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Thus, this teaching from the glorious voice of Buddha on the four ways of relying completely reveals the

meaning of everything, which is the way of taking wisdom as the path and the pinnacle and king of all vehicles.

for Marion Anna, moonlike dharma sister

chin lab edition 2013 The Dharma is nobodys property. It belongs to whoever is most interested.Patrul Rinpoche, Words of My PerfectTeacher

Contents 1.The Four Reliances: Article from Rigpa Wiki Miphams commentary from The Sword of Wisdom 2. Jikme Lingpa From: Treasury of Precious Qualities 3. Dungse Thinley Norbu From: Cascading Waterfall of Nectar 4. The Dalai Lama From: Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection 5. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche From: Not for Happiness 6. Sogyal Rinpoche From: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying 7.Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche From: Rebel Buddha 8. Robert A.F. Thurman, Buddhist Hermeneutics

From Rigpa Wiki tnpa shyi;

The four reliances (Skt. catupratisaraa; Tib. Wyl. rton pa bzhi)

1. Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality (gang zag la mi rton/ chos la rton); 2. Rely on the meaning, not just on the words (tshig la mi rton/ don la rton); 3. Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one (drang don la mi rton/ nges don la rton); 4. Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind (rnam shes la mi rton/ ye shes la rton).

1 Commentary o 1.1 1. Do not rely on the individual, but on the Dharma o 1.2 2. Do not on the words, but on the meaning o 1.3 3. Do not rely on the provisional meaning, but on the definitive meaning o 1.4 4. Do not rely on the ordinary mind, but rely on wisdom

Mipham Rinpoche says in The Sword of Wisdom: If you do not have such understanding, Then, like a blind man leaning on his staff, You can rely on fame, mere words or what is easy to understand, And go against the logic of the four reliances.

1. Do not rely on the individual, but on the Dharma

He also says in The Sword of Wisdom: Therefore do not rely on individuals, But rely upon the Dharma. Freedom comes from the genuine path that is taught, Not the one who teaches it. When the teachings are well presented, It does not matter what the speaker is like. Even the bliss-gone buddhas themselves Appear as butchers and such like to train disciples. If he contradicts the meaning of the Mahayana and so on, Then however eloquent a speaker may seem, He will bring you no benefit, Like a demon appearing in a buddhas form.

2. Do not on the words, but on the meaning

Mipham Rinpoche says: Whenever you study or contemplate the Dharma, Rely not on the words, but on the meaning. If the meaning is understood, then regardless of the speakers style, There will be no conflict. When you have understood what it was

The speaker intended to communicate, If you then continue to think about each word and expression, It is as if youve found your elephant but now go in search of its footprints. If you misinterpret what is said and then think of more words, Youll never stop till you run out of thoughts, But all the while youre only straying further and further from the meaning. Like children playing, youll only end up exhausted. Even for a single word like and or but, When taken out of context, theres no end to what it might mean. Yet if you understand what is meant, Then with that the need for the word is finished. When the finger points to the moon, The childish will look at the finger itself. And fools attached to mere language, May think theyve understood, but they will find it difficult.

3. Do not rely on the provisional meaning, but on the definitive meaning

Mipham Rinpoche says: When it comes to the meaning, You should know what is provisional and what is definitive, And rely not on any provisional meaning, But only on the meaning that is true definitively. The omniscient one himself in all his wisdom, Taught according to students capacities and intentions, Presenting vehicles of various levels Just like the rungs of a ladder.

Wisely, he spoke with certain intentions in mind, As with the eight kinds of implied and indirect teachings. If these were to be taken literally they might be invalidated, But they were taught for specific reasons.

4. Do not rely on the ordinary mind, but rely on wisdom

Mipham Rinpoche says: When taking the definitive meaning into experience, Do not rely upon the ordinary dualistic mind That chases after words and concepts, But rely upon non-dual wisdom itself. That which operates with conceptual ideas Is the ordinary mind, whose nature involves perceiver and perceived. All that is conceived in this way is false And will never touch upon the actual nature of reality. Any idea of real or unreal, both or neither Any such concept, however its conceivedis still only a concept, And whatever ideas we hold in mind, They are still within the domain of Mara. This has been stated in the sutras. It is not by any assertion or denial That we will put an end to concepts. But once we see without rejecting or affirming, there is freedom. Although it is without any subject-object grasping, There is naturally occurring wisdom that illuminates itself, And all ideas of existence, non-existence, both and neither have ceased completely This is said to be supreme primordial wisdom.

The definitive meaning can either be understood conceptually, by means of ideas, or it can be experienced directly as the object of non-conceptual awareness wisdom. As long as you are caught up in the conceptual extremes of negation and affirmation, existence and non-existence and so on, you have not gone beyond the realm of the ordinary mind. When you arrive at the sublime experience of wisdom, and all dualistic ideas have been pacified, you are in harmony with the nature of reality, which is beyond any kind of refutation and establishment or denial and affirmation, and you have reached the true depths of the Dharma.

Jikme Lingpa, From: Treasury of Precious Qualities

It is the nature of the ordinary mind to fabricate thoughts; and words and expressions proliferate accordingly. Therefore, any examination of the way in which an individual can observe the three vows together naturally gives rise to endless assertions. They can all, however, be condensed into the following principle according to the teaching of the four reliances. (p.312) The keys that open the treasure chest of Dharma The twelve branches of scripture, which set forth the doctrine of the two truths, are evaluated by the wisdom that arises from hearing the teaching. This evaluation involves the making of two distinctions: ( 1) the distinction between the teachings of definitive meaning and the teachings of expedient meaning; and ( 2) the distinction between the four kinds of implied teaching* and the four kinds of indirect teaching.

This assessment can only be made by applying the principle of the four reliances. (p.336) The four reliances are as follows: 1. Knowledge of the Dharma comes from following a spiritual friend. However, the object of reliance is not the person of the teacher but the doctrine that he or she expounds. One should follow a teacher only after examining what he or she says. 2. Since the teaching is to be implemented, one should rely on its meaning, not on its mode of expression. 3 The meaning has two aspects: expedient and definitive. One must rely on the definitive meaning, and though one follows the expedient teaching for the time being, one should always do so with a view to the definitive meaning. 4 The definitive meaning is comprehended by the mind. However, since intellectual assessment, however excellent, does not extend beyond the relative truth , it should not be relied upon. Reliance should be placed in thought-free wisdom that sees the absolute truth directly." [YG II, 425] Dungse Thinley Norbu, from: Cascading Waterfall of Nectar,

Thus, as it says, Vajrayana surpasses the causal vehicle with characteristics in these four ways. In particular, as our incomparable Lord Buddha Shakyamuni said: Do not rely on an ordinary individual; rely on Dharma. Do not rely on the words; rely on their meaning.

Do not rely on relative truth; rely on absolute truth. Do not rely on consciousness; rely on wisdom. Thus, this teaching from the glorious voice of Buddha on the four ways of relying completely reveals the meaning of everything, which is the way of taking wisdom as the path and the pinnacle and king of all vehicles. It is as said in The Precious Treasure of the Supreme Vehicle: In the aim of the common, conceptual vehicle, even though mind is the basis, path, and result, all of these do not arrive at the meaning. In this vehicle of Vajrayana, wisdom is the basis, path, and result of Buddha, so by establishing wisdom, liberation from samsara is swift. In other vehicles, although there is hope to attain enlightenment, the basis is the root of samsara, which is ordinary mind. Not only does that path take a long time, but the result is extremely difficult to accomplish because the way of establishing the basis is mistaken.

The Dalai Lama, Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection

When mind is explained from the point of view of the Highest Yoga Tantra teachings and the path of mantra, we find that many different levels or aspects of mind are discussed, some coarser and some more subtle. But at the very root, the most fundamental level embraced by these teachings is mind as the fundamental, innate nature of mind. This is where we come to the distinction between the word sem in Tibetan, meaning "ordinary mind and the word rigpa signifying pure awareness. Generally speaking, when we use


the word sem, we are referring to mind when it is temporarily obscured and distorted by thoughts based upon the dualistic perceptions of subject and object. When we are discussing pure awareness, genuine consciousness or awareness free of such distorting thought patterns, then the term rigpa is employed. The teaching known as the Four Reliances states: Do not rely upon ordinary consciousness but rely upon wisdom. Here the term namshe, or ordinary consciousness, refers to mind involved with dualistic perceptions. Yeshe, or wisdom, refers to mind free from dualistic perceptions. It is on this basis that the distinction can be made between ordinary mind and pure awareness. When we say that mind is the agent responsible for bringing the universe into being, we are talking about mind in the sense of rigpa, and specifically its quality of spontaneous presence. At the same time, the very essence of that spontaneously present rigpa is timelessly empty, and primordially pure totally pure by its very nature so there is a unity of primordial purity and spontaneous presence. The Nyingma school distinguishes between the ground itself, and the ground manifesting as appearances through the'eight doorways of spontaneous presence, and this is how this school accounts for all of the perceptions, whether pure or impure, that arise within the mind. Without ever deviating from basic space, these manifestations and the perceptions of them, pure or impure, arise in all their variety. That is the situation concerning the ground, from the point of view of the Nyingma school. On the basis of that key point, when we talk about the path, and if we use the special vocabulary of the Dzogchen tradition and refer to its own extraordinary practices, the path is twofold, that of trekcho and togal. The trekcho approach is based upon the primordial purity of mind, kadak, while the togal approach is based upon its spontaneous presence, Ihundrup. This is the equivalent in the Dzogchen tradition of what is more commonly referred to as the path that is the union of skilful means and wisdom.

When the fruition is attained through relying on this twofold path of trekcho and togal, the 'inner lucidity of primordial purity leads to dharmakaya, while the 'outer lucidity' of spontaneous presence leads to the rupakava. This is the equivalent of the usual description of dhamakaya as the benefit that accrues to oneself and the rupakaya as the benefit that comes to others. The terminology is different, but the understanding of what the terms signify is parallel. When the latent, inner state of buddhahood becomes fully evident for the practitioner him or herself, this is referred to as inner lucidity and is the state of primordial purity, which is dharmakaya. When the natural radiance of mind becomes manifest for the benefit of others, its responsiveness accounts for the entire array of form manifestations, whether pure or impure, and this is referred to as 'outer lucidity, the state of spontaneous presence which comprises the rupakaya. In the context of the path, then, this explanation of primordial purity and spontaneous presence, and what is discussed in the newer schools of Highest Yoga Tantra both come down to the same ultimate point: the fundamental innate mind of clear light. What, then, is the profound and special feature of the Dzogchen teachings? According to the more recent traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, collectively known as the Sarma schools of the Secret Mantra Vehicle, in order for this fundamental innate mind of clear light to become fully evident, it is necessary first of all for the coarser levels of ordinary mind, caught up with thoughts and concepts, to be harnessed by yogas, such as the yoga of vital energies, pranayoga, or the yoga of inner heat, tummo. On the basis of these yogic practices, and in the wake of those adventitious thought patterns of ordinary mind being harnessed and purified, the fundamental innate mind of clear light mind in that sense becomes fully evident. From the point of view of Dzogchen, the understanding is that the adventitious level of mind, which is caught up with concepts and

thoughts, is by its very nature permeated by pure awareness. In an experiential manner, the student can be directly introduced by an authentic master to the very nature of his or her mind as pure awareness. If the master is able to effect this direct introduction, the student then experiences all of these adventitious layers of conceptual thought as permeated by the pure awareness which is their nature, so that these layers of ordinary thoughts and concepts need not continue. Rather, the student experiences the nature that permeates them as the fundamental innate mind of clear light, expressing itself in all its nakedness. That is the principle by which practice proceeds on the path of Dzogchen. The Role of an Authentic Guru So in Dzogchen, the direct introduction to rigpa requires that we rely upon an authentic guru, who already has this experience. It is when the blessings of the guru infuse our mindstream that this direct introduction is effected. But it is not an easy process. In the early translation school of the Nyingma, which is to say the Dzogchen teachings, the role of the master is therefore crucial. In the Vajrayana approach, and especially in the context of Dzogchen, it is necessary for the instructions to be given by a qualified master. That is why, in such approaches, we take refuge in the guru as well as in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In some sense, it is not sufficient simply to take refuge in the three sources of refuge; a fourth element is added, that of taking refuge in the guru. And so we say, I take refuge in the guru; I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha. It is not so much that the guru is in any way separate or different from the Three Jewels, but rather that there is a particular value in counting the guru separately. I have a German friend who said to me, You Tibetans seem to hold the guru higher than the Buddha. He was astonished. But this is not quite the way to understand it. It

is not as though the guru is in any way separate from the Three Jewels, but because of the crucial nature of our relationship with the guru in such practice and teachings, the guru is considered of great importance. Now this requires that the master be qualified and authentic. If a master is authentic, he or she will be either a member of the sangha that requires no more training, or at least the sangha that still requires training but is at an advanced level of realization. An authentic guru, and I stress the word authentic", must fall into one of these two categories. So it is because of the crucial importance of a qualified and authentic guru, one who has such realization, that such emphasis is placed, in this tradition, on the role of the guru. This may have given rise to a misconception, in that people have sometimes referred to Tibetan Buddhism as a distinct school of practice called Lamaism, on account of this emphasis on the role of the guru. All that is really being said is that it is important to have a master, and that it is important for that master to be authentic and qualified. Even in the case of an authentic guru, it is crucial for the student to examine the guru s behaviour and teachings. You will recall that earlier I referred to the Four Reliances. These can be stated as follows: Do not rely upon the individual, but rely upon the teaching. As far as the teachings go, do not rely upon the words alone, but rely upon the meaning that underlies them. Regarding the meaning, do not rely upon the provisional meaning alone, but rely upon the definitive meaning. And regarding the definitive meaning, do not rely upon ordinary consciousness, but rely upon wisdom awareness. This is how a student should examine a teacher, using these four reliances. Our teacher, Lord Buddha, said:

O bhiksus and wise men, Just as a goldsmith would test his gold By burning, cutting, and rubbing it, So you must examine my words and accept them, But not merely out of reference for me.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Not for Happiness

The Guru Is the Dharma In the sutras, the same advice about how to follow a guru (often known as the four reliances) appears again and again: do not depend on the person, but on the dharma he teaches; do not focus on the superficial meaning of his words, but on their full and complete meaning; do not depend on teachings that require interpretation, but on absolute teachings; and do not depend on the mind, but on wisdom. In our everyday lives we are rarely successful at judging others by their appearance and behaviour alone; and on the spiritual path it is never a good idea to become too dependent on the personality and character of your guru. Having analysed him thoroughly and decided to take him as your path, the important thing is no longer to categorize him as a "person," because from this point on the guru is the dharma.


Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

In Buddhism we establish whether a teacher is authentic by whether or not the guidance he or she is giving accords with the teaching of Buddha. It cannot be stressed too often that it is the truth of the teaching which is all-important, and never the personality of the teacher. This is why Buddha reminded us in the "Four Reliances": Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality; Rely on the meaning, not just on the words; Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one; Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgmental mind. So it is important to remember that the true teacher, as we shall see, is the spokesperson of the truth: its compassionate "wisdom display." All the buddhas, masters, and prophets, in fact, are the emanations of this truth, appearing in countless skillful, compassionate guises in order to guide us, through their teaching, back to our true nature. At first, then, more important than finding the teacher is finding and following the truth of the teaching, for it is through making a connection with the truth of the teaching that you will discover your living connection with a master.


Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Rebel Buddha

GOING FORWARD: WHAT TO RELY ON With all the different teachers and teachings we are exposed to these days, how do we know who to listen to and which teachings we can have confidence in? The Buddha addressed the question of spiritual authority in a teaching that came to be called the Four Reliances. These Four Reliances can help us develop a better understanding of our way forward in this culture and at this time. He said, Rely on the teaching, not the person. Rely on the meaning, not the words. Rely on the definitive meaning, not the provisional meaning. Rely on wisdom, not on consciousness! We should make a poster of these instructions and hang it everywhere: in our living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, on the floors and ceilings. They are that-important. When we practice these Four Reliances, we can have confidence that we're on the right path and that we'll receive the full benefit of it. First Reliance: Rely on the Teaching When the Buddha says, "Rely on the teaching, not the person," this means that we shouldn't be fooled by appearances. The teacher may be very attractive, come from an illustrious family, and ride in a limousine with many attendants. Conversely, he or she may look quite ordinary and live in humble circumstances. Whether the teacher is Asian or Western, male or female, young or old,


conventional or unconventional, famous or unknown, you can judge how qualified and reliable a teacher is by looking at the quality and effectiveness of his or her instructions, degree of insight and realization, and lineage connections. This is important, because there have been many worthy teachers whose appearance and lifestyles didn't match their students' expectations. Therefore, you should rely more on the teaching than on what you think or feel about the person who gives it. Second Reliance: Rely on the Meaning Here the Buddha's message, "Rely on the meaning, not the words," is that we should rely for guidance on the meaning that's being pointed out and not just on our conceptual understanding of the words. Meaning is carried by words but is not the words themselves. If we get caught at the level of words, we may think that our conceptual understanding is ultimate, a true experience of realization. But we should understand that words are like the finger that points at the moon. If we look only at the finger, we remain at the level of concept. We will only fully understand the meaning of the words when we stop looking at the finger and turn toward the moon. We do this by reflecting deeply on what we've heard, until our reflections carry us beyond the words to a more direct and personal experience of their meaning. You'll only know what Earl Grey tea is by drinking the tea in your cup. You'll only know what emptiness is by discovering the experience within yourself.


Third Reliance: Rely on the Definitive Meaning With "rely on the definitive meaning, not the provisional meaning," the Buddha is pointing out that we need to know not only the meaning of words but also when a meaning is "definitive" and when it is "provisional." That's another way of saying that some meanings are ultimate and some are relative. An ultimate meaning is final and complete that's the way it truly is, and there's nothing more to be said about that topic. A relative meaning may be an important and powerful understanding, but it's not final or complete; it's something that's intended to lead us further. We learn many relative truths on our way to understanding the ultimate truth. For example, when Buddha taught the truth of suffering, it helped lead people to the path that freed them from suffering. However, suffering is relative in nature; it doesn't exist in the ultimate nature of mind. What does exist is selflessness, compassion, joy, wakefulness, and so forth. That is mind's ultimate nature. In the third reliance, the Buddha is saying to rely on meanings that are definitive or ultimate. If we tried to hold on to our belief in suffering as an ultimate truth, then we could never experience the joy of being free from suffering. Fourth Reliance: Rely on Wisdom Here the Buddha is saying that in order to directly experience and comprehend the definitive, or ultimate, meaning we're talking about, we need to rely on wisdom-mind's capacity to know in a non-conceptual way-and not on our dualistic consciousness. When we say, "consciousness," we're talking about relative mind: the appearances of the five sense perceptions and the conceptual,


thinking mind. What is their relationship to wisdom? They're the manifestation and play of wisdom itself. As vivid as they are, these appearances have no solid existence. However, until we recognize that, it can be difficult to see the wisdom inherent in all our experiences, especially our thoughts and emotions. So how do we practice this reliance? Once we understand this intellectually, we need to develop more confidence in it and make it part of our ordinary experience. For example, when a thought arises, we remind ourselves that it's just a thought. If it's an angry thought, a wish to harm someone, we can use that very thought to make a connection to wisdom, first on a relative level. If we mix our anger with the thought of compassion, then that changes the signal we're sending in a fundamental way. It brings a sense of openness and heart connection that may allow for a better relationship in the future. So until we're able to connect with ultimate wisdom, it's important to remember to connect with the qualities of relative wisdom-a simple sense of openness and compassion for ourselves and others. When we can do that, we're relying on wisdom and not on consciousness. When we examine these Four Reliances, it becomes clear that the Buddha is showing us how to be self-reliant and discriminating and how to avoid confusion by not mistaking an inferior authority for a superior one. They all point to the trustworthiness of our own intelligence and our capacity to recognize truth. We can also see that the Buddha is saying that the ultimate guide for our path is wisdom, not any fixed set of cultural forms, rituals, or practices.


May this illusory merit allow illusory beings to go through illusory stages and reach illusory buddhahood. Mahasiddha Thangtong Gyalpo