Other translations:

Distinguishing the Provisional from the Definitive in the Context of Mahamudra

Right here in this world, Jambudvipa, the Victor's realm
There is one renowned as being a second Buddha
On the victory banner of teachings that do not set
He is like the crowning jewel at the very top
Respected by all and worthy of offerings
The melodious sound of his rippling flag of fame
Reverberates in every direction around
Is this not the lord and accomplished master Maitripa

There is one who served at his lotus feet with respect
And drank in full draughts the quintessential elixir
The mahamudra, the crowning point of view
This put him in touch with reality plain and simple
He perfectly brought all excellent qualities forth
And was not defiled by any fault at all
A sugata emanation in human form
That greatest of beings, lord Marpa, taught like this

However appearances might appear outside
Not realized, are delusory projections
Clinging to objects, that is what ties you down
For those who know, they're illusory appearance
For them, what appear to be objects are mind's resource
In the end, in fact, there is no such thing as appearance
And, being unborn dharmakaya, is utterly pure
He taught of its sacredness in the unborn dharmakaya

The workings of rational consciousness inside
Not realized, are ignorance itself
This is the root of all karma and all affliction
If realized, it's self-awareness wisdom
Here is where positive qualities spring full-blown
In the end, in fact, there is no such thing as wisdom
Let phenomena go as far as they go and no more
This is as far as they go and no more, he said

This skandha of form compulsively taken on
Not realized, is four elements making a body
Sickness and suffering, this is what comes of that
If realized, it's a deity union body
To replace the common assumption you entertain
In the end, in fact, there is no such thing as body
It's as rarified as a cloud-free sky, he taught
It’s pure as a cloud-free sky is what he taught

Apparitions of male and female demons and ghouls
For as long as your guise has not been seen through, are maras
Obstacle-makers who nothing but trouble spell
If the guise is seen through, obstructors are dharmapalas
A hotbed of siddhis of such a variety
In the end, in fact, there are neither gods nor goblins
Let concepts go as far as they go and no more
This is as far as they go and no more, he said

In the ultimate yana, to put it in general terms
Through the anuttarayoga of secret mantra
When a dhatu condensation with nadi aligns
The forms of spirits are seen outside, he taught

Not knowing these self-expressions are not what they seem
But thinking they're true will get you precisely nowhere
There was a time confusion made my head spin
And, knowing no better, I built a nest of delusion
Taking gods that help and spirits that harm as true
But now, through the jetsün siddha's guidance so kind
I see stopping samsara and winning nirvana won't do
I've caught on that whatever appears is mahamudra

Through realizing delusion to have no ground
The water moon of awareness shines unblurred
The sun of luminosity free of clouds
Lights up the darkness of ignorance out to its brink
My spinning head of confusion spins no more
A glimmer of basic being glows within
How precious now, the idea of seeing a ghost
It reveals the unborn source, how strange and amazing!

Under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, translated and arranged by Jim Scott, Tibetan page 464. Translation copyright 2012, Jim Scott