Melvin McLeod: Rinpoche, you are one of the leading teachers of Mahamudra, the highest philosophy and practice of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. Would you describe the Mahamudra view of the nature of mind?
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche: In Mahamudra there are three traditions: sutra Mahamudra, mantra Mahamudra and essence Mahamudra.
The sutra tradition of Mahamudra encompasses both the second and third turnings of the wheel of dharma [the teachings on emptiness and buddhanature, respectively]. According to the second turning of the wheel, the true nature of mind is beyond conceptual fabrication. That means it cannot be described as being existent or nonexistent, as being something or nothing, or as being permanent or impermanent. Mind cannot be described or conceptualized in any of these ways: the nature of mind is beyond all conceptual fabrication. Then, according to the third turning of the wheel of dharma, which are the teachings on buddhanature such as the Uttaratantrashastra,[i] the true nature of mind is described as luminous clarity. This is the enlightened essence of the buddhanature, completely free from any stain, completely free from any imperfection or flaw. This luminosity is inseparable from emptiness. So the true nature of mind is described as the union of clarity and emptiness.