The Little Song of Do As You Please
Speaking of triangulation with other systems, I always thought that the following 1985 poem by Namkhai Norbu, one of the most well-known Tibetan teachers of Dzogchen, was particularly on-point, and I thought people here might appreciate it. It's got a fair amount of Dzogchen jargon, but the gist of it is comprehensible without any deep knowledge of that jargon.
I've always thought that the Law is something you grant to others as much as being something you concern yourself with (IOW, it's like that thing where people sit on each others' knees in a circle), and this poem expresses that beautifully:-
The Little Song of Do As You Please
Homage to the master!
The incomparable father, Ever Good The Lord, Knowledge holder Changchub Dorje Who resides in the dimension of the essential sphere At the center of his son's heart, my heart, Inseparable from it in any moment.
This is the sum of the practice of the Teaching, and that's enough to give me complete satisfaction. I don't aspire to false religious practice. This is the basis for all the experiences of the practice and for its realization. I don't aspire to the commitment that's required for the meditative process of creation and perfection.
If this illusory body, which is said to be difficult to obtain, Lasts for a long time, I will benefit beings in every way possible. If it doesn't continue, I will pass away into another dimension. You who believe in the eternity of all things, do as you please.
As for this voice of so-called great power, If the opportunity arises, I'll use it to sing the Song of the Vajra. When the situation isn't appropriate, I'll just chat away about anything that comes into my head. You who collect beautiful sayings, do as you please.
As for this consciousness, the so-called creator of all, If the state of Knowledge is present, I calmly leave it as it is without correction. When this recognition isn't there, I maintain presence and awareness anyway. You who must insist on forcing yourselves, do as you please.
As for this veneration towards the so-called Lama, If it's appropriate I make it a support of devotion. If it isn't, I adapt to whatever condition is present. You who search for fame, do as you please.
As for this title of so-called reincarnation, If it's useful I adopt it for beneficial activities; When it's not beneficial for that, I just stay natural in my own way. You who desire a rank in a hierarchy, do as you please.
As for the activity of making sacred things for the so-called possessions of monasteries, If it's beneficial I undertake it for the continuation of the Teaching; If there's no benefit, I keep the three doorways in a free condition. You who like to make so many preparations, do as you please.
As for this confusion of the so-called Dharma centers, If they are beneficial, I sustain their development as supports of the Teaching; When they aren't, I try to diminish attachment and aversion. You who are keen on Dharma centers, do as you please.
As for the power and wealth of the so-called fortunate, If these are present, I use them as a basis of virtue, for any good action; If they aren't, I'm satisfied and happy just the same. You who are dedicated to accumulating things, do as you please.
As for this consort, the so-called fruit of previous karma, If she has good motivation, I instruct her in the teachings as far as I can; If not, I do anything I can to make her happy. You who are taken up with attachment, do as you please.
As for these benefactors who are the so-called faithful, When there are favorable secondary causes, I guide them on the way of liberation; When they don't have this opportunity, I help them to accumulate virtue. You who desire luxury, do as you please.
As for these disciples, so-called beings to be instructed, If they maintain their commitments, I introduce them to the essential points of the practice; When they don't have the capacity, I encourage them in every way to train their minds. You who are thirsty for greatness, do as you please.
As for these relatives and friends, the so-called loved ones, If their spirit is so motivated, I direct them on the way of relative benefit and absolute happiness; If their minds are not so inclined, I don't mind, and I'm happy just the same. You who are caught up in attachment, do as you please.
All that exists, although manifesting as apparently good or bad, Cannot be differentiated in this way In the dimension of knowledge of the Original Base. I myself reside in the natural condition that is beyond effort. You who are caught up in accepting and rejecting, do as you please.
The ineffable way of being of the Prajñāpāramitā And the experience of direct understanding, I have joined together within myself. To the intellectual path of study I don't aspire. You who claim to be great scholars, do as you please.
In the natural condition, the space which does not fall into limits of measurement or even the concept of direction, Whatever presents itself there, I enjoy as an ornament. I don't make any effort to create or reject anything. You who take up preferences, do as you please.
As for the natural state beyond the contamination of thought, I maintain its vivid presence, without any effort. Why analyse it with the limitations of reason? You who are keen on logic, do as you please.
Directly in the space of the dimension of original Purity, I meet all meditative experiences, manifestations of energy and visions in a state of equanimity. With no need to desire an artificial religious practice, I am happy. You who dwell upon mental constructions, do as you please.
In the pure expanse of space, free of any circumstances, Shines the dimension of light of the five colours of self-perfected gdangs energy. The Primordial Wisdom of one's own rtsal energy is spontaneously perfected. You who follow some kind of conceptual confirmation, do as you please.
In the uncorrected condition, the space of the natural Dharmatā, State of Knowledge without distraction, clear and vivid, I live joyously, remaining beyond the limits of mental conception. You who have fallen into limits, do as you please.
The indefinable state, natural since the beginning, Is that space beyond all definitions of being and non-being. Among all the modes of existence of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa There is not one that is not perfected. You who are immersed in conflicting thoughts, do as you please.
Through this unique Knowledge, in the state of recognition of the Primordial Base, Understanding that all appearances and that which animates them are rtsal and rol pa energy, I am beyond accomplishing anything through effortful strain. You who try to obtain everything by effort, do as you please.
Whatever arises liberates itself for me, a practitioner of Dzogchen, As the narrow path of hope and fear that is linked to effort doesn't exist for me. I'm happy to adopt a free way of being. You who follow rules, do as you please.
For me, a yogin of universal knowledge, free from illusion, Primordial purity (kadag) and self-perfection (lhundrub) are not two. In this condition, whatever one does, it is the total accomplishment of self-perfection. You who follow the gradual path, do as you please.
You who are bound by the chains of hope and fear, Calmly leave behind this senseless pain, Observe your way of being a little, And the opportunity of the Great Perfection may arise for you, too.
Multitude of Supreme Masters, Knowledge holders and Dakini, Radiate a little of the splendour of your power To this mind wrapped up in the darkness of dualism. Make the light of Wisdom appear clearly.
'a: a: ha: sha: sa: ma:
- Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche