Translation 2: This instruction on freedom from the four fixations was spoken by the lord of yogis Drakpa Gyaltsen. See Parting from the Four Attachments for another translation of this text.
Homage to the guru!
From the mouth of the great Venerable Sakyapa: those who wish to seek the supreme great bliss of nirvāṇa must separate from the four fixations. These four fixations are
- being fixated on this life,
- being fixated on the three realms of cyclic existence,
- being fixated on your own welfare,
- being fixated on [inherently existent] things and characteristics.
Their antidotes are four as well:
- as the antidote to the first fixation, meditate on death and impermanence;
- as the antidote to the second, reflect on the faults of cyclic existence;
- as the antidote to the third, reflect on bodhicitta;
- as the antidote to the fourth, reflect on all phenomena as selfless, like dreams or illusions.
Four effects of such reflection and familiarization arise:
- that your practice approaches the Dharma,
- that your practice approaches the path,
- that mistakes on the path are eliminated,
- and—the [main] effect of such understanding and familiarization—that mistaken [mind] arises as a Buddha’s marvelous collection of wisdom.
First, the antidote to being fixated on this life, reflection on death and impermanence:
- contemplate that the time of death is indefinite,
- contemplate that the conditions for death are many,
- contemplate extensively that at the time of death you will not be benefited by anything at all [except the Dharma].
Having generated these thoughts just in this way, you will come to desire from the heart to practice only Dharma. At that time, [your practice] approaches the Dharma.
Then, as the antidote to being fixated on the three realms of cyclic existence, reflect on the faults of cyclic existence. Accordingly, you may wonder, “Although this life has such faults, isn’t it that others—wheel-turning monarchs, Brahmā, Śakra, and so forth—all are supremely blissful?” No, they also do not pass beyond the nature of duḥkha. Their lives last for many eons but end in death, and their resources are extensive but end in destruction. Further, there is the danger of birth as a hell being in the Hell Without Respite. Therefore, when you have considered and become familiar with the thought that even all these [beings] do not pass beyond the nature of duḥkha, you become one whose practice approaches the path. Since the three realms do not pass beyond the nature of duḥkha, generate an awareness that thinks, “I need the bliss of nirvāṇa,” and become one who practices all paths for the sake of that.
Although you have generated [this awareness] in your continuum in this way, if you seek the bliss of yourself alone due to not being endowed with bodhicitta, you will become a [Hearer] Foe Destroyer or Solitary Realizer. Therefore, as an antidote to being fixated on your own welfare, reflect on bodhicitta. When you have just become familiar with and generated [this] awareness that thinks:
Liberating myself alone from the three realms that are in this nature of duḥkha is not beneficial, because from among each and every one of these sentient beings, there isn’t one who has not acted as my father and mother. If these sentient beings attain the supreme bliss of nirvāṇa, even if I were born as a hell being eon after eon, it would be preferable.
Then the first mistake on the path, being fixated on your own welfare, is eliminated.
Although you have generated [such an awareness] and familiarized in this way, if you conceive true existence you cannot attain omniscience. Therefore, as the antidote to being fixated on [inherently existent] things and characteristics, you must reflect on all phenomena as selfless. Moreover, all phenomena have a nature of not being established even as anything. When the conception of true existence occurs, that is the view of a self, whereas being fixated [on phenomena] as empty [of existence] is the view of nihilism. [So] recognize all phenomena to be like dreams. Furthermore, through mixing your dream-self with appearances and meditating on that, appearances also [are seen as] false. If you reflect and meditate again and again on the thought that appearances are like falsities, the second mistake on the path—being fixated on [inherently existent] things and characteristics—is eliminated.
In this way, when all mistaken [mind] is eliminated and brought to an end, the effect arises. Called “mistaken [mind] dawning as wisdom,” it is the completeness of a Buddha, the attainments of body, wisdom, and so forth: inconceivable supreme bliss.
This instruction on freedom from the four fixations was spoken by the lord of yogis Drakpa Gyaltsen.