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Sky Flowers & Magic Shows: Master Yuance on The Art of Interpreting Ideas, Part 1

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Sky Flowers & Magic Shows:

Master Yuance on

The Art of Interpreting Ideas,

Part 1

空中花与魔术秀:

圆测大师谈解读艺术,第一部分

 

Translated by Geshe Michael Roach

with Stanley Chen & Alison Zhou,

and the Shenzhen Pure Gold

Translation Team

由格西麦克与陈唐和周晓萍

带领深圳纯金翻译组翻译

 

Volume 1 of the Xuanzang’s Legacy Series

玄奘遗产系列 第一卷

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Introduction: China Soft Power………………………………………………………… 5

 

How we got here……………………………………………………………………. 5

 

China Hard Power…………………………………………………………………. 6

 

China Soft Power…………………………………………………………………… 6

 

The Great Commentary of Master Yuance………………………………….. 7

 

The Gentleman Businessman……………………………………………………. 7

 

Traditional culture which is accurate, accessible, and relevant……….. 9

 

 

Part One: The Original Sutra………………………………………………………….. 11

 

 

Chapter 7 of the Sutra called, “What I Really Meant”—

Being the Question Posed by the Bodhisattva

Whose Name was “Born Of The Ultimate”……………………………. 12

 

 

Part Two: Yuance’s Commentary……………………………………………………. 24

 

The Great Commentary of Master Yuance, Chapter 7…………………. 25

 

Structure of the chapter…………………………………………………………. 26

 

Who asked, and who answered………………………………………………. 28

 

The meaning of “thought”……………………………………………………… 29

 

The teaching that was asked about………………………………………….. 34

 

Teachings about the parts to a person and so on………………………… 35

 

Teachings about the truths……………………………………………………… 42

 

Teachings about the categories……………………………………………….. 44

 

Teachings on the kinds of close awareness and such…………………… 46

 

The teaching on the eight components

of the path of the realized ones……………………………………………. 50

 

Teachings that things have no nature……………………………………….. 51

 

The doubt of the bodhisattva………………………………………………….. 56

 

The request for an explanation………………………………………………… 58

 

The passage to be explained…………………………………………………… 58

 

A praise of the good that will come from the question………………… 59

 

Encouragement and agreement………………………………………………. 62

 

The beginning of the reply……………………………………………………… 63

 

 

Part Three: Tsongkapa’s Analysis……………………………………………………. 64

 

          The Essence of Eloquence, On the Art of Interpreting Ideas………………… 65

 

A prostration, to start……………………………………………………………. 65

 

How we decide what the Buddha really meant………………………….. 69

 

Exploring the sutra called, What I Really Meant………………………….. 74

 

A question on apparent contradictions by the Buddha………………… 75

 

A brief presentation of how things have no nature…………………….. 79

 

 

Appendices…………………………………………………………………………………. 84

 

Bibliography of works originally written in Sanskrit…………………… 85

 

Bibliography of works originally written in Chinese…………………… 90

 

Bibliography of works originally written in Tibetan…………………… 91

 

Bibliography of works originally written in English…………………… 94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

China Soft Power

 

 

How we got here

 

This book is the first of eight projected volumes presenting one of the most important subjects of Chinese traditional culture: the art of interpreting ideas.  That is, the same question that we ask today was just as important 25 centuries ago: How do we take great ancient ideas, and use them for success in our business and our lives, in the modern world?

 

In this case, we follow a specific collection of great ideas from very ancient times up through the Tang Dynasty, and into our modern days.  How can they help our world be successful, now?  This is the very topic covered by the ancient books you find here.

 

They begin with a book by the Indian thinker, Gautama Buddha.  He taught for some 50 years, and his teaching career is divided into three periods, known as the “Three Turnings of the Wheel.”

 

As his life went on, and he taught more and more material, Gautama’s students began to ask deeper and deeper questions about what he had shared with them.  This led to a famous teaching session recorded in a sutra known as “What I Really Meant.”[1]

 

In this sutra, ten of Gautama’s most famous students each ask questions concerning his teachings so far.  We see questions from such illustrious disciples as Maitreya, Avalokiteshvara, and Manjushri; as well as Subhuti, whose question on another occasion starts off the Diamond Cutter Sutra.

 

The present sutra really does go deeper on many topics, and the work is difficult and important enough that some of the greatest commentators of ancient times tackled the task of explaining its concepts.  Perhaps the most detailed commentary of all is that of the Chinese master Yuance; it is entitled, appropriately, “The Great Commentary”—and in fact is one of the longest in the traditional collections of some 5,000 Buddhist books that survive, in translation, from ancient China and India.

 

 

China Hard Power

 

Master Yuance lived from 613 to 696ce and was one of the two greatest disciples of the famed Master Xuanzang (who is dated from about 602 to 664).  Xuanzang is famous for undertaking one of the greatest projects in the history of China for translating books of traditional ancient culture into over a thousand volumes of Chinese.  He did this during the Tang Dynasty, with the support of the Chinese emperor Taizong, after completing an historic journey of 17 years to India and many other foreign countries of his time.

 

Master Xuanzang was in the right place at the right time: the Tang Dynasty (which lasted 618-907) represents one of the greatest flowerings of Chinese traditional culture—a period when the Chinese capital, Chang‘an (present-day Xi’an) became the largest city in the world, with some million people within the city walls alone.

 

Chang’an City was filled with businesspeople and diplomats from many countries of East, Central, and South Asia; and from as far away as Europe.  The emperor’s residence represented the starting point of the famous Silk Road, which in time extended as far, for example, as Marco Polo’s city of Venice.  Silk and other commercial products from China became so popular that the senate of the Roman Empire had to ban some of their import, since so much gold was flowing out of the empire back to China.

 

 

China Soft Power

 

During the Tang Dynasty, the hard power of China—its economic and military might—was not the only thing being felt in the world: China’s soft power also spread widely.  The oldest printed book in the world with a date inside of it is a copy of the Diamond Cutter Sutra found in the caves of Dunhuang and dated to 868ce, the middle of the Tang Dynasty.  In time, this and other treasures of the wisdom tradition of China spread throughout Asia, influencing the entire history and thinking of the region.

 

Master Yuance himself is a product of China Soft Power.  He was actually born in what is now Korea, with the name of Woncheuk.  Like so many others, he was attracted to the cultural richness of the Tang Dynasty and came to China to study with Master Xuanzang; he ended up spending most of his life in China, where he passed away in a temple in Luoyang.  This was the eastern capital of the Tang Dynasty and its second largest city, with also some million people.

 

 

The Great Commentary

 

Master Yuance’s Great Commentary was so masterful and influential that it was translated into ancient Tibetan and included within the canon of great books from ancient India.  Apparently we no longer have an entirely complete copy in the original Chinese, and so this Tibetan-language translation—which is 1,475 pages long—is very important for the preservation of Chinese traditional culture.

 

A careful English translation of Master Yuance’s entire commentary would run over 5,000 pages in length and require perhaps decades to complete.  Therefore our team has decided to focus on the famous seventh chapter of the work: the question of a bodhisattva named “Born Of The Ultimate” (in Sanskrit, “Paramartha Samudgata”).

 

To put this chapter into historical context, our publishing plan calls for 8 volumes including all of the original sutra, and of a famous later commentary referring both to Yuance and the sutra—the Essence of Eloquence, by the illustrious Tibetan master, Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419).

 

 

The Gentleman Businessman

 

Here’s how these three works present the issue of how to interpret ideas, for practical success in modern times.

 

The bodhisattva’s question grapples with the problem that, in the first of the three periods of his teaching career, Gautama indicated that things do have some nature of their own; and then, in the second period, he stated that in fact don’t have any such nature.  Our bodhisattva respectfully asks for an explanation of the discrepancy; and the answer he receives historically serves as one of the key teachings of the third period of the Buddha’s life, and in fact one of the foundational teachings of the Mind-Only School.

 

The question of whether things have some nature of their own is not just an academic one.  If things have a nature which is not their own—not inside of them—then this leaves open the possibility that we can tweak this nature consciously.  An real-estate investment in a poor part of the city can be tweaked into a real-estate investment in a part of the city which is about to become very successful!

 

The Mind-Only School became hugely influential during the golden days of China in the Tang Dynasty; and since the way that a culture thinks is the key to its material fortunes, we can say that the thinking of Yuance and his teacher, Master Xuanzang, played a major role in the economic success of the Tang period.  Perhaps people in those times learned…tweaking!

 

From a larger viewpoint then, we can even say that the Soft Power of China has helped to drive its Hard Power, throughout 5,000 years of history.  And when Hard Power begins to grow, it needs Soft Power together with it: other countries see the wisdom and elegant side of the Chinese people; it becomes easier to make friends with each other; international cooperation and mutual economic benefit expand smoothly.

 

Hard Power without Soft Power, on the other hand, can lead to misunderstanding; tension; and serious delays in economic development.

 

Our translation team is part of a larger effort that we call the China Soft Power Global Executive Training.  The goal of this training is to spread China Soft Power to business executives both in China and throughout the other countries of the world.

 

The goal with Chinese business executives is to revive the ancient Chinese ideal of the Jun-Zi, or Gentleman Businessman.  Anyone who has worked in international business will tell you that there are two kinds of businesspeople.  The first is interested only in themselves, and only in money; they are usually pushy and unpleasant to work with.  In the end, they often get involved in tension and disputes, and their business fails.

 

The second kind of businessperson is the one who is interested not only in business but also in culture: in the literature and great ideas of their country’s history.  These people are usually more gentle, more ethical, easier to work with, and more successful.  And they are a worthy representative of their country to the outside world.

 

The ideal of the gentleman businessman is a facet of China Soft Power which can also spread to businesspeople of other countries.  We have even seen, with the programs of the Diamond Cutter Institute, that the ideas of Chinese traditional culture found in works like The Diamond Cutter Sutra can find their way into the president’s office of Argentina; the Young Presidents’ Organization of the United States; the Congress of Mexico; one of the largest banks and oil companies of Russia; and into the hands of the Chancellor of Germany.

 

If the concepts of Chinese traditional culture can be shared in a skillful way with businesspeople from other countries—in a way that helps them and their country become more successful themselves—then naturally Chinese businesspeople and international projects will be welcomed with open arms throughout the world.  As China takes its place as one of the superpowers of the world, this kind of respect and affection for the great ideas of Chinese traditional culture can truly help create a world of peace, prosperity, and brotherhood.

 

 

Traditional culture which is accurate, accessible, and relevant

 

This kind of result will depend upon popular presentations of these great ideas that can be understood and tried out by businesspeople around the world, including inside of China, to see if they lead to success.  Again, the way that the Diamond Cutter Institute has “packaged” these ideas in a modern format is a crucial model for this success.

 

But for this modern packaging to be successful, it must be based upon authentic traditional culture: upon rigorous scholarship and translations of the ancient classics.  This scholarship must moreover be readable, and not buried, out of reach, in academic language.  It must cover information which is relevant to businesspeople in modern times: something they can actually use for success.

 

This accuracy, accessibility, and relevance is the goal of the present series of publications, which we call the Xuanzang’s Legacy Series.

 

We will be working directly from the ancient sources, using a combination of advanced digital translation tools and old-fashioned hard work, patience, and persistence!  Members of our team have been involved for more than 30 years in locating and digitalizing over a million pages of the ancient classics of Asia, and this allows us a unique ability to use computerized tools to achieve highly accurate and readable translations, such as the present work of Master Yuance, from the Tang Dynasty.

 

For this work, we will be accessing the ancient Chinese and Tibetan languages from China, and the ancient Sanskrit—when it is available—from India.  For the “foundation” edition of this publication, we will include all of these ancient languages as well, with detailed notes on sources and differences.  A later edition will be simplified in the target languages, without all the ancient foreign languages you see in this edition; but this “source edition” will remain, as a permanent accuracy check.

 

We will then convert all of these into readable English and modern Mandarin.  Our secondary translation team is already working to convert these, in turn, into modern languages such as Spanish; German; French; Russian; and Arabic—which means that this series will soon be available to businesspeople around the world, and used as the foundation of the China Soft Power Training for Global Executives: creating those gentleman businesspeople worldwide.

 

With accurate, readable, and relevant translations of Chinese traditional culture, businesspeople throughout the world can meet and appreciate this culture, and use it to create global success, for all people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part One

The Original Sutra

 

 

 

Chapter 7

Of the Sutra called,

“What I Really Meant”

 

Being the Question Posed by the Bodhisattva

Whose Name was “Born Of The Ultimate”

第七品

胜义生菩萨请问品

 

We begin with the original ancient sutra which Master Yuance wrote his commentary to.  Don’t be surprised if it seems difficult; that’s what the later commentaries are for, and they will be arriving shortly.  By the way, we have included section numbers for the original sutra and for both commentaries, and will be using them to cross-reference the three.

 

 

[S7.1]

尔时胜义生菩萨摩诃萨白佛言。

 

DE NAS BCOM LDAN ‘DAS LA BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG [folio 25a] DAG ‘PHAGS KYIS ‘DI SKAD CES GSOL TO,,

 

And then the bodhisattva named “Born Of The Ultimate”[2] addressed the Conqueror in the following words—

 

 

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[S7.2]

世尊。我曾独在静处。心生如是寻思。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS, ‘DI NA BDAG GCIG PU DBEN PA ZHIG NA MCHIS PA’I TSE, SEMS KYI YONGS SU RTOG PA ‘DI LTA BU SKYES LAGS TE,

 

Recently, o Conqueror, I was sitting in a quiet place by myself, and these thoughts came to me:

 

 

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[S7.3]

世尊以无量门。曾说诸蕴所有自相

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

The Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the different parts to a person.[3]

 

 

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[S7.4]

生相灭相永断遍知。

 

SKYE BA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, SPANG BA DANG YONGS SU SHES PA YANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

He has also described the quality that these parts have of starting, and the quality they have of stopping.  And he has also spoken of how these parts are something that we need to rid ourselves of, and that we need to realize something about.

 

 

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[S7.5]

如说诸蕴诸处缘起诸食亦尔。

 

PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI JI LTA BA BZHIN DU SKYE MCHED RNAMS DANG, RTEN CING ‘BREL BAR ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ZAS RNAMS KYI YANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

In the same way that he described the parts to a person, the Conqueror has also described the doors of sense;[4] and the process of how things occur in dependence upon each other;[5] and the different types of sustenance.[6]

 

 

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[S7.6]

以无量门曾说诸谛。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR BDEN PA RNAMS KYI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

The Conqueror has also described—on many different occasions when he taught—the qualities of the various truths.[7]

 

 

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[S7.7]

所有自相遍知永断作证修习。

 

YONGS SU SHES PA DANG, SPANG BA DANG, MNGON DU BGYI BA DANG, BSGOM PA’ANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

He has as well described how these are things that we should realize; and rid ourselves of; and bring about; and practice.

 

 

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[S7.8]

以无量门曾说诸界。所有自相种种界性。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR KHAMS RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

Just so, the Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature possessed by the various categories.[8]

 

 

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[S7.9]

非一界性永断遍知。

 

KHAMS SNA TSOGS PA NYID DANG, KHAMS DU MA NYID DANG, SPANG BA DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA’ANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

He has too described the variety of categories; and the many different kinds of categories; and how they must be given up, and realized.

 

 

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[S7.10]

以无量门曾说念住。所有自相

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR DRAN PA NYE BAR BZHAG PA RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

And the Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the different types of close awareness.[9]

 

 

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[S7.11]

能治所治。及以修习未生令生。生已坚住不忘倍修增长广大。

 

MI MTHUN PA’I PHYOGS DANG, GNYEN PO DANG, BSGOM PA DANG, MA SKYES PA RNAMS SKYE BA DANG, SKYES PA RNAMS GNAS PA DANG, MI BSKYUD PA DANG, SLAR ZHING [f. 25b] ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ‘PHEL ZHING YANGS PA NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

He has described as well the things that work against this kind of practice; and the antidotes to these; and the practice itself—developing fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintaining the qualities that we have already developed; and not losing them, and repeating them again and again; and bringing them to grow and expand.

 

 

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[S7.12]

如说念住正断神足根力觉支亦复如是。

 

DRAN PA NYE BAR BZHAG PA RNAMS KYI JI LTA BA BZHIN DU YANG DAG PAR SPONG BA RNAMS DANG, RDZU ‘PHRUL GYI RKANG PA RNAMS DANG, DBANG PO RNAMS DANG, STOBS RNAMS DANG, BYANG CHUB KYI YAN LAG RNAMS KYI’ANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

In the same way that he described these different kinds of close awareness, the Conqueror further described the perfect freedoms;[10] the legs of the miraculous;[11] the powers;[12] the forces;[13] and the components of enlightenment.[14]

 

 

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[S7.13]

以无量门曾说八支圣道。所有自相

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR ‘PHAGS PA’I LAM YAN LAG BRGYAD PA’I RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

And he also described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the eight components of the path of the realized ones.[15]

 

 

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[S7.14]

能治所治。及以修习未生令生。生已坚住不忘倍修增长广大。

 

MI MTHUN PA’I PHYOGS DANG, GNYEN PO DANG, BSGOM PA DANG, MA SKYES PA RNAMS SKYE BA DANG, SKYES PA RNAMS GNAS PA DANG, MI BSKYUD PA DANG, SLAR ZHING ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ‘PHEL ZHING YANGS PA NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL LA,

 

He described the things that work against this kind of practice; and the antidotes to these; and the practice itself—in addition to developing fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintaining the qualities that we have already developed; and not losing them, and repeating them again and again; and bringing them to grow and expand.

 

 

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[S7.15]

世尊。复说一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅槃。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA, CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA, MA ‘GAGS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES KYANG BKA’ STZAL LAGS NA,

 

But then the Conqueror also described how nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how they were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature.

 

 

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[S7.16]

未审世尊。依何密意作如是说。一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅槃。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS JI LTAR DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA, CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA, MA ‘GAGS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES BKA’ STZAL

SNYAM BGYID LAGS TE,

 

And so I was wondering to myself what it was that you had in mind, o Conqueror, when you said that nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all these things were all at peace from the very beginning; and how they had all already gone to nirvana, by their very nature.

 

 

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[S7.17]

我今请问如来斯义。惟愿如来哀愍解释。说一切法皆无自性无生无灭。本来寂静自性涅槃所有密意。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LA DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA, CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA, MA ‘GAGS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS [f. 26a] PA ZHES BKA’ STZAL PA’I DON DE NYID BCOM LDAN ‘DAS LA BDAG YONGS SU ZHU LAGS SO,,

 

And so this is what I ask of you, o Conqueror: What was it that you had in mind, when you said that nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all these things were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature?  What did you mean to say?

 

 

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[S7.18]

尔时世尊告胜义生菩萨曰。善哉善哉。汝所寻思甚为如理。善哉善哉。

 

DE SKAD CES GSOL PA DANG, BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS LA ‘DI SKAD CES BKA’ STZAL TO, ,DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS KHYOD KYI SEMS KYI YONGS SU RTOG PA, DGE BA TSUL BZHIN SKYES PA LEGS SO, ,LEGS SO,,

 

Thus did the bodhisattva Born Of The Ultimate speak, and the Conqueror answered him in the following words:

 

O Born Of The Ultimate, this thought that occurred to you—and the goodness it has so purely given birth to—is a fine thing, very fine.

 

 

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[S7.19]

善男子。汝今乃能请问如来如是深义。汝今为欲利益安乐无量众生。

 

DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS KHYOD DE LTAR SKYE BO MANG PO LA PHAN PA DANG, SKYE BO MANG PO LA BDE BA DANG, ‘JIG RTEN LA SNYING BRTZE BA DANG,

 

You who are Born Of The Ultimate, with this single thought you have helped a great many living beings; you have brought them happiness; you have shown your love for the entire world.

 

 

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[S7.20]

哀愍世间及诸天人阿素洛等。为令获得义利安乐故发斯问。

 

LHA DANG MIR BCAS PA’I SKYE DGU’I DON DANG, PHAN PA DANG BDE BA’I PHYIR ZHUGS TE, DE BZHIN GSHEGS PA LA DON ‘DI NYID ‘DRI BAR SEMS PA NI YANG KHYOD LEGS SO,,

 

And you have stepped on a path that will accomplish the goals of all living kind—with its gods and its humans; a path that will bring them all help, and happiness.  The fact that you have even thought to ask this question to the One Gone Thus is itself a very fine thing.

 

 

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[S7.21]

汝应谛听。吾当为汝解释。所说一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅槃所有密意。

 

DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS, DE’I PHYIR NYON CIG DANG, NGAS CI LAS DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA, CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA, MA ‘GAGS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES GSUNGS PA KHYOD LA BSHAD PAR BYA’O,,

 

And so I ask you, Born Of The Ultimate, to listen well—and I will explain to you what it was I had in mind, when I said that nothing in the universe had any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all things were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature.

 

 

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[S7.22]

胜义生当知。我依三种无自性性密意。说言一切诸法皆无自性。所谓相无自性性。生无自性性。胜义无自性性。

 

DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS, NGAS CHOS RNAMS KYI NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID RNAM PA GSUM PO ‘DI LTA STE, MTSAN NYID NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID DANG, SKYE BA NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID DANG, DON DAM PA NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID LAS DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA’O ZHES BSTAN [f. 26b] TO,,

 

Because what I meant, Born Of The Ultimate, when I said that nothing had any nature of its own, was that things lack any quality, in three different senses: they lack any nature of having their own qualities; they lack any nature of starting; and they lack any nature of being ultimate.

 

 

To be continued

 in the next installment!

 

 

 


 

 

 

Part Two

Yuance’s Commentary

 

 

The Great Commentary

Of Master Yuance,

Chapter 7

 

 

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[Y7.1]

自下正释文义。

 

DE NAS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ SEMS DPA’ CHEN PO DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS KYIS BCOM LDAN ‘DAS LA ‘DI SKAD CES GSOL TO ZHES BYA BA ‘DI MAN CHAD NI MDO’I TSIG GI DON RNAM PAR BSHAD PA STON TE,,

 

Here next I will present an explanation of the words of the sutra beginning with:

 

And then that great being, the bodhisattva named Born Of The Ultimate, addressed the Conqueror, in the following words [S7.1].

 

 

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[Y7.2]

就释有情无性境中上来已释三性境讫。自下第二释三无性。

 

NGO BO NYID YOD PA DANG, NGO BO NYID MED PA’I YUL BSTAN PA LAS, DE YAN CHAD DU NGO BO NYID RNAM PA GSUM GYI YUL BSHAD ZIN NAS, ‘DI MAN CHAD NI GNYIS PA NGO BO NYID MED PA RNAM PA GSUM STON PAR MDZAD DO,,

 

Two kinds of ideas are, in general, being presented: that things do have a nature, and that they have no nature.  Up to this point there has been an explanation of three kinds of natures;[16] and then from here on, Lord Buddha presents the three ways in which things have no nature.

 

 

Structure of the chapter

此品分支

 

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[Y7.3]

于此品内有其五分。一菩萨请问分。

 

LE’U ‘DI LA PHYOGS RNAM PA LNGA YOD DE DANG PO NI BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ ZHU BA GSOL BA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

This next chapter has five different sections; the first is the one devoted to the question that the bodhisattva poses to the Buddha.

 

 

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[Y7.4]

二尔时世尊下如来正说分。

 

GNYIS PA DE NAS BCOM LDAN ‘DAS ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD NI DE BZHIN GSHEGS PA YANG DAG PAR BSHAD PA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

The second section—which begins with the words, “And then the Conqueror answered him”—is devoted to the perfect response of the One Thus Gone.

 

 

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[Y7.5]

三尔时胜义生下领解受持分。

 

GSUM PA DE NAS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD NI KHONG DU CHUD PAR GYUR NAS BKA’ YANG DAG PAR BLANGS PA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

The third section starts with words about “the bodhisattva named Born Of The Ultimate”; it describes how the bodhisattva grasped Lord Buddha’s response, and how he undertook to honor the Buddha’s word.

 

 

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[Y7.6]

四尔时胜义生菩萨下校量叹胜分。

 

BZHI PA DE NAS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD NI KHYAD PAR GYI BSNGAGS PA BRJOD CING BSKRUN PA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

The fourth section starts from the wording about how “the bodhisattva named Born Of The Ultimate then…”  It presents extraordinary words of praise, and describes the goodness created.

 

 

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[Y7.7]

五尔时胜义生下依教奉行分。

 

LNGA PA DE NAS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD NI BKA’ BZHIN DU SPYOD PA SPYAD PA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

The fifth section begins with words including “the bodhisattva Born Of The Ultimate,” and it describes how the bodhisattva did in fact act in accordance with the Buddha’s word.

 

 

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[Y7.8]

就请问中文别有三。初标问答者次我曾下申所问事后未审下依教发问。

 

ZHU BA GSOL BA’I PHYOGS LA YANG RNAM PA GSUM DU DBYE STE, ZHU BA GSOL BA DANG LAN GSUNG PA PO SMOS PA DANG, BDAG SNGON ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD GANG ZHU BA’I DNGOS PO NYID BSTAN PA DANG, BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LAS DGONGS NAS ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD KYIS BSTAN PA JI LTA BA BZHIN DU ZHU BA GSOL BA’O,,

 

The section about the question has three further divisions:

 

v A statement of who it was that asked the question, and who answered it;

 

v A statement of the teachings (starting with the part about “recently, I…”)

which serve as the object of the question; and

 

v The actual question about these teachings, starting from the part about

“What did the Conqueror have in mind?”

 

 

Who asked, and who answered

问答者

 

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[Y7.9]
尔时胜义生菩萨摩诃萨白佛言世尊。

此即第一标问答者。

 

‘DI NI DANG PO ZHU BA GSOL BA DANG LAN GSUNG PA PO SMOS PA STE,

 

Here then is that first division, where we clarify who asked the question, and who answered.

 

 

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[Y7.10]

言胜义生者。胜义即是所证之境胜智之境名胜义。

 

DE LA DON DAM ZHES BYA BA NI THOB PAR BYA BA’I YUL TE, YE SHES DAM PA’I YUL YIN PA’I PHYIR DON DAM ZHES BYA’O,,

 

Now the word “ultimate” in the bodhisattva’s name refers, in general, to what we hope to reach; this object is called “ultimate” because it is the object of ultimate wisdom.[17]

 

 

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[Y7.11]
生者能证之智缘胜义生名之为生。
YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BYA BA NI THOB PAR BYED PA’I YE SHES DON DAM PA DMIGS PA LAS SKYES PA’I PHYIR YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES [f. 273a] BYA’O,,

 

The words “born of” indicate that the ultimate wisdom which allows us to reach our goal is “born from” the object towards which it focuses.  And thus we get the name of our bodhisattva: “Born Of The Ultimate.”

 

 

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[Y7.12]

故摄论云。于此证会故名为生。

 

BSTAN BCOS THEG PA CHEN PO BSDUS PA LAS, ‘DI RTOGS SHING KHONG DU CHUD PA’I PHYIR YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BYA’O ZHES BSHAD DE,

 

The classical commentary called A Summary of the Greater Way says that the expression “born of the ultimate” refers to perceiving—to grasping—this object.[18]

 

 

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[Y7.13]

于此所缘胜智生故。就能所证以立其号名胜义生。

 

DMIGS PA ‘DI LAS YE SHES DAM PA SKYES PA’I PHYIR, RTOGS PA DANG RTOGS PAR BYA BA’I DBANG DU MDZAD NAS DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ZHES BTAGS PA YIN NO,,

 

Ultimate wisdom is then born from this particular object of focus; and so the name “Born Of The Ultimate” is applied with reference to both what does the realizing and what it is that it realizes.

 

 

The meaning of “thought”

“寻思”之意

 

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[Y7.14]

我曾独在静处心生如是寻思

自下第二申所问事。

 

BDAG SNGON GCIG PU GNAS DPEN BA {%DBEN PA} ZHIG NA MCHIS PA’I TSE, ,SEMS KYI RTOG PA’I ‘DI LTA BU SKYES LA {%PA} LAGS TE ZHES BYA BA LA SOGS PAS NI GNYIS PA GANG ZHU BA’I DNGOS PO NYID STON TO,,

 

The second division here—the thing that the question was asked about—is covered in the words that include: “Recently, O Conqueror, I was sitting in a quiet place by myself, and these thoughts came to me [S7.2].”

 

 

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[Y7.15]

于中有二初陈己疑思。后举所问教。

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE, BDAG NYID THE TSOM SKYES PA’I RTOG PA BSTAN PA DANG ZHU BA’I BSTAN PA NYID SMOS PA’O,,

 

Here there are two further parts: a description of how the doubts came up in the person’s mind; and the actual statement of the teachings about which the question was asked.

 

 

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[Y7.16]
此即初也。谓昔我曾独在山林间房静处如是寻思世尊如何先说有性后说无性。
‘DI NI DANG PO STE, ‘DI LTAR BDAG SNGON GCIG PU RI DANG NAGS TSAL DBEN PA NA GNAS PA’I TSE, RTOG PA ‘DI LTA BU SKYES BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI’I PHYIR SNGAR NI NGO BO NYID YOD PA GSUNGS LA PHYIS NI NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS SNYAM DU GYUR TO ZHES BYA BA’I THA TSIG GO,,

 

Here is the first.  Essentially, here is what is being said:

 

Now recently, when I was sitting in a quiet place—a place in the mountain and forest—these thoughts came to me: Why was it that, earlier in his life, the Conqueror said that things had some nature of their own; and then, later in his life, he said that they had no nature of their own?

 

 

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[Y7.17]
深密经云空闲之处生觉观心者。如前分别译家别故。
DGONGS PA ZAB MO RNAM PAR DGROL BA’I MDO LAS, DBEN PA’I GNAS NA RNAM PAR RTOG PA’I SEMS SKYES ZHES ‘BYUNG BA NI SNGA MA BZHIN DU DBYE BAR BYA STE, LO TZ’A BA DAG GI BSAM PA THA DAD PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

The wording in the Sutra that Unravels the Deep True Thought is “In a quiet place, these imaginings came to me”—but this is to be read in the same way as we have just put it.  It is simply a difference in viewpoint between the master translators of the original Sanskrit.[19]

 

 

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[Y7.18]
泛论寻思有其四种。
RTOG PA DE YANG BSHAD NA RNAM PA BZHI YOD DE,

 

There are four different senses of the original Sanskrit word for “thought” here.

 

 

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[Y7.19]
一者三界有漏分别心心所法。
DANG PO NI KHAMS GSUM PA’I ZAG PA DANG BCAS PA’I SEMS DANG SEMS LAS BYUNG BA’I CHOS RNAM PAR RTOG PA DANG BCAS PA GANG YIN PA’O,,

 

The first is a phenomenon of the mind and mental functions which are still tied up with the impurities of the three realms: with wrong ideas about things.

 

 

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[Y7.20]

二者寻伺。故深密云空间之处生觉观心。

 

GNYIS PA NI RNAM PAR RTOG PA STE, DE’I PHYIR DGONGS BA ZAB MO RNAM PAR DGROL BA’I MDO LAS, DBEN PA’I GNAS NA RNAM PAR RTOG PA’I SEMS SKYES ZHES GSUNGS PA YIN NO,,

 

The second conveys a sense of imagination; and as such the Sutra that Unravels the Deep True Thought speaks of how “these imaginings came to” the bodhisattva, when he was sitting in a quiet place.

 

 

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[Y7.21]

三者唯寻。故集论第六云寻思行者缘入出息念境。

 

GSUM PA NI RTOG PA KHO NA STE, DE’I PHYIR BSTAN BCOS MNGON PA SNA TSOGS KUN LAS BTUS PA LAS RNAM PAR RTOG PA LA SPYOD PA NI DBUGS RNGUB BA {%PA} DANG, ‘BYUNG BA DRAN PA’I YUL LA DMIGS SO ZHES BSHAD PA YIN NO,,

 

The third use of the term is in the connotation of simply noting something; thus it is that the classical commentary entitled A Compendium of Teachings of Higher Knowledge describes how a person engaged in noting something might be observing—as an object of their awareness—the way in which the breath is inhaled and then exhaled.[20]

 

 

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[Y7.22]

俱舍论第二十二云寻多乱心名寻行者彼依息念能正入修。

 

MDZOD KYI BSTAN BCOS LAS KYANG RTOG PA NI PHAL CHER SEMS RNAM PAR G-YENG BAR BYED PAS RNAM PAR RTOG PA LA SPYOD PA ZHES BYA’O ZHES ‘BYUNG STE, DE DBUGS [f. 273b] DRAN PA LA BRTEN BSGOM PA LA YANG DAG PAR ‘JUG PA’AM,

 

The classical commentary called The Treasure House uses the same word, for the most part, to refer to the way in which the mind is distracted to another object; it says “this is what we call indulging in noticing something.”  And then we use the practice of following the breath to return properly to our meditation.[21]

 

 

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[Y7.23]

或可通说寻伺名寻思行者。

 

YANG NA RTOG PAR {%PA?} DANG DPYOD PA LA SPYIR RNAM PAR RTOG PA LA SPYOD PA ZHES BYA’O ZHES BSTAN PA’O,,

 

This source also speaks of engaging in noting something in a more general sense, as when we draw the distinction between noting something roughly and examining it more finely.[22]

 

 

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[Y7.24]

四者慧数。如四寻思处处说故。

 

BZHI PA NI SHES RAB KYI GRANGS SU SONG BA YONGS SU TSOL BA JI LTA BU STE, LA LA NAS DE SKAD DU BSHAD PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

The fourth possible sense of the term used here is as another word for wisdom, where we try to figure something out; we see it explained this way in a number of sources.

 

 

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[Y7.25]

今于此中第四为胜。

 

‘DIR NI ZHI BA {%BZHI PA} MCHOG TU BZANG NGO,,

 

In the present text, this fourth choice is the very best interpretation of the word.

 

 

The teaching that was asked about

所问教

 

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[Y7.26]

自下第二申所问教。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG, SKYE BA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, GTAN DU SPANGS PA DANG YONGS SU SHES PA YANG BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BA LA SOGS PAS NI GNYIS PA ZHU BA’I BSTAN PA NYID SMOS PA STON TO,,

 

The second part from above—a statement of the teachings about which the question is being asked—is found in the section of the sutra which begins with the following:

 

The Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the different parts to a person.  He has also described the quality that these parts have of starting, and the quality they have of stopping.  And he has also spoken of how these parts are something that we need to rid ourselves of, and that we need to realize something about [S7.3-4].

 

 

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[Y7.27]

于中有二。初举有性教后世尊复说下显无性教。

 

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE NGO BO NYID YOD PAR GSUNGS PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA DANG, BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS GZHAN YANG ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD KYIS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA’O,,

 

This section itself is divided into two: a statement of the teachings in which the Conqueror said that all things do have a nature of their own; and a statement of the teachings in which he said that things do not have any nature of their own—the latter beginning with the words, “But then the Conqueror has also…”

 

 

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[Y7.28]

就前文中有十三门摄为五段。一明蕴教二明谛教三明诸界四明念住五八圣道。

 

DANG PO LA SGO RNAM PA BCU GSUM YOD PA DE DAG KYANG RNAM PA LNGAR BSDUS NAS BSTAN TE, PHUNG PO LA SOGS PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA DANG, DBEN {%BDEN} PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA DANG KHAMS RNAMS BSTAN PA DANG, DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA LA SOGS PA BSTAN PA DANG, ‘PHAGS PA’I LAM YAN LAG BRGYAD PA BSTAN PA STE,

 

The first of these two contains thirteen different topics,[23] which can in turn be organized into five groups: (1) a statement about teachings such as the parts to a person and so on; (2) a statement about the teaching on the truths; (3) about the teaching on the categories; (4) about the teaching on kinds of close awareness and such; and (5) about the teaching on the eight components of the path of the realized ones.

 

 

Teachings about the parts to a person and so on

蕴教

 

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[Y7.29]

‘DI NI DANG PO PHUNG PO’I BSTAN PA’I SGO’O,,

 

Here is the first of these—concerning the teachings of the parts to a person and so on.

 

 

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[Y7.30]

世尊以无量门曾说诸蕴所有自相生相灭相永断遍知。

此即第一辨蕴教门。于中有二初正明蕴教后类显三教。此即五相辨蕴圣教。

 

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE, PHUNG PO’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA DANG, ZLAS BSTAN PA GSUM SMOS TE, ‘DI NI DANG PO MTSAN NYID RNAM PA LNGAS PHUNG PO’I BSTAN PA RNAM PAR ‘BYED PA’O,,

 

This section is divided into two separate parts: a statement of the teachings on the parts to a person; and then a repetition of the same qualities for three further elements.  In the former of these, the parts of a person are covered by means of a description of five different qualities that these parts possess.

 

 

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[Y7.31]

无量门者此有两释。

 

RNAM GRANGS DU MA ZHES BYA BA LA BSHAD PA RNAM PA GNYIS YOD DE, KHA CIG NA RE PHUNG PO LA YOD PA’I RANG DANG SPYI’I MTSAN NYID LA SOGS PA’I RNAM GRANGS GCIG KHO NA MA YIN PA’I PHYIR DU MA ZHES BYA’O ZHE’O,,

 

The sutra at this point mentions “on many different occasions when the Conqueror taught [S7.3],” and there are two different ways of explaining this.

 

 

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[Y7.32]

一云蕴中所有自共相等诸门非一故名无量。一云可见不可见有色无色等诸门非一故名无量。

 

KHA CIG NA RE BSTAN DU YOD PA DANG, BSTAN DU MED PA DANG, GZUGS YOD PA DANG, GZUGS MED PA LA SOGS PA’I RNAM GRANGS GCIG KHO NA MA YIN PA’I PHYIR DU MA ZHAS {%ZHES} BYA’O ZHE’O,,

 

Some say that the “occasions” are actually versions of this teaching, since in different contexts different distinctions about the parts to a person were made: such as some being things that are displayed, and others not; or some being physical, and others not—which then explains the word “many.”

 

 

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[Y7.33]

所有自相即是别相。

 

DE LA RANG GI MTSAN NYID CES BYA BA NI BYE BRAG GI MTSAN NYID YIN TE,

 

When the sutra says “self-nature” here, it is referring to the individual natures of the parts to a person.

 

 

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[Y7.34]

如说色是质碍如是识是了别。

 

JI SKAD DU GZUGS NI THOGS PA DANG [f. 274a] BCAS PA’O ZHES BYA BA NAS, RNAM PAR SHES PA NI RNAM PAR RIG PA’O ZHES BYA BA’I BAR DU BSHAD PA LTA BU’O,,

 

These self-natures would be covered in statements such as “form is anything that has the quality of being concrete” up to “consciousness is awareness.”[24]

 

 

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[Y7.35]

生相灭相即是通相。色等皆有生灭相故。

 

SKYE BA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID CES BYA BA NI SPYI’I MTSAN NYID YIN TE, GZUGS LA SOGS PA LA SKYE BA DANG, ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID YOD PA’I MTSAN NYID YIN PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

The sutra then mentions that these parts “have a quality of starting, and a quality of stopping.”  This is a reference to their shared quality: a quality in the sense of form and the rest possessing the qualities of starting and of stopping.

 

 

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[Y7.36]

永断遍知即苦集相。

 

GTAN DU SPANGS PA DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA ZHES BYA BA NI SDUG BSNGAL KUN ‘BYUNG BA’I MTSAN NYID DE,

 

The sutra next speaks of “how these parts are something that we need to rid ourselves of forever, and that we need to realize something about [S7.4].”  This is to indicate the quality that the parts of a person have of involving the truth of pain and the truth of the source of pain.

 

 

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[Y7.37]

永断集谛苦烦恼故。遍知苦谛生死果故。

 

KUN ‘BYUNG GI BDEN PA LAS DANG NYON MONGS PA NI GTAN DU SPANG BAR BYA BA YIN PA’I PHYIR DANG, SDUG BSNGAL GYI BDEN PA ‘KHOR BA’I ‘BRAS BU NI YONGS SU SHES PAR BYA BA YIN PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

This in turn is true because the karma and negative emotions which constitute the truth of the source of pain are something we need to rid ourselves of forever; while the truth of suffering—the cycle of pain that results from these two—is something that we must realize is happening.

 

 

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[Y7.38]

或可所有自相者即是自相差别相。如是二相遍于生灭。

 

YANG NA RANG GI MTSAN NYID CES BYA BA NI RANG GI NGO BO DANG BYE BRAG GI MTSAN NYID DE, MTSAN NYID ‘DI GNYIS KYI SKYE BA DANG, ‘JIG PA KUN LA KHYAB PAR ‘GYUR BA’O,,

 

You could also say that the “self-nature [S7.3]” mentioned in the sutra is a reference to both the essential nature of the parts to a person, and to the more specific qualities of these parts—since the starting and stopping of these two themselves extend to all the parts of the person.

 

 

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[Y7.39]

永断遍知如下领解中说。

 

GTAN DU SPANG BA DANG YONGS SU SHES PA NI ‘OG NAS KHONG DU CHUD PAR ‘GYUR BA SKABS NAS BSTAN PA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

We will be understanding more about this process of ridding ourselves of undesirable things forever, and of realizing something about them, further on in the text; you can apply what you learn in that context to this one.

 

 

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[Y7.40]

如说诸蕴。诸处缘起诸食亦尔。

此即第二类释三门。

 

PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI JI LTA BA DE BZHIN DU SKYE MCHED RNAMS DANG, RTEN CING ‘BREL BAR ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ZAS RNAMS KYI YANG BKA’ STZAL CES BYA BA NI GNYIS PA ZLAS BSTAN PA GSUM SMOS PA’O,,

 

Our second part here—a repetition of the same qualities for three further elements—is found in sutra with the words, “In the same way that he described the parts to a person, the Conqueror has also described the doors of sense; and the process of how things occur in dependence upon each other; and the different types of sustenance [S7.5].”

 

 

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[Y7.41]

谓如蕴中所说五相十二处教缘起诸食应知亦尔。

 

JI LTAR PHUNG PO LA MTSAN NYID LNGA YOD PAR GSUNGS PA DE BZHIN DU SKYE MCHED BCU GNYIS DANG, RTEN CING ‘BREL BAR ‘BYUNG BA DANG ZAS RNAMS LA YANG DE BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O ZHES BYA BA’I THA TSIG GO,,

 

What this is saying is that we are to understand that—just as the Conqueror described five different qualities for the parts to a person—he also described the same qualities for the twelve doors of sense; for the process of how things occur in dependence upon each other; and for the different types of sustenance.

 

 

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[Y7.42]

谓处自相能见色故名之为眼眼所见故名之为色乃至能知法故名之为意意所知故名之为法。

 

‘DI LTA STE SKYE MCHED RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID NI GZUGS MTHONG BAR NUS PA’I PHYIR MIG CES BYA’O, ,MIG GIS BLTA BAR BYA BA YIN PA’I PHYIR GZUGS SO ZHES BYA BA NAS, CHOS SHES PAR NUS PA’I PHYIR CHOS ZHES BYA’O ZHES BYA BA’I BAR DAG GO,,

 

How this applies is as follows.  As for the self-natures of the various doors of sense, we call something “the eye” when it allows us to see visible form, and we call something “visible form” because it is what the eye views.  This pattern follows all the way up to “when it allows us to know things” and “call it ‘things’.”[25]

 

 

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[Y7.43]

缘起自相智所对法别有心所覆蔽为性名为无明如瑜伽论五十六说乃至渐衰顿灭名为老死。

 

RTEN CING ‘BREL PAR ‘BYUNG BA’I RANG GI MTSAN NYID NI, BSTAN BCOS RNAL ‘BYOR SPYOD PA’I SA LAS, SHES PA MTHUN PA’I PHYOGS SEMS LAS BYUNG BA’I CHOS SGRIB PAR BYED PA’I BDAG NYID YIN PAS MA RIG PA ZHES BYA’O ZHES BYA BA NAS, KHAD KYIS NYAMS SHING CIG CAR ‘JIG PAS RGA SHI ZHES BYA’O ZHES BSHAD PA’I BAR DAG GO,,

 

What then is the self-nature of the process through which things occur in dependence upon one another?  The classical commentary known as The Levels of Practice begins on this by saying that we call something “misunderstanding” when it is an element which acts to obscure those mental functions which are conducive to understanding.  It continues in this vein up to describing aging & death as moment-to-moment weakening, and then finally finishing.[26]

 

 

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[Y7.44]

诸食自相分段而吞名为段食乃至了别执持名为识食。

 

ZAS RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID [f. 274b] NI KHAM GYIS BCAD CING MID PAS KHAM GYI THAS {%ZAS} ZHES BYA’O ZHES BYA BA NAS, RNAM PAR RIG PAS ‘DZIN PAR BYED PAS RNAM PAR SHES PA’I ZAS ZHES BYA’O ZHES BYA BA’I BAR DAG GO,,

 

The description of the self-natures of the various types of sustenance begins with the statement that “physical sustenance, which we call ‘sustenance in portions,’ takes its name from the fact that it is first cut by the teeth into bite-sized portions, and then swallowed.”  And it goes on in this vein up to the statement that “mental sustenance is so called because it sustains the mind.”[27]

 

 

67 Leave a comment on block 67 0

[Y7.45]

生灭二相永断遍知准上应知。

 

SKYE BA DANG ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID RNAM PA GNYIS DANG, GTAN DU SPANG BA DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA NI GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

The way in which each of these elements possesses the two qualities of starting and stopping—and of being something we should rid ourselves of forever, and something that we should realize something about—can be understood from our earlier description.

 

 

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[Y7.46]

问。如何胜义谛品以六相分别蕴等具说四谛。于此品中但说苦集而非灭道。

 

CI’I PHYIR DON DAM PA’I BDEN PA’I MTSAN NYID KYI LE’U LAS NI MTSAN NYID RNAM PA DRUG GIS PHUNG PO LA SOGS PA RNAM PAR PHYE ZHING BDEN PA BZHI YANG YONGS SU RDZOGS PAR GSUNGS LA LE’U ‘DI LAS NI SDUG BSNGAL DANG, KUN ‘BYUNG NYI TSE GSUNGS SHING ‘GOG PA DANG LAM NI MA BSTAN CE NA,

 

At this point, one may pose the following question:

 

Back in the “Chapter on the Nature of Ultimate Reality,”[28] six different qualities were used to distinguish the parts to a person and so on; and all four of the truths were described.  Here in this chapter though we see only a cursory treatment of the truth of pain and the truth of the source of pain—and no treatment at all of the truth of the end of pain, and the truth of the path to this ending.  Why is this?

 

 

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[Y7.47]

解云。前品欲辨现观有差别故具说四谛。今此品中有性无性二教差别是故此中略而不说。由得蕴故灭及依证。

 

SMRAS PA, LE’U SNGA MA LAS MNGON PAR RTOGS PA’I BYE BRAG RAB TU DBYE BAR BZHED PA’I PHYIR NI BDEN PA BZHI TSANG BAR GSUNGS LA LE’U ‘DI LAS NI NGO BO NYID YOD PA DANG NGO BO NYID MED PA’I BSTAN PA RNAM PA GNYIS KYI BYI {%BYE} BRAG STON PAR MDZAD PAS DE’I PHYIR ‘DIR NI MDOR BSDUS NAS MA GSUNGS TE, PHUNG PO THOB {%?} PA’I PHYIR ‘GOG PA MNGON SUM DU BYED PAS SO,,

 

Well here’s our answer.  In the earlier chapter, Lord Buddha is undertaking to give a detailed presentation of the various divisions of realization, and so he describes all four of the truths.  Here in this chapter, it is only the distinction between the two types of teaching—one in which things are said to have some nature of their own, and another in which they are said to have no such nature—which is being made.  Thus there is no statement of all four, even in brief; after all, once we have acquired these particular parts to a person, their ending is something we naturally seek to bring about.

 

@note suspicious reading in the Tibetan; need to check a woodblock

 

 

Teachings about the truths

谛教

 

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[Y7.48]

以无量门曾说诸谛所有自相遍知永断作证修习。

第二辨四谛教有其五句。

 

RNAM GRANGS DU MAR BDEN PA RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA DANG, GTAN DU SPANG BA DANG, MNGON DU BGYI BA DANG, BSGOM PA YANG BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BAS NI GNYIS PA BDEN PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA’O,,

 

The second group—consisting of teachings about the truths—is indicated in the next section of the sutra:

 

The Conqueror has also described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the various truths.  He has as well described how these are things that we should realize; and rid ourselves of; and bring about; and practice [S7.6-7].[29]

 

 

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[Y7.49]

所有自相自有两说准上应知。

 

‘DI LA TSIG LNGA YOD PA YANG RANG GI MTSAN NYID LA BSHAD PA GNYIS YOD PA YANG GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA STE,

 

There are five elements in this section.  Understand that again—just as we saw above—there are two ways of explaining the “self-nature” here.

 

 

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[Y7.50]

谓逼迫名苦。

 

GNOD CING NYAM NGA BAS NA SDUG BSNGAL LO,,

 

That is, we refer to something as “pain” when it hurts us, and brings us misery.

 

 

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[Y7.51]

召集名集。

 

RGYU ‘DUS PAS NA KUN ‘BYUNG BA’O,,

 

We refer to something as the “source” of pain when it subsumes the various causes of pain.

 

 

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[Y7.52]

灭尽名灭。

 

‘GAGS NAS ZAD PAS NA ‘GOG PA’O,,

 

Something is the “end” of pain when the pain has been brought to an end, and is finished.

 

 

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[Y7.53]

能通名道。

 

PHYIN PAR BYED PAS NA LAM MO,,

 

And we refer to something as the “path” to the end of pain when it takes us to this end.

 

 

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[Y7.54]

遍知等四别显四谛。遍知苦谛。永断集谛。作证灭谛。修习道谛。

 

YONGS SU SHES PA LA SOGS PA BZHI PO DAG GIS NI BDEN PA BZHI LOGS SHIG TU PHYE NAS BSTAN PA YIN TE, SDUG BSNGAL GYI BDEN PA YONGS SU SHES PA DANG, KUN ‘BYUNG GI BDEN PA GTAN DU SPANG BA DANG, ‘GOG PA’I BDEN PA MA MNGON {%BDEN PA MNGON} SUM DU BYA BA DANG, LAM GYI BDEN PA BSGOM PA’O,,

 

The four parts that start with “things that we should realize” give us separate presentations of the four truths, dividing them out separately.  That is, the truth of pain is something we should realize is happening to us; the truth of the source of pain is something we should forever rid ourselves of; the truth of the end of pain is something we have to make happen; and the truth of the path to the end of pain is something we need to practice.

 

 

Teachings about the categories

诸界教

 

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[Y7.55]

以无量门曾说诸界所有自相种种界性非一界性永断遍知。

第三辨诸界门。

 

RNAM GANGS {%GRANGS} DU MAR KHAMS RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG KHAMS SNA TSOGS PA NYID DANG, KHAMS DUM {%DU MA} PA {%?} NYID DANG, GTAN [f. 275a] DU SPANG BA DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA YANG BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BA NI GSUM PA KHAMS RNAMS KYI SGO BSTAN PA STE,

 

The third group—the categories—is presented in the following words of the sutra:

 

The Conqueror has also spoken—on many different occasions when he taught—of the self-nature possessed by the various categories.[30]  He has too described the variety of categories; and the many different kinds of categories; and how they must be completely given up, and realized [S7.8-9].

 

 

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[Y7.56]

所有自相准上应知。

 

RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYI BSHAD PA NI GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

The explanation of self-natures here should be understood as before.

 

 

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[Y7.57]

次之二句谓十八界展转异相名种种界。

 

BAR MA’I TSIG GNYIS NI ‘DI LTA STE, KHAMS BCO BRGYAD PO DAG GCIG LAS GCIG THA DAD PA’I MTSAN NYID GANG YIN PA DE NI KHAMS SNA TSOGS PA NYID CES BYA’O,,

 

There are two interstitial phrases here.  The separate qualities of the eighteen categories, one following the other, is what the first—“the variety of categories”—refers to.

 

 

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[Y7.58]

即十八界无量有情所依差别名非一界。如瑜伽论五十六说。若依八十三与上相反。如初卷记。

 

KHAMS BCO BRGYAD PO DE DAG NYID SEMS CAN TSAD MED PA RNAMS KYI RTEN GYI BYE BRAG TU GYUR PA NI KHAMS DU MA NYID CES BYA STE, BSTAN BCOS RNAL ‘BYOR SPYOD PA’I SA LAS BSTAN PA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

The second one, “the many different kinds of categories,” is a reference to the feature of the categories as a basis which supports limitless numbers of living beings; it can be understood in the same way that it is presented in the classical commentary, The Levels of Practice.[31]

 

 

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[Y7.59]

永断遍知准上应知。

 

GTAN DU SPANG BA DANG, YONGS SU SHES PA YANG GONG MA BZHIN DU SBYAR RO,,

 

The expressions “given up completely” and “realized” are applied in the same way as before.

 

 

Teachings on the kinds of close awareness and such

念住教

 

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[Y7.60]

以无量门曾说念住所有自相能治所治及以修习未生令生生已坚住不忘倍修增长广大。

第四辨念住教。

 

RNAM GRANGS DU MAR DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA’I RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG, GNYEN PO DANG, MI MTHUN PA’I PHYOGS DANG, BSGOM PA DANG MA SKYES PA BSKYED PA DANG, SKYES PA GNAS PA DANG, MI BSKYUD PA DANG, SLAR ZHING ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ‘PHEL ZHING YANGS PA NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BA LA SOGS PAS NI BZHI PA DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA LA SOGS PA BSTAN PA RNAM PAR ‘BYED PA’O,,

 

The fourth of the five groups—an examination of the teachings on the different kinds of close awareness and such—is presented in the following section of the sutra:

 

The Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the different types of close awareness.  He has described as well the things that work against this kind of practice; and the various antidotes to these; and the practice itself—developing fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintaining the qualities that we have already developed; and not losing them, and repeating them again and again; and bringing them to grow and expand [S7.10-11].

 

 

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[Y7.61]

于中有二初释念住后类五门。

 

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE, DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA BSTAN PA DANG, ZLAS SGO GZHAN LNGA PO DAG BSTAN PA’O,,

 

This section is also treated in two parts: the teachings on the different kinds of close awareness; and a repetition of qualities for five further elements.

 

 

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[Y7.62]

前中五句所有自相自有二释准蕴应知。

 

DANG PO LA TSIG LNGA YOD PA DANG, RANG GI MTSAN NYID LA BSHAD PA GNYIS YOD PA NI PHUNG PO BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

There are another five elements to the first, as well as two different explanations of self-nature—just as we had with the parts to a person.

 

 

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[Y7.63]

此四念住以慧为体住身等境应言慧住。而言念住与念相应住身等境故名念住。

 

DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA BZHI PO ‘DI DAG NI SHES RAB KYI NGO BO NYID DE, LUS LA SOGS PA’I YUL LA GNAS PAS SHES RAB NYE BAR GNAS PA ZHES BYA BA’I RIGS PA LAS DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA ZHES GSUNGS PA NI DRAN PA DANG MTHUN PAR GYUR NAS LUS LA SOGS PA’I YUL LA GNAS PA’I PHYIR DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA ZHES GSUNGS TE,

 

The nature of these four types of close awareness[32] is a wisdom which stays tight on the objects of the body and so on; this is the logic behind calling them “close” awareness, whereas the “awareness” in the close awareness is that they support a state of reflection upon the nature of the body and so forth, as they remain on these objects.

 

 

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[Y7.64]

此六释中邻近释也。

 

‘DI NI RNAM PAR BSHAD PA DRUG LAS NYE BAR GYUR PA’I RNAM PAR BSHAD PA’O,,

 

There are six different explanations of this term; this is the one based on the idea of closeness.[33]

 

 

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[Y7.65]

后四句者。一能治四倒二未生令生三生已坚住四不忘倍修增长广大。如初卷说。

 

TSIG PHYI MA BZHIN {%BZHI NI?} PHYIN CI LOG BZHI’I GNYEN POR GYUR PA DANG, MA SKYES PA BSKYED PA DANG, SKYES PA RNAMS GNAS PA DANG, MI BSKYUD PA DANG SLAR ZHING ‘BYUNG BA [f. 275b] DANG, ,’PHEL ZHING YANGS PA STE GONG DU BSHAD PA BZHIN NO,,

 

Now for the latter four elements.  These close recollections act as antidotes for the four backwards thoughts.  They help us to develop fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintain the qualities that we have already developed.  And they help us not lose them, and repeat them again and again.  Finally, they bring these qualities to grow and expand—all as we have explained them before.

 

 

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[Y7.66]

如说念住。正断神足根力觉支亦复如是。

此即第二类释五门。

 

DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA RNAMS KYI JI LTA BA BZHIN DU YANG DAG PAR SPONG BA DANG, RDZU ‘PHRUL GYI RKANG PA DANG, DBANG PO DANG, STOBS DANG, BYANG CHUB KYI YAN LAG RNAMS KYI YANG DE BZHIN DU BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BA NI GNYIS PA ZLAS SGO GZHAN LNGA PO DAG BSTAN PA’O,,

 

The second part here—a repetition of qualities for five further elements—is covered in the following section of the sutra:

 

In the same way that he described these different kinds of close awareness, the Conqueror further described the perfect freedoms; the legs of the miraculous; the powers; the forces; and the components of enlightenment [S7.12].[34]

 

 

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[Y7.67]

谓如念住有其五句。四正断门四种神足五根五力七等觉支皆有五句准上应知。

 

DRAN PA NYE BAR GZHAG PA LA TSIG LNGA YOD PA BZHIN DU YANG DAG PAR SPONG BA BZHI DANG, RDZU ‘PHRUL GYI RKANG PA BZHI DANG, DBANG PO LNGA DANG, STOBS LNGA DANG, BYANG CHUB KYI YAN LAG BDUN RNAMS LA YANG TSIG LNGA YOD PAR GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O ZHES BYA BA’I THA TSIG GO,,

 

What this is saying that we are to understand that—just as we saw before, where the different kinds of close awareness had five additional elements—each of the following also possesses five additional elements: the four perfect freedoms; the four legs of the miraculous; the five powers; the five forces; and the seven components of enlightenment.

 

 

The teaching on the eight components of the path of the realized ones

八圣道支教

 

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[Y7.68]

以无量门曾说八支圣道所有自相能治所治及以修习未生令生生已坚住不忘倍修增长广大。

第五八圣道支。有其五句准上应知。

 

RNAM GRANGS DU MAR ‘PHAGS PA’I LAM YAN LAG BRGYAD PA’I RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG, GNYEN PO DANG, MI MTHUN PA’I PHYOGS DANG, BSGOM PA DANG, MA SKYES PA BSKYED PA DANG, SKYES PA RNAMS GNAS PA DANG, MI BSKYUD PA DANG, SLAR ZHING ‘BYUNG BA DANG, ‘PHEL ZHING YANGS PA NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL ZHES BYA BA NI LNGA PA ‘PHAGS PA’I LAM YAN LAG BRGYAD PA BSTAN PA STE, TSIG LNGA YOD PA NI GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

The fifth and final group—a description of the eight components of the path of the realized ones—is presented in the sutra with the following words:

 

And he also described—on many different occasions when he taught—the eight components of the path of the realized ones.[35]  He described the things that work against this kind of practice; the antidotes to these; and the practice itself—in addition to developing fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintaining the qualities that we have already developed; and not losing them, and repeating them again and again; and bringing them to grow and expand [S7.13-14].

 

 

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[Y7.69]

此后七门即是三十七品观。义如别章。

SGO PHYI MA BDUN PO ‘DI DAG NI BYANG CHUB KYI PHYOGS SUM CU RTZA BDUN BSGOM PA’I RNAL ‘BYOR BSTAN PA YIN TE, ‘DI DAG GI DON NI MTSAN NYID BSTAN PA DAG LAS ‘BYUNG BA BZHIN NO,,

 

These last seven of the thirteen different elements are indicating the practice of the 37 elements of enlightenment;[36] what they refer to can be understood from presentations on their various defining qualities.

 

 

Teachings that things have no nature

诸法无性教

 

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[Y7.70]

世尊复说一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅

第二显无性教。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS GZHAN YANG CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NI NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA, SKYE BA MA MCHIS PA, ‘GAG PA MA MCHIS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES KYANG BKA’ STZAL LAGS NA ZHES BYA BA NI NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA’I BSTAN PA SMOS PA’O,,

 

This brings us to the section on a statement of the teachings in which the Conqueror said that things do not have any nature of their own.  This is described in the sutra where it says:

 

But then the Conqueror also described how nothing could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how they were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature [S7.15].

 

 

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[Y7.71]

谓依下经三时法轮

 

‘DI NI ‘OG NAS MDO LAS DUS GSUM PO DAG TU CHOS KYI ‘KHOR LO BSKOR BAR GSUNGS PA LAS BRTZAMS PA YIN TE,

 

 

This section takes off from the section to follow in the sutra which presents a description of how Lord Buddha turned the Wheel of the Dharma during three different periods of his life.

 

 

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[Y7.72]

于第一时说四谛教于第二时说无相教第三时中说了义教。

 

DUS DANG PO’I TSE NI BDEN PA BZHI BSTAN PA GSUNGS SO, ,DUS GNYIS PA’I TSE NI MTSAN NYID MED PA’I BSTAN PA GSUNG SO, ,DUS GSUM PA’I TSE NI NGES PA’I DON GSUNGS TE,

 

During the first period, he gave teachings on the Four Truths; and during the second he gave teachings on how nothing had any quality of its own.  During the third, he clarified what he had really meant to say.

 

 

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[Y7.73]

说一切法皆无自性无生灭本来寂静自性涅槃无自性性。

 

‘DI LTAR CHOS THAMS CAD NI NGO BO [f. 276a] NYID MED PA, SKYE BA MED PA, ‘GAG PA MED PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES GSUNGS PAS NGO BO NYID MED PA YIN NO,,

 

Saying that things had no nature of their own was expressed by saying that “nothing in the universe has any nature of its own; nothing starts; nothing stops; it is all at peace from the beginning; it has all already gone to nirvana, by its very nature.”

 

 

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[Y7.74]

而今此中约第二时对第一时以为发问所依。前说有相后说无相。此无相言违前有相故以无相为问所依。问。

 

‘DIR NI DUS GNYIS PA DUS GSUM PA DANG PO LA LTOS PA LAS BRTZAMS NAS ZHU BA GSOL BA YIN TE, SNGAR NI MTSAN NYID YOD PAR GSUNGS LA PHYIS NI MTSAN NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA DANG SBYAR NA, MTSAN NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA ‘DI NI, SNGAR MTSAN NYID YOD PAR GSUNGS PA DANG ‘GAL BA’I PHYIR RO ZHES MTSAN NYID MED PAS ZHU BA’I GLENG BSLANG BA YIN NO,,

 

Here the question is asked about the second period of the Buddha’s life, and the third, both relative to the first.  If we look at how—in the previous period—Lord Buddha said that things did have qualities of their own, and then in the later period said they had no qualities of their own, then the statement that they had no qualities would contradict the earlier statement that they did.  And so it is the statement that they have no qualities of their own which is raising the question here.

 

 

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[Y7.75]

若准此经初唯说有后但说无

 

MDO ‘DI NYID DANG SBYAR NAS SNGAR NI YOD PA NYID DU GSUNGS PA PHYIS NI MED PA NYID DU STON TO,,

 

Applying this to the current sutra itself, we also have a case where first things are said to always have a nature, and then later said never to have.

 

 

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[Y7.76]

无量义经前后两时皆说空有。

 

DON TSAD MED PAR BSTAN PA’I MDO LAS NI SNGA PHYI’I DUS GNYI GAR YANG STONG PA DANG YOD PA NYID DU STON TE,

 

In the Sutra of Limitless Goals, things are also said—in the earlier part and then the later—to be empty, and then to possess a nature, respectively.

 

 

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[Y7.77]

故彼经云善男子我起树王诣波罗奈鹿野园中为阿若拘邻等五人转四谛法轮时亦说诸法本来寂静 。

 

DE’I PHYIR MDO DE NYID LAS, RIGS KYI BU NGAS SHING GI RGYAL PO’I DRUNG NAS LANGS TE, YUL P’A {%B’A} R’A nA S’I’I RI DAGS RGYU BA’I TSAL DU SONG BA NAS, KUN SHES KOOndI N+YA LA SOGS PA GANG ZAG LNGA PO DAG LA BDEN PA BZHI’I CHOS KYI ‘KHOR LO BSKOR BA NA YANG CHOS RNAMS GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA ZHES BSHAD DO,,

 

And so this sutra says:

 

O son of noble family, I stood from my seat beneath the King of Trees, and went forth to Deer Park, in the land of Varanasi.  And even when I turned the Wheel of the Dharma for those five disciples—for Kaundinya and the rest of them, teaching them the Four Truths, still I told them that things were at peace, from the very beginning.[37]

 

 

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[Y7.78]

中间于此及以处处为诸比丘并众菩萨辨演宣说十二因缘六波罗蜜亦说诸法本来空寂具说如彼

 

BAR DU ‘DI DANG GZHAN DAG NAS KYANG, DGE SLONG RNAMS DANG, BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ MANG PO RNAMS KYI CHED DE {%DU?} RTEN CING ‘BREL BAR ‘BYUNG BA’I YAN LAG BCU GNYIS DANG, PHA ROL TU PHYIN PA DRUG PO DAG RNAM PAR PHYE RAB TU BSTAN CHOS RNAMS GZOD MA NAS STONG ZHING ZHI BA’O ZHES KYANG BSHAD DO ZHES GSUNGS PA YIN TE, ZHIB TU DE NYID LAS BSTAN PA BZHIN NO,,

 

And then at times, with these and the rest, I taught the details of the twelve links of dependence, and the six perfections,[38] for a great number of both the monks and the bodhisattvas—and at the same time I explained to them how all things were empty, and at peace, from the very beginning.

 

If you would like to see the details here, you can refer to that sutra itself.

 

 

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[Y7.79]

即此二经如何会释。

 

MDO ‘DI GNYIS JI LTAR GONG DU BSHAD PAR BYA ZHE NA,

 

One may ask: “Has there ever been, earlier, any explanation of these two kinds of sutras?”

 

 

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[Y7.80]

解云。如智度论诸佛说法有其二事一者秘密二者显示。无量义经依秘密门。今依此经是显示门。各据一边互不相违。

 

SMRAS PA, ‘PHAGS PA SHES RAB KYI PHA ROL TU PHYIN PA’I ‘GREL PA LAS JI SKAD DU, SANGS RGYAS RNAMS KYI CHOS STON PAR MDZAD PA LA DNGOS PO RNAM PA GNYIS YOD DE, SHIN TU GSANG BA DANG RAB TU BSTAN PA’O ZHES ‘BYUNG BA LTA BU STE, DON TSAD MED PAR BSTAN PA’I MDO NI SHIN TU GSANG BA’I SGO YIN LA, MDO ‘DI NI RAB TU BSTAN PA’I [f. 276b] SGO YIN TE, SO SO NAS PHYOGS RE RE SMOS PA YIN PAS PHAN TSUN ‘GAL BA MED DO,,

 

In reply, we can point to the commentary on the exalted perfection of wisdom, where it says,

 

There are two different ways in which the Buddhas give their teaching: the highly secret way, and the clearly declared way.  An example of the very secret style would be the Sutra of Limitless Goals, whereas the current sutra is an example of the very descriptive one.  Since they both relate both positions, they do not contradict each other.[39]

 

 

The doubt of the bodhisattva

菩萨之疑

 

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[Y7.81]

第三依教发问。

 

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LAS DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA, SKYE BA MA MCHIS PA, ‘GAG PA MA MCHIS PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES BKA’ STZAL LAGS ZHES BYA BA LA SOGS PAS NI, GSUM PA BSTAN PA JI LTA BA BZHIN DU ZHU BA GSOL BA STON TO,,

 

This brings us to our third division from above: the actual question about these teachings, starting from the part about “What did the Conqueror have in mind?”  This is presented in the sutra in the following section:

 

And so I was wondering to myself what it was that you had in mind, o Conqueror, when you said that nothing could have any nature of its own; and that nothing could ever start, or stop; how they were all at peace from the very beginning; and how they had all already gone to nirvana, by their very nature [S7.16].

 

 

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[Y7.82]

于中有三初陈己疑情次请愿解释后申所释经。

未审世尊依何密意作如是说一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅

 

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GSUM STE, BDAG NYID KYI THE TSOM GANG YIN PA NYID GSOL BA DANG, BSHAD PAR GSOL BA BTAB PA DANG, GANG BSHAD PAR GSOL BA’I MDO ‘DI NYID SMOS PA’O,,

 

This section itself has three different divisions: the actual statement of the person’s doubt; the request for an explanation; and a statement of the exact passage from sutra for which an explanation is being requested.

 

 

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[Y7.83]

此即初也。谓佛先说蕴处界等十三法门皆有自性后复说言一切诸法皆无自性无生灭等。前说有性后说无性二教相违。未审世尊依何密意作如是说无自性等。

 

‘DI NI DANG PO STE, ‘DI LTAR BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS SNGAR NI PHUNG PO DANG, SKYE MCHED DANG KHAMS LA SOGS PA’I CHOS KYI SGO MO RNAM PA BCU GSUM PO DAG NGO BO NYID YOD PAR GSUNGS PA PHYIS NI YANG CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NI NGO BO NYID MED PA SKYES BA MED PA ‘GAG PA MED PA LA SOGS PAR GSUNGS PAS NGO BO NYID YOD PAR GSUNGS PA DANG PHYIS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA’I BSTAN PA GNYIS PHAN TSUN ‘GAL BAS NA, BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LAS DGONGS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PA LA SOGS PAR GSUNGS PA MA RTOGS NA ZHES BYA BA’I DON TO,,

 

Here then is the first.  The point is as follows—

 

And so earlier on, the Conqueror—through his presentation of thirteen different topics, such as the parts to a person, the doors of sense, the categories, and so on—has said that things do have a nature of their own.  Later, he has stated that nothing in the universe has any nature of its own, nor starts, nor stops, and so forth.  These two teachings are contradictory; and I cannot understand what you had in mind when you made statements like “nothing has any nature of its own.”

 

 

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[Y7.84]

若深密经有其五节。一一切法本来无体。二一切法本来不生。三一切法本来无灭。四一切法本来寂静。五一切法本来自性涅槃。

 

DGONGS PA ZAB MO RNAM PAR DGROL BA’I MDO LAS NI TSIG LNGA ‘BYUNG STE, CHOS THAMS CAD GZOD MA NAS NGO BO NYID MED PA DANG, CHOS THAMS CAD GZOD MA NAS MA SKYES PA DANG, CHOS THAMS CAD GZOD MA NAS MA ‘GAGS PA DANG, CHOS THAMS CAD GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA DANG, CHOS THAMS CAD GZOD MA NAS RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES ‘BYUNG NGO,,

 

In the Sutra that Unravels the Deep True Thought, five different elements appear here:

 

v From the very beginning, nothing in the universe has had any nature of its own.

 

v From the very beginning, nothing in the universe has ever started.

 

v From the very beginning, nothing in the universe has ever stopped.

 

v From the very beginning, everything in the universe has been at peace.

 

v From the very beginning, everything in the universe has already gone to nirvana.

 

 

The request for an explanation

请愿解释

 

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[Y7.85]

我今请问如来斯义。唯愿如来哀愍解释。

此即第二请愿解释

 

BDAG DENG ‘DIR DE BZHIN GSHEGS PA LA DON ‘DI NYID ZHU BA LAGS NA, DE BZHIN GSHEGS PAS THUGS BRTZE BAR DGONGS TE ZHES BYA BA NI GNYIS PA BSHAD PAR GSOL BA GDAB PA’O,,

 

Our second division here—the request for an explanation—is found in the sutra in the following words:

 

And so thus have I, today, asked the One Thus Gone about these matters; and I pray that the One Gone Thus may look upon this request with love…[40]

 

 

The passage to be explained

所释经文

 

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[Y7.86]

说一切法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅所有密意。

等三申所释经。

 

CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA DANG, SKYE BA MA MCHIS PA DANG, ‘GAG PA [f. 277a] MA MCHIS PA DANG, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA DANG, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA’I DGONGS PA GANG LAGS PA BSHAD DU GSOL ZHES BYA BA NI GSUM PA GANG BSHAD PAR GSOL BA’I MDO NYID SMOS PA’O,,

 

Here next is the third division from above: a statement of the exact passage from sutra for which an explanation is being requested.  This is contained in the following section of the sutra:

 

And so I ask, o Conqueror, that you explain to us what it was that you had in mind when you said that nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and that nothing could start; and that nothing could stop; and that everything was at peace from the very beginning; and that everything had already gone to nirvana, by its very nature [S7.17].

 

 

A praise of the good that will come from the question

赞问有益

 

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[Y7.87]

自下第二如来正说。

 

DE NAS BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS LA ‘DI SKAD CES BKA’ STZAL TO ZHES BYA BA ‘DI MAN CHAD NI GNYIS PA DE BZHIN GSHEGS PAS YANG DAG PAR BSHAD PA’I PHYOGS ZHES BYA BA STON TO,,

 

With this we have reached the second major section from above: the perfect response of the One Thus Gone.  This begins in the sutra with “…the Conqueror answered the bodhisattva Born Of The Ultimate in the following words [S7.18].”

 

 

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[Y7.88]

于中有二初赞问许说后胜义生当知下依问正说。

 

‘DI YANG RNAM PA GNYIS TE, ZHU BA GSOL BA LA BSNGAGS SHING BSHAD PAR GNANG BA BSTAN PA DANG, DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ‘DI LTAR SHES PAR BYA STE ZHES BYA BA MAN CHAD KYIS ZHU BA BZHIN DU LAN YANG DAG PAR BSTAN PA’O,,

 

This section is itself divided into two parts.  The first is a description of the praise given to the question, and an indication that an explanation will be granted.  The second is the description of the actual, perfect response to the question; this latter point begins with the words, “O bodhisattva Born Of The Ultimate, try to understand.”[41]

 

 

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[Y7.89]

前中有二初赞问有益后敕听许说。

 

DANG PO LA YANG RNAM PA GNYIS SU DBYE STE, ZHU BA GSOL BA LA PHAN YON YOD PAR BSNGAGS PA DANG, MNYAN PAR BSKUL ZHING BSHAD PAR GNANG BA’O,,

 

The first of these two is in turn divided into two parts: a praise of the benefits of having asked the question; and encouragement to listen well, together with an agreement to grant the explanation.

 

 

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[Y7.90]

前中有四一辨能说者二赞问应理三赞问深义四赞问有益。

 

ZHU BA GSOL BA LA PHAN YON YOD PAR BSNGAGS PA YANG RNAM PA BZHIR DBYE STE, ‘CHAD PA PO RNAM PAR ‘BYED PA DANG, ZHU BA GSOL BA’I RIGS PA DANG MTHUN PAR BSNGAGS PA DANG, DON ZAB MO ZHUS PA’I BSNGAGS PA BRJOD PA DANG, ZHU BA GSOL BA’I PHAN YON BSNGAGS PA STE, ‘DI NI DANG PO’O,,

 

The praise of the benefits of having asked the question has itself four further divisions:

 

v The introduction of the one giving the explanation

 

v A praise of the question because of how appropriate it is

 

v A praise of the act of asking about a profound object

 

vA praise of the benefits of the question.

 

 

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[Y7.91]

尔时世尊告胜义生菩萨曰。

此即初也。

善哉善哉胜义生。汝所寻思甚为如理。

此即第二赞问应理。

 

DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS KHYOD SEMS KYI RTOG PA DGE PA {%BA?} TSUL BZHIN SKYES PA LEGS SO LEGS SO ZHES BYA BA NI GNYIS PA ZHU BA GSOL BA RIGS PA DANG MTHUN PAR GYUR PAR BSNGAGS PA’O,,

 

The second of these, a praise of the question because of how appropriate it is, is found in the following words of the sutra: “O Born Of The Ultimate, this thought that occurred to you—and the goodness it has so purely given birth to—is a fine thing, very fine [S7.18].”

 

 

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[Y7.92]

善哉善哉善男子。汝今乃能请问如来如是深义。

此即第三赞问深义。此上二种文义俱善是故重言善哉善哉。

 

RIGS KYI BU KHYOD KYIS DENG ‘DIR DE BZHIN GSHEGS PA LA DON ZAB MO ‘DRI BA LEGS SO LEGS SO ZHES BYA BA NI GSUM PA DON ZAB MO ZHUS PA’I BSNGAGS PA BRJOD PA STE, GONG DU BSTAN PA’I TSIG ‘BRU DANG, DON GNYI GA DGE BA’I PHYIR TSIG ZLOS BUS LEGS SO LEGS SO ZHES BYA BA GSUNGS SO,,

 

And then the third division here, a praise of the act of asking about a profound object, is expressed in the words, “O child of noble family, the fact that today you have asked the One Thus Gone about this deepest point is a fine thing, very fine.”  The repetition of the wording here and above—“fine, very fine”—is to indicate that both acts were a great goodness.[42]

 

 

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[Y7.93]

汝今为欲利益安乐无量众生哀愍世间及诸天人阿素洛等。为令获得义利安乐故发斯问。

此即第四赞问有益。准上应知。

 

KHYOD SKYE BO MANG PO LA PHAN PA DANG BDE BA DANG ‘JIG RTEN LA SNYING BRTZE BA DANG, LHA DANG, MI DANG, LHA MA YIN LA SOGS PA’I DON DANG, PHAN PA DANG, BDE BA’I PHYIR DRIS PA YIN PAS ZHES BYA BA NI, BZHI PA GSOL BA’I PHAN [f. 277b] YON GYI BSNGAGS PA BRJOD PA STE, GONG MA BZHIN DU RIG PAR BYA’O,,

 

The fourth division—a praise of the benefits of the question—is found in the following wording; it can be understood in the same way as we just mentioned:

 

You have asked this question to help a great many living beings, and to bring them happiness; you have shown your love for the entire world, with its gods, and men, and demigods, and all the rest—to bring them help and happiness [S7.19-20].

 

 

Encouragement and agreement

敕听许说

 

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[Y7.94]

汝应谛听吾当为汝解释所说一切诸法皆无自性无生无灭本来寂静自性涅所有密意。

此即第二敕听许说。

 

KHYOD LEGS PAR NYON CIG DANG NGAS KHYOD LA CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA, SKYE BA MED PA ‘GAG PA MED PA, GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA, RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES BYA BA GSUNGS PA’I DGONGS PA BSHAD PAR BYA’O ZHES BYA BA NI GNYIS PA GNYEN POR BSKUL ZHING BSHAD PAR GNANG BA BSTAN PA’O,,

 

The second part from above—an encouragement to listen well, together with an agreement to grant the explanation—is found in the sutra with these words:

 

And so I ask you, Born Of The Ultimate, to listen well—and I will explain to you what it was I had in mind, when I said that nothing in the universe had any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all things were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature [S7.21].

 

 

The beginning of the reply

依问初说

 

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[Y7.95]

胜义生。当知我依三种无自性性密意说言一切诸法皆无自性。

此即初也。

 

DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS ‘DI LTAR SHES PAR BYA STE, NGAS NGO BO NYID MED PA RNAM PA GSUM LA DGONGS NAS, CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA ZHES BSTAN TO ZHES BYA BA ‘DI MAN CHAD GNYIS PA ZHUS PA BZHIN DU LAN YANG DAG PAR BSTAN PA STON TO,,

 

With this we have arrived at our second section from above: a description of the actual, perfect response to the question that was asked.  This is found in the sutra words,

 

Understand, Born Of The Ultimate, that what I meant when I said that nothing in the universe had any nature of its own, was that things lack any quality, in three different senses [S7.22].

 

 

To be continued

 in the next installment!

 

 


 

 

 

 

Part Three

Tsongkapa’s Analysis

 

 

 

 

The Essence of Eloquence,

On the Art of Interpreting Ideas

 

 

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[folio 1a]

*, ,DRANG BA DANG NGES PA’I DON RNAM PAR ‘BYED PA’I BSTAN BCOS LEGS BSHAD SNYING PO BZHUGS SO, ,

 

Herein contained is The Essence of Eloquence: A Classical Commentary on the Art of Interpreting What Is Figurative, and What Is Literal

 

 

A prostration, to start

 

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[f. 1b]

#, ,NA MO GU RU MANYDZU GHO sh’A YA,

 

I bow down to Gentle Voice, my Lama.[43]

 

 

An offering of praise, and a promise

 

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[J3]

,BDE ‘BYUNG SPRIN LA ZHON DANG GSER GYI MNGAL,

,LUS MED BDAG PO THA GU’I LTO LA SOGS,

,SRID NA DREGS PA’I NGA RO CHER SKROGS PA’I,

,RLOM PAS ‘GYID RNAMS KYIS KYANG GANG GI SKU,

,MTHONG BA’I MOD LA NYI MAS ME KHYER BZHIN,

,MDZAD PAR GYUR TSE MDZES PA’I COD PAN GYIS,

,GANG GI ZHABS PAD GUS PAS STEN BYED PA,

,THUB DBANG LHA YI LHA LA PHYAG ‘TSAL LO,

 

I bow down to the Lord of the Able Ones,

The very god of gods.

 

There are those who strut through the world

With delusions of grandeur,

Roaring in their arrogance—

Those of the likes of the Source of Bliss,

And Cloud-Horse, and the Golden Womb;

Lord of the Disembodied,

And Cord Around The Waist.[44]

 

And yet in the moment that they see you,

They are fireflies standing before the Sun;

And they bow their jeweled crowns

To your lotus feet in honor.

 

 

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[J4]

,MKHYEN MRTZE’I {%BRTZE’I} GTING MTHA’ SHIN TU DPAG PAR DKVA’,

,BYANG CHUB SPYOD PA’I RLABS CHEN CHAL CHIL G-YO,

,LEGS BSHAD RIN CHEN GTER GYUR ‘JAM PA’I DBYANGS,

,RGYAL TSAB RGYA MTSO CHE LA GUS PHYAG ‘TSAL,

 

I bow down to Gentle Voice,

Great ocean and regent,

Source of the jewels of fine explanation.[45]

 

The depth and extent

Of your knowledge and love

Are difficult to fathom;

 

And across your sea

Move massive waves

Of the deeds of the bodhisattvas.

 

 

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[J5]

,BDER GSHEGS GSUNG RAB TSUL GNYIS SHING RTA’I SROL,

,LEGS PAR PHYE BAS RGYAL BA’I BSTAN PA MCHOG

,SA GSUM ‘GRO NA NYI LTAR GSAL MDZAD PA,

,KLU SGRUB THOGS MED ZHABS LA SPYI BOS ‘DUD,

 

I bow and touch my head to the feet

Of Nagarjuna and Asanga;

 

You are the eminent innovators

Of two of the greatest ways

Of interpreting the word

Of Those Who Have Gone to Bliss;

 

And in this way you have laid light

Upon the supreme teachings of the Victors—

You are sunlight for beings

In all three realms.[46]

 

 

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[J6]

,SHING RTA CHEN PO’I SROL GNYIS LEGS BZUNG NAS,

,’DZAM GLING BLO GSAL BYE BA’I MIG ‘BYED PA,

,’PHAGS PA LHA DANG DPA’ BO SANGS RGYAS BSKYANGS,

,LEGS LDAN ‘BYED DANG ZLA BA GRAGS PA’I ZHABS,

,DBYIG GNYEN ZHABS DANG BLO BRTAN PHYOGS GLANG DANG,

,CHOS KYI GRAGS PA’I ZHABS SOGS ‘DZAM GLING RGYAN,

,THUB BSTAN MI NUB RGYAL MTSAN ‘DZIN PA’I MCHOG

,MKHAS PA’I DBANG PO RNAMS LA GUS PAS ‘DUD,

 

You embraced the ways

Of the Two Innovators,[47]

And opened the eyes

Of a billion intelligent disciples

Here upon this planet.

 

And so you are like crowning jewels

For the entire world:

Sages like Aryadeva, Ashvaghosha, and Buddhapalita;

Bhavaviveka, and Chandrakirti;

Vasubandhu, Sthiramati, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti.[48]

 

You are the highest of all those

Who have upheld the banner

Of the teaching of the Able Ones,

Never allowing it to fall.

 

 

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[J7]

,GZHUNG LUGS MANG THOS RIGS [f. 2a] PA’I LAM DU’ANG,

,NGAL BA MANG BSTEN MNGON PAR RTOGS PA YI,

,YON TAN TSOGS KYIS MI DMAN DU MAS KYANG,

,’BAD KYANG RTOGS PAR MA GYUR GNAS DE NI,

 

There are deep ideas which many wise ones

Have been unable to comprehend, even though

They were deeply learned in scripture,

And made exhaustive efforts

In the ways of reasoning,

And were by no means lesser

In the qualities they had gathered

Of spiritual realization.

 

 

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[J8]

,’JAM MGON BLA MA’I DRIN GYIS LEGS MTHONG NAS,

,SHIN TU BRTZE BA’I BSAM PAS BDAG GIS BSHAD,

,BSTAN PA’I DE NYID RTOGS PA’I RNAM DPYOD KYIS,

,SMRA BA ZLA MED ‘DOD RNAMS GUS PAS NYON,

 

And yet by the grace of my Lama,

That Gentle Protector,

I’ve gained a perfect vision

Into these concepts,

And will share them with you now,

In thoughts of deepest love.

 

Listen now, with great respect,

Those of you with the intelligence

To grasp the reality of the teachings—

Who desire unequalled instruction.

 

 

How we decide what the Buddha really meant

 

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[J9]

,JI SKAD DU ‘PHAGS PA YUL ‘KHOR SKYONG GIS ZHUS PA LAS,

,STONG PA ZHI BA SKYE BA MED PA’I TSUL,

,MI SHES PAS NI ‘GRO BA ‘KHYAMS GYUR PA,

,DE DAG THUGS RJE MNGA’ BAS THABS TSUL DANG,

,RIGS PA BRGYA DAG GIS NI ‘DZUD PAR MDZAD,

 

Now the exalted Sutra Requested by Rashtrapala says:

 

Living beings wander through the world

Because they still don’t understand

The ways of emptiness, peace;

Of things that never start.

 

In love for them you brought them in

With different skillful means,

And a hundred forms of reasoning.[49]

 

 

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[J10]

,CES CHOS RNAMS KYI DE BZHIN NYID NI SHIN TU RTOGS PAR DKA’ BA DANG, MA RTOGS NA ‘KHOR BA LAS MI GROL BAR GZIGS NAS THUGS RJE CAN GYI STON PAS THABS KYI TSUL DANG RIGS PA’I SGO DU MA ZHIG GIS DE KHONG DU CHUD BA {%PA} LA ‘DZUD PAR GSUNGS SO,,

 

What this is saying is that our loving Teacher saw how extremely difficult it is for people to understand the real nature of things; and he saw that—if they cannot understand it—then they will never escape the cycle of pain.  Thus he utilized a great many forms of skillful means, and of reasoning, to bring them to this realization.

 

 

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[J11]

DE’I PHYIR RNAM DPYOD DANG LDAN PA DAG GIS DE NYID JI LTAR YIN KHONG DU CHUD PA’I THABS LA ‘BAD DGOS LA DE YANG RGYAL BA’I GSUNG RAB KYI DRANG BA DANG NGES PA’I DON RNAM PAR PHYED PA LA RAG LAS SHING,

 

And so people of intelligence should make intense efforts in different ways of coming to an understanding of just what suchness is.  And this undertaking in turn relies upon the ability to distinguish between which parts of the teachings of the Victorious Ones were meant to be interpreted, and which parts were meant to be taken literally.

 

 

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[J12]

DE GNYIS RNAM PAR ‘BYED PA YANG ‘DI NI DRANG BA’I DON NO ‘DI NI NGES PA’I DON NO ZHES GSUNGS PA’I LUNG TZAM GYIS NUS PA MA [f. 02b] YIN TE,

 

Drawing the distinction between these two though is not something we can manage simply by accepting statements in scripture which say that “this part was figurative, and this part was literal.”

 

 

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[J13]

GZHAN DU NA SHING RTA CHEN PO DAG GIS DRANG NGES ‘BYED BA’I DGONGS ‘GREL BRTZAMS PA DON MED PAR ‘GYUR BA’I PHYIR DANG,

 

If this were the case, then all the efforts that the great innovators made to compose commentaries in which they tried to distinguish between what the Buddha intended to be taken literally, and what he intended to be taken figuratively, would have to have been fruitless.

 

 

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[J14]

GSUNG RAB LAS DRANG NGES KYI ‘JOG TSUL MI MTHUN PA DU MA GSUNGS PA’I PHYIR DANG,

 

So too, there have been many different descriptions of how we decide what was literal, and what was figurative.

 

 

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[J15]

‘DI NI ‘DI’O ZHES GSUNGS PA TZAM GYI LUNG GIS DE LTAR GZHAG PAR NI MI NUS LA DE’I TSE SPYO {%SPYI} LA DE LTAR MA KHYAB PA NA BYE BRAG DRANG NGES LA YANG ‘DI ‘DI’O ZHES GSUNGS PA TZAM GYIS KYANG SGRUB PAR MI NUS PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

Given too that we cannot say that something is the case simply because there is a scripture which says that it is—which is to say, if this is the way things are generally—then in the specific case where we are trying to decide what is literal and what is figurative, there is no way we can prove that something is one way or the other, simply because there is a scriptural statement that says it is.

 

 

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[J16]

DE’I PHYIR GSUNG RAB KYI DRANG NGES ‘BYED PAR LUNG BSTAN PA’I SHING RTA CHEN PO DAG GIS DRANG NGES KYI DGONGS PA BKRAL ZHING DE YANG NGES DON GYI GSUNG RAB KYI DON GZHAN DU ‘DREN PA LA GNOD BYED DANG, GZHAN DU DRANG DU MI RUNG BAR DON DER NGES PA’I SGRUB BYED KYI RIGS PAS LEGS PAR GTAN LA PHAB PA ZHIG GI

 

And so the great innovators—who it was foretold would draw the line between those teachings that were meant literally, and those that were meant figuratively—commented upon what Lord Buddha intended to be interpreted, and not.  And this depended upon drawing their conclusions, perfectly, by using logic which disproved that the literal teachings could be interpreted as meaning something different than what they stated; and which in turn proved that they were literal, and again not to be interpreted as meaning something different.

 

 

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[J17]

RJES SU ‘BRANGS NAS DGONGS PA ‘TSOL DGOS PAS MTHAR GTUGS NA DRI MA MED PA’I RIGS PA NYID KYIS DBYE DGOS TE,

 

And since it is by following this methodology that we must seek the true intent of the Buddha, we can say that—in the end—it is only through a faultless process of reasoning that we can make these distinctions.

 

 

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[J18]

RIGS PA DANG ‘GAL BA’I GRUB MTHA’ KHAS LEN NA SMRA BA PO TSAD MA’I SKYES BUR MI RUNG BA’I PHYIR DANG, DNGOS PO’I DE KHO NA NYID KYANG ‘THAD BAS {%PAS} SKRUB {%SGRUB} PA’I RIGS PA’I SGRUB BYED DANG LDAN PA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

This is because we cannot accept a thinker as being unerringly correct if they accept a system which contradicts reasoning; and the very nature of things is to be established through proofs that make sense.

 

 

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[J19]

DON GYI DBANG ‘DI GZIGS NAS,

,DGE SLONG DAG GAM MKHAS RNAMS KYIS,

,BSREGS BCAD BRDAR BA’I GSER BZHIN DU,

,LEGS PAR BRTAGS LA NGA YI BKA’,

,BLANG BAR BYA YI GUS PHYIR MIN,

,ZHES GSUNGS SO,,

 

Having realized this supreme truth, the Buddha himself said:

 

Whether you are a monk, or a sage,

I ask you only to accept what I say

After you have examined it carefully—

In the way we would test some gold

By firing and cutting and filing it.

Never, I ask, accept what I say

Only out of respect for me.[50]

 

 

Exploring What I Really Meant

 

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[J20]

DE LTAR NA DRANG NGES ‘BYED PA LA GNYIS, MDO SDE DGONGS ‘GREL LA BRTEN PA’I PHYOGS DANG, BLO GROS MI ZAD PAS BSTAN PA LA BRTEN PA’I PHYOGS SO,,

 

And so our discussion of the art of interpretation will proceed in two parts: one in which we rely upon A Commentary upon What I Really Meant, in My Teachings; and a second in which we rely upon A Teaching Given by Akshaya Mati: Never-Ending Wisdom.[51]

 

 

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[J21]

DANG PO LA GNYIS, MDO SDE NAS JI LTAR GSUNGS PA DGOD [f. 03A] PA DANG, DE’I DON JI LTAR BKRAL BA’I TSUL LO, ,

 

We will present the first of these in two parts: a presentation of what the sutra states, and then a commentary upon what it means.

 

 

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[J22]

DANG PO LA BZHI, MDO SDE LA ‘GAL SPONG GI DRI BA, ‘GAL BA DE SPONG BA’I LAN, NGO BO NYID GSUM GYI NGO BO NGOS GZUNG BA, DE DAG GIS GRUB PA’I DON ZHUS PA’O,,

 

We’ll cover the first of these two in four sections: a question which addresses apparent contradictions in the teachings; a reply which clarifies the apparent contradictions; an introduction to the three natures; and the conclusion arrived at by the discussion.

 

 

A question on apparent contradictions by the Buddha

 

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[J23]

DANG PO NI DGONGS ‘GREL LAS,

 

The first of these is found in the sutra called What I Really Meant, where it says:

 

 

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[J24]

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS RNAM GRANGS DU MAR PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL, SKYE BA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, ‘JIG PA’I MTSAN NYID DANG, SPANG BA DANG YONGS SU SHES PA YANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

The Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature of the different parts to a person.  He has also described the quality that these parts have of starting, and the quality they have of stopping.  And he has also spoken of how these parts are something that we need to rid ourselves of, and that we need to realize something about [S7.3-4].

 

 

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[J25]

PHUNG PO RNAMS KYI JI LTA BA DE BZHIN DU SKYE MCHED RNAMS DANG RTEN CING ‘BREL PAR ‘BYUNG BA DANG ZAS RNAMS KYI BAR YANG BKA’ STZAL,

 

In the same way that he described the parts to a person, the Conqueror has also described the doors of sense; and the process of how things occur in dependence upon each other; and everything down the different types of sustenance [S7.5].

 

 

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[J26]

DE BZHIN DU SBYAR NAS BDEN PA RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG YONGS SU SHES PA DANG SPANG BA DANG MNGON DU BGYI BA DANG BSGOM PA DANG {%,}

 

We keep adding, by the way, the phrase “in the same way” as we continue:

 

The Conqueror has also described self-nature of the various truths.  He has as well described how these are things that we should realize; and rid ourselves of; and bring about; and practice [S7.6-7].

 

 

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[J27]

KHAMS RNAMS KYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG KHAMS SNA TSOGS PA DANG KHAMS DU MA DANG SPANG BA DANG YONGS SU SHES PA DANG,

 

And the Conqueror has described—on many different occasions when he taught—the self-nature possessed by the various categories.  He has too described the variety of categories; and the many different kinds of categories; and how they must be given up, and realized [S7.8-9].

 

 

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[J28]

BYANG PHYOGS SO BDUN GYI RANG GI MTSAN NYID DANG MI MTHUN PA DANG GNYEN PO DANG MA SKYES PA SKYE BA DANG SKYES PA GNAS PA DANG MI BSKYUD PA DANG SLAR ZHING ‘BYUNG BA DANG ‘PHEL ZHING YANGS BA NYID KYANG BKA’ STZAL LA,

 

He has as well described the self-nature of the 37 elements of enlightenment; and the things that work against this kind of practice; and the antidotes to these; and developing fine qualities that we have yet to develop, and maintaining the qualities that we have already developed; and not losing them, and repeating them again and again; and bringing them to grow and expand.[52]

 

 

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[J29]

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA MA ‘GAGS PA GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU

MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES KYANG BKA’ STZAL LAGS NA,

 

But then the Conqueror also described how nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how they were all at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature [S7.15].

 

 

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[J30]

BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LA DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA MA ‘GAGS PA BZOD MA NAS ZHI BA RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES BKA’ STZAL SNYAM BGYID LAGS TE,

 

And so I was wondering to myself what it was that you had in mind, o Conqueror, when you said that nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all these things were all at peace from the very beginning; and how they had all already gone to nirvana, by their very nature [S7.16].

 

 

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[J31]

BCOM LDAN [f. 03b] ‘DAS KYIS CI LA DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MA MCHIS PA CHOS THAMS CAD MA SKYES PA MA ‘GAGS PA GZOD MA NAS ZHI BA RANG BZHIN GYIS YONGS SU MYA NGAN LAS ‘DAS PA ZHES KYANG BKA’ STZAL BA’I DON DE NYID BCOM LDAN ‘DAS LA BDAG YONGS SU ZHU LAGS SO, ,ZHES GSUNGS SO,,

 

And so this is what I ask of you, o Conqueror: What was it that you had in mind, when you said that nothing in the universe could have any nature of its own; and how nothing ever started, or stopped; how all of them were at peace from the very beginning; and how they had already gone to nirvana, by their very nature?  What did you mean to say [S7.17]?[53]

 

 

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[J32]

‘DIS NI MDO SDE KHA CIG TU CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA SOGS SU GSUNGS PA DANG, KHA CIG TU PHUNG PO LA SOGS PA’I RANG GI MTSAN NYID LA SOGS PA YOD PAR GSUNGS PA GNYIS SGRA SOR BZHAG NA ‘GAL NA’ANG ‘GAL BA MED DGOS PAS CI LA DGONGS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PA SOGS SU GSUNGS ZHES DRIS TE,

 

The point here is that in a certain number of sutras, Lord Buddha made statements such as saying that nothing in the universe had any nature of its own, and so on; while in other sutras he said that the parts to a person and such did have their own self-nature, and so forth.  Taken on face value, these separate pronouncements would seem to be contradictory; but they cannot in fact be contradictory.  And so the bodhisattva is asking what the Buddha had in mind, when he made statements such as saying that things had no nature of their own.

 

 

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[J33]

DES NI RANG GI MTSAN NYID YOD PA SOGS SU GSUNGS PA YANG CI LA DGONGS NAS GSUNGS PA DON GYIS ZHUS SO,,

 

By implication then we understand that the bodhisattva is asking what the Buddha had in mind when he said that things did have a self-nature.

 

 

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[J34]

‘DIR RANG GI MTSAN NYID CES PA RGYA NAG GI ‘GREL CHEN SOGS LAS THUN MONG MA YIN PA’I MTSAN NYID LA BSHAD PA NI RIGS PA MA YIN TE, MDO NYID LAS KUN BRTAGS KYI SKABS SU RANG GI MTSAN NYID GYIS GRUB PA LA GSAL BAR GSUNGS PA’I PHYIR DANG, KUN BRTAGS LA’ANG THUN MONG MA YIN PA’I MTSON BYED YOD PAS MTSAN NYID NGO BO NYID MED PA KUN BRTAGS LA BSHAD DU MI RUNG BA’I SKYON DU ‘GYUR BA’I PHYIR RO,,

 

At the point where the sutra mentions “self-nature” here, the great commentary from China interprets it as being a unique quality;[54] but this is incorrect.  First of all, the sutra itself—in the section where it treats imaginary things—clearly states that they exist through some self-nature of their own.  Secondly, there is the problem that—since imaginary things do possess the qualities that uniquely define them—it would be incorrect to say that imaginary things had no nature of their own.

 

 

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[J35]

KHAMS SNA TSOGS PA DANG DU MA LA ‘GREL PA RNAMS KYIS GZHAN DU BSHAD KYANG ‘OG NAS ‘BYUNG BA’I MDO DANG SBYAR NA KHAMS BCO BRGYAD DANG KHAMS DRUG LA BYA’O,,

 

The references to “the variety of categories” and “the many different kinds of categories” are explained in a different way by the commentaries; but if we relate these two what comes later on in the sutra, we can say they refer to the 18 categories, and to the six categories, respectively.[55]

 

 

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[J36]

MI BSKYUD PA NI MI BRJED PA’O,,

 

The expression “losing them” means “forgetting them.”

 

 

A brief presentation of how things have no nature

 

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[J37]

GNYIS PA LA GNYIS, NGO BO NYID MED TSUL GANG LA DGONGS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA BSHAD PA DANG, GANG LA DGONGS NAS MA SKYES PA SOGS SU [f. 4a] GSUNGS PA BSHAD PA’O,,

 

Here is our second section from above: a reply which clarifies the apparent contradictions.  This has two parts of its own: an explanation of the way in which things have no nature of their own which Lord Buddha had in mind when he said that things had no such nature; and an explanation of what he had in mind when he spoke about things never starting, and so on.

 

 

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[J38]

DANG PO LA GSUM, MDOR BSTAN PA DANG, RGYAS PAR BSHAD PA DANG, DE DAG GI DPE BSTAN PA’O,,

 

The first of these points comes, once more, in three parts: a brief presentation; an expanded presentation; and examples used for the illustration of these ideas.

 

 

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[J39]

DANG PO NI, DGONGS ‘GREL LAS, DON DAM YANG DAG ‘PHAGS, NGAS CHOS RNAMS KYI NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID RNAM PA GSUM PO ‘DI LTA STE, MTSAN NYID NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID DANG SKYE BA NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID DANG DON DAM PA NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID LA DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA’O, ,ZHES BSTAN TO ZHES NGO BO NYID MED PA GSUM GA LA DGONGS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS SO,,

 

Here is the first.  This sutra, What I Really Meant, explains that what Lord Buddha had in mind when he said that nothing had any nature of its own was to refer to all three of the different ways in which things have no nature of this kind:

 

Because what I meant, Born Of The Ultimate, when I said that nothing had any nature of its own, was that things lack any quality, in three different senses: they lack any nature of having their own qualities; they lack any nature of starting; and they lack any nature of being ultimate [S7.22].

 

 

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[J40]

BSDU BA LAS KYANG, BCOM LDAN ‘DAS KYIS CI LA DGONGS NAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PA ZHES GSUNGS SHE NA, SMRAS PA ‘DUL BA’I DBANG GIS DE DANG DER NGO BO NYID MED PA NYID RNAM PA GSUM LA DGONGS NAS GSUNGS TE ZHES GSUNGS SHING,

 

As The Summary puts it,

 

What was I that the Conqueror had in mind, when he said that nothing in the universe had any nature of its own?  Here’s the answer: What he had in mind when—according to the needs of any particular disciple, he said that anything was this or that—was actually that there were three different ways in which things had no nature of their own.[56]

 

 

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[J41]

SUM CU PA LAS KYANG,

,NGO BO NYID NI RNAM GSUM GYI,

,NGO BO NYID MED RNAM GSUM PA,

,DGONGS NAS CHOS RNAMS THAMS CAD NI,

,NGO BO NYID MED BSTAN PA YIN,

 

The Thirty Verses too says,

 

What he meant when he said that

Nothing in the universe

Had any nature of its own

Was that there were three different ways

Of having their own nature

Which things with no nature don’t have.[57]

 

 

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[J42]

,ZHES GSUNGS PAS GANG DAG SHER PHYIN LA SOGS PA’I MDO RNAMS LAS CHOS THAMS CAD NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA KUN RDZOB KYI CHOS THAMS CAD LA DGONGS KYI DON DAM PA LA DGONGS PA MIN NO ZHES ‘CHAD PA NI

 

Looking at these statements, some people have said that such pronouncements from the sutras on the perfection of wisdom, and other such sutras, were only intended to refer to things that are part of deceptive reality—and not to ultimate reality.

 

 

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[J43]

DGONGS ‘GREL DANG THOGS MED SKU MCHED KYI GZHUNG DANG ‘GAL ZHING ‘PHAGS PA YAB SRAS LA SOGS PA’I LUGS LAS KYANG PHYI ROL TU GYUR PA’O,,

 

Such beliefs though contradict What I Really Meant, and the great books of The Brothers.  They have also departed from the system of the Realized Being and his spiritual son.[58]

 

 

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[J44]

‘DI LTAR CI LA DGONGS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA DRIS PA NI CI LA BSAMS NAS NGO BO NYID MED PAR BSTAN PA DANG NGO BO NYID MED TSUL DRIS PA YIN LA LEN GYIS KYANG DE GNYIS [f. 04b] RIM PA BZHIN STON PA LAS

 

The question then about what Lord Buddha had in mind when he said that things had no nature of their own is really a question about two points: (1) what was he thinking, when he said that things had no nature of their own; and (2) just how is it that things have no nature of their own?  And the Buddha’s response too treats these two same points, one after the other.

 

 

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[J45]

DANG PO ‘CHAD PA NI, GZUGS NAS RNAM MKHYEN GYI BAR GYI CHOS RNAMS KYI GSAL BA’I DBYE BA MTHA’ YAS PA LA NGO BO NYID DAM RANG BZHIN MED DO ZHES GSUNGS PA RNAMS

 

Our explanation as well then begins from the first.  Here’s what Lord Buddha really had in mind, when he said that none of the infinite different examples of things in the universe—from physical form on up to the very state of omniscience—had any nature of their own, any self-nature.

 

 

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[J46]

NGO BO NYID MED PA GSUM DU ‘DU ZHING DE’I NGO BO NYID MED TSUL BSHAD NA GO SLA BAR DGONGS NAS NGO BO MED PA GSUM DU BSDUS TE, DON DAM PA DANG KUN RDZOB PA’I CHOS THAMS CAD DE GSUM GYIS BSDUS SO,,

 

All of these kinds of a “lack of self-nature” are actually subsumed by the three different ways in which things have no nature of their own; and when we go about explaining how it is that things lack any nature of their own, the Buddha—intending to make things easier for us—grouped them all into these three different ways in which things have no essence of their own.  That is, all things in the universe—whether they belong to ultimate reality or to deceptive reality—can be referred to one of these three different groups.

 

 

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[J47]

DE LTAR MDZAD DGOS PA YANG YUM GYI MDO LA SOGS PAR PHUNG PO LNGA KHAMS BCO BRGYAD SKYE MCHED BCUIS {%BCU GNYIS} KYI CHOS THAMS CAD LA RE RE NAS DNGOS PO MED PA DANG RANG BZHIN MED PA DANG NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS SHING,

 

The fact that it should be done this way is indicated in teachings such as the Mother Sutras, where all the different kinds of things there are—whether we are talking about the five parts to a person; the eighteen categories; or the twelve doors of sense, are all said, individually, to lack any reality; any self-nature; and any nature of their own.

 

 

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[J48]

KHYAD PAR DU STONG PA NYID DANG CHOS KYI DBYINGS DANG DE BZHIN NYID LA SOGS PA DON DAM PA’I RNAM GRANGS THAMS CAD SMOS NAS DE DAG LA NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PAS MDO SDE DE DAG LAS CHOS RNAMS NGO BO NYID MED PAR GSUNGS PA’I CHOS KYI NANG NA DON DAM MED DO ZHES SEMS DANG LDAN PA SU ZHIG SMRA,

 

More particularly, we see all the different expressions of ultimate reality—whether it be “emptiness,” or “The Realm of Is,” or “the way things are”—specifically mentioned in these teachings; and we see it said about all of them that they “lack any nature of their own.”  Therefore it is difficult to see how anybody with a brain could ever make the claim that “None of the things that are part of ultimate reality were mentioned among the things that were said to have no nature of their own.”

 

 

To be continued

 in the next installment!

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices

 

Bibliography of works

originally written in Sanskrit

 

S1

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way Requested by Rashtrapala (Ārya Rāṣṭrapāla Paripcchā Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa Yul-‘khor-skyong gis zhus-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00062, ff. 458b-508a of Vol. 4 [Nga] in the Pile of Jewels Section [Ratnakūta, dKon-brtzegs] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S2

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “Unraveling the True Thought” (Ārya Sadhi Nirmocana Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa dGongs-pa nges-par ‘grel-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00106, ff. 1b-87b of Vol. 5 (Ca) in the the Sutra Section [Sūtra, mDo-mang] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

 

S3

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “A Teaching Given by Akshaya Mati, Never-Ending Wisdom” (Ārya Akayamati Nirdeśa Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa Blo-gros mi-zad-pas bstan-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00175, ff. 122b-270b of Vol. 14 (Pha) of the Collection of Sutras Section [Sūtra, mDo-mang] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S4

Āryadeva (Tib: ‘Phags-pa lha), c. 200ad.  A Compendium of the Essence of Wisdom (Jñāna Sāra Samucchaya) (Tib: Ye-shes snying-po kun las btus-pa, Tibetan translation at TD03851, ff. 26b-28a of Vol. 18 (Tsa) in the Middle-Way Section [Madhyāmaka, dBu-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S5

Bodhibhadra (Tib: Byang-chub bzang-po), c. @.  An Explication of “A Compendium of the Essence of Wisdom” (Jñāna Sāra Samucchaya Nāma Nibandhana) (Tib: Ye-shes snying-po kun las btus-pa zhes-bya-ba’i bshad-sbyar), Tibetan translation at TD03852, ff. 28a-45b of Vol. 18 (Tsa) in the Middle-Way Section [Madhyāmaka, dBu-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S6

Śāntarakṣita (Tib: Zhi-ba ‘tso), c. 750ad.  A Summary of Suchness, Set in Verse (Tattva Sagraha Kārikā) (Tib: De-kho-na-nyid bsdus-pa’i tsig-le’ur byas-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04266, ff. 1b-133a of Vol. 82 [Ze] of the Valid-Perception Section [Pramāa, Tsad-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).    

 

S7

Kamalaśīla (Tib: Ka-ma-la-sh’i-la), c. 775ad.  A Brief Explanation of the First Part of “A Drop of Reasoning” (Nyāya Bindu Pūrvapaka Sakipta) (Tib: Rigs-pa’i thigs-pa’i phyogs snga-ma mdor bsdus-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04232, ff. 92a-99b of Vol. 80 [We] of the Valid-Perception Section [Pramāa, Tsad-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S8

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “The Great and Final Nirvana” (Ārya Mahāparinirvāa Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa Yongs-su mya-ngan las ‘das-pa chen-po theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL001119, in two parts: ff. 1b-525a of Vol. 1 (Ka) and ff. 1b-529a of Vol. 2 (Kha) in the Nirvana Section [Nirvāa, Myang-‘das] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S9

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  The Foundation of Assorted Topics of Vowed Morality (Vinaya Kudraka Vastu) (Tib: ‘Dul-ba phran-tsegs kyi gzhi, Tibetan translation at KL00006, in 2 parts: Vol 10 [Tha], ff. 1b-467a, and Vol 11 [Da], ff. 1b-509a, in the “Vowed Morality” Section [Vinaya, ‘Dul-ba] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S10

Aśvaghoṣa (Tib: rTa-dbyangs), c. 100ad.  An Epic of Poetry entitled “The Deeds of the Buddha (Buddha Carita Mahākāvya Nāma), (Tib: Sangs-rgyas kyi spyod-pa zhes-bya-ba snyan-dngags chen-po, Tibetan translation at TD04156, ff. 1b-103b in Vol. 63 (Ge) of the “Stories of the Past Lives of the Buddha” Section of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S11

Śāntarakṣita (Tib: Zhi-ba ‘tso), c. 750ad.  A Commentary to the “Jewel of the Middle Way” (Madhyāmaka Alakāra Vtti) (Tib: dBu-ma rgyan gyi ‘grel-pa, Tibetan translation at TD03885, ff. 56b-84a of Vol. 28 [Sa] in the Middle-Way Section [Madhyāmaka, dBu-ma] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition].

 

S12

Arya Avalokiteshvara (Tib: ‘Phags-pa sPyan-ras-gzigs dbang-phyug), c. @.  Immaculate Light: An Explanation of the Abbreviated King of the Secret Teachings—The Wheel of Time (Kalachakra)—which Follows the Root Secret Text and Contains 12,000 Lines (Vimalaprabhā Nāma Mūlatantrānusārii Dvādaśasāhasrikā Laghukālacakra Tantrarāja īkā) (Tib: bsDus-pa’i rgyud kyi rgyal-po Dus kyi ‘khor-lo’i ‘grel-bshad rTza-ba’i rgyud kyi rjes-su ‘jug-pa stong-phrag bcu-gnyis-pa Dri-ma med-pa’i ‘od, Tibetan translation at TD01347, ff. 107b-277a of Vol. 10 (Tha) in the “Secret Teachings” Section [Tantra, rGyud] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S13

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “The Paradise of the Clouds” (Ārya Ghana Vyūha Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa rGyan stug-po bkod-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00110, ff. 1b-86a of Vol. 6 (Cha) in the Collection of Sutras Section [Sūtra, mDo-mang] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S14

Vasubandhu (Tib: dByig-gnyen), c. 350ad.  The Treasure House of Higher Knowledge, Set in Verse (Abhidharmakoakārikā) (Tib: Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod kyi tsig-le’ur byas-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04089, ff. 1b-25a of Vol. 61 [Ku] in the Higher Knowledge Section [Abhidharma, mNgon-pa] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S15

Asaṅga (Tib: Thogs-med), c. 350ad. A Summary of the Greater Way (Mahāyānasagraha) (Tib: Theg-pa chen-po bsdus-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04048, ff. 1b-43a of Vol. 55 [Ri] in the Mind-Only Section [Cittamātra, Sems-tzam] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S16

Asaṅga (Tib: Thogs-med), c. 350ad. A Compendium of All the Teachings on Higher Knowledge (Abhidharmasamuccaya) (Tib: Chos mngon-pa kun las btus-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04049, ff. 44a-120a of Vol. 55 [Ri] in the Mind-Only Section [Cittamātra, Sems-tzam] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S17

Vasubandhu (Tib: dByig-gnyen), 350ad.  An Explanation of the “Treasure House of Higher Knowledge” (Abhidharmakoa Bhāśya) (Tib: Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod kyi bshad-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04090, in two parts: ff. 26b-258a of Vol. 61 (Ku) and ff. 1b-95a of Vol. 62 (Khu) of the Higher Knowledge Section [Abhidharma, mNgon-pa] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S18

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc. The Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 Lines (Śatasahasrika Prajñā Pāramitā) (Tib: Shes-rab kyi pha-rol tu phyin-pa sTong-phrag brgya-pa, Tibetan translation at KL00008, in 12 parts: Vols. 1-12 [Ka-Na] in the “Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 Lines” Section [Śatasahasrika, ‘Bum] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S19

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Teaching entitled “Bringing to Mind the Holy Teachings” (Ārya Saddharma Smtyupasthāna) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa Dam-pa’i chos dran-pa nye-bar gzhag-pa, Tibetan translation at KL00287, in 4 parts, in Vols. 22-25 [Za-Ra] in the Collection of Sutras Section [Sūtra, mDo-mang] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S20

Asaṅga (Tib: Thogs-med), c. 350ad.  The Levels of Practice (Yogacaryābhūmi) (Tib: rNal-‘byor spyod-pa’i sa, Tibetan translation at TD04035, in Vol. 51 (Tsi) in the Mind-Only Section [Cittamātra, Sems-tzam] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S21

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “A Sprout of Rice” (Ārya Śalistambha Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa S’a-lu’i ljang-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00210, in Vol. 16 (Ma) in the Collection of Sutras Section [Sūtra, mDo-mang] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S22

Śākyamuni Buddha (Tib: Sh’akya thub-pa), 500bc.  An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way Requested by Purna (Ārya Pūra Paripcchā Nāma Mahāyāna Sūtra) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa Gang-pos zhus-pa zhes-bya-ba theg-pa chen-po’i mdo, Tibetan translation at KL00061, in Vol. 4 (Nga) in the Pile of Jewels Section [Ratnakūta, dKon-brtzegs] of the bKa’-‘gyur [lHa-sa edition]).

 

S23

Sudhana (Tib: in situ as Nor-bzangs), The Total Confirmation of Suchness: A Commentary on Difficult Points in the Secret Teachings of the Glorious Diamond Angel (Śrī Vajra āka Tantrasya Tattva Susthira Nāma Pañjikā) (Tib: dPal rDo-rje mkha’-‘gro rgyud kyi de-kho-na-nyid rab tu brtan-par byed-pa zhes-bya-ba’i dka’-‘grel, Tibetan translation at TD01417, in Vol. 19 (Tsa) of the “Secret Teachings” Section [Tantra, rGyud] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S24

Asaṅga (Tib: Thogs-med), c. 350ad.  A Summary of the Outline of the Levels of Practice (Yogacaryā Bhūmi Viniścaya Sagraha*) (Tib: rNal-‘byor spyod-pa’i sa rnam-par gtan la dbab-pa bsdu-ba, Tibetan translation at TD04038 in two parts: Vol. 51 (Zhi), ff. 1a-289a; and Vol. 52 (Zi), ff. 1a-127a, in the Mind-Only Section [Cittamātra, Sems-tzam] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

S25

Vasubandhu (Tib: dByig-gnyen), 350ad.  The Thirty Verses (Triśikā Kārikā) (Tib: Sum-cu-pa’i tsig-le’ur byas-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04055, Vol. 57 (Shi), ff. 1b-3a, in the Mind-Only Section [Cittamātra, Sems-tzam] of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography of works

originally written in Chinese

 

C1

Yuance (Tib: Wang-tsig or Wen-tseg, or Wen-tsig; Korean: Woncheuk), 613-696ad.  An Extensive Commentary upon the Exalted Sutra entitled “Unraveling the Deep True Thought” (Chinese: @; Sanskrit: Ārya Sadhi Gambhīra Nirmocana Sūtra īkā) (Tib: ‘Phags-pa dGongs-pa zab-mo nges-par ‘grel-pa’i mdo rGya-cher ‘grel-pa, Tibetan translation at TD04016, in three parts: Part 1 at ff. 1b-291a of Vol. 39 (Ti); Part 2 at ff. 1b-272a of Vol 40 (Thi); Part 3 at ff. 1b-175a of Vol. 41 (Di) in the “Commentaries to Sutras” Section (Sūtra Vtti, mDo-‘grel) of the bsTan-‘gyur [sDe-dge edition]).

 

 

 

 

Bibliography of works

originally written in Tibetan

 

 

B1

(‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa sku-phreng dang-po) ‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa’i rdo-rje Ngag-dbang brtzon-‘grus (1648-1721).  The String of Jewels that Grant Your Every Wish; a Vast Sea in which You Can Frolic, Swimming in Bliss and Benefit; a Veritable Ocean which Spreads Far and Wide, Bringing the Teachings of the Able Buddhas to Every Land; in brief, the Instruction on How to Depict, in Painted Form, 153 Scenes of the Holy Life of that Illustrious and Holy Being, Je Tsongkapa (rJe-btzun Tzong-kha-pa chen-po’i rnam-thar ras-bris kyi tsul brgya nga-gsum-pa Tzinta-mai’i phreng-ba thub-bstan rgyas-byed phan-bde’i rol-mtso chen-po, ACIP S00072), 26 ff.

 

B2

Klong-rdol bla-ma Ngag-dbang blo-bzang (1719-1794).  Brief Instructions on the Evaluation of Gems and Precious Metals (Rin-po-che brtag-thabs mdor-bsdus, ACIP S06559), 7 ff.

 

B3

rJe Tzong-kha-pa Blo-bzang grags-pa (1357-1419).  The Essence of Eloquence: A Classical Commentary on the Art of Interpreting What Is Figurative, and What Is Literal (Drang-ba dang nges-pa’i don rnam-par ‘byed-pa’i bstan-bcos Legs-bshad snying-po, ACIP S05396), 114 ff.

 

B4

(Gung-thang) dKon-mchog bstan-pa’i sgron-me (1762-1823).  The “Light for a Hundred Treatises of the Mentalists,” being the Continuation of an Annotated Commentary on the Mind-Only Section in the Classical Commentary called “The Essence of Eloquence” (bsTan-bcos Legs-par bshad-pa’i snying-po las Sems-tzam skor gyi mchan-‘grel rtzom-‘phro rNam-rig gzhung-brgya’i snang-ba, ACIP S00045), 76 ff.

 

B5

(Gung-thang) dKon-mchog bstan-pa’i sgron-me (1762-1823).  “The Essence of the Essence of Eloquence,” an Expansion of the Commentary on Difficult Points in the Art of Interpretation (Drang-nges rnam-‘byed kyi dka’-‘grel rtzom-‘phro Legs-bshad snying-po’i yang-snying, ACIP S00911), 161ff*.

 

B6

‘Jigs-med dam-chos rgya-mtso (1898-1946).  Part One of “An Analysis of All the Essential Topics of the Essence—A Point of Entry into the Classical Commentary known as ‘The Essence of Eloquence,’ Itself a Clarification of the Distinction between What is Figurative and What is Literal” (Drang-ba dang nges-pa’i don rnam-par phye-ba gsal-bar byed-pa Legs-bshad snying-po’i don mtha’-dag rnam-par ‘byed-pa’i bstan bcos Legs-bshad snying-po’i ‘jug-ngogs, stod cha, ACIP S00302), 356ff.

 

B7

mKhas-grub rje dGe-legs dpal bzang-po (1385-1438).  “The Illumination of Suchness,” being 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, ACIP S05463-1), 507ff.

 

B8

(Co-ne bla-ma) Grags-pa bshad-sgrub (1675-1748).  The Sun that Illuminates the True Intent of the Entire Mass of Realized Beings, the Victors and All Their Sons and Daughters: A Commentary upon the “Treasure House of Higher Knowledge” (Chos-mngon mdzod kyi t’ikka rGyal-ba sras bcas ‘phags-tsogs thams-cad kyi dgongs-don gsal-bar byed-pa’i nyi-ma Co-ne mdzod, ACIP S00027), 211ff.

 

B9

mChims ‘Jam-pa’i dbyangs (aka mChims ‘Jam-dpal dbyangs, b. 1280).  The Jewel of Higher Knowledge: A Commentary upon the “Treasure House of Higher Knowledge, Set in Verse” (Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod kyi tsig-le’ur byas-pa’i ‘grel-pa mNgon-pa’i rgyan); commonly known as The Chim Commentary to the Treasure House (mChims mDzod), ACIP S06954, in two volumes of 430 ff. total.

 

B10

(mKhas-grub) bstan-pa dar-rgyas (1493-1568).  An Illumination of the “Jewel of the Essence of Good Explanationan Overview of the Root Text and Commentary to the Classical Commentary Known as “The Jewel of Realizations” (bsTan-bcos mngon-par rtogs-pa’i rgyan rtza-‘grel gyi spyi-don rNam-bshad snying-po rgyan gyi snang-ba phar-phyin spyi-don, ACIP S00009), in 6 volumes.

 

B11

rGyal-dbang Blo-bzang ‘phrin-las rnam-rgyal (fl. 1850).  Light on the Lord of the Makers of Day, Words of Excellent Explanation: An Explication of the True Intent of the Treasure House of Knowledge (also known as Gyalwang’s Treaure House) (Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod kyi dgongs-don gsal-bar byed-pa’i Legs-bshad nyin-byed dbang-po’i snang-ba aka rGyal-dbang mdzod, ACIP S00044, in 8 volumes).

 

B12

(‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa sku-phreng dang-po) ‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa’i rdo-rje Ngag-dbang brtzon-‘grus (1648-1721).  A Total Clarification of the Positions Taken by the Victors of the Three Times, a Classical Commentary which is a Treasure Trove of Jewels from the Teachings of the Able Ones: A Commentary on the True Thought of that Highest Teaching, the “Treasure House of Higher Knowledge” (Dam-pa’i Chos mngon-pa mdzod kyi dgongs-‘grel gyi bstan-bcos Thub-bstan nor-bu’i gter-mdzod dus gsum rGyal-ba’i bzhad-don kun-gsal, ACIP S19100), in 8 volumes.

 

B13

(‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa sku-phreng dang-po) ‘Jam-dbyangs bzhad-pa’i rdo-rje Ngag-dbang brtzon-‘grus (1648-1721).  The Word of the Invincible One, the Torrent of the Ganges which Dispels All Error: A Dialectic Analysis of the Perfection of Wisdom (Shes-rab kyi pha-rol tu phyin-pa’i mtha’-dpyod ‘Khrul-sel gang+g’a’i chu-rgyun Mi-pham zhal-lung, ACIP S19092), in 4 volumes treating the fourth to the eighth chapters of the Ornament of Realizations; the first 3 volumes are treated under a separate title.

 

B14

mKhas-grub rje dGe-legs dpal bzang-po (1385-1438).  The “Illumination of the Difficult,” being an Explanation of the Commentary Known as the “Meaning Clarified” (‘Grel-pa don-gsal gyi rnam-bshad rTogs-dka’i snang-ba, ACIP S05461), 223 ff.

 

B15

rGyal-tsab rje Dar-ma rin-chen (1364-1432).  The Essence of an Ocean of Fine Explanation for Higher Knowledge: An Explication of the “Compendium of All the Teachings on Higher Knowledge” (mNgon-pa kun las btus-pa’i rnam-bshad Legs-par bshad-pa’i chos-mngon rgya-mtso’i snying-po, ACIP S05435), 215ff.

 

B16

Various authors (modern).  The Great Dictionary of the Tibetan and Chinese Languages (Bod-rgya tsig-mdzod chen-mo) (Beijing: Mi-rigs dpe-skrun khang, 1985, ACIP R00002), 3 vols.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography of works

originally written in English

 

E1

Roach, Geshe Michael (b. 1952).  King of the Dharma: the Illustrated Life of Je Tsongkapa, with the Complete Paintings and the Original Text of the All-Knowing One, Jamyang Shepay Dorje (1648-1721) (Wayne, New Jersey: Diamond Cutter Press, 2008), 462pp.  The original biography by Jamyang Shepay Dorje is found at %T1.

 

 

[1] What I Really Meant: The full technical title for this popularized name is An Exalted Sutra of the Greater Way entitled “Unraveling the Deep True Thought.”

[2] Born of the Ultimate: As we’ll see in Master Yuance’s commentary, the literal meaning of the bodhisattva’s name is significant, and so we have retained it here.  The original Sanskrit (in simplified pronunciation, which we will often use here to help the reader) is Paramartha Samudgata.

[3] Parts of a person: A reference to the five parts of the traditional Buddhist presentation of body & mind.  Throughout the first part of this chapter of the sutra we will be encountering lists like this, which we will fill in for the reader in footnotes.  These will be based primarily on traditional commentaries of the ancient literature of the Higher Knowledge School (Abhidharma), which is a major source for the first period of Lord Buddha’s teaching career.

As for the “parts of a person,” there are five: (1) the physical body (which is sometimes also expanded to the physical world of which the person is a part); (2) the capacity of feeling; (3) the capacity of discrimination; (4) a group of “other factors” including for example the person (“John”) and the seeds or potentials within their mind; and (5) the capacity of awareness.  For a complete discussion see for example the one beginning at f. 11a of the brilliant commentary by Choney Lama Drakpa Shedrup (1675-1748) at %B8, ACIP digital text number S00027.

The traditional term here for “parts of a person” is “heaps”; the Abhidharma literature explains this as meaning that each of the five parts itself includes many different components.  See lines I.77-78 of the Treasure House of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma Kosha) at f. 2b of %S14, TD04089, and f. 22a of Choney Lama’s commentary.

[4] Doors of sense: These number twelve, consisting of ten physical members and two mental members.  The ten physical members are the five objects of sense (visible form, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches) and the five physical sense organs which detect them (eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin of the body).  These ten trigger five different kinds of physical sense consciousness, which combined with our mental sense consciousness (and you could even throw in here our general mental awareness of the moment before) become the object of our general mental awareness, and are given the name of “the door of sense called ‘things’”).  These two then—our sense consciousnesses all combined, and our general mental awareness of them—are the two mental members.  This is the presentation of Je Tsongakapa’s close disciple Gyaltsab Je (1364-1432) in his commentary to the Compendium of the teachings of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma) (see f. 54a, %B15, S05435).

[5] Process of how things occur in dependence upon each other: The famed twelve links of dependence, each link triggering the next in a cycle of suffering, and later depicted in the well-known painting of the Wheel of Life.  The twelve are (1) misunderstanding; (2) fresh karma; (3) consciousness; (4) name & form; (5) the sense doors; (6) contact; (7) feelings; (8) initial desire; (9) advanced desire; (10) ripe karma; (11) birth; and (12) aging & death.  See the discussion in Choney Lama’s commentary to the Treasure House beginning at f. 70b (%B8, ACIP digital text S00027).

[6] Different types of sustenance: These are traditionally listed as four.  The first is “sustenance taken in portions,” a reference to physical food such as rice.  The second is the “sustenance of contact,”  meaning contact of the mind with the outside world, whose objects sustain the various mental functions.  An example would be where love is increased by contact of the mind with the sight of a child.  The third is the “sustenance of thought,” as when sustained thought of a child sustains and increases the love.  And the fourth is the sustenance of consciousness, which in perceiving objects allows the sustaining just described.  See the discussion in Choney Lama starting from f. 77a (%B8, ACIP S00027).

A useful oral monastic tradition is to also list the four as: physical food; sleep (which we need to sustain both body & mind); focus (which also sustains us, whereas a lack of a chance to focus or concentrate—being interrupted frequently in our tasks at work with different tasks, for example—hurts both body & mind); and hope (which always sustains us deeply).

[7] The various truths: A reference to the four truths of a realized being—meaning the standard realizations that a person has in conjunction with seeing emptiness directly.  Such a person is called, in Sanskrit, arya; the common translation here of arya as noble (i.e. “Four Noble Truths”) is a gross mistake.  These four are (1) the truth that our life is pain; (2) the truth that this pain has a source that we can identify; (3) the truth that this source—and thus the pain it causes—can be shut off; and (4) the truth that there is a path or method that we can follow to shut off this source.

It is also important to note that “truth” here means more “experience” than “correct statement”; a headache itself, for example, is the first truth.  For a general treatment see Choney Lama, starting from f. 160b (%B8, ACIP S00027).

[8] The various categories: Along with the parts of a person and the doors of sense, the third of the great classic divisions of reality presented, for example, in the teachings of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma).  Here they are very commonly found as 18 in number; this count is arrived at by splitting the six sense powers and their six objects within the presentation of 12 doors of sense mentioned previously—which along with the six corresponding consciousnesses makes for the total of 18.  See Choney Lama starting from f. 20b (%B8, ACIP S00027).  The additional meaning of a “variety” of categories and “many different” categories will be treated by our commentators below.

[9] Different types of close awareness: These are counted as four: close awareness of the body; the feelings; the mind; and of other objects.  In the tradition of Higher Knowledge they are emphasized at the path of accumulation—an early stage in spiritual development—and act as  supports for the deep state of meditation which is conducive to the perception of emptiness; they involve an awareness of qualities such as the impermanence and a lack of a self-nature of the objects they focus upon.  See the discussion in Choney Lama beginning from f. 164b (%B8, ACIP S00027), and in Jamyang Shepay Dorje (1648-1721) at f. 57a of %B12, ACIP S19100-6.

[10] The perfect freedoms: Also counted as four; as pointed out by Chim Jampay Yang (b. 1280), a renowned commentator upon Higher Knowledge, they are aspects of joyful effort which may most usefully be equated to the famous four forces of confession and renewal, for stopping negative karmic seeds: (1) reviewing our foundational knowledge of the teachings, especially of emptiness; (2) resolving to stop these seeds before they multiply; (3) pledging not to repeat the kinds of actions that planted the seeds; and (4) performing some positive action to “balance” the negative karma.  See f. 356b of The “Chim” Commentary to the “Treasure House of Higher Knowledge” (%B9, ACIP S06954-2).  Jamyang Shepa points out how the Higher Knowledge School relates this primarily to the “warmth” stage of the path of preparation, a level of practice which leads to the direct perception of emptiness (see again f. 57a of %B12, ACIP S19100-6).

[11] The legs of the miraculous: A reference to four aspects of meditative concentration, which in turn supports miraculous abilities.  The four are clarified by the great textbook writer of Sera Mey Monastic University, Kedrup Tenpa Dargye (1493-1568), in his Overview of the Perfection of Wisdom as antidotes to the famed five problems that can occur in meditation.  The four are: a thirst to achieve successful meditation; the effort needed to do so; the meditative flow which comes from practice; and acting on advices for how to meditate (f. 14a, %B10, ACIP S00009).  Jamyang Shepa ties these to the “peak” stage of the path of preparation (at f. 57a of %B12, ACIP S19100-6).

[12] The powers: Referring to five different practices that are said by the great Abhidharma commentator Gyalwang Lobsang Trinley Namgyal (c. 1850) to be important at the “mastery” stage of the path of preparation.  The five are faith; effort; awareness; meditative focus; and wisdom (see f. 51a of %B11, S00044-6 and f. 33a of %B8, S00027).

[13] The forces: The same five practices as the five powers, except as emphasized at the “highest experience” stage of the path of preparation (see f. 57a of %B12, ACIP S19100-6).

[14] The components of enlightenment: Seven practices relating primarily to the path of habituation—the stage of spiritual development following the direct perception of emptiness, when we are getting used to what we saw and incorporating it into our life (again see Jamyang Shepa, as above).  These seven are: (1) “recollection” as the ability to pull back a lost meditation object; (2) intellectual discernment; (3) effort; (4) practiced ease; (5) joy; (6) meditative focus; and (7) equanimity (see ff. 52b-53a of Jamyang Shepa in another text at %B13, ACIP S19092-1).

[15] Eight components of the path of the realized ones: These eight then relate to the path of seeing—the direct realization of emptiness (Jamyang Shepa, as above); they consist of (1) a correct view of reality, during the stage of the path of seeing subsequent to the direct perception of emptiness; (2) correct thinking at this point, which leads to (3) correctly describing ones experience of emptiness; (4) an ultimately informed observation of morality—the laws of karma; (5) a correct livelihood based on this moral code; (6) continued effort to progress even higher along the path; (7) recollection in the form of great meditation, feelings of equanimity, and so on; and (8) meditation to achieve further spiritual skills such as the various types of clairvoyance (following Kedrup Je’s presentation of Lord Maitreya and Arya Asanga’s Ornament of Realizations, %B14, S05461, f. 130a).

Note that all of the spiritual practices and qualities listed here in the sutra starting from the four types of close recollection add up to a total of 37; and these are sometimes referred to, together, as the “37 Components of Enlightenment”—spiritual components for reaching enlightenment—and we will see Master Yuance and Je Tsongkapa referring to them this way in their commentaries.

[16] Three kinds of natures: The three qualities or natures of the Mind-Only school—being dominated; being imaginary; and being established—have just been presented in previous chapter of the sutra (Chapter 6).  They will be discussed more as we go, especially by Je Tsongkapa in his Essence.

[17] The object of ultimate wisdom: The original name of the bodhisattva in Sanskrit, Paramartha Samudgata, breaks down into paramartha, meaning ultimate; and samudgata, meaning born of.

[18] Summary of the Greater Way: A famed work of the Mind-Only School written by Master Asanga (350ad) (%S15, ACIP TD04048).  Master Yuance seems to be referring to the discussion at f. 25a; the theme of rising to preeminence is strong in the text from its first pages.

[19] Difference in viewpoint of the translators: Unfortunately the different translations to which Master Yuance is referring to may no longer be extant for comparison; this point is relevant elsewhere in the text.

[20] Noting might be observing: The Compendium is a famed presentation by Arya Asanga on the teachings of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma) from the viewpoint of different schools.  See f. 102b (%S16, TD04049) for the reference by Master Yuance.

[21] Distraction to another object: See f. 3a of Master Vasubandhu’s classic on Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma), at %S14, TD04089; as well as ff. 42b-43a of the first volume of the autocommentary at %S17, TD4090—both composed around 350ad.

[22] Noting and examining: See f. 5a of the Treasure House (%S14, TD04089).

[23] Thirteen different topics: As we will see, the thirteen topics of the five groups are as follows: (1) the five parts to a person; (2) the twleve doors of sense; (3) the twelve links in the process of how things occur in dependence on each other; (4) the four types of sustenance; (5) the four truths; (6) the 18 categories; (7) the four types of close awareness; (8) the four perfect freedoms; (9) the four legs of the miraculous; (10) the five powers; (11) the five forces; (12) the seven components of enlightenment; and (13) the eight components of the path of the realized ones.

[24] Form is concrete: Several sutras give a list of mini-definitions of the five parts to a person like this.  The ones not mentioned here are the second part (or “heap”), the capacity of feeling, there defined as “the capacity of experience”; the third part, the capacity of discrimination, defined as “separating”; and the fourth part, the other factors of body & mind, defined as “other things which affect things.”  See for example The Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 Lines (f. 227b, %S18, KL00008, Part 3), as well as Bringing to Mind the Holy Teachings (f. 236b, %S19, KL00287, Part 1).

[25] Various doors of sense: See footnote %4, in the section above presenting the original sutra, for a full explanation.

[26] Up to aging & death: The Levels of Practice is an important classic of the Mind-Only School written by Arya Asanga; it discusses the twelve links of dependence (only the first and last are mentioned here) throughout, but the present reference by Master Yuance seems to be the one at f. 109a (%S20, TD04035).  For a listing of the twelve, see footnote %5 in the translation of the original sutra above.

[27] Various types of sustenance: Again, only the first and last of the four types are mentioned here.  For a complete listing see footnote %6 in the section above, of the original sutra.

[28] Chapter on the Nature of Ultimate Reality: That is, the second chapter of the sutra, which begins with a question from the bodhisattva named “Born of the Dharma” (Dharmodgata).

[29] Self-nature of the various truths: The four truths of a realized being have been listed above in note %7 for the translation of the original sutra.  Note that the Tibetan translation of the sutra in the Kangyur (see section S7.6 above) says only “qualities” (mtsan-nyid) of the various truths, and not “self-natures” (rang gi mtsan-nyid).  There are many such distinctions between the Tibetan of the sutra in the Kangyur edition we are using, and the Tibetan of it found in the Tengyur edition of Master Yuance’s commentary.  We will point out only ones that seem particularly significant, with reference to the original Sanskrit where available.@{check Skt on this one}

[30] The various categories: A reference to the famed eighteen categories of all existing things; for a listing of them see footnote %8 in the translation of the original sutra, above.

[31] Support for limitless beings: This seems to be a reference to f. 100a of the work (%S20, TD04035).

[32] Four types of close awareness: See footnote %9 in the translation of the sutra for a description of the four.

[33] The idea of closeness: The original Sanskrit for “close awareness” is smirtyupasthana, where smirti means “awareness” and upasthana means “standing close.”  The “closeness” here refers to a fine level of attention which is considering qualities such as the impermanence and the emptiness of the object it focuses upon.  Again, see footnote %9 above.  We have not located any separate discussion of the six connotations mentioned.

[34] Perfect freedoms, etc: These have all been described in detail above, in footnotes %10-%14.

[35] Eight components of the path of the realized ones: Already described, in footnote %15 above.

[36] 37 elements of enlightenment: The “last seven” mentioned are (1) the four types of close awareness; (2) the four perfect freedoms; (3) the four legs of the miraculous; (4) the five powers; (5) the five forces; (6) the seven components of enlightenment; and (7) the eight components of the path of the realized ones.  This makes for a total of 37: a famous group of practices and qualities which mark our progression through five spiritual paths that lead to enlightenment.  For details on these paths follow the Master’s advice here and see the individual notes for these seven as mentioned in the footnotes just above.

[37] Sutra of Limitless Goals: We haven’t located a sutra by this name {@available in Chinese?}, or the citation given.  In a number of sutras on the perfection of wisdom, this perfection is also given this same name of “achieving limitless goals”; so perhaps this is a term used for one or all of the perfection of wisdom sutras.  Master Yuance again refers to this same sutra immediately below.

A similar thought though is expressed in the Sutra Requested by Purna (f. 424a, %S22, KL00061), where Lord Buddha states that he “taught sutras of the greater way at the Deer Park, to listener disciples”—who are usually described as disciples of the lower way, and students of the first turning of the Wheel.

[38] Six perfections: Six famed bodhisattva practices, each performed with a solid awareness of emptiness: giving, leading an ethical life, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and wisdom.

[39] Highly secret and clearly declared: We haven’t located this particular reference, but a similar idea with the same wording appears in a secret teaching of a Diamond Angel; pointing out that what is secret declares itself clearly to people of sufficient wisdom (see f. 83a of %S23, TD01417).  In a previous chapter of his commentary, Master Yuance has already noted that the “highly secret” here refers to teachings of the bodhisattva way (of which the Second Turning was a part), while “clearly declared” is a reference to teachings given to disciples of the listener (lower) way (those of the First Turning).  See f. 83a of the first part of his commentary (%C1, TD04016).

[40] May look upon this request with love: This particular wording is not found in the Kangyur edition we are using, but may appear in other editions of the sutra.

[41] Try to understand: This wording also not found in our edition.

[42] Both acts were a great goodness: Again the wording of the sutra seems off a bit here, but the point seems to be that the act of thinking to ask the question, and the act of actually asking it, were both awesome karma.

[43] Gentle Voice, my Lama: “Gentle Voice,” or Manjughosha (commonly known as Manjushri), is the embodiment of the wisdom of all Enlightened Beings.  Je Tsongkapa is being literal when he refers to this Buddha as his teacher, since during his lifetime he was able to make contact with this being and seek his direct guidance.  For the story of their first meeting, see p. 185 of his illustrated biography, King of the Dharma (%E1).

[44] The likes of Source of Bliss: This and the other names here are poeticisms referring to powerful but impermanent beings who live in the temporary god-realms; in appearance and powers they are very similar to the superheroes seen in modern movies.  Here are the more familiar Sanskrit titles, according to the Great Dictionary (%B16, R00002): “Source of Bliss” is Ishvara; “Cloud-Horse” is Shakra; “Golden Womb” is Brahma; “Lord of the Disembodied” is Ratishvara; and “Cord Around The Waist” is Vishnu.

[45] Source of jewels: Reference to an ancient belief that many gemstones first came from the bottom of the sea.

[46] All three realms: A reference to the three traditional divisions of the physical universe: the desire realm; the form realm; and the formless realm.

[47] Two Innovators: An epithet of the realized beings Nagarjuna and Asanga, who in ancient India innovated masterful systems of interpreting the Buddha’s teachings: the Middle-Way School and the Mind-Only School, respectively.

[48] Aryadeva, and the rest: All great Indian commentators on the teachings of Lord Buddha, and dating from about the second to the seventh centuries.

[49] A hundred forms of reasoning: See f. 499b of the sutra (%S1, KL00062).

[50] Never accept what I say from respect: A popular verse in the ancient literature.  The earliest version of this particular wording seems to be the one in The Compendium on the Essence of Wisdom, by Master Aryadeva (c. 200ad) (see f. 27b of TD03851, %S4, as well as f. 35a of Master Bodhibhadra’s commentary, %S5, TD03852).  It was later used by both Master Shantarakshita and his famed disciple Kamalashila, both masters of the group within the lower Middle-Way School which tilted towards the Mind-Only; and thus it would make sense that their writings would be on Je Tsongkapa’s mind as he composed the current work (see ff. 130b-131a of %S6, TD04266; and f. 93a of %S7, TD04232).

We have not found any versed version in the Kangyur, but there are various presentations of the components here; for the tests of gold see for example The Sutra on the Great Nirvana (%S8, KL00119-1, ff. 347a-347b); and for not relying only on respect for the Buddha see the Foundation of Assorted Topics of Vowed Morality (%S9, KL00006-1, f. 75b).  For the logical and experiential tests of the gold metaphor, the best example is our own What I Really Meant, the very sutra being discussed by Je Tsongkapa below (see ff. 81a-82b), %S2, KL KL00106).  Sections such as these are no doubt the source for the combined, versed version later.  We also see a nice reference for the three tests of gold in evaluating ideas in the Jataka tales; see Stories of the Past Lives of the Buddha (%S10, TD04156, f. 87a).

The way in which the firing, cutting, and filing of the gold correspond respectively to testing an idea against our direct personal experience; our logic; and consistency with other ideas from the same source is found throughout the later Tibetan literature; a good ancient source for it is for example Master Shantarakshita’s Commentary to the “Jewel of the Middle Way” (%S11, TD03885, f. 83a).  The famed Longdol Lama Ngawang Lobsang (1719-1794) gives a fascinating description of how the test actually works: the three processes produce different colors in the gold being tested (red from firing; white from cutting; and yellow from filing); this may be found in his Brief Instructions on the Evaluation of Gems and Precious Metals (%B2, S06559, f. 708b).

The verse incidentally is also found at least six times in the Diamond Way section of the Tengyur, with a particularly famous occurrence in the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) literature (%S12, TD01347, f. 232b).  In his commentary, Kedrup Je (at %B7, S05463-1, f. 355a) attributes this to the sutra called Paradise of the Clouds (Ghana Vyuha, %S13, KL00110), but we have not located it there; subsequent writers have also wrestled with this problem, and the question of the original Kangyur source (see for example Gungtang Konchok Tenpay Drunme [1762-1823], %B4, S00045, f. 7a; the same author at %B5, S00911, f. 16b; and Jigme Damchu Gyatso [1898-1946], %B6, S00302, f. 49a-49b).

[51] What I Really Meant: The original Sanskrit name for the first sutra is Sandhi Nirmochana Sutra; full information for it is found at %S2.  The second is Akshayamati Nirdesha Nama Mahayana Sutra; for details see %S3.

[52] 37 elements of enlightenment: Here Je Tsongkapa is properly combining the content of sutra sections S7.10 to S7.14.  See also note %36 above for a summary of the 37.

[53] What did you mean to say?  See ff. 24b-26a of the sutra, at %S2, KL00106.

[54] Interprets it as being a unique quality: See ff. 273b-274a of Master Yuance’s Great Commentary, %C1, TD04016.

[55] 18 and six categories: We have listed the 18 categories in footnote %8 in the translation of the original sutra, above.  The six mentioned here are most likely the six elements, as listed several times in for example the Sprout of Rice Sutra: earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness (see f. 185a, %S21, KL00210).

[56] No nature of their own: See f. 16b of the second part of Arya Asanga’s Summary of the Outline of the Levels of Practice (%S24, TD04038).

[57] Things with no nature don’t have: See f. 2b of the famed Mind-Only work by Master Vasubandhu (c. 350ad) (%S25, TD04055).

[58] Brothers, and the Realized Being and his spiritual son: The former is a reference to the illustrious half-brothers, Arya Asanga and Master Vasubandhu; the latter refers to Arya Nagarjuna and his spiritual son, Aryadeva.

Source: http://texts.10000booksofwisdom.com/sky-flowers-magic-shows-master-yuance-on-the-art-of-interpreting-ideas-part-1/