Karma Kagyu Mahamudra: Shamatha Meditation

The Essential Points Concerning the Body and Mind

As for the actual fundamental part, there are two (sections): a stilled and settled state of shamatha and an exceptionally perceptive state of vipashyana.
As for the first, in general, there are many methods for developing samadhi, absorbed concentration. But, if you know one set of essential points, then hindrances and interferences will not come about and, parted from any faults regarding shamatha or vipashyana, boon experiences and stable realizations of primordial deep awareness will occur without any labor. By indicating the teachings (for this) through the gateway of the body posture of Vairochana, you will have a method for effortlessly developing absorbed concentration for the generation and complete stages (of anuttarayoga tantra) and the boon experiences of bliss, clarity and nonconceptuality.
Therefore, since beginners need to rely on the essential points concerning the body posture, then concerning that:
[1] In order to bring the downward-going energy-winds under control, have your legs be in either the vajra-posture or the sattva-posture.
[2] In order to make the energy-winds of the earth element remain in the central energy-channel, straighten your spine like a pointed tube.
[3] In order to induce the energy-winds of the water element into the central channel, clasp your hands together beneath your navel in the total absorption mudra-gesture, raising your shoulder blades back toward each other.
[4] To induce the energy-winds of the fire element into the central channel, keep your neck slightly bent like a hook.
[5] To induce the energy-winds of the wind element into the central channel, have your eyes neither wide-open nor shut, but gazing at a point straight ahead from the tip of your nose.
[6] Have your tongue and lips dropped down to their natural state or have your tongue touching against your upper palate.

Mental quiescence or calm abiding is a blissful state of single-minded concentration free of thought and devoid of the five obstacles of mental dullness, agitation, foggy-mindedness, sleepiness and staleness. It can be achieved by many methods: focusing on an object, or none, or even on a conceptual thought such as a visualisation of the Four Noble Truths, in which case free of thought means free of extraneous thought. It is not at all blank-minded and is essential for all practices, especially those of the highest classification of tantra, anuttarayoga.

According to the tantra teachings, the mind and the energy-winds upon which it rides are inseparable. If the energy-winds (prana, lung) are properly channelled, the mind will be focused; but when they run wild then thoughts do likewise. These winds run through energy-channels (nadis, tsa), the main ones being the central, right and left ones parallel to and slightly in front of the spine. Normally the winds pass only through the right and left ones, and in this way act as the vehicle for deluded thoughts. Such delusions are stopped, however, when the energy-winds carrying them are no longer available, having been channelised and centralised into the central energy-channel. Therefore if your rough body is straight and in the correct posture, your energy-channels will also be in a proper position. Then the energy-winds can flow freely through them and, when properly channelled, your mind will be fully focused. For this reason the bodily posture of Vairocana is essential.

There are various classifications of energy-winds. According to the “Six Yogas of Naropa”, there are five major ones: (1) downward-going, controlling the discharge and retention of wastes in the lower orifices, (2) upward-going, controlling swallowing, speaking and other activities of the throat, (3) life sustaining, maintaining the spark of life, (4) equalizing, for digestion and separation of wastes and (5) all-pervading, handling all motor activities. Another classification is of the energy-winds associated with each of the bodily elements of earth, water, fire, energy-wind and space. In this text, both systems are mixed and the various parts of Vairocana’s posture deal with channelizing assorted ones of them.

The vajra-position is with both legs crossed, the feet resting on the opposite calves or thighs. The equipoise meditation posture of the hands is with them in your lap, palms facing upwards, left hand beneath the right with thumbs upright and touching. It is helpful to have a cushion beneath your backside.

With your body held with the essential points of posture like that, then once the movement of conceptual thought has naturally purified itself away, many advantages such as nonconceptuality and so forth will dawn. But even just with your body held with those essential points of posture, your body and mind will pass into a blissful and tranquil state.
Therefore, having made (your body and mind) be neither too tight nor too tense, first expel a little air and then set your breathing into unlabored exhaling and inhaling. 

When expelling air, feel that you are exhaling faults and distractions. Practise first some breath awareness and when you are calm, there is no need to focus on your breath any longer.

Refresh your memory a bit about the preliminaries and then do not bring to mind past actions or think about doing something in the future or that you are doing something (now). Without adopting or rejecting, set your mind into a state of normal awareness in the present moment – its real nature, fresh and clean, at ease, naturally simple, and which has neither been fashioned nor contrived. Through this, your mind will become serviceable and will develop absorbed concentration. Therefore, because these essential points of posture of the body and mind are the foundation stone for meditation, earnestly practice them.
That is the first point (for shamatha meditation).

Focusing on a Visual Object

If you are unable to settle your mind into that state, then, by focusing it, direct your manner of gaze externally at a stick, a pebble, a Buddha statue, the flame of a butter lamp, the sky, and so forth, whatever suits you. Without thinking at all about the color, shape, and so on of that basis for focus, rid yourself of both being either too overly tense or slipping into being carefree and loose. In other words, having set (your mind), without the slightest meandering, on merely that which you have taken as the basis for your focus, cut off completely all rambling of other conceptual thoughts.

If your mind is too tense, you will experience anxiety and frustration, if too loose mental dullness, foggy-mindedness and sleepiness. Like the strings of a lute, your mind should be tuned just right without any distortion.

The process of settling the mind on a visual object is like trying to see a stone on the bottom of a glass of muddy, turbulent water. Without worrying about the colour or shape the stone, you will see it clearly when the mud subsides. Likewise when your thoughts subside you will be left with a clean view of your object. Therefore look at objects as a small child would without any mental chatter or commentary.

If you can focus without any conceptual thoughts or ideas, this is good. But should they arise, do not follow them out. Just let them pass and they will disappear. If you allow a thought to grow into a train of thought, it will be an obstacle to your meditation. You must realise that thoughts are the play of the mind, like ripples on water and light on leaves. They naturally dissolve.

Alternatively, focus on either the syllables white OM, red AH and blue HUM, or on white, red and blue drops, whichever suits you, drawn in front of you and in the essential nature of the enlightening body, speech and mind of all the Buddhas. In short, direct and set (your mind) single-pointedly on whatever type of visual object suits it and which is pleasurable for it to take. If you try to settle your mind on something your temperament cannot take at all and which is not at all in character of how you (usually) set (your mind), then when you try to make (your mind) go (there), it will stick (your attention) onto anything else that just comes up, without taking care about sending it (to that object).
Completely cut off all signs of conceptual thoughts, such as “I am meditating” or “I am not meditating,” or hopes to be able to settle your mind, or worries that you will be unable to settle it, and the likes. Meditate while maintaining account of your mindfulness not getting into meandering, for even an instant, to something that it should not be meditating on at all. Have your sessions be well-divided, with many short ones, and do not become discouraged about having to cut off distraction again and again and having to totally absorb (your mind) once more with clarity, lucidity and joy. It is important to train in all that.

At first it is important to have short, but frequent meditation sessions. If you find the meditation blissful and soothing, you may pursue it for a longer period of time. However, if you begin to become depressed or bored while meditating, perhaps your sessions are too long. If you are tired, meditation becomes an unpleasant ordeal and you will not wish to continue. Therefore gauge yourself accordingly and take a break while you are still fresh and wish to continue. That way you will be happy to resume meditation. Suppose you have to walk twenty miles. If you go slowly and take frequent rests, you will not exhaust yourself and will reach your goal. The same is true for meditation.

If it will be comfortable for your mind to take any one of these (visual objects) as its basis for focus, then do that. If you wish to take all of them in turn, this is permitted. But, if you have taken one and find that sufficient, do not feel that you have to go on to take them all, as if going through an alphabet primer.
In short, having your mind take whichever visual object suits it is the second point (for shamatha meditation).

Other Sensory Objects

Once you have taken that (visual object as your basis for focus), then take as well, in turn, a sound that is the object of your ears, a smell that is the object of your nose, a taste that is the object of your tongue, a physical sensation that is the object of your body, and so forth. As for the sound, smell and so on, for that, direct your mind at merely a distinct sound or a pronounced smell and hold it with the hook of your mindfulness, without meandering. Maintain your mind on whatever (sensory object it is focusing on) and, except for setting (your mind) into being dropped down to its natural state, do not scrutinize whether (the sound, smell, taste or physical sensation) is wonderful or terrible, intense or slight, and so forth.

Thus, whatever situation you happen to be in, use it to help develop mental quiescence. If where you are meditating is noisy or someone is playing the radio, focus on the pure audial sensation of it without judgments, reactions or identifying the sound. For touch, you can focus on the feel of your clothing next to your skin. It is not necessary to eat something during meditation to focus on tastes. You can do this while taking your meals. Simply remain detached and follow the instructions as before.

Break your sessions while your clarity is still comprehensive. In other words, take a rest (at that point); do not let (your clarity) enter into a turbid state. In between sessions, in relation to everything, simply do not let the rope of your mindfulness break. Have the gaze of your eyes fall toward the tip of your nose and whether, physically, you are walking or sitting or, verbally, you are speaking or talking, do not do these too strongly or too excessively. Cut, as well, the stream of thoughts in your mind having signs (of dualism).

Therefore, if you lessen your activities, your mind will naturally quieten down. If you are constantly busy, it is more difficult to focus the mind since you will be worrying about many things at once and become easily scattered or mentally exhausted.

In other words, getting progressively into the habit of being totally absorbed is the third point (for shamatha meditation).

Eliminating Mental Dullness and Flightiness of Mind

Furthermore, to eliminate such things as the faults of mental dullness and flightiness of mind, meditate that at the middle of your brow is a drop, merely the size of a pea, white, shiny, glistening, spherical and extremely lucid, and then direct your mind at it. On some occasions, direct your mind at a black, shiny, spherical drop, merely the size of a pea, at the edge of your meditation mat.
When you have mental dullness, direct your faculty of knowing at the white one and have your way of gazing be into space. Have a fresh breeze (blow) on your body and splash yourself with running water. Have your clothes be thin and follow a light diet. Do not sit near a fire or in the sun.
When your faculty of awareness is flighty – in other words, when your mind gets distracted to many things – direct your way of gazing and faculty of imagination at the black drop. As for your way of behaving, keep warm, do physical exercise, and follow a rich, heavy diet.

Mental dullness and agitation are the greatest obstacles to mental quiescence. With dullness, your mind either has no clarity or, if it does, your are in a daze. To perk yourself up, visualise a white dot at your brow and thus bend your mind upwards. The effectiveness of the white colour for eliminating dullness can be illustrated by putting a white cloth in front of your eyes. The white colour being the image on your mind awakens you a little and your mind naturally becomes brighter. Furthermore, if you stay in the sun or in a warm, stuffy place you will inevitably become drowsy and dull. Therefore, stay where it is cool and breezy and you will be fresher. Also, diet is extremely important. Light food makes the mind similarly light.

With agitation, on the other hand, you are over-excited and your mind cannot stay where you wish to place it. Even if it maintains a hold on an object, part of it starts to wander astray. Visualising a black dot by your seat bends the mind downwards and the sombre colour naturally makes your mind more subdued. If you are very fidgety, physical exercise will tire you and cause your mind to wander less. Much agitation is due to the energy-winds being too light and active. Therefore, a heavy, fatty diet will weigh down these winds and make you less flighty.

Thus, for a properly balanced meditation it is important to look after your body. Your mind rides on the energy-winds through the energy-channels of your subtle body. For these to flow properly depends on the condition of your rough physical body. Therefore. a sound body and mind are interdependent.

When you have neither mental dullness nor flightiness of mind, direct your eyes and faculty of awareness at either a small blue drop or material object (visualized) at the edge of your shadow straight ahead. With respect to these, first send them out, merely projecting them, thinking, “I shall meditate on a drop or so forth like this.” After that, when there is clarity or (even) when there is not much clarity, pay attention to it, merely thinking, “There it is, like this.” Then, without making an examination or minute investigation, set (your mind) into its natural mode, without the slightest meandering from being dropped down to its natural state.

The blue of a clear, dustless autumn sky is a neutral colour that neither uplifts nor subdues the mind. It is beneficial to have both mental placement and clarity with respect to this dot, but if you have only placement this is enough. With sufficient concentration, clarity will come automatically.

Break your sessions while your clarity is still comprehensive and then meditate again. In other words, make your sessions be short and numerous.

The mind’s hold (on its object) is the fourth point (for shamatha meditation).

Focusing on No Object

As for directing (your mind) at no basis, look with staring eyes into space straight in front of you and then have them be without any focal object at which they are directed. Make your mental (consciousness) as well have not the slightest meandering, not thinking anything.

Space, like the nature of the mind, is a permanent, unconditioned phenomenon not dependent on causes or circumstances. Therefore, staring into space before you is a method of approach for meditation on the mind itself.

This meditation is also similar to those done in anuttarayoga tantra practices concerning the death process. Normally consciousness relies on all the bodily elements as its basis. During the death process, however, the elements as bases progressively fail and consciousness relies on less and less of them. This is figuratively described as the elements dissolving one into each other. First the earth or solid element fails and consciousness can no longer rely on it. Then the. same happens with the water or liquid, fire or heat and energy-wind or gaseous elements. Finally, the finest level of consciousness, relying only on space, is left alone, inseparable from the finest level of life-sustaining energy. This is what experiences the Clear Light of death and passes into the in-between or “bardo” state and on into your next rebirth. Thus, meditation on the mind with no object is similar to the tantric ones of taking the Dharmakaya as a pathway for death, in which you simulate in meditation the dissolution process of death and focus finally on the space like mind itself in the Dharmakaya Clear Light experience.

Meditation on no object should not be confused with blank mindedness in which you are completely dull as if in a stupor or a faint. It is extremely alert, mindful and clear, but as in the Clear Light death meditations, without any object or thoughts.

Do not bring to mind anything concerning (what qualities this state) has or does not have, or what has passed or has not yet come. Having posted (alertness) merely as a spy (to check), with great diligence, that your mindfulness does not meander, set (your mind) into a relaxed, soft, uncontrived, fresh and clean state. In other words, set it into not meandering for even an instant, like when inserting a thread through the eye of a needle; into not being turbulent, like an ocean parted from waves; into not exerting effort or trying to accomplish anything, like an eagle soaring through the heights; and part it from all hopes and worries.
When there is no meandering from that (state), conceptual thoughts will not come. But in the event of meandering (occurring), then because conceptual thoughts will come rapidly afresh, one after the next, try to recognize them as soon as they arise. In other words, look right at them in a denuding manner and then set (your mind) as before.
Similarly, no matter how (your mind) has been distracted by conceptual thoughts, recognize them and then, without doing any stopping or establishing of anything, or feeling happy or unhappy, set (your mind) on these (thoughts) themselves and look at them with the eye of discriminating awareness. Take the conceptual thoughts themselves as the basis for your mind to hold and then set it on them.

When you begin to meditate, it may seem that your thoughts are increasing. This is not so, for you are merely becoming more aware of the amount of mental traffic that passes through your mind.

The mind and its thoughts are neither the same nor different. If they were one, there would be no way to quiet or eliminate thoughts. If they were different and separable, you could have thoughts without a mind. Thoughts are temporary play of the mind. The mind is clear and pure without any specific qualities, like a mirror. Thoughts are like the images on that mirror; they cannot be separated from it, nor are they the same as it.

Thoughts are the result of confusion about the true nature of reality, and there are many different kinds. Coarse or rough thoughts are easy to identify. For instance, if you ~ire meditating on a cup, and the thought arises that you want a drink of tea and then you call someone to fetch it for you, this is a coarse thought. A fine or subtle thought would be thinking, “This is a cup” or “It is made of white porcelain,” or identifying the sound of a radio while trying to focus on the cup. But whatever type of thought arises, identify it for what it is. Recognise that it is merely a thought, the play of the mind like an image on a mirror, and without grasping at it let it pass. Have your thoughts continually dissolve like a parade of characters marching across a stage without any ever standing still.

If you think that a little thought does not matter, this is a poor attitude. Forest fires grow from a small flame. Likewise, from the small thought “This is a tea cup”, if you dwell on it you will soon be in the kitchen brewing tea having completely discarded your meditation. Just look at the thought, without following it out, and it will naturally dissolve. There is nothing else it can do.

Cultivating (your mind) not to fall into any state that is too tight or too loose is the fifth point (for shamatha meditation).

Focusing on the Breath and the Three Stages of Settling the Mind

As for basing your mind’s hold on the breath as a method, hold your breath in the “ having a vase” manner and then set (your mind on it) with no meandering. If you cannot gather (your breath) together into “having a vase,” then since you will need to take counting it (as your object instead), take for your count the movement of the breath in, its movement out, and its resting inside. Count at first merely twenty-one (rounds) and then gradually up to a hundred. Direct your mind at your nostrils and, taking your breath for your count, do not let (your mind) meander to anything else whatsoever.
But if you can take (as your basis for focus) filling (your breath up inside you “in a vase”) and then sending it forth, first expel your breath three times and, after that, breathe in, holding (your breath) for as long as you can and pressing it down beneath your navel. When you are unable (to hold it any longer), then, clearing it out, send it forth. Do like that again and again, not letting (your mind) meander to anything other than just that. If mental dullness or flightiness of mind occurs, earnestly practice the methods to eliminate them in progressive stages. 

Focusing on the breath is another effective way to settle the mind. As mentioned above, the mind rides on the energy-winds or breath. Therefore if there is much turbulent breathing, there are many disturbing thoughts. If your breathing is relaxed, quiet or held, so will be your mind.

There are several types of breathing. Even or normal breathing is the type you have when neither sick nor excited. Intermediate is when you inhale and slightly hold your breath. Vase-like breathing is when you inhale, contract your sphincter and hold your upper and lower breaths together.

This last type has several divisions depending on where the breaths are held. The large vase-breath is held between the throat and navel centres, the intermediate between the heart and navel, and the small at the navel. Internal vase-breathing is held inside, while external on the exhale. In general, vase-like breathing has four defining characteristics: (1) held breath, (2) extended abdomen, (3) the ability for the breath to leak either out of your pores or into the central energy-channel and (4) the ability for the breath to be shot out of the top of the head through the central energy-channel once it has been held for a very long time.

Vase-breathing is a very advanced and potentially dangerous practice. Your Guru will normally teach it to you only after you have completed the extraordinary preliminaries of 100,000 prostrations and so forth. If you tamper incorrectly with your breathing, you can throw your energy systems into imbalance, causing much nervousness, frustration of energy and wild thought-patterns.

If you have been unable to pull (yourself by the rope through the ring in) your nose into a settling (of your mind) on any of those enumerated objects for focus, then take any other object for focus, whatever kind suits you. (After all,) the type of person (you are) is not at all certain. For some, each point that strikes them from a discourse brings about a settling (of their minds) in two or three (tries). While for a few, even if they have meditated a lot, (such a settling) comes as something difficult to develop. But if you have nourished (meditation) without procrastination, it is impossible not to develop (a settling of your mind). However, it is necessary to have an experienced guru, who, in harmony with the mental capacity of the disciple, serves to dispel your hindrances, to enhance your progress, and so forth.
By having nourished (your meditation) in that way, the settling (of your mind) will first be like a steep mountain waterfall: your conceptual thoughts are coarse and many. Second, your coarse thoughts will set (like the sun). Although occasionally some conceptual thoughts will suddenly arise, you have come to recognize them and, as soon as you do, they subside by themselves. The stream of your meditation flows on steadily like a mighty river. Finally, all your conceptual thoughts, both coarse and subtle, set (like the sun) and you pass utterly into a state of nonconceptuality.

This third stage is also referred to as the river having merged into the ocean or the child reuniting with his mother after a long separation. Your thoughts are the river or child and the mind the ocean or mother. All turbulence and uneasiness have been settled, all murkiness stilled and you are in a perfect, pristine state. A more elaborate description of nine stages of settling the mind is found in the works of Asanga and Kamalashila. There the discussion is found of the eight composing mental faculties to eliminate the five deterrents to concentration, as well as explanations of the four types of attention and six mental powers used to progress through the nine stages. Although such an outline can be applied here, this present work does not include such details.

Since a tranquil, limpid, vividly transparent, crystal-clear, pristine settling (of your mind) into a state of bliss, clarity and nonconceptuality will occur, enhance your perseverance until you develop such a settling. Even after you have developed it, practice it without any break.
That is the sixth point (for shamatha meditation).

Eliminating Mental Tightness and Looseness

If you have not developed this third (stage of) settling the mind, you need to enhance your perseverance still more and then work through the gateway of tightening (your mental hold), loosening (it), and meditating turned away (from having to do either).
In regard to that, for tightening (your mental hold if it is too loose, keep) the essential points of body posture and way of gazing, and housebreak your faculty of awareness. In other words, tighten up (your meditation) with discipline. Do not let (your mind) get into meandering for even an instant. Be as if walking across a single-planked bridge. Without (thinking), “This focal object is what I should be meditating on,” perk (your mind) up so that it is vibrant (like a bell) and draw it quite tightly. Do not let (your mind) get into meandering for even an instant and make your sessions short and numerous.
For loosening (your mental hold if it is too tight), take exercise and (keep the appropriate) way of gazing. 

If you are tense, nervous and over-agitated, prostration and circumambulation of religious sites are recommended. This is a beneficial way to harness and use your excess energy. Afterwards when you are physically tired and sit back down in meditation, your mind as well as your body will relax and you will have less mental disturbance.

Do not have anything like, “This is my basis for focus for meditation.” (Just) letting your mind loosen itself into its natural mode, set it in a non-manufactured, unself-conscious, not-anxiously-caring (state), whatever comes up. Let it become soft and relaxed, and dropped down to its natural state. Tranquil, without exerting yourself or trying to accomplish anything, relax like a baby with a full stomach or a pile of straw when the rope binding it has been cut. Setting (your mind) in that (condition), keep your mindfulness in the ever-present moment, without the slightest meandering from that state. Not meditating on anything other than that, set (your mind) in its natural mode. If your meditation sessions have been short, lengthen them slightly. Settle in a serene state of mind and, after it dissipates, take a rest. But even in between meditation sessions, maintain account of your mindfulness.
When meditating while turned away (from the necessity either to tighten or loosen your mental hold), there will be times when you have no meandering; and then conceptual thoughts will not come. But when (your mind) meanders or many conceptual thoughts arise based on some fleeting circumstances, if you ask, “Should I try to rid (my mind of) them, or what?” just look right at them kindly and think, “Wherever you are stirring to, just stir!” and thus you will intrude on (your mind’s) stirring (and interrupt it).
Then one more will arise; a second will arise. When you have recognized them, do not even try to rid (your mind) of them, but also do not follow them out. Do not be happy if your mind is settled or unhappy if it is stirring. Without having any hopes or worries, such as worrying that your meditation will not happen or hoping that it will be good, take those very thoughts as the basis for your mind to hold. In other words, without purposely trying to accomplish a nonconceptual state from stopping your thoughts, take the thoughts themselves as your cognitive object. Set (your mind) right on them and the thoughts clear away, stilling down by their own accord, and thus a nonconceptual state naturally dawns.
Practicing like that is the seventh point (for shamatha meditation).

The Actual State of Shamatha and the Three Boon Experiences

Next is the way to develop an (actual) state of shamatha and getting to know it face to face.
A definitional stilled and settled state of shamatha is one in which the mind is stilled of all mental wandering, be it conceptual thoughts or grasping at defining characteristics, and is settled single-pointedly in its essential nonconceptual nature, parted from mental dullness, flightiness of mind and foggy-mindedness. Previously attained with effort, but now, without relying on effort, (it comes about) easily, and is blissful, expansively open and fluidly flowing. Even when you arise from meditation, your mind keeps circling back right to that (state), without changing into something else.

Just as a pigeon released from a boat in mid-ocean can do nothing but return to its ship, your mind, no matter how much activity it has, can only return to its settled state once you have achieved mental quiescence.

Even when walking, sitting and so on, your faculty of awareness is leisured, dignified, relaxed, comfortable and limpid. Low-keyed in that it is not enraptured or dazzled by appearances, it does not purposely engage its awareness in (any) cognitive object; so that, not taking in the fine details of (any) object, its intellect does not enter into mentally wandering.

At all times your mind should be stable like Mount Meru and clear like a mirror able to reflect anything. You should not be excited or inquisitively looking everywhere. If you focus too minutely on details, your mind will spin and become overwhelmed with thoughts. Be subdued and just let all thoughts and appearances pass through your mind without grasping onto them. If you are walking down a busy street and even should a dancing girl happen to be performing on the side of the road, just let her image pass through your awareness without letting your attention become glued to her. To be able always to maintain your mental composure is a sign of mental quiescence.

There are three equal boon experiences (that you have in this state) – bliss, clarity and nonconceptuality. Depending on which is in a greater proportion, many things will occur: the boon experience of heightened vision, the boon experience of heightened hearing, heightened awareness, and even extraphysical powers. Whatever is appropriate (to that greater proportion) will also dawn: the ten signs (of absorbed concentration), and so forth. With faultless shamatha, (such things) will indeed develop on your mental continuum like that.
This (state of shamatha) is the basis on which to develop all good qualities, such as an exceptionally perceptive state of vipashyana and more. So at this point, no matter what good or bad experiences happen (to you) – physical sickness, mental suffering, good or bad dreams, heightened awareness, extraphysical powers, bliss, clarity, nonconceptuality, and so forth – do not get attached or cling (to them). Decisive that they lack any essence, do not indulge yourself in cogitating thoughts of happiness or depression (about them). If you cling to these boon experiences, they (only) serve as a root for circling in recurring samsara or (specifically) in one of its three planes of existence: they cannot liberate you from compulsive samsaric rebirth. Even non-Buddhists have merely that much (attainment from their meditation), but they are not benefited by that.

Extra-sensory and extra-physical experiences are a side product of single-minded concentration and mental quiescence. Even non-Buddhists attain them through various meditational techniques. In themselves, they are of no consequence unless used as a means for benefiting others. The boon experiences of bliss, clarity and bare non-conceptuality are the field from which the crop of penetrative insight into their Voidness arises. To be obsessed with any of them, not realising their Voidness, leads to a rebirth in Samsara as a god. Being born as a god in the Desire Realm comes from attachment to the boon of bliss, in the Form Realm from clarity and in the Formless from compulsive desire for bareness.

So, in short, if you cling to whatever boon experiences or stable realizations (you gain from attaining a state of shamatha), they will destruct. But, by (remaining in) a state of detachment from them and not being ensnared in clinging, you will extend their duration. In other words, with perseverance, pull yourself out from ever departing (from this state). Since the benefits are beyond imagination if you have meditated enhancing your endurance for hardships, train like that. 

Be like Jetsun Milarepa, who meditated in high mountain caves for twelve years eating only nettles. Do not give up if your food runs out or your bed is too hard. Like lifting yourself out of a box, uplift yourself from making excuses for not practising. With perseverance you will reach Enlightenment.

As both the spiritual master and disciple must not have made any mistakes about boon experiences, understanding (of the instructions concerning them), stable realizations, and the actual way to develop (shamatha), gain certainty (about them) from having met them face to face. And foremost, when (perceiving) desirable sensory objects, then without thirsting for them, have your firm conviction in your guru and appreciation (for him or her) be uncontrived.
Having perfected a bodhichitta aim with respect to the six types of wandering beings, then maintaining account of your mindfulness not getting into meandering, keep your plans (merely) short-term and few and (execute them straight up and down like) a bellows. Do not let yourself come under the sway of worldly matters or the eight transitory things in life.

The root of all attainments is your Guru-devotion and unwavering faith in his instructions. This, combined with the highest motivation of Bodhicitta, will propel you on to become a Buddha.

As death can come at any moment, do not make long-term fanciful plans such as “Next year I shall build a house and then take a wife. This room will be the nursery. I’ll have three children and the furniture will be walnut...” and so forth. Live in the present moment with the goal of Enlightenment. Whatever you set out to do, such as a seven-day retreat, carry it through to completion. If you give up in the middle, this sets up a very self-defeating pattern.

Do not let yourself come under the influence of polite affectations such as flattering others for favours or trying to save face. Be like Je-tzün Mi-la rä-pa who had no servants or masters to worry about. Cast off your bondage to the eight worldly feelings of being pleased when receiving gifts, love, attention and so forth, displeased when not, elated when everything is going well, depressed when it is not, delighted when hearing pleasant things, annoyed when not, being happy when praised and upset when abused.

All this is very important. Since, if you have practiced faultlessly like that, boon experiences and stable realizations will effortlessly arise, earnestly practicing like that is the eighth point (for shamatha meditation).
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