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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 11 – The Meticulous Observation of Gods and Humans By the Four Great Kings

Chapter 11: The Meticulous Observation of Gods and Humans By the Four Great Kings


 

Then the Great King Vaiśravaṇa, the Great King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the Great King Virūḍhaka, and the Great King Virūpākṣa rose from their seats, put their upper robes over one shoulder, kneeled placing their right knee on the ground, bowed with joined palms in the direction of the Bhagavān; and spoke to the Bhagavān in the following words: Lord Bhagavān, as for this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light, it is spoken by all Tathāgatas. It is seen by all Tathāgatas. It is ruminated upon by all Tathāgatas. All the assemblies of Bodhisattvas completely embrace it. All the assemblies of gods bow to it. All the assemblies of gods make offerings to it. All the assemblies of god-kings deeply praise it. All the protectors of the universe venerate it and praise it; and speaking those praises, they intensively worship it. It illuminates all castles of the gods. It fully bestows all supreme bliss upon all sentient beings. It dries up all the suffering of sentient beings in the hells, animal kingdom, and world of Yama. It cuts off the flow of all danger. It totally wards off all foreign armies. It exhaustively pacifies all the terrors of famine. It utterly neutralizes all the horrors of sickness. It dispels all harm from planets. It ensure absolute peace. It completely calms all agony and disturbing emotions. It powerfully soothes a variety of harmful factors. It vigorously subdues one hundred thousand kinds of harm. Indeed it does!”

 

Lord Bhagavān, if this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light is extensively, authentically, and thoroughly explained to an assembly, then through the essential juice of ambrosial Dharma nectar that comes from listening to this Dharma, for us, along with our four-fold retinue of troops and servants, our divine bodies will expand greatly in majesty. In our bodies, endurance, strength and power will grow. Brilliance, resplendence and vitality will be infused into our bodies.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, are imbued with the Dharma. We are orators of Dharma; kings of Dharma, indeed. Lord Bhagavān, through the Dharma, we work as the kings of Devas, Nāgas, Yakṣas, Asuras, Garudas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras and Mahoragas. We counteract the inexhaustible hordes of evil ghosts (bhūtas), who are without compassion, and steal others’ luster.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, simultaneously with the twenty-eight great generals of the Yakṣas, and many hundreds of thousands of [other] Yakṣas, always continuously observe the entire world with our genuinely pure divine eyes; which surpass those of humans. We guard it. We powerfully protect it.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, for this reason, we, the Four Great Kings, have come to be named ‘The Protectors of the Universe’.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, when any place in this world is endangered by the invasion of foreign armies, the terrors of poverty, the horrors of sickness, hundreds of different kinds of harm, thousands of different kinds of harm, or hundreds of thousands of different kinds of harm, then, Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, shall inspire the Dharma-expounding monks who uphold this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, when we, the Four Great Kings, have inspired those Dharma-expounding monks through miracles and blessings, then in whatever lands they go to, we shall cause them to extensively and authentically teach this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light, in those very lands. In whatever lands where things such as hundreds of different kinds of harm and thousands of different kinds of harm occur, we shall completely pacify them.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, in any lands where the Dharma-expounding monk who upholds this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light travels, we will cause the human king of those very lands to render service to this Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light.”

Lord Bhagavān, the human king, having listened to and reflected upon thisSovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light, will, in all ways, protect those monks who uphold this Sovereign of Sūtra Teachings from all attacks. If he thoroughly guards, thoroughly cares for, and thoroughly looks after them, then, Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, will, in all ways, protect the sentient beings who live all over the land of that human king. We will thoroughly guard, thoroughly take care of, and thoroughly look after them; causing them to be peaceful and happy.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, if the human king makes the upholder of this Sovereign of Sūtra Teachings happy with all that brings happiness, whether they be a monk, nun, layman or laywoman, then, Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, shall cause the sentient beings living all over the land of that human king to have a prosperous abundance of bliss and all useful things; with all implements of happiness.”

 

Lord Bhagavān, when the human king respects, treats as a Guru, renders service, and makes offerings to the upholder of this Sovereign of Sūtra Teachings, whether they be a monk, nun, layman or laywoman, then, Lord Bhagavān, we, the Four Great Kings, will cause all kings to greatly honor, greatly venerate, greatly attend, and greatly make offerings to that human king. In all lands, he will be copiously praised.”

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER: ‘THE METICULOUS OBSERVATION OF GODS AND HUMANS BY THE FOUR GREAT KINGS’.

You can find the text at The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 11 – The Meticulous Observation of Gods and Humans By the Four Great Kings

BUDDHA~GOLDEN BUDDHA

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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 9 – Voidness

Chapter 9: Voidness


 

Then after the Bhagavān had taught that Dhāraṇī, for the benefit and happiness of those assembled retinues of Bodhisattva Mahāsattavas, gods, humans and so on, in order to demonstrate the characteristics of voidness, the ultimate truth, at that time he spoke the following verses:

In inconceivably many other Sūtras,
I have thoroughly and extensively explained empty phenomena;
And so, in this most excellent of Transcendent Sūtras,
I will describe empty phenomena only in brief.

Sentient beings of small intellect, intensely ignorant,
Cannot understand all things;
And so, in this most excellent of Transcendent Sūtras,
I will describe empty phenomena only in brief.

So that all sentient beings can know with certainty,
So that they may be released;
Through the power of compassion, methods, means and other causes,
I have expounded this most excellent of Transcendent Sūtras.

This body is like an empty village or house,
And the sense faculties are like armies and thieves;
Although they all live in the same village,
They are totally unaware of each other.

The eye sense faculty chases after forms,
The ear sense faculty hankers after sounds,
The nose sense faculty is captivated by various smells;
The tongue sense faculty constantly runs after tastes.

The body sense faculty hunts tactile sensations,
And the mental sense faculty intensely analyzes phenomena;
Each of these, the six sense faculties,
Are fully absorbed in their respective objects.

As for the mind, it is as unsteady as a magical illusion,
Its six senses totally engrossed in their objects;
It is like a man running through an empty town,
Dwelling there amongst soldiers and thieves.

Dwelling among the six sense objects, like a bird,
Thoroughly familiar with the sense organs’ spheres of activity, too,
Thus the mind dwells, involved in objects;
And intimately implicated in the experiential domain of the senses, as well.

Forms, sounds, and likewise smells,
Tastes, tactile sensations and phenomena, which are objects of experience;
The mind, with all six sense faculties,
Engages with the senses, flitting like a bird;
And, in whichever sense it abides in,
Lends that sense its knowing nature.

The body is without motion, and without action,
Has no core essence, and arises from conditions.
Unreal, it arises from concepts;
Abiding like a work machine for an empty city.

Earth, fire, water and air,
Dwell in separate towns, in this direction and that direction;
Like poisonous snakes living together in the same abode, for example,
They are always out of harmony with each other.

Furthermore, two of these elemental snakes move upwards,
And two move down;
Moving by twos into the directions and sub-directions,
All these elemental snakes disappear.

The earth snake and the water snake:
Those two exhaust below.
The fire snake and wind snake:
Those two drift off into space above.

In just this way, due to actions performed in the past,
The ever-present mind, and consciousness,
Are born into existence among gods, humans, and in the three bad destinies;
Due to similarly created Karma.

When phlegm, wind and bile have been exhausted,
The body is filled with urine and foul vomit;
Utterly unpleasant, it becomes a heap of worms,
Discarded like wood at the burial grounds.

O Goddess, you should look upon these phenomena.
Given this, what are sentient beings or persons?
All these phenomena are empty;
And arise from the continuum of ignorance.

These great elements are not great elements;
Originating from the non-originated, they are not originated.
Why is this so? The originated is non-originated:
Therefore, I call them ‘the great elements’.

Not coming into being, and never existent,
They arise from the conditions of ignorance;
This ignorance itself does not come into being:
Therefore, I call it ‘this ignorance’.

Volitional factors, consciousness, and name together with form;
The six sense fields, contact and feelings,
Craving, grasping and likewise existence,
Birth, aging, and death, sorrows and harm:
The suffering of Saṃsāra is inconceivable.

All you who dwell in this way on the wheel of Saṃsāra,
Should fully analyze with your minds what has originated from the non-originated,

And what is not originated;
As well as all that is not correct.


Cut through the view of self,
Tear down the net of mental afflictions, with the sword of genuine deep wisdom;
And see the abode of the aggregates as empty:
Realize the great ocean of Awakening’s qualities.

I have opened wide the gate to the city of immortality’s elixir,
I have extensively revealed the vessel of deathless nectar’s essence as well,
I have entered into the abode of the city of immortality’s elixir;
I have been satisfied by deathless nectar’s vital juice.

I have beaten the transcendent great drum of Dharma,
I have blown the supreme Dharma conch,
I have lit the supreme lamp;
I have caused the transcendent rain of Dharma to fall.

I have conquered the enemy host of afflictive mental states,
I have hoisted the transcendent victory banner of the Dharma,
I have freed sentient beings from the ocean of conditioned existence;
I have blocked the roads to the three unfortunate destinies.

When sentient beings are scorched by the fires of mental affliction,
Without help or supportive forces,
I sooth those living beings burnt by the fire of disturbing mental states;
And, cooling them with the nectar of deathlessness, I satisfy them.

Why? For many eons past,
I made offerings to an inconceivable number of Guides.
As I fervently sought the Dharmakāya,
With firm resolve, for the sake of Awakening I practiced.

Giving my hands, eyes and legs,
The supreme appendage of the head, beloved sons and daughters,
Wealth, jewels, gems, pearls, ornaments and gold;
Blue sapphire, and all kinds of precious stones.

If you were to cut down all the woods in the three thousand-fold world-system,
All the grasses and shrubs,
Forests, and all that grows from the ground;
And grind all of them down to a powder,

Reducing them to extremely fine particles,
And pile up a mound of powder,
Reaching up to the vault of the skies:
Then it could be divided into three parts.

If everything that all sentient beings know about the particles existing on earth,
And the realms of particles
In the three thousand-fold great world systems,
Beyond the reaches of thought,

Were to be put into one sentient being,
Then with that knowledge, he might count
The particles of that powder;
And be most superior over all sentient beings.

Although it is possible that someone, strongly endowed with deep wisdom,
Might be able to count everything,
They could never fathom

The knowledge of the Jina.

What is the deep wisdom of the Great Sage?
Even in many billions of eons,
Merely a single moment of its operation
Cannot be quantified.

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE NINTH CHAPTER: ‘VOIDNESS’.

You can find the text at The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 9 – Voidness

Buddha in Lingshan, Jiangsu, China

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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 8 – The Dhāraṇī Called ‘Golden’

Chapter 8: The Dhāraṇī Called ‘Golden’


Then the Bhagavān gave teaching to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sukhavihāra (‘Abiding in Bliss’), who was in that retinue, in the following words: “Good son, as for the Dhāraṇī called ‘Golden’, if any good son or good daughter wishes to render offering and service to all the past, present and future Buddhas, then they should uphold and retain this Dhāraṇī. Why is that so? Because this Dhāraṇī is the mother of the past, future and present Buddha Bhagavāns.”

Retaining this Dhāraṇī leads to vast increase in the accumulation of positive potential. It is retained and upheld by those who have generated roots of virtue under incalculable Buddha Bhagavāns of the past. Those who are free from deficiencies, with ethical conduct that is altogether pure, are those who are able to encounter this extremely profound Dharma Discourse.”

The Bhagavān then said: “As for the ritual of this Dhāraṇī-Mantra, recite these names of past Buddha Bhagavāns and Bodhisattvas, prostrate with one-pointed mind; and then chant the Mantra.”

The recitation of the names of the past Buddha Bhagavāns and Bodhisattvas is as follows:

I prostrate to all the Buddhas of the ten directions.
I prostrate to all the Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas.
I prostrate to the Śrāvakas, Pratyekabuddhas, and all Ārya Beings.
I prostrate to Buddha Śākyamuni.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Eastern Direction, Akṣobhya.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Southern Direction, Ratnaketu.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Western Direction, Amitābha.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Northern Direction, Dundhubisvara.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Zenith, Viadaśrī.
I prostrate to the Buddha of the Nadir, Paramālokaśrī.
I prostrate to the Buddha Essence of Gems.
I prostrate to the Buddha All-Pervasive Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha All-Pervasive Illumination.
I prostrate to the Buddha King of the Stacked Supreme Incense.
I prostrate to the Buddha Transcendent Lotus.
I prostrate to the Buddha Equally Beholding.
I prostrate to the Buddha Endowed with a Jeweled Uṣṇīṣa.
I prostrate to the Buddha Jewel Guru.
I prostrate to the Buddha Jewel Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha Illumination of Stainless Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha Establishment of Enlightened Perspective Through Inspired Speech.
I prostrate to the Buddha King of the Famous Top Ornament of Completely Pure Moon-Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha Array of Flower Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha King of Shining Light.
I prostrate to the Buddha King Renowned as Stainless Light of Virtue.
I prostrate to the Buddha Fearless Lord Beholding the World with Observant Eyes.
I prostrate to the Buddha Famous Fearlessness.
I prostrate to the Buddha Utterly Supreme King.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokiteśvara.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Kṣitigarbha.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ākāśagarbha.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mañjuśrī.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Vajrapāṇi.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Samantabhadra.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Akṣayamati.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mahāsthāmaprāpta.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya.
I prostrate to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Elegant Intelligence.

Having prostrated to them, recite the Dhāraṇī as follows:

NAMO RATNA TRAYĀYA/ TADYATHĀ/ KUI KUINI/ IMIRITO/ KOANI/ IMIRII/ IRĪ SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

NAMO RATNA TRAYĀYA/ TAY-YATHĀ/ KUṬI KUṬINI/ IMIRITO/ KOSHANI/ IMIRIṆI/ IRĪ SWĀHĀ]

Then the Bhagavān said to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Sukhavihāra: Because this Dhāraṇī is the mother of the Buddhas throughout the three times, if any good son or good daughter upholds and retains this Dhāraṇī, then their accumulation of positive potential will expand to become limitless, and beyond measure. They will come to render service, perform offerings, attend upon, and make praises to incalculable Buddhas. The Buddhas will also bestow upon them a prediction of their Unsurpassed, Perfectly Complete Awakening (anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi).”

“Sukhavihāra, anyone who upholds this Dhāraṇī-Mantra will thereby obtain clothes, offerings, jewels, erudition and learning, freedom from illness, long life and more, in accordance with their wishes; and their positive potential will immensely increase. All the wishes they might have will be accomplished; each and every one.”

Sukhavihāra, anyone who upholds and retains this Mantra, until they attain Unsurpassed, Perfectly Complete Awakening (anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi)will come to have those such as the Bodhisattva Suvarṇanagaragiri (‘Mountain City of Gold’), the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Sāgara (‘Ocean’), the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, and the Bodhisattva Mahāpigala1 stay together with them; and those Bodhisattvas will protect them.”

Sukhavihāra, you must know the accomplishment ritual of this Dhāraṇī to be as follows: First, practice the rite of Approach, by reciting it ten thousand and eight hundred (10,800) times in full.”

“Then, inside an isolated house, construct a Maṇḍala; wash on the sixteenth day of the month, and wear new clothes. With perfume, flowers, many varieties of food and so forth, perform offerings. Stay within the Maṇḍala.”

“First, say the names of the aforementioned Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Prostrate with devotion, confess your negative actions; and with your right shoulder bared, recite the Mantra completely one thousand and eight (1,008) times. Then wash your body; and contemplate upon whatever it is that you wish.”

Thereafter, inside the Maṇḍala, until the sun shines, eat only clean foods. Then after fifteen days have passed, come out from that prepared Maṇḍala. The individual who does so will be endowed with inconceivable positive potential; and with powers of charisma and charm. All aspirations will be totally fulfilled. If it so happens that an aspiration is not accomplished, if one again stays within the Maṇḍala, then those aspirations will be entirely achieved.”

“Thus, henceforth, one must always remember this.”

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE EIGHTH CHAPTER: ‘THE DHĀRAĪ CALLED ‘GOLDEN”.

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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 7 – The Praise to All Dominions of the Perfectly Complete Buddhas Who Arise Throughout the Past, Future and Present

Chapter 7: The Praise to All Dominions of the Perfectly Complete Buddhas Who Arise Throughout the Past, Future and Present


 

Then, the Bhagavān granted teaching in the following words to that good goddess, Bodhisamuccaya: “Good goddess, at that time, at that moment, a king called Suvarṇabhujendra honored all Tathāgatas, deeply praising the Buddha Bhagavāns of the past, future and present with the following [praise], which is called The Source of Lotuses:

The Jinas who arose in the past,

And those yet enduring in the worlds of the ten directions,

To those Jinas, I bow;

To all those Jinas, I pay tribute.

The Mighty Sages are serene, utterly serene, and totally pure,

Their bodies shine intensely with the color of gold.

Their voices are the most pleasing of all melodies;

For their voice powerfully resounds with the tone of Brahmā.

Their heads bear a blue akin to that of the bee, peacock, and utpala flower,

With curly locks that are deep jet-blue, like a blue jay bird.

Their teeth, bright white, as snow and conch;

Ever gleam with sheer beauty, like gold.

Their eyes, long, dark blue and flawless,

Resemble blue utpala flowers in full bloom.

Their tongues, large and lovely, are of the color of a lotus;

Like a lotus do they sparkle, and the anthers of a lotus do they resemble.

The treasure hair of their face, like lotus root and conch,

Swirls to the right, and is of a color like blue sapphire.

The eyebrows of the Sages are like slender moons;

And waning moons; and the gleam of their eyes a bee.

The noses on their lofty faces are always magnificent,

For they are smooth and of an excellent color like earthen gold.

Always and ever, the supreme taste senses of all Jinas are sensitive;

And the best, the greatest, the most splendid of the superb.

From their every hair pore a single hair emerges,

The hairs that emerge curl to the right,

And are like blue sapphire;

Like unto the exquisite neck of the peacock, beautiful with blue.

As soon as they are born, their bodies send out light,

That fills the worlds of the ten directions,

Sooths the limitless suffering in the three worlds;

And satisfies sentient beings with all happiness too.

Sentient beings roving in the hells, those drifting in the animal realms,

Those wayfaring in the abodes of ghosts and gods, and in the transitory stations of humans too,

All of those sentient beings are thereby satiated with bliss;

And all the living beings of sad transmigrations are alleviated thereby.

Light of excellent color, like gold,

Body intensely shining, like refined gold,

The Sugata’s face is an utterly spotless moon;

With a mouth that is smiling, utterly lovely and robustly stainless.

Like a newborn youth, soft are the limbs of their bodies,

Like a lion, supreme are they in overcoming through dynamic energy,

Their long arms are exceptionally long;

And are like branches of a sāla tree, swaying in the wind.

Glowing with light for a full arm’s length, powerfully sending out rays of light,

They are intensely luminous like a thousand suns.

The supreme body of the Mighty Sages are faultless;

Powerfully illuminating all limitless lands.

As the light of the Buddha is intensely luminous,

In a hundred, a thousand of limitless lands;

All the light of midnight moons and suns, in all their multitude,

Is made naught.

The sun of the Buddhas is the lamp of the universe,

For hundreds and thousands of Buddha suns,

In limitless hundreds and thousands of realms;

Are beheld by sentient beings: The Sun of the Tathagāta.

Bodies endowed with a hundred thousand merits,

Bodies fully adorned with all good qualities,

The arms of the Jinas resemble the regal elephant’s trunk;

And striking and immaculate is the light of their hands and feet.

Equal to a number approaching that of the particles on the earth’s surface,

And as many subtle particles one could find therein are the Buddhas of bygone;

Buddhas yet to come are as numerous as the subtle particles in existence;

And those abiding now are as numerous as tiny molecules.

To those Jinas, with strong faith

Of speech, mind and body, I offer flowers,

I offer incense and a hundred praises;

And moreover, with a virtuous mind, I make prostrations.

The good qualities of the Jinas are of the very nature of virtue,

Of the highest essence, various and manifold;

Had I a hundred tongues and a thousand eons,

I still could not convey the good qualities of the Buddhas.

Since just the good qualities of one Jina cannot be slightly articulated,

Even with even a thousand tongues,

How could I express the qualities of all Jinas,

With tongues a hundredfold?

Should all the worlds, including those of the gods, become an ocean,

Filling everything up to the peak of conditioned existence,

To be able to measure it by hairtips would be possible;

But for a single quality of the Sugatas, that is not so.

With clear devotion of body, speech, and mind,

I make praises to all Jinas;

Through the supreme fruits of the positive potential I collect thereby,

May sentient beings arrive at the state of the Jinas.’

[The Buddha said:] “The king praised the Buddhas thus;

And then the king made aspiration prayers in the following way:

‘In limitless eons of the future too,

Wherever I am born,

May I see a Drum like that in the Dream;

And from it, may I hear such a confession.

May I find a hymn to the Jinas like this victorious Source of Lotuses;

In each and every lifetime.

May I hear of Buddha’s qualities, limitless and peerless,

Hard to find in a thousand eons,

Even in dreams;

And during the daytime too, may I expound them.

May sentient beings be freed from the ocean of suffering;

And culminating the Six Far-Reaching Perfections,

May they thereafter attain unparalleled Awakening;

May my dominion be unrivaled.

By the fully ripened result of offering the Drum,

And the cause of praising all Jinas,

May I directly see the Mighty Sage of the Śākya;

And thereupon, may I obtain a prophecy [of enlightenment].

As for Suvarṇabhujendra and Suvarṇaprabhā,

Who are my two offspring,

May both of these boys, as well,

Obtain a prophecy of Unsurpassed Awakening.

Sentient beings who are insecure and without support,

Those who, being without refuge, are downtrodden,

For them as well, in future times;

May I be a protector, friend, reinforcement and support.

May I dissipate the origination of suffering,

Become the source of all happiness,

May I **sngon mtha’ ‘das pa de dag ji srid pa**

And engage in the practices of Awakening for eons into the future.

Through the Confession of Transcendent Golden Light,

May I dry up the ocean of destructive activities,

May I drain the ocean of my karma;

May I drain the ocean of disturbing emotions.

May I perfect my ocean of positive potential,

And through the transcendent illumination of stainless discerning insight,

May my ocean of deep wisdom be totally pure;

May I become an ocean of all good qualities.

*byang chub yon tan yon tan rin chen rdzogs

Through the power of the Confession of Transcendent Golden Light,

May my positive potential powerfully illuminate;

May the luminosity of my Awakening be utterly pure.

Through the transcendent illumination of stainless deep wisdom,

May the light of my positive potential radiate intensely;

And in order to brighten the brilliance of positive potential,

May I become uniquely exalted in the three worlds.

May I always be imbued with the power of positive potential,

Thus by liberating from the ocean of suffering,

And being like an ocean of all happiness;

I will practice Awakening into the eons of the future.

Just as the dominions of all those who, from the reaches of the past, have arrived

throughout the three worlds,

Are uniquely exalted by the limitless good qualities of all Jinas,

May my dominion of limitless good qualities become,

In future times, exactly like them.’

[The Buddha said:]

“Ruciraketu, try to understand.

King Suvarṇabhujendra,

In previous times, made this aspiration prayer;

And that very one is now you.

The two boys of a previous time,

Golden Hand and Golden Light,

Are themselves called ‘Silver Pinnacle’ and ‘Silver Light’;

I, at that time, gave them a prophecy [of enlightenment].

The many retinues, having heard this,

Have given rise to the Mind of Awakening (bodhicitta);

Now and in times of the future,

May they always perform this confession.”

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE SEVENTH CHAPTER: ‘THE PRAISE TO ALL THE DOMINIONS OF THE PERFECTLY COMPLETE BUDDHAS WHO ARISE THROUGHOUT THE PAST, FUTURE, AND PRESENT’.

You can find the text at The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 7 – The Praise to All Dominions of the Perfectly Complete Buddhas Who Arise Throughout the Past, Future and Present

Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth:- Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty. ~ Native American Elder ~ (Breathing for Peace)

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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 2 – The Teaching on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata

Chapter 2: The Teaching on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata


 

Then, at that time, at that moment, in the great city of Rājagṛiha, the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva known as Ruciraketu, one who had performed altruistic deeds under previous Jinaous Ones, and who had generated roots of virtue and rendered service to hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Buddhas, was resting. He then thought: By what cause and what condition does the Bhagavān Śākyamuni thus live for eighty years? That is a short lifespan.”

Thinking thus, again he thought: The Bhagavān himself has said, ‘Through two causes and conditions does one attain long life. What are those two? There are, namely, giving up killing and giving food intensively.’ He has taught thus. As for the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, for many incalculable hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of eons, he, giving up the taking of life, authentically undertook and stayed along the path of the Ten Virtuous Actions. Food, as well as outer and inner material things, he gave up completely to sentient beings. Since in particular, he satisfied hungry sentient beings with the flesh of his own body, blood, bones and legs as well, there is no need to speak of him doing so with other food.”

Thus did he think. Then, as that transcendent individual was entertaining those kinds of thoughts in regard to the Buddha in that way, turning them over in his mind, his house became broad and vast: Made out of blue vaidurya, and adorned with many divine jewels. For the Tathāgata had changed its color; and filled it with incense surpassing that produced by the gods. In the four directions of that house, four thrones of divine jewels arose; and from those thrones as well, mats of divine cloths and fabric, encrusted with tiny jewels, arose. They were adorned by many divine lotus flowers and jewels, which also arose from those thrones. There arose colors which had been transformed by the Tathāgata.

And from those lotuses, as well, there arose four Buddha Bhagavāns. In the eastern direction arose the Tathāgata Akṣobhya. In the southern direction arose the Tathāgata Ratnaśikhī. In the western direction arose the Tathāgata Amitāyus. In the northern direction arose the Tathāgata Dundhubisvara. As soon as those Buddha Bhagavāns arose on those lion-thrones, then, at that time, the great city of Rājagṛiha was pervaded by great illumination. The entire universe of three-thousand million world systems, and in all the ten directions, world systems of the universe as many as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, were filled with a great radiance. A rain of divine flowers also fell. The sound of divine cymbals issued forth, as well.

Through the power of the Buddha, in this universe of three-thousand million world systems, all sentient beings, without exception, were imbued with divine bliss. Sentient beings whose senses were incomplete became endowed with all their senses. Sentient beings who were blind came to see forms with their eyes. Sentient beings who were deaf came to hear sounds with their ears. Sentient beings who were crazy found their own mindfulness. Sentient beings who were intensely distracted became intensely undistracted. Sentient beings who were naked became clothed with garments. Sentient beings who were hungry came to have their bellies filled. Sentient beings who were thirsty came upon drinks. Sentient beings who were afflicted with illness became freed from sickness. Sentient beings whose senses were defective came to have their senses intact. In this universe, incredible, miraculous phenomena occurred, on a massive scale.

Then, the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu, seeing those Buddhas, Bhagavāns, gave rise to amazement and wonder, and was satisfied, elated with delight, and intensely joyous. Giving rise to rapture and mental happiness, he bowed with folded palms in the direction of those Buddhas Bhagavāns.

While being vividly mindful of those Buddha Bhagavāns, he recollected intensely the qualities of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni; and then experienced doubts about the lifespan of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, thinking: The Bhagavān Śākyamuni will live to eighty years. What sort of thing is a short lifespan like this?”

And so he remained there, while turning over thoughts such as those.

Then those Buddhas Bhagavāns, understanding and knowing of this [his thoughts], gave teaching to the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu, in the following words:Good son, do not think these thoughts of ‘the lifespan of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni is short’. Why? Good son, because there is no one, aside from the Tathāgatas, the Arhats, the Samyaksaṃbuddhas, including gods, including demons, including Brahmā, including sages, including brahmin people; in this universe with its Devas, Men, along with its Asuras, who has seen the ultimate limit or final end-point of the lifespan of the Bhagavān, the Tathāgata Śākyamuni.”

As soon as those Buddhas, Bhagavāns had uttered that explanation of the lifespan of the Tathāgata, the Tathāgata, thereupon at that very instant, through the power of the Buddha, there assembled the divine sons Engaging in Desire and Engaging in Form, crowds of Devas, Nāgas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, and hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Bodhisattvas; all of whom arrived at the house of the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu.

Then those Tathāgatas spoke a summarizing teaching on the lifespan of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni to that abounding retinue, in the following verses of explanation:

 

Although it is possible to count all drops
Of all the water in the ocean,
No one can count
The lifespan of Śākyamuni.

Although it is possible to count all the subtle particles
Of all great mountains, without exception,
No one can count
The lifespan of Śākyamuni.

Although it is possible to count
All the extremely fine atoms found existent
In all the earth;
No one can measure the lifespan of the Conqueror.

Some may measure through some device
All of space,
But no one can count
The lifespan of Śākyamuni.

‘The perfect Buddha lives for this long…’
‘He lives for this many eons…’
‘Hundreds of billion eons…’:
Counting like this is not feasible.

Why? There are taught to be two productive causal forces,
And also two causes:
Giving up harming others;
And giving much food.

Therefore, a finite count of the lifespan
Of the Great Lord, which proclaims,
‘He will live this many eons’, cannot be found;
For the eons are indeed uncountable.

Do not have the slightest doubt.
Any kind of number, whatsoever,
For the lifespan of the Conqueror
Is not something to be apprehended.”

Then, the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu, having heard that explanation on the lifespan of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, spoke the following words to those Buddhas Bhagavāns: Then how is it so that the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, displays such a short life?”

He spoke those words, and those Buddha Bhagavāns gave teaching in the following words to the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu: The Bhagavān Śākyamuni , the Tathāgata, took birth in the world of five kinds of degeneration; at a time when people’s lifespan reaches one hundred. In order to benefit the sentient beings of lesser devotion, those sentient beings with small roots of virtue and faith, ordinary childish individuals with the view of self, the view of sentient beings, the view of life, the view of living, and the view of a person, with views of backwardness, those grasping at ‘me’ and ‘mine’, with views of eternalism and nihilism and so on; and, furthermore, to generate the authentic view in non-Buddhists, thus helping them to attain Unsurpassed Awakening, the Tathāgata Śākyamuni therefore displays a short lifespan.”

 

Furthermore, good son, since the Tathāgata displays the passing away into Nirvāṇa, those sentient beings generate awareness of the preciousness and difficulty of encountering (a Buddha), and awareness of agony and suffering and so on. Thus they come to swiftly uphold, treasure, read, understand, and teach to others, extensively and authentically, the Sūtras taught by the Buddha Bhagavān; thus becoming free from lack of appreciation. Therefore, that is why the Tathāgata displays a short life span.”

 

Moreover, if the Tathāgata were to abide always, and not pass into Nirvāṇa, then sentient beings would become lacking in devotion, and would also not generate awareness of the difficulty of encountering (a Buddha); thus they would not uphold, read, understand, and teach to others, extensively and authentically, the profound Sūtras taught by the Tathāgata. Why is that so? It is because they would grasp at the Bhagavān as always abiding in the world.”

 

Good son, for example: If one sees one’s parents having many vast precious jewels, the perception of that wealth as being rare and wonderful would not arise. Why is that so? Because one would generate the perception of one’s parents as always having those valuables. Likewise, if the Bhagavān never passed into Nirvāṇa, in that regard, the perceptions of the difficulty of encountering (a Buddha) and the rarity (of a Buddha) would not arise. So that is why.”

 

Good son, furthermore, for example: If one with parents who are poor and without wealth goes to the places of those such as kings and officials, and sees their many vast treasuries, wealth, jewels and so on, then that one will generate the feeling of rarity and the difficulty of gaining (those things). That poor person will then exert themselves in methods for finding wealth.”

 

Good son, in a similar fashion, if one sees the Tathāgata pass into Nirvāṇa, then for that one, the feelings of rarity, the difficulty of encountering (a Buddha), agony, and suffering will arise. Although the Bhagavān Tathāgata arises in the world, in innumerable eons, he arises [just] a few times. In the same way that the Udumvara flower arises a few times out of a hundred, those sentient beings will generate feelings of the preciousness and difficulty of encountering (a Buddha); and will generate devotion to the Bhagavān. They will also generate the perception of the Sūtras taught from his mouth as being true, will generate the feeling for thoroughly retaining them; and will thereby not lack appreciation.”

 

Good son, therefore, due to those causes and conditions, the Tathāgata does not abide for a long time in the world. Because they quickly enact the passing away into Nirvāṇa, the Tathāgatas in this way have an excellent abundance of expertise in skillful means; and they fully ripen sentient beings.”

Thereupon, all four of those Tathāgatas became invisible.

Then the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ruciraketu, and immeasurably many hundreds of thousands of Bodhisattvas, as well as immeasurably many hundreds of thousands of billions of living beings, went in one company to Vulture’s Peak Mountain, bowed the crowns of their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata; and sat down to one side.

Then the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu prayed to they who had transformed in that way (the Four Tathāgatas). Those four Tathāgatas thereupon also arrived at Vulture’s Peak, where the Bhagavān Śākyamuni was staying, sat down in each of their directions on top of their seats; and thenceforth gave teaching to the Bodhisattvas of the retinue thus: Good son, as you have come, ask the Bhagavān Śākyamuni whether there is any small pain, discomfort, or agitation; or whether he stays in contact with bliss. Moreover, also ask the Bhagavān Tathāgata Śākyamuni to joyfully impart the extremely profound Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings, the Transcendent Golden Light, which, because it benefits all sentient beings, thoroughly eradicates the terror of famine, and is imbued with all that is blissful, is an excellent teaching.”

Then those Bodhisattvas, who had come from their own retinues, went up to where the Bhagavān was, and having gone there, bowed the crowns of their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and inquired exactly as taught by those four Tathāgatas, in the very same words.

Then the Bhagavān Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, the Arhat, the Samyaksaṃbuddha, congratulated those Bodhisattvas, saying: Well done. Well done! Even the Four Tathāgatas, for the sake of the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings, have requested me to explain this Transcendent Dharma.”

And at that time, the Bhagavān spoke these verses:

At Vulture’s Peak Mount do I sit,
About to explain this precious Sūtra;
For the freedom of these many beings,
Complete Nirvāṇa also do I teach.

Backwards ones, with views of children,
Do not show interest in my teachings;
For the sake of freeing them all,
Complete Nirvāṇa also do I display.

Then, at that time, a brahmin that retinue, who was a teacher and prophet, known as Kauṇḍinya, and many thousands of brahmins, made offerings to the Bhagavān. Having heard the sound of the Great Complete Nirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, he suddenly wept, and touched the two feet of the Bhagavān. He then said to the Bhagavān: If the Bhagavān has a loving heart toward all sentient beings, is imbued with great compassion, endeavors in benefiting them, like a parent has an equal feeling toward all sentient beings, illuminates them like the moon, and shines upon them with his sun of discerning insight and deep wisdom; then bestow upon me something which is transcendent.”

The Bhagavān did not speak.

Then, through the power of the Buddha, in that retinue a Licchavī youth known as Sarvalokapriyadarshana (‘Joyful for All Worlds to Behold’), gave rise to confidence; and spoke the following words to the teacher and prophet, the brahmin Kauṇḍinya: Why do you ask the Bhagavān for something transcendent? I will give you something transcendent!”

The brahmin said: Licchavī youth, as for me, because I need an offering, a relic for worshiping the Bhagavān, I want a relic of the Bhagavān merely the size of a mustard seed, as a support. If a relic the size of a mustard seed is worshiped intensively, it is said that one attains lordship over the gods of the thirty-third level of heaven. Licchavī youth, this Sūtra of Transcendent Golden Light is endowed with features and qualities such as being difficult for all Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas to understand; and difficult to comprehend. Licchavī youth, listen, with your hearing faculty, to that renowned as the exposition on the Sūtra of Transcendent Golden Light!”

 

Licchavī youth, since it is the case that this Sūtra of Transcendent Golden Light is difficult to understand and difficult to grasp, we brahmins, from a remote border region, want to get hold of a relic only the size of a mustard seed, which causes sentient beings to quickly attain lordship over the thirty-third level of heaven; and which could then also be placed inside a box. Licchavī youth, do you not want to request a relic only the size of a mustard seed from the Tathāgata, which could be placed in a box, and which, when touched, would cause sentient beings to attain lordship over the thirty-third level of heaven? Licchavī youth, as for us, we request that sort of transcendent thing.”

Then, the Licchavī youth Sarvasattvapriyadarshana, answered the teacher and prophet, the brahmin Kauṇḍinya, in the following verses:

When flowers grow
In the Ganges’ currents,

When crows become red,
And cuckoos turn the color of conch,

When palm-fruit grows on the rose-apple tree,
And mangos form on date trees:
At that time, a relic, about the size of a mustard seed,
Shall then be visible.

When, from tortoise hair,
Cloth, which shields winter’s bite,
Can be woven well:
Then there shall be a relic.

When, from the legs of flies,
Many storied towers can be built well,
Stable and firmly unshakable:
Then there shall be a relic.

When all leeches
Grow white teeth,
Sharp and big:
Then there shall be a relic.

When, in order to climb high,
Ladders can be built well
From the horns of rabbits:
Then there shall be a relic.

Climbing this ladder,
Should a mouse eat the moon
And harm the constellation Rahu as well:
Then there shall be a relic.

When bees that buzz in towns
Drink a pitcher of wine,

And make dwelling in a house:
Then there shall be a relic.

When donkeys become happy,
Well-versed in singing and dancing,
Their lips ruddy, like thebimba fruit:
Then there shall be a relic.

When owls and crows
Flock from solitude, frolic together,
And become friendly:
Then there shall be a relic.

When the leaves of thepalasha tree
Become an umbrella made of three jewels,
That keeps off the rain:
Then there shall be a relic.

When large ocean vessels,
Fitted with turning devices and sails,
Float and set sail upon land:
Then there shall be a relic.

When owls move freely,
Lifting the Gandhamadana Mountain
Within their beaks:
Then there shall be a relic.

Having listened to those verses, the teacher and prophet, the brahmin Kauṇḍinya, replied in the following verses to the Licchavī youth Sarvalokapriyadharshana:

Well done; well done! Supreme youth,

Son of the Jina, great orator,
Endowed with bravery and skill in means;
You have received the transcendent prophecy.

Protector of the world, guardian,
The very greatness of the Tathāgata,
Like an inconceivable creation;

O Youth, listen to me.

The domain of the Buddha is unimaginable,
The Tathāgatas are incomparable,
All Buddhas are ever serene,
All Buddhas are perfectly emerged,
All Buddhas are of the same hue:
That is the Suchness of Buddhas.

The Bhagavān is uncontrived,
The Tathāgata is unborn;
His body, hard as diamond,
Displays emanated forms.

As for a relic of the Great Sage,
There is no so-called “only the size of mustardseed”;
For if his body is without bone and blood,
Then where could there be a relic?
In order to benefit sentient beings,
He places relics out of skillful means.

The perfect Buddha: Dharmakāya,
The Tathāgata: Dharmadhātu;
Whatever deeds there are of teaching the Dharma,
The body of the Bhagavān is like that.

Having heard and understood this,
I requested this transcendent thing;
In order to specify only this very truth,

Did I thus initiate this discourse.

Then having heard such profound teachings on the lifespan of the Tathāgata, all the thirty-two thousand sons of gods, without exception, generated the mind set on Perfectly Complete Awakening. Their thoughts became intensely joyful; and they then spoke these verses in a single voice:

The Buddha does not enter complete Nirvāṇa,
Nor does the Dharma cease to be;

Yet for the complete maturation of sentient beings,
Tathāgatas manifest completely passing beyond suffering.

The Buddha Bhagavān is beyond the reaches of thought,

For the Tathāgata is a permanent body;
In order to benefit sentient beings,
He displays a variety of features and aspects.

Then the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ruciraketu, having heard this teaching on the lifespan of the Bhagavān Śākyamuni Buddha from those Tathāgatas and those two transcendent beings, arose from his seat, bowed with joined palms, and spoke the following words: Bhagavān, if it is the case that the Buddha Bhagavāns do not pass into Nirvāṇa, and also that there is no placing of relics in the world, then for what purpose was it taught in the Sūtras that “the Buddha passes into Nirvāṇa, relics are placed in the world; and if gods and humans, with respect and with veneration, worship the relics of the past Buddha Bhagavāns placed in the world, then the whole world of gods and humans, in so doing, will attain immeasurable positive potential”? Yet now here, it is being taught that, to paraphrase, “those do not exist”. How can that be? As the Bhagavān is compassionate and loving, please fully elaborate and explain.”

Then the Bhagavān gave the following teaching to that assembled retinue, consisting of the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ruciraketu and so on: You should understand that the teaching that the Bhagavān passes into Nirvāṇa and places relics in the world is also taught for the sake of contemplation. Good son, the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva should understand through ten Dharmas that the Arhat, the Samyaksaṃbuddha teaches that Great Nirvāṇa exists in accordance with authenticity and truth. What are these ten? They are as follows:

  1. Since the Tathāgatas have completely eliminated all emotional obscurations and cognitive obscurations, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  2. Since the Tathāgatas have directly understood the selflessness of persons and the selflessness of phenomena, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  3. Since they have moved beyond the abode of the body, and the abode of phenomena, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  4. Since their deeds of training sentient beings are spontaneously present, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  5. Since they have actualized the true state of things, for them characteristics are not inherently different, and thus equal in the Dharmakāya, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  6. Since they directly perceive that the nature of Saṃsāra and Nirvāṇa is non-dual, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  7. Since they realize the real essence of all phenomena, and thus actualize utter purity, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  8. Since they are expert in the realization of phenomena’s non-arising, and non-destruction, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  9. Since they have attained the deep wisdom of the equality of Suchness, the Dharma Realm (dharmadhātu), and the furthest limit of reality, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.
  10. Since they understand that the Suchness of all phenomena and the Suchness of Nirvāṇa are not different, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

“Furthermore, good son, O Bodhisattva Mahāsattva: The Tathāgata, the Arhat, the Samyaksaṃbuddha teaches by way of these ten Dharmas, in the manner of authenticity and truth, that Great Nirvāṇa exists. What are these ten? They are namely:

  1. The basis of all disturbing mental states is longing and desire. Toward whatever is longed for, desire is generated. Because the Buddha Bhagavāns are free from longing and desire, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  2. Since the Tathāgatas are free from all longing and desire, and thus do not grasp at any phenomena whatsoever. Because they are therefore without clinging, without going, coming, and grasping, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  3. The absence of going, coming, and acquisition is the Dharmakāya; and it is without arising and cessation. This very freedom from arising and cessation is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  4. Since the freedom from arising and cessation is inexpressible by words, and inaccessible by words, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  5. Since it is free from self and individual, and is the attainment of moving to the abode beyond just the phenomena of arising and cessation, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.
  6. Since the Buddha Bhagavāns perceive disturbing mental states and all-consuming afflictive mental states to be adventitious in nature, they abide in the true nature of phenomena, and thus actualize the freedom from going and coming, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  7. Since the authentic is true, what is other than that is false, and whatever is true, that itself is authentic; and what is of the nature of authenticity, that is the Tathāgata itself, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  8. Since the furthest limit of reality is free from elaborations, the Tathāgata actualizes the furthest limit of reality in totality; and that complete pacification of conceptual

    elaborations itself is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  9. The unborn is true, and the born is false; childish ordinary beings are thus sunken in the mud of Saṃsāra. Since the body of the Tathāgata is none other than truth and authenticity [itself], it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  10. Since phenomena which are not authentic arise from conditions; and authentic and true phenomena do not arise from conditions, the Dharmakāya of the Tathāgata is therefore also authentic and of the nature of truth, it is known as ‘Nirvāṇa’.

Furthermore, good son, O Bodhisattva Mahāsattva: Through these ten Dharma aspects, the Tathāgatas, the Arhats, the Samyaksaṃbuddhas realize the way of authenticity and truth; and thus come to understand the Great Nirvāṇa. What are these ten? They are as follows:

  1. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands generosity and the fruition of generosity to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward generosity and the fruition of generosity, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  2. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands morality and the fruition of morality to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward morality and the fruition of morality, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  3. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands patience and the fruition of patience to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward patience and the fruition of patience, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  4. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands diligence and the fruition of diligence to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward diligence and the fruition of diligence, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  5. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands concentration and the fruition of concentration to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward concentration and the fruition of concentration, it is

    called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  6. Because the Tathāgata deeply understands discerning insight, and the fruition of discerning insight, to be without self and ownership, and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts toward discerning insight and the fruition of discerning insight, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  7. Because the Tathāgatas deeply comprehends that there are no sentient beings nor non-sentient beings; and thus completely eliminates mistaken concepts about the lack of inherent existence in all phenomena, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  8. Whatever is grasped at as having the nature of self is persistently felt. Through the power of being persistently felt, a variety of different kinds of suffering are experienced. Because the Tathāgatas completely cut off the clinging to self and ownership, and thus do not pursue, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.
  9. All conditioned phenomena are countable and have a measure; while conditioned phenomena are free from count and measure. The Buddha abandons conditioned phenomena; and actualizes unconditioned phenomena. Because this does not have count nor measure, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

  10. Because the Tathāgata has the nature of being empty of all sentient beings and phenomena, there is nothing that is not other than that Voidness; and as that nature of Voidness itself too is the authentic Dharmakāya, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.

“Good son, by way of those ten Dharmas, it is called ‘Nirvāṇa’.”

“Furthermore, good son, while the Tathāgata simply not passing into Nirvāṇa is not very amazing, there are moreoever ten Dharma aspects which are cause for amazement; and they are the conduct of the Tathāgatas. What are these ten? They are as follows:

  1. Because they understand that, although Saṃsāra is faulty and Nirvāṇa is peace and detachment, the duo of Saṃsāra and Nirvāṇa are equal, and thus they do not stay in Saṃsāra, nor do they abide in Nirvāṇa; and do not become discouraged about the benefit of sentient beings. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  2. The Tathāgata sees the procession of childish ordinary beings’ backward conduct and all kinds of disturbing mental states; and although it indeed true that he does not have the intention thinking, “I will totally liberate them all!”, through the power of previous compassion and roots of virtue, without having thoughts about the faculties, natures, and wishes of those sentient beings, in the manner of spontaneous presence, he benefits and teaches without finite end. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  3. The Tathāgata extensively teaches sentient beings with the twelve branches of the Teaching; and although it is indeed true that he does not think, “May it benefit!”, through the power of previous compassion and roots of virtue, he teaches the Dharma extensively to those sentient beings, without finite end. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  4. The Tathāgata goes to towns, cities, and villages; and although it is indeed true that he does not think, “I will go and beg for alms in the households of those such as kings, officials, brahmins, royalty and merchants!”, through the power of cultivating the conduct of body, speech and mind, he spontaneously goes to beg for alms; and thus brings about benefit. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  5. The body of the Tathāgata does not possess hunger nor thirst. Since it does not have excrement or physical weakness either, although it appears that he begs for alms, there is no eating. Although it is indeed true that he has no concepts about it, in order to benefit sentient beings, he also appears to eat alms. This is the spontaneous conduct of the Tathāgata.

  6. Although it is indeed true that the Tathāgata does not think, “I will benefit these beings the Dharma, in accordance with their superior, middling and lesser faculties as they are!”, without having thoughts about their respective faculties and capacities as they are, he fully understands them; and thereby teaches them the Dharma. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  7. Because sentient beings are without respect, and are always speaking badly with harsh words, he does not speak together with them. The Tathāgata does not think, “Because these sentient beings are always respecting me, praising and speaking pleasantly to me, I will speak together with them!”, yet he contemplates love and compassion equally; and is non-dualistic. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  8. Although it is indeed true that the Buddha Bhagavāns do not have disturbing mental states such as attachment and aversion, pride, greed and miserliness, the Tathāgata always delights in detachment, abandons all distraction, and praises few wants. This is the conduct of the Tathāgata.

  9. The Tathāgata does not have any non-understanding or non-comprehension toward even one phenomenon. Since he has actualized Mirror-Like Deep Wisdom in all arenas, although it is indeed true that he does not conceptualize, the Tathāgata, perceiving the Karma and conduct of sentient beings, engages them in harmony with their wishes; and by way of skillful means, guides them and liberates them from Saṃsāra. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

  10. Although it is indeed true that even though the Tathāgata sees the abundance and leisure of sentient beings, he does not give rise to delight; and that even though he sees their degeneration and downfall, he does not become sad, the Tathāgata protects sentient beings, out of unobstructed great compassion, when he sees their practice of perfect conduct. Although he sees the wrong conduct of sentient beings, out of non-attached great compassion, he protects and cares for them. This is the conduct of the Tathāgatas.

“Good son, concerning this, you must understand this to be the limitless teaching of the authentic conduct of the Tathāgatas, the Arhats, the Samyaksaṃbuddhas; and the characteristics of the authentic truth of Nirvāṇa.

In other contexts, [the stated] “Nirvāṇa and placing relics in the world” was a teaching of expert skillful means. Although sentient beings make offerings and show reverence, you should view it to be the power of the Tathāgata’s compassion and roots of virtue. In this regard, whoever makes offerings and shows reverence to the Buddhas will, in future times, completely eliminate the eight unfavorable conditions, meet the Tathāgatas, have virtuous friends, not abandon the Mind of Awakening (bodhicitta), have an immeasurable increase in positive potential; and quickly go beyond Saṃsāra. This is the transcendent conduct which leads away from the bondage of Saṃsāra. Since this is so, you must seriously practice it; and do so without distraction.

Then the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu, having listened deeply to the Bhagavān on the meaning of the Bhagavān’s non-passing into Nirvāṇa, and the teaching on profound patience, bowed with palms together, and spoke the following words:Now, at this moment, having sought out the great teaching of the Tathāgata on the non-passing into Nirvāṇa, the placing of relics in the world, and the vast benefiting of beings, my body and mind have become incredibly joyous; and ecstatic.”

When the lifespan of the Tathāgata was taught, all of those incalculable, unfathomable, limitless numbers of sentient beings generated the mind set on Unsurpassed, Perfectly Complete Awakening (anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi). Those Tathāgatas disappeared as well. And thereupon the Bodhisattva Ruciraketu rose from his seat, prostrated at the feet of the Bhagavān; and once again, sat back down upon his own seat.

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE SECOND CHAPTER: ‘THE TEACHING ON THE LIFESPAN OF THE TATHĀGATA’.

You can find the text at The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 2 – The Teaching on the Lifespan of the Tathāgata

"Acceptance is the truest kinship with humanity."  ~  G.K. Chesterton       <3 lis

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The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 1 – The Preamble

Chapter 1: The Preamble


(Volume 1)

HOMAGE TO ALL BUDDHAS, BODHISATTVAS, PRATYEKABUDDHAS, AND ĀRYA ŚRĀVAKAS OF THE PAST, FUTURE, AND PRESENT.

Thus have I heard, at one time. The Bhagavān was in Rājagṛha, on the summit of Vulture’s Peak Mountain, abiding within the profound basic space of phenomena (dharmadhātu), entirely and utterly pure: The transcendent experiential domain of the Tathāgatas.

And there together in the same company was an immense Saṅgha of monks; and ninety-eight thousand (98,000) were they in number. All of them were also great Arhats; and like unto kings of elephants, were extremely subdued. They had exhausted their defilements, they were without afflictive mental states, their minds were most comprehensively liberated, their discerning insight had been most comprehensively unleashed, they had done what had to be done, they had laid down their burden, they had accordingly accomplished their own purpose, they had thoroughly cut the connections with conditioned existence, they had attained the supreme amongst transcendent masteries of might, they dwelt vigorously in completely pure ethical conduct, they were thoroughly established in skillful means and discerning insight, they had actualized the Eight Emancipations1; and they had come to the end of the far shore.

They were, namely, the Venerable Ājñātakauṇḍinya, the Venerable Aśvajit, the Venerable Vāṣpa, the Venerable Mahānāma, the Venerable Bhadra, the Venerable Mahākāśyapa, the Venerable Uruvilvakāśyapa, the Venerable Gayākāśyapa, the Venerable Nadikāśyapa, the Venerable Śāriputra, the Venerable Maudgalyāyana, and the Venerable Nanda; these and others, all great Śrāvakas.

At a time during the late afternoon, they arose from their authentic meditative repose in their respective places of residence, approached to where the Bhagavān was, deeply bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat themselves down to one side.

Furthermore, there were Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas, one hundred thousand million (100,000,000,000 or 100 billion) in number; who were also staying together in the same company. And as all of them were endowed with great resplendence and majestic brilliance, like unto a Nāga King, they were everywhere acclaimed. They had engaged in generosity, attention to constant protection of completely pure ethical conduct, patience, and diligence for countless eons. They had actualized the mindfulness which goes beyond all contemplative stabilizations (dhyānas). They had completely opened the doors of discerning insight. They had totally accomplished expertise in skillful means. With their transcendent powers, they manifested in diverse forms; and they had discovered transcendent clairvoyant perception. They had obtained the great total recall (dharani). Their confidence was inexhaustible. As they had eliminated all afflictive mental states and all-consuming disturbing emotions, they had attained the deep wisdom which knows all immediate manifestations; and they had conquered the armies of Māras and hostile forces. By beating the great drum of the Dharma, they tamed all non-Buddhists; and caused them to give rise to utterly lucid minds. By turning the Wheel of the Transcendent Dharma, they liberated gods and humans. They adorned all Buddha Fields in the ten directions; and conferred transcendent benefit upon the denizens of the six realms. They had a prosperous abundance of vast deep wisdom. They were endowed with great patience. They were suffused with loving-kindness. They dwelt in the mind of great compassion. They had stability in great powers. They had rendered service to all Buddhas. They had not passed into Complete Nirvāṇa; and since the limits of the future are infinite, they had sworn great oaths to remain [in Saṃsāra ]. They had generated completely pure causes under many Buddhas. They had gained tolerance toward the non-arising of phenomena throughout the three times. They had gone totally beyond the experiential domain of the Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas. As they had great skillful means, they guided the universe; as they were great teachers, they were expert in explaining the innermost intent of the profound Dharma which is to be taught. As they had actualized Voidness, they had thoroughly cut through doubts.

They were, namely, the Bodhisattva Beginningless Turning of the Dharma Wheel, the Bodhisattva Generating the Mind of Forever Turning the Dharma Wheel, the Bodhisattva Constant Exertion, the Bodhisattva Diligence in Never Forsaking, the Bodhisattva Loving-kindness (Maitreya), the Bodhisattva Gentle Splendor (Manjuśrī), the Bodhisattva Lord Whose Eyes Behold Everything (Avalokiteśvara), the Bodhisattva King of Mighty Dhāraṇī Masters, the Bodhisattva King Established in Great Confidence, the Bodhisattva King of Mount Meru, the Bodhisattva King of the Deep Ocean, the Bodhisattva Crest Ornament of Jewels, the Bodhisattva Immense Crest Ornament of Jewels, the Bodhisattva Essence of the Earth (Kṣitigarbha), the Bodhisattva Essence of the Sky (Ākāśagarbha), the Bodhisattva Powerful Lord with Jewel in Hand, the Bodhisattva Vajra in Hand (Vajrapāṇi), the Bodhisattva Power of Joy, the Bodhisattva Magical Power of the Great Dharma, the Bodhisattva Totally Arrayed in Light, the Bodhisattva Arrayed in Golden Light, the Bodhisattva Utter Purity of Ethical Conduct, the Bodhisattva Constant Meditative Absorption, the Bodhisattva Totally and Utterly Pure Intellect, the Bodhisattva Stable Diligence, the Bodhisattva Sky-like, the Bodhisattva Never Abandoning Great Aspiration Prayers, the Bodhisattva Giver of Medicine, the Bodhisattva Dispeller of the Illness of Mental Afflictions, the Bodhisattva King of Medicine, the Bodhisattva King of Exaltation Through Joy, the Bodhisattva Obtainer of Supreme Prediction, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Utterly Pure Light, the Bodhisattva Holder of the Great Cloud of Dharma, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Joyful Renown, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud Manifesting Limitless Illustriousness, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of the Lion’s Roar, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of the Supreme Bull’s Bellow, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Auspiciousness, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Glorious Jewels, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of the Sun’s Essence, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of the Moon’s Essence, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Starlight, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Firelight, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Lightning Flashes, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Thunder, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of All-Pervasively Arising Discerning Insight, the Bodhisattva King of the Great Cloud of Utterly Pure Rain, the Bodhisattva King of the Great Cloud of Blossomed Trees, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud of Utpala Flower Fragrance, the Bodhisattva Exalted Form of the Precious Great Cloud of Cool Sandalwood Fragrance, the Bodhisattva Great Cloud Illuminating Darkness, and the Bodhisattva Great Cloud Which Dispels Visual Aberrations; these and others, incalculable and innumerable, all great Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas.

At the time of late afternoon, they arose from their authentic meditative repose in their respective dwelling places, went to the where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the two feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat themselves down to one side.

Following that, there were Licchavī youths. They were, namely, the youth Lion Light, the youth Lion Intellect, the youth Dharma Giver, the youth Power Giver, the youth Great Light, the youth Great Glory, the youth Buddha’s Protector, the youth Dharma’s Protector, the youth Saṅgha’s Protector, the youth Vajra’s Protector, the youth Sky’s Protector, the youth Sky Friend, the youth Essence of Jewels, the youth Essence of Supreme Auspiciousness and so on, five hundred and eight thousand (508,000) in number; all of them without exception living blissfully within Unsurpassed, Perfectly Complete Awakening (anuttarā-samyak-saṃbodhi), with intensive inspiration for the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna).

At the time of late afternoon, they came out from their respective homes, approached where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat down to one side.

Furthermore, there were princes of gods. They were, namely, the god prince Vision of Joy, the god prince Utter Joy, the god prince Sunlight, the god prince Mooncrest, the god prince Clear Discerning Insight, the god prince Discerning Insight of the Completely Pure Sky, the god prince Dispeller of Affliction’s Ill, the god prince Auspiciousness and so on, forty-two thousand (42,000) in number; they guarded the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna), upheld well the authentic Dharma, and recited vast aspiration prayers to do so unceasingly.

At the time of late afternoon, all of them too approached where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat down to one side.

Furthermore, there were kings of Nāgas. They were, namely, the Nāga King Lotus, the Nāga King Pomegranate Leaf, the Nāga King Great Strength, the Nāga King Great Roar, the Nāga King Small Waves, the Nāga King Stream Holder, the Nāga King Golden Face, the Nāga King Possessor of Precious Onyx and so on, twenty-eight thousand (28,000) in number; who had generated the mind solely bent on interest in retaining and upholding, widely propagating, and protecting the Great Vehicle Dharma (of Mahāyāna).

At the time of late afternoon, all of them too, coming out from their respective abodes, approached where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat down to one side.

Furthermore, there were kings of Yakṣas, such as Vaiśravaṇaputra and so on, thirty-six thousand (36,000) in number. They were, namely, the Yakṣa Mango, the Yakṣa Mango Bearer, the Yakṣa Essence of Lotus Light, the Yakṣa Lotus Face, the Yakṣa Wrathful Expression, the Yakṣa Displayer of Great Destruction, the Yakṣa Shaker, the Yakṣa Ravisher of Gifts and Food and so on. All of those Yakṣas also had faith in the perfect Dharma of the Tathāgata; and had nothing but diligence in protecting it.

At the time of late afternoon, all of them too approached where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat themselves down to one side.

Furthermore, there were kings of Garudas, such as King Magical Force of the Perfumed Elephant, and so on; forty-nine thousand (49,000) in number.

Moreover, there were Gandharvas, Asuras, Kinnaras, Mahoragas and so on. There were heavenly sages of the mountains, forests, rivers and oceans; great kings with their retinues, princesses and princes; sons of good family, daughters of good family; gods, humans and so on; and all of them read and recited the unexcelled Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna), upheld and retained it, asked questions about it, propagated it, and made comprehensive aspirational prayers aimed at guarding and protecting it.

At the time of late afternoon, all of them too approached where the Bhagavān was, bowed their heads at the feet of the Bhagavān; and circumambulating him three times, sat down to one side.

It was in this way that the Śrāvakas, Bodhisattvas, Devas, Men, Asuras, Garudas and so on, these eight sets of individuals, gathered like clouds. They focused their minds one-pointedly, joined their palms together; and with eyes unwavering, they gazed upon the visage of the Bhagavān. Wishing to be taught the Transcendent Dharma, they prayed.

Then the Bhagavān, at the time of late afternoon, arose from his state of meditative absorption (samādhi); and beholding the numerous assembled retinues, thereupon spoke in the following verses:

The Sovereign King of Sūtra Teachings:
If you listen to it, it is extremely profound;
And if you thoroughly investigate it, it is profundity itself.
The Transcendent Golden Light shall I expound.

The Buddhas of the Four Directions,
By granting blessings, have consecrated it:
Akṣobhya in the eastern direction,
Ratnaketu in the southern direction,
Amitābha in the western direction;
And
Dundubhisvara2 in the northern direction.

In order to extinguish all misdeeds,
This, a transcendent, auspicious exposition,
Serves to exhaust allKarma of misdeeds, 
Serves to bestow all happiness,
Serves to eradicate all suffering,
Is the foundation of the state of omniscience,
And is well adorned by all resplendence;
Conferring its blessings, this shall I proclaim.

Sentient beings whose senses are defective,
Whose lifespans are exhausted and whose longevity is deteriorating,
Who have become lacking in prosperity (phun sum tshogs min gang chags),
Whom the gods have turned their backs upon,
Who are hated by people who are their loved ones,
Who are endangered by
planetary influences (bran gza’) and the like,
Who are in mutual discord,
Who are afflicted by decline in wealth,
Who are stricken by misery and grief,
Who are in danger or poverty,
Who have inauspicious planetary and constellational influences and curses,
Who are threatened by intolerable evil spirits,
And even those who see evil dreams,
Arising from sorrow and fatigue:
They should wash vigorously, rendering themselves clean;
And endeavor to listen to this Transcendent Sūtra Teaching.

Should those with virtuous intent and clear mind,
Adorn themselves well in clean garments,
And endeavor to listen to this Sūtra,
The profound experiential domain of the Buddhas,
Then, through the majestic brilliance of this Sūtra Teaching,
The afflictions of all living creatures,
The likes of which are most unbearable,
Shall be forever pacified.

They will be protected,
By none other than the Protectors of the Universe themselves,
Together with their ministers and masters of assembly,

By numerous millions of Yakṣas,
By the Great Goddess Sarasvatī,
By the Goddess Who Dwells in the
Nairañjanā (River3),

By HāriṇīMother Goddess of Bhūtas,
By the Earth Goddess Dṛḍhā,

By Brahmā Kings and Deva kings,
By the incredibly powerful kings of Nāgas,

By kings of Kinnaras and kings of Asuras;

And likewise by kings of Garudas.

They, with their clans and might, will arrive,
Together with their mounts;
And without distraction, day and night,
Will offer protection to those beings.

I shall fully expound this Sūtra on the profound,
The Buddhas’ domain of experience,
The secret of all Buddhas;
Difficult to encounter in billions of eons.

Those who listen to this Sūtra,
Those who cause others to hear it,
Those who rejoice in it,
And those who make offerings to it,
Will have offerings made to them, for billions of eons,
By Devas and Nāgas,
Men and Kinnaras;
Asuras and Yakṣas.

For living beings whose positive potential has declined,
The mass of their positive potential will grow,
To become limitless, and likewise, beyond measure;
And beyond conception.

They will be intensely cared for,
By the Buddhas of the ten directions,
And also by the Bodhisattvas,
Engaged in the profound.

Excellently clad in clean garments,
Wearing pleasantly scented clothes,
Settling firmly in a mind of love:
Make offerings without distraction.

Put forth every effort to render your mind stainless,
And to make it expansive, as well;
And making the mind extremely clear,
Listen to this Transcendent Sūtra.

Those who listen to this Sūtra,
Will be eminent among humans,
Will correctly attain a human existence;
And will live a life of good fortune.

For those whose ears
This Transcendent Discourse resounds,
Their roots of virtue will be refined;
And they will be praised by numerous Buddhas.”

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRA TEACHINGS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE FIRST CHAPTER: ‘THE PREAMBLE’.

1 The Eight Emancipations: rnam par grol ba brgyad, presumably the same as rnam par thar pa brgyad (and its more common short form, rnam thar brgyad; Skt.aṣṭavimokṣa): 1) the emancipation of viewing that which has form as form (gzugs can la gzugs la lta ba’i rnam thar), 2) the emancipation of viewing the formless as form (gzugs med gzugs la lta ba’i rnam thar), 3) the emancipation of revulsion (sdug pa’i rnam thar), 4) the emancipation of the mental sphere of infinite space (nam mkha’ mtha’ yas skye mched kyi rnam thar), 5) the emancipation of the mental sphere of infinite consciousness (rnam shes mtha’ yas skye mched kyi rnam thar), 6) the emancipation of the mental sphere of absolute nothingness (ci yang med pa’i skye mched kyi rnam thar), 7) the emancipation of the mental sphere of neither conception nor non-conception (‘du shes med min skye mched kyi rnam thar), and 8) the emancipation of cessation of conception and sensation (‘du shes dang tshor ba ‘gog pa’i rnam thar). Numbers 4-7 are the emancipations related to each of the four formless realms (arūpyaloka, gzugs med kyi khams) and their respective meditative absorptions (dhyāna, bsam gtan).

2 rnga sgra

3Nairañjanā (Pali: Nerenjara) is the river (present-day Lilaja River) that flows northward towards the Ganges, passing near Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar, India. After leaving the royal palace, Shakyamuni practised austerities for six years on the shore of this river in the forest near the village Uruvela.

Eventually he became aware that this way of practising would never lead to enlightenment. He bathed in the Nairañjana River, and then, accepting milk curds offered by a girl named Sujata, recovered his strength. He went then to sit under a nearby pippala tree until reaching enlightenment. Thus the tree later became known as the ‘Bodhi Tree’, and the site ‘Bodhgaya’. (source: Rigpa Wiki)

You can find the text at The Sūtra of Golden Light: The 29 Chapter Version, Chapter 1 – The Preamble

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Supplication for the Long Life of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, by Sakya Trichen Gongma Rinpoché, Ngawang Künga Tekchen Pelbar (the 41st Sakya Trizin)

Supplication for the Long Life of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

by Sakya Trichen Gongma Rinpoché, Ngawang Künga Tekchen Pelbar (the 41st Sakya Trizin, sa skya khri chen gong ma ngag dbang theg chen dpal ‘bar, 1945-)

༄༅། །༧རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཞབས་བརྟན་གསོལ་འདེབས།

(rgyal ba rin po che’i zhabs brtan gsol ‘debs)

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


༧རྒྱལ་བ་ཀུན་གྱི་ཐུགས་རྗེ་གཅིག་འདུས་པ། །

GYEL-WA KÜN GYI T’UK-JÉ CHIK-DÜ-PA

United embodiment of the compassion of all Victorious Ones,

དེང་འདིར་སྡོམ་བརྩོན་དམ་པའི་རྣམ་རོལ་གྱིས། །

DENG-DIR DOM-TSÖN DAM-PA’Y NAM-RÖL GYIY

Manifesting here and now as a Sublime One diligent in the vows;

འཇིག་རྟེན་ཞི་བདེའི་དཔལ་ལ་འགོད་མཛད་པའི། །

JIK-TEN ZHI-DÉ’I PEL LA GÖ DZAY-PA’Y

Ensuring the establishment of the world in the splendor of peace and happiness:

ཡོངས་རྫོགས་བསྟན་པའི་བདག་པོར་ཞབས་བརྟན་གསོལ། །

YONG-DZOK TEN-PA’Y DAK-POR ZHAP-TEN SÖL

I pray that the noble feet of the Sovereign of the Teachings, in their thorough completeness, remain firm.

(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos.)

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The Instruction on Parting from the Four Attachments, by Sachen Künga Nyingpo

The Instruction on Parting from the Four Attachments

༈ ཞེན་པ་བཞི་བྲལ་གྱི་གདམས་པ་བཞུགས།

(zhen pa bzhi bral gyi gdams pa bzhugs)

ས་ཆེན་ཀུན་དགའ་སྙིང་པོ།

by Sachen Künga Nyingpo (sa chen kun dga’ snying po, 1092-1158)

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


ཨོཾ་སྭསྟི་སིདྡྷཾ།

OṂ SVASTI SIDDHAṂ!

(OṂ: MAY GOOD FORTUNE BE ACCOMPLISHED!)


བླ་མ་ས་སྐྱ་པ་ཆེན་པོ་དགུང་ལོ་བཅུ་གཉིས་བཞེས་པའི་ཚེ། འཕགས་པ་འཇམ་པའི་དབྱངས་ཀྱི་སྒྲུབ་པ་ཟླ་བ་དྲུག་མཛད་པས། དུས་གཅིག་གི་ཚེ་འོད་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་དབུས་ན་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཁྲི་གཅིག་གི་སྟེང་ན་རྗེ་བཙུན་འཇམ་དབྱངས་དམར་སེར་ཆོས་འཆད་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཅན། བཟང་པོའི་སྟབས་ཀྱིས་བཞུགས་པ། འཁོར་བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའ་གཉིས་གཡས་གཡོན་དུ་གནས་པ་མངོན་སུམ་གཟིགས་ཏེ། གཙོ་བོའི་ཞལ་ནས།

When the Great Lama Sakyapa (Sachen Künga Nyingpo) had reached the age of twelve years old1, he undertook a six-month practice retreat on the Noble Mañjuśrī. On a certain day during this period, he directly beheld the Venerable Lord Mañjughoṣa (Mañjuśrī): Dwelling in the center of a mass of light atop a bejeweled throne, orange2 [in bodily color], with [his hand in] the Mudrā3 of Expounding the Dharma, sitting in the Posture of Excellence [with his feet flat on the ground4]; and as his attendants, to the left and right, stood two Bodhisattvas. Thereupon, from the mouth of the Chief Figure (Mañjuśrī) came the following:

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །

If you are attached to this life5, you are not a Dharma practitioner6

ཁམས་གསུམ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །

If you are attached to the Three Realms7 [of Saṃsāra8], you do not have renunciation9.

བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །

If you are attached to your own self-interest10, you do not have Enlightenment Mind (bodhicitta11). 

འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

If you engage12 in grasping13, you do not have the View14.

ཞེས་གསུངས་པའི་དོན་ལ་དཔྱད་པས། ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་ལམ་གྱི་ཉམས་ལེན་ཐམས་ཅད་ཞེན་པ་བཞི་དང་བྲལ་བའི་བློ་སྦྱོང་དུ་འདུ་བར་དགོངས་ཏེ། ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་ལ་ངེས་ཤེས་ཁྱད་པར་ཅན་ཐོབ་པ་ཡིན་ནོ།

Analyzing the meaning of those words which had been thus spoken [by Mañjuśrī], he [Sachen Künga Nyingpo] came to comprehend that all the practices of the Path of Transcendental Perfections (pāramitā-s15) were condensed within this Mind Training16 on Parting from the Four Attachments. And through this, he gained a special certainty of insight regarding all Dharmas17.

། །ས་མཱཔྟ་མི་ཐི།། །།

SAMĀPTAM-ITHI!

(“IT IS THUS COMPLETE!”)


Appendix: Root verses of the Parting from the Four Attachments‘, without footnote numbers and with Tibetan phonetic pronunciation

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །

TS’É DI LA ZHEN NA CH’Ö-PA MIN

(1.) If you are attached to this life, you are not a Dharma practitioner. 

ཁམས་གསུམ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །

KHAM-SUM LA ZHEN NA NGEY-JUNG MIN
(2.) If you are attached to the Three Realms [of Saṃsāra], you do not have renunciation.

བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །

DAK-DÖN LA ZHEN NA JANG-SEM MIN

(3.) If you are attached to your own self-interest, you do not have Enlightenment Mind (bodhicitta).

འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

DZIN-PA JUNG NA TA-WA MIN

(4.) If you engage in grasping, you do not have the View.

(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, October 23rd-24th, 2018.)


1 In 1104 or 1005 CE

2 Or ‘reddish-yellow’ (dmar ser)

3 hand gesture

4 Like the way that Maitreya Bodhisattva sits seated upon his throne with his feet flat on the ground.

5 That is, this present or current lifetime

6 chos pa, or ‘spiritual practitioner’, ‘religious practitioner’, but the implication here is specifically Buddhist (chos=Dharma), especially with regard to the aims of Buddhist spiritual practice, namely liberation and enlightenment

7 khams gsum, Skt. Tri-dhatu: The form realm (rūpa-dhātu), the formless realm (arūpa-dhūtu), and the desire realm (kāma-dhātu)

8 And conditioned existence (srid pa), synonymous with Saṃsāra, ‘cyclic existence’

9 Or ‘the determination for emancipation/liberation’ (nges ‘byung)

10 Or ‘your own personal purpose/aim/goals’ (bdag don)

11 On the conventional level of Relative Bodhicitta, bodhicitta is the altruistic wish to attain the state of complete Enlightenment or Awakening, Buddhahood, for the sake of all sentient beings, in order to benefit them generally, and also to bring them to the state of Enlightenment in particular; as well as the determination to practice the Bodhisattva Path of love, compassion, the Six Transcendental Perfections (pāramitā-s), etc., which are necessary for achieving that goal of Buddhahood. On the absolute level of Ultimate Bodhicitta, bodhicitta is the practice of direct insight into the ultimate nature of phenomena and the true nature of mind. Here the discussion mainly concerns Relative Bodhicitta, especially in its altruistic aspirations for the benefit of others. Notoriously difficult to translate into English and thus often simply left in its original Sanskrit, bodhicitta has been rendered numerous ways, some more accurate that others, including “awakened mind” (inaccurate), “awakened heart” (inaccurate), “enlightened mind” (inaccurate), “enlightened heart” (inaccurate), “thought of enlightenment/awakening” (somewhat accurate), “altruistic aspiration to enlightenment/awakening” (accurate), “awakening mind” (accurate), “will to enlightenment/awakening” (accurate), “bodhi mind” (accurate), “bodhi heart” (accurate), and “spirit of enlightenment/awakening” (accurate). “Enlightenment/Awakening Mind” (or “Mind of Enlightenment/Awakening”), is the most literal standard translation of the term, and in many contexts may also be the most appropriate for capturing the nuances of the term bodhicitta in English. Care must be made when rendering this term not to wrongly indicate that this ‘mind’ is one which has already attained Enlightenment; which is why “enlightened/awakened mind” is inaccurate. It should be noted, however, that bodhicitta often has different meanings in Tantric or Vajrayāna contexts.

12 Or “if grasping arising/occurs”. For various reasons I have opted for a more active form here (‘engage’), rather than the passive form used by other translators, although the verb here (byung) is generally of the more passive and indeed involuntary variety, and usually means “to occur, emerge, happen, to come to pass, to get”. Using a more active form here also fits in with the previous pattern set in the foregoing first three lines, namely “If you…”, wherein the instrumentality of an agent is implied in all three cases (albeit less directly in the original Tibetan text). Some have also translated this fourth line as “if there is grasping”. I submit that here a more active verb form is generally more appropriate in English, because it is the agent who is ‘engaging’ in grasping, and that this selfsame grasping does not come from some outside source nor from elsewhere than the grasping mind of the implied agent. In other words, we would not tell someone to “not let grasping happen”, we would tell them to “not engage in grasping”.

13 Or ‘clinging’ (‘dzin pa)

14 That is, the Right View or the appropriate view of discerning insight (prajñā) which realizes Emptiness and Non-Self, wherein there is no grasping, clinging or fixation on the conceptual elaborations of existence, non-existence, both existence and non-existence, and neither existence nor non-existence, with regard to all phenomena. ‘Grasping’ here is thus attachment to a ‘self’ and to true or inherent existence with regard to oneself, others, and all things, including thoughts and concepts.

15 Or ‘Transcendental Practices’ (pha rol tu phyin pa). ‘The Path of Transcendental Perfections (pāramitā-s)’ (pha rol tu phyin pa’i lam) is another way of referring to the Mahāyāna or Bodhisattvayāna systems or ‘vehicles’ of Buddhism, which are also sometimes called the Pāramitāyāna.

16 blo sbyong, methods of training the mind in important topics of contemplation using short instructions

17 The meaning of “all Dharmas” (chos thams cad) here is specifically “all Dharma teachings”, but the grammar is perhaps intentionally ambivalent, and could also mean “all phenomena” or “all things”.


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The Glory of the Golden Mountain: A Long Life Prayer for the Unsurpassed Master of the Great Perfection, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché, by Yongdzin Loppön Tendzin Namdak Rinpoché

The Glory of the Golden Mountain: A Long Life Prayer for the Unsurpassed Master of the Great Perfection, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché

བླ་མེད་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་སློབ་དཔོན་ནམ་མཁའི་ནོར་བུའི་ཞབས་བརྟན་མར་ཞི་ལྷུན་པོའི་དཔལ་ཞེས་བྱ་བཞུགས།

(bla med rdzogs pa chen po’i slob dpon nam mkha’i nor bu’i zhabs brtan mar zhi lhun po’i dpal zhes bya ba bzhugs)

by Yongdzin Loppön Tendzin Namdak Rinpoché

(yongs ‘dzin slob dpon bstan ‘dzin rnam dag rin po che, 1926-)

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


 མཆོག་གསུམ་རིགས་བརྒྱའི་ཁྱབ་བདག་དཔལ་གདོད་མའི་མགོན་པོ་དང་དབྱེར་མེད་པ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

HOMAGE TO THE ONE INSEPARABLE FROM THE GLORIOUS PRIMORDIAL DEFENDER WHO IS THE ALL-PERVASIVE SOVEREIGN OF THE SUPREME TRIPLE GEM AND THE HUNDRED BUDDHA FAMILIES!

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཀ་དག་ཡེ་གཞིའི་སངས་རྒྱས་ལྷ་ཡི་ལམ། །

É-MA-HO: KA-DAK YÉ-ZHI’I SANG-GYAY LHA YI LAM

How marvelous! Upon the heavenly path of the originally pure primordial ground of Buddhahood,

རང་གསལ་རིག་པའི་རྟ་བདུན་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་རྒྱས། །

RANG-SEL RIK-PA’Y TA-DÜN KYILN-KHOR GYAY

The disc of the seven-horsed sun of Self-Luminous Intrinsic Awareness swells;

གཉིས་མེད་རོལ་པའི་འོད་ཟེར་ཡོངས་སུ་འཕྲོས། །

NYIY-MEY RÖL-PA’Y O-ZER YONG-SU T’RÖ

And beams of light, which are the display of Non-Duality, thoroughly radiate forth:

ཡེ་གྲོལ་སྐུ་གསུམ་བླ་མར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

YÉ-DRÖL KU-SUM LA-MAR SÖL-WA DEP

To the Guru of the Primordially Freed Three Kāyas, I supplicate.

རང་གྲོལ་ལྟ་བའི་ལྗོན་བཟང་རྒྱས་པའི་རྩེར། །

RANG-DRÖL TA-WA’Y JÖN-ZANG GYAY-PA’Y TSER

On the peak of the lush excellent tree of his View of self-liberation,

འགག་མེད་སྒོམ་པའི་འདབ་མ་ཡོངས་སུ་རྒྱས། །

GAK-MEY GOM-PA’Y DAP-MA YONG-SU GYAY

The leaves of his ceaseless Meditation are thoroughly bloomed;

སྤང་རྟོགས་འབྲས་བུའི་མེ་ཏོག་ཅི་ཡང་བཞད། །

PANG-TOK DRAY-BU’I MÉ-TOK CHI-YANG ZHAY

And the flowered fruits of his Relinquishment and Realization are blossomed in every way:

རྣལ་འབྱོར་ལམ་གྱི་སྟོན་པར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

NELN-JOR LAM GYI TÖN-PAR SÖL-WA DEP

To the Teacher of the Path of Yoga, I supplicate.

དག་པ་གཉིས་ལྡན་ཁྱབ་བདག་ཀུན་ཏུ་བཟང་། །

DAK-PA NYIY-DEN KHYAP-DAK KÜN-TU-ZANG

The All-Pervasive Sovereign endowed with the Two Purities1, Samantabhadra,

ལྷུན་གྲུབ་ངེས་པ་ལྔ་ལྡན་ལོངས་སྤྱོད་རྫོགས། །

LHÜN-DRUP NGEY-PA NGA-DEN LONG-CHÖ-DZOK

The Spontaneous Presence endowed with the Five Certainties, the Saṃbhogakāya,2

འགྲོ་མགོན་ཕན་བདེའི་དཔལ་དུ་ཅིར་ཡང་སྤུལ། །

DRO-DÖN P’EN-DÉ’Y PEL DU CHIR-YANG TRUL

The Defender of Living Beings who emanates in any way possible for the glory of benefit and happiness:

སྐུ་གསུམ་ངོ་བོ་བླ་མར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

KU-SUM NGO-WO LA-MAR SÖL-WA DEP

To the Guru Who is the Essential Identity of the Three Kāyas, I supplicate.

ཡེ་གྲོལ་ཀུན་གཞི་རྒྱ་མཚོ་འཁྱིལ་བའི་ཀློང་། །

YÉ-DRÖL KÜN-ZHI GYAM-TS’O KHYIL-WA’Y LONG

In the swirling expanse of the ocean of the All Ground3, primordially freed,

རང་གྲོལ་རིག་པའི་རླབས་ཕྲེང་ཕྱོགས་བཅུར་གཡོ། །

RANG-DRÖL RIK-PA’Y LAP-T’RENG CH’OK-CHUR YO

The rippling waves of self-freed Intrinsic Awareness surge throughout the ten directions;

མཐའ་གྲོལ་སྟོང་པའི་སྣང་བ་ཅི་ཡང་གསལ། །

T’A-DRÖL TONG-PA’Y NANG-WA CHI-YANG SEL

And empty appearance, freed from conceptual extremes, manifests as anything whatsoever:

ཁྲེག་ཆོད་དགོངས་པ་རྫོགས་ལ་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

T’REK-CH’Ö GONG-PA DZOK LA SÖL-WA DEP

To the Perfecter of the Innermost Intent of Cutting Through Solidity4, I supplicate.

མིག་མཚོའི་ཐབས་ཀྱིས་བསྐྲུན་པའི་གཤིས་དབྱིངས་སུ། །

MIK-TS’O’I T’AP KYIY TRÜN-PA’Y SHIY-YING SU

In the Natural Sphere engendered by the Ocean Eye Method of the Forty-Two Points5,

སྣ་ཚོགས་བཀོད་པའི་ཆོ་འཕྲུལ་བསམ་མཐའ་ཡས། །

NA-TS’OK KÖ-PA’Y CH’O-T’RUL SAM-T’A-YAY

Variously arrayed miracles, beyond the limits of imagination,

སྣང་སྲིིད་ཡེ་ཤེས་དབྱིངས་སུ་མཉམ་པར་གཟིགས། །

NANG-S’IY YÉ-SHEY YING SU NYAM-PAR ZIK

Are beheld equally within the Realm of the Primordial Wisdom of Appearance and Existence:

འོད་གསལ་མཐར་རྫོགས་བླ་མར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

Ö-SEL T’AR-DZOK LA-MAR SÖL-WA DEP

To the Guru Who Brings Utter Lucidity to Final Culmination, I supplicate.

མགོན་པོ་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་མཁྱེན་བརྩེའི་འོད་ཞགས་ཀྱིས། །

GÖN-PO KHYEY KYI KHYEN-TSÉ’I Ö-ZHAK KYIY

O Defender, through the light-lasso of your exalted understanding and love,

འགྲོ་ཀུན་ཐར་པའི་ལམ་བཟང་གསལ་བར་མཛད། །

DRO-KÜN T’AR-PA’Y LAM-ZANG SEL-WAR DZAY

You ensure illumination of the good path which liberates all living beings;

ཕན་དང་བདེ་བ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་སྒོ་བརྒྱ་ཕྱེས། །

P’EN DANG DE-WA GYAM-TS’O’I GO GYA CH’EY

And open the hundred gates to the ocean of benefit and happiness:

རྫོགས་ཆེན་རྣལ་འབྱོར་དམ་པར་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས། །

DZOK-CH’EN NELN-JOR DAM-PAR SÖL-WAR DEP

To the Sublime Yogin of the Great Perfection, I supplicate.

མཆོག་གསུམ་བདེན་དང་བདག་ཅག་གསོལ་འདེབས་མཐུས། །

CH’OK-SUM DEN DANG DAK-CHAK SÖL-DEP T’Ü

By the truth of the Supreme Triple Gem, and by the power of our supplication,

དམ་པ་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་གསང་གསུམ་འགྲོ་མགོན་དུ། །

DAM-PA KHYEY KYI SANG-SUM DRO GÖN DU

O Sublime One, may your Three Secrets6, for the defense of living beings,

སྲིད་མཐའི་བར་དུ་འགྱུར་མེད་བརྟན་པ་དང་། །

S’IY-T’A’Y BAR-DU GYUR-MEY TEN-PA DANG

Remain firmly unchanging until the end of conditioned existence;

འཕྲིན་ལས་མཐའ་རུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཤོག །

T’RIN-LAY T’A-RU-CH’IN-PA’Y TRA-SHIY SHOK

And may there be the good fortune of your Awakened Activity being brought to consummation.

ཅེས་མོས་འདུན་དང་བཅས་ཏེ་སྨན་རི་བ་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྣམ་དག་གིས་༡༩༩༧ལོར་ཕུལ།། །།

And so it was that, with inspired motivation, this was offered up by Tendzin Namdak of Menri (sman ri), in the year 1997.

(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, September 20th-21st 2018.)

1 The Two Purities here are 1) Inherent Purity (rang bzhin gyi dag pa) or Essential Purity (ngo bo’i dag pa), being pure by nature, and 2) Adventitious Purity (glo bur gyi dag pa), which is the purity of being free or devoid of emotional and cognitive obscurations (sgrib pa) which are adventitious, superficial or temporary. Another meaning for ‘the Two Purities’ is 1) the purity resulting from the elimination of the emotional obscurations of afflictive mental states (nyon mongs kyi sgrip kyis dag pa) and 2) the purity resulting from the elimination of the cognitive obscurations which prevent knowledge of reality (shes bya’i sgrib kyis dag pa).

2 The Five Certainties (nges pa lnga) are five aspects of the pure experience of the Saṃbhogakāya, the ‘resource dimension’ or ‘enjoyment body’ of Buddhahood. These Five Certainties are to be cultivated in order to give rise to pure view or purified vision which is in accordance with that pure experience of the Saṃbhogakāya. They are specifically related to the act of teaching the Buddha Dharma; and are namely: 1) the certainty of the Teacher (ston pa’i nges pa), that the teacher giving the Dharma teaching is Vajradhara or Vairocana Buddha, or else in the form of another Buddha endowed with all the usual signs and marks of Enlightenment; 2) the certainty of the Dharma (chos kyi nges pa) or the Teaching (bstan pa’i nges pa), that the Dharma which is being taught is that of the Great Vehicle (mahāyāna); 3) the certainty of the retinue (‘khor gyi nges pa), that the assembly who listens to the Dharma teaching are all Bodhisattvas abiding on the Ten Bhūmis or Bodhisattva Levels (not, it should be noted, only Bodhisattvas on the Tenth Bhūmi, but from the First Bhūmi onward); 4) the certainty of the place (gnas kyi nges pa), that the location where the Dharma is being taught is the Densely Arrayed Pure Land of Akaniṣṭhā; and 5) the certainty of the time (dus kyi nges pa), that the time when the Dharma is being taught is the ‘continuous wheel of eternity’ (dus rtag pa rgyun kyi ‘khor lo), the time of timeless eternity.

3 Ālāya (-vijñāna)

4 khregs chod (Trekchö)

5 mig mtsho (‘i thabs), a series of forty-two points or methods of practice in the Tögel (thod rgal) teachings of the Great Perfection (rdzog chen). Here ‘eye’ (mig) has the esoteric numerological significance of the number 2, while ‘ocean’ has that of the number 4; combined (and read backwards) they represent these 42 aspects or points.

6 Or ‘Three Mysteries’, of Awakened/Enlightened Body, Speech and Mind, or Vajra Body, Speech and Mind

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The Primal Rosary of Precious Stones: A Long Life Prayer for His Eminence Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché, by Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché

The Primal Rosary of Precious Stones:

A Long Life Prayer for His Eminence Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché

༧སྐྱབས་རྗེ་ཆོས་རྒྱལ་ནམ་མཁའི་ནོར་བུ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ལ་བརྟན་གསོལ་རིན་ཆེན་དང་པོའི་ཕྲེང་བ།།

(skyabs rje cho rgyal nam mkha’i nor bu rin po che la brtan gsol rin chen dang po’i phreng ba)

by Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché

(mkhan chen bla ma dpal dgyes pa rdo rje rin po che)

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


ན་མོ་མ་ཧཱ་གུ་རུ་པུནྱེ་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཡེ།།

NAMO MAHĀGURU PUṄYE-JÑĀNAYE!

(HOMAGE TO THE GREAT TEACHER OF GOOD KARMIC POTENTIAL AND DEEP WISDOM!)

ཚེ་དཔག་མེད་མགོན་འཆི་མེད་པདྨ་འབྱུང་།།

TS’É-PAK-MEY GÖN CH’I-MEY PAY-MA-JUNG

The Defender Amitāyus, the Deathless Padmasambhava,

གཙུག་ཏོར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་སྒྲོལ་མ་དཀར་མོ་སོགས།།

TSUK-TOR-NAM-GYEL DRÖL-MA KAR-MO SOK

Uṣṇīṣavijayā, White Tārā and the rest;

རིག་འཛིན་ཚེ་ཡི་ལྷ་ཚོགས་བྱིན་རླབས་ཀྱིས།།

RIK-DZIN TS’É YI LHA-TS’OK JIN-LAP KYIY

Through the blessings of the Vidyādhara Deity Assemblies of Longevity,

དཔལ་ལྡན་བླ་མའི་སྐུ་ཚེ་བསྲིངས་གྱུར་ཅིག།

PEL-DEN LA-MA’Y KU-TS’É S’ING GYUR CHIK

May the lifespan of the Glorious Guru be prolonged.

གངས་རིའི་མགོན་ལ་ཤེས་བྱའི་སྒྱུ་རྩལ་བསྟན།།

GANG-RI’I GÖN LA SHEY-JA’Y GYU-TSEL TEN

Teaching the arts of the fields of knowledge to the Defenders of the Snowy Mountain Land,

སྙིགས་ལྔའི་འགྲོ་ལ་རྫོགས་ཆེན་ཁྱབ་པར་བརྡལ།།

NYIK-NGA’Y DRO LA DZOK-CH’EN KHYAP-PAR DEL

Spreading far and wide the Great Perfection1 to living beings of the Five Degenerations,

འཛམ་གླིང་ཡོངས་ལ་ཕན་བདེའི་ཕྲིན་ལས་ཅན།།

DZAM-LING YONG LA P’EN-DE’I T’RIN-LAY CHEN

One of Awakened Activity which brings benefit and happiness to the whole world:

ཆོས་རྒྱལ་ནམ་མཁའི་ནོར་བུ་ཞབས་བརྟན་གསོལ།།

CH’Ö-GYEL NAM-KHA’Y NOR-BU ZHAP-TEN SÖL

I pray that the honored feet of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu remain firm.

སྔ་འགྱུར་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་རྒྱུད་པར་འཛིན།།

NGA-GYUR DZOK-PA-CH’EN-PO’I GYÜ-PAR DZIN

Upholding the lineage of the Early Translations’ Great Perfection,

ཕྱི་འགྱུར་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོའི་སྲོལ་རྒྱུན་སྐྱོང་།།

CH’I-GYUR CH’AK-GYA-CH’EN-PO’I S’ÖL-GYÜN KYONG

Sustaining the tradition of the Later Translations’ Great Seal2,

ཡང་འགྱུར་ལུས་སྦྱོང་འཕྲུལ་འཁོར་རྩལ་འདོན་སྤེལ།།

YANG-GYUR LÜ-JONG T’RUL-KHOR TSEL-DÖN PEL

Propagating the emphasis on the New Translations’ physical exercises of the Magic Wheel3:

ཟློས་གར་རིག་པའི་དཔའ་བོ་བརྟན་བཞུགས་གསོལ།།

DÖ-GAR RIK-PA’Y PA-WO TEN-ZHUK SÖL

I pray that the Dancing Hero of Intrinsic Awareness may firmly abide.

སློབ་ཚོགས་དམ་ཚིག་དད་པས་རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ།།

LOP-TS’OK DAM-TS’IK DAY-PAY TEN CHING DREL

Due to the interdependent connection formed by the Sacred Commitment4 and faith of his hosts of disciples,

བདག་གིས་ལྷག་བསམ་དག་པས་སྨོན་ཚིག་མཐུས།།

DAK GIY LHAK-SAM DAK-PAY MÖN-TS’IK T’Ü

By the power of my words of aspiration, made with pure altruistic motivation,

བསྟན་འགྲོའི་དོན་དུ་གསང་གསུམ་བསྐལ་བརྒྱར་བརྟན།།

TEN-DRO’I DÖN DU SUNG-TS’É KEL GYAR TEN

For the sake of the Teachings and living beings, may his Three Secrets5 remain firm for a hundred eons;

ཕན་བདེའི་ཕྲིན་ལས་ས་གསུམ་ཁྱབ་གྱུར་ཅིག།

P’EN-DÉ’I T’RIN-LAY SA-SUM KHYAP GYUR CHIK

And may his Awakened Activity of benefit and happiness encompass the three planes of conditioned existence.

ཅེས་རབ་གནས་ས་ཁྱིའི་སྨན་ཆར་དགེ་བའི་དུས་བཟང་སངས་རྒྱས་སྨན་བླའི་དུས་ཆེན་ཉིན་འཛམ་གླིང་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་ཞི་བདེའི་དེད་དཔོན་ཆེན་པོ་༧ཆོས་རྒྱལ་ནམ་མཁའི་ནོར་བུ་མཆོག་གི་ཞབས་བརྟན་སྨོན་ལམ་དགོས་པར་མཁའ་འགྲོ་དཔལ་ལྡན་ལྷ་མོ་སྒྲོལ་མ་སོགས་༧མགོན་པོ་མཆོག་གི་སློབ་དུ་མས་ངོར་གང་དྲན་དུ་རྩ་གསུམ་རབ་འབྱམས་རྒྱལ་བ་སྲས་བཅས་ལ་གསོལ་སྨོན་དང་མགོན་པོ་གང་ཉིད་བརྟན་གསོལ་དུ་དབྱིན་ཡུལ་གངས་ལྡན་རི་བོའི་མགུལ་ནས་སྙིགས་དུས་ཀྱི་ཆོས་སྨྲ་བ་ཤཱཀྱའི་དགེ་སྦྱོང་བ་མཁན་ཆེན་བླ་མ་དཔལ་དགྱེས་པ་རྡོ་རྗེ་འམ་ཤྲཱིཿཨེ་མ་ཧོས་དེ་ཉིད་དུ་སྨོན་པར་དགེའོ།། །།

And so it was that on the positive auspicious occasion of Medicine Dawn (sman char) in the Earth Dog Year of the sixty-year Tibetan astrological cycle (rab gnas), the day of celebration for Medicine Buddha, in response to numerous disciples of this Supreme Defender, such as Khandro Pelden Lhamo Drölma and others, who stated the necessity of a long life prayer for the great captain of peace and happiness for all the nations of the world, His Eminence Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché, whatever rose to mind, as a supplicating wish to the infinite array of the Three Roots, as well as the Victorious Ones together with their Bodhisattva Heirs, and as a prayer for the stable longevity of this Defender himself, was written down on the slopes of a mountain in the snowy country of England, by a Dharma Expounder of the Degenerate Age and spiritual mendicant of the Śākyan lineage, Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé, or Śrī Émaho; who formulated aspirations just so: May it be virtuous!

(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, September 18th 2018, at the request of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché’s students.)

1 rdzog chen, mahāsaṅdhi (Dzogchen)

2 phyag rgya chen po, mahāmudrā

3 ‘phrul ‘khor (Trulkhor)

4 samaya

5 Or ‘Three Mysteries’, of Awakened/Enlightened Body, Speech and Mind, or Vajra Body, Speech and Mind

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The Naked Truth, by Gendün Chöpel

The Naked Truth (bden pa gcer bu)

by Gendün Chöpel (dge ‘dun chos ‘phel, 1903-1951)

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


The naked truth, terrifying to behold,

Should never be covered with the garb of self-deception.

This is the first sacred vow of the scholar:

So strive to keep it with diligence; even at the cost of your life.


མཐོང་ན་འཇིགས་པའི་བདེན་པ་གཅེར་བུ་ལ། །

རང་མགོ་བསྐོར་བའི་གོས་ཀྱིས་མི་གཡོགས་པ། །

འདི་ནི་མཁས་པའི་དམ་ཚིག་དང་པོ་སྟེ། །

སྲོག་ལ་བབས་ཀྱང་འབད་པས་བསྲུང་བར་འཚལ། །


Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos. The first draft translation was completed on November 8th, 2012. The final version was revised exactly five years later, on November 8th, 2017.

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A Praise and Prayer for Erick Tsiknopoulos, by Khenchen Lama Rinpoché, Pelgyeypa Dorjé

A Praise and Prayer for Erick Tsiknopoulos

by Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché, 2010 
(mkhan chen bla ma dpal dgyes pa rdo rje rin po che)

ཨེ་མ་ཧོཿ
É-MA-HO
How wondrous!

ཨེ་རིག་སྟོང་པའི་ཤེས་རབ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཤིང་།།
É: RIK TONG-PA’Y SHEY-RAP TRA-SHIY SHING
E: The good fortune of the Discerning Insight of Empty Intrinsic Awareness, 

ཝཾ་རིག་སྣང་བའི་ཀུན་བཟང་བདེ་ལེགས་པོ།།
WAM: RIK NANG-WA’Y KÜN-ZANG DÉ-LEK-PO
VAM: The auspiciousness of the Universal Excellence of Apparent Intrinsic Awareness, 

ཟུང་འཇུག་སྤྲུལ་པའི་ལོ་ཙཱ་གཞན་ཕན་ཅན།།
ZUNG-JUK TRUL-PA’Y LO-TSĀ ZHEN-P’EN CHEN
The Translator who is an emanation of their integral unity, imbued with benevolence:

རྟེན་འབྲེལ་དམ་པའི་གྲོགས་ལ་བསྟོད་པ་བགྱི།།
TEN-DREL DAM-PA’Y DROK LA TÖ-PA GYI
Praise be to this friend of sublime interdependence;

བསྟན་དང་འགྲོ་བའི་དོན་ཆེན་འགྲུབ་པར་ཤོག།
TEN DANG DRO-WA’Y DÖN CH’EN DRUP-PAR SHOK
May he accomplish great benefit for the Teachings and living beings.

ཅེས་པའང་ཅི་དྲན་དུ་ཤྲཱིས་སྨྱོན་པས་སྨོན་པ་དོན་དང་ལྡན་པར་གྱུར་ཅིག །
And so the Madman Śrī prayed thus, with whatever came to mind. May it be of significance!

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Review of David J. Kalupahana’s ‘Ethics in Early Buddhism’ (1995)

by Erick Tsiknopoulos, December 2015


Well-written, thought-provoking, and often deeply perceptive, the late Sri Lankan scholar David J. Kalupahana’s Ethics in Early Buddhism is a concise introduction to the subject of Buddhist ethics in early Buddhism, based primarily on the Pāli textual sources thought to be historically earliest. It aims to provide a philosophical investigation, focused on history and epistemology, into the underlying principles of Buddhist ethics, as well as its relationship to other forms of Indian and Western ethical thought. Kalupahana’s core ethical analysis is centered on dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) as a guiding reference point. His main thesis is that (Early) Buddhist ethics are non-absolutist, non-essentialist, non-universalist, particularist, empirical and pragmatic, describing Buddhist ethics as a kind of moral pragmatism, which he likens to some forms of Western pragmatism such as that of American religious philosopher William James (1842-1910) and his ‘radical empiricism’. He argues against deontological and utilitarian interpretations of Buddhist ethics, while admitting to teleology, though not an absolutist nor especially Aristotelian or ‘virtue-based’ one. Discussions of sociology, economics, politics and the environment are included in his discourse, and copious relevant linguistic background information in the form of Pāli and Sanskrit etymology and terminology are provided throughout.

The book is divided into three sections: 1. Historical Background and Problems (Chapters 1-5), 2. The Moral Life, the Principle, and Justification (Chapters 6-11), and 3. Applications of the Principle (Chapters 12-17). In Chapter 1, Pre-Buddhist Indian Moral Theories and Their Ultimate Developments, Kalupahana discusses deontological, utilitarian, and amoral ethical systems in the context of ancient Indian thought such as Brahmanical, later Hindu and Jain, including texts such as Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra, the Vedas, Bhagavad-gītā and Upaniṣads, as well as the ‘sacred-secular dichotomy’, which he later concludes Buddhism lacks. In Chapter 2, Knowledge, Kalupahana analyzes the Buddha’s approach to logic and epistemology, in particular its empiricism, and how these relate to Buddhist ethical thought; the Buddha’s epistemological method rejects deductive, a prior reasoning, knowledge based on theoretical justification independent from experience, in favor of inductive, a posteriori reasoning, that which expresses an experiential fact unknowable by ‘pure reason’ alone. In Chapter 3, The Fact-Value Distinction, Kalupahana stresses the importance of distinguishing between ‘fact’ and ‘value’ and the ‘Is-Ought problem’ in ethical discourse, both of which he determines to be non-absolutist, contingent, empirical and pragmatic in Buddhist thought. In Chapter 4, The World and the Will, Kalupahana evaluates the place of the ‘will’ in Buddhist ethics, and the function and relationship of ‘disposition’ (or conditioning formations, saṅkhāra) and ‘volition’ (or intention, cetanā). In Chapter 5, Individual and Society, Kalupahana deals with how language and self-interest inform societal conceptions. In Chapter 6, The Noble Life (Brahmacariya), Kalupahana studies virtues, the Eightfold Path (aṭṭhaṅgiko-maggo) and the effects of ‘views’ on moral experience. In Chapter 7, Virtues: The Beginning of the Way, Kalupahana explains how virtues are the foundation of the Buddhist moral life, but not its ultimate goal of freedom. In Chapter 8, The Eightfold Path: The Middle of the Way, Kalupahana investigates how the Eightfold Path can be seen as the ethical practice and outcome of the Middle Way (majjhimāpaṭipadā) and Right View (sammādiṭṭhi). In Chapter 9, Freedom: The Conclusion of the Way, Kalupahana addresses the end-goal of the moral life, Nibbāna or spiritual liberation. In Chapter 10, The Status of the Moral Principle, Kalupahana treats the non-absolutist and conditional nature of conditioned arising as the basis for Buddhist ethics. In Chapter 11, Justification of the Moral Life, Kalupahana covers the consequences of actions, karma, rebirth and responsibility. In Chapter 12, Society and Morals, Kalupahana handles duty, mutual responsibility and social expectations. In Chapter 13, Economics and Morals, Kalupahana broaches sources for Buddhist economics such as the theory of the ‘wheel turning king’ (cakkavattin). In Chapter 14, Politics and Morals, Kalupahana briefly introduces two forms of government common during the Buddha’s time, monarchy and republicanism. In Chapter 15, Law, Justice and Morals, Kalupahana probes laws and justice in light of the Saṅgha or monastic community. In Chapter 16, Nature and Morals, Kalupahana relates thoughts on the moral necessity of environmental protection for Buddhist ethics. In Chapter 17, Conclusion: The Stream and the Lotus Pond, Kalupahana ends on a poetic note, explaining how the two symbols of ‘the stream’ (as in ‘going against the stream’, that is, of conditioned existence) and the lotus (as in ‘like a lotus arising from mud’) serve as apt metaphors for the Buddhist ethical vision.

Given the brevity of the volume at 146 pages (not including notes and short glossary), many of the intriguing and sometimes ground-breaking implications of Kalupahana’s arguments are not examined extensively, and may leave more questions than answers – almost like an Early Buddhist ethical kōan. But perhaps this was partly his intent: to stir the waters. Throughout the book, Kalupahana is critical of many Western interpretations of Buddhism and its ethics, and seems to be actively countering modern attempts at ‘ethical absolutization’ of Buddhism, serving a refreshing challenge to certain popular hermeneutic status quos and presumptions. Although these critiques and suggestions were probably much more relevant at the time of the book’s publication in 1995, they still hold considerable value at the time of this writing, twenty years later in 2015. It is notable, then, that Damien Keown, apparently missing many of Kalupahana’s points in this regard, gave this book a negative review in April 1997, which, though partially justified, almost looks like cognitive dissonance of aversion unable to handle the challenge presented to his views. Earlier in July 1996, Peter Harvey gave a far more nuanced, balanced and subtle review, which also works as a fair summary of the book, yet is also critical. These criticisms are often deserved (though some seem like nitpicking someone with whom one doesn’t agree or fully understand), but they do not take away from the overall high quality of the book.

It is lamentable that the now-deceased Kalupahana did not write more on Buddhist ethics, especially considering his fluency in both traditional Buddhism and Western philosophy, which often developed interesting ideas, readily apparent in this book. Despite some of Kalupahana’s controversial conclusions, occasionally questionable doctrinal assertions and frequent lack of expository elaboration, Ethics in Early Buddhism makes for a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable read, due to its reliance on source texts and scriptural quotations, solid dissection of ethical ramifications, astute historical observations, inventive Western philosophical comparisons, and penetrating philological insightfulness in its instructive Pāli and Sanskrit parenthetical notes. It is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in Buddhist ethics, especially those wishing for a decidedly unique perspective.

Section: Essays by Erick, Uncategorized

Review of David J. Kalupahana’s ‘Ethics in Early Buddhism’ (1995)

Well-written, thought-provoking, and often deeply perceptive, the late Sri Lankan scholar David J. Kalupahana’s Ethics in Early Buddhism is a concise introduction to the subject of Buddhist ethics in early Buddhism, based primarily on the Pāli textual sources thought to be historically earliest. It aims to provide a philosophical investigation, focused on history and epistemology, into the underlying principles of Buddhist ethics, as well as its relationship to other forms of Indian and Western ethical thought. Kalupahana’s core ethical analysis is centered on dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) as a guiding reference point.

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Section: UNSORTED, Sutra(s), Tibetan Lotus Sutra, Uncategorized

The Tibetan Lotus Sutra Project: Preview 1 of Chapter Ten, ‘The Dharma Teacher’

You can also read this on the official website at: http://tibetanlotussutra.blogspot.com/2015/01/first-preview-of-chapter-10-dharma.html

Then, the Bhagavān gave teaching to the eighty thousand Bodhisattvas such as Bodhisattva Medicine King in the following words: “King of Medicine! Do you see amongst the assembly those gods, nāgas, yakṣas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans and non-humans, monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, many of those in the Śrāvaka Vehicle and of those in the Bodhisattva Vehicle, who have heard this section of Dharma directly from the Bhagavān?”

“Bhagavān, I see them. Sugata, I see them.”

The Bhagavān gave teaching: “King of Medicine! All of them are Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas. For any of they in this retinue who thus heard even as little as one verse, heard one word, and those who even simply gave rise to a single thought of rejoicing in this Sūtra, any among the four-fold assembly, O King of Medicine, I predict for all of them the unsurpassable, perfectly complete Awakening.”

“King of Medicine! Any of those sons or daughters of good lineage who, after the Tathāgata has passed into Complete Nirvāṇa, listen to this section of Dharma and hear even as little as one of its verses, and then come to rejoice in it with the generation of even just a single thought, O King of Medicine, I predict for all of them the unsurpassable, perfectly complete Awakening.”

“King of Medicine! Those sons of good lineage or daughters of good lineage have honored in total hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Buddhas. O King of Medicine, those sons or daughters of good lineage have made aspirational prayers before many hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Buddhas.”

“King of Medicine! You should understand that those sons or daughters of good lineage, out of compassionate love for sentient beings, have taken birth as humans in this world.”

– from The Tibetan Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra)

‘The Noble White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma: A Mahāyāna Scripture’

(dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po’i zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo)

Chapter 10: The Dharma Teacher (chos smra ba’i le’u)

Translated from Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group

http://tibetanlotussutra.blogspot.in

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buddhism, buddhist scriptures, Section: UNSORTED, Sutra(s), translations, Translations from Tibetan, Uncategorized

The Tibetan Lotus Sutra Translation Project: First Preview of Chapter 1

http://tibetanlotussutra.blogspot.in/2015/01/chapter-1-first-preview.html

At that time, the four assemblies [of monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners] around the Bhagavān fully circumambulated, and attending to him, they respected, venerated, honored, made offerings, extolled and supplicated him. Thereupon, he expounded an explanation of the type of Dharma known as ‘The Great Definitive Teaching’, a Sūtra of extremely great vastness instructed to Bodhisattvas, fully embraced by all Buddhas. There on that very Dharma seat, with cross-legged position, he rested equanimously in the deep meditative concentration known as ‘The Abode of the Limitless Definitive Teaching’, and as he abided there, his body became unmoving, and his mind unwavering.

As soon as the Bhagavān had entered into meditative equilibrium, a great rain of flowers, consisting of the divine flowers Mandāra, Mahā-Mandāra, Mañjushuka and Mahā-Mañjushuka, came down with great force, and scattered over the Bhagavān and those four assemblies. The all-encompassing realm of the Buddha also came to shake in six ways, that is, it vibrated, comprehensively and intensely vibrated, quivered, comprehensively and intensely quivered, trembled, and comprehensively and intensely trembled.

At that time, the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, demigods, garuḍas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans and non-humans, kings of small countries, those who ruled over a powerful dominion, and those who ruled over the dominion of the four continents who had thus gathered in that assembly and were there arrayed, along with their retinues: all of them stood there looking at the Bhagavān, for they had become amazed, had become astronished, and had become most joyful.

Then at that time, from the Bhagavān’s Treasure-Hair in the space betweeen his eyebrows there emerged a single beam of light; and it went into eighteen thousand Buddha-realms in the eastern direction, and thus in all those Buddha-realms, everything from the great hells of unending torment all the way up to the peak of conditioned existence was made visible by the light of that light-beam. In the six transmigratory states of those Buddha-realms, all those sentient beings which were there, with none left out, were made visible. In those Buddha-realms all those Buddha-Bhagavāns who were abiding and remained living were also made visible. All those Dharmas which were expounded by those Buddha-Bhagavāns, with nothing left out, were resounding as well. In those Buddha-realms the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, Yogis, and Yogic practitioners who had attained fruition and those who had not attained fruition were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Bodhisattvas who practiced the conduct of the Bodhisattva with causal skillful means of numerous different kinds of study, focus and aspiration were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Buddhas who had passed into Complete Nirvāṇa were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Stūpas made from precious materials containing the relics of the Buddha-Bhagavāns who had passed into Complete Nirvāṇa were also all made visible.

Then, the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Maitreya had the thought: “Incredible! By what cause has this display of great signs and miracles here come about? Why has the Bhagavān shown such great signs and miracles? For while the Bhagavān is equanimously immersed within deep meditative concentration, these sort of inconceivable great miracles of magic, these great amazing wonders have also come to appear: So who shall I ask about the meaning of this? Who is there that can provide an answer for the meaning of this here?”

– from The Tibetan Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra)

‘The Noble White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma: A Mahāyāna Scripture’

(dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po’i zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo)

Chapter 1: The Preamble

Translated from Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group

http://tibetanlotussutra.blogspot.in

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Section: Sutra of Golden Light, Sutra of Golden Light, Sutra(s), Uncategorized

The Sūtra of Golden Light in 29 Chapters, Chapter 21: Excellent Manifestation

Chapter 21: Excellent Manifestation
(legs par byung ba’i le’u)


 

(Volume Nine)

Then, at that moment, the Bhagavān gave teaching in these verses:

Whenever I became a world-turning king,
At those times I offered the earth with its oceans,
And even its four continents, filled with precious things,
To all Victorious Ones of the past.

In all-encompassing search for the Dharmakāya,
There were no things, not previously dear and treasured,
Which I did not give away;
During numerous eons, I even gave away my treasured body.

Once I did this inconceivable eons in the past.
During the teaching-dispensation of the Sugata Jeweled Crest;
After that Sugata had passed into Nirvāṇa,
There arose a king called Excellent Manifestation.

He was a world-turning king ruling with mastery over the four continents,
Reigning mightily with a reach as far as the oceans,
Therefore he was said to be a sovereign king:
And once, in his royal palace, that transcendent king fell asleep.

In his dream, he heard the qualities of the Buddha,
And dreamt of the Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance.
He saw him, distinctly lucid;
As he sat and expounded this King of Sūtras.

The king awoke from his sleep,
His whole body filled with joy.
Ecstatic, he excitedly came out of the royal quarters;
And went to the dwelling of the supreme Saṅgha of disciples.

There he made offerings to the disciples of the Victorious One,
Saying, “In this noble Saṅgha is there one ‘Jewel Abundance’,
A monk imbued with good qualities?”;
He asked everywhere after the Dharma teacher “Jewel Abundance”.

At that time, Jewel Abundance
Was staying in another hermitage,
Contemplating in detail this King of Sūtras;
While reciting it, and living in total happiness.

The monk Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance
Was powerfully blazing with brilliance, majesty and glory.
And as he sat there in that other hermitage,
At that time, he was shown to the king.

There the Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance,
Upheld the profound sphere of royal activity,
For he always taught what is known as Transcendent Golden Light:
The Sovereign King of Sūtras.

Bowing down to the feet of Jewel Abundance,
King Excellent Manifestation spoke these words:

Transcendent Golden Light, the Sovereign King of Sūtras,
O one with face like full moon, I request you to explain.”
And thus to King Excellent Manifestation himself,
Jewel Abundance agreed to teach.

When this occurred, in all the three thousand worlds,
All the gods became intensely joyous.
At that time, the ruler of humans, there upon that earthen ground,
Which was clean, eminently special and unusual,
Sprinkled gem water and incense water;
Spread down loose flowers, and set up a throne.

Then the king exquisitely adorned the throne with parasols and victory banners,
And thousands of tassels.
The king also thoroughly sprinkled upon that throne transcendent sandalwoods;
In all sorts of varieties.

Devas and nāgas, asuras and centaurs,
Yakṣas and great serpents too,
Brought down a rain of divine coral tree flowers,
Powerfully and expansively upon that throne.

Those who had arrived, a thousand million billion gods wishing for the Dharma,
Beyond the reaches of thought,
As Jewel Abundance was appearing to leave;
Strewed sāl flowers with joy.

The Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance himself,
Washed thoroughly his body and dressed in clean clothes,
And proceeded to go close to that throne;
Pressed his palms together, and bowed down to it as well.

The god kings, gods and goddesses
Sat in the sky above, and brought down a rain of coral tree flowers,
And hundreds of thousands of cymbals;
Beyond the reaches of thought, which resounded with power.

Then Jewel Abundance, the monk Dharma teacher,
Being mindful of the thousand million Buddhas of the ten directions,
Beyond the reaches of thought;
Ascended the throne with concentration, and sat upon it.

He generated heartfelt love for all sentient beings,
And then also generated, authentically, the mind of compassion;
And then to the king Excellent Manifestation,
At that time taught this Sūtra.

And as the king sat with joined palms,
He rejoiced in every single word.
Through the force of the Dharma, tears shed from his eyes;
And his body was filled with joy.

In order to venerate this Sūtra,
At that time King Excellent Manifestation
Picked up the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, the king of jewels,
And for the sake of sentient beings, made this prayer:

“May a rain of ornaments endowed with the seven gems,
And precious jewels which bring well-being
To the sentient beings in this world
Descend upon this Earth.”

At that time, the seven kinds of gems
Armlets, necklaces and superb earrings,
And likewise food, clothing and drink also showered down,
Over the four continents comprehensively.

King Excellent Manifestation beheld this cascade of precious things,
Raining down upon the world,
And offered the gem-filled four continents;
For the Teachings of Jeweled Crest.

The Tathāgata Śākyamuni
Was the one known as King Excellent Manifestation.
It was I who, at that time, completely gave away the earth;
With its four continents, filled with precious things therein.

The one who to King Excellent Manifestation
At that time extensively taught this Sūtra,
Jewel Abundance, the Dharma teacher monk,
Became the Tathāgata Akṣobhya.

At the time I heard this Sūtra,
And rejoiced in every single word.
I, due to that very virtuous deed itself:
Listening to the Dharma and rejoicing,

Have permanently gained this body of golden hue and marks of hundredfold merit,
Lovely to behold and deeply beautiful to the eye,
Which gives strong delight to thousands of millions of gods;
And is joyful for living beings to behold.

During ninety-nine hundreds of thousands of millions of eons,
I became a world-turning king.
During many myriads of hundreds of thousands of eons,
I had the experience of being a regional king.

For inconceivable eons I was an Indra;
And likewise a lord Brahmā, the wish-fulfiller.
I have rendered service to that which never has limit:
The unfathomable Tenfold Power.

From my listening to and rejoicing in this Sūtra,
The mass of positive potential was thus most limitless;
For in accordance with my wish, I have attained Awakening:
And the transcendent Dharmakāya have I gained.

FROM THE SOVEREIGN KING OF SŪTRAS, THE TRANSCENDENT GOLDEN LIGHT, THIS WAS THE TWENTY-FIRST CHAPTER: ‘EXCELLENT MANIFESTATION’.

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group. 

Buddha - more time for reflection

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Section: Essays by Erick, Uncategorized

Biographies of the First Buddhist Patriarchs in Modern Tibetan Renditions of Early Indian Buddhist History (essay)

Biographies of the First Buddhist Patriarchs in Modern Tibetan Renditions of Early Indian Buddhist History:

A Partial Translation and Introductory Essay to the ‘Seven Successors’ (gTad-rabs bDun) Chapter of ‘The Consolidated Heart of Excellent Chronicles: One Hundred Questions and Answers on Buddhist History’ (Chos-‘byung Dris-len brGya-pa Legs-bshad sNying-bsdus) by Namdra Tubten Yarpel (rnam grwa thub bstan yar ‘phel)

By Erick Tsiknopoulos, 2014


 

Abstract:

What follows is an introductory essay to and partial translation of the ‘Seven Successors’ [or ‘Patriarchs’, Tibetan: gtad rabs (bdun)] section of a work on Buddhist history [Tibetan: chos ‘byung, literally ‘Dharma origins’] from the Tibetan perspective entitled The Consolidated Heart of Excellent Chronicles: One Hundred Questions and Answers on Buddhist History [Tib: chos ‘byung dris len brgya pa legs bshad snying bsdus], written by a modern Tibetan Buddhist scholar in the Géluk [T: dge lugs] sect named Namdrā T’upten Yarp’ël [T: rnam grwa thub bstan yar ‘phel] of Namgyël Monastery [T: rnam rgyal grwa tshang], which is the main monastery associated with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and located in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India. The book was published in 2004 by Namgyël Monastery’s publishing division, and is obtainable by the contacting the monastery in person or through their website, http://www.namgyalmonastery.org.

The Seven Patriarchs or Successors of the Teaching [T: bstan pa’i gtad rabs bdun] are held in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to be the first seven high-ranking monks who were put in charge of the maintenance and preservation of the Buddhist teachings after the death of the Buddha. They are all held to have been Arhats, those who had achieved spiritual liberation from birth-and-death, or Nirvāṇa. They were ‘patriarchs’ insofar as they maintained a position of leadership and inspiration for the Saṃgha, but not in that they were ‘supreme heads’ or replacements of the Buddha himself.

It is held in many Buddhist traditions that before his Parinirvāṇa (final Nirvāṇa upon death), the Buddha entrusted the care and preservation of his Dharma and its order, the Saṃgha, to Mahākāśyapa, and then predicted that there would be a line of successors (with Mahākāśyapa as the first) who would serve to maintain the purity of the Dharma, act as reminders of the Buddha’s presence (in this sense being figureheads), continue the lineage, and uphold the organization and activity of the monastic Saṃgha. The list, numbers, and names vary in different Buddhist traditions: seven in the Tibetan, twenty-three or in the Chinese and East Asian, and so on.

The Tibetan tradition states the (first) seven successors to be the following monks:

1) Ārya Mahākāśyapa [T: ‘phags pa ‘od srung]

2) Ānanda [T: kun dga’ bo]

3) Śāṇavāsika [T: sha na’i gos can]

4) Upagupta [T: nyer sbas]

5) Dhītika [T: dhii ti ka]

6) Kṛṣṇa [T: nag po]

7) Sudarśana [T: legs mthong]

The Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary [T: bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo], a famous Tibetan dictionary frequently referenced by scholars of Tibetan, contains the following definition for the Seven Successors or gtad rabs bdun:

sngar rgyal bstan dgra bcom pa gcig nas gcig tu sprad pa’i byung rim ‘od srung dang/ kun dga’ bo/ sha na’i gos can/ nye sbas/ dhI ti ka/ nag po/ legs mthong chen po ste bdun

“The progressive line [of succession] which long ago passed on the Teaching of the Victorious from one Arhat to another, namely, Ārya Mahākāśyapa, Ānanda, Śāṇavāsika, Upagupta, Dhītika, Kṛṣṇa, and Sudarśana, making seven.”

The East Asian traditions (Chinese, Japanese, and other countries which follow the Chinese Buddhist canon such Vietnam and Korea) feature a list of either twenty-three or twenty-four people who succeeded the Buddha in the role of upholding the Dharma. This list is known as the ‘twenty-three-’ or ‘twenty-four people who upheld the Dharma’ [Chinese: 付法蔵之二十四人fù fǎzāng zhi èrshísì rén, Japanese: 付法蔵の二十四人fuhōzo-no-nijūyo-nin].

The main source of this list seems to be a scripture known as History of the Buddha’s Successors, also referred to as The Buddha’s Successors Sūtra [付法蔵因縁伝, Chin: fù fǎzāng yīnyuán zhuán, Jpn: fuhōzō in’nen-den]. The list of twenty-three successors in the Sinic-derived Buddhist traditions is as follows:

  1. Mahākāśyapa
  2. Ānanda
  3. Śāṇavāsika (or Śāṇavāsa)
  4. Upagupta
  5. Dhītaka (or Dhrītaka)
  6. Mikkaka (or Miccaka)
  7. Buddhānanda
  8. Buddhamitrā
  9. Pārśva
  10. Punyayaśas
  11. Aśvaghoṣa
  12. Kapimala
  13. Nāgārjuna
  14. Āryadeva
  15. Rāhulabhadra (or Rāhulata)
  16. Saṃghānandi (or Saṃghānanda)
  17. Saṃghayashas
  18. Kumārata
  19. Jayata (or Śayata)
  20. Vasubandhu
  21. Manorhita
  22. Haklenayaśas
  23. Āryasiṃha (or Siṃhabodhi)

The History of the Buddha’s Successors states that Ānanda transferred the Buddha’s teachings and the responsibility for their preservation to both Madhyāntika and Śāṇavāsa (or Śāṇavāsika). Madhyāntika spread the Teaching in Kashmir in northwest India, but he had no known successor. Śāṇavāsa transferred the position to Upagupta, from whom it was finally passed on to Āryasiṃha without interruption. Based on this view, the Chinese priest Chang-an (561-632), the successor of the founder of the T’ien-t’ai school [which in Japan became the Tendai school], while listing the twenty-three successors in his preface to the voluminous work Great Concentration and Insight [摩訶止観, Chn:Mó-hē zhǐguānJpn: maka-shikan) by the founder of the T’ien-tai school, Zhiyi, went on to state that Madhyāntika and Śāṇavāsa were contemporaries, who both inherited the Buddha’s teachings from Ānanda. Therefore, if both are included among the Buddha’s successors, he pointed out, there are twenty-four. In the list of twenty-four successors, Madhyāntika is regarded as the third and Śāṇavāsa as the fourth. Chang-an’s statement led the T’ien-t’ai school to adopt this view of twenty-four successors, in addition to the traditional view of twenty-three. This view later became popular or even standard in East Asian Buddhism, in particular in Japan.

In a similar vein, Nichiren, the thirteenth century founder of the Nichiren school of Japanese Buddhism, who also followed the Tendai interpretation, had the following to say about the twenty-four successors in his work entitled Listing the Successors of the Buddha’s Teaching, citing the History of the Buddha’s Successors (under its ‘Sūtra’ title):

From the first day after the Buddha’s passing through the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law there have been twenty-four envoys of the Buddha. The first was Mahākāśyapa; the second, Ānanda; the third, Madhyāntika; the fourth, Śāṇavāsa; the fifth, Upagupta; the sixth, Dhrītaka; the seventh, Mikkaka; the eighth, Buddhānanda; the ninth, Buddhamitrā; the tenth, Pārśva; the eleventh, Punyayaśas; the twelfth, Aśvaghoṣa; the thirteenth, Kapimala; the fourteenth, Nāgārjuna; the fifteenth, Āryadeva; the sixteenth, Rāhulabhadra; the seventeenth, Saṃghānandi; the eighteenth, Saṃghayaśas; the nineteenth, Kumārata; the twentieth, Jayata; the twenty-first, Vasubandhu; the twenty-second, Manorhita; the twenty-third, Haklenayaśas; and the twenty-fourth, the Venerable Āryasiṃha. These twenty-four men are described in the Buddha’s Successors Sūtra, which records the golden words of the Buddha. They were envoys entrusted with the mission of propagating the Hinayāna and provisional Mahāyāna sūtras, however. They were not envoys entrusted with the task of propagating the Lotus Sūtra.

It would also seem that this Chinese list is probably connected with the lineage of Ch’an/Zen Buddhism in accordance with how it had been recorded in China, a list which is disputed and often accused of being a later Chinese forgery. Although the exact names in the two lists vary slightly, with the exception of obvious pseudonyms the names are essentially the same, with the exception of there being an additional five names in the list from the History of the Buddha’s Successors. Thus the list in both cases may be particularly Chinese in origin, and in particular related to Ch’an, and may or may not reflect other sources which record a lineage of succession from the Buddha.  The line of successors as recorded in the Ch’an/Zen tradition is as follows:

  1. Mahākāśyapa
  2. Ānanda
  3. Śānavāsa (or Śāṇavāsika)
  4. Upagupta
  5. Dhrtaka (or Dhītaka or Dhrītaka)
  6. Miccaka (or Mikkaka)
  7. Vasumitra
  8. Buddhānandi (or Buddhānanda)
  9. Buddhamitrā
  10. Pārśva
  11. Punyayaśas
  12. Ānabodhi/Aśvaghoṣa
  13. Kapimala
  14. Nāgārjuna
  15. Kānadeva (or Āryadeva)
  16. Rāhulata (or Rāhulabhadra)
  17. Sanghānandi
  18. Saṃghayaśas
  19. Kumārata
  20. Śayata (or Jayata)
  21. Vasubandhu
  22. Manorhita
  23. Haklenayaśas
  24. Simhabodhi (or Āryasimha)
  25. Vasiasita
  26. Punyamitrā
  27. Prajñātāra
  28. Bodhidharma

As can be seen from a comparison of these two lists of successors, Tibetan and Chinese, the first five are the same in both traditions, while the sixth and seventh differ, in the Tibetan account being Kṛṣṇa and Sudarśana, and in the Chinese account being Mikkaka (or Miccaka) and Buddhānanda (or Buddhānandi). This would seem to indicate that the first are more-or-less universally recognized as being the successors in the Buddhist tradition (at least in Mahāyāna sources), while there is disagreement and perhaps uncertainty about the rest, in addition to the discrepancy in their respective numbers of seven and twenty-four. Thus from a historical perspective, the first five monks could be considered as more likely to have actually held the position of ‘successor’ or head of the Buddhist Saṃgha, while the rest may be more questionable as to their historical fact, although this is a topic which would require further research.

Translation of the Text

The gTad-rabs bDun (‘Seven Successors’)Section of Chos-‘byung Dris-len brGya-pa Legs-bshad sNying-bsdus (The Consolidated Heart of Excellent Chronicles: One Hundred Questions and Answers on Buddhist History), by Namdrā T’upten Yarp’ël (rnam grwa thub bstan yar ‘phel)

The Seven Successors of the Teacher

The First Successor: Arya Mahākāśyapa

In this regard, the Minor Precepts of the Vinaya [lung phran tshegs] says:

The likes of Mahākāśyapa, Ānanda, and Śāṇavāsika,

Upagupta, Dhītika, Kṛṣṇa,

And Sudarśana were the Seven Successors of the Teacher.

 

And from the Universal Praise of the Seven Successors [gtad rabs bdun gyi spyi bstod]:

For the dragon-like lamp of the Bliss-Gone’s Teaching,

Accordingly carrying out your promise, to act as the sublime regent

For the Master Sage, Lord of Dharma, and imbued with the deeds of the Teacher:

I bow down at the feet of the great Mahākāśyapa.

As it says there [and indicated in those quotations], the progressive order [or chronology, byung rim] in which the source of benefit and happiness from the supreme Teacher [the Buddha], the precious Teaching of the Victorious itself, was in the past entrusted from one Arhat to another is as follows:

1] Ārya Mahākāśyapa [‘phags pa ‘od srung],

2] Ānanda [kun dga’ bo],

3] Śāṇavāsika [sha na’i gos can],

4] Upagupta [nyer sbas],

5] Dhītika [dhii ti ka],

6] Kṛṣṇa [nag po],

7] and Sudarśana [legs mthong].

Thus they are renowned as ‘the Seven Great Successors of the Teacher’.

And the way in which they succeeded the Teaching of the Victorious from one to another is as follows:

Our Teacher, the one imbued with great compassion himself, after arriving in this world accomplished the joining of innumerable trainees of the Three Types [the Śrāvaka Type, the Pratyekabuddha Type, and the Bodhisattva Type] to the temporary and ultimate Levels [of Awakening or Enlightenment], and thus the Bhagavān [bcom ldan ‘das, the ‘Sublime Master’, that is, the Buddha], upon reaching the age of eighty, at the time that he was about to pass his Awakened Mind into [final] Nirvāṇa, appointed Mahākāśyapa as his very own regent for preservation of the Teaching, and at the same time said:

“Until Ānanda attains the level of Arhatship, and until you pass into Nirvāṇa, sustain my Teaching, Ānanda, and the congregation of monks, along with its fellowships! After Ānanda achieves Arhatship, pass the Teaching on to him, and then pass into Nirvāṇa!”

Thus did he decree, and then transferred his Awakened Mind for the benefit of others.

In this way the great Śrāvaka foretold to be supreme in the good qualities of training, Ārya Mahākāśyapa, was entrusted with the Teaching of the Victorious, and thereby conferred empowerment as the regent of the Conqueror [Buddha].

Then, Ārya Mahākāśyapa, for the sake of the forgetful monks of later times, gathered the Śrāvakas such as Ānanda and the assembly of Saṃgha, and there endeavored to sustain [the Teaching], with vast deeds such as progressively compiling the [canonical] Instructions of the Teacher, the Three Baskets [Tripiṭaka], without omission or addition.

Then, Mahākāśyapa thought:

“Although I have done a tiny bit of work for the Teaching of the Victorious, now, the time for passing into Nirvāṇa has befallen.”

Considering thus, he entrusted the Teaching to Ānanda, and thereupon said [to him]:

“You too must in the end entrust the Teaching to Śāṇavāsika!”

Having ordered thus, he then left for the center of a complex of three mountains called ‘Bird-Footed Mountain’ in the southern region [of India], and displayed various miracles. There, upon a grass seat in the crossed-leg position, he put on a patched monastic upper garment [culled] from a rubbish heap, consecrated his corpse with the blessing of fearlessness, and thereby demonstrated the achievement of Nirvāṇa.

The Second Successor: Ānanda

In this regard, as it is said:

By accomplishing great undertakings, the Two Collections, aspirations, and miraculous powers,

The eighty-four thousand corpuses of Dharma

Were retained and gathered in instantaneously

In the Treasury of Dharma, Ānanda, to whom I bow down.

Ānanda was a supreme personal attendant to the Teacher. He was the son of Amṛtadana [bdud rtsi zas], who was one of the three younger brothers of Śuddhodana, the father of the Buddha. When the Buddha had reached the age of forty-one, his father Śuddhodana invited him to his palace, and when he went, Ānanda had reached the age of six. When the Buddha-Bhagavān went back to his country of birth, Śrāvastī, he escorted him [Ānanda] along as he followed behind, subsequently entrusted him to Mahākāśyapa, and gave him novice ordination.

When Ānanda reached the age of forty-five, the Bhagavān had reached the age of eighty and was about to pass his Awakened Mind into Nirvāṇa. At that time he appointed Mahākāśyapa as his own regent for the maintenance of the Teaching, and later granted a prediction for the need to entrust the Teaching to Ānanda.

Later on, while Ārya Ānanda was residing at Jetavana [Grove Monastery], the householder Śāṇavāsika, upon returning back from the ocean to retrieve precious substances, said to the people:

“Where is the Bhagavān staying? I will put on a five-year celebration!”

And upon hearing:

“He has passed into Nirvāṇa…”

He fainted. After fainting, he once again inquired as follows:

‘Do Ārya Śāriputra, Maudalyāyana, and Mahākāśyapa remain?’

And upon hearing:

“They too have passed into Nirvāṇa…”

He fainted once more. After waking up, he asked:

“Well then, who survives now?”

And upon hearing:

“Ānanda survives…”

He straightaway invited Ānanda along with the Saṃgha, and put on a five-year celebration.

Thereafter, Ānanda gave Śāṇavāsika novice and full ordination. He also studied the Three Baskets [of Buddhist teachings, the Tripiṭaka] and thereby became extremely learned, and became an Arhat.

It is well-known that Ānanda served as the personal attendant of the Bhagavān for twenty-five years, and, when the Bhagavān had reached the age of fifty-five and Ānanda the age of twenty, Ānanda made a promise as follows:

“If the preconditions are provided, I will gladly serve as the personal attendant for the Bhagavān.”

When the monks told the Bhagavān about this accordingly, the Bhagavān was delighted, and said:

“Ānanda is one of far-sighted sophistication, and brilliant.”

He then gave him [a set of] three preconditions, and appointed him as his personal attendant. The three preconditions which Ānanda had to recite at that time were the following:

1)      To never use the uneaten food and leftover garments of the Bhagavān

2)      To never at any time allow direct contact with his physical form

3)      To never teach the Dharma himself when not in the physical presence of the Bhagavān

The first two preconditions were for the sake of there not coming about those who would criticize saying ‘Ānanda is serving as the personal attendant just for attention and clothes from other people’, and the third precondition was due to the existence of the extraordinary phenomenon of Ānanda being able to stably ascertain in his mind whatever [and everything] he himself had heard one time with his ears without ever forgetting it; it would seem [this may have been on account of the fact] that there was the need for him to compile the entirety of the spoken teachings [bka’] after the Bhagavān had passed his Awakened Mind into Nirvāṇa, by being certain in his mind about all of the Dharmas spoken by the Bhagavān [and not by himself which could have created confusion].

On the occasion of the Bhagavān’s [final] Nirvāṇa, due to Ānanda having only attained the fruit of Stream-Entry [rgyun bzhugs] and being without the attainment of the Arhat’s fruition, he was expelled from the ranks of the Saṃgha, and when publicly condemned, he saw with clairvoyance that he could quickly attain the fruit of the Arhat, and therefore enumerated eight great offenses before the assembly of the Saṃgha, and was then banished.

Thereafter, not a single one of the fully-ordained monks, novice monks, or teachers spoke a word to him, and since he had no one with whom to enjoy the Dharma or material things, immeasurable sadness arose in his heart…

***

Due to constraints of word limitations, I will not be able to include further translation of this text here.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, the subject of the Buddha’s Successors is one which is highly relevant to the field of Buddhist history in general, and which is important or even crucial for the study of the history of Buddhism in India in particular.

References

chos ‘byung dris len brgya pa legs bshad snying bsdus, by Namdrā T’upten Yarp’ël (rnam grwa thub bstan yar ‘phel), published by Namgyël Monastery (rnam rgyal grwa tshang), McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

The Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary (bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo)

Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.org

The Rigpa Shedra Wiki: http://www.rigpawiki.org

Listing the Successors of the Buddha’s Teaching, by Nichiren (Daishonin), from the Nichiren Library: http://www.nichirenlibrary.org

The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism: http://www.sgilibrary.org

arjuna-vallabha: Temple of Truth, Thailand | Spiritual Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Section: Long Life Prayers, Uncategorized

Great Treasury of Blessings: Aspiration Verses for the Long Life of Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

dalai lama.jpgkhenchen lama

༄༅། །ཞབས་བརྟན་སྨོན་ཚིག་བྱིན་རླབས་གཏེར་ཆེན་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་བཞུགས། །

Great Treasury of Blessings:

Verses of Aspiration for the Long Life of Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché

(zhabs brtan smon tshig byin rlabs gter chen zhes bya ba bzhugs)

 

༸ཕྱག་ན་པདྨོ། འཕགས་ཡུལ།

By His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

[The One With Lotus in Hand, in the Noble Land (of India)]

(taa la’i bla ma sku khreng bcu bzhi pa bstan ‘dzin rgya mtsho [phyag na padmo, ‘phags yul])

 

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


 

ཨོཾ་སྭ་སྟི།

OSVĀSTI.

[OṂ: May it be auspicious.]

 

ཀ་དག་གདོད་མའི་རང་རྩལ་འགག་མེད་དུ། །

KA-DAK DÖ-MA’Y RANG-TSËL GAK-MEY DU 

Within the ceaseless natural dynamic energy of Original Purity, 

 

 

ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རོལ་སྐུའི་མཛེས་པ་འབུམ་སྤྲོ་བའི། །

LHÜN-DRUP RÖL-KU’I DZEY-PA BUM TRO-WA’Y 

Emanating the myriad splendors of spontaneously established Awakened Forms of Display,

 

རྩ་གསུམ་རྒྱལ་བ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་ཕྲིན་ལས་ཀྱིས། །

TSA-SUM GYEL-WA GYA-TSO’I T’RIN-LAY KYIY

Is the ocean of the Three Roots and Victorious Ones: Through their Awakened Activity,

 

དགེ་ལེགས་བྱིན་ཆེན་ཕོབས་པའི་ཤིས་པ་སྩོལ། །

GÉ-LEK JIN-CH’EN P’OP-PA’Y SHIY-PA TSÖL

May the good fortune of transmitting great blessings of virtuous goodness be bestowed.

 

འཇམ་དཔལ༵་དགྱེས༵་པ༵འི་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ནུས་པའི་སྟོབས། །

JAM-PËL GYEY-PA‘Y KHYEN TSÉ NÜ-PAY TOP

The power of understanding, love and ability which delights the Gentle Glorious One [Mañjuśrī]

 

མི་འགྱུར་རྡོ༵་རྗེ༵འི་གསང་གསུམ་གཤིས་སུ་བརྟན། །

MI’N-GYUR DOR-JÉ‘I SANG-SUM SHIY SU TEN

Is stable as the innate character of the Three Secrets of Immutable Vajra;

 

ཉམ་ཐག་འགྲོ་བ་འདྲེན་པའི་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཅན། །

NYAM-T’AK DRO-WA DREN-PA’Y T’UK-JÉ-CHEN

One of noble compassion which guides downtrodden living beings:

 

མཁན་ཆེན་བླ་མའི་ཞབས་པད་བརྟན་གྱུར་ཅིག །

KHEN-CH’EN LA-MA’Y ZHAP-PAY TEN GYUR CHIK

May the lotus feet of Khenchen Lama remain firm.

 

སྐྱབས་གནས་རྒྱལ་བའི་ཐུགས་བསྐྱེད་སྨོན་ལམ་དང་། །

KYAP-NAY GYEL-WA’Y T’UK-KYEY MÖN-LAM DANG

By the Bodhicitta Resolve and aspiration prayers of the Sources of Refuge and Victorious Ones,

 

མཐུ་ལྡན་ཆོས་སྐྱོང་སྲུང་མའི་དམ་ཚིག་གིས། །

T’U-DEN CH’Ö-KYONG S’UNG-MA’Y DAM-TS’IK GIY

And by the sacred commitments of the mighty Dharma Protectors and Guardians,

 

གཡོ་མེད་ལྷག་བསམ་བདེན་པའི་རེ་སྨོན་ལས། །

YO-MEY LHAK-SAM DEN-PA’Y RÉ-MÖN LAY

Out of the true aims and wishes of unchanging altruistic intention,

 

བསྟན་འགྲོའི་ཕན་བདེ་ཡུན་རིང་སྐྱོང་གྱུར་ཅིག །

TEN-DRO’I P’EN-DÉ YÜN-RING KYONG GYUR CHIK

May you nurture the benefit and well-being of the Teachings and living beings, for a long time.

 

ཅེས་པ་འདི་ནི་མཁན་ཆེན་བླ་མ་དཔལ་དགྱེས་པ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཞབས་བརྟན་སྨོན་ཚིག་ཅིག་འབྲི་དགོས་ཞེས། ༧ ལམ་མཁྱེན་རྒྱལ་པོ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་ཞལ་སྔ་ནས་དང་། དད་དམ་དགེ་བ་སེར་སྐྱ་དུ་མ་ཞིག་ནས་བསྐུལ་ངོར། ཤཱཀྱའི་དགེ་སྦྱོང་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ནས། རབ་བྱུང་བཅུ་བདུན་པའི་ཟླ༦་ཚེས་༡༠་ཕྱི་ལོ་༢༠༠༡་ཟླ་༨་ཚེས་༡༤ཉིན་དྷ་རམ་ས་ལ་ཐེག་ཆེན་ཆོས་གླིང་དུ་བྲིས་པ་དགེ་ལེགས་འཕེལ། ། ། །

Thus, so it was that in response to the request directly from His Eminence Lamkhyen Gyelpo Rinpoché (Lamchen Gyalpo Rinpoche, lam mkhyen rgyal po rin po che), who said, “A long-life prayer must be written for Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé”, and a great number of faithful, committed and virtuous monastics and laypeople, the fully-ordained monk of Śākyamuni [Buddha], Tendzin Gyats’o (bstan ‘dzin rgya mtsho), wrote this on the 10th day of the 6th month of the 17th sixty-year cycle [of the Tibetan astrological system, rab ‘byung), being the foreign date of the 14th day of the 8th month of the year 2001 [August 14th, 2001], at Thekch’en Chöling (the Dalai Lama’s Temple in McLeod Ganj, theg chen chos ling) in Dharamsala: May virtue and goodness increase!

 

(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India, close to Thekchen Chöling [the Dalai Lama Temple], during the early part of January 2014. Heartfelt thanks to Gen Lobzang Gyatso of Esukhia Nangten S’izhu Khang (nang bstan sri zhu khang) and formerly of Draypung Monastic College (‘bras spung dgon pa), who provided indispensable explanation and commentary for the text. By the positive karmic potential of this translation, may the lives of all teachers of the Transcendent Dharma be long.

Completely revised and heavily corrected by Erick Tsiknopoulos on November 5th-13th, 2017.)

 

This translation is available for viewing on the website of the translator, Erick Tsiknopoulos, at http://www.tibetan-translations.com

 

 

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buddhist scriptures, Section: Essays by Erick, Section: Tibetan Canon, Uncategorized

The Tibetan ‘Missing Translator’s Colophon’ Version of the Dharmacakrapravartana-sūtra (chos kyi ‘khor lo’i mdo ‘gyur byang med pa)

The Tibetan ‘Missing Translator’s Colophon’ Version of the Dharmacakrapravartana-sūtra (chos kyi ‘khor lo’i mdo ‘gyur byang med pa):

A New Translation into English by Erick Tsiknopoulos (2013)

Translator’s Note:

This is one of two versions of the Dharma Wheel Discourse in Tibetan. The other one is called chos kyi ‘khor lo rab tu bskor ba’i mdo (Skt: dharmacakrapravartana-sūtra), which I nickname the ‘Pravartana’ version to distinguish its inclusion of the “pravartana/rab tu skor ba/fully or mightily turning” part of the title. This present version is the chos kyi mkhor lo’i do (‘gyur byang med pa), “The Sūtra of the Dharma Wheel (Without the Translator’s Colophon)”, and I nickname it the “Missing Translator’s Colophon” version. In Sanskrit its title is dharmacaka-sūtra, which does not correspond directly to the Pāli title dhammacakkappavattana-sutta, as the former means the “Discourse on the Dharma Wheel” and the latter means ‘The Discourse on the Turning of the Dharma Wheel”. This Tibetan version is, however, definitely a version of some form of the dhammacakkappavattana-sutta, although a very “condensed” one which is missing the traditional first third of the discourse for one reason or another. It is clearly a version of the same discourse because the remaining portions in this Tibetan version correspond very closely to those of the Pāli version. It is listed in the Kangyur’s table of contents with the qualifying appellation ‘gyur byang med pa, “without the translator’s colophon”, probably mainly to distinguish it from the other version, and perhaps to simultaneously denote one of its noticeable peculiarities. However, it is not titled as such in the text itself, where it is listed simply as dharmacakra-sūtra and chos kyi ‘khor lo’i mdo in Sanskrit and Tibetan respectively, although at the end of the discourse, the longer title of ‘The Turning of the Dharma Wheel’ (chos kyi ‘khor lo bskor ba) is given at its very end. It was most likely a translation from Sanskrit, as the vast majority of the Tibetan translations of Buddhist texts were from Sanskrit. In most translator’s colophons, the name of the Indian Buddhist scholar with whom the translator consulted during the translation is listed.

However, based on its major omissions, the presumably-Sanskrit version which was used for the Tibetan translation of the ‘Missing Translator’s Colophon’ version must have been quite different (and shorter) than other extant Sanskrit versions, as these omissions are not found in the Chinese and even the other Tibetan version. Because the translation does not feature a colophon written by the translator, its translator is unknown and no other information can be easily discerned, making the origins of both the original Sanskrit text and its Tibetan translation rather mysterious.

According to Anālayo’s notes (2012) and based on my own research, it would seem that as of this writing there is no full English translation of either of the Tibetan versions. This translation contained herein is therefore possibly the first complete English translation of either of the Tibetan versions of the Dharma Wheel Discourse. At the least, a translation from the Tibetan has not been widely distributed on the internet or in print.

The Dharma Wheel Discourse is often considered to be one of the most important teachings in the Buddhist canon, particularly by the Theravāda Buddhist lineage. Its importance is generally held by the Buddhist traditions to be as follows:

1)      It is identified by most Buddhist traditions as being the Buddha’s very first teaching after attaining his state of Enlightenment or Awakening, especially by the Theravāda, but also by most of the Mahāyana traditions.

2)      It is one of the most well-known and frequently referenced of the Buddha’s discourses dealing explicitly with the Four Noble Truths (hereafter “the Four Ennobling Truths”).

3)      Since the Four Ennobling Truths are considered to be one of the most important teachings of the Buddha by most Buddhist schools (especially the Theravāda), this particular discourse is given special regard and consideration by most Buddhist traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism.

Some Notes on the Translation and Terminology:

Here I am tempted to follow Dr. Peter Harvey’s suggestion of ‘ennobling’ rather than ‘noble’, although not so much his ‘spiritually ennobled’ and ‘realities’. He makes arguments against the translation of the use of the word ‘truth’ and prefers ‘reality’, thus ‘Four Realities for the Spiritually Ennobled’. Although I do have some partiality to ‘reality’, and agree with much of his analysis here, I also think that it is debatable and flexible, depending on the audience and context. Adding ‘spiritually’, a new word which has no etymological basis, while philosophically sound, is in my opinion as a translator, a form of fabrication. In regard to ‘ennobling’ specifically, Harvey explains in his excellent book, An Introduction to Buddhism (1990, 2013) as follows, with relevant notes or explanations in brackets:

The translation of ariya-sacca [Tibetan: ‘phags pa’i bden pa] as ‘Noble Truth’, while well established in English-language literature on Buddhism ([for example] Anderson, 1999), is the ‘least likely’ of the possible meanings ([as] Norman [said in] 1997:16). To unpack and translate this compound, one needs to look at the meanings of each word, and then how they are related…

And:

What of the term ariya [Tib: ‘phags pa]? As a noun, this means ‘noble one’. In Brahmanism, the term referred to members of the top three of the four social classes, denoting purity of descent and social superiority. In Buddhism it is used in a spiritual sense: the Buddha is ‘the noble one’ and other ‘noble ones’ are those who are partially of fully awakened, and those well-established on the path to these states. To make clear the spiritual sense of the term, and that being a ‘noble one’ is an attainment rather than something one is born to, the translation ‘the spiritually ennobled’ seems most apposite: a person who has been uplifted and purified by deep insight into reality. As an adjective, ariya means ‘noble’, hence the Buddhist path, the practice of which makes ordinary people into noble ones, is itself said to be ‘noble’.

And:

The four of these are the most significant categories of existence, [which] only the spiritually ennobled recognize the full import of. Correct identification of them, and deep insight into their nature, is what makes a person spiritually ennobled.

Despite my inclination, I have decided to retain the traditional term of ‘the Four Noble Truths’. However, I do think that these issues of terminology are important to consider, and that Dr. Harvey has made some interesting suggestions.

To this I would add Dr. Peter Harvey’s excellent translator’s note to his own translation of this discourse from the Pāli, which sums up the important information better than I can:

Translator’s note: The setting: seven weeks after the Buddha’s enlightenment/awakening, he goes to five former companions that he had previously practiced extreme asceticism with (Vin i 8-10). After trying asceticism, he had given this up for a more moderate approach based on a healthy body and jhāna (mindful, calm and joyful altered states of consciousness based on samādhi (mental unification)). The following is seen as the first teaching he gave to anyone. In other contexts, the Buddha taught the Four True Realities for the Spiritually Ennobled Ones to people after first giving them a preparatory discourse to ensure they were in the right frame of mind be able to fully benefit from the teaching:

“Then the Blessed One gave the householder Upāli a step-by-step discourse, that is, talk on giving, talk on moral virtue, talk on the heaven worlds; he made known the danger, the inferior nature of and tendency to defilement in sense-pleasures, and the advantage of renouncing them. When the Blessed One knew that the householder Upāli’s mind was ready, open, without hindrances, inspired and confident, then he expounded to him the elevated Dhamma-teaching of the buddhas: dukkha, its origination, its cessation, the path.” [M i 379-80]

The four true realities taught by the Buddha are not as such things to “believe” but to be open to, see and contemplate, and respond to appropriately: by fully understanding dukkha/pain/the painful, abandoning that which originates it, personally experiencing its cessation, and cultivating the path that leads to this. These four true realities are the four fundamental dimensions of experience, as seen by a spiritually noble person with deep wisdom: the conditioned world, that which originates it, the cessation/transcending of it (the unconditioned, Nibbāna), and the path to this. Indeed, it is by insight into these that a person becomes spiritually ennobled.

 

The Tibetan ‘Missing Translator’s Colophon’ Version of the Dharma Wheel Discourse (chos kyi ‘khor lo’i mdo ‘gyur byang med pa):

A New Translation into English by Erick Tsiknopoulos (2013)

 

The Dharma Wheel Sūtra

In the Indian Language: Dharmachakra Sūtra [dharmacakra-sūtra]

In the Tibetan Language: Chhö kyi Khorlo’i Do [chos kyi ‘khor lo’i mdo]

In the English Language: The Dharma Wheel Sūtra [The Sūtra of the Dharma Wheel]

 

ADORATION TO THE COMPREHENSIVELY UNDERSTANDING ONE.

Thus have I heard these words: At one time the Buddha, the Sublime Master, was residing in the Deer Grove of Sagely Exposition in Vārāṇasī, and it was from there that the Sublime Master bestowed teaching upon the the five-fold group of spiritual mendicants:

[The First Phase]

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “The noble truth of suffering is this itself.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “Suffering is this itself. The origination of suffering is this itself. The stopping of suffering is this itself. The path leading to the stopping of suffering is this itself.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

[The Second Phase]

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “I must directly know the noble truth of suffering, and thereby comprehensively understand it.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “I must directly know the noble truth of suffering’s origination, and thereby comprehensively eradicate it.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “I must directly know the noble truth of realizing suffering’s stopping, and thereby comprehensively actualize it.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “I must directly know the noble truth of the path leading to suffering’s stopping, and thereby comprehensively cultivate it.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

[The Third Phase]

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “The noble truth of suffering has been directly known, and thereby comprehensively understood.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “The noble truth of suffering’s origination has been directly known, and thereby eradicated.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “The noble truth of suffering’s stopping has been directly known, and thereby actualized.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, I gave rise to vision concerning things I had not heard before, as I progressively contemplated, “The noble truth of the path leading to suffering’s stopping has been directly known, and thereby cultivated.” Understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization arose.”

“Seekers of virtue, for so long as I had not given rise to vision, given rise to understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization in regard to the Four Noble Truths, enumerated into their three phases and consequent twelve modes, I was not emancipated from this world with its Devas, with its Māras, with its Brahmās, with its living beings including spiritual contemplatives and priests, with its gods and humans; I did not have liberation and definitive deliverance, did not increasingly abide with a mind of utter freedom, without distortion, and, O seekers of virtue, I did not know what is called ‘the unparalleled authentically complete awakening of manifestly complete Buddhahood’.”

“Seekers of virtue, when I had given rise to vision, given rise to understanding, awareness, knowledge, and realization in regard to the Four Noble Truths, enumerated into their three phases and consequent twelve modes, thereafter I was emancipated from this world with its Devas, with its Māras, with its Brahmās, with its living beings including spiritual contemplatives and priests, with its gods and humans; I did have liberation and definitive deliverance, did increasingly abide with a mind of utter freedom, without distortion, and, O seekers of virtue, thereafter I did know what is called ’the unparalleled authentically complete awakening of manifestly complete Buddhahood’.”

When the teaching on this section of Dharma was bestowed, the Venerable Kauṇḍinya and eighty thousand gods gave rise to the dustless and stainless Dharma Eye.

Then, the Sublime Master granted instruction to Venerable Kauṇḍinya:

“Kauṇḍinya, have you understood all dharmas?”

[Kauṇḍinya:] “Bhagavān, I have fathomed all.”

[The Buddha:] “Kauṇḍinya, have you understood all?”

[Kauṇḍinya:] “Sugata, I have fathomed all indeed, I have fathomed all indeed.”

Because Venerable Kauṇḍinya had understood all of the Dharma, Venerable Kauṇḍinya was therefore dubbed with the moniker Ājñātakauṇḍinya, “All-Understanding Kauṇḍinya”.

The earth-dwelling yakṣas broadcast the announcement: “Kauṇḍinya has understood all of the Dharma!”, and then boomed a song, which went:

Friends! The Bhagavān, in the Deer Grove of Sagely Exposition, in Vārāasī, has turned the Dharma Wheel, imbued with the Dharma, enumerated into its three phases and consequent twelve modes, which has gone unturned in accordance with the Dharma by anyone in the world, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, Māras, or Brahmās, for the sake of helping many living beings, for the happiness of many living beings, out of compassionate love for the world, for the benefit, support, and welfare of humans and gods, and thus, the abodes of gods shall deeply thrive, and the abodes of anti-gods shall utterly decline!

Having heard the uproar of the earth-dwelling yakṣas, the announcement was then resounded from the abodes of the sky-traveling yakṣas, to those of the Four Great Kings, to the heavens of the gods of the Thirty-Three, to those of the gods of Joyous, Conflict-Free, Emanation Delight, and Mastery Over Others’ Emanations, within that single moment, within that single instant, within that very second, at that moment, instant, and very second, all the way up to the world of Brahmā. The gods of the Brahmā abode also broadcast the announcement as follows:

Friends! The Bhagavān, in the Deer Grove of Sagely Exposition, in Vārāasī, has turned the Dharma Wheel, imbued with the Dharma, enumerated into its three phases and consequent twelve modes, which has gone unturned in accordance with the Dharma by anyone in the world, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, Māras, or Brahmās, for the sake of helping many living beings, for the happiness of many living beings, out of compassionate love for the world, for the benefit, support, and welfare of humans and gods, and thus, the abodes of gods shall deeply thrive, and the abodes of anti-gods shall utterly decline!

Because the Sublime Master had thus turned the Dharma Wheel, imbued with Dharma, enumerated into its three phases and consequent twelve modes, at the Deer Grove of Sagely Exposition in Vārāṇasī, this section of Dharma was designated with the title ‘The Turning of the Dharma Wheel’.

THE SŪTRA OF THE DHARMA WHEEL IS COMPLETE.

Translated by Erick Tsiknopoulos, October-November 2013, in the Sanctuary of Yearning for Release (Thardö Ling), McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India. Special thanks to Géshé Lobsang Chögyël Rinpoché for his profound and powerful teachings and commentary on this discourse on the holy day of Chhökhor Düchhen, the ‘great time (celebration) of the Dharma Wheel’, for which I had the good fortune to interpret for a group of about ten people in Rinpoché’s room, and to Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso for his insightful and erudite commentary on the Tibetan text. Also thanks to Gésheyma candidate Ven. Zangmo for her kind and lucid explanation of Illuminating Emancipation’s Path: An Exposition on the Four Noble Truths & Dependent Arising (bden bzhi dang rten ‘brel gyi rnam par bzhag pa thar lam gsal byed ces bya ba bzhugs so) by Choné Jetsün Drakpa Shaydrup (co ne rje brtsun grags pa bshad sgrub).

 Updated late December, 2013. 

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Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Esukhia Nangten Sizhu Khang

Esukhia ནང་བསན་སི་ཞ་ཁང་།
McLeod Ganj, India
24 May 2013

To Whom It May Concern;

It is our pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for Erick Tsiknopoulos. During his tenure as an Esukhia student, Erick has proven himself to be an avid and exceptional student with a prodigious curiosity in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and its textual heritage. He is continually striving to improve his knowledge of the Tibetan language, both spoken and literary, as evidenced by his continuing collaborative relationship with the staff members at our organization, who are excellent scholars in their own right.

We believe Erick has great potential in his future as a translator, having spent his time training in India since 2007, essentially following in the footsteps of the great lotsawas (Tibetan translators) of the past, who would spend 20 years training to work in collaboration with Indian masters for the sake of translation. We therefore wholeheartedly endorse him and wish him continued success in all his academic and educational pursuits.

Sincerely,
Dirk Schmidt (Translation Department Director) & Esukhia’s Board of Directors

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