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A Teaching on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa


The Four Dharmas of Gampopa

[1] Turning the mind to the dharma,
[2] taking the dharma as the path,
[3] the path dispelling confusion, and [4] confusion dawning as wisdom.

As for the stages of turning the mind to the dharma:

continuously contemplate [1] how these opportunities and resources are difficult to obtain, [2] that things have the nature of impermanence, 
[3] that karmic effects are incontrovertible and each and every good or bad deed counts, and [4] the suffering of saṃsāra and the lower realms.
In particular, hold the correct view and 
go for refuge to the supreme Three Jewels,
reject the ten non-virtues, and correctly practice the path of the ten virtues.
Confess previously accumulated misdeeds by means of the four powers.
Seeking to obtain the enjoyments and excellence of rebirth as a god or human
is explained as the path of lower capacity individuals.
In such a way, turn your mind to the dharma.

As for the method for taking the dharma as the path:

Both the temporal and the ultimate must be understood.
When striving for the peace of personal liberation
from the causes and effects of suffering,
know that mental afflictions are the source and cause of suffering.
Their results are the three kinds of suffering.
In order to eliminate this source of suffering, you must practice the three trainings.
First, give rise the thought of renunciation.


As for taking full monastic ordination through the four acts of petition,
guard the precepts and the natural offenses, 
eat an appropriate quantity of food, restrain the doors of the senses,
and give rise to the meditative concentration of śamatha endowed with pliancy.
In that way, rely especially on the training in meditative concentration.


By meditating on the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths, such as impermanence and so forth,
give rise to the wisdom which realizes the selflessness of persons.
On the basis of that, by meditating on the process of the arising and reversal of
the twelve links of dependent origination, realize the selflessness of phenomena.
In that way, rely on the training in wisdom.
Once mental afflictions have ceased 
by means of these stages of the path of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas,
that is the result, the truth of cessation.
That is the actualization of the path of middling capacity individuals.


The way in which confusion dawns as wisdom will now be explained:
From beginningless time, your mind has remained in a state of luminosity.
Due to adventitious stains, there are manifold appearances.
Once those stains have been purified, there is nothing other than luminosity.
So long as you cling to the distinction between confusion and liberation,
confused phenomena will continue to arise.
But when you realize all to be of an equal taste,
you will definitely be liberated.
Therefore, although confusion and wisdom are without distinction,
grasping at superior and inferior is called confusion,
and once that grasping is dismantled, that is called the dawning of wisdom.


In summary, expelling saṃsāric concerns from your mind,
and cutting off attachment to this life is turning the mind to the dharma.
Practicing the union of the two collections
of merit and wisdom conjoined with bodhicitta,
is taking the dharma as the path.
Sustaining the natural flow of whatever arises
by way of the six senses and their appearing objects
is the path dispelling confusion.
The realization of all dualistic appearances as being primordially
in the nature of great wisdom
is called confusion dawning as wisdom.


By Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche on April 8, 2021