The Tibetan master Gampopa is famous for being the foremost student of Milarepa, the great yogi. He is unique in that he fused and combined the practice of mind training, which many of you know from the Dalai Lama’s lectures, with realization of the nature of mind. His writing style is very much down to earth, advice for simple living and easy to understand guidelines for making sure that we are on the right track. Some of his advice takes form of small handy lists to memorize, ponder and measure oneself against.
The single vehicle is the understanding that all teachings are personal advice on how to soften rigid mind-habits, letting go of pointless aims, and then settling into a gentle presence that is both calm and kind. Our attention simply remains for a while in this way, at ease in itself with nothing that needs to be held or cast away. This aware steadiness is often called shamatha, being calm, and it is the basis for all higher or deeper states of authentic insight.
To sever attachment to home, family, and friends, chödpas moved from valley to valley, village to village, sacred place to sacred place, charnel ground to charnel ground, staying only for brief periods in small tents and under trees before moving on. They would camp in groups, but only as close as the sound of a kangling could reach.