Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Realm of Dharmas, Chapter Two: Appearances & Becoming



[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, 


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 



[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.


§   §   §

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Another Death in the Family


Foreground: Takeuchi Tsuguhito (lft.) and Elliot Sperling (rt.)
Bergen, Norway, 2016

Just this morning I heard the very unwanted news that my old friend Tsugu* had, very early this morning, died after a few years of illness. I don’t want to say much right now except to convey the news, since many of you knew him and will need to find your own ways to grieve. I hadn’t heard from Tsugu since an email of January 6, when he told me he was no longer capable of doing productive work, which already gave cause for sadness. Tsugu is known to everyone in Tibetan studies, particularly for his studies of the very challenging Old Tibetan documents from Dunhuang. The documents he studied included written contracts and inscribed woodslips, the most difficult of all the difficult texts surviving from that period, not only to decipher, but to understand as part of a living context. I will just append an incomplete and preliminary list of his publications below, knowing full well that his students will produce a complete and perfect bibliography in his memory before long. Anyway, it is the human being, not the scholarly researcher, we will miss the most.

(*His fellow students in Indiana nicknamed him Tsugu out of friendship and affection, without intending any disrespect.)


& Maho Iuchi, Tibetan Texts fom Khara-khoto in the Stein Collection of the British Library, "Studies in Old Tibetan Texts from Central Asia" series no. 2, The Toyo Bunko (Tokyo 2016).

& Yasuhiko Nagano, Sumie Ueda. “Preliminary Analysis of the Old Zhangzhung Language and Manuscripts.”  IN: Y. Nagano & R. LaPolla, eds., New Research on Zhangzhung and Related Himalayan Languages, National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka 2001), pp. 45-96.

& Ai Nishida, “Present Stage of Deciphering Old Zhangzhung.” Senri Ethnological Studies, vol. 75 (2009), pp. 151-165.

“A Group of Old Tibetan Letters Written under Kuei-i-chün: A Preliminary Study for the Classification of Old Tibetan Letters.”  Acta Orientalia Hungarica, vol. 44 (1990), pp. 175-190.

“A Passage from the Shih Chi in the Old Tibetan Chronicle.”  IN: Barbara Nimri Aziz and Matthew Kapstein, eds., Soundings in Tibetan Civilization, Manohar (New Delhi 1985), pp. 135-146.

“A Preliminary Study of Old Tibetan Letters Unearthed from Tun-huang & Chinese Turkestan.”  IN: Z. Yamaguchi, ed., Buddhism & Society in Tibet, Shunjû-sha (Tokyo 1986), pp. 563-602.

A Study of the Old Tibetan Contracts, PhD dissertation, Indiana University (Bloomington 1994), in 371 pages.  University Microfilms no. AAT 9418843.

“Chibetto-no Kotowaza” [Proverbs in Tibet]. IN: T. Shibata et al., eds., Sekai Kotowaza Daijiten (Tokyo 1995), pp. 277-287.

“Chûô-ajia shutsudo Ko-chibeto-go kachiku baibai-monjo” [The Old Tibetan Contracts for Cattle Sales].  Studies on the Inner Asian Languages [Kobe], vol. 5 (date?), pp. 33-67.

“Formation and Transformation of Old Tibetan.” Journal of the Research Institute of Foreign Studies [Kobe City University of Foreign Studies], vol. 49 (2012), pp. 3-18.

“Glegs tshas: Writing Boards of Chinese Scribes in Tibetan-Ruled Dunhuang.” IN: Brandon Dotson, Kazushi Iwao and Tsuguhito Takeuchi, eds., Scribes, Texts, and Rituals in Early Tibet and Dunhuang, Reichert Verlag (Wiesbaden 2012), pp. 101-109, 150-153.

“Kh. Tib. (Kozlov 4): Contracts for the Borrowing of Barley.” Manuscripta Orientalia, vol. 1, no. 1 (1995), pp. 49-52.

“'Lead' and 'Face': On the Formation of Honorific Vocabulary in Tibetan” [in Japanese].  Kokubun Gakkaishi, Kyoto University of Education (1991).

“Military Administration and Military Duties in Tibetan-Ruled Central Asia.” IN: Alex McKay, Tibet and Her Neighbours: A History, Edition Hansjörg Mayer (London 2013), pp. 43-54.  Woodslips, rationing cards.

“Old Tibetan Buddhist Texts from the Post-Tibetan Imperial Period (mid-9 C. to late 10 C.).” IN: Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, ed., Old Tibetan Studies Dedicated to the Memory of R.E. Emmerick, Brill (Leiden 2012), pp. 205-214.

Old Tibetan Contracts from Central Asia, Daizo Shuppan (Tokyo 1995).

“Old Tibetan Loan Contracts.”  Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, vol. 51 (1993), pp. 25-83.

Old Tibetan Manuscripts from East Turkestan in the Stein Collection of the British Library, Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies, Toyo Bunko (Tokyo 1997-1998), in 3 vols.

“Old Tibetan Rock Inscriptions near Alchi.” Journal of the Research Institute of Foreign Studies [Kobe City University of Foreign Studies], vol. 49 (2012), pp. 29-70.

“On the Old Tibetan Sale Contracts.” IN: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 5th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Narita 1989, Naritasan Shinshoji (Narita 1992), pp. 773-792.

“On the Old Tibetan Word Lho-bal.”  Proceedings of the 31st CISHAAN (Tokyo 1984), vol. 2, pp. 986-987.

“On the Tibetan Texts in the Otani Collection.” IN: A. Haneda, ed., Documents et Archives provenant de L'asie centrale (Kyoto 1990), pp. 203-214.

Preface.  IN: T. Takeuchi et al., Current Issues and Progress in Tibetan Studies, Research Institute of Foreign Studies (Kobe 2013), p. 1.

“Preliminary Report on the Tibetan Texts in the Otani Collection.” IN: A. Wezler et al., eds., Proceedings of the XXXII Intenational Congress for Asian and North African Studies (ZDMG: Suppl. 9) (1992) pp. ?

“Sociolinguistic Implications of the Use of Tibetan in East Turkestan from the End of Tibetan Domination through the Tangut Period (9th-12th c.).” IN: Desmond Durken-Meisterernst et al., eds., Turfan Revisited: First Century of Research into the Arts and Cultures of the Silk Road, Dietrich Reimer Verlag (Berlin 2004), pp. 341-348.

“Split Ergativity Patterns in Transitive and Intransitive Sentences in Tibetan: A Reconsideration.” IN: Y. Nishi et al., eds., New Horizons in Tibeto-Burman Morphosyntax (Osaka 1995), pp. 277-288.

“The Function of Auxiliary Verbs in Tibetan Predicates and Their Historical Development.” IN: Roberto Vitali et al., eds., Trails of the Tibetan Tradition, Papers for Elliot Sperling, Amnye Machen Institute (McLeod Ganj 2014), pp. 401-415.

“The Old Zhangzhung Manuscript Stein Or 8212/188.” IN: Christopher I. Beckwith, ed., Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages, Brill (Leiden 2002), pp. 1-11.

“The Tibetans and Uighurs in Pei-t'ing, An-hsi (Kucha), and Hsi-chou (790-860 A.D.).”  Kinki Daigaku Kyōyōbu Kenkyū Kiyō, vol. 17, no. 3 (1986), pp. 51-68.

“Three Old Tibetan Contracts in the Hedin Collection.”  Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 57, pt. 3 (1994), pp. 576-587.

“Tibetan Military System and Its Activities from Khotan to Lop-nor.” IN: Susan Whitfield, ed., The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith, The British Library (London 2004), pp. 50-56, plus illustrations.

“Tonkô-Torukisutan shutsudo Chibetto go tengami bunsho no kenkyû josetsu [0014]” [A Preliminary Study of Old Tibetan Letters Unearthed from Tun-huang and Chinese Turkestan]. IN: Zuiho Yamaguchi, ed., Buddhism and Society in Tibet [Chibetto no Bukkyô to shakai] (Tokyo 1986), pp. 563-602.

“Tshan: Subordinate Administrative Units of the Thousand-Districts in the Tibetan Empire.” IN: Per Kvaerne, ed., Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 6th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Fagernes 1992, The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture (Oslo 1994), pp. 848-862.

“Tshar, srang & tshan: Administrative Units in Tibetan-Ruled Khotan.” Journal of Inner Asian Art & Archaeology, vol. 3 (2008), pp. 145-148.


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