Friday, July 02, 2021

The Realm of Dharmas, Chapter Three: Metaphors of Bodhicitta

 



CHAPTER THREE

METAPHORS OF BODHICITTA


[Having shown the nature of Bodhicitta, now the nature where all dharmas are gathered into the Great Completion in Bodhicitta’s continuity is explained.]


Absolutely  everything  is  gathered,  subsumed  in  Bodhicitta.

Because no dharma whatsoever is excluded from    Bodhicitta.

all dharmas are of the nature of                                      Bodhicitta.


˚


[These three things are to be known for Bodhicitta— its simile, the significance of its simile, and its signs.  First, the simile—]


The SIMILE of Bodhicitta is “It is like the sky.”

In Citta there is no root cause and nothing that produced it and

so it is unpredictable, beyond communicating, beyond the sphere of thought.

“Sky Realm” is just an illustrative metaphor

which is not to say, “The metaphor itself is it!”

How then would the thought and expression lead to the metaphor’s meaning?

It is to be understood as an illustration of Bodhicitta’s pure nature.


˚


The SIGNIFICATION of the sky-equal self-awareness

   that Bodhicitta is

is   that it is no thing for thought,

       beyond illustration and communication.  It

is   self-luminous,          unmoving—spacious receptive centre

       of Sheer Luminosity.     It

is        Dharmabody—spacious centre of Bodhi Heart.


˚


[Now an uncompromisingly presented statement on the nature of Awareness-Bodhicitta which is sky-like pure, not belittled and devoid of partial definitions.]


Its SIGNS:  From its special powers dawns everything there is.

When they dawn, there is no ground for dawning, no agent of dawning.

Even just the word ‘dawning’, if you think about it,

is sky-like.

When you comprehend the non-preferential Great Levelness

in one fell swoop, precisely

that is the receptive centre of the spread-out-to-the-limit

beyond subject/object dichotomies.


[The manner of dawning in the Awareness continuity is unimpeded like the reflection of the sky in clear waters.  It dawns as various things, but even as they seem to dawn, in truth there is no ground or agent for dawning.  So they dissolve in the Void, pass over the pass into the nonpreferential Dharmabody.  By the statement, “nonpreferential Great Levelness,” the Mind Proper may be understood as sky-like.]


˚


[The significance of that is subsumed in the Dharma Proper without centre or circumference.]


Uncompromisingly presented illustrations are made by way of simile,

significance and signs

all the way up to self-engendered Full Knowledge and Dharma Proper.

In these sky-like Three Great Rays personified,

absolutely everything is included.  Their nature is undifferentiated

and unbreached.

In the Realm womb of the great vast level beam,

everything is totally levelled, with no sooner/later,

no good/bad.

This is the meaning behind Vajra Being and Total Good.


[The All Making King says,


In order to actually realize its meaning…

the simile is to consider it as sky-like;

the significance is the unproduced Dharma Proper;

and the signs are Mind Proper unimpeded.]


˚


[That Awareness is taught to be like the essence of the sun.]


Bodhicitta is like the essence of the sun.    For,

in its own continuity is Sheer Luminosity, totally uncompounded.

No dharmas cloud it.

It is naturally-arrived-at by passing right through.

No dharmas diffuse it.

It is the undistracted Dharma Proper continuity.


˚


[An expansion on the preceding verse.]


The Three Bodies are beyond inclusion and exclusion:

from the Void—the Dharmabody,

from the shining—the Perfect Assets Body,

and the ray-bearing Emanation Body.

When their naturally-arrived-at qualities are totally taken on,

they are unclouded by the darknesses of faults and injuries.  They are

one—no sooner/later, no past/present/future, no transforming/transporting;

one—embracing all Buddhas and sentient beings.  This

one    is called, “self-engendered Bodhicitta.”


[Dharmabody is the void part of Mind Proper.

Perfect Assets Body is the shining part.

Emanation Body is the dawning part.

But even while saying these things, substantially

you get no recognizable dharmas at all…and the underlying meaning of those statements is that past, present & future are naturally-arrived-at without transforming or transporting.  Because, in the manner of an essence   it embraces all sangsara/nirvana,  the Sugata Essence vastly embraces all animate beings.]


˚


[From the same continuity, appearances and becoming are shown to dawn.]


Bodhicitta’s special powers are whatever dawns,

all the various appearances of birth and motion,

material and vital, appearances and becoming,

realization and lack of realization.


[The nature of Awareness is like a mirror, and the special powers in its continuity are like mirrored images.  This is how it is the basis for the dawning of everything.]


˚


[Apart from their mere dawning, they have no nature.]


While all these appear, there are no several natures.

Like mirage water, dreams and echoes;

like phantoms, reflections, Gandharva cities

and faulty vision, they have no existence whatsoever.

There is no basis for their appearances.  They are

mere temporary perceptions

in between which the Dharmabody  may be realized.


[Just as dreams do not come when you have not gone to sleep or after you wake up, but rather in the depths of sleep, even so, the erroneous appearances of sangsara occur neither in the time of the first Dharma Proper nor when the goal of nirvana is achieved in the end.]


˚


[Showing that those appearances are unmoved from Dharma Proper.]


Out of the nature of naturally-arrived-at Bodhicitta

unimpeded play, the sangsara-nirvana magical display, comes.

When all those projections are comprehended in one fell

swoop in the Realm,

you may be sure that they have never ever moved from the primordial

continuity.


˚


[Because everything is completed in the Realm, it is taught to be Dzogchen, the Great Completion.]


Here all is the Bodhicitta continuity.

One complete, all is complete.     The unmade significance is

complete.

The nature naturally completed,

the self-engendered Full Knowledge,     is

complete.


˚


[In the substance of Awareness which is not-at-all-arrived-at, everything dawns.  Therefore, they dawn without impediment out of the continuity of the unproduced.]


Bodhicitta, whether visible or invisible,

isn’t in external/internal or sangsara/nirvana dharmas.

But yet, out of its special powers, by the nature of motion,

appearances/becoming and sangsara/nirvana

dawn as the play of the myriad things.


˚


[Since the substance of Awareness is not-at-all-arrived-at, it is beyond appearances and void.  For what is essentially not a subject for discussion, the occurrence of deceptive appearances arising in its continuity has not been experienced.]


From their mere dawning alone,

forms of void nature appear.

From the birthless they appear to be born.

From the very time of their appearing to be born, there was nothing

birthed.

From the unended things may appear to be ended.

But there is no ending.

Forms of void illusion appear.

From their abiding alone

no dharmas of abiding exist.

There is no basis for making them abide, only

a comingless, goingless continuity.

However things appear, they are not thereby arrived-at.

So it is enough to say just, “They have no nature.”


˚


[The meaning is summed up in the simple fact that no matter how things appear, they have no nature thereby.]


Those appearances may dawn themselves from the special powers,

but “interdependent origination” is an exact term for expressing their

nature.

From the very time they appear to dawn from the special powers,

there are no possibilities for preferences, no side taking as to whether

they do or do not dawn.

So ‘special powers’ itself is a mere term of no substance.

Everything has always never

never moved the least bit away from

the untransformed and untransported

continuity that Bodhicitta is.


 — Return to Chapter One


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Puzzle Solved! Another Padampa Metaphor for Counterintuitive Klesha Therapeutics Identified

The White Cliffs of Dover

 

“[There is something that] thoroughly dries out when placed in water.”   
—Padampa.


Sometimes when all your efforts fail, with time and patience the answer can come knocking on your door, dropping by unexpectedly without calling first. If you doubt this could happen, read on...

 

I could easily count the number of times a bit of chemical knowledge has actually helped me in life and in Tibetology on fewer fingers than I have on one hand. If I’m exaggerating, it isn’t by much. Once I was excited to discover that some kinds of adhesives used to glue labels on bottles, bottles that you would like to reuse, can be removed with ease if you rub them with oil. For this knowledge, and of course for a lot more, I am indebted to the love of my life, who once did a master’s thesis in Chemistry before turning to more worthy pursuits in the humanities.  

Another time I was surprised to find out that a verse in a very famous work by Sakya Pandita, in order to achieve the most basic understand of it, requires knowledge of one remarkable chemical reaction marked by a dramatic and unexpected change of color. I talked about that earlier (ref. below). This time let’s talk about a different example, drawn from a similar genre of Tibetan and Indian Buddhist literature. Somehow the two (or 3) chemistry experiments have a surprising connector running between them that we might someday understand better, if you decide to go into it more deeply. A rougher understanding may suffice for now.

This may beg for a little background. Padampa himself and the Zhijé Collection were frequent subjects of these Tibeto-logic blogs, so I assume you know them. There is a particular one among the minor dialogues (zhu-lan) of the ZC that never received any attention during the first 36 years after its publication.* Like the others it is supposed to serve as a record of Kunga’s dialogues with Padampa in Tingri in the earliest decades of the 12th century. If it doesn’t truly have the form of a dialogue as many of the others do, it may be due to the reorganization of Kunga’s notes according to subject, done by Kunga’s student Patsab. 

(*We might say that not even in Tibetan sources is it ever mentioned to the best of my ways of knowing, if it were not for one commentarial passage of ca. 1200 by Tenné in the ZC, its content paraphrased in Martin's essay, p. 205).

This minor dialogue was devoted to an immensely intriguing subject: a counterintuitive method employed by Padampa, incidentally making use of an equally intriguing Tibetan term gya-log that can be defined, understood and translated only with difficulty, as it occurs in medical and Dzogchen contexts (with the spelling ja-log) as well.  At the time the article came out, only one version of the text had been made available in published form. However, just a few weeks ago an alternative manuscript version (unpublished!) showed up in BDRC, so now we can at least check and verify the readings in a way that could not be done before (the edited text is appended below).


So let’s go back to those mysterious words of Padampa we opened with:


“[There is something that] thoroughly dries out when placed in water.”

 

Without any stalling for dramatic effect, right now I can tell you, and even try to demonstrate my claim, that Padampa is talking about lime, and by lime I mean the mineral, not the fruit. This occurred to me for the first time ever only a few days ago, when my eyes fell on an article by Jürgen Hanneder in the Indo-Iranian Journal (listed below). I am myself 100% sure of it, but since I assume you are not convinced I would first ask you to watch a free online video. It will make you a believer in a minute and a half. 


Just go here and watch the video entitled 

Quicklime and Water Reaction.” 


If the link doesn’t work for you do a video search using these or similar words.

The website will immediately suggest more videos about lime, and you might want to watch some of those, too.

Trying to bring this blog to an quick end, I will just give my translations of two verses that may or may not directly foreground Padampa’s mysterious line about counterintuitive methods he calls gya-log. For the first of them, from a work put together by Ravigupta, I’d like to ask you to read Hanneder’s excellent essay. I have no arguments with it worth mentioning, and I much recommend its arguments and translations. If only to avoid the remote possibility of copyright infringement, I give my own very differently sounding translation, emphasizing its Buddhist technical terms as understood in Tibetan Buddhist sources. As a Tibeto-centric eccentric I am unlikely to know better.

 

It is just like the quicklime that becomes slaked lime,

when you sprinkle it with water it bursts into pieces.

So it is when the water of contemplative absorption is sprinkled on

the afflictive emotional states (kleshas) in their latent forms,

incinerated in the fire of transcendent insight.


I’m not very attached to my hasty paraphrase/translation of what has to be regarded as a rather technical (on both Buddhist and industrial sides of the equation) verse, and invite corrections. I was no doubt too much influenced by the Tibetan. I attempt to achieve greater clarity in separating out the object of comparison (my lines 1-2) from the thing to be compared (my lines 3-5). I take the entire verse to be an example of what Indian poetics (kāvya) knows as sahokti (ལྷནཅིག་བརྗོད་པ་) something like two coordinated paralleled passages (A, B and C individually bear comparison with X, Y and Z; i.e., A=X, B=Y, and C=Z). I turned the original order on its head. The quicklime is made by fire to begin with (this part of the process seems to be as missing in the verse as it is presupposed), and fire reappears at the end of the process after mixing with water, although here it is the explosiveness and not the heat that is emphasized in the first place. I take the rdo-bsregs, literally burnt [lime-]stone, to mean the quicklime (calcium oxide), while rdo-thal (Skt. sudhā) means slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), if I’m not entirely confused, if I’ve only succeeded in fomenting confusion in the world, as if that would be a worthy accomplishment in a world so full of it.

Where was I? Not to pretend to do any thinking for you, here is the other verse I promised to supply, one by Āryadeva, although it was supplied already long ago (Martin’s essay, p. 208, with refs. to other translations):


When mustard is mixed with mineral powders

a different color is produced.

In a similar way the wise know the Dharma Realm

through the workings of wisdom and means.


Actually, instead of mustard the translation ought to read curcumin, and in place of mineral powders, slaked lime (or a dilution of the same known as lime water. And do notice that another verse here makes reference to the alchemical aim of aurifaction).

To explain this verse, go to the link by clicking on this title:

Why does turmeric water turn red after adding slaked lime ?

Hint: If the link doesn't work try doing your own video search using some kind of wording like calcium hydroxide (or slaked lime) combined with curcumin (or turmeric). That should work. If you prefer to read about it, go to Karthikeyan’s article, listed below.

Despite some differences, this chemistry experiment more closely resembles the one in Sakya Pandita’s verse. So arguably we can now point out three distinct chemical processes or experiments used in Buddhist spirituality as symbols or metaphors, call them whichever you like. This ought to carry meaning for Buddhism and science interchanges that are taking place today, you think? What I suppose I mean is, we ought to find out more about how material transformational processes of various kinds — physics, chemistry, you name it — may or may not track with internal psycho-spiritual transformations. The results of such studies ought to be enlightening. 

On the other hand, Padampa in the same text promises, on the premise that internal fixes of the meditative kinds result in “objective” change out there in the world (and vice versa, too; external applications may provoke inner changes),:


རིག་པ་དུམ་བུར་མཐུད་ན། ཐ་མལ་སྣང་བ་འགྱུར།

 

which is to say, 

 

“If you piece together the puzzle of awareness,

 ordinary everyday appearances are transformed.”


 


§  §  §


Publication Alerts

Dorn Carran, John Hughes, Alick Leslie, & Craig Kennedy, “A Short History of the Use of Lime as a Building Material beyond Europe and North America,” International Journal of Architectural Heritage, vol. 6, no. 2 (2011), pp. 117-146. This is cited in Hanneder's essay, but notice it is available online without payment as a PDF, all you have to do is Schmoogle it.

Michael Hahn, Ravigupta's Āryākoṣa: A Contribution to the Early History of Indian Niti Literature, ed. by Lata Mahesh Deokar & Johannes Schneider, Aditya Prakashan (New Delhi 2019). I haven’t actually seen this yet, although I’ve seen the set of articles that were published during the author’s lifetime and this posthumously published work was based on them.

Jürgen Hanneder, “Lime Burning as a Religious Metaphor in Buddhist India,” Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 64 (2021), pp. 1-9.  This may be available online through a subscribing institution.

T. Karthikeyan, “Why Does Turmeric Water Mixed with Quicklime Turn Red?” The Hindu (September 9, 2010):

Quicklime is chemically a strong alkali (base). Hence, exposure of turmeric powder or turmeric water to quick lime neutralizes any of the two phenolic protons and triggers the conversion of the original benzenoid structure with yellow appearance into a quinonoid structure with red colour. Red colour has higher wavelength than yellow. That is why turmeric water, when mixed with quicklime, turns red.”

D. Martin, “Crazy Wisdom in Moderation: Padampa Sangyé”s Use of Counterintuitive Methods in Dealing with Negative Mental States,” contained in: Y. Bentor and M. Shahar, eds, Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism, Brill (Leiden 2017), pp. 193-214. Maybe available online.

Negi dictionary — J.S. Negi, Tibetan Sanskrit Dictionary (Bod skad dang legs sbyar gyi tshig mdzod chen mo), Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarnath 1993-2005), in 16 volumes.

ZCK — Zhi-byed-kyi Chos-skor. TBRC no. W3CN25705, posted in 2021.

Zhi-byed Collection (ZC) —   Kun-dga', et al., The Tradition of Pha Dampa Sangyas:  A Treasured Collection of His Teachings Transmitted by T[h]ug[s]-sras Kun-dga', Kunsang Tobgey (Thimphu, Bhutan 1979), in 5 volumes, with English preface by Barbara N. Aziz.

On the other chemistry experiment found in a Sakya Pandita verse, see an earlier blog with the title “Tantra's Ineluctible Logic,” posted November 8, 2013,

You can find an even earlier discussion of the same Sakya Pandita verse in “Monkey Paw, Salty River,” posted August 1, 2009, but do pay attention to the comments section.  


On removing stubborn adhesives with ease, see this:


Afterwords

There are two refs. listed under "rdo-thal" in the Negi dictionary, but both use it in the meaning of ‘plaster’.  I have a funny story to tell about plaster from the Gunla month ‘birthday of all the caityas’ in Nepal. We were with our best Newar friend, a real scholar named S.R.S., when a European, another real scholar guaranteed to know a lot about caityas came along. He was there with his Newar assistant. I thought to introduce the two of them, knowing they had interests in common. But that idea was forever abandoned when the European shouted to his assistant, “Stop them! Beat them!” There was really only one person he could have meant, a rather old ethnically Tibetan man was hopping from one stone caitya to the next, anointing each of them with a dollop of whitewash. I assure you, no beating took place, and the old man disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. The European turned to us apologetically, telling us that the Newars take such good care of their stone caityas, but then Tibetans come along and make them dirty. My search for slaked lime (read further on below) turned up one interesting passage that justifies the whitewashing of caityas as an act of reverence, in fact, as a way of keeping them clean. (Tibeto-logicians can check for themselves the Vinaya passage I’ve paste in later, located with the help of a BDRC search, of course.) You can see the whitewash all around the great Stūpa of Swayambhunath in our frontispiece. For such giant stūpas wealthy donors from time to time put up the necessary funding to have this whitewashing done. But if you’ve visited the Newar Bahals in Kathmandu you would also know that some of the smaller sized stone caityas have become like white ghosts, irregularly rounded blobs of white stuff so unrecognizable that some mistake them for Shaiva lingams. Since many of these caityas have Buddha Images in niches on their sides, often a lot of trouble is taken to keep them, and only them, from being covered over by the plaster. But I have seen cases where you would need a flashlight, or most of your forearm inserted into the hole, to know anything was there at all. 

+

And another interesting use of plaster for purposes of spiritual practice is the practice of voluntary solitary confinement. In this form of retreat, the door is supposed to be plastered shut, and only opened when the set period of time for mantra repetition and visualizations of divine forms of Buddha  is completed, often a period of 3 or even 9 years. This has a distinctly different meaning than the English expression ‘getting plastered’ has today.

+

Which reminds me, if you are in an experimental mood, you might try a search of Kanjur and Tanjur texts for “rdo-thal.” When I did this using the Vienna site it revealed about 16 results in the Kanjur, one of them from the Vinaya* passage just mentioned, with lime plaster being used on stūpas as an adornment (Newars apparently still practice this, not just Tibetans). 

(*The Vinaya text is this one:  Vinayottaragrantha ('Dul ba gzhung bla ma).  Tôh. no. 7, vol. NA, folios 1v.1-92r.7; vol. PA, folios 1v.1-313r.5.)

In general, the Kanjur materials seem to know rdo-thal primarily as a substance to be smeared on something as part of the building process, whether on walls, artificial ponds, or stūpas. The Blessed One himself had advice about construction materials used in making stūpas.

Turning to the Tanjur, matters get more complicated as there are 70 results.  So if you are ready to deal with all of that information have an enjoyable time with it.

Note: For what I call the Vienna site (rKTs), check our sidebar under the section entitled "Scriptural Searches." I send you there because it links alternative search sites, and not just the one from Vienna.


rKTs n°: - D3995

རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་བར་འབྱུང་བ་དང་པོའི་རྣམ་པར་དབྱེ་བ་བཤད་པ

mdo 'grel (mdo), chi 1b-61a (vol. 115), page. 25B

དེའི་དབང་གིས་ཀྱང་བྱ་བ་དག་ལ་འཇུག་གོ། །དེ་མེད་པར་ཡང་རིས་མཐུན་པ་བཞིན་དུ་མངོན་པར་འགྲུབ་པ་མ་ཡིན་གྱི། གཟུགས་མེད་པར་ཡང་གཟུགས་མེད་པ་དག་ཏུ་མི་མངོན་པར་འགྲུབ་པར་འགྱུར་རོ། །མིང་གི་རྒྱུན་ལ་བརྟེན་ནས་རིས་མཐུན་པ་གཞན་དག་ཏུ་སྔོན་མ་བྱུང་བའི་གཟུགས་ཀྱི་རྒྱུན་ལེན་་པར་བྱེད་ཀྱི། གཟུགས་ཀྱི་རྒྱུན་ནི་སྔོན་མ་བྱུང་བའི་མིང་གི་རྒྱུན་ལེན་པར་བྱེད་པ་མ་ཡིན་ནོ། །གང་ཡང་འབྱུང་བ་རྒྱུར་བྱས་པའི་གཟུགས་སྐྱེས་པ་དག་ཇི་ལྟར་རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པའི་རྐྱེན་གྱིས་ཡིན་ཞེ་ན། གལ་ཏེ་འབྱུང་བ་དང་འབྱུང་བ་ལ་བརྟེན་པའི་གཟུགས་རྣམས་ལས་ཀྱིས་ཡོངས་སུ་བསྒོས་པའི་་རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་ལ་བརྟེན་ནས་སྐྱེ་ན། འདིར་འགལ་བ་ཅི་ཡོད། འབྱུང་བ་དང་ཐ་དད་པ་མེད་པར་དེ་སྐྱེ་བ་ན་འབྱུང་བ་ལས་གྱུར་པ་ཞེས་བྱ་སྟེ། དེ་འཛིན་པ་དང ། འཕྲོག་པ་དང ། ཡོངས་སུ་གྱུར་ན་དེ་འཛིན་པ་ལ་སོགས་པ་ཡོད་པའི་ཕྱིར་རོ། །རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པའི་རྐྱེན་གྱིས་མིང་ནི་རེ་ཞིག་རིགས་གྲང་ན། མཚན་ཉིད་མི་མཐུན་པ་དག་རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་ལས་ཇི་ལྟར་སྐྱེ་ཞེ་ན། འདི་ནི་བརྒལ་དུ་མེད་པ་ལ་རྒོལ་བ་ཡིན་ཏེ། འཇིག་རྟེན་དང་བསྟན་བཅོས་ལས་ཀྱང་མཚན་ཉིད་མི་མཐུན་པའི་རྒྱུ་ལས་ཀྱང་འབྲས་བུ་འབྱུང་བ་དེ་དག་གྲུབ་པ་ཡིན་ནོ། །རེ་ཞིག་འཇིག་རྟེན་ན་དབང་པོ་དང་དོན་གཉིས་ལས་བདེ་བ་དང ། སྡུག་་བསྔལ་སྐྱེ་བ་དང ། བརྡབས་པ་ལས་སྒྲ་དང ། རཝ་ལས་འདམ་བུ་དང ། མེ་དང་ཤིང་ལས་དུ་བ་དང ། རྡོ་ཐལ་དང་ཆུ་ལས་མེ་དང ། ཀླུའི་སེམས་ཀྱི་མཐུས་ཆུ་དང་དེ་ལ་སོགས་པའོ། །


rKTs n°: - D3996
རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་བར་འབྱུང་བ་དང་པོ་དང་རྣམ་པར་དབྱེ་བ་བསྟན་པའི་རྒྱ་ཆེར་བཤད་པ
mdo 'grel (mdo), chi 61b-234a (vol. 115)
page. 140B
འདི་ལ་ཡང་རིགས་ཐ་དད་པ་ཡོད་པ་ཡིན་ཏེ། མེ་ནི་དྲོ་བའི་བདག་ཉིད་ཀྱི་མེ་ཡིན་ནོ། །ཤིང་ནི་དུ་བ་མ་ཡིན་གྱི་དུ་བའི་རིགས་ཡིན་ནོ། རྡོ་ཐལ་དང་ཆུ་ལས་མེ་དང་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཅི་ཞེ་ན། སྐྱེ་ཞེས་བྱ་བའི་སྐབས་དང་སྦྱར་རོ། །འདི་ལ་ཡང་འབྱུང་བའི་རིགས་ཐ་དད་པའི་ཕྱིར་མཚན་ཉིད་མི་་མཐུན་པ་ཉིད་གྲུབ་པ་ཡིན་ཏེ། །རྡོ་ཐལ་དང་ཆུ་གཉིས་འབྱུང་བ་གཞན་ཡིན་པའི་ཕྱིར་རོ། །ཀླུའི་སེམས་ཀྱི་མཐུས་ཆུ་དང་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཅི་ཞེ་ན་སྐྱེ་ཞེས་བྱ་བའི་སྐབས་དང་སྦྱར་ཏེ། །ཆུ་ནི་ཀླུ་ལ་སློང་ངོ་ཞེས་བྱ་བར་གྲུབ་པ་ཡིན་ནོ། །


rKTs n°: - D4069

རྣམ་པར་བཤད་པ་རིགས་པའི་བཤད་པ

mdo 'grel (sems tsam), si 139b-301a (vol. 137), page. 287B

ཞེས་བྱ་བ་རྒྱ་ཆེར་བསྟན་པ་ཡིན་ནོ། །གདུལ་བ་བག་མེད་པ་རྣམས་ནི་སྐྱོ་བར་བྱེད་པས་གདུང་བར་བྱེད་པ་ཡིན་ནོ། །རྡོ་ཐལ་གྱི་རྡོ་མེས་བསྲེགས་པ་ནི་ཇི་ལྟར་རྡོ་ཐལ་གྱི་རྡོ་མེས་བསྲེགས་པ་ཆོས་འཇིག་པར་བྱེད་པ་དེ་བཞིན་དུ། ཉོན་མོངས་པའི་བག་ལ་ཉལ་གྱི་རྡོ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ལོག་པའི་ལས་ཀྱི་མཐའ་་དང་རྒྱ་ཆེར་འབྱུང་བ་ཡིན་ནོ། །དེ་བཞིན་དུ་མེལ་ཚེ་བ་སོ་སོར་མི་རྟོག་པ་དང ། རོལ་མོ་མཁན་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་རྒྱ་ཆེར་འབྱུང་བ་ཡིན་ནོ། །འཆོས་པ་ནི་ཚར་གཅོད་པ་ཞེས་བྱ་བའི་ཐ་ཚིག་གོ། །


rKTs n°: - D1180

ཀྱེའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་བསྡུས་པའི་དོན་གྱི་རྒྱ་ཆེར་འགྲེལ་པ

rgyud 'grel, ka 1b1-126a7 (vol. 2), page. 30A

དེ་ལྟར་འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ཀུན་རྫོབ་ཀྱིས་རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་བར་འབྱུང་བའི་ཚུལ་གྱིས་འདི་ཐོབ་ནས་འདི་འབྱུང་སྟེ།ཡུང་བ་དང་རྡོ་ཐལ་གྱི་སྦྱོར་བ་ལས་དམར་བ་ཉིད་བཞིན་དུ་ལས་ཐམས་ཅད་བསྒྲུབ་པ་ལ་རིག་པར་བྱའོ།།རྣལ་འབྱོར་པ་རྣམས་ཀྱིས་སངས་རྒྱས་སོ་ཞེས་པའི་ང་རྒྱལ་གྱིས་ནི་མ་ཡིན་ནོ་ཞེས་པ་ལས་སྒྲུབ་པའི་ངེས་པའོ་ཞེས་པ་ཀྱེའི་རྡོ་རྗེའི་འགྲེལ་པ་དྲུག་སྟོང་པར་སྔགས་ཀྱི་རིགས་ཀྱི་ལེའུ་ལས་རབ་འབྱམ་སྒྲུབ་པའི་ཡོངས་སུ་བཅད་པ་སྟེ་དྲུག་པའོ།། །། 



A few interestingly relevant vocabulary items to watch out for


སྐྱང་ནུལ་—SKYANG NUL  plaster.  Blaṅ 298.3. zhal ba. Btsan-lha.  gyang sogs la zhal ba byugs pa lta bu.  Utpal 30.4.  Skt. lepa.  Mvy. 6671 (where there are a number of Tibetan equivalents for lepa).  phyags brdar dang bskyang nul legs par byas te.  Zhi-byed Coll. I 115.4.  zhal zhal.  Dbus-pa no. 561.  Lcang-skya.  See rkyang nul, etc.  See rnyeng.

འདག་པ་འབྱར་བ་—'DAG PA 'BYAR BA  to apply plaster, to go into a solitary retreat. Also, 'dag 'byar.  immured.  It literally means that 'plaster' ('dag[ pa]) has been 'applied' to the apertures of the chamber in order to hold a sealed retreat.

ཞལ་ཞལ་—ZHAL ZHAL  zhal ba.  Btsan-lha.  kun la snyoms pa'i zhal zhal bya.  'Jig-rten-mgon-po, Bka'-'bum (2001) I 35.1. Frequent in canonical texts for 'plaster' (presumably of the kind that makes use of slaked lime). The bi-syllabic form zha-la also occurs.


+

A note on the supposed Tibetan background of the term “Crazy Wisdom”  


Here we expand on TibVocab's entry:

ཡེ་ཤེས་འཆོལ་བ། YE SHES 'CHOL BA  It is sometimes said that this is the Tibetan behind Trungpa Chögyam’s “Crazy Wisdom.” Do a Schmoogle search for it, and you will find plentiful references. It might better be translated as Full Knowledge libertinism, or Enlightened Knowledge profligacy. It’s as if the post-Enlightenment knowledge accomplished by the Buddha were to go on to fall into disorder or disarray.  Traditional Tibetan texts know of no such term as this, as may be found out by searching the TBRC database. That means it was likely created as a ‘back translation’ of English Crazy Wisdom, apparently in a move to lend it authority. It is interesting to discover what appears to be one independent 20th-century witness to the phrase (and the one and only instance that a TBRC database search turns up) in the works of Mdo-sngags-chos-kyi-rgya-mtsho (1903-1957), although the context cannot be made to support Trungpa’s usage, so I would call this search result a '‘false positive.” For further discussion about where Trungpa went with it, see David DiValerio's book The Holy Madmen of Tibet, p. 239 ff. I guess I don’t need to tell you that Padampa never used the term, since nobody else did before the 20th century. Still, even some of the most highly esteemed Tibetan teachers of our day go on to speak of it as traditional even though it has the distinctive scent of a newly reinvented modern reincarnation of something that was once somehow somewhat different.



Appendix: Text of the Gya log gnad kyi skor.

Gya log gnad kyi skor.  Marked as belonging to the Covering Leaves section.  

A note of explanation: This complete transcription has been corrected against the original cursive manuscript of ZCK as well as against ZC (ZC has two unique lines missing in ZCK). If there are square-bracketed single letters within a syllable, that means you can accept or reject it according to what makes better sense to you. If a full syllable or more appears in square brackets and is marked with "~" ('alternative'), that means one of the two versions of the text has this different reading, which again may be accepted or rejected according to what makes better sense to you. There are no special philological aims in this type of text edition apart from helping the reader understand it better; I do not care to establish which is earlier or better (ZC is no doubt earlier, as the manuscript behind the publication was inscribed in ca. 1245. while pending further investigation my best guess is that the ZCK is 14th century). For present purposes it doesn't matter which reading belongs to which text. The punctuation has been regularized, with a shad punctuation coming after every conditional clause as I believe this will assist the reader. "xxx" stands in place of a missing or illegible syllable.


bla ma dam pa rnams la phyag 'tshal lo // 


gya log gnad kyi gd[am]s pa la / 


nad gzhi lus zungs su bsgyur ba la / bskam thag chu nang du gcad pa / 

gsal lo khas [~gsol ba mas] kyi[s] btab na / byin brlabs yas kyi[s] 'jug / 

rang don sngon la byas nas [~pas] / gzhan don rjes la 'byung / 

ma yengs nyams su blang na / yengs med rgyud la 'char / 

rig pa phyi ru brgyang na / gnyis 'dzin nang du 'jig / 

sel rgyu la ma zhugs na / 'bras bu rjes la mi bslu / 

nyon mongs nang du bsal na[s] / sdug bsngal phyi ru skam[s] / 

snang ba sgyu ma[r] go na / bya[r] m[y]ed rgyud las skye / 

rig pa phyi ru gcun [~chun] na / 'du ba nang du sel / 

rang xxx [~bsags] phyi ru bkye [~skye] na / gzhan bsag nang du [b]sdud [~'du] / 

gdam[s] ngag rang la yod na / dam chos gzhan gyi[s] 'char  [~'chad] / 

smra brjod nang du bskung [~skyungs] na / phyi ru skyon dang bral / 

rten 'brel lus la [b]sgrigs na / nyams myong sems la skye / 

phyi ru bden m[y]ed go na / nang du 'dzin byed 'jig / 

rig pa dum bur mthud na / tha mal snang ba 'gyur / 

zhen pa phyi nas log na / rig pa nang nas 'char / 

[following line in ZC only:]

spyod pa btsan dod byas na / nyams myong thog babs 'char /

spros pa phyi ru bcad na / gzung 'dzin nang du grol / 

'du 'dzi phyi ru bsk[y]ung[s] na / dge sbyor nang du 'phel / 

'dod pa yid la zhig na / bde ba rgyud la skye / 

lta rtog[s] phyi ru byas na / go ba nang du [~nas] 'char / 

rig pa rten dang bral na / tshogs drug rang sar grol / 

nyon mongs nang du bcoms na / phyi ru dgra dang bral / 

go cha sems la gon na / brtson 'grus lus la skye / 

rig pa nang du dangs na / rten 'brel phyi ru 'char / 

[the following line in ZC only:]

nyon mongs nang du bcom na phyi ru dgra dang bral /

'khor ba'i mtshang phyi ru go na / zhen pa nang du ldog [~bzlog] / 

byar med rgyud la [b]rten na / snang ba sgyu ma 'char / 

mngon zhen nang du zhig na / dgos m[y]ed phyi ru 'char / 

gnas pa'i 'phro la gshig [~bzhig] na / rjes thob nyam[s] myong[s] bzang / 

dam bca' [~bcwa] phyi ru bsring na / dgos grub nang du [~na] nye / 

rtog pa dum [1v] bur bcad na / dngos grub rims kyi skye / 

nyams myong nang na yod na / gsal rtag[s] phyi ru 'char / 

rigs pa dum bur mthud [~'thud] na / phyi ru snang ba 'jig / 

chos brgyad nang du [b]snyoms na / gnyis bsdus phyi ru 'jig / 

nang du rnam rtog 'gag[s] na / smra ru [~smrar rgyu] phyir mi snyed [~rnyed] / 

nang du 'dzin pa zhig na / bden m[y]ed phyi nas 'char / 

nang du rang bzhin m[y]ed par go na / spang blang[s] phyir mi skye'o //


gya log gnad kyi gdams pa / [b]skam xxx [~thag] chu nang du bcad pa'i

man ngag [~gdam[s] ngag go] /  ithi //

Postscript June 24, 2021

I just today noticed a new journal of Tibetan Studies field coming out of Columbia University in New York City.  Just go to the sidebar under "Journal Portals" and locate the words "Waxing Moon." Tap on the words and go there to see what you can find.




Monday, May 31, 2021

Combining Sources of Holiness and Blessing

Swayambhunath, Nepal, taken in 2011
The Buddha Image shrines niched into its sides were being renovated

 

Combining the Cult of the Image with the Cult of the Chorten

I was reading Anne Marie Yasin’s essay “Sight Lines of Sanctity at Late Antique Martyria,” with its theme of how in fairly early centuries of Christian church architecture they were unsure how or how much to combine [1] the site associated with the act of the holy person, called the Martyrium (these were frequently octagonal structures, a subject for another time)with [2] the site of sacred rites, the altar.  The essay begins with an example in Milan in 386 CE, when Bishop Ambrose dug up the bodies of two local saints from their graves outside the city and relocated them inside the walls of the basilica he had just built. One solution was to place the Martyrium and altar in eyeshot of each other, so that anyone who came especially for one purpose could simply turn around to appreciate the other. Other solutions, and the ones that eventually took over, were either [1] to place the altar directly on top of the holy memorial, or [2] to place relics of the holy dead into the altar itself, perhaps in a special chamber beneath the table of the eucharistic mystery. Thereby the two foci of sanctity, the eucharist and relic, were entirely united, although we might wonder if perhaps the relic was in some sense subordinated to the sacrament. It was placed at a lower level, after all. But we might just as well say that the presence of the relic empowers or enhances the sacredness of the rite.

I was wondering if some such situation of indeterminacy might hold if we shift to another religious domain and look at the interesting combination of temple (devoted to image cult, primarily) with stûpa that we find most clearly in the famous temple-chorten of Gyantse and in the Jonang monument. In Gyantse and Jonang there are actually doors in the different levels of the chorten that may be entered, filled with images in 2 and 3 dimensions.  In the comparison, we may observe that the chorten would correspond to the reliquary or monument marking the holy site, and thereby resembling the Martyria. It may be obvious that the altar of early Christians doesn’t correspond with the Buddhist image in this equation, but that’s okay, because we’re thinking about how two domains of holiness might or might not be partially or entirely combined, and result in differing solutions. The special phenomenon in which the Chorten serves as temple — by displaying or housing within it painted or sculpted images — has taken various forms throughout the breadth of the Himalaya chain, with one remarkable example being the Great Chorten at Alchi, Ladakh, mentioned in another blog.

It’s as if different religions have their individual non-disclosure agreements (or covenants) when it comes to the holiness manifested by their high aspiration deities and saintly heros. These agreements had practical consequences for the ways religious activities, particularly lay devotional observances, would then be carried out. 

Of course, there are so many Caityas large and small in Nepal Valley that have images in open niches on their sides. But where do we find such combinations in India? I’m asking because I hadn’t thought about it before, so I don’t have much to say.* 
(*Since I once saw it in person, I can say there are some very well preserved images in niches on the sides of the Shariputra Stupa at Nalanda that must be quite old. I’m not sure the Bodhgaya temple formally qualifies as a stupa [it takes the shape of a Shikhara temple], but if it does then of course it has many images in a band of niches around its four-sided base. I’m momentarily thinking that the eyes on the square harmikas of the largest Caityas in Nepal are another expression of the Image/Stupa combination, and in fact most of these Nepalese structures do have image shrines around their bases where offerings are made just as if they were inside a temple.)

This made me wonder if Newars and Tibetans, either individually or in tandem, may have contributed their own solutions to the holiness combination issues presented by Buddhists during their long history.

Come to reflect on it — what I mean is, going on to muse about it instead of closing with the closure we expect of a conclusion — the Stupa and the Martyrium do have, each one within itself, a dual purpose. The Martyria proper may have been meant to commemorate the sites of holy beings’ actions of every kind, but that included the places of their birth and death and burial, and even (as you might suspect from the name) tombs for the “witnesses,” the martyrs (the original holy persons of Christianity).* The Stupa may have originally been a tomb structure adapted by the Buddha and the Buddhists for Buddhist funerary/reliquary purposes, but at the same time recall that the most popular set of eight is correlated with the sites of the main acts of the Buddha (including His death).** So it isn’t all that farfetched to suggest, as I once did, that pieces of biography can serve as relics.*** They could even be called relics of biography, why not? There does seem to be a degree of logic in the ways holy objects and actions are collected and located, and then go on to be recollected by those who venerate them.

(*The very first Christian shrine-like structure to be called a Martyrium — by Eusebius (265-339 CE) although he used a variant spelling — was the edicule built over the tomb (or site of the resurrection) of Jesus, originally built under Constantine with an octagonal shape. Octagons ought to feature in a blog of their own. Martyrium originally meant [a place of] testimony or witness. That’s why we have to loosen our contemporary assumption that it must always have to do with persons who died for their faith.) 
(**The Buddhist Stupa, unlike the Martyrium at least on the face of things, serves as a set of memory-sites for key doctrinal concepts; each structural element might be keyed to one of the 37 Wings of Awakening for example.)  

Dpal-'khor Chos-sde Monastery, Gyantse, 
Photograph taken in November 2005 by Mark Evans



A very short reading list

Yael Bentor, "On the Indian Origin of the Tibetan Practice of Depositing Relics and Dhâranîs in Stûpas and Images,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 115, no. 2 (1995), pp. 248-261.

Catherine M. Chin, “The Bishop’s Two Bodies: Ambrose and the Basilicas of Milan,” Church History, vol. 79, no. 3 (September 2010), pp. 531-555.

Juhyung Rhi, “Images, Relics and Jewels: The Assimilation of Images in the Buddhist Relic Cult of Gandhâra: Or Vice Versa,” Artibus Asiae, vol. 65, no. 2 (2005), pp. 169-211. The insertion of Dharma Relics or Dhâranîs into stone sculptures is demonstrated. The insertion of relics into Stûpas is not in question, they always served as reliquaries, but the insertion of bodily or contact relics into Images is still in question as far as Classical India is concerned; see Y. Bentor’s article listed above.

Jeremy Russell, The Eight Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage, Mahayana Publications (New Delhi 1981).

Tadeusz Skorupski, “Two Eulogies of the Eight Great Caityas,” contained in:  Idem., The Buddhist Forum: Volume VI, The Institute of Buddhist Studies (Tring 2001), pp. 37-55. Translation of Aṣṭamahāsthānacaityastotra (Gnas Chen-po Brgyad-kyi Mchod-rten-la Bstod-pa), Tôh. no. 1134. Dergé Tanjur, vol. KA, folio 82r.3 82v.3, this Tibetan translation done by Tilaka and Pa-tshab Nyi-ma-grags. The relics of the Blessed One were divided between eight places. These eight went on to form the basic map of holy places still visited by Buddhist pilgrims in India and Nepal today.

Ann Marie Yasin, “Sight Lines of Sanctity at Late Antique Martyria,” contained in: Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout, eds., Architecture of the Sacred: Space, Ritual, and Experience from Classical Greece to Byzantium, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge 2012), pp. 248-280.


Websites

https://thewonderhouse.co.uk/category/projects/hotung-gallery.  Notice in particular how what is surely one of the oldest existing Buddha Images is found enshrined on the outermost layer of a reliquary known as the Bimaran Casket, that had in its turn been entirely enclosed within a Stûpa. This reliquary was never meant to be seen, although today it is prominently displayed in the British Museum.

Perhaps you’ll find of interest this video about a very large Stûpa/Temple only now approaching completion in Bendigo, Australia.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What Happened to Armenia’s Famous Tibetan Bell?



    • This is a guest blog written by Simon Maghakyan, University of Colorado Denver lecturer in international relations and independent researcher of heritage crime. He is best known for his groundbreaking exposé of the covert 1997-2006 erasure of an estimated 28,000 medieval Armenian monuments in post-Soviet Nakhichevan. 
    • Since 2006, several past Tibeto-logic blog entries, more recently one entitled That Tibetan Bell in Armenia Once More, tried to learn more about a large bell with Tibetan letters on it once there to be seen in the bell towers of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. That’s about 2,700 miles from Lhasa. Apart from various speculations we have been unable to say much about what happened to it in recent times, and no one has been able to tell us where it is. To our amazement, a piece of the mystery has now been solved.

 °

 

In April 2003, as a 16-year-old, I was permitted to do the unthinkable: explore the bells of the Armenian Church’s headquarters, the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, in my teenage quest for a medieval Tibetan bell. This meant climbing on the roof of the world’s most sacred Armenian structure, which made me feel guilty. Alas, despite relentless searches and interviews, I did not find the bell. But I eventually found the only living person who knew what had happened to it.

 

There were numerous eyewitness mentions of the Tibetan bell throughout history, mostly in the 19th century, and as late as the 1920s. Since books were of no help (an otherwise respected and detailed encyclopedia of toponyms published in 1988 made a reference to the bell in the present tense), I had to interview potential eyewitnesses to the bell’s disappearance. 

 

I found a perfect source, the now late architect Varazdat Harutyunyan, one of the folks in charge of the Holy See’s major renovations in the 1950s. He told me that he oversaw the restoration of the bell tower. The prominent architect and historian insisted, however, that there was no Tibetan bell in the 1950s at Etchmiadzin. “That’s not something I would have forgotten,” he told me. 

 

So the Tibetan bell disappeared between the 1920s and 1950s. Apparently there was only one man alive who knew the story, a retired monk at Etchmiadzin: now late Archbishop Husik Santuryan. He used to curate the Holy See. I finally met him after insisting to his successor to talk to elders, since all of my searches were proving to be fruitless. 

 

Archbishop Santuryan told me that after he arrived at Etchmiadzin in 1951, he befriended a custodian named Yegho Bidza [Old man Elisha], who prided himself as having been the horse-keeper for the epic Catholicos Khrimyan Hayrik. Apparently Yegho Bidza had witnessed what happened to the Tibetan bell. According to Yegho Bidza, passed to me through Archbishop Santuryan, in 1938 the Soviet authorities decided to convert Etchmiadzin into a museum after the “death” of the Armenian Catholicos. 

 

What followed was a double looting of the Cathedral by Soviet officials and some unethical monks. The looting and desecration included the carving of “STALIN” on a stone inside Etchmiadzin, which was later reversed. The head of the operation was a Soviet official first named Levon, whom “God soon punished” for shining his shoes with the holy myrrh inside the Cathedral. In order to silence the Holy See, its bells were taken down [not sure how many or if any were returned] after a Soviet apparatchik produced a document claiming local complaints of “noise nuisance.”


The bells, including the Tibetan one, were placed on a donkey cart and hauled away. Some items were in later years retrieved through auction, including a large carpet in the Cathedral. But the Tibetan bell was never heard of again.

 

Some of the elders I interviewed suggested that the Tibetan bell might be at other churches throughout Armenia or at Armenia’s history museum and its branches. I inspected several churches myself, with no traces of the Tibetan bell. A researcher at the history museum spent a week, as per my request, looking for the bell in their inventory; she didn’t find it either. I even got into a verbal fight with China’s cultural attaché at Beijing’s Embassy in Armenia, who refused to help me in translating the Tibetan inscription preserved in sketches.  

 

It is not out of the question that Armenia’s famous Tibetan bell may still exist. But it certainly left Holy Etchmiadzin in the late 1930s on a donkey cart.


 




Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Realm of Dharmas, Chapter Two



 — CHAPTER TWO —

APPEARANCES AND BECOMING DAWN AS BUDDHAFIELD



[Now that the nature of the Realm has been determined to be the basis for dawning, the reason why the Realm and its appearances are totally self-dawned as Buddhafield will be explained in detail.  

First, the receptive centre of Great Spreading is described as sky-like.]


The naturally-arrived-at from beginningless time nature of the Realm

knows no  in  or  out  side . . .

spreads pervasively in all . . .

knows no confining borders . . .

beyond upper and lower limits . . .

neither spacious nor constricting . . .

Awareness sky-like pure.

It is identical to the receptive centre of non-diffusive thought and imagination.


˚


[Showing that, from the Realm of Awareness-Void,  the appropriate shapes of sangsara/nirvana-Void arise.]


The projections born of the unborn Realm

are altogether unpredictable and in no way belittleable.

“This” does not denote them.  They have no thingness, no labels.

In the nature that sky-like spreads out in all directions,

the unborn and naturally-arrived-at lacks

sooner and later, start and end.


˚


[Such a naturally-arrived-at is taught to be the meaning behind “beyond coming and going.”]


The substance of all sangsara/nirvana is Bodhicitta —

unproduced, unborn, unpredictable and naturally-arrived-at.

It didn’t come from anything.  It hasn’t gone anywhere.

It doesn’t care about sooner or later.

The Bodhicitta receptive centre

Lacks coming and going, spreads pervasively in all.


˚


In the beginningless, endless, middleless Dharma Proper-Suchness

(nature spread-out-to-the-limit and pure as sky)

there is no start or end           (It is beyond the sphere of sooner & later).

It lacks starting and stopping (It has no thingness, no labels).

It lacks coming and going          (“This” does not denote it).

Without pushing or striving

it is devoid of business dharmas.

With no center or particular orientation,

the ground of Suchness           (an unthinkable, uninterrupted flow)

is a level receptive centre.


˚


[Teaching that the pure Realm nature of that is the precise meaning behind “Great Levelness.”]


Since all is the nature of level Dharma Proper,

There is not one that does not abide

in that level receptive centre.

One levelled, all levelled.  Bodhicitta’s continuity

is equal to the unborn sky.  It is spread out to the limits of spaciousness,

this because the levelness continuity suffers no interruption.


˚


[Because the whole of the Great Levelness is a single continuity in the Vajra Realm Buddhafield which does not transform or transport the Dharma Proper, Total Awareness is shown to have a Vajra Heart CITADEL.]


CITADEL which spreads pervasively in all,

undirected, naturally-arrived-at;

CITADEL of the spacious, total receptive centre

with no above, below or in between;

CITADEL of unborn Dharmabody

with room for all, without prejudice;

CITADEL of the Secret Jewel,

naturally-arrived-at, changeless;

CITADEL of total sangsara/nirvana, 

appearances/becoming

complete on a single beam.


˚


[That Awareness itself is a King who not only arranges his perfect kingdom in harmony with the dharmas, but builds the Palace of Self-engendered Essence on the grounds of the Dharma Proper Realm.]


On the grounds spreading out undirectedly, pervasively in all

is the fort of Bodhicitta without preferences for sangsara or nirvana.

Naturally high is its pinnacle,

vast Dharma Proper receptive centre.

Its centre is spacious,

the four directions of unmade nature.

Extreeemely wide is its entrance gate,

no struggling up in stages required.


˚


[The ornaments and arrangement of that Palace.]


There, ornamented with an arrangement of naturally-arrived-at riches,

sits the self-engendered Full Knowledge King on his throne.

All the special powers of Full Knowledge appearing as 

evasions and invasions

are turned into Ministers to rule the realm.

Self-established meditation is the faithful Queen who,

together with the self-dawning Buddhathought Children and Servants,

is coiled in the Great Comfort receptive centre, self-luminous and 

undistracted.


˚


[So the Realm (which is behind the words “untransformed and untransported”) is uncompromisingly presented as the reliable objective sphere of Awareness.]


From that uncommunicable, uncompromising continuity

he wields power over all appearances/becoming and material/vital.

Most vast is his Kingdom of the spacious Realm of Dharmas.


[Awareness, Bodhicitta, Ultimate Truth, self-engendered Full Knowledge and Dharmabody are equivalent terms.]


˚


[The significance of that is pointed out by showing that it is coiled in a single receptive centre of Comfort in the Dharma Proper Bodhicitta.]


While dwelling in that objective realm,

all is Dharmabody.

The self-engendered Full Knowledge is unmade,

never compromised in its singularity.

Totally achieved, beyond pushing and striving, it

is combined in a cornerless drop,

coiled into a receptive centre

unbreached, undifferentiated.


[The pure substance of Awareness is totally at rest in the single drop of Dharmabody.]


˚


[It is now shown how, in that substance of Awareness which is Bodhicitta, all dharmas are of a single taste.]


The dwellings of the six types of beings and even the Buddhafields

do not exist in differentiation.  As in the Dharma Proper sky continuity

(the self-luminous Bodhicitta) there is a single taste,

so,   in the Awareness continuity,   sangsara and nirvana

are comprehended in one fell swoop.


[Just as different types of dreams form a single continuity while sleeping, so all the dharmas are of a single taste in the Awareness continuity.  Their roots merge in Bodhicitta.]


˚


[Since all  dharmas are completed in that continuity, even the nirvanic dharmas are at rest in the unsought Great Naturally-arrived-at.]


In this Realm of Dharmas TREASURY

(the origin of absolutely everything)

there was no searching in the past

(It is totally naturally-arrived-at),

So,   in the all-embracing vastness of the object-lacking,

changeless Dharmabody,

The Perfect Assets of appearances—inner/outer,

material/vital—are completed.

The Emanation dawns itself like a reflection thereof.

Because no dharma is not completed as an

ornament of the Three Bodies,

they all appear as a play of Body, Speech and Mind.

It may be impossible to number all the Buddhafields and Tathagatas

but, the Mind Proper emerged from themselves is

receptive centre of the Three Bodies.


[In this way, all dharmas are shown to be of the nature of the Three Bodies:  1) the Great Total Void, the Dharmabody;  2) the self-manifesting Perfect Assets Body;  3) the Emanation Body which dawns unimpededly as various things and as the faithful guides of sentient beings who stay in the Pure Fields as well.]


˚


[So, in the Realm of Bodhicitta the fields of the six classes of beings dawn as appearance and integrate into a single, undiffusive drop.]


The nature of sangsara (even the communities of the six classes of beings)

is mere reflection dawning from the Realm of Dharmas continuity.

There may be all kinds of appearances—birth, death, comfort, discomfort—

but, like phantom spectacles in this Mind Proper receptive centre,

there is no basis—for their appearances, their being, or their non-being.

Mere fleeting accidents, like clouds happen to the sky,

their natures beyond extremes, without being or non-being,

they are comprehended in the undiffusive drop continuity in one fell swoop.


˚

 

[All these (fleeting accidents) are, as a Great Levelness, gathered into the Vajra Realm.]


The nature of Mind Proper, of Bodhicitta,

being sky-like pure, lacks birth/death…lacks comfort/discomfort.

Disentangled from sangsara/nirvana dharmas,

it has no preference for material objects.

“This” does not denote it.  This most spacious sky receptive centre

is uncompounded, naturally-arrived-at, unchanging, untransported.

Buddhaized in the Sheer Luminosity Vajra Heart,

absolutely everything is a self-engendered Field of Comfort,

nothing but the continuity of Supreme Bodhi

naturally smooth.

 


§   §   §




 
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