Gurus and yidams, deities of the mandala,
Buddhas of the three times and ten directions and your offspring,
Consider me with kindness,
Pour into me your energy so that these wishes are fulfilled.
A river of virtue undefiled by the three spheres
Springs from the snow-mountain of pure actions and intentions —
Mine and those of all sentient beings without limit.
May this river flow into the ocean of the four expressions of full awakening.
Until I wake up to full presence,
Through all my lifetimes, birth after birth,
May not even the words for defilement and suffering be heard
And may I enjoy the wealth of oceans of happiness and virtue.
Having obtained this excellent free and well-favored life along with faith, energy and intelligence,
Having attended a worthy master and received the pith of the sacred instructions,
May I practice the sacred dharma properly
In all my lives without interruption.
The study of scriptures frees one from the veil of ignorance.
The contemplation of oral instructions overcomes the darkness of doubt.
Light born of meditation illuminates the way things are.
May the radiance of the three wisdoms increase.
The basic ground consists of the two truths, free from the extremes of eternalism and nihilism,
The excellent path, the two accumulations free from the extremes of assumption and denial,
The result obtained the two benefits, free from the extremes of existence and peace.
May I meet teaching which is free from error.
The ground of refinement is mind itself — indivisible luminosity and emptiness;
The refining — the great vajra composure of mahamudra;
What is to be refined — the incidental stains of confusion;
The result of refining — the unstained experience of being: may I know it.
Confidence in outlook cuts assumptions about the ground.
The key to cultivation is to maintain that without distraction.
The supreme expression is to exercise the sense of cultivation in everything.
May I have confidence in outlook, cultivation and expression.
All experience is the manifestation of mind.
As for mind, there is no mind; mind’s nature is empty.
Empty and unceasing, mind arises as experience.
By looking into mind deeply, may I be clear about how it is.
Perceptions, which never existed in themselves, are mistaken for objects;
Awareness itself, because of ignorance, is mistaken for a self;
Through the power of dualistic fixation I wander in the realm of existence.
May ignorance and confusion be completely resolved.
It doesn’t exist: even buddhas do not see it.
It doesn’t not exist: it is the basis of samsara and nirvana.
No contradiction: the middle way is union.
May I know the pure being of mind, free of extremes.
If one says “it is this,” nothing has been posited.
If one says “it is not this,” nothing has been denied.
Unconditioned pure being transcends intellect.
May I gain conviction in the ultimate outlook.
Not knowing it, I circle in the ocean of existence,
Knowing it, buddha isn’t anywhere else.
“It is everything”, “It isn’t anything”: none of this.
Pure being, the basis of everything, may I see any misunderstanding here.
Since perception is mind and emptiness is mind,
Since knowing is mind and delusion is mind,
Since arising is mind and cessation is mind,
May all assumptions about mind be eliminated.
Unpolluted by meditation with intellectual effort
Undisturbed by the winds of everyday affairs,
Not manipulating, knowing how to let what is true be itself,
May I become skilled in the practice of mind and maintain it.
The waves of subtle and coarse thoughts return to their source.
Undisturbed, the river of mind flows naturally.
Free from the contaminations of dullness and torpor,
May I establish the still ocean of shamatha.
When one looks again and again at the mind which cannot be looked at,
And sees vividly for what it is the meaning of not seeing,
Doubts about the meaning of “is” and “isn’t” are resolved.
Without confusion, may my own face know itself.
Look at objects and there is no object: one sees mind;
Look at mind and there is no mind: it is empty of nature;
Look at both of these and dualistic clinging subsides on its own.
May I know sheer clarity, the way mind is.
Free from mental constructions, it is called mahamudra.
Free from extremes, it is called madhyamika.
Because everything is complete here, it is also called maha ati.
May I gain the confidence that, in understanding one, I know them all.
The great bliss of non-attachment is continuous.
Sheer clarity without fixations is free of obscurations.
Passing beyond intellect, non-thought is naturally present.
May these experiences continually arise without effort.
Attachment to good and fixation on experience subside on their own.
Confusion and evil concepts are cleared away in the realm of ultimate nature.
In the ordinary mind, there is no control or alteration.
May I know the truth of pure being, complete simplicity.
While the nature of beings has always been full enlightenment,
Not knowing this, they wander in endless samsara.
For the boundless suffering of sentient beings
May overwhelming compassion be born in my being.
While such compassion is active and immediate,
In the moment of compassion, its essential emptiness is nakedly clear.
This conjunction is the undeviating supreme path;
Inseparable from it, may I practice day and night.
From the power of attention come eyes and direct knowing.
Sentient beings are ripened and domains of enlightenment refined.
Aspirations for the realization of all aspects of buddhahood are fulfilled.
May I complete these three — fulfillment, ripening and refinement — and become buddha.
By the compassion of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions
And the power of whatever pure virtue there may be,
May my wishes and those of all beings
Be fulfilled in the way I am seeking.
Aspirations for Mahamudra, the definite point of the teachings, was composed by Lord Rangjung Dorje, Karmapa III. This translation was made by Ken McLeod at the request of several students who wanted to use this prayer in their practice.