The 4 Yogas of Mahamudra as a systematic approach to a Vipashyana session

The 4 Yogas of Mahamudra are usually regarded as stages of spiritual insight and maturation on the path to Buddhahood. The 4 Yogas are:

  1. Yoga of One-Pointedness
  2. Yoga of Non-Elaboration
  3. Yoga of One Taste
  4. Yoga of Non-Meditation

By developing a one-pointed interest towards the nature of mind (One-Pointednss), you eventually discover the nonconceptual, empty base quality of the mind (Non-Elaboration). By getting more and more familiar with this base quality of emptiness, you beginn to see that all appearing phenomena of thoughts, feelings and the outer world are not separate from that emptiness. Essentially, subject and object are of “One Taste”. By further familiarization with One Taste, all tendencies of splitting up experience in a subject and objects exhaust themselves and are being swallowed up by Emptiness until no sense of dualistic perception is there anymore (Non-Meditation).

Now, this progression is also what happens in a proper session of Vipasyhana.

Let’s say, we look at a thought.

  1. We one-pointedly single out that thought and stay with it (One-Pointedness).
  2. We look into it’s seeming substantiality and separateness, only to to discover that there’s no solid thing called “thought” or “concept” to be found. The only “thing” we arrive at, is nonconceptual, empty presence (Non-Elaboration)
  3. In this moment, we realise thought to be nothing else than nonconceptual mind. There are not two things anymore, “me” the subject and “thought” the object. They merge into a unified nonconceptual presence (One Taste).
  4. In this nonconceptaul presence which is one with all thought movements, there’s no “doer” and nothing to be done anymore. A all-pervasive sense of uninterruptable effortlessness is revealed as the basic state of all experience (Non-Meditation).

So it’s important to not take the 4 Yogas as stages too literally because they are the fruition and the path at the same time. As stages, the 4 Yogas describe levels of stability in the specific insights. But what makes insight happen is actually breaking through to non-meditation - our basic state - again and again. By breaking through like this, practitioners go through the 4 Yogas as levels of stability.

I’ll open another discussion topic regarding the 4 Yogas as stages and the connection to the Bhumis soon.

Thanks for reading.


I can’t wait for the next discussion!

Drukpa was pretty sure one taste meant shit literally tastes as good as anything else for what it’s worth.