Ilie Cioara – MAHAMUDRA – Direct Path

Photo: Primož Potočnik

While I have been enjoying the off-grid wilderness of the islands for a while (until my food supplies were empty and my fasting enthusiasm exhausted), my contemplative study and exploration were about several mystic texts, so I’m connecting a few dots.


At first, I was deeply touched by the raw mystic power and beauty of Ilie Cioara, a contemporary Romanian mystic who spontaneously attained enlightenment after two decades of repeating the Cristian mantra which he later intuitively abandoned and resorted to direct observation of the mind. His enlightenment was a powerful full-scale nondual realization by which I feel deeply inspired and humbled, feeling the vastness and totality of Cioara’s grand opening.

Cioara didn’t advise any methods, as, clearly, following methods only reinforces the ego structure (although very subtle) but he instead recommended direct and radical observation of the mind with total acceptance and zero interference. He connected his realization to this direct raw observation of the mind. See Cioara’s wonderful poetry and explanations in The Silence of the Mind


As I’m currently studying also the wisdom of Mahamudra, both from the tantric and from the Buddhist perspectives, I can notice many similarities with Cioara’s message.

Here is the point: while Cioara’s advice is rather simple yet radical and powerful, the same message seems to be the essence of the Mahamudra teaching as well. Mahamudra teachings are more elaborated and connected to the lineages of masters, but the core wisdom is very similar: directly looking at the mind and its empty essence.

Similar comments are present also in Dzogchen (which is anyway sometimes referred to as the same as Mahamudra). Longchenpa would in his Natural Perfection: Longchenpa’s Radical Dzogchen destroy any hopes of sticking to any techniques:

“Since the nature of mind is timeless spontaneity, pure mind contains the ground, the source, and the essence: because spontaneity is unattainable through the ten techniques, forced concentration upon view and meditation is redundant, extraneous support, like goal-oriented application, is superfluous, and egoistic ambition and apprehension is dispensable, spontaneity is originally pure being here and now!”


And there’s also an interesting parallel to the “Direct path” teaching of Sri Atmananda Menon whose teachings were brought to the west by Jean Klein and later continued by contemporary direct path teachers (Francis Lucille etc.). The essence of the mind is to be observed directly and thus, its nature can be revealed.

It’s interesting, that Sri Atmananda Menon received the teachings from the guru who visited him upon his prayers and taught him first all the different forms of yoga and finally revealed to him the essence – the “Direct path” teaching – which I see as nothing else but the essence of Mahamudra.

And while, as I’m learning, Mahamudra wisdom (Buddhist style) builds on preliminary practices until the student is ready for the final teachings, Sri Atmamanda Menon seemed to abandon the yoga practices (which he learned preliminarily) and transmitted later to his students only the essence, the “Direct path”, the flavor of which can be tasted in a few very short and highly condensed texts, such as: Atma-Darshan 


I feel that at this level of penetration into the nature of the mind and the Self, many preliminary practices are simply not relevant anymore. For example, working with emotions usually needs healing modalities, acceptance, transmutation, assimilation, etc. yet at this depth of realization, these are not necessary as the nature of appearances is instantly seen through and the space is never left (which in my understanding doesn’t exclude arising of any emotions).

Furthermore, I see these advanced modalities of consciousness (such as directly observing the mind) not so much as a practice but as a very basic predisposition and capacity of consciousness, more like an attitude and quality of Awareness which is rather an outcome of one’s state of BEING and less the result of conscious manipulation of attention (practice). We could also say that this is closer to “falling in love” than to “making love”. And as such, this deepening is also due to divine grace, operating according to its own terms. So, finally, can we see that all practicing is also prior to conscious attitude and as such also a consequence of divine grace? So when we practice, the Total Being is practicing, and we move much closer to “falling in practice” rather than “making practice”.


Here we are, sublimely touching the essence of human wisdom, and invited to humbly admit:

there are no methods and no means to achieve the realization of the Infinity, no special states are needed, no altered consciousness, no connections to spirit guides and entities, no special experiences and appearances, absolutely nothing that human arrogance would grasp to achieve its goals.

Yet the mystery is open, the practice of non-doing, wu-wei, literally not doing anything, yet allowing “falling into practice” and the practice is done. When the observation of the mind and of the moment is happening, although no one is doing it. Ah this beauty, the blossoming of the heart, and the hollow observation of this empty vastness, so empty of any essence yet so wonderfully beautiful and miraculous. A gift from nowhere for nobody, ah this beauty!!!

PS: this contemplation was mostly written during the nights, under the stars and the shining moon, in the company of moonwalkers – a herd of semi-wild sheep parading every night along the beach a few meters away, ah muy maravilloso 🙂

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by Primož Potočnik

Categorized as Blog, Primož