Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
(Redirected from A Fusion of Sutra)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
00001686 24 02 0.jpg


by Georgios Halkias

I. The Times: Visions of the Chos srid

There is no difference at all between this world and nirvana; between nirvana and this world there is no difference at all. The limit of Nirvana is the limit of this world.


During the Fifth Dalai Lama’s reign, Tibet witnessed a creative renaissance in the fields of both traditional and visionary Buddhist scholarship, art, astrology, architecture, medicine, and civil governance.1 The seventeenth century is further characterized by a daring interlocking between the religious and secular spheres. Their intricate conjoining forged a new national identity for the Tibetan polity which sought in the Dalai Lama

institution an end to fighting and a political stability that the bickering nobility had failed to provide The intertwining of Buddhist doctrine (chos) with a dual state and ecclesiastical sharing of secular power (srid) has been referred to as chos srid gnyis ‘brel. This term corresponds historically to a versatile system of dual governance (lugs gnyis) whose roots trace back to Tibet’s Imperial Period (7th-9th centuries). This system which

persisted until Tibet’s invasion by the People’s Republic of China sought to strike an institutional balance between aristocratic factions and monastic institutions and between centralized and decentralized authority.

The 1642 pan-Tibetan victory of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) was not without its share of craftsmanship and bloody opposition. Tibet’s 1 Michael 1982; Rhie and Thurman 2000; Pommaret 2003.

history after the tantric coronation of Gushri Khan as Dharmaraja2 (chos rgyal) in 1637 by the Fifth Dalai Lama was one of protracted and deadly confrontations between opposing religious schools and their patrons. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Tibet’s governor from 1679 to 1703, skillfully weaved historical events with Mahayana lineages, royal lines, and Terton genealogies in a hagiography he composed for his visionary teacher.3 In

so doing, he sanctioned the Dalai Lama’s rule-by-incamation regime on a metaphysical level by plotting a narrative that both conflated his spiritual lineage with the cult of the ‘returning’ Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara while also sacralizing secular authority by tracing it back, as in the legends of the ancient kings, to a divine source.

If Buddhist narratives were deployed to grant political legitimacy to the newly established Dge lugs sovereignty, political astuteness was also operative in reconfiguring the spiritual domain. The Fifth Dalai Lama recognized Pan chen Bio bzang chos rgyan (1567-1662), his foremost Dge lugs teacher and seat holder of the Bkra shis lhun po monastery in Gtsang, as an emanation of Buddha Amitabha. The Pan chen’s politically

active incamation-line as the manifestation of Buddha Amitabha, ‘chief Buddha of the Lotus mandala,’ rapidly became one of the most important in the Dge lugs order, second only to the Dalai Lama’s own incamation-line as Avalokitesvara, the Regent in Amitabha’s pure-land.4 In this way,

2 In liis study of Indian esoteric Buddhist traditions, Davidson (2002: 114) observes: "The evidence supports a position that is curiously both astonishing and reassuring: the Mantrayana is simultaneously the most politically involved of Buddhist fonns and the variety of Buddhism most accul titrated to the medieval Indian landscape. Briefly the mature synthesis of esoteric that which embodies the metaphor of the

practitioner becoming the overlord (fdjddhiidja). In this endeavour, the candidate is coronated and provided with ritual and metaphorical access to all the various systems that an overlord controls: surrounded by professors of mantra, he performs activities to ensure the success of his spirimal ‘state.’-1 Ruegg (1997: 866) distinguishes three models to explain the ‘constitutional’ relationships between spiritual authority and

temporal power in Tibet: (a) the dyarchic model of Dharmaraja/Cakravartin and Officiant/Spiritual Preceptor; (b) the model of the Vajrayanist Guru and his neophyte disciple; and (c) the hierocratic and nirmanic model of the Bodhisattva-King combining in himself both spiritual and temporal power.

J cf. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho 1999. The Great Fifth appears prominently in religious histories both as a visionary mystic and instigator of Tibet as a post-imperial nation. His secret visions, classified by the Rnying ma as pure-vision termas, also claim one visual encounter with a female Naga who is said to have inspired the creation of the Klu khang and its extraordinary Rdzogs chen murals (Baker 2000: 13). The Fifth Dalai Lama also had visions during the joint performance of magical rites with his teacher Zur Chos dbyings rang grol (1610-1657) against the Tsang royal forces (Karmay 1998: 9).

The Fifth Dalai Lama might have been aware that king Srong btsan sgampo was honoured by the Tang emperor Gao zong (649-683 C.E.) with the title Bao-wang meaning


the Dalai Lama may have seen fit to fill the political vacuum in Gtsang by establishing a powerful Dge lugs satellite whose influence and support could be called upon to support Dge lugs initiatives.

Structural correspondences between secular management and Buddhist soteriology are not foreign to Buddhism. Religious readings of kingship date to the earliest texts of both Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.5 In the

post-dynastic mythohistorical Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long (Sorensen 1994: 97-102) we read a popular national saga that begins with Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara voicing a compassionate aspiration prayer (smon lam) to transform the demon-infested country of Tibet into his field of conversion (zhing khams). Avalokitesvara’s plea is heard by Buddha Amitabha, his spiritual father, who blesses him to incarnate in Tibet as a celibate

monkey. Soon after, he is seduced by an aggressive demoness. From their intercourse, the mating of spiritual and grossphysical forms, emerges the race of the legendary Tibetan Buddhist kings and people.

This narrative co-opted the Indian cult of Avalokitesvara to provide a Buddhist account for the ancestral origins of the Tibetan people. In the process, Avalokitesvara became the most revered symbol in the Tibetan

national mythos, one which profoundly impacted the Fifth Dalai Lama’s perception of himself. As Karmay points out in his study of the Mahakaruna the Lord of the World (Thugs rje chen pojig rten dbang phyug), a ritual cycle that records the Fifth Dalai Lama’s secret visions:

Unbelievably complex as it is, in his visions the apparition of the Bodhisattva in the form of Mahakaruna dominates DL’s [[[Fifth Dalai]] ‘precious king,’ an epithet of the king of the West employed in Chinese culture for Buddha Amitabha; cf. Beckwith 1987: 25-26. Miller (1961: 199) further speculates: “The

first Dalai Lama who achieved secular control (‘The Great Fifth’) ‘recognized’ or ‘discovered’ that his tutor—and rival—was an incarnated Buddha, rather than a Bodhisattva. This recognition was a typical Lamaist act, at least inferentially negating the Panchen Lama’s potential claim to secular influence by very respectfully, very properly elevating him into a strictly spiritual eminence.”

5 An informative narrative of early Buddhism and kingship can be found in Tambiah 1987. A Pali text, the Aggahhasutta, foretells the “...gradual degradation of human society. At the lowest point in the process, humans are obliged to elect a Great Chosen One (Mahasammata) who will protect the people

and their property and administer an equitable justice in return for food...A variety of Buddhist kings, particularly in Burma and Sri Lanka, trace their descent from Mahasammata” (cf. Harris 1999: 3). The proemium of Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long pays homage to royal lineage of Mang pos bkur ba (Mahasammata), the first Indian king and mythical progenitor of Sakyamuni (cf. Sorensen 1994: 43, 49, 50, 52).

Lama] psyche.. .In each instance of appearance of Avalokitesvara in the form of one of his aspects, the Bodhisattva does not miss making a gesture or giving guidance to DL in one way or another. These are always concerned with the welfare of the Tibet and its people. The phrases such as bod bde thabs, the ‘means for bringing happiness to the Tibetans’...or bod kyi bstan srid, the ‘religio-politics of Tibet’ occur constantly

showing preoccupation in DL’s mind...It was therefore because of this motivation to restore in a certain sense the former imperial power and to re-establish Buddhism as a state religion, that there was a recurrence of personages of the Tibetan Empire in DL’s visions, such as the king Srong btsan sgam po and Padmasamhava. These personages cannot be dissociated from the personality of the Bodhisattva in DL’s visions. They had the psychic power to confer on him prophetical instruction on how to deal with the political and religious affairs at hand as well as with those in the years following the construction of the Potala Palace. 6

The conjoining of religious motifs—including Vajrayana ritual practices, Mahayana soteriology and pure-land idealism—and political motifs of ‘national memory’ and ‘political consciousness’ in seventeenth-century Tibet cannot be reduced to a thinly veiled attempt to assert secular and political agendas in the guise of religion. On the contrary, Buddhist scholarship flourished along with the politicisation of Buddhist ideology. This

non-reductive conjoining of sacred and secular involved a continuous interplay of signs and their significance: in the religious sphere through the monastic deification of incarnations, and in the political sphere, through the implementation of a culturally embodied Buddhist soteriology that had a profound and lasting psychological effect on its Tibetan leaders and people.

II. The Author: A Symbiosis of Monastics and Siddhas

The child prodigy Gnam chos Mi ‘gyur rdo rje, a Rnying ma siddha-cum-terton from the area of Ngom in Khams, was bom in 1645, the Wood Bird year of the eleventh sexagenarian cycle (rab byung). He is attributed with the compilation of an impressive collection of Tibetan Buddhist and folk-religion scriptures revealed through a series of mystical visions. His writings constitute a cycle apocryphal termas

known as Gnam chos (sky-dharma).7 Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s instructions are often included within the terma cycle that by and large covers literary and ethnographic subjects containing: (i) ritual offerings (bsang, chab gtor, bum gter); (ii) funereal rites (byang chog); (iii) popular empowerments, such as, long-life (tshe dbang), health (sman lha dbang), wealth (nor dbang); (iv) thread rituals and protective amulets (mdos, srung ba); (v) rites for

propitiating protector deities (chos skyong, zhing skyong, gter srung); demons (btsan, gnod sbyin, bdud); high heaven spirits (lha); mountain gods (spom ri, thang lha); nagas (khi) and earth spirits (sa bdag); (vi) divination and astrology (rde’u dkar mo, spar kha, rtsis); (vii) preliminary tantric practices (sngon ‘gro); (viii) tantric practices (rmi lam, ‘pho ba, gtum mo, phur ba, gcod) and commentaries (rgyud ‘grel); (ix) pure-land

sadhanas (zhing khams sgrub), and hundreds of meditation practices on peaceful (zhi ba) and wrathful (khro bo) deities grouped under well-known Vajrayana cycles (chos skor), such as the Bde mchog; Gu ru drag po; Ma ning; Sgrol ma; Phag mo; and last, but not least, (x) philosophical commentaries (khrid) belonging to the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) teachings of the Rnying ma school.

Sensitive to their heterodox inception, monastic factions who wished to assimilate the Gnam chos texts and put them to ritual use were eager to classify them according to conventional divisions and situate them in a historical context.8 In addition to the bka ’ ma (oral) and gter

7 In the inner biography (nang gimam thar) of Mi 'gyur rdo rje we read that the Gnam chos is a distinct class of teachings that have arisen from the aspirations and pure minds of beings (fol. 10). They are further classified according to their mam principle (ngo ho), definition (nges tshig), cause

(rgyu). conditions (rkyen), and divisions (dbye ba) (fol. 13). Notable are descriptions of events (fols. 15-19) of scriptures that have fallen from the sky 'gnam mka’ nas glegs bam bab. ’ speaking apparitions of lamas, yidams, and dakinisbla ma yi dam mkha’ ‘gro’i tshogs zhal gzigs nas des gsung,’ disembodied soimds 'zhal ma mthong chos kyi sgra. ’

emanated letters ‘sprulpa’iyi ge, ’ and sky-letters ‘gnam yig. ’ For an index of the Gnam chos collection (10 volumes) as preserved by Migot in the College de France cf. Meisezahl 1981 and 1982. I am grateful to Gene Smith for his guidance and for making an updated compilation of the Gnam chos cycle that includes pages missing (Band XXXV) and three additional volumes (11. 12. 13) not included in the Migot collection indexed by Meisezahl widely available. Volume 11 contains the inner and secret liberation-stories (mam thar) of Mi ‘gyur rdo rje; volume 12 contains Rdzogs chen texts; and volume 13, written in dbu med script probably from Sde dge, contains 18 texts, mostly sadhanas.

8 Anticipating a reaction from the more conservative schools, the inner biography classifies the Bka’ gdams glegs bam as Gnam chos (fol. 18). Furthermore, examples are cited for each class of tantra (kriyd, caryd, yoga, mahayoga, anuyoga. ativoga) having

ma (treasure) traditions of the Rnying ma school, there exists a visionary lineage of Buddhist teachings (dag snang gter) which cannot be demonstrated historically to have Indic origins. According to Gyatso (1997: 96) its source is indigenously Tibetan and in order ‘to accommodate such an origin, the schools active in this movement developed a three-fold system to classify Buddhist scripture that would allow for revelation and visionary inspiration.’9

Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s numinous experiences were written down with the support of his teacher and distant relative Karma chags med (1613-1678), the founder of the Nedo (gnas mdo) monastic lineage and prolific Bka’ brgyud scholar well regarded for his mastery of the old and new Tantras.10 A number of celebrated literary cycles are attributed to him: the Rnarn dag bde chen zhing gi smon lam (an aspiration prayer to SukhavatT)

and its rich philosophical commentaries that revitalized the bde ba can gi smon lam genre; the Rdzogs chen gyn khrid sangs rgyas lag fallen from the sky. It concludes that all tantras are sky-dharma; cf. (fol. 16): des na rgyud thams cadgnam chos lags so.

9 “A Pure Vision is an experience in which the visionary meets directly with a celestial Buddha or teacher of another era who preaches a special sermon. This may occur in a wordly setting or in one of the Buddhist Pure Lands. Pure Visions are variously said to occur while the visionary is in the state of meditative absorption (nyams), in the dream state (rmi-lam), or in the ‘reality’ (dngos) of the waking state. Unlike a treasure

teaching, a Pure Vision is not said to have been hidden previously. Rather, there is a presupposition which draws on the tantric idea that any advanced practitioner with developed ‘pure vision’ would for that reason experience and participate in a pure world. Here ‘pure’ is reminiscent of ‘Pure Land,’ where Buddhas live and advanced teachings are given. It should be noted that this distinction between the Pure Vision and the

Discovered Treasure modes of transmission can collapse in usage...In some cases it seems that the rubric of the Discovered Treasure denotes the revealed material itself, whereas Pure Vision refers to the nature of the experience in which that material was received.” (fol. 98).

10 Karma chags med, also known as Ragasya, is considered one of the greatest scholars and tertons of the Bka’ brgyud school. More than 45 volumes of works attributed to him provide useful ethnographic material on Khams and on the Buddhist teachings and practices of the Rnying ma and Bka’ brgyud schools. Dudjom Rinpoche (1991: 28) mentions an earlier attempt at a synthesis of Bka’ brgyud and Rnying ma

writings by the third Karmapa Rang byung rdo rje (1284-1339) who, having received the ‘inner-most essence’ (snying gi thig le) from Rig ‘dzin Kumaraja (1266-1343), was the first to bring together these hitherto separate streams of Mahamudra and Rdzogs chen. Karma chags med is similarly known for unifying once again these distinct philosophical lineages and for being a faithful proponent of the Sukhavati cult. His

philosophical works on the union of Mahamudra and Rdzogs chen along with a contemporary commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche have been translated into English by B. Alan Wallace, cf. Chagme 1998 and 2000. For a brief history of the Gnas mdo lineage, see the Shes bya kun khyab nidzod, fols.16, 186, 193; also, Cuevas 2003: 153-57.

chang (a synthesis of Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s and Ratna gling pa’s terma lineages); and the Thugs rje chen po’i dmar khrid phyag rdzogs zungjung thos ba don Idan , the author’s magnum opus on the union of Mahamudra and Rdzogs chen.

According to Tibetan and Western sources,11 Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s spiritual ancestry, like that of many Rnying ma Tertons, is traced back to the hegemonic Buddhist conversion of the Tibetan Empire (Gyatso 1997: 145-53). The Tertons Ratna gling pa (1403-1479) and Bdud ‘dul rdo rje (1615-1672)—the latter of

whom Mi ‘gyur rdo rje met in Pometrak (Khams) at the request of Raima chags med (Gyurme 1991: 816)—had prophesied that a Terton holding the name Rdo rje and marked by a mole in his right hand, would come from Khams and be of great benefit to the propagation of Buddhist teachings in Eastern Tibet. The

recognition of Mi ‘gyur rdo tje as the joint emanation of the great translator Pa gor Vairocana and Shud bu dpal (both disciples of Padmasambhava) established him early on as a potential holder of Rnying ma reincarnation lineages (sku rgyud). His immediate Rnying ma predecessor was said to have been

‘Khrul zhig dbang drag rgya mtsho of the Rmog rtsa sprul sku lineage (circa seventeenth century). Twenty-five subsequent emanations were predicted to follow his premature death at the age of twenty-three in 1667, none of whom has yet been identified.12

According to the liberation-narratives written by his disciples, it did not take long for Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s tutor, Karma chags med, to realize that the five-year old child entrusted to him was unusually bright and inclined towards reading, writing, poetry, calligraphy, as well as esotericism, which appears

to have been one of his favourite subjects. Karma chags med recounts that when Mi ‘gyur rdo rje reached the appropriate age and yogic mastery to take a consort, he stopped a lunar

11 Information about Gnam chos Mi ‘gyur rdo rje (not be confused with Yong dge gter ston Mi ‘gyur rdo tje, 1628 to 1641?, a student of Karma chags med and important terton of the Kam tshang Bka’ brgyud lineage), can be found in the following sources: Gu ru bkra shis 1990: 624-47; Kong sprul bio gros mtha’

yas 1997, vol. 32; Jam dbyang rgyal mtshan 1996: 97; outer rnam thar (*Tistuhavajrasastra, Gnam chos, vol. 10), inner rnam thar (Gnam chos, vol. 11), secret rnam thar (Gnam chos, vol. 12); in Karma chags med’s rnam thar (Gsung ‘bum, vol. ka and ga). For Western publications, see Stein 1959; Meisezahl 1981; Schwieger 1978; Tsering 1988.

12 Guru bkra shis (1990: 629) writes that even though Stag sham nus ldan rdo rje (b. 1655) has been claimed as one of these twenty-five emanations, this is a slight error: rje ‘di la sprul pa ’i sku nyi shu rtsa Inga ‘byung bar gsung ba ’i ya gyal gcig ni // ngor klu Iding mkhan chen rin chen mi ‘gyur

rgyal mtshan yin te // mkhan chen de nyid kyi skye brgyud dang rnam thar la dpyadpas shes so //yang mkhan chen de stag sham pa’i skye ba yin zer ba ni cungzad nor ro //

eclipse while practicing the yoga of sexual reversal, that is, holding back his semen (khams dkar po) and forcing the vital energy to enter into (‘jug) the central channel (dbu ma).13

After completing a three-year retreat in the hermitage of Rmugs sangs, the young siddha began to give teachings and empowerments attracting a multitude of disciples. His fame soon spread across Eastern Tibet and he became renowned for the power of his blessings and for ripening the minds of thousands of

sentient beings with whom he was karmically connected.14 Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s popularity brought him repeated invitations from religious leaders and the governors of the Khams principalities of Chab mdo and Sde dge. His transmission of the Guam chos termas was particularly venerated by one of his (and Karma

chags med’s) principal students, Rig ‘dzin Kun bzang shes rab (1636-1698), who consolidated most of the Guam chos texts into one compilation and composed commentaries on them that later became an integral part of the monastic curriculum, religious training, and metaphysical endorsement for the Dpal yul lineage that he institutionalized in 1665.15

The successful assimilation of siddha scriptures in the monastic fold revitalized the monastic curriculum with novel and fresh teachings, allowed for the creation of new monastic lineages, and offered institutional endorsment to wandering ascetics whose local popularity with the Tibetan population would warrant a symbiotic relationship between monks and lay tantric teachers rather than an antagonistic coexistence.

III. Sukhavati in Tibet: A Fusion of Sutra, Tantra and Terma

During the monastic expansion of Buddhism in Tibet, landscapes and their native guardians were culturally and socially co-opted into mythohistorical narratives and representations drawn from Buddhist

13 Guru bkra shis 1990: 626. Tsering (1988: 49) recounts the same event without going into any details. I am grateful to Geshe Gelek Jinpa, who while conducting his own research at the Oriental Institute in Oxford, has been generous

with his knowledge during the writing of this article related to my D.Phil. thesis on Buddhist Paradises and Tantric Territories: the Gnam chos Propagation of Amitabha’s Pure-Land in Seventeenthcentury Tibet.

14 Guru bkra shis 1990: 625, 628.

15 Gnam chos transmissions are also preserved by the Kah thog monastery founded anew in 1665 by Bdud ‘dul rdo rje (1615-72) and by the Karma and ‘Bri gung Bka’ brgyud lineages institutionalized during the early part of the twelfth century.

soteriology and cosmology. Wild landscapes and demons were tamed {‘did ba) and transformed into peaceful pure-lands inhabited by a proliferation of incarnate Bodhisattvas and guardians of faith (chos skyong). Buddhist pure-lands imported from India to Tibet readily became euphemisms for the timeless

metaphysical destination of deceased lamas and accomplished Buddhist practitioners. They were also deployed to describe physical sites of pilgrimage, sacred mountains, hidden valleys, and the residence or hermitage of any Tibetan saint.

Of the many pure-lands imported from India into Tibet, SukhavatT has been the subject of some scholarly attention.16 In Tibet, as in India and Nepal, there is no evidence of Pure-land sectarian movements having ever existed, as for example in Japan led by Honen (1133-1212), Shinran (1173-1262), and Ippen

(1239-1289).17 18 Kapstein (2004: 20) rightly observes: “It seems sure, however, that to the extent that rebirth in SukhavatT was emerging as a soteriological goal for Tibetan Buddhists, it was by no means an exclusive goal or one that was decisively preeminent in relation to other important Buddhist ends.”

The SukhavatT cult in Tibet claims an interesting corpus of Mahayana and Vajrayana practices. Tibetan pure-land compositions owe their original inspiration to the Small and Large Sukhavativyuha Sutras,™ as well as to other Indian Mahayana sutras', such as, the Pratyutpanna-

16 See Karma Kelchog Palmo, et al. Nakamura 1963; Kajihama 1994. 1996. 2002. 2003; Kapstein 2004; Schwieger 1978; and Skorupski 1994, 2001. Nakamura’s article is the first study of its kind to employ a philological/cultural analysis of the way in which the Large and Small Sukhavatrvyuha-sutras have been

translated into Tibetan. He concludes that several Indic descriptions of SukhavatT did not have Tibetan lexical equivalents to reflect Indian cultural and landscape-inspired motifs. As a result, the Tibetans translated several ‘literal statements’ in the sutras metaphorically, allowing for a reading of

SukhavatT that moved away from the supposed concreteness that its Sanskrit originals had. This might explain, as Kapstein (2004: 40-42) noted, the ease with which SukhavatT was assimilated into tantric lore and maintained harmony with the teachings of the Great Perfection.

17 For SukhavatT related practices in Nepal, see Lewis 2004 and for a history of Pure-Land in India, Fujita 1996. Numerous studies exist on the development of Pure-Land Buddhism in East Asia, but this is not the place for them to be examined.

18 These sutras were translated into Tibetan during the reign (755-C.794 CE) of emperor Khri Song Ide btsan (cf. Ldan kar edited by Lalou 1953). The third most important sutra to the development and formulation of pure-land doctrine In China and Japan is the Amitayurdhyana (Kuan-liang-shou ching),

extant also in Ugrian from a Chinese retranslation. However, since no Sanskrit or Tibetan version of this siitra has been found, it is suspected to have been a Chinese or Central Asian composition; for a detailed discussion on its authenticity, see Fujita’s “Textual Origins of the Kuan-liang-shou ching’’ in Buswell 1990: 149-73.

buddha-sammukhavasthita-samadhi-sutra, which contains the earliest datable reference to Amitayus and his buddha-field (buddha-ksetra). Tibet’s imperial period saw the rise of a Tibetan genre of pureland literature devoted exclusively to extolling Buddha Amitabha and his Western paradise called the De mon

(bde ba can gi smon lam).19 20 Over fifty samples of this praise-type literature dating from the twelfth to the twentieth century can be found in the first volume of the Bde smon phyogs bsgrigs.29 They include many terma texts by Rnying ma authors, as well as compositions by Bka’ brgyud pa, Sa skya pa, Jo nang pa, Dge lugs pa, and Ris med pa authors. A preliminary survey of Mahayana literature on SukhavatT includes aspirational (smon lam) and commentarial (‘grel ba) works such as: (1) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du skye badzin pa’i smon lam zhing mchog sgo by Tsong kha pa (1357-1419); (2) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du

thogs pa med par bgrod pa ’i myur lam by the First Pan chen bla ma (1567-1662); (3) over twenty SukhavatT related texts in Karma chags med’s and Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s collections; (4) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du bgrod pa ’i myur lam gsal bar byedpa ’i sgron me by the First Lcang skya (1642-1714); 5) the Bde ba can gyi zhing sbyong ba ’i dad pa gsal bar byed pa drang sgron me by Mi pham rin po che (1864-1912), and 6) the Bde ba can gyi zhing las brtsamspa’i gtam dge ba’i lo tog spel byed dbyar skyes sprin chen gla bo’i sgra dbyangs by the third Rdo grub chen

It is not possible to say exactly when pure-land premises were integrated into Buddhist esotericism, but Amitabha dharam scriptures During the Tibetan occupation of Dunhuang (781-848) the Tibetan caves continued the High Tang tradition of depictions of Amitabha and his celestial paradise (cf. Whitefield et al 2003: 82). In his translation and study of a Tibetan Dunhuang poem to Amitabha, Silk (1993: 12) asserts that there exist several other Dunhuag Tibetan documents which seem to belong the same genre of text.

20 This two-volume anthology of prayers and commentaries pays tribute to the Mahayana origins of the SukhavatT cult by including a De mon prayer by Nagarjuna (c. 150-250 CE), and sections from the Sukhavativyuhas, the Ratnakuta, and the Bhadracarya-pranidhanaraja. Bon De-mon texts and commentaries, although available, are not included in this compilation.

21 With the exception of Chags med’s and Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s works, the authors and texts mentioned above have been studied by Kajihama 2003. Volume II of the Bde smon phyogs bsgrigs lists two additional De-mon commentaries: Rdza dpal sprul o rgyan ‘jigs med’s (1808-1877) philosophical commentaries on Chags med’s and Tsong kha pa’s works, and Bsod nams chos ‘grub’s (1826-1944) lengthy commentary on Karma chags med’s aspiration prayer, the Bde chen zhing gi smon lam that remains popular at the present time. For a brief outline on Bsod nams chos ‘grub’s commentary and its background, see Kapstein 2004: 37-39.

appear as early as the third century with the popularity of the Anantamukha-nirhara-dharani-sutra and its extensive commentary by Jnanagarbha preserved only in Tibetan (Inagaki 1999). It appears that two semi-independent strands of the Amitabha cult developed in India. When their respective practices reached Tibet, one tradition linked Amitabha with SukhavatT funereal rituals (Skorupski 2001: 156-72), prayers and

commentaries, while the strictly tantric lineages of Amitayus were mainly utilized in alchemical rites aimed at extending longevity.22 The Tibetan tantric appreciation of SukhavatT may be the product of terminological conflation between Amitabha’s land of bliss (Skt. Sukhavati, Tib. Bde ba can) with a

Vajrayana emphasis on interior visualizations that may result in intense physical bliss (mahasukkha, bde ba chen). Notable, for example, is the mind-transference technique (‘pho ba) to the pure-land SukhavatT which employs a visualization of Amitabha above the fontanel cakra identified in Tantric literature as the mahasukhacakra (bde chen gi ‘khor lo).23 Other Vajrayana practices

22 In the Sukhavativyiiha and other Mahayana sutras, Amitayus and Amitabha are often used interchangably. The appelation ‘Amitabha’ appeared earlier than the appelation ‘Amitayus,’ see Nakamura 1987: 202. Bu ston in his History of Buddhism makes no reference to the Sukhavativyiihas, or any pure-land

practices, but in his section on the biography of Nagarjuna (Obermiller 1931: 123) he mentions that the latter engaged in Amitayus long-life practices. Walter (1980: 319) refers to two systems of alchemical practice found in the eighth-century Rnying ma literature: “Let us first look at the system in Padmaist literature. Our examination

reveals that it is almost completely oriented around the extraction of essences (rasas) from the physical elements of the universe... Padmasambava delivers these teachings as a mediator for, or is to be evoked as a form of, Amitayus. There are also several texts which mention the conjuring of eight immortal

magicians which emanate from Amitayus.” Skorupski (1995: 210) compares the appearance of eight bodhisattvas in Karma chags med’s Bde chen zhing gi smon lam with a passage from the Bhaisajyaguru-sutra, where likewise the dying are accompanied by eight bodhisattvas. Blezer (1997: 87-88) considers the possibility that Klu’i rgyal mtshan

(translator of the Large Sukhavativyiiha into Tibetan), with his party of Ska ba dpal brtsegs and Vimalimitra, might have brought Amitabha and bar do thos grol practices while searching for Rdzogs chen manuscripts. He concludes: “Amitabha definitely occupies a special position, see for instance the mention in

the inceptive verse of the Chos hid bar do ’i gsal ‘debs, but on the whole, the Bar do thos grol-texts I am familial' with do not strike me as so strongly centered on Amitabha or Sukhavati, texts on ‘pho ba emphatically excepted, of course.”

There exist a number of ‘pho ba techniques in the Tibetan Vajrayana corpus that are not directly related to Amitabha; i.e., ‘pho ba of the three kayas; the Avalokitesvara transference instructions: the ‘pho ba of the Vajrayogim tantra; and others. See Mullin 1997: 175-76. The fact that we find in a Bka’ brgyud

compilation of texts attributed to Padmasambhava (cf. Evans-Wentz [1958] 2000: 261-65) a ‘pho ba sddhana that utilizes Amitayus’ long-life rituals but not SukhavatT. suggests that the conflation of SukhavatT objectives and Amitayus’ long-life rituals in seventeenth-century Bka’ brgyud-Rnying

related to SukhavatT include: Amitayus long-life alchemical rites (tshe sgrub); dream-yoga instructions (rmi lam rnal ‘byor) for beholding SukhavatT in one’s dreams and receiving religious training; cremation ceremonies (ro sreg) and funereal applications employing an effigy-card (byang chog); ganapuja offerings to the SukhavatT deities (tshogs mchod); astrological charts of auspicious days to perform Amitabha sadhanas

(dpe’u ris dus), and rituals for propitiating the SukhavatT ksetrapalas (zhing skyong) .24 Corresponding to the philosophy of the three-body division of enlightenment (sku gsum) Karma chags med introduces three readings of SukhavatT analogous to

the three ways of attaining the pure-land: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya ‘pho ba (Skorupski 2001: 145-46). Dharmakaya ‘pho ba, the ultimate transference, is effectuated at the very subtle union of mother and child luminosities. Here SukhavatT serves as an

analogy for enlightenment attained after death. Sambhogakaya ‘pho ba corresponds to the subtle perception of the five certainties (nges pa Inga) by advanced Bodhisattvas, that is, certain place (SukhavatT), certain teacher (Amitabha), certain retinue (Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani), certain time (now) and certain teachings as needed. Nirmanakaya ‘pho ba refers to emanations of pure-lands materialized in order to benefit beings.25

Philosophical reasoning, faith, and mysticism are integral aspects to the interpretation and representation of SukhavatT in Tibet. Devotional prayers, philosophical commentaries, internal tantric visualizations and mystic visions all blend to graft a unique picture of Amitabha’s pure-land and elucidate

the varied ways of its understanding and adulation by Tibetan Buddhists. Just as we notice a scholastic zeal in elucidating Mahayana doctrine in the form of pure-land commentaries (‘grel ba), we also discern the importance of faith both in the recitation of pure-land aspirational prayers (bde smon) and in

the power of tantric rituals to ma ‘pho ba texts is a later development. In lieu of a noticeable absence of related practices in India or East Asia we may consider the SukhavatT ‘pho ba practice as a Tibetan tantric innovation.

24 The corresponding texts can be found in Karma chags med’s Gsung ‘bum (vol. ga and ji); Mi ‘gyur rdo rje’s Gnam chos (vol. 1) and in the Rtsib ri spar ma (Padma chos rgyal ‘khrul zhig 1978-85, vol. 21).

25 Notable are the developments from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century of thang ka, some of which are monumental in scale, portraying pure-lands of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and popular saints of Tibet, such as, SukhavatT, Tusita, Abhirati, Sambhala, Potalaka. Glorious-Copper Mountain, Uddiyana DakinT Paradise, etc. (Rhie and Thurman 2000).

effectuate a SukhavatT transfer (‘pho ba). When Karma chags med was asked about the efficacy of SukhavatT teachings, he allegedly replied: a ma bde ba can du ma ‘khyol na / ban rgan chags med skyag pa zos pa yin.26 27

IV. The Text: A Gnam Chos Sadhana for the Pure-Land SukhavatT

Realizing the Pure Land of SukhavatT: Empowerment with Oral Instructions-1—is a sdri/zazia-cum-empowerment (sgrub dang dbang las chog) revealed to Gnam chos Mi ‘gyur rdo lje in a vision he had of Buddha Amitabha and his retinue. It compresses a number of tantric technologies for realizing Amitabha’s pure-land. It begins (folios 5b-6a) with an in-front visualization of Amitabha and his retinue arranged as in a SukhavatT

thang ka: the Buddha of Infinite Light (‘Od dpag med), ruby red in colour, is framed in the middle by two standing Bodhisattvas. These two young-looking Kouroi have come traditionally to represent the Buddha’s strength (Vajrapani) and compassion (Avalokitesvara). For the purpose of this practice, they are

visualized in transparent form along with the root deity facing one in empty space. Following the selfgeneration practice (bskved rim) into a white Lokesvara bom out of a lotus, the practitioner invites the wisdom beings and recites the mantra of the deity (folio 6b). The chosen yidam is supplicated (folios 7a-7b) to grant its blessings

(sbyin rlabs) for the realization of the supreme siddhi, that is, the practitioner’s identification at a psycho-physiological level of experience with the qualities of the enlightened-mind. The sadhana includes a unique assortment of tantric meditations that could be practiced independently. These are: dream-yoga (folio 6b), long-life extension (folio 6b), and mind-transference (folio 7a). These techniques are introduced succinctly as

part of the sadhana’s progression and therefore, presuppose prior familiarity from the side of the practitioner. At the end of our text we find instructions for consecrating the ritual instruments utilized in the SukhavatT empowerment (folio 8b-9a). The pith oral instructions are found in the colophon and recommend: ‘meditate on all places as SukhavatT.’

26 Guru bkra shis 1990: 630: “May this old monk Chags med eat shit if his mother doesn’t end up in Sukhavati.”

27 The Bde chen zhing sgrub dbang las chogs zhal gdams dang bcas pa is found in the Gnam chos (vol.l, dza, tshe sgrub).

The Sadhana of the Pure-Land of Sukhavati: from the Mind Treasury of the Sky-Dharma, the Cycle of the Profound Whispered Lineage

1. Self-Generation as A White Lokesvara and In-Front Generation of Amitabha with Retinue

[1] (Recitation of tantric refuge): Guru deva dakini hum

[2] (Preparations): This is the sadhana of Amitabha. There is no requirement for a mandala or a torma.

[3] (Visualization):

Self-manifest as a white bodhisattva on a water-flower lotus.28 In front of you sits Lord Amitabha in meditative equipoise on a lotus and a moon seat. His body is red with one face and two arms, holding a begging bowl and wearing the robes of a monk seated cross-legged. On his right stands the Lord of the World, white, with one face and four aims (Avalokitesvara). He is standing on a lotus and a moon seat. His two palms are joined. In his (other) right hand he holds a rosary and in his (other) left a lotus. On his left stands the Mahasthamaprapta Vajrapani holding a bell and standing on a lotus and moon seat. Surrounding them are Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Sravakas, and countless Arhats.

28 A commentary to this practice by Ayang Rinpoche suggests the visualization of a four-armed Avalokitesvara.

2. Activation of the Cakras and Invitation of the Wisdom-Beings

Light-rays emanate from the three syllables (om ah hum) in the three places (head, throat and heart)29 of the three principle figures (Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, Vajrapani)—through them contemplate that they are extending an invitation to Sukhavati.30

3. The Recitation of Amitabha’s Mantras

Then recite these mantras as much as possible:

  1. 2] Then, the medium length root mantra: om amidheva hrih.
  1. 4] Then, an even more condensed mantra: om hrih svaha.
  1. 5] Alternatively, the condensed root mantra: hrih svaha.
  1. 6] Then, enumerate the even more condensed mantra: hrih until it is sufficient.31

E7] Then, recite a sufficient number of the mantra: om bhrurn svaha.

This is the practice of Amitabha

29 These three places refer to the three upper rtsa ‘khor (cakras) sensitized simultaneously by word, colour and sound frequency (tem-blue, d/?-red. om-white). According to tantric physiology these cakras correspond to internal body-locations located roughly at the heart (chos kyikhor lo), the throat

(longs spyod kyi khor lo), and the fontanel (bde chen gi khor lo). The last one allows exit in the practice of ‘pho ba (transference) and also serves a point of entry for the wisdom-beings (ye shes pa). The cakra of great bliss (mahasukha) serves as the main tantric metaphor for the realization of the pure-land of Sukhavati.

30 This section refers to the visualized Amitabha, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani, known as the pledge-beings (samayasattva, dam tshig pa), inviting the wisdom-beings (jhanasattva, ye shes pa), that is, their enlightened-counterparts who are residing in Sukhavati, to come and merge with them. The symmetrical correspondence between the ‘structured-imaginary’ (the pledge-beings in the visualization) and the ‘

expansive-real’ (the wisdom-beings localized in Sukhavati) is established through word, color and sound visualized as the inseparability of the three emanating outwards as white, red and blue light-rays. The response of the wisdom-beings is one of empowering the tantric practitioner whose pledge to attain enlightenment merges and becomes indivisible with the state of enlightenment represented by the ye shes pa.

31 The term hsgrangs refers to counting or enumerating, and chog pa means sufficiency, or enough of a pre-specified number of mantra recitation is reached (i.e., 100,000 times).

4. The Practice of Dream-yoga

For the practice of dream-yoga, experience day-time as a dream. At the throat-centre visualize a red-lotus with four petals on which are arranged (the syllables) om ah hrih svaha. At the centre of the syllable hrih appears the syllable om. Then visualize in your heart-centre a red lotusflower on top of

which is the pure-land Sukhavati.33 Imagine it existing very clearly as if (you are) there. Direct your concentration like this while falling asleep and in your dreams you will see the pure-land of Sukhavati. You will also directly behold Avalokitesvara, Amitabha and Vajrapani.

(Seal): Samaya gya gya gya.

5. The Visualization of Life-Extending Amitayus

After that, follow the activities of the long-life sadhana—otherwise, you do not need to change the visualization. The begging bowl (of Amitayus) is filled with (long-life) nectar.34 Think of it dissolving into yourself. Recite: om brhum svaha brhurn twice, or as much as you wish.

(Seal): Samaya gya gya gya.

6. Transference to Sukhavati

After that, are the stages of powa {‘pho ba). Visualize in your heartcentre a red hrih, with a long visarga. Visualize it with intensity. From the syllable hrih six light-rays emanate which block the doors of rebirth for the six kinds of beings, after which visualize the aperture of Brahma

32 These mantras are now sealed by the tantric vows of concealment. The term rgya may be as much an abbreviation of phyag rgya (mudra) where a particular hand mudra is expected, as it may be derived from the verb rgya ba and used to indicate ‘extent’ but also meaning ‘area’ or ‘region.’ More generically, if it is affixed after other words to indicate something which seals something else to keep the contents hidden, as in a seal on an envelope.

The original text renders ‘‘bdc chen’ (Mahasukha) instead of ‘‘bdc can’ for Sukhavati. A possible reason for this conflation has been discussed before.

Long-life practices usually involve Amitabha visualized in the form of Sambhogakaya Amitayus.

on the crown of your head open. Next, visualize on the crown of your head Amitabha, as explained before, with his retinue of two. Meditate that one’s own consciousness, a white drop in the shape of the (syllable) hrih, is ejected into the heart-centre of Amitabha. Then, without the slightest doubt, deliver the aspiration to be reborn in SukhavatT.

7. Supplication Prayers

Next follows, the stages of the supplication prayer.

First, is the supplication prayer of accomplishment:

E ma ho. With one-pointed devotion make supplication prayers to the extraordinary Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani and the rest of uncountable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. (Recite): Bestow upon me the supreme siddhi, bestow upon me the blessings to accomplish Amitabha’s sadhana.

Next, is the supplication prayer for the dream-yoga practice:

E ma ho. One-pointedly supplicate the extraordinary Dharmakaya Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani. (Recite): After travelling to SukhavatT in my dreams, bless me to meet Amitabha.

[3] Next follows the empowerment supplication prayer:

Lama and protector Amitabha, Lord Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani, and immeasurable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas I make this supplication: confer upon me the tantric empowerment.

[4] (Next is the long-life supplication prayer:)

E ma ho to the Perfect Buddha Amitabha, Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani and the limitless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. With a mind of devotion, I prostrate, praise and make supplication prayers. Bestow upon me the siddhi of (long) life.

[5] Next is the transference supplication prayer:

E ma ho, to the very extraordinary protector Amitabha, Mahakarunika, and Vajrapani. Single-minded I supplicate you, bless me so that I transfer my mind-stream to the Land of Bliss.

8. The Aspiration Prayer to Sukhavati

Next follows the aspiration prayer

Recite the following:

E ma ho, splendid Buddha Amitabha of infinite light. To your right is the Lord of Great Compassion and to your left the Bodhisattva, Lord of Powerful Means, surrounded by countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In the pure-land, known as SukhavatT, there is immeasurable joy and happiness. May I, after

passing away, immediately take rebirth there in this and in all my future lives. Having been bom there may I meet Amitabha face to face and having recited this aspiration prayer may the Buddhas of the ten directions bless me to achieve this without obstacles.

(Recite the mantra for accomplishing the aspiration): tadyatha pahcendriya avabhodhanaya svaha.

(Seal): Samaya. Gya gya gya.

9. Consecration Ritual and Empowerment

After that take the initiation. Recite the taking of refuge in the three jewels and then hold the vase with your hand. The vase is one with the syllable hum, it is the pure-land SukhavatT of Buddha Amitabha. By placing it above the head may you have a vision of the Buddha of Infinite Light. At this time recite the root mantra as much as you wish. Then hold the vase (now transformed into the body of Amitabha) and recite like this. This

hum is the Conqueror Amitabha. By placing it on the crown may you take rebirth in SukhavatT and behold face to face the Buddha of Infinite Light. 35 Recite the root mantra as many times as you want. Then

35 These visualizations for the consecration of ritual objects and for accomplishing union of body, speech and mind, are probably meant as instructions for

the propitiating lama. Bentor (1996: 291-92) explains: “Not only is the consecration performed within the frame of the sadhana, it is, in fact, a special application of the sadhana. Having completed the generation process (utpatti, bskyedpa), one can apply one’s powers to the

generation of a receptacle as a deity (rten bskyed) through a similar method. The main components at the core of the consecration ritual, common to almost all consecration manuals I have been able to examine, are as follows: (1) Visualizing the receptacle away (mi dmigs pa),

pick up the torma. This hum is the Buddha of Infinite Light, surrounded by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. By placing it on the crown may you take rebirth in SukhavatT and behold Amitabha. Recite again the root mantra as much as you want. Then take the vajra in your hand. This hum is the protector Amitabha,

surrounded by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Place it on the crown, having attained the empowerment of Amitabha, may you take birth in SukhavatT. Then recite the root mantra as many times as you wish. This hum is the Protector Amitabha. Placing it above the crown may you take rebirth in SukhavatT and meet Amitabha. Recite like this the root mantra as many times as you like.

(Seal): Samaya. Gya gya gya. Katham guhya.


On the seventh day of Sa ga zla ba in the Gser ‘phyang year, when Sprul sku Mi ‘gyur rdo rje was thirteen years of age, in an unfathomable vision of light the size of a mountain he was graced with Amitabha and his retinue who instructed him thus: the oral instruction thereafter is to meditate on all places as being SukhavatT. If this (teaching) spreads to all sentient migrators, it will be suitable. If it doesn’t that is all right as well. But

if it spreads there will be great benefit. One does not need to meditate on Avalokitesvara. If one does, that is fine. If one were to perform the long-life rituals, the gathering of the essence of the elements, etc, in a different way, it is all right. If one doesn’t, it is fine as well. Samaya. Gya gya gya.

Furthermore it is said that, in the evening once again he experienced Buddha Amitabha and his retinue and proclaimed the oral instructions and the dream yoga supplication prayger.

Tibetan text


[fol. 5b] Gnam chos thugs kyi gter ka snyan brgyud zab mo’i skor las bde chen zhing gi sgrub thabs bzhugs so // Guru deva dakinT hum // ‘od dpag med pa sgrub pa ni // dkil ‘khor med cing gtor ma med // me tog

always performed in conjunction with meditation on emptiness (stong pa nyid). (2) Generation of the receptacle as the dam tshig sems dpa' (samayasattva) of one’s yi dam (rten bskyed). (3) Invitation of the ye shes sems dpa' (jhanasattva) into the receptacle (spyan ‘dren) and its absorption (bstim) into the dam tshig sems dpa' (dam ye gnyis su med pa). (4) Transformation of the receptacle back into its conventional appearance of an image, stupa, book, etc. (rten bsgyur). (5) Requesting the ye shes sems dpa' to remain in the receptacle as long as samsara lasts (brtan bzhugs).”

chu skyes padma’i steng // de nang rang nyid sems dpa’ dkar // mdun du padma zla gdan la // [fol. 6a] Om // ‘od dpag med mgon sku mdog dmar // zhal gcig phyag gnyis mnyam gzhag steng // ltung bzed ‘dzin cing chos gos gsol // skyil mo krung gis bzhugs pa la // g.yas su ‘jig rten dbang phyug dkar // zhal gcig phyag bzhi thal sbyar dang // g.yas g.yon phreng ba padmadzin // bzhengs ba’i stabs kyi padma zlar bzhugs //

g.yon du phyag rdor mthu chen thob // zhal gcig phyag gnyis sku mdog sngo // g.yas g.yon rdo rje dril budzin // bzhengs ba’i stabs kyi padma zlar bzhugs // sangs rgyas byang chub sems dpa’ dang // nyan thos dgra bcom dpag med bskor // gtso bo gsum gyi gnas gsum gyi // ‘bru gsum las ni ‘od ‘phros pas// bde ba can nas spyan drangs bsam// de nas sngags ‘di ci mang brjod // dang po rtsa sngags rgyas pa ni // om ah hum amidheva ayu? siddhi hum // de nas rtsa sngags ‘bring bo ni // om amidheva hri // de nas rtsa sngags bsdus pa ni // om ah hrih svaha // de nas rtsa sngags [fol. 6b] yang bsdus ni // om hnh svaha yang ni rtsa

sngags bsdus pa ni // hrih svaha // yangs bsdus hrih // bsgrangs chog pa yin // om brhum svaha // bzlas pas chog // de yi ‘od dpag med pa ‘grub // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas rmi lam bzung ba ni // nyin la rmi lam yin snyam byed // de nas rang gi mgrin pa ru // padma dmar po ‘dba bzhi la // om ah hrih svaha // yang bkod // hrih ni lte ba om shar byas // de nas rang gi snying kha ru // me tog padma dmar po yi // steng du bde chen zhing khams ni // shin tu gsal bar yod par bsam // gnyid bar de la dmigs pa gtad // rmi lam bde chen zhing mthong ngo // spyan ‘od phyag gi zhal yang mthong // samaya rgya rgya rgya // de nas tshe sgrub bya ba ni // gzhan ni dmigs pa brje mi dgos // ltung bzed tshe yi bdud rtsis bkang // de nas rang la thim par bsam // om brhum svaha brhum gnyis ni // gang ‘dod gcig ni bzla pas chog // samaya rgya rgya rgya // de nas ‘pho ba’i rim pa ni // rang gi thugs kar hri dmar ni // ring cha tseg [fol. 7a] om // drag bcas par bsam // de las hrih // drug ‘phros pa yis // ‘gro drug skye ba’i sgo bead nas // spyi bo’i tshangs bug tar rer bsam // de nas spyi bor ‘od dpag med // gong ltar gtso ‘khor gsum po bsgom // de nas rang gi mam shes ni // thig le dkar po hrih // yis mtshan // snang mtha’i thugs kar ‘phos par bsam // the tshom cung zad med pa ru //

bde chen skye ba’i smon lam btab // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas gsol ‘debs rim pa ni // dang po sgrub pa’i gsol ‘debs ni // e ma ho // ngo mtshar glad byung snang ba mtha’ yas dang // thugs ije chen po mthu chen thob la sogs // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med thams cad la // rtse gcig gus pa’i sems kyis gsol ba ‘debs // bdag la mchog gi dngos grub thams cad stsol // snang ba mtha’ yas ‘grub par byin gyis rlobs // rmi lam bzung pa’i gsol ‘debs ni // e ma ho // chos sku

snang ba mtha’ yas ngo mtshar can // [fol. 7b] spyan ras gzigs dbang mthu chen thob mams la // bdag gi rtsi gcig yid kyis gsol ba ‘debs // rmi lam yul du bde chen zhing bsprod nas // snang ba mtha’ yas mjal bar byin gyis rlobs // de nas dbang gi gsol ‘debs ni // kye bla maod dpag med mgon dang // spyan ras gzigs dbang mthu chen thob // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med la // gsol ba ‘debs so dbang bskur stsol // de nas

tsho yi gsol ‘debs ni // e ma ho // rdzogs pa’i sangs rgyas snang ba mtha’ yas dang // thugs rje chen po mthu chen thob dang ni // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag tu med mams la // bdag gi gus pa’i sems kyis phyag ‘tshal bstod // gsol ba ‘debs so tshe yi dngos grub stsol // de nas ‘pho ba’i gsol ‘debs ni // e ma ho // shin tu ngo mtshar ‘od dpag med mgon dang // thugs rje chen po phyag rdor mthu chen thob bdag gi rtsi gcig yid

kyis gsol ba ‘debs mam shes bde chen ‘pho par [fol. 8a] O? // byin gyis rlobs // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas smon lam bya ba ni // ‘di skad du ni btjod par bya // e ma ho // ngo mtshar sangs rgyas snang ba mtha’ yas dang // g.yas su jo bo thugs rje chen po dang g.yon du sems dpamthu chen thob mams pa // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med ‘khor gyis bskor // bde skyid ngo mtshar dpag tu med pa yi // bde ba can zhes bya ba’i zhing khams der // bdag ni ‘di nas tshe ‘phos gyur ma thag // skye ba gzhan gyi bar mchod pa ru // de ru skyes nas snang mtha’i zhal mthong shog // de skad bdag gis smon lam btab pa ‘di // phyogs

bcu’i sangs rgyas byad sems thams cad kyis // gegs med ‘grub par byin gyis brlab tu gsol // tadyatha pancendriya avabhodhanaya svaha // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas de yi dbang bskur ni // dkon mchog gsum la bdag skyabs brjod // de nas bum pa lag tu thogs // hum ‘di [fol. 8b] ni bcom ldan snang mtha’ yas // bde ba can gyi zhing khams yin // khyod kyi mgo la bzhag pa yi // snang ba mtha’ yas zhal mthong shog // ‘di ru rtsa sngags gang ‘dod btjod // de nas sku gzugs lag tu thogs // ‘di skad du ni bijod pa’o // hum ‘di ni bcom ldan snang mtha’ yas // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // bde chen skyes nas zhal mthong shog // ‘di ru rtsa

sngangs gang ‘dod brjod // de nas gtor ma lag tu thogs // hum ‘di ni bcom ldan snang mtha’ yas // sangs rgyas byang sems ‘khor gyis bskor // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhags pa yi // bde chen zhing du skyes nas kyang // ‘od dpag med kyi zhal mthong shog // ‘dir rtsa sngags gang ‘dod btjod // de nas rdo tje lag tu

thogs // hum ‘di ni ‘od dpag med mgon la // sangs rgyas byang sems ‘khor gyis bskor // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // ‘od dpag med mgon dbang thob nas // bde ba can du skye par shog // ‘di ru rtsa sngags gang ‘dod btjod // [fol. 9a] hum ‘di ni ‘od dpag med mgon te // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // bde chen zhing du skyes nas kyang // ‘od dpag med kyi

zhal mthong shog // ‘di ru rtsa sngangs gang ‘dod brjod // gtso bos ji ltar sogs brjod // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // kha tham guhya // ces pa ‘di sprul sku mi ‘gyur rdo rje dgung lo bcu gsum pa gser ‘phyang gi lo sa ga zla ba’i tshes bdun nyin ‘od dpag med grtso ‘khor gsum sku ri bo tsam // gzi ba brjid dpag tu med pa dngos su zhal gzigs te dngos su gsungs pa’o // ‘di’i zhal gyi gdams pa ni // yul phyogs thams cad bde chen zhing du bsgom par bya’o // ‘gro ba sems can thams cad la spel kyang rung // gang la’ang ma spel kyang rung ste spel na phan yon che // rang thugs rje chen por bsgom mi dgos // bsgom kyang rung // ‘byung ba’i bcud bsdus pa sogs tshe sgrub gzhan ltar byas kyang rung // ma byas kyang rung // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // ces pa yang de’i dgong mo slar yangod dpag med ‘khor dang bcas pa zhal dngos su gzigs te zhal gdams dang rmi lam bzung pa’i gsol ‘debs gnyis dngos su bka’ stsal pa’o //

Tibetan References

Gu ru bkra shis (nineteenth century). [1802-1812] 1990. Gu bkra’i chos 'byung. Beijing: Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang.

Jam dbyang rgyal mtshan (1929-). 1996. Kah thog pa’i lo rgyus mdor bsdus. Khreng tu’u: si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Karma chags med (1613-1678). 1999. Mkhas grub karma chags med rin po che’i gsung 'bum. Ch’engtu: Si khron zhing chen mi rigs zhib ‘jug su’o bod kyi rig gnas zhib ‘jug khang.

Karma chags med and Bsod nams chos sgrub (1826-1844). 1994. Bde smonphyogs bsgrigs. Ch’engtu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Kong sprul bio gros mtha’ yas (1813-1899). 1976. Rin chen gter mdzod. Paro: Ngodrub and Sherab Drimay.

Kong sprul bio gros mtha’ yas (1813-1899). 1997. Shes bya kun khyab mdzod. Delhi: Shechen publications. Mi ‘gyur rdo rje (1645-1667). 1983. Gnam chos thugs kyi gter kha sngan brgyud zab mo’i skor. Paro Kyichu: Dilgo Khyentsey Rinpoche; Bylakuppe, India: Perna Norbu Rinpoche.

Padma chos rgyal ‘khrul zhig (1878/1876-1959/1958). 1978-85. Rtsib ri spar ma. Darjeeling: Kargyud Sungrab Nyamso Khang. Other References

Baker, I. 2000. The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson. Beckwith, C. 1987. The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bentor, Y. 1996. Literature on Consecration (rab gnas). In J. Cabezon and R. Jackson (eds) Tibetan Literature, Studies in Genre. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications: 290-312.

Blezer, H. 1997. Kar gliri Zi khro: A Tantric Buddhist Concept. Leiden: CNWS Research School. Buswell, E. R. 1990. Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Chagme, K. [[[Karma chags med]]]. 1998. A Spacious Path to Freedom: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Atiyoga. B.A. Wallace (trans.), with commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications.

—. 2000. Naked Awareness: Practical Instruction on the Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. B.A. Wallace (trans.), with commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications.

Cuevas, B.J. 2003. The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford University Press. Davidson, R. 2002. Indian Esoteric Buddhism: a Social History of the Tantric Movement. New York: Columbia University Press. Dudjom Rinpoche and J. Y. Dorje (eds) 1991. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Volume One. G. Dorje with M. Kapstein (trans.) Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Evans-Wentz, W.Y. [1958] 2000. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. Reprint, Kathmandu: Pilgrims Publishing. Fujita, K. 1996. The Origin of the Pure Land. R. Otowa (trans.) Eastern Buddhist, 29(1): 33-52.

Gyatso, J. 1997. Genre, Authorship, and Transmission in Visionary Buddhism: The Literary Traditions of Thang-stong rGyal-po. In S. Goodman and R. Davidson (eds) Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation. Albany: State University of New York Press, 95-106.

Harris, I. 1999. Buddhism and Politics in Asia: the Textual and Historical Roots. In I.C. Haris (ed.) Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-Century Asia. London: Pinter, 1-25.

Inagaki H. 1999. Amida Dharam Sutra and Jhanagarbha’s Commentary. An annotated translation from the Tibetan of the Anantamukha-nirhara-dharam Sutra. Ryukoku Literature Series VII. Japan: Ryukoku Gakkai. Kajihama, R. 1994. 3rd rDo Gruchen Rinpoche’s Pure Land Thought (I). Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 43(1): 492-98.

—. 1996. 3rd rDo Gruchen Rinpoche’s Pure Land Thought (II). Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 44(2): 948-52.

—. 2002. 3rd rDo Gruchen Rinpoche’s Pure Land Thought (III). Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 50(2): 984-87.

—. 2003. Chibetto no Jddo shisd no kenkyu. [=Study of Pure Land in Tibet]. Kyoto: Nagatabunshodb.

Kapstein, M. 2000. The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation, and Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

—. 2004. Pure Land Buddhism in Tibet? From SukhavatT to the Field of Great Bliss. In R. Payne and K. Tanaka (eds) Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1-16.

Karma Kelchog Palmo, Thrangu Rinpoche, and Chos Kyi Nyima Tulku. 1973. The Puja to Amitabha, The Buddha of Boundless Light. Bulletin ofTibetology, X(2): 11-34.

Karmay, S. 1998. Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama. London: Serindia Publications.

—. 2002. The Rituals and their Origins in the Visionary Accounts of the Fifth Dalai Lama. In H. Blezer (ed.) Religion and Secular Culture in Tibet. Tibetan Studies II: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000. Leiden: Brill, 21-40.

Lalou, M. 1953. Les Textes Bouddhiques au Temps du Roi Khri-srom-bcan. Journal Asiatique 241(3): 313-53.

Lewis, T. 2004. From Generalized Goal to Tantric Subordination: SukhavatT in the Indic Buddhist Traditions of Nepal. In R. Payne and K. Tanaka (eds) Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 236-64.

Meisezahl, Von. R.O. 1981. gNam chos, Die Schriften des Mi ‘gyur rdo rje (1646-1667). Ural- Altaische Jahrbiicher, Neue Folge, Wienbaden, Harrassowitz, 1:195-226.

—. 1982. Die Schriften des Mi ‘gyur rdo rje (1646-1667). Ural-Altaische Jahrbiicher, Neue Folge, Wienbaden, Harrassowitz, 2:245-272. Miller, D. B. 1961. The Web of Tibetan Monasticism. Journal of Asiatic Studies, 20(2): 197-203. Mullin, G. 1997. Six Yogas of Naropa. New York: Snow Lion Publications.

Nakamura, H. 1963. Gokuraku Jodo no kannen no indoteki kaimei to chibettoteki henyo. [^Studies on the Idea of Pure Land in the

Perspective of Indian Cultural History and on the Modifications of the Idea by Tibetans]. Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, XI(2):131-53. —. 1987. Indian Buddhism: A Survey with Bibliographical Notes. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Obermiller, E. (trans.) 1931. History of Buddhism (Chos ‘byung) by Bu ston. Heidelberg: Harrassowitz.

Pommaret. F. (ed.) 2003. Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century. Leiden: Brill. Rhie, M. and R. Thurman (eds) 1991. The Sacred Art of Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson.

Ruegg, S. D. 1997. The Preceptor-Donor {Yon Mchod) Relation in Thirteenth Century Tibetan Society and Polity, its Inner Asian Precursors and Indian Models. In H. Krasser, M.T. Much, E. Steinkellner, and H. Tauscher (eds) Proceedings of the Seventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995'. Wien: Verlag der Osterreichischen Academie der Wissenschaffen.

Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. 1999. Life of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Vol. IV, Part I. Z. Ahmad (trans.) Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture. Schwieger, P. 1978. Ein Tibetisches Wunschgebet um Wiedergeburt in der Sukhavati. St. Augustin: VGH Wissenschaftsverlag.

Silk, J. 1993. The Virtues of Amitabha: A Tibetan Poem from Dunhuang. Bukkyo Bunka Kenkyujo Kiyo, 32, 161-210. c.26. Skorupski, T. 1994. A Tibetan Prayer for Rebirth in the Sukhavati. The Buddhist Forum, Vol. III. Papers in honour of Prof. David Syfort Ruegg. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 373-409.

—. 2001. Funeral Rites for Rebirth in the Sukhavati Abode. The Buddhist Forum VI. Tring: The Institute of Buddhist Studies, 137-172. Sorensen, P. K. 1994. Tibetan Buddhist Historiography: The Mirror Illuminating the Royal Genealogies. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Stein, R.A. 1959. Recherches sur lEpopee et le Barde du Tibet. Bibliotheque de l’lnstitut des hautes Etudes Chinoises 13. Paris: Presses Universitaires.

Tambiah, J. S. 1987. The Buddhist Conception of Universal King and Its Manifestations in South and Southeast Asia. Lecture Delivered at the University of Malaya Kuala Lumbur: University of Malaya.

Tsering J.Z. 1988. A Garland of Immortal Wish-fulfilling Trees: The Palyul Tradition of'Nyingmapa. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications. Walter, M. 1980. Preliminary Results from a Study of Two Rasayana Systems in Indo-Tibetan Esoterism. In M. Aris (ed.) Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. London: Aris and Phillips, 319-21.

Whitefield, R., S. Whitefield and A. Neville. 2000. Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road. London: The British Library.