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An Explanation of the Steps For Developing an Understanding that Nothing is Itself

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Light on the Path to Freedom

An Explanation of the Steps

For Developing an Understanding

That Nothing is Itself

 

written by Choney Lama,

Drakpa Shedrup (1675–1748)

 

 

translated by Bets Greer

with Geshe Michael Roach

 

­

 

Copyright ©2017 by Bets Greer. All rights reserved.

 Sections may be reproduced with the author’s permission.

Please contact:

 

Volume 8 of the Classics of Middle Asia Series

Diamond Cutter Press

6490 Arizona Route 179A

Sedona, Arizona 86351

USA

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Light on the Path to Freedom

 

 

An Offering of Praise

 

[1]

[folio 1a] *,,BSTAN PA’I SNYING PO BDAG MED RTOGS PA’I LTA BA’I RIM PA RNAM PAR BSHAD PA THAR LAM GSAL BYED CES BYA BA BZHUGS SO,,

 

Herein lies Light on the Path to Freedom: An Explanation of the Steps for Developing the View that Realizes that Nothing is Itself—The View which is the Very Essence of the Buddha’s Teachings

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[2]

[f. 1b] *,,NA MO MA NYDZU SHR’I YE,

 

I bow down to Gentle Glory.[1]

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[3]

,SMRA BA ZLA MED ‘DREN PA ZAS GTZANG SRAS,

,BYAMS BRTZE’I GTER CHEN MI PHAM ‘JAM PA’I DBYANGS,

,SHING RTA CHEN PO KLU SGRUB THOGS MED SOGS,

,’DZAM GLING RKYAN {%RGYAN} GYUR MKHAS PA’I TSOGS LA ‘DUD,

 

I bow down to the mass of sages, the jewels of this world:

To the son of Shuddhodana,[2] matchless teacher and guide;

To the Invincible One[3] and to Gentle Voice, who are a gold mine of love and affection;

To the innovators, Nagarjuna and Asanga; and all their company.

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[4]

,RGYAL BA’I MKHYEN PA’I RANG GZUGS ‘JAM PA’I DBYANGS,

,DUR {%NGUR} SMIG GAR ROL RJE BTZUN BTZONG KHA PA,

,YAB SRAS BRGYUD PAR BCAS PA’I ZHABS BTUD NAS,

,BDAG MED LTA BA’I RIM PA RAB BSHAD BYA,,

 

I bow to Gentle Voice,[4] the very image of the knowledge of all the Victors;[5]

To Lord Tsongkapa, who dances in the play, posing in the golden robes.

­­Having bowed down at the feet of the spiritual father and his sons, along with their lineage,

I shall now reveal the steps for developing the view that nothing is itself.

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An Overview of the Four Schools

on the View that Nothing is Itself

 

 

[5]

DE LA ‘DIR THAR ‘DOD KYI SKYES BUS GANG DU ‘JUG PAR BYA BA’I GZHI NI, RGYAL BA’I BSTAN PA RIN PO CHE NYID YIN LA, DER ‘JUG PA’I SGO LA MI ‘DRA BA YOD KYANG BDAG MED RTOGS PA’I LTA BA KHAS LEN MI LEN GYI SGO NAS KYANG BSTAN PA LA ZHUGS MA ZHUGS SU ‘JOG PA NI SGO GCIG YIN NO,,

 

What is the one door that a person who hopes for freedom should enter?

 

The door is the precious instruction of the Victors—that and only that. There are many different approaches to these teachings, but only one thing decides whether someone has truly entered in. And that is whether or not this person accepts the view that things are not themselves.

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[6]

BSTAN PA LA’ANG LUNG RTOGS GNYIS YOD PA LAS, RTOGS PA’I BSTAN PA’I GTZO BO NI BDAG MED RTOGS PA’I LTA BA NYID YIN LA,

 

Now those teachings can be divided into physical teachings, and the teachings as ideas in people’s minds. Of these two, the principal form of the teachings as ideas is this one view, where you understand that nothing is itself.

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[7]

RTOGS BYA’I BDAG MED LA PHRA RAGS KYIS PHYEN {%PHYE NA} MANG YANG ‘BYED PA’I TSE, GRUB MTHA’ RNAM PA BZHI’I ‘DOD TSUL DANG BSTUN DGOS KYI, DE BZHI PO GANG RUNG DANG MI MTHUN PA’I BDAG MED RTOGS PA’I LTA BA YOD PAR KHAS LEN DU MI RUNG STE, BDAG MED KHAS LEN PA’I TSUL LA NI GRUB MTHA’ BZHIR NGES PA’I PHYIR TE,

 

This fact that nothing is itself may be divided in many different ways, according to relative subtlety. But when you do make these distinctions, you must do so following the positions taken by the four different schools—it is a mistake to accept any view of emptiness which fails to fit into one of the four classical schools. This is because all valid ways of treating the fact that nothing is itself are covered in these four: no more, and no less.

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[8]

MKHAS GRUB RJES, DE YANG BDE BAR GSHEGS PA’I BSTAN PA LA BDAG MED KHAS LEN PA’I GRUB MTHA’ BZHIR NGES KYI, BZHI PO GANG DANG YANG MI MTHUN PA’I BDAG MED PA’I LTA BA DANG DE NYID GOMS PAR BYED PA’I RNAM GZHAG SU ZHIG GIS CI TZAM SMRAS SU ZIN KYANG, RGYAL BA’I BSTAN PA LAS PHYI ROL TU GYUR [f. 2a] PAR BRJOD PAR BYA’I, MKHAS PA DGES BA’I {%DGYES PA’I} LAM DU BLO GROS DANG LDAN PA DAG GIS YID CHES PAR BYA BA MIN NO, ZHES GSUNGS PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

This fact is repeated by Kedrup Je:[6]

 

Moreover, within the teachings of Those Who Have Gone to Bliss, there are four—and only four—schools of thought for presenting how nothing is itself. Now it’s possible that a person might come up with a presentation for some kind of view about no self-nature, and some way of meditating on suchness, which is not in keeping with one of these four schools. But we would have to say that they had wandered outside of the Buddha’s own teachings. People of intelligence should not trust in such presentations as being the path which pleases the wise.[7]

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[9]

DES NA BDAG MED PHRA RAGS RNAMS GRUB MTHA’ BZHI’I ‘DOD TSUL GYI RIM PA DANG MTHUN PAR RJE YAB SRAS KYI BZHED PA JI LTA BA BZHIN GTAN LA DBAB PAR BYA’O,,

 

As such, I will give my current presentation in keeping with how the four schools describe the subtle and gross forms of the fact that nothing is itself, following the positions taken by the spiritual father—the Lord—and his sons.[8]

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[10]

‘DI LA GNYIS, SPYIR BSTAN PA DANG, SO SOR BSHAD PA’O,,

 

I’ll begin with an overview of the presentations of the four schools; and follow with a separate explanation for each one.

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[11]

DANG PO NI, RANG CAG GI RGYUD KYI BDAG ‘DZIN NI ‘KHOR BA’I RTZA BA YIN LA, DE DNGOS SU SPONG BA’AM SPONG BA’I BAG CHAGS ‘THUG PO ‘JOG PA NI BDAG MED RTOGS PA LA RAG LAS PAS DE LA THOS BSAM GYIS ‘JUG DGOS SO,,

 

Here is the first. People like you and me possess, within our mindstreams, a belief that things are themselves; and this is the very root of the cycle of pain. Eliminating that tendency directly, or just planting a strong inner seed to eliminate it later, both depend upon realizing that things are not themselves. As such, we must engage in learning and thinking about this topic.

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[12]

DES NA GRUB MTHA’ BZHI POS KYANG BDAG MED RTOGS PA’I LTA BA DE, THAR BAR {%PAR} BGROD PA’I LAM GYI SROG YIN PAR ‘DOD PA LA KHYAD PAR MED DE, BDAG MED MA RTOGS PAR THAR PA THOB PA MI SRID CES ‘DOD PA LA KHYAD PAR MED PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

And thus it is that all four schools agree that the very life of the path—for those who wish to travel to freedom—is to perceive that things are not themselves. On this, there is no difference between these schools; that is, there is a consensus among them that if you don’t come to the realization that things are not themselves, it is impossible for you to attain freedom.

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[13]

DE LTA NA’ANG BDAG MED ‘DOD TSUL LA KHYAD PAR YOD DE, BYE BRAG SMRA BA KHA CIG GANG ZAG RTAG GCIG RANG CAN {%RANG DBANG CAN} GYIS STONG BA DE, GANG ZAG GI BDAG MED PHRA MO’I DON DU ‘DOD LA,

 

Even so, there is a difference between the schools on just how they assert that things are not themselves. Certain proponents of the Detailist school would say that what the subtle form of the lack of a self-nature to a person refers to is the fact that there does not exist a person who is unchanging, singular, and autonomous.

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[14]

DBU MA RANG RGYUD BA {%PA} MAN CHAD KYI RANG SDE RNAMS KYIS, GANG ZAG RANG RGYA {%RKYA} THUB PA’I RDZAS YOD KYIS STONG BA’I STONG NYID, GANG ZAG GI BDAG MED PHRA MOR ‘DOD PA LA KHYAD PAR MED PA’I PHYIR TE,

 

And in one sense, there is no difference between followers of the Independent Group of the Middle Way school and those of the schools below them:[9] they all assert that the subtle lack of a self-nature to a person is the emptiness where that person is devoid of being substantial, in the sense of being self-standing.

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[15]

MKHAS GRUB RIN PO CHES, BYE BRAG SMRA BA DANG MDO SDE PA DANG SEMS TZAM PA DANG DBU CHA {%MA} RANG RGYUD PA DAG GANG ZAG RANG RGYA {%RKYA} THUB PA’I RDZAM {%RDZAS} YOD RNAM PAR BCAD TZAM RTOGS PAS GANG ZAG GI BDAG MED MTSAN NYID RDZOGS RTOGS PAR BZHED PA LA ‘DRA MOD, ZHES GSUNGS SHING,

 

As Kedrup Je has put it,

 

Admittedly, followers of the Detailist, Sutrist, and Mind-Only Schools, as well as those of the Independent Group within the Middle-Way School, are similar in accepting that—by realizing the simple absence of a person who is substantial, in the sense of being self-standing—one realizes the lack of a self-nature to a person, in its full and definitive form.[10]

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[16]

TSUL DE BZHIN DU RJE’I DRANG NGES RNAM ‘BYED DANG, MKHAS GRUB KYI STONG THUN SOGS DU MA LAS BSHAD PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

This position is expressed by Je Tsongkapa in his Essence of Eloquence on the Art of Interpretation, and by Kedrup Je in his Interlude on Emptiness, as well as by many others.[11]

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[17]

THAL ‘GYUR BAS NI DE ‘DRA’I BDAG MED DE, GANG ZAG GI BDAG MED RAGS PAR BZHED DO,,

 

Followers of the Consequence Group of the Middle Way assert that this kind of lack of a self-nature is actually the gross form of the lack of a self-nature to a person.

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[18]

SPYIR NANG SDE THAMS CAD KYIS NI RTAG GCIG RANG DBANG CAN GYI BDAG MED KHAS LEN PAR MTSUNGS PA YIN TE,

 

Generally speaking, all Buddhist schools are equivalent in that they accept the lack of a self that is unchanging, singular, and autonomous.

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[19]

‘DI LTAR GZHAN SDE PHYI ROL [f. 2b] PA RNAMS KYIS, BDAG DE RANG GI PHUNG PO DANG GCIG GAM THA DAD, RTAG GAM MI RTAG GANG YIN DBYAD {%DPYAD?} PA NA,

 

Followers of other groups—those outside of Buddhism—examine the question of whether being the self is to be the parts of a person, or not; and whether the self is unchanging or changing.

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[20]

RGYU MTSAN PHYIN CI LOG LA BRTEN NAS, BDAG DE NYID PHUNG PO DANG DON GZHAN DU KHAS BLANGS PA YIN LA, DE YANG BDAG DE RANG RGYA {%RKYA} BAR BLO NGOR SNANG BAS PHUNG PO DANG GCIG TU MI ‘THAD PAR MTHONG NAS DE DANG NGO BO THA DAD YIN PAR KHAS BLANGS PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

And then, based on evidence that would actually indicate the opposite, they conclude that this self is not such that to be the self is to be one or all of the parts of the person. They feel that—since the self appears to the mind as something which is self-standing—then it would be incorrect to say that it is one with the parts of the person. And so they would say that it is not the case that to be the self is to be these parts.

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[21]

PHUNG PO SKYE ‘JIG BYED KYANG BDAG DE NI SKYE ‘JIG MI BYED PA’I RTAG DNGOS DANG, CHA SHAS MED PA’I GCIG BU DANG, PHUNG PO SOGS LAM {%LA MA} BLTOS PA’I RANG DBANG CAN GYI KHYAD CHOS GSUM DANG LDAN PAR ‘DOD PA NI,

 

They believe that this self has three qualities:

 

(1) it is a functioning thing which is unchanging—which does not go in and out of existence, even though the parts of the person do;

 

(2) it is singular, in the sense of having no parts; and

 

(3) it is autonomous, since it does not depend upon the་parts of a person.

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[22]

PHYI ROL BA {%PA} RNAMS LA KHYAD PAR MED LA, TSAD SOGS KYI KHYAD PAR ‘DOD TSUL MI ‘DRA BA MANG NGE {%NGO?},,

 

This position is no different from that of non-Buddhists; although they hold a great many different opinions about the extent of the self.

 

{@ check a carving to see if the TSAD is correct}

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[23]

RANG SDE SANGS RGYAS BA {%PA} RNAMS KYIS NI BDAG DE RANG GI PHUNG PO DANG GCIG GAM THA DAD RTAG GAM MI RTAG GANG YIN DPYAD PA NA,

 

Followers of Buddhist schools examine as well the question of whether being the self is to be the parts of a person, or not; and whether the self is unchanging or changing.

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[24]

PHUNG PO MI RTAG PAS BDAG KYANG MI RTAG CING, PHUNG PO LAS DON GZHAN PA’I BDAG YOD PA LA RIGS PAS GNOD PAR MTHONG NAS,

 

They observe that—since the parts of a person are changing things—then the self must also be something which changes; and they recognize that logic draws into question the idea that there could be a self which existed in such a way that being this self would not make something the parts of a person.

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[25]

PHUNG PO LNGA’AM LNGA PO GANG RUNG DANG GCIG YIN PA’I BDAG ZHIG NGES PAR YOD DGOS SNYAM STE,

 

And so they come to the conclusion that there must be a self which exists in such a way that to be this self is to be either all five of the parts to a person; or any one or more of these parts.

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[26]

BYE BRAG SMRA BA KHA CIG PHUNG PO LNGA RE RE DANG LNGA’I TSOGS PA DANG RGYUN GANG RUNG GANG ZAG TU ‘DOD LA,

 

Some of the Detailists believe that the self is either the five parts individually, or the five parts together in one moment, or the flow of the person over time.

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[27]

SEMS TZAM PAS KUN GZHI’I RNAM PAR SHES PA DANG, RANG RGYUD PA MDO SDE BAS {%PAS} YID KYI RNAM SHES NYID GANG ZAG GI MTSAN GZHIR ‘DOD DO,,

 

Those who belong to the Mind-Only School say that what we can point to as being the person is foundation consciousness. Those of the sub-group within the Independent Group which tend towards the Sutrist School say that what we can point to as the person is nothing more complicated than the consciousness of our thoughts.

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[28]

DE LTA BU LA DGONGS NAS, ‘JUG PA LAS, LNGA CHAR YANG ‘DOD KHA CIG SEMS GCIG ‘DOD, ,ZHES DANG,

 

With this fact in mind, Entering the Middle Way says:

 

Some people believe it to be all five,

And some believe it to be just the one.[12]

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[29]

‘JUG PA’I RNAM BSHAD LAS KYANG, RANG GI SDE PA RNAMS KYIS KYANG PHUNG PO LAS NGO BO THA DAD PA’I BDAG MED DO SNYAM ZHING ‘KHRUL PAS PHUNG PO TZAM BDAG TU KHAS BLANGS TE, DE GNYIS GANG RUNG ZHIG TU KHAS BLANGS DGOS SNYAM DU BSAM PA’O, ,ZHES GSUNG,

 

The Explanation of “Entering the Middle Way” also says:

 

And those of our own schools think that there cannot be any self which is such that to be it means that something is not the parts of a person; thus, in error, they believe that the parts of a person themselves are the self. They think that these are the only two options.[13]

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[30]

THAL ‘GYUR BAS NI RANG GI PHUNG PO LAS DON GZHAN PA’I BDAG DANG, PHUNG PO NYID BDAG TU MI ‘DOD KYANG PHUNG PO LA BTAGS PA’I NGA TZAM ZHIG BZHED DO,,

 

The followers of the Consequence Group accept neither a self where to be it is not to be the parts of a person; nor a self which is the parts themselves. Rather, what they assert is a simple “me” applied to these parts.

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[31]

DE YANG PHYI ROL BAS {%PAS} BDAG KHAS LEN DGOS SNYAM NAS GANG ZAG GI BDAG KHAS LEN PA YIN LA, NANG PAS NI BDAG TZAM KHAS LEN YANG [f. 3a] GANG ZAG GI BDAG KHAS LEN MI LEN NO,,

 

The non-Buddhist schools, thinking that they must accept some kind of self, accept a self-nature to the person. Buddhists, on the other hand, accept the simple self—but do not accept a self-nature to the person.

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[32]

DON SMRA SDE GNYIS KYIS CHOS KYI BDAG MED KYI THA SNYAD MI BYED KYANG, CHOS KYI BDAG KHAS LEN PA MIN LA, RANG RGYUD PA MAN CHAD KYI RANG SDES NI, THAR PA TZAM THOB PA LA CHOS KYI BDAG MED RTOGS DGOS PAR MI BZHED DO,,

 

Now even though neither of the two Buddhist schools known as “Objectists”[14] use the expression “the lack of a self-nature to things,” it’s not as if they accept the idea of a self-nature to things. Neither do our own schools from the Independent Group on down accept that you must realize the lack of a self-nature to things, even just to reach nirvana.

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[33]

GANG ZAG RANG RKYA THUB PA’I RDZAS YOD KYIS STONG PA’I BDAG MED RTOGS SHING GOMS PAR BYAS PA TZAM GYIS THAR PA THOB NUS PAR BZHED PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

Rather, they say you will be able to reach nirvana if you do no more than realize and become familiar with the lack of a self-nature to the person—meaning the emptiness of being substantial, in the sense of being self-standing.

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[34]

THAL ‘GYUR BAS NI CHOS DANG GANG ZAG GI BDAG MED GNYIS KA MA RTOGS PAR THAR PA THOB NUS PAR MI BZHED DO,,

 

The Consequence Group denies that one can attain nirvana without realizing both the lack of a self-nature to things, and the lack of a self-nature to the person.

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[35]

BYE BRAG SMRA BA KHA CIG GANG ZAG RTAG GCIG RANG DBANG CAN DU ‘DZIN PA’I RTOG PA DE, BDAG ‘DZIN LHAN SKYES SU ‘DOD PA DANG,

 

Some Detailists believe that the thought which holds that the person is unchanging, singular, and autonomous is the inborn version of the tendency to believe that things are themselves.

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[36]

KHA CIG RANG {%DANG} MDO SDE PA YAN CHAD KYIS DE YIN NA, BDAG ‘DZIN KUN BTAGS YIN PAS KHYAB CES BZHED LA,

 

Other Detailists, as well as the schools from the Sutrists on up, respond: “The state of mind you’ve just described can only be the learned version of the tendency to believe that things are themselves.”[15]

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[37]

GANG ZAG RANG RGYA {%RKYA} THUB PA’I RDZAS YOD DU ‘DZIN PA’I RTOG PA LA, BDAG ‘DZIN LHAN SKYES KHYAB CHE BAR BZHED DE,

 

And the great majority of them would say that the thought where we hold that the person is substantial, in the sense of being self-standing, is the inborn version of this tendency to believe that things are themselves.

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[38]

STONG THUN CHEN MO LAS, BYE BRAG SMRA BA NAS DBU MA RANG RGYUD PA’I BAR THEG PA CHE CHUNG GI RANG SDE SU’I LUGS LA YANG GANG ZAG RANG RKYA THUB PA’I RDZAS YOD DU ‘DZIN PA NYID GANG ZAG GI BDAG ‘DZIN LHAN SKYES KYI ‘DZIN STANGS YIN PAR ‘DOD LA, ZHES DANG,

 

As the Great Interlude on Emptiness puts it,

 

No matter which of these Buddhist schools it may be—schools of both the lesser and greater ways, from the Detailists on up to the Independent Group of the Middle-Way School—they all say that the mode in which the tendency to believe in a self-nature to the person operates is only to hold that the person is substantial, in the sense of being self-standing.[16]

 

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To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

  1. Works originally written in Sanskrit

 

S1

Candrakīrti (Tib: Zla-ba grags-pa), c. 650AD. Entering the Middle Way (Madhyāmaka Avatāra) (Tib: dBu-ma la ‘jug-pa, Tibetan translation at TD03861, ff. 201b-219a of Vol. 23 [‘A] in the Middle-Way Section [Madhyāmaka, dBu-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

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S2

Candrakīrti (Tib: Zla-ba grags-pa), c. 650ad. The Autocommentary to “Entering the Middle Way” (Madhyāmaka Avatāra Bhāṣa) (Tib: dBu-ma la ‘jug-pa’i bshad-pa, Tibetan translation at TD03862, ff. 220b-348a of Vol. 23 [‘A] in the Middle-Way Section [Madhyāmaka, dBu-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]].

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  1. Works originally written in Tibetan

 

B1

mKhas-grub rje (dGe-legs dpal bzang-po) (1385-1438). The Illumination of Thusness: An Extensive Explanation of the Great Commentary upon the Teaching of the Glorious Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) entitled “The Immaculate Light” (dPal Dus kyi ‘khor-lo’i ‘grel-chen Dri-ma med-pa’i ‘od kyi rgya-cher bshad-pa De-kho-na-nyid snang-bar byed-pa), S05463, in 3 volumes.

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B2

mKhas-grub rje (dGe-legs dpal bzang-po) (1385-1438). A Lamp which Dispels the Darkness of Mistaken Paths (Lam-ngan mun-sel sgron-ma), S05500-46, 18pp.

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B3

(Gung-thang) dKon-mchog bstan-pa’i sgron-me (1762–1823). A String of Precious Drops of the Nectar of Oral Transmission: A Compilation of Various Questions and Answers on the Positions of the Four Classical Schools of Philosophy (Grub-mtha’ bzhi’i ‘dod-tsul sogs dris-lan sna-tsogs kyi skor Zhal-lung bdud-rtzi’i thigs-‘phreng), ACIP S00918E, 22ff.

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B4

mKhas-grub bstan-pa dar-rgyas (1493–1568). A Gate of Entry for those of Clear Minds, an Ocean of Reasoning: A Dialectical Analysis of the Explication known as “Illumination of the True Thought” (rNam-bshad dgongs-pa rab-gsal gyi mtha’-dpyod Rigs-pa’i rgya-mtso blo-gsal gyi ‘jug-sgo dbu-ma mtha’-dpyod, S00022), 177ff.

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B5

rJe Tzong-kha-pa (Blo-bzang grags-pa) (1357-1419). The Illumination of the True Thought, an Explanation of the Magnificent Classical Commentary entitled “Entering the Middle Way” (bsTan-bcos chen-po dBu-ma la ‘jug-pa’i rnam-bshad dGongs-pa rab-gsal, ST05408), 288ff.

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B6

mKhas-grub rje (dGe-legs dpal bzang-po) (1385-1438). Opening the Eyes of the Fortunate: A Classical Commentary which Illuminates the Real Nature of Profound Emptiness (Zab-mo stong-pa-nyid kyi de-kho-na-nyid rab tu gsal-bar byed-pa’i bstan-bcos sKal-bzang mig-‘byed, S05459), @260ff. Commonly known by the name of The Great Interlude on Emptiness (sTong-thun chen-mo).

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B7

(Co-ne bla-ma) Grags-pa bshad-sgrub (1675-1748). Light on the Path to Freedom: An Explanation of the Steps for Developing the View that Realizes that Nothing is Itself—The View which is the Very Essence of the Buddha’s Teachings (bsTan-pa’i snying-po bdag-med rtogs-pa’i lta-ba’i rim-pa rnam-par bshad-pa thar-lam gsal-byed), 23ff.

 

B8

rJe Tzong-kha-pa (Blo-bzang grags-pa) (1357-1419). The Three Principal Paths (Lam gtzo rnam gsum), S05275-85, 2ff.

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B9

rJe Tzong-kha-pa (Blo-bzang grags-pa) (1357-1419). The Essence of Eloquence, on the Art of Interpretation (Drang-nges legs-bshad snying-po), S05396, 114ff.

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[1] I bow down to Gentle Glory: Obeisance to Gentle Glory (Manjushri, in Sanskrit) at the beginning of a text indicates that the subject of the work is emptiness.

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[2] Shuddhodana: Refers to King Shuddhodana, the father of Gautama Buddha.

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[3] Invincible One: In Sanskrit, Ajita; another name for Lord Maitreya.

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[4] Gentle Voice: In Sanskrit, Manjughosha; another name for Manjushri.

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[5] Victors: Another name for the Buddhas.

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[6] Kedrup Je: See footnote 8, below.

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[7] People of intelligence: From a piece in his miscellaneous works entitled A Lamp which Dispels the Darkness of Mistaken Paths (f. @, %B2, S05500-46). Incidentally, in mentioning “the path which pleases the wise,” Kedrup Je is drawing a reference to a famous verse in The Three Principal Paths, a classic summary of the path by his direct teacher, Je Tsongkapa (see f. 1a, %B@, S05275-85).

(p. 129, in uncataloged @need to input)

@See f. 130a, %B1, W29195-5159.

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[8] Spiritual father and his sons: Refers to Je Tsongkapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357–1419) and his two closest disciples, Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen (1364–1432) and Kedrup Gelek Pel Sangpo (1385–1438). They are more commonly known, respectively, by their abbreviated names of Je Tsongkapa, Gyaltsab Je, and Kedrup Je.

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[9] The schools below them: That is, remaining thinkers of the Detailist School; and followers of the Sutrist and Mind-Only Schools. It is helpful from the outset to keep in mind the general structure of the four schools, from lowest to highest: (1) the Detailist School (Sanskrit: Vaibhashika); (2) the Sutrist School (Sautrantika); (3) the Mind-Only School (Chittamatra); and (4) the Middle-Way School (Madhyamika), which is itself divided into (4a) the Independent Group (Svatantrika) and (4b) the Consequence Group (Prasangika).

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[10] In its full and definitive form: Quoted with slight differences from Kedrup Je’s classic treatment of the secret teaching of the Wheel of Time (Kalachakra); see f. 5a of Volume 1 (%B1, S05463-1).

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[11] “The Essence” and “The Interlude”: For the first, see ff. 70b-71b of Je Tsongkapa’s groundbreaking classic on the art of interpretation (%B9, S05396); for the second, see f. 66a ff of Kedrup Je’s popular manual for meditating upon emptiness (%B6, S05459).

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[12] Just the one: See f. 210b of Master Chandrakirti’s masterwork (%S1, ACIP TD03861).

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[13] The only two options: See f. 308 of Master Chandrakirti’s autcommentary (%S2, ACIP TD03862). The version available to us includes only the first of the two sentences here, although the intent of the second is clearly implied.

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[14] The two Buddhist schools known as “Objectists”: Two references help us understand the views of these two schools. The first is from Gungtang Konchok Tenpay Drunme (1762-1823), who says, “Two schools—the Detailists and the Sutrists—are referred to as ‘Objectists,’ since they lay emphasis on positing outer objects as consisting of matter; and because find this approach appealing” (f. 12, %B3, S00918). {@check an additional carving on the “appealing” part}

The second reference is from the famed textbook writer from Sera Mey Monastery, Kedrup Tenpa Dargye (1493-1568), who states, “The two schools that we call ‘Objectists’ hold the belief that outer objects consist of grosser particles composed of tiny atoms that have no sides” (f. 163b, %B4, S00022)

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[15] Learned version: Meaning an idea or viewpoint not that we are born with, but which we develop as we go through life. The Sanskrit here is parikalpita, and we see two Tibetan variants: kun-btags and kun-brtags. The first more implies “artificial,” while the second implies “result of consideration.”

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[16] In the sense of self-standing: See f. 101a of the work (%B6, S05459).

Source: http://texts.10000booksofwisdom.com/an-explanation-of-the-steps-for-developing-an-understanding-that-nothing-is-itself/