood in his present body, as the result of his attainment from the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra.

        When I received the secret empowerment from the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, His Holiness conferred the teachings of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra to me. He also entrusted me with the responsibility of propagatingthe principal teachings of attaining buddhahood to everyone, when the time wasripe for Vajrayana to blossom in the world. When I received this transmission, I vowed to offer my entire body and mind to all buddhas of the ten directions, transforming myself into hundreds and thousands of bodies. I vowed to be continually rebornin order to liberate sentient beings from the great ocean of samsara.

        The lineages I received come from a mix of different traditions and lineages, which include the following:

        The Red Sect/Nyingma School - bestowal of the empowerment of the Great Perfection of the Nyingma School in my meditation.

     The White Sect/Kagyu School - bestowal of the secret transmission by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa and the Twelfth Tai Situpa Rinpoche, Pema Donyo Nyinje Wangpo.

        The Yellow Sect/Gelug School - bestowal of the empowerment from Guru Thubten Dargye.

        The Flower Sect/Sakya School - bestowal of the great empowermentfrom Sakya Zhengkong Lama. In the Zongchi Temple, Guru Pufang gave me Cundi Bodhisattva Empowerment.

        About one thousand year ago, the lineage holder Marpavalidated the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra after practicing diligently for eighteen years in India. It then took Milarepa [Marpa’s disciple] twelve years to practice the pith instructions, in the White Horse Tooth Cave of the high mountains of Tibet. Milarepa was able to achieve yogic union through Mahamudra, and achieved all supernatural faculties. Among the yogic practitioners of the Kagyu lineage, Milarepa was among the most famous and highly accomplished.

        The Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra are profound and unfathomable,but I am willing to explain the teachings using a simple language, according to my own realization and actual practice. This will help readers to understand the secret instructions. It is extremely challenging to write this kind of book. Therefore, the completion of this book relies on the protection of Vajradhara. The spiritual energy naturally released from this book can illuminate the sentient beings of the ten directions, and allow all beings to receive blessings.

        The Highest Tantra Yoga and Mahamudra literally mean “great union.”  These teachings are the heart essence of attaining buddhahood. They completely penetrate and reveal the reality of the self-nature. Through yogic practices,one achieves union with buddhas and the self-nature. Therefore, they are the most incredible secret practices in the world and are known as the Middle Way Vajrayana. They are non-dual, are neither empty nor existing, but are always residing perfectly in the middle way. When the practitioner attains the middle way, he attains nirvana, and therefore is not bound to continual rebirth. Instead, he resides freely in a state of no birth and no death.

        The practices of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra involve the purification of the body, speech and mind, which are the common practices of the Three Secrets. The practices also include the wondefully subtle PithInstructions of Insight, the Pith Instructions of Tranquility, the Method of Breathing, and the Vase Body Method, which are supreme Tantric treasures. They are truly priceless. Whoever practices the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudrawill be endowed with incredible peace and joy, and will know the secrets of the heavens and the physical realms. He will attain buddhahood in the present body. Thus, the secret for attaining buddhahood is contained in the teachings of Highest Tantra Yoga, which were once lost and hidden for countless centuries.

        One time when I was deeply absorbed in meditation, practicingthe Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, I met and paid homage to Mahasiddhi Saraha, Nagarjuna, Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup, Marpa, Arapati, Milarepa, and more than a hundred others. I prostrated to the lineage holders of the teachings,and in return they praised and encouraged the Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru. Thelineage holders believed that Master Lian-sheng’s dedicated practice qualified him to be a genuine Tantric master, one who could deliver countless sentient beings to enter the path to enlightenment. Through actual practice, I have gained realization and achieved great dharma power. The formidable vow that I made stems from the strength of vows made throughout many lifetimes. The lineage holders praised this great dharma affinity that had never been encountered in the past. The number of sentient beings that would be liberated by Master Lian-sheng would be as vast as the stars in the sky, and limitless like the grains of sand in the Ganges.

        In my deep meditation I experienced supreme joy, and duringdeep absorption I was filled with such happiness that tears flowed from my eyes.When I first mentioned to my guru that I would write a book about the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, my guru said, “These teachings are considered extremely precious by the lineage holders. Therefore, the teachings can only berevealed publicly after seeking permission from one’s guru. If you wish toreveal these teachings, you must first seek permission fromthe lineage holders during your meditation.”

        Thus, I entered into deep meditation to seek permission from the lineage holders. The lineage holders said:

The revelations of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra are linked to the great causes and conditions of Master Lian-sheng bringing the Dharma from the East to the West. There is extraordinary spiritual significance to these revelations. Today, through the pen of Master Lian-sheng, the teachings shall be made available to all those who eagerly seek the great teachings, paving a path for them to follow. That is the secret within the secrets. The teachings that are about to be disclosed area mandate from heaven. This unveiling will be a great dharma event of the current times, and it has been destined to take place since time immemorial. If one wishes to practice the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, one must be guided by a genuine master who can confer the empowerment, and clarify and expound on any unclear parts. No one should practice this teaching blindly and follow only the printed materials. These wonderful teachings are made known to help sentient beings understand their contents, and appreciate their profoundness and supremeness. Hence, sentient beings should quickly find a suitable master to take refuge in, and focus wholeheartedly on this affinity. They should practice truthfully to attain realization. For the above reasons, the affinity of this great Dharma has ripened.

        My fifty-first book will address the topics of vidya (knowledge of enlightenment), adhyatma vidya (inner studies), and anuttarayoga (HighestYoga Tantra). I named this book the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra because it possesses the sacred teachings of mind purification. Since I have attained fruition in these teachings, I vowed that I would propagate them. The teachings of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra are like the rising sun that transforms all darkness into a brilliant world. I have reached the attainment of a throne holder, and my debating skills are sharp and persuasive. I have destroyed the illusionary mara and I have attained the unexcelled yoga, just like the Victorious Lion King did. These great teachings shall be propagated throughout the world for time immemorial.

        I have been secretly cultivating for more than ten years. The secret to my success lies in the fact that no matter where I am, whether it is at home or whether I’m traveling, entertaining guests, ill, bedridden withsickness, disturbed by mara, working, exhausted, encountering calamities and so forth, I have never once abandoned my daily cultivation. Not once did I succumb to laziness nor indulge in rest. My unending perseverance and devotion of blood, sweat, and tears is a testimony to my achievement. This is the key strength of my cultivation and attainment. The one thing that I can say I am proud of is the fact that I have been practicing earnestly. There is nothing to be proud of except for the fact that in the last ten years or more, I have never once missed my daily cultivation.

        The teachings of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra will soon be published, and the darkness that shrouds the world will disappear at once. Buddhas and bodhisattvas have fulfilled our wishes by reaching out their compassionate hands. The most valuable Tantric teachings, which are all-encompassing and perfect, will soon be presented to all sentient beings. Followers of the different traditions of Vajrayana Buddhism and those with the proper dharma affinities to read this book, shall be blessed by the guru and attain great spiritual power. This book will connect all sentient beings of the ten directions, allowing them equally to achieve spiritual accomplishments.


        May 1984, True Buddha Attic, Seattle

        Preface by Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru, Sheng-Yen Lu.