Mahamudra is a Sanskrit word. Maha means great – as in universal, limitless, beyond comprehension and conceptualization. Mudra has several layers of meaning.
- First is the common mean: a posture or movement with a part of the body, such as hands. The reason for the mudra, however, is not often understood. The mudra is a physical representation of an energetic reality as well as an invocation of that energetic reality. A mudra applied with wisdom is a mudra that is effective. One done without understanding has not meaning or reason to be done.
- Second, mudra means seal as in a magistrates seal or stamp of the law. In other words, mudra is the esoteric, and thus veiled, reality of Reality. Mudra is stating that, in fact, all existence is energy presenting. Nothing is only as it seems, and nothing is as dense as it seems. This is the fact (stamp of truth); this is Reality (Cosmic Law).
- Third, mudra also speaks of seal as in a sealed vase or sealed container. This refers to the sealed nature of awareness until it is awakened. Our wisdom is contained within self-referencing and material ascriptions, thus is limited, curtailed, contained. The cosmic physical plane is also sealed, in this case, like a womb with no exit. The only way to break the container of the cosmic physical plane is to liberate awareness such that Awareness-Being is all that IS. That is actually self-same as Reality, thus the seal of ignorance (limited mind) is undone. The seal of limitation broken – enlightenment.
Mahamudra is a meditation practice, but only in a sense. To quote Khyentse Rinpoche, “All method is a trick.” In other words, all methods are to get the practitioner to experience something that already exists and is either innate or substantially present. This is what I mean by mahamudra being a meditation practice in a sense.
Podcast: Mahamudra 1
Graphic: Awakening from DeviantART