Maandelijks archief: augustus 2011


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Thich Nhat Hanh ’s 14 Precepts


Thich Nhat Hanh ’s 14 Precepts:

1 “Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

2 Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

3 Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

4 Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

5 Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of you life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

6 Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion.

7 Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Learn to practice breathing in order to regain composure of body and mind, to practice mindfulness, and to develop concentration and understanding.

8 Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

9 Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest of to impress people. Do not utter words that cause diversion and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things you are not sure of. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

10 Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

11 Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to life. Select a vocation which helps realize your ideal compassion.

12 Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and to prevent war.

Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

13 Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only and instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. In sexual relationships be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.

14 Do not believe that I feel that I follow each and every of these precepts perfectly. I know I fail in many ways. None of us can fully fulfill any of these. However, I must work toward a goal. These are my goal. No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words.

“The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.”


China zal de volgende Dalai Lama aanwijzen



Lama Gangchen spreekt met westerse bewonderaars. Foto op de Chinese propaganda website Tibet Human Rights

“China zal de volgende Dalai Lama  aanwijzen in de hoop dat het niet zo’n lastpak is, als de huidige was.” Dit is een letterlijke vertaling van de woorden van Hao Peng de gedeputeerde partijsecretaris en vicevoorzitter van de Tibetaanse Autonome Regio.
Hij zei dit in een strak geregisseerde bijenkomst voor een select groepje buitenlandse journalisten in Lhasa op 29 juni.
“De reïncarnaties moeten door Beijing worden goedgekeurd.” The New York Times online heeft dit citaat van Hao op 1 juli gepubliceerd. Hao verwees verder naar een wet uit 2007 die stelt dat gereïncarneerde levende Boeddha ’s die niet worden goedgekeurd door de Chinese regering illegaal en ongeldig zijn. Zo is bijvoorbeeld Lama Gangchen door de Chinese heersers erkend als een “Levende Boeddha”. Lama Gangchen is een bekend beoefenaar van de door de Chinezen gesanctioneerde shugden-cultus die door ZH de Dalai Lama in de ban is gedaan als ” wereldlijke geest , schadelijk voor het welzijn van de Tibetanen en de beoefenaars  van het Tibetaans boeddhisme”.
De Partij en de lama. Vrijheid van religie ?

De partijbons refereerde ook aan het discutabele historische precedent om zijn bewering te staven: “Als je de geschiedenis van Tibet kent, zul je strikte historische en religieuze rituelen vinden voor de wedergeboorte van levende Boeddha’s in het Tibetaanse boeddhisme . Dit is al vastgesteld aan het begin van de Qing dynastie.” De laatste keizerlijke dynastie van China 1644 – 1912.
China’s houding in deze belangrijke en historische procedure is behoorlijk aanmatigend gezien de kandidatuur van de elfde Panchen Lama in 1995. Nog voor de ceremonie stond vast dat Gyaincain Norbu de Panchen Lama zou worden. Dit is bekend gemaakt door Arjia Rinpoche, voormalig abt van het Kumbum klooster in Qinghai. Hij was getuige van de Gouden Urn ceremonie. Nu woont hij in de Verenigde Staten.

De Gouden Urn procedure was een voorschrift en onderdeel van de Proclamatie van 29 Artikelen voor een Beter en meer Efficiënt Bestuur van Tibet. Deze proclamatie van de Qing-keizer Qianlong werd in 1793 afgekondigd. Het onderdeel over de Gouden Urn-procedure stelde vast dat voortaan de hoge lama’s c.q. tulku’s van de gelugpa geselecteerd en gekozen moesten worden via een loterijprocedure, waarbij een gouden urn werd gebruikt. De tekst van de proclamatie staat tot de dag van vandaag gebeiteld in een pilaar (stele) van het Yonghetempel in Peking. De tekst is in vier talen: het Hanzi, Mantsjoe, Mongools en Tibetaans.

De expansie van China in de wereld heeft zich ook uitgebreid naar Italia .Lama Gangchen werkt samen met de Chinese ambassade !

Buddhism under assault by Shugden and China



Shugden worship is promoted by China to destroy Tibetan buddhism.

To make Tibetan buddhism a kind of “museum of past religion” in Tibet.

Good for tourism , without real wisdom and compassion.

The New Kadampa Tradition and some Lama’s are shamefuly attacking His Holiness the Dalai Lama thus ignoring  China’s genocide on the Tibetan people. Do not ever get involved with them.

Engaging in the worship of  shugden is a  practice that brings division amongst buddhist practitioners and by doing so you support the Chinese policies against the Tibetan people.

I studied the matter for many years and warn everyone who wants to engage in the teachings of the Shugdenites not to do so. These days it can ruin your Path and bring you much harm.

The Chinese oppressors take advantage of this division in Tibetan buddhism and oblige many monasteries to accept Shugden against their expressive will !

According to the Chinese rulers it ’s Shugden or HH the Dalai Lama !

Tibetan monks in Tibet have no choice but to accept or be seen as members of the “unpatriotic dalia clique” .They risk imprisonment, torture and death. Shugden is used as a means to subjugate the Tibetan people.

The same game is played with the chinese appointed “panchen lama” who will lead the search for the next Dalai Lama.

Western buddhists that support shugden lama’s should ask themselves wether it is morally right to practice shugden wich goes at he expense of the religious and politial freedom of Tibetans.

Western values of freedom ,democracy and human rights are not taken seriously by those that do not look further than their own personal values.

They speak of their “religious freedom” at the expense of the freedom of Tibetans.

Shugden was a little known gelukpa practice in the past and by the endorsement of the Chinese communists it has become big.

I think that wisdom and compassion are at stake in this issue

My former Teacher Lama Gangchen Rinpoche is a shugden lama .

I could not agree with him on this matter and left him.

I struggled a long time over this crucial issue.

But I stand for freedom , justice and thruth and my consiousness will guide me.

I support the struggle of the Tibetans for freedom and autonomy.

May His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the XIV Dalai Lama have a Long Life.



Dalai Lama’s representative talks about China, Tibet, Shugden and the next Dalai Lama

Chinese propaganda site

Important quotes


Dza Patrul Rinpoche in “Words of my perfect teacher”:

The Great Master of Oddiyana warns:

Not to examine the teacher
Is like drinking poison;
Not to examine the disciple
Is like leaping from a precipice.

You place your trust in your spiritual teacher for all your future lives. It is he who will teach you what to do and what not to do. If you encounter a false spiritual friend without examining him properly, you will be throwing away the possibility a person with faith has to accumulate merits for a whole lifetime, and the freedoms and advantages of the human existence, you have now obtained will be wasted. It is like being killed by a venomous serpent coiled beneath a tree that you approached, thinking what you saw was just the tree’s cool shadow.

By not examining a teacher with great care
The faithful waste their gathered merit.
Like taking for the shadow of a tree a vicious snake,
Beguiled, they lose the freedom they at last had found.

Prayers of Je Tsongkhapa (The Splendor of an Autumn Moon : The
Devotional Verse of Tsongkhapa):

May I be cared for by true spiritual friends,
filled with knowledge and insight,
sense stilled, minds controlled, loving, compassionate,
and with courage untiring in working for others.

May I never fall under sway
of false teachers and misleading friends
their flawed views of existence and nonexistence
well outside the Buddhas intention.

I pray that I listen insatiably
to countless teachings at the feet of a master,
single-handedly with logic unflawed,
prizing open scriptures’ meanings.

I pray that in no way I be misled
by unwholesome friends and deceiving Mara
but in care of true spiritual friends,
complete the enlightened way.

May I bring to the path praised by the Buddha
those lost and fallen onto wrong paths,
swayed by deluded teachers and misleading friends.

The head turned by dark forces
hinders experience of the joyful festival
that is the community of the Dharma life.
May I never encounter misleading friends,
in reality the cohorts of Mara.

Buddhist Ethics (Treasury of Knowledge) by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye

Avoiding Contrary, Harmful Companions

8.1 Obstructions of a harmful friend

“The harmful teacher is one of bad temperament, of little pure vision, great in dogmatism; he holds [his own view] as highest, praises himself, and denigrates others.”

In general, the nonspiritual teacher (mi-dge-ba’i bshes-gnyen) is a lama, teacher (mkhan-slob), dharma brother [or sister] (grogs-mched), and so forth—all those who are attached to the phenomena (snang) of this life, and who get involved in unvirtuous activity. Therefore, one must abandon the nonspiritual friend. In particular, although they have the manner of goodness in appearance, they cause you to be obstructed in your liberation.

The nonspiritual teacher has a bad temperament, little pure vision (dag-snang), is very dogmatic (phyogs-ris), holds as highest his view (lta-ba) as the only dharma, praises himself, slanders others, implicitly denigrates and rejects others’ systems (lugs) of dharma, and slanders the lama—the true wisdom teacher—who bears the burden of benefiting others. If you associate with those who are of this type, then, because one follows and gets accustomed to the nonspiritual teacher and his approach, his faults stain you by extension, and your mindstream (rgyud) gradually becomes negative. Illustrating this point, it has been said in the Vinaya Scripture:

“A fish in front of a person is rotting and is tightly wrapped with kusha grass. If that [package] is not moved for a long time, the kusha itself also becomes like that. Like that [kusha grass], by following the sinful teacher, you will always become like him.”

Therefore, as it has been said in The Sutra of the True Dharma of Clear Recollection (mDo dran-pa nyer-bzhag; Saddharmanusmriti-upasthana):

“As the chief among the obstructors (bar-du gcod-pa) of all virtuous qualities is the sinful teacher, one should abandon being associated with him, speaking with him, or even being touched by his shadow.”

In every aspect one should be diligent in rejecting the sinful teacher.

The Bodhisambhara Shastra


The Bodhisambhara Shastra

The Treatise on the Provisions Essential to Enlightenment
The Bodhisambhara Shastra

By Arya Nagarjuna

Translated into Chinese by the Great Sui Dynasty’s
South Indian Tripitaka Master Dharmagupta (550?-619 ce)

English Translation by Bhikshu Dharmamitra

Now, in the presence of all the Buddhas,
With palms pressed together, I bow down my head in reverence.
I shall, in accordance with the teachings, explain
The provisions essential for the bodhi of the Buddhas.

How would one be able to describe without omission
All of the provisions for the realization of bodhi?
This could only be accomplished by the Buddhas themselves,
For they, exclusively, have realized the boundless enlightenment.

As for the boundless meritorious qualities of a buddha’s body,
The provisions for enlightenment constitute their very root.
Therefore the provisions for enlightenment
Themselves have no bounds.

I shall then explain but a lesser portion of them.
I respectfully offer reverence to the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas.
All such bodhisattvas as these—
They, after the Buddhas, should be given one’s offerings.

Since it is the mother of the Bodhisattvas,
It is also the mother of the Buddhas:
The Prajñaparamita :
Is the foremost among the provisions for enlightenment.

Giving, moral virtue, patience, vigor, and meditative discipline
As well as that which extends beyond these five—
In every case, because they arise from the perfection of wisdom,
They are subsumed within this prajnaparamita;.

These six paramita’s
Encompass the provisions for bodhi,
They are comparable in this to empty space,
Which entirely envelopes all things.

There is in addition the opinion of another master
That, as for the provisions for enlightenment,
Truth, relinquishment , quiescent cessation, and wisdom—
These four bases subsume them all.

The great compassion penetrates even the marrow of one’s bones.
Thus one becomes for all beings one on whom they can rely.
One’s regard for them is like that of a father towards his only son.
Thus loving-kindness then extends to everyone.

If one brings to mind the meritorious qualities of a buddha
Or hears of a buddha’s spiritual transformations,
One may be purified through one’s affection and joyfulness.
This is what qualifies as the great sympathetic joy.

As regards his relations with beings, the bodhisattva
Should not, on realizing equanimity, simply forsake them.
In accordance with whatever abilities his powers enable,
He should always strive to draw them in.

The bodhisattva, even from that time when his efforts begin,
Should, as befits the power of his abilities,
Employ skillful means to transform beings,
Thus causing them to enter the Great Vehicle.

If one transformed through teachings a Ganges’ sands of beings,
Causing them all to gain the fruit of arhatship,
Still, transforming a single person so he enters the Great Vehicle—
The merit from this is superior to the former.

Instructing through resort to the Hearer Vehicle
Or through resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle
Is undertaken where, on account of lesser abilities,
Beings are unable to accept instruction in the Great Vehicle.

Where, even by utilizing the Hearer and Pratyekabuddha Vehicles
In addition to drawing on the Great Vehicle,
There are those who still cannot accept transformative teaching—
One should establish them in merit-creating circumstances.

If there be persons who are unable to accept
Transformative teachings conducing to the heavens or liberation,
One should employ the means of bestowing present-life benefits
And, as one’s powers dictate, one should draw them in.

Where a bodhisattva with respect to particular beings
Has no basis through which to teach and transform them,
He should raise forth great loving-kindness and compassion
And should not then simply cast them aside and forsake them.

Drawing in through giving, or through explaining Dharma,
Or through listening in return to others speaking about Dharma,
Or also through endeavors beneficial to them—
These are skillful means by which one may draw them in.

In that which is done for the benefit of beings,
One should not become either weary or negligent.
One should bring forth vows for the sake of bodhi.
Benefiting the world is just benefiting oneself.

Entering the extremely profound state of the Dharma realm,
One extinguishes and abandons discriminations.
They all become devoid of any useful function.
Thus, in every circumstance, one naturally abides in equanimity.

Personal gain, reputation, praise, and happiness—
In every case, one refrains from attachment to these four points.
Moreover, even their opposites present no obstacle.
Conduct of this sort constitutes the practice of equanimity.

In the bodhisattva’s striving for bodhi,
So long as he has not yet gained irreversibility,
He acts as urgently as the person whose turban has caught fire.
Thus one should take up just such intensely diligent practice.

Thus it is that those bodhisattvas,
When striving for the realization of bodhi,
Should not rest in their practice of vigor,
For they have shouldered such a heavy burden.

So long as he has not generated great compassion or the patiences,
Even though he may have gained an irreversibility,
The bodhisattva is still subject to a form of “dying”
Which occurs through allowing negligence to arise.

The grounds of the Hearers or the Pratyekabuddhas
If entered, become for him the same as dying.
Because he would thereby sever the bodhisattva’s
Roots of understanding and awareness.

Even at the prospect of falling into the hell-realms,
The bodhisattva would not be struck with fright.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do provoke a great terror in him.

It is not the case that falling into the hell realms
Would bring about an ultimate obstacle to his bodhi.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do create just such an ultimate obstacle.

Just as is said of he who loves long life,
That he becomes fearful at the prospect of his own beheading,
So, too, the grounds of the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas
Should bring about a fearfulness of just this sort.

Not produced and not destroyed—
Neither unproduced nor undestroyed—
Nor is it the case that one posits “both” or “neither”—
As for “emptiness” and “non-emptiness”—it is the same for them.

No matter which among all dharmas one encounters,
In their midst, one remains unmoving in one’s contemplation.
Those who achieve this abide in the unproduced-dharmas patience
On account of having cut off all forms of discrimination.

Once one has succeeded in gaining this patience,
One immediately receives the prediction:
“You will definitely become a buddha.”
It is then that one succeeds in achieving irreversibility.

Those bodhisattvas already dwelling at the stage of immovability
Have gained irreversible knowledge of dharmas as they really are.
Their knowledge is invincible to those of the Two Vehicles.
Hence this stage alone is designated “irreversible.”

Up until the bodhisattva has gained
The ground of all Buddhas’ present manifestation
Along with its durably-solid samadhis,
He should not allow any negligence to arise.

The ground of all buddhas’ present manifestation
With its durably-solid samadhis—
This constitutes the bodhisattva’s father
While the great compassion and the patiences serve as his mother.

As for the perfection of wisdom serving as his mother
And skillful means serving as his father,
It is on account of the one’s giving birth and the other’s support.
Thus those are also claimed as the bodhisattva’s father and mother.

With but a lesser accumulation of merit
One remains unable to realize bodhi.
Merit the measure of a hundred Mount Sumerus—
Only an accumulation exceeding that would enable its realization.

Although one may perform but a minor meritorious deed,
Even in this, one possesses a skillful means:
Taking all beings as the object of this act,
One in all cases brings about transformation of the conditions.

As for he who reflects, “Whatever actions I undertake,
They will always be for the sake of benefiting beings”—
With a mind which courses on in this way—
Who could be able to measure his merit?

When he is not cherishing of even his relatives, his retinue,
Or of his own body, life, or wealth—
When he does not covet the “sovereign-independence” happiness,
The Brahma-world heavens, or any other heavens—

When he does not covet even nirvana,
This because his actions are undertaken for the sake of beings—
When in this way, he bears in mind only other beings—
Who could be able to measure his merit?

When for those of the world without refuge or protection,
He rescues and protects them from their bitter afflictions—
When he raises forth such thought and actions as these—
Who could be able to measure his merit?

If he were to act in accord with the perfection of wisdom
Only for the moment of tugging cow’s milk, it would then be so.
If he did so for a month or for many more months—
Who could be able to measure his merit?

When, taking up those profound sutras praised by buddhas,
One recites them to himself, teaches them to others,
Or provides analysis and explanation for their sakes—
It is this which generates the accumulation of merit.

When one causes countless beings
To generate the mind resolved on bodhi,
That treasury of merit becomes even more supreme.
One thus becomes bound to gain the ground of immovability.

When one follows along in turning what the Buddha turned,
The wheel of the most supreme Dharma,
Bringing to quiescent cessation all of the evil piercings—
It is this which establishes the bodhisattva’s treasury of merit.

For the sake of bringing benefit and happiness to beings,
One would endure even the great sufferings of the hells,
How much the more so the other lesser sufferings.
In such a case, bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

When in initiating actions, it is not for one’s own sake,
But rather solely to bring benefit and happiness to beings—
Because in all cases this arises from the great compassion,
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

When one’s wisdom abandons frivolous discourse—
When one’s vigor abandons indolence—
When one’s giving abandons miserliness—
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

When meditative concentration is free of dependence or ideation—
When moral precepts are perfectly fulfilled and unadulterated—
When one has gained the unproduced-dharmas patience—
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.

Those now abiding in the ten directions—
All of those who have gained the right enlightenment—
I, in the presence of them all, directly before them,
Lay forth and describe those unwholesome deeds I have done.

In those realms throughout the ten directions,
If there be buddhas who have gained realization of bodhi
And yet have not proclaimed and expounded the Dharma—
I request of them that they turn the wheel of Dharma.

In the present era, throughout the ten-directions’ realms,
Among all those possessed of the right enlightenment—
If there be those about to relinquish their lives and practices,
I prostrate in reverence, exhorting and requesting them to remain.

Wherever there are any beings who,
By their physical, verbal, or mental deeds,
Generate merit through giving, moral virtue,
And so forth, on through to the cultivation of meditation—

Whether it be that of aryas or common persons,
And whether it be created in the past, present, or future—
All of their accumulated merit—
In every case, I am moved to accord with and rejoice in it.

If all of the merit which I have created
Could be formed into a single ball,
I would bestow it on all beings through transference
For the sake of causing them to realize the right enlightenment.

My acting in this manner in repentance of transgressions,
Exhortation, requesting, accordant rejoicing in others’ merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhi—
One should realize these accord with the acts of all Buddhas.

That confession and repentance of the evils of my karmic offenses,
The requesting of the Buddha, the accordant rejoicing in merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhi—
These accord with the instructions of the most supreme ones.

Kneeling down with the right knee touching the ground,
And the upper robe arranged, baring the one shoulder—
Three times each day and three times each night,
One places the palms together and proceeds in this manner.

The merit created in even a single instance of this,
If it were allowed to manifest in material form,
Even a Ganges’ sands number of great chiliocosms
Could not be able to contain it.

After the initial generation of resolve,
In relating to bodhisattvas of lesser standing,
One should bring forth for them a veneration and cherishing
Comparable to that reserved for one’s own guru and parents.

Although a bodhisattva may have committed transgressions,
Even so, one still should not speak about them.
How much the less might one do so where no actual case exists.
One should then engage only in praises which accord with truth.

In an instance where a person has vowed to become a buddha
And one wishes to influence him to achieve irreversibility,
Make matters manifestly apparent, cause him to blaze full of fire,
And also inspire in him the happiness of sympathetic joy.

When one has not yet understood extremely profound scriptures,
One must not claim they were not spoken by a buddha.
If one makes statements of this sort,
One undergoes the most intense suffering in retribution for evil.

As for karmic offenses generating “nonintermittent” retributions—
If one were to form them all into a single ball
And compare them to the two karmic offenses described above,
They would not amount even to the smallest fraction thereof.

As regards the three gates to liberation,
One should skillfully cultivate them:
The first is emptiness, the next is signlessness,
And the third is wishlessness.

Because they have no self-existent nature, phenomena are empty.
If already empty, how could one establish any characteristic signs?
Since all characteristic signs abide in a state of quiescent cessation,
What could there be that the wise might wish for?

When cultivating and bearing these in mind,
One goes toward and draws close to the nirvana path.
Do not bear in mind anything not resulting in a buddha’s body
And, in that matter, one must not allow any negligence.

“In this matter of nirvana, I
Should not immediately bring about its realization.”
One ought to generate a resolve of this sort,
And then should bring to ripeness the perfection of wisdom.

Just as an archer might shoot his arrows upwards,
Causing each in succession to strike the one before,
Each holding up the other so none are allowed to fall—
Just so it is with the great bodhisattva.

Into the emptiness of the gates to liberation,
He skillfully releases the arrows of the mind.
Through artful skillful means, arrows are continuously held aloft,
So none are allowed to fall back down into nirvana.

“I refuse to forsake beings
And so continue on for the sake of benefiting beings.”
One first brings forth just such resolve as this,
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.

There are those who’ve attached to existence of beings and the like
Throughout time’s long night and in present actions as well.
They retain inverted views regarding characteristic signs.
This is due in every case to confusion wrought by delusion.

For those attached to marks who retain inverted views,
One resolves to proclaim Dharma that they might be severed.
One first generates just such a mind as this.
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.

The bodhisattva strives on for the benefit of beings
And yet does not perceive the existence of any being.
This in itself is the most difficult among endeavors
And is such a rarity, it transcends one’s powers of conception.

Although one may have entered “the right and definite position,”
And one’s practice may accord with the gates to liberation,
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
One refrains from proceeding to the realization of nirvana.

Where one has not yet reached the “definite” position,
One holds oneself back through the power of skillful means.
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
In this case, too, one refrains from opting for realization of nirvana.

Equipped with the most ultimate renunciation of cyclic existence,
One nonetheless still confronts cyclic existence directly.
While maintaining faith and happiness in nirvana,
One still turns one’s back on taking up the realization of nirvana.

Although one should maintain a dread of afflictions,
One still should not bring afflictions to their final end.
One should proceed to accumulate the many forms of goodness,
Employing blocking techniques to block off the afflictions.

For the bodhisattva, afflictions fit with his very nature.
He is not one for whom nirvana is the basis of his very nature.
It is not the case that the burning up of the afflictions
Can bring about the generation of the bodhi seed.

As for the predictions accorded to those other beings,
These predictions involved their own causes and conditions.
They were only a function of the Buddha’s excellent skillfulness,
And were expedient means to facilitate reaching the far shore.

The comparisons involve “empty space,” “lotus flowers,”
“Precipitous cliffs,” and “a deep abyss.”
Just so, their realms. Analogies cite “non-virility” and “klecamani,”
With an additional comparison made to “seeds which are burned.”

All of the treatises as well as artisan’s skills,
The esoteric skills of higher clarity, all of the sorts of livelihoods—
Because they bring benefit to the world,
One brings them forth and establishes them.

Adapting to beings amenable to transformative teaching,
To their realms, paths, and birth circumstances,
As befits one’s reflections, one proceeds forthwith to them,
And, through power of vows, takes birth among them.

In the midst of all sorts of circumstances rife with evil
And in the midst of beings prone to guileful flattery and deceit,
One should put to use one’s sturdy armor
And so must not yield to loathing and must not become fearful.

One equips oneself with the supremely pure mind,
Does not resort to guileful flattery or deception,
Reveals all of the evils of one’s karmic offenses,
And keeps concealed his many good deeds.

One purifies the karma of body and mouth
And also purifies the karma of the mind,
Cultivating observance of all passages in the moral-code training.
One must not allow any omissions or diminishment in this.

One establishes himself in right mindfulness,
Focuses on objective conditions, and meditates in solitary silence.
Having put mindfulness to use to serve as a guard,
The mind becomes free of any obstructive thoughts.

When bringing forth discriminations,
One should realize which are good and which are not.
One should forsake any which are not good
And extensively cultivate those which are good.

If the mind trained on the objective sphere becomes scattered,
One should focus one’s mindful awareness,
Return it to that objective sphere,
And, whenever movement occurs, immediately cause it to halt.

One should not indulge any laxness, any grasping at what is bad,
Nor any intense cultivation of such things.
Since one is prevented thereby from maintaining concentration,
One should therefore constantly cultivate accordingly.

Even if one were to take up the vehicle of the Hearers
Or the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas,
And hence practiced solely for one’s own self benefit,
Still, one would not relinquish the enduring practice of vigor.

How much the less could it be that a great man,
One committed to liberate himself and liberate others,
Might somehow not generate
A measure of vigor a thousand kotis times greater?

It may be that one tries to carry on a separate practice half the time,
Thus practicing some other path of cultivation simultaneously.
In cultivating meditative concentration, one should not do this.
One should rather focus only on a single objective phenomenon.

One must not indulge any covetousness regarding the body
And must not cherish even one’s very life.
Even if one allowed a protectiveness towards this body,
In the end, it is but a dharma bound to rot and destruction.

Offerings, reverence from others, or fame—
One must never develop a covetous attachment to them.
In the manner of one whose turban has caught fire, one should
Act with diligence, striving to accomplish what one has vowed.

Acting resolutely and immediately, pull forth the supreme benefit.
In this, one cannot wait for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is too distant a time,
For how can one ensure survival even for the blink of an eye?

Establishing oneself in right mindfulness,
When eating, it is as if consuming the flesh of one’s cherished son.
With respect to that food which one takes to eat,
One must not indulge affection for it or disapproval of it.

For what purpose has one left the home life?
Have I finished what is to be done or not?
Reflect now on whether or not one is accomplishing the endeavor,
Doing so as described in the Ten Dharmas Sutra.

One should contemplate conditioned things as impermanent
As devoid of self, and as devoid of anything belonging to a self.
As for all forms of demonic karmic actions—
One should become aware of them and abandon them.

The roots, powers, limbs of enlightenment,
Bases of spiritual powers, right efforts and severances, the Path,
As well as the four stations of mindfulness—
One generates energetic diligence for the sake of cultivating these.

In beneficial and happiness-creating acts of goodness, the mind
Serves as the source for their continuously-repeated generation.
It also acts as the root of all manner of evil and turbidity.
One should make it the focus of skillful analytic contemplation.

“In my relationship to good dharmas—
What sort of daily increase is occurring in them?
And, again, what sort of reduction?”
Those should be the contemplations of utmost concern.

When one observes another gain increasing measure
Of offerings, of reverences, and of fame,
Even the most subtle thoughts of stinginess and jealously
Are in all cases not to be indulged.

One should not cherish any aspect of the objective realms,
But rather should act as if dull-witted, blind, mute, and deaf.
Still, when timely, one should respond by roaring “the lion’s roar,”
Frightening off the non-Buddhist “deer.”

In welcoming them on arrival and escorting them off as they go,
One should be reverential towards those worthy of veneration.
In all endeavors associated with the Dharma,
One should follow along, participate and contribute assistance.

One rescues and liberates beings bound to be killed,
Naturally increasing and never decreasing such works.
One cultivates well those karmic deeds requiring clarity and skill,
Training in them oneself while also teaching them to others.

Regarding all of the supremely good dharmas,
One adopts them through enduring and solid practice.
One cultivates the four means of attraction,
Making gifts of clothing as well as food and drink.

One does not turn away from those who beg for alms,
Brings together in harmony all who are related,
Does not allow his retinue to drift into estrangement,
And provides them with dwellings as well as material wealth.

As for one’s father, mother, relatives, and friends,
One provides circumstances for them befitting their station
And, wherever they are provided such fitting circumstances,
One treats them as supreme and independent sovereigns.

Although there are yet others who act as one’s servants,
One speaks to them with goodness and also, in effect, adopts them.
One should accord them the highest esteem,
Providing them with medicines and treatment for any illnesses.

Being the first to act, one becomes foremost in good karmic deeds,
Speaks with smooth and marvelously sublime words,
Is skillful in discourse guided by right intention,
And has none above or below to whom he does not proffer gifts.

One avoids any harm to the retinue of another,
Regards beings with the eye of loving-kindness,
Does not course in disapproving thoughts,
And treats all as one would close relatives or friends.

One should accord with the words he speaks,
Immediately following them with concordant actions.
If one immediately acts in accordance with his words,
Other people will then be caused to develop faith.

One should support and protect the Dharma,
Being aware of and looking into instances of neglectfulness,
Going so far as to create even a canopy of gold and jewels
Which spreads over and covers a caitya.

For those who wish to find a maiden mate,
Once adorned, one may see to her presentation,
And also discourse to them on Buddha’s meritorious qualities,
Presenting them with prayer beads gleaming in varying hues.

One creates images of the Buddha
Which sit upright on supreme lotus blossoms.
And, in the six dharmas of monastic harmony,
One cultivates them, thus creating common delight and happiness.

Of those who may be given offerings, none are not given offerings.
Even for the sake of preserving one’s life, one still does not slander
The Dharma spoken by the Buddha
Or the person who expounds the Dharma.

Gold and jewels are distributed among teaching masters
And also among the caityas of teaching masters.
If there are those who forget what is to be recited,
One assists their remembrance, enabling them to stay free of error.

When one has not yet reflected on what should be done,
One must not be impulsive and must not simply emulate others.
As for the non-Buddhists, gods, dragons, and spirits—
In every case, one must not invest one’s faith in them.

One’s mind should be like vajra,
Able to penetrate all dharmas.
One’s mind should also be like a mountain,
Remaining unmoved by any circumstance.

One finds delight and happiness in world-transcending discourse,
But must not derive pleasure from words based on the worldly.
Having adopted all manner of meritorious qualities oneself,
One should influence others to adopt them as well.

One cultivates the five bases of liberation,
And also cultivates the ten reflections on impurity.
The eight realizations of the great men
Should also be the focus of analytic contemplation and cultivation.

The heavenly ear, the heavenly eye,
The bases of spiritual powers, the cognition of others’ thoughts,
And the cognition of past lives and abodes—
One should cultivate purification of these five spiritual abilities.

The four bases of spiritual powers constitute the root.
They are zeal, vigor, mental focus, and contemplative reflection.
The four immeasurables control and sustain them.
They are kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

The four elements are like poisonous serpents,
The six sense faculties are like an empty village
The five aggregates are like assassins.
One should contemplate them in this way.

One esteems the Dharma as well as the masters of Dharma
And also relinquishes any stinginess with the Dharma.
The instructing masters must not be tight-fisted or secretive
And those listening must not be mentally scattered or confused.

Free of arrogance and free of any particular hopes,
One resorts only to the mind motivated by compassion and pity.
With intentions imbued with veneration and reverence,
One expounds the Dharma for the sake of the assembly.

In learning, one never becomes weary or sated,
And having heard, in every case, one then recites and retains it.
One does not deceive any among the venerable fields of merit,
And, additionally, causes the teacher to be delighted.

One should not pay visits to the houses of others,
With a mind cherishing hopes for reverence or offerings.
One must not, for the sake of debating challenging topics,
Take up study and recitation of worldly texts.

One must not, on account of hatefulness or anger,
Defame anyone who is a bodhisattva.
With respect to dharmas not yet received or learned,
In those cases, too, one must not initiate slanders.

In order to cut off and get rid of arrogance and pride,
One should abide in the four lineage bases of the arya.
One must not course in disapproval of others
And must not allow oneself to become conceited.

Whether someone has actually committed a transgression or not,
One must not bring their cases to the attention of others.
Do not seek out the errors and faults of anyone else.
As for one’s own errors, one should become aware of them.

As for the Buddha and the Dharma of all Buddhas,
One should not course in discriminations and doubts about them.
Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe,
One should still maintain one’s faith in it.

Even though one might be put to death for speaking the truth
Or be forced to abdicate the throne of wheel-turning king,
Or even that of a king of the gods,
One should still engage only in truthful speech.

Even if beaten, cursed, terrorized, slain, or bound up,
One must never subject others to enmity or castigation.
Think, “This is all the product of my own karmic offenses.
It is on account of karmic retribution that this has manifested.”

One should, with the most ultimate respect and affection,
Provide offerings in support of one’s father and mother,
Also supplying the needs of and serving the upādhyāyas,
While extending one’s reverence to the ācāryas as well.

When, for the sake of those who believe in the Hearer Vehicle
Or those who resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
One discourses on the most profound of dharmas,
This, for a bodhisattva, is an error.

When, for believers in the profound Great-Vehicle teachings,
One discourses to those beings
On the Hearer or Pratyekabuddha vehicles,
This, too, is an error for him.

So, too, where some eminent personage comes seeking the Dharma
And one delays this, thus failing to speak Dharma for him,
And then, on the contrary, one draws in and accepts what is evil—
So, too, if one appoints the unfaithful to positions of responsibility.

One should depart far from the errors herein described.
As for such herein-described meritorious practices as the dhūtas,
One should bear them in mind, come to know them,
And also draw close to them all in one’s practice.

Regard all equally in one’s thoughts, speak equally to all,
Be uniformly equal in skillfully establishing others,
And also in influencing others to accord with what is right.
Thus, in relating to beings, one remains free of discrimination.

One acts for the sake of Dharma and not for the sake of benefit,
Acts for the sake of what is meritorious, not for the sake of fame.
One aspires to liberate beings from suffering,
And does not wish simply to bring about one’s own happiness.

With purposes kept to oneself, one seeks fruition in one’s works.
When the results of one’s merit-generating endeavors come forth,
Even then, one applies them to the ripening of the many.
Thus, in this, one relinquishes and abandons one’s own concerns.

One should grow close to good spiritual friends (kalyānamitra).
This refers to the masters of Dharma, to the Buddhas,
To those who encourage one to leave the home life,
And to that class of persons which comes begging for alms.

Those who ground themselves in worldly treatises,
Those who exclusively seek worldly wealth,
Those with faith and awareness in the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
And those who are devoted to the Hearer Vehicle—

As for these four types of unwholesome spiritual friends,
The bodhisattva should be aware of them.
There are moreover those things which one should strive to gain.
This refers specifically to four great treasuries:

The emergence of Buddhas; hearing the perfections explained;
Being able where a Dharma master dwells,
To behold him with unobstructed mind;
And being able to abide happily in a place of solitude.

Earth, water, fire, wind, empty space—
One should abide in a manner comparable to them.
In all places, one should remain uniformly equal to all
And bestow one’s benefit to all beings.

One should skillfully reflect upon the meanings
And should be diligent in generation of the dhāraṇīs.
In relating to those who listen to Dharma, one must not
Manifest any sort of obstruction of them.

In the midst of afflictions, one should be able to overcome them.
In minor matters, one is able to relinquish them without a trace.
In the eight circumstances involving indolence,
One should also in all cases cast it aside and cut it off.

One must not engage in covetousness for what is not one’s lot,
Unprincipled covetousness will not bring satisfaction.
The estranged should be influenced to come together
Regardless of whether or not they are one’s relations.

As for trying to get at emptiness itself in what is empty,
Those who are wise must not base their practice on that.
In the case of one determined to get at emptiness itself,
That wrong is even more extreme than viewing the body as a self.

From sweeping and maintaining floors to setting up adornments—
This as well as providing many sorts of drums and music—
Offering fragrances, flower garlands, and other sorts of offerings—
One should bestow all such sorts of offerings on the caityas.

One should create all sorts of lantern wheels
To make as offerings to the caityas and their buildings.
Provide then canopies as well as sandals,
Horse-drawn carriages, sedan chairs, and the like.

One should especially find delight and happiness in the Dharma
And be happy realizing what is gained through faith in Buddha.
One finds delight and enjoyment supplying and serving Sangha,
While also being pleased by listening to right Dharma.

They do not arise in the past.
They do not abide in the present.
They do not extend forward, thus arriving into the future.
One should contemplate dharmas in this way.

As for those things which are fine, one bestows them on beings
And does not seek that they will proffer fine rewards in return.
One should act so that only oneself is bound to endure suffering
And not favor oneself in the partaking of happiness.

Although one has become complete in rewards from great merit,
One’s mind is not raised up by it nor should one feel delighted.
Although one may be as poverty-stricken as a hungry ghost,
Still, one does not become dejected or overcome with distress.

If there be one already accomplished in study,
One should accord him the most ultimate honorific esteem.
Those who’ve not yet studied, one should cause to take up study.
One should not generate towards them any slighting or disdain.

To those perfect in moral prohibitions, one should be reverential.
Those who break precepts, one should cause to adopt precepts.
To those equipped with wisdom, one should draw close.
Those who act foolishly, one should influence to abide in wisdom.

The sufferings of cyclic existence are of many kinds,
Involving birth, aging, death, and the wretched destinies.
One should not be frightened by their fearsomeness,
But rather should overcome demons and knowledge rooted in evil.

In the lands of all the Buddhas,
One amasses every form of merit.
So that all will reach one of them for themselves,
One generates vows and proceeds with vigor.

In the midst of all dharmas, one is constant
In not seizing on them, thus coursing along in equanimity.
Proceeding in this manner, for the sake of all beings,
One accepts the burden, wishing to carry it on forth.

One abides in the right contemplation of all dharmas
Wherein there is no self and nothing belonging to a self.
Even so, one must not relinquish the great compassion
And must also avail oneself of the great loving-kindness.

As for that which is superior even to using every sort of gift
In making offerings to the Buddha, the World Honored One,
What sort of action might that be?
This refers specifically to making offerings of Dharma.

If one upholds the Bodhisattva Canon,
Even to the point of gaining realization of the dhāranīs—
If one enters into and reaches the bottom of Dharma’s source—
This is what constitutes the offering of Dharma.

One should rely upon the meaning.
One must not cherish only the various flavors.
In the Path of the profound Dharma
One enters skillfully and does not fall prey to negligence.

It is in this manner that one cultivates these provisions
Across the course of kalpas as numerous as the Ganges’ sands,
Doing so as a monastic as well as in the role of a householder,
Thus becoming bound to gain fulfillment of right enlightenment.
End of Nagarjuna’s Root Text

Translation © 2005 by Bhikshu Dharmamitra




(Bodhicaryavatara chapter 3) 


In the spiritual energy that relieves

The anguish of beings in misery and

Places depressed beings in eternal joy

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

In the goodness producing illumination

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

I rejoice in the beings who have gained

Eternal liberation from suffering.

And I rejoice in those attained to Buddhahood

As well as in their offspring, the noble Bodhisattvas.

In the ocean-like virtue of the Bodhimind

That brings joy to all beings

And in accomplishing the well-being of others,

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

To the Buddhas of the ten directions

I join my hands in respect

Let blaze the light of Dharmas truth

For the beings lost in darkness

To the Buddhas considering parinirvarna

I join my hands in prayer

Do not abandon the beings in sorrow

But remain and teach for countless ages.

May any spiritual energy thus generated

By my devotion to the enlightened ones

Be dedicated to dispelling the misery

Of living beings without exception.

As long as diseases afflict living beings

May I be the doctor, the medicine

And also the nurse

Who restores them to health.

May I fall as rain to increase

The harvests that must feed living beings

And in ages of dire famine

May I myself serve as food and drink.

May I be an unending treasury

For those desperate and forlorn.

May I manifest as what they require

And wish to have near them.

My body, every possession

And all goodness, past, present and future

Without remorse I dedicate

To the well-being of the world

Suffering is transcended by total surrender

And the mind attains to nirvana.

As one day all must be given up,

Why not dedicate it now to universal happiness?

My bodily powers I dedicate

To the well-being of all that lives.

Should anyone wish to kill, abuse or beat me,

The responsibility is purely their own.

Should anyone wish to ridicule me

And make me an object of jest and scorn

Why should I possibly care

If I have dedicated myself to others?

Let them do as they wish with me

So long as it does not harm them.

May no one who encounters me

Ever have an insignificant contact.

Regardless whether those whom I meet

Respond towards me with anger or faith,

May the mere fact of our meeting

Contribute to the fulfilment of their wishes.

May the slander, harm

And all forms of abuse

That anyone should direct towards me

Act as a cause of their enlightenment.

May I be a protector to the helpless,

A guide to those travelling the path,

A boat to those wishing to cross over;

Or a bridge or a raft.

May I be land for those requiring it,

A lamp for those in darkness,

May I be a home for the homeless,

And a servant for the world.

In order to fulfil the needs of beings

May I be as a magic gem,

An inexhaustible vase, a mystic spell,

A cure-all medicine, and a wish granting tree.

May I act as the mighty earth

Or like the free and open skies

To support and provide the space

Whereby I and all others may grow.

Until every being afflicted by pain

Has reached nirvanas shores,

May I serve only as a condition

That encourages progress and joy.

Just as all previous Buddhas

First gave rise to the precious Bodhimind

And just as then carefully followed

The stages of the Bodhisattva disciplines.

Likewise for the sake of sentient beings

Do I now myself generate the Bodhimind,

And likewise will I train myself

In the disciplines of a Bodhisattva.

They who out of wisdom

Have seized the supreme Bodhimind

Praise, glorify and rejoice in it,

That it may grow to fulfilment.

From today I will reap the fruit of life;

Having well won the state of man,

Today I am born in the Buddha-family

And am now a child of the Buddhas.

Thus in future I should make every effort

To live in accord with the Bodhisattva Ways,

And never should I act as would bring shame

To this noble faultless family.

Like a blind man fumbling in garbage

Happens to find a rare and precious gem,

Likewise I have discovered

The jewel of the precious Bodhimind.

Thus was found this supreme ambrosia to dispel

The Lord of death, destroyer of life;

An inexhaustible treasure able to cure

The poverty of all sentient beings.

It is the highest of medicines

To quell the ills of the living,

And it is a tree giving shade

To those wandering on the paths of life.

It is a strong and mighty bridge

By which beings can cross from misery,

And it is a moon to shine in the mind

To clear away the pains of delusion.

The Bodhimind is a great radiant sun

To disperse the darkness of unknowing,

And it is the very essence of butters

Gained from churning the milks of Dharma.

For all guests on the roads of life

Who would take the very substance of joy,

Here is the actual seat of true happiness,

A veritable feast to satiate the world.

Thus today in the presence of all awakened Ones

I invite every living being to this festival

Giving both immediate and lasting joy.

May the gods and all others rejoice.

Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa


Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa
in Twenty Eight Verses

Homage to the Eighty Four Mahasiddhas!
Homage to Mahamudra!
Homage to the Vajra Dakini!

Mahamudra cannot be taught. But most intelligent Naropa,
Since you have undergone rigorous austerity,
With forbearance in suffering and with devotion to your Guru,
Blessed One, take this secret instruction to heart.

Is space anywhere supported? Upon what does it rest?
Like space, Mahamudra is dependant upon nothing;
Relax and settle in the continuum of unalloyed purity,
And, your bonds loosening, release is certain.

Gazing intently into the empty sky, vision ceases;
Likewise, when mind gazes into mind itself,
The train of discursive and conceptual thought ends
And supreme enlightenment is gained.

Like the morning mist that dissolves into thin air,
Going nowhere but ceasing to be,
Waves of conceptualization, all the mind’s creation, dissolve,
When you behold your mind’s true nature.

Pure space has neither colour nor shape
And it cannot be stained either black or white;
So also, mind’s essence is beyond both colour and shape
And it cannot be sullied by black or white deeds.

The darkness of a thousand aeons is powerless
To dim the crystal clarity of the sun’s heart;
And likewise, aeons of samsara have no power
To veil the clear light of the mind’s essence.

Although space has been designated “empty”,
In reality it is inexpressible;
Although the nature of mind is called “clear light”,
Its every ascription is baseless verbal fiction.

The mind’s original nature is like space;
It pervades and embraces all things under the sun.

Be still and stay relaxed in genuine ease,
Be quiet and let sound reverberate as an echo,
Keep your mind silent and watch the ending of all worlds.

The body is essentially empty like the stem of a reed,
And the mind, like pure space, utterly transcends
the world of thought:
Relax into your intrinsic nature with neither abandon nor control –
Mind with no objective is Mahamudra –
And, with practice perfected, supreme enlightenment is gained.

The clear light of Mahamudra cannot be revealed
By the canonical scriptures or metaphysical treatises
Of the Mantravada, the Paramitas or the Tripitaka;
The clear light is veiled by concepts and ideals.

By harbouring rigid precepts the true samaya is impaired,
But with cessation of mental activity all fixed notions subside;
When the swell of the ocean is at one with its peaceful depths,
When mind never strays from indeterminate, non-conceptual truth,
The unbroken samaya is a lamp lit in spiritual darkness.

Free of intellectual conceits, disavowing dogmatic principles,
The truth of every school and scripture is revealed.

Absorbed in Mahamudra, you are free from the prison of samsara;
Poised in Mahamudra, guilt and negativity are consumed;
And as master of Mahamudra you are the light of the Doctrine.

The fool in his ignorance, disdaining Mahamudra,
Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety!
Sick of unrelenting pain and desiring release, adhere to a master,
For when his blessing touches your heart, the mind is liberated.

KYE HO! Listen with joy!
Investment in samsara is futile; it is the cause of every anxiety.
Since worldly involvement is pointless, seek the heart of reality!

In the transcending of mind’s dualities is Supreme vision;
In a still and silent mind is Supreme Meditation;
In spontaneity is Supreme Activity;
And when all hopes and fears have died, the Goal is reached.

Beyond all mental images the mind is naturally clear:
Follow no path to follow the path of the Buddhas;
Employ no technique to gain supreme enlightenment.

KYE MA! Listen with sympathy!
With insight into your sorry worldly predicament,
Realising that nothing can last, that all is as dreamlike illusion,
Meaningless illusion provoking frustration and boredom,
Turn around and abandon your mundane pursuits.

Cut away involvement with your homeland and friends
And meditate alone in a forest or mountain retreat;
Exist there in a state of non-meditation
And attaining no-attainment, you attain Mahamudra.

A tree spreads its branches and puts forth leaves,
But when its root is cut its foliage withers;
So too, when the root of the mind is severed,
The branches of the tree of samsara die.

A single lamp dispels the darkness of a thousand aeons;
Likewise, a single flash of the mind’s clear light
Erases aeons of karmic conditioning and spiritual blindness.

KYE HO! Listen with joy!
The truth beyond mind cannot be grasped by any faculty of mind;
The meaning of non-action cannot be understood in compulsive activity;
To realise the meaning of non-action and beyond mind,
Cut the mind at its root and rest in naked awareness.

Allow the muddy waters of mental activity to clear;
Refrain from both positive and negative projection –
leave appearances alone:
The phenomenal world, without addition or subtraction, is Mahamudra.

The unborn omnipresent base dissolves your impulsions and delusions:
Do not be conceited or calculating but rest in the unborn essence
And let all conceptions of yourself and the universe melt away.

The highest vision opens every gate;
The highest meditation plumbs the infinite depths;
The highest activity is ungoverned yet decisive;
And the highest goal is ordinary being devoid of hope and fear.

At first your karma is like a river falling through a gorge;
In mid-course it flows like a gently meandering River Ganga;
And finally, as a river becomes one with the ocean,
It ends in consummation like the meeting of mother and son.

If the mind is dull and you are unable to practice these instructions,
Retaining essential breath and expelling the sap of awareness,
Practising fixed gazes – methods of focussing the mind,
Discipline yourself until the state of total awareness abides.

When serving a karmamudra, the pure awareness
of bliss and emptiness will arise:
Composed in a blessed union of insight and means,
Slowly send down, retain and draw back up the bodhichitta,
And conducting it to the source, saturate the entire body.
But only if lust and attachment are absent will that awareness arise.

Then gaining long-life and eternal youth, waxing like the moon,
Radiant and clear, with the strength of a lion,
You will quickly gain mundane power and suprem enlightenment.

May this pith instruction in Mahamudra

Remain in the hearts of fortunate beings.


Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa in twenty Eight Verses was transmitted by the Great Guru and Mahasiddha Tilopa to the Kashmiri Pandit, Sage and Siddha, Naropa, near the banks of the River Ganga upon the completion of his Twelve Austerities. Naropa transmitted the teaching in Sanskrit in the form of twenty eight verses to the great Tibetan translator Mar pa Chos kyi blos gros, who made a free translation of it at his village of Pulahari on the Tibet – Bhutan border.

This text is contained in the collection of Mahamudra instruction called the Do ha mdzod brgyad ces bya ba Phyag rgya chen po’i man ngag gsal bar ston pa’i gzhung, which is printed at the Gyalwa Karmapa’s monastery at Rumtek, Sikkim. The Tibetan title is Phyag rgya chen po’i man ngag, or Phyag rgya chen po rdo rje’i tsig rkang nyi shu rtsa brgyad pa.

The Royal Song of Saraha



translated by Herbert V. Guenther

I bow down to noble Manjushri I bow down to Him who has conquered the finite. 1 As calm water lashed by wind Turns into waves and rollers, So the king thinks of Saraha In many ways, although one man.

2 To a fool who squints One lamp is as two; Where seen and seer are not two, ah! the mind Works on the thingness of them both.

3 Though the house-lamps have been lit, The blind live on in the dark. Though spontaneity is all-encompassing and close, To the deluded it remains always far away.

4 Though there may be many rivers, they are one in the sea, Though there may be many lies, one truth will conquer all. When one sun appears, the dark However deep will vanish.

5 As a cloud that rises from the sea Absorbing rain the earth embraces, So, like the sky, the sea remains Without increasing or decreasing.

6 So from spontaneity that’s unique, Replete with the Buddha’s perfections, Are all sentient beings born and in it come To rest. But it is neither concrete nor abstract.

7 They walk other paths and so forsake true bliss, Seeking the delights that stimulants produce. The honey in their mouths and to them so near Will vanish if at once they do not drink it.

8 Beasts do not understand the world To be a sorry place. Not so the wise Who the heavenly nectar drink While beasts hunger for the sensual.

9. To a fly that likes the smell of putrid Meat the fragrance of sandalwood is foul. Beings who discard Nirvana Covet coarse Samsara’s realm.

10 An ox’s footprints filled with water Will soon dry up; so with a mind that’s firm But full of qualities that are not perfect; These imperfections will in time dry up.

11 Like salt sea water that turns Sweet when drunk up by the clouds, So a firm mind that works for others turns The poison of sense-objects into nectar.

12 If ineffable, never is one unsatisfied, If unimaginable, it must be bliss itself. Though from a cloud one fears the thunderclap, The crops ripen when from it pours the rain.

13 It is in the beginning, in the middle, and The end; yet end and beginning are nowhere else. All those with minds deluded by interpretative thoughts are in Two minds and so discuss nothingness and compassion as two things.

14 Bees know that in flowers Honey can be found. That Samsara and Nirvana are not two How will the deluded ever understand?

15 When the deluded in a mirror look They see a face, not a reflection. So the mind that has truth denied Relies on that which is not true.

16 Though the fragrance of a flower cannot be touched, ‘Tis all pervasive and at once perceptible. So by unpatterned being-in-itself Recognize the round of mystic circles.

17 When in winter still water by the wind is stirred, It takes as ice the shape and texture of a rock. When the deluded are disturbed by interpretative thoughts, That which is as yet unpatterned turns very hard and solid.

18 Mind immaculate in its very being can never be Polluted by Samsara’s or Nirvana’s impurities. A precious jewel deep in mud Will not shine, though it has luster.

19 Knowledge shines not in the dark, but when the darkness Is illumined, suffering disappears at once. Shoots grow from the seed And leaves from the shoots.

20 He who thinks of the mind in terms of one Or many casts away the light and enters the world. Into a raging fire he walks with open eyes– Who could be more deserving of compassion?

21 For the delights of kissing the deluded crave Declaring it to be the ultimately real– Like a man who leaves his house and standing at the door Asks a woman for reports of sensual delights.

22 The stirring of biotic forces in the house of nothingness Has given artificial rise to pleasures in so many ways. Such yogis from affliction faint for they have fallen From celestial space, inveigled into vice.

23 As a Brahman, who with rice and butter Makes a burnt offering in blazing fire Creating a vessel for nectar from celestial space, Takes this through wishful thinking as the ultimate.

24 Some people who have kindled the inner heat and raised it to the fontanelle Stroke the uvula with the tongue in a sort of coition and confuse That which fetters with what gives release, In pride will call themselves yogis.

25 As higher awareness they teach what they experience Within. What fetters them they will call liberation. A glass trinket colored green to them is a priceless emerald; Deluded, they know not a gem from what they think it should be.

26 They take copper to be gold. Bound by discursive thought They think these thoughts to be ultimate reality. They long for the pleasures experienced in dreams. They call The perishable body-mind eternal bliss supreme.

27 By the symbol EVAM they think self-clearness is achieved, By the different situations that demand four seals They call what they have fancied spontaneity, But this is looking at reflections in a mirror.

28 As under delusion’s power a herd of deer will rush For the water in a mirage which is not recognized, So also the deluded quench not their thirst, are bound by chains And find pleasure in them, saying that all is ultimately real.

29 Nonmemory is convention’s truth And mind which has become no-mind is ultimate truth. This is fulfillment, this the highest good. Friends, of this highest good become aware.

30 In nonmemory is mind absorbed; just this Is emotionality perfect and pure. It is unpolluted by the good or bad of worldliness Like a lotus unaffected by the mud from which it grows.

31 Yet with certainty must all things be viewed as if they were a magic spell. If without distinction you can accept or reject Samsara Or Nirvana, steadfast is your mind, free from the shroud of darkness. In you will be self-being, beyond thought and self-originated.

32 This world of appearance has from its radiant beginning Never come to be; unpatterned it has discarded patterning. As such it is continuous and unique meditation; It is nonmentation, stainless contemplation, and nonmind.

33 Mind, intellect, and the formed contents of that mind are It, So too are the world and all that seems from It to differ, All things that can be sensed and the perceiver, Also dullness, aversion, desire, and enlightenment.

34 Like a lamp that shines in the darkness of spiritual Unknowing, It removes obscurations of a mind As far as the fragmentations of intellect obtain. Who can imagine the self-being of desirelessness?

35 There’s nothing to be negated, nothing to be Affirmed or grasped; for It can never be conceived. By the fragmentations of the intellect are the deluded Fettered; undivided and pure remains spontaneity.

36 If you question ultimacy with the postulates of the many and the one, Oneness is not given, for by transcending knowledge are sentient beings freed.

37 The radiant is potency latent in the intellect, and this Is shown to be meditation; unswerving mind is our true essence.

38 The buds of joy and pleasure And the leaves of glory grow. If nothing flows out anywhere The bliss unspeakable will fruit.

39 What has been done and where and what in itself it will become Is nothing; yet thereby it has been useful for this and that. Whether passionate or not The pattern is nothingness.

40 If I am like a pig that covets worldly mire You must tell me what fault lies in a stainless mind. By what does not affect one How can one now be fettered

Buddhist Tantra: Some Introductory Remarks


His Holiness Sakya Trizin

There is a common misconception among many non-Buddhists (and even among certain
Buddhists) that the Tantras are late and corrupt additions to the Buddha’s Teachings. This is
false. The Tantras are genuine teachings of the Lord Buddha, and they occupy a paramount
position withtin the overall flamework of Buddhist doctrine.

Some of the misconceptions about the Tantras stem from their esoteric nature. Since the
time of the Buddha the Tantras were always taught secretly and selectively. For their correct
understanding they have always required the oral instructios of a qualified master; without such
explanations they can easily be misunderstood in wrong and harmful ways. In order to uphold
this tradition I am prevented from discussing most aspects of Tantra here. But it is perhaps
permissible here to say a few general things about Buddhist Tantra and about how it is related
to other systems of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thought and practice. I shall base myself on the
teachings of our tradition such as the Rgyud sde spyi’i rnam gzhag (“General System of the
Tantras”) of Lobpon Sonam Tsemo.


In Tibetan tradition the word Tantra (rgyud) nomrally refers to a special class of the
Buddha’s teachings like the Kriya, Carya, Yoga and Anuttarayoga Tantras, and more
specifically to the scriptures that embody it, such as the Hevajratantra, the Kalacakratantra,
and the Guhyasamajatantra. But contrary to its English usage, the word does not usually
refer to the whole system of Tantric practice and theory. For the doctrinal system of Tantra,
the terms Mantrayana (“Mantra Vehicle”) and Vajrayana (“Vajra” or “Adamantine Vehicle”)
are used instead.

In its technical sense the word Tantra means “continuum”. In particular, Tantra refers to
one’s own mind as non-dual Wisdom (jnana); it exists as a continuum because there is an
unbroken continuation of mind from beginningless time until the attainment of Buddhahood.
This continuum, moreover, has three aspects or stages; the causal continuum, the continuum
involved in applied method, and the resultant continuum. Sentient creatures in ordinary cyclic
existence (samsara) are the “causal continuum”. Those who are engaged in methods of
gaining liberation are the “continuum involved in the method”. And those who have achieved
the ultimate spiritual fruit, the Body of Wisdom, are the “resultant continuum”. The causal
continuum is so called because there exists in it the potential for producing a fruit is not actually
manifested. It is like a seed kept in a container. “Method” is so called because there exists
means or methods by which the result latent in the cause can be brought out. “Method” is like
the water and fertilizer needed for growing a plant. “Fruit” or “result” refers to the actualization
of the result that was latent in the cause. This is like the ripened flower that results when one
has planted the seed and properly cultivated the plant.


In His infinite compassion, wisdom and power the Lord Buddha gave innumerable different
teachings aimed at helping countless beings of different mentalities. These teachings can be
classified into two main classes: 1) the Sravakayana (which includes the present Theravada),
and 2) the Mahayana. The Sravakayana (sometimes also called the Hinayana) is mainly aimed
at individual salvation, which the Mahayana stresses the universal ideal of the Bodhisattva (“the
Being intent upon Enlightenment”) who selflessly strives for the liberation of all beings, vowing to
remain in cyclic existence until all others are liberated. The Mahayana or Great Vehicle can also
be divided into two: 1) the Paramitayana (“Perfection Vehicle”) which we also call the “Causal
Vehicle” because in it the Bodhisattva’s moral perfections are cultivated as the causes of future
Buddhahood, and 2) the Mantrayana (“Mantra Vehicle”), which is also known as the “Resultant
Vehicle” because through its special practices one realizes the Wisdom of Enlightenment as
actually present.


The spiritual fruit that is aimed at in both branches of Mahayana practice is the Perfect
Awakening or Enlightenment of Buddhahood. A Perfectly awakened Buddha is one who
has correctly understood the status of all knowable things in ultimate reality, who possess
consummate bliss that is free from the impurities, and who has eliminated all stains of the
obscurations. The latter characteristic – the freedom from the obscurations – is a cause for
other features of Buddhahood. It consists of the elimination of three types of obscurations
or impediments: those defilements such as hatred and desire, those that obscure one’s
knowledge of reality as it is and in its multiplicity, and those that pertain to the meditative


We speak of a method of spiritual practice as a “path” because it is a means by which one
reaches the spiritual destination that one is aiming at. There are two types of path. One consists
of the common paths that lead to inferior results, and the other is the extraordinary path that
leads to the highest goal.


Some religions or philosophical traditions while claiming to yield good results actually lead
their practitioners to undesirable destinations. For instance, the inferiors Tirthikas (non-Buddhist
Indian schools) as well as those who propound Nihilism only lead their followers to rebirths in
the miserable realms of existence. The higher Tirthikas can lead one to the acquisition of a
rebirth in the higher realms, but not to liberation. And even the paths of Sravakayana and
Pratyekabuddhayana are inferior, for they lead only to simply liberation, and not to complete


The special path is the Mahayana. It is superior to both non-Buddhist paths and the lower
Buddhist paths for it alone is the means by which perfect Buddhahood can be attained. It is
superior to all other paths for four particular reasons. It is a better means for removing suffering,
it is without attachment to cyclic existence, as a method of liberation it is the vehicle of
Buddhahood, and it does not desire only liberation for it is the path of existence and quiescence
equally, in which emptiness and compassion are taught as being non-dual.


The Mahayana itself has two major divisions. As mentioned above, these are the Perfection
Vehicle and the Secret-Mantra Vehicle. The first of these is also termed the general Mahayana
because it is held in common with both Mahayana divisions, whereas the second is termed the
particular because its special profound and vast doctrines are not found withtin the general
tradition. The two vehicles derive their names from the practices predominating withtin them.
In the Perfection Vehicle the practices of the Bodhisattva’s perfections (paramita)predominate,
and in the Secret-Mantra Vehicle the practices of mantra and related meditations, such as the
two stages of Creation and Completion in visualizing the Mandala and the Deity, the mantra
recitation and various secret and profound yogas, predominate.

One essential difference between the two Mahayana approaches can be explained by way
of their approach to the sensory objects which are the basis for both cyclic existence and
Nirvana. In the Perfection Vehicle one tries to banish the five classes of sensory objects outright.
One first restrains oneself physically and verbally from overt misdeeds regarding the objects
of sense desire, and then through texts and reasoning one learns about their nature. Afterwards
through meditative realization one removes all of one’s attachment to them. This is done on the
surface level through meditatively cultivating the antidote to the defilements, such as by cultivating
love as antidote to anger, and a view of the repulsiveness of the sense objects as the antidote to
desire. And on the ultimate level one removes one’s attachment through understanding and
meditatively realizing that all of these objects in fact are without any independent self-nature.

In the Mantra Vehicle too one begins by restraining oneself outwardly (the essential basis
for one’s conduct is the morality of the Pratimoksa and Bodhisattva), but in one’s attittude
toward the sense objects one does not try to eliminate them directly. Some will of course
object that such objects of sensory desire can only act as fetters that prevent one’s liberation,
and that they must be eliminated. Though this is true for the ordinary individual who lacks
skilful methods, for the practitioner who possesses skilful means those very sense objects
will help in the attainment of liberation. It is like fire which when out of control can cause great
damage, but when used properly and skilfully is very beneficial. While for lower schools the
sense objects arise as the enemies of one’s religious practice, here they arise as one’s teachers.
Moreover, sense objects do not act as fetters by their natures, rather, one is fettered by the
erroneous conceptual thoughts that are based on them.


The Secret-Mantra Vehicle is superior to the Perfection Vehicle from several points of view,
but its superiority primarily rests in the greater efficacy and skilfulness of its methods. Through
Mantrayana practices, a person of superior faculties can attain Awakening in a single lifetime.
One of midding faculties can attain Awakening in the after-death period (bardo). And one of
inferior faculties who observes the commitments will attain enlightenment in from seven to sixteen
lifetimes. These are much shorter periods than the three “immeasurable” aeons required through
the Paramitayana practices. But even though the Mantra Vehicle is thus superior in skilful
methods, its view of ultimate reality is identical with the Madhyamika view of the general
Mahayana. For both schools the ultimate reality is devoid of all discursive developments or
elaborations (nisprapanca). One view cannot be higher than the other since “higher” and “lower”
are themselves but discursive developments or conceptualizations.


The foregoing has been a general introduction to a few of the basis ideas of Buddhist Tantra.
The real question is how to apply these theoretical considerations in a useful way, that is how to
practice them. The practice of Mantrayana and further in-depth study of its philosophy requires
first of all a special initiation from a qualified master.


One must seek an carefully choose a Guru who has all the qualifications to teach the Tantras;
for instance he himself must have received all the necessary initiations and explanations from a
qualified Teacher, done long retreats, and learned all the rituals, mudras, drawing of Mandalas,
etc. He must also have received signs of spiritual attainments. It is also very important to find a
Guru with whom one has a connection by karma. In any case it is imperative to find a Guru, and
one should not practise without a teacher, especially withtin the Vajrayana. One cannot get any
result by merely studying a text. It is said in the Tantras that the Guru is the root and source of
all the siddhis and of all realization.


Before one can be initiated one will first examined by the teacher who will ascertain whether
one is a fit receptable for the teachings. The main qualities required are faith, compassion and
Bodhicitta (the Enlightenment Thought). A major empowerment is never given to those who
have not developed Bodhicitta to a higher degree. In this way both the student and the teacher
must examine each other carefully.


When the right Guru is found, one should then request him for initiation and explanations.
In Vajrayana it is necessary to receive the Wangkur (Empowerment or Initiation), the
transmission or permission to practice the Tantra, without which one cannot practise anything.
The transmission is particularly important in Vajrayana and the Lama (Guru) assures the
continuity of a line of direct transmission through a succession of teachers. This line of
transmission has been unbroken since the Lord Sakyamuni Buddha set into motion the Wheel
of Dharma. Not only must there be this line of Transmission, but also there must be a line of
practice, that has kept the lineage alive.


After one has been led into glorious mandala by the master, one begins one’s practice,
carefully observing the various vows and commitments of the Vajrayana. These vows are
primarily mental, and such they can be even difficult than those of the Pratimoksa and
Bodhisattva systems. One must also devote oneself to further study, and to practising the
specialized visualizations and yogas according to the master’s instructions.


Buddhist Tantra is thus distinguished from the other branches of Mahayana by its special
methods. It is, however, identical to the Mahayana Madhyamika in its ultimate view, and it is
the same as all Mahayana schools regarding its aim and motivation. Hindu Tantra by contrast
has different philosophical basis and motivation, even though it shares some of the same
practical methodology. Some persons must have suggested that Buddhist Tantra must not
belong to pure Buddhism because it shares many elements of practice within the Hindus.
This is specious reasoning because certain methods are bound to be shared by different
religious traditions. Suppose we had to abandon each and every element of practice shared
with Hindu traditions. In that case we would have to give up generosity, morality, and much

There are of course many further differences between Buddhist and Hindu Tantra in their
meditative practices, and so forth. But I shall not attempt to explicate them since my own
first-hand knowledge is limited to the Buddhist tradition. Here it will be enough to stress that
Buddhist Vajrayana presupposes the taking of refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (and
the Guru as the embodiment of those three), the understanding of Emptiness (sunyata), and the
cultivation of love, compassion and Bodhicitta (the Enlightenment Thought). And I must again
underline the importance of Bodhicitta, which is the firm resolve to attain perfect Buddhahood
in order to benefit all sentient creatures, through one’s great wish that they be happy and free
from sorrow. These distinguishing features are not found in the non-Buddhist Tantras.


The study of Tantra can only be fruitful if one can apply it through practice, and to do
this one must find, serve and carefully follow a qualified master. If one finds one’s true
teacher and is graced by his blessings one can make swift progress towards the goal,
Perfect Awakening for the benefit of all creatures. In composing this account I am mindful
of my own immeasurable debt of gratitude of my own kind masters. Here I have tried to
be true to their teachings and to those of the other great masters of our lineage without
divulging that which is forbidden to be taught publicly. I will consider my efforts to have
been worthwhile if some harmful misunderstandings have been dispelled